You should brag more often.

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What is it about your life, that you are most excited about?
What are you proud of?
What accomplishments are you eager to share?

Boasting—whether it happens in conversation with others or in the solitude of our hearts—is the act of declaring what we think is good. Some examples:

“My kid scored the winning run.”
“My car is awesome.”
“My income is incredible.”
“My wit is quick.”

Isaiah talked about empty boasting:
“We have heard of Moab’s pride —how great is her arrogance!—of her conceit, her pride and her insolence; but her boasts are empty.” (Isaiah 16:6)

Jeremiah talked about the right kind of boasting:
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me…’” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Empty bragging springs from a heart independent from God. Self-sufficient achievements are expressions of prides, arrogance, and conceit. Boasting in the Lord glorifies him.

“My kid scored the winning run. He had very little success all season and this really boosted his spirits.”

“My car is awesome. It’s really old and it’ll probably break down a lot, but I’m thankful I have one. Now my parents don’t have to drive me around any more.”

“My income is incredible. I never thought I’d make this much, it’s more than I need and feel that God is calling me to support your ministry.”

“My wit is quick. My neighbor was really angry, I had no idea what to say. In that moment, God gave me the right words to say.”

Genuine boasting in the Lord puts the spotlight on him.

How Do You Know If You Are Too Confident?

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There are at least two aspects of overconfidence: perceived and actual.

Externally, some people are viewed by others as too confident. These people might be humble on the inside, but people don’t see it. This is a reflection of their foolish lack of self-awareness.

Naturally, some people are too confident on the inside, and their pride is a reflection of their heart.

Most of the time, internal overconfidence is expressed externally. Sometimes, people seem prideful but their hearts are humble.

Both diseases of overconfidence are inconceivably difficult to self diagnose–all those pesky self rationalizations get in the way.

Unfortunately, I haven’t just observed this, I’ve experienced it firsthand. Understanding the symptoms of overconfidence could lead to greater humility.

Perceived overconfidence exchanges inspiration with intimidation or indifference.

When we see the right amount of confidence in others, we are inspired and appreciate their passion. Your favorite singer doesn’t step on the stage sheepishly.

Actual overconfidence exchanges surrender for self-sufficiency .

Rather than trusting God, the self-sufficient place their trust in their own skills and achievements.

Are people intimidated by you? Are they indifferent and apathetic to your ideas? Who gets the spotlight in your heart, is it God or you? Talk to someone in your life to get an outside perspective.

 

Where do you find refuge?

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“The Lord has established Zion, and in her his afflicted people will find refuge.”
Isaiah 14:32

 

(a) Where do you find refuge when you are tired, exhausted, hurting or devastated?

(b) Where has God created refuge for you? In what prayers or places or people can you find his power and presence and protection?

(c) How can you get from (a) to (b)?

(d) What is keeping (c) from becoming a reality?

 

Are You Spiritually Healthy?

mattmcgill Inward life, Discipleship Leave a Comment

What does it mean to be spiritually healthy? Let’s get a little more specific: Were you spiritually healthy yesterday?

Answering this question is easy. Sure, it’s a little personal, but coming up with an honest answer is something most of us could do without much effort.

The next question goes a little deeper:  Why did you give that answer? How do you gage your spiritual health?

Answering this question is tough. You could skip it by thinking, “My spiritual health is based on how I feel.” It takes courage and hard work to come up with a wise answer that’s based on scripture.

The first 10 verses of John 15 uses the word “REMAIN” 11 times–that’s a lot! And it’s not like John lost his Jerusalem Thesaurus, he was intentional with his language. It’s clear that remaining in Jesus is important. But what does it actually mean to remain in him? According to Jesus, there are clear evidences of maintaining a healthy connection with him. We can move beyond guessing about our spiritual health, we can know with confidence. In this passage, we find at least four evidences:

Bearing Fruit — “Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (v. 4).
A healthy vine bears fruit, that is it’s purpose. In this passage, Jesus doesn’t specifically describe what fruit looks like. The Bible has a lot to say about bearing fruit, Galatians 5:22-23 is a popular passage. Sticking with this text, we can know we are remaining in Jesus when we do what he created us to do.

