Archive Page 2

29
Sep
14

wow

5395dd961d1cdWow! Sometimes that is all you can say when you look around and see all God is doing. That’s how I’m feeling right now. God is doing some awesome things and he is allowing me the privilege of being a part them.

This is not always the case. God is always at work for sure, but sometimes what he is doing is obscured by my pre-occupation with the world, lack of spiritual discernment, stubbornness, fatigue, doubt and fear. It is in those times that I tend, much like Peter did when Jesus invited him to walk on the water with Him (See Matthew 14:22-32), to take my eyes off of what God is doing and focus on the circumstances in my life from a purely earthly perspective.

There is nothing wrong with acknowledging that we have challenges in our life that, without a doubt, seem overwhelming. The problem occurs when we focus solely on those challenges forgetting that God has specifically promised that he would use everything that happens to us for our good.

I am certainly not going to be rough on Peter. I have been in a few storms that became so violent that I lost sight of God’s sovereignty and became consumed with the waves. In a number of those situations I had made up my mind that it was over for me. But God came through anyway. He always does, that is not the point. The point is will we learn to trust him completely with our lives? Will we stop throwing spiritual temper tantrums when things aren’t working out as we expected and simply believe that God has our best interest in mind, and he is working, with perfect skill and timing, to accomplish that purpose?

For now, all I can see is the sunshine and the calm seas, but I have lived long enough to know there is a storm coming. My desire is to face that storm with the same peace and trust I have right now while things are going great.

23
Sep
14

the perfect storm

Ithe-perfect-storm_Lf you have followed my blog posts you know it has been quite some time since I have posted anything. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say, it’s just that I have just been occupied with a lot of other activities and leadership responsibilities. But today is a new day …in more ways than one! God is doing some really amazing things and I am humbled, intrigued and excited beyond description to be a part of his plan. Julie and I were talking the other day about the things we sensed God doing and she stopped in the middle of her comment and asked excitedly, “Don’t you feel like the perfect storm is brewing?”

It might not be the best way to express it but that is exactly what I feel like. I look back over my life to this point; the ups and downs, the successes and the failures, the dreams realized and those still waiting to be realized, and I can see a little more clearly how God has been involved in all of it. I see how he has been preparing me for the realization of my dream. He has had to knock some rough edges off of me. He has had to humble me. He has had to teach me some patience and some life and leadership skills along the way. But he always knew where he was taking me. He never deviated from the plan he had from the beginning. Even when I was confused and wondering if I had really heard from him, and, at times, if I was even called, he knew exactly where we were headed. The only time he ever slowed down was to pick me up when I had slipped or fallen and set me back on the path. And now, although not fully arrived, I see the fruition of his plan coming together just as he always intended and I am excited and awed by his faithfulness.

29
Aug
13

Trust God

Trust-in-God-620x250Time and time again we are told in Scripture, and by others believers, to trust God with the details of our lives. Great advice for sure, but every once in a while something comes up that is so huge it shakes us to the very core of our being. In those moments trusting God seems to be next to impossible. Our faith is so pummeled, all we really want to do, and maybe only have the strength to do, is curl up in the fetal position and whimper like a new born baby.

I know. I’ve been there. I’ve had those times when I laid on my face before God begging him to speak, to act, to take away the pain, to show up in some way. Don’t get me wrong, he was there with me the whole time. But that did not take away the sting of the moment. It did not relieve the pain I was experiencing. But God was, and is, always there.

The problem we sometimes have in comprehending that truth is our understanding of what it means to trust God. For most of us, our idea of trusting God is expressed like this, “God fix my problem, make the pain go away, or change my circumstances, and do it right now.” If he doesn’t come through the way we want him to we are tempted to feel like he failed us.

In reality, trusting God means that we learn to walk with him through whatever the situation is, believing that no matter how horrendous or difficult the situation is, God will walk through it with us. He will give us the strength that we need day by day, and even moment by moment if necessary, to endure the situation we are faced with. Then we can say with the Psalmist, “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” (Psalm 92:1)

07
Jun
13

liar, liar

liar“God is no mere human! He doesn’t tell lies.” So states Numbers 23:19, in the Contemporary English Version. The writer goes on to say that God doesn’t, “change his mind” and that he “always keeps his promises.”

So why have I so often called him a liar? That got your attention, but it’s true. Every time I have doubted one of his promises, every time I have allowed worry to rob me of my peace, every time I have lost a minutes sleep fretting over some situation, I was basically looking God in the face and saying, “You’re a liar!”

That certainly was not my intention, but I just did not take the time to understand result of actions. The enemy loves for us to live with that kind of duplicity in our lives. He wants us to believe that our actions have no consequences. But they do. They always do. Every time we give into our doubt and fear, it chisels away at our confidence in God. In essence we are questioning the integrity of God.

Of coarse, much of this is based upon or experience with other people, and ourselves. What I mean is this; others have proven to be unreliable, just as we have. Obviously not all the time. But often enough that we’re just not sure if they are going to come through for us, and so we always have a backup plan, just in case. So it is in our relationship with God. We want to trust him and believe his promises, but the minute there is any delay or uncertainty we go into panic mode because, “we have been let down so many times before.” It’s not that we mean to question God or put his integrity on trial, it’s just a natural byproduct of our action.

