Not Mine.

It takes a lifetime to get and a lot of reminders, but I don’t own my life. The SUV I drive? Not mine. The TV I watched last night? Not mine. The checkbook I paid bills from? Not mine, either. The kids I helped raise? The marriage? Not mine.The hobby I claim? The diversion I make time for? The secret place where no one else is invited? Not mine. The faith I claim? The church I attend? The office I spend time in? Nope. Not mine. The country I love? The world I pray for? No. They don’t belong to me, either.
Jeremiah reminds himself as much as anyone else: “I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course. So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die.”
Sure, I have obligations, even passions for all of the above, but they belong to another. If I don’t own my television, my hobbies, my checkbook, my family, my marriage, or my nation… then, they don’t own me. Freedom.
Property of God.
Rick

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When Did the Right Way become the Old Way?

This is what the lord says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’ I posted watchmen over you who said, ‘Listen for the sound of the alarm.’                                          Jeremiah the Prophet just before Jerusalem fell

I am an early adopter. I love new stuff and even if I can’t afford it, I want it and admire it from arm’s length. At the same time, I have this unexplained affection for the person who uses a flip phone. And if I stumbled across someone with a phone bag I would think, “how cool is that! I wish I’d saved mine!”

New, improved, next, unveiled, upcoming, and words of this ilk draw me in. But so do phrases like, that works, it’s good, and always right. Just because new is attached to it, doesn’t make it better than right or good.

Jeremiah addressed this when he called the Judahites to follow the old way, the right way. They had chosen a new god and a new morality, and it was me-centered. And the consequences were at the gate.

Every day, I am at a crossroads. I can go “me,” or I can go “God.” I can listen to the lure of the Garden (God won’t mind if you want His spot on the throne) or I can honor the call to decrease while Jesus increases in His expression through my life. I can do what shouts “look at me” (and my life, my way, my ministry, my call); or I can be one of the invisible saints that selflessly impacts today and that one day shouts “Yeah, God” to the field of saints seeking to make Jesus Lord.

If I choose poorly, I trust that the alarm will sound and wake me up.

Alert in Christ,

Rick

Blurt it out

When I read the Gospel narratives, I sometimes superimpose Hollywood and years of how it’s been read publicly like a voice-over as I read. Sort of King James-ish, solemn, no jokes allowed. It can get stale when I read it through the wrong filters.

Jesus and the original “diversity awareness group” showed up at Caesarea Philippi – definitely off the usual path, north of their usual journey. I can guess that, after a long journey, the usual jabs and jest were tossed around. “Thomas, you doubted we’d ever arrive, eh?” “John, James, your mother couldn’t have made a better path for her son’s success, could she?” “Pete, anyone ever tell you, you rock?”

Then, Jesus asks: “What is the street saying about me?” A pause. “Some say you’re John come back from the dead to get back at Herod.” “Yeah, and I heard someone say you must be Elijah returned.” “Or… or, at the least, one of the prophets.” “Yeah, like Jeremiah… I like Jeremiah…I always listen to what he said.” “Yeah, John, so’s your mother.”

“But, what about you. Who do you say I am?” A longer pause. Simon, quiet all this time, for a change, blurts out what’s been bursting inside him since that day on the fishing boat. “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Not a savior; The Savior. Not a son; but The Son of God.

Oh yeah, he got it right. May we blurt out what God has dropped into our hearts in worship and in witness. When we get the basics right, the rest falls into place.

Another blurt,

Rick