contact@damonjgray.org   P.O. Box 281, Lynden, WA 98264   @damonjgray  


Blog

Weekly Observations and Commentary

Long-View Living in a Short-View World

Blog Image
Photo by Damon J. Gray

This week, I was summoned to Seattle, WA as part of a forty-three person federal jury pool from which twelve jurors would be selected to render a judgement on a criminal case involving child-pornography. This required a two-and-a-half hour drive into downtown Seattle, with its maze of congested one-way streets, and never-ending construction.

In order to make my appearance at the required hour, I had to reserve a hotel room with the most expensive hotel, and smallest room in which I have ever stayed. Parking, gratuities, and meals were not included.

I was tired and grumpy!

The morning I was to report, I awakened early, knowing that I needed to find a coffee house where I could grab breakfast.

As I sat at my table, alone, sipping my coffee and grousing quietly about how much I did not want to be where I was, or to be doing what I was doing, God interrupted my private pity party. In walked a woman wearing a black hoodie with bright pink lettering on the back that read "Good Mood."

SMACK!

Message received.

How many times have I exhorted others (even through this blog) about doing all things without grumbling and complaining? (Philippians 2:14)

Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, - Philippians 1:27a, ESV

The apostle Paul wrote that from a prison cell. Here I sit in a coffee shop with my hot nectar of life, and a bacon-sausage-egg-and-cheese muffin. My life-frustrations simply do not compare.

Also from prison, Paul calls on us to:

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, - Philippians 2:5, NASB

and

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, - Ephesians 5:1-2a, NASB

My servant heart, imitation of God, and walking in love was an epic fail. I was modeling Christ for no one. Not my fellow coffee shop customers, not the desk clerk at the hotel, not my beloved wife. In no way could I say, with Jesus ...

...I always do what pleases him. - John 8:29, NASB

Paul told the church at Philippi that each of us is to look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others, to serve others in a spirit of selflessness and humility. In this jury service, I was being called on to listen, consider, and make decisions that would profoundly affect the defendant’s life for decades to come. But my selfish concern was only with how it inconvenienced me.

My circumstances are irrelevant. The call to godly living applies all of the time, not merely when I feel up to it. Again, from prison, Paul writes...

I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. - Philippians 4:11b-13, ESV

As Christ-followers, our contentment is rooted not in circumstance, but rather in something far deeper. We have a tap-root that runs to inexhaustible resources that make our circumstances immaterial. It is instructive for us to note that everything we need to meet the basic necessities of life are found within, and conversely, nothing outside of ourselves can meet that same need.

We stay tapped into the vine. Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches, and in that context, Jesus says

...apart from me you can do nothing." - John 15:5b, ESV

Keep the eyes of your heart on Jesus.

Blessings upon you my friends.

Victoriously in Christ!

- damon

DamonJGray.org
Medium.com
Facebook Author Page
Twitter - @DamonJGray


Comments

03/14/2018
Jim Visbeek  Jim Visbeek

Message received. Great illustration!!

03/14/2018
Damon J. Gray  Damon J. Gray

Thanks Jim. It was so glaringly obvious that God put that woman three feet in front of me just to knock on my head and give me that message.

03/15/2018
Julie  Julie

So true! I need to remember this message the next time I feel grumpy and inconvenienced! 1

03/15/2018
Damon J. Gray  Damon J. Gray

And then, Julie, for our next trick, we train ourselves to not get grumpy to begin with. I'm light years away from that one.

03/15/2018
Deb Gruelle  Deb Gruelle

Good pivot!

I’m also thankful that you were "called" to bring the light of Christ into a jury case on child pornography.

I’m sure you prayed for that case too. Those prayers mattered in physical and spiritual realms!

03/15/2018
Damon J. Gray  Damon J. Gray

Oh, Deb, as soon as I learned what the trial was about (production, possession, and distribution of child pornography), I felt sick to my stomach. The sociopathological (is that even a word?) disregard for human life that allows one to even view such filth, much less coerce young children to produce it is something so foreign to me that I cannot imagine what happens inside such a mind.

