Morning Musing: Psalms 56:3-4

“When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Do you ever remember feeling invincible? I remember being at one of my sister’s softball games when we were growing up. I wasn’t actually watching the game, but the softball complex she played at was in a wonderfully wooded area with several of the big limestone boulders that are so common to that part of the country, and which make fantastic natural playgrounds. On this particular day, I was jumping from the top of one boulder to the other – in flip-flops, no less – and landing my jumps perfectly every single time. I felt like I could do anything on that day. But while those kinds of experiences are fun, if we’re being honest, they tend to be the exception to the rule. And the rule is that on most days we not only don’t feel invincible, we feel downright defeated. We carry a ton of fear of what the day might bring and who might be bringing it. As normal as that kind of feeling is, though, it’s not how life was designed to be lived. Let’s talk this morning about how to get rid of fear and live with the kind of confidence a ten-year-old boy lost in a fantasy playground has in spades.

Read the rest…

Morning Musing: Matthew 26:39

“Going a little farther, he fell facedown and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There are some parts of the Christian life that are pretty easy to sell. The love and forgiveness and eternal life practically offer themselves to newcomers. Having God on your side and with you all the time doesn’t hurt either. There are some parts, though, that are a little less customer-friendly sounding. One of those is put on display here in Jesus’ conversation with His Father shortly before going to the cross. Let’s talk this morning about what happens when our will and God’s will aren’t the same.

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: Luke 1:34-38

“Mary asked the angel, ‘How can this be, since I have not had sexual relations with a man?’ The angel replied to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. And consider your relative Elizabeth – even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called childless. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ ‘See, I am the Lord’s servant,’ said Mary. ‘May it happen to me as you have said.’ Then the angel left her.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever been asked to do something that seemed impossible? How about this: Have you ever been asked to do something that was going to cause serious disruption to your life? The first you can’t do. The second you perhaps can, but you don’t want to. It is not impossible for you to accomplish, but rather is impossible for you to consider. Mary was asked to do both. What the angel asked of her on God’s behalf was both impossible as far as she knew, and the furthest thing from what she would have wanted to do given the plans she no doubt had for her life. How she responded has something powerful to say when God calls us to do hard things in our own lives. Let’s continue our Advent journey this morning by looking at what Mary was called to do, and what she did about it.

Read the rest…

Morning Musing: Mark 13:21-23

“Then if anyone tells you, ‘See, here is the Messiah! See, there!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will arise and will perform signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the elect. And you must watch! I have told you everything in advance.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Do you remember the Easy Button commercials from Staples? (Here’s a classic one.) The idea was that offices need an easy button when things get tough. Whenever a thorny challenge comes up, you just tap the button and like magic, the problem is solved. In the context of the commercials, it was often a Staples employee who showed up offering solutions for whatever was the problem. The ad campaign was wildly successful not necessarily in that it generated so much business for Staples (although it probably did), but because it successfully registered the idea of an easy button into the pop cultural lexicon. When your ad becomes a cultural movement, you know you’ve hit it out of the park. The reason the campaign was so successful, though, was that it tapped into a longing all of us have for easy solutions to tricky problems. We don’t like facing resistance to our forward progress. When we do, we want someone to come along, wave a magic wand, and make them all go away. This goes whether we are talking about traffic jams, or challenges entirely more significant than that. Jesus here warns us that such a desire can lead us down the wrong path if we’re not careful. Let’s talk about it.

Read the rest…

Morning Musing: Mark 10:26-27

“They were even more astonished, saying to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Looking at them, Jesus said, ‘With man it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the more memorable illustrations I remember from by days in youth group was when we were all given a coconut and told to figure out how to break it open. We all got pretty creative. I think my group went outside and smashed it on the ground for all we were worth. We made some dents, but didn’t ever get much more than that. It wasn’t until the leaders gave us a little prompting that we finally realized the trick. We needed to ask for help. It was not something we were going to be able to do on our own. Once we asked for help, our leaders gave us a hammer, and we were set. The task was a fairly easy one to accomplish, but it wasn’t going to be able to happen until we got the help we needed. The whole point was that this is how salvation works. The task of salvation is a fairly easy one for us to accomplish…but not on our own. We take this kind of thing as a matter of course in the church, but there was a time this was pretty big news. This morning we’re going to look at one of those times.

Read the rest…