If you are like me, POWERFUL is not how I am typically described. Not speaking bad about myself but a power broker I am not.
In fact sometimes I feel insignificant in the grand scheme of things. There is only so much impact a man in my position will ever make even when armed with a shiny new box of 64 crayola crayons.
Of course power and influence are relative terms, and God does not call me to be great.. but he does call me to be faithful and he will take care of the rest.
Understanding this can be very freeing to anyone like me who worry about limitations. BUT.. as the scriptures teach us.. "when I am weak, HE makes me strong."
Also, it is critical to note, God does not measure success or power like the world does. It is not all about your career, bank account balance, or fame. I believe success found in this life is again simply being faithful in the moments that make up each day.
So I pray God finds each of us faithful in those moments of every day. May the fruit of his spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, and self control) be evident. This will be how to measure real power and real success when God's spirit is evident in our lives.
500 Channels of Sameness
It is winter here in Minnefrozeta where the sun is down around 5:30, and outside it is as the saints call it 'blessed' cold. So I hunker down in front of the TV to pass the time. I have cable TV so my selection is about 500 channels of Hi-Def nothing new under the sun movies, concerts, game shows, comedies, dramas, horror flicks (no), adventures, thrillers, mob movies, history documentaries, or the dreaded news (propaganda) channels as pretend I am being informed. Well, this aint working for me.
I guess in hind sight I know while TV can be a welcomed diversion, it is not a true source of satisfaction... though by watching XFinity commercials stating they are the future of awesome. I would settle for it being pretty good.
Then to complicate this buffet for the senses sameness, there is the mediocre, and sometimes down right bad. Not only bad quality, but bad content and this flies in the face of the scripture whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil 4:8. On it's very best day I don't think I would call television admirable.
The simple solution is turn the TV off (gasp), and read a book (double gasp).. maybe even more time reading my bible. Do a project, start a hobby (unless it is tv watching), spend time with a friend. There are so many better ways to spend with your time than sampling 500 channels of cable while your brain turns to mush from stimulus overload.
To him who has no TV sin cast the first remote, and so I am not chucking mine, but simply reminding myself to be a better steward with my time.
May God bless each of you as you balance your life with faith, family, and friends without your TV getting in the way.
To Hell in a Handbasket
This American phrase is often used to describe a situation headed for disaster inescapably.
I sometimes.. no often look at society and this going THIAH (to hell in a handbasket). Traditional Christian values and morals are either ignored or given a 'progressive' slant. The debt continues to climb as does big brother government control... AND my Green Bay Packers lose in overtime their chance to go to the Super Bowl. BUT I DIGRESS...
I cry out .. Come Lord Jesus come! How can it get any worse? In high drama fashion. Then as I am reading my bible I came across the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah. Much of these books speak about Israel who had lost favor with God because of their rejection of God. The consequences are harsh. Really THIAH kind of stuff. Losing favor of God is not what Israel should have chosen with their free will and neither should America. Without the Lord there will be decline, and our borders become weak. We are not too big or powerful for another 911 or worse. <pause> This is a good time to mention.. WE NEED TO REPENT.
I am not a doomsayer though it may sound like it. Besides the Packers losing it matters much our unapologetic decline of Christianity in America. It is not about being Democrat or Republican (cuz last I checked, God is not registered with either party), but about putting God FIRST in America, and in each of our lives. If we don't, then we are going THIAH.
On that cheery note, I leave you with a prayer for repentance and revival in America. God may you not find us apologizing for our Christian roots, or our moral compromises. Simply put may we return our focus to you.
May God find his people faithful and effective in this THIAH world.
Oh Those Forgotten Sins
I have a problem often in forgetting my past sins as they return in the form of regrets that hurt accompanied with feelings of shame and failure.
This is NOT what God intends.. for as far as the east is from the west so are our sins removed from us once I ask forgiveness. This is good news for regret laden fellow like me.
I do need to ask forgiveness and be truly sorry for me transgressions (not saying sorry through clenched teeth), but once that is done.. forgiveness is full and complete
The bible also says we are forgiven and God remembers our sins no more. This of course does not imply God is forgetful, but simply our sins are forgiven and we they should no longer be a weight on our hearts or minds.
Again, if we confess our sins, God forgives us and remembers them no more.
May God bless each of you with the assurance of a God that loves you. He forgives and forgets your every transgression. As far as the east is from the west and/or tossed away forever on the ocean floor. The point is they are GONE so let your mind find peace in this great truth.
Waves, Winds, and other forces of nature often take my breath away. Spiritually speaking, waves, winds, and other circumstances also take my breath away. Peter when walking on water, doubted and down like a rock he went, and so I go too. I get up in the morning some days with a slight case of DREAD. Too much too do and not enough time, compounded by self doubt.., or the unexpected car breakdown that won't be cheap.. THEN add in a myriad of what ifs? and I am out of breathe even before my morning coffee.
Then this morning my wife Mary and I had devotions (Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young) and the message was to focus on Jesus. Whether my day presents me with an opportunity to 'walk on water' or just pay my bills with my loaves and fishes budget.. my eyes are to be on Jesus.
So this is what I choose today. 1. Look those waves straight in the eye... 2. spit up a little in my mouth, 3. swallow, and 4. then focus on Jesus. His mercy, grace, power and love for me is great. <pause> ok, maybe skip steps 2 and 3. :)
May your day be blessed by trust in Almighty God!
