What It Means to be an Image Bearer

Today, I was sitting enjoying the fruit of many days of hard work. The pond now has a new area for the fish to explore. You might not like to hear this. We’ve got something in common with fish. And in order to get the full idea, I need to recount the history of two fish. These fish survived living in a small pond form in our basement before the existing outdoor pond was dug. Two other fish died in our basement. Not sure what caused the first death, but the other was caused by jumping out of the pond form, and not having a way to get back in. That’s the first way we can be like fish. Sometimes we get into things there is just no good way to get out of, and sometimes those things result in our death. Oops, right? Well, that second event lit a fire under me, as I realized that I really didn’t want to lose another fish that way. So, that spring a pond went in. It was time to move the fish from the pond form to the pond. While we liked the two fish we had, we decided they needed more company, so we bought more, and put them in the new pond. Then I used the bag those fish came in to transport the two bigger fish to their new much bigger pond. You’re supposed to put the bag in the pond to let the temperatures gradually become the same. So some time later I let them out of their bag. Oddly enough, they kept on swimming in circles as if they were still in the bag. This is the second way we’re like fish sometimes. The world of opportunity out there is amazing, yet we swim in circles as if limited by the bag we’re not in. Now you might think that the fish would remember two environmental things like this, and that their curiosity would allow them to discover new things added to the pond.

A work in progress!

Yet, when I spent the late spring into summer digging an addition to the pond, these fish were all timid. It took hours before they finally made their way into the channel connecting the two parts of the pond, and that was only after being coaxed by food! It took even more time for them to make their way into the other part of the pond. Here again, we tend to be like these fish. We don’t learn that our world can be expanded, the sphere of our influence, and our domain can grow with time. We tend to like the familiarity of our pond just the way it has always been.

If you read the title of this post, you’d be forgiven for wondering what the connection is. Today, after a few days I witnessed the fish really enjoying the new part of the pond I had created for them to do just that. One fish in particular was swimming its heart out from one end to the other, and at different depths. I had a perfect view of this enjoyment and it made me extremely happy. And it was in this moment that it occurred to me that what I was feeling must be similar to what God feels when we enjoy what He’s created for us to enjoy. That’s the connection to being an image bearer, and that’s what it means. How often do you let things in your life like this in mine, remind you of your worth as an image bearer of God? Now, I know I’m not God, yet in that moment I felt closer to Him. I smiled for two reasons. My fish were enjoying what I created for them, and I was enjoying a small taste of what God must feel when He sees us enjoying what He’s created for us.

How often do you think God looks at us, and roots for us to find what He’s put out there for us to discover, like I was rooting for my fish? Don’t you think we’re worth more than fish to God? We must be. God sent His Son, Jesus, to restore the image He created in us by living a perfect life, and then dying on a cross in your place and mine. There is no better example of love or redemption than that. What are you doing with this? Do you think you know better? Or, will you let Jesus pay the price you can’t pay?

I’m ready to explore what God has in store, are you?

Why Did You Make Me Like This?

It seems kind of silly to think that this inanimate snowman would ask the question, “Why did you make me like this?” What is just as silly is us asking God the same question. Yet, we don’t think twice about asking that type of question. “Why do I need glasses?” “Why is my hair turning gray?” “Why does my body ache?” I could go on and on, “why don’t I have millions of dollars in the bank?” You get the idea, right?

I got to thinking about this while I was making my new favorite hot beverage this morning. Sitting on the counter was that snowman that I made to illustrate the silliness I mentioned in the first paragraph. I also made the connection to what I spent most of the day yesterday doing. I was at a protective tactics class put on by Don Johnson. I won’t give away his main point, but I will say this. We tend to focus on what we don’t have instead of what we have. We need to have the correct perspective. We need to realize that God made us exactly the way He wanted to make us. It was His prerogative. I can wonder why God gave me the ability to sin, if He hates it so much. But, how would I ever begin to understand His mercy if He hadn’t? I can wonder why it is so much easier to sin, or I can remember that God has given me His Spirit, and begin cultivating that fact instead of dwelling on my frustrations with how easy it is to sin. The struggle is real, but so is the victory. Will you pursue that victory with all the strength God gives you? Will you train your body toward that end? Or will you instead complain to your maker about your limitations?

