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Posts Tagged ‘Father’

What A Well Pleased Life Looks Like

In a few short weeks, I will begin leading my annual services at a local campground.  I have been doing this since 2002, so this will make the fifteenth consecutive year that I have been doing this at this particular campground.

I spent about four years preaching and teaching through the gospel of John.  Since then I have been weaving my way through Paul’s letters.  I knew that I needed to do something different and I am returning to the gospels.  This year, and probably for a few summers, I will be making my way through Mark’s gospel.

One of the things that jumps out at you in the first chapter is Jesus’ baptism.  Like John, we all probably scratch our heads a bit at Jesus being baptized.  After all, if anyone didn’t need to be baptized, it’s Jesus.

That isn’t what stood out to me, though, this time.  No, it’s what the Father said to Jesus when He came out of the water.  He said, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well pleased.”

That statement astounds me.

First, it was personal.  The Father said that Jesus was His beloved Son.  He didn’t just say you are a beloved Son.  No, the Father was a proud papa.  Think about when you see your own children do something that makes you proud.  You can hardly contain yourself.  This is that kind of moment for the Father.

Second, the Father was well pleased in Jesus.  Often when we tell our children they have pleased us, we tag a but on the end of it.  “You did great, but….you could have done better.”  None of that with Jesus.  The Father is simply please with Him.

Here’s the cool thing.  Because of what Jesus did on the cross, the Father has the same reaction when he sees those of us who have trusted Christ for salvation.

We are now joint heirs with Jesus.  We are God’s beloved children.  He is proud of us because when He looks upon us, we are covered by the blood of Jesus.

The Father is well pleased in us.  Just like Jesus.  No buts.  Just please.

What difference does that make?

We have the same inheritance as the One who died on the cross.

We live the same God pleasing life because of Christ’s sacrifice.

Those two thoughts should directly affect how we live our lives.  The heirs of royalty live differently that those who don’t.  When you please someone, your actions are different from when you don’t.

Jesus lived a life and died on the cross so that we can have the same benefits that He has with the Father.  Let’s start living like who we really already are and not like people who will get there some day.

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , ,

You Can’t Outpatient God

December 5, 2013 6 comments

I like fruit.  Apples.  Oranges.  A banana here and there.  Some grapes.  Love.  Joy.  Peace.  Self-control.

Yes, I began naming fruit of the Spirit there.   I imagine us having this fruit something like this.  The Father sends the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.  That’s what Paul writes in Galatians.  It’s in the Bible, so I take that as truth.  It’s as if we come to know Christ so the Father plants the Holy Spirit into our lives.  The result?

He begins producing fruit in our lives.  I mentioned a few of the fruit above.  There’s one, though, that seems to be the hardest for me.

Patience.

I’m just not a naturally patient person.  I trade the wonderful flavor and aroma of popcorn popped in a pot on the stove for a bag in the microwave for a couple of minutes.  Truth be told, I do this in many more areas of my life as well.

I have patience it seems.  It just isn’t developed and fully grown yet.  It’s like a green  tomato that teases and promises to be ripened, sliced and smothered with Duke’s mayonnaise on my sandwich.  As Axl and the other GNR boys might have said, “All it takes is just a little patience.”

If our patience is a special kind that enters our life through the Spirit, it means that God is an extremely patient God.  After all, He doesn’t measure time like we do.  A day is like a thousand years.  A thousand years is like a day.  He is patient, waiting for the day that all who will come to Him is complete.

He is patient.

What I am just beginning to grasp is that He has given us His patience.

He trades the microwavable bag of popcorn for the kind where he heats the grease, stirs and shakes the kernels until they pop a delicious bowl.

And even though he has given us this patience, we can’t outpatient Him.  He can wait until the perfect time.  He wants ours to grow.  He longs for ours to ripen until it’s ready to be plucked from the vine.

You want to be more patient?  He has given you everything you need.  He has given you patience.

How is your patience these days?

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , , , , ,

Religion, Relationship or Both

November 29, 2013 3 comments

So often in the past, oh I don’t know how long, we have been told that religion is not where it’s at.  We have learned that it is man’s attempt to reach up to God.  It’s our try to link from here to the Lord on our own.  It’s us building a tower up so that we can reach heaven.  It’s our climbing a ladder, step by step, in our attempt to earn God’s favor.

