pecaspers: a Blog in transition

October 12, 2013

Competing Desires

Earlier today my three year old son Peter threw an epic fit that made me a little later to a meeting to which I was headed. Even after I left, in part because I left, the tantrum train kept rolling right along for a while longer.

Why was Peter having a grade-A melt down? It was because he doesn’t have a steam roller, obviously.

That’s not quite right. It was because he has a monster truck instead of a steam roller.

I can see this isn’t making sense to you. Some background is in order.

Peter is a big Bob the Builder fan. Bob has a team of anthropomorphic construction equipment; one of whom is a steam roller named Rolly. Peter has a wide assortment of construction equipment toys. It doesn’t matter to him that only a couple of them are actually Bob the Builder toys, any kind of machine featured on the show is called by that character’s name. Peter doesn’t have a Rolly, nor does he have a suitable stand-in.

For his recent birthday, Peter got some “monies.” Yesterday, Peter and Mommy pulled a dollar and change (got to learn about taxes early) out of Peter’s froggy bank with the expressed purpose of buying a steam roller from Dollar Tree. However, Peter decided in Dollar Tree that he wanted a monster truck instead.

Peter wanted a Rolly, but he bought a monster truck instead by his own free choice.

Back to today’s fit. “I want a Rolly!”
“Peter, you don’t have a Rolly. You bought the monster truck, remember?”
“I don’t want that monster truck! I want a Rolly!”
And so on.

There’s a sermon illustration in there somewhere.

He had a desire for a good thing. He had the resources to achieve his desire. Yet because he wasn’t focused, he ended up with something other than his primary desire, and he regretted that decision when the weight of that first desire settled back in.

There’s all sorts of things this little tale might illustrate.

In this moment, the best tie in that comes to mind is to Colossians 3. Paul tells us to set our minds on Christ and his Kingdom rather than on this world, our flesh, and our struggles with each.

He leads off with a conditional statement: “If … you have been raised with Christ.” Have you? If you have, then we are to put to death what is dead and live the life which Christ raised us into. Go read Colossians 3 (especially 1-17), it’s right there in the Scriptures. You were dead, you died to death in Christ, you are now alive to live in Christ…if you have, in fact, been raised with Him.

Peter should have looked at that monster truck and declared it dead, not worth his time, attention, or resources. He should have focused on what would bring him more “joy” (to misuse the term for effect) later. He should have stood firm on his desire to bring his collection of construction equipment to completion. He chose what looked shiny and fun in the moment instead, and he suffered great emotional turmoil for it later, and he still had no Rolly in spite of all his screaming and crying.

Where are you caving in to earthly desires rather than staying focused on Christ and those things that will lead you to greater spiritual maturity, to fuller obedience to His will, and to greater experience of His blessings–whatever form they may take?

To be honest, a number of things come to my mind in my life. Will you be honest, too?

[Truth in all things: The end of this post was written weeks after the beginning of it. Peter does have a steam roller now. He also chose not to get a certain toy from another show the other day so that he could look for one that was the same character but had more moving parts. Growth is possible.]

Advertisements

October 11, 2013

It’s My Birthday

Filed under: My Life in General — pecaspers @ 1:08 PM
Tags: , , ,

I am thirty-three years old today.

I have a beautiful wife.
I have two beautiful children.
I live in a quirky, little house.
I drive a car that is in great condition, though currently it needs a wash and oil change.
I have have four part-time/occasional jobs that don’t keep all the bills paid.
I have a generous father and father-in-law who cover what my plural jobs don’t.
I have a ministry serving outside my primary calling in a position I am not gifted for with a church I don’t fit though I love the people dearly.
I have about a dozen versions of my résumé to show for a search for a church to pastor which has stretched on for over a year and a half.
I have a heavy burden for the spiritual growth of the students in my youth group.
I have a pain in my shoulder that has improved with chiropractic care but shows little sign of going away completely.
I have a growing endurance for distance running though I haven’t run in over a week because I’m waiting to see if what I think is heat rash goes away.
I have a rash, but you know that now.
I have a shrinking waistline.
I have a bank balance that is holding steady for the first time in a long time.
I have an old phone, but it’s still an iPhone and gets the job done.
I have no idea why I’m typing this on my phone instead of on my laptop.
I have a great selection of graphic t-shirts.
I have a bunch of people posting “Happy Birthday” posts on my Facebook timeline (I almost said wall, do you remember when it was a wall?)
I have a desire to accomplish many things in the next 33 years of my life.
I have a valid passport in desperate need of some stamps.
I have a number of books in need of reading and some in need of rereading.
I have Netflix.
I have a Savior, God, and King who is in control of all that seems so chaotic.
I have a hope in heaven secure.
I have a full cup of coffee.

