Tuesday, November 30, 2010

God's Way

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

The way of human ingenuity and discernment, according to the Bible, leads to death. This verse is often applied to salvation, but it is much farther reaching than that. It applies to all of our choices. We are confronted with constant decisions between self will and God's will. And the choices may be much more subtle than that: the easy way versus the hard way, small compromises versus absolute truth, or any other such confusing fork in the road. We don't realize the gravity of our direction. Man's way leads to death, while God's way leads to.......well, death.
Have you ever considered that? If we serve ourselves and cling to our false values, we will die. If we submit to Jesus, we must die. But the outcome is not as uniform as it seems. This world offers us "life" and then "death"--forever. God offers us "death" and then life--forever. Fools choose the life of this world, the "life" of the party, the "life" of freedom from responsibility. The wise choose God. Yes, it does mean a cross now....a daily cross, a painful cross, a difficult path of aversion to our own wills and submission to God's. But in the end, it leads to LIFE!
God is constantly calling us into His will. But we are afraid of Him. We've been convinced by a hostile world and lying enemy that God's will involves untold sacrifice and pain without a corresponding benefit. We think it's all pain, no gain....or a lot of pain with a very uncertain gain. We just can't see the blessing beyond the cross.
But do you think you have a real alternative? That cross we carry may be painful and sacrificial--It is not the easy way. But it's the only way. The alternative is to live outside the will of God, which equals a thousand deaths, each a thousand times worse than the blessed life of submission to our compassionate Lord. What "life" are we really embracing when we opt for self will? A momentary sense of satisfaction, perhaps. But that won't last. God's Kingdom will. It's where life will live forever!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

David's Armor

As we have been talking about the armor of God lately, something else came to my mind that I would like to share.....

1 Samuel 17:38-39
Then Saul gave David his own armor-a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before. "I can't go in these," he protested to Saul. "I'm not used to them." So David took them off again.

David, the young shepherd boy, heard the challenge from the Philistines to send someone to fight Goliath. No one volunteered to fight except David. King Saul reluctantly....but finally agreed and offered David his armor. David put on the weighty equipment, but quickly discovered he couldn't fight in this heavy armor.

God equips each of us in such a way that is unique to our strengths and abilities. David was trained as a shepherd to use another weapon. For David, it was a slingshot. David showed great maturity in realizing he could not be effective with Saul's armor. God called David to be David....not Saul. What are the gifts and talents God has given to you? Have you ever tried to accomplish a task with tools you were not trained to use? God allows each of us to develop skills that are unique to our life. He will not call you to use someone else's tools. He is a very personal and amazing God!

However, this is only half of the equation. These talents must be mixed with faith. Talent alone is not enough. Faith alone is not enough. It is only when the two are combined that God's power is unleashed and manifested. Mix your unique gifts with faith today and watch in amazement at the power of God that you will flow through you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What is reality?

1 Kings 19:18 Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!"

One the great acts of the prophet Elijah took place at Mount Carmel where he called down fire upon the altar of Baal and slaughtered 400 prophets of Baal. Once the miracle took place Elijah was forced to flee because Jezebel swore to take his life for what he did.

Elijah went into depression after this event. He fled to the desert and sat under a broom tree and asked God to let him die. He was so discouraged because he felt he was the only godly prophet left in the land of Israel. This is often what happens after God does a significant work through us. Satan comes along and wants to steal what God has done and bring the servant of God down. Satan makes us believe a lie about our situation. This was the case for Elijah.

Elijah's perception was not reality. He thought he was the last of the prophets. He could not see what God was doing. God informed Elijah that there were actually seven thousand of His representatives in the land who had not bowed down to Baal. Now give some thought to that statement. Elijah thought he was the only one left. God says there are 7,000 left! What a discrepancy in perception and reality.

This is often the case for you and I. We look at our situations and conclude based on the circumstances that reality must be this way. But God says, "No, you do not see what I see or what I know or what I am doing. The situation is very different than what you are perceiving."

Be careful not to draw conclusions about your situation that may not be based on truth. God always has a plan for His servants that we may not know about. Ask God to give you His perception of the situation, not yours.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Reflecting God's Glory

Psalm 145:11-12 They will speak of the glory of your kingdom; they will give examples of your power. They will tell about your mighty deeds and about the majesty and glory of your reign.

