12:14 am cst
In the 11th Chapter of St. John, there is the story of Jesus and Lazarus. The story tells
us that Lazarus was very sick and dying, and instead of rushing to his side to heal him, Jesus stayed put...until Lazarus
had died and had been buried for several days.
When He did make His way toward the house of Lazarus'
two sisters, Martha and Mary...Martha heard about it and ran to meet Him. "Lord, if You had been here, my brother
would not have died!" She said...almost accusing Him of negligence. She then entreats Him to act upon His relationship
with God, saying: "I know whatever You ask God, God will give You!"
Interestingly, once Mary...the other
sister hears that Jesus is near, also runs to meet Him...falls at His feet and says, word for word, the same thing Martha
had said earlier: "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."
At that point, Jesus
is so moved by Mary's weeping, that He too weeps.
Notice that both women said exactly the same words...but
one was tinged with accusation, while the other was full of great faith. What Martha was doing was vaguely blaming Jesus
for the death of Lazarus, while Mary was proclaiming that 'in the presense of Jesus...there is life.' It is
my belief that Mary's faith...her devout trust in the Lord's love, literally moved Him to tears. Also...notice
that Martha came to Jesus in brashness, while Mary fell at His feet in worship and humility.
asked where Lazarus has been buried and then proceeds to go there and raise him from the dead. Faith can reach anywhere...even
into a four-day-old grave!
How often do we come to Jesus like Martha? How often are we angry at the events
that life has dealt us, and end up crying out to the Lord, "If You'd been here...these things wouldn't have happened!
Where were YOU???"
The problem with approaching the Lord in this manner, is that such feelings are full of
pain, fear and despair...all of which are infested with doubt and anger. In short, they are usually void of faith, which
moves God to act on our behalf.
Mary had a humility about her that was...and is very rare. The Bible plainly
tells us that this is the same Mary, that anointed Jesus with precious oinment...and washed His feet with her hair.
In short, on more than one occasion...Mary had demonstrated her faith and humility before the Lord. On all three occasions
she was rewarded handsomely.
My prayer is that we as Children of God, learn to approach Him in the love, faith
and humility He deserves as our Lord and Savior. Faith moves God...accusations don't.
Do you have a prayer
that needs answering today? I want to join with you today in humbly asking the Lord to hear and help you...in faith...not
for any other reason. I truly believe the Lord will be moved by your faith.
I love you all,
"WHAT ABOUT THAT CHIP ON YOUR SHOULDER?"
3:12 am cst
There are many things in life that are certainties. One is that people will inevitably offend or
hurt you at some point...or at many points throughout your life. People can be insensitive, hurtful, mean and even wicked
or evil at times, causing great emotional pain to their victims, leaving life-long scars and emotional "flinching."
One of the things we do to defend ourselves against such attacks in the future, is to develop a ultra-sensitive mindset
that is always alert for the slightest possible hint of offense. Another way of putting it is...we get a chip on our
shoulder and carry it everywhere.
The problem with this is, that when we become so offended at life or people (in
general) that we carry a chip on our shoulder, (ready to strike out at the slightest offense), we often burn down
our own forest in an attempt to save our trees.
In short, carrying a chip on your shoulder for past
hurts can make you as ugly and vicious as the people who attacked you. Oftentimes, these emotions are aimed at
innocent people who mistakenly say or do something that "triggers" wrath, causing them to wonder what in the world
they could have done to hurt you so deeply.
I once had a person say to me, "You make me pay for what someone
else did to you." After careful thought, I realized they were right. Having been hurt and offended in
a previous relationship, I swore to myself it would never happen again and built emotional walls...and armed them with cannons!
The first hint of a repeat offense...from anyone...and I would blow up. In other words, I was carrying a chip on
my shoulder that made me a very unplesant person at times. Makes me feel awful, even thinking of those times now.
As we mature into stronger Christians, we must be able to discern our past hurts from the actions of people who
are currently trying to have a relationship with us. Just because someone may have stolen something from you before...does
not make everyone a thief. See what I mean?
As a minister, I come into contact with many people from all
walks of life. Many of them have been hurt by the actions of people in their pasts, and they continually carry that
hurt, often making it an excuse for their own poor behavior. How I long to help them see that such "emotional
bondage," only serves to hurt themselves even more, and alienate others around them, who desire to love them.
Many people who carry a chip on their shoulder become bitter, unpleasant people, who have a "hair trigger" upon
their emotions ready to blow up at the slightest offense. This is so unhealthy and produces so much unhappiness.
The answer is simple. Let it go. If someone has deeply hurt you and has no intention
of apologizing or changing...remove yourself from that person. But...don't ever lay their sin at the door of others.
If you do, they win over and over.
I believe that many potentially great relationships are ruined by people
who "self-destruct" because of past hurts and carrying those hurts upon their sleeves...so to speak.
My precious friends, I pray that you consider your own emotions. Do find yourself getting very angry about certain
things that remind you of your past? If so, let them go. They are holding you in a self-made emotional prison
that is neither healthy nor fun.
Allow yourself to love each person around you freely, without being suspicious
or stand-offish. You might find that in doing so, your long-desired joy will return.
I love you all,
"THEN SHE'LL BE A TRUE LOVE OF MINE"
In the 1960's, prolific songwriter, singer and musician Paul Simon reworked a famous and
centuries old melody to create one of "Simon and Garfunkel's" greatest hits; "Scarborough
10:17 am cst
The story is asking a woman to achieve some impossible tasks in order to earn the "true love,"
of the writer.
"Tell her to make me a cambric shirt, parsley, sage, rosemary
Without no seams nor needlework, then she'll be a true love of mine..."
I admit, this
is one of my all-time favorite songs from this famous duo.
