Monday, July 21, 2008

The O'Jays Knew

Way back in the early 70's these guys did a song that seems to me was way before it's time. I don't remember much about the 70's except for the great music, but when most of us think 70's we don't think of money and affluence. Maybe there were some significant greed things going on then. I don't know. But I do know that the message of that song is "right on" today.

It was big fun yesterday to talk about money and putting it in its proper place. I really enjoyed being able to talk freely and candidly about our obsession with money and our possessions. It was refreshing to hear from so many of you already who said how much you needed to hear what God had to say about the topic. I even had some "cheerleaders" in the crowd. That was cool.

But here is the best thing of all. When it all boils down, Jesus and Paul both said the same thing" Put God first and He will take care of the rest (see Matthew 6:33 and 1 Timothy 6:6). I just wonder why so many of us have such a hard time with it. Why can't we get this one thing straight? Maybe it's out culture. Maybe it's our upbringing. Maybe it's our relationships. Maybe it's our beliefs. Maybe it's all of the above.

I'm not sure but this I do know. As the blind man told the religious leaders of the day after Jesus healed him, "All I know is I was bind and now I see." All I know is when we put God first, He takes care of the rest. If you really need any proof, ask Ray. Coincidence? I don't think so. Providence? Abso-stinkin-lutely. After Ray made a commitment to put God first in his life on Wednesday evening, Thursday morning he was given a substantial financial gift from his boss. Totally unexpected and totally out of character but totally just like God.

Now I am not saying that when you put God first in your life that you are going to receive a financial gift. You might. Ray did. But I do know this: He will meet all of your needs. As a lady in our Neighborhood Group said last night, "Every time I give as God leads me, I get more back. I don't expect it and it's not the reason I give, but it happens every time."

People don't let money, don't let money change you. - O'Jays 1974

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My Eyes Are Killing Me

So I've had this eye problem for about a week now. My contacts were killing my right eye and I couldn't get any relief. The really encouraging thing was that the doctor didn't know what was causing it either! They gave me some drops, told me not to wear my contacts, and see what happens. Well my eye got better but I had to wear my glasses. The problem with that is my glasses are about 20 years old which means not only are they bad out of style (and you know how I am about style) but the prescription is way out of date too. So now I am walking around with glasses on, squinting, and getting a tremendous headache because I can't wear my sunglasses either.

I go back to the doctor and they are happy my eye has cleared up and want me to try some new contacts. Here is the next problem: they don't have my prescription. They have a little less powerful lens and give it to me. I thought no big deal because it was only a little less but by the end of the day yesterday, my eyes were killing me, my head was killing me, and I can only see in blurs.

I guess now you are ready for the big spiritual truth from this story, right? Here it is: Keep your glasses up to date. Yep, that's it. If you don't, you will find yourself trying to remedy a problem with an outdated solution. You just can't rely on your past success, knowledge, or ability to get you through. You must keep on learning and improving and adding to your collection of skills and tools. Paul told the Philippians, "I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead," (Philippians 3:13 NLT). I believe he means that he won't let the junk of the past keep him back but I also think that we can't rely on the "good" of the past to get us through either. Yes the good can encourage and inspire us but you can't become stagnant in your walk with God.

So keep learning, growing, improving, whatever it takes. Keep your glasses up to date because you never know when your contacts are going to mess you up.

BTW...I am going back to the doctor today to get the correct contacts.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

It's a Spirit Thing...

I hope you understand.

Sunday morning one of those occasions presented itself. Maybe you have experienced one before. You know, one of those Oh-wow-God-is-here-and-I-don't-want-to-miss-out-on-what-He-wants-to-do-so-I-am-
going-to-just-get-out-of-the-way-and-let-Him-do-His-thing moments. It's one of those indescribable moments in this life where you have absolutely no doubt that God is up to something. It's one of those way too rare occasions that happens in the midst of worship through music that leaves you awestruck. It happened Sunday morning.

There I was. Singing about the greatness of God when the message of the song pushed me down into my seat. I could no longer stand. I had to bow before my God in awe. I sat there listening to the Spirit speak to me and wondering how I should respond. All I knew to do was listen and be obedient.

I love those moments. I hate that for me they are way too few and far between. I know that they cannot be manufactured (although I believe they can be manipulated and have, unfortunately, seen that happen). I just pray that when it happens again, I will be ready and obedient again. And I pray that the next time is not too far off.