Bliss: Not Ignorance


Even if angels sit atop our trees, adorned with Christmas ease, all is not necessarily blissful this time of year.  It’s amazing to me that the Son of Man would come to offer grace and forgiveness for a lost world steeped in sin.  I know only too well, that this precious gift is not offered so easily by one human to another human, that’s what makes Grace – a God thing.  But forgiveness is within our reach, if we will but embrace the love He has shown to us in the birth of Jesus.

What a blissful thought…

That this Christmas might be filled with receiving and offering forgiveness, with a touch of grace, because we know the LORD.

This is my Christmas wish.  It is not ignorance, or naivete; just a blissful Christmas wish.



Rancorous Relationships

Daily Post:   Bitter


It tastes like the tart, acidic, bite of lemon.  That moment when you realize the majority of people in your life don’t understand, can’t understand, wouldn’t fathom the depth of pain that caused your actions, even if you explained it to them.  Even for the most transparent of people, there are parts of us that stay hidden, unveiled to no one. When these shadow driven areas determine our actions, there is almost always collateral damage.  The resulting attitudes of those around us become jaundiced or sullen, resentful or bitter, and they lash out in anger at us for hurting them in some way.  Collateral damage.

Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.  Rancorous relationships abound in the world today, because people hurt each other.  Everyone has a thought process that seems rational to them at times, which if shared generally even with their closest friends might seem to the friend as madness.  If the thought process takes form, and becomes activated in behavior, the friend can sometimes be the one who reacts like a terrorist ready to tear your head off.  Or worse, become the one who starts the rumors that ruins your reputation among others that don’t know you well.  Is any of this ringing anyone else’s bell out there?

Imagine being Jewish in the first century city of Antioch, and hearing the narrative about Jesus for the first time.  It’s a story so bold, and so brilliant you’re intrigued, but know that you can’t act like it, for fear of offending your friends and family.  After all, you’re like one big family as Jews, and the Roman government is enemy enough.  You don’t want your own people to turn on you.  But you become convinced of the action you must take, to surrender to the truth of Jesus as Lord and Messiah.  You know the moment that this comes out you will be like the others of “The Way” and you will become an outcast.  Your parents will disown you and treat you as though you have died.  The man you work for will fire you, and treat you as dead.  Your brothers and sisters will ignore you and pretend they don’t see you on the street.  Your life as you know it will be over, dead.

But you choose Jesus anyway.

What results?

You are dead, but alive.

Just like Jesus.

The bitter actions of the people in your life, who don’t understand you choices, do not determine whether the choice was right or wrong, good or bad, God does.  Their harsh rumors and speculations of how you’ve gone mad, cannot determine your next steps.

Be careful in interpreting my words here.  I’m not bitter.  I’m pragmatic.  I get that 90% of the people around me don’t understand my actions, or the reasons for my actions.  My attempts at transparency can only go so far.  That said, I’ve learned the hard way, that the very people who ought to be loving, forgiving, kind and accepting, are the ones who lash out bitterly in retribution, on a vengeful vendetta to judge and destroy those who they deem “unworthy” of grace (me).  The church can be very unforgiving, and unloving, for those who need grace most.

I’m really struggling here to make sense of how bitter feelings wreck a church, and destroy people’s lives within the fellowship of believers.  It really is this simple:  either we believe Paul was writing with the authority of the Holy Spirit… or we should quit calling ourselves Christians and join the country club instead of giving our money to churches.  Here’s what Paul says about it.

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ – God forgave you.

The picture above is the epitome of this verse.

Grow up.


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Soak, Scrub, Rinse, Repeat

via Clean

Some stains are just seem impossible to clean. There are experts everywhere who seem to think they know the best way to attack this problem.  For example, one such solution for removing wine stains on clothing goes like this…

(1) act immediately: blot don’t rub; (2) strap the cloth down over a large bowl and secure it with a rubber band; (3) get salty: pour club soda or ice water on the stain and cover it with salt for 5 minutes; (4) heat it up: pour boiling water over the stain, then rinse.  If the stain is still present (5) soak in water and white vinegar then launder as normal.

Sounds like sage advice to me.  Wine stains can be a real problem.


There are stains that go way deeper than wine however, and our lives are filled with them.  That’s because life is messy most of the time.  Spills, tears, hurts and pains caused by our own actions, or the actions of others, often leave us feeling dirty, disheveled, and depressed.  Where does someone find relief and restoration to that “clean” state of being?

John the Apostle wrote the Gospel of John regarding the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; letters to the churches in the Roman province of Asia; and the book of Revelation.  In the first letter, he wrote to the churches: “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” [1 John 1:5-7]

People who live in the stain saturated darkness of the world need the cleansing power of Jesus.  I may never be able to convince them of this, in fact it isn’t even my job to try.  My task and calling is simply to offer this truth to them for acceptance.  The convincing responsibility is solely the job of the Holy Spirit of God.  For those of you who have experienced this cleansing power, one other thing you know is, it is never a once and done deal.  Because life is messy.  Because I may be clean today, but by this time tomorrow, I will have spilled something, sat in something, or had something splash onto me (spiritually) that causes me to need this cleansing again.

The daily process of a true child of the King consists of: soak, scrub, rinse, repeat.

Soak:  Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Scrub:  1 John 1
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Rinse: Psalm 51:7
Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Repeat: Acts 3:19
Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.

If you’re feeling a little “disheveled” today… this may offer some relief and restoration.