Photo Friday: Majesty

 

Wake Up Sleeper!

Salt Lake

Last weekend I made a quick trip to Salt Lake City to ski with a friend from work.  The schedule was to fly in, ski two days and fly back.  A quick trip.  I have never been to Salt Lake City.  Along with that, I had not experienced the breathtaking beauty of the Wasatch Mountains.

We had a little time on Monday before our flight so we had the opportunity to visit Antelope Island which is an island located in the Great Salt Lake.  It was a cold morning and it has snowed overnight so the area was blanketed with a light covering of snow.

The views were fantastic!  Although the island had few visitors, we did notice visitors taking pictures of the amazing scenery.  The best word I could come up to describe what we saw is majesty.

Majesty is a unique word.  It describes something large.  Something powerful.  Something a bit overwhelming.

When I see something that I would call majesty, I think of the hand of the Creator.  The potter and the clay.  The architect and builder of our amazing planet.

There is a verse in the Bible that says that we have no excuse to be ignorant of the hand of the Father.  Creation screams His name.  I cannot believe that all of this beauty was created by chance or by accident.

I asked my friend if he felt that looking at the mountains each day would dull this feeling of majesty.  He quickly told me no.  He believed that the mountains and the beauty would never get old.  They would retain their power over anyone who looked their way.

So the key is to look!  Look for His hand.  Look at what He made.  Look at what He does in your life.  Look at the way He blesses you.

An accident, good luck or chance?  Can’t be.  Chance does not have this order.  Chance does not have this variety and beauty.  Chance does not produce majesty.  Chance is not this good.  Not even close!

LOOK and wake up sleeper!        

So what do you think?  Can you see His hand in creation?  Do you think this world was created by chance?  Click on “Leave a Comment” and tell me what you think!

 

 

 

 

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The Power Of Your Story

 

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Yesterday, we visited a women drug and alcohol rehab center in Alajualita to minister to the women at the center. Kathy had been there many times, but this was my first visit. During our time at the center, our group shared some of our own personal stories of addiction, rejection and shame. As we shared through an interpreter, you could visibly see the connections being made between their situation and our struggles and our stories. This instantly broke down the walls between our cultures, our distances, our languages.

I’ve seen this before. Being transparent has a way of connecting people together. Having the courage to share a painful story or your personal struggle confirms that you are not alone in your struggles. There are others that are just like you. You are not weird. You are not broken. You are not alone.

If you don’t tell your story, how will they know?

One of the persons in our group shared a miraculous story of deliverance from a very serious drug addiction. They came to the end of the rope. They were tired of the cycle of failure. They gave up the struggle, asked the Lord for help, and finally surrendered. Completely. None of this “one foot in and one foot out”. Quit trying to do it one their own.  They realized that it was impossible without His help. And like the gracious father that He is, in an instant, it was gone. No more hunger for drugs. No more depression. No more shame.

They were glued to every word. I sensed that the ladies were most afraid of failing again. You could see the fear in their eyes. They had all tried to stop before. One woman shared that she was a “rehab expert”. She had been in rehab twenty times. They all wanted it to end.  They desperately wanted this instant transformation and change.

Radical transformation is what they are seeking. A new beginning. Freedom from the slavery of drug and alcohol abuse. Freedom can be instantaneous or it can be a process. We want it quick, in an instant, but the Lord may have other plans. The key is to surrender. Completely. Give up the fight and give it to Him. You cannot do it on your own, with your own will. It’s the Jesus story. We couldn’t live the perfect life so he sent His son to the rescue. To give us a way out. He is the good, good Father!

The good news is that in the end He always wins. He wants the very best for you. And, if its not in an instant, you will get stronger each day. You can do this. Wash away the old and fill yourself up with the New. The Lord is gentleman. He won’t do anything without your permission. Move towards Him. Surrender. He’s waiting for you!

So what do you think?  Have you experienced the power of your story?  Have you seen the walls come down?  Why do we try to hide?  Click on “Leave a Comment” and tell me what you think!

Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men- Really?

Is the Christmas message really relevant?  How can we truly believe the angels who made this declaration upon the birth of Jesus with all of the turmoil that we saw this past year?

Continued terrorism, violence and beheadings.

Demonstrations and violence over police actions and racial strife.

Sluggish economic conditions and unemployment.

The struggle for fairness and equity.

Immigration rights and yielding to the law and authority.

SW_AmarpreetKaur

I’m sure you can come up with many more.  This year has been a poster child for the struggle of life.  The  struggle to provide for our families.  The struggle for justice and fairness.  The struggle to be heard.  So why don’t we have the peace that the Christmas story seems to promise?