Jesus’ Words In Us — “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you” (v.7).
We are spiritually healthy when God’s Word is on our minds. This could be reading (or listening to) the Bible, memorizing a scripture, or meditating on a verse. If we go a whole day or a week without thinking about Jesus’ words, we are missing the mark.

Answered Prayers — “Ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (v.7).
Remember, context is always important when understanding scripture. This promise assumes that we are remaining in Jesus, bearing fruit and keeping Jesus’ words in us. Answered prayer is also evidence of remaining in Jesus. When was the last time you asked for something from God and received it? This is one way you can know you are remaining in him.

Obedience — “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love” (v.10)
Obedience is the foundation for remaining in Jesus, everything in the spiritual life begins and ends with obedience. This is not a matter of earning God’s favor, as Jesus say earlier in this passage, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you” (v. 3).  We can know if we are remaining in Jesus if we do what he tells us to do.

 

Consider your yesterday: Did you bear fruit? Did you keep Jesus’ words close? Were any of your prayers answered? Ultimately, did you obey Jesus?

 

Learn to Loose

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Jesus gave up his rights, he willingly chose to loose when he could have won. He did this because it was the Father’s will and because his kingdom was from another place–not of this world. Under the unfair judgment of Pilate, Jesus said,

“My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” John 18:36 (NIV)

Jesus had servants who could have fought for him and won. What could it look like for us to follow his example of self-sacrifice?

It doesn’t mean that we seek to be treated unfairly. Jesus taught and healed and did all the things his Father called him to do, but he didn’t look for trouble. Following his example doesn’t mean we choose to be weak. While facing unfair judgement, Jesus was teaching and testing convictions. He answered Pilate:

“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?” John 18:34 (NIV)

I love how the Voice translates this verse:

“Are you asking Me because you believe this is true, or have others said this about Me?” John 18:34 (Voice)

It’s not easy to loose when we know we can win. Pride and fear make it difficult. But we can follow Jesus’ example with confidence by remembering that we are citizens of a different kingdom.

As we look into this scripture, we see the principle of self-sacrifice, we have the security to move forward without fear. There is one thing left: what might this look like in our own lives?

 

Seven Easy (and Essential) Habits for Reading the Bible Well

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After fasting from food for forty days, Satan tempted Jesus and challenged him to make bread. Jesus quoted Moses and his response was earthshaking:

“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

WHY WE READ THE BIBLE

Life isn’t easy. We were either busy, stressed, or both. We make mistakes, and some of them are serious. We need a steady stream of transformation, inspiration, and insight. Every day we need help, and it’s only found in God’s presence and his power.

When we make the time to read the Bible, we do so because we want to deepen our relationship with him.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.

This is a big problem for those of us who have made God our top priority. How can we get into position so that we might live on God’s Word?

SEVEN EASY HABITS

Preparation is key. To read the Bible well, you need to set yourself up to win. What follows is seven easy Bible reading habits–they are easy because anyone can do them. This is a good thing, because I believe they are also essential.

#1. Begin with PRAYER.
Take the following prayer and change it to make it your own:

“God, help me to hear your voice. Forgive me for my sins, my pride and imperfections. Clean my heart so I can hear you speak. Thank you for loving me, and that your love is unconditional and inescapable. Thank you for speaking to me, for loving me first so that I could respond in love back to you. Keep me focused on you and your word, keep me free from distraction. Help me to understand your will for my life, so that I can live according to your purpose for me.”

#2. Pick the right TIME.
Timing is everything. If you are a morning person, make that your primary time to read God’s Word. If you are night person, read at that time. Pick a time when you’ll be at your best and you won’t be rushed.

#3. Choose the right PLACE.
Choose a place where you have the best chance of being distraction free. If you need total quiet to concentrate, don’t try to read your Bible at a coffee shop or a restaurant.

#4. Disconnect from your DIGITAL world.
This should be a “given,” but in our world, it isn’t. Turn off the Wi-Fi, smart phone, tablet, and watch if it’s “smart” too. Everyone you know can live without 24/7 access to your life… the real question is can you live without it? Believe it or not, when you disconnect digitally, the world will still rotate around the sun.

