Monthly Archives: May 2010

Lesson from a Lemonade Stand

Check out my post on “Compelled” about visiting a lemonade stand.  It’s only one click away, so click the link below:

“Lesson from a Lemonade Stand”

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Meredith Andrews- “Never Move On”

Meredith Andrews- "Never Move On"
What love is this
That love should die
Now I am His
And He is mine
What a love came down
To rescue me
Where I was bound
He set me free

I don't need a new truth
All I need is more of You

To the cross I will run
For all my Savior has done
I will stay here and never move on
No other moment in time
So glorious, so divine
I will stay here and never move on 

Held captive here
In awe of grace
Joy found in tears
Upon Your face
And all my shame 
Just disappears
My guilt erased
When I am here

I don't need a new truth
All I need is more of You

To the cross I will run
For all my Savior has done
I will stay here and never move on
No other moment in time
So glorious, so divine
I will stay here and never move on

Nothing in my hands I bring
Simply to Your cross I cling, I cling

To the cross I will run
For all my Savior has done
I will stay here and never move on
No other moment in time
So glorious, so divine
I will stay here and never move on

The Dimension of the Heart

Did you know that there is a dimension to our heart?

I was reading my devotional this morning, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and she taught me something that I have never thought about before.  Here’s what she wrote in the point of view of Jesus:

“There are actually more than four dimensions in this world where you live.  In addition to the three dimensions of space and the one of time, there is the dimension of openness to My Presence.  This dimension transcends the others, giving you glimpses of heaven while you still reside on earth.  This was part of My original design for mankind.  Adam and Eve used to walk with Me in the garden, before heir expulsion from Eden.  I want you to walk with Me in the garden of your heart, where I have taken up permanent residence.”

Don’t worry if this seems to whoosh past over your head because I had to really think about it myself, too.  But think about it this way…

The dimensions of space–length (or height), width, and depth–are the ways in which we relate to tangible objects (anything that is composed of matter and can touch).  Example of dimensions of space: A sheet of paper is 8.5″ wide and 11″ long.  I can tell you that, and you can envision exactly in your head what that looks like.  In other words, we related using the dimensions of space.

But the dimension of the heart… This is different because it is the way in which we respond to everything that isn’t tangible.  To respond to something with the dimension of the heart requires faith that it even exists.  Whenever someone tells you that they are angry or sad, you can relate because you believe the emotion exists even though you can’t see the actual emotion that makes someone smile or frown.

You don’t see God but you have faith that He is there.  Even if you say, “God, I don’t believe in you anymore,” you still had to believe that He was there to here what you said.  Even if  you claim to not believe, you are still stating your relation to Him.

This is what Sarah is referring to when she says the “dimension of openness to His presence.”  She’s talking about the way that you can relate to God’s presence through faith.  The larger your faith, the larger your receptivity will be to God’s presence.

If you are having a hard time becoming aware of the presence of God, try looking at the size of your faith.  Ask yourself the question, “What makes my believing in the existence of happiness different than the existence of God’s presence in my life?”

Today, use the dimension of your heart.

What would it take to radically share the gospel?

“They beat the apostles and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

Then they left the presence of the council,

REJOICING

that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.

And every day in the temple and from house to house,

they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”

Acts 5:40-42

What would it take for us to rejoice in suffering for the name of Christ?

How can we learn to find honor in being counted WORTHY of such suffering on His behalf?

By the way that we live our lives, are we even worthy of suffering dishonor for His name?

———————————————

I read this passage again this morning, and it made me wonder, “Am I waiting for some event to happen in order for me to proclaim the Gospel from every rooftop? What am I waiting for?”

We can share the Gospel in between our friends and smile at the latest realizations we’ve had.  That’s great, but where is the daring courage to reach those that don’t know Him yet?

“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?”

Matthew 5:46

God has placed us on this earth to share His love with everyone around.  We should love them through living as an example of the love that Christ has for them.  Forget about our reward, but what others’ rewards.  Will you help them see their reward of heaven through believing?

The question for you today is this: “What would it take for me to love others through a contagious and compelling necessity to share the Gospel?”

What would it take for me to radically share the gospel?

Accepting grace and the charity of God

Today was I flipping through the pages of Blue Like Jazz by one of my favorite authors, Donald Miller. While scanning the notations and pages filled with highlights and stars, I came across one of my most favorite passages in the book.  The passage was about grace and why we sometimes have a hard time accepting it.  “It seemed wrong to me,” Donald says, “to not have to pay for my sin, not to feel guilty about it or kick myself around.  More than that, grace did not seem like the thing I was looking for.  It was too easy.”

