Monday, October 30, 2006

John 13:35

I love you. I really do. And it’s not because Jesus told me that I need to love you, either. I just do.

And I know you love me. How do I know? You show me.

Did you notice that? I didn’t say, “You tell me.” I said, “You show me.” You show me in things that you do, that aren’t required, but are just part of your nature.

Last night, at EPIC (our high school ministry, for those who don’t worship where I do), love was poured out on me. But one way was really special. I had someone care enough to ask me if I was okay, but it seemed like I was pulling back from them.

You say, “Huh?” Me, I almost cried. I did. This person touched me in a way that I can’t describe. See, I had kind of been pulling away, giving this person and their significant other space. I had done it because it seemed like they had been avoiding me, so I didn’t want to crowd them, in case I had done something to offend.

So anyway, we talked about it. And they were really worried that I was going to pull out or back out of the ministry. Truth be told, the HSM youth keep me going. If I were to be really up front, they are close to unconditional love as I have seen this side of my Father in Heaven.

Some of you who have teens may disagree with me. Heck, I tend to disagree with me at times. But you know what? It’s okay, because this is me. You see, deep inside, we all want to know that we are loved and accepted no matter what we do.

My teens know that I love them. I chastise them, I berate them, I challenge them, and I reward them. I offer to be there for them, and I try and back it up. I make time for them, when no time is available, or when it will be to my detriment. I make time. And you know what they give me in return?

I get the chance to be a part of their life.

Who do you love? Who knows that you love them? Who knows that you are there?

John 13:35- “By this ALL will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

We NEED to love each other. When the world looks at the Christian church, I think they see a lot of things. But I wonder if they see love. If we can’t love one another, how can we love a dying world?

My adult small group is awesome. They love us as well. We haven’t been in a while. (I know there are alarms going off in people’s heads right now. This is between me and my small group. And I have talked with my leaders.)

Even though we haven’t been in a while, I know they are there for me. I know they still love me. Not because they call to check on us, or quiz us or anything. I know because of their heart. They love me, and they are patient. You know what they are doing? They are walking with me and beside me. They are traveling that dusty road with me, so I won’t be alone. And I love them for it.

Do you know love? Do you know how to be loved? I believe that if you can’t first be loved, you can’t love on ANYONE else. If you can’t be loved on and nurtured, then I believe you can’t be that love to someone else.

If God can’t love on you, how can you love on someone else? If you can’t love God, who is the basis and meaning of love, how can you love on the person you work with, or go to school with?

Our society has reduced love to an emotion; to a word. It’s placed love in a box. We have taken love to be something that you can just turn on and off, like a light switch. Love isn’t like that at all.

Love is something you have to work at with all your might. And if you don’t want to work at it for others, it will show in your walk. And one day, you might find yourself wondering why you are all alone in the dark. You won’t see the candles of those who were trying to walk with you, because you blew them out whenever they came close.

You can even block the love of Jesus in your life. You can refuse to accept it. It’s there, a free gift. All you have to do is reach out and grab it. Once you do, things should never, ever be the same.

I love you. Never, ever forget that. I’m here for you, whenever you need me. Be love to someone today. You’ll be glad you did.

Be blessed in the Lord today.

Bo J.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Deuteronomy 10:12-13

Sometimes, this blank page is frightening. I sit here, with absolutely nothing to write. I have no idea where to start. I try and think of where to pull something from, and I haven’t the foggiest idea of where to start. It’s absolutely overwhelming.

I’ve been reading about Moses, and the children of Israel. If you’ve never read that, I suggest that you take some time and go through the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible, written by Moses). He was one powerful man; but he also was kind of overwhelmed.

God’s chosen people, the ones He had revealed Himself to through all manner of miracles, signs and wonders were, for lack of a better term, knuckleheads. They had a clear path before them, laid out by the God of all the universe and they got overwhelmed at every turn. They lost sight of Who they were following, and Who released them from Pharaoh’s grip.

