Thursday, October 12, 2017

I Am Perfect

Matthew 5:48

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

I am perfect.  Yes, me.  The faulty, flawed, defective human that I am.  I am perfect.

I've spent the majority of my life trying so hard to be perfect, too.  And always feeling like a huge failure because, of course, just like most everyone else, I'm human.  Which means I have flaws and defects - real and perceived.  I look into my life and I see mistakes and wrong turns.  I look in the mirror and I see flaws.  How could I ever be perfect.

Having heard the scripture about being perfect like God is perfect, I have always felt like I was carrying around such a heavy load of hopelessness underneath my seemingly poor attempts at perfection.  Live like that for too long and you start feeling like maybe your walk with God is a fa├žade.  Maybe everyone else has figured out how to be perfect while you do your best to "fake it 'til you make it." 

Well, not all that long ago, God used the little e-Sword app on my phone to speak to me about this perfection thing.  It was a simple tapping on the reference number next to the word perfect.  The original Greek word is teleios, which basically means complete.  Complete. 

Complete.  Let that sink in for a moment. 

It's almost like God was saying to me - don't worry, I just want to be your everything, and if I am, you are perfect...complete in Me.  That huge weight of hopelessness fell of my shoulders as my understanding became complete...perfect. 

In Colossians 2:10 it says that we are "complete in Him."  Interestingly enough, my e-Sword app says the word complete here also means perfect.  I need no further convincing of my own perfection.  I do know who I am in Jesus.  I am His and He is mine.  I am complete in Him.  I am perfect.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Voice of Truth

1 John 4:18
Amplified Bible

18 There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].

I am going to try to keep it short and simple.  We all grow up hearing a lot of voices.  Whether it be parental, religious, or of the world - we hear them all.  Some are good, some are not.  But altogether, they form the things we listen to in our own heads. 

As we become adults, sometimes it is hard to sort through all the voices and hear truth. 

The truth is, God is love.  The truth is He is full of mercy.  The truth is He is kind.  The truth is He looks at us differently than we look at ourselves.  The truth is He looks at us differently then the person next to us.  The truth is if we are living in fear of people, God, etc., then we do not understand God's love for us. 

Listen to the voice of truth.  Turn it up and let it drown out all the other voices.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Stay on the Path

Proverbs 3:5-6
New Living Translation

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.
Another passage of Scripture that most of us know by heart.  To the point where we spout it off like it's so easy to do.  Like there's no need to worry about a thing, because God is going to direct our path...
Well, I can't speak for anyone else, although most who read this post will most likely relate - it's not easy.  Even as we trust in God and submit to His will...the "path" of life can have a lot of bumps, ruts, weeds, blind corners, boulders, and any other description of things that makes it hard to traverse. 
In meditating on this a little, I realized that when I have thought about how I try to follow the advice of these scriptures, I kind of make the assumption that it's going to make my life easier, and the obstacles smaller.  Then I thought about how that does not always seem to happen, I still face the obstacles and things that seem to hinder my progress - even though I am trusting God with my life!  What?
Then God reminded me of how my own personal growth has almost always come out of the hard times in life.  Aren't those the times we hit our knees and draw closer to God?  So, when we are traveling our path, the one shown to us by God, and it's bumpy and rough, and we wonder if we can make it though - don't try to find the easier way - find God, and let him draw you closer.  If we do that, that is when the growth in ourselves happens, and the boulders become pebbles, the weeds bloom, and the blind corners get straightened out. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

