Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Commandment One: Nothing Shall Compare To Me

Do you remember when Sinead O'Connor sang "Nothing Compares To You"? It was a haunting song about the gaping hole left by a lost love. Her video portrayed the numbness one often feels after going through a horrible loss.

Our hurt is greatest when we lose the thing we love the most.

When the Tigers lost the World Series in 2006 and 2012, I felt sadness and loss but I didn't feel numb.

When my daughter played her last high school volleyball game and my son played his last high school soccer game, I grieved the end of a wonderful phase of life. I felt a little numb for a few days.

When I've lost friendships I thought were lifelong relationships, I felt the pain for a long time (some pain doesn't ever fully leave).

This morning I lost my keys. I felt panic, but no pain or sorrow.

The value with which we hold anything is reflected in the pain we feel when that thing is lost.

Does it pain you when you go a week without praying? Does it leave you numb to be away from Scripture for several days. Is there a gaping hole in your heart when you've spent no time revelling in God's love for you?

You see where I'm going don't you.

It's hard to say God is first or central in my life if I don't miss Him when I'm away from Him (I didn't say "when He's gone" because He never is). It's hard to claim I value my relationship with Him if I never make investments in that relationship. It's hard to say I have no other gods before Him if my pain when losing anything else supersedes the pain of missing Him.

Our gods are whatever objects, pursuits or people we believe have the power to sustain us. If the quality of my life is dependent on the win-loss record of my favorite team, they are my god. If my ability to live with joy is dependent on what anyone else does  (even my family), they are my god. If I locate my self-worth in any pursuit, that has become my god.

To have no other gods before Him means I find my everything in Him. I am valuable, not because of my successes but because of His love for me. I am joyful, not because of my circumstances but because of His calling. I am content, not because I have what I want but because I want what He has provided.

To have no other gods before Him means I immerse myself in Him. I preach His Word to myself to remind me of His love, grace, mercy, care, promises and goodness. I engage His Word so I might be changed as I follow His will and way in each step of my life. My waking hours are an ongoing conversation of prayer as I ask for guidance, express my gratitude and frustrations and as I watch and listen for His answers.

What is the one thing in your life to which nothing else compares? That is your G(g)od.

Monday, December 11, 2017

What do Roy Moore, Al Franken, John Conyers and Donald Trump all have in common?

I don't know Roy Moore personally.

I don't know Al Franken personally.

I don't know John Conyers personally.

I don't know Donald Trump personally.

I've never spoken to any of them. I've never been in the same room as any of them. As far as I know, I don't know anyone who knows any of them. Yet, I know a few things about each of them.

They each have people they love. They likely treat those people kindly most of the time. They are probably generous to those people. They certainly would not wish harm on anyone they love nor would they intentionally do anything to bring harm on those they love.

They each have contributed positively to the lives of people around them.

At their best, their words have likely been more gracious than some of the words we have all spoken today. At their best, their actions have likely been kinder than some of our actions today.

They are all created in the image of God.

They are all loved by God.

Jesus went to the cross for each of them.

That's all I have to say about that this morning.