Friday, December 18, 2009

Does the Shoe Fit?

When you work in a larger office and you've been used to working with just one other person, it takes awhile to find common ground and understanding of others' weird ways and ideas. And at the same you come to see that you have some weirdness yourself. I've also been having conversations with several people who are struggling with criticism. This article by David Powlison has a lot of meat to it and keen insight into what to do with criticism.

Here are some questions he asks:

"To what madnesses are you prone?...self-satisfaction... self-justification...self-protection...self- exaltation.. us vs. them." Ok, I'm guilty of all of them. How about you?

"Criticism brings out the worst in us, and we never know it."

I was brought up old school never to let a criticism go waste when you can use it to have a big old pity party inviting your good friends into the self-destruction. If I can get 2 or 3 witnesses to go along with me I feel pretty good about the whole thing and am more than willing to send "them" to hell in a hand basket.

"Christ uses critics to guard our soul from self-destructive tendencies...that doesn't mean critics are always right...but they are usually partially right. Others usually see something about me that it would help me to see about myself."

"Fair-minded criticism is one of life's best pleasures, an acquired taste well worth the acquiring. Someone who will take you seriously, understand you accurately, treat you charitably, and who then will lay it on the line is a messenger from God for your welfare...There is nothing quite like being disagreed with intelligently, lovingly, and openly: 'Faithful are the wounds of a friend' Prov. 27:6

"Critics... are servants of God to you for your help us see ...outright failings of faith and practice, distorted emphasis, blind spots, areas of neglect, attitudes and actions contradictory to stated commitments, and yes, strengths and significant contributions."

He offers several real-life criticisms of his counseling profession well worth reading for practical lived out suggestions.

"Remember, the Lord of all seems to take particular delight in the messiness, change, variety and volatility of human history. (The kind of world He chooses to run is not a nice, tidy, 'let's all just get along' world.)...The God of always 'fussing' about what He sees going on. Jesus Christ is the trouble-making peacemaker, the grace-giving rebuker, the constructive voice and hands who tears out old wiring and remodels His house. The Teacher teaches His disciples to become the same."

"If we're willing to listen, to hear criticism as well as to give it, that goes a long way towards overcoming the disagreeable tendencies that lurk in us all."

The shoe fits and it's going to fit for all of life this side of heaven. Anyone want to borrow my shoes?

Does the Shoe Fit? by David Powlison

Saturday, November 21, 2009


My first goal each day is to remember the Son of God. I want to remember that he bore my sin, that he was tempted as I am tempted. He was weary, hungry, endured pain, faced an incomprehensible death and knew how he was going to die before he did. This grand story gets shoved to the back of my consciousness and every day I'm tempted to go my own way, to forget about anyone but my self. I'm shallow and unable to think past what's pressing on my mind now.

But when I remember the story that is bigger than my small world I get lost in mercy, forgiveness, goodness, justice, love, mystery, eternity, glory, bravery,risk, just to name a few. The God I love gave his Son, Jesus Christ as a personal communication of his character. Hebrew 1:3,4 says that "He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs."

Thank you Jesus for making your life a communication of what the Father is all about.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Whatever the Weather

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.

Lamentations 3, ESV

The Big Brown Dog's Replacement

The nice thing about dogs is that they can be replaced, leaving only good memories behind.

Balaam & Baal

This story from Numbers 25 and Numbers 24 has sent me to my knees. Here the Israelites have received God's words, wandered through the wilderness, seen the Lord conquer nations, and while God is speaking through a donkey and that diviner, Balaam, Israel is worshipping Baal, Balaam's God. Our tendency is to ask, "how could they?"

But everyday we do the same thing. We read the Word of God, we hear him speak intimately to us, we see Him work in our lives. Still we fall back to worshipping our pleasures: tv, leisure, family and things, even religion and the truth that we know.

Israel's sin was that it kept falling prey to the culture around it rather than setting itself apart as God's holy treasure. Over and over God judged the people of Israel for it's idolatry.

Why are we surprised when discipline comes our way even as we idolize the things in this world? We should welcome it because it means that God is loving us as his treasured child and bringing about our rescue from this world that tempts us away from him and the joy he has waiting for us in him.

The following passage is long for a blog, but read it and fall to your knees and pray that you would be counted with the righteous protected by the blood of Christ!

2 Pet 2:1 - 22 (ESV) 1But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8(for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. 17These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 18For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

Oh, God help us to not be enticed by the Baals of today.