The X-factor

X+4=7. Solve for X. Remember those algebra days? X is always the unknown. X represents the part that does not have a name or an identity.

The X-factor. The X-factor is the extra part of something. It makes a difference. Provides additional support or backing.

Sports teams know this well. Home field advantage is the X-factor. You can’t really see it. It is difficult to measure. But you can feel it. Its presence is almost tangible.

I live close to Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

lambeau field

The X-factor here is real. Sell-out crowds for every home game. Frozen Tundra.

Yes, the X-factor is a force!

The Word – X-factor

The Worth – We just celebrated Christmas. Or, for this post, Xmas. Why do we call it Xmas?

Here is some information from this website: https://www.vox.com/2014/12/14/7374401/jesus-xmas-christmas

“…the X in “Xmas” literally means Jesus. Allow us to explain.

How can the letter “X” stand for “Christ”?

In Greek, the language of the New Testament, the word Christos (Christ) begins with the letter “X,” or chi. Here’s what it looks like:

Χριστός

So how did that word get abbreviated?

In the early fourth century, Constantine the Great, Roman Emperor from 306-337, popularized this shorthand for Christ…”


Have you made the connection?

In our lives, Christ is the X-factor! He is that extra support. Reinforcement in troubled times. Life comes from him!

The Bible declares that the Holy Spirit dwells in the life of a believer. The very spirit of Christ lives in you and me!

Sure, we can’t always see it or measure it. But we can feel it. The presence of God is very real in our lives.

If Christ is the X-factor and the Holy Spirit lives in us then we become the X-factor!

The Work – There are many days that a believer won’t feel godly. In fact, feeling the opposite seems more true. But whatever you feel today, you are the X-factor.

Live by faith. Your feelings can not always be trusted. Christ will help.

I want to end with an encouraging verse. I Thessalonians 4:1-2

“As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.”

God bless you on your journey today. See you tomorrow for the letter Y!

 

 

About 18 inches.

What kind of title is that!?!? Well, if you read this post, you will find out.

The Word – Vanquish

The Worth – vanquish, from dictionary.com

verb (used with object)
1. to conquer or subdue by superior force, as in battle.
2. to defeat in any contest or conflict; be victorious over: to vanquish one’s opponent in an argument.
3. to overcome or overpower: He vanquished all his fears.

  • Some days, I just don’t win. Even though I have tried, nothing seems to work. I am nowhere near being victorious.
  • There are also days of big wins. Me and God were kicking butt all day long!
All those different types of days are the facts.
Yes, I made a mistake. Fact.
I won the battle that day. Fact.
I lusted in my heart. Fact.
I fought well today. Fact.
But the truth of the matter is that God has already vanquish my foe.
Here are 3 verses from the second chapter of Colossians:
“13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made youd alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.e”
The truth is that God has already won. He beat the bad guys, took their weapons, and showed them off in a parade!
That does not change…no matter how we feel from day-to-day.
I know that this is true. It is in my head. I have read those verses dozens of times. They are stuck in my brain!
The Work – What is my part in this if God has already won?
Let the truth of God travel 18 inches. Move it from your head to your heart. Knowledge is one thing but faith (and the accompanying action) is another.
18-inches
In the movie Lord of the Rings: Two Towers, there is a short conversation between Gandalf and King Théoden. Here are the two lines that are important.
Théoden: “Dark have been my dreams of late.”
Gandalf: “Your fingers would remember their old strength better — if they grasped your sword.”
Once Théoden was free of the evil in his mind, he began to see the truth.
You and I can be victorious over the enemy if we see the truth. The truth that God has already done the vanquishing! We just need to live it out in our hearts!
So if you are not feeling the victory, take up the sword of God’s word and start swinging!

Feeling the pressure…

If you have been following me this year, you have been going through the alphabet with me. I call it Alphabet Soup. The first post of 2017 was on the letter A. You can read it here.

My math tells me that I could post every other week and that would get me to the letter Z by the end of the year. Well…I am only at U! Pressure!!!

No worries though. I am excited to finish this series so I can begin to look ahead to 2018.

And without further delay…

The Word – Underestimate

The Worth – The Christmas story can be found in Matthew and Luke. And it was in Luke’s writing that the inspiration for ‘underestimate’ hit me. Here is Luke 1:26-38:

“26In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be calledb the Son of God. 36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37For no word from God will ever fail.” 38“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.”

Dwell on this angelic visit for a minute. An angel comes to speak to Mary. Mary is probably around 15 years old. She has never had sex. She is also engaged. The angel tells her that God’s son will be born of her. I personally cannot fathom what types of thoughts were racing around in Mary’s brain.

I do know one thing though, Mary underestimated God. How do I know?

Let’s look at two verses.

Verse 29, “Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.”

Verse 34, “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 

Mary was questioning the purpose of God (v. 29) and the ability of God (v. 34).

Have you and I ever underestimated God?

Why is God doing this or that?

Why isn’t God moving?

Will you ever hurry up, God?

Why me?

And the list could continue.

We know the rest of the story. Mary did not, however. She questioned and the angel replied. Something happened in verses 35-37. And then we get to verse 38.

Mary comes around. She may still have doubts but her faith is bigger than her fear.

The Work – We need to come around like Mary.

I don’t always see the why, when, or how of God. And that is cause to be joyful.

I am not God! I do not have to know everything!

Be encouraged that God really does have everything under control. There is a current of Godliness that continually flows. It is an ever-moving river.

I say we jump in that river and enjoy God and what He is doing today!

can saying

 

 

Exodus 3:14 and John 8:58

I was a little frustrated with the letter T. At first, I thought that there would be many eligible words that begin with this letter. I mean, in Wheel of Fortune, it is one of the pre-selected bonus letters!

letters on wheel of fortune

However, I wrestled with which word to choose. No worries though. I feel as if God showed me this one personally.

The Word – timeless

The Worth – As I have stated before, I work as a waiter at the Olive Garden. Although it is a good job, it puts me smack dab in the middle of my comfort zone. And that is a problem. I wrote about this a while back…Bad Words #1.

I kept using the excuse that I cannot see how this future is going to work out. There is a calling on my life. This I know to be a fact. Undeniable and completely real. Here is another post with more on my calling. My Haiti Experience, Called!

Isn’t that how many of us feel about our future? We don’t see how it works out.

The big picture? Yeah, right!

Does the canvas tell the artist how or what to paint? Not!

Does the 2×4 tell a carpenter how to build a house? Whatever!

I want to know the future. It would be great if we could see what is coming ahead.

But we can’t see the future. But God can.

And you know why God can see the future?

Simply because He is already there.

God said in Exodus 3:14, “I am that I am.”

That was all Moses needed to hear.

Jesus said in John 8:58, “Before Abraham was, I am.”

You can hear the proverbial pin drop. Jesus just said that he was alive before Abraham. A rough estimate puts Abraham being born around 2000 BC. Jesus would have been really old. I guess one does not age that much when you are eternal, or for this post, timeless.

i-am

The Work – Jesus is timeless. He has been around forever.

So the next time you get frustrated with a problem or you find you are stuck in your comfort zone, remember that God is already in your future. He sees where you are headed. This should give you amazing assurance.

Move forward in confidence fellow soldier. God is out in front paving the way!

 

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