I have a lot for which to be thankful.

I am.

(…Even the pain, even the rash, even the search, even the unknown.)

Here’s to the next 33 years, perhaps even the next 66!

To God be the glory, great things He has done.

September 24, 2013

Is It Christmas Already?

Filed under: Culture,Ministry,My Life in General — pecaspers @ 6:51 AM
Tags: , , , ,

It is late-September. Do you know what that means? It means that Christmas is right around the corner.

That’s right; I went there.

You can argue that I’m jumping the gun here, but the fact is that most retailers have their Halloween stuff out already and will be putting Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations out in the coming weeks. Our church choir has already begun preparing for our Christmas cantata. Our LibertyYouth Christmas activities have been on my mind for over a month. We are less than 100 days away from the holiday that is the climax of “the most wonderful time of the year,” as the song goes. Ready or not, here Christmas comes.

As stores and churches make long-range preparations for the coming holiday season, I want to challenge you to go ahead and plan to prepare your heart. Ask yourself now whether your past Christmases have been mostly about how the eternal God took on flesh and lived among us, or if they’ve been focused on all the materialistic trappings and traditions with only a tip of a furry red hat to the baby in the manger. Will the biggest gift you give be to yourself, your kids, your spouse, or to your church as the body of the Christ we celebrate? Will you hustle and bustle to get the deals and buy presents and decide that you are too busy to be present among God’s people when they gather to worship Him?

I’m not trying to lay a guilt trip on you. I’m trying to give you a heads up so you can make plans that speak clearly about your priorities.

Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21, ESV) Paul instructed the faithful brothers in Colossae, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”(Colossians 3:1-4, ESV)

What treasures will most consume your Christmastime? Will they be laid up under a tree or laying at Jesus feet? When you set your mind on things above, will that be higher than the reindeer paws up on the housetop?

September 19, 2013

Can You Fix My Heart? – TMA Article Draft

Peter: “Can you fix my heart?”
Me: “Yeah buddy, I can fix it.”
Peter: “Can you really?”
Me: “Yes, I really can.”
Moments later…
Peter: “We did it!”
Me: “Who did it?”
Peter: “You did it!”

That’s a close approximation of an exchange between my son and me from the other day. His side is exact because it was so awesome that I typed into a post draft because I knew I had to write this out to share. As soon as my beloved son said “Can you fix my heart,” I knew there was a sermon illustration in there. However, it just got better and better.

This wasn’t some deep, philosophical request from my almost-three-year-old. My mom had given him a set of tangram magnets. (You know, they’re those sets of simple shapes you use to create larger shapes; you probably played with them in a math class at some point.) He was asking me to put the heart-shaped set back together. When I claimed my ability to fix his heart, he double-checked me. “Can you really?” he asked. He was forgetting two facts: (1)I’m a stinking wiz at tangrams, and (2)I’m the one who put it together the first time.

He stood close to the action as I maneuvered the pieces into position. He “helped” in the sense that as I put the pieces into place he would touch some of them, often sliding them slightly out of position so I had to nudge them back. He tried to claim that “we” did it, but he was honest enough to admit that it was really me who had put the heart back together.

If you don’t see where I’m going with this, then pay attention and get ready to be introduced to the one true and living God, the one who made you.

He throws a party in heaven every time one of us comes to him and says, “Can you fix my heart?” (See Luke 15). But we also often ask, “Can you really?” He is the one who made us in the first place. He is a master at both creation and restoration. It is His joy to take the broken heart we have and give us a new and better one (see Ezekiel 36:26, Jeremiah 17:9, Mark 7:21-23, John 7:38, Hebrews 8:10, etc.). He is also good and tender so that he endures us when we claim, “We did it!” “We” didn’t do it. He did it in us — or can do it in you. You and I cry out for the mending of our messed up hearts, but He does all the fixing. (I’ll leave it to you to discuss and discover how dead people are even able to cry out for new hearts, but that’s beyond the scope of my story.)

