Sunday, October 8, 2017

Wool is Itchy

Sheep teach us about ourselves.  Jesus used the illustration of sheep and shepherd many times in the New Testament. John 10:11 says "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." What more could you want than a keeper who assures your safety while you graze all day in green pastures? Being a part of the sheepfold is a beautiful thing if we just didn't act like the sheep we are. Even under the shepherd's loving Lordship, we still need much tending.  Romans 8:23 states that we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body or if you will, the shedding of our itchy wool.

Things we have in common with sheep:
  • Slow to learn. God provides 66 books with 1,189 chapters of what to do and what not to do. How much of it do we know?
  • Demanding. Sheep demand grass, grass and more grass. They have an insatiable appetite.Sound familiar?
  • Stubborn. This one needs no explanation.
  • Lost and Straying. We just can't seem to stay on-course needing rescued time after time.
  • Dependent. Sheep can't survive and live without their shepherd.
 I didn't know this about sheep. 

Yes. Sheep stick their head through a fence and WILL NOT pull it out. The shepherd has to get them unstuck. 
Are you stuck?
Let JESUS get YOUR HEAD out of the FENCE!

Itching to Death,
The Happy Handicap

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Who Do You Look Like?

spitting image of jesus
Who do you look like? Do you look like one of your parents? When people see you do they say "You look just like your mom."? People say that to Sloane all the time. I remember many occasions, after she heard you look just like your mom, she turned to me and said "I just don't see it!". 

Rewind to a couple of years ago. Sloane posted a picture on facebook. I received a call from her asking "Why did you tag yourself in my picture?". I had already seen the post. I laughed and replied "I didn't!". Facebook recognized her as me automatically tagging me in the picture. You can't disagree or argue with facial recognition software. Sloane believes people now when they say she looks just like her mom. 

Sloane is a spitting image of me. I've heard this phrase my entire life. I looked up the meaning. Spitting image is the thought that you are the exact likeness of someone so much they could have you spit you out of their mouth.

Dr. Peter Kendrick, Professor of Theology and Culture at the Marietta campus of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary delivered the message Sunday at my church. He recounted people telling him he is the spitting image of his dad. Dr. Kendrick is adopted. He's a native of Korea and his dad is American. I have to admit when I saw him I was puzzled by his surname. I haven't seen his dad. They may look alike?

What Dr. Kendrick said next inspired me! "What if people looked at you and said you are the spitting image of your Father God?" WOW! That's a great thought to ponder. Being recognized as the spitting image of Jesus is our ultimate goal as a born-again believer. Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 

We are made in his image. Genesis 1:26 tells us And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. But, do we ooze love and forgiveness and all the other things that make Jesus who he is?  People come pre-wired with recognition software. Who do you look like? Can they see Jesus in you?

Striving for His Likeness,
The Happy Handicap

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Are You Outnumbered?

hagar the horrible

I wish I could find the Hagar cartoon I wanted to share. At one time, I had this unforgettable cartoon in my office. I cut it out of the newspaper, taped to my computer monitor and read the funny every day for years! The cartoon had two images. The first was a huge army of Vikings with weapons aimed yelling to Hagar and his men "We have you outnumbered 500 to 1". The second image shows Hagar looking around at his FOUR men to say "Oh good. They're over-confident!". 

I still love that cartoon. The message is ingrained in my memory forever. Are you outnumbered? I felt like I was always outnumbered at work every day. However, I felt those that outnumbered me were over-confident in their own ability. Over-confidence in self is dangerous. Do you feel outnumbered? Your circumstances may seem grim and hopeless. You may be numerically outnumbered but if you have Jesus, you have THE ONE you need.

Here's proof through truth:
  1. David was outnumbered by the Philistine army but killed their giant Goliath with a slingshot and one stone. I Samuel 17
  2. Gideon was outnumbered 135,000 Midianites to his 300 men but overthrew the enemy. Judges 7
  3. Elijah was outnumbered 450 prophets of Baal to one to prove the God of Abraham, Isaac and of Israel is the only true and living God.
  4. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were outnumbered by idol worshipers, did not bow and was delivered from the fiery furnace without even a smoky smell. Daniel 3
  5. Daniel was outnumbered in the lions den but he emerged from the den unscathed while the lawmakers were devoured by the lions before they hit the ground. Daniel 6
You can never be over-confident in God. He is our only hope! You can be over-confident in yourself. You can certainly try to misuse the power of God for your own good. It won't work. The power of Jesus and everything we do will glorify the Father if we wish to receive his help.  

When you become/feel outnumbered, simply cling to His Word...

