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!

 

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A stone and it’s waves

Christmas time…celebrating a birth. The Christ child laid in a manger. The star showing the way. We all know the story, right? Hang on a minute and we will get to that very story.

But first…

Two weeks ago, I had a conversation with a good friend. It seems that every time we talk, something good comes from it. Thanks Nick!

One of the take-aways I had from the conversation was about influence.

We all have influence in our lives. Like a shadow covering the edge of the light, we don’t always see the influence we have on people. Why is that? Does God hide the influence so that we don’t see our total impact on people? Not really sure.

Imagine a stone. Now throw that stone into the water. What happens?

ripples

We have all seen it. The stone creates waves. Those waves are like influence. 

Some thoughts of mine regarding the stone and the waves:

  1. The waves all originate at the place where the stone entered the water.
  2. The waves are uniform in size and shape going out from the stone.
  3. The waves will continue until they hit the land.
  4. The stone, after creating the waves, sinks.
  5. The waves, once began, cannot be stopped, only redirected.
  6. Bigger stones make bigger waves.

Let’s bring this together now.

We are the stone. At least that is the way I feel that God designed us. We were made to splash! Waves of influence are the destiny to which we have been called. 

Will I let God toss me? Once I make that decision, God pulls back His mighty arm and lets go! Can you see Him throwing rocks?

Now that I have been thrown by God, my life is not my own. See Galatians 2:20.

Here is the catch, I am meant to sink. Rocks do not float.

I don’t mean sink as in fail. What I mean is that God uses a rock to create waves.

Waves equal influence.

Okay, back to the Christmas story. I want to recall a few “rocks” of historical note.

Mary.

Joseph.

The shepherds.

The Magi.

King Herod.

Baby Jesus.

If you look in the waters of our history, you can still see waves radiating outward from these rocks. 

God is using the influence of these rocks to impact you and me.

And it is about time we realize that we too, are making waves.

The choice is yours and mine to make. Let God throw you today!

Are you this one?

rock

Or this one?

ripples

 

 

 

Quitting?

Ever want to quit?

Feel like throwing in the towel?

Too difficult to continue?

quit_red_2011

I answered yes to these three questions this week.

But there is something that just won’t let go.

And I thank God Almighty for never letting me go.


I was drawn to Philippians 3. Paul writes a few verses about perseverance. He says that he strives. He will press on. There is a goal and he wants to get it.

I had to read it about 4 or 5 times before it started to sink in.

Next week I will unfold it more but here is the nugget for today.

Life is bigger than you or me. There is always more to what we are experiencing at the moment. There is purpose and even destiny. God knows.

I leave you with a quote from Doc Brown. If you are not sure who that person is, just watch one of my favorite movies, Back to the Future. 

back2bto2bthe2bfuture2bquote

So until next week, press on!

Three Ps in a Pod. part 4

I hope you have been enjoying this Three Ps in a Pod series. It has been very fulfilling for me to write it! =-)

Olive Garden breadsticks. Can you smell them? As you know, (if you have read About me) I wait tables at the Olive Garden. Hopefully, you have eaten at an OG and enjoyed your experience. There is something about the breadsticks that I want to share. Insider information, if you will.

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Breadsticks are served with every meal. You don’t even need to ask. They just appear. Here is the rule: the first time breadsticks are served, the number of sticks needs to equal the number of guests plus one. So, if you and your friend come in for lunch, I would bring 3 breadsticks to the table. If you ask for more, I only need to bring two.

That rule has always befuddled me. Why bring that extra breadstick? What is the reasoning behind it? People usually just fight over it anyway. Why the number of guests plus one? I don’t get it.

What is the purpose?

Have you guessed the last P in the series?

Pardon.

Peace.

Purpose.

As always, let’s go back to 2 Corinthians 5. Here are verses 18-20,

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sin against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors,…”

We are ambassadors. And therein lies our purpose.

Our purpose is the reconcile the world back to God. Does that seem overwhelming? Are you strong enough to handle such a great task? Can I complete this mission on my own? NO! That is why we are ambassadors.

  1. An ambassador for Christ is a citizen of heaven. Even though we live, eat, breath, work, and play on this earth, our homeland is in heaven.
  2. An ambassador for Christ speaks on Christ’s behalf. Everything we say and everything we do should reflect the one who sent us.
  3. An ambassador for Christ has authority because of Christ. You and I may be surrounded by enemies. We may be in the direct line of fire from the evil one. Attacks could be (and are presently) coming from all sides. But we speak with the authority of one who has nailed the powers of this world to the cross!

AmbassadorsForChrist

There you have it. Purpose. God did a great work in us so we could go out and do a great work for him.

It all started because He loved us.

So if you have been reconciled to God, consider yourself an ambassador for Christ.

And don’t worry, he has your back. You are are covered in the blood.

Go with confidence and let God do the rest.

Three Ps in a Pod, part 2

You are pardoned. You are forgiven. And that is the first P! You already knew that though, if you read last week’s post, Three Ps in a Pod, part 1.

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Even as I type, this biblical truth baffles me. It does not seem like it should be. Why can you or I be pardoned? My feelings tell me that I don’t deserve it. My actions certainly don’t warrant it either. I am not worthy. At all.

But am I going to let my feelings dictate my actions?

Am I going to let my circumstances guide my behavior?

Am I going to let the devil’s lies provoke me?

In short, am I giving permission to believe anything other than God’s holy, unwavering, encouraging, inspired, and truthful Word?

If we go back to 2 Corinthians 5, specifically verse 14, we can see why we can answer “No” to the previous question.

Here is the second part of verse 14, “…because we are convinced that one died for all,” 

Convinced…are you convinced? Or do you just have an opinion? Is what you believe just that or is it a deep conviction that motivates you to act accordingly? More on this later…

The first P in the Pod is Pardon. You and I can have a full pardon from sin. WHY?

Because ‘one died for all’.

Listen, this is the bottom line. You want the meaning of life? Jesus died for you. Why are we put on this earth? Jesus died so we can live.

There are so many scriptures that point us to the cross on which Jesus died. The Easter season is coming up soon. People will go to church for the first and perhaps, the only time this year. The point is that life (and everything else we seek answers for) is found in the cross.

I don’t fully understand how God loved me enough to let His son die for me. But I will accept the pardon. Anyone can.

I was originally planning on explaining some of the Old Testament sacrifices that God required. All the blood! Then, in Hebrews, Jesus is described as better than those sacrifices. He used His own blood! Maybe a series on the Blood?

Know that His death and shed blood obliterated sin. The penalty of sin is gone. Remember two posts back? A new creation? Yes, that is you and I. We have been forgiven.

Pardon (noun)-that action of forgiving or being forgiven for an error or offense.

Our sin was an offense to God. We were cut off from Him. He wanted to love us and wrap His arms as a father hugs his child. But the bars of sin prevented such expression.

prison-bars

 

Hey, no problem. Here is the key to open those bars:

God’s son will be born as a baby.

Jesus will live as a human.

He will be sentenced, beaten, broken, and finally crucified.

He will die on that cross.

They will bury his body in a borrowed tomb.

But then he will rise. He will ascend to heaven.

And then he will sit down because his work of salvation is complete.


Now we are free to be hugged by God because the bars of sin are no longer between us.

We have been pardoned.

Let God hug you right now. He is waiting.