Are you the executioner?

Posted: 2013 02 05 by Paul S in Biblical manhood

 

I’m reading God on the Streets of Gotham by Paul Asay. In it, a concept is discussed about submission and the source of morals. This section got me thinking. Asay mentions the scene in Batman Begins when Bruce Wayne rejects Raz al Ghul’s order to execute the farmer turned murderer as a demonstration of the concept. If morals are a creation of man, and the League of Shadows is the ultimate authority of these morals, why should Bruce not execute the man? A little back story, Raz al Ghul leads the League of Shadows, a mysterious group that is focused on making the world good through their actions, they have a no mercy sense of justice that is “above the law.” This group found and “rescued” Bruce from his wandering vagabond lifestyle and trained him with the skills we see him with as Batman.

“I’m no executioner”

This stirs up a lot of mixed thoughts in my head. Having grown up only nominally Christian (or as I often say “culturally Christian”) I didn’t have a clear picture of where the so called morals of the world came from, and I lived a life that showed that. I broke some laws if I wouldn’t get caught (Smoking and drinking underage, speeding, etc.) broke some commandments (sex outside of marriage, lying, idols) and pretty much set my own morals. So what stopped me from breaking bigger laws, from living even more for myself? What caused the shift from an aimless teenager who had no real direction to soldier fighting for his nation to Christ follower?

Let’s look back to Bruce Wayne, the League of Shadows, and the world around them. As any fan knows, the DC universe has been rewritten man times, so it’s hard to paint a clear picture of the world. However, looking at the most recent iterations, we could reasonably assume that God does not exist or is regulated to a minor role in this fictional world. If this is the case, defining where morals come from is very difficult. If we rely on science to tell us the origin of everything, than we have to ask why any mercy would exist. In a science based moral system, it is most beneficial to a person or group of people to eliminate any antagonist to the welfare of that person or people. In this kind of world, Bruce Wayne would have no reason to spare the man’s life. No reason to say those words, “I’m no executioner.” But he did.

In saying those words Bruce Wayne admits to an authority above Raz al Ghul, above the League of Shadows, and above himself. Let me you show how. I’m going to paint a few pictures here.

  1. Bruce views the League of Shadows as the ultimate authority on morality. They say to kill the man as punishment. So Bruce kills the man.
  2. Bruce views Raz al Ghul (or his agent, Ducard) as the ultimate authority on morality. He says kill the man. Bruce kills the man.
  3. Bruce views himself as authority on morality (or center of morality). He is told to kill the man “For [his] own sake” by Ducard. Bruce kills the man to protect his own life.

     

    Or

     

  4. Bruce recognizes something else as source of morality. He is told to kill the man. He rejects this order, submitting to the higher authority that tells him he should have mercy and not execute the man.

 

This is one of those situations that should get anyone, believer or not, to contemplate. Do we believe that we are the center of the universe or do we believe that there is something higher that directs how we should act? Notice I said should, not would. We still have the choice to follow that direction or to reject it and do what suits us best (or what we think does). So now for the hard thought, are you the executioner, or are you willing to refuse, and take your life in your own hands because of a belief that goes beyond you? Bruce Wayne did in Batman Begins. David did when he cut Saul’s cloak rather than killing him. Countless others have when faced with following God or following man.

I challenge you to take the 4th option. Submit to God as authority of how you should act and work to follow Jesus in all your actions.

Until the Whole World Knows,

Paul

Creation-hands-L

After completing the first telling of Creation, Genesis grows more specific. The second creation tale is God’s creation of man. In Genesis 2:7 we read that “The Lord God formed the man from the soil of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,and the man became a living being.” This creation is an even more hotly debated topic than the creation of the earth, with many, believers and non-believers alike, arguing for evolution. My argument here is and will always be that God is all powerful. I don’t know the exacts of man’s creation, but I do know that God created man, not random chance. I don’t pretend to know the science of it, but I do know that arguing anything else doesn’t win believers, it simply causes arguments.

After creating Adam, God placed him in an orchard that He created, a place called Eden.In Eden, God gave Adam a job to care for an maintain the garden, giving him freedom to eat of every plant except one, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Of this tree, God commanded that Adam was not to eat. He also saw Adam and said “It is not good for the man to be alone.I will make a companionfor him who corresponds to him.” Bringing each of the animals he had created, God had Adam name them, but he found no suitable companion for man. At this God forced Adam to fall asleep and he created Eve from Adam’s rib. On waking, Adam was pleased, and scripture tells us the we are to leave our family and join with our wife, becoming a new family.

