Friday, April 27, 2012

Take that broadsword to selfishness!

"What if you were in a plane that was about to crash...who would you want sitting next to you and why?"

Silly opening questions in a group setting.  Why do they sometimes linger in my thoughts long beyond the time they were meant to?  And why as I look back, do I wish I could push the rewind button and re-record my answer?

My first response was to have a dear friend with me (who shall remain unnamed).  I wouldn't necessarily change the person, but I would change my reasoning.  My first response was "because I know that she will be in heaven with me."  But what a selfish response!  Oh if only I could have a redo on that!

As this thought sat in my mind I began to ponder exactly why I would want that friend to be with me.  And I realized that it's not because I know that she will be in heaven...but because I know that she would be the one standing up and inviting people to know Jesus so that they too could experience the everlasting Kingdom.  Not only that, but I know that she would spur me on to be proclaiming His truth as that plane went down.  And yet even then, my response is still selfish. 

Why can't I, even without her spurring me on, be boldly proclaiming His truth?  On that judgement day, she will not be standing next to me.  I will be standing alone before my Maker.  I will have to be held accountable for my actions.  And His Word clearly states that I am to "preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction" (2 Timothy 4:2) and that I am to "sanctify Christ as Lord in your [my] heart, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you [me] to give an account for the hope that is in you[me]" (1 Peter 3:15).  This doesn't say that my friend gets to do the work and encourage me to step up to the plate, but rather, that I have to be ready to obey when He directs. 

But I have to admit that my selfishness gets in the way.  There are times even in my day-to-day life that God is asking me to be His witness and out of my selfishness I deem it untimely to do so, or inconvenient, or too difficult, or too scary.  Selfishness is at the crux of hindering me in fully serving the One who died for me.  And honestly, it was evident in my answer last night.

There will not be a rewind and redo button in heaven.  I have to constantly take every thought captive to God, because what begins in my thoughts, will flow to my feelings and my heart and ultimately out through my actions.  And if selfishness is rooted in my thoughts it will be evident in my actions.  And I don't want to stand before God and say "I didn't obey You because it was inconvenient for me".  So this selfish root within me needs to be slain with the largest broadsword I can find...the Word of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control...
Galatians 5:22-23

Let the fruits of the Spirit begin in my thoughts and be poured out in my actions so that I will not be able to contain this Truth inside me but boldly proclaim and live it out for all to see.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Who will fight?

Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you. ~ Deuteronomy 3:22

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. ~Romans 5:6

"I want you to fight for me.  That's all I ever wanted." ~ Max from the movie Real Steel

Fight: to strive vigorously and resolutely; to contend with physically or in battle; to contend for; to defend against or drive back

To fight. To battle.

I look around each day at a sea of 275 precious little faces and see pain.  I see pain from... absentee parent
...a dad who abuses them verbally, emotionally or with a lack of attention
...academic or social difficulties
...dysfunctional family life or strife in the home
...a desire to be accepted and wanted

And the list goes on...

But the root of it know that they are loved and that someone will fight for them.

If you think about it, when you are attracted to someone, you go to great lengths to learn everything you can about them.  And if anyone should speak negatively about that person...well...let's just say that they better be at least an arm's length away from you!  And when you have a spouse, you go to extreme measures to protect him/her from harm.  You are willing to fight for their safety and their love.

Well, these precious faces that I have the honor of looking into are asking that simple question..."Will anyone fight for me?"

Will someone fight...
...for the injustice of abuse find out why I can't learn like everyone else
...when kids are mean to me
...when I'm inflicting pain upon myself find out the cause of my illness
...for my self-worth love me as Jesus does

As Jesus loves...

Jesus doesn't just love us when we have it all together.  He loves us even when we are a mess, when we are cruel to one another, when we are filled with sin and pride.  He loves us even when all we are, and all we think and feel is exposed before Him.  He still loves.

And He more than just loves us, He fights for us even when we are steeped in sin.  He fought so much for us to the point that He died.  His shed blood has been poured out on the battle ground of our sin.  Of my sin.

He loved.

He fought.

He died.

And He gloriously arose from the dead, ascended into heaven...all so that you may intimately know Him.  So that I may know Him.

You want someone to fight for you?  Look at the cross and see the most victorious fight that ever took place.  All for you.  And for each child that is asking the same question.

The fight begins at the cross.  It begins by laying our lives down before Him, by surrendering to Him.  He will fight for you.  And as He fights (and has fought), you will begin to notice that He will equip you to start to battle with Him for others.

Just as He has fought for me, He now has me fighting for my students.  By standing in the gap in prayer for them, by taking the time to listen or offer a hug, and by loving them as He first loved me.

Fighting is an active word.  I cannot sit complacently by.  I have to come alongside not only these children but other people that God has placed before me...and fight for them...fight for them to know and love God.

Jesus fought and gave up His life for me.  I should be willing to do nothing less than to pour mine out loving and fighting for those He's placed in my life.  All 275+ of them.

Who does God want you to fight for?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Who sinned?

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life..."

Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. "Go", he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

John 9:1-3, 6-7

Born blind. Blamed. Accused. An outcast. Deemed as less than worthy. Ostracized.

This man, who had no control over his blindness, his parents who had no control over his blindness...they were all blamed for some hidden sin in their life that caused it. Even Job, his friends accused him of hidden sin somewhere in his life that caused all the calamities against him.

Who are we to judge others?

What if, these things that we deem horrible, the birth of a child with a disablility, the death of a loved one, the trials challenging us making us feel like everyone is throwing stones in our direction...what if, just what if...we can see these things through the eyes of Christ?

How would our perspective change?

Would we see that these things may be sent our direction so that His glory can be revealed, not only to us, but to the world?