Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Here is this great and mighty ruler who succumbs to the thrills of momentary pleasure and the fear of man with the result being the death of a very Godly and righteous man. This is how it goes down: Herod had married his brother's wife, thus committing adultery with her, and John had told him in no less words that it was wrong of him to do so. Herod didn't stop what he was doing and the woman, now his wife Herodias, hated John and wanted to see him die. Herod wasn't willing to do this though because he knew that John was a righteous and holy man and liked to bear what he had to say. He did keep him in prison though, which still shows that his heart was hard to the message that John was preaching.
As time goes on Herod has a birthday party, as we all tend to do from time to time, and at this party Herodias' daughter comes in to dance for them and Herod was so overcome with pleasure by her dance that he tells her he will give her whatever she wants, up to half of his kingdom. Oh, the power of sinful pleasure, huh?
Anyway, the girl goes to her mother and asks what she should do. The mother says to ask for the head of John on a platter. OOPS! Now what is Herod to do? He has just made this promise to give her whatever she wants; he doesn't want to look bad in front of his guests; so he does it. He has John beheaded and the head actually brought in on a platter. Now, this story could be dissected a lot, but it truly is a sad story because Herod knew who John was. He knew the right thing to do; yet his lust and fear of man led him to do that which was so greatly evil. Taking the life of another man.
Have you ever been there? Making dumb, sinful, decisions based on your own pleasure or on the fear of man. I know I have. It's a sad place to be. Herod's life was dominated by those things. Gratefully our lives don't need to be. Jesus gives the power by His Holy Spirit to overcome our sinful desires and the fear of man in order that we might walk in obedience to Him and to His Word.
Monday, August 30, 2010
"Your testimonies are wonderful;therefore my soul observes them.The unfolding of Your words gives light;it gives understanding to the simple.I opened my mouth wide and panted,for I longed for Your commandments.Turn to me and be gracious to me,after Your manner with those who love Your name.Establish my footsteps in Your word,and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.Redeem me from the oppression of man,that I may keep Your precepts.Make Your face shine upon Your servant,and teach me Your statutes.My eyes shed streams of water,because they do not keep Your law." (Psalm 119:129-136)
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Rodeo! Dust filled the air. Large thighs filled small Wranglers. Miss Montana's voice filled our ears with The Star Spangled banner. Tears filled the eyes of mamas, papas, and sentimental local boys. It was a perfect night to watch real men ride horses that were kicking and jumping like four year olds playing soccer after drinking espresso. The clown had jokes. The crowd had hats and mullets. Strapping one hand to the back of a cow that is the size of a small car (and probably has more power) only to be thrown from it face first into the Montana soil sure sounds like fun. As Toby Keith said "I shoulda been a cowboy."
Rafting on raging rivers really makes me smile. It was a semi-normal Sunday afternoon in the Flathead Valley - after church meet the pastor and his family at the river, pump up the raft, grab paddles, life jackets, and a few friends and try to make it home for dinner. With clouds rolling overhead and water rushing through the canyon, 58 degrees F sure felt cold. August is supposed to make you sweat not shiver. For better or worse, I got to paddle a two-man, inflatable kayak down Buffalo Rapids. I've paddled this stretch of river sort of successfully two times before. They say "Third time's the charm" but I still don't like inhaling water, smashing against rocks, and doing a 2.3 second inventory of all life's responsibilities while wondering what it will be like standing at a wedding with a cast on my leg. So, the semi-normal Sunday afternoon turned into one for the memory bank and all limbs and lives are still in on piece.
Remembering your hometown while riding a bike is just like ... well, riding a bike. Thrift stores, coffee shops, old friends, and sunshine will make any Monday a fun day. Romping through the woods on a familiar trail, smelling Indian paintbrush and white pine, burping up a little bit of breakfast, and following that favorite ridge walk to the summit put the icing on the cake for Tuesday. With the sun shining and temperatures rising, Wednesday was on the lake in the afternoon.
Real relationships are formed when you risk your life with friends. For Zach's bachelor party, we we did what we always do - jump off stuff. The water was warm, and the sound of laughter echoed off the walls all the way down the lake. Back flips, front flips, swan dives, back slaps, and high fives were the theme of the night. How many moments like this have we had together? Building a bond that is stronger than gorilla glue holding a coffee cup to the roof a Ford Tempo our friendship has involved danger, fear, and encouraging each other to jump. Real relationships involve trust, require risk, and are rewarding. Thanks for a great night Zach.
I was reading 2 Corinthians 5 the other day, and two more R words came into the picture - reconciliation and righteousness. This right here is what life is all about.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Consider what this is saying to you today. Think about it. How are "R" words our words?
Monday, August 23, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
What God was asking of Jeremiah was no small task. Not only would it be difficult, it would be terrifying. And yet, God commanded Jeremiah to not be terrified. God told him he would be a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall. It wasn't his own strength he would be depending on but God's. He had God's promise to be present with him. Twice in Jeremiah 1 God says He will be with him and rescue him.
Jeremiah 1:8 "Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you, declares the LORD."
Jeremiah 1:19 "They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you.' declares the LORD."
That's a double promise: God will be with him and God will rescue him.
In church on Sunday the Pastor said, "If you get one thing out of this sermon it is that: God Keeps His Promises.
Titus 1:2 says "a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time,"
God keeps His promises and God does not lie. Therefore if He says He will do something, by His very nature and being, He has to do it. The very essence of who God is let's us know He will do what He says He will do.
I know God has been teaching me to trust Him, rely on Him and abide in Him is the last few weeks. I think it can be hard to trust God will keep His word because it calls for surrender in our lives.
When I think of surrender I often think of the hymn, "I Surrender All," by Judson W. Van DeVenter (and yes I looked that up).
