The hits just keep coming…

 

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Transition is rarely easy, but some transitions are harder than others.

Change. This one word has the power to strike fear in the hearts of many. It has the strength to catapult us into a new chapter in our lives. It has the ability to bring an end to suffering and pain, or to create it. Change may arrive clothed in mystery and bringing uncertainty, questions, anxiety. Change may arrive sporting clear expectations, opportunities for growth, a new start. But one thing we can be sure of, change will come. Whether it comes like a gentle breeze or a roaring hurricane – it will come.

I guess the the question is how do we survive change, especially the roaring hurricane kind of change?  Continue reading

Fight Club?

https://www.etsy.com/listing/108718688/flash-sale-til-midnight-vintage-boxing?ref=shop_home_active_2&ga_search_query=boxing

https://www.etsy.com/listing/108718688/flash-sale-til-midnight-vintage-boxing?ref=shop_home_active_2&ga_search_query=boxingIs it me, or have you noticed that it seems like it’s everyone versus everyone in the church these days?

This church badmouths that church. Leaders pit themselves against other leaders, denominations against other denominations. Ministry versus ministry, department versus department, congregation versus pastor, pastor versus board… I could go on. But it’s actually painful to list these conflicts.

There are a ton of verses in the Bible about loving one another, preferring one another, serving one another, and yet, we contend (fight). We contend not for the faith as we are encouraged to do (Jude 3), but we contend with one another. Seriously, what are we thinking?

I think we can answer that question in one word: us. We are thinking about ourselves.  As Americans, we celebrate the scrappy underdog, who fights his way to victory. In some contexts this is great, in others, not so much. When it comes to interpersonal skills this is not the way to win.

The Bible is pretty clear. The Bible refers to all followers of Jesus as His bride, His body, His church. It also says, “If a family divides itself into groups which fight each other, that family will fall apart.” (Mark 3:25 GNT)

As believers, we should all be aware that this kind of division is contrary to the Word of God. It is an attitude sported by the immature, the arrogant, and the self-centered. Does that mean we have to agree on everything? Not gonna happen. Does it mean we should make our focus the things we agree about? I believe it does. When we talk smack about other believers, we’re talking smack about Jesus’ bride, His beloved. How does it go over with you when someone talks poorly about your spouse, your kid, your best friend? Yeah, it’s like poking a bear with a sharp stick, right?

So, let’s take off the boxing gloves and use the verses to overcome the versus. Let’s contend for something not against everything and everybody.

1 John 4:7-8 MSG “My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love.”

 

photo credit: shawnstpeter

 

Reward for Lost Girl

We’ve all seen signs posted on telephone poles that promise a reward for help in finding a lost dog or a wallet. In fact, as a kid I used to fantasize about finding a wallet with a thousand dollars in it. I imagined that when I returned it to the owner, he’d give me a hundred dollars as a reward. Uh… that never happened.lost_dog_poster

But there was a lost girl once and a reward was offered for her return. The odd thing is that she turned herself in and she received the reward. How does that work? Why should she get the reward?

We have all been lost at one time or another, some maybe still are, but God… God offers a reward to all who would allow themselves to be found. This reward is more precious than anything money can buy. God is offering a place at His table, a spot in His family, the royal family of heaven. He is offering an eternal reward.

Unlike that $100 I used to dream about receiving, this is a reward that will never be spent, never be less valuable than it was the day you receive it. God’s table is full of good stuff, love, joy, peace, help, comfort… the list of benefits is long.

Life can be tough, especially when one is lost in the challenges (aka cruddy situations) of life. But like the girl above who turned herself in to Jesus, you can allow yourself to be found and collect that reward too.

I can tell you from personal experience, that girl – yeah, she’s never looked back and wished to be lost again. She is feasting at God’s table, resting in the security of His loving family, enjoying her reward – and she hasn’t even gotten to the eternal part!

“I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.” John Newton

 

Note: When you’re ready to be found, check this out.

Sound of many waters…. Heaven on Earth

The chorus of a song has been stuck in my head for almost 24 hours:

Lightning and thunder

Miracles and wonders

Sound of many waters

Feels like Heaven on Earth

The sound of many waters. This phrase makes me think of the ocean.  It can be a soft whooshing sound, as calm water gently rolls and stretches onto the shore, or it’s waves can crash with intensity and power, overwhelming the shore. I really love the sound of the ocean – the gentle rolling sound, the roar of the surf in stormy weather. It is rhythmic and comforting and constant. You can count on the ocean to faithfully produce high tide and low tide each day at a particular time. You can count on the ocean to support the lives that are in it. For some people in the world the ocean is the source of their subsistence.

I used to think it funny that the sound of the ocean – the rolling, gentle sound – is so comforting to people. You can buy machines, phone apps and CD’s that make ocean sounds to set a mood, to help you sleep, to help you relax. It’s not uncommon for people to want to retire to the coast.  Coastal regions are probably some of the most visited for vacations and getaways – because we like the ocean.  We like to hear the sound of the ocean, see it’s barely restrained power, feel it’s life.

“The sound of many waters” is one way the Bible uses to describe God’s voice. (Ezekiel 43:2, Revelation 1:15, KJV) Other versions describe the phrase with similar words:

Voice of many waters – ASV

His voice sounded like rushing water – CEB

His voice sounded like the roar of a waterfall – CEV

His voice like the sound of cascading waters – HCSB

his voice was like the noise of flooding water – NCV

His voice thundered like mighty ocean waves – NLT

His voice was like the sound of much water flowing – WE

You and I are wired to hear the voice of God. And when we hear it, it can be soft and gentle, or loud and overwhelmingly powerful, but at our very core, we long to hear the sound of His voice. We may seek solace and rest by listening to Ocean Sounds for Sleep looped in our CD player, but it is a cheap substitute for the peace and rest found only in God.

You are powerful and mighty, and infinitely loving and gentle. My heart longs to hear Your voice every day, all day. Whether it comes as a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12) or as the sound of many waters (Revelation 1:15) give me ears to hear what the Spirit is saying. I want to be in Your presence, my Father, every hour of every day – close enough to hear You clearly and obey You promptly.

Shhhhh…. I’m listening to my Daddy.