Saturday, September 19, 2009

I admit it. I go a little crazy when I get started cleaning sometimes. I can look at a mess, in my yard for example, for a long time. But when I finally start tackling the project, I'm like a wild man. Today was one of those days.

In the corner of my yard there was a bit of a jungle developing, complete with ivy that had been allowed to have its way with the yard, bushes that hadn't been trimmed since I bought the house and some random little trees that I didn't even recognize. A bit embarrassing.

So I got out my tools and started going after the mess. I didn't plan on being outside that long, but once I got into clearing out the shrubs and digging up the little bushes, and trimming, and cutting... you get the picture.

Isn't that the way life is, though? We know we've got messes in our lives that need attention paid to them. A little gossip here, a little laziness there. But it's easier to avoid the mess than it is to get in there and dig them up from the roots. In the gospel of Mark, Jesus teaches that what comes out of a man's mouth is what makes him unclean. And he also teaches that what is in the heart will eventually come out of the mouth. The things we pay attention to take root in our heart and keep us from having a close relationship with God.

I knew I couldn't avoid cleaning the mess in my yard forever. That's even more true of my heart. If I want to be close to God, then I should look at what's growing in my heart. And allow the Holy Spirit to root it out.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

I often find myself falling into this trap: thinking what I do has to earn God's love. Don't get me wrong. God definitely wants us to do the right thing, to make right choices and dare to be different from the rest of the world. But I'm so wrong if I think that there is ANYTHING I can do that will make God love me more. Or less.

Let me see if I can put this in some perspective. This verse was written to the nation of Israel. What you need to know about Israel is that they were always doing the wrong thing, always disobeying God's commands. But every time they messed up, they came back to God and He forgave them. But He never stopped loving them. Not even when they built idols to other gods. Not even when they cursed him and demanded to have a king they could actually see. Not even when they went against every single law He'd given them. And even when they rejected Jesus as the Son of God, He STILL never stopped loving them.

God has made a covenant of love. A pact. He will never stop loving us, so why would we want to keep him at a distance? Why wouldn't we want to be as close to Him as possible? I agree that it's not the easiest thing to be a Christian in this culture, but it definitely is rewarding. Because I know that God loves me and wants the best for me. And he has for thousands of generations. Amazing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What does it mean to be catalyzed? Well, I am a self-professed geek. I like scientific things; I always have. When you put a catalyst in a chemical reaction, it changes the chemicals in a way that usually speeds up the rate of reaction. Not impressed?

How about this? When something is catalyzed - it is FUNDAMENTALLY changed. That means it takes on a new "life" of sorts. It's completely different than it was before. As a Christian, this takes on a whole new meaning. When I decided to follow Christ above any other and really make Him first in my life, I experienced a "catalytic conversion." And I'm not talking about cars. Something drastically changed in my life. I no longer wanted to do things to please myself, but instead I wanted to do those things that I knew would please the heart of God.

I accepted Christ at a young age - at 8 years old. But it wasn't until much later in my life that I really recognized how different I was from my non-Christian friends. There definitely was a HUGE change in my life. And now, as an adult, I recognize how hard it was to live for Christ in my world then, and also how much harder it is for us even today to make a stand for Christ.

This blog is about challenging you to trace the events in your own life that led you to your own catalysis- your own change of heart. Once you've truly been changed by the love of God, you can't go back. That's what God does - He draws you constantly forward. Perhaps you, reading this, can't pinpoint such a time in your life when you were so dramatically changed. You haven't been catalyzed. Rest assured, though, that such a change is waiting for you if you want to find it.

Or should I say, find Him.