Don’t Look Back

I traveled in the northwest this week, spending several days in Seattle and Portland.  The weather was incredible. I tried delicious food in good restaurants.  I got outside in the mornings and ran through trees and alongside lakes.  It was exhilarating.

I actually thought about how nice it would be to live there.

But after four days of travel, I was ready to come home.  I missed my family and my house. I longed for the familiarity and security of the small town where I live.

It’s comfortable here.

Jesus wants us to be uncomfortable.

I’ve been reading Luke chapter 9 this week.  This passage talks about the cost of following Jesus.  Three different men interacted with Jesus in this passage.  Each one talked about following Jesus, but none of them wanted to leave everything and pursue a life of obedience and service.

One man wanted to first go home and bury his father. Another wanted to go home and say goodbye to his family.

Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God. Luke‬ ‭9:62‬

Could you leave your family, your friends, your job?  Could you walk away from everything you know and just start over?

It’s hard to think about, but God calls us to seek the Kingdom of God…first.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33

We have a command and then a promise.  The command is to seek God first.  The promise is that God will place all we need into our lives.

My prayer this week is to let go of some of the “comfortable” in my life.  I need less routine and more Jesus.

And let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

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Stuff

How much is enough?

And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. Luke‬ ‭9:3-4‬

My family has lived in our new house for 15 months. We’ve finally placed pictures on the walls and figured out what furniture goes in which room. It feels like our “home” now.

Hollianne and I had a revelation over the weekend. While we downsized our possessions when we moved across the state, we’ve somehow- in just over fifteen months- started accumulating more “stuff.” Our attic is filling up. The closet in our basement is crowded. Our pantry is packed…and we are thinking about doubling its size.

Some of the happiest people I know are those with very little in terms of worldly possessions. Missionaries who have dedicated their lives to living with (and serving) the poor. People who have committed to living in rural, impoverished areas to improve conditions there….or social workers who are fighting poverty and crime in urban areas.

Its time to refocus. Our purpose has nothing to do with finding comfort through worldly possessions.

We are not called to be comfortable.

We need to invest in relationships. Good, nurturing relationships that spread the love of Jesus.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” 1 Timothy 6:6-9‬

My prayer for this weekend is to focus on what I truly need- rather than what I want. I need a renewed attitude toward sharing the hope of Jesus and His message of forgiveness and love. This is what will bring contentment.

Please let me know how I can pray for you.

God bless.

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I’m the greatest…I think.

fishing

I remember a situation that happened over twenty years ago.  My supervisor asked me to represent him at a state-wide meeting in Nashville.  I was just going over to take notes for him, but I was so honored to be asked to represent my office.  I was proud to be recognized for my work- and I felt as if this was a “reward” for my efforts at the office.

Imagine my surprise, however, when I was called upon to give remarks on behalf of my boss and the work of my office.  There I stood- in the middle of a crowded room- stammering and tripping over my words.  I was unprepared to make a talk that day and I left the meeting embarrassed and with a healthy dose of regret.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.  Proverbs 11:2

It was a great lesson for me (and a long ride back to Knoxville).

Has this ever happened to you?  We feel self-sufficient and overly confident in our ability to handle life.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.  Romans 12:3

We need a grounded approach to life.  We must continually examine our lives for shortcomings and ways to improve.  We all need a dose of humility every now and then.

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.  Luke 14:11

My prayer for this week is for us to have humble hearts…and look for ways to lift others up.

Please let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

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Everyday is Memorial Day

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Like most of you, I’m spending this Memorial Day holiday with my family.  It’s the unofficial start to the summer season.

We’ll also spend some time reflecting on the primary purpose of Memorial Day.  Both Hollianne and I have many family members who served our country.  We are grateful for their service- and want to honor the sacrifice that many service men and women gave to protect our country and to provide the freedoms that we enjoy everyday.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  John 15:13

It’s difficult to imagine.  People fighting for our country even though danger and death are inevitable.  It’s important that we tell our children these stories about our family members and friends who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

But everyday should be Memorial Day.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

Jesus was sent to die on the cross so that we might experience eternal life with Him in heaven.  He knew all about the sins of the world- our faults, our flaws and our every impure thought- yet He loved all of us enough to lay down His life for the forgiveness of our sins.

He died for those who cursed and spit on Him.  He died for those thieves who accompanied Him on other crosses on Calvary.  He died for you and me.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

Enjoy and appreciate this Memorial Day.  Honor those who laid down their lives for us.  Also spend some time reflecting on the Cross- and be grateful that Jesus loved us enough to die for us…died for the sins of the whole world.

Let that soak in.  He died for the sins of the whole world.

God bless you.  Let me know how I can pray for you this week.  I love you.

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