So what does this mean to you and me, the Christian man? God stated that it is not good for man to be alone. This tells us that we are not meant to be loners, but we are meant to live in community with others. It is also in this passage that marriage is defined, a man joins with a woman and becomes a new family. While these are important, I believe the most important is what is meant by companion. Different translations use “helper”, “partner”, or “companion” here, but the original Hebrew uses ‘ezer. Throughout scripture, ‘ezer is most often translated as “helper”, but the English word is very limited in it’s meaning. The Hebrew word means much more that a person who helps, it is the person to turn to in times of need, the partner in good things, and the companion in the calm.

Men sometimes take the word helper (in addition to some other scriptures) to mean that he is supposed to dominate his wife and all women. Some even go so far as to declare that no woman deserves anything apart from her husband or father. This is seen outside of the church as well, in our culture and in others. But that is a violation of scripture’s meaning. God wanted a companion for Adam, not a slave or servant. He could find those in the animals. What could not be found was a companion.

So here is my challenge to you men. If you do not already, treat your wife as a companion. Put her in front of your friends and in front of yourself. Love her as Christ loves the Church, don’t rule her like a slave holder.

Until the Whole World Knows,

Paul

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.

creationAnd the arguments began.

So, the first chapter of Genesis, the first chapter of scripture, was written by Moses and inspired by God. What does that mean for us? What can Moses, a man who was born so long before modern scientific methods, tell us about the creation of everything? To tell the truth, I’m not sure that Moses could tell us much. If we look at his writings, they describe events at least 1000 years before he lived. But God on the other hand; God can tell us a lot. And that is what I believe he does in Genesis.

So what does Genesis 1 tell us? God tells us that the earth and everything on it was created in 6 days, but modern science tells us that isn’t possible. So is Genesis 1 wrong? I don’t believe so. When we examine God’s qualities, we see Him as omnipotent. This means He is all powerful. He can do anything, so He can create the Heavens and the Earth in 6 days. He can do it in a second if he wants. Or He can do it in billions (or more) of years. So is Genesis possible, sure, and God could even make it so we couldn’t tell that it was done this way. I’m not saying He did, but I am saying God is all powerful. So the timeline is an argument point.

Most religions believe in a creation story, and most line up pretty well with what we read in Genesis 1, but they differ in a few key points, one of these is who was the creator. Even Atheists have theories on this, ranging from random chance to an alien race (but who created them I ask). So who is the creator? I believe that this is the question that Genesis 1 is answering, not the how, but the who. And I believe that the who is God. We see reference to all three persons of God being involved in the creation:

Father: Gen 1:1 In the beginningGodcreatedthe heavens and the earth.

Son: John 1:1-5 In the beginningwas the Word, and the Word was with God,and the Word was fully God.The Word was with God in the beginning. All things were createdby him, and apart from him not one thing was createdthat has been created.In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind.  And the light shines on in the darkness,but the darkness has not mastered it.

Holy Ghost: Gen 1:2 Nowthe earthwas without shape and empty,and darknesswas over the surface of the watery deep,but the Spirit of Godwas movingover the surfaceof the water.

So the who is answered here. Now let me hit the big one for us here at Hardcore Christian Men. What does this mean for a God’s man?

Gen 1: 26-30 Then God said, “Let us makehumankindin our image, after our likeness,so they may ruleover the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth,and over all the creatures that moveon the earth.” God created humankindin his own image, in the image of God he created them,male and female he created them.God blessedthem and saidto them, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it!Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground.”Then God said, “I now give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the entire earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.And to all the animals of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to all the creatures that move on the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I giveevery green plant for food.” It was so.

In this passage, God gives us a job. We were created in His image, and we were created to rule over the world. We were created to multiply and fill the earth. We were created to eat and enjoy the earth. The things that stand out to me in this section is that we were created in His image (both man and woman) and that we are to rule over everything on the earth. So what does this mean? If we look at how we’ve lived here so far, it does seem that we’ve subdued it, but I question if we’ve ruled it as scripture teaches us to.

Throughout the Bible, we are given examples of good rulers and bad. From David to Herod, we are shown different styles of rule, but all fall short of the example God showed in His Son, Jesus. So what is the example the Jesus shows us? I’ve hit on this topic many times, but this question is one that theologians have been studying and discussing since he walked the earth. The key to the discussion is love. Jesus showed us how to be a leader by being a servant. That is what we must do.

Genesis 1 teaches me that we as God’s men are called to rule the earth through servant leadership and love. Are you up to the challenge?