In the end, I was not chosen for the final jury. I was juror #25, and the last replacement chosen was #24.

Add Comment:

Please note: Long-View Living Administration reserves the right to delete any and all comments that are deemed to be snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read our Comments Policy here.

        




Blog Image
© 2018 Edwin Andrade Zawila. All Rights Reserved. Unsplash.
Used by permission.

Back in my pastoring days, I was chatting with a member of the flock I was shepherding, when the woman with whom I was chatting said something that struck me, and has stuck with me for more than twenty years. She said, "You're a wordcrafter."

Wordcrafter is a term I'd not heard prior to her saying it, but I liked the sound of it, and the longer I pondered it, the more I believed she was correct. I have used it ever since.

Being a wordcrafter carries with it the inherent danger of one morphing into a "grammar cop," and I constantly resist that urge. I love words, and relish precision in their use. I do not always hit the target with that, but I do enjoy the chase.

Language is important, because it is what we use to interact with one another, and to convey our ideas. It is through language, that we ensure we are understanding events and circumstances similarly and accurately. It is through the abuse of language that we twist meanings, escape prosecution, and avoid contractual obligations.

Language matters, and with that in mind, I want to challenge the Christ-following community to jettison a specific phrase - the phrase "God showed up." I bristle and cringe when I hear an excited man or woman exclaim, "Wow! God really showed up this evening."

I believe it is more in line with reality to say, "Wow, I really showed up this evening," or perhaps, "I was genuinely ready to receive this evening," when that may not normally be the case. Distractions and life-concerns get in the way, and they threaten to barricade us from any receptive posture, and from that experience we conclude what? God didn't show up? What folly!

Typically, I hear the phrase used to describe a time when a worshiper had an especially heightened religious experience. The music was so moving, and the lighting enhanced that experience. Emotional energy flowed through the crowd, and in a moment of religious fervor they said it, "Wow! God really showed up."

No. God did not show up.

You showed up. I showed up. The person sitting in front of us or behind us showed up. The keynote speaker showed up, as did the band, but God was always there. Our saying, "God showed up," is more an indictment of our own spiritual blindness and inability to see the hand of God in our everyday lives than it is an acknowledgement of God's willingness to arbitrarily gin up an exciting worship experience on our behalf.

I believe in the omnipresence of God, and I believe it to be a truth supported by scripture.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
- Psalm 139:7-10, NASB

David would never say, "Hey, Jonathan! God really showed up in my morning meditation." No. David knows that he can never escape God's presence, even if he wanted to do so.

David speaks of God with the understanding that there is no mountain so high but that God is not higher, and no valley so deep but that God is not deeper still. There is no place to which we can go but that God is not already there.

Yet we regularly speak of God as though he is someplace else, as though we need to go there to find him, or that he needs to be invited into where we are. The "God showed up" theology teaches us that our worship time is supposedly devoid of God's presence and influence nine out of ten times, but on that one arbitrary Wednesday night, God really showed up, and we were lucky enough to have been there to experience it.

I have seen worshipers literally reach out from themselves and pull air toward their bodies as though this is going to draw the Holy Spirit into their experience. Such an action belies the reality that out bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Thus to engage in this "drawing in" is to invite the Holy Spirit into a place he already dwells, 24/7/365. It is an absurdity!

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? - 1 Corinthians 6:19, NASB

God is no more present with me at the Third Day concert, or the Billy Graham funeral, than he is as I sit here at my desk, typing this sentence. The only difference is that I may or may not be more aware of, or attuned to God's presence and activity in my life during those times. This moment is as filled with God, and as holy as the moment I hold my wife's hand during our walk to the library, or the moment I scrub the dishes in the kitchen sink.

As a Christ-follower, there is no time in which God is more "with me" than any other time.

Every moment of your life is holy, because you are holy, because Christ makes you holy. (Hebrews 10:10).

