Friday, May 31, 2019


When Jesus was healing people inside a house, a paralyzed man's friends couldn't fight the crowd to get him close.  So they took him to the roof, cut a hole in it, and lowered him down to Jesus.  I can only hope for friends who will do the same for me when I’m paralyzed by my sins and can’t help myself.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

If you feel like a failure...

If you feel like a failure at times, you're in good company.  The apostle Peter himself repeatedly had a fair amount of trouble getting it right.  He denied the Lord three times, and was even warned in advance he was going to do it, and he *still* couldn't manage to stop himself!  Peter had numerous "fails" and he was still the rock on which the church was built.  He was afraid.  He was weak.  His faith faltered.  But he kept going.  You keep going too.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

And God Closed Their Eyes

I cringe a bit every time I read a passage of the Bible that refers to God closing someone's eyes or hardening their hearts to the things of Him. How can a God of justice prevent someone from believing, and then condemn them for their unbelief?

Isaiah 44:18-19, referring to idol worshipers and their wooden idols -

They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
No one stops to think,
    no one has the knowledge or understanding to say,
“Half of it I used for fuel;
    I even baked bread over its coals,
    I roasted meat and I ate.
Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left?
    Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”

Matthew 13:15

“Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

Luke 16:27-31
The story of the rich man and Lazarus, the beggar who lived outside the gates of the rich man's home.  Both died. The rich man was sent to Hades, and Lazarus to heaven.  The rich man sees Lazarus across the chasm and speaks:

“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

It occurred to me that maybe I've had it backwards all this time.  Instead of God closing their minds and then they couldn't understand, perhaps the unbelief came first - a choice made, a destiny chosen - and then God closed their eyes, their minds, and their hearts to the things of Him.  We have all we need - God's Word - to make that first choice of belief of unbelief.  So, yes, we have a God of justice.  If you reject Him, you don't get the what He offers - not in this life, and not in the next life.  But if you repent, you'll be forgiven and restored and your eyes will be opened.  And that's the good news.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

What is God trying to teach me today?

I saw an old Facebook posting I'd made years ago.  I wrote, "So what's God trying to teach me with a day like today? Keep my head where it belongs, stop trying to fix the stuff that's not mine to fix, and let Him deal with the things outside of my control? " 

It certainly would have been handy to remember that consistently in the years that followed!

Tasks half-done or poorly done because of distractions might have been avoided if I had kept my mind on the project in front of me.   And remembering that every task done is an offering to God would certainly have resulted in better efforts, and probably better outcomes as well.

Some of us are "fixers" by nature.  If someone is having trouble, our first inclination is to jump in there and fix it for them.  That's me.  But we don't always know what's best.  When we fix someone else's situation, we not only take full responsibility for the outcomes, but we deprive them of the joy and confidence that comes from fixing their own situations.  We can and should help, but taking over the situation blurs boundaries that are necessary for the good of everyone.  Taking responsibility for everyone else's problems puts a huge load on us - a load that we were not designed to carry - and cripples those we are intending to help.  Many of us know the story of the butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon.  A man watching the process decided to help it rather than watch it struggle.  He did not know that the process was a necessary one to develop its wings and body properly.  As a result of the man's "help," the butterfly was never able to fly.   We need to help each other as appropriate, but there's a difference between helping and fixing.

Certainly one of the most frustrating things in life is trying to control things that are outside of our control.  What an exercise in futility!   We can diligently save our money, but a string of unfortunate events can wipe it all out very quickly.  We can work hard to make good decisions, but no decision is foolproof.  So much of life is outside of our control - but there is nothing that is outside of God's control.  Doing the best we can, and then placing it in God's hands and leaving it there is the only course of action that provides any peace whatsoever.  We need to accept that the situation may or may not go as we had hoped and planned for.  But at the same time, holding on to the knowledge that God knows what we do not and provides what we cannot, builds faith and trust, both of which are the most precious commodities we can accumulate in our time here on earth.   Even when - especially when - the bottom falls out.  He promises never to leave nor forsake us.

So what is God trying to teach me today?  Keep my head where it belongs, stop trying to fix stuff that's not mine to fix, and let Him deal with the things outside of my control.  Have a blessed day.