I do because He did.

Happy Friday!

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As promised, tonight’s post is another school-inspired idea.

If you read my last post, my kids got to retake a test.

As for me, their teacher, I expect them to work hard now. I explained how the retake is a one-time thing. They are supposed to work hard for the rest of the year.

I will also work hard for them. That is what school is all about. Working hard.

hard-work

Transition to the spiritual. So now I am forgiven. What is the next step?

We get to work for God now. That is the next step.

It is pretty simple.

We work because God has already worked.

I live in a region of the country that is steeped in a “works-based” faith.

Simply put, salvation is earned. You do enough good things to outweigh the bad and heaven is all yours.

Sorry to be blunt but this is absolutely wrong. The bible is clear on this.

Good works should never be used to try and earn something from God.

I strongly believe that our good works should be a response to what God has already done for us.

The writer of Hebrews said it this way;

“1In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”  Hebrews 1:1-3

Check out the underlined part. That describes the work God did. He sat. That is what I like to do after I work.

There is nothing you or I can do that will earn God’s acceptance.

So stop trying to work for it!

stop it sign

Instead, let your works point people to God.

That is the purpose of good works.

I do stuff because of God, not for God.

I do because He did.

 

 

 

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Monkey and Banana

YOU have probably heard about a rather interesting method they sometimes use when trying to catch a monkey for the zoo. It seems that trappers take a small cage out into the jungle. Inside the cage they place a bunch of bananas and then they close it, locking the bananas inside. Now a monkey coming along and spotting the bananas, will reach through the narrow rungs of the cage and grab a banana. But he can’t get it out. And no matter how hard he tries – twisting his hand back and forth – he can’t pull his hand through the rungs while hanging on to the banana. And even with the approaching trappers he won’t let go of the banana. For the trappers, it’s simply a matter then, of coming up and grabbing the monkey. Now if you were standing there in the jungle, watching all of this happen, and wanted to save the monkey, you might yell in exasperation, “Drop the Banana!” 

 

 

 

This was taken from an article on Foundations Magazine. Here is the link for the entire article: “Drop the Banana!”


I wanted to start with article because it reminds me of me. I am the monkey.

The banana represents things that I want. It could be anything I desire. And, if I happen to obtain it, I don’t want to let go.

I would suggest that all of us can be like the monkey.

How much of our life is spent in pursuit of the banana? Just for fun, write down how you spend your hours and days. You just might be surprised or even shocked.

If you feel you want to let go of whatever banana is in your hand, good thinking.

If you can’t let go, now is a great time for the Word

I Peter gives some much needed insight.

Here are verses 3-5 in the first chapter:

“3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”  I Peter 1:3-5


We have a new birth.

We have a living hope.

We have an inheritance.

Why in the world would we want a banana?!?!

As much as I write this for you, the reader, I write it for myself.

If I could sum up the Christian life, it might be something like this:

Keep letting go of the banana and turning back to God.

But why would I want to let go when the banana is so fulfilling?

We have a place that is being prepared for us. That’s why.

It can’t be spoiled, ruined, or removed. There is a guard watching it. The enemy cannot taint it in anyway. It is under God’s protection.

And it is reserved for us.

heaven

I don’t really know what heaven looks like but I don’t need to know.

I just need to let go of the banana and trust God in the rest.

 

 

Don’t Forget to Clean the Lint Trap!

Have you ever forgotten to clean the lint catcher thingy in your dryer?

clean-the-filter

It’s called a lint trap. It traps the lint into a confined space so it can be easily removed. Hopefully before starting any fires!

It is recommended that the trap be cleaned after every dryer use. Safety first! =-)


The season of Lent is almost here. Ash Wednesday, March 6, marks the beginning of Lent. Over a month later, 40 days later, we arrive at Easter.

Disclaimer: With my background, I have never intentionally observed Lent. It was not something I was taught while growing up. My comments about Lent are based upon my observations and conversations alone. If I get something wrong, I apologize. Please feel free to provide correction in the comments.

Now that I have cleared that up, let me ask a question:

How is a lint trap connected to Lent?

Keep reading and we can make that connection together!

For my purpose here, I will define Lent as I understand it:

Lent: a season of prayer and fasting to grow in relationship with God.

As I stated, Lent is not in my personal history. But I like the idea.

As a follower of Jesus, growing in relationship is my primary goal. God is largely unknown to us, but He wants to reveal Himself to us. The Bible makes this clear that God has provided access to Himself. All we need to do is to accept that gift and press in!

Lent seems like a great way to accomplish this goal!

But there is a trap! No, not a lint trap but a Lent trap! (see the connection?)

Matthew 6 describes people who have fallen into the Lent trap. Here is the first verse:

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

He, Jesus, goes on to talk about prayer and also fasting. This passage contains the Lord’s Prayer as well.

The summary goes like this: when you pray, fast, give money, serve etc., do it for God, not the approval of man. There is no reward for showing off for people. God honors those whose motive is pure.

It seems that some people can observe Lent but for the wrong reasons. They give up meat on Fridays. Perhaps they forego sweets. But why? Just because the church said so?

I want this post to address the heart of the matter. If you observe Lent or not, you can still fall into the Lent trap.

Why you do something can be just as important as what you do.

In case you are wondering, I am going to observe Lent this year. First time for everything!

