Monday, November 2, 2009

Conversation with Death and a Witch

   On the social network Facebook, there is a game called Yoville. You make an avatar of yourself (a character that looks like you), you go to work and earn coins, buy a house, furniture, clothes to wear etc. During the month of October you can buy Halloween costumes and decor.
   One morning my avatar "Shannon" was standing out in front of the Yoville apartment complex along with many others, thought bubbles bursting with conversations above our heads.  "Death" appears, dressed in a long black cape and hood carrying a sickle. Next to him is Miss Witch, wearing a black tattered dress and hat. Out of the blue a conversation begins;
     Death- "Would you date someone, even if they weren't religious?"
     Witch- "Yes I would."
     Shannon- "no"
     Death- "Even if they were a good person?"
     Witch- "It's not that important."
     Death- "Shannon, No? why not?"
     Witch- "We are all equal."
      Shannon- "Because I believe in the God of the bible, and he says it is important. Yes we are all equal"
Just as quick as it began, it was over, death disappeared.

Even if they were a good person?
      By who's standards?   mine? yours? witches? or Gods?
Romans 3:10-12
 As it is written, "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."

Yes, we are all equal. We are all sinners. Born in sin, dead in sin.
That is what is so amazing about grace, both common and saving grace.
Without grace, sin is unrestrained. We will do what we want, when we want and how we want and good will be measured by a sinner's standards.
We are by nature......self serving and not sacrificial.
It is by common grace that a sinner can do any good, your life, love, acts of kindness- they are all gifts of God, even to those who do not believe in him.
It is his saving grace that makes his chosen people righteous. He takes the self serving heart and replaces it with the love of Christ and the fear of a holy God.
Ezekiel 36:26-27
  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

God's saving grace comes, not because we deserve it, not because we are better. We are all equal! Sinners bound to sin and destined to an eternity separated from God , paying the penalty for that sin.
It is by the grace and will of God that some sinners are saved, bound by love, destined for glory.
 So does religion matter?
What religion?
The worship of the one true God
Who defines God?
God himself
in his word, the bible
Why should I believe the bible?
It is historical, it is ageless, it is indestructible, it is life changing.
Why should I believe you?
 Don't. Ask God.
 talk to him, ask him to remove your unbelief.

Death left the conversation. but death will return........Are you ready?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Broken Mommies

On the last episode of Biggest Loser, contestant Shaye was pushed to an emotional break. Her trainer, the ever gritty Jillian, prodded into the reasons why a young woman had gotten to be 474 pounds. Through sweat and tears, Shaye's heart wrenching story was revealed. Her mother killed herself with heroine. She shut her in a closet when she had men over, pushed her aside, and a little girl was forever changed by the poor choices of the one who was suppose to take care of her, keep her safe, love her more than anything.
Shaye thought she had made it, she hadn't become addicted to drugs, a battle won, only to realize, she instead was killing herself with food. At her breaking point she cried out, " I couldn't make her love me."

Sometimes mommies are broken.

I was never shoved in a closet, but I remember more men at our house than I care to. Some were nice, some were awful. I remember cops and ambulances. I remember wishing I was dead when I was 9.

I couldn't make my mom love me.
Not more than she loved herself.

I spent so many years being angry or sad. I've spent years medicating myself with food.
A disease stole my mom, she's broken because of it. she is still alive yet not really living. imprisoned by jealousy, envy, and mistrust.
I once read a statement written about narcissism- it said, having a narcissist for a mother is like playing house with a 6 year old. they will dress you and feed you, kind of like a doll, but when something else comes along they will drop you on the floor and go to what pleases them more.

I struggled when I became a Christian, with the honoring of my mother, what did that look like?
There is no way to have a civil conversation, I must weight every word, guard every emotion. I must protect myself.

I dont write this to dishonor her, but because this struggle is not unique to me. We have people in our lives we owe honor to, yet their behavior makes it nearly impossible. When I speak to my mom, it won't go well, I know that so I lower my expectations. She is not capable of giving me what I need from a mother. If I still require her to, I set her and myself up for failure. I can't talk about personal things with her, so God graciously gave me a great step mother , a wonderful daughter, aunts and friends. I let go of the anger because it poisoned me. I let go of expectations because they hurt me. I am responsible for my actions and reactions, she isn't.

I guess God gives all of us obstacles, often they are people and usually those closest to us.
so we learn from them
how not to hurt others
how not to react.

By the grace of God go I

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


1 cor. 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Foolishness, a time not so long ago, a fool was saved by grace.

