August 3, 2015

It is Monday again and that means it's time for my blog. I do enjoy being able to communicate with each of you every week. It's a joy for me and a privilege that you take the time to read. I try not to take advantage of that. I wanted to say again today how thankful I am for those who helped at our Parking Lot Sale over the weekend. It was hot but it was fun. A HUGE thanks goes out to Brenda Allen for the countless hours and days she spent in putting it all together. I know she would say it wasn't possible without all of you!!
Today I want to pull in a large part of an article that my wife sent me from her devotion time today. She's always trying to help me and I appreciate it. This article comes from Paul Tripp. If you have never read any of his books you are missing out. We first became acquainted with him at a marriage conference we attended with our son and daughter-in-law. I am always amazed at the brilliant insight that God gives to some. Then it is inspiring how they put those words onto page and we then try to put them into our lives. This topic is one that I have preached all my life. It was one of my favorite topics when I was a youth pastor and it continues today because it does seem to be at the root of most issues we face in life. We need to hear it over and over again. Can you guess what it is? Read this quote and then I will ask the question again.
"You see it in the whines of a little boy, you see it in the entitlement of the teenager, you see it in the needless argument of the married couple over something unimportant and you see it in the bitterness of the old man. None of us has escaped this disease. It infects all of our hearts. It is the reason for so much of the brokenness, angst, and pain of the human community. It is the foundation of so much unhappiness and generations of war. It is a personal and moral disaster, yet it seduces us all. Its power draws all of us in. We see it in others and deny it in ourselves. It makes for uncomfortable family moments, friendship disloyalty, and violence in the streets. It makes us envious and demanding. It causes discontent to be more natural than thankfulness. It ruins our vacations and holidays. It makes us spend ourselves into hopeless debt, to fall into paralyzing addiction, and to eat more than we ever should. It turns siblings on siblings and makes war-making more natural than peacemaking."
Any guesses yet? Is it really that bad? Yes it is. The sin he is describing is the sin of selfishness. It's all about me. How does this impact me? What do "I" get out of this? How will this make me feel? We have become so absorbed with ourselves that we can't see that life was never intended to be about me. Paul further describes it like this: "A good day is a day that is pleasurable or easy for me. A good circumstance is one in which I get my way. A good marriage is one in which my spouse becomes a servant to my dream for my life. A good church has the worship, programs, and preaching that satisfy me. A good job is one that keeps me happy and engaged. It is a life shaped by a shrunken kingdom of one."
But in reality life is not about us. It is about Him. It is all about the creator of the universe and yet we try to twist it around and make it about us. "The first four words of the Bible confront us with the inescapable reality that it is not all about us. They confront us with the truth that life comes from, is controlled by, and exists for another." God is the center of the universe and not us. When we view life with "me" at the center we reveal that we have never truly matured beyond that view of infancy where a baby only views life as all about them. Sadly, many of us have never managed to move beyond that view and realize that God is the one who is in control. "Life is not to be found in putting ourselves at the center. That only leads to dysfunction, disappointment, and brokenness. Jesus came to decimate our misplaced loyalty so that we would find freedom from our bondage to ourselves and know the peace that passes understanding."
May that be our challenge today. Find freedom and know peace by letting Him have control.