#5. Follow a realistic PLAN.
There are several ways to read the Bible. Some people turn to a random page, start reading, and then find a verse that is personally powerful. What I love about this message is the spiritual submission and readiness to hear God speak. The tough thing about this approach is that it’s not a great way to read for understanding. Pick one book, start at the beginning and read it all the way through. You may read it fast (several chapters or the whole thing) or you may read it slow (just a few verses.) If you are reading a book in the Bible for the first time, my suggestion is that you read as much as possible, preferably the entire book, in one sitting. This will give you the big picture, and then you can go back and read it at a slower pace with an understanding of how everything fits together.

Another challenge for many people is the “read through the Bible in a year” plan. This is a great thing to do! But for many people three chapters a day is too much, and after skipping a few days, the guilt piles up. Follow a plan that is realistic for you.

#6. Delay your DISTRACTIONS.
You will get distracted. It’s unavoidable. Don’t try to deny the distractions, delay them by writing them down. If you are distracted by something you need to do, (for example, “I need to text Bobby”), take 10 seconds to write that down. That’s much better than taking 60 seconds to text Bobby–especially because he might text you back, another distraction! If you are distracted by something you need to think about (for example, thinking about an awkward conversation from a few days ago), indulge the distraction for a few moments, and then ask God to help you return to reading his Word.

#7. Record your QUESTIONS.
The Bible can be confusing. This isn’t just a good thing, it’s a great thing! Every time you are confused, you are positioned to learn something. Don’t let your questions distract you, and neither do you want to loose them. Write them down and make it a point to find the answers later. Ask a friend, your pastor, or maybe even google it–although remember that just because it’s on the web, that doesn’t mean it’s good or true!

I love questions, and I love hearing them from others. Feel free to submit your questions to this site, and I’ll do my best to get you an answer.

A Prayer from Ephesians

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A prayer written by Tom Holladay: as a summary of his sermon, which you can find here.

Lord—I want things to change—really change—in my prayer life.
I pray from time to time, I want to learn to pray all of the time. Teach me to pray.
I pray casually, I want to learn to pray earnestly. Teach me to pray.
I pray for a change of my circumstances, but forget to pray for a change in my character.
I pray for my needs to be met, but forget to pray for my love to increase.
My prayers often stretch no further than tomorrow when I want them to reach towards eternity.
Teach me to pray. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What I love about this prayer:

  1. It’s based on scripture, you can see how it’s connected here.
  2. It’s personal yet aspirational without being judgemental. What I mean is that it talks about where we are “at” and where we need to go, without condemnation. It’s not bad to pray from time to time…but it’s better to pray all the time.
  3. It was a practical application of everything he talked about in the message.

 

The Wrong Way to Pray

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“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’  

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  (Luke 18:9–14)

 

In this parable, we see two very different prayers.

The first prayer is from a Pharisee. These people were religious leaders for Israel and considered to be a model of the spiritual life. The pharisee stood alone and prayed a prayer of comparison. In his eyes, he was much better “other people, the robbers, evildoers, adulterers.” His self-righteousness blinded him and he couldn’t see his personal sin.

The second prayer is from a tax collector. These people had a reputation for corruption and sin. He stood at a distance, he could not even lift his head and in anguish he hit his chest. He prayed a prayer of confession, and asked for God’s mercy because he was a sinner.

When we pray, it’s not about how much better we are than others. If you’ve been following Jesus then your live ought to be much different. Confessional prayer is about being honest with God about our sin and asking for his mercy. Confession in prayer transforms your guilt into something better gold, it strengthens your faith and restores your relationship with God.

 

whoreputationattitudeprayerresult
Pharisee"saint" / community leader / spiritualpridecomparisoncontinued self-righteousness
Tax Collector"sinner" / corrupt / unspiritualhumilityconfessionjustified before God

 

A prayer for the burdened

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Our savior Jesus said,
“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 is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Father. I come to you today with a heavy heart. Life is tough and I feel overwhelmed. I am tired and carrying too much. When I consider all that I have before me, rest seems impossible. Your promise of rest feels improbable. God, I give you my burdens, as best I can. Teach me, because I need to learn new truths. I willingly submit to your yoke, your will for my life. Thank you for your gentleness and humility. Everywhere around me is pressure and pride. My soul needs rest it can only be found in you. Forgive me for trying to do everything on my own. Forgive me for the times I settle for the diversions of the world rather than trusting in your true spiritual rest. Amen.