The point of it all is that God the Father sent God the Son to live, die, and rise from death so that all who will believe in Him can receive God the Holy Spirit, fixing our hearts and bringing glory to God. You see, God is the ultimate puzzle solver, and He is the one who put you together in the first place. Can you look at your remade heart and shout “You did it!” triumphantly to Him? It all begins with a simple, humble, child-like request to a good Father.

[This is the original draft of my article published in the 9/17/2013 edition of the Tallassee Tribune as the contributed article on behalf of the Tallassee Ministerial Alliance.]

20130919-102423.jpg

August 21, 2013

Old Habits Die Hard

I just got back to my house after being away for a couple of nights. I checked the mail, turned the air conditioner back down, and eyeballed my garden. You know, the usual things.

Then something strange happened. This sense that I needed to check the answering machine hit me. (Pause for effect.) We don’t have an answering machine. We don’t even have a landline telephone. We haven’t had one for years. I might be wrong about this, but I’m pretty sure we’ve never had one in this house. Nevertheless from somewhere in my past, there is still some connection in my brain that says I’m supposed to check the answering machine when I get home after being away.

There’s a sermon illustration in there somewhere.

Without trying to exhaustively cite passages of Scripture, this is the kind of thing Paul and other New Testament writers are talking about when they instruct us to live according to who we are now in Christ and not live according to our old life of slavery to sin. In Colossians 3, Paul talks about putting off the old man and putting on Christ. John talks in his fisrt and second letters about walking in light and not in darkness. James has a few things to say about our works displaying our living faith. I’m sure there are many other examples.

Now, it’s not sin for me to feel like I need to check an answering machine I don’t have. Come on, this is an illustration. I had a pattern in my life. There was a time when checking the answering machine is something I did daily, even multiple times daily. And then my life changed; we got rid of the landline and the answering machine obviously went away as well. It would be very strange to keep an answering machine without a phone line and stranger still to check it. Checking the answering machine is just not part of my new life. The very thing that makes an answering machine useful, a phone line, is no longer a functioning reality in my home.

That’s how it ought to be for Christians and their sin. God in His goodness came to live and die and rise again so that we could be counted dead to sin and alive to God in Christ. Because we have been cut off from sin and sin from us, then we ought to no longer live as though our slavery to sin were still a functioning reality. We should live freely out of the new creation Christ has brought about in us.

Old habits die hard. We spent years living according to our slave-master Sin’s wishes. We did what sin told us to do, and we enjoyed it a large amount of the time. Yes, we have been changed. Yes, our nature is new and our standing before God is established as righteous. However, we still carry the memories, personality, preferences, etc. that we’ve been developing in our life of sin.

The landline is cut off, but we’re still all toting around answering machines. Through community with fellow believers, accountably, spiritual disciplines, and other means, the Holy Spirit aides and allows us to put the old life behind us and to live increasingly in light of the present reality of His presence in us and our new identity in Christ. We must always be careful though. We still live in these same fleshy bodies. You never know when you might find yourself in a situation that feels like one you have been in before, and it’s possible to respond based on an old habit instead of the present reality.

You will be happy to know that I didn’t go looking for my old answering machine to check it… That’s because I got rid of it years ago. Is there any paraphernalia (physical or metaphorical) of your old life that you need to get rid of so that you are less likely to fall back into an old habit?

August 15, 2013

TMA Article Draft – Happy New School Year

[Originally contributed to the Tallassee Tribune as the Tallassee Ministerial Alliance article for the August 13, 2013 edition.]

Let me be one of the first to wish you a happy new year, a new school year that is. Next week the school-age citizens of our area will be returning to the hallowed halls of learning. Along with that return, everyone else’s lives will lock back into a steadier routine. Coworkers won’t be off on vacation, parents won’t be desperate to find daily activities to occupy their offspring, children won’t be out playing in yards throughout the day, teenagers won’t be hanging out until one day fades into the next–for the most part. Whether you have kids or not, the school year affects all of us as surely as a rising tide raises all boats.

The return to school always brings up one question year after year. What did you do with your summer? It’s the title of an essay for every student at some point: “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” Did you go anywhere? Did you have any adventures? Did you accomplish any goals? Did you read any good books or see any good movies? Did you work your tail off because in your vocation summer is a busy season? What have you got to show for the last couple months of your life?