The reality is that the Christmas promises are personal.  The peace that Jesus offers is for you.  If Jesus was truly looking to fix things here on earth he certainly would have freed Israel from Rome’s brutality.  He would have ended the inequities of the rich and poor.  He would have taken away hunger and disease.

What Jesus offers is simply love.  See, love is more powerful than all of these things.  Love will cure all problems.

Jesus knew the struggle first hand.  That’s why he had to live amongst us.  So we would  know that he knows the struggle first hand.  Jesus did not promise to take evil away from the world.  At least not until the final victory.

So how does the promise of Christmas provide me with peace?

I don’t need to worry about fairness.  I know that the Lord will take care of me.  The fixation on fairness and equity can be disguised pride.  That making things equal fixes things.  I know that things will not be completely fair this side of heaven.  I will be taken advantage of.  I am OK with this.  He will take care of me.

I don’t need to worry about provision.  I know that the Lord will provide for me.  He always does.  I have been continually blessed.  He will take care of me and my family.

I don’t need to worry about controlling everything.  I know that the Lord is in control and he will take care of things.  I can take my hands off the wheel and let him steer.

I know that he loves me and love drives out fear and worry.  So how do I know this?  I have seen with my own eyes the power of this love first hand.

I have witnessed changes in my life and others.

I have watched connections made and provisions that cannot be explained.

I have watched his peace invade lives, change hearts and restore what is broken.

I have witnessed his power, his truth and his promises.

The promise of peace this Christmas season is your peace.  Are you at peace ?  Can you relax knowing that he’s going to take care of you?  Do you know that he loves you and wants the very best for you?  If you struggle- his offer stands.  Just reach out to him.  He’s waiting for you!

Blessings to you and yours!  May your Christmas be filled with wonder, joy and peace!

Don’t Lose The War!

You probably have heard the expression- “don’t win the battle and lose the war”. I think this result happens more than we want to admit. And when we lose the war, it can really hurt and cause pain. You forget to look beyond the immediate to see the long term consequences.

coffee cup

There has been a discussion recently on the effectiveness of the War on Poverty started in the Johnson administration fifty years ago. Despite the efforts to wipe out poverty, the overall statistics have not changed much- still about 15% of the population in the US are still at the poverty level. Regardless of the discouraging statistics, I know that there are also real success stories of how government assistance has pulled families up and allowed them to prosper. Yet, there has been a great and unexpected consequence that is far more damaging than the monetary pain.

The assistance has lead to real damage to the family structure in the inner city.

Kathy and I have been working in inner city ministries for many years and we have witnessed this first hand. We see single mothers with large families- sometimes 6 and 8 children. On the street they call this “getting papers” which is getting assistance based on supporting children. This assistance has promoted children born to homes without fathers, families or resources. With the available assistance, the mothers receive more money if they have more children. We see houses loaded with kids. However, in my own neighborhood it is rare to see a home with more than two children. It’s completely backwards. And these inner city kids have a very, very tough future. And the dependency grows and self-perpetuates.

With the assistance, men and families are essentially let off the hook. They feel little responsibility for the support of the children. “Let the government take care of them.” Other programs lead to the ability to distance yourself from family responsibility. Social Security disability is another example. In the past, when a family member became disabled, the family would rally around this person, help them and support them. Now, we let the government take care of them.

So what’s the message in all this? Should we be callous and cruel? Should we freeze-up in our decision making due to unintended consequences? Here is what I think can be learned:

Good ideas are not always good! There are great pragmatic ideas that are not practical or have unintended consequences. Don’t let the “good” sounding option cloud your rational decision making. Consider all sides, think of the future and any potential and unintended consequences. Like the description above, the consequences can actually be more damaging than the immediate problem. If you have a fight in the bread line and someone gets badly hurt then the hunger would have been a lesser problem- right?

Don’t be afraid to make changes along the way! We see programs go on and on that are not really effective. Why is this? I think part of this is a result of dependency but even larger is the fact that someone has their name on it. You have to admit that it’s not working. You have to admit that it’s broken. Sometimes its just pride or politics. Have the courage to admit that it’s not working and fix it!

Nothing has to last forever! If the concept has run it’s course then let it die. Yes, it will be painful to let it go. We tend to get attached to things. They become part of our identity. Be objective and evaluate and let it die if it is no longer effective.

