"Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." John 7:38

Archive for the ‘Gospel’ Category

Winning or Losing: Are we even in the game?

“If you’re not smashing Brussels sprouts, you’re doing it wrong.” Seriously. That’s what it said on Facebook, so it must be true; so another thing I have been losing at all these years.

We see the blog posts and memes all the time… if you aren’t cleaning house this way, if you aren’t raising kids this way, if you aren’t blowing your nose this way… you’re doing it wrong.

If you don’t support this party you’re an imbecile, if you don’t vote this way you’re a hater, if you agree with that you’re a racist, if you disagree with the other thing you’re a sexist.

Honestly, is there anything we’re doing right? Who made up the rules, and where can we find the rulebook? Is there one? How can we win if we don’t know the game? Why do we always seem to be losing? Does anyone win? Can anyone? Is there a prize? Are we all losers? Who decides?

Clearly, these types of rules are arbitrary. There’s more than one way to make Brussels sprouts that are delicious (or maybe some of you might say there’s no way to make Brussels sprouts delicious). What about the guidelines we use to judge ourselves? Can we win then? I’m not sure.

I think that we are not above establishing make-believe sets of measures, then using those imaginary standards to compare ourselves to others, and then – by the very benchmarks we have created ourselves –we declare ourselves the loser.

I’m not making this up! For example, when did you last compare yourself to someone else and feel like you were the winner? Have you ever? Who established the standard by which you judged yourself a failure, incomplete, unsatisfactory, unworthy, missing out, unsuccessful, a poor spouse, a terrible parent, a bad _____ (you fill in the blank); a loser?

When we feel like we’re failures, is it because we’re looking at ourselves as less, or is it that we look at other people  through the lens of our own imperfection and we think that they are more? If we only had what they have, we’d be happy. Clearly, everyone else is happier than we are, so it must be because of what they have.

When we look at other people, we can only see their circumstances, and most of us only share the positive circumstances. And how is it that we judge our own lives and hearts by other people’s circumstances? Circumstances are nothing but temporal conditions in which we find ourselves living – and circumstances can change on a dime.

Who decided which circumstances are win-worthy, covetous-worthy, envy-worthy, or loser-worthy? What body shape is enviable? How much education wins? How many followers or likes is covetable? How strong is strong enough? How small is too small? How much happiness is sufficient? How sad is too sad?

When we compare ourselves to other people, we will usually compare unfavorably because we imagine standards in which we fall short. However, there is one area where we almost always win! Our righteousness!

According to our arbitrary scales of rightness, of goodness, of holiness, we typically find something in everybody else that is a little less than what we think we see in ourselves. It is easy to say that we are not as bad as that one – whoever that one might be.

However, the one Person who sets the standard for righteousness is Jesus, and we will never be as good as him. Imagine being his friend on Social Media – or his sibling! Well, we are his friend, and his sibling, if we are Christians, and yes, we will never be as good as him.

But, we don’t have to worry – God knew that we would never be able to live up to his standard of holiness, of perfection – and since only perfect people get into heaven – God made a way for us. Jesus, the only perfectly holy and righteous one, died in our place on the cross. It was at the cross where our sin was exchanged for his righteousness, where our sin was punished. Jesus was made sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Amazingly, when God looks at those of us who are Christians, he does not see our short-comings, he sees Jesus’s perfect righteousness imputed to us. God forever thinks of Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us.

Taking this into a broader realm – if God thinks of me as righteous which is the criteria for spending an eternity with him, then he surely must not think of me as a failure if my house sometimes looks like a toddler tornado blew through, or my thighs are wrinkled, or my friend list is small. I don’t think he counts my “likes”, but I do know he records all my tears.


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Visiting the Past, Living in the Present

What an amazing April I’ve had! While visiting our oldest son and his family in England, we took a little side trip to continue here

The Cross

It drew me with an attraction I could barely resist, and yet I did. Like a thousand magnets all pointed in my direction, its drawing power inundated me, I could feel it to my core and yet, I stayed away. I couldn’t give in; and for a very long time, I didn’t.

It wasn’t electrons or atoms that exerted such power over me, it was love. Pure, perfect love and I was terrified of it, repulsed by it, and drawn toward it all at the same time. What continue here

When Seasons Change

Who doesn’t love October, it’s the official start to “Pumpkin Spice” season when we taste and see the beginning of fall – and now it’s over! Winter will soon be upon us. How can that be?

October comes and goes, the weather is brisk, and while I know it won’t get terribly cold in Texas, it does signal the beginning of the end of yet another year. And the years are flying by faster and faster.

Both my dad and I keep reading here

Making Life Grand

This has been an exceptional month for me! I’ve had the privilege of spending all, or part, of nineteen days with one or more of my grandchildren. There’s only one word to describe how I feel: blessed. Yes. Blessed.

Seriously, this continue reading here

Engaging the Battle

This little guy has the heart and soul of a warrior – he is always ready for battle. If there is no battle to fight, he creates one. He engages fearlessly and never thinks about losing.

He is ready to fight for what is right at a moment’s notice, and clearly, he has the outfit! So what if he’s wearing flip flops. And, who cares if his storm trooper uniform is from a century light years ahead of his gladiator mask. Oh, and the gun… plastic… it doesn’t even shoot nerf bullets. Nevertheless, he’s ready to defend his cause – whatever that cause might be!

When it comes to spiritual things, many of us wish we were as brave as this little guy is. But we aren’t. We are keep reading here

Wise Wedding Words

On Friday and Saturday I was privileged to attend the wedding ceremonies of two couples where both the bride and groom each love the Lord more than the they love the person to whom they vowed to spend the rest of their lives as husband and wife.

Truth be told, I continue here

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