Friday, July 23, 2010

Please help...I need your input

Hello all!

I'm researching some things for a project I've been writing. I'd love it if I could get some outside input for my research. I'm studying and writing about the lies we believe about ourselves, our families, our relationships, God, our situations and circumstances, etc.

For instance, some of the lies I have believed in the past are:

"I am an unfinished mess."

"I am broken. I am not whole."

"I can't do something because I am afraid."

Please post your lies below. By posting comments directly on my blog at, you may post annonymously. Feel free to post as many as you feel comfortable. These can be lies you've believed in the past or something you are believing now. Things that affect your view of yourself, of God, of others, etc.

Thanks so much everyone!

****Update July 20, 2010******
Hello everyone!

I'm doing my best to respond to each comment. I realize that some of you who are posting have already tackled your lie. But, as I'm talking to others about this post, I'm seeing more and more that many of us wrestle with the same lies. By posting the Truth here, I hope that someone will finally be able to uproot a lie that is poisoning their heart. Thank you so much for your honesty in posting here. It's helping more than just my writing!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Power of Forgiveness

A friend shared this with me this morning and I'd like to re-post it here. You can see the original post at:

(There's a very interesting story about Leonardo DaVinci and The Last Supper in the last 5 paragraphs)

The Power of Forgiveness

"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." - Ephesians 4:31-32

There isn't one person reading this who hasn't been hurt by another person. Question: what are you doing with that offense? Do you hold them hostage for the injury they inflicted on you? How many hours and days have you wasted thinking, "You owe me and I'm going to make you pay?"

That's a tough question on a painful topic but you have to get it settled. In order to navigate your way through relationships, you need to hold a conviction about how you're going to respond when someone hurts you.

Ephesians 4:31-32 gives us direction: "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."

Read that last phrase again, "as God in Christ forgave you."

As freely as He forgave you.

As quickly as He forgave you.

As generously as He forgave you.

Jesus models what forgiveness should look like in our lives. He was falsely accused, mocked, beaten, and spat upon, then crucified. As He hung on that cross for your sins and mine, He said: "Father, forgive them." Jesus' model motivates us to live out Ephesians 4:32, "Just as God in Christ has forgiven you."

You've heard me say it before: there are no enduring relationships without forgiveness. None. Before you go very far in any partnership, there will be forks in the road where if you do not forgive, the relationship will not survive. It's true in every marriage, in every household, in every small group, in every friendship. This is always, always true.

You know that Kathy and I are committed to serving in one church for a lifetime. As I'm preaching, I look into the faces of people I've known for a long time. I know that I would not have those relationships today were it not for their willingness to forgive me and my willingness to forgive them. Forgiveness says, "Because of Christ, you owe me nothing."

I love this true account from the life of Leonardo DaVinci. Not only was he a great painter, but DaVinci had a great faith in God. On the day he was to begin to paint the masterpiece, "The Last Supper," he had a blow-out argument with one of his friends.

As he was painting the disciples seated around the table, DaVinci was still sour toward his friend. So when it came time to paint Judas - you guessed it - he painted his friend's face. Then he moved on to paint Jesus. Of course Leonardo loved Christ but try as he might, he couldn't paint His likeness in any way that he thought represented His beauty. He painted, erased, painted, erased. Convicted by his own unforgiveness, he repainted the face of Judas with some other, random likeness and went to get right with his friend. Only then could he return to finish his portrait of Christ.

It's been said that DaVinci's face of Christ in this work is one of the most beautiful ones ever painted. What a great picture of the mercy in forgiveness. It will bear itself out in your life and mine. We will not see the likeness of Christ reproduced in our lives until we forgive.

Has the Lord brought a relationship to mind that needs your long-overdue forgiveness? By faith say, "Because of Christ, you owe me nothing.”

Take to heart God's call on your life: "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."

Monday, July 19, 2010

When God Sighed

I read this today in my email and was completely overwhelmed by the sentiment it contained. I'm still wiping away the tears and trying to catch my breath as I write to share this with you. I hope you'll take a few minutes to read it.

When God Sighed
by Max Lucado

Two days ago I read a word in the Bible that has since taken up residence in my heart.

To be honest, I didn’t quite know what to do with it. It’s only one word, and not a very big one at that. When I ran across the word, (which, by the way, is exactly what happened; I was running through the passage and this word came out of nowhere and bounced me like a speed bump) I didn’t know what to do with it. I didn’t have any hook to hang it on or category to file it under.

