No Ordinary Life

We hate ordinary. It makes us feel inferior. Overlooked. Marginalized.

We want a Disney life, full of adventure, color and song.

Except life is generally filled with more ordinariness than glamour. Things don’t always go the way we want them to. People disappoint us. We live with failure, ours and others. Work is difficult. People are hard to love. And our dreams are crushed before lift off.

If this is you, join the human race.

Life this side of heaven is not meant to fulfill us. Our longings are made for another realm. It’s only when Christ returns and ushers in the new heavens and the new earth will we live to the fullest. Then we will finally have our best life. Until then, we stay the course of patient endurance, loving God and loving our neighbor. If that looks ordinary, it’s not. We’re about kingdom business in disguised clothes.

Talk to me.

Pushing Forward

I don’t know about you, but have you noticed the flurry of bad news around Christmas? I’ve seen that pattern over the years too many times. Perhaps it’s because our senses are hightened to the holiday season, our expectations run high, and we hope that maybe this year we’ll experience some satisfaction and love.

We keep doing this. We don’t learn from the previous year.

Nothing and no one in this life can deliver what our hearts long for.

We only find fulfillment in Christ. He’s what we need every moment of every day.

So why do we keep hoping for what doesn’t deliver? Even good things don’t deliver. Once the experience is over, we revert back to feeling empty.

It’s habit, it’s lack of memory, and most of all, it’s sin. We’re wired that way. And that tendency will not leave us until we depart this earth and inhabit our new bodies in the new heavens and new earth. That’s when real life begins.

In the meantime, we must be watchful to expect too much from ourselves and others. We must remind ourselves and our fellow believers whose we are, who we are in him, and urge each other to keep our focus on him.

Talk to me.

Back to Writing

It’s been a long while since my last post. A cancer diagnosis. I’ve been in treatment since December 2020 and I’m living to tell it. I’ll spare you the details since there are so many wonderful blogs that treat that subject better than I could. What I’d like to share is how God has taught me more about himself along the way.

“You have cancer,” said the care team nurse on the phone after the biopsy came back.

“Why not me?” was my first thought. I had prayed with many friends and loved ones over the years who had been stricken with cancer that I thought it wasn’t unrealistic to view this as my turn for it. And so the journey began.

While I was being practical, nevertheless a heart stopping fear descended on me. An avalanche of decisions needed to be made. I had no wisdom. My care team pressured me to come in for treatment right away. I resisted. Instead I insisted on tests. Many of them. “You’re getting the gold standard,” my oncologist told me. After months of research, and second and third doctor opinions, and much agonizing prayer I opted out of conventional treatment for an integrative approach.

Was I doing the right thing? I ran to the Psalms and found every promise God had written there and I put my name in them and declared them out loud. God made me realize that whatever treatment I chose he was with me.

“Call on me Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” – Psalm 50:15. I was certainly in a lot of trouble with no way out and knowing God would deliver me was a relief. I calmed down. A bit.

“In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” – Psalm 56:11. Man can do plenty I thought, but then he’d have to deal with God.

“Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him, and he will act.” – Psalm 37:5. I was going into my treatment like a blind man but I handed it over to the Lord and rested in this promise. Easier said than done, but God took me by the hand and by little steps led me through the chemo sessions. I was one of seven in the chemo room and soon we were a band of fellow patients in the fellowship of suffering.

Martin Luther said, “In the midst of death we have life.” What a great reminder that in the midst of a cancer diagnosis, I belonged to God, I was righteous in Christ, and I was complete in him. My care team, all of whom were healthy, excellent individuals were dead in their sins while I, who was ill, was full of life in Christ. Over the months God opened up many gospel conversations with them.

Glad to be back writing.

Talk to me.

Idols Can Only Do One Thing – Topple

I heard recently a provocative definition of bitterness.

“The root of bitterness is following an idol and getting upset when it doesn’t deliver.”

I’m guilty.

I’ve been bitterly disappointed in church leaders, bosses at work, a lot of times with my husband, and certainly my children.

It’s so easy to look at others for our needs and then feel shattered when they’re not met.Igor Mitoraj

If we’re logical for even a nano second, we’d have to admit that’s crazy. How can another sinner give us what only God can provide?

How can we expect a sinner to show us unconditional love when that person can only love himself?

Or why do we want to fill the hole in our heart with a person who has more holes than we do?

And yet we continually insist on it.

Just like the Israelites. Time and time again, generation after generation, even after God revealed himself in extraordinary ways like the Red Sea parting or giving them victory over their enemies, they still went back to embrace their idols.

It was an addiction.

No wonder Calvin said that the human heart is an idol factory.

I know mine is.

The only person who didn’t have a lust for idols was Jesus Christ.

He was the only true worshiper of God.

He found his life, and joy, and delight in serving God, his Father.

He knew what was in the heart of man and never expected that we could deliver any form of righteousness. That’s why he came to deliver us from ourselves, so we could love and serve the one true God who deserves our worship.

If you call Christ your Savior, thank him today for being able to say that. He changed your heart. He put his desires into you so you could please God.

He made than possible by taking on everything you were as a sinner and dying on the cross for you.

He also gave you his perfect record of worshiping God so that now when you stumble and fall it isn’t counted against you.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Talk to me.

messychristians@gmail.com

Are You a Practicing Christian?

In his book, God in the Dock, C.S. Lewis is asked the following question:

Will you please say how you would define a practicing Christian? Are there any other varieties?

Lewis’ answer is brilliant. He said,  Lithia

“Certainly there are a great many other varieties. It depends, of course, on what you mean by ‘practicing Christian’. If you mean one who has practiced Christianity in every respect at every moment of his life, then there is only One on record – Christ Himself. In that sense there are no practicing Christians, but only Christians who, in varying degrees, try to practice it and fail in varying degrees and then start again. A perfect practice of Christianity would, of course, consist in a perfect imitation of the life of Christ – I mean, in so far as it was applicable to one’s own particular circumstances.”

We love his answer. That describes us and every Christian we know.

Thank God he has given us his Son’s perfect record at the moment we believed.

If it wasn’t for his immense grace, we, of all people, would be most miserable. But, as Christians, we share in the likeness of our Savior, and his life is now ours by virtue of our union with him for an eternity.

Soak your soul in that!

Do You Know Who You Are?

What does God’s kingdom look like to you?

The Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is there.

God’s truth is there.

God’s people are there.

They share Jesus’s life in common with one another. Each one has been washed, cleansed, and made a new person in Christ.

Each one is united to Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.

The old life, the one with sins, failures and regrets, no longer exists. It was parked at the door, never to be allowed in.

That’s not exactly true. Your old life was erased!

Hard to believe?

Listen to the answer to question 60 from the Heidelberg Catechism:

Q: How are thou righteous before God?

A: Only by a true faith in Jesus Christ; so that, though my conscience accuse me, that I have grossly transgressed all the commandments of God, and kept none of them, and am still inclined to all evil; notwithstanding, God, without any merit of mine, but only of mere grace, grants and imputes to me, the perfect satisfaction, righteousness and holiness of Christ; even so, as if I never had had, nor committed any sin: yea, as if I had fully accomplished all that obedience which Christ has accomplished for me; inasmuch as I embrace such benefit with a believing heart.

Please read that answer once a day!

That’s who you are now in Christ!

Shout for joy! Do cartwheels!

Tell somebody!