Category Archives: Journal Entry

Reflecting Jesus

I’m glad I’m up and ready to see what You have for me today!

Ephesians 5:1-14

Father, we are to be a reflection of You, spreading Your light into an ever darkening world. I understand watching what I say, how I respond – and we know I am far from perfect. I pray that Your Spirit will prick my conscience when I am out of line.  Then I pray that I will respond to your prompting and learn to move forward with an attitude and mindset to change my ways to align with Your ways.

I understand that I am to “Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness” But how do I “expose them”? Of course the big thing that comes to mind is homosexuality. How do I expose it for what it is and still extend your love to those entangled in it?*

I know it’s not going away just because I don’t act on it. It is definitely something that I mull over quite frequently.  Speak to me, Father. Help me to respond as You would have me to…not as tradition or human mind sets would.

May 4th, Mon, 6:24 am

*I wrote this entry in my journal almost two months ago and though I knew that the US Supreme Court was looking at the same-sex marriage case, I was still struggling with my personal understanding of this extremely controversial matter. I have friends on both sides of the issue, from one extreme to the other. When the court’s decision was announced, honestly, I was grieved…I wasn’t angry, I just felt an overwhelming sadness. Over the next couple of days I wrestled with the whole thing, just trying to wrap my mind around it. I read a lot of articles from people I respect; Christian leaders whom I believe are true followers of Christ. (Here are a couple:  Chad Holtz {<- click here} – an American UMC pastor and Carey Nieuwohf {<- click here} – a Canadian pastor.)

I finally came to the conclusion that all we can really do is to apply ourselves. We have got to be true followers of Christ. And the name “Christian” cannot just be a name we slap on ourselves because we go to church. It’s not because we accepted Christ as children or were baptized or whatever – we have to live it. We have to live as Christ would have us to live. That’s the only way we are going to make any difference.

My son, Massey, and I have talked extensively on this and many other subjects and I have said over and over that we cannot legislate morality. (An excellent example is the US Prohibition of the 1920’s. The public did what they wanted, with or without legal approval. The legislature didn’t address the heart of the matter, and instead led to more problems.) It just doesn’t work. We have got to live it. We have got to impact people. We have got to touch them with Christ through our lives…and that’s the only difference we are going to be able to make.

No matter who is in leadership on whatever level of government, they are not going to be able to fix this world no matter how hard they try. We may be anxious about all the “what ifs” and none of them may happen or all of them may happen, I don’t know, but remember this – God is still in charge…period. We may think we are controlling things and are pulling all the ropes, but God is still in charge. And we know in the end He, and he alone, will be victorious – every knee will bow every tongue confess that He is Lord.

We are in the middle of it. And Paul was in the middle of it. He lived in the Roman Empire, a very oppressive world regime that ruled over every aspect of their lives and controlled multiple countries. It was by no means a nation that had any desire to follow the precepts of the one, true God. In the middle of all of this, Paul was stalwart and he rejoiced wherever he found himself serving God…and we are called to do the same.

Do not hate! That’s one thing that bothers me more than anything else is that Christ’s name is being drug through the mud. Not by people who don’t know any better, but by those who should know better. They hate and they scream their hatred! I don’t care who ‘they’ are, or how bad ‘they’ are or what ‘they’ have done – they are no greater sinners than we are. And we are the ones dragging Christ’s name through the mud. We are humiliating Him. We are tearing down His reputation because we feel that we are right and that our rights have been violated! We are in the wrong!

Love others! I don’t care who they are or what they’ve done. Love. Each. Other. Love God foremost and go forth – that is what God calls us to do. And this is just not off the top of my head; it’s not just what my dad taught me. It is where I have been struggling for days. God loves us.

I have quoted Ephesians 1:4 many times in recent days. “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us…” There are no exceptions in there. He doesn’t say I love you and choose you unless you’re a homosexual, unless you’re a Muslim, unless you’re a this or that… There is nothing in that passage that excludes anyone! Everyone is loved, everyone is chosen and we are called to be followers of Him.

So our challenge is to love each other as Christ loves us. And we know that that is way beyond anything we can wrap our mind around. We know He has loved us and given forgiveness where no forgiveness was due. We do not have one right to any forgiveness from Him, but He is merciful and He is gracious and He gives…and He gave until it killed Him. He was victorious over death and the grave and we have victory in Him. So we can be victors in our own lives.