Until the Whole World Knows,

Paul

2012 in review

Posted: 2012 12 30 by Paul S in Hardcore Christian Men

You’ve noticed a down year in activity, but it was a good year for views. In this coming year, I will be looking for more writers, working on becoming more active again myself, and seeking to grow in understanding of God’s direction for us as Hardcore Christian Men.

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 16,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

When I had turned 18, had graduated high school and was ready to start my life.  That involved getting a job, finding an apartment, purchasing a car and having all the responsibilities that come with that.  Since I moved out of the town my parents lived, I was now in the city and experiencing a life that was different.  I could make all my own decisions and I was responsible for no one but myself.  It was the freedom I had been talking about and dreaming of for years.

At that time making money was the most important thing, supporting myself took precedence over a church I could belong to.  I was able to find one and I attended for a while but money became my ultimate God.  I stopped attending and continued working 1 – 2 jobs to support myself even after college and up until my wife and I were dating.  By this time I had moved a few times, found a regular Monday – Friday job and was able to again begin attending church.

When I finally found a church I could call home and began getting involved I noticed their seemed to be a lot of retired men and women attending.  There was a mix of both young and old, but the older folks kept to themselves and didn’t interact much with folks my age or younger.  At that point the last thing I wanted was some older person telling me how to live my life or what to do and that mindset continued for many years.

Since then I have been involved in a variety of churches and I have come to see the same thing.  The gap between young adults and senior citizen is widening year by year.  Somehow we have failed to connect both generations.  There is a bridge that needs to be built and yet I see very few trying to accomplish this.  I understand as young adults, we as men believe we have it all figured out.  We have all the answers and the last thing we need is someone telling us how to live our lives.  I am well aware, because I believed this to be true for myself.  I also understand from older folks, they feel they are intruding and have nothing in common with the younger generation.  Both sides have fears and it is those fears that keep the two generations from being united.

At some point late in my 30’s I began to see the foolishness of my thinking. I missed some wonderful opportunities to share in the life of an older man or couple and gain wisdom on how to conduct myself, raise kids and be a better husband.  My wife and I started discussing this and both agreed we need to find a couple or individuals who we could build relationships with and allow them to speak into our lives and provide us with insights and wisdom from their own life experiences.  So we began praying, I prayed continually God would connect me with the right man.  After several years and attempts to connect I am happy to say our prayers have been answered.  We have met an older couple and each week for over a year I have been meeting with an older man.  The times we connect with these folks are such good times and we feel as though we have benefited greatly.

We are still lacking in so many ways as a body.  There is so much to learn from those who have already been down those roads.  To sit and listen as they share about their lives, hear stories and understand life lessons experienced speaks volumes.   We are not too old to have them be part of our lives.  As younger men and women we need realize our foolishness in thinking we have our lives all figured out.  We may have had parents who failed us, hurt us and left us with wounds; however we can allow the love from God to be experienced through an older generation who needs to pour out their love on others.

Please know this those of you that are 50 and over, you are needed.  You may have no one in your life and yet there are younger people who need you.  You may feel like you have nothing to contribute, you will be in the way or you just aren’t able to relate.  You can relate in more ways than you know.  You have plenty to contribute, you have life experiences and you are needed to impact the future generations, even if you didn’t make good choices early on, you can use those as examples of wisdom learned.

My hope is the body will purposely find ways to break down the walls.  Create ways to engage both.  Ask retired men and women to help out in the Youth Groups, speak at events, serve, and pair them up with young couples about to enter into marriage and starting families. (You know they have the time).  Create ways for younger aged folks to celebrate and serve.  Invite them over to your homes for holidays, events at school or just to hang out and play games or watch a movie.

As I get older I don’t want to settle into a life of feeling like I am not important, valuable or have something to offer.  Part of the reason I stepped into the role of a Youth Pastor years ago was my love of kids and the energy they held.  That excited me and pushed me forward.  I have no plans to settle as I get older, but to find ways to continually invest in others, both young and old.  How are you helping to close the gap on the generations?

Jesus explained in Matthew 20:21-28 and again in Mark 10:35-45 that anyone wanting to be great would have to be the least.  Jesus did not come to be served but to serve.  Jesus modeled this in all he did.  Eventually he did so by dying the horrible death of crucifixion to endure the weight of our sins.

When Jesus walked the earth he didn’t do it in grand splendor we would think deserving of a king.  He hung around prostitutes, tax collectors, lepers and various other folks who no one wanted anything to do with.  He ate with them, spent time engaging with them.

