Tag Archives: salvation

Maintaining Regrets

As children, we often found that our feelings about our days depended on the way that others treated us.  If people were kind to us, we had a good day.  If people were mean to us, we had a bad day.  As we grew older, we learned that our perspective was often a choice and depended more upon how we reacted to the actions of others than the actions themselves.

Why then, do we tend to have more bad days than good?

If we truly have choice in how we see our days, why do we choose to spend so much time in the bad day category?

By the way: If this is not you, I would love for you to comment and explain to us how it is that you maintain this positive outlook on life.

Choose. Choice.  Wow…words that sort of cut to my heart and say, “It’s in your hands, babe.” 

But in reality. it’s not all in my hands.  I’m in the hands of someone bigger than I because I believe in the all powerful wonderfully loving God who has already created the reality that “it is well with my soul.”

And that is exactly why I get to choose.  I can choose to look at today’s circumstances and think, “Man, this sucks.” Or I can choose to look at the truth that is already there.  Today tells me that I am defeated. Easter tells me that God defeated what appears to defeat me.

I realize that this is a bit circular.  And why am I even thinking about this?

On Saturday, the pastor huz and I spoke during break out sessions of the Youth Leaders Summit. (FYI: it’s coming back next year. Be there in person or pay to stream it live online if you live in faraway places.)  During the main sessions, the Overflow band from Hastings United Methodist Church led musical worship, and at least two of the sets included the song “How He Loves.”

How He Loves by the David Crowder Band. Found on youtube.com

I think that sometimes we have trouble choosing to see our lives in the reality of who we are in light of what God has done for us is because we are spending our time “maintaining regrets.” 

What is in our past that we regret?

Our lists can probably go on and on and on and on and on…when we maintain them and allow them to have power over us, well…the keep us from seeing the truth that goes far beyond our own pasts.  Maintaining our regrets take time and energy away from remembering that we are loved by the one who created us.  And in that love, God sent His son to erase the debt of our regrets so that we could live without the bondage of those regrets.

What will I do today to put my regrets behind me and live in the light of the truth that God loves me and wants me to focus on how I can serve Him and others around me?

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Resolutions and Great Truths

As I listened to the pastor huz preach it yesterday morning, I was so grateful for what God does through him each week.  Although nearly 200 other people worship with me on a regular basis at Faith Baptist in North Minneapolis, I am quite certain that God gives my husband words to speak to me.  Everyone else is just eavesdropping.

My man is a “big idea preacher” – a method which involves the pastor developing a single idea to which the rest of the sermon drives.  This method resonates with who I am as a learner.  I do want to walk out of church each week with a list of 3-5 concepts that I need to apply to my life.  I love having one central idea from which God can lead me in one direction and the person behind me in another direction.  The truth is universal, but the application is personal.

Yesterday’s big idea: 2013 Resolution – Recognize that I will be weak, but He [God] will be strong.

As the man wrapped up his sermon, a song came to mind called Clinging to the Cross by Tim Hughes.

The lyrics (found on YouTube at the same link as the song) are as follows:

My soul is weak
My heart is numb
I cannot see
But still my hope is found in You
I’ll hold on tightly
You will never let me go
For Jesus, You will never fail
Jesus, You will never fail

Simply to the cross I cling
Letting go of all earthly things
Clinging to the cross
Mercy’s found a way for me
Hope is here as I am free
Jesus, You are all I need
Clinging to the cross

Even darkness is as light to You, my Lord
So light the way and lead me home
To that place where every tear is wiped away
For Jesus, You will never fail
Jesus, You will never fail
(repeat the chorus)

When I see myself trying and failing over and over again at the things that I resolve to do, I get frustrated.  The sermon – and this song – are a great reminder that, though I am weak, Jesus will never fail. His grace is sufficient.  I can do all things (even forgiving people I have no intention of ever forgiving) through Christ who strengthens me.  And when I realize this, Christ is glorified when He is seen as the One who conquers my sin, my failures, and my misguided attempts at being able to do what only He can do through me.

It’s a lot for a Monday, but maybe it’s what we need on a Monday. 

On a Monday, I am going to fail.  But Jesus never will.

At the end of today, I would love for readers to return here and share how Jesus showed up for them today.  It would be a great source of encouragement for me!


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Hosanna! – It’s No Joke…

Today is an odd conflation of church tradition and April Fool’s Day.  I could not pass up the opportunity to blog about the somewhat ironic nature of this co-occurrence, so here it is.

Today is Palm Sunday in most Christian churches around the world.  Today we celebrate Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem where He was recognized as the Prince of Peace coming in the name of the Lord.  Many churches will sing songs of Hosanna and praise while little children (and often even adults) waive palm branches.  This is to re-enact in a small way the laying down of palm branches as Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a donkey.

It is right for us to recognize Jesus in this way, to praise Him, and to remind ourselves of the place that He has in our lives.  He is the Prince of Peace; He came to provide salvation for us through His death to pay for our sins and His resurrection as defeating death.  The songs that we sing today praise and glorify Him!

In contrast, April Fool’s Day’s history, though a bit uncertain, comes from a calendar change in France (in the 1500s) moving New Year’s week from March 25-April 1 to January 1.  Apparently word did not get around very quickly because many people did not realize that the calendar had not changed.  Those who did not were considered “fools,” and tricks were played on them.  The fun has now spread world-wide, and wherever you are on this day you can be assured that some kind of prank will occur near you if not to you.

How could these two topics ever have anything to do with each other?  How do we think about these two seemingly different concepts on the same day?

Well, actually, the Bible does that for us!

Consider 1Corinthians 1:18-31 –

18For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.26Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29so that no one might boast in the presence of God. 30He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

I know that there are many who think that following God is foolish, that it is a waste of time, or that it is not for them.  But honestly, it is the only thing that seems to make sense out of my life and life in general.  God is not a joke; the fact that Jesus saves is not a joke.  It is a reality of a relationship that transcends all of the ugliness that is around us and that pulls us up from the depths of despair into the loving arms of a Father who loves us and a Savior who died for us.

Consider Psalm 30:11-12 –

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

The bizarre thing about Hosanna and April Fool’s Day is that they do conflate well together in a sense.  When God has turned my mourning in to dancing and has clothed me with gladness, I am free from the burden of grief and can laugh!  When I think of the Hebrew dance parties that I have seen in various movies about the time period of the Psalms, I know that this type of dancing involves laughter.

In the foolishness of the cross, we find freedom from our guilt and shame.  That freedom allows for joyful dancing, gladness, and singing the praises of the one whose wisdom seems foolish.

O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

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