Sue Didn’t Call

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8

There is no truth in Satan. It’s his nature. As Christians, we formerly had that nature, now we have the nature of Christ and all the truth that comes with it. But elements of untruth just seem to hang around and Satan clings to them to make, and keep, us useless. He drags untruth into every day life. Like this:

If your friend Sue usually calls every day and on Tuesday doesn’t call, the truth is just a call was not made. That’s the only truth. It doesn’t mean Sue no longer loves you or that she has died in an accident. It doesn’t mean that she’s angry about something you said to her. It doesn’t mean she is no longer your friend. It doesn’t mean she is telling everyone what an awful person you are and that you are now friendless. It doesn’t mean, you never should have been her  friend. It doesn’t mean, that you are the kind of person who can’t really have friends because you are so worthless. The only truth is Sue didn’t call.

Satan is really having fun now. Once you’re convinced that there is now a friendship crisis; the counterattack and planning session begins. Should you call Sue? Should you text her? Maybe you should work through your mutual friend Mary. You should probably call Mary and tell her how Sue has betrayed your friendship. Maybe Mary and you can have Sue murdered.

You think murder might be a bit too much. Sue is having an affair. That’s why she hasn’t called. Well,  she will never be happy with this other person. Who is this other person? At church she was talking with Joe. For heaven’s sake, Joe’s only been a widower for a year. You would think Sue would have better taste. Of course, after all these years you now know what kind of person Sue is. Just the type that would have an affair. You are not even that sad that they (Sue and Joe) are both going to burn in hell.

When Sue calls and says the battery died on her phone and she hopes you weren’t worried. You lie and say “of course not.” You know you either have try to explain to Sue why you are insane or more likely fall into a pit of despair knowing what a worthless friend you are and how you don’t deserve to have a friend like Sue. You plan how you should end the friendship.

Let’s review the truth, Sue didn’t call.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Objects in Mirror are Closer. . . and Uglier

 

The sad thing about self-pity is the “self” part.  When we’re down, the cause is usually too much time looking in the mirror. It becomes all about me, my life, my pain, my problems, my situation. The problem with mirrors are that they seem to be accurate, but aren’t. Objects in the mirror are actually closer and uglier than they seem. The point is that we can’t trust the mirror that leads us to self-pity.

In the mirror, the problems are never are distorted. They seem bigger, more insurmountable, unsolvable.

Mirrors tend to focus our attention on details. We lose sight of the big picture. All we can see is the problem. We can’t see all that is good in our lives when gazing through the problem mirror.

Mirrors have narrow focus. If we could just look around a bit we could see that our problems are nothing. We are the man with no shoes, forgetting about the man with no feet. We can’t afford what we want, forgetting about the millions who can’t afford to eat. We are ill in our bodies, forgetting those who are dead in sin.

Instead of looking at mirrors, we need to gaze at God. In that, we can gain a hint of His perspective. We can see our struggles for the tiny irritants they are. We can, through His eyes, see ourselves having unlimited potential in Him.  God isn’t in the rear view mirror; He’s visible up ahead in the much broader windshield view.

In God’s Will and Time

Wouldn’t life be great, abundant even, if we could get in sync with God’s will and His timing? Much of the heresy in the church today arises from false teaching about God’s will and timing. We are told that God wants what’s best for His children. That’s true. He knows what is best; we don’t. What’s worse some believe that we can change His mind about what’s best or when things should happen. Much of our prayer time is spent explaining to God what He needs to do and when He needs to do it. God must smile and shake His head a lot.

Abundant life isn’t a comfortable past and a “secure” future. It is the expectant joy in experiencing the surprising opportunities God presents us with each day. Life is exciting and satisfying not when God provides what we order up each day, but we experience what he supplies every day.

Irritation

I have become irregular in my postings.  I think it’s because I’ve been so irritated. I find I am more easily irritated lately. I realize that there were plenty of obvious irritations recently, the elections, the effects of the flood which never seem to end, the heat, the humidity, the incredibly stupid fall television shows.

I am hoping when the election and summer heat is over and the cool of fall and the holidays arrive, everything will be better. I think I may be fooling myself.

For example, social media isn’t going to go away with a change in the seasons. I find social media is a great source of irritation: People who think that Hillary will be a swell president. People who think that Trump is great and not just the least offensive alternative. I am so sick of seeing posts that promise that “this changes everything” or “Hillary is done.” or “Trump is toast.” Even when the election is over I’ll have to hear how great and how awful whoever wins is.

Social media is populated by people who feel it’s a great idea to tell me to “share” if I love Jesus, support the police, or  hate the police, or love my family. It’s my policy never to repost something that tells me to share even if I’m in total agreement. I’m irritable that way.

I can’t tolerate people who share posts from four years ago about issues that have long been resolved. They tell me about lost kids who were long ago found and are not irritating adults. They tell me about battles that were over long ago. Doesn’t anyone check anything out before they post. People who think it’s fine to use the “f” word on social media or discuss their love lives, or their lack of a love life. People who think I want a picture of what they had for supper or that they are at the market to pick up something to make for supper. People who think I will enjoy pics of their pets or their kids. Okay so I do enjoy those, especially pics of my own grand and great grand kids, but I’m getting irritated just thinking about those other things.

