Saturday, September 27, 2014

He Touches the Ugly Parts

The question of the day is this:  Got ugly parts?  Don’t we all? 

Even if you show me yours I’ll refuse to show you mine.  My ugly parts are … well, ugly.

But there is one who touches our ugly parts.  He is the God of the Universe.  He is the one who is in love with you, He knows all about you and He cares deeply about you and me and every area of our lives.

I love this insight from Max Lucado’s book Grace

“Jesus touched the stinky, ugly parts of his disciples.  Knowing He came from God, knowing He was going to God, knowing He could arch an eyebrow or clear His throat and every angel in the universe would snap to attention, knowing that all authority was His, He exchanged his robe for the servant’s wrap, lowered himself to knee level and began to rub away the grime, the grit and the grunge their feet had collected on the journey.” 
~Max Lucado, Grace

And He continues that today.  He does that for you and for me. 

He sees the dirt, the grime, the soars, the fungus and the ingrown toenails, and He loves us anyway.  He washes all the dirt and ugly away when we come to Him.

What is clinging to your life?  What habits have you picked up that cling to you like a bad smell? 

What is your greatest need?  What is your worst moment in life?  What is your greatest sin?

Come to the one who stands ready to wash it all away just for the asking. 

He makes the ugly parts beautiful once again.
He turns our dirt into dignity.

He touches our ugly parts and redeems those scars and mars.

Can you trust him?

You bet you can.

“All have sinned and fall short of God’s perfect plan.  But we find justification as a gift from God because of the redemptive work of The Christ, God’s one and only son.”
(Romans 3:23-24 Paraphrased by PMB)

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Seeing Through the Smoke

Brennan Manning, a favorite Christian author, tells an encouraging story that I would like to share with you. 

Once upon a time a two-story house caught fire.  The family – father, mother, several children – were on their way out when the smallest boy became terrified, tore away from his mother and ran back upstairs.  Suddenly he appeared at the smoke-filled window, crying like crazy.  His father, outside, shouted, “Jump, son, jump!  I’ll catch you.”

The boy cried, “But, daddy, I can’t see you.” 

“I know,” his father called, “I know.  But I can see you.”
~Brennan Manning.

And the moral of the story … God sees through the smoke.  He sees through the smoke-screen, through the burns and blurs and deceptions and through the hardships, the half-told truths and the obscuring stories we tell ourselves and others.

What?  You think I am less than honest?  You think I shade the truth on occasion?  Are you accusing me of fraud?

Maybe.  Perhaps.  And I am right there with you.  I have twisted a line or two to make myself look good.  I have fluffed a resume or two in my day.  And God still loves me, and you as well.

And if we do bend and twist our story a bit, and if we obscure the scene, then this article is not a condemnation but a reprieve.  This is not a deal breaker but a deal maker.  We have a God who sees us anyway.  He sees us at our best moments and our worst.  He sees the homerun hits and the strikeouts.  He sees us on top of the world and in our down-and-out moments of despair.

And He loves us still.  He loves us in the middle of our mundane living.  He loves us in our lies and in our laughter.

Isaiah 43:1 says this (loosely paraphrased by PMB): 

“I know you by name. I call to you.  When you pass through treacherous waters, and lies and deceit, I still see you and redeem you.”  Isaiah 43;1-2

God sees through the smoke.  He finds us when our own eyes obscure the scenery.  He sees us in every act of decency and disgust.

HE SEES US!  You and me.

Thank God for his ever watchful eye that is always upon us.

Thank God indeed.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Sunday, September 14, 2014

How Good Is Good

This great question rises to the top once again.  As Christian’s go, the quest for “good enough” is like running a race in a round building. 

If you don’t claim to wear the Christian label, perhaps you have thrown up your hands because you never felt the “standards” were reachable.

Let me help you with some of these quandaries. 

I started a new career path recently as a personal banker.  There are over thirty tutorials I’m required to take, and the passing score is 80.  What if, in the pursuit of God, we had to score an 80 or greater on the “good” meter?  What would happen if we score a 78, or even 58?  Maybe we’re so far from good we can only muster a 42.  What then?

Just how good is good?  What does God do with average Joe’s and Jackie’s?  What if, for whatever reasons, we feel we are below average in God’s scheme of things? 

Hang on.  There is some great news ahead.

The critical piece in this race for good and better is this:  GRACE!  The grace of God is available and abundant for the best of the best and the worst of the worst.  Just listen to this.

The wages of sin - death, but God’s gift is eternal life In Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:23

And another:

By grace you and I are saved through faith.  This is not because of anything we can do on our own.  This is a free gift from God.
Ephesians 2:8

And one final thought:
This is the testimony:  God gives us eternal life in His Son Jesus Christ.  If you have the Son, you have life.
I John 5:11

As I read these passages again, I see no mention of a price.  There is no laundry list of “things to do”.  We ACCEPT this free gift. 

Here is what is missing:
We don’t have to bow to the east.
We don’t have to wear sandals.
We don’t have to earn a bunch of merit badges.

Here is the only qualification:  have the Son – Jesus Christ.

And if you presently don’t have the Son, just ask.  ASK!  Ask him to come and be with you, abide in you. 

How good is good?

Good enough when you have the Son!

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What Is a Christian

There have been a few hundred descriptors used in describing exactly what a Christian is.  There is only one good answer to this question, however.

I think Maya Angelou pretty much nailed it with this thought.

“When I say “I am a Christian,” I’m not holier than thou; I’m just a simple sinner who received God’s good grace, somehow.”

Some would identify a Christian as one who goes to church.
Perhaps some may think that a Christian is one who reads his/her Bible every day.
Maybe a Christian is one who doesn’t drink, or smoke, or go to movies.

Maya nailed it.  She NAILED.  She received God’s good grace. 

We don’t earn the title “Christian.”
We don’t get a merit badge that says “Christian” on it.
We don’t get a plaque to place on our wall of fame that says “On this day in 2014 Michael Biggs was declared a Christian with all the rights and privileges thereof.”

It is a grace thing.  Remember, our working definition of grace is “an unmerited act.”

Are you trying to earn the title “Christian?”  Then you are working too hard. 

Are you trying for a marathon of prayers to finally get your “Christian” notch on your belt?  Good luck with that one.

Ephesians 2:8 puts it this way.
“For by grace a person is saved through faith.  This is not something you can do for yourself.  It is a gift from God.”

The great mystery is solved.  The great answer comes crashing through the barriers. 

You aren't required to be a member of the right club or right church.
You aren't required to wear a certain headband, a robe of the right color or learn some magic words to gain admittance. 

You are offered grace.  It is a FREE gift from God himself.

The faith part is simply acknowledging Jesus Christ as the Son of God. 

Then say whatever words you feel you want to add.

These are some pretty good one.

“Help me God.”

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time