Now for the pastoral twist.

Ephesians 5:15-17 says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is,” (ESV). Did you make a wise use of your summer, and did you ask God on the front end how He wanted you to spend it? If you are like most people, you probably didn’t stop to consider what God thought of your vacation plans, your summer reading, or your bathing suit. And there’s a lesson there; Christians aren’t supposed to be just like everyone else. In context, that is precisely what Paul is pointing out in Ephesians 5. He even begins this section with the audacious instruction to, “…be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God,” (Eph. 5:1-2, ESV).

Now as worthy a point as that is, there is a greater one yet. Do you realize that you will be held accountable before God for how you spent, not just your summer, but every moment of your life? Do you realize that he finds how you have spent and will spend much of your time to be an infinitely offensive evil against His holy character? But thank God that “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” so that we might stand in his infinite righteousness before God. Being both sinless man and infinite God, Jesus was able to satisfy God’s wrath against our sin and restore to a right relationship with Himself all who will repent (turn away from sin and self-righteous attempts to be “good enough”) and believe in Him.

So the real question isn’t “What did you do with your summer?” What is important is this: What have you done with Jesus?

August 9, 2013

Hustle

Filed under: Hustle,Job Hunt,My Life in General — pecaspers @ 10:31 AM
Tags: , , , ,

[This might become a book one day]

I used to hustle. I was never great at hustling in all areas of life, but there was a time when the hustle would instinctively kick in. It still kicks in when the pressure is on and things just must get done, and that keeps me hopeful. However, chances are that the drift will continue away from hustle until I’m merely dragging my butt over everything I do unless I fight back.

That would unacceptable. That is why I must fight back.

Maybe you didn’t play sports, weren’t in Scouts, never participated in marching band, and missed out on all other disciplined, physical, group activities in your early years. If that’s you, then you might not understand the concept of hustle. Go watch Remember the Titans, Drumline, and Up; those movies are all about hustle. (Up? Really? Yes, Russell wasn’t all that smart, but the little dude had hustle.) For the rest of us, we know that “Hustle!” was the basic demand of every leader who wanted expected you to move quickly from task to task and consistently maintain discipline in whatever that task might have been.

When I played Dixie Youth baseball, Coach Bud would yell for us to hustle as he made us run our little prepubescent butts back and forth. If you were the chubby kid at the back of the pack like me, then you got to run more in order to sweat the weakness out so the hustle could have more room to work. When I was in Boy Scouts, hustle was getting things done quickly and efficiently–keeping meetings on track, setting up camp before the sun set, getting the fire started early enough so that you didn’t end up eating undercooked meat, and working hard on service projects so a quality job was done faster and better than you would ever expect a group of volunteer teenage boys to manage. Hustle is why in the Auburn University Marching Band “early is on time, on time is late, and late is inexcusable,” and “there’s no walking on the band field.” Hustle wins games. Hustle wins awards. Hustle gets things done. Hustle makes the difference between mediocrity and excellence. Thompson High School band director Jon Bubbett would say “Pride is an attitude that separates excellence from mediocrity,” and I would now say that hustle is the overflow of a good and proper pride–meaning the healthy desire to do well at whatever you do because you respect those you work for, those you work with, and yourself.

In his book Start, Jon Acuff offers help on walking the road to “awesome” rather than “average.” He talks a lot about hustle making the difference between those two paths. Hustle is not the same thing as awesome, but you don’t get awesome if you don’t have hustle.

Somewhere along the way, I lost my hustle. (I’ll save my thoughts on that for the another post.) Like I said, I never had a lot of hustle, but the hustle I remember having was far greater than the piddly little bit of hustle I can scrape together these days.

It’s gotten better over the last few months. I’ve been working on upping my hustle for a while. I’ve worked up to being able to run 3 miles in 30 minutes without stopping and dropped thirty pounds in the process. That took some hustle, and it’s built up my stamina so I can keep hustling longer and better in all things. I’m doing better in my practice of spiritual disciplines, Christian hustle. I have producing plants in my garden. This post is even evidence of some hustle.

The point is this, I’m shooting for awesome. I can’t get to awesome without hustle. It didn’t take long for me to realize I lack the hustle to be awesome. Oh no! What will I do? Simple, I’ve got to work out my hustle muscle.

