Thursday, January 22, 2009

Humility #1

In the last days of December I wrote about having a one word theme for the year. I really wanted to focus on self-control this year because I feel like I have a lot of room for improvement in that area. However, when I woke up on New Year's Day I was thinking about humility--and I knew that was the word God had for me. So for the past 22 days I have been pondering and studying (I use that word lightly) the act and attitude of being humble.

It is not easy.

Or fun.

BUT is has been good for me. Lesson for this week: Complaining about being "asked" to attend a meeting I think will be lame is really motivated by thinking my opinion and time is better than what my boss thinks. Feelings of superiority equal pride, which is the opposite of humility. Too bad I didn't learn this lesson before I complained all week to anyone who would listen. Now that I know complaining is rooted in pride maybe I'll do it less.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Why am still under the impression that I can some how escape the notice of the Omnicient One? Seriously. How do I think I would ever pull that off?

"I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve."
Jeremiah 17:10

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 
 Psalm 139:1-12

Monday, January 19, 2009

Rather Random

Exactly what I was thinking this morningCommentary on MLK, Obama, and the Promised Land.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Lately I've been thinking about this thing called salvation. Most of the time in the evangelical world the word salvation is directly connected to the eternal dwelling in which a person will inhabit. You know, heaven or hell. But I think we lose something when we only talk about salvation in reference to our final destinations. I do think it's pretty amazing that Jesus' death on the cross gives believers eternal life in heaven. I'm not saying that should be diminished in anyway, but I am saying I don't think salvation stops there.

The more I read the Bible and study God's word, I'm convinced that salvation is not just from eternal damnation. Jesus made it clear he came to give us abundant life (John 10:10). Paul says we've been given every spiritual blessing which includes wisdom and understanding, grace, the Holy Spirit, and his power. In Galatians Paul explains that where the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control follow. While I can't imagine that any of those will be lacking in heaven, I have to believe those gifts were meant for this life--not the next.

Just as I was starting to really wrestle with this topic, it came up in our study of Romans at church. This Sunday Pastor John spoke on Romans 6:1-14. He announced the beginning of his sermon was about the three phases of salvation, and I couldn't stop the enormous grin from taking over my face. He went on to explain the three phases of salvation by defining the following words. I'll just write what he included in his outline.

  • Phase One: Justification, being set free from the penalty of sin, happens the moment a person hands his or her life over to God.
  • Phase Two: Sanctification, being set free from the power of sin, is the process of becoming more like Christ. This is the daily salvation I have been contemplating recently.
  • Phase Three: Glorification, being set free from the presence of sin, will happen when we reach heaven some day.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Too often I forget that my job has the potential to be an incredible place of ministry. There are many hurting people in my building who have yet to begin a relationship with Christ. My goal has always been to love them and live out my faith in a way that draws them closer to Jesus. Last night I decided that I wanted to go into school today with the attitude that every encounter with some one was an opportunity. I prayed a lot that God would help me see opportunities and not distractions today at work. And you know what? God answered my prayer. Interruptions on my prep time were opportuinites to show love by being flexible and serving others. Students misbehaving were opportunities to correct in love and show them a better way. Looking at just student behavior, it really wasn't a great day. But it seemed like one of the best days I've had in a long time and I really think it's because God allowed me to see it not as a job, but as a ministry.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Counting My Blessings: Encouragement

I thrive on positive reinforcement; it's just the way God made me. Lately, my coworkers have been an amazing source of encouragement. There are two ladies who consistently remind me that I am doing a good job and that they appreciate my efforts. I can't tell you how much their words mean to me. God uses their encouragement to keep me going on the days I'd like to throw in the towel.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sorrow & Hope

Tonight my grandparents called to wish me a happy birthday, but they also told me about one of their closest friends who was killed in a motorcycle accident over weekend. Even though I grieve for my grandparents and the precious wife who lost her husband so suddenly, I can't begin to imagine the depth of their pain and sorrow. Compounding the situation is the fact that my grandparents don't have the hope that Jesus offers.

When I'm grieving, scared, or overwhelmed, I find myself going to Jesus' words in John 16. He's talking to the disciples about his impending death and resurrection. At the very end of the chapter he declares to them, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." This declaration from Jesus never fails to calm my wild thoughts or comfort my hurting heart. Jesus knows my troubles and has overcome them; I need only to find rest in him. But where will my grandparents will find solace and rest for their aching hearts? The only answer to this question is Jesus, but it brings both sorrow and hope. Sorrow because there's not much evidence they'll turn to Jesus. And hope that God will use this trying time to bring them into a right relationship with him.

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge." 
Psalm 62:5-8