Let's purge this phrase from our vocabulary, and honor God's omnipresence as the reality of our lives.

Blessings upon you my friends.

Victoriously in Christ!

- damon

DamonJGray.org
Medium.com
Facebook Author Page
Twitter - @DamonJGray


Comments

03/07/2018
Julie  Julie

Amen! And yes, please! And while we are at it, can we please stop saying, "it's a God thing" or "it's a God moment", which is just weird and frankly, condescending to God. It always reminds me of the old commercials for a Kodak moment - like we need to capture this thing on film because it might not ever come up again. Seriously? I feel the Holy Spirit all the time now. Sometimes it is just a gentle lifting of my heart at a kind word, or a sunrise, or a prayer answered, but when you truly walk with the Lord, it never leaves you. So, God is certainly not a "thing". He has plans for us, and they are devised with great purpose and meaning and intent. We may not see it in the "moment" - but you know what, He doesn't really need to capture anything in a moment, because He is all about bringing us to eternity. He is not a freeze-frame kind of Almighty. He already knows how it ends. We would do well to remember that. And as for those people grasping air in the middle of a church service like they could somehow lasso God and reel Him into their souls, don't even get me started on that. This was a great post, Damon. And long overdue. Thanks for saying what I wish I would have said.

03/08/2018
Damon J. Gray  Damon J. Gray

Thank you for the reply, Julie. There is nothing I can say to add to that or improve on it. The "lasso" analogy is perfect! I love that (and may steal it for future reference!).

Add Comment:

Please note: Long-View Living Administration reserves the right to delete any and all comments that are deemed to be snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read our Comments Policy here.

        




Blog Image
© 2018 geralt. All Rights Reserved. Pixabay.
Used by permission.

Are you tired?

I have said, on occasion, that I'm convinced we should arrive at the gates of heaven completely worn out. What I am getting at is that we labor in the kingdom and it is hard work - exhausting at times.

Though we tire, there is a good feeling to laboring in the kingdom of God, similar to the endorphin release we experience with rigorous exercise. The result is reduced stress, protection against anxiety and depression, bolstered self-esteem, and improved sleep cycles.

In all my years working in full-time ministry, I cannot recall a single instance wherein a believer came to me to discuss the extent of their physical fatigue. I did, however, have a number of conversations with men and women who were spiritually weary, and I have experienced such weariness myself.

The solutions prescribed for spiritual weariness are vast. Myriad proposals are offered up in sermons, devotionals, books, podcasts, and now, blog postings!

We are given prescriptions for scripture study. "If you just spend more time in the Word - memorize more scripture, that will sustain you." We are often exhorted to a deeper prayer life (whatever that means). We are encouraged to spend more time in fellowship with like-minded believers so that we can be energized and encouraged through association. Music! "Listen to praise music and sing along with it." In some circles, we may be told to, "Get into an accountability relationship with a mentor, a mature believer."

None of these is a bad thing. Each is a positive, encouraging activity. I am certain each has spiritual benefits. But as a man of the Word, I need to see scriptural backing that tells me my spiritual fatigue will be remedied through the prescribed activities, and I cannot find that backing! This leads me to believe that, with the best of intentions, my friends have offered little more than wishful thinking.

I can try the solutions my well-meaning companions have suggested, and may even receive a temporary uplift from them, but in the end I will land right back where I started, and may even be a bit more depressed, because I feel as though I have failed yet again, and therefore must be spiritually inadequate. In such cases, I believe my weariness is the result of trying to sustain myself through my own efforts.

Is there a scriptural prescription for spiritual weariness? Yes, I believe there is, and I am thankful to Dr. John D. Morris at the Institute for Creation Research for bringing it to my attention.

For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won't grow weary and lose heart. - Hebrews 12:3, HCSB

A more literal reading of the Greek text says, "…that you wax not weary, fainting in your souls." Does that capture it for you the way it does for me? Do we feel as though we are "fainting in our souls?"