I would like to think that sometimes, when the people were the most obstinate, the most ornery, that Moses would just not know quite what to do about them. The Bible shows that he got so frustrated with their selfish, stiff necked attitude.

I realize that I seem to be drifting here. But in my head all this fits together. Moses took a lot of their complaining to heart, and that showed in his fit of rebellion at Kadesh, during the exodus (Numbers 20). He was fed up with the people and their rebellious, whiny ways. Moses got angry, because he couldn’t understand WHY the people were so obstinate toward their God.

He was instructed to speak to a rock, in the name of the LORD, and bring forth water. He was told specifically what to do.

He hit it. Hard. Twice.

Now, don’t get me wrong; in his place I would have done the same thing. I would have probably accidentally knocked someone in the head as well. And look what it got him; he was denied access to the Promised Land he had been leading the people toward.

Bo, is there a point?

Yes, but I don’t think this is for anyone here. Sometimes, it’s just about following and doing. Sometimes it’s just about realizing that, no matter what, God is God is God and nothing or no one is going to change it. Sometimes, it’s just about doing what God says, and not worrying about if it makes sense. Sometimes it just means not letting your emotions get in the way.

Deuteronomy 10:12-13-“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?”


God tells me to fear (respect; worship; hold in reverent awe) Him; to walk in the path He has set for me, and to keep His commandments because they are good for me.

So, I gave you this whole big story, to tell you this; it’s not about me having something I think is meaningful to tell you. Sometimes, it’s just about me telling you that God just wants me to continue doing this. He wants me to continue to walk this road with Him, doing what He tells me to do and not to worry about what any of you think.

Sometimes, you’ll get it. Sometimes someone else will. Sometimes, you’re just along for the ride. But God is faithful, and He can and will give you something for your time.

I’m not equating any of you with the Israelites. I’m telling you that sometimes, I’m just instructed to do this, to show you that confusion can reign in all of us. We all have a point, I think, where we wonder what it is about the cloud and the pillar of fire that is not making an impression.

Keep going; keep plugging along the path God has set out for you. That’s your only job. The rest of it is on Him. As the bombing group leader from the movie Star Wars said, “Stay on target.”

If I could give you anything from this, it would be the plea to stay tight with God. IF you do what He says, when He says, how He says, you will zero in on truth in your life. So I think, instead of knocking my head against the wall in frustration at what I can’t tell you; I’ll just continue to tell you what I can.

Be blessed in the Lord today.

Bo J.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Psalm 86:15

Good morning. I thought I’d let you grab a cup of coffee or milk or something and give you a chance to wake up. You were so beautiful while you were sleeping; I didn’t want to wake you.
Oh, it’s okay! Don’t panic. I watch over you every night when you sleep. You know what else? I watch over you when you toss and turn, as well. And when you think that you are all alone, and trying your best not to think about all the things going on in the world around you; I’m there, too.
I wait on you to call on Me. I get up and rush to your side, knowing in My heart that THIS is the day you are going to call on Me. But I also know you well enough to know that you may not quite be there, yet. So, I wait.
It’s not that I am trying to bother you; I just want what’s best for you. I would NEVER want you to think that I am just badgering you or trying to be an annoyance. I want you to come to Me on your own; not because of something I did.
Oh, that brings me to something else. It’s about that feeling you may have right now. That’s NOT My fault. It is the part of Me that has lived in you every day since you asked Me into your life. It’s the Holy Spirit. You can call Him what you like…Holy Spirit, Holy Ghost, whatever. Just know that He lives in you now.
He sees what you do in secret, and He tells Me. He is the One who is kind of prodding you. He is just there to remind you that We want to be your all in all. We want to be the Ones you look to in times of trouble.
Oh, He’s not going to just take over your body and MAKE you do anything; He’s going to remind you of the relationship we used to have. He’s there to remind you that you really can’t do this on your own, but We will help you and live in you, enabling you to do anything We need you to accomplish.
The people around you will tell you that I’m not looking out for you. They’ll tell you that they have all the answers and that you don’t need to look any further than your own selfish desires. Can I just be honest with you and tell you that is baloney? It’s not just baloney; it’s the whole sandwich on a platter. It’s served up to you looking all fresh and fancy, but it’s still only a baloney sandwich.
And then, I put people in your path. I give you friends and others who speak what I put into them, to give you a word of encouragement. I try and let you know that I am still talking to you. Sometimes, you listen to Me. But most of the time, you just ignore Me.
Let Me tell you something about Myself. It’s found in My love letter that I wrote just for you. I want you to think about it today.