I have my list of things that I will do or not do. I am ready.

list making

As we embark on the Lent this year, do it for God. He wants a deep and fulfilling relationship with you. And frankly, that is what we need also!

So in the midst of your prayer, fasting, giving, etc., make God the priority. Do your best to avoid the Lent trap!

One last thing before I sign off. If you are curious or wondering what the 40 day journey of Lent looks like, come follow me on mine.

I will be posting every night during Lent. Let us share in God’s goodness together!

God bless you in your endeavors this year!

 

What should the title be?

Faith. What is it? There are many bible verses about faith but what do we really know about faith?

Feelings. What are they? We all experience them everyday. How do they function? Are they random?

I pose to you this question: Which one, faith or feelings, should influence our decision-making on a day-to-day basis?

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I hope to answer that in the next 70 seconds or so.


Faith. Again, the Bible has an exhausting amount of information about faith. Many of the Old Testament people had faith. Jesus talked about it in the Gospels. The rest of the New Testament also speaks to faith. Pretty important? Yep.

But how does faith influence my daily life? Do I need faith to put on socks? Is faith a requirement to hop in the car and drive to work?

What process do I go through to inject faith into my day?

Let’s talk about feelings for a moment.

How are you today? Personally, I rather dislike that question. It becomes routine to ask and responding to it is superficial. That is a generalization, of course but you get the picture, right?

Our feelings can be all over the place or non-existent. They creep up on us when we are least prepared. Overwhelmed by feelings? Sometimes. Other times, I struggle to display anything at all.

Same response, how do feelings influence my daily life? What if I don’t feel like doing something. Do I just not do it? I feel like today is good. So does feeling that way make that day better than other days?

The whole reason for this post is that this idea of faith vs. feelings has been swimming around in my brain for two weeks now. Time to pull the plug on the pool and see what remains.

Without preamble, here is what I think:

Faith should drive my decisions and feelings will follow.

Jesus talked about what it looks like to be a Christ-follower. And honestly, I cannot recall any parts where he addresses feelings. On a larger scale, the whole Bible speaks more to faith than feelings.

Alright then, faith it is. Simple right? Not always. We are a fallen people and so the body we live in is also fallen. Feelings can be extremely powerful. They are not necessarily bad but they can mislead. Feelings can also be great allies in certain occasions.

God said that greater is He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world.

confidence

See I John 4 for the context of that verse. Whatever you may be facing, ask God to give you faith to make it through. Try not to let your feelings be the rudder of your life. Let God, through faith, direct your path.

That might have been more than 70 seconds so thanks for sticking with it.

God Bless!

 

Anatomy of a Miracle

Miracles. What are they? How can they take place? What can we do to make them?

I think it is safe to say that anybody would welcome a miracle in their life. I mean, why not? Healing? Fixing of relationship? More money? ______________________?

Why do miracles take place? As far as I am concerned, God does a miracle as He sees fit. ONLY God can do it and He does not always explain the circumstances!

But I think we have a part. When following a cake recipe, it is important that you get all the ingredients otherwise the cake won’t turn out right.

cake fail

The difference between my wife and I decorating cakes! Ha!

While I am not baking a cake here, I am listing the ingredients for a miracle.

And for the miracle to take place, to actually happen, all three of these need to be present. Let’s go back to the Jordan river to see the Anatomy of a Miracle.

  1. A miracle consists of an Objective Impossible for you to Obtain. The Israelites had a promise given to them many years prior to this point. Literally, God had told them that He would take them to the Promised Land. They had their eyes set on an objective. We all need something that holds our attention. Call it a goal, desire, objective or whatever; you need to be looking at something ahead of you or you will never move forward. Flip the coin. That objective that you want-it must be impossible for you to get. For a miracle to take place, you first need to be looking at something that you cannot get on your own.  
  2. A miracle consists of an Obstacle Insurmountable for you to Overcome. There was a river in the way. A fast-flowing river that would prevent them from entering the Promised Land. Is there an obstacle in your way? Is it something that you cannot overcome? Good. You are on your way to a miracle. If you have a goal but something is blocking you then I see that you are two-thirds closer to God doing something great in your life. Whether that obstacle is a person, an idea, a negative thought, a physical thing, it must insurmountable for you.
  3. A miracle consists of an Opportunity Included for you to Obey. Yes, the dreaded ‘O’ word. The older I get, I keep coming back to the idea that all I can ever do is obey. That is all God asks of me. Yes, He wants my heart and mind but my obedience is that handing over of those things to Him. Every time I get stuck, I get an opportunity to obey. Standing before the river, the command was to step into the river. When facing an obstacle, do I obey and take the step of faith? For the Israelites, it was a literal step. For me, what is my step of faith? For you, how can you obey God today?

It is my opinion that someone would need all three of these”ingredients” for a miracle.

However, one thing I need to make clear is this: God can and will do miracles in His sovereignty. I can’t force God to do something. This might be debatable but I feel like God will do what He pleases when and how He pleases. That is part of what makes Him God.

Let me end 2018 with a recap:

  • A miracle consists of an Objective Impossible for you to Obtain. 
  • A miracle consists of an Obstacle Insurmountable for you to Overcome.
  • A miracle consists of an Opportunity Included for you to Obey. 

Or, just simply obey God with all your heart. No matter how small or unimportant it may seem, trust what God is telling you.

Who knows, you may be experiencing more miracles in this next year! So go ahead and take that step of faith!

step faith