Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Identity Crisis

“Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show they make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.” -Jesus (Luke 20:46-47)

Do not be deceived. This is the message that Jesus is after. He is saying, what looks good isn’t always good. In this case the teachers of the law has become so engrossed by their own selves they forgot what they were about. The teachers of the law fell in love with power, fame, fortune, all at the expense of God. Their motives were to gain all that the world had to offer. It appears that they forgot what their purpose was. They forgot what God was trying to do. The forgot who they were at the core of themselves and got lost in the things that don’t matter. In short the priest had an identity crisis. The reason they existed was to push others towards God, and spread His ways. But what we have here is a bunch of guys who wear nice clothes, eat good food, and make the temple a nice place to be. Is that what God wants? I don’t think so.

It’s easy for me to see this and say, “Stupid Priest, they forgot who they were!” But in reality often I forget who I am. I forget that my life is not my own. I forget that all I do is for God and not for myself. I am human, I like nice things, I want to own nice stuff. However, sometimes I want the stuff more they I want God. I forget who I am and what my assignment is. I get deceived by the things of this world. It’s only human, but today is a simple reminder to come back to what God wants. A calling back to what my true identity is. A calling back to where God wants me to be.

Lord, forgive me for the short term memory. But thank you for the reminder that I belong to you, and that you are the only thing that counts. Thank you for restoring back to me what I am truly supposed to be, a follower of You.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

God Moments: Day 2 and 3: The bookstore rendezvous.

Okay, after one day I already renamed it, but God Moments seemed more appropriate then saying “miracle”. But God moments can come in the form of a miracle, a lesson, or things situations. Jesus can show up at anytime to teach. Anyhow, I hope you get the point. Moving on...

As I recount the lessons in the next few days I am constantly reminded how God stitches together the lives of others all around you. I was bored at one point, I had just finished work and I really did not want to go home to watch a video, or read a book, or even exercise. I wanted to go out and have some fun. One problem, no one I knew shared my desire to go out. But on an whim, or maybe a push from God, I was moved to go to the bookstore. Ah, yes the safe book store where you can read books. I know I said I didn’t want to read, but if I am going to read at least there are people there and you never know who you might bump into. Low and behold, I did. As soon as I got out of my car, as I was making my way to the bookstore, I heard my name. Sure enough, I ran into friends that I haven’t seen in a while. After chatting for a few minutes, they invited me to go do what they were doing, so I said, YES. This sparked a series of events that lead me to know that God was in all of this. From what was shaping up to be an uneventful weekend bursted in to a awesome active weekend that had moments of spark, times that were enjoyable, and it even re-sparked my desire to exercise (note... sometimes being called fat is good). I was able to hang with some friends that I haven’t seen in a while.

God moments and desires can come in the most unlikeliest places. So you never know what God has in store, if you go out there and take a risk. Give God a chance, and listen to His voice.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Miracle Day 1

I was honestly looking for a miracle, but it was difficult, I was in the store trying to find God’s handy work somewhere. So I resorted to what I do well, complain. Boy, I was complaining, but instead of bickering about my life, it morphed to “how the heck am I going to find a miracle.” Then lo and behold, I found it. I think God made it easy for me. But in a little refrigerator at the supermarket, I saw the miracle. In a form of a bottle labeled in white, it read “Pepsi Throwback: Made with Real Sugar”. I just nearly lost it. You know how long I prayed for this?! Literally, this was a miracle. For years I have longed for soda to go back to using sugar. Even though on the label it said “For a limited time.” I didn’t care. Here was the miracle. Real soda using real sugar.

I dislike high-fructose corn syrup, with a passion. I longed for years to have soda in the real form, with sugar. So tonight it was going to happen. What a special occasion this night was turning out to be. I cooked dinner, fired up Netflix, and sat down. Now I just chilled my soda in the freezer for 20 minutes to make it extra cold. I was oozing with excitement. I slowly twisted off the cap, and lifted it my lips, and when I felt the first drop of this magnificent drink hit my mouth, I was praising God. To best describe it, I could only think of that quote by Frank the Tank, “Once it hits your lips it feels so good!” So yes, there it is, miracle #1, in the form of a white bottle soda. Don’t get me wrong the food was good, and the movie documentary I watched, “Tyson”, was miracle #2 for the day. But today’s big miracle came in the form of a little bottle.

Restart... Sort of...

Up until now, this blog has pretty much been my daily devotions. Which has seem to be going well, however, often times during devotions I get called into acton. Today was one of those “action” days. What was supposed to have been a time of reflection and spending time with God, quickly escalated into one of those “woe is me” sessions where I began to express grief over some of my “hardships”, and “misfortunes” (In reality, things are not that hard for me). I began to act like my three year old niece: “How come this...” “Why not that...” “It’s not fair...” To tell you the truth, looking back on it now, it was pretty disgusting. But at that time I didn’t care. I felt cheated out of life and I wanted to let God know about it. This went on for almost an hour. Towards the end of my bickering, as I was shopping at a local food market, God just let me have it. What is cool about God is that He smacks you on the head sometimes and beckons you to do something. This time, through a thought, I felt these words write across my head: “You complain too much. Just look around you there are miracles everywhere.” I stopped, literally. Imagine a man in the middle of the aisle in the frozen food department, just frozen. A little ironic if you ask me. Yet that phrase hit me, it hit me pretty hard. My first thought, “Me?! Complain? No!” That didn’t last to long, obviously God replied, “Yes, you!” At this point of my Christian walk, I learned to not argue with God. You never win. He’s 100% right. Just sit there and reflect. However, today, was different. I reflected and I learned.

I remember a sermon by Pastor Andy Stanley where he reflected on how God has the whole world in His hands. If God had the whole world in His hands then He is present where everywhere. Thus came the challenge to me in some what of a whisper from Him: “My work is all around, miracles are all around. See if you spot them. In fact, see if you can find one each day.” and just like that, my complaining ended. I was asked by God to find miracles all around me. So here I am, writing. For one year, I hope to write down some of the miracles I see, and inspire everyone to look for God’s hand all around. I will still be writing my daily devotions here on this blog, but it’s time to open my eyes to see what God is doing.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Half Hearted...

In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. -Genesis 4:3-5

At first glance at this text my initial reaction was, “Why God?” But after rereading it again I began to realize that there are some strong reasons why God did not look upon Cain’s offering as unacceptable. As it appears Cain brought an offering to the Lord, but Abel, brought an offering that was far superior. Abel brought his best to God first. Fat in those days was a precious commodity. So for Abel to bring not only fat, but fat from the first born was an act of total trust to God. Cain brought what appears to be leftovers, or “some” as compared to his brother who brought his best.

Besides the lesson of giving God our best, the second lesson I can learn from this story is to not have the attitude Cain had. If I truly give God my best then I won’t have to worry about what is to come. But however, if I do not give God my best then can I seriously expect Him to reward? The phrase of doing your best for God should be at the corner stone of my foundation. But what I think I lost this past year was my focus upon that cornerstone. Today, I want to rekindle that. Give God my best and don’t worry about the rest. Simple catch phrase, but hard to do.

Lord give me strength to do this, and thanks for the lesson.