At Some Point…

Arrogance is never attractive.

Whether it’s in a Political Leader, a Business Leader, an Athlete, Actor, a Pastor…or anyone else, arrogance is repulsive.

Arrogance says: I’ve got it figured. I know it all. I have the best answers. I don’t need help. Just follow me.

Here’s the secret: Arrogance is ALWAYS incorrect.

There is no one on this earth that has ALL the answers, all the power, wisdom, etc.

We ALL need humility–even the most gifted and powerful of us.

Think of the current issues facing our world:

Coronavirus has spread and is a legitimate ‘Pandemic’. There is much we still don’t know about it, and we need to put the best minds from a variety of disciplines together to determine the best way to deal with it.

Our economies–interconnected like never before–are on the brink. Governments are writing checks with money they don’t have, and we’re all just happy to have the digital deposits. If one nation’s economy collapses, many others will follow.

Nature is violently showing us that we are not in control. The Great Lakes alone should remind everyone near Michigan of that fact. Add to that storms, wildfires, earthquakes, and so on…

What is the correct response to all this?

At the very least, it should be HUMILITY.

Realize that no, Mr., Miss, or Mrs. Politician: You do NOT control all of it.

No, Mr., Miss, or Mrs. Scientist, you do NOT have all the answers.

No, Mr., Miss or Mrs. Athlete, Actor, or Influencer, your opinion is NOT always the best, and

No, Mr., Miss, or Mrs. Faith Leader, you do NOT know everything that God is doing.

We ALL–each and every one of us–exist under the authority of the God of the Universe–the Creator and Sustainer of life.

At some point, we will come to realize that…and to welcome it. At some point, we will embrace Him, and realize that His wisdom, power, and authority should cause us to seek Him. His love toward us assures us that He wants us to seek Him…and that it’s for our good to do so!

I was reading in the book of Amos this morning, and God was ‘calling out’ the people of Israel–the people He had graciously chosen to be ‘His People’, through whom He would bless the entire world. These people ‘should have’ been humble before Him, yet…they became arrogant, Independent.

They began doing their ‘religious practices’ as a formality, rather than as an important way to connect with Him. They had forgotten their place, and had assumed, arrogantly, that they were powerful and secure.

What did the Lord do? After sending prophets to call them back, He raised the level of discipline–so that they would return.

“I gave you empty stomachs…yet you have not returned to me.” (4:6)

“I also withheld rain…yet you have not returned to me.”(4:7-8)

“Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards…yet you have not returned to me.”(4:9)

“I sent plagues among you…Yet you have not returned to me.” (4:10)

“I overthrew some of you…yet you have not returned to me.” (4:11)

“Therefore…prepare to meet your God” (4:12)

I wonder: Is this part of what God is allowing here, now?

I realize that we are not ancient Israel. I realize that we live in an age of grace. Yet, I also know that God is wanting to move the world to seek Him and acknowledge Him…and that much of our world seems to be trying to shut Him out more.

As James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

I know that some would read these things and say ‘Who does He think He is? That’s not fair!’

Let me turn it around: What if God is doing those things (or allowing them) in order to bring us back where we need to be–in His presence, seeking His will? What if He is sending these things in order to remind us that we were created to know Him, and NOTHING works right when we live independently from Him.?

Later in that book, He advises them of their best, most appropriate…and wisest, response: Seek Him.

“Seek Me and live; do not go to Bethel, do not go to Gilgal, do not journey to Beersheba…Seek the Lord and Live!” (5:6-6).

He’s saying, in essence, ‘don’t just go through the motions, don’t seek ‘religious answers’, instead SEEK ME!

God has created us with a need for Him!

We need to humble ourselves before Him and seek Him.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that He holds the future! I know that He created you and me. He loves you and me. He knows what is best for you and me…and He wants to lead you and me.

Arrogance–telling our Maker and Creator ‘No, leave me alone, I don’t need You’ is not only incorrect, it’s foolish!

For a politician to come along–as some have done–and exalt himself and mankind over God is NOT what we need to do. Rather, we all–Politicians, Scientists, Actors, Pastors, and everyone–need to admit our need, humble ourselves, and seek Him.

The Lord is always drawing us to Himself. We were created to know Him and to love and follow Him. This is our ultimate good!

May we all have the wisdom and humility to SEEK HIM!

Before and After

The resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth;                                The One event that changed history into ‘Before‘ and ‘After‘.

Before it happened, everything seemed dark;                   After, the Light could not be hidden.