Can Anything Good Come From Feeling Hopeless?

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The people in the Bible are far from perfect. It’s actually quite refreshing.

Job asks a question and makes a declaration that don’t paint a pretty picture of faithfulness to God. Job was hopeless and it was real, raw, visceral:

“Why then did you bring me out of the womb?
I wish I had died before any eye saw me.” (Job 10:18)

It’s okay to question your very existence with despair. To be human is to hope; and to be human in a broken world means that we will loose hope. We will trust in the wrong things and be disappointed. Situations will spin out of control and we will suffer loss. It’s normal to feel hopeless at times. It’s my opinion that those to never loose hope lead unexamined lives.

Job’s life was terrible. An while our tragedy may never compare to his, personal pain and loss and suffering is real. Comparisons are largely irrelevant.

Although Job’s question seems to be an expression of feeling, there is a rational side to it. Honestly asking his question can lead to greater wisdom. We ought to ask God for his design on our life. The Creator of the heavens and the earth has a plan for everyone.

Hopelessness can be a time to reboot and rediscover what’s really important. Thinking honestly about the trajectory of our lives is a good thing, even if it’s painful.

Job’s declaration is heartbreaking. When we see these kinds of feelings in others, we ought to respond with love and compassion. When we find this kind of hopelessness in our own hearts, we must do our best to seek God’s presence, which is more powerful than rational answers.

Hopelessness can lead to greater humility, which means depending on God because we’re convinced that we can’t live with out him.

If hopelessness leaves to greater surrender, we have found something good, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Two Upsides to Unfair Accusations

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I felt like I was unfairly accused the other day, and I don’t respond well to what I consider to be unjust criticism. Some people can roll with it, but that’s not my natural response. If you are interested, you can read about that HERE.

That experience had me on high alert when I was reading 1 Peter. God used a few verses from chapter 2 to challenge my thinking:

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:11-12)

  • Naturally, I was challenged by the warning about sinful desires—these are a daily occurrence for me.
  • The encouragement to live a good life among “the pagans,” got me thinking: “What do people outside of the church think about me?”
  • I wasn’t excited about the connection between my internal sinful desires and my external life among non-believers … I’d like to indulge in the self deception that my private life doesn’t impact my public life… grrrr

As if I wasn’t challenged enough, I read Peter’s teaching about false accusations. I was hoping he would say something along the lines of Paul in Romans 12: don’t take revenge so that you leave room for God’s wrath … serve them, because doing so will heap burning coals on their head. Now that’s something I can get behind: SERVE SERVE SERVE and let God handle the punishment.

Peter adds a new color to the picture. In God’s economy, injustice can be the first step that leads to glorifying God. Consider this for a moment:

The person who criticizes is opening themselves up to glorifying God.

The key is to live a good life. One that is so good, that they may notice your good deeds that they glorify God. There’s a long game here: their glorifying of God might happen on the day God visits us—which is to say, sometime in the future.

Living a good life doesn’t guarantee that the attacker will come to faith, and if it does happen, we may never see it. But there is still a hope we need to have: Live such good life so that your false accusers might come to the faith.

Evangelism for everyone: We don’t need to accost and attack strangers verbally!

Listening to criticism is terrible. However, there are at least two upsides:

(1) The light of your good life shines brighter in the darkness of injustice and unfair accusations.
(2) There’s a possibility that your good life will lead to your attacker glorifying God.

The commands in this passage are connected. We are to see ourselves as foreigners and exiles who are noticed by the locals because we are different and set apart. How are we different? By living the kind of good life that prompts critical accusers to glorify God. This kind of life comes only from fighting against our sinful desires.

How to Actively Hear God’s Voice

mattmcgill Discipleship Leave a Comment

I don’t like it when I’m treated unfairly. You probably don’t either. All of us react differently when we are attacked. I lean heavily toward a “passionate response.” That’s code (and rationalization) for fight fire with fire.

