Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

From now till around the end of January is my most favorite time of the year. The almost three months that this time frame encompasses has many great memories, traditions, and special days that I love to reflect on and celebrate. Its also the best time of the year to drink coffee but that's a different blog.

Tomorrow, we leave to go experience the Suiter Family Thanksgiving. This is no small event and is looked forward to throughout the year by my whole extended family. It's more like a family reunion with many of its own long-standing traditions and experiences. It is a time that I really get to connect with my parents, sisters, brother-in-laws, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, cousins, cousin's kids (I think that's all and you get the picture). It is a big event and great fun. I'm really looking forward to it again this year.

Then right after Thanksgiving is my birthday and then we quickly move into the Christmas season with all of its wonderful and fun festivities. Then comes New Years Eve and Day and lots of college football. Right after that, we get to celebrate the birth of two of my three children. Anna's birthday is January 6 and Mary's is on the 15th (hard to believe that she is almost one!). And then hopefully, intermingled in all those great events are some really cool WV snow days!

So yeah, I'm looking forward to this fun stretch for the Suiter family as we wrap up a difficult year and look forward to a new year with hopefully less stress than 2009 presented. Here's to the most wonderful time of the year! Yeah I know the tune that is running through your head right now! :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Words For Sin

Sin used to be called sin and people actually felt bad and convicted about it. Now we have so many new names for sin so that we can keep from feeling bad and convicted. Here are some examples - instead of sin, we now call it a complex, an addiction, a dependency, a mental disorder, a chemical imbalance, an obsession, a phobia, a quirk, an indiscretion, a mis-spoken word, a mistake, etc....

I'm not trying to say that none of these other ideas and words don't have their place as far as our present problems go but we have certainly come a long way in making ourselves feel better about our sin by trying to find something other than ourselves to blame it on. Maybe our culture and today's church would both be in a better place if we all still called sin what it is. It is not a complex or any of the other things listed above, it is missing the mark that God has set for our lives and without Jesus, sin keeps us separated from Him. Sin has, is, and always will be sin!!! No culture or word changes will ever change the fact that sin is war against God and keeps people from Him!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Live Free

"Our aim is always to become so free in spirit that it no longer matters whether or not we have the earthly things we crave. So be vigilant over your will and desires, for these are the corrupt forces that dwell within, and keep you from living free." John of the Cross (1542-1591)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Where Has Respect Gone?

I have recently been troubled as I watch our culture slip further and further away from respect. I get more and more upset when I see those my age and younger behave as if no one matters but them - as if no opinion matters but theirs. I want to scream, "REALLY? Do you really thing that you are that important?"

"A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions." Proverbs 18:2

I guess I should not expect individuals who do not know Christ to be respectful (although, there was a time in our country when even the lost were respectful) but the new trend that I see that is so disturbing to me is the lack of respect found in those who claim to follow Jesus. I observe people who say with their lips that they desire God and desire to follow Him and yet act with great disrespect to others (authority figures, businesses, the law, peers, other's property, even their own property). They say things to individuals that they have no business saying. They send emails they have no business sending. They show up late for everything screaming, "my time is more important than yours!" They leave trash all over the place when they are 10 feet from a trash can. They talk over others eager to tell their own stories. They never say "please" and "thank you" or "yes sir/ma'am" or "no sir/ma'am". The list could go on and on.

Maybe I'm just being old fashioned at 36 years old but I don't think so. If there was ever a time for respect, its now. If there was ever a better time for Christians to be different than the world, its now. And what better way to shine that to be respectful - to put forth a new and different attitude than is prevailing in our culture that says, "Hey, it's not about me".

I don't believe a new level of respect would solve all the world's problems but I do believe if Christians were intensely selfless and respectful, it would shine the light of Christ into a very disrespectful and dark world!

"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. "
2 Timothy 3:1-5

The Eternal.....

"God must reveal to us that nothing in this life is truly good, for it is not lasting. And our soul, which is eternal, must stop trying to find its resting place and security in earthly loves and worldly joys. Nothing in this life can offer the secure hope, the limitless love our soul needs - for the earth and all that is in it is passing away, but our soul is eternal....."
John of the Cross (1542-1591)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And I Thought My Life Was Hard

I just read a brief article detailing how unhappy Micheal Vick is playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. REALLY!!?? Are you serious!!?? I mean after what he has been through, you'd think he be happy that he was just suiting up on Sundays in the NFL. But apparently that and the fact that he is getting paid $1.6 million to suit up just isn't enough for Mr. Vick.

"It would be hard," Vick said of returning to the Eagles (next year), according to excerpts released by NBC. "It would be an everyday struggle. I won't be a Wildcat guy. I can't," Vick told NBC. "It's a different style of play. It's almost like a hit-or-miss type of thing. My position is quarterback. That's what I was born to do."

WOW!!!! I can't even begin to imagine how hard things are for poor Mr. Vick. An everyday struggle? Are you serious??? Man I tell you what, things are getting bad in our country when a guy gets out of prison and then goes to work playing a game and gets paid $1.6 million for it and he is still unhappy! That is just sad and crazy. I sure hope Micheal Vick finds what he is looking for. I hope he finds happiness. I hope he finds Jesus!

As I read this article and was filled with indignation over his complaining about his situation, I wondered how often I sound like this to God. God has blessed me beyond imagination! He has released me from the prison of sin and death and then given me amazing resources that I don't deserve and placed me in a calling (aka. job) that is wonderful. Then I still find reasons to complain. My whining and moaning to God is probably worse that Micheal Vick's since I have the Truth and the Holy Spirit.

I want to take my indignation with Micheal Vick and turn it into humility before my great God. I want to stop moaning and complaining when everything doesn't go exactly like I want it to and praise and thank God more. I think my new slogan is going to be "No Whining!"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Fall Of Nineveh

Nineveh was one of the greatest and most wealthy cities of its time and it ruled for centuries. It's sin and wickedness in the form of violence was unparalleled to any other city probably in all of history. The whole story of Nineveh is an intriguing one. I won't go into all the details but I do want to point out one thing that God showed me as I was reading and studying the minor prophet of Nahum this morning.

One can get a great view (perspective) of God and His character through the storey of Nineveh. The prophet Jonah was sent to preach judgement upon Nineveh but they repented of their sin and God relented. It's then interesting to note that this repentance must not have lasted very long because God later announces sure judgement upon Nineveh through the prophet Nahum.

The thing that I took away from this is that God truly is "slow to anger and abounding in mercy" AND that "He will not withhold judgement forever." This is the perfect picture of the both/and sides of God. He is perfect mercy AND He is perfect judgement.

If you are in a time of sin and rebellion, embrace His grace now while He is offering it! There will come a time and maybe soon where His judgement will overtake you. His mercy and grace are great and His judgement is fierce. Choose His grace and love while it may be found so that you do not have to experience the terrible wrath of a Holy God. Seek God today while He may be found (check out Isaiah 55:6-7) and do not turn back to sin and rebellion.

P.S. Study the fall of Nineveh. It will scare the you know what out of you!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Our Temporal Future

I know that God is in control of all things and that we are not to worry about the future. I know that we are to follow Jesus and trust Him in all things. I also know that we are to be students of our culture and our society and protect those that we love and protect innocents so with all that said, watch this clip and answer this question: Scary or no big deal?

Does Jesus Really Love Me?

Wow! This is such a great word from Brennen Manning! The love of Jesus is bigger, deeper, and more vast than we can ever get our mind around. How would our lives change if we trusted in the love of Jesus Christ and embrace His grace! Man I needed to hear that!