One Monday 6/4/18

A life worthy

There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to one hope when you were called–one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:4-6).

They will tell you that there are lots of ways to get to Heaven.

They will be wrong.

Happy Monday, Beloved.

Patient One-a-Day Thursday  5/31/18

A life worthy

…be patient, bearing with one another in love (Eph. 4:2).

I’m a middle school teacher.

I know all about patience…particularly how to lose it. A middle school classroom is a microcosm of society at large. It’s filled with people who don’t listen, don’t follow the rules, hurt others for no apparent reason, make the same mistake over and over and over and over and over and respond to simple, thorough, articulate instructions with a blank look and, “I  don’t get it.”

So very especially at the end of May.

The only way to avoid raining fire down upon them, the only way to endure their middle-schoolishness, is to love them.

And the only way to do that is to see them as Christ sees them–small and unsure and lonely and frightened and His.

And the only way to do that is by the power of the Holy Spirit.

So, Beloved, who will you need the Holy Spirit to help you be patient with today?

Wow…that’s kind of a lot of folks.

Don’t worry–he can handle it.

Happy Thursday, Beloved.

Completely? One-a-Day Wednesday  5/30/18

A life worthy

Be completely humble and gentle… (Eph. 4:2)

Completely is a lot.

You know what I mean?

I mean, I can be humble…really humble…way more humble than you. I can comfortably say that I am probably the humblest man you’re ever gonna meet…but even I can’t get to “complete.”

And I can be almost as gentle as I am humble, except for when people bug me because then I get a little riled up but that’s not really my fault because hey people are stinkin’ obnoxious sometimes and I can’t be expected to just sit there and take it can I of course not because they’re jerks and they fully deserve the back of my righteous wrath, baby.

Sigh…I need Jesus.

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

A Life Worthy Tuesday  5/29/18

A life worthy

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received (Ephesians 4:1).

I like this verse. I like it so much I kinda sorta named my blog after it.  

Paul serves as our example here—he is living his calling, even though it landed him in prison. He urges us, down through the long ages, to do the same.

But hey, wait–what is your call?  What is the purpose of your life and mine?

Let’s keep it simple; after all, it’s only Tuesday.  

Your call, beloved of God, is to bring him glory.  

Great…how do you do that?  Well, the context of the verse says that you do that by keeping the peace.  At the cross, God brought peace between Man and Man as well as between Man and God (Eph. 2:14-18).  Our job is to live in such a way as to help maintain that unity and that peace.

Blessed are the peacemakers (Matthew 5:9).

May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me (John 17:23).

Think about the people you are likely to see and deal with today. How can you glorify God by being, “completely humble and gentle…patient, bearing with one another in love”? Yeah, I know it isn’t easy.

And you know what?

They’re probably thinking the same thing about you.

But it is your calling.

Happy Tuesday, Beloved

Remember Monday 5/28/18

A life worthy

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

We are called to remember.

So…remember.

Remember the One who died that you might live,

who was bound that you might be set free.

And remember those who have followed His example, leaving their homes behind to travel to foreign soil, where they give their lives that you and I might be free.

Right now, as I write this, some warrior shoulders a rifle, or climbs into a chopper, or races toward a bomb blast, knowing that today could be the day that they are called to give “the last full measure of devotion.”

They may be terrified.

They go anyway.

For you

and me.

Remember, Beloved.

Happy Monday

And Heaven Weeps Sunday 5/27/18

A life worthy

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:15-16).

Abortion

I’m totally, thoroughly, decidedly against it.  

Now, you have two choices at this point.  You can write me off as a misogynist who wants to control women, or you can read on to see why I believe as I do.  Your call, and hey, no hard feelings.

Still here?  Sweet. So, here we go.

My thanks to Greg Koukl of the organization Stand to Reason for pointing out what I find to be a beautiful piece of common sense. It goes like this:  When it comes to abortion, there is really only one question, and that question is…

What is it?

Exactly

What is it that you are trying to kill?  You see, if that is not a human being in there, if it is not an actual living baby, then we have no argument with each other.  I mean, you don’t need a “right” to get a bunion removed, or a cyst or a tumor or a polyp or a goiter.

Do they remove goiters?  I’m not really sure, but you get my drift.

If that thing in your uterus is not a human life, then no one has the right to tell you what to do with it.  If it’s in your way, if it’s annoying, then by all means get rid of it.

But

if it’s a baby…

We don’t kill babies for the sake of convenience.  If we did, few people would make it out of the toddler stage.  I’ve helped raise two of the little creatures, and I can tell you–they can be really inconvenient at times.  Yet no one fights for the right to retroactively abort because their kid drew with crayon on the walls or their teen totaled the car or their “young adult” forgot to take out the trash before you left on vacation and now the house smells of rotting mysteries.  

But Michael, there’s a big difference between a fetus and a child.

Really?  And what difference would that be?  I mean, a fetus doesn’t look fully human, but neither do a lot of the baby pictures I see posted on Facebook. The fetus can’t survive on its own? Neither can an infant.  Or a three-year-old. Or most teenagers. The fetus is inside the body, the baby outside? That would mean that we can abort a full term fetus, but a child born prematurely is protected, even though it is younger.  I can’t see the sense in that.