The truth hurts! It can be difficult to deliver the bad news. When a project goes astray and you have bad things happen, the party is over! Many of us do not like to be the voice of reason. We want to stay on the sunny side of life. Let someone else be the bearer of bad news. In order to be a good steward of limited resources you have a responsibility to evaluate things for efficiency. Do the right thing and tell the truth- even if it hurts!

Leaders are empowered to make decisions and we must be objective and consider all of the consequences. I hurt for our friends downtown. They are struggling in many ways due to faulty unintended results and an unwillingness to make tough changes. The human cost of this is staggering. We continue to dig a hole that only gets deeper. Don’t do it! Consider all the consequences for your decisions and be willing to make the tough changes when necessary.

Win the war- people are counting on you!

Have you been the victim of unintended consequences? Have you seen the pain that results from the aftermath? Click on Leave a Comment and tell me your story!

Copyright © 2014. Leading by Serving- Leadership is for Everyone!. All rights reserved.

Take Back Christmas!

I think everyone would agree- Christmas is special.  Regardless of your level of faith, the holiday brings a wonder of warmth, family, and giving to others.  The feeling of Christmas is hard to describe.  For children it may be focused on the gifts, and with age, the focus shifts to family, friends and the gathering together of loved ones.  There is a special love that surrounds this most special holiday.

Christmas in the post-War United States

What is this love?

Where does it come from?

Why does it feel so good?

I believe that the wonder and that feeling of warmth and love is a glimpse of our Father’s love.  Unconditional.  Complete.  Without any strings or requirements.  Like the love of a grandfather.  An enveloping warm blanket.  No matter where you are in your life frustrations, this love seems to power through on Christmas.

There is someone who wants to distract you from all of this.  By making you crazy in trying to keep up with everyone else.  By trying to make you think that it’s all about the gifts.  By keeping you super busy so you will not have time to concentrate on what the holiday is really about.

He is the prince of the air.  The enemy.  He wants to steal your Christmas.  He is the expert in distraction.  He wants you to concentrate on the gifts and the decorations.  The chaos.  The commercialized and prepackaged Christmas.  He wants you to fret about your gift not being good enough.  He wants you to doubt and worry.

See this is all in his plan.  If he can get you to concentrate on the present- you will miss the eternal.  And he does it with glitter, gold, garland, lace, cashmere, and trinkets.  Christmas is sensory overload.  And I believe that it is not by coincidence.

So what can you do to win?

Take back Christmas!  Realize that your struggle is not yours.  Focus on the beauty of this holiday.  Slow down and don’t get sucked in.  Make it about Christmas day.  The birth of our Savior.  His warmth.  His love!

I pray that your Christmas will be a wonderous time of peace and warmth with your family and friends.  May he cover you in His AMAZING blanket of love and grace!  Merry Christmas!

Copyright © 2013. Leading by Serving- Leadership is for Everyone!. All rights reserved.

Thanksgiving: Sending The Thief Away

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays.  It seems like it’s the complete package for me.  My busy family taking the time to gather together.  Deep family traditions.  Great food and drink.  Watch the Lions lose (former Detroiter- can’t help it).  No gifts to mess things up.  Afternoon nap.  Fall weather.  It’s just a great package- isn’t it?

Rainbow turkey for Thanksgiving decoration

Seems like we can easily reflect on how we are blessed at Thanksgiving.  Surrounded by family and friends, the love just seems to flow on this holiday. As you reflect on the previous year, you forget the struggles and the pain of the past.  The disappointments of life.  The things that really matter seem to stand out.  They just seem to get larger on Thanksgiving.  Why don’t we feel like Thanksgiving every day?  What stops us from having the grateful heart and joyful spirit that covers us in waves at Thanksgiving?

I believe that one of the major culprits is comparison.  We just can’t seem to separate ourselves from it.

Remember when you were a kid and you had to break the candy bar in half?  There was always a big effort to make it the same.  Exactly the same.  Seem like we are born with a sense that things have to be fair and equal.

We are seeing a great rebirth of the fairness principle in our world today.  There is a greater awareness of inequity, I believe, due to the fixation of this concept in the media.  The reality is that things have never been fair.  And they will never be fair.  There have and will always be people with much and people in want.  There will always be people with more than you have, and less than you have.  And much of our efforts to “level the playing field” has resulted in bad consequences- much of which are the direct opposite of what we are trying to repair.

Comparison destroys.  When you see someone else with more, and you desire what they have, it will drive you crazy.  Like a thief in the night- it will steal your joy.  What you don’t see, as you compare, is the added responsibility that comes with the package of abundance.  You miss that the folks with a lot of stuff are generally not any happier than people who have little.  You covet and the anger from the inequity burns inside of you.

