To my mom…

I have been blogging for just over three years. What a journey! But in all my posts, I spoke very little, if any, about my mom. My dad has had plenty of mention and he even helped me edit my posts when I first began. So today, I honor my mom.

honor mom

The Word – Helen

The Worth – If you have been following me this year, you have no doubt noticed that all the posts have described God. Each post has a word that begins with the next letter in the alphabet. With the word I have chosen for today, let me add a few disclaimers:

  • I am not saying that my mom, Helen, was God.
  • I am not saying that God is a woman.
  • I am not supporting a women’s empowerment agenda here.
  • I am not saying that women are better than men.

Here is what I am saying by using the word Helen;

  • Helen loved me unconditionally.
  • Helen showed me the way to heaven.
  • Helen prayed for me.
  • Helen guided and directed me when I was going astray.
  • Helen taught me.
  • Helen advised me on the female species.

I could continue. My mother was pretty awesome. God used my mother to help shape me into the man I am today. No, I am not perfect but I could be a whole lot worse!

So if I say that God is Helen, don’t misunderstand me. There were times when I saw God because I was looking into my mom’s face. It might be more appropriate to say that Helen is like God. Yep, that sounds about right.

The Work –  Three things to ponder as I try to connect The Worth (ideas and concepts) with The Work (practical application) regarding The Word.

  1. If you are a mom; God can use you in tremendous ways that you cannot even fathom. Please let Him.
  2. If you are not a mom; Know that your mother could quite possibly be the greatest influence in your life. I hope and pray that it is for godly things.
  3. My mom passed away in January of 2011. I love you mom. See you (and dad) in heaven when I get there. Not any time soon though because God is still using me down here.

mom

My dog peed on the carpet!?!?

My dog, Murray, peed (sp?) on the carpet today. Frustrating. This picture is when he is nice and cute.

Murray

He is still a puppy. But it is still is very frustrating when he relieves himself in the house. For the most part, he goes outside but we still can’t trust him 100%.


Sometimes (maybe more than we would like to think) are like Murray. We pee on the carpet. Figuratively speaking.

Jonah went west instead of east. He got swallowed by a whale.

David was home instead of out fighting. He couldn’t handle the temptation.

Saul (New Testament) killed followers of Christ. He was on a rampage.

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” Romans 3

You see, all of us have a ‘Murray-peed-on-the-carpet’ streak in us.

It is called sin. And sin will kill us.

But God is gracious.

The Word – Gracious

The Worth – As I have learned over the years, the word grace is complex and multi-layered in its meaning. I want to suggest to you that there are three types of grace when speaking of God and spiritual things.

  1. Saving Grace – This is the type of grace that is present for all of the human race. It is the barrier that keeps us from dying in our sin. Read 2 Peter 3:9 and you get the picture of God waiting for us to come back to Him. Surely, because of His holiness, he hates the sin and wants to eradicate it from creation. But, he also loves us so He is long-tempered (extremely patient) and is longing for us to return to Him. However, this saving grace will not be enough for the purification of our sin. It only buys us time.
  2. Sanctifying Grace – At some point, a person can make the choice to live for God. They surrender their life to Him. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells about being a new creation. Ephesians 2:8-9 explain how grace is the saving agent, not our works. This grace will bring the change in our life that only God can work. At this point, construction begins on our heavenly dwelling.
  3. Strengthening Grace – Now that we have a new life, we need power to live that new life. This third type of grace empowers us to be the man or woman God has created us to be. But how can we live up to God’s standards? He sets the bar really high. Read 2 Corinthians 12. Paul was stating that he was weak. And really, all of us could argue that we are weak. We cannot always go forward. We stumble and trip. Sometimes daily. But in our weaknesses, His strength is made perfect. His grace is sufficient.

The Work – Can I challenge you this week with The Work?

Meditate on His grace. Think about how His grace has saved you. Dwell on the times when you felt God’s grace filling your heart and mind. You were invincible. Remember  the times when you messed up. You fell. You were weak. Did God’s grace abandon you? No. And it never will because…

God is gracious.

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!

 

 

It is finished…?

When I was growing up, Saturday mornings were not structured. Sleeping late was common. I never really worked early on Saturdays so the mornings were free.

Many times that my dad would be out running his errands on these mornings. Almost every time he was gone, a note would have been left on the dining room table. He would have instructions or chores for us to do.

It was on one of these notes that I first learned a particular word.

Now imagine a 14-year-old boy who is supposed to do his chores. Let’s pick vacuuming. Nothing would ever get moved. I would just hit the large, open areas of the floor. It seemed that I only would hit roughly 50% of the carpet!

Ironically, my son vacuums the way I used to. Anyway…

So on this specific morning, my dad included a word that described how I am supposed to do my chores. I was instructed to be diligent.

The Word – Diligent

The Worth – Here is the definition from Dictionary.com:

adjective

1. constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything:

2. done or pursued with persevering attention; painstaking:


My dad was frustrated with my chores because I was cutting corners and taking shortcuts. Yes, I would vacuum but certainly not with any care or diligence.
Transition with me here. Diligent can be used to describe God. The work that he accomplished through sending His son to die on a cross and then be resurrected was an amazing thing. He took attention to detail. Every little problem or issue was taken into account. God did the job and saw it through unto completion.
Hebrews 1:1-3 says, “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.NIV
I added the underline because those words tell me that the job was complete. I do not have to work for my salvation. I do, however, continue to work out how I live for God. It is a maturing process. But my soul is saved! He loved me enough to send His son. He was diligent enough so that the work of salvation is finished.
Jesus said so on the cross. It is finished!
The Work – By all means, keep seeking God in your life. He will answer prayer for you. He will guide and direct you. You are not alone! But sometimes there can be sad or discouraging times. Be encouraged as I close with some familiar verses.
Philippians 1:3-6, ” 3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.NIV
it-is-finished

 

Bacon and Eggs

A chicken and a pig were talking one day. They were expressing their joy of living on the farm. Specifically, Farmer Joe’s farm. Having Farmer Joe take care of them was really a joy for these animals. So much so, they decided to throw a big breakfast in the farmer’s honor. Upon reviewing menu options, it was decided that Bacon and Eggs would be served. The chicken said that he was in support of this idea. After realizing what this breakfast would mean, the pig replied to the chicken saying, “You may be involved but I am committed!”

bacon-and-eggs

 

The Word – Committed

The Worth – Does this word scare anybody? People say men are afraid of commitment. As a minister, I talk with couples about marital commitment. My dad told me a long time ago that commitment is the most important aspect of a marriage. Are you committed to your family, your job, your passions?

Did you know that God is committed? How many times does the Bible talk about His grace, forgiveness, mercy, and unfailing love? This blog would take hours to read if I put all those verses in the post. So I am going to narrow it down to two verses.

Click on the verse to read the whole chapter.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

God did not do salvation half way. He didn’t just provide enough to barely pass. He was committed! So much that His own son hung on a cross for you and for me. Our sins were paid for by the blood of Jesus. Everything you and I need for life (and even abundant life!) is found in the cross.

God loves us too much to be less than anything other than 100% committed!

The Work – So how is it even possible for me to live for God in return knowing I cannot repay Him?

You can’t. Accept the gift and live for God. Do your best for Him. Daily apply grace and mercy to your situation and keep moving forward. The Holy Spirit is right along side of you. Even after Jesus left this earth, the Holy Spirit was sent so we would not be alone.

God is fully committed. Are you?

commitment-quotes