Jesus wasn’t troubled with looks or acquiring status.  He was comfortable in his own skin and knew what mattered was what goes on inside our hearts.  One of the supreme examples of serving someone can be found at the last supper.  Jesus washes the disciple’s feet.  He gets down on his hands and knees and washes their feet.  To me that is exceptionally humbling.  I don’t care for feet and the last thing I want to do is touch someone’s feet.  To lower myself and wash someone’s feet would be a big deal.  I’ve been on a retreat before where I actually washed another person’s feet.  At one point during one of my wife’s pregnancies I washed her feet, rubbed lotion on them and massaged them.  For me to move past my intense dislike of feet and actually do this was truly done out of love.

Leadership is something we strive for.  To lead, reign or rule means one way or another you have established you have what it takes to lead others.  Many get into positions of power because all they can see is a title or a position with the ability to command others.  This goes entirely against the model Jesus presents for us.  He came to serve others without expecting anything in return.

I believe as men we are called to lead through serving.  We are to be an example with our words and actions of what it means to serve others.  This means serving the needs of my wife and kids.  Often I have to check my motives.  I come home from work and find the house isn’t cleaned the way I expected.  Chores haven’t been done, laundry needs to be folded, dinner still needs to be made and a kid needs someone to hear what they have to say.  I can come in and start demanding things get done right away and begin telling everyone what needs to be done.  I can complain, roll my eyes and sigh loudly.  OR – I can walk in, lovingly greet everyone and begin tackling what needs to be done.

I sit in positions of leadership in other areas of my life.  I have stepped into those roles with the mindset of serving others.  My mindset is when I have it in my ability to do good; I will do just that.  I want others to feel like they are seen and heard, hear beyond the words they speak and catch a glimpse into their heart.  Part of my belief is also reminding myself that in order to serve others I must never think highly of myself.

Serving others may mean I have to dust, mop and put laundry away.  It may mean I have to pick up the trash lying around my neighborhood, spending time talking to someone when I have something else I need to do.  There are so many ways in which serving others allows us to disregard our egos, humble ourselves and do what is needed with a positive attitude.  When we serve the needs of others, we begin to demonstrate the love Jesus has for all of us.  Serving others with no expectations may not make you the ruler of an empire, but it will be the place in which your actions back up your words and you set an example that is contagious.

Are we really living?  Are we really impacting the world in the ways Jesus would want us to?  Do we really look at how our lives match up with what Jesus says?  Have we settled into a version of Americanized Christianity that makes it easy for us to live and yet we feel like we are doing what Jesus called us to do?

Honestly, I do not believe the majority of us are.  I think we take his words and look at them through the lens of our culture and what it tells us.  We dissect them, we look up various meanings for words to better understand them, and yet we are still left with not really living them.

How many of us go to church each week, a bible study or other church activities, hear what is spoken, but a few hours later can’t even remember what was spoken?  How many of us just read the Bible on a regular basis just because we feel it is the thing to do, but fail to act and follow the words of Jesus.

As I was reading Luke 6:27 – 49 – it hit me that many of the things Jesus calls us to do, we do not really live out day to day.  They are great principles to live by, but really implementing them into my life and living them out is a different story.

  • Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
  • If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also.  If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.  Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
  • Do to others as you would have them do to you.  “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.  And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you?  Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.  But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.
  • Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
  • Do not judge, and you will not be judged.
  • Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.
  • Forgive, and you will be forgiven
  • Give, and it will be given to you
  • For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
  • Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
  • For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.  “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

I am more and more challenged by the letters in red in my Bible.  Jesus has so plenty to say on how we live, treat and love others.  So many times, I have heard his words but have never really lived them out.  I do not want to live that way anymore.  As he asks, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?  I cannot continue in the way I have lived, I must live differently.  His words must penetrate deep within and I need to begin implementing these words into everything I do?

How do you live out the letters in Red?  What words speak to you that you need to begin living out in ways you have not been?

How much do you really need God?  Is he something you depend on moment by moment to get you through the day?  Is he someone you seek out daily?  Do you only acknowledge God each week when you go to church and hear the pastor speak?  Or do you turn to him when life is crashing down around you and there seems to be no other options.

Living in this great country, we have been blessed over and abundantly.  We have so many “things” that rarely do we have a need for God.  We have a means of supporting ourselves and planning for retirement.  We can go to the cupboard or fridge and grab something to eat anytime we want.  We have a plethora of options when choosing what to wear for the day.  We can go anywhere we want in a variety of transportation modes and we can choose where and how we worship.  The possibilities are endless and we take part in those every single day.

Even the things we consider to be something we must have in our life – computers, laptops, cell phones, cable, dry cleaning, going out to eat, seeing a movie, getting the morning paper.  Going on that yearly trip to Hawaii or other far off destinations.  We have become used to this as a way of life; it has become the expectation for how we are to live our lives.  If we don’t have things when we want them as soon as we want them it is a problem for us.