What to you get from it?  You get misery.  You get discontent.  You get bitterness.

At Thanksgiving it seems like, regardless of where we are on the scale, we seem to get a pure view of what we have.  The gifts and abundance that God has blessed us with.  Family.  A spouse.  A home.  A job.  Friends.  You really can see it and we smile.  We cry.  We give thanks to the Lord for his blessing and provision.

So, how do you keep the joy flowing once Thanksgiving is over?  I say dump comparison!  It’s a thief that wants to turn your heart to stone.  Be thankful every day for what you have.  Even in the midst of the struggle.  Even when things are tough.  Remember the way you feel on Thanksgiving.  And send the thief away!

What do you think?  What are some ways that you stay focused on the blessings?  Don’t be a stealth reader!  Click on “Leave a Comment” and tell me what you think!

Copyright © 2013. Leading by Serving- Leadership is for Everyone!. All rights reserved.

Dirty Snow

Snow is the picture of purity.  Snow white is the way you would describe this special color.  When the ground is blanketed with a fresh layer of light and fluffy snow, the view turns fluorescently bright.  Years ago, we lived in a home on a hill overlooking a nature center.  After it snowed, it was amazingly beautiful.  Like a Christmas postcard.  A silvery brilliance gathered on the branches of the trees and the ground changed to a consistent cottony blanket of goodness.  Everything is clean and white.  When the sun would shine, it would be so bright you had to squint in order to see.

Frosty Footpath - winter snow

Frosty Footpath – winter snow

As the snow lingered on the ground, it would begin to tarnish.  The brilliance would fade and become dull.  The snow turned gray with streaks of black and brown impurities.  The white was gone and what remained was dirty snow.

Then, after a period of time, it would snow again and cover the dirty snow with another blanket of pure white.  The scene was beautiful again.  Renewed.  Back to a brilliant white.

Last weekend, I attended a men’s retreat in North Georgia called Souly Business (link).  This was not my first men’s retreat.  I have attended a bunch through the years.  During the introductions, I was asked why I was at the retreat.  I responded, “Because I need to be here”.  See, I need a new coat of snow.  I need it to be all white again.

Retreats are a great way to get readjusted and reacquainted with the Father.  I felt like I have been in a good place lately, but I know that He always has more for me.  More love.  More life.

As I spent time during the retreat with the Lord, He gave me a glimpse of my selfishness and pride.  The dynamic duo!  I feel like when I humbly approach Him, and the daily noise is turned off, His love and holiness can make me feel like dirty snow.  Like Isaiah in the throne room.  Unclean.  Still snow- but tarnished a bit.   Ready for renewal.

Do you need a new blanket of white?  Some ideas-

Get Quiet- Find a quiet place and get away from the noise.  We live in a constant stream of audio and visual overload.  Break away- even for a few hours, all alone, to spend time in prayer and reflection.  He promises that He will be there.  You will hear from Him.

Find a Partner- Find a friend who can journey with you.  Someone you can share your struggles with.  Someone that can help you off load some of your junk.

Slow Down- It’s likely that He’s trying to speak to you but you are running so hard that you can’t hear Him.  Prune some activities that are overwhelming your schedule.

Truth Escape- Get back into the Word and a regular prayer life and get reacquainted with His voice.  Morning, evening, even drive time audio Bible, whatever it takes to get you there.  He’s waiting.  He’s a gentleman and you need to make the first move.

I know that I need this time.  A time to unplug from this world and plug into Him.  There is power in living a life connected to Him.  Not because I’m supposed to- because I need it.  I need a fresh perspective- a new breath of life.  I need His love.  I need a fresh coat of snow.

Do you get what I mean here?  Do you have ideas that you can share that help you hear His voice?  Click on “Leave A Comment” and let me know what you think! 

Copyright © 2013. Leading by Serving- Leadership is for Everyone!. All rights reserved.

Truth Hammer

I had a contracting problem on one of our jobs recently.  The project manager asked me to review the documents and his response to the dispute to confirm that we were correct according to the terms of our contract.  I reviewed both documents and concurred with his determination.  We were 100% right.  This contractor had no right to do what he was threatening to do- stop material shipments due to increased costs after the terms of our agreement.  His contract binds him to hold his pricing for the entire project.  He simply did not have a leg to stand on.