It was an enigmatic word in an enigmatic passage. But now, forty-eight hours later, I have found a place for it, a place all its own. My, what a word it is. Don’t read it unless you don’t mind changing your mind, because this little word might move your spiritual furniture around a bit.

Look at the passage with me.

Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. There some people brought a man to him who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man.

After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly. (Mark 7:31-35)

Quite a passage, isn’t it?

Jesus is presented with a man who is deaf and has a speech impediment. Perhaps he stammered. Maybe he spoke with a lisp. Perhaps, because of his deafness, he never learned to articulate words properly.

Jesus, refusing to exploit the situation, took the man aside. He looked him in the face. Knowing it would be useless to talk, he explained what he was about to do through gestures. He spat and touched the man’s tongue, telling him that whatever restricted his speech was about to be removed. He touched his ears. They, for the first time, were about to hear.

But before the man said a word or heard a sound, Jesus did something I never would have anticipated.

He sighed.

I might have expected a clap or a song or a prayer. Even a “Hallelujah!” or a brief lesson might have been appropriate. But the Son of God did none of these. Instead, he paused, looked into heaven, and sighed. From the depths of his being came a rush of emotion that said more than words.

Sigh. The word seemed out of place.

I’d never thought of God as one who sighs. I’d thought of God as one who commands. I’d thought of God as one who weeps. I’d thought of God as one who called forth the dead with a command or created the universe with a word … but a God who sighs?

Perhaps this phrase caught my eye because I do my share of sighing.

I sighed yesterday when I visited a lady whose invalid husband had deteriorated so much he didn’t recognize me. He thought I was trying to sell him something.

I sighed when the dirty-faced, scantily dressed, six-year-old girl in the grocery store asked me for some change.

And I sighed today listening to a husband tell how his wife won’t forgive him.

No doubt you’ve done your share of sighing.

If you have teenagers, you’ve probably sighed. If you’ve tried to resist temptation, you’ve probably sighed. If you’ve had your motives questioned or your best acts of love rejected, you have been forced to take a deep breath and let escape a painful sigh.

I realize there exists a sigh of relief, a sigh of expectancy, and even a sigh of joy. But that isn’t the sigh described in Mark 7. The sigh described is a hybrid of frustration and sadness. It lies somewhere between a fit of anger and a burst of tears.

The apostle Paul spoke of this sighing. Twice he said that Christians will sigh as long as we are on earth and long for heaven. The creation sighs as if she were giving birth. Even the Spirit sighs as he interprets our prayers. (Romans 8:22-27)

All these sighs come from the same anxiety; a recognition of pain that was never intended, or of hope deferred.

Man was not created to be separated from his creator; hence he sighs, longing for home. The creation was never intended to be inhabited by evil; hence she sighs, yearning for the Garden. And conversations with God were never intended to depend on a translator; hence the Spirit groans on our behalf, looking to a day when humans will see God face to face.

And when Jesus looked into the eyes of Satan’s victim, the only appropriate thing to do was sigh. “It was never intended to be this way,” the sigh said. “Your ears weren’t made to be deaf, your tongue wasn’t made to stumble.” The imbalance of it all caused the Master to languish.

So, I found a place for the word. You might think it strange, but I placed it beside the word comfort, for in an indirect way, God’s pain is our comfort.

And in the agony of Jesus lies our hope. Had he not sighed, had he not felt the burden for what was not intended, we would be in a pitiful condition. Had he simply chalked it all up to the inevitable or washed his hands of the whole stinking mess, what hope would we have?

But he didn’t. That holy sigh assures us that God still groans for his people. He groans for the day when all sighs will cease, when what was intended to be will be.

Friday, July 09, 2010

You're Gonna Miss This

I just listened to the song by Trace Adkins called "You're Gonna Miss This". It really struck a chord with me today for a number of reasons.

Here's a link to the song if you'd like to hear it:

In the last few years, I've thought about the theme of this song a good bit. "You're gonna miss're gonna want this back". I think, sometimes, we're so focused on what's next that we miss what's right in front of us. It's exciting to look forward, but all too often, we're looking back before we know it, wondering where the time has gone.

Sometimes, we're so focused on pain that we lose years with someone over something that, in the end, really never mattered. But, in those years, we miss moments we'll never get back. Life can change so quickly with loves, marriages, babies, and even death. You don't get those moments back. It breaks my heart to see what moments I've missed over the years.

