Friday, April 4, 2008

Pivotal Points

I love to read! I go in spurts though. Sometime I am a voracious reader and then there are those times that life gets so busy that reading anything other than the newspaper is just not possible. I have discovered that some of life's most astonishing truths can be found in a mere paperback. This week I read a book that changed my life or at least the way I looked at it. This has happened to me on more than one occasion. When it does I tell everyone who will stand still long enough about the book. My husband often comments that there is no need to read a book after I have because I interrupt him with each new nugget discovered on the pages before me.
So about this week's book- it is called Exquisite Agony By Gene Edwards. What an author, what a book! There are so many profound truths that I just broke down and cried. "Tell me, tell me" may be what you are thinking, so as I best I can I will try.
First of all who crucified Jesus? If this is such a simple question and answer ask various people. We sing a song that asks,"Were you there when they crucified my Lord?" Who is the "they" referring to? Was it those who drove the nails in, those that shoved the crown of thorns on Christ's head, those that mocked and spit and cursed, the governmental leaders? Well, the answer in my book was that it was God who crucified Jesus His son. People were just the means to accomplish God's plan for the redemption of mankind. You may be thinking that you already knew that God sent Jesus to die for your sins and mine but to say out loud that God did the crucifying is hard. God intentionally made His son suffer so you and I would not have to.
God often has to crucify us at the hands of people we love, or things we are holding onto, or in various other ways. We kick, we scream, we cry, we question His love for us. Even Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane asked His Father, "If it is possible, let this cup pass from me..." Have you ever asked God to take a burden or pain from you because it seemed to heavy to bear? At least we are in good company! Jesus' next sentence is the most important one of all,"Not as I will, but as You will." Can you and I say to God,"Use whatever,whoever, whenever and so long as you deem ever to get me to the place that I am truly crucified with Christ? Of all the people in the room can you be at peace that God chose you to be crucified by a person you love or a thing you held dear? After coming to grips that this must be so in your life, can you be nailed to the cross without fighting back? Can you arise from the event without looking for those who seemingly did the crucifying? Jesus arose from the dead and did not look backward, only forward. So it is with you and I. Surrender, trust, and obey. These are the pivotal points!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Discus Throwing

When I was in high school taking P.E. was mandatory. I did not love much about the class. I had it as my first class of the day which meant getting sweaty first thing in the morning and ruining my hair for the rest of the day. I was less than coordinated in most of the sports and felt very insecure. One of the sports I failed most miserably at was the discus throwing. A discus is heavy disk (the Latin word is dish) that is meant to be hurled out and the distance it is thrown to be measured. Being that I had no upper body strength my discus hurl never went any significant amount of distance. I remember laughing inside as my teacher made everyone stand at a great distance as each class member threw the disc to keep us out of harm's way. I knew my throw would never make it past an arm's length and would not be worth measuring. However precaution was taken just the same as I let go and hurled the discus.
Satan is a master discus thrower! You might be wondering why I would label him as that. Look at John 13:2,"During supper, when the devil had already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him (Jesus)"... The Greek word for put is ballo. It means to hurl. Satan hurled "the desire to betray" discus at Judas' unprotected heart. Something had happened to Judas that his heart was wide open to receive the hurl. One commentary I read said perhaps it was that Judas was still seething over the money that was wasted when Mary of Bethany poured out the expensive ointment on Jesus' feet and wiped it with her hair. Judas was thinking the ointment or perfume could have been sold or exchanged for a good deal of money. Was it greed that had opened Judas heart and left it unprotected for the enemy's hurl? Was it impatience at Jesus for not asserting Himself and becoming an earthly king. Was it pride that Judas thought he knew more than Jesus as to handle financial affairs? Perhaps Judas was angry that Jesus had openly rebuked him in front of others for discounting Mary's act of love and devotion. Whatever the reason, or the offense as Judas may have considered it to be, he left himself open for Satan to do great harm. I realize that when I am hurt by another person's words or actions I must take care of the offense in my heart. Any unforgiveness will leave my heart open for the hurl of Satan that could take me down for the count. The NLT version of Prov. 4:23 says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do." I know first hand how easy it is to hold onto offenses and how damaging a clenched fist or heart can be. Let us purpose in our heart to give God everything that hurts and keep the doors of our heart closed to the enemy!

Monday, March 31, 2008


Hogzilla was the name given to a wild hog caught and killed in Alapaha, Georgia a few years ago. This hog was about 8 feet long and weighed nearly 800 pounds. Hogzilla was the hog of all hogs so to speak. I cannot imagine how much food it took to get old Hogzilla that size. Fortunately the animal was wild as it might have bankrupted a farmer trying to maintain the life of that thing! "Hogging" is a term we often use when we think someone is taking more than their share of something. I was raised in a home with six siblings and I remember fussing with my sisters about hogging the bathroom when we were trying to get ready to go somewhere. My father was often the referee as we tried to pull each other away from the mirror with screams and tears. Each of us considered our time to get ready as the most valuable. I wonder if things ever really change.
In the second chapter of Philippians, verse 3, Paul exhorts the believers:"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit..." The actual Greek meaning of these words is to jockey for position with hollow boasting or with prideful ways. I think as children we coined the phrase perfectly when we said to quit hogging the bathroom, or the food, or even simple conversations. Even as adults we still are guilty of "hogging". We get into discussions with other people and think what we have to say is of utmost importance and leave little room for anyone else's opinion. We call people up with our latest news and forget to ask them if anything interesting has come their way. In arguments we pull out the trump card and then walk away feeling quite proud of ourselves.
Paul gives further instructions by saying that the best way to live is to esteem others better than yourself. That would mean thinking that someone actually knows more than you, or has something to say that is brighter, or wittier or more engaging than you. "Moi?" as Miss Piggy would say. The answer would be yes. Would you ever want to be coined as the "Hogzilla" of your group, family or friends? Hopefully your answer is no. Quit jockeying for position, drop the pride and let others have the limelight. In God's economy there is room enough for all of us.