Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Who Are We?

I normally wouldn't comment about a football game but after the very disappointing Packer loss to the Bears, I heard some things from the players that really got my attention. The team played very poorly in many regards and made so many mistakes (penalties) that contributed to the defeat. Some of the comments of the players went like this: "We didn't execute" (meaning "we were awful") -- "We're a smarter team than that" (no actually they're not; they were like they played) -- "That's not the way we play" (yes, actually, that's exactly how they played). Most excuses for bad play were just that, excuses.

Living Hope Church founding pastor, the late Jim Erickson, used to say this: when you get older, you will just be more of what you were when you were younger -- unless you make the decision not to be like that. In other words, if you are an angry person growing up, you will be a more angry person as you get older. If you are a bitter person, (unforgiving, unfeeling, uncaring, etc. -- you get the point) you will be more bitter, unforgiving, etc. as you get older. That is, unless you are honest about who you are and decide you want to change and be better as you get older instead of being bitter.

The point is this: do I really want to change? Do I want to grow and be more effective in my Christian walk than I am right now? Anyone can change if they really want to and understand the need to. The scripture says "I can do all things (make any good changes in my life) through
Christ who gives me the strength to do it" Phil. 4:13

Do you want to be more of what you are right now as you get older? Or is Christ (maybe through the people He puts into your life who are trying to speak to you but you aren't listening) telling you to put off those old, unproductive, damaging ways of thinking, talking, and acting and with His help to put on a new way.

Up North Wisdom says change is never easy. But if I see the need and value of making good changes, I understand that Christ will give all the help I need. I hope the Packers make some changes that will help them be more effective in their game, but even more importantly, will you and I decide that enough is enough and begin to put the past behind us? With His help, the best is yet to come. Believe it, Confess it and claim it for Jesus sake and His Kingdom and certainly for your good. Amen!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Are You Blind?

Chapter nine of the Gospel of John contains a great story of a blind man to whom Christ restored sight. The religious formalists of the time (Pharisees) would not accept that Jesus was the one who did the miracle and kept hounding the man to acknowledge that. The man said all he knew was that he was blind and now he could see. The implication was that only God could do such a miracle so Jesus must be who He said He was: that is, the Son of God.

Jesus pointed out to those religious formalists that since they claimed to know everything (could see and know clearly) that they were indeed the blind ones who refused to acknowledge and accept(see) Christ as being sent from God. They refused to see their own blindness (faults, sins) but claimed to be able to see others faults. Their refusal to "see" the truth about themselves kept them in their lost (blind) condition.

The question we must ask ourselves is "are we blind to our own faults, our true condition?" Are we those who can see the specks in others eyes and not see the beams in our own eyes? What has Christ been trying to point out to you in your life that needs to change? What are you refusing to admit about your life and attitudes that are resulting in spiritual blindness?

Psalm 139 ends with this truth: "Lord, look deep into my heart and life and bring out everything that is displeasing (sinful) and counter-productive to your will. Point out to me what I do that offends You. Forgive me (open my eyes) and then lead me into the bright and clear future that you have planned for me." TPJV (The Pastor Jerry Version) Believe me, friend, that is a prayer that God will always answer. Don't continue to be blind to your faults. (sins) Look into God's spiritual mirror and change what God tells you to change.

Up North Wisdom says that Religious formalists ( the ones that say "I'm alright, I don't need to change. I'm better than most and not as bad as some. I'm a church goer and that is enough.") are really the ones who are blind. Don't be blind. Let Christ open your eyes to see the truth. The Word says that understanding and applying the truth of God's Word to your life will truly set you free. (John 8:32) As the beautiful old chorus says: "Open my eyes, Lord. I want to see Jesus." Amen. The best is yet to come!