Monthly Archives: January 2011

Forgiveness: Key to Relationship With God!

How often I hear or know about Christians who hold grudges is truly astounding.  Who are we to think that we have any right in any given situation to hold something over someone’s head and still expect Jesus who gave it all to forgive us for the things we do that are wrong?  (Now that’s a long question!)

Really?   Do you feel that being angry at your friend for speaking evil against you gets you anywhere?  Do you think for a moment that the feeling of animosity you have toward that parent who wronged you does you any good?  What about the person who fails to speak to you or the child who disrespected you?  These questions could be endless, but the fact remains for the Christian that forgiveness is the only way to a real relationship with God.

Here is what the Word says in Matthew 6, “…If you forgive others for their sins, your Father in heaven will also forgive you for your sins. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins.”  What kind of trade is that?  Are we really willing to give up our relationship with the Father to feel hatred toward another? 

Think of the person in your life right now who has been, maybe for years, holding something against you or vis versa.  Now–forgive them.  I mean really forgive them.  Don’t just say it with words, but take action with them.  I don’t know what means for you, but take action! 

When the forgiveness takes place, understand and know the blessing of relationship with the Father.  Know that His heart has been done good.  Release all feelings of guilty, anger, pride, and whatever else resides in your heart and live in freedom in Christ.

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Balance

1 Thessalonians 519-22 says, “Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.”

I see this passage as one of balance.  We are to make sure that we don’t stop the work of the Spirit while at the same time making sure we are not allowing an “anything goes” approach to life.

Too many times, we read into these kind of passages a context of “church” and apply all that they say to the way we do church.  Generally speaking, this passage applies in principle to all of the life of a Christian–including worship, but I want to see it in a broader sense.

Living life denying the power of the Spirit affects how we live it.  When we continually take away the power of the Holy Spirit, we leave out the very inward strength that we received while receiving Christ. Living the Christian life would be absolutely impossible without the power of the Spirit.

To accept anything into our lives without discernment leads to a life without the proper kind of boundaries.  That leads to sinfulness and sin leads to spiritual death.

To be overboard in either of these two leads to all kinds of problems.  Some have quenched the Spirit and have no inward life to lead them.  Others have been so overboard in what they call “testing the spirits” that they have denied the openness of the Spirit of God in others.  They have at times, killed the spirit in another’s life because they were afraid of what another might say or do in the name of the Lord.  This is always done out of fear.

In fact, fear is the real problem here.  We are sometimes so afraid of what the Spirit of God might ask of us.  We are also afraid of what another might say so much that we would rather shut them up than allow them to speak up.   Christians should never live their lives based upon fear.

2 Timothy 1:7 “God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control.”


That Talented Boy!!!

He is amazing!  He is super smart!  He is beautiful!  We hear comments all the time about me I mean Robert!  He has to be the most stupendous grandson ever born!

I wanted to share this pic to let you know that he is definitely a child prodigy.  Holding two pacifiers at one time in the same mouth on his own at 15 months old!  With talents like this, I know that he will one day play professional baseball for the Braves or be a rock star or something!

You guys know I’m being silly truthful about all this!  There I go again.  Sorry I can’t help my “Papa” self!  Ha!!


Settle Into The God of Peace

Right now, I’d be willing to bet that you or someone you know is in a state of unrest of sorts.  It may be as light as a headache, a missed appointment, or forgetting someone’s birthday.  It could be as heavy as having lost a close friend to death, a son on drugs, or a divorce.  No matter the pain, it is stealing your peace and you want to let it go, but can’t seem to do it.  I hope these words will bless you as they have me.

The following is a passage from “The Message.” They come from Philippians 4:6-9.

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”

There are so many thoughts to take from this passage.  Here are three:

1. Praying and praising both shape our worries.  When worry begins to seep in, let us remember that prayer and praise puts worry in perspective.  If we could just understand that this world is not about how comfortable we are, but about the praise-worthiness of God and our relationship with Him, we would begin to experience peace.

2. Christ displaces our worries.  With Christ at the center of our thinking, He places worry outside the realm of reality and inside the realm of real peace.

3. God works it all together for good.  God takes the things that we worry about and turns them into blessings and reasons to give Him praise.

God help me to trust you more and settle into You–the God of peace!


God’s Name AND Football?