Before it happened, all hope seemed lost;                        After, the Hope would transform billions of lives.

Before it happened, evil seemed to have won;                 After, Love–God’s love, triumphed, once and for all!

Before it happened, we were on our own, separated from God;                                                                              Afterward, we are welcomed in, by faith in Jesus.

The Resurrection of Jesus: THE event that changed history.

Before you declared your faith, you were in the dark;          Afterward, you are walking in the Light!

Are YOU in ‘Before‘, or ‘After‘?

 

Slippery or Steady–Your Choice!

Have you ever tried to stand firm on a slippery surface?slippery

I have worked in several restaurants and fast food places over the course of my life, and they all had this in common: The floors were always slippery (at least, in the kitchen). No matter how ‘firmly’ I would try to stand, my feet would slip. Didn’t seem to matter what I washed it with–it didn’t change.

It’s one thing to have that experience in a fast-food restaurant, where ‘grease’ is expected. Living that way, however, is different.

Right now, many of us are having the Foundations of our lives exposed.

They are ‘slippery’, at best.

Maybe we didn’t know it before, but we sure do now.COVID19

COVID19 has exposed our foundations.

They are faulty. Slippery. Unstable.

…and the sooner we admit it, the better off we can be.

Was your foundation your financial security? Exposed!

Was your foundation your youth and overall good health? Exposed!

Was your foundation your job or career? Exposed!

Many of us–most of us–in fact, the vast majority of us–have had Slippery foundations for our lives, which have been exposed!

You feel it. You know it, deep down. You watch the press conferences, the daily updates. You see the Johns-Hopkins maps and you realize, it’s getting closer and closer.JohnsHopkins

The things you depended on are failing. They are facades. They are illusions.

For a while, they worked…but no more. You know it. I know it. Everybody knows it, but doesn’t want to admit it. The President knows it. The Speaker knows it. Your favorite athlete knows it, as does your favorite singer or actor. The FED knows it, and the UN knows it.

You’re living in a house of cards. house_of_cardsWe all are.

Or are we?

Is there anything that’s more secure? Anything that’s ‘Stable’…’STEADY’?foundation

I’m going to say it. I’m going to put it out there, right in your face…YES, there is!

It’s God!

The God of the Universe...the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. That God…the One who was before all things, and who holds all things together–THE One is the ONLY One that is Steady. Firm. Steadfast. Immovable. Secure.

Does He guarantee ‘sunshine’ and ‘health’, riches and prosperity?

Not in this life, no.

But He does–for eternity!

…and that, I would suggest, is  The Lesson to take from all this.

After all, it’s fairly predictable…we will get out of this one day.

Whether we get out with any more security, or by the slippery foundation we’ve been trying to stand on…that’s up to us!

Will YOU turn to Him?

Will YOU repent of your stubbornness, your pride, your self-sufficiency?

Will YOU–you, yourself–turn to Him in faith, asking for His forgiveness, His grace, His love and His security?

If not…you’re on your own.

Good luck with that.

If so...Welcome!

All those who’ve made this choice–faith in God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord–celebrate with you! We stand on the Firm Foundation with you. We cheer you on!

Isaiah 33:2, 5-6:

“Lord, be gracious to us;
    we long for you.
Be our strength every morning,
    our salvation in time of distress…

The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high;
    he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness.
He will be the sure foundation for your times,
    a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;       the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.”

James 1:17: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Ephesians 2:19-21:

“…you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.”

Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

Look At That!

focus

 (According to Mirriam-Webster online)
fo·​cus | \ ˈfō-kəs  \
plural foci\ ˈfō-​ˌsī  also  -​ˌkī \ also focuses

