Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17

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Set Free From…Me!

Writing for AlterNet, Amanda Marcotte suggests, “Anyone who has worked in the restaurant business will be happy to tell you that waiters always fight each other to avoid working Sunday lunch shift. Not because they want to sleep in, but because it’s a widespread belief that the post-church crowd is loud, demanding and unwilling to tip appropriately. In the food service industry, “Christian” is synonymous with “selfish.”


Followers of Christ – the example of love, sacrifice, selflessness? Jesus – the Good Shepherd (John 10:11); Meek and Lowly (Matthew 11:29); Obedient (Philippians 2:8); Peace (Ephesians 2:14); an Offering and Sacrifice (Ephesians 5:2) and Servant (Philippians 2:7, Matthew 12:18, Isaiah 53:11)?


We are selfish. Sometimes, we are the most selfish.

At least I am.

Newsflash. You are, too.

In fact, the Scriptures tell us that all humans are born in corruption. We are born with a sinful nature that permeates our being – was passed to us through the first man on earth, Adam.

Romans 5:12 teaches “through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (NKJV). The Bible describes our human nature as evil, and hopeless to be restored to order, apart from the divine intervention of God through Jesus Christ.

It is our nature to make gods of ourselves. Our view is egocentric; it is all about “I.” Read the writing of very young students. You will likely find the majority of sentences beginning with the personal pronoun, “I.” As we age, it doesn’t get a lot better.

Calvary Chapel South Bay blogs, “The most popular phone is called I-phone. Nowadays, the most popular thing in the social media is to take a selfie (a picture of yourself). Among the most popular magazines are names like “People,” “Us”, “All You,” and “Self.” This goes on and on in our modern narcissistic society. Everything around us is targeting to build up “self,” to feed the flesh and to make us cling to the things on earth. The modern message of the world is, ‘You are your own god. You rule over yourself. There is no sovereign God.’”

That may seem a bit harsh, but it is truth. Scripture teaches that we must deny self (Luke 9:23, Matthew 16:24) and take up the cross of Christ to follow Him. To “deny” self means to say “No” to self, and to take up the cross of Christ is to say “Yes” to God – His will, His plan, His way. He sent His Son, Jesus, to set us free (John 8:36), including from ourselves!

So, you can’t have an “I-Phone,” snap a selfie or read “Us” magazine? NO!!!! God does not call us to asceticism – abandoning all earthly possessions, wearing sackcloth and ashes, not eating certain foods and never wearing make-up. He does call us to humble submission, to give Him first place in our lives – and not first among other things or other gods. He is first because He is the only God and His way is the only way! (1 Corinthians 8:6)

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Lessons From a Squirrel

If we would pay attention, all of life can teach us a lesson, even a squirrel.  For example, just this morning as I sat on my screened porch for quiet time with my LORD, I learned that the porch is not always the best place for me.  I can too easily become distracted by the swarms of birds that come to my feeders, the neighbor’s cats that slither betwixt and between my Hostas, the beeps of the garbage trucks, the hoot of a faraway owl and THE SQUIRRELS.

This morning in particular it was a squirrel that distracted me, so much so that I stopped to capture video.  I’m thinking that it is a mother-to-be squirrel because she is obviously building a nest in my neighbor’s attic (not the neighbor with the cats).  I watched her sneak in and out of the attic venting carrying small branches of leaves.  She would poke her head from the venting, watch and listen for things or people that might harm her then, when she deemed it safe, climb to the roof ridge before scurrying down one side of the roof and making a jump to a nearby tree.  She would gnaw a branch from a tree then, with branch in mouth, make the return trip – jumping back onto the roof, climbing to the ridge then down to the vent and into the attic.  I captured a series of photos and three 10-minute videos.  She must have made a gazillion trips.

So what did I learn? I mean, other than not to have my quiet time on the screened porch. I learned a lot, but I will share just one lesson – one I believe is powerful. God calls us to be lifelong learners.

My neighbor’s attic is not that squirrel’s first home. It very likely is not her only home because typically squirrels construct at least two nests – one to live in and a backup in the event something happens to or danger comes near the first. My neighbor’s roof may not be the first roof that squirrel climbed. Squirrels are continuous learners, forever learning which trees to climb, how to escape from predators (remember those cats), where to build nests, how to find food (like they’ve discovered my bird feeders), where to hide their goodies, etc. They cannot afford to become complacent and to stop learning, and neither can we.

Proverbs 1:5-7 teaches us that the wise hear and increase in learning, that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and that fools despise wisdom and instruction. Paul reminds us in Philippians 3:13-14 that as believers we are to be continuous learners growing in the LORD. TM Moore writes, “The basic meaning of the word, “disciple,” is learner. A disciple is one who learns. A disciple of Jesus Christ is one who learns from Him.”

What are we to learn? A lot! Our calling is to learn about Jesus, who He is, what His plan is and how we fit into that plan. Colossians 2:2-3 (MSG) says Believers can be woven into God’s tapestry of love, be in touch with everything there is to know of God and “have minds confident and at rest” because they will be filled with the wisdom and mystery of God. Who wouldn’t want this?!

Jesus commands us, “Learn from Me” (Matthew 11:29 ESV). The verb “learn” as used here expresses continuous action. When we want to talk about an action that is happening now or at this time and is unfinished, we use the present continuous tense. Learn now, learn later, learn repeatedly, learn continuously. That’s a lesson from a squirrel. That’s a lesson from our LORD!