Tuesday, March 27, 2018

How My Tea Shows Grace

Recently I was listening to a message from Tony Evans as he spoke about how he brews his tea, and how there seem to be a couple different schools of thought when it comes to this task ...

Some really work that teabag! They like dipping it in and out of the cup, keeping it active, and eventually, even twisting up the string and squeezing out the last bit of tea from the bag ... 

Some, like him, just drop the teabag into the hot water and leave it ... letting the water and process do the work, while he waits patiently for the brewing process to complete ... 

Both transform the water ... and he compared this to simply working ourselves, or abiding in Christ ... and how like his tea, he's an abider ... letting the process transform him ... 

However it got me thinking even further ... 

As a tea drinker myself, it brought even more of a visual to me, as I am not a squeezer! In fact, those teabags are often filled with more finer grain teas (than what you would buy when you get loose tea) and by squeezing the bag to get "every last drop out" you actually end up making the tea more bitter than it should be ... 

So the more you try to do on your own, rather than just submitting to the process, the more bitter it gets ... 

Sure sounds a lot like my experience in my own faith journey!

The more I try to grab the steering wheel, the more I try to squeeze the process to make things happen quicker or in a different way, the more I try and take control rather than letting God work in me, the more bitter and frustrated I get ... 

It's no wonder there are so many commands like this in Scripture:

"Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalms 46:10
So ... perhaps each time now when I brew my next cup of tea, it will be a reminder for me to simply draw near to Jesus.

I'm not a Christian because of what I can do, I'm a Christian because of Who's I am ...


Saturday, December 2, 2017


"But be careful to remember that you have been freed for only one thing - to be absolutely devoted to [God]." - Oswald Chambers

Where does your relief come from?

For some it may be the sound of the wheels hitting the runway back at home ... that certainly is a sweet sound to me too after a business trip away from my family overseas ... but moreso my thoughts of freedom come from hearing the virtual sound of chains falling from my wrists as He opens the lock ...

So often though I seem to pick them back up unintentionally and carry the burden yet again. However today, after a beautiful evening of worship and prayer last night, I'm reminded again that I have been freed ... and my next step? Keeping me in perspective to Him ... and Faithfulness ... it is a challenge though, and to borrow more words from Oswald:

"Be faithful to God, even though the nature of everything around you is to cause you to be unfaithful." - Oswald Chambers

I have not been freed to now go after the desires of my heart, because my heart is deceitful above all things, and just can't be trusted. He can ...

May I keep Him in Focus, in every aspect of my life, taking all thoughts captive, dropping all self-inflicted burdens and focusing on one thing ... to be faithful to Him ... my Savior, my Lord, my Comforter ...


Friday, September 22, 2017

The Watchman

A couple weeks back I had the opportunity to join some fellow birders counting migrating hawks. Most of the ones that were flying that day, Broad-winged Hawks, were soaring at such an altitude that they often couldn't be seen with the naked eye. Getting a photo at this altitude was quite the task. Even at 600mm, fully cropped, this is the best shot I could get! These large birds by the hundreds would have missed my sight completely.

Thankfully, I came properly equipped. With my binoculars, I walked away seeing a couple hundred birds in probably just an hour. Quite an amazing sight ... but a sight that I never would have experienced without a few things:
  1. Being Properly Equipped
  2. Knowing Where to Look
  3. Patience
  4. Help from Others
As a sophomore birder, I think these 4 things pretty much sum up how I go out birding - or as some call - bird watching. Interestingly enough, as I was reading through Ezekiel, there was another type of watching that was described. Ezekiel was to be the watchman of Israel:
But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand. (Ezekiel 33:6 ESV)
When I read this passage I could not but help feel convicted by the Holy Spirit to assess my own watching skills. How am I doing watching those close to me, in my own sphere of influence, that call on Christ? How am I doing casting very real warnings to those in (and even out) of my faith?

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to take Ezekiel's very specific prophecy he was given by God, at a specific time, to warn him and his people about a specific judgement, and try to apply it to general evangelism. However, repeatedly in Scripture, we see a responsibility that is placed on us that God takes very seriously. When I read this passage, and learn the character of God deeper each time we talk, I can't help but reflect on and apply this warning to my own leadership (in my family, church, and workplace).

So how can I do this well?

Interestingly enough, I see a similar methodology to my 4 things listed above.

  1. Be Properly Equipped - You don't need to hold an MDiv, or be a published theological author, to have a conversation with someone about your faith. But you do need to know this amazing God you claim to speak of, not in your words, but His.
  2. Know where to look - Are you afraid of looking in the direction He is calling because those conversations are more difficult? Are you even praying about where He wants to send you?
  3. Patience - Holding a sign on a street corner shouting warnings with zero personal relationship may work for some, but not me - Far more courage is needed to reach out and start a relationship with someone far from Christ, pray, and wait patiently for God to open a door. If you faithfully do your part, God will do His; He is in the saving business. In the meantime, just love. This reaching out is not "a show" we put on as Christians ... it's "to show" that we truly love and care deeply about another one of God's children. We all need someone to journey with, and that leads me to number four ...
  4. Help from Others - In a world of superficial and virtual friendships in the hundreds, we crave deep relationships; and as a Christian, deep relationships with a brother or sister in Christ. If you get a call that will bring you to your knees, we need ones that will kneel next to us with arms around our shoulders, to walk along side us, help us in our needs, and point us back to Christ. I have deep friendships, and family that loves me deeply - but nothing compares to a brother or sister in Christ, with the same worldview, that is deeply involved in your life and can help keep your eyes on Christ. Do you have someone like this?

Does this mean that if the Holy Spirit pulls at your heart to move that you reject His call if you don't feel ready based on the items above? Of course not! He speaks, we move - that's obedience - that's how this works. However why not be ready?

Because I love birding as a hobby, when I drive, I make sure to have some things in the truck with me. Hiking boots, a spotting scope, camera, binoculars, a hat ... get the picture? I want to be ready ... I don't want to miss that opportunity for that great shot or rare bird just because I was unequipped.

Likewise, I certainly don't want to miss another shot ... it could make an eternal difference; not just for me being a poor watchman, but for those around me.


Print Friendly and PDF

Want my journal entries sent to your e-mail address?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

My Recent Posts

Search This Blog