About 18 inches.

What kind of title is that!?!? Well, if you read this post, you will find out.

The Word – Vanquish

The Worth – vanquish, from dictionary.com

verb (used with object)
1. to conquer or subdue by superior force, as in battle.
2. to defeat in any contest or conflict; be victorious over: to vanquish one’s opponent in an argument.
3. to overcome or overpower: He vanquished all his fears.

  • Some days, I just don’t win. Even though I have tried, nothing seems to work. I am nowhere near being victorious.
  • There are also days of big wins. Me and God were kicking butt all day long!
All those different types of days are the facts.
Yes, I made a mistake. Fact.
I won the battle that day. Fact.
I lusted in my heart. Fact.
I fought well today. Fact.
But the truth of the matter is that God has already vanquish my foe.
Here are 3 verses from the second chapter of Colossians:
“13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made youd alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.e”
The truth is that God has already won. He beat the bad guys, took their weapons, and showed them off in a parade!
That does not change…no matter how we feel from day-to-day.
I know that this is true. It is in my head. I have read those verses dozens of times. They are stuck in my brain!
The Work – What is my part in this if God has already won?
Let the truth of God travel 18 inches. Move it from your head to your heart. Knowledge is one thing but faith (and the accompanying action) is another.
18-inches
In the movie Lord of the Rings: Two Towers, there is a short conversation between Gandalf and King Théoden. Here are the two lines that are important.
Théoden: “Dark have been my dreams of late.”
Gandalf: “Your fingers would remember their old strength better — if they grasped your sword.”
Once Théoden was free of the evil in his mind, he began to see the truth.
You and I can be victorious over the enemy if we see the truth. The truth that God has already done the vanquishing! We just need to live it out in our hearts!
So if you are not feeling the victory, take up the sword of God’s word and start swinging!
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Feeling the pressure…

If you have been following me this year, you have been going through the alphabet with me. I call it Alphabet Soup. The first post of 2017 was on the letter A. You can read it here.

My math tells me that I could post every other week and that would get me to the letter Z by the end of the year. Well…I am only at U! Pressure!!!

No worries though. I am excited to finish this series so I can begin to look ahead to 2018.

And without further delay…

The Word – Underestimate

The Worth – The Christmas story can be found in Matthew and Luke. And it was in Luke’s writing that the inspiration for ‘underestimate’ hit me. Here is Luke 1:26-38:

“26In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be calledb the Son of God. 36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37For no word from God will ever fail.” 38“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.”

Dwell on this angelic visit for a minute. An angel comes to speak to Mary. Mary is probably around 15 years old. She has never had sex. She is also engaged. The angel tells her that God’s son will be born of her. I personally cannot fathom what types of thoughts were racing around in Mary’s brain.

I do know one thing though, Mary underestimated God. How do I know?

Let’s look at two verses.

Verse 29, “Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.”

Verse 34, “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 

Mary was questioning the purpose of God (v. 29) and the ability of God (v. 34).

Have you and I ever underestimated God?

Why is God doing this or that?

Why isn’t God moving?

Will you ever hurry up, God?

Why me?

And the list could continue.

We know the rest of the story. Mary did not, however. She questioned and the angel replied. Something happened in verses 35-37. And then we get to verse 38.

Mary comes around. She may still have doubts but her faith is bigger than her fear.

The Work – We need to come around like Mary.

I don’t always see the why, when, or how of God. And that is cause to be joyful.

I am not God! I do not have to know everything!

Be encouraged that God really does have everything under control. There is a current of Godliness that continually flows. It is an ever-moving river.

I say we jump in that river and enjoy God and what He is doing today!

can saying

 

 

Surprise!!!

You know that moment…the lights are off, people huddled in every corner of the room. The unsuspecting victim walks through the door and with the turning on of the lights, everyone yells Surprise!!!

I was that ‘victim’ on my 40th birthday. Without all of the details (which would take way more time than two minutes), my wife threw the biggest surprise of my life.

I walked into the large room at our church and there were over 100 of my friends and family waiting for me. SURPRISE!!! Totally and completely surprised. I had no idea.

surprise

The Word – surprise

The Worth – Why is it that we are surprised when God does something great?

Sure, it is understandable when the Red Sea parts. Exodus 14

Or when the walls of Jericho fall down. Joshua 7

Or when the bush is on fire but not burning up. Exodus 3

Or when Jesus turns water into wine. John 2

Or when Paul prays and the boy returns from the dead. Acts 20 

In 1 Thessalonians 5, there is a single verse that has had my attention for many years. I would say it is in the top three of my favorites.

vs. 24 “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

Or, in my translation, “If God said it, it will happen.”

