Posts Tagged ‘joy’

Life is intended to be a collaboration not a competition.

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Every day our lives are filled with tragedy. Death, heartbreak and catastrophe dominate the media and too often get much closer. What can we do? I see three general options:

  1. Ignore what’s going on unless that proves to be impossible.
  2. Rant, rave and demand others do something.
  3. Engage, get involved and make a difference ourselves.

Option one is the path most chosen. The day to day busyness of our lives has a way of making this seem like the only option. Combining our hectic lives with the overwhelming volume of bad news makes it easy to think there’s nothing we can do.

Option two is smoke and mirrors. If I can make enough noise, maybe no one will notice things are only getting worse and I can put the blame on others. The distressing aspects of this option are; it’s primarily focused on the past and few hearts get changed.

Option three changes the question altogether. Instead of asking, “What can we do?” We’re now asking, “What can I do?” This is how we change the world! And the answer to, “What can I do?” is Love. We can’t legislate it and we can’t expect others to do it for us. Each day we encounter hurt, lonely, angry, insecure people. They need to be loved and they need to know someone cares. We can do that! We probably won’t make headlines but imagine the difference that can be made. What shooter or bomber could have their heart changed by real love before they ever even consider…

Gospel means Good News. The Gospel of Jesus or Jesus’ Good News is that He is God and that He loves you! We who know and understand this are asked to share this message with no strings attached. Unfortunately too often what is heard from us is “god loves me and he would love you too if you were like me.” This is not the Gospel. People are desperate to know they are loved and the world is persistently presenting overwhelming evidence that they’re not. We have to be different; we must present the truth of God’s unconditional love, not just in word but also in action.

This article on Casual Christianity in The Washington Post is interesting. I relate to the “joyful minority” thought near the end.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before. Oh sure I’ve heard “Jesus is God” my whole life but never “God is Jesus” and lately I’ve been wondering why. My conclusion is that “Jesus is God” leaves us a whole lot more room to make god in our image. We can fall back on thousands of years of misconceptions, hold  to misunderstood traditions and discount the very teachings of Christ by thinking Him to be just some portion of God that we can’t really understand.

Jesus said, “When you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.” And I think he meant it quite literally. One of (if not the) primary reasons for God becoming one of us was to show us who He truly is and to put to rest our wrong notions of Him. It’s very sad how soon we went back to them and created a good God/bad God rationalization. If you want to know God you need look no further than Jesus. He is the One and only God in totality.

The following had much to say to me today. I hope the same for you. It’s from an article by Paul Ford:

“I am often consumed with a sense of overwhelming love and empathy. I look at the other person and am overwhelmed with joy.

This is not a world where you can simply express love for other people, where you can praise them. Perhaps it should be. But it’s not. I’ve found that people will fear your enthusiasm and warmth, and wait to hear the price. Which is fair, we’ve all been drawn into someone’s love only to find out that we couldn’t afford it.”

If you sincerely want to know The One that made you, The One responsible for all you see and infinitely beyond, The One that proved His unique love for you by becoming one of us and sacrificing everything then open your heart and say hello. He’s right there waiting to be invited into your life, your day and even more so into this moment. The only thing keeping you from Him is you. Don’t be afraid; don’t let others complicate this for you. God is bigger!

My wife and I met a guy named John the other day. We could have talked to John for hours about nearly anything because you could easily tell that he cared. He was secure in who he is and simply confident about life. At one point in the conversation he told my wife how much he loved God. We weren’t surprised in fact we already knew. John’s love for God was all over him. At one point quite a ways into our encounter John told us about his eleven year old son that has leukemia. Sometime later we asked about other children and heard about his newborn son who two weeks before was in the NIC Unit due to major complications at birth. The complications were a huge medical issue for John’s wife too. In fact at one point in the last few weeks his wife was at one hospital while his sons where at different hospitals in another city. None of them were within twenty miles of their home.

At no time did John indicate anything other than joy! He had every reason to be down and good reason to doubt yet his excitement for God was amazingly contagious. We loved how he told us about his Lord not his church because it’s personal. His trust was infectious. We can all learn from John and people like him.

John’s wife and baby are home doing well, will you please pray for their older son Toby?

The theology of blessings diminishes God. It puts man in charge. If I do this, think that or adhere to this set of rules and behaviors God will be obligated to bless me. Intimacy with God and those He’s placed around us suffers immensely when we allow this principle in our lives. Keeping up the facade of God’s special blessing will wear you out. We are not in control!

It’s been far too long since I sat down to write you. You’ve been in my thoughts very much and I’ve prayed for you often.

Well over two years ago I was inspired to encourage you through this blog with the idea that if I could tell you just one thing, what would it be? Well today it’s that there is so much more! More what? Would be a good question but we’ll answer that later. Here are some other questions to consider first: Do you have the feeling that there’s something lacking in your life? Do you feel less “spiritual” than many of those around you? Could God be more “real”, more present to you? Do you get pressure to religiously perform up to others expectations but when you do it’s rarely fulfilling? If you answered yes to any of these questions don’t be discouraged. God is inviting you to put all of that behind you.

Each of us spends far too much of our lives looking for love in all the wrong places. The more that we are looking for, the more that we know is out there for us, is God Himself. He truly is everything we need and He wants us to quit trying to manufacture a relationship with Him or maybe more importantly to quit manufacturing the appearance of a relationship with Him.

Slow down, get quiet, cry out. He loves you so very much. He truly can be everything you need and even more so everything you want. Let Him! Don’t remain in the shackles of whatever keeps you from Him, it’s a position of your own making. He wants to meet you today right where you’re at and pour His peace and freedom all over you.

You are loved; don’t believe the evidence to the contrary.