So, I just wanted to stop for a moment and let this lesson sink in. I want to be someone who doesn't borrow trouble from tomorrow, but lives in today. I want to be someone who loves people well and walks beside them through the moments of their lives. I don't want to look back at missed opportunities to share my faith or the love of God. I don't want anger, bitterness, or pain to keep me from missing out on that moment when someone finds the one they've waited for, that grooms sees his bride approach, a baby's first smile, or a thousand other memories that come from living life with someone.

I would challenge you to remember this: time is precious and you don't get a second chance at some things. Choose not to live with regret by loving well, pursuing peace, and finding joy in the moment.

"You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times so take a good look around
You may not know it now
But, you're gonna miss this"

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Behind the Shower Curtain

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Behind the Shower Curtain
by Max Lucado

I’m going to have to install a computer in my shower. That’s where I have my best thoughts.

I had a great one today.

I was mulling over a recent conversation I had with a disenchanted Christian brother. He was upset with me. So upset that he was considering rescinding his invitation for me to speak to his group. Seems he’d heard I was pretty open about who I have fellowship with. He’d read the words I wrote: “If God calls a person his child, shouldn’t I call him my brother?” And, “If God accepts others with their errors and misinterpretations, shouldn’t we?”

He didn’t like that. “Carrying it a bit too far,” he told me. “Fences are necessary,” he explained. “Scriptures are clear on such matters.” He read me a few and then urged me to be careful to whom I give grace.

“I don’t give it,” I assured. “I only spotlight where God already has.”

Didn’t seem to satisfy him. I offered to bow out of the engagement (the break would be nice), but he softened and told me to come after all.

That’s where I’m going today. That’s why I was thinking about him in the shower. And that’s why I need a waterproof computer. I had a great thought. A why-didn’t-I-think-to-say-that? insight.

I hope to see him today. If the subject resurfaces, I’ll say it. But in case it doesn’t, I’ll say it to you. (It’s too good to waste.) Just one sentence:

I’ve never been surprised by God’s judgment, but I’m still stunned by his grace.

God’s judgment has never been a problem for me. In fact, it always seemed right. Lightning bolts on Sodom. Fire on Gomorrah. Good job, God. Egyptians swallowed in the Red Sea. They had it coming. Forty years of wandering to loosen the stiff necks of the Israelites? Would’ve done it myself. Ananias and Sapphira? You bet.

Discipline is easy for me to swallow. Logical to assimilate. Manageable and appropriate.

But God’s grace? Anything but.

Examples? How much time do you have?

David the psalmist becomes David the voyeur, but by God’s grace becomes David the psalmist again.

Peter denied Christ before he preached Christ.

Zacchaeus, the crook. The cleanest part of his life was the money he’d laundered. But Jesus still had time for him.

The thief on the cross: hellbent and hung-out-to-die one minute, heaven-bound and smiling the next.

Story after story. Prayer after prayer. Surprise after surprise.

Seems that God is looking more for ways to get us home than for ways to keep us out. I challenge you to find one soul who came to God seeking grace and did not find it. Search the pages. Read the stories. Envision the encounters. Find one person who came seeking a second chance and left with a stern lecture. I dare you. Search.

You won’t find it.

You will find a strayed sheep on the other side of the creek. He’s lost. He knows it. He’s stuck and embarrassed. What will the other sheep say? What will the shepherd say?

You will find a shepherd who finds him. (Luke 15:3-7)

Oh boy. Duck down. Put hooves over the eyes. The belt is about to fly. But the belt is never felt. Just hands. Large, open hands reaching under his body and lifting the sheep up, up, up until he’s placed upon the shepherd’s shoulders. He’s carried back to the flock and given a party! “Cut the grass and comb the wool,” he announces. “We are going to have a celebration!”

The other sheep shake their heads in disbelief. Just like we will. At our party. When we get home. When we watch the Shepherd shoulder into our midst one unlikely soul after another.

Seems to me God gives a lot more grace than we’d ever imagine.

We could do the same.

I’m not for watering down the truth or compromising the gospel. But if a fellow with a pure heart calls God Father, can’t I call that same man Brother? If God doesn’t make doctrinal perfection a requirement for family membership, should I?

And if we never agree, can’t we agree to disagree? If God can tolerate my mistakes, can’t I tolerate the mistakes of others? If God can overlook my errors, can’t I overlook the errors of others? If God allows me with my foibles and failures to call him Father, shouldn’t I extend the same grace to others?

One thing’s for sure. When we get to heaven, we’ll be surprised at some of the folks we see. And some of them will be surprised to see us.

From When God Whispers Your Name
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1999) Max Lucado