Donald continues on by explaining how he was enlightened on the subject of grace while at a grocery store.  The story begins when he recalls seeing a lady in front of him pay with food stamps.  Donald wished that he could buy her groceries or help her out in some other way, but he knew that would only cause a greater scene.  But now, I will let Donald tell you the rest of his own story…

“On the drive over the mountain that afternoon, I realized that it was not the woman who should be pitied, it was me.  Somehow I had come to believe that because a person is in need, they are candidates for sympathy, not just charity.  It was not that I wanted to buy her groceries, the government was already doing that.  I wanted to buy her dignity.  And yet, by judging her, I was the one taking her dignity away…

I love to give charity, but I don’t want to be charity.  This is why I have so much trouble with grace.

A few years ago I was listing prayer requests to a friend.  As I listed my requests, I mentioned many of my friends and family but never spoke about my personal problems.  My friend candidly asked me to reveal my own struggles, but I told him no, that my problems weren’t that bad.  My friend answered quickly, in the voice of a confident teacher, ‘Don, you are not above the charity of God.’  In that instant he revealed my motives were not noble, they were prideful.  It wasn’t that I cared about my friends more than myself, it was that I believed I was above the grace of God…

As I drove over the mountain that afternoon, realizing I was too proud to receive God’s grace, I was humbled.  Who am I to think myself above God’s charity?  And why would I forsake the riches of God’s righteousness for the dung of my own ego?”

Blue Like Jazz

pages 83-85

Have you had a problem with accepting God’s grace?  Remember that even you are not above the charity of God.

“Becoming a better scratcher never makes the itch go away”

This past week, I was at home in Nashville, and my poor dog, Lacey, had the worst itching problem!  We would walk into the living room or kitchen and find cotton-balls of her fuzzy hair laying on the floor.  For a dog that’s not supposed to shed, we knew that she was desperately scratching to relieve an itch that never seemed to go away.

One Sunday morning at church, Dr. Cliff Wright talked about even us humans having an “itching problem.”  Although I don’t remember all of what he said, there was one saying that still sticks with me today.  “Becoming a better scratcher,” he said, “never makes the itch go away.”

So what is our itch?  What is the little mosquito that bit us in the first place?  In order to answer those questions, ask  yourself this: “What is an issue in my life that I have tried to handle on my own yet only seems to get worse?”

Materialism is just one example.  Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income.”  Addictions are another example.

One of my “itches” has always been the craving for others’ approval.  I would scratch and scratch by constantly seeking confirmation that what I was doing was accepted or approved of by my peers.  Once I received that complement, though, and felt that moment of temporary relief, my itch came back with with more severity and a greater need to be affirmed.  It was a vicious cycle, and it was only until I heard Cliff’s sermon that I realized the truth in his quote.  After all, I had become a pretty good scratcher and my itch certainly hadn’t gone away.

God is the only one that can make our itches go away.  Even more than this, though, God can even get rid of the pesky mosquito of sin that causes them.  It’s not easy, and it will take a while to go away, but trust God and grow in closeness with Him; let Him show you how His touch is even more soothing than calamine lotion.

Remain faithful to being full with faith

Do you ever feel like  you are searching for something that you can’t see?

We read the Bible, and we go to church, and we do all of these “Christian things,” and yet sometimes we just want to ask God, “Where are you?  Just show Yourself to me so that I can believe and never question Your existence again!”

Whenever we get this idea in our head, that we will have our search for God satisfied once we finally see Him, we are just getting ourselves mixed up.  You see, we’ll never be satisfied until the day that we are finally with God.

Brian Sorgenfrei, Mississippi State’s RUF minister, once talked about this while referencing Rocky Balboa.  He talked about how Rocky had trained for this one fight believing that it would be what defined him, what satisfied his deepest desires.  So the Italian Stallion fought that fight, and he even won!  But guess what…. there are five more Rocky movies!  That deepest desire that Rocky thought would be satisfied by winning the first, big fight, well, it was never satisfied, after all.

We are just like Rocky, going from one thing to the next trying to find a fact on which to base our faith.  If you truly believe in God and the work of His Son, His Holy Spirit lives within you!  What more of a reason for faith do you need than this?

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” –Hebrews 11:1

“We are always of good courage.  We know that while we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-7

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar.  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:13, 16

God has prepared a city for us, a heavenly one.  And though we cannot actually see it, we see the evidence of it in our daily lives.  Sometimes our faith is tested in hard times, but we have to keep it!

We have to remain faithful to being full with faith.