Definition of focus

1aa center of activity, attraction, or attention

ba point of concentration
2directed attention 
3a: direction
ba state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding 
What is your ‘focus‘ these days?
If you’re like most people–myself included–a major ‘focus‘ of your mind, emotions, and life have been the Coronavirus and its impact.
Will I get it?
If so, what effect will it have–how severe will it be?
Will anyone I know die from it?
Will it overwhelm our healthcare system?
Will our economy survive its impact?
This is all understandable.
However, I’d like to encourage you to ‘focus‘ elsewhere.
I want to encourage you to ‘focus‘ on God.
Specifically, His love for you, His plan for you, His desire to be known by you.
Jesus came to earth for that very purpose.
Many of us ‘believe’ that, somewhere in the recesses of our minds–at least, to some extent. However, we don’t ‘focus‘ on it, and therefore, it has no practical, day to day impact. Therefore, our belief has no power to change our lives.
We may have ‘belief‘, but we don’t have ‘faith‘. We have intellectual assent, but not personal buy-in.
Therefore, in times like these, when the heat is turned up, it does us no real good. It gives us no real comfort.
Because we’ve relegated our belief in God to the distant recesses of our minds, we don’t understand what He wants us to know. We miss the point.
God–the God of the Universe, the Creator, the Alpha and Omega, beginning and the end–that same God, created YOU. Not only that, but He loves you, cares for you, and knows you–more than you do yourself! He wants the best for you, but his ‘best’ is not only about the here-and-now. His ‘best’ is much bigger than your pocketbook, portfolio, job, even your health.
His ‘best’ is your ETERNITY!
Your Eternal Good is His Focus!
Therefore, when you and I go through dark times, when we struggle, when we deal with setbacks and struggles, we need to know–to have clear in our minds–this fact: God sent Jesus to pay for your sin, and make a ‘relationship’ with Him available to you. This relationship is for your good and will transform your life–now, and in eternity.
As Jesus, Himself, said: “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever would believe in Him would not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through him, could be saved.” (John 3:16-17)
This relationship with God, through faith in Jesus, changes everything–including how we respond to trials!
It allows us to put our ‘focus’ not on our temporary circumstances, but on the God who reigns over those circumstances!
2 Corinthians 4:7-9: “…we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
Dare I add, ‘attacked by this virus, but not devastated.’ 

The writer’s point is that, because the power to live our lives comes from God, nothing can completely conquer us. His power within us–available to all through a faith relationship with Jesus–allows us to rise above it all.

It doesn’t guarantee that nothing in this life will harm us, rather it gives us assurance that this life is not all there is!

It allows our ‘focus‘ to be different.

 

He continues:

2 Corinthians 4:16–18: 

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

We FIX OUR EYES…(aka, ‘focus‘) not on what is seen (ie, Coronavirus, economy, etc.) but on what is unseen (eternal kingdom of God), and therefore, we gain perspective, positivity, boldness…

So today, let me encourage you: Spend significant time directing your ‘focus‘ to the Lord.

If you’ve not come to faith in Him yet, address that! (If you need help, let me know.) If you have faith in Him, spend time praying, worshiping, reading His Word (2 Cor. 4, Romans 8, and Psalm 23 would be great), and FOCUS on Him!

Blessings!

Dave

What Will It Take?

It’s no secret–I believe in God, the Father.

I believe in Jesus, the Christ–His only Son.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, who gives me spiritual LIFE and leads me and guides me.

Further, I believe that God is good, loving, wise,  and powerful, and that He is Eternal, Holy, Righteous and good.

What do you believe?

It makes a difference…today, during the COVID 19 issue,

and in the future during everyday life.

Let me illustrate how it makes a difference.

If you believe that God is there, and that He is eternal, good, wise, powerful, loving, etc. then you interpret events–good and bad–differently. We react to circumstances in faith, knowing that God is with us in the midst of them.

If, on the other hand, you don’t believe in God, then you are left to react to circumstances on your own. Period. You will try to use your wisdom, your intelligence, your strength and learning to find a way through, and eventually out of, those circumstances.

In the first scenario, I have a relationship with my loving, gracious, kind, good, powerful, wise and eternal Heavenly Father. That relationship give me comfort, direction,  and peace.

In the second scenario, I don’t.

I’m on my own.

Sure, maybe I can band together with others who are ‘on their own’ also, and maybe we can depend on the government to rescue us…

So again I ask, ‘What do you believe?’

Let me ask it this way: If you don’t believe in God, What’s It Going To Take to get you to reach out to Him? 

If, as I think, He is allowing these things to happen in order to bring people to Himself–out of His loving care for them, then the best response is to reach out to Him.

It requires that I humble myself, I repent of my sin, and I reach out in faith.

So, if God the Father–your Creator, who loves you more than you can possibly imagine–is allowing these things in order to bring you to Himself…or to bring you back to Him…then what are you waiting for?

What’s it going to take?

World wide disease and death?

Locust plagues?

Earthquakes?

Financial turmoil?

Each and every one of these things has happened in the past month…so what more will it take?

Wars?

More earthquakes?

More famine and disease?

My prayer for you–as a guy who has been rescued, by the grace of God, through Jesus the Christ–is that you would wake up! You would come to realize that the Lord wants you to see your need for Him–and it just may be that He is allowing these things so that more would come to Him in faith!