Hammer

Hammer (Photo credit: homespot hq)

As I considered this further, I began to contemplate his reaction.  Most likely he will abandon the project and the project would suffer a significant amount of lost time while we find a replacement contractor.  In the meantime the project will sit in the weather and potentially sustain damage.

I directed the project manger to hold on the response.  Even though we were completely right, the response would almost certainly be catastrophic to the project.  We decided to see if we could negotiate a settlement instead of rejecting his claim and exercising our contractual rights.  We had no obligation to do this, yet we really had no choice.

Being 100% right isn’t always enough.

You need to consider the circumstances and the reaction.

Truth is a funny thing.  We tend to dwell just on the right and wrong of it…

I must tell them that they are living in sin!
He is worrying so he obviously isn’t trusting God!
She keeps hanging around with that guy from prison!
He drinks every night so he is an alcoholic!
She is so reckless with her spending.  She has huge credit card debt!
He never spends any time with his family!

Sometimes we use truth like a hammer.  We just have to tell them!  It’s our duty.  There’s no denying they are wrong.  I need to straighten them out!

So you reach for the hammer and, potentially, say bye-bye to your relationship.  Then, how can you help them?  And who is this really about?  Is this about them or is it about you?  It’s likely that your self-righteousness is at work here.  Maybe you grab the hammer cause your ego has got the best of you!

Next time you feel the urge to set someone straight you may want to walk out the probable outcome.  If you don’t get the desired result, then what good is it to grab the hammer?  A softer and gentler approach may be the ticket!

Have you ever chose an option that was too harsh for the situation?  Have you grabbed the hammer?  Click on comments and tell your story!  Or if this is something you can relate to- then click Like!

Opposites Day

When my kids were young they would often play a game called Opposites Day.  During this particular day, whatever they said was actually the opposite of what is true.  This was really just a way of trying to catch the other sibling- kind of a trap.  Really just a kid’s game.  But I think that in actuality, it is more than just a game.

Morning 003

This past Saturday I headed downtown to a ministry where Kathy and I have been serving for the past five or so years.  We get up early each Saturday and pick up surplus baked goods and head downtown to distribute food to the needy.  I can attest that it is tough some Saturdays to head downtown.  Yes, sleep and comfort are issues, but the work can be frustrating and unnerving.  We see some moments that make the whole thing question what you are doing.  The need is overwhelming and you can’t be unaffected by palpable feeling of hopelessness that hangs in the air.   We have also seen some pretty ugly situations.  Tension from actions viewed as unfair.  Deep neighborhood wounds.  Indescribable family dysfunction.  Crazy stories of pain that you struggle to untangle in your mind.  One thing is for sure.  You can’t keep score here.  It will drive you crazy.  You simply give and let God take care of the rest.

Amidst all of this, is the heart.  We have made great friends and have had the privilege of living our lives with them.  Each week we share and get updates.  Victories and failures.  We have seen it all.  Stories of success and stories of death.  Sometimes the reality is just too much to carry.  We try to help but we are not in it.  No matter how we try to step into their shoes we are not really with them.  We try to get there, but cultures and lives are so different that the gap really can’t be crossed.  So we meet in the middle each Saturday.  A circle between two circles and we do what we can.  Anything more is just cultural arrogance.  The two crazy assumptions are that we can truly understand what is going in the tough areas of the city while they can understand what it’s like to have a servant’s heart in suburban America.

This Saturday, I was leading a walk that we take each week through the neighborhood.  We carry bags of groceries and hand them out as the Lord leads us and we pray for the families and the neighborhood.  The groceries have always been the minor item.  When we approach folks in the neighborhood and start conversation and ask if they would like prayer, they will open up and share what’s going on in their lives.  This has lead to relationships as we return each week and visit with the same folks regularly.  This Saturday, I suggested that we visit a lady named Vera who lives on the outskirts of our walk, yet is always a treat.  Vera is a grandmother and takes care of her family although she has very modest means.  We knocked on her door and waited.  After a few minutes, she came out and her face lit up in delight.  We hadn’t made it to her house in a while, probably several months.  She quickly caught us up on what was happening with her and her family.  She pains for her family and their struggles.  You can feel her pain as she describes her family update.  Yet, she refuses to stay there.  She immediately turns the story to the day- this day.  She thanks the Lord for the blessing that this day brings.  She is thankful that we have visited her.  She radiates real love.  It makes you tingle.  Not the polite kind of stuff.  The deep love of the Father.

