God’s Grace, not Greed!

I work one in one of the top five deadliest jobs in America, I was reminded of that just this month when I badly injured my left hand while at work.  I was lucky that I didn’t break my finger and only had to have it stitched up.  Being a garbage collector is a thankless job and a deadly one.  In addition to working with big machines that crush anything (and anyone) that gets in the way, there are the risks posed by hazardous materials and heavy traffic.  In June of 2000 a 30 year-old male sanitation assistant (the victim) was crushed by the hydraulically powered tailgate of a garbage truck while unloading garbage at a county landfill.   The County Sheriff, and ambulance personnel arrived at the scene within minutes but the county medical examiner pronounced the man dead at the scene.  A discarded fishing pole was found inside the garbage compartment of the truck, and it is possible that the victim was trying to retrieve this item immediately prior to getting caught.

Could it possibly be that we simply can’t believe
That this unconditional kind of love would be enough
To take a filthy wretch like this and wrap him up in righteousness?

Greed is defined as an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves.  We think we never have enough in life and want more and more.  More time, more money, more to eat, more love!  We can’t stop and we are always looking of more ways to make us look and feel good.  But the truth is, we are not good.  We deal with Body Image, Reckless living, Selfishness, Cancer, Doubts about life, Fears, Diabetes, Working too much, Failing health and past issues in our life.

No matter the hurt or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain, still the truth is
The cross has made, the cross has made you flawless

I was very lucky (if you want to call it luck) that I didn’t lose my finger.  The wound was very deep and the pain, oh the pain!  Three weeks later and my finger feels a lot better, but it still hurts sometimes. Even though the wound has healed up, there will be a scar to remind me that I’m not flawless! And just like the song Flawless by MercyMe, I just need to take a breath, smile and say.  Right here, right now that I’m OK; because the cross was enough.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”. ~ Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

Their is more to life than what you own, what you drive or how you look. In the end, it’s not what you do that matters the most.  Don’t think getting just one more thing will make you better, Greed is deadly to the soul and will catch you to you before you know it.  The Cross has made you flawless no matter what issues you are facing in life.  It’s never too late to be introduce to grace, God’s grace.   Grace can wipe away to stains of your past and leave you flawless in God’s eyes!

Some of us have been bruised by abuse. Broken by disappointment. Weighed down by depression. We don’t think we’re worthy of God’s Grace, worth being flawless. But the Lord says of His people, “You are precious and honored in my sight” (Isaiah 43:4).

There is more to life, you are flawless in Christ.

Why Me Lord?

Music has always been very important to me.  As a young boy I love singing along to songs that was playing on the radio. One of the songs I remember the most was “Why Me” by Kris Kristofferson, something about that song stuck in my head and I would sing it to myself ever chance I could.  Most people wouldn’t call this a “Christian song”, “Why Me” was Kristofferson’s lone major country hit as a solo recording artist, reaching No. 1 of Billboard magazine‘s Hot Country Singles chart in July 1973. My faith journey to know the Lord didn’t start for me until later in my life.  Faith is defined as belief, confidence or trust in a person, object, religion, idea or view despite the absence of proof.  Most of my life I didn’t need the “proof” He (God) was with me and I was blindness to His love and kindness.

Try me, Lord, if you think there’s a way
I can try to repay all I’ve taken from you
Maybe Lord I can show someone else
What I’ve been through myself, on my way back to you

Kristofferson wrote Why Me during an emotionally low period of his life after having attended a religious service conducted by the Rev. Jimmie Rogers Snow. Like Kristofferson, I too went through a very emotionally low period in my life and in 2008 while spending a night in jail and facing prison time, I knew I needed Him!  It is that state of mind in which a poor sinner, conscious of his sin, flees from his guilty self to Christ his Saviour, and rolls over the burden of all his sins on Him. With a deep sense of sin and a distinct view of Christ and a consenting will, and with a loving heart, I turned over my trust to Christ that night.

Today, I live because of God’s good grace and look ever day to be able to “repay” all I have taken from life. I pray that someday I can help others who are facing some of the same problems I did and just, maybe I can show them what I went through and how I found my way back home.

God bless,

Kent.

Do we love Christ or desire Him?

Love and desire are not the same.

I love chocolate cake! We often confuse the two.  When we say “I love chocolate cake!” we deceive ourselves.  We don’t love it. We want to eat it! If we loved it, we’d care for it.