I’m striving to make this my life motto, “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

God Cares

Even when it looks like He doesn’t. 

The past week has given new meaning to  the words, “he shook my world.” And not in a positive way. With several earthquakes in excess of magnitude 7, and the loss of 100s of lives, how can I conclude that “God Cares?” Perhaps, just as the words “he shook my world” have taken on a seemingly sinister meaning, so too should the idea that “God Cares.”

Back in a time when the world wasn’t much different than it is today, people were searching for why bad things, catastrophic things happened to some people, and not to others. Here is what the Gospel writer Luke penned, and Jesus’ response. 

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?  I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
— Luke 13:1-5 NIV

Let me spell out what this means for us today. God cares enough to bring these earthquakes as a reminder that we need to repent. You might be thinking, I’m a pretty good person, compared to a murderer or a thief. That’s not the comparison God makes though. God’s standard is absolute perfection and His holiness. Even Billy Graham falls short, and so did Mother Teresa. I hope to meet them both one day, not because I’m as good as they are, but because, like them, I’ve repented. I’ve acknowledged that my good isn’t good enough, and trusted that Jesus paid the debt I could never pay, and because of what Jesus gives me, I now meet God’s standard. 

You see, God cares enough to send His Son, Jesus. Jesus loved me enough to die the death I should have died, and that death could pay the price for you too. Just repent. 

What could be worse than dying when a tower falls on you, or the earth shakes beneath your feet? Having any of that happen before you’ve repented and turned to Jesus. What is coming for this earth will make these earthquakes seem tame, and God cares enough to send these as warnings of what is to come.

The only question at this point is, will you listen? I’ve done my part. I’ve told you about your condition. And how Jesus is your only hope. Ridicule me if you must, but the day is coming when you will wish you listened, but it will be too late. On that day you will not be able to say, “I wish somebody told me.” Instead, you’ll say, “I wish I listened.”

Where I Work

When I’m working on writing, I really don’t need more than one computer monitor, but for just about everything else that I do, these two monitors sometimes are not enough! Years ago now, I traded stocks and futures for a living, and I had four monitors hooked up to a single computer, so this is downsizing it for me!

My work area is currently in the “spare room” of our scrapbooking and paper crafting store called Cafe Crop. I’m looking forward to the day when this room is our private classroom area. At that time, it will be my office while it isn’t being used as a private classroom area.

For now though it is exactly what I need to be productive, while at the same time close at hand to help Tina when she needs it. I’m thankful for this new-found flexibility, that we didn’t have in our last location.

In the not too distant future, I’ll be seeing clients here! I can hardly wait!

The Big Deal About Easter!

Many of us will be celebrating the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ this coming weekend.  That is after all what Easter is all about.  After the Easter Bunny, the egg hunts, and all of our family traditions, we are celebrating God’s ultimate gift to us.  If you are wondering what the big deal is, and need more than I’m providing below, I invite you to visit www.needhim.org or call 1.888.NEED.HIM.

What kind of a friend would I be if I saw you were going to be hit by a truck, and I didn’t do anything to warn you?  I believe there is something far worse than a truck waiting for each of us.  There’s God’s judgment in a place called hell.  Oh, sure most of us think we’re pretty good compared to a murderer, but that’s not the standard God uses.  Here’s something to think about.  God says that if we know the good we ought to do, but don’t do it, we sin.  By that standard, even Tina knows I fall short!  It is that shortfall that has me condemned to hell.  The good news of Easter is that God has thankfully provided a way of escape for us.  That is what Easter is all about.  Jesus died a cruel and undeserved death on a Roman cross.  And, on “Easter” Sunday God raised Jesus from the dead.  That is the proof that God accepted Jesus’ payment of the penalty our sin required.  Now you and I can have a restored relationship with the person who created us.  It really doesn’t get better than that.  If my sharing this with you is the catalyst for you pursuing God, I would be delighted if you let me know.  Better yet, why don’t you share the true message of Easter with everyone you know?  You would do everything you could to keep them from getting hit by a truck, wouldn’t you?