Tag Archives: Jesus

A BBQed Prayer

Sometimes I write prayers…

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for this day. Thank you for bringing the sun up this morning. Thank you for waking us up this morning. Thank you for sharing this beautiful day you’ve made with us. Thank you for loving us enough to come down from heaven and be with us. Thank you for forgiving us for the terrible things we have done and keep doing out of our struggle and brokenness and unwilling selfishness. Thank you for choosing to reach out to us with your loving arms and welcoming us into your great embrace every day. Thank you for this food you’ve made and given to us. Thank you for the hunger pangs in our bellies right now that remind us of how much we need the food that you’ve given us. Thank you for adopting all of us who turn to you as sons and daughters. Thank you for creating around us, right here, right now, today and every Saturday and often throughout our days and weeks and lonely nights a loving family of adopted brothers and sisters. Together we get to be your sons and daughters. Your treasured little kids. Thank you Lord for adopting me, for forgiving me, for taking me in and making something beautiful out of the mess I’ve created with they life you’ve given me. Thank you Lord for your love.
Let it be so. Amen.

Calling, Sacrifice, Reward

Every calling is a gift. Every gift requires sacrifice. Every sacrifice brings a reward. Every reward is only gained by giving the gift, making the sacrifice, chasing the calling that God has given. The greater the calling, the greater the gift. The greater the sacrifice, the greater the reward. The greater the reward, the more worth every ounce of sacrifice it took to get there.

God the Father paid the ultimate sacrifice. He asked His Son to make a sacrifice for every one of us. His Son begged to get out of it. But God did not give in. Despite His Son begging so intensely as to sweat tears of blood, God stayed the course and directed His Son to go through agony for a time.

There is nothing that could relieve or lighten the agony of sacrifice that had to be endured. Jesus came from heaven and was born into a cave amongst peasants. He worked hard as a carpenter’s son for 30 years. Then, for three years he roamed homeless teaching and healing people. People were constantly trying to kill him from his birth throughout his ministry life. Jesus did not merely suffer three days. He gave up heaven to come here. Every day was painful sacrifice, culminating in the ultimate death. But the calling on Jesus from God was never about the sacrifice of pain, toil or death. The calling was to bring HEALING to all people, reaching them with the love of the Father.

Every person has a calling. The greater the person, the greater the calling. The greater the calling, the greater the sacrifice. We’re not promised for life to be easy. We’re promised difficulty. But we’re promised that God has a plan and will, eventually, use every bit of sacrifice along the way for His good purposes. We often cannot see or fathom any good that could possibly come of the pain of sacrifice along the way. But it happens every time.

My favorite quote from Mother Theresa is: “I know God will never give me more than I can handle, but sometimes I wish He didn’t trust me so much.”

The strength of Jesus or any of us is not displayed by us not struggling, not begging for relief, not asking questions and demanding answers, not questioning if this is all worth it or necessary. No. The strength of Jesus and every one of us comes from feeling and struggling through all of that and somehow pressing on. We may sometimes only move forward in a crawl, we may sometimes miss a step, we may sometimes not see the next step in front of us, but to keep plodding onward. This is the display of courage and strength.

The picture of Jesus’s strength isn’t in His resurrection. The picture of His strength is in walking forward on Palm Sunday, walking forward into Gethsemane, walking forward carrying His cross through the streets to Galgotha, all the while knowing what’s to come and the horrible sacrifice it will be. He struggled, He cried, He begged for it to not happen, but He did it anyway. His mom watched in horror as her oldest child went through agony. His brothers, friends and disciples watched in horror. They were torn apart, heartbroken, terrified for his life and their own. Jesus begged for relief for himself and those he loved. But the calling was greater than the sacrifice. The sacrifice always hurts us and those we love. But the calling is worth the sacrifice. The calling is always worth the sacrifice. That’s the promise of Hope we have from Him.

Future-Present Hope

From my devotions this morning… I did not write this. Instead, as happens so often in my devotional time, God had for me exactly what I needed to hear today. I bolded and underlined the sentence that struck right to my heart and filled it with Hope.

A PARENT’s PAIN

John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (NIV).

You may identify with the concept, “A mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child.” It is hard not to get dragged down by the struggles of your children. Jesus recognized this tendency and offers a solutionÑan eternal perspective. When you are certain about your future, you are better able to face the present. An eternal mindset will help you maintain a hope-filled perspective because our home is not of this world!

When you or your kids are suffering, remember that Christ has conquered the world, and one day we will be with Him. Until then, beware of desiring pleasure on this earth more than Christ. Take comfort in knowing that this life is temporary and let your pain lead you towards dependence on Him.

Remember that your home is not in this world, but in heaven.

Frustration and Jesus

Feeling a lot of general anger and frustration today. It’s strange how some days one emotion seems so much stronger than others. Some days it’s sadness, some gratitude, today… frustration and anger.

I realized I hadn’t read the Bible in a couple days so I opened it up. I read the devotional that I was supposed to read yesterday. And it’s about perfect for that:

” BEING SEEN AND KNOWN Although she did not call out to him, Jesus saw the widow who had lost her son. How wonderful to be seen by the Son of God! Not only did He see her, but this verse says His heart went out to her. He connected with her suffering. What encouragement for us as parents. Jesus sees us, too, but not in a casual, indifferent way. He feels our pain and He knows our struggles. You can take comfort in knowing that as you walk the sometimes difficult and painful path of parenthood, His heart goes out to you as well. Remember that you are not alone. He is walking alongside you this very day. You are known and loved by the Son of God.”

With Luke 7:12-13:
As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

I’m still feeling frustrated and angry. But I’m not afraid they’ll overtake me now. I’m not alone.

Leading, Following and Changing the World

Acts 16:9-10 NIV
During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
http://bible.com/111/act.16.10.niv

What would it look like if we as church leaders followed the Spirit with this kind of sensitivity and obedience? And what would it look like if we as church members followed our church leadership with this kind of trust and humility?

Redemption

“If redemption could be reversed, it wouldn’t be redemption.”

Clip a coupon. Go to the store. Redeem the coupon. Buy something. Take it home. Go back to the store. Return the item and try to get the coupon back.

Can you return the item? Yes. Usually.
Can you get your money back? Sometimes.
Can you get your coupon back? No. It’s been redeemed. It’s finished.

When Christ died he declared, “It is finished.” When we accept His sacrifice on our behalf, we allow him to redeem us. “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

The same is true for us. If we could be plucked from His hand, then being in His hand wouldn’t be a source of hope, love, grace or life. It would merely be a temporary relief filled with anxiety and fear of the inevitably impending end of such relief and the return of the pain, uncertainty and Hell that exists everywhere outside of God’s hand. (John 10:28-30)

And so redemption cannot be lost. There are many things that can be lost. We may lose keys, wallets, loved ones, talents, youth, health and even life itself. But alas redemption cannot be lost. It cannot be reversed, it cannot be shaken, it cannot be shirked. Lest it not be redemption.

Redemption. Forgiveness. Forever. Thank God.

Jesus and Wiffle Ball

Here’s a picture.

Here’s Bob and Dave (white homeless men) teaching Zane (4 year old son of a working single black mother) how to hit a wiffle ball at the Elevate Detroit Mt. Clemens CommuniD BBQ today.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But I think this one’s priceless.

Jesus is all over it.

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