 Desire is simple and often reckless.  We need to manage it carefully to avoid causing harm.  Desire is the intention to change something, to reject what it is in favor of what it could be something  better, more secure, more pleasing.  Love is the intention to let that thing be for its own sake.  Love saves and serves and sacrifices.  Desire uses and consumes.  This begs an important question for  each of us.  Do we love Christ or desire Him?  It’s not just a matter of semantics arguing over the fine definition of words.  Our answer to this basic question will indicate whether we live to serve Him or  use Him.  How often do we follow Him because of what we can get from Him rather than give to Him?  How often do we couch the gospel in terms of reward rather than repentance  what we will gain?

 To love Christ is to make Him the center of our attention, with no selfish ambition.  Do we “come to Christ” to honor Him or be honored by Him?  Love and desire are not the same, and to the extent that we confuse the two we diminish our discipleship and ourselves.  When we worship the Lord for our benefit, it inevitably becomes a source of dissatisfaction and conflict.  When we serve others to meet our need for affirmation, it eventually feels hollow.  When we pray with only our needs in focus, the words shrivel in our mouths.  Loves looks outward.  Desire looks inward.  Love gives.  Desire takes.  Love submits.  Desire controls.  Love releases.  Desire holds tight.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:34-35 (NIV)

We might equally ask ourselves whether our marriages are marked by love or desire; whether we treat our children with authentic love or thinly disguised desire.  But as followers of Jesus, the issue is just as critical.  Love is a gift, without strings, without expectations.

May we love Him (and those around us) more purely today.

Get into the boat.

God granting miracles

A religious man is on top of a roof during a great flood. A man comes by in a boat and says “get in, get in!” The religous man replies, ” no I have faith in God, he will grant me a miracle.”

Later the water is up to his waist and another boat comes by and the guy tells him to get in again. He responds that he has faith in god and god will give him a miracle. With the water at about chest high, another boat comes to rescue him, but he turns down the offer again cause “God will grant him a miracle.”

With the water at chin high, a helicopter throws down a ladder and they tell him to get in, mumbling with the water in his mouth, he again turns down the request for help for the faith of God. He arrives at the gates of heaven with broken faith and says to Peter, I thought God would grand me a miracle and I have been let down.” St. Peter chuckles and responds, “I don’t know what you’re complaining about, we sent you three boats and a helicopter.”

This Joke got me to thinking about how sometimes we take all the good things God blesses our life with.  We pray for many things and we know what we want but yet when the blessings pass us by because only see what we want to.  God can bless us in many ways  with  things that look the same, maybe a  job, a home or someone to love us.  Our idea of what we want is not going to be the same as what God will offer us, it’s up to us to not over look it and jump in the boat when it comes our direction.

You are loved!

This past week we had a young lady take her own life by jumping off a bridge in Iowa City onto Interstate 80 on Tuesday morning, where she was hit by a semitrailer and killed. I know what it’s like to feel so overwhelmed that you just can’t see any hope for living. Yes, I have been to that point in my life where I wanted to end it all. I felt so alone, no hope for tomorrow but that was before I found the love of Jesus Christ and my local church. I didn’t know this young beautiful lady at all but her death touched me in a way that I can’t express! That night, I just keep saying, “she didn’t have to do this” and how sad I was for her family, friends, the driver of the semi and the first responder and Law enforcement officers.

As I was on my way to church this morning, I felt God calling me to step up and talk to our congregation about what I was feeling. When we are feeling depressed, sad or what ever, we can’t go it alone and covering it up doesn’t help. I you think the person you care for knows how much you care for them, don’t just think they know! Tell them, show them ever day how much you love them no matter how bad they feel. If your dealing with depression and can talk about it, DO IT! Let’s not hide it any more, show others who are facing the same thing that they too are not alone and can come to you if they want too. Life is so wonderful, and Jesus died on the cross to give us new life and no matter what you have done or what your going through, his family of believers love you and you can trust them.

I know this is my calling to help others dealing with depression and showing them the love that Jesus Christ offers us. I am so thankful that the good Lord gave me new life and new hope so I can try to touch life’s that are hurting. Just hearing people thanks me for sharing my thoughts and experiences is nice, I hope they can take from it that it’s OK to let people see who they really are, and that’s a child of God who loves us so much that He sent his only son to die for us.

Your not alone and if you think that ending your life is all you have left, please don’t! Let me know, I will do every thing I can for you. You are loved more than you know and better days are ahead.

God bless.