Don’t wait!

None of us know our end…He’s calling you today!

I believe that the Scriptures indicate that events are moving toward a climax. There will be an end someday, maybe soon…the choice needs to be made now!

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

Two Extremes…and a Better Answer!

Have you ever noticed that people fall into one of two extremes when some form of ‘calamity’ hits: They either Obsess about it and ‘freak out’, or they resort to Denial, and minimize the reality.

What we’re seeing in response to the COVID 19 virus is a case in point.

There are millions of people who will find it hard to sleep tonight, because of ‘what might be’. They will overreact, and will empty store shelves of things like Toilet Paper because of the ‘worst case scenario’ in their minds. They will not be able to find peace or rest, no matter what information is given to them.

There are others who will mock these people, and will go to the other extreme. They will call the entire thing a fabrication and suspect that there is a ‘politician’ (one on the opposite side from them) to blame. They will think it’s foolish, and will all blow over. They’ll make comments about ‘weak minded people’.

In response to this virus, I’ll say again–as I’ve said before, that since this is so new, we just don’t know what will happen. We know that it devastated some parts of China, but it seems to be easing there. We know that Italy is being slammed–hard–right now. We know that cases in the USA are increasing, and many organizations and governments are trying to contain it. We know that the vast majority of cases to date have been minor, and increasing numbers are recovering from it. We know that most of the serious cases are elderly or people with compromised immune systems. These are things we know.

What will become of it, we don’t know. Will it die out with warm weather? Will we come up with a treatment or vaccination? Will it begin to affect a wider age range? We don’t know. Therefore, governments react with an abundance of caution, and most people can understand that.

There is one response I want to put out there that many have not thought of.

When I look at coronavirus, and then I add other things to it–Financial turmoil , Wars and rumors of wars , Natural phenomena like Great Lakes Water levels

rising to new heights, etc. Locusts in Africa ,

I wonder about what God is wanting in all this.

Here’s the thing: I believe–as most Christians do–that God is Sovereign over the affairs of this world. I also believe that God is good, God is wise, God is powerful, and God is loving.

Therefore, when I look at all these events with that background, I think that God wants us to turn to Him! I believe that He is allowing these things to show us our need for Him. After all, we are powerless in the light of these challenges, are we not? Sure, we can quarantine, and we can try some things to address the other things, but ultimately, most events like this remind me that ‘I am not in control.’

So, what is my response?

Psalm 121:

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.”

 

Jesus encouraged His followers,

Matthew 6:25-34:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

 

The point?

All of the things we worry about are things that can bring us to the best response possible: Turning toward our loving God!

THAT is the secret to Overcoming!

 

As we allow Him to have control and acknowledge Him as Lord of our lives, it changes my response.

Granted, it won’t change the reality I’m facing…but it will help me to see the ‘big picture’ and to trust Him.

 

As the Apostle Paul would remind us:

Romans 8:31-39:

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

It should be noted that all of these comforting words were written to those who, by faith in Him, have given their lives to Him. The words of Jesus and Paul are written to Christian believers.

The loving, gracious God of the universe wants to give you peace in the midst of the tempest around us. Turn to Him…turn back to Him.

 

Trust Him and worship Him.

He will enable you to Overcome!

When the Chaos is Rising

We all face challenges.

In 2020, we are all facing a world of a certain degree of stress, difficulty, and even chaos.

When the year started, we knew that, here in America, we were entering into that strange and difficult season called ‘an election year‘. For many of us that is stressful enough. We know that there will be increasing hostility in our culture. We know that those we would normally ‘agree to disagree’ with amicably will not allow that–at least in some cases. This ‘election stress’ will not subside until (at least) November, and that, by itself, is challenging. Politics is stressful, by itself.

Since the beginning of this year, we heard about another issue–this strange and new virus in China which seemed to be concerning. Spreading quickly and killing many, we watched as China tried to contain it. However, we knew that…in this interconnected world, that was virtually impossible. Now, Covid19 has spread to over 100 countries.

Whether or not it turns out to be a ‘serious’ thing or not in its fatality rate, it is clearly quite contagious, and is being reacted to (some would say over-reacted to) dramatically. Effective today, the country of Italy essentially quarantined…itself! The entire country is under quarantine, with emergency measures prohibiting large gatherings of any kind, and even restricting personal travel close to home. In my humble opinion, that seems like an overreaction to me…yet, I realize that public officials have a responsibility to protect their population, and err on the side of caution.

