Thursday, October 29, 2015

The perfect game

Wikipedia says that " A perfect game is defined by Major League Baseball as a game in which a pitcher (or combination of pitchers) pitches a victory that lasts a minimum of nine innings and in which no opposing player reaches base." Wikipedia also says that this feat has only been reached 23 times in MLB history.

When my son played baseball, he was often the pitcher. It was torture for me, to watch my son play this crucial position. I cannot imagine the pressure he himself felt to pitch "the perfect game." Like it or not, I'm sure every coach has hopes that his pitcher will indeed do that.

This Sunday we will be looking at Matthew 5:48. "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." Is God serious? Is that really His intent? I'm afraid so. But looking deeper into it, we see that the word "Be," is written in the future indicative tense, meaning "You will be perfect." By God's grace and through the transforming power of His love and His grace, He will make us perfect!

What does He mean by perfect? A life without mistakes? A life where my "opposing player" gets no runs on me? No, I believe God's goal is for me to reach a perfection of love. If we love one another, "God lives in us and His love is made complete in us." (1 John 4:12, but read verses 7-12) I'm not sure how many times that feat has been reached by Christians here on earth, but it should be our goal.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

This is no game

"Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8 (NASB)
When you play a game, in the end, you are either the winner or the loser; on the winning team or on the losing team. The life of a Christian is no game, but the Christ follower does have a strong adversary that is out to win. And not just win, but according to the verse above, he is seeking to devour the Christ follower.

Do we believe this? How so? It seems that people spend lots of time and energy on this fantasy football. I would imagine that knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your adversaries would be important to winning at that game. After all, there is a lot of money at stake. So do we Christ followers spend as much time getting to know our adversary? After all, our very lives are at stake! Do we know exactly what the Bible calls evil? Is Halloween evil? Is reading the horoscopes evil? What about going to a palm reader? Isn't it time to find out?

There is only one book that we can find out the answers to all that. The Bible will not only give us information about the enemy, but it gives us ways to win!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A thousand times I've failed

This morning as I poured out my heart to God over yet another failure to pray before I reacted (and then acted), the words to a song by Hillsong United came to mind. Here are the words to the first part:

From the Inside Out
A thousand times I've failed
Still Your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
I'm caught in Your grace
Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending Your glory goes beyond all fame

My husband's last few sermons have been about sanctification and holiness. We talked about how it is God who does this in our lives (1 Thessalonians 5:24). So what then, is our part?

What God has been showing me, is that my part is to focus on the Father: His character and His promises. When I do that, He leads me where He wants me to go. For example, in Romans 2:4 we read that it is God's kindness that leads us to repentance. 

Mercy is another characteristic of God (mentioned in the song above). How many times has God not treated us as our sins deserved, but shown us mercy instead?  What does that do for us? I know for me, it makes me want to give Him praise and thanks! And isn't that what He desires?

So, today I choose to "flip it," as our good friend Eli taught us. I admit my failure, and I turn to the God of all grace, the everlasting God, and I give Him praise for His never ending mercy. To Him be all glory and honor and praise!