It’s been hard recently.
All summer, God has been feeding me with bread and meat brought by filthy ravens.
I hated it.
I wanted the king’s delicacies served at a grand banquet table.
I thought I deserved more than daily bread.
He used my difficulty to show me what was in my heart: that He was not enough.
Oh dear God, I’m sorry!
Lord, I repent. Give me a heart that is satisfied with You, alone.
Sometimes, I appreciate the female form more than I should. I objectify them.
People will say, “It is only natural to notice a beautiful woman.”
And, in fact, it is –only natural.
But, I am not called to be natural but spiritual.
Sin is any way of thinking besides God’s. And my behavior is not the mind of Christ.
The Word that the Holy Spirit burns on my heart is Matthew 5:28 where Jesus says, “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
It has been often taught from this verse that a wayward glance leads to adultery, but what most overlook is that this is but one of several sins Jesus used to illustrate His main point: all sin share the same root. To be guilty of one is to be guilty of them all because one sin contains the DNA for all of them and they all flow from an unregenerate heart –including murder. (Matthew 5:19, James 2:10)
One of my greatest fears is for my sin to kill what is dear to me:
for my wife to catch my glance and it kill the certainty of love for her,
or for my boys to see me inappropriately look at a woman and it kill the security they have in the Father’s house, afraid that I could betray and abandon their mother, destroying our family,
or for a sister to see my wayward glance and it kill her hope in the sanctity and ministry of marriage, thinking “all men are the same,”
or anyone observing my behavior, it kills my testimony, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
So, “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection…” (1 Corinthians 9:27)
And, I fight for my loved ones… with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17)
First, I must be born again (Matthew John 3:3). God must give me a new heart. Then, I have to be sensitive to the conviction and urging of the Holy Spirit. He will guide me by His Word. All of this is facilitated by receiving the Word and giving myself to it. And, by the Word, the Spirit will help me to fight.
The Spirit, by the Word, will help me tear down the lies of the enemy (2 Corinthians 10:4) and overcome the flesh (worldly thinking). It will transform me, renewing my mind, imparting to me the mind of Christ. (Romans 12:2)
The Spirit will reveal the mind of Christ for whatever I’m facing with the Word.
So then, what is the mind of Christ as it relates to women? How should I see them?
“Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.” John 19:27 – As a mother, someone that I honor and secure.
“Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise” Mark 5:41 – As a daughter, someone that I lift up.
“And as [the women] went to tell His disciples, behold Jesus met them, saying, ‘Rejoice’… ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.'” Matthew 28:9-10 – As a sister, someone that I encourage and respect as heirs together and fellow ministers of the grace of Life.
“You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection [women] neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.” Matthew 22:29-30 – As a wife, someone that is not to be treated as property -something to be picked up or put away based on my whims, but someone who is to be venerated as an awesome, holy vessel of God. (What angel was ever encountered in scripture without fear and awe?!)
Therefore, the mind of Christ is, if a woman is not my wife, she is either to be regarded as a sister, daughter or mother –all positions of honor. Then, I bring my body into subjection to use His view. This is how I fight. And, I fight everyday.
Being Christian does not mean that I do not struggle with sin.
It means I struggle with sin, with the Strength to overcome.
The natural man embraces sin.
But, we are called to be spiritual, to have the mind of Christ.
Therefore, make war.
Originally posted to Facebook here.
It is so like God to give the very thing you need to someone you think you don't need.
It will either force you to abandon your way of thinking to receive what He has for you
Or, you condemn yourself by your own prejudice.
— Paul Luckett (@brainflurry) August 5, 2022
This is precisely what happened when God sent Jesus. They missed Him because He didn’t come in a package they approved of.
Jesus warned it will happen again, that we will fail to grasp Him, our light and life, when we overlook “the least of these” where He may be found. Matthew 25:45
Throw people away, whether because of their status, behavior, appearance, past, politics or even because they wronged you, at your own peril.
“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’
Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” – Matthew 25:31-46
Consider again Luke 6:37-38 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Originally posted to Twitter here.
“I don’t want to go to lunch with you (or anybody).”
That was my thought after receiving an invitation to lunch from William Sansing.
But God is doing a work in me, teaching me that people are gateways to His presence and His Love is the key.
“Cast off into the river of God’s grace,” was the Word to me.
So, I went, casting off, seeking to meet God through fellowship with a stranger.
I define “blessing” as what brings me closer to God.
Lunch with William Sansing blessed me.
“When You Said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
– Psalm 27:8
I may have a gained a friend, perhaps even a brother. The test will be if we continue to share, not only lunch but life. That will require discomfort, risk, humility, grace –action.
Obedience is wildly uncomfortable. But, I so desire God that I’m willing to be uncomfortable, if it means I get more of Him.
So, we outchea.
Originally posted to Facebook here.
My wife left to go out of town and it taught me something.
I missed everything that comes with being near her.
I missed her company.
I missed her touch.
I wanted those things.
