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

Posts tagged ‘heaven’

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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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

 Will It Be Like This?

As the music started, the children in front of me caused me to smile. I suspect they didn’t attend “big church” very often, and they were seriously continue here

Temporary Discomfort

post240pic1Who is the last person you want to see moving past you to get to the window seat in your airplane row? Yep: someone with dark circles under her eyes, pale cheeks, parched lips and throw-up bags tucked into the back pocket of her jeans.

Well, actually, that person might not be the worst seat companion. Someone must sit next to one of the continue here

Familiarity in the Unfamiliar

Everyone asks me what I’m enjoying most about our visit here in England, and aside from time with my children, I am enjoying exploring the unfamiliar. And I’m finding that I really like it here, and I am very excited about making some of the unfamiliar into the familiar.

Like pubs. The whole idea of a “public house” was unfamiliar to me and try as I might, I can’t think of anything continue here

Heaven On Earth?

post195picBrian and I are enjoying a vacation at Disney with our son Dan, his family, and his in-laws. There is nothing better than quality time with the family; except maybe quality time in a magic kingdom.

Everywhere you look everyone seems to be totally enjoying themselves, suddenly all around us, about nap time for their little ones, everywhere you look there’s a baby crying. As wonderful as it is, Disney can just be too much.

Our big guys keep reading here

Who Knows Your Name?

 post193_pic“Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.”

 “Cheers!” They were our favorites – Sam, Diane, Carla, Coach, and of course Cliffy, and Norm! Even though they were fiction, they had names, and we remember them.  The ratings of that TV show proved that we liked the idea of a place to go where everybody knows our name.

Can you imagine how horrible continue here

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