When living out my Christian faith is hard I remind myself that:
1. I’m not called to walk naked like the prophet Isaiah among the people of Israel.
2. I’m not called to marry an unfaithful wife like the prophet Hosea.
3. I’m not called to be a mime or play with tinker toys like Ezekiel.
4. Unlike the Apostle Paul I’ve not been beaten in defense of my faith.
All I’m called to do is live out my faith day by day in a relationship with God. It’s the least I can do.
When you reach a dead end, remember that God does allow u-turns.
Do these actions qualify as open-handed faith?
1. Driving with your hands off the wheel as you praise God.
2. Slapping someone who disagrees with your theology.
3. Being a greeter at Church and shaking hands during flu season.
4. Eating food that laid on the floor longer than five seconds cause the Pastor prayed over it.
5. Being baptized without a life jacket and not holding onto the side rail.
6. Giving all the coins in your pocket for the offering at Church.
7. Leaving the hymnal books on the pew and singing from memory.
8. Not checking your watch while the youth director is preaching.
9. Not checking your Facebook or Twitter feed during the invitation at Church.
10. Letting a two year old boy go to the bathroom alone and expecting him to return unaccompanied to the Church nursery.
Open-handed faith is about relaxing your control of your time, talents, money, relationships, work, problems, anxieties and stresses and yielding them to God. Scarcity thinking is replaced with an attitude of generosity toward others. God is in control and he is enough.
*Thank you to Greg Holmes for challenging me to open-handed faith. Here is a link to the message. It is the first selection under ‘Born To Be Wild’.
(Click on the headphones to listen.)
Dictionary.com defines SETBACK as “a check to progress; a reverse or defeat”.
I have been making such progress in my recovery from neck fusion surgery that I became overconfident. I tried to do to much and ended up stuck in bed for a couple of days.
I know that we all experience setbacks. They are inevitable. But this one was especially painful.
For the first time since my surgery I wanted to withdraw and give up.
But I know that these negative feelings are temporary. I know the positive feelings I was experiencing in exercise and physical therapy. I know the joy I was feeling as form and function are being restored.
I know I have to rest and recover before I can continue.
I have learned that:
Overcoming a setback can be grueling and exhilarating at the same time.
Setbacks can cause us to reexamine or goals and count the cost.
Setbacks can lead us to introspection, action, or paralyzing depression.
Whether a setback is temporary or permanent depends on our response..
My wife and I have just started our second jigsaw puzzle in the last seven days.
We both have different strategies in starting the puzzle.
I like to build the borders first and work out from the corners. My wife is drawn toward the middle of the puzzle, which is usually the most colorful portion.
My wife is constantly scanning the picture on the box for comparison. I pull a bright light over so I can see the small details on each of the pieces.
After my recent neck fusion surgery, I can only lean over the puzzle for about 45 minutes before I have to take a break. My wife can lean over the table for hours.
I usually look at the the puzzle upside down. My wife usually looks at the puzzle from the right side up.
We see things differently. We approach the puzzle with different strategies. But we work together to accomplish our goal and have fun in the process.
I have spent my life in pursuit of many things.
1. An athletic varsity letter jacket in high school.
2. A college degree.
3. The love of my life, who graciously consented to be my wife.
4. A career that provided financial security and impacted others in a positive way.
5. The blessing of being a parent.
6. Unconditional love and acceptance.
7. Significance. What will I leave behind that will last?
Yet at the same time I was chasing these things, God was always pursuing me.
He has allowed me to see what was fleeting and would not last.
He has created an instinctive craving for meaningful relationships in me.
He has authored a desire for my life to have meaning and significance.
He has let me experience the wonder of his affection and pursuit.
I will never understand the love of the Father that would run toward his creation for a relationship. But I am grateful.
What if we binge read the Bible like we watched a TV show on Netflix?
What if we fed on God’s word like a hungry man at an all you can eat buffet?
What if we spent as much time with God in prayer as we do on social media?
What if we invested as much of our heart in the reality of His Kingdom as we do in the latest reality show?