love

When negativity and condemnation come, You Are.

Photo Credit: Wellington Sanipe via Unsplash  

Through the negativity and condemnation I have received from others or most often self-imposed; I have trouble seeing my value or worth. I have had days when I questioned whether I should even get out of bed. I can't even count how many times I have lost heart.

I know many of you struggle with the same thoughts. Whatever you are wrestling with or the deepness of your darkness, know they are lies.

Your dignity, your value, your worth is found in no one else, but Jesus. He is the counter to all the negativity and condemnation.

Not to long ago I wrote something to help me push through the storms.

 

You are.

In your mediocrity, you are unique. In your ugliness, you are beautiful.

In your frailty, you are strong. In your pain, you are healed.

In your loneliness you are companionship. In your helplessness, your are needed.

In your darkness, you are light. In your condemnation, you are forgiven.

You are loved. Your are God's redeemed child.

 

We are people of a second chance. Grace and Peace to you.

Tomorrow is a special day.

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Tomorrow is a special day—it is the day for love... pitchers & catchers report! (Oh, and Valentine's Day, too...). I love this day because it gives all of us baseball fans so much hope—even for Cubs fans... 

I am a life-long San Francisco Giants fan. I've been to countless Giants games when they called Candlestick Park home and I've been to one game at what was then called " Pacific Bell Park," but is now called "AT&T Park."

When I lived in Colorado, my good buddy J.R. , his wife and my wife would go to the Giants / Rockies games almost every year—I'd swear there was more Giants fans than Rockies fans at Coors Field.  

Anyways, I can't wait for baseball season to begin.

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Look Beyond The Surface

Photo Credit: Nicholas Swanson, Unsplash Today when you interact with someone, whether its new person or an old acquaintance; look beyond the surface. Don't make snap judgements on what use they can be to you or you to them.

Be the person that isn't looking to use someone. Take the time to get to know them, look beyond the surface.

For many of us our struggles and triumphs are internal rather that external. Get to know their inner life, whats deepest within them. If you recognize an inner tribulation or inner tranquility, don't exploit them, but give them words of encouragement and confirm them.

Be a friend.

In doing so you might help them to continue on or persevere.

Photo Credit: pixabay.com

In John 15:13-16, Jesus empowers his followers by giving them words encouragement and confirmation. He no longer calls his followers servants, but friends.

He encourages and confirms their inner life by uniting with them to the covenant of friendship which moves them to the deeper covenant purposes of God.

Jesus gives his friends purpose, dignity, and meaning to the glory of God.

Eugene Peterson in his book "Leap Over A Wall" states,

"Evil doesn't stand a chance against goodness... Hostility is picayune compared to friendship."

When we take the time to look beyond the surface of a person, we demonstrate God's goodness, love, and friendship to them—and in so doing it renders evil powerless and incapable.

Look beyond the surface and be a friend.

Just read the gospels more...

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How often do we think about the last advice or the last words we would mouth to the people we love? To be honest, I don't really think about it that much. On the occasion when I do think about it, I have a tendency to think about the words I would speak to my wife, my kids, their spouses, and grandkids if it was appropriate to assume my kids had them.

So much should be said—like our last "I love you's" or admonishes about the wiles of this world. Maybe I would want to share with them my favorite things about each of them; the shape and color of their eyes, their scent, their dimples when they smile, the contagious sound of their laugh, or maybe some favorite moment we shared together.

While I am sure I would have some talk of these things with them, I feel there would need to be more...

Look At Jesus

These words are the words I would want to utter and recite to my family and friends if I had the opportunity to share with them if I were on my death bed.

Look At Jesus

N.T. Wright, when asked the question about what he'd say to his children on his death bed—commented that he would tell them to read the gospels more, "to look at Jesus."

I find it fascinating when I read the gospels, I find this drive and passion in Jesus to make sure we see that he and the Father are one—there is this completeness, a wholeness between them. The clarity and power in their unity is what drives, transforms, restores, and secures all things.

Jesus said,

"My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." - John 10:29-30

In essence, Jesus is saying his dad is the biggest, baddest (Used in the American colloquialism—meaning good), and toughest dad in the neighborhood. Yet, he is also saying "my" dad is the most loving, caring, forgiving, and rescuing dad in the neighborhood.

You want to see God, look at Jesus—he is God who came to earth in the form of a man to reveal and demonstrate all the aspects of the Godhead to us. God loves, He cares, He forgives, and He rescues.

I would want my family and friends to know these things about Jesus.

I would tell them to read the gospels more, to look at Jesus, trust him, and then go do what he does.

What's On The Other side Of This Life

journey Journeys are not something to be taken lightly. I remember when my family went on a journey to Joplin, MO it began over twelve years ago. We left all that we had and all that we had known back in Sonoma County, CA. We journeyed through the Southwest part of the United States on our way to the heart of the country. My wife and I had never ventured that far out of our motherland before, so we took as much safety and precaution as we knew how; and hit the road with our three little kids in-tow.

We saw beautiful country along the way, desert, mountains, high country forests, and big open blue sky. It wasn't before long that we found ourselves on winding detours, tornadic storms, and even experiencing bad gasoline for our van. In between the serendipitous and tumultuous moments we found a rhythm that centered us back on the purpose of our journey...

We were headed to Joplin, MO to attend Ozark Christian College and prepare for fulltime vocational ministry. Or more precisely, we were moving out of and with the overflow of our love and passion for God and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit - we were being obedient because of love and devotion, not because of obligation and duty.

 

The real purpose of the journey was to grow deeper in our love and passion for relationship with the Father, it was not the destination to the college nor the vocation of ministry.

 

The Journey Is Still Going...

In many ways the journey is still going. We have moved geographically again on this journey and have found a home Colorado just like we did in Missouri, and the journey could very well pick us up and change geography again; who knows... However, what is still on going is the internal part of the journey, and this is the hardest part of the journey, moving through the constant ebb and flow of understanding our relationship with God, keeping our passion for Him, and obediently living out our love and devotion to Him.InnerJourneys

Too be very frank. Changing geography isn't hard to do! Moving from Northern California to Southwest Missouri and then to Northern Colorado isn't that difficult to adjust too. Leaving friends and family is hard, but eventually you make new friends and thanks to Facebook and vacations you can still see the people you love and care about...

What's hard is keeping focused on growing deeper in our relationship with God... Let me be even more upfront. I mess-up my relationship with God sometimes. I let everything else take precedent over this relationship, things like the type of ministry job I have, money, pleasing people and being who they want me to be,making a name for myself or for others, cars, electronic gadgets, vacations, things to complain about, ideas, philosophies, ministry methods, what we're having for lunch or dinner, and the list could go on...

 

I've let all these things whether good or bad corrupt the rhthym and purpose of my journey... The reason for the journey isn't the journey or the desitnation, the reason for the journey is the person we are on the journey for. I am learning not to take journeys lightly, but to cherish every moment and keep focus on the one who was the reason for the journey.

A good friend of mine, Brian Mavis, shared with me a prayer that I am going to pray first thing every morning, that's if none of these other things get in the way...

Here it is:

"I will live every day as if it is my last, knowing by God's grace and love the Savior waits for me beyond the grave." -- Chuck Colson

Ugh! It's so easy to forget that there is something else on the other side of this life.