Monthly Archives: October 2011

She Looks Like One, Talks Like One, Acts Like One but…


If you walked into my kitchen and looked around, you would see a five burner stainless steel name brand gas cooktop, a stainless steel range hood and a nice French style (freezer on the bottom, two doors at the top) stainless refrigerator. If you glanced in my cabinets, you would see shiny Williams and Sonoma All-Clad cookware with a matching stock pot, pasta pot and colander. On my countertop there are Hinckel knives from Germany.  I have cool small appliances like grinders, choppers, graters, rice steamer, two crock pots, electric skillet, wok, three kinds of mixers, and a roasting oven, (that will roast two chickens at a time) just to name a few.

If you talked to me about food preparation, ingredients and terminology, I can talk a good talk. My favorite spices are herb de Provence (a yummy combination of rich spices and a little hint  of lavender) and fresh ground nutmeg. I know the difference between braise, broil, and bake. I know how to marinate, mascerate, and infuse.

But…even though I have the equipment of a chef, the vocabulary of a chef, and I can cook, I AM NOT A CHEF. I am only an average cook and I can honestly say I don’t enjoy cooking very much.

If you saw my kitchen equipment and talked to me about food,  you would probably mistake me for a chef (at the very least a great cook) based on how I look, how I talk, and how I act.

I am GUILTY of this kind of mistake so often. Because I am in full-time ministry at a church, I come in contact with numerous people in our church, other churches, and in  para-church organizations. If I am not careful, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of jumping to quick conclusions about other people. 

If someone is well-groomed, well dressed, and smells good, then I decide she must be a Christian. If she uses nice words and even drops the occasional Christianease (Christian speak), I decide she must be a Christian because she has the vocabulary down pat. If she goes to church, Bible Study in middle of the week, and serves often, then she must be a Christian. 

But, what if I met someone  who didn’t exactly have the nice wardrobe and the right hair style and make up? What if I met someone who had a  potty mouth and  used profanity and questionable slang terms? What if her life was in so much turmoil  that she barely made it to church every Sunday? Would I assume, based on what I saw and heard, that she might not be a Christian?

If we are honest with ourselves and each other, we will admit that we are quick to jump to conclusions about others based on what we see and what we hear. As humans, we assume a lot about people everyday.  As believers, we assume a lot about who is a Christ-follower and who is not.

It gives me great comfort and freedom to know that it is not my responsibility to decide what’s inside another man or woman. In 1 Samuel 16:7 the Lord gave Samuel a command and then gave him a reason for the command, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his (Saul, my emphasis)stature, because I have rejected him(Saul); for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 

What do you notice first about another person? How quick are you to come to a conclusion based on what you see and hear from someone? How will you temper judgement with grace this week?

Heavenly Father, Forgive us for jumping to our own conclusions and assumptions about others. Give us eyes of love so we might view others rightly. In Jesus Name, Amen

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The Spittin’ Image of Her Daddy


In the South, when we see a child who looks like her father, we say, “She’s the spittin’ image of her daddy” which really means,  “She looks just like her daddy.” I think as parents, if we are honest, we all secretly hope our children will come into this world and look like us. Before our own babies are born, the thought of “little spittin’ images” of ourselves makes us smile. Neither of my children look very much like me and I’m sorry to say my twin grandsons don’t look like me either.

But according to Genesis 1:27, we are all “little spittin’ images” of someone. As Image Bearers, we are the spittin’ image of our Heavenly Father. The verse says, God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” How would the world be different, if we fully grasped this foundational biblical concept? Let’s think about two ways.

First, we would see ourselves based on God’s creative best. Genesis 1:31, says, “God saw all that He had made and behold, it was very good….” Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see ourselves that way?  

Second, we would see other believers as God’s creative best but not only His creative best, His redemptive best. If we see Christ-followers as righteous based on the righteousness of Christ, we would no longer judge one another. We would no longer be shocked by a friend’s past when they, with great trust, reveal it to us. We would no longer be surprised by the daily struggles of others. We could look across that chasm that separates people and realize we aren’t who we appear to be…God sees us differently. 

I think it would be great to see others the way God does; as image bearers of the Father, redeemed and righteous because of Jesus (Romans 5:19) and fully indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9-10).

When God looks at us He sees us through His perfect lens of grace. He sees His children, who are His spittin’ image. He sees us righteous because of His Son Jesus. He sees us from the inside out by the presence of the Holy Spirit.  For all of this, I am deeply grateful but I find an exhortation to change the way I view others and myself.

