Live for the King!
Is this one of those days?
This morning I was walking across the kitchen with my coffee. I had yet to take my first sip so I wasn't quite coherent to the fact that the kids markers were scattered across the floor. I stepped on one and the scene quickly looked like a log rolling competition. Miraculously I took a sip in mid air and was able to take control of the situation without even spilling a drop! It could've ended differently. I could still be on my back with coffee everywhere and marker on my face (don't ask me how it got there). That's a bad day kick-starter right there!
Bad days are relative though aren't they. There are bad days and then there are bad days. Tragic days. Depressing days. When my dad died nine years ago. That was a bad day.
I didn't want to write this today to say your bad day isn't valid. Not at all. But as I read the Scripture this morning, I was reminded that even in bad days we're not alone. I studied Romans 8 this morning and I wanted to share some Truths just from this one chapter that will bring joy and hope even on bad days.
Here are a few simple Truths that are true for all who follow Christ (From Romans 8):
- There is no condemnation for those in Christ.
- Spirit of life has set you free in Christ from sin and death.
- The same Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you!
- That Spirit is LIFE.
- We have received the Spirit of adoption as sons of God!
- We are heirs of God.
- These present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory to come.
- The Spirit helps us in our weakness.
- The Spirit intercedes for us.
- For those who God loves ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD.
- If God is for us, who can be against us.
- Who shall bring any charge against God's children?
- We are more than conquerors through Christ.
- Nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God. Nothing.
All of that and more in one chapter! Even as I flipped back to the Old Testament and read a little in Nahum I was reminded of another promise that I'd like to close with:
Nahum 1:7, "The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him."
If you're going through a rough stretch...or this morning you weren't able to recover as I did from the markers in the kitchen, know that you are not alone. Know that God is worth trusting and His promises He does not go back on.
May the LORD bless you!
ps...I realize some days are REALLY bad. If this is one of those and you would like prayer, Heidi and I promise to do so for you. Please shoot us an email at email@example.com
May this story encourage you today!
I was scrolling through iPhoto the other day when I realized that we have more pictures than days I've been alive. I mean, who takes all these?
I came to a picture however that I must share. I know pictures tell stories but there is a story behind this one that is nothing short of miraculous.
It's a story of how God saved our YWAM Idaho camp from a devastating fire in 2007.
We weren't here of course but we sure do see the effects of the fire. As we approached the camp for the first time back in June my youngest son said, "These woods look like a porcupine!". And they really did. Dead trees as far as you could see. Most of the limbs are burnt off so even without the imagination of a seven year old I could see the resemblance of a porcupine.
In 2007 a very large fire was headed toward camp. We're talking MILES across destroying everything in it's path. According to those who were around at the time, the YWAM staff knew it was coming and knew they had to get out of there. Before they left, they walked around the boundaries of the camp praying that God would protect it. People from all over the country were praying as well that the camp would be saved.
But honestly...who would think the camp would have a chance with a fire this big coming directly at it. As Christians we believe in miracles right? But this is a bit much!
As the fire came barreling down the mountain toward camp a miracle did happen. When it reached the camps boundaries it didn't cross it but instead went all the way around it and then came back together and went back up the next mountain. Nothing on the camp was touched by the flames.
There was nobody there fighting this fire. There was no sprinkler system. Just God protecting this camp so it could be used for His glory.
Let the picture tell the story:
This picture is taken in a panoramic view from the mountain across from camp. As you're looking down, the only green trees you see are within the camps boundaries. Everything else is burned.
God has been using this camp every year to train up young missionaries to go to all the Nations sharing the Gospel of Jesus.
What a great visual. Saved from the fires for some purpose. The same is true for all who claim Christ. You were saved from the fires of hell not just to be a nice looking "camp". So many Christians assume they were saved so that when times are tough they've got Jesus to fall back on. Man they are missing out! As I was reading in Romans 12 today Paul was saying, "Hey, you've been given gifts...USE THEM!!!" (my paraphrase 12:6).
I'm gonna head back to iPhoto and try to eliminate some of the 37 duplicate photos of a cool tree (who took these again?). I hope this picture of camp encourages you and challenges you today.