As we here in the USA begin to do much more testing, it is predicted that the numbers will rise–a lot. This may be simply due to the fact that many people have been walking around with it, without symptoms…and now they start to feel sick and get tested.

Looking at the economy doesn’t bring any comfort. The Stock market and Futures markets have been on a chaotic roller-coaster-ride over the past week, and that does not appear to be finished.

What will the outcome be?
We simply don’t know.

The bigger question, for each individual, is this:

What will YOUR reaction be?

How will you and I react to the increased pressures?

Some will, of course, try to minimize all these things. Others will seem to obsess about them.

Both are missing one major point, in my opinion.

That is this: These pressures are one additional piece of evidence that we are NOT ‘in control’ of our world, our culture, and even our lives.

Sure, we tend to fill our schedules with activity, and we say that we ‘have it under control’, but things like this–and countless more personal realities, from job losses to unexpected health diagnoses–will show us our vulnerability.

How will you react to that vulnerability?

Some will try to attack it, plan around it, and come up with a ‘strategy’ that gets them back on top of the circumstances.

I would like to suggest one additional reaction: Humility before God.

I realize that some will be offended by this, but I think that it is at least POSSIBLE that what we are seeing is evidence of a world that has increasingly tried to push Him away and reject Him. Historically, when people–especially His faithful people–do that, He tries to call to them, then tries to woo them back, then–if they persist in their rebellion–He moves to the removal of His protection, and eventually discipline and finally, judgment.

Psalm 94: 9-15:

“Does he who fashioned the ear not hear?
    Does he who formed the eye not see?
10 Does he who disciplines nations not punish?
    Does he who teaches mankind lack knowledge?
11 The Lord knows all human plans;
    he knows that they are futile.

12 Blessed is the one you discipline, Lord,
    the one you teach from your law;
13 you grant them relief from days of trouble,
    till a pit is dug for the wicked.
14 For the Lord will not reject his people;
    he will never forsake his inheritance.
15 Judgment will again be founded on righteousness,
    and all the upright in heart will follow it.”

All of it is done in love–to bring us back to Himself.

Hebrews 12:5-11:

And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” 

I believe that we are in these last phases of this process. God is allowing us to experience a life with less and less of His blessing and protection. He desires that we turn back.

 

What, then, is the correct response?

Repentance. Confession. Seeking a restored relationship with Him, through Jesus.

 Isaiah 30: 15, 18:
“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
    in quietness and trust is your strength,
    but you would have none of it.
18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.

For the Lord is a God of justice.
    Blessed are all who wait for him!”

Hebrews 12:1-2:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

Some will say that I’m nuts…a fanatic. So be it.

What do YOU say?

 

Let me encourage you…no matter how you react to this idea now: PRAY about this.

Ask God about this.

Ask God about your life, and the way you’ve been resisting, or submitting to Him.

Ask Him about this world, and whether or not it might just be that we are increasingly under His judgment and discipline.

Even if that has nothing to do with the ‘big, worldwide issues’, it may have a LOT to do with your ‘issues’…and mine.

…and the only way to effectively deal with those things is to bring them to Him.

When we acknowledge who He is, and His control over our world, things begin to turn around–personally and more!

Think about it.

Pray about it.

Watch this: https://youtu.be/rW9MbYQrTUI

 

 

 

Two Choices

Life is about choices.

The choices we make determine a lot!

Choose to go to college, and you may have college debt…but you probably have more professional options.

Choose to buy a house, and you have a mortgage and responsibilities, but you also have a place of your own, equity, freedom and privacy!

Choose to neglect your health and wellness, and you may have ‘freedom’ of choice for the short term, but you’ll probably pay for it in the long term.

The truth is, we make ‘choices’ every day–large and small–and we often don’t even think about them.

There is one choice, however, that affects all the others.

One choice, handled correctly, can make all the others fall into place.

That choice, more than anything else, will determine whether you live in emotionally, relationally, physically, financially, vocationally, and spiritually healthy ways…or not.

It’s a choice that humans have been making literally from ‘day one’.

The choice: Will I follow God or not?

Will I submit my will, my thoughts, my habits to God…or will I go my own way?

Will I surrender my ‘freedom’ to do whatever I want, whenever I want it, no matter the cost…in order to follow His lead?

The ancient Israelites were given this choice on many occasions: “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curses. Now Choose LIFE, that you and your children may live, and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life…” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

This is the same choice we make, every day–whether to submit to Him, or to go our own way.

Our culture certain tells us to ‘do what you do’…’be your own boss’…’go for it’.