But Michael,  is it really alive when it’s still in the womb?

Um…yes.  Again, common sense.  The DNA doesn’t magically change.  From the time sperm hits egg and–SHAZAM–begins to divide, it is genetically identifiable as an itty bitty teeny human, with the same genetic coding it will have when it is old and paunchy and bald.

But Michael, just being alive doesn’t make you a “person.” You have to be more than a bunch of cells to be a person.

You’re right.  There’s more to personhood than just a physical body.  But how do we define it? My grandma died of Alzheimer’s.  She was bedridden, unable to care for herself, completely unaware of her surroundings.  She had lost all of her personality, all of her ability to interact. Had she lost her personhood?  Sorry, my friend, but I think it is arrogant in the extreme to assume that we can decide what constitutes personhood.  I’m going to stick with life.

But Michael, what about a woman’s right to control her own body?  Her right to choose?

I believe a woman has the right to choose.  She has the right to choose whether or not she will have sex.  If she chooses to have sex, she does so knowing that pregnancy is a possibility.  Frankly, I think society is being disrespectful of women when we assume they aren’t capable of rational, cause-and-effect decision making.

But Michael, what about rape?

Rape is a horrible crime.  For what it’s worth, I’m open to the death penalty for a rapist.  But not for the victims of his crime. A little girl conceived in rape–or incest for that matter–had no choice in her conception.  She is a victim, as is her mother. Frankly, I would never counsel a woman to keep and raise a child conceived in rape or incest. I can’t fathom the difficulty and pain involved in that.  I would counsel a woman in that situation to give the child up for adoption, where she has a chance to be raised by parents who can look at her and not be daily reminded of the darkest day of their life.

Look, I’m not being frivolous about this.  I can’t imagine asking my daughter to spend nine months growing the baby of an evil man who viciously attacked her.  To endure the changes–some irreversible–to her body. To go through labor and childbirth just to bring a reminder of humiliation into the world.

But it’s not the baby’s fault.

She doesn’t deserve to die for the sins of her father.

But Michael, what if the life of the mother is in danger?

Here we have the one time that, in my worldview, abortion is a reasonable option.  When it is a question of one life or another, I believe that the mother makes that choice.  And yet I wonder what percentage of abortions are due to rape of incest or danger to the life of the mother?  A very small percentage, I would imagine.

Michael, you are a man. Who are you to decide what happens to my body?

I’m not dictating what happens to your body.  If you want to get tattoos, shave your head, pierce your parts, that’s none of my business.  I’m discussing what happens to that other body that is in your body. If a stranger attacks a pregnant woman and kills her baby, we call it murder.  If a doctor kills the child at her request, we call it choice. How is that rational or moral or good?

We live in a Me First world.  It wasn’t supposed to be this way.  It’s not what the Father designed, nor what his Son taught.  We see this attitude reflected throughout our culture, but nowhere more than in the area of abortion.  It is the height of selfishness to sentence an innocent to death to avoid inconvenience.

Do my words condemn me as a misogynist?  I don’t think so, but I’d love to hear from you.  I know I haven’t covered all aspects of this debate–feel free to comment and tell me what I’ve missed, where I’ve gone wrong.  But I hope you see that my beliefs have come from careful consideration, and not from fear or hate or a need to control.

I don’t hate women…I just love babies.

Forever and Ever One-a-Day Friday  5/25/18

A life worthy

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to the power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen (Eph. 3:20-21).

Sometimes this world seems so

chaotic

unstable

random

that I forget that the most important things, the God things, are

forever

and ever

and ever

and ever

and ever

and ever

and ever

and ever.

You know what I mean?

Happy Friday, Beloved.

In Christ One-a-Day Thursday  5/24/18

A life worthy

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to the power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus…(Eph. 3:20-21).

Jesus brings glory to the Father.

Now this makes sense to me.

The Son, who has power and wisdom and authority beyond all measure or comprehension, willingly set it aside out of obedience to the Father. He chose to make the Father’s will his own, and to follow the Father’s plan even when it led him, quite literally, to the gates of hell.

Because he loves his Father.

Yeah, I would imagine that brings glory to God.

Happy Thursday, Beloved

In the Church One-a-Day Wednesday  5/23/18

A life worthy

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to the power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church … (Eph. 3:20-21).

Glorifying God in the Church…what a novel concept.

Sorry, I don’t mean to be sarcastic–well, I do, but I shouldn’t.

The Church glorifies God when we lift each other up, when we hold each other accountable, when we encourage and teach and carry burdens and generally draw each other closer to the One who has called us all. The world looks at that and thinks, “Whew, they’re a bunch of messed up people, but look at how they love each other! There must be something to this Jesus thing…”

And glory be to God.

The problem, of course, is that too often we approach the Church the way we approach life–we’re here to get, not to give. When we don’t get what we think we are entitled to, it can all get pretty messy. Then the world looks at us and thinks, “Huh, why do I need that? They act just like the folks in my office.”

And the world goes on as before.

Beloved, what version of the Church will we be today? What will we show the world?

Because they are watching.

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.