Don’t Take My Word For It, Take God’s…

It has been seven years since I first heard those words. I remember coming in to church quietly and sitting on the back row. Bruised, battered and downtrodden. Taking my place yet ready to exit if the preacher said anything offensive. But on that day Pastor Joe Mckaig used these words to change my life.

“Don’t take my word for it, take God’s!”

I am grateful today that God gave him that message.

In one sentence He took the focus off of the messenger and onto the message. It changed my perspective forever. My whole life I had watched as fallen men had tried to tell me about God, but I would secretly dismantle them in my mind.

When you focus on the man instead of the message it is only a matter of time before it will leave you empty.

Do I believe pastors are inspired and called by God to be more… Yes! Please let us all pray for them because of the weight and burden they carry because of this calling. But they are still just men. They will have highs and lows. And your faith will rise and fall with them if that is your only focus.

As for me I am just a sinner that has been saved by grace through faith. I have learned a lot through a great number of mistakes in my life. Most are things I am not proud of. I write and share but my words are never good enough. If you only focus on me you will be left empty.

But I do have a mission and a purpose. That purpose is to point you towards Jesus. The reality is I am just like a guy on the side of the road with a spinning sign. Pointing you in the direction, but it’s not about me. It is about what I am pointing you to.

Read my message. Weigh it. But don’t focus on me too much. It will leave you disappointed.

And please if you are out there and you read my posts, do me one favor.

Don’t take my word for it, take God’s.

Open your Bible. Find it for yourself.

Jesus and my Georgia Bulldogs..

As I was getting ready for church on Sunday I reached for my bulldog jacket. Slipping it on brought back memories of the day before. Saturday was a rough day for my dawgs!! Man it was brutal. I mean they really stunk it up! My jacket did seem a little heavier as I slid it on and we headed out the door.

But they are my team. No matter win or lose I will always love them. I am a loyal fan.

As we were driving to church it occurred to me… now that’s just a small picture of how Jesus loves me!! Oh but how so much exponentially more!! And no matter how many times I blow it, He still loves me. Watching the game of my life unfold I am sure He wonders why I make such bone-headed plays sometimes. And oh the stupid penalties!! Why do I go backwards when I should be moving forward??

Yet He never gives up on me. He is faithful, even when I am not.

Always waiting patiently for me to reach my hand towards Him. To seek His guidance. Too many times I have found myself in a place of repentance in the last seven years. Praying in the shower till my water runs from hot to cold. Crying out to the coach of my life when I have blown the game.

But sometimes it is in that quiet place of submission where we can learn the most. I believe that’s why He let’s the other team come at us so hard. To bring us to the point of realizing we can only win this game of life through Him. It is only in Him that we can find the peace we all so desperately are searching for. As humans it is a sad reality that we learn more from our failures, than we do from our success. It is usually the pain of loss that changes us.

But He does want us to learn from our failures, and not get caught up in them. I think He takes no pleasure in watching us blow the game. Because with repeated failure comes hypocrisy.

I prayed…Lord I know you love me and for that I am eternally grateful. I know I cannot sin my way out of your kingdom. What is the real danger of becoming a hypocrite? Will you take your words away?

A few days later in the quietness of my heart, I felt the Holy Spirit reply… oh no child. I do not work that way. I gave you a gift and it will always be with you. You are a messenger of mine. (All Christian’s are btw)

The real danger when hypocrisy sets in…is that no one will listen to you anymore.

If your life does not echo the words you speak. You will eventually become neutralized and put on the bench. Your witness for me becomes useless.

Ouch. A harsh word for a player that likes to be in the game.

The truth is Jesus loves us so much more than we could ever love any team. And while our loyalties will wax and wane, His love for us never does. Praise be to my king who loves me way better than I could ever love Him!!

Which leaves me with one profound thought…

I wear my bulldog jacket proudly every day…but how well do I wear the cloak of Christ??

Freedom Has A Price…

On this Veterans Day I think about our freedom and how much we take it for granted. Simply put, freedom isn’t free. There is always a price. But just who is willing to pay the price for our freedom? It seems like the reality of it is far from our perception of it… And we can all sense it. Somewhere beneath the surface of our society. Evil is slowly dragging freedom from below our very feet. Maybe we have just confused free stuff with freedom?

And it is our inability to pay the price. To stand up for our beliefs. Our country and its lack of a backbone is in a state of moral decay….We all want the easy job while someone else works in the field. But it’s not just an American problem. Inside of that one is the Christians who let it happen. We rush headlong down the aisle to get our own salvation. But for most of us it stops there. A little behavior modification. Sunday morning in and out for an hour… and we’re done. We got our ticket to heaven so we are all good!! But is that it? Really ? Jesus went to the cross and died for you, just so you could feel better about living your sinful life? Is that it?…

We were all bought with a price. Remember that. Nothing is free. It is time to stand up for what is right in this country and in our Christian lives. Just like I would assume if a foreign power invaded our borders, every man and woman would protect their homes the best they could. THEN they would pay the price…But you see we are under attack. There is a war going on right now. And its a slow deliberate one. And our inability to act has made us our own worst enemy. Our freedoms aren’t being taken away…We are slowly giving them up because we all refuse to stand up for the things we believe in. We refuse to get out of our comfort zone. To leave our circle and engage others.

