Monday, March 30, 2009

No Big Deal

We seem to have recently remastered the art of worry. With our lives speeding up, it seems we have more and more to think about...which translates to a lot more to worry about. Worry can be helpful- it can motivate us to get something done...but all too often it's unproductive and causes stress. Christ understood this and spoke about it during his sermon on the mount 

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:27

How much do you worry? Is it about things that you can actually control? Is your worrying getting anything done? Stop worrying. Control what you can and trust that the rest will be taken care of...I know it may seem to be easier said than done, but making an effort not to worry can help relieve some of your stress.

This week, trust that God will not give you more than you can handle.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I was out of town last week on a trip. I returned to a car covered in a greenish/yellow dust. I wasn't all that surprised, so I wasn't all that annoyed. The trees, flowers and everything else budding and spreading their dust in hopes of creating new life seem to cover everything this time of year.

So what's this got to do with God and devotion? 

I think that we can learn a lot about evangelism from this green dust that causes so many allergy problems this time of year. Evangelism has always been something I've struggled with- it's difficult to do and not come across as overly pious or even worse, cheesy. We are called to "go and make disciples," but I don't think I'm the only one that struggles with exactly how to do this. And here is what we can learn from the budding life and dust:

"Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king." 1 Peter 2:16-17

Live your life in such a way that others cannot help but to wonder why you behave the way you do. Live in such a way that your love covers all that you come into contact with. I wonder how the world would be different if we could all live according to the requirements of God as described in Micah 6:8?

Strive to leave the mark of Christ's love and the promise of new life in your world this week.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Not knowing

We live in a time when we seldom have to wait to find answers to questions. Therefore, we've become well aware of how to get those answers- we call it 'the information age.' But this has left us unable to be satisfied with not knowing something. 

This week I'm on a mystery trip wit some of the youth from our church. This morning we loaded up in vehicles- and they had no idea where we were headed. Some of them seemed fine with not knowing the details, but others were genuinely upset about the lack of information sharing. The only thing they were told was, "It'll be fun." How irritating is that?

Much of the frustration we experience in our walk with God is not having access to all of God's knowledge. We worship and desire to be with a God that knows everything. So we want to know everything- "Why, where, who, what..." But we always have to wait for answers to those questions. That is faith.

I am grateful for all of the youth that stepped out in faith this week, trusting that it would be fun. They've got some great surprises and fun coming their way- a much deserved reward. I wonder if God feels the same way I do right now- biting my lip, wanting to tell them what's going to happen...but having to wait until the moment is right and we 'figure it out'...then rejoicing in our realization and observing our elation. 

This week, trust God. Maybe there's something that you're tired of waiting for or anxious about. Relax, answers will come. Trust in your God.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8: 28

Monday, March 9, 2009

Handling the Truth

Sometimes it's difficult to face the truth. Sometimes it's easier to believe a lie or a half-truth. It's not that we don't desire to know the truth...we usually do- it's just that sometimes we have a hard time accepting the truth because it's not what we hoped for. A memorable movie quote comes to mind- "You can't handle the truth!" 

"...Raw truth is never popular. But here it is, bluntly spoken: Because you run roughshod over the poor and take teh bread right out of their mouths, you're never going to move into the luxury homes you have built." Amos 5: 10-11a (MSG)

The truth is that we're flawed...beyond our own repair. We've fallen short in numerous ways. In fact, sometimes we lose hope- thinking we're never going to be good enough to deserve God's love. That's hard to admit, it's hard to handle. But it is quite necessary to admit the fact that we are too helpless to help ourselves. For only when we do this do we allow ourselves to seek help from someone else- God. 

Amos told the "raw truth" to a people who had strayed from God and were not willing to admit fault or seek to change their ways. Reading Amos is challenging and tough, but it's a great read during this season of Lent- a season to renew our devotion to the God that loves that we need a Savior. Amos was not popular among his peers- he was too honest for their liking. But he was absolutely necessary.

How can you be honest with yourself? Maybe there's a difficult truth that you've been ignoring or denying. It may be difficult to confess, but it is only by showing our wounds that we allow God to begin to heal us. Seek God this week, be brutally honest with yourself and with God. Allow the healing process to begin.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mediocre Expectations

One of my favorite authors is C. S. Lewis. I've only read a few of his books, but he is an incredible writer and is able to present the gospel message in a very logical way. During a recent devotional time, I read this passage that I'd like to share with you (I'm leaving the original British spellings) :

"I am only trying to call attention to a fact; the fact that this year, or this month, or more likely, this very day, we have failed to practise ourselves the kind of behaviour that we expect from other people."

We are all familiar with this idea. Perhaps a good example comes from one of the many times we find ourselves waiting at a stoplight. A driver runs a red light and our response is usually to criticize the other person, "Idiot." But, if we should be the ones to try to 'sneak through the intersection' a bit late...then it's because "I'm going to be late." or "I couldn't stop in time." However, we place expectations on the behaviors of others in a number of situations. Then, as Lewis observes, we fail to live up to those expectations- essentially, we lower the bar for our own self. Friends, how is this acceptable?

Your challenge for this week- live up to your own expectations for others, including friends and complete strangers.

"Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else," Galatians 6: 4