Psalm 86:15-“But You, O LORD, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.”

Do you see that? I am full of compassion. I am not the God of fear and loathing, as I am sometimes portrayed. I love you, no matter what the world tells you about Me.
Oh, and one more thing I’d like to get off My chest. It’s about when I ask you to do something for Me. When I do, and it seems like it implodes; that’s not My doing. There could be one of two things at work in that particular situation.


(1) You didn’t do what I asked you. Or more importantly, you are doing it, but you didn’t do it THE WAY I asked. Mostly when this happens, it’s because when you see My plan, you think it takes WAY too long. So, you think you can HELP Me out. I have an idea-don’t do it. When I give you something, and a plan to do it, trust in Me. Stick with My way, even if it seems like there is a better way to do it. Remember that whole omniscience thing? I own the rights to that.
(2) You have someone who really, REALLY hates the relationship you and I have together. If he sees that you are really trying to do something that I have asked of you, and you are doing it the way I asked of you, he gets scared. He knows that it won’t fail. So, he expends a LOT of energy trying to make it seem like you are failing. So, if that happens, here is what you do-talk to Me. If it’s WHAT I want you to do, and HOW I want you to do it, I’ll tell you. I’ll make sure you know you are on the right path.

Well, that’s about it for now. Just remember that I love you very much. I would never do anything to hurt you. And I don’t make you jump through hoops just to prove you love me, either.
You and I are cool. I just wanted you to know that today. I love you very much. Thanks.

God

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Be blessed in the Lord today and always,

Bo J.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Romans 8:1

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!

School’s in session. Let’s have a lesson, shall we?

Omniscient- Having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things.

Omnipresent- Being present everywhere at the same time.

Omnipotent- Having unlimited, universal, infinite power, authority, or force; all-powerful.

These are the attributes of our God. This is Who He is. So, with that being said, I have a question for you. It’s a very simple one.

Why do you think that ANYTHING you do catches our God off balance?

Come on; let’s get this out in the open. We all think it at one time or another. We do something and we think, “Okay, God is really going to be mad at me this time! He’s never going to listen to me again!”

Wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong!!!

God is God. He cannot change with the weather; or with the breezes, or because He just feels like changing. He is an unchanging rock; the source of our salvation.

Stop elevating yourself to some super sinner status. You know exactly what I mean. The “I am just a dirty old sinner, and I have done so much wrong in my life, there is no WAY God could forgive me for this one.”

God WANTS to bless you. God WANTS to love on you. God WANTS to be there with you throughout your trials and tribulations. The only thing stopping Him is US.


Romans 8:1- “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

We must walk according to the Spirit. When we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. They will come upon us, and try and overtake us, but they will not control us.

We are new creations. We are NEW!

I have some Starbuck’s stainless steel coffee mugs. (Yes, I said that as I have several. Don’t ask. I like them.) I buy them and they are all pretty when they are brand new. Then I start using them. Eventually, I drop it or bang it against it something or any number of different things that can happen in the course of a day.

Sometimes, it puts a significant ding in the cup. But it’s still a Starbuck’s coffee mug. It still holds my coffee, and keeps it warm for me; with or without the dent.

When people look at my cup, they see the dents. I see points of character. I see traits that make this cup my own.

Sometimes, when we look in the mirror, we see ourselves as the sum of the decisions, good or bad, that we have made up until that point in our lives.