The source of this weariness is less interesting to me than is the solution to it. "Consider him!" Focus on him – on Jesus – so that we do not grow weary and lose heart.

The call to look to Jesus, so that we do not faint in our souls, comes immediately on the heels of the "great rollcall of faith" in Hebrews 11. There we read...

They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. - Hebrews 11:37-38, NASB

I have not experienced any of that! As horrifying as all of that is, Jesus experienced even more. Look to him, so that you do not grow weary and faint in your soul. Considering the martyrs of Hebrews 11, and the sacrifice of Jesus, Hebrews 12, my own burden seems rather light.

Jesus promised rest, not for our bodies, but rather our souls.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. - Matthew 11:28-30, NASB

Scripture, doctrine, piety, worship, prayer, praise - all of these are important, but in the end, it comes back to Jesus. Jesus is what is most important. All of the former practices find their meaning and summation in Jesus. Without him, all else is meaningless. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners so that you do not grow weary and faint in your souls.

Blessings upon you my friends.

Victoriously in Christ!

- damon

DamonJGray.org
Medium.com
Facebook Author Page
Twitter - @DamonJGray


Comments

Add Comment:

Please note: Long-View Living Administration reserves the right to delete any and all comments that are deemed to be snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read our Comments Policy here.

        




Blog Image
© 2018 David Zawila. All Rights Reserved. Unsplash.
Used by permission.

A while back, I was in the Oakland California airport, working my way through TSA security for my flight home following an event sponsored by West Coast Christian Writers. As I shuffled through the security cattle stalls, I noted that the screening process was significantly slower, and more stringent than anything I had previously experienced, so much so that I texted my wife and son saying that the threat level must be elevated.

Having made it as far as the x-ray conveyor and naked-body scan, I saw the TSA officer pull my jacket off the line and begin subjecting it to a rather intense search process. Apparently, he was attempting to determine the explosive properties of the Clif Bar in the jacket's outer pocket.

The officer's humorous obsession with the Clif Bar slowed the process to an even more frustrating pace than we had previously enjoyed. Those behind me sighed and grumbled about the inconvenience of it. While I understand the frustration of heightened security, I do appreciate the TSA's desire to provide passengers with a safe flight. That said, the incident gave me pause to reflect on our tendency, at times, to focus on things we ought not be focusing on.

I was recently engaged by a Christ-follower who is on a one-woman mission to get everyone in the body of Christ to accept that current-generation believers are obligated to follow the Law of Moses. Similarly, in another discussion, a gentleman is determined to restructure every believer's view of the tithe. Yet another Christ-follower, my dental hygienist, was convinced that I should persuade her pastor to preach extensively on the apocalypse, because she is terrified of end times. It is difficult to object while she is manipulating farm implements inside my mouth.

In each of these cases (other examples abound), the believer is on a personal mission to change the way others view and engage their faith. The protagonist is laser-focused on a single, burning issue for others, rather than focusing on their own walk with Christ. The personal mission grows to the point of obsession, almost as though their faith and their salvation are dependent on their ability to persuade you and me to view these doctrinal matters the way they view them.

It is true that the apostle Paul told Timothy, "Watch your life and doctrine closely" (1st Timothy 4:16). For me, the operative term in that exhortation is "your." Paul did not say Timothy was to focus his magnifying glass on everyone around him, but rather to watch his own life and doctrine closely. He said this in much the same way that Jesus taught us to resist the urge to remove a speck of dust from a brother's eye until we have successfully extricated the bridge timber from our own eye. (Matthew 7:5)

The obsession with correcting other believers in matters like those discussed above is counter-productive, not so much because it is judgmental (which it is) but more because it is a misunderstanding of the kingdom battle dynamic. We are focused on the wrong things. We find ourselves wrapped up in battles with the world over ideology and policy, and battles with other believers over theology and practice. We don't even understand who the enemy is!