The radio in my bedroom for some reason has an issue getting my favorite talk station, it tends to "conflict" with another, a Christian talk format.
Today a guest host was on, he was talking with another man about the current racial accusations the liberal media has thrown at conservatives. Religion came into the mix.
Both men, admittingly atheist were discussing tolerance, yet one attacked Christianity by saying, "they believe Jesus is going to come back to earth and raise them from the dead and reunite them with their family."
He then stated how silly it was to believe such a thing. Next he commented on the book of Mormon and how it was received. The idea that an angel appeared to Joseph Smith and gave him this book.
In his opinion, again quite silly.

Ok I can see the confusion,
both claim to be Christian though have some very different beliefs. However one is founded on the historical, sacred, canonically approved word of God, one is not.

"Christians" believe very different things, they are hypocrites, liars, fake......insert fault here.
He would have some points.

Now... the interesting thing is, while listening to this conversation, the other station was running interference. At the exact same time the song "Untitled Hymn" by Chris Rice was playing.

" Weak and wounded sinner/
Lost and left to die/
O raise your head, for love is passing by/
come to Jesus, come to Jesus/
come to Jesus and live!"

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.
it flies in their face
it offends them
it is ridiculous....
that God would come to earth in the form of a man, live a sinless life, die a brutal death paying for the sins of those who believe in him that they may have eternal life in the presence of a holy God......silly fools.

That he died for those hypocrites, those liars....imagine.

Yet, he did not die for all- he did not die for those who do not believe, he did not die for those who follow a false gospel, he did not die for the unrepentant, and that makes fools angry.

How dare he?
How dare he decide?
Who does he think he is?

But to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

He is the Savior.
He is the Christ..
He is the King...
He is the Glory....
He is the Majesty! For ever and ever Amen.
I cannot change your mind, only God can. verse 25 says
For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

God is not a fool nor is he weak but what man sees as such is but from his own ignorance and sin.
Fools and Grace.. the battle goes on
A former fool, saved by grace.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Spiritual Rebirth

In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. Col 2:11-12

The word buried in Greek is sunthapto it means to enter into company with, to assimilate spiritually(to Christ by a sepulture-burial place- as to sin). Risen with is sunegeiro it is the idea of collecting one's faculties, to waken from sleep, disease or death.

According to the book of Romans we are all sinners, 3:23 and dead in our sin, 5:12, 6:23. For the believer, this means we were buried with Christ and risen with him. Our sins stayed in the grave, defeated by Christ's life and death.
It is not the act of baptism that saves us, for we know of those who are born again and have not yet been baptized; and we know many that have been baptized and live no life that glorifies God, perhaps even having renounced him.

It is the spiritual rebirth, accomplished by that great power of God that renews the dead.

Dead men have no faith.

It comes from the creator.

Do we still sin? unfortunately yes. but it is that power that defeated sin and Satan that dwells within the Christian. This enables us to engage in the battle. The battle between the old self, called the flesh, the worldly selfish desire to please our every whim; and the new self, renewed in our minds, created to be like God.

It is that great power that left our sins in the grave. If Christ is not your savior, the Lord of your life, those sins are still with you. Those sins will be judged. Are you ready?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rest for the Weary

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light. Matthew 11:28-30

I imagine there isn't one of us privileged to go through life unburdened. Life is just that way. Work, family, health, any of these and more can seem to overtake our lives. Before we know it, we are out of balance, caught up on a roller coaster of ups and downs, swerves and hard right turns. Feeling like we could fall off at any moment, we desperately try to grasp at anything to steady us. I may cling to food or alcohol, you may work harder.

Perhaps there is someone very difficult in your life, someone that just can't seem to be pleased. People drain you. People let you down. Life lets you down. Jobs fail, family falters and... I...
seem to get caught up in failure. " If it isn't us; it is them. If it isn't a job it; is a neighbor. Quite often, it is just me.
I try, but fail, so I try harder.
Soon I become yoked to trying. Running on my own strength, is like running on a perpetual treadmill with no cut off button. I get no where and I get tired. I reach out for that comfort, then I depend on it, soon it becomes my habit.
Some of my habits are blame, dissatisfaction, expectations, overeating, withdraw, I am sure there are more. What are your habits?
As long as we are yoked to life we will probably be dissatisfied, the heart and soul will yearn for more.
Jesus said his yoke is easy and his burden light. He promises rest, not ease, but rest. He is gentle and humble. Are you yoked to the gentle and humble or the chaotic and demanding or the disappointing? The word yoke means servitude and literally a beam of balance.
Lest you fool yourself into thinking you are not yoked to anything or think poorly of servitude keep in mind this verse.

- for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. 2 Peter 2:19b

Do you feel like a slave? Do you feel mastered by the day?

Find rest for your weary soul by trusting in Him, who is gentle and humble.