I Am Weak, You Are Strong

chainz

Father, I am grateful for a new day and a fresh start. Oh, where would I be if not for Your great love and long-suffering. I fall into Your arms of grace this morning not because I deserve it but only because You love me.

Ephesians 4:17-32

Lord, how do you put up with us? We cast aside the sin in our lives and even though we know better, even though we can hear Your warnings – we still can be guilty of picking it up once again, only to realize that it’s just as empty as it ever was. As Paul says in Romans 7:15-20, we know what we should do and we want to do it but end up doing what we shouldn’t do – it’s crazy! Again, my opening thoughts. Thanking You for Your love doesn’t seem sufficient! But I don’t know how to say it any stronger! The best way to thank You is to live my life for You! Help me to overcome my weaknesses – and this passage (Ephesians 4:17-32) points out several! I know You are helping me. I hear Your voice. Help me, please, to heed it! To embrace it! I am weak – you are strong! I can find VICTORY in You alone!

May 3rd, Sun, 5:58am

Measure Up

I sure regret not getting together yesterday. You even reminded me as the day progressed and for whatever reason I ignored You. Father, please forgive me… Help me, please, to realize how imperative our times together are. To remain strong and focused, determined and driven in regards to my life in You, I have to have regular time with You. Please help me to remember. Help my love for You to increase to the point where it would crush my spirit to do anything that would hurt You.

Ephesians 4:11-16

As a pastor I am responsible for equipping the church, i.e. the body of Christ to do His work – so I must be growing and maturing in my relationship with Christ if I expect the body to be. In doing so we all can then “measure up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” If we do this we won’t be redirected by the slightest breeze to believe things that are not true. We’ll be able to ascertain the truth even if an overwhelming amount of people embrace things that are not truth. Sometimes to keep the Church moving forward the truth needs to be spoken in love. There needs to be a balance – truth and love. We need both because either one without the other will not bring the best outcome. If every part of the body will do this we will mature and grow. If we don’t our “body” will not be healthy and our love, which is so critical (essential), will be sorely lacking.

Lord Jesus, help me – help us – to be more and more like You. We are hopeless without You.

May 1st, Fri, 6:08am

Stoke the Fire

 

Father, I so appreciate this time together! Please stoke the fire of my desire so much that I literally cannot live without it! No matter how hard (or soft) life might get, I beg of You – I plead, help me to never give up our time together! “As the deer pants for the water” (Psalm 42:1) may my heart be drawn to You! Thank you, Father, for Your love! Thank You, for Your grace and mercy and forgiveness! Oh, where would I be were it not for You! Praise Your holy name! I love You, too! Help my love for You to be ever on the increase and never on the decrease! Please, use me today and every day to bring You glory and honor. Help me to be a light on a hill that draws others to You! Fill me! Use me!

Ephesians 4:1-10

Lord, help me to “lead a life worthy” of God’s call on my life. “Always [may I] be humble and gentle [and] patient.” And may I make “love” the compound that binds it all together in the unity of “oneness” that is found only in living out our relationships with each other in unity with You.

April 29th, Wed, 7:29am

Grow Down

Father, forgive me for yielding to distraction…this is my time with You and Facebook should have no part in it. My phone is down and my attention is on You. Please help me hear and listen to what You have to say to me today.

Ephesians 3:14-21

Lord, help me to be “empowered…with inner strength through Your Spirit.” I know You have been doing a new work in me, accomplishing things that I could never do on my own (Praise Your Holy name! All the glory to You!) and I pray that I will cling to You. May my inner strength continue to be powered from Your “glorious, unlimited resources.”

This wonderful passage admonishes me to let my roots “grow down into Your love and keep me strong.”  Without You I am surely weak and helpless! In my own strength I fail. Only in You am I victorious. Thank you, Lord…

I am incomplete without Your love. Help me so that my overwhelming desire will be to “have the power to understand how WIDE, how LONG, how HIGH, and how DEEP Your love is”! May I “experience the love of Christ” – overwhelm me with Your love. May it gush and splash over on to all I meet!

And “through Your mighty power at work within me accomplish infinitely more than I might ask or [even] think”!

April 27th, Mon, 6:30am