Oh, by the way, Roman's 12 is worth reading. Give it a go!
Just some short (and maybe a bit random) thoughts here...
This morning I was reading through Romans and a certain word kept jumping out at me.
Paul uses this word comparing those who are either obedient (slaves) to sin or an obedience that leads to righteousness. When I was done reading I jotted down this question in my journal:
What does obedience (to Jesus) look like?
And then ultimately...am I living an obedient life to Christ?
I don't normally attempt to answer such questions at this time of the morning...especially before my first cup of coffee. But if I wait, my boys will wake up and they can be quite needy in the morning which leads to me being disobedient to God (parents...you know what I mean).
So these are my pre-coffee thoughts. Take them for just that. But I do believe that God works and speaks even when caffeine has yet to take effect.
I asked God His thoughts on this.
Me: God, what does obedience to you look like?
God: Look at your children.
Me: I don't want to wake them up. It's too peaceful.
God: No, just think of them. Think of how they respond to you when you try to communicate with them.
Me: You mean, like when I talk to them?
God: Yes. Why do you communicate with your children?
Me: Well...I guess ultimately because I love them.
God: Right. And how do they respond?
Me: It's day to day.
God: What do you mean by that?
Me: Well, they are good kids but when it comes time for them to do what I ask, they all of the sudden become the most creative kids in the world. They come up with the BEST excuses!
God: Really? Like what?
Me: You really want to know?
God: Yes, I'm enjoying this.
Me: Ok, well, let's take Lego's for example. The boys love playing with them but when they do, the Lego's take over the house. When it's time to clean them up my youngest instantly comes down with some sort of stomach illness. It's like clean up time is a laxative for him. "Dad, I don't feel good. I think I have diarrhea". My middle child then gives me the best guilt trip ever. "Dad, we're in the middle of the hugest battle ever. If we clean it all up we'll have to start all over tomorrow and we'll forget where everyone was and have I told you that I love you today?". And then there is my oldest son. He says he's growing out of the Lego stage but he still sneaks in for a quick battle or to at least destroy some of his brothers progress.
God: So do they listen right away?
Me: Never (unless there is money involved).
God: You bribe your kids?
Me: Um...well, ya. OK. Sometimes. I'm sorry! I was desperate!
God: So how do the Lego's get picked up?
Me: Well, it usually takes me or their mom to get down on our knees and help them or to at least get them started.
God: Why don't you just let them keep the Lego's out all of the time?
Me: Have you ever stepped on a Lego at night on your way to the bathroom?
Me: Well, it REALLY hurts! And we have friends that come over with Lego eating babies...and it just to have things cleaned up from time to time.
God: I see.
Me: Why are we talking about Lego's again?
God: You asked me what obedience looks like.
Me: Oh ya....so?
God: Do you tell your boys to clean up the Lego's just to torture them?
Me: The thought has crossed my mind.
Me: OK. No, that's not the reason. It's good for them to be responsible. To clean up after themselves. And of course, it protects others from that awful pain in the middle of the night and the cursing that follows.
Me: I'm sorry.
God: You're forgiven.
God: Now how do you feel when your children don't listen to you? You've given them a clear command and they either ignore it or make excuses why they can't or won't do it?
Me: Ya...I see where this is going.
God: Good. That's why I created the family. So you could better understand ME!
God: Now, you see, I've given the Church a command. It's not a difficult one. It's simple and is for their own good. To love me with all their heart, mind, body and soul and to love their neighbor as themselves. But you should see the creative excuses I get! You asked me what obedience to me looks like. Let me point you to the Bible. James 1:22 says, "Be doers of the word, not just hearers only". The Church today has many hearers but just a few doers. This breaks my heart because I know what's best for my children. I am a gentle Father that gives them clear commands because I love them. If the Church became "doers", you would see me work through them in a way like never before. You would see the sick healed, the broken made complete, the lost found. My hope would spread across this Nation like wildfire. Nothing could stop it.
Me: I like that. I want that!
God: Good. Then encourage the brothers and sisters to spend time with their Father and to be doers of all they have heard.
James 1:22-27 (The Message)
22-24 Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
25 But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.
26-27 Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.