All to Jesus, I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.
All to Jesus, I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.
All to Jesus, I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.
All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!
We have a lot in common with Jeremiah. We have a lot in common as believers and followers of Christ. Like Jeremiah we too are called. Like Jeremiah we have God's promise to be with us and to rescue us. We might not (probably won't) face Jeremiah's situation, but live in a world that has also become hardened to God's Word. We too are messengers to our generation, to our peers and the people of our land. No matter what we do or the situation we face, we can be confident in these things; that God is with us, keeps His promises and is trustworthy.
Sorry, my thoughts are kind of scattered tonight, but I hope you are able to get the gist of what I am saying.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Being on staff with Young Life, I was at a camp for the entire month of July. Working, living, eating, smelling, conversing, and just living with 50 high school kids all month was awesome! God was at work in so many lives everyday, shaping his children into who He wants them to be. What a blessing it was to be a part of that.
Stars are cool. Not the type you find on MTV, in movies, or on the radio - I'm talking about the things light years away in outerspace. Stars are so cool that I decided to study them "independently" at the college level this summer. Astronomy on-line! Yea! When you finish making nerd jokes take a look up at the night sky and realize that the God who created you, put those tiny dots of light out there too. He holds everything in the palm of his hand - yet still cares about every intimate detail of your life.
When you sin - He loves you. When you sing songs of praise to Him - He must nod his head like that dude listening to Dave Matthews Band on his iPod while he longboards through the park. When you whine and complain - He patiently listens. When you listen - He speaks. When you laugh - He smiles. When you cry - He has the biggest shoulder ever to put your head on. The God who created all of the world sent His Son to live life with us. WOW.
This summer has been fun studying the stars and getting to know my Savior more and more. The other day is was taking my "Planets Quiz" and this is what God put on my heart ...
Question 17 - Jupiter has a bunch of as-yet unnamed moons. What would you like to have one of them be named, and WHY?
If I could name one of Jupiter's moons, I would create a totally new name - JoAlanne. This is a combination of the names Joanne & Allen. My parents are two of the most incredible people ever created by the hands of God. My Dad (Allen) has MS and has stayed faithful to God throughout the 20+ years having the disease. My Mom (Joanne) has stayed committed to her husband through all of the difficulties life has brought. They are two stellar objects in God's creation whose life together has always been orbiting the Son.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Monday, August 9, 2010
"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'
Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?' Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (Matthew 25:31-46)
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Sorry about the last couple weeks; blogging completely slipped my mind till I was mowing the 8th green at Birchwood a couple days ago… So, hopefully, I’ll be back at it consistently and better than ever. What I’ve got today is a song I heard in church last Sunday. It’s called “By Your Side” and is sung by 10th Avenue North.
I think the song is a really good reminder of how God never wavers and is always there. Whenever you fall, whenever you call, God is there and ready to help. That’s it for today. I just thought I should share a really sweet song.
Until next week,
Friday, August 6, 2010
If my arms could reach around You
I would never move
If my eyes could see You
I'd have no faith left to prove
The wonder of invisible love
When I fall I feel Your arms before I reach the ground
Lord, I know Your whisper, though I've never heard the sound
The wonder of invisible love
Some day there will be no time to mind
I will be Your long awaited bride
We will dance away the night
This is how it has to be
With You and me
The wonder of invisible love
God's love: something we will never understand, but something that we will always experience. I don't always understand why things happen, but I know that during every moment, God is with me, loving me, and that is all that I need.
Always look for God's love...it is constantly shown all around us. Don't miss the opportunities to experience the greatest love you will ever know.
"Your unfailing love is better than live itself;
how I praise you!"
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2Sarah's post, Consider Jesus, hit me because it's something I've really been thinking about lately. I've always been drawn to Hebrews 12:2 because the phrase "Look to Jesus" stands out to me. When we look to Jesus everything is in perspective.
I've been applying for jobs and the process can be both daunting and exhausting. As I look for a job I am reminded to look first to Jesus. Right now where I will work (and when I will work) is a complete unknown to me! Yikes, does that feel weird and yes, somewhat scary. If I don't trust that God will provide in His wisdom and His timing I might go crazy with worry and doubt. I'm so thankful that I have Jesus to look to in all things.
We have Jesus to look to for Forgiveness.
We have Jesus to look to for Salvation.
We have Jesus to look to for Provision.
We have Jesus to look to for Fulfillment.
We have Jesus to look to for Wisdom.
We have Jesus to look to for Guidance.
We have Jesus to look to for Encouragement.
We have Jesus to look to for Strength.
He is our ALL in ALL!
Thank you for all of your prayers for my cousin Sam. He is currently in 30 days of rehab at Teen Challenge in Minneapolis. Please pray he will be assigned a full 13 months after his 30 days are up! And pray his heart will be open to the Lord.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
He says this:
"The Christian life is a life of absolute dependence. At Hampton Court there was a vine that sometimes bore a couple thousand clusters of grapes. People were amazed at its productivity. later the secret was discovered. Not too far from Hampton Court flows the River Thames. The had stretched its roots hundreds of yards under the ground until it came to the riverbed. There, in all the nutrients of the river bottom, it found rich nourishment and moisture. The roots drew the sap all that distance to the branches.
The vine had the work to do. The branches simply had to depend upon the vine and receive what it gave.
That is exactly what Christ desires you to understand. Christ desires that in all your work, the very foundation should be the simple acceptance that Christ must care for all.
As you depend on Him He supplies your needs by sending down the Holy Spirit. Jesus wants you to be dependent as you serve Him. Day by day, hour by hour, in everything you do, simply abide before Him. Live in total helplessness of one who can do nothing.
Absolute dependence upon God is the secret of power in work. You and I have nothing unless we receive it from Jesus."