Monday, October 20, 2014

“There are lots of different explanations for every experience.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2014-09-02) from his book, The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (p. 220). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

That is so true.  Have you learned to use that as a way to enjoy life instead of endure it?

Look at what Mark says, “Let’s say you’re at a restaurant waiting for a date that you were supposed to meet at 7: 00 sharp, but forty-five minutes later he or she is a no-show. At some point you need to explain to yourself why the person isn’t there. Here are some possible explanations. You might think, “He stood me up,” causing you to become mad. You could jump to conclusions and think, “She doesn’t love me anymore,” causing you to become sad. You could assume, “He was in an accident,” causing you to feel anxious. You might imagine, “He’s working overtime so that he can pay for our meal,” causing you to feel grateful. You could speculate, “She’s with another man,” causing you to feel jealous. Or you might realize, “This gives me a perfect excuse to break up with her,” giving you a great deal of relief.  Same situation. Very different explanations.”  And it is a matter of choice by you and how you view the situation.

What is your natural way to look at every situation?  Now as I have gotten older I have striven to give people the benefit of the doubt, to come up with a win, win for each of us.  And then in those situations when I know I have been wronged I give them grace just as Christ has given me grace.  He hasn’t given me what I deserved so I want to do the same with others.  Now that is not natural for me.  I am a born pessimist and perfectionist and also a self-centered person and that is where God’s love and Spirit comes in.  And He is still working on me.

The natural man that which is natural to us can be in control of our reactions to others or the Spirit filled man when we are filled with God’s love can be in control.  There is a choice there.  It all depends on who we choose to control our reactions.  And which is in control goes a long way in our enjoying our life.

So what controls your reaction?  

Friday, October 17, 2014

“The goal isn’t the miracle. The goal is God’s glory.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2014-09-02) from his book, The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (p. 216). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)


That can be a problem to realize when we are going through an impossible situation and we are looking for a miracle but that is the real goal.  But that can be a very difficult prayer to pray.  I’m sure it was difficult for Jesus when He was facing the cross, and prayed to His Father, “Not my will but Your will be done.”

Marks says, “And if you forget that, it’s difficult to get through difficult circumstances. So let me offer this reminder: the will of God is the glory of God. That’s why cancer can’t keep you from doing the will of God. Nothing can. You can glorify God under any and every circumstance.”

We prayed that prayer when we found out my wife had thyroid cancer.  He took care of the cancer but she still lives with some of the complications of taking her thyroid out.  I marvel at how God gives her daily strength.

Mark in this section was dealing with a friend who had just found that he had cancer.  Such a difficult thing to hear.   Mark concluded this section by saying, “If you think of the will of God in temporal terms, it doesn’t add up. You’ve got to add eternity into the equation. And if my friend isn’t healed until he reaches the other side of the space-time continuum, it’ll be no less miraculous then than it would be now.”

This isn’t heaven yet.  There are a lot of good things that happen here but there are also so many tragedies.  We need to constantly be reminded that God created us for a purpose and that is to bring Him glory.  We will be rewarded for living up to that purpose but it may not be here.   

You might ask, “What does it mean to give Him glory?”   And I like what someone said, it means to make Him look good.  And sometimes going through the difficulties of life with the right attitude and the right outlook can make God look good.   

Remember, the goal isn’t the miracle.  The goal is His glory.  Let’s do all we can in all we do to make God look good.

So is He looking good though you?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

“When life doesn’t go according to plan, we naturally look for someone or something to blame.”


A thought by Mark Batterson (2014-09-02) from his book, The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (p. 213). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

As Rick Warren has said. “To blame is to be lame” but it is an easy thing to do.  It started way back in the Garden of Eden where Adam blamed Eve and then got around to blame God.  Their eating the forbidden was really God’s fault because He created the woman.

So are you a blamer?  When something happens that really is your fault do you strive to find someone to blame?  I mean you are really in debt but it’s your spouce’s fault.  They just need, need, and want, want, want so you have to spend, spend, spend.  Or it’s the Democrat’s/Republican’s fault when it really it is your fault. 

But as Mark says, “But no one wins at the blame game! And it’s usually followed by a postgame pity party. At some point, we must recognize that the circumstances we ask God to change are often the very circumstances God is using to change us. We don’t always get an answer to our why questions on this side of eternity, but sometimes God leaves clues.”

God does have a plan and He knows what is best and He is working and it doesn’t matter the why, what matters is you accept that He loves you and that He is working in your life.  Just trust Him.

So what circumstance are you looking for someone to blame?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

“Doubt is downgrading your theology to match your experience of reality.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2014-09-02) from his book, The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (pp. 175-176). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Here is what Mark says leading up to this thought, “We have a natural tendency to explain away what we cannot explain.”  He then says, “The reason many of us miss the miracles that are all around us all the time is because we don’t have a prior memory to associate with them.” 

Mark is looking in this section of his book of the experience of the apostles out in a boat on the Sea of Galilee and the miracle of Jesus walking on the water. They had never seen someone walking on water and so there was no way that their mind would come up with that as a fact.  They first thought He was a ghost.  And wouldn’t that be true of you and me?  My first thought wouldn’t be that Jesus would be walking on the water.  I haven’t seen it so it can’t be true.  So I must downgrade my theology to match my experience of reality.  

