Bottom Layer of Ice

“Only God has the love we need—yet we’ve turned away from him, except to demand convenient instructions and cooperative help. So we manage every relational encounter with self-need as our ultimate value. We talk about topics we can handle. We try to build our mate’s self-esteem so we can feel good about ourselves. We pout so friends will ask what’s wrong. We tell jokes to keep from revealing loneliness. Self-need plus self-management—a spirit of entitlement and an attitude of independence—become the foundation of our lives, the bottom layer of ice. We become hopelessly religious.” —Larry Crabb

Go to church—but not for the music, the coffee, self-help sermons or bragging rights to how great the place makes you feel—pageantry that covers up wicked hearts never impressed Him. Go for Him. He’s there and He’s waiting, because He loves you more than you can know. We have no Christian entitlements—everything is blood-bought by Him before whom every knee shall bow. Go to church—revel in His love and majesty and bow your knee. But go. It’s not religion—it’s just Him.

See you Sunday.

—j

 

The Big Contradiction

“Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, they reject the Bible because it contradicts them.” —Paul Harvey

“My truth” is just another way of saying “The real thing offends me.” Actually, the real thing saves you, and it’s plain as the print on the page.

Happy reading.

—j

Philosopher’s Stone

Tough day? Philosopher Simone Weil had many. She also saw God’s grace while dying of tuberculosis…

“The extreme greatness of Christianity lies in the fact that it does not seek a supernatural cure for suffering, but a supernatural use of it.”

It amazes me that even when God doesn’t ease our sufferings, He can still be glorified through them. That alone may be the greatest comfort of all.

Blessings,
—j

How to Be Miserable (and Not)

How to be miserable:

“Think about yourself. Talk about yourself. Use “I” as often as possible. Mirror yourself continually in the opinion of others. Listen greedily to what people say about you. Expect to be appreciated. Be suspicious. Be sensitive to slights. Never forgive a criticism. Trust nobody but yourself. Insist on consideration and respect. Demand agreement with your own views on everything. Sulk if people are not grateful to you for favors shown them. Never forget a service you have rendered. Shirk your duties if you can. Do as little as possible for others.” (Author Unknown)

You get the idea.

How not to be Miserable:

Love Jesus. Talk about Jesus. Bless others…

You get the idea…

—j

“Others!”

A fascinating tale is told of General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army. The account might be legendary, but it is also wonderfully provocative. The story goes that around 1900 the General was preparing to send his annual Christmas greeting to all his Salvationists serving around the world. Since this had to be done by telegraph—which charged for each word sent—the whole process proved quite expensive. Times were tough that year, and it was calculated that there was only enough money available to wire a single word to each missionary. The one-word message the General chose to send simply said, “Others!”

I have found that when I set out to make my day good for me or do good things for myself, at the end of that day I ponder whether or not it was truly a good day. And as I reflect on my puzzling lack of fullness, I wonder why I am even concerned about it at all.

Ever felt like that?

But when I set out to make the day better for someone else, for “others”—an encouraging phone call or visit, a prayer for a friend, a kind word to a stranger, lending a helping hand with a chore or just holding a hand—when my day has been about others, I sleep well at night and never wonder whether or not the day was good. It was.

Life is always about others—we’re built that way despite all the selfie trends floating around this world. And others is what Jesus has always been about. Look at everything He did—it was always for someone else. You can even tell by His arrival on earth as a baby and by how much we cherish that thing we call the “Christmas Spirit”. God gave us Jesus and Jesus gave everything. But He also took a few things, too—our sins and our guilt, and He took the sting out of death. For others. For us. For you.

So, have Merry Christmas and remember to have a wonderful day—every day. Like Jesus.

“Others!”