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.

Open Up to Others

Social networking is big business. Things like Facebook, e-mail, and texting reveal our hunger to connect with one another, yet many people still feel lonely. The fall of Adam and Eve usually brings to mind the disconnection that sin created between God and mankind, but it also affected all human relationships from that time onward. As a result, fear and pride threaten to keep us in bondage to isolation and self-protection.

Surprisingly, many homes, workplaces, and churches are gatherings of strangers. Even husbands and wives can live in the same house without really knowing each other. Being able to list many facts about those we live and work with is not the same as really knowing them. To some degree, whether we are known by others is our responsibility. Even the friendliest person may not be able to penetrate someone else’s self-erected walls. To be known, we must risk opening up and letting others in.

Paul pled with the Corinthians to open up to him as he had to them. Because they’d built emotional walls, their relation-ship with him and their effectiveness as a church were hindered. Of all people, believers are called to live in open honesty and accountability with one another. We cannot shut everybody out and expect to have an open relationship with God.

Relational walls can be hard to recognize. Unforgiveness, a sense of unworthiness, and fear of rejection are common reasons for self-protective barriers. Ask God to reveal any ways that you’re shutting someone out. He will help you demolish all hindrances to your relationship with Him and others.

The Cross: The Irony of God’s Wisdom

When we are born, we don’t have any idea what we are going to do.  As we get older we think we know what’s going on around us and when we see what others are doing we want to be like them.  They may have a big home, nice car, or a pretty girlfriend or may even be rich.  Most of us think we are smart, we don’t need any body to tell us how to think or act.  It’s when we try to keep up with the “Jone’s” and greed sets in that we start to get lost.  We try so hard to get people to see us as smart and successful and we are willing to pay a high price to be a “somebody.

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”

If we turn to God to lead us and trust the he will give us what we need, we can lead a better life.  Don’t let greed steel your joy, God is calling you. Trust in God’s wisdom to open the door to right thinking and right living and get a fresh start to a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Not Enough

The writer of Ecclesiastes said that pleasure, material possessions, and even great knowledge do not bring lasting satisfaction. Jesus went even further. He said that a person who possesses everything this world has to offer but doesn’t prepare for eternity is spiritually destitute. We all need more than fun, finances, and fame to be fulfilled.

What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? (Luke 9:25 NIV)

The world in which we live has many things that appeal to us. Apart from what is sinful, we can and should enjoy its pleasures. A delicious meal graced with the good fellowship of friends warms our hearts. The beauties of nature inspire and fill us with wonder. Good music refreshes our souls. And work itself can be fulfilling.

John 4:13-14
John 4:13-14

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”  (John 7:37-38 NIV)

Because we were created in God’s image, our lives do have meaning for both time and eternity. God made us for His glory and placed us on earth to honor Him. We have the remarkable ability to reflect on Him and on eternity.

Believing that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the grave meets our need for meaning. Salvation brings assurance that we’re forgiven. We have an eternal purpose and the hope of heaven. This is enough to bring deep peace and joy to our lives. Have you found this to be so?