Friday, September 26, 2008

Rest...

I recently was able to spend 4 days on Lopez Island with my wife (to see some pictures from our trip, click here). Our one goal? Get refreshed. Goal accomplished. While there I read a book that has impacted me in a great way; it's called The Rest of God. It's a play on the word "rest" - meaning both "physical rest," and also meaning "the other part of God." In short, as the book title says, it's all about "restoring your soul by restoring the sabbath."

I read, I prayed, I was convicted. I am one of those people who feel like my busyness and work somehow link to my worthiness. If I rest, I'm lazy, unproductive. And yet, Sabbath was created for man... Could it be that God knows we need rest? A day set aside where we reconnect with God, and in so doing, re-connect with our own souls? I admit, part of the reason I avoid rest and quietness is because I'm afraid; afraid of what god might say to me, or reveal in me, or ask me to do. And yet, I know, deep down, that without remembering the Sabbath not only am I breaking a commandment, but I am depriving my soul of the one thing it needs most.

So how about you? Do you recognize a day of the week as a Sabbath? Do you set it apart; a time to cease working, a time to listen for God's voice, a time to re-energize? Is there a day out of 7 that looks altogether different than the other 6? As you might guess, I have much, much more to unpack about this...will you join me on the journey of re-discovering the Sabbath and in so doing, perhaps re-discovering your own soul?

If you're interested in more about our trip, you can check out this link to my family blog site.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Great Words from Romans

Reading through Romans right now, Message translation, and was overwhelmed with gratitude again...(Romans 5:1-2)

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

Did you catch that?
1) We have it together with God because of our Master Jesus: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That never gets old.
2) We throw open our hearts to God only to find out that He's already thrown open His heart to us. Let us never forget that it was God who made the first move to save us. He sought us and loved us when we were at our worst.
3) We find ourselves living in GRACE - recipients of God's grace. This is one word that will never get old...GRACE. Grace is God's way of paying our sentence, of substituting His Son Jesus in our place to receive the punishment that we deserved.
4) Our response to all of this? Standing tall and shouting our praise.

I am sinful, prone to wander, prone to selfishness, prone to temptation, pride, and guilty of so much more. And yet, day after day, God keeps giving life, eternal and ever-living life. It is an amazing thing to be captured by the love and grace of God. My response? To please Him, serve Him and do whatever I can to follow Him. Not because I have to, but because of what He's done for me. It's a love response.

Monday, September 8, 2008

How Great is our God

Took this picture a few minutes ago, off of our back deck. Just another example of how amazing our Creator God is; so worthy of worship.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A reminder of why we worship Jesus

I'm reading through Romans right now, out of "The Message" translation. While "The Message" isn't where I turn to find the most accurate translation of the Hebrew/Greek Scriptures, it does often serve to make complex ideas more understandable and to that end, this translation helps me to see things in a different way. Quite often, I'll have my NIV and Message open at the same time, comparing the two versions.

All that to say, today, I was reading in Romans 3 and was again reminded of the incredibly love God has for us through His son Jesus. I leave you with these excerpts; (to read the entire chapter, click here).

Romans 3, excerpts (bold added by me)
So what difference does it make who's a Jew and who isn't, who has been trained in God's ways and who hasn't?... God keeps his word even when the whole world is lying through its teeth. Scripture says the same:

Your words stand fast and true;
Rejection doesn't faze you.

We're All in the Same Sinking Boat

9-20So where does that put us? Do we Jews get a better break than the others? Not really. Basically, all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners. Scripture leaves no doubt about it:

There's nobody living right, not even one,
nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God.
They've all taken the wrong turn;
they've all wandered down blind alleys.
No one's living right;
I can't find a single one.

This makes it clear, doesn't it, that whatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place! And it's clear enough, isn't it, that we're sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else?
God Has Set Things Right
21-24But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him... Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we're in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.

25-26God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear... God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness.


And everybody said: "AMEN! Thank you Lord."

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