Why, then, would I go against the direction of many around me and consciously ‘Choose Life…Listen…and Hold Fast

Because the Lord is our LIFE!

His ways are right!

He wants to love, bless, and lead us…but we must follow Him.

Today, in countless ways, you and I will make that choice.

Let us Choose LIFE–by choosing HIM!

Delight!

Delight…

According to Merriam-Webster Online, it’s:

  1. “A high degree of satisfaction or pleasure; extreme satisfaction.
  2. Something that gives great pleasure.”

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

It seems pretty important, then, that we seriously consider what our source of ‘delight‘ is.

After all, the thing I take Delight in is often my source of motivation, stamina, and direction.

My source of Delight encourages me to keep going, even when I have to endure difficult days. The Delight is the ‘payoff’!

So…where is Your source of Delight?

Where do you get your ‘satisfaction’ from?

Where do I derive ‘pleasure’ in my life?

For some, their source of Delight would be natural phenomena–sunsets, beaches, spring rain; others take Delight in things–new cars, new houses, money; still others take Delight in relationships–romance, a baby, friendship.

What do YOU ‘Delight‘ in?

Be careful!

A word of warning: Literally every one of those experiences, those things, and those relationships will fail. At some point, they will not provide you with ‘Delight‘.

That’s why Your source of ‘Delight’ is crucial!

The Scriptures encourage us to take Delight in the One Source that never fails…the One Source that is always right, faithful, good, pure, and perfect.

Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” 

To “Delight myself in the Lord” means to derive my pleasure, my joy, my deepest satisfaction from Him. Knowing Him, pleasing Him, following Him…these are the choices I make, every day, that allow me to Delight in Him.

If I take Delight in the Lord, He becomes my direction, my purpose, my sense of meaning. He provides my motivation and ability to overcome challenges.

Ultimately, it means that I prioritize my relationship with Him above all other sources of Delight–experiences, things, and even people.

Do You ‘Delight’ in the Lord? 

Many people who ‘believe’ in the Lord don’t Delight in Him…and it shows.

Ask the Lord to show you today…’Do I Delight in You’?

Let Him search your heart.

He wants you to Delight in Him…and if you do, then He will give you the desires of your heart!

 

Jesus In You!

This morning I had a neat experience.

In my prayer time, one thing I was praying about was my frustration with myself–over my own lack of growth in some areas, my continued struggles to break through some spiritual battles, once and for all, etc.

As I was praying, I believe the Holy Spirit led me to a verse. I looked it up and started studying it, along with several related verses.

The verse was Galatians 2:20:  “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

This verse, along with several passages similar to it (Romans 6, Galatians 4, Ephesians 4, etc.) tell us that the New Life we have–through our faith in Jesus–isn’t about ‘trying harder’ or ‘doing more’ for God. It is, instead, about letting Him have more control, realizing that He is The Only One who can change me. My responsibility is to walk with Him, to remain with Him (through prayer, worship, etc.), and He will change me more and more to reflect Him.

He Lives In Me!

So…I went along my way, and then, when it was time to exercise (today was Treadmill day), I selected a YouTube video–as I often do–of a sermon. In this case, it just happened to be by David Platt, Lead Pastor of McLean Bible Church in Washington, DC. It was called ‘The Secret to the Christian Life’. I was intrigued, so I pulled it up.

What was the secret?

It was the truth found in Galatians 2:20!

This was THE Scripture he was preaching on!

His point was this: Far too many Christians (all of us, at times) are frustrated and discouraged in their faith because it seems as though all their efforts don’t change anything. They’re essentially told ‘Try harder. Do more.’

His point–and the point the Lord had been communicating with me about this morning–was that ‘Trying harder’ is NOT the way to ‘Full Life’ in Jesus. Rather, giving Him more control, letting Him change me…being continually re-filled and refreshed in the Holy Spirit…that is the way!

This is why, later in Galatians, we are told that ‘The fruit OF THE SPIRIT is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23, emphasis added). 

That takes a bit of the ‘discouragement factor’ away.

It’s not about ‘being better’, ‘trying harder’ or ‘doing more’. It’s about walking closely to Him, letting Him change us.

THIS is the secret to ‘Full Life Living’ in Jesus!

…and it’s a whole lot more genuinely enjoyable than ‘religion’!

 

Here’s a link to Platt’s sermon: https://youtu.be/4HBEWJbmexM

You can skip to the 12:00 minute mark–that’s where he starts talking abou it.

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