I firmly believe discipline begets discipline. That’s one of the reasons I started running. I hate running, but it has helped me grow in discipline. You can’t really have hustle without discipline. You can quickly flit from thing to thing, but that’s not hustle. Trying to hustle without being disciplined, that’s how you burn a day without getting anything substantial accomplished. That’s how you end up, theoretically, sitting down to look for churches to send your résumé and end up on Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, and four hours later you don’t have an envelope to put in the mail, and it’s time for lunch/dinner/bed so you quit and leave it for later. But I digress.

Discipline is foundational, or it is at least the platform on which hustle stands. (Given enough thought, I’d probably argue that the gospel is foundational, upon which stands the Christian Worldview, upon which stands God-honoring discipline…or something like that). You must have discipline if you are going to build hustle on top of it. Likewise, you must have hustle if you are going to build awesome on it. Discipline is what gets you out of the bed in the morning to get life done. Hustle is what gets you up early enough to walk toward awesome and still get life done, and hustle gets life done in such a way that you have time throughout to keep progressing toward awesome. Hustle also allows time for more growth in discipline, which allows for more hustle, which allows for both more discipline and more awesome; and so on it goes.

I want to be awesome. So no more walking on the field for me. It’s time to get my hustle back.

July 15, 2013

TMA Article – I Love the Bible

Filed under: Ministry,My Life in General,Tallassee Tribune drafts — pecaspers @ 3:00 PM

I love the Bible. Do you want to know why I love the Bible? I love the Bible because it tells me about God, and I love God. Do you want to know why I love God? I love God because He loved me first and because He is good and because He has revealed His goodness and love to me. Do you know how I came to know this? It’s in the Bible; see 1 John 4:19, Psalm 100:5, and Luke 10:21-24 for a sampling. I love the Bible.

There is no book like the Bible. The Bible is the number one best-selling book of all time. The Bible has been translated into more languages than any other book in the world. (And any good translation goes back to the original languages, so please don’t give me any of that “it’s a translation of a translation of a translation” mess.) There are more ancient hand-written copies of the Bible, in whole or in part, than any other ancient book. Most ancient literary works exist in less than ten or twenty copies which date to a thousand or more years after they were originally written. There are over twenty-five thousand ancient biblical manuscripts (with that many copies, sorting out the copyist errors gets relatively easy), the time between the originals and existing copies being as short as forty years for some New Testament books. Why did ancient Jews and early Christians diligently copy and distribute their Scriptures? It’s because they loved the Bible. They loved the Bible because it told them about God.

I finished reading the Bible for the almost fourth time last week. I say almost fourth because one time it was The Daily Bible which arranges the Scriptures chronologically and blends redundant passages together; so that time doesn’t fully count. The translation I just finished was the 2007 edition of the English Standard Version. Do you know what I did this morning? I pulled out The Holman Illustrated Study Bible, and I started reading it. But I didn’t start in Genesis 1:1, I started with the Introduction because it’s a study Bible with lots of notes, so I wanted to know exactly where the translators and editors were coming from. Do you know why I did that? It’s because I love the Bible.

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. I love the Bible. I love it because it tells me about God. And I love God. It’s not just instructions. It’s God’s story of how He created Man, of how Man rebelled against Him, of how He provided a way of salvation from our rebellion by punishing Himself in our place, of how He sent out His people to tell the world so that all might turn to Him and be saved, and of how He will come and judge the world and recreate a new home for His people to be with Him. So, I read and re-read and study and meditate on and pray through the Bible.

In this room with me, I have at least eight copies of different translations of the Bible in English, a Hebrew Old Testament, a Greek New Testament, and a small stack of The New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs from the Gideons. I have these to study from, to share, to give away, and a couple for sentimental reasons. I have them because I love the Bible. You probably have one or more copy of the Bible in your home, but do you love the Bible?

It’s not, “Do you have positive feelings about the Bible?” The question is this: Do you love the Bible? I’d be a bad husband to my wife if I never spent time with her; my love is evident in my actions. I’d be a bad father to my son if I never did anything with him and never said anything to him; my love is evident in my actions. God wrote a book. Do you love God? Have you read His book? Do you love His book? I love the Bible.

[Originally written as a Draft for the Tallassee Ministerial Alliance contributed article in the Tallassee Tribune in July 2012.]