Instead, the message we hear is that we live in a relationship.  One that is based on the relationship that the Father has with the Son and the Holy Spirit.  A relationship that involves an invasion from Heaven.  One that began with normal familial relationships and spread to friendships among those that followed Him.  A relationship that causes us to be adopted into God’s family and makes us Abraham’s descendants.

What if, though?

What if it’s actually both?

What if the relationship Christ establishes in us creates a religion that is not our attempt to simply reach God on our own?

Since the old things have passed away and the new has come, why isn’t religion new?  Why doesn’t Jesus flip the script?

I think he does.  We just don’t like the word religion once we come to know Christ and that’s ok.  I don’t really care.  As long as the relationship is driving the religion, we’re all good.  As long as it simply isn’t us doing it all on our own, in our own power, in our own flesh, then we’re good.

Is it religion, relationship or both?

I’ll let you answer that one for yourself.

Which is it?

A Single Retweet

September 5, 2013 6 comments

Let’s get real for a minute. Do you mind?

Believe it or not, my life isn’t perfect. I know that if you read this blog, you probably think that. You probably think, that guy has it all together. He writes his little blog and does his little do. “Go, Larry!!!”, I can hear many of you say.

Eh, not really. I get up, get ready for work, work my day’s worth, come home and do it all again. I try to be a husband to Jan and a dad to Lauren and Andrew. We keep a busy schedule and I write these little ditties. I tweet and post on Facebook. And then something like this happens.

I retweeted something that leads to a minor disagreement with a couple of friends. Not one of those relationship shattering disagreements. Nothing like that. Here’s what happened.

I read a tweet that I thought was profound and fit squarely in my worldview. It was one sentence of someone quoting another. I hit the old retweet button and even scheduled the tweet for later in the day. I do that a lot to spread out my tweets and retweets. Then I promptly forgot about it. Again, like I often do.

Except this time I got reaction that I wasn’t expecting. I got some push back from a couple of friends. And, lest you think I’m mad at them or anything, that’s ok. I’m still sticking to my original thought about the quote and I love those two friends. Relationships intact.

Here’s what I realized though.

I retweeted a guy who quoted someone who I don’t really know. It was one sentence in which I have no idea what the total context was.

Neither did my friends.

We all read it with our own lives’ experiences affecting our takes on that particular sentence. We all, I daresay, read things into sentences that we don’t know happened or occurred.

So, let me make a very general statement about all of us. That means the folks who are reading this post and the one who wrote it.

What we have viewed through the lens of our own lives will color how we see what goes on in life in general.

Relationships with our fathers will affect how we view the Father.

Marriages will affect how we see the Church as the Bride of Christ.

Tragedies and hurts, friendships and failures affect how we see one sentence in a paragraph.

So, what was our disagreement over? Does that even matter? Not in my book. What matters is that we are friends and maybe we understand each other a little more after a single retweet.

How do you think your life affects how you see things you encounter in your day-to-day life?

Life Gets Messy

August 27, 2013 7 comments

I want you to think back to when you came to know Christ.  Do you remember that rush of excitement?  Life wouldn’t be the same anymore.  Everything was on the upswing.  You saw the world through rose-colored glasses.  Positivity replaced negativity.  The glass wasn’t half-full, it was completely full.

Then reality set in.

Life was still hard.  All of your relationships weren’t miraculously perfect.  You hit some roadblocks.  Maybe you faced some tougher times than you did before.  Life was an uphill climb.  You found out the truth.

Life gets messy.

We would love to believe what some tell us, wouldn’t we?  That we won’t face hard times when we come to know Christ.

I was reminded of that in some situations with my wife, Jan, recently.

She hurts.

Every day is one filled with pain that would make most people quit.  She has always had a high tolerance of pain.  For her to even really tell me that she hurts tells me that most people would stay in bed.

Life gets messy.

She has encountered some other painful situations recently in her life.  Things that affect her emotionally.  Things that bring her down.

Life gets messy.

*****

The other morning Jan asked me what happened to Job once he went through everything.  The good new is that his riches were restored to him, even more so than before.  He had more children to replace those he lost.  On the other side of the coin, he never found out why all of that stuff happened to him.  God simply asked Job where he was when He was creating the world.