Image result for i can do all things through christ

Please don't try life alone. If you're facing a crowd of ten, you and Christ equal eleven! If it's two people, 13 devils and one big business, you and Christ equal more than conquerors! If it's three kids, five grands, a stepmom, a mean mother-in-law and a defiant dad, you and Christ equal the ability to speak peace and even the waves obey his will. Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 

If God is with us?
Who can outnumber us?

Counting on The One,
The Happy Handicap

Saturday, May 6, 2017

When Thou Shalt Not becomes Thou Shalt

thou shalt not
Have you had a month like me? Life gets in the way. Tammy gets in the way. Tammy lets life put things in the way. Yes, getting side-tracked and off-track describes April 2017 for me! I haven't written a newsletter since March 22.

One of my favorite pastors always said "If you can hold it, do. But if you can't hold it, we want to hear from you!" This thought has been rolling around in my heart and head for longer than a couple of months.  So, today, you're hearing from me 'cause I can't hold it any longer.

What happens when thou shalt not becomes thou shalt? 

God spoke the ten commandments into existence in Exodus 20. Most of us can quote the six or seven "Thou Shalt Not's" from memory that God carved into a stone tablet. These commandments give us guidelines of what we should not do. Thou shalt not kill, steal or lie. Thou shalt not curse, have affairs or want your neighbor's stuff. Thou shalt have no other gods before me or worship graven images. Thou shalt not means it's a no-no, don't do it, not-ta, no sirree!

Fast forward to the birth of Jesus and let's look at his "Thou Shalt's" in Mark 12:30-32. There are only two. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like this, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The "Thou Shalt Not's" were wrapped into two simple commandments. When you love God and your neighbour, you don't desire to kill, steal or lie, curse, commit adultery or want their stuff. When the Lord thy God is first in your life, everything else falls into the right places.

Isn't it a miracle to think about how Jesus changed the world? From law to grace. From guilty to not guilty. From condemnation to righteousness. From death to life. From lost to found. What happens when thou shalt not becomes thou shalt? A world is saved. A Kingdom is come. Grace is sufficient. There is Peace on earth. Goodwill to men.

Most people don't come to church to hear what they should do but what they shouldn't do. Let us be encouraged for what thou shalt do because there is none other commandment greater than these two. Jesus simplified things for his people. We don't have to remember ten, only two.

It's no longer
but rather

Commanded to love,
The Happy Handicap

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Are You Bad Enough to Become a Christian?

bad christians

Jesus probably did a facepalm when the Pharisees said to his disciples, "Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?". The religious leaders of the day didn't understand why Jesus would bother with these bad people. Accordingly, many religious people today, like the Pharisees, will allow their own perceived righteousness to hinder their salvation dooming their souls forever.

The question is not if you are good enough to be a Christian. You will never be good enough. Jesus answered to someone who called him Good Master, "Why are you calling me good? there is none good but one, that is, God". That is Jesus speaking. HELLO! He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings and he doesn't refer to himself as good. Some people put themselves into the good column when they don't let alcohol touch their godly lips or if they attend church every service or when they defend their goodness with someone else's failures (ex. they curse and I don't). If you're looking for a religion based on works and how well your goodness stacks up, become a Jehovah's Witness. You'll be doing good, they'll tell you so.

The question is are you bad enough to become a Christian? Every person must realize their bad condition; unclean and in need of redemption. Jesus offers free guilt and sin removal. Do you tell lies, steal, cheat, have extramarital affairs, curse, disrespect your parents, or kill others with a gun or your mouth? Do you have hate in your heart? Do you simply know that you're not good? Do you know that you have sinned and fell short of God's glory? Good. You're good! We all have done these things. WE ARE ALL SINNERS! The Bible says so. You are just the type of person Jesus is looking for. Each and every one of us are bad enough to become a Christian if we will realize our fallen sin nature and ask Jesus to forgive us. Forgiven is received with a broken heart and a simple prayer of submission.

When Jesus heard the religious leaders inquiring about him eating with sinners, he answered "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." You may also paraphrase as "They that be good need not a savior but they that are bad."  Jesus is the way for sinners to repent and receive eternal life and blessings.

Quit trying to be good enough to get into heaven. Ain't happening! Jesus is the only name given whereby we must be saved. He can't save you if you think you're good. Bad is a redeemable quality. You'll never be too bad or too dirty or done too much for Jesus to save. Then, with Jesus as your savior, good will flow out of you by his spirit but it still doesn't make you good, it makes you whole, redeemed and forgiven.

Are you bad enough to become a Christian? If not, just be yourself. You'll get there in no time at all! Promise.

Bad and Forgiven,
The Happy Handicap