It may not happen when or how we would like to see it but God is sovereign. It will happen as He said it would. So I ask again, why are we surprised when God moves?

The Work – Can I challenge you? This is a challenge for all who follow Jesus.

Live in such a way that you are not surprised when God does something awesome.

God gives us so many promises in His word. We can count on every one of them. So when you pray, let your faith expand. Know that God will accomplish what He said.

And don’t need to be surprised when it happens. =-)

Because of P, we get Q.

Before I get into this post, please read my previous post. It is the foundation for today’s message. Here is the link, Two people, a bus, and a gift.

foundations

A through P. That marks my progress so far this year. Today is about the letter Q. This one was more difficult than most of the others. But as I typed the last post, a seed of an idea started to grow. Again, Two people, a bus, and a gift was the beginning and now it will continue.


My best friend is computer/IT guy.

I have a friend who is a medical doctor.

I have another friend who is a financial planner.

My wife is a graphic designer.

My pastor is also my mentor.

What do these people have in common? They are all qualified.

The Word – qualified

The Worth – In any type of setting where a person is receiving something, it is important that the giver is qualified.

In no way would I go to the doctor for a surgery unless I knew that he/she was trained and educated to do the procedure!

It would not make sense to take advice from someone unless they have experience and knowledge in the specific area in which I need advice.

You know what? God is qualified. 

That begs the question, “What is God qualified to do?”

The short answer is that He can do anything because He is God.

But the specific answer is that God is qualified to forgive me and you.

Hebrews 9 talks about the superior quality of Christ’s blood over the blood of goats, calves, etc. that were used in sacrificing. Reading the whole chapter would be better because of the context but I will put verse 12 here for now.

Hebrews 9:12 “He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.”

The blood of animals was temporary. It did not last. In essence, the animal blood was not qualified to take away sin. But Jesus, who was perfect, eternal, and human, was uniquely qualified for the task of removing sin.

I like that phrase, uniquely qualified. It would be good to remember it.

The Work – Because God is passionate about loving us and Jesus is qualified to remove our sins, we don’t need to try to save ourselves! We can’t do it anyway! Our good works and the like are not qualified to save us.

What we can do is accept this truth by faith. We can rest in the knowledge that God has taken care of everything. His life can flow through us everyday!

Make and spend time with Him today. Thank Him that He is qualified!

And you know what that means? We are now qualified!

When, by faith, we accept His sacrifice, we are now seen as righteous!

We become His tool on earth for His work and His kingdom!

So go out and live purposely because you are qualified to do so!

Qualified With Green Tickmark

 

OMG!!!

Food, fun, and worship with a bunch of smelly dudes! Yep, that was me and about 250 other men joining together for a men’s conference this past weekend.

salad?

There was plenty happening in a social setting but God was also moving spiritually. I have many things swirling in my brain that God needs to help me sort out. But I like learning so this was a great weekend for me.

I want to share one thing that God gave me.

The word I need to use for the letter O is obedient.

The Word – Obedient

The Worth – Philippians 2: 1-11 gives us an account of Jesus and also the attitude that he possessed. Verse 5 uses the term mindset. Jesus had his mind set a certain way. I feel like we should strive to have this same attitude or mindset.

Here is verse 8 “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” NIV

Many times in the Gospels, Jesus talks about His relationship with His Father. He only wanted to do what the Father told Him. He was obedient. Even in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked to have “this cup taken from Him”. But then immediately following that statement, Jesus showed His Phil. 2 attitude. He told the Father that His will was secondary to the Father’s will.

It is amazing to me how Jesus was able to do what He did. With all the miracles and then raising from the dead? There was a connection with a great power source. He was always talking with His Father. The relationship was constant and frequent. That was how he was able to be completely obedient in the face of horrible circumstances!

The Work – If I am being honest here, the section has been the most difficult to write.

The Word and The Worth come more easily to me. I may be waiting tables or driving and a thought will come to me. It never seems to be in the The Work part of this blog though!

I think I know why. Because it involves work. I, personally, am not a big fan of work. It is more fun to have fun.

But God didn’t call me to have fun all the time. Yes, I am full of joy and there are many things in my life that bring fun, joy, smiles, etc.

I don’t think Jesus considered sweating drops of blood while praying in the garden something that would be fun. He was working. Hard work.

But his relationship with his daddy was inseparable. This is how he was obedient.

When my relationship with my daddy is strong, I am obedient as well.

So to end this post, I have one question:

How is your relationship with God your Father?

not my will