When you fall

"When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand." Psalm 37:24

I love the reminder today of WHEN we fall, because we certainly will and do. For those who follow Christ, we are promised we will fall, but we will not fall too far as God holds our hand.

My two year old has been walking for a little while, but from time to time she attempts running. She can only go so far at a certain speed before she falls. I will hold her hand often while she walks and runs. She does fall, and WHEN she does, it is never too far. I have a hold of her hand.

In verse 39, the Psalmist writes, "[God] is their strength in time of trouble."

In your life, there WILL be trouble. God does not take trouble away. He is strength IN times of trouble. He will be the hand to hold you in times of trouble. He will not let you fall too far, but fall you will. Find strength only God can be and give to you in those times.

Freedom in Failure

I met with one of my RAs, and he said, "I have felt a lot lately like I have been letting everyone down."

I asked him how it was he thought or felt like he was letting me down.  He said he just felt like he was failing at stuff.

"Maybe I shouldn't be doing this, I think!"

"Now THAT would let me down, " I said.

I continued to let my RA know he has not let me down, and the reason is because I expect him to fail.  He will make plenty of mistakes and poor choices as an RA, and I expect him to do so.  I told him that by knowing this, he will now be a better RA.

My walk with Christ soared once I realized God expected me to fail.  Why?  Because him expecting me to fail means he does NOT expect me to be perfect.  Now THAT is good news.

There is freedom in knowing God expects me to fail and loves me despite my mistakes and trips. There is freedom because now I can take more risks.  I can go after my faith without abandon or fear.  I no longer have to maintain the perfect Christian facade.  I can now dive into my faith head first.

"But you still make mistakes!"

Yes, I certainly will, and those mistakes will go challenged.  Each poor choice, mistake and failure will come with its fair share of conviction and consequence. There will be these mistakes that come along, but God expects those and loves me despite them.

Brennan Manning writes, "God expects more failure out of you than you do."

Today, I have realized how freeing that really is.  So my RA could face confrontation when it happens knowing I expect him to fail from time to time and learn from them instead of obsessively side-stepping them. He can go all out and be willing to take risks that some choices may go wrong, but that's okay.  He does not have to be perfect or the best RA ever.  I don't expect him to be.

I told him, "You won't let me down by failing.  The only way you will let me down is if you give up."

I believe God expects more failure out of us than we do.  So we don't let God down when we fail, make mistakes or ask questions.  I think we let God down when we just give up, because when we give up we aren't even willing to fail.

Where's the faith and trust and risk in that?

Something About Jesus: random notes on Matthew 13-21

On December 1, I began a challenge to read through the gospels in 30 days.  Along with a few other good friends, it has been a great journey through the life and teachings of Jesus. My hope was to include reflections along the way and offer a place for those taking the challenge to post their reflections as well.

Due to the weekend, I read a lot and posted little. So here are just a few random reflections on I had from chapter 13-21 of Matthew.


CHAPTER 13 13:20-21 - I don't want to be without deep roots so my faith may last longer...this soil speaks of those who fall away or walk away from faith as soon as there are problems or questions. This seems to define too many college and young adults without deep enough roots to last 13:33 - Do we permeate our world like yeast? Or are we clumped up? 13:38 - THE GOSPEL IS NOT THE SEED! WE ARE THE SEED!

CHAPTER 14 14:15-16 - How often we want Jesus to just do something instead of us actually acting on things we are not only capable of, but called to do.

CHAPTER 15 15:18 - How much of my worship do I offer with my lips but not my heart? 15:15-19 - the heart, the HEART, THE HEART

CHAPTER 16 16:4 - A wicked and adulterous generation looks for miraculous signs - in the age of the "new atheism", we are a generation...a culture...a mindset not only looking for miraculous signs but demanding them 16:13-15 - Who do YOU say I am? - some say a lunatic, some say just a good man, some say only a great teacher, some say a prophet...but who do YOU say I am?

CHAPTER 17 17:17 - How long shall I stay with you? - Jesus knows he has to leave and die, but I wonder if he wonders at this moment, "Is this a good idea; leaving my Father's message and mission in the hands of these people?"

CHAPTER 18 18:7 - Things that cause people to sin - this shows us that bad things do happen in this world, and people have the choice to do horrible and bad things. These things will happen, and it is no good for the one who makes those things happen...but it is not God or Jesus who makes them happen 18:10-14 - I must not be a shepherd, because I would "count my losses" in this situation. If I leave the 99 for 1, I leave 99 at risk for that 1. This has to do with the difference between how I see the world and how God sees the world. I see it as good vs bad and he sees it as lost vs found. If I could change my perspective of the world, perhaps that 1 would be worth the risk of the 99 18:21-35 - ANY TIME I DECIDE TO LOOK DOWN ON ANYONE FOR ANY REASON (especially for not following Jesus), it is a clear indication that I have forgotten the depth of my own failure. I have forgotten how amazingly good God is

CHAPTER 19 19:16 - I noticed the rich young ruler wanted to know "what good thing" he needed to do to get eternal familiar to those of us today who just want to be good enough or do enough good to get into a perfect heaven with a perfect God 19:17 - and Jesus is quick to show him he certainly is NOT going to be good enough to get eternal life...only God is truly good enough 19:18-19 - so Jesus shows him ways to be good, and the rich young ruler thinks he can accomplish these things UNTIL Jesus sets the hook in verse 21 19:21 - a good reminder that no you are NOT "good enough" 19:25 - The disciples ask the right question: "then who CAN be saved" if nobody can be "good enough" ANSWER: 19:26 - With man, impossible! With God, always possible!

CHAPTER 20 20:10-12 - Christians always think they are entitled 20:15-16 - How arrogant we are! 20:31 - WHEN THE WORLD DROWNS OUT OUR CRIES for Jesus, we have a choice. Will we just give up...OR...will we shout all the louder?

CHAPTER 21 21:9 - HOSANNA = "Save us" 21:44 - I want to be broken to pieces as I fall on the solid Rock of Christ, but I hope not to be crushed UNDER the weight of that Rock.


LISTENING TO: Sidewalk Prophets (self-titled album)