But here’s the thing, “God is no mere human! He doesn’t tell lies.” You can take that to the bank! When doubts arise in your life just remember who made the promise to you. “But what if it doesn’t work out the way I thought it should”, you ask? We’ve all been there. But that doesn’t mean God lied, it simply means we have failed to see the “big picture”. Regardless of that failure on our part, God faithfully continues to orchestrate our circumstances in such a way as to bring about his ultimate good in us and prepare for his Kingdom that is to come.

25
Apr
13

what’s wrong?

despair-head-in-hands-370x229Have you ever asked yourself, “What’s wrong with his world”? As we think about recent events; the bombing in Boston, the polarization of our society, the inability of our politicians to accomplish anything meaningful, shootings on what seem like a monthly, if not weekly basis, it is easy for us to become disgusted with our culture. We listen to the hollow explanations given by the mainstream media and the knee-jerk solutions proposed by our elected officials and we only grow more disillusioned. We want to scream out. We want to shake someone and say, “Listen to what you’re saying”. We want someone to do something, to stop the madness, to bring viable solutions to the table. We want resolution. Ultimately, we want to know what happened. We want someone to tell us How we got here, and, more importantly, how we are going to get out of the mess we are in.

Scripture tells us the proper response to all of this begins with prayer. It is through prayer that the Holy Spirit can illuminate God’s Word and show us a path out of the difficulty we are in. But here’s the problem – prayer requires us to begin the search for answers within our own heart. True intercession forces us to look deep within ourselves, and when we do, we often find something very disturbing. We discover that lurking there just under the surface is our own: pride, selfishness, prejudice and so on. It is then that we realize, as G.K. Chesterton noted when asked the same question by The Times, that the answer to the question, “What’s wrong with the world”, is often, “I am.”

28
Mar
13

a new life

contentmentI’m learning a lot of late about what it means to live in relationship with Jesus. Sometimes I feel really stupid that it has taken me so long to move from the legalism that defines religion to the freedom that is Christ. Author John Eldredge describes the situation a lot us face well in his book Waking The Dead when he writes:

“It’s undeniable: the new covenant, accomplished through the work of Christ, means that we have new hearts. Our hearts are good, or God’s a liar. Until we embrace that stunning truth, we will find it really hard to make decisions, because we can’t trust what our hearts are saying. We’ll have to be motivated by external pressure since we can’t be motivated by our hearts. In fact, we won’t find our calling, our place in God’s kingdom, because that is written on our hearts’ desires. We’ll have a really hard time hearing God’s voice in a deeply intimate way, because God speaks to us in our hearts. We’ll live under guilt and shame for all sorts of evil thoughts and desires that the Enemy has convinced us were ours. God will seem aloof. Worship and prayer will feel like chores. Of course, I just described the life most Christians feel doomed to live.”

I have a deep desire to move in rhythm with the Spirit, but yet I am so afraid at times. Afraid I will miss the will of God. Afraid I won’t pray enough. Afraid I won’t…

What I am discovering, thankfully, albeit entirely to slowly, is that I can trust God. I can trust his sanctifying work in my life. I can be confident, “that He who has begun a good work in (me) will complete it”, according to Paul in Philippians 1:6. That’s great! The burden doesn’t rest on me. It is God”s sovereign work. My only job is to acknowledge and accept his truth (confess my sin) and in so doing I align myself with the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.

21
Feb
13

it makes a difference

Be-Thankful-FlikrIn the first chapter of Romans there is a description of humankind in our worst state. Paul defines the condition by saying this group of individuals were practicing foolish behavior, in a state of degradation, living a lie, subjugated by their lusts, given over to an unnatural mind and displaying the worst behavior humankind is capable of.

What caused this deplorable condition? Paul tells us very candidly that what got people to this place was their lack of thankfulness.

On the surface this seems too simple. I am well aware that being ungrateful is not socially appealing and that it has been proven by psychologists and sociologists to be detrimental to our mental well-being and physical health, but, come on, could it really be the cause of all our social ills? When you think of all the atrocities ever perpetrated by people against other people can we really say, much less believe, that all of that evil had its roots in a lack of thankfulness? Paul seemed to think so.

As I have considered this I have come to realize the truth behind the principle. I realized that when I begin to focus on what I don’t have, rather than being thankful for what God has blessed me with, I tend to become unsettled in my spirit. If unchecked I can become agitated and annoyed by the perceived injustice being perpetrated against me. I tend to become egocentric at that point and begin to scheme how I can acquire what I think will make me happy. I then begin to resent those who have what I don’t. (Read James 4.) Thankfully, somewhere along the way to this point, the conviction of the Holy Spirit kicks in and I repent, reevaluate my situation and seek God’s forgiveness and plan for my life. But what happens if someone doesn’t do that? It seems obvious that the only two choices are to live in a miserable state of bitterness or take matters into your own hands and satisfy your lust no matter what you have to do, and no matter who is harmed in the process. Thus, the afore mentioned atrocities.

With that in mind, I want to live my life with an spirit of gratitude to the glory of God.