Thursday, December 31, 2020

New Year's Resolutions

Another 365.25 days pass, and the earth completes one more revolution around the sun.  Revolution (1) - the time taken for a celestial body to make a complete round in its orbit.  A second definition of the word revolution is "a sudden, radical or complete change".   For the year 2020, most of us are hoping that the newly released Covid-19 vaccination will create a revolution of sorts against the virus.  I always take the time around New Year's to consider how I can make the next year better than the last.  Ideas almost always include health-related items like losing weight and exercising more.  I definitely want to read and learn more, and sometimes I think about committing to a new skill like golf or learning a new musical instrument.  Those are tough.  This year, I am thinking about something different.  What if instead of tired resolutions, I could start a personal revolution. A third definition for revolution is "a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something".  In 2021, for every day, I want to think of others more, think of God more - and think of myself less.  That will be a revolution worth celebrating in 365.25 days.  Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Shared Desire

One of the things that I missed most during the pandemic is worshiping side by side with my friends at church.  Thankfully, a few of us have had the chance to be together in a smaller group once a week for the last 12 weeks.   We have been reading and discussing, J.I. Packer's Knowing God, and I have written about a couple of the chapters in this blog.  The content has been inspiring, but I am mostly inspired by the others in my group.  They read, prepare and share every week, making each meeting meaningful.   But the greatest blessing is knowing that each of us spent some energy that week desiring and working to know God more.  I know that He is pleased by that.  Thank you Jamie, Julie, Ron, Karen, Mike, Kim, Pam and Caroline.  Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Mended Heart


This time last year, we traveled with good friends to Nashville for a little Christmas getaway.   I have several fond memories of that trip, but the highlight was seeing Amy Grant and Vince Gill's Christmas concert at the Ryman.   Amy and I are the same age, and she has been a part of our family's playlist for all of our adult lives.  Her early Christmas album (yes vinyl) got broken in well between Thanksgiving and Christmas every year.  I love Amy's story.  Yes, she is a celebrity, and I'm sure she has all the money she needs, but she took a beating when she tried to transition from Christian to Pop music.  Her first marriage to Gary Chapman ended in divorce, and she recently underwent open-heart surgery to correct a birth defect.   In 1992, she released a song she wrote entitled "Breath of Heaven".  She tells the story of Jesus' birth through Mary's eyes.   I found this performance of the song with the Boston Pop's from 2003, after her return to Christian music and her marriage to Vince Gill.  The performance isn't perfect.  We never are.  But I love her mended heart.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Jealous with a Z

One of the more puzzling traits of God is that He is a jealous guy.  Jealousy in today's world is almost always considered a sin, so how can a sinless God also be a jealous God?   We think of jealousy as an unwarranted desire for something that isn't ours.  Envy is another word describing that feeling. Well, it turns out jealousy hasn't always been used that way.  "Jealousy" came from the Greek word "zeal" which meant "to seek, request, desire" and biblically, "tolerating no unfaithfulness".  One author described it like this.  If you are at a party, and you see someone flirting with your spouse,  that feeling of jealousy is like righteous jealousy because you are the only one that has the right to flirt with your spouse.  That resembles God's jealousy for us.  When He sees us flirting with the world, and not giving Him the attention He deserves, He is jealous, as He is the only one deserving of our attention.  I want to do a better job of finding ways to give Him what He deserves.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Path to wrath

Our small group from church has been reading and discussing J.I. Packer's "Knowing God".  The last few chapters have been dealing with God's judgment and wrath.  Many churches these days don't like to talk much about that - many Christians don't either.  But, the Bible does, so it makes me want to sit up and pay attention.  God created the world and the rules for how it works best.   For those that believe this, and don't follow the rules, it makes God angry and his wrath will follow.  We don't know exactly what form that will take, but what we do know is that our sin separates us from Him.   I think that feels like Hell.  Thank God that He allowed his Son to die on the cross as payment for all the times I mess up.  Thank God that He loves me despite my sin.  Thank God that he forgives me when I ask.