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How to not miss seeing God

The religious leaders who spent a lifetime studying God didn’t recognize Him when He stood right in front of their faces before Christ would die for our sins.

The people who worshiped Him as God, didn’t recognize Him as their eternal King and the Son of God when they shouted “Hosanna!”

It’s easy to view with a critical eye in hindsight. With a backward view, we see the full picture to the place we stand in the present. We see all the pieces fitting together that brought Jesus to where He stood the week of His crucifixion.

Jesus didn’t come the way man expected. Jesus wasn’t the picture the people envisioned of the Messiah. They missed God because He didn’t meet their personal expectations.

Father, let me not miss seeing You because You appear in a way I’ve not envisioned. Guard my heart and give sight to my eyes.

How often do I attempt to define God’s ways? How often do I place expectations on Him? How often do I question circumstances that seem to move in the opposite direction I want them to go?

Some of the ones crying out for a king wanted immediate relief from Roman rule. They couldn’t see eternally because they were so focused on the harsh brutality they walked in. While I can’t begin to imagine walking in the shoes of the people who lived when Jesus walked the earth, I can relate in how easily I place my focus on the here and now rather than eternity.

When I watch my children hurting, I want to fix it right away. I want to take away the pain and make their worlds right.

Jesus loves us with a love so pure, so holy, and so unconditional.  

The heart of God is love. A love so enormous it would go to an extreme no human mind could conjure up. A love so magnificent it would come in a way that seemed ridiculous. A baby in a manger. A man riding a donkey into the people who would nail Him to a cross within days.

In our personal walks with the Lord, we become disheartened when we don’t see faster results to our prayers. We begin to wonder if our prayers are being heard.

And if we are completely honest with ourselves, at times we convince ourselves we are trusting God, but our souls know better. Buried deeper in our hearts than we want to go, whispered lies from the enemy have found a secret hiding spot. They live in the dark places so they are hard to identify. They whisper in a low tone so as not to draw attention to themselves. When they surface, they retreat faster than they arose.

One of our pastors preached a sermon saying he has learned to change his question from “God, why are you allowing this?” to “God, what are you up to?”

I love that perspective. That question is full of trust and curiosity. It’s from a position of knowing the character of God and surrendering to His Lordship.

Today, may we choose a deeper level of surrender than we’ve yet offered.

May we surrender to the love of our King.

May we allow the truth of who He is cleanse the infections attacking the affections of our hearts.

May we humbly confess that we’ve attempted to define an undefinable God. We’ve expected Him to do a certain thing or appear in a certain way. Therefore, maybe we’ve at times missed Him while looking for the “Him” we created or imagined.

May we receive new sight today to see truth in order to worship in spirit and in truth.

May we quietly reflect this Holy Week on who God is by the light of His Word.

Because He is the great I Am, I can simply be who He created me to be, abiding in Him as a child of the King.

Lord, give us a holy hunger for You. Today, we choose to lay down our own agendas and reach for Your hand. Today we walk with You, open to seeing You afresh. We open Your Holy Word today and ask You to speak to us through Your Holy Spirit. Amen


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When I Want To Have My Own Way For Once

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[box] John 13:15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.[/box]

“I don’t understand.  Why can’t I just do what I want sometimes?”

The car was running, kids were loading up, coffee was filling to-go cups, and Steve and I exchanged glances as if to say, “Who takes this one?”  The statement wasn’t a theologically deep one.  It was just one that we didn’t want to brush right over.  It’s the heart of human nature to desire what we want.  We are selfish little creatures.  At the root of most of our conflicts is the desire to get our own way.

The issue revolved around chasing down foul balls at the local college baseball games.  You see, this is a huge deal to kids.  With each foul ball turned in, you receive $1 for the concession stand.  A few foul balls gets you all the junk food your parents refuse you.  When the ball goes foul, the Me First Monster emerges from within each child, and the monsters race.  And sometimes fight.  And sometimes call names.  At least behind the backs of the other kids accused of cheating, when really the only thing they could be accused of is trying their hardest to earn some candy.

As Steve poured coffee, he relayed a story to me about how one of my sweet children had the power to share a foul ball with a little boy who desperately wanted a foul ball.  However, the Me First Monster spoke for my sweet child and never gave that little boy his wish.  Steve could have forced him to share his ball. He could’ve demanded my son do the right thing, and he would’ve because he’s obedient.  But the heart.  The heart would lie seething under the weight of the obedience.  As parents we can’t change the heart of our children.  We can demand obedience, but what if they obey and the heart inside rebels?  I find that a far scarier response.

Lying on the counter was an extra $1 coupon that never even went used.  My son had the power to share, but he saved it for himself and never even used it.  He looked down at it and said, “I just want to do it my way sometimes.”  He placed his desires above another’s.  I can relate.  You too?

I said it anyway.  I knew he would roll his eyes and dismiss my comment.  I knew his mind was thinking, here she goes again taking it all spiritual and all.  But I did it because I only have a few years to get these little nuggets in.

“Before you make any decision, you should ask yourself if that is the choice Jesus would want you to make.”

Yep, the eyes rolled.  “Mo-oom.  Do I really always have to do it the way Jesus wants?”

Again, Steve and I did the little exchange that says, “Who’s turn?”  We both went in.  “Yes, everything we do, we should do it Jesus’ way.  Jesus died for our sins because He loves us more than we can possibly ever imagine.  And when he was here, he served.  He didn’t look to his own interests first.  He served.  Jesus was not selfish.  Jesus was a servant.  He modeled to us servanthood – putting the needs of others before our own desires.”

Tomorrow is the day of the Last Supper.  The night Jesus was betrayed by one of his very own into the hands that would kill him the next day.  Jesus knew it was going to happen.  He even knew who the betrayer was.  He was fully God and fully man.  With all his knowledge, he willingly died for me. But like so much of the Bible, I read something and say, “What?!”  Because Christ is more than we can fathom.

The night of the Passover Feast, Jesus stood up from the table and began washing the feet of his disciples.  I believe I would respond like Peter.  No way, you can’t wash my feet, I should wash yours.  But Jesus carried on washing the feet of his disciples.

John 13: 12-17 “When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place.  “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.  “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

Lord, thank you that you modeled for us servanthood.  Give me a heart that desires to do things your way.  Give me a heart that desires to serve not only out of obedience but out of a deep love for you and for others.  Amen.

PS – The pictures I use rarely match up with the children used in the story.  Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.  🙂