Do you believe in magic?

When my kids were young (think 4 or 5 years old), I could do magic tricks easily. Pulling quarters out of ears or making a penny disappear were standard. Throw in a few cards tricks and they would be amazed.

magic-tricks

As an adult, I enjoy a good magic show. It amazes me how these magicians can make big things disappear! How does a helicopter vanish into thin air!?!?

But all of that is just slight-of-hand or misdirection. The helicopter does not really vanish.

The Word – Magic

The Worth – God is magic. No, not Harry Potter magic or Gandalf the Grey type stuff. He really can make stuff disappear!

magician

If you have not read the post “What do you want?”, please click here. It will give you a context that will make more sense when reading this post.

In that post, I had written a line near the end;

He took action so we can take action.

Let me unpack that a little more.

2 Corinthians 5:21 states, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

John 1 tells us to “behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

This is God doing magic! He took away the sin of the world. He made it disappear! The action that God took was to make it possible for us to be sinless. We now can become the righteousness of God!

He loved us so much and was longing to be connected with us again. He wanted us so much that he took His son and used Him to take away our sin.

When I was 16, I got my first speeding ticket. This was 1989 so it probably was not too much of a fine. It was more embarrassing because I had three friends in the car with me!

I broke the law and deserved to pay the fine. But then my dad performed a magic trick.

He told that he would pay for the first one. He paid my ticket. That was both merciful and gracious all in one simple act.

God did a magic trick 2000 years ago. Jesus became our sin. See Isaiah 53:6

cross bridge

The Work – This part takes faith.

Understand that Jesus is the way back to God.

Jesus also took our sin upon Him.

Our part is to accept that payment. Just like my dad paying my speeding fine, we can accept this gift.

We can now live our life because of what has already been done.

Stop trying to earn salvation and enjoy the magic that God has performed!

Live to reflect your righteousness!

After all, God is not going to bring back your sin.

You are free. Go out and live it!

 

What do you want?

My kids are funny. They each get an allowance so they generally have cash on hand. If we are at a store, they might ask if they can have something. We, in turn, say to them, “Did you bring your money?” It has helped with the begging and whining that kids at so good at doing.

What makes them funny is what they really want. My daughter craves candy.

candy

And my son, a Playstation 4.

ps4

In fact, we all desire something. That is just the way we are made. So while my kids are saving their dollars for candy or a PS4, what are you desiring?

But this post is not about what we want.

The Word – longing

The Worth – More than my kids wanting their things. More than my dog wanting cheese popcorn. More than my wife and I desiring a healthy marriage or strong family. More than anything us mere mortals could possibly want is the fact that God wants us more.

He is longing to be with us. He yearns for a relationship with us. He craves our company.

Simply put, he loves us.

I chose the word longing for 3 reasons.

  1. It starts with the letter L
  2. It gives a sense of something desired but not yet obtained.
  3. It also implies that action must be taken.

God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the garden of Eden. He walked with them. I tend to be literal in my thinking about that scene.

What would that have looked like? Did God take a physical form? Did He speak in a regular voice?

But then the fruit was taken and eaten. The relationship was broken. And ever since then, God has been longing to walk with us again.

He desires us. Sure, we can have communion with Him now but with sin still in the picture, perfection is still not possible.

But God took action. He did something about His longing.

Desire drives decisions.

Pursuit proves passion.

He made a way for us to come back to Him.

2 Corinthians 5:14-21 gives more detail on God taking action to make things right again.

Ultimately, the rapture will occur and we will be united once again! 1 Thessalonians 4.

God loves us so much! Even as I type the words, I feel like that statement does not encompass God’s love enough! He is longing to walk and talk with us.

And because He first loved us, we can love Him in return.

He took action so we can take action.

The Work – You might ask, “How do I take action?”

Ask God for help. Read your Bible. Then act on it. Do something about what God tells you.

take-action

God loves you and the Bible tells you so. That is a fact.

Do one thing today that reflects this truth.

 

 

 

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!