I’ve never been a fan of rain. Or cold weather. But today it seems to be good therapy, so I will welcome them both.
One of the hardest things about being a pastor is pain. When your calling is to help others with their pain, you have two choices: either harden yourself to the place where you can fake empathy and don’t feel it, or take it on when you empathize and prepare for the storms that come with it. I choose the latter, because I’ve never been really good at faking anything.
So I pay the price. I find myself in times where my heart just feels raw. I think I need to go hide in a cave just to heal up a little, and more pours on. And I wonder if the next wave will drown me.
Then God sends me something. Sometimes it’s elaborate. And sometimes it’s as simple as raindrops. And He reminds me that I don’t have to carry this alone. And that makes the sound of the rain mean even more to me.
Thank you, Father, for the rain today!! I love You, too!!!!
Lately I’ve been reminded of this fact over and over again … Something I wish wasn’t true, but it is!! And there is nothing anyone can do about it but YOU.
YOU will only get out of any relationship what YOU put in. That goes for marriages, friendships, and YES, even church membership! You will only get something out of church membership IF you are willing to put into it. Rarely does it work for someone to come to a church long-term, only sit on a pew, and have a lasting relationship with that church.
If you don’t connect, if you don’t find a small group of friends, you won’t last. And that is on YOU. If you are coming to church to make your momma happy, or anyone else outside of YOURSELF, it will probably not last. It will probably never work. In fact, if you are coming to church for any other reason than to WORSHIP GOD, you are coming for the wrong reason.
You will only reap what you sow. In any relationship. What are you sowing at church???
A lifelong lesson I am still learning is about trust and faith … I still remember the first time I was disappointed by a fellow Christian. I was in shock: How could a person who called themselves a follower of Christ do something like that??? How could they live like that?? It took me a long time to get over that one. It was many years ago. And God has taught me several lessons since then:
1. My ULTIMATE FAITH & TRUST is in GOD ALONE (God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit). GOD ALONE is deserving of my total and ultimate faith and trust. He will NEVER let me down.
2. I DO need to have faith & trust in my fellow peeps. Especially those who call themselves followers of Christ. And I need to do it in the proper perspective, with appropriate understanding of who they are and who I am! Jesus said “Not everyone who calls me Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matt 7:21) ALSO, there ARE good, sincere Christians WHO MAKE MISTAKES. ( I AM one of those) I’ve got to always remember these things!!!
3. There will be times when pride, greed, ungodly motivations, unforgiving hearts will rear themselves in relationships. The best thing to do is LOVE!!! Peter reminded us that love overlooks a multitude of sins. I can never forget that, and I am thankful for those who have remembered that when dealing with me!!
TRUST GOD COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY!! But don’t be afraid to trust your brothers and sisters as well!!!!
Numbers 32:23 warns us to “be sure your sins will find you out.” Be SURE … CERTAIN our sins will catch up to us.
The writer of Numbers, inspired by God to write this (as the ENTIRE Bible is inspired by God), is reminding us there are NO secret sins. God knows EVERYTHING said in secret, done in secret, even THOUGHT in secret. This adds an element to life we don’t expect. It is a certainty that MANY men and women have taken secrets to their graves, secrets NO ONE ON EARTH COULD POSSIBLY KNOW. But God knows.
When we try to hide sins, we are just fooling ourselves because we CANNOT FOOL GOD. God knows EVERYTHING. He is not bound by time, space, or dimension. He knows our thoughts way before we think them. He knows our motives, our agendas, and when they don’t line up with His will … and when they don’t build His kingdom … He is NOT AMUSED. Because our sin is repulsive to Him.
I was talking to a friend recently who is very concerned about some getting away with some very ungodly behavior. It looks as if they will get away with something with no repercussion. But NEVER FORGET THIS: GOD IS IN CONTROL. He is STILL on His throne and His justice will be complete. And we might never know about it, but God WILL have His day.
Be SURE of that!!
There is a challenge ahead for the church in North America. One like she hasn’t faced in DECADES. And I wonder if we are as strong as our forefathers were … The survival of the church is in the balance!
With our economy in the pits, we who follow Christ are tempted to follow suit with the world and trust ourselves and our judgment more than God. This affects the Body of Christ far more than we can imagine. It’s not just a financial thing, although our faithfulness in stewardship IS heavily affected by this. This part of the trend is heavily documented, as many churches run behind in their budget giving like never before.
Even sadder is the way this affects our FAITHFULNESS in other areas. We trust God less and less and therefore step out on faith with Him less and less. And this directly stifles our effectiveness in the kingdom of God. Not only are we not giving, we are not doing and we are not going.
If there is ONE THING God demands from us, it is our ABSOLUTE and TOTAL TRUST. Nothing less will do. And then we will GIVE, GO, and DO. And my prayer is this challenge will be met and overcome. SOON!!!
Yes, I finished my visits to Progressive Physical Therapy yesterday. After seven and a half months, or 32 weeks, however you’d rather say it. (32 weeks is actually NOT 8 months … remember, 26 weeks is a half-year or six months)
But am I ALL that I can be?? Is my arm perfect?? NO. But it is a lot farther along than we ever thought it would be. I will always appreciate what Pam and the folks at Progressive did. They definitely went over and above!! For months! The last few weeks we’ve prepared for this and done things to get me ready to continue at home. My elbow bends much more than Dr Mezzanotte ever thought it would … Even he is impressed! The shoulder is surprisingly stiff and has been the focus of therapy for weeks now. It, too, has come a long way. And it can go farther. That all depends on ME!!!
So, that’s where it is! I don’t go back to the doctor until next month. He hasn’t even mentioned joint replacement the last two times I’ve been there. I know that is out there, but I’m hoping it is a long way down the road!!!