How do you measure your effectiveness in God, or should you even be thinking like this? The early Church turned the world upside down in that first century. What made them so effective? Was it their theology? Was it great preaching? Was it due to one man's influence apart from Jesus?

The Scriptures are clear as to what made the early Church effective. It is at the core of God's heart, and it is quite simple. God desires to reflect His nature and power through every individual. When this happens, the world is automatically changed because those who reflect His glory affect the world.

We serve a jealous God. He is a God who will not share His glory with anyone. God sets up situations in order to demonstrate His power through them. He has done this since the day He created man. His desire is to reflect His glory through you and me, so that all men may know of His mighty acts and the glorious splendor of His Kingdom. The apostle Paul understood this principle:

1 Corinthians 2:4-5 And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

If you do not see His glory being reflected through your life, then you need to ask why. He has promised to do so if we will walk in obedience to His commands.

Do me a favor....Pray this prayer from your heart and watch Jesus come alive in your life!

Father, I present my body to you as a living sacrifice. Please help me to be holy and acceptable, which is my reasonable service according to your word in Romans 12....Guide and direct me. Protect me from harm and evil, and shine through my life to influence the world around me for You. May You be glorified and may the lost be pointed to Jesus through the testimony of my life. Please keep me pure and forgive me Lord for my sins and my failures so that I might start fresh again today. In Jesus' name, Amen!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

God's Plans

Psalm 37:4 Enjoy serving the Lord, and He will give you what you want.

When we submit to God's plans, we can trust our desires. Our assignment is found at the intersection of God's plan and our pleasures. What do you love to do? What brings you joy? What gives you a sense of satisfaction?

Some long to feed the poor. Others enjoy leading the church....each of us has been made to serve God in a unique way.

The longings of your heart, then, are not incidental; they are critical messages. The desires of your heart are not to be ignored; they are to be consulted. As the wind turns the weather vane, so God uses your passion to turn your life. God is way too gracious to ask you to do something you hate.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rust-Proofing Your Treasure

Jesus said, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Matthew 6:20-21

It was a large crowd; people were hungering to hear words that would make a difference in their lives. They left homes and jobs to go to a mountain to hear the Man everyone was talking about. They were not disappointed. Using just the power of His voice and a charisma that could not be ignored, Jesus laid out practical truth for everyday living. He spoke of relationships, prayer, and even financial matters.

On the grassy hill, Jesus brought a unique teaching to these matters. Those around Him were concerned with meeting the day’s needs and acquiring tomorrow’s wealth. Jesus spoke of riches with eternal value; He spoke of treasures that were not subject to the destructive forces of this world.

People spend a lot of energy acquiring the necessary “treasure” to live. You work hard, you save, and you count what you have. The things you value become your treasures.

Your riches can be art, precious stones, or valuable metals like gold and silver. Whatever form they take, however, they are all subject to the forces of nature. They deteriorate, rust, and corrode; at the very least, they remain earth-bound. Jesus spoke of a treasure more secure than the gold in Fort Knox.

The treasure that lasts is work done for God and on His behalf. How do you build an eternal, rustproof treasure? By expressing the love of God in all that you do and say. Each kindness done in God’s name builds a treasure that is indestructible and a wealth you will enjoy in this life and the next……Your most important treasure won’t fit in a safety-deposit box, but it will fit in your heart. Build on faith and invest in love.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Power of Prayer

Luke 11:1
Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."(NLT)

When you consider that Jesus was the greatest miracle worker who ever walked the earth and the greatest preacher who ever lived, it is amazing that His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. Why didn't they ask Him to teach them how to work these miracles or how to preach and amaze the people with their doctrine?

It's because Jesus' prayer life was even more powerful than His miracles or His doctrine. Indeed, it was His union with the Father that gave Him His power to work miracles and His authority to speak as no man had ever spoken before. Jesus said repeatedly that it was His Father who was doing the miracles through Him and that His doctrine was not His own but the Father's.

The same holds true today. Jesus said in John 15:5 that without Him, we can do nothing. There are many things that we should do in addition to prayer, but there is nothing that we can effectively do without prayer. Prayer is one of the main ways of abiding in Him (John 15:7). Therefore, our request should be like these disciples' — "Lord, teach us to pray."

We should come expecting to receive answers to prayer. The Father is ready and willing to answer our prayers. Just ask and you shall receive.