I want to put on grace lenses and see others through God’s eyes. Loving them in spite of themselves. Seeing them as redeemed saints in this messy middle part of life. If necessary, I will put on biblical bi-focals and see them from the far away eternal perspective, as well as, up close and personal right here, right now.

How do you view others?  When will you go for a spiritual eye exam? How will God’s Word correct and bring into focus a proper view of yourself and others?

Heavenly Father, forgive us for losing sight of who we really are? Forgive us for our judgmental view of others. Give us eyes that remain wide open to Your Truth. Where our vision is skewed, clarify and sharpen what we see with your lenses of grace.

In Jesus Name, Amen

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Sometimes Choose Amnesia


Last week on several of the daytime television shows, the guests were Scott Bolzan and his wife, Joan. Scott has amnesia due to a brain injury. His amnesia is not the temporary kind but the permanent (so far) retrograde type.

Amnesia is medically defined as a defect in memory, especially one resulting from pathological cause, such as brain damage or hysteria [via New Latin from Greek: forgetfulness, probably from amnēstia oblivion] simply defined it is forgetfulness.

After his injury, Scott didn’t remember his wife or children. He also didn’t remember how to do many ordinary things. He and his wife wrote a book that chronicles his recovery and efforts to rebuild his life. It is titled My Life Deleted. While the couple told hysterical stories about their new reality, they also openly communicated their daily trials.

I listened to the interview and thought to myself, boy there are somethings in my life I wish I could forget. Things like harsh words I can’t take back, stupid mistakes I can’t change, forgiven sins that pop back into my mind, bad memories, hard times, etc…

In Scripture we are told not to forget the Lord, His Word, His work in our lives.  But did you know that forgetting is actually a Biblical concept, a sort of spiritual amnesia? Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV) says, “Forget the former things do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing!” While in this context, God is speaking to Israel. He is reminding them to forget their years in exile due to their sins. The lesson for us is forget your old sins, you live under God’s mercy and grace. This is a new day.

Paul in Philippians 3:13-14 chooses spiritual amnesia for himself and encourages us to do the same. “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But, one thing I do; Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

As I age, I find it both encouraging and freeing to learn that sometimes we can have selective memories. God’s Word tells us to remember and forget. The Bible is full of that kind of paradox.

I want to cheer you on today! Forget the former, what’s behind you and press on toward the new thing. Practice spiritual amnesia and win!

What from your past do you need to forget? What sin do you remember that the Lord has already forgotten? What is holding you back as you move toward winning the promised prize?

Heavenly Father,  Show us what we need to forget and reveal at the same time what we need to remember. In Jesus Name, Amen

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Pippa’s Behind


Okay friends and new blog followers, every now and then I can’t help myself; I have to speak to the absurd. So hang in there with me as you read today’s post.

Last week I was watching Good Morning America while I was getting ready for work. GMA used to be a serious news show but not so much anymore. They actually spent several minutes discussing this new surgery fixation. Women all over the world are getting plastic surgery so they can have a “behind” like Pippa Middleton (sister of Kate, new wife of Prince William).  Pippa’s backside received worldwide acclaim because her God-given derriere looked so nice in a bridesmaid dress.

They interviewed a beautiful seemingly confident young woman who had the surgery. It was disclosed the procedure costs several thousands of dollars and is extremely painful. They actually take fat from another part of the body and insert it into the backside in order to mold and shape a patient’s bottom. The young woman stood during the interview. Imagine that?

What’s wrong with us? We look at others and we want to imitate them. I had to ask myself first, who do I desire to be like?

Then, the Lord whispered, “Child, remember Ephesians 5:1”, “Therefore, be imitators of God as beloved children.”

Is it possible we can draw a little application from Romans 9:20, also? “Who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this” will it?

Now, before my friends who have had plastic surgery get offended let me say this, I DO NOT have any problem with plastic surgery of any kind. It is not the surgery that is the problem, it is the motive. The wrong motive here is the desire to be like another. There is only one Pippa. Anytime we start imitating others we are settling for less than God’s creative best.

Who do we long to imitate? Our Heavenly Father or an earthly idol? Where should we look to find the perfect example to imitate?  

Heavenly Father, help us to be sensible in our pursuit of good looks. Give us hearts that look to you for each motive and decision for our lives. When we desire a new look, mold us into Your image from the inside out. In Jesus Name, Amen

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