And as Christians our pastors and teachers are likened to the soldiers aren’t they? They end up on the front lines. Carrying most of the burden of the war. Isn’t it time for us all to step up and get more engaged? To help pay that price? As an American I have the luxury of not serving and letting others fight to preserve my freedom. But as a Christian I do not have that same right. We are all called to spread the gospel. And it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. Just simply open your heart and engage the wounded people all around you. Show them the love of Christ that is in you…

Choose Faith…

I was in class the other day when someone posed a question. It was “their” question. Something they ponder about in the quietness of the mind. A pebble in the shoe about things we just don’t understand. We all have one, or two.
It was a good question. I am not discounting that. As a group we tried to talk it out. It was something along these lines…
Why did God do it this way?? Or

Why does God allow??

Or maybe it was my personal favorite, but what about those people??
This is our struggle. The human condition. But we must realize all the knowledge in the world will not get us to the place God wants us to go. Because if this life was just about knowledge… then where would the trust and obedience come in??
Where would love come in? Why would we ever need such a thing as faith??
If we logically surmised each and every circumstance…how could we ever get to the place where God ultimately wants us? The place He wants every believer. To simply trust Him at His word. After all…

Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV)
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
When my wife and I first started dating she hit me with an interesting concept. She said love is a choice. I had never heard of love being put that way, because I had always chased emotion. I had always chased my feelings. But we choose to love. And how much sweeter that love is when we wholeheartedly make that choice! To choose to love someone despite all their flaws and imperfections. After all, isn’t that the way Christ loves us??
Our faith is also a choice we have to make. There will always be questions that will not get answered in this life. But the reality is.. it is my pride that demands them. My need to think I am on the same level playing field as the creator of the heavens and the earth. When He has already declared that I am not.
Job 38:4
4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
Ultimately on the balances of our lives there will always be the weighing in of the evidence of our hearts, versus the evidence of our minds. It is Faith that bridges that gap. That bringing together of hearts and minds. We cannot have either/or. We must have both in our pursuit of God. And it is our faith that reconciles it all. That choosing God. Even though we do not understand some days. Even though we do not see all the angles. That submission into a higher power that says…I do not have all the answers, but Jesus I know that you do. And then something amazing happens on the days when you begin to make that choice. When you start to grasp the notion of having a child like faith.
It is then that God truly begins to reveal Himself to you.

The Promised Land…

I have been in a funk lately. I think a lot of it stems from anxiety about the sale of our house. It has been on the market for a few months now without much interest. I have been looking forward to the financial stress that will be lifted the moment we sell it… even if it is just for a little while.  For months I have been looking ahead to the promised land, while feeling like I was trapped in the moments that are leading us there. Waiting, biding time, anxiously dreaming of the tomorrows that just will not seem to come.
But yesterday, something very amazing happened. As my wife and I were heading to a counseling session, (who knew we didn’t have the perfect marriage?), I was thinking of how things would probably go. It was then out of nowhere that the Holy Spirit hit me with a very profound truth.
Robby you are already there.
I thought… where??
The promised land. You are already there.
Because right now you are blessed to be alive. It is only by my grace that I have allowed that to happen.
Because right now you have a wonderful woman, sitting by your side. I sent her to you.
Because right now you are loved by many who call you dad or step dad or just plain old Robby. They all love you immensely whether they will ever say the words or not. I gave them to you.
Because right now you have a job that pays you well. I also gave that to you.
Right now is the promised land of this life for you. Because you are right where I want you to be.
It was at the exact moment I realized just how far from God my heart has been lately. My focus and perspective have been in the future when I was never commanded to live there.  I have had hurts, hangups, addictions, over the course of my life but none of them compare to a problem of the heart. Because when your heart starts getting far from God you will lose focus on His blessings. You will become ungrateful for the things in your life that really matter. I believe it is just a matter of time before He will use a weakness to bring you back to the start again.
I seem to get to start over a lot. Praise God.
So today I want to say God please forgive me for not being grateful for what I have. It is plenty. It is more than enough. Whether we ever sell this house or not.  And maybe the reality is our lives will be less stressful once do. But that doesn’t change the fact that..
Right now is the time to love those around me.
Right now is the time to cherish them.
Right now is the time to live.
Let us all quit letting the anxiety of tomorrow steal the joys of today…
Matthew 6:34
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

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