Vera loves to pray.  We generally pray as we make our way through the neighborhood but at Vera’s house we want her to pray.  So she offers and we smile and nod yes.  Vera breaks into a powerful prayer- thankful and a prayer of a grateful heart and worship.  None of this is the I want- I need kind of prayer.  This was a celebration of life.  Then she shares something new.  Vera breaks into song and sings a portion of her prayer to her Father.  The Spirit is thick.  He is here.  She finishes her prayer and a bird begins to sing.  Vera shares that God loves music.   I agree with her, sharing that even the birds sing to Him.

So what happened?  It was Opposites Day!  We set out to help bless others and instead we were blessed.  We left Vera and we all were visibly uplifted.  This is what we needed.  A refill.  A reminder that He is always there and He is always faithful.  The Bible says that he sings over us.  He knows every hair on your head.

Thank you for the song of our lives.  Thank you for the birds singing each morning.  Thank you for Vera and her heart for her Father and her family.

Remember to sing today.  No matter how hard it is.  It’s Opposites Day!

Have you ever had an Opposites Day?  Please click on comments and tell your story!              

Stuck in the Mud?

My son and I love offshore fishing.  We have had some really memorable fishing trips that will always be special to me.  One of the components to bottom fishing offshore is dealing with the anchor.  At the end of a long day fishing, there is a real tendency to get to the wheel first so that you didn’t have to pull up the anchor.  Pulling up the anchor in 150 feet of water is a real job, and at the end of a long day of fishing it was not something that you really feel like doing.

I can’t pull any more.  I have tried so many times and I just can’t make any progress.  I am so tired.  I just can’t do it…

A fluke-style anchor

While fishing with a friend, my son discovered a great little device to get the anchor up with ease.  The anchor ball is an inflated ball about the size of a volleyball with a small section of rope and a ring that attaches to the anchor line and helps pull up the anchor.  So, you attach the ring to the anchor line and slowly drive the boat in the opposite direction of your drift.  The anchor ball is really not very big, so it’s not brute force, but constant pressure.  Just like magic- up comes the anchor and all you need to do is pull in the line with the anchor floating below the anchor ball.  I can tell you that at the end of a long day the anchor ball is the greatest thing in the boat!

I’ve tried everything.  There just seems to be no end to this.  There has to be something I am missing…

The problem with pulling up the anchor by hand is that the harder you pull, the deeper it digs in.  Don’t you feel like that sometimes?  Stuck in the mud and the harder you try the more stuck you get!

Gosh, don’t I know this!  The harder I work at it, the deeper it seems to get.  There’s just no way to get freedom…

The real key to the anchor ball is direction.  By changing direction opposite of the boat drift you simply need to apply a small but constant pressure.  Change direction and it becomes pretty easy.  The ball will lift the anchor up to the surface.

A little change in direction and gentle pressure.  Really?  That’s all it takes?  Why didn’t I try this years ago.  It seems so simple…

We are really brainwashed that it always takes brawn to get something done.  The anchor ball is a great example of this.  Sometimes it’s not about work.  I have so many friends who struggle with thinking that they don’t measure up.  They aren’t good enough. They continue to work at problems in their lives and can’t seem to make any progress.  They are stuck- and the harder they work, the deeper the anchor digs in.

I make it harder than it really is.  I seem to make it bigger than it really is.  I seem to complicate it.  Why do I do this?

Not only does it seem to dig you in deeper, but when you are tired you can get paralyzed.  You feel inadequate.  Unable to make a difference.  You marginalize your impact  You feel like this will be with you forever.  You will never shake this.  You become resolved to continue to fail.

I know that there must be an answer here.  I know that there must be more…

I know Believers who really think of themselves as despicable sinners.  They feel like they will never measure up.  They say that they understand grace and what Jesus did on the cross, yet they work so hard at trying to measure up.  And they fail- as we all do.  So they become stuck in the mud.  Unable to be used.  I feel like they are stuck in a works based pursuit.  They don’t feel good enough to do Kingdom work.  So, as they try harder at their vision of holiness- the more frustrated they get.

I get it now.  Change direction away from working harder towards a real relationship.  Fill up my life with Him and everything else gets pushed out.  I need to get over myself!  It’s not about me…

The Bible is full of knuckleheads like all of us.  God uses the weak to be the strong- He gets the glory.  Once we believe what He did is final and complete and we believe the amazing depth of His love for us, we can enter a new world of really being used by Him.  Being stuck in the mud is no good.  God has an amazing plan for you- a plan that only you can do.  The anchor ball is His love.  Let His love lift you out of bondage so you can step into a new and exciting life.  You have nothing to prove.  He wants your heart.  Go to Him!