Friday, October 27, 2006


As I was getting out of the car tonight, I happened to look up, and the sky was perfectly clear. I could see Orion and the Pleiades and the Big Dipper.

Even though I know that everyone can see them, I always feel like God put the stars there as a special present for me. He could have done space a million different ways, but He chose to create a masterpiece of lights on a dark background. I love that He does that.

"But when I look at the stars, I see Someone else...
When I look at the stars, I feel like myself...
And suddenly the infinite and penitent begin to look like home."
- Switchfoot

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands."
- Psalm 19:1

Seeing the stars reminds me that there is a God who cared enough to create a masterpiece of the night sky. It puts everything into perspective. God is great and creative, but He's also big and infinite. When we look at the sky, we see Him, and when we see Him, we also see ourselves more clearly. The huge night sky, especially now that we know just how insignificant the earth is in comparison, is a reminder that we are such a small, small part of creation, and God is so much bigger than us.

This is just a friendly reminder to look up sometime...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Grace and Pride

"God... gives grace to the humble." Proverbs 3:34

Pride is the ultimate sin. It is often an accomplice sin, but the reason I believe it is so bad is because when we indulge in pride, we are prevented from asking for forgiveness and receiving God's grace. God's forgiveness is absolutely free, but in order to receive it, we have to ask. And pride prevents us from doing this.

In the story of David and Bathsheba, I see many different ways in which David shows pride. First of all, by not going to war, he put himself into a situation where he could be tempted. Then, after he saw Bathsheba on the roof, rather than telling an advisor he was struggling, he kept it a secret. Then he invited her over, they had sex, and she got pregnant. Pride enters again. Rather than confessing to Uriah that he had slept with his wife, David chose to maintain his tatters of pride and have Uriah killed.

There are three distinct ways in which God shows his grace in this story. First of all, I believe that by allowing David to experience the natural consequences of his sin, God showed grace - because it forced David to own up to it. When our sin goes by without consequence, we grow numb to it.

Secondly, God showed grace in exposing David. If Nathan the prophet had never confronted David, he would have lived with the shame and guilt of his actions. They would have eaten away at him for who knows how long. They would have prevented him from feeling God's grace.

Which leads to the third and most obvious way that God shows his grace - He forgave him and restored him. Psalm 51 gives us a taste of both David's agony, and ultimately his experience of God's grace and forgiveness. "Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin." Then, David asks, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."

When we sin, which we all do, the biggest mistake we can make is pridefully hiding it. God will only forgive us when we ask. Bono once said that he liked grace better than karma because he was so utterly dependent on it.

Let's live in dependence on grace.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Love vs. Romance

Tonight I happened to turn on the TV and watch The Bachelor: Rome. Now, I don't recommend watching this show, but in this case, curiosity got the better of me, and I tuned in. The show is set up to be every girl's dream: a real Italian prince, dates in Rome, yada yada...

And that combined with a sermon on love a few weeks ago has gotten me to thinking:

Since when did romance replace love?

Think about popular culture... there aren't a whole lot of chick flicks that deal with solid marriages. The few notable exceptions which may touch on the long-term, commitment aspect really only mention it while focussing on the romantic "falling in love" part. For example, the Notebook. Possibly one of the most beautiful love stories ever, with (SPOILER: if you haven't seen the movie before, I'm about to spoil the ending) the married couple dying together, after we see that he faithfully stood by her even as she lost her memory. Which is a beautiful story of love and commitment, but that part of the movie was so minimal. The focus of the movie was the part where they "fell in love" and where their romance "blossomed," if you will.

I'm definitely not an expert on love and romance. In fact, I am the opposite. Not even an amateur or a rookie... more of a nothing at all... But, I have a feeling that the romance and "falling in love" part is such a minimal part - so why is culture so focussed on that?

Anyway, these thoughts are far from being fully developed. Just a rant after hearing all these girls talk about how chasing this Italian prince was like a dream...