What's interesting is how many people view God
as being much like the antagonist in this song...in other words...demanding impossible things in order to earn His love and
We live in a world that wants people to PAY for everything. If a public figure is caught
in a bad light, the media will jump on it and be ruthless in their comments. For example, Michael Phelps, the Olympic
star was recently photographed smoking "weed" and his champion image is now tarnished forever. He
has lost sponsorships, etc. Interestingly, our new President admitted in a national debate during the campaign that
he had done the same thing on several occasions, but he did not receive the same harsh treatment as is Michael Phelps, which
tells us the media views that behavior as inexcusable for an athlete, but acceptible for a President.
I'm not accusing or excusing anyone there, it's just interesting to me that it seems to be a double-standard at times,
depending upon what the desired goal of condemnation is...which is what religion does as well.
Think about this...the
Apostle Paul, writing to the Roman Christians, (Romans 2), accused them of wrongfully judging
others when they were guilty of doing the same things. He accused them of trying to enforce religious laws against others,
that they themselves would not live by...thus the double standard.
This type of teaching or thought...that we must
somehow EARN OR PAY our way to God through good behavior or walking through 'punishment phases' for wrong-doing, is
an insult to the Cross.
I recently spoke to a woman who committed a sin...went to "confess her sin" to
her minister and was given certain "tasks of repentance" to accomplish in order to be back into favor with God.
I found that almost laughable...if it wasn't so disturbing. Truth is, if we could pay for our own sins by 'acts
of retribution,' then Christ died in vain. In short, if we could save ourselves...we wouldn't need a Savior.
It's no wonder so many people have a harsh view of God.
My precious friends...God is not that way at
all. He's not sitting in Heaven with an angelic F.B.I. scanning the world so that He can "bust" anyone
who commits sin. In fact, through Christ...He has forgiven sin. The sin-debt we could not pay...Jesus paid at Calvary.
Not too long ago I was preaching and asked this question: "How many of you believe that people will have
to pay for their sins?" I was shocked at how many hands went up. I then began to explain that "If we
must pay for our own sins...what sins did Jesus pay for?" See my point?
Religion demands impossible
payments in order to "be a true love of mine," as the song says. True faith and Christianity demands
only one thing...receiving the Lord's forgiveness as a free and wonderful gift for all time. Thank God.
I love you all,
"BELLY-PIERCING A PIG"
1:29 am cst
Have you ever had a relationship that left you feeling abused, taken for granted,
hurt, lonely and sad? Most of us have. Have you ever longed to get certain people to appreciate you or to cherish
you the way that you did them...to no avail?
Perhaps the reason is that you are doing something Jesus warned us
not to do..."casting your pearls before swine."
I often read over that passage of scripture wondering
what in the world Jesus was talking about. Something about pearls and swine just don't seem to mix...which, of course
is the Lord's point.
The truth is, pigs don't know the value of pearls. Pigs don't often wear
jewelery, nor have I ever seen a store that specialized in marketing pig jewelery. (That doesn't mean there isn't
one...it's a crazy world out there). I've never seen a pig with diamond ear-rings, fancy bracelets or even a
'belly-button' piercing! Pigs just don't seem to get into the whole "jewelery scene." In
fact, pigs seem satisfied to roll in the mud and poo...make little pigs and get eaten.
My belief is that Jesus
was warning us about placing our most valuable asset...US...into places where it is ignored, trampled upon or devalued in
any way. Think about how angry Jesus got when He was rejected by His own people saying, "It will be
more tolerable for Sodom and Gommorrah on the Day of Judgement than for you, who've rejected the Light."
Or..."You will not see Me again until you learn to say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.'"
Point is...Jesus didn't like being or feeling devalued any more than we do.
Sadly, it is often the case that
people try so hard to make certain people like them, that they are willing to submit themselves to people who are so self-centered,
it is virtually like placing an expensive string of pearls into a pig-pen, hoping the pigs will go wild with enthusiasm and
just love us back...to pieces. It's not gonna happen, and is a waste of valuable time and emotions.
recently talked to a young woman who is madly in love with a man she met on the internet. She is a fan of music and
he is a up and coming musician. She began a relationship by praising him for his music...appealing to his ego...which
of course brought a warm response from him. Sadly, she has found that he is not interested in her long-term, placing
his own goals and desires above her. She was devastated.
It is very easy to fall into this kind of trap as
we long to share ourselves and our lives with other people. We all want to feel valuable to someone! Unfortunately,
many of those people are so "ME, ME, ME" minded, that they cannot see any value in the person reaching out to them.
Sometimes it becomes clear immediately...other times it takes years for a person to discover that they are "casting their
pearls before swine."
We cannot make someone value us. We can however, make sure that we value ourselves
enough to never throw ourselves to the pigs, hoping that they will love us in return. We all need and desire
love, but true love is birthed, grown and grounded upon value. If a person does not value you, they don't
love you. It's a simple and sometimes hard fact to learn.
I know a person who loves to chat on the phone.
They often call me to "visit" and I love them, so it's an honor of course. However, as long as the topic
of discussion remains upon this person and their life, the conversation goes wonderfully. If I interrupt to mention
something going on in my own life...suddenly, the person is eager to get off the phone. I overlook it...but I also know
where I truly stand with this person, so I don't go out of my way to seek value from them.
My precious friends...we
all want to be loved and valued by others. We are extremely valuable...after all, Jesus purchased us with his own blood!
Therefore, we should always walk cautiously knowing that not everyone we come into contact with will see, recognize or embrace
our value. Many will simply ignore it like pearls in the pigpen. When this happens...move on. Don't
look back...don't shed a tear...just shake your head and realize that sometimes...pigs look an awful lot like people.
I love you all,
P.S. You are so worth it!!!