He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, January 25, 2016

I Am Changed

         There’s a Christian song that tells the story of a man who finds the Lord but his friends doubt its authenticity when they remember his former life.  In their minds their friend had lived such a notorious life, it isn’t possible he could turn away and live a life for Christ.  Yet, time proved him a man dedicated to the cause of The Lord.

            We are all born as sinners.   But God has given us an alternative to a sinful life.  He has given us Jesus so we can be saved by grace! 

            Imagine, if you will, yourself as one drop of water in a large body of water.  You are without any specific form and just flowing with the massive body surrounding you.  You have no control as you bounce around from one side of the bank to the other, rebounding from limbs, leaves and other foreign objects on which you land, and spring forth with force as you gather speed heading forward into unknown territory!  Then you become captured into the waterway that leads to the side of a mountain and eventually find yourself flowing from this mountain in the freezing cold of winter and being shaped and formed into a shiny, exquisitely beautiful crystal.  

            Our lives in Christ can be described this way.  As sinners, we belong in a large body of people who are moving forward, in no real worthwhile direction.  We bounce off walls, and other people as we make choices, often taking us in directions we had not intended with catastrophic consequences.  Our peers and culture encourages us onward into a spiraling chasm of destruction much like the water drop speeding headlong into unknown territory.

            A miraculous event then takes place.  We are drawn into a meeting with Christ.  He captures our heart and we find ourselves changing from the sinful creature we are, into the exquisitely beautiful person God can form and mold us to become; the crystal we are meant to be.

            We are no longer the lost soul with no direction except down.  We have changed course and are beginning a new life with our old lives behind us.  We are no longer dark and ugly with the poison of satan ruling.  Satan has been evicted from our once condemned souls.  He has been replaced with Christ’s Righteousness making us pure and clothed in white. 

            The water drop is still water, but now in different form.  It can be recognized if the temperature rises and the ice crystal melts.  As long as the drop stays frozen it is not deemed a water droplet.  We can be like the water droplet, that now no longer looks like it once was. 

When we are changed by God and follow Him with our total being, we may “look” the same physically, but spiritually we look totally unrecognizable from our former form!  Our behavior, language, motives, and desires all change.  We have a new focus on life.  We have such a change,  those around us, who may have known us all our lives will see the difference. People may even note the change and for a time, be skeptical about our genuineness. 

So I challenge you to be like the water droplet changed into the ice! Change for Christ!

Monday, January 18, 2016

My God Is A Sovereign God

            Hugging my friend, I asked, “How is Alisha?”

            “She’s doing well,” my friend responded.  “Most days you’d never know she has ever been sick.  She goes to school, plays and has a very positive attitude.”

            “She’s so brave.” I said. 

            “Well, she is, but it’s pretty much all she knows.  She’s been fighting it so long, this is her normal.”

            Another family has been dealing with a similar circumstance: a child who is fighting cancer.  This little guy has spent most of four of his five years in a hospital, with the emphasis, on “in.”   Yet, he’s a very positive, busy, loving little boy.

We adults cry as our hearts break, praying, asking, “Why my child? When will it be over?” We scream it’s not fair, spend sleepless nights wondering if it was somehow our fault and worry if everything is going to be all right.

            Then we look at these courageous children.  As my friend described: they play, they love, and persevere, all with child like faith that everything is going to be just fine.  There are times when we find them consoling us.

            One young man I know is fighting heart disease.  His mother told him she’d very much like to make him well, if there was just something she could do.  His response:  “I don’t.  That’s not God’s design.  God is Sovereign.  There is a purpose behind everything that happens.  God is in control and I will trust Him.  If He wants to heal me, he will.   If not, then I will deal and wait to see what God wants me to do with my life, and serve Him, even as I wait.”  What an amazing perspective!  

            Still as parents we wonder, even as we try to give the fight to The Lord.  Why my child?  But then, why any child?  Why anyone?  Why do we have deal with sickness, pain, sadness, violence, brokenness, poverty, hunger, death or anything that is ugly?  Why?

            We live in a fallen world.  While we can’t always “fix” what is wrong, we have choices.  We choose how we respond to situations.  We can choose to be angry, place blame, ask why, and allow our lives to be filled with bitterness.  Or we can choose to respond like those two young children fighting cancer, and the young man with heart disease; with the belief they were put on this earth for a reason and rather than foster ugliness in their heart, project joy, acceptance, and a positive attitude.
            God promises to always be with us.  It doesn’t mean we won’t face trials and have problems, sometimes really big ones!  And we won’t always understand why.  It’s even safe to say we won’t usually know why, but we don’t have to.   God is Sovereign and knows the beginning from the end.  Our job isn’t “to know”….  It’s to trust and lean on a God who loves us so much, He sent Jesus.  When we lean on Him, we can experience comfort and peace which passes all understanding.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Life Runs On Code

I heard the expression, “Life runs on code.”  As I thought about this idea, even though I know this thought process is supposed to focus on computers, I couldn’t help but wonder, while disregarding available technology, if we still in a bizarre kind of way, don’t run our lives, “on code.”

Each geographic area in the country has it’s own “code.”  In and around Washington D.C. the code is politics!  There, it seems, everyone lives and breathes the whole political agenda which often includes deceit, manipulation, and back-stabbing to get to the top.  That’s not to say all political people are such offenders, but on the whole, most people would place a politician in or near this category.

New York has the stigma of being the “go-to city!”  It’s big and boisterous, never sleeping, vibrant with activity twenty-four hours a day.  It’s all about culture, theatre, big business and money-making!  Indianapolis is all about the “Indianapolis racetrack.”  Here the Indy races are held with much fan fare, as well as, the NASCAR races.  People even kiss the bricks of the track when they win! 

The Dakota’s are known for buffalo, Indians, cold and snow!  Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Mountain draw people from all over the world.  The Black Hills, where the movie “Dances With Wolves” was filmed, offers breathtaking views in an area where people still remember their neighbor during a storm and offer assistance and kindness just because they can!

California boasts Hollywood, the ultimate place of becoming someone else in the movie world; with Los Angles and San Francisco, more cities of great enormity and alternative view points.  Texas is big, with deserts and thriving cities; while Florida, called the Sunshine State, is crowded with retirees searching for the “good life.”

Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains offer seclusion in a laidback life style in an area of unique beauty.  Dolly Parton said it best in one of her songs about God’s special paintbrush, filling in the colors of His very own coloring book! The hills filled with smoke like fog, vibrant color, streams and water falls, wild life and the sweet aroma of honeysuckle, lilac, and sweet pinesap, invites even the most cautious trail blazer to drink in the beauty.

Our lives could easily be described as being experienced “in code” due to our workplace, where we live and our daily activities.  We all want very much to fit in and be a part of where we call home. Yet, it’s easy to get caught up in cynicism and wrong doing, in our “dog eat dog” world.  When we immerse ourselves in believing good supersedes evil, love trumps doing bad things, and understanding overrides negativity, this is how we’ll lead our lives. 

When our daily walk is according to God’s Word, then that becomes the code by which we choose to live.  It doesn’t really matter what our geographical area, if we truly believe in the God of the Universe.  We still might get caught up in what surrounds us, but we have a Guidebook where we can find the answers to all our questions.   We can search our hearts and know the “code” we are following is ultimately the best of all.

So I challenge you to look at your life.  What code do you follow?  Do you just attempt to fit in?  Or, do you take a stand to make a difference?  Is God’s Word the code you use to make choices and decisions?