5.04.2011

Daily Thoughts

Daniel 2:27-28 Daniel answered the king and said, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these
Daniel had every opportunity to look great in the eyes of the king and yet he continually deferred to God. His whole point that he starts out with is that nobody can do what you are asking, but God can. Daniel knew what it really meant to give God all the glory. A great example of humility that we can all strive for.
God, may I never use any position you put me in to build up my own pride, but, rather, to glorify your name.
JM

5.03.2011

Daily Thoughts

1 John 2:3, 6 - And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which we walked.
Knowing Christ is so much more than being saved. Full-life commitment is what the scriptures command. We can't have a moment with God and expect that to warrant a different eternity. I've been thinking about bin Laden's death and how some have chosen to celebrate his demise, being thankful that he is in hell. Yet, when compared to God's standard, there is no difference between bin Laden and myself. We all fall short. I read this today on another blog:
There was something unsettling about watching giddy crowds bounce around beach balls and climb telephone polls last night, as if they were in the lawn seats at a rock festival. Solemn and somber appreciation that an evil man is gone seemed like the more appropriate reaction.

I think what's scariest to me is that if I'm really honest with myself, I'm a lot more like bin Laden than I care to admit. We all are.
JM

4.27.2011

Daily Thoughts

Psalm 97:10a - O you who love the Lord, hate evil!
I love God. I really do. But I don't hate evil. Not all the time. It should be easy to hate. Evil is what has separated me from God. Life is the journey back to restoration with God. Evil is what makes that journey difficult. But I tolerate evil. I accept it into my own life.
Psalm 115:10 - The heavens are the Lord's heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man.
I hate it when my kids abuse the gifts I give them. When they don't understand the value of it. They leave dolls outside, bang baseball bats on the ground, and generally have little to no concept of the value of things or the sacrifices made so that they can have things. I think that's how we treat the earth. God's gift to us, we abuse and use for our enjoyment with no thought as to how it makes God feel when we abuse it.
John 15:3-4 - Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
I'm already made clean, all I have to do now is rest in Jesus. Yet I'm constantly consumed with doing instead of being. Being who God made me to be. Being who I am. Being with Him. I focus instead on the doing. On behavior modification. On trying to do better instead of just be better.

God, may I see myself for who I am in You: clean. Whole. Restored. May I hate evil, respect your creation, and may I rest in your presence.
I love you.
JM

11.30.2010

Adventure

I've been thinking a lot about adventure lately. Part of it is coming from reading Donald Miller's book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, part of it is coming from what I've been reading in the Bible, and part of it is coming from just realizing how amazingly blessed I am. I think the danger we slip into when you get into your 30's is just the monotony of daily life. That's why so many people have mid-life crises where they go out and make dumb purchases, or get hair implants, or have an affair. They realize that their life has no element of adventure, and so they try to manufacture some.
I'd rather embed adventure into my life. So I'm planning out what that will look like for me. I'd like to make 2011 a year of pursuing adventure for me. I want to pursue my wife intensely. To demonstrate to her just how much I love her. I want to enjoy my kids intensely. To demonstrate to them just how much I love them. I want to know God intimately. To demonstrate to Him just how much I love Him. And I want to love people fully. To demonstrate to them just how much God loves them.
Because I'm a details person, I'm not sure how I'll quantify it yet, but I know that I want to journal the experience. To discover adventure within the monotony. To cast off the pressures of the consumer culture in which we live and instead follow the sermon on the mount and become less. To fully serve. And, hopefully, to fully live. Adventure awaits. JM

Being Like God

If you want to be like God, then you have to be willing to sacrifice. Luke 6:35 talks about how we should love our enemies, do good to them, lend to them without expecting repayment so that we will be sons of the Most High because that's who He is. He loves me even though He knows that I will not love Him back. He blesses me even though He knows that I will not be able to bless Him back. JM

11.11.2010

Teaching

If I want to be a good Biblical teacher, and I so desperately do, then my teaching must have the authority of God (Luke 4:32). Anything else relegates me to the role that the Pharisees had where I present my ideas for discussion. Or my interpretation for debate. With God's truths there is no debate, just contextualization on how best to present them to the demographic of the audience that He has provided.
God, I pray that you would help me to constantly craft messages that are rooted in your authority. May I be a teacher and a leader who constantly strives to honor you with everything that I am and teaches/leads out of that striving.
JM

10.27.2010

Keep The Peace

Too often I find that I don't "call people out" because I'd rather keep the peace. I rationalize it to myself because I see the positive qualities in the person and fear creating a rift in the relationship where those qualities might not be used around me anymore. The root of it is selfishness. Rather than approach someone and lovingly try to understand why they are seemingly being disobedient, I hold it in so that things don't get awkward or uncomfortable. I read Galatians 1:18 and 2:11 today. In the first verse Paul spends 15 days living with Peter getting to know him. They built a friendship, we can guess. They trusted each other. Yet Paul doesn't hesitate to call Peter out in 2:11. And I think it's because of the friendship that he felt the freedom to do so. Relationships should give us the authority to speak the truth in love to people, not the tendency to ignore their faults. People can only grow when they are exposed to their areas of weakness. And if my closest friends are unwilling to expose mine to me, or vice versa, then nobody will and I will continue to go on with those weaknesses.
God, I pray that I will always speak the truth in love and that you would guide me through the difficult conversations that I encounter. Amen.

9.30.2010

Galatians 1:6-10

This is a battle I face all the time: pleasing other people or pleasing Christ. The main person that battles for the position that Christ should hold is myself. I try to please myself by wanting people to say I did a good job. I don't even care if I did a good job in reality, just as long as other people perceive me as having done well. God wants so much more from me, though. He wants me to seek to glorify Him in everything that I do. To be so focused on bringing Him glory that I don't care if anyone tells me I did a good job, because God is the only one who matters.
While other people's perceptions may be a fairly good metric of whether or not we have done a good job of communicating, that can't be my end goal. May God be glorified by everything I do, whether I am teaching His word or simply living my daily life.
JM

9.22.2010

Galatians 1:1-5

God has appointed me to do the work that I'm doing. I know this because I can sense that I am in God's will for my life. The Bible, prayer, circumstances, and wise counsel all confirm it.
Since this is true, and since God is all-powerful, then that means that I cannot fail. Things may have the appearance of failing from the metrics that I use, but God is using me in the way that He desires. If He desired something different done, He would either lead me to do that or would lead another person into leadership of the ministry.
The focus then becomes less about what is best for the ministry, and more about what does God desire for my ministry, my church, myself. How can God use me for His greatest glory. Whether 1000 students show up (in my context) or 1. May God receive the glory from every aspect of my life. And my I not be ashamed to ascribe Him glory from every area of my life.
JM

6.16.2010

Matthew 5:4

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." This verse has always mystified me. I'm going to be happy because I'm going to be comforted? Doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. As I think about the times that I've mourned, though, the times when I've really been sorrowful, I can see that God comforted me. That His peace comforted me. That, even though it may not be clear, everything was going to be okay. That He would protect me.
That doesn't mean that all of my problems are going to be solved, or that I won't have sorrow, but that I will be comforted by God. Now that's a promise that makes me have hope. Sometimes life hurts, but God is willing to comfort. Desperate to comfort. I just have to rest in Him and accept it. God help me to stop trying to solve all of my problems for myself and to first accept your comfort, guidance, and love.
JM