I would get off of social media but with whom would I share my political insight or how I love Jesus, support the police and love my family. No one else cares about what I had for supper or that I’m in the parking lot of Albertson’s while my wife shops, speaking of irritation.

Perhaps being irritated is just a symptom of old age. Maybe I need to be more irritating. I think I’ll buy a baseball cap and drive slow in my new compact car and irritate those behind me just as I have been irritated by old farts in the past. Maybe I’ll post on Facebook pictures of those irritated drivers who finally pass me up.

I say what’s the fun if you can’t irritate someone? Hope you found this post irritating. Let me know if. you did. It’s no fun being irritating if you don’t know for sure that you are.

Weddings and Funerals

Generally I have  not been a fan of weddings and funerals. I don’t like getting dressed up. I don’t like pretending to know people. I do enjoy avoiding getting people off the hook by saying who I am and how I am related to the guests of honor. Let ’em guess. I mean generally these events are not about me and so are no big deal. I enjoyed my wedding, the best I can remember. I’ll likely miss my own funeral.

I had to attend a wedding and a funeral this weekend and I was determined to make the best of it. With the proper attitude the funeral turned out to be a blessing. I didn’t really know the deceased, but she obviously was a loving person who knew and served the Lord. The event helped me refocus on what’s important: service and family. The length of the race is unknown; got to just keep on running.

The wedding turned out to be fun.  It was great to see an old family friend so happy. The service was nice and the food was great. There are truly beautiful women in my family who are a joy and blessing to me. It was great to see them all dressed up, dancing and having fun. Weddings remind us of how the Lord has blessed us in our own lives. They give us hope that there are still good things in a world that kind of sucks.

There were a lot of old people at both the wedding and the funeral. By old, I mean older than mean me, so really old. I hope I’m not turning into one of those old people whose only fun is going to weddings and funerals. That would be horribly ironic.

Excuses

Watching the news this week, I found myself commenting how terrible it is that some have used a tragic death as an excuse to riot and loot. This got me thinking about excuses and how easy it is to fall back on them.

If the Saints or Cajuns or Florida Gators lose on the weekend, I can make that an excuse to have a bad attitude to start the week. When my wife cooks a great meal, the excuse to overeat comes very easily. I felt very justified in getting angry when a woman in front of me in the check out line at Wal-Mart had way too many items to be in the 20 item line. I even counted her items under my breath as she checked out . Turned out she had 19. Our excuses are usually not valid or even factually accurate.

There are way too many excuses floating around. A lack of good choices is no reason not to vote. A tough day is no reason to be unkind when we get home. A few bad eggs is no excuse to condemn everyone of the same color, faith, or philosophy.

Probably most important of all there is no valid excuse not to share the love of Jesus, lifting a hand to those who are down, hugging those who are distressed, feeding those who are hungry, loving those who seem unlovable.

Thanks to the rioters for reminding me for so many important things, there is just not excuse.

 

Waiting or Procrastinating

All of us have times when things aren’t happening. We usually say we are “waiting” for something to happen. Sometimes, we are just covering up our procrastination.

Waiting is an honorable thing. We are waiting when we have done everything we can and the next move has to come from someone else. When that someone else is God, we are in a good place. Scripture often proclaims the appropriateness of waiting on the Lord.  When waiting our eyes are on God. Our strength is renewed. Peace reigns.

Waiting often means that something has started. Things have been done. There is movement toward a goal. Waiting implies that we know the next thing that needs to happen and we are prepared to act when it does. When we wait we are prepared, ready and faithful that God knows best about timing.

Procrastination occurs when the ball is in our court and we search for reasons not to take the next step. It focuses on our lack of preparation, readiness or faith. We doubt that anything is really in process. We consider that maybe we have taken a wrong turn or misinterpreted a word from God.  We spend a lot of time looking in the mirror.

Procrastination is a place of anxiety, worry and doubt. Waiting is a place of peace, confidence and hope.

If you are in a quiet time of life, consider are you waiting or procrastinating? That’s what I’m asking these days.

 

Please Don’t Call Me a Christian

Please don’t call me a Christian. I have many reasons for this plea.

“Christian” has no meaning. People are called “Christian” because they once said a prayer or because they go to church or because they live in a “Christian” nation. Maybe they just claim the title. There are no standards for being a Christian.

Christians have been embarrassing.  Some of these people who are called Christians have done embarrassing, sometimes hateful things that I don’t want to be associated with. Some of these things are mass sins like persecutions or enslavements. Others are personal like individual hateful words or hurtful acts.

Jesus didn’t call me that.  Jesus didn’t call us “Christians.” He called us disciples or followers. He described us as salt and light. These terms describe our ability to grow to be like him through his power and grace and to reflect his goodness and glory.  Disciples are identifiable by what He has done and not what we accomplish. “Christian” has come to mean “holier than thou” or hateful. Jesus said we would be identified by our love. That’s based on how we reflect his light and love, not on what we say we believe.

It’s risky to abandon the “Christian” label. There is some comfort and security in its vagueness. When we claim the mantle of discipleship, salt and light, there are objective signs that confirm or deny our claim. Our status can be proved or disproved. There’s a need to continually seek his face and, thereby, reflect his glory.