Monday, September 30, 2013

Do You Like Being a Christian?

Do you remember the line from Pollyanna, where the minister is caught between a lifeless church and trying to please the lady in charge and Pollyanna asks, ‘Do you like being a minister?’”

The minister was taken back by the question, but he spent a sleepless night attempting to change the answer.

Let me ask. Do you like being a Christian?

Sometimes I look into the eyes of a discouraged believer, a trial-worn servant of God, my own reflection in the mirror, and I wonder.

Are you really glad you’re a Christian?

The narrow road is one of faith, and it isn’t always the easiest road.

Some days the broad way looks inviting; easier.

But if we’re weary of walking the narrow path, we’ve forgotten what’s at the end.

Jesus said, “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

If we really understood what millions upon millions of years in a place where the fire isn’t quenched and a worm can’t even die would really be like, we would never wear long faces. We would never tire of the journey.

The broad way only leads to destruction.

But that’s not where we’re headed.

The journey we’re on is a narrow road, but it’s a road that leads to life. A life we can’t comprehend. Millions upon millions of years of peace in the presence of the One who loves us more than we can imagine.

If you’re walking the broad way, this life is the only one you will enjoy.  Click here to learn of the joy of walking the way of life.

If you’ve forgotten that joy, remind yourself daily of the many, many wonderful truths of your salvation.

Remind yourself daily that your name is written in heaven.

You will be glad for eternity that you are a Christian.

Rejoice now.  

Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Monday, September 23, 2013

When Praising the Lord Seems Hard

September in Portland, Oregon means the Vaux's Swifts are back in town.

Melinda and I waiting for the spectacular show.

Ever since the 80’s, thousands of swifts dive into the chimney of an elementary school in downtown Portland and roost every night for a month on their way to South America.

They roost here for only one month.

Only here in Portland.

And only in the Chapman Elementary School chimney.

Every night, they flock together from their day of foraging all over Portland. They swirl in large groups overhead; then, take their turns diving into the chimney to roost. 

These tiny birds praise their Maker every night of September just by being Vaux’s Swifts.

Psalm 148 commands all of creation to praise its Maker:  Fire, hail, wind, hills, trees.

Near the end of this list, it adds: “flying fowl.”

Very next on the list are “kings of the earth.”

This Psalm leaves no one exempt. No one is too exalted and nothing is too lowly to praise its Maker.

An eleven-centimeter-sized bird praises the Lord just by being a Vaux’s Swift.

“Praise ye the Lord.” (Psalm 148:1)

It isn’t hard.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Prayer isn't Show-and-Tell

“Father, can you fix it?” I prayed.

And I felt like a four-year-old holding out her broken toy to a father who had bigger, more capable hands.

In essence, this is prayer.

Children with a need we feel is the next worse thing than the world coming to an end, holding out that need to a father listening and loving and hearing our request.

Holding out our need to a father capable of fixing it.

As I prayed, I knew my “problem” was nothing to Him; nothing more than a scratch; an easy-fix--even though, to me, it felt unfixable.

But as I held it out to my Father, I discovered I was still holding it.

Still holding it, so holding on to the ache of it being broken, as well.  That ache would go away, if I would allow the unfixable to leave my hands and find safety in the hands of my Father.

In essence, THIS is prayer.

Not just holding out our needs, but letting them go, and leaving them in the hands of Someone absolutely capable of doing something about it.

When our unfixables remain unfixed, maybe it’s because we’re holding them out, but not handing them over.

Prayer isn’t show-and-tell.

Prayer is giving our needs to a God big enough to fix them, while being a Father compassionate enough to care.

“Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

[Click here to listen to the Final Review in the series on the Jehovah Names of God.]

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