As I reflect on those items I realize just how much of those “things” become more important than God and our dependence and reliance on God is so minimal.  We have become Gods ourselves and have no real need for God until a crisis hits.  We can take care of and meet all of our own needs.  Well at least we believe we can and through the way our culture has taken shape, it becomes reinforced daily.

Thinking back to when Jesus was on the earth and roaming around – he did not have those distractions, yet he relied heavily on God to provide and to direct and guide him.  As he spent time with the disciples, he continually demonstrated over and over how God would meet and supply their needs.    In fact in Matthew 6:25 – 34 Jesus speaks to this 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

We spend entirely too much of our time meeting our own needs and planning so we are taken care of in the future.  How much of our day is spent in communion with God.  Seeking out and asking him what he wants us to do.  Do we ask him every time we go to buy something if that is where he wants his money to be spent?  Do we seek him out when we plan our vacations and who we invite over?  Do we readily seek out his input in our lives?

In meeting our own needs, storing up and taking care of our current situation as well as our future.  Where and when do we have a need?  How can truly rely on God and be able to tell others of the great things he has done in our lives?  Maybe we need to let go of the things we hold onto so tightly.  Maybe we need to scale back and live on less and let go of the luxuries we have in our lives.  Maybe it is time to really allow God to provide for our daily needs.

Right now I am in the midst of doing this very thing.  I am evaluating all areas of my life and in ways that I act like God.  I would challenge you to sit down and spend some time with God and ask him to really open your eyes to your world.  Allow him to show you all the areas where you are taking his role.  In relying on him daily to get my needs met it is there that I will be able to see God really at work and be able to give accounts to not only my children but countless others of how God is truly alive and well today.

Are you ready to have your eyes opened and put God back in the place he really belongs?

First and foremost, I want to apologize for my absence. Since July I have started a second job, launched a second men’s discipleship team, and had some big changes at my old job. Just now starting to figure out how to budget my time. I feel horrible about my absence and will work to be more present here. Now on to the first in this series.
You’ll remember back in July I wrote about whether the New Testament man was more or less of a man compared to modern man. Lets take a look at one of the qualities I mentioned then.

What is strength? In western culture, strength is often centered on muscular strength. In a culture that idolizes sex and the human form, men are expected to be well muscled or sculpted, but most physical trainers will admit that muscular strength is not measured by the size of the muscles, but by the efficiency in which they contract. However strength goes far beyond physical strength. When talking about strength, one could be addressing the mental perseverance that can be shown in the face of strife. There are many other ways to define strength, and it is something that a Christian man has to understand.

Defining Strength

[strengkth, strength, strenth]

noun

1. the quality or state of being strong; bodily or muscular power; vigor.
2. mental power, force, or vigor.
3. moral power, firmness, or courage.
4. power by reason of influence, authority, resources, numbers, etc.
5. number, as of personnel or ships in a force or body: a regiment with a strength of 3000.

This is how dictionary.com describes strength, but I’m not sure it’s enough. While this is a complete definition, it doesn’t necessarily explain what we mean when we talk about Christian strength. We’ll pick this up later with a Christian view on strength.

1 Timothy 12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength,t hat he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

We are our own worst critics.  We set standards for ourselves and then are disgusted when we don’t even measure up to them.  Often many of us have a poor image of ourselves and consider ourselves failures.  Some just give up, while others keep pushing forward.

When we fail to see ourselves in view of how God see’s us, we can become perfectionists, not able to accept love from others and compare ourselves to others.  We continue to strive to be something or someone we believe we are supposed to be.  It is hard to accept positive feedback from others because we somehow have decided it still isn’t acceptable.  In order to satisfy our own desire to be better we can never rest, we are always trying to do and be better.  When we make mistakes, mess up or sin, you might as well just shoot us dead.

Satan is very clever and he has a way of warping our views.  We fail to see ourselves in the view of God.  We are not perfect and we never will be.  We all have sin in our lives and we will until the end of time.  Jesus understand us better than we think we understand ourselves.  We are loved and accepted by God just as we are.  The standards in which we place ourselves are not the standards for which God looks at us. God loves us and he doesn’t keep his love from us until we reach a certain level.  As we walk through life, God continues to meet us where we are at and love us despite ourselves.

Maybe today is the day you need to stop with the way you have been doing things and begin believing these words.  Maybe today is the day you view yourself just as God sees you.  Is that a step you are willing to take?