July 10, 2013

TMA Artical Draft – Crazy Talk

Filed under: Ministry,My Life in General,Tallassee Tribune drafts — pecaspers @ 12:00 PM

Have you ever said something then realized that it was a crazy thing to say? Maybe you hurt someone’s feelings, maybe you claimed something outrageous about yourself, maybe you stated something with authority that wasn’t accurate, or maybe you boasted of some future plan that you couldn’t possibly fulfill. I have done that sort of thing more often than I care to admit. I’ve probably done it more than I even realize. The good thing is that I’ve gotten pretty good at admitting my mistakes and eating crow (the secret is in the sauce).

Jesus said some pretty crazy stuff, but he never had to apologize for it. That’s because He was always right. One of my favorite crazy things Jesus said is in John 8:46. After calling a bunch of self-righteous folks liars and sons of the Devil, he says “Who among you can convict me of sin? If I tell you the truth, why don’t you believe Me?” (HCSB). The response back is that they call Him a demon-possessed half-breed and eventually go looking for rocks to throw at Him when He claims to be the I AM who existed before Abraham (see John 8:48-59).

Can you imagine what the response would be if you stood up before a bunch of people who did not like you and said “Tell me one thing I’ve ever done wrong?” Some would be dumbstruck by the absurdity, others would begin shouting grievances, others would sit down with a pen and paper and get back to you later, and at least one guy would go blog about it. It can be helpful and humbling to ask close friends to point out your blind spots, but you would be crazy to offer that sort of challenge to people who already hate you. Crazy, that is, unless you really are without any flaws. If you are perfect, if you have never made a mistake, if you do all things well and only say what God has told you to say, then you are confronting people with the stark difference between you and them, between you and everyone really.

The crowd in Jesus’ day didn’t like what they heard, but they couldn’t come up with an a single sin with which to convict him. In fact, the only thing they could get any traction with when they finally sought to put him to death was that He claimed to be God and King. The trouble is that He was–and is–God and King. He came back from the dead as a proof of all His claims.

It’s a good thing He did, too. When he sacrificed Himself, He made the way for me and you to be forgiven before God of all the crazy things we’ve said, done, and thought. Because of His victory over sin and death, we can have peace with God and with one another. So the next time you are on either the transmitting or receiving end of some crazy talk, remember the one who is without sin. His blood bought us reconciliation with God. And if we have been forgiven our foolish words, then we must also forgive others for theirs. Otherwise, what we’re saying is that their sin against us is bigger than ours against God. Now, that’s crazy.

[Draft for an article published in the Tallassee Tribune, July 9, 2013]

April 18, 2013

Putting Her Shoes On

A friend of mine recently posted on her Facebook wall about her daughter being so convinced that she was about to go to the store to get a pink scooter that she was putting her shoes on. The mom was not planning on going anywhere. It was raining outside. A new pink scooter was not in the family budget. Nevertheless, girl thought she needed her shoes because, I imagine, she just “knew” she was about to go get a scooter.

I think that’s part of what Jesus means when he tells us we must have faith like a child if we are to enter his Kingdom (Matt. 18:1-4, Mark 10:13-16, and elsewhere). We are to trust in Him and act on that trust no matter what.

It’s also a beautiful picture of this little girls hope in the goodness of her parents. Mommy is good, and pink scooters are good, therefor Mommy will take me to the store to get a pink scooter. It’s time to put my shoes on.

In this respect, I’m reminded of Luke 11:9-13:

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (ESV, emphasis mine)

Christians are to pray expecting our good Father to give us the good gifts for which we ask. And as Luke here points out, the best of what God has to give is Himself. He gives His Holy Spirit, not begrudgingly, freely to His Children. He has already given His Son to take away our sin and give us new life. He has also given the Holy Spirit as His seal, His stamp of approval, His mark of authenticity for those He has redeemed. It is our part to have a firm, confident, faithful hope in the presence of the Holy Spirit at work in us. We are to be being filled by the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).

With our faith and hope resting solidly on the goodness of God, we are to trust that the gift is given and walk in light of it. Put on the Spirit of Christ, walk in faithful obedience no matter what feelings or circumstances may try to keep you from it.

It’s raining, mom’s not getting ready, we can’t afford it… Would you put your shoes on?

Truth is, she’s getting a scooter, mom found a deal, it’s on its way, but it isn’t pink. Hey, every illustration breaks down somewhere.

« Previous PageNext Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.