Most of you know that I am a Crimson Tide fan all the way.  For us, this year was a big time disappointment.  We had a record of 10-3 and fans are still disappointed.  That alone should tell you just how much pressure there is on coaches and players in Alabama.  The same is true for Auburn.  So, for many Alabama fans to say “congratulations” to Auburn is absolutely impossible.  In fact on Facebook last night some Tide fans posted the tide logo in Green and gold.  After the game some were even hostel about it.    I heard one person lash out at Cam because he didn’t use the name “God” early and quick enough in his insterviews.

There was a time in my life when college football was much more important.  After a Tide victory, celebration and talk would continue every day till the next game.  A loss could make me hurt in my stomach.  And a loss against Auburn (especially one like this year), was completely unbearable!  Thanks be to God that I I am no longer this way.  The games are fun to watch.  I still cheer them on.  I still get excited and nervous.  I still get angry at them when they do bonehead stuff!  But, when the game is over–it’s over.

This year was especially easy for me to pull for Auburn when they didn’t play Alabama.  The reason–coach Gene Chizik.  I have seen nothing of this man in the public arena that has not impressed me.  He is one of the most level headed coaches I’ve seen in years.  I’ve never heard a foul word from his mouth and nearly every time he is interviewed he says something to glorify the name of God–not only speaking the name, but giving praise and honor.

Last night was no exception.  He praised God, took no glory for himself, aloud the fans to enjoy the moment, and even took the focus to the players and fans stating that this was for them.   He said to his players in public, “I love you guys!”  I wonder how many of those boys don’t even hear that from their own families.

Even Cam Newton got in on the praise.  I don’t know if what this young man did in his past was true or not, but at least in the public eye, he praised God for his talent and getting him through all the adversity he has been in through this year.  He stated a real truth that God could take a really bad situation in our lives and turn it for something good.

So, for what it’s worth.  Congratulations Auburn on a great win, keeping the SEC number one, and most of all having a leader who is a man of faith!


One Question Two Perspectives

As I type this, it’s just past midnight and I’m staying at the Marriott Hotel where I work. I had to stay at the hotel because I have to be at work at ten in the morning and would not have been able to get back to work due to the weather. I’m so glad Ellen was able to get here before the weather started. Nothing like getting snowed in a four diamond hotel with the love of your life.

As I look out the window, there is already about 4 or 5 inches of snow on the ground. The weather people are saying that 10 inches are not out of the question. For this part of the world, that is unheard of. The last time we had this much snow was back in the late 80’s. It is beautiful. The whole world is completely blanketed with the glory of God!!

People are crazy here when it snows. Someone told me that the line at Walmart was lined up to the back of the store with people trying to get bread and milk to “prepare” for the event.  Everything is closed tomorrow (except us of course).

Amongst the crazy things that happened tonight was a phone call I got from a local Auburn football fan.  I tell about her in the second of two examples below.

First, we had a couple stay at our hotel and the man’s mother came to get a room also. They called to ask if we had a generator in case the power went out. The reason they asked the question was because the man of the house used a C-pap machine.

A while later, a lady called and asked if we had a generator, however, her reasoning was completely different. She said that they were Auburn fans and they wanted to make sure they could watch the game tomorrow night even if the power goes out. Her statement to me was, “we HAVE to watch this game.”

Two questions based upon to entirely different reasons. Priorities are really messed up in our world sometimes.


A Post Out of Pain

James 3:5 says,  “So also, the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.” I have experienced it tonight–both from things that were said to me and things I’ve said.  James goes on to say that if a person can control the tongue he could achieve perfection.  Let me tell you that I am not even close!!

I wish our children could just once feel the pain of the words they say to us when they are angry.  When a child tries to say things out of anger just to hurt their parents, I believe this to be one of the top things children do to dishonor parents.  In some respects I guess I had this pronounced on me by my parents.  I remember mom saying, “Just wait till you have children of your own–then you’ll understand.”  How right she was!  I am seeing the fruition of those words.  I know they are not perfect, but children just cannot grab the full essence of pain that a parent suffers when being ridiculed, put off, or told to get away from them.

I do not know just how to handle this situation, but I think I’m going to try the “give them a dose of their own medicine approach.”  I feel like just distancing myself for a while to let them feel a deep sense of pain and maybe even a little abandonment.  I don’t want this to last, but I would like to think that if I did this, a lesson would be learned and a relationship made better.  I just don’t know if that is the right thing to do.   I certainly don’t know if it would bring the right kind of results either.

I think God certainly knows how I feel.  I know I, as a child of His, have disappointed Him on many occasions only to have His full forgiveness.  Grace and mercy are blessings for which we can never tell Him thank you enough.

I don’t know if this makes any sense to any of you.  I have a sneaky suspicion that the parents who read this will get it just fine.