Lent, pt. 40

40 days already? That went fast.

I enjoyed the routine of blogging every night.

Now, I find myself asking what the next step is with this blog.

Do I continue daily? Weekly? Topical or impromptu?

thinking


In a larger sense, my relationship with God is like this blog site.

I can make little effort to contribute. Or, maximum work can be poured in.

Either way, I will get out of it what I put into it.

effort

I AM NOT saying that I can somehow earn a better position or standing with God by doing more stuff. That is not biblical.

I AM saying that I can grow and mature more if I work harder. That is biblical.

See the difference?

And that is what am taking away from this Lent blogging season.

I can put forth more effort to know God better. His Word is available and I can pray anytime, day or night. He is ready for me to find Him.

He loves me in obnoxious and ridiculous ways, that won’t change.

How I understand and receive that love can change.


Good night and find God in a new way this Easter season.

 

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My Thoughts on Lent, pt. 1

Day 1 is coming to a close. How did it go for you?

Did you make it to a service today? Was there an ash cross on your forehead?

ash-wednesday-st-pats

This post was difficult for me. I have so many ideas, questions, and ramblings about Lent that I am not sure where to start.

So I figured that would be the best place to start.

Sometimes, the most difficult step is the first one.

I did not expect the heavens to split and an angelic choir to start bellowing out sweet harmonies just because I started something new.

All I did was to take the first step.

Most of my conversations about Lent involve this question:

“What are you giving up for Lent?”

Well, I must be backwards because I am adding something, not giving up anything. I am taking the first step towards a deeper walk with God.

Sure, it can be scary because the future is never certain. Just ask the Israelites! 

For you, today might have been the first day to give up something. Perhaps you went to church today. Or maybe, just maybe, you prayed for the first time in a long time.

Good for you because you took a step.

For me, Lent is not about a religious activity or ritualistic action.

It is about a relationship adjustment.

I want Lent to be life-changing. And that meant taking the first step.

So when the alarm goes off at 5:00 AM tomorrow, I plan on taking step two.

5 am

God bless and good night!

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

The letter N stands for…

“Behind!”

This is something I hear and say every day at the Olive Garden. When I am carrying a tray of pasta, salad, and bread sticks, I need to let people know that I am walking through the dining room. They do the same for me as well. We all let each other know that we are literally, right behind when we shout out, “Behind!”

dropped food

Saying “Behind” serves a purpose. It lets the hearer know that they have someone directly behind them. We don’t have eyes on the back of our heads so this is a good thing. Now, I am aware of the presence of that person.

Trust me, it is no fun when a 15 or 20 pound tray of food crashes to the ground because someone was not watching what was happening around them!

dropping a tray


The Word – Near

The Worth – God is near. Near to me and near to you.

The Bible is filled with examples of how God has chosen to be near His people from the very beginning.

Genesis – He walked with Adam and Eve

Exodus – He gave Moses blueprints for a tabernacle to be built.

The Prophets in the Old Testament – They spoke the message that God desired relationship with His people.

The Gospels – Jesus being born as a baby. Immanuel means “God with us”.

Acts and the New Testament – The Holy Spirit is given to all who seek Him. The authors describe how we can have a relationship with God.

Revelation – God will take His children to be with Him.

All because He loves us. And He is near to us because of that love. All through time, God has proven His love because He keeps making arrangements to be near us. We can’t get away from Him! Even if we tried, there is nothing that can separate us from His love.

See Romans 8 for a deeper look on this idea.

How is it that we can be so distracted that we miss the fact the He is near?

The Work – As for the practical application of this blog…it really seems simple.

In a word, relationship. God wants a relationship with us and He has taken the first step to be near to us. God is doing this so we would be aware of His presence.

But what then, is our part?

Look for Him. Take the time out of your day and look, listen, search, and seek out this one who loves you so much. The bible says that if you seek, you will find.

After all, He is near you saying “Behind!”

 

The 5th letter is…

March! I missed it! Wow, how did I not post the last month? Not sure exactly…

Regardless, I am moving forward in this series, Alphabet soup.

So far this year, I have posted 4 times (5 including this one). As you may have already noticed, I am following a pattern. There is a word for each post and I started with Absolute. Breathtaking, Committed, and Diligent followed.

All of these words describe God. Today the word will start with ‘E’.

letter e

The Word – Essential

The Worth – Sometimes people use words in the wrong context. I work at an Olive Garden. I hear the phrase, “I am starving” literally everyday! Sometimes from the customers and sometimes my co-workers but usually from both! Do these people know what starving means!?!? Starving does not mean that you are so hungry because you have not eaten since breakfast! These people are not starving so I wish they would just say that they are hungry!

Essential means ‘absolutely necessary.’ Water is absolutely necessary in order to live. It is essential. Food is also essential. These are things that needed in order to live.

God is essential. In John 15, Jesus spoke some words. In this sermon, he did not exaggerate. He did not speak out of context. The words he spoke were accurate. So much so that we need to take heed and listen. Here is verse 5 from that chapter;

5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

john 15-5

Jesus said that without God, we can do nothing. Again, no embellishment in these words. The Son of God chose these words specifically and with a purpose. God is essential!

He wanted us to know that God is essential. We would not even be able to breathe unless God gave us the ability to do so. Death would happen. We just cannot do it on our own.

That is the penalty of sin. It is death. Physical and spiritual death.

But he gives more grace.

By the grace of God, he sustains us. He lets us live. He bestows grace so that we can come to Him and surrender our lives and follow Him.

The Work – Too many times, we try to live and succeed on our own power, talent, or perseverance. Stop it! I think that you and I need to try to abide (stay connected through consistent and constant relationship with Jesus). If and when there are mistakes, we can go to God for more grace. He loves us and the Bible tells us that His anger is only for a moment but his love is forever. see Psalm 103 

Stay tuned for the letter ‘F’. I am guessing that it will be a word that one usually does not ascribed to God. And, it just might be the best two minutes of your day!

2 minutes

Thank you and enjoy His grace today!