Tales From the Road

Tales From the Road

You Have Heard It Said...

Jesus begins one of his most famous sermons ( The Sermon on the Mount) with these words, "You have heard it said...But I tell you." I love this. A person could write for days or weeks about the Sermon on the Mount and all that it holds for those who follow the Jesus way. The reason that I love this, in this season of life, is that it is such a parental sermon. This is the Father heart of God being expressed to his children. The Sermon on the Mount is a crash course in life-lessons. When I was doing study on this, I was amazed to see that these are the things that I want my children to know. This sermon is a love note from a Father to his children about how not just to live, but to live the way that he designed us to live. That is why those words matter so much, "You have heard it said...But I tell you." Jesus is countering the wisdom of the world with the wisdom of God. 

So I took some time to write Jesus' words again so that my children could read them and apply them to their lives in the future. 

Matthew 5:21-26: Do not murder relationships with anger, bitterness or unforgiveness.

Matthew 5:27-30: Do not diminish the Imago Dei (Image of God) in your sisters or brothers or let your life be swallowed in sin. 

Matthew 5:31-32: Do not break promises to your spouse. We are never more like God than when  we are make and keep covenants. We are never more unlike God than when we make covenants and then break them. 

Matthew 5:33-37: Be a person of your word. Let your yes's and no's stand firm. 

Matthew 5:38-42: An eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind. Be a peacemaker. 

Matthew 5:43-48: See the Imago Dei (Image of God) in everyone. Love your enemies because God loves them too. Love your enemies because you, who were once God's enemy, have been dearly loved. 

Matthew 6:1-4: Give out of a pure heart. Share what you have with those who have less. Do it with no strings attached. Do not try to gain notoriety in the world through philanthropy. If you do, you will have missed the point entirely. 

Matthew 6:5-15: Pray. Pray honestly. Pray to connect with God, not to sound holy in front of others. Pray simply; God knows what you need even before you ask. Pray for Kingdom eyes; for daily sustenance; for forgiveness; for perseverance in hard times and good. 

Matthew 6:16-18: Fast humbly and don't make a show of it. Train your body to focus more clearly on God, not to get the attention of churchy people. They might think you are holy, but it won't give you a leg up with God. 

Matthew 6:19-24: Don't give your heart to things that won't last. Invest your life in eternal things. Money is a cruel master; it will steal your best years and leave you bankrupt in the end. 

Matthew 6:25-33: Don't waste away worrying over things you can't control. One hour of worrying doesn't equal one hour of life. Seek God; he sees your needs. He will provide. 

Matthew 7:1-6: Don't judge one another. The amount of judgment you pour out is the amount you will fill your own cup with. Examine your own heart and wait for an invitation before you try to help your brother or sister with theirs. 

Matthew 7:7-12: Ask God when you are in need. God opens doors to those who faithfully knock. Careful though, he may open the door that we least expect. God will always lead us to do for others what we would want done for us. This is the foundation for everything. 

Matthew 7:13-14: There are not shortcuts to God. Don't follow the crowd. 

Matthew 7:15-23: Be warned, just because someone sounds good or has a lot of influence doesn't mean they are worth following. God will help you see through those who are all talk but no substance. You will know what and who a person is by what their life and influence produces. 

Matthew 7:24-27: Lay a firm foundation on the Rock (Jesus). Don't waste your time building castles made of sand. 

Fear

Have you ever been scared? Like really scared? Like, taste-the-bile-in-your-throat-about-to-puke-scared? I can say that, up until last Monday, I had never been that scared. I mean, I used to go out with my friends to creepy old cemeteries and try to be scared, but that is different. Last Monday I was not in control.

I was archery hunting for deer in Central Oregon. I have been hunting quite a few times over the last 10 years. It is an art. It is a chess game between you and a very clever animal. The thing about archery is that you have to be very close to the animal before you can make a good, humane shot. I found a good spot to sit and wait for a buck the night before and left Monday morning before light to get to that spot to sit and quietly wait. While I sat, the sun was just beginning to peak over the mountains in the distance. It was in that strange predawn twilight that I saw fear for the first time. About twenty-five yards away from me was a Mountain Lion. It was moving through the rocks directly to where I was sitting. I saw him for a moment and then he disappeared into the sagebrush. My breath caught in my throat. The first words out of my mouth came in a whisper that was more like a gasp, “Oh God…” I was alone. Every story that I had ever heard about how a Mountain Lion can track and attack was running through my head. In an instant my whole world was changing. He could be on me in a moment. I had no gun, I had only my bow with an arrow ready, but if he came at me quickly I would be unable to draw my bow. So I did the only thing that I could think to do. I prayed a very short prayer, “Lord be with me.”

I was shaking and I was convinced that he was around every rock, tree, bush, but he never showed up again. Later that morning I did some investigating, after my courage returned to me, of course. It was a chance meeting. He probably never knew I was there, or if he did, I was not interesting enough to investigate. Whatever the case, I learned a little about fear.

It got me thinking: “How many people live there lives like this every day?” I tasted fear for a moment and I will probably never forget about it for the rest of my life. With all the news about domestic violence that is swirling around famous athletes in the last few weeks I have begun to think about the thousands of women and children who live with that kind of soul crushing fear day in and day out. Not to mention the thousands of young girls who are being trafficked through our country on a regular basis for a sex-trade that many are pretending doesn’t exist. Quite honestly, I don’t want to ever experience that again. And the thought that there are so many that live with this fear daily moves my heart.

The Believers, the ones who bear the name of Jesus are to be the ones who stand up to the darkness. I will say, however, that standing up to the darkness may not look like what we think it does. It sounds like a battle cry, but it may look more like a light in the window. Are you willing to extend a little light into the darkness? One candle can bring light to an entire room. The greatest comfort came to me on Monday when the sun finally peaked over the edge of the horizon. The light dispels the darkness. Maybe you can bring a little light to someone in the dark. God is love and love drives away fear. 

Your to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m puting you on a light stand - SHINE!
— Matthew 5 14-16 MSG

My good friend Patrick has a company called Shine. Shine is about bring light to dark places. Please check out http://www.shinelifestyle.co/pages/featured-storyhttp://www.shinelifestyle.co/blogs/news to see how this company is bringing the light.