Thursday, February 27, 2014

Once, God had a Problem

Imagine a courtroom, it is huge and has dark beams showing in the walls, intricate vent covers and the judge sits behind a high, mahogany desk. Now add all the people (you may need to imagine a bigger room)- add people of all ages from all walks of life, all times in history and every country under the sun. Now add the stench of all those people, nervously waiting together.

You're in this courtroom, too. You are the defendant.

There's a bad taste in your mouth and your head seems to spin and your eyes can't focus. The judge has just given the verdict: guilty.

Penalty? Death.

You stumble out of your seat to take your place in line with all the others who have been found guilty. Your insides feel splintered, and you see the same brokenness in the faces around you. 

Imagine the Judge, God, looking around the massive room at all the people condemned to die, imagine the distraught look on his face, the pain, as he realizes the problem. He deeply loved everyone in that room, having breathed life into them himself. Not only that, he had a covenant with them. But they had each broken the law, at varying degrees, and must be condemned to death. And God's judgment was Just.

But God isn't only Just.
He fixes things. He overflows with loving-mercy.

So God created a plan where he himself would take the penalty for all those people, including you, a plan where he would die in their place, return to life, and invite them to live life with him, forever.

Once, God solved the problem.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I'm A Good Person

We tell the students to 'be nice', and remind them what we're learning in Bible class about being friends. Being kind, being loyal... acting like the Bible tells you to.

But that's not enough, is it?

Being a good person isn't enough. You- we- I still fall short of the glory of God and his righteous requirements.

Learning what the Bible says and obeying its Directions On Living is the beginning-- but it's not an end. It's not enough.

We need to obey, yes, but our heart has to be in the right place. Remember-- God looks at the heart, at your intentions. Are you being moral to please people? To make people stop lecturing you? Because you know it's right? Because being moral is good? Or, are you acting the way the Bible directs because you want to worship God and glorify him?

At some point you realize you can't do it on your own. You realize there are people that push your buttons, but you still have to be nice. There are times when you want to keep the whole slice of cake for yourself, but you know you should share it. There are times you want to complain or gossip or whine, yet you should still control your tongue.

LORD, have mercy.

Little-human-me isn't strong enough to make these selfless, sacrificial, God-honoring decisions moment after moment after moment. It's frustrating and infuriating and makes me feel like I'm burning out.

Hopefully you don't have to get to that point before you know what to do.

Pray. Ask God to help you, to continue to train you, to give you the guard over your mouth that you need and all the other fruit of the Spirit.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Naming Crayons

The kindergarteners sometimes have trouble finding the crayon color they're asked to find. Now that they know how to read, it's no longer good enough to identify a crayon by its color, they want to read the color. 

And whoever named those colors wasn't doing kindergarteners a favor. I spent several minutes telling students if their crayon 'counted' for blue, or yellow, or brown. 

It got me thinking-- if, someday, a Christian decided to make their own brand of crayons, and name them accordingly, what would they be called? To amuse myself, I came up with some...

Burning Bush? That'd be orange. 
Manger Hay? Yellow. 
Jordan River? It could be a blue crayon-- or a brown one. 
Light On A Hill? Another shade of yellow, of course. 
Gideon's Fleece? White
Alter Stones? Gray.
Jesus' Blood? Red. 
Blood of the Martyrs (this you probably wouldn't put in the package for Kindergarteners...) Red.
Green Pastures-- green. 
Still Waters? Dark blue. 
The Fine Linen of the Woman Who Fears the LORD? Purple. 
A Time To Love? I'm going with Pink...
Wiseman's/Magi's Gold? Gold- the kind that looks metallic.