It's Messy

Isaiah 53:5
New Century Version

But he was wounded for the wrong we did;
    he was crushed for the evil we did.
The punishment, which made us well, was given to him,
    and we are healed because of his wounds.
Forgiveness.  It is such a gargantuan word at times.  I have sometimes wondered why it can be so hard to do and feel!  In the archives of this blog, I have more than once expressed my struggle with forgiving and loving those whom I have felt hurt by.  It goes against the grain (aka human nature) to forgive.  It really doesn't make a lot of sense most of the time. 
I would say that our innate desire to protect and preserve ourselves is the reason forgiveness can be so hard, sometimes seeming completely impossible.  It takes humility to forgive, because it means we have to let go of our justified feelings or perspective.  And that can hurt like crazy - I know!
When Jesus came to earth, gave Himself on the cross because of our sins, when He took the punishment we deserved, He was extended to all of us forgiveness, in anticipation that we would need it!  Now, rewind in your mind to the cross itself.  This is where He did what He needed to do so that we can at any time, any place, any reason, ask Him to forgive us.  The cross was messy.  He had to humble Himself.  It was a bloody, gory, painful, uncomfortable, an "against the grain" thing to do.  Yet He did it because He was looking way ahead in time, even at me, and saw that I would need it, and He wanted a relationship with me - and you.  So, He paid the cost.  He thought it was worth it.
When we forgive, it can be painful.  It is ultimately the laying down of our own selves - our feelings, our rights, our perspective - hurts just thinking about it, right?  We may not have to experience the cross in order to forgive, but we can understand that forgiveness comes with cost.  It's messy.  But it's worth it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Root of It All

Psalm 139:23-24
Good News Translation
23 Examine me, O God, and know my mind;
    test me, and discover my thoughts.
24 Find out if there is any evil in me
    and guide me in the everlasting way.
As a contemplative person by nature, this prayer of David's rings true for me.  It isn't always a pleasant pursuit - being searched and examined by God - however, I believe it is so necessary. 
This, like most of the Bible's guidelines and principles, does not come natural.  As humans, especially in today's culture and society, what is natural is to blame other's for our problems and shortcomings.  Taking responsibility and being accountable for one's actions and words doesn't seem to be the "norm."  The way of human nature (a.k.a. one's own will) is to pass on the responsibility to other people, to protect, at any costs, one's own feelings.  Generally, in my own experience and observations, this comes down to the main human nature problem - pride. 
If we are really, truly submitting to God's Word, we are choosing humility.  Then we can subject ourselves to His examination and testing.  Then He can point out the waywardness of our own selves and point us in the right direction.  But it only happens when we stop pointing the proud fingers of blame at other people. 
However painful the process, I know I need His searching, I want Him to put me on the everlasting way. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Finding Yourself

James 1:23-25
New Life Version

23 Anyone who hears the Word of God and does not obey is like a man looking at his face in a mirror. 24 After he sees himself and goes away, he forgets what he looks like. 25 But the one who keeps looking into God’s perfect Law and does not forget it will do what it says and be happy as he does it. God’s Word makes men free.

In our crazy world, the message is to make yourself happy, look out for number one, do what feels right, be who you are, find yourself, etc.  These attitudes can even invade our churches - they are made up of people, after all. 

But the scripture referenced indicates that it is not about ourselves.  In fact, if you are "finding" yourself outside of the mirror of God's Word, you will be unhappy.  We need to use the Word of God as a mirror into our lives - find yourself in the Word let it change you - and be happy and free!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

No Back-Up Plan

Daniel 3:16-25
King James Version

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

I'm sure anyone reading this post knows all about the three Hebrew children and King Nebuchadnezzar.  How he wanted them to bow to his idol, and they wouldn't.  How he got really angry and said if you don't, I'll throw you into a furnace to be burned alive. 

The passage above is their answer to the king when he asked them what their problem was.  They let the king know that they had faith that God could save them.  It is pretty clear that they had no doubts on that subject.  But notice Verse 18, by saying "but if not" they recognized that God's ways were higher than theirs and were completely and unreservedly trusting in His purpose and plan. 

There have been so many times in my own life where I have "believed" God for something that He didn't do.  I have questioned my own faith in those times, thinking that a lack of faith was keeping God from doing what I believed He could do. 

As I think about these things, I look at the example of the three Hebrews, they believed God could and would deliver them. But they still thought maybe he wouldn't, and if He didn't, they were good with it.  They were all in with their trust in God.  No reservations.  They didn't have a back-up plan on how they would handle the situation if God didn't come through.

I understand a little better today the lack that I have perceived in my own life.  It's not a lack of faith or knowledge that God can do something.  It's the presence of a back-up plan in case He doesn't do something.  That is not who God is.  His ways and thoughts are higher than ours.  If we decide to trust Him, we need to trust him, period.  If we are praying and asking for His intervention in our lives, all the while planning on what to do if He doesn't show up, then we are not really all in. 

I want to be all in with God, with no back-up plan.  I trust Him, I know He can do wonderful, miraculous things.  And if He doesn't - I still trust Him, and still know He can.  No back-up plan!