Jul 23 2014

Like a Baby

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Here’s a fact: if a human being born at 8 pounds continued growing at the same rate as first-year babies do, they’d be 25 feet tall and weigh 315 pounds by the time they were 20.

No wonder babies are always making noises and freaking out. They’re mega-growers.

TOUGH DAYS
The last few months have been pretty tough for me and as time has gone on, I’ve discovered myself calling out to God in strange ways. With my mouth closed, I’ve been talking to God as I fall asleep and wake up. It sounds like the adult version of baby mumbling.

“From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise.”
_Jesus quoting Psalm 8:2 in Matthew 21:16

What if the babbling of babies isn’t babbling at all? What if it’s some kind of hidden language of praise to God?

What if our times of groaning in life are also received as praise by him?

How might that be possible?

God made us in the Garden to know him. Then the world got wacky with sin and we couldn’t know him the same exact way anymore.

But what happens when we go through tough times in this life? So often, we ultimately get to know God better. As we call out to him, maybe we please him and our groaning is heard by him to mean, “Father, you’re the only one I have. You are the best and I don’t just want to be fixed. I want to be transformed. I want to know you.”

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Jul 20 2014

Hey God! Nice Try!

Published by under Life

Nimbus clouds are the worst. And cumulus clouds, too. Cirrus clouds are the good ones.

Weeping willow trees are disgusting. And magnolia trees, too. Pine trees are the only good ones.

Can you imagine saying that kind of stuff to God?

“HEY GOD!!!! Nice try with the flowers. You only got tulips right.”

We wouldn’t dare.

But we do. With people. Every day.

You know what I’m tired of? Us being unsatisfied with who we are. And I’m not talking about wanting to become a better person. I’m talking about our standards.

We hate our hair. We hate our skin. We hate our body type. We hate our clothes. We often base our opinions of others on these things. I do, anyway. We tell God, “Yo, nice try on that one.”

And we let other people make us feel bad about ourselves because we’re too quiet or too loud or too tall or a little overweight or too messy. Sometimes we make OURSELVES feel bad about this stuff! Can you imagine God playing favorites the way we do? Would he ever say, “Hey, Andrew, you’re a bit chubby, fatty. You suck!” No way! But we do it to ourselves.

It’s some kind of crap.

You know one reason I think God made so many types of clouds and trees and animals? To show us that difference is something built into this life. Something he not only DESIGNED but something he delights in. He wanted us to see differences all over this planet and know we can be different as people and still be great.

I’m super tired of feeling less than others because I like being by myself or because I don’t have the coolest clothes. I’m tired of hearing girls fret about their hair not being perfectly styled or that they’re not wearing make-up! How exhausting! I bet God doesn’t care about maybe 90% of what we obsess over.

And why do you worry about clothes?
_Jesus in Matthew 6:28

So many of us work so hard to fit into a mold. Some of us try to squeeze into the right group, the right house, the right pair of pants.

You know what God loves? Squeezing more of himself into us.

And I’m not saying clothes and Christ are mutually exclusive, but we fuss and fret about a million other things God doesn’t care much about. I’m tired of that crap! I really am. Because Jesus talked about those of us who worry about this life too much.

Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
_Mark 4:18-19

I don’t know the road forward. I don’t. But I know the road I DON’T want to travel. And I pray to God for all of us that he will lead us down the narrow road. Do you know why I pray about it? Mainly because I don’t know what else to do. But also because it was all the Apostle Paul did. He didn’t have 15 steps to holiness or some secret teaching that guaranteed a happy life. He trusted God to make the magic happen. He told the Ephesians…

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
_Ephesians 1:17

What will make us really attractive to the world isn’t our hair or skin or clothes. It will be the kindness and love of Jesus inside us. And that only gets inside us because of the Holy Spirit. Let’s fuss about that!

God, please give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so we may know you better!

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Jul 15 2014

Her Praise

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SHE is foremost of those that I would hear praised.
I have gone about the house, gone up and down
As a man does who has published a new book
Or a young girl dressed out in her new gown,
And though I have turned the talk by hook or crook
Until her praise should be the uppermost theme,
A woman spoke of some new tale she had read,
A man confusedly in a half dream
As though some other name ran in his head.
She is foremost of those that I would hear praised.
I will talk no more of books or the long war
But walk by the dry thorn until I have found
Some beggar sheltering from the wind, and there
Manage the talk until her name come round.
If there be rags enough he will know her name
And be well pleased remembering it, for in the old days,
Though she had young men’s praise and old men’s blame,
Among the poor both old and young gave her praise.

(Yeats)

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Jul 13 2014

He Hasn’t Left

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I did 16 push-ups tonight. It’s really all I could do. The moral of the story is you can mug me if you want. A toddler could take my wallet without much of a struggle.

Like everyone in this life, I have a lot of good qualities, but one thing is for sure – no one will probably ever consider me super strong. I haven’t suffered enough in workouts or doing physical labor.

The old saying goes, “No pain, no gain.” And the spirit of that saying is a lot older than we think…

…though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
_1 Peter 1:6-7

This life isn’t just about this life. It’s about the next one, too. Our suffering in this world produces faith that will one day be proven genuine and result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus returns.

Those moments when we think God has left us alone? He hasn’t. Yes, the way may become dense with fog. We may not be able to see the road. We may become weak, stumble, and get hurt from falling. But that doesn’t mean he’s not there.

God is our father. We’re his kids. He’s most especially there in the suffering. Maybe we can’t see him because he’s getting us dressed with glory for the day we see him face to face.

I can only do 16 push-ups tonight. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to do 17. And maybe the struggles we go through today prepare us for those of tomorrow, which will prepare us for our time in eternity.

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
_1 Timothy 4:8

Oh, Lord! Teach us how to suffer well and love much and do good in this world. Make us the ones you intend us to be! Amen.

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