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. - Ephesians 6:12, NASB

In no case is it ever true that the enemy is the man or woman standing in front of me. The battle we fight as Christ-followers is a battle that is taking place in the unseen realm. It is a spiritual battle that will be won with spiritual weaponry. We need to pull our minds off of what we can see and begin focusing them on what we do not see, what we cannot see, but which is every bit as real as what we do see.

Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. - Colossians 3:2, NASB

Set your minds on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. - Hebrews 3:1, BSB

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, - Hebrews 12:2, BSB

Blessings upon you my friends.

Victoriously in Christ!

- damon

DamonJGray.org

Medium.com

Facebook Author Page

Twitter - @DamonJGray


Comments

02/22/2018
Julie  Julie

Very well-stated, Damon. Less talk, more action in living out our faith - of being an example of our faith - that is much more meaningful to me. And the reminder to remove the log from my own eye is so true - it's easy to go down that rabbit hole of "I am not trying to be critical here, but..." aaaannnd wind end up judging the man or woman in front of you. Thanks for sharing this wonderful reflection (and I hope munching that Clif Bar was worth the additional wait in the TSA line!) ;-)

02/22/2018
Damon J. gray  Damon J. gray

Ha! There is a sense in which it was kind of ridiculous, but then if you just imagine what that slab of sticky whatever it is must have looked like going through the scanner, I guess he needed to examine it more closely.

Add Comment:

Please note: Long-View Living Administration reserves the right to delete any and all comments that are deemed to be snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read our Comments Policy here.

        




Blog Image
© 2018 Matt Hobbs. All Rights Reserved. Public Domain Archive.
Used by permission.

The sacrificial system seen throughout the Old Testament and continuing into the New Testament Gospels is a graphic reminder of the reality that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and that it is precisely because of sin that death entered humanity's existence (Romans 5:12).

The concept of sacrifice is carried forward for the present-day Christ-follower, but the sacrifice is no longer an animal sacrifice. We are cleansed once-and-for-all by that perfect sacrifice of Christ. Now, as his followers, we are called to make "spiritual sacrifices."

You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. - 1 Peter 2:5, ESV

Peter does not define what he means by "spiritual sacrifices," and left to our own devices, we can conjure up any number of ideas regarding what that might mean. I believe, however, that we can let the Bible define the concept for us, because the Bible is the best commentary on itself.

I find six ways the Bible sheds light on the the meaning of "spiritual sacrifice."

1 - Our Bodies

As Christ-followers, we are called to present our very bodies as living sacrifices.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. - Romans 12:1, ESV

I no longer live for myself. I no longer belong to myself. I am a subject in a kingdom, a servant of a king. My very body belongs to that king, and it will go where he wants it to go and do what he wants it to do.

The apostle Paul describes that offering as spiritual worship. Expanding on the concept of my body as a living sacrifice, Paul says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2, ESV)

Not only does my body belong to the king, it is also the temple, or dwelling place, of the Holy Spirit of God.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NASB

As God's child, I use my body for purposes and activities that glorify him rather than profane him. I present my body to God as an "instrument of righteousness." (Romans 6:13)

2 - Our Praise

Never before, in my lifetime, have I witnessed such an avalanche of whining and complaining as I have seen in the United States of America over the last decade. Our society is rife with self-made victims, plagued by myriad syndromes and injustices, while being equally devoid of responsibility. Sadly, this mentality has infected the body of Christ, and it ought not be so! Rather we offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving from our lips.

Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. - Hebrews 13:15, NASB

More than at any time in my almost 40 years of walking with Jesus, I find myself reminding other Christ-followers to "do all things without grumbling and complaining." (Philippians 2:14)

3 - Our Good Works

Beyond the praise of our lips, in the very next verse, the writer of Hebrews calls us to sacrifice through doing good works and sharing.

And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. - Hebrews 13:16, NASB

Earlier in Hebrews 13, the author called for hospitality (v. 2) and ministring to the imprisoned (v. 3).

