Lent, pt. 26

I broke out a new game tonight. Everdell.

Here is a picture of a game setup for three players.

everdell

It is a beautiful game. This is actually the collector’s edition. I traded an unwanted game for this one.

And then I started playing. Against myself.

Yep, you read that correctly. I played a three player game by myself.

Me, myself, and I. This is how I learn how to play a game.

And no, this is not the first time I have done this.

Although I enjoy playing games against myself, it was not meant to be played alone.

That is not how board games work. They are designed to be a shared experience.

So is church.

I love going to church. It helps me live the life God has created for me.

During Lent, try going to church a few times.

Who knows, maybe you will meet God in a new way.

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Lent, pt. 15

We read yesterday how the woman, who was subject to bleeding, was in Pain.

In that pain, she was driven to desperation.

However, she soon had a Problem.

Reading Mark 5:25-34 can, again, give context.

If Pain=Desperation, then Problem=Disillusionment.

Here is what I mean.

Before she found Jesus, she tried normal methods to get healing.

Doctors, medicine, etc. But none of that was not working. In fact, she was getting worse.

This disillusionment with the world’s system can sneak up on us. This is what it might look like in today’s day:

     Going to the casino because you can’t make rent this month.

     Hiring a prostitute because you can’t find a wife.

     Leaving a job because you were treated unfairly.

     Breaking up with your boyfriend because of trust issues.

     There maybe more in your life. We all can have problems.

These circumstances become problems because we don’t go to Jesus first. 

The text says that the woman was going to doctors and getting worse before she ever heard of Jesus. She was disillusioned.

But thanks be to God because we have heard of Jesus.

Ironically, He may choose to use the very problems in our lives to bring about healing.

A doctor could do surgery.

An angry spouse could have a change of heart.

You could get a raise at work.

Life with Jesus does not exclude problems. Life with Jesus gives hope through problems.

It is okay to let you Pain push you towards Desperation.

But please don’t let your Problems bring about Disillusionment.

Tomorrow, you can come back to see what part the People will play in our narrative.

 

All it took was a cross.

Who Am I? That question will likely be repeated many times this year. I will try to answer that question with my posting. This blog, in essence, is my journal.

journal

As I discover my identity in Christ, I will write in my journal (this blog).

You, as the reader, will hopefully be challenged, enlightened, or whatever God gives you, when you read each post. I also want to encourage you to comment. There might be something you write about that another reader might be thinking.

Above all, it is my hope and prayer that this post will bring glory to God. Sure, I like when people “like”, comment, or even follow me but all of that is icing on the cake.

God gets all the praise and honor. After all, He did say that if “I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me,” John 12:32


Remember 2017? My posts all had the same format.

The Word. The Worth. The Work.

This structure helped me to explain my thoughts and hopefully, communicate them clearly. I will use the same organization for the Who Am I? posts.


The Word – Colossians 2:13-15

hammer and nails

The Worth – I am alive because of Christ and all it took was the cross.

I was dead in sins. There was no life because of my sinful nature.

But God made me alive! He forgave my sins! Even more, he took the power away from my enemy and nailed it to that cross!!! It is finished!!!

The Work – Who Am I? I am alive! I know that based on what I read in Colossians.

So now, because I am alive, I can start living. No more dead man walking stuff.

I guess this means Jesus nailed it!

 

Stranger Things

Stranger Things. If you like suspense, fear, and intrigue with a strong dose of fiction, then  the show, Stranger Things is for you.

My wife and I really enjoyed both seasons. Try it! You just might like it too!

stranger-things-titles

In the show, there was an alternate universe. Some of the characters called it ‘The Upside Down’. It was the same yet different. The buildings were there but there were very few people. Again, the Upside Down was the same but yet, strangely different.

I understand that I am being very vague and ambiguous with the description of the show. All I really want to communicate is that there was another world, a world different from the reality in which the people were living.

The Word – reality

The Worth – We live in this world. But I feel like we are not always living in reality.

Acts 17:16-31 is a passage of scripture that describes Paul while he was in Athens. The people are accusing Paul of speaking about ‘strange things’.

So Paul, as was his custom, began to preach. He was explaining how the people were worshipping many different idols and gods. They even had an idol to an unknown god. I assume they were covering all of their bases.

He then turns the conversation around to God. And in verse 28, Paul hits them with the truth. “For in him we live and move and have our being…” 

In the original language, the word being means simply, “to exist.”

Substitute the word reality for the word being. We exist, we live and breath, in fact, our very reality is in God! If God is removed, we cease to exist!

All of the idols and gods the people of Athens were worshipping are not reality!

In November of 2017, are we just like the people of Athens? Too many times the answer is…yes! We worship so many things and can be oblivious to the reality that is God!

The Work – What is your reality? Do you find that your life is filled with many things, that you are religious, that there are idols present?

If you answered yes then you might need a reality check.

reality check sign

Stop and take time to ask God what is reality. What is real?

Perception is truth. What you see you take as truth. Ask God to help you see, feel, touch, and perceive His reality. That is the truth we all need.

It might take a little getting used to but it will be worth it!

I conclude with Paul’s words, “For in him we live and move and have our reality!”

 

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