We aren’t guaranteed things will bet better, that the messiness of life will get better.  At least not here on earth.

Jesus tells us His version of the story, though.  He said that His Father’s house has many rooms.  He has gone to prepare a place for us.  He’s coming back for us so that we can live there with Him.

Life gets messy.  But Jesus cleans up the messes and brings us home.

Have you ever found life to be messy?

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , , , ,

Heirs According To Promise

Through the first three chapters of Galatians, Paul has defended the Gospel against false teachers called Judaizers.  He has given verifiable, personal, historical facts to show that he and the other Apostles were on the same page.  He writes what the true purpose of the Law is.  Paul begins the fourth chapter asking a familiar question, one that he continues to ask throughout the epistle.

Paul begins chapter 4 picking up where he left off chapter 3.  Paul had stated, at the end of 3, that  if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.  Being an heir is a new concept that Paul introduces.  It is not something that one would expect, especially if you have to live according to the law.  Paul continues, Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father.  Children at this time were placed under the responsibility of slaves to basically raise until the time of adulthood.  This time differed from culture to culture.  Roman and Jewish custom was for this time to be after the first 12 years.  Greek culture said 18 years of age.  Regardless, the time was set by the father, at which point they would be considered adults.

So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage the elemental things of the world.  In the context that Paul is using, it seems that he means that man is held in bondage to the man-made religion that the world tends to create.  But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  It took the Son, doing the work under the Law that no one else could do, to redeem us and make us sons of the Father through adoption.

Because you sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  Being a child of the Father, adopted, means that we get more than just salvation.  We gain the Spirit of HIs Son, the Holy Spirit.  This is something that the Law cannot give us.  Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son an heir through God.  Just as a human child is fully an heir when he comes to age, so we become heirs when we come to Christ.

However, at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are not gods.  Paul seems to be indicating that when we were slaves before Christ, you were slaves to those which were not gods.  He seems to be indicating that demonic forces were in control of us prior to Christ.  But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?  Those elemental things, that man-made religion, seems to be demonic in nature and Paul asks an important question:  After becoming and heir of God through Christ and given the Spirit, why would you want to return to a religious system controlled by demons?

This makes no sense to Paul.  After being freed from legalism where You observe days and months and seasons and years.  Paul is concerned.  I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.  Paul worked hard to share the Gospel of Christ with the Galatians and now they are returning to their former lives.  It astounds him that anyone would do this.

Takeaways:

1.  Before Christ, we are spiritual children who are held in bondage.  Christ frees us from this bondage.

2.  Christ makes us adopted children of God, heirs of the promise.  It is through this promise that we gain the Spirit.

3.  There is danger in returning to the life we had before Christ.  This would cause us to be living a life in vain.

The Day I Didn’t Get A Promotion

March 22, 2013 4 comments

Recently it was decided that I would change positions at work.  After 4 1/2 years, I am soon going to be in major learning mode as I move to a new team to lead and manage.  I’m looking forward to it and I hate to leave my old team at the same time.  How this all happened is extremely interesting to me.

I have been praying for some time for a certain thing to happen in my job.  If it happened, I would basically be promoted.  It came time for my performance review, so my boss and I sat down to discuss the past year or so.  I laid out what I wanted to do.  I quickly learned that was not going to happen.  Instead, what came out of our meeting, was that I and another manager would swap positions.

In other words, I didn’t get promoted.

There are several emotions that I could have felt.  I could have been hurt because I didn’t get what I wanted.  I could have been made because I didn’t get the promotion that I had planned on for a long time.

Instead, here is how I’m looking at it.

The Lord gives his children fish instead of snakes.

He gives his followers eggs instead of stones.

When I was praying, I was asking for one thing.  The Holy Spirit was making intercession for me.  He could have been saying to the Father, “Larry is asking for this job.  This other job will be better for him.”

I don’t really know what the Lord has planned for me in this new position.  I know that I will develop new skills.  I will get to know some folks in a different way.  I believe that He is working it out for good because I love Him and have been called according to His purpose.

I didn’t get promoted in a human sense, but I believe I did in a kingdom one.

Have you ever prayed for something only to get something totally different?