Should I have looked for them elsewhere because she was not near me? Would it have been appropriate to seek the companionship, intimacy and affection that I yearned for from another? Certainly not!
So, what do I instead?
I wait for my spouse.
I read my spouse’s love letters.
I reflect on my spouse’s love for me.
I reflect on my love toward my spouse.
I recall the last time I felt my spouse’s touch.
I remember the good we’ve had together and I rejoice over it.
I wait (prepare) with eager expectation for my spouse’s return.
So it is with the Lord.
He has not abandoned you. He’s just further ahead in the place that He’s calling you to. Sometimes, the absence we feel is His leading for us to come out of the place where we’ve grown comfortable and to come up just a little bit higher. (Romans 1:17, 2 Corinthians 3:18)
So, trust in His commitment to His promises, “He will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5), be faithful to the Lord and seek His face because “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). And, never forget that He wants to be with you as evidenced by His actions, foremost by coming through His Son Jesus (Immanuel) and including His moving on my heart to write this for you to read this right now.
In the words of David the psalmist,
“Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!”
– Psalm 27:14
In Week 19 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for people that put the “public” in public education.
In this photo our son Chris is headed to a trip to willingly spend days in the woods woods (the duplication is on purpose for emphasis –this was deep, hot, tick and mosquito infested woods, not some glamping trip). Our son was eager to go all because when Dr. Jessica Witt Tegt and her family made Starkville their home she, being a scientist, saw where she should could make a contribution and help take science education to the next level in our community’s schools.
Chris joined Dr. Tegt’s Science Club back in 2011. As I write this, he is now finishing his first week interning with a leading timberland management firm. Chris talks often about his desire to share the inspiration he received with other kids in the Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District. This happened, largely because someone saw an opportunity to make things better for our community and cared enough to to do something about it.
When we, as the public, love where we live, take ownership and participate in the care, maintenance and improvement of public resources such as our schools, that extra effort makes for an extraordinary community.
This particular picture made me recall the work of Dr. Jessica Tegt and Team Awesome: Evan O’Donnell, Beverly Keasler, et al. But, I’ve seen so many people taking initiative and going the extra mile: whether it’s Dr. Kay Fennell Brocato who tirelessly advocated for Studio School (concepts from which are present today in our District’s state of the art Partnership School) or Dr. Alison Buehler who identified 3rd graders struggling to read at grade level and recruited volunteers to implement a remediation program that she designed or Vanessa Shaffer who advocated for the sport of tennis and held her own tennis camps to help on-ramp kids to the high school tennis team or Eileen Carr-Tabb who mans concession stands to support our district’s teams just because she’s a member of the community or Chief Sammy Shumaker who organized men to stand in the gap, pray over each and every one of our schools and mentor young men.
I could go on.
I am thankful for neighbors that put the “public” in public schools, who demonstrate what it means to live in community and take our collective success personally.
I’m grateful. #52WoG
I have great joy, peace and hope because Christ is in my life.
Yet, there is pain that never leaves me. It’s like gravity, a condition of this environment, always there, weighing me down.
I don’t want to,
I don’t feel like,
I don’t have the strength to,
are all ways the pain makes me feel.
But, there is strength to thrive in spite of the pain: His strength.
To enjoy it I have to accept my weakness and His power, allow it to align me, flow through me and make me flourish,
like a flower emerging from the weight of the earth, its roots still in but its bud reaching toward the sun.
Quite often, life requires more than I have. But, His grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)
There is power to overcome
I don’t want to,
I don’t feel like,
I don’t have the strength to.
There is power to go on
as a vessel of His Love.
I just have to go,
depending on Him.
Any Love, any Light, any Life that He can channel through me is eternally worth it.
He didn’t want to.
I can go on.
Jesus is my example, my model and my guide. He is the person I want to become –to attain to His resurrection, to be like Him: righteous, just, loving, faithful –altogether fit to rule. He is my prize.So, even though I don’t want to right now, I press.
In Week 18 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for a fond memory of my mother and her Stopping Game.
My Mom made everything fun.
When I was learning to drive she made up this game to see who could stop the car most smoothly.
A successful stop was one that was gentle on the passengers and did not cause them to jerk forward in their seats. An excellent stop was one that your passengers barely felt.
On our way to choir rehearsal or Bible class (as church was our most common destination), we’d take turns driving to see who could stop the car better.
My younger brother, though too young to drive at the time, would get in on the game too. We’d all have so much fun exaggerating like we were going to get thrown out of the car when the driver was making a stop.
At the time, I was completely unaware that my mother was teaching me to be calm behind the wheel, gentleness with the pedals, speed management and to better gauge distances in traffic. But even more than that, my mother turned what would have been a loathsome task (going to church) into absolute joy.
My Mom constantly did stuff like this. This is what motherhood looks like to me, she was simultaneously my best teacher and my first friend.
Oh, what a blessing Rosemary Luckett is to me.
I’m grateful. #52WoG