It’s not very Christlike, and I’m working on it.

I’m an assistant coach, and a few days ago, a parent had some constructive criticism for the whole coaching staff. I was quiet the first two times he made his case. Another coach jumped in and agreed with him, and the parent saw this as an invitation to make his case a third time. I get it. It’s not easy to speak up. Neither is it easy for me to stay quiet, so I fired back a a little push back. The conversation didn’t escalate, which is was a bonus.

This situation got me thinking about my weakness when I’m facing accusation. I was on high alert when I read 1 Peter chapter 2. We’ll talk about my reflections later, but the point for today is this:

What’s going on in your life that ought to be filtered through your reading of scripture?

Recently, have you been hurt? Have you offended someone? Were you surprised in some way? Have you been distracted? Did something make you laugh or give you joy?

What’s the most memorable thing that’s happened in the last few days? And, how can God speak to you about that situation through scripture?

Why Relational Connections are Important to Me

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I recently spent a little time thinking about my friendships and thanking God for their impact in my life. Fellowship is a gift! We aren’t entitled to friends, we have to be a good friend to develop significant relationships. As I was considering the benefits I receive from my close friends, the following blessings bubbled to the top:

Laughter and Fun. It’s not a surprise that being around good people creates joy. Life can be stressful, busy, discouraging, overwhelming … I need joy! Diversions seem good, but joy truly is good.

Encouragement and Support. Everyone wants to be accepted. Personally, this translates into being understood by others. This has led me to be an open person…and sometimes too open! #oversharing

Feedback and Correction. I have a ton of opinions–on just about every subject. I desperately need outside perspective. If I only live in MATT’S WORLD, things get crazy…QUICK. I need the growth that can only come when I’m around others.

Ministry and Impact. Significance is rooted in Christ, which means becoming more like him. Jesus came to serve and to help other people. Helping others is better when I do it with others. We can minister alone–which is the path some of us have to take–but there is greater meaning when I serve alongside a friend.

How does God bless you through your friends?

Father, Thank you for the gift of fellowship. I need the people you have placed in my life. Forgive me for the times I take my friends for granted. Help me to nurture my friendships so that I give and not just take. Amen.

A Personal Leadership Tune Up

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The people we know deserve our best, so we ought to work on getting better. When we delay our personal growth, we aren’t just limiting our potential, we also have a weaker impact in the world around us.

When it comes to personal growth, we get to choose our own adventure: either we decide to have consistent check ups or we will eventually fall into depressing ruts. If a car’s oil isn’t changed regularly, eventually the engine will break down and need to be replaced. The CHANGE OIL LIGHT is easy to ignore, but the catastrophe of a broken engine denied.

The same is true with our personal and ministry relationships. When we make a mess of our lives, it’s rarely an instant train wreck. The destruction is incremental. It’s more like a slow leak under the foundation. And over time, the constant drip drip drip slowly erodes the soil and then disaster strikes.

 

The following download offers a few questions to jump start your thinking about your leadership. This way you can discover a few tweaks to make now. Giving yourself a minor tune up will keep you on the road for the long haul.

DOWNLOAD PDF and WORD

 

Prayer from Habakkuk 1:13

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Father,
Thank you for showing me who you are. Thank you for being holy and just. Help me to know you better, to know you as you actually are, and not as I want you to be.
Thank you for not tolerating evil. Thank you for not being OK with the bad things that have happened to me. Help me to be honest about the evil in my life. Strengthen me when I begin to rationalize my sinful behaviors.
Thank you for your Son, Jesus, who died so that I might be holy like you are holy and just like you are just.
Amen
“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.” (Habakkuk 1:13)

Does it matter that God is holy and just?

mattmcgill Discipleship Leave a Comment

“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.” (Habakkuk 1:13)

When I reflect on this verse, I am reminded of the holiness and justice of God.

God is holy, set apart from all of creation in a way that we cannot fully understand.

God is also just: good and evil actually exist. Life isn’t fair, but God is. Eventually, the scales will be balanced and everyone will receive what they deserve.