Mark also says, “I believe that every ology is a branch of theology… While we tend to think of spiritual and intellectual pursuits as mutually exclusive endeavors, that’s a false dichotomy. Great love is born of great knowledge. And the more you know, the more you know how much you don’t know. True knowledge doesn’t puff up with pride. It humbles us until we hit our knees in worship. It also beckons us out of the boat.”

We don’t have within us the ability to really comprehend who God is and what He really can do and really wants to do.  But we can hunger to know more and then to really trust more.  You see this life with God is a life of faith and as Hebrews 11: 1 (NIRV) says, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being certain of what we do not see.”

Let’s not downgrade but expand the untold wonders of our faith.  We really can’t comprehend who God is or what He can do but we can love Him and believe in Him and worship Him and let Him walk on our waters and get out and walk with Him.

So would you like to get out of the boat and do some walking?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

“Your job is not to crunch numbers and audit the will of God.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2014-09-02) from his book, The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (p. 141). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)


Mark in this chapter of his book is dealing with the feeding of the 5,000 with five loaves and two fish.  Now if we crunch those numbers, 5 + 2 does not = 5,000.  No way.  And we do that over and over in our lives don’t we?  But the equation had another variable to it that makes all the difference and it was 5 + 2 + God and that does = 5,000.  And that is true in your life too.

As Marks says, “Your job is not to crunch numbers and audit the will of God. After all, the will of God is not a zero sum game. When you add God to the equation, His output always exceeds your input. And your two fish can go a lot further than you imagine if you put them into His hands.” 

Just remember that as you face whatever you are facing this week.  The equation of yours and my life is totally different with God in it. 

Andrew was the apostle that the little boy offered to share his lunch to help feed the large group and Mark says, “When the little boy offered to share his lunch, Andrew’s reaction was, ‘Thanks, but no thanks!’ He didn’t think it would make a difference: ‘How far will they go among so many?’ (John 6: 9)  But Andrew was overanalyzing the situation, and he almost missed the miracle because of it.”

Let’s not do that.  God wants to work it out in our lives and He really cares about you.  He has a plan and He can be trusted.  Let Him have what you have and make a difference through it.  Let Him have you.

So what is it you are facing this week?   

Monday, October 13, 2014

“Half of faith is learning what we don’t know. The other half is unlearning what we do know.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2014-09-02) from his book, The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (p. 131). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)


The first part means that we should spend a lot of time in the Bible trying to see how God thinks, how He reacts, and what He wants.  That goes a long way in building our faith.  It also means to think, to stop and remember what He has done in our lives in times past, and to read of other’s experiences.  That also strengthens our faith but we also need to do some unlearning.

Mark says, "The second half is far more difficult than the first half. That’s why Jesus repeatedly said, 'You have heard that it was said . . . but I tell you.' He was uninstalling Old Testament assumptions with New Testament revelations. Going the extra mile or turning the other cheek was more than behavior modification. Jesus was reverse engineering the old rules and installing new ones."

Back earlier in the book Mark made some statements that challenged me.  He said, "According to the research of Rolf Smith, children ask 125 probing questions per day. Adults, on the other hand, ask only six probing questions per day. That means that somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we lose 119 questions per day! [Rolf Smith, The Seven Levels of Change: The Guide to Innovation in the World’s Largest Corporations (Arlington, TX: Summit, 1997), 49.]  At some point, most of us stop asking questions and start making assumptions. That is the day our imagination dies. It’s also the day miracles stop happening. If you want to experience the miraculous, you need to quit making assumptions.”

Yes we need to learn but we also need to ask questions. One of the problems in the church world is we settle on some answers which we need to settle on but we quit asking questions on some old answers that aren’t meeting the needs of this day.  And the same is true in us as individuals.  Even at 67 I still need to be asking questions. 

Yes there are some absolute truths that we don't question but there are some areas that we do need to question in order to do what God has called us to do.  There is a world out there who needs us and there are miracles that God wants to do through us and people He wants us to reach.  

So what old rules do you need to reverse engineer and what new ones do you need to install?


Friday, October 10, 2014

“Don’t let what’s wrong with you define you.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2014-09-02) from his book, The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (p. 119). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

And that is so easy to do.

I have been overweight a big part of my life but I have striven to not make that define me.  Now it may define what some people think of me but that is their problem not mine.  As I see myself today I see myself as a healthy person who is striving to be healthier.

Now there was a time a few years back that I saw the potential if I didn’t start doing something with my weight problem of living my later years as an invalid.  And I knew that I had the potential to do something about it so I changed my eating and exercise habits. 

So how do you see yourself?

Mark has some very good thoughts on this.  He says, “When my children lie to me, I don’t call them liars. I remind them that that’s not who they are. I certainly call it what it is— a lie. But I don’t let what they’ve done wrong define their identity or destiny. Our culture has a tendency to reduce people to labels. Not only is that unhealthy and unholy, it’s also dehumanizing. Don’t let anyone label you besides the One who made you. Take your cues from Scripture. You are more than a conqueror (Romans 8: 37).  You are the apple of God’s eye (Zechariah 2: 8). You are sought after (Isaiah 62: 12).  You are a joint heir with Christ (Romans 8: 17).  You are a child of God (John 1: 12).

Then he says, “For better or for worse, our words double as self-fulfilling prophecies. Negative prophecies are validated by fear. Positive prophecies are validated by faith.”

So what have you let define you?   Some negative occurrence or a physical problem or what God says about you.  I want to build my life on my faith in what God says.

What about you?