When God looks at us, however, He sees Jesus. That is, IF we have accepted Him as our Lord AND Savior; the boss of our lives. God wants what is best for us; Jesus is that best. The Holy Spirit helps to guide us in that direction.

Stop second guessing God. Stop wondering if this is the day that God stops loving you. Stop wondering if the God of the Universe, who incidentally doesn’t owe you a thing, is really mad at you right now.

Just because you don’t hear Him, doesn’t mean He’s not there. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Sometimes, He quiets the storm. And sometimes, He quiets YOU. And when you are quiet, you will take notice. You will notice that the storm is raging all around you, but it’s NOT touching you.

It may look like it is, but looks can be deceiving. God is NOT a man that He should lie to you.

Now then, do something for me. Tell the voice that is speaking negative thoughts into your ear the memory verse. If he keeps talking, keep telling him. If he gets louder, you get louder.

You know who that voice is, don’t you? And do you know what will happen if you continue to tell that spirit what God has said about you?

It will feel a gentle tap on its shoulder. It will turn around, and there will be a huge guardian angel, straight from the throne room of Heaven. And the One who sent this angel will have a message for the spirit talking bad about His child.

And there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Smile; trust me, it WILL be funny to watch.

Be blessed in the Lord,

Bo J.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Revelation 3:20

Good morning!

Hey, good morning to You! How are You doing?

I’m good. I was just kind of wondering about you. We haven’t talked in a while. I wanted to see how you were doing.

Well, I’m okay. You know it’s just been really busy around here.

Well, yeah, I know you think so. That’s kind of what I wanted to talk to you about.

Well, You know how it is…remember about John’s dad?

Yeah, and I really appreciate you being there for him and all, but, about us…

Yeah, that was kind of tough, but I made it. And I did see You that day; I even talked about it.

That’s true, but you know, I like it better when we talk…

And remember, right after that, Becky had that flare-up. She had to go on the steroid treatment again. You KNOW how that is!

Well, yes, I do. But don’t you think that if we could maybe talk more….

And then, I’ve got all this stuff people want me to do at church, and the small group, I haven’t been there in a while, and everyone is so busy. It’s hard to schedule that without keeping Kaitlyn and Sammy up late. And You know how that is, don’t You?

But see, that’s what I’m trying to talk to you about. You used to get up early and talk to me, before your day started.

I know, I know. But it’s just that it’s so EARLY. I am so busy that I just don’t know; I don’t know that I can fit that in to my schedule any more.

Really?

Yeah, You know how it is? I’ve got this responsibility at work, and I am working 10 hour days. By the time I get there it turns out to be more like an 11 or 12 hour one. I need that extra few minutes of sleep.

But don’t you remember when you used to give Me that time?

Well, I know; but I’m getting by right now. It’s okay.

It’s okay?

Yeah, it’s okay. I’m okay. I’m keeping it between the lines.

Well, I miss talking to you. I just wanted….

Well, hey! I miss talking to You as well. It’s okay. We’ll get together and have some quality time when I can, okay?

But…

Look, I really have to go now. But it’s been really good talking to You. (click).

I just wanted to tell you something. But I guess it can wait until you are ready to hear it.
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Is this how your quiet time with God has been lately? Be honest. Sometimes we think we can just glide along on our own, using God as a spiritual band-aid. We keep Him locked down, until something breaks loose in our life. Then, we are ALL over Him; wondering where He’s been.

Sometimes, it’s not about Him, it’s about me.


Revelation 3:20- “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

God has been talking to me for a while now; I’ve just been too busy to listen. And I can’t turn on a dime and immediately do better; but I can start today fresh and new. And with His help...I can do anything. And so can you, but you have to make a fresh start.

You know, the thing about a band-aid is that it just covers up a wound. It doesn’t actually heal it.

Stop settling for a covering, and let the Healer do His work. He’s waiting.

Be blessed in the Lord today.

Bo J.