Doing good and sharing as a spiritual sacrifice involves a mentality that does not need to ask, "How can I help you," because we see with spiritual eyes. The needs are obvious to us. And when asked, we are quick to say "Yes," because we are living sacrifices. (Romans 12:1) We are not our own. We were bought with a price. (1 Corinthians 6:20, 7:23)

In reminding us that we are saved by grace through faith, the apostle Paul also points out that we were created with a purpose, and that purpose is to perform good works.

 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. - Ephesians 2:10, ESV

4 - Our Material Goods

As the apostle Paul did his mission work, the church in Philippi supported him financially, and Paul viewed this support as a spiritual sacrifice.

I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:18b-19, ESV

What is interesting about this passage, is that while Paul calls it a "sacrifice," he also characterizes it as an arrangement of both giving and receiving. The Philippians gave materially to Paul to support his mission work, and in exchange, they received spiritually from the Lord.

While I do not endorse the "prosperity preaching" that is prevalent in our day, as I find it a repugnant theology, I have to agree with Warren Wiersbe, "That church is poor that fails to share materially with others."

5 - Our Spiritual Offspring

There is a reproductive aspect to being a Christ-follower, wherein disciples make disciples who then make more disciples. Jesus commanded his disciples to make disciples and then to teach them to obey all that Jesus had commanded - which includes going and making disciples. (Matthew 28:19-20) It is a self-perpetuating command, one resulting in what has been called a "multiplying ministry."

When we teach others the gospel of Jesus Christ, and they respond to that gospel, themselves becoming Christ-followers, the Bible refers to them as a sort of offspring, our "children" in the faith. What is lesser-known is that our children in the faith are also called an "offering" to God.

He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.Romans - Romans 15:16, NIV

6 - Our Prayers

While not actually called a sacrifice, there is a scene in Heaven where the prayers of believers are being treated very much like sacrifices. Angels are offering up incense to God, incense mingled with "the prayers of the saints."

And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. - Revelation 8:4, NASB

Earlier in Revelation, the incense is declared to actually be the prayers of the saints.

When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. - Revelation 8:4, NASB

Returning to our target verse from Peter, we are told that we “offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” If we do not offer our sacrifices through Jesus, they are self-serving and pointless.

We do not make these sacrifices for our pleasure, or our glory. Only when we make our offerings through Jesus, do they make sense, and find their acceptance with God. In his goodness and truth, God can be trusted with our sacrifices, because through his perfect sacrifice, our sacrifices become meaningful.

Blessings upon you my friends.

Victoriously in Christ!

- damon

DamonJGray.org
Medium.com
Facebook Author Page
Twitter - @DamonJGray


Comments

02/14/2018
Julie  Julie

All of this resonates deeply with me and most of your scriptures and St. Paul's teachings parallel what I have been reading/reflecting upon in the week leading up to Lent. I was discouraged to hear that many in our church were questioning their priests about whether or not they could "take a pass" on fasting and abstinence for Ash Wednesday, because it was Valentine's Day and they had plans to celebrate. It is difficult for me to see why they feel that even such a slight sacrifice of a meal or "taking a pass" on that slice of cake is too much to bear today. It saddens my heart.

02/15/2018
Damon J. Gray  Damon J. Gray

I understand, Julie. So many of the things we whine about seem quite petty when compared to statements like Paul)'s comment to the elders in Ephesus, "But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." (Acts 20:24) Jesus himself "made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant." (Philippians 2:7)

Yet I can stomp my feet, furrow my brow and say, "I have my rights!" Really? Is that how I want to structure my walk with Christ?

I can demand my rights, or I can accept my role as a servant, but I find it quite difficult to do both simultaneously.

Add Comment:

Please note: Long-View Living Administration reserves the right to delete any and all comments that are deemed to be snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read our Comments Policy here.

        




  Previous 5 Next 5  
Blog Image


Acts 17:28 - ἐν αὐτῷ γὰρ ζῶμεν καὶ κινούμεθα καὶ ἐσμέν