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Eeyore, the always negative donkey in the children’s story, “Winnie the Pooh” has an incredible knack for seeing the negative in everything. I remember chuckling at some of his statements while reading to my children. In his world there was nothing good. There was no hope. Expectations always fell short.

We can chuckle at this fictional character’s outlook on life, but reality is, it’s easy for us to do the same. It’s easy to live trapped by our past. I’m grateful for a relatively boring childhood, but many are still grappling with abusive homes, dysfunctional families and sometimes, as a result, mental illness or addictions. It’s been said ‘our past can kill us or make us stronger’, and while there is some truth to that, its easier said than lived.

It’s also easy for us as believers to lose hope when we look around us at the direction society seems destined for. Often our belief in Jesus Christ is construed by society as intolerant, out of touch and irrelevant.

Peter wrote his book to Christ followers in a society that, believe it or not, was more brutal to the things of God that the one we live in. Yet he wrote of great expectations. Not because of his past, but because of his future. Not because of who he was, but because of who Jesus is.

Don’t base your hopes, aspirations and expectations on who you are or what you can do. Don’t allow the actions and accusations of others deter you from expecting great and mighty things in your life. Success by God’s standards comes from a live lived rich in integrity and holiness. Success by societies standards is like flags in the wind, being tossed by every new idea. Jesus gives you stability in an unstable world and hope among the hopeless.

If you’ve ever walked through a swampy area you’ve seen them. Some are trampled down. Some are bent over. Virtually all of them are at some level of being wounded. Reeds of every size and shape standing vulnerable to the elements.

Life can be like that swamp. We go through life and get stomped on, damaged, and wounded. For some it’s broken relationships. The person we once thought a soul mate is suddenly gone, and with their departure, there’s a gaping hole in your soul.

For some it may be shattered dreams. You’ve worked hard towards a goal, only to have the rug pulled out from under you and you are left holding a thousand different pieces of a puzzle you know you will never get back together again.

When life heads south; when we go through some life changing event, we become extremely fragile. The slightest breeze can break us. The brush of a passing situation can be our undoing.

Jesus showed throughout his time on earth that he had the soft compassion that would heal the most fragile of lives; that would move so gently that even the most bruised reed would not be broken.

You can come to Jesus with your fragile heart. You can come to Jesus with your bruised heart. You can know that his gentleness will help you through the pain. He’s the great healer.

Pardon me but your log is showing. Have you ever noticed that the person who is the most critical of everything and everyone is often angry? There is an old saying that goes “unhappy people make people unhappy” and there is truth in that old adage. The psalmist writes “search me and know me.” Those are wise words for they invite divine and personal introspection. When we see ourselves as God sees us it is hard to be arrogant and critical because we realize the depth of our own depravity. The arrogant have no filters. They scream out all the faults of others with complete disregard for their own faults. The humble speak truth in love realizing that only Christ can change the hearts of those who attack us. Arrogance attacks; humility builds up through love.

Desire. It’s really the driving force in all we do. It’s desire that drives our relationships. It’s desire that keeps us going through the tough times. When we lose desire we lose the will to go on. But desire is a cruel taskmaster. It often drives us down the road most easily traveled rather than the way best for us. It entices us to grab for the things that hurt rather than nurture; that poison us rather than help us. Jesus came to show us desire in its purest, most excellent way.

For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. John 3:34

I was watching one of those television shows about the rich and famous the other day. I don’t usually do that but I was channel hopping and something caught my eye. It is amazing to me how that side of society lives. That side of life in which you don’t have to count pocket change to see if you have enough money for a cheap cup of gas station coffee. That side of life where you don’t have to decide how you can take your kids to McDonalds and pay the electric bill the same week.

It’s easy to get caught up in the trap of wishing for more. We want more money, more land, more toys, more from our relationships, our church, our children, our government.

M.O.R.E. MOnly Reason to Exist!

So much of our world is built around the idea that what we own is what we are; that what we’ve accomplished is our legacy; that the only way to push through life is by our own strength.

If King Solomon were here, he’d tell you different. He had all the wives he wanted, he had the financial resources to acquire anything he wanted and so he did. He bought, he built, he conquered. And when it was all over, he looked at what he possessed and saw that in reality he had nothing of any value.

On the other extreme was Jesus. Jesus and his disciples often used stones as pillows, ate raw grain from fields due to hunger, were ridiculed and looked down upon by society (especially the church) and were homeless! Yet, Jesus spoke of life and fulfillment. Even on the cross he looked out in his pain and said “it is finished.”

Forget, for a moment, all the theological implications of that statement. Focus instead on what Jesus was saying in his heart. “I’m done. The work that I came for is complete. I have accomplished everything I intended to accomplish.”

So what did Jesus accomplish? He didn’t acquire great wealth. While he was very popular among those he touched, the group was relatively small and made up of prostitutes, farmers, the sick, the lame and the destitute. Not extremely impressive, not so that is unless you consider that his lifestyle and his teachings changed the world. Regardless of what liberal theologians, scientists and professors tell you, much of the world is the way it is because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

So what was it the drove him to greatness? What power was it that kept him going when all seemed hopeless? It was God’s Spirit working in him and through him.

Now, here’s the good news. The same Spirit that empowered Jesus to make a difference in his world is the same Spirit each of us are filled with when we accept Jesus Christ as the Lord and Master of our lives. And we don’t get just a little piece of the ‘Holy Spirit Pie’! John tells us that God’s servants, those that live under the forgiveness of Christ’s sacrifice, are filled to overflowing with that power.

So, still think you are too weak to accomplish much for God? Think you past, or your present are too insignificant to make a difference? Guess again. God’s Spirit is given to each of us with no limits!

PRAYER: Father, forgive me for the times I feel too insignificant to accomplish great things for your Kingdom. Help me to live in the power you have given me for your glory. Amen.

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