We live in a world that says God is nothing more than the product of our imagination, that God is like us because we’ve created him in response to our insecurities and fears. Our world also says that evil is mostly a matter of perspective or opinion. Neither of these messages are true.

God doesn’t tolerate evil. This is so different than our experience. We are surrounded by evil every day. We commit evil thoughts and actions. But God is different in a way that we can’t fully understand.

There is also hope in this passage. God does not condone the evil that is happening in this world. We are also challenged: God doesn’t condone the evil in our own hearts.

This is good news: God doesn’t just recognize the problem, he does something about it. When we step back and look at the fuller picture of who God is, we are reminded of his presence and his love:

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:14)

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

The God who is holy—the one who is set apart and utterly unique—came to be with us. He is different, but not distant.

The God who is just—the one who cannot tolerate evil—paid our price. Our evil incurred a debt we could never hope to repay.

God is not divided or conflicted. He is not sometimes just and at other times justifying. God is not sometimes holy and at other times close.

This teaching from Habakkuk is a call to praise the God who is not like us and has no tolerance for evil. Let us be holy like he is holy—uncommon in our world but not disconnected. Let us also take an inventory to see how much evil we tolerate in our own lives so that we can bring that to him in humility and repentance.

What God Can’t See

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“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.” (Habakkuk 1:13)

A few questions for reflection:

  • What does this scripture teach about God’s character?
  • What is your initial response? How does this make you feel?
  • Does this verse raise any questions or confusion?

Who Will Rescue Us?

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“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me… What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Romans 7:21-24)

In this world, on this side of eternity, life is difficult and draining. Every failure creates conflicting feelings that are hollow and heavy. Daily, we are:

  • shamed by sins
  • ensnared by passions
  • enslaved by fears
  • burdened by cares
  • entangled by vanities
  • surrounded by errors
  • worn out by labors
  • oppressed by temptations
  • weakened by pleasures
  • tortured by want**

In light of all that we are facing, who will rescue us? Where can find deliverance? Where do we look to find the essential help we desperately need?

“Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25)

Salvation isn’t a gift that begins the moment we die. That would be gift enough, but there is more. Salvation is also help for the problems we face today. In Jesus we can rely on God’s strength. There are many situations and circumstances beyond our control that threaten to overwhelm us. We are drowning, sinking fast beneath the waters, and we need help.

We cannot WILL IT or WISH IT all away. The strongest among us do not have enough strength. We cannot sustain a lifelong push against  the impurities of the world and in our own hearts.

We can only trust Jesus.

The one who saves us, today and every day into eternity.

 

-MM

**This list is adapted from “The imitation of Christ,” by Tomas A Kempis (chapter 48).

Meet The Controllers

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They fear the unknown and hate the unknowable.
They answer questions without questioning answers.

Greet you with a plastic face,
Face their life with an iron fist,
Fractured heart with empty joy.

Predictable is comfortable is predictable.
Cage the dragons, vanish the chaos!
Make life safe like a roller coaster.

Lock it down!
Label it right!
Get it figured out tonight!

The controllers know, but never show:
All their efforts end in pain, and
Misery knows no other company.

Instead of letting go and
In place of looking in,
Indulge they do, in vanity-insanity:

“I can’t control it all, so let’s pretend.”

Two Responses to Conflict

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Let’s face it, no one likes conflict.

However, conflict is inevitable. It’s never a question of IF a conflict might occur, it’s a question of WHEN. If a conflict is handled with maturity, it can lead to tremendous growth. We can grow closer to God, others, and even develop personal insight. Conflict creates unique opportunity.

There are two common responses to conflict—imploding and exploding—and neither are healthy. The “imploders” bottle up their feelings, while the “exploders” do the opposite: everyone knows how they feel.

Handling conflict poorly often leads to relational issues. The imploders may be good at keeping the peace, but are lonely because no one knows how they really feel. The exploders may be good at “keeping things real”, but others can pull away in fear of the next outburst.

Both responses to conflict offer short term solutions. For the imploder, everything eventually comes out and a conflict become much intense than it should. For the exploder, he or she may recover quickly after an episode, but everyone else the after effects linger.