Man of God
It must be amazing to have the call from God on your life for those led to become a preacher.
To become a leader of a church where you preach God's word, counsel the congregation, and be the focal point of a church (for good and for bad). Then to live in that 'glass house' where your life is on display. Well, my hats off to you.
I could never be a preacher for a number of very good reasons. 1. I am not called to be a preacher, and 2. When I speak in public I often struggle in saying the overused word "um" as a form of punctuation or pause. Then again as a blogger my grammar aint so good'r either. BUT I DIGRESS.
It's too easy sitting in my Back Pew to listen to a sermon then decide if I liked it, or it frustrated me, or it put me to sleep. Admittedly all 3 forms of analysis have been processed by me. But back to being a preacher/pastor/minister/clergy/vicar etc etc.. I admire the courage and insight provided from the pulpit. To be led to share what is on their heart to this mixed bag of nuts called the congregation is a brave and blessed calling to follow.
Then to look out over the congregation and take in the various facial responses from smiling to terse to sleeping.. how do you keep a straight face as this mini congregational reality show is on display right before your eyes. How do stay focused on what you need to say?
May God bless each of you called to serve God as our pastors. May He bless you with respect and appreciation for all you do even when the going gets tough and their is even unrest in the congregation. Thank you for all you do. Thank you for your sincere prayer led leadership, your encouraging words, your loving tough words, and for your care of God's people. As the Bible describes the church as one body of many parts... Please accept this big THANK YOU for being the head of the body ..from one of the toes.
the 'american sniper' in me
It is so easy for me when life is going smooth to simply give God a big thumbs up and go on my merry way. Then when life gets tough I kick into prayer mode lamenting my difficulties. I might even pout a bit.
Well it is January 2015 and I have several resolutions including losing weight, but the most important resolution has to do with being closer to God. He is always there, but I have a tendency of fitting him in rather being in day long communion with him. My prayer is to be praying without ceasing where through out my day I am sharing with God my worries and praising him for the promise of his presence.
In the war movie Saving Private Benjamin there is one character who is a sniper who is an amazing good shot. The little side note to his accuracy is he prays before each shot, and he never misses. Until.. in one dramatic war scene the enemies frenzied attack was overwhelming the Americans to the point where this sniper hurries his shots and no longer is praying. He is doing it on his own, and eventually is overcome and killed in this climactic final battle.
I have had for years this sniper story stuck in my mind as an analogy where I am prayerful and peaceful in my life, and no matter my circumstance I feel God's presence. Then there are other times where life has overtaken me and I am in panic mode and an attitude of prayer is not evident in my life except to cry out for help. There is no attitude of communing with God there is only Jeff flaying away trying to do it on my own in PANIC MODE.
Now please don't worry I am not a literal sniper that you are going to someday here about on the 6pm news, but instead I desire to be in a relationship with God that grows so close I know he is with me and blessing my efforts no matter my circumstance. What if my relationship with God was so close there was no room for self. What if my attitude of prayer was such a part of me I could shoot down any attack from the enemy.
So here is the end of my Jeff the sniper analogy. I don't even own a gun, but I desire so much to be close to God and never again just going through life 'fitting in' God when convenient and not hurried. I don't want to be known as just a Sunday Christian, I want to be a lean mean 'sniper' machine. Figuratively speaking of course. :)
May God bless each of you as you draw near to Him. May your relationship with Him be such that it brings peace to your hearts, and is a testimony to this world.
when hell froze over
Today the mid day high in Minnesota forecast is -6 F with a -30 F windchill and so it is safe to say winter is back with a vengeance.
Now I would not say this qualifies as the day Hell freezes over, but I wonder the temp in this land down under dipped to a relatively cool-ish +180 F. I can picture a few elderly demon minions donning cardigans as they are not used to this kind of 'chill'.
Of course Hell freezing over is not gonna happen and the phrase 'when hell freezes over' is only to point out a very unlikely scenario. Like, predicting the Minnesota Vikings will EVER win a Super Bowl. BUT I DIGRESS..
Seriously what has come to mind these days are the end times. I believe Jesus will come again maybe soon and there will be an end to this world. Right here in America I feel we have lost our way where an underlying anger, racial tensions, fed by a broken moral compass. Then you throw in today's technology which is on one hand such a positive, but also gives me a creepy big brother feeling. There are no real secrets anymore. Society/big brother knows what you buy, where you have been, if you have been naughty or nice even before we even added in the great new world of drones.
LOL, in one short blog I have turned from a smirking cartoonist wanting to share 'Clean Humor & God's Truth' to a 57 year old conspiracy theorist / doomsday prophet / paranoid. Be careful before you drink the grape koolaid I am drinking. :)
But, ... if we cut through all of the negatives AND positives of the world we live in the one thing truly believe is.. Jesus is coming again. Not a cute Christian cliche, but rather a biblical truth. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 2:4 "Our purpose is to please God not people." So I pray the church speaks and lives out truth in love even when it offends society. IT MATTERS WHAT WE BELIEVE.
May God bless each of you to honor and serve our God in a society that often frowns on Christians. May your heart and mind not be altered by society and peer pressure. Again, our purpose is to please God not people as we ready ourselves for the Lord's return.
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson
Back Pew - Draw Close to God
116 pages of cartoons of 'Clean Humor & God's Truth'
CRITICS ARE SAYING..
Laughter is just a CLICK away