Sunday, May 29, 2011


Geep: A goat and sheep hybrid
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."
Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?"

The King will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
Then he will say to those on his left, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me."
They also will answer, "Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?"
He will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me."
Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

~ Matthew 25:31-46

Being saved doesn't mean doing more good works than bad. Being saved also doesn't mean simply saying you follow Christ, and then living a life that fails to demonstrate what Christ has called us to do. God knows a goat, He knows a sheep, He knows a geep, and He knows you. Strive to put your heart in the right place, and then show this through your actions. He knows we will stumble, and His grace covers this. Living a life for Him is about here and now, not just about later.

Monday, May 23, 2011


"Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22).

Maybe the right thing to say is that I don't like to sin. That wouldn't be honest, however, and I certainly don't want to sin while I'm in the middle of admitting that I actually like to sin. I mean, don't get me wrong. It's not that I run around trying to find ways to sin. It's not even that I always like to sin. And, it's definitely true that I never like the ultimate results of my sins.

One of my pastors reminded me during a message recently that we can approach sin a couple ways. The first is to allow ourselves to feel the least bit comforted by giving into sin in only small portions. Justifying small concessions feels somewhat acceptable in the moment, but before we know it, those small portions add up. What seems harmless initially eventually becomes downright horrifying. It reminds me of an uncle of mine who used to only take a sliver of pie at our family gatherings during the holidays. Those slivers of pie looked fine, until you added up all the slivers he took. Then, well, it looked just plain gluttonous.

The second is to guard ourselves at all costs from allowing sin to enter our lives. Our sinful nature, along with our enemy, satan, prevents us from living a life of perfection. However, we can actually strive to stay away from sin. Recognizing where we have the greatest weaknesses allows us to avoid temptations. Fleeing from sin takes it to an even stronger reaction. We have no problem running toward what we desire; therefore, we should have no problem running away from what we should not desire. Everyone's different, so the trick is acknowledging our specific sins and bringing them to the light. Hiding our sins from others does not protect us.

I use excessive amounts of food to escape rather than healthy choices to nourish me. I allow lustful thoughts to bring me pleasure rather than focus on the healthy and loving relationships overflowing in my life. I've got plenty of other sins as well, but I'm going to start with those two. How about you?

Sunday, May 15, 2011


We look for God and we don't always see Him because we aren't always paying attention.

A staff member where I'm an administrator came to me in my office, letting me know she had been praying for me since the loss of my sister. My struggles were obvious, and it had been on her heart to share her desire to pray with me. So, in the middle of the day, at a moment I was feeling at my lowest, God spoke through her as she put her hand on my shoulder and lifted me up through prayer. His timing is perfect.

She sent me a message over the weekend, asking me if I'd lead a prayer at the beginning of a tough week at work. Another staff member looking for some leadership that comes only from above. Seeking guidance, we gathered in my office, a group of colleagues understanding our strength comes from a single source. His timing is perfect.

We were in a place under repair and preparations to become our church building. Sharing our thoughts from our Bible reading, and about to discuss our challenges and prayer requests for the coming week, our small group was interrupted by a man carrying a Bible and a backpack. We prayed together in a place no one would have normally been at that time (let alone our group who never meets there), with a man who simply came in looking for some rest and support, for things only He can provide. His timing is perfect.

We look for God and we don't always see Him because we aren't always paying attention.

So, the challenging thing becomes
not to look for miracles, but finding where there isn't one
~ Peter Mayer 

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I'm a parent of two daughters. I'm also an assistant principal at a middle school. These two roles charge me with caring for young people. Caring for young people gives me the opportunity to demonstrate genuine support with all of my heart. It's rewarding. I love it.

This may come as a surprise to you, but my daughters don't always act the way they're expected to. Interestingly enough, the students I serve don't always demonstrate a willingness to abide by basic rules either. Yes, none of us our perfect. We all make mistakes. And, when my daughters and my students make mistakes, I'm charged with disciplining them. It's challenging. I don't really enjoy it.

My love for them is no less present when I'm giving them what they have chosen to receive, when I'm giving them what they deserve. It's not about making them miserable. It's not about eliminating the possibility to learn from their mistakes. Rather, it's about connecting them with reality and opening a door for better choices. Ultimately, they must make the choice on their own, and with the proper guidance, they will hopefully make the right choice. At least, more often. I hope.

God's love for us, as well as His justice demanded through perfection, meet perfectly in one place: The Cross. Our inability to meet His standard requires punishment. That punishment is death. Thankfully, I don't have to try to meet His standard. Neither do my daughters. Neither do my students. Thankfully, because we cannot possibly meet it. No matter what we do. Never. Ever.

God's perfect solution was to send His one and only Son to live with us and die for us. He paid our debt in full. We no longer have to meet it. Now, I don't know about you, but that doesn't make me want to do whatever I want; rather, it makes me want to live for Him. It makes me want to get closer to Him and His standard. Not because I have to, but because I want to.

Because, there is no greater love than His.

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

Sunday, May 1, 2011


"One life wholly devoted to God is of more value to God than one hundred lives simply awakened by His Spirit." ~ Oswald Chambers

What risk do we take to believe in ourselves? What risk do we take to believe in others? And, what risk do we take to believe in God and His gift of Grace?

God needs us not, but we desperately need Him. He doesn't need our love, our praise, our worship, our sins, our prayers, our efforts, our hearts, our souls, our anything. Loving Him brings us closer to Him and one another, and He desires that for us. Praising and worshiping Him humbles us, and He desires that for us. Giving Him our sins washes us clean and allows us to accept His gift and live for Him and for others instead of for ourselves, and He desires that for us. Praying to Him encourages conversation and relationship and faith in Him, and He desires that for us. Our efforts demonstrate our willingness to serve and be obedient, and He desires that for us. Our hearts and souls hold our very essence, and for them to remain with Him is for our benefit, and He desires that for us. God needs us not, but we desperately need Him.

What is spurring you on, and what is holding you back?

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up" (Daniel 3:16-18).