Monday, March 28, 2011

Not the Biggest Loser anymore

Lectionary passage Romans 5:1-11 Seeing life by way of the cross, we see that nothing can keep us from what God has for us. Case in point- All the injustice surrounding the trial and suffering of Jesus did not keep him from fulfilling his purpose. In fact, all the evil choices of those who crucified him only served to make the kingdom of God come in more power than ever before! Of all the times we are tried and tested to think otherwise, by the things that we do or by what others do, or by the condition of what is going on in this world, we are never losers! ‘…we are never left feeling shortchanged…’ [the message Ro 5:4] The reality of the cross means that we are made right with God and life in God in ways that were not humanly earned and cannot humanly be taken away. Being made right with God is a gift purchased on the cross, and we gladly accept and live out the life purchased for us. We have a winning life waiting for us to life out, and live out to its fullest!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Don't D.I.Y.

Don’t DIY

Lectionary reading: Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
Do-It-Yourself is big. To do lists- not sure what I’d do without them! Apostle Paul reminds us though, that there is one thing-belonging to the family of faith- that is beyond simply what we can do ourselves- it is a gift. This is from the same man who tells us of how important it is to have spiritual discipline, and know the spiritual growth and power in our lives that comes from that discipline. But Paul reminds the Christians in Rome in about the 5th century A.D. that we are a people of faith, and that God gives us the gift of belonging to the family of faith. Using Abraham as an example, Paul reminds us that it was not by works ( and we know that also, not by physical birth, or just religious tradition) that we enter this life of faith in God’s spiritual family. God offers this life in his family as a gift to be received and lived. Living it will involve plenty of spiritual discipline if we want to find life at its fullest, but the offer to enter into the family of faith is a gift. What a relief that we are not working to obtain this gift. We are happy to receive the gift and live out the joy of what we have been given!

Monday, March 14, 2011

WWF: Jesus Smacks Down Satan

Lectionary reading: Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus faced all the same tests of life that we face. As he faced starting his calling, he took 40 days to sharpen his focus and clear his head before diving in to the challenge. And just as we hear the whisperings of the accuser as he tries to muddy the waters of our concentration, so did Jesus. He kept his eye to the goal and knew the answers to these accusations all ready, answers based on what he knew of his father and what he knew of his calling and goal. Satan tested Jesus at the time when Jesus was physically hungry, 40 days into his spiritual discipline. But even as Jesus’ body was weak, his will to stay on task was strong. Spiritual training is a real test, but it draws forth strength, more strength than was there before the testing and trying. Satan tested Jesus by taking him to the pinnacle of Herod’s newly rebuilt masterpiece of a temple, not just a monument to spiritual worship, but also a monument to Herod’s desire to make a name for himself. Not many people can withstand being at the pinnacle of human achievement, recognition and fame. Hollywood stars fall from the limelight daily as the things of this world refuse to give them the satisfaction that does not come from without. Finally, Satan tempts Jesus with the awesomeness of creation, an awesome creation which is meant to draw our praise and worship out of us and onto the creator. But Satan wants Jesus, who is in view on the mountaintop of all the wonders of God, to give worship to himself instead. Jesus is ready with an answer from the Psalms- worship is directed at God alone.
The daily tests of life can be won today the same way that Jesus won them. He remembered who he was, why he was here, and who he needed to listen to, and who he didn’t. We are here for the good plans God has for us. We are here to enjoy life in Jesus. We do not have to believe the voice of the accuser tell us who we are and what we should do. We have the voice of truth, who has smacked down our opponent, and made the way for us- we Wrestle With Fear and win in the name of Jesus!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Way

Matthew 28:18-20

“…go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, …”
from the Message

Recently I began a technology project, and quickly saw how out-of-my-league it was. Somewhere between ‘easy steps 2 and 3’ the picture and explanation went oh so wrong. An actual human voice (after countless ‘press 1 for…press 2 for….for all else refer to our web site….’) was a welcome relief, but after three calls to technical support and hours later, I was so ready for just one living, breathing, human being’s presence in the room with simple instructions on how to solve this mess!
For God so loved us, he sent not a hot line, a web page, or technical support chat screen, but he sent his living, breathing, completely human son to show us the way. Jesus said he is the WAY, the truth and the life. Though we are created by God in infinite varieties of gifts, looks, talents, he gave us our life support technician who lived among us and showed us the way.
His name is Jesus, and his examples of how to love and live came as simple as things like (living) water, (daily) bread, and a light shining in the darkness. I just love it when complicated issues of life can be explained to one such as I in terms I can understand, by one who is real, personal, and right beside me.
He is my life's technical support, available 24/7 and his name is Jesus- the WAY.