Friday, February 16, 2018

WHY WE SHOULD STUDY ALL OF THE TIME

We perpetually arrive at conclusions; often new ones and sometimes reinforcement of old ones.  Because we are frail humanity, ours is the task of ever gaining information about our indiscoverable creation in which we walk.  By indiscoverable, I mean that regardless of how much we learn, we will never exhaust the planet and solar system of faith Truth.  We are to always be learners.

We religious folks are challenged at this mark.  For research in medicine or in relationships or in science or in history to have ended, we would be a most stunted clan.  Advancement in exercise, in education, to name a couple, is critical to our overall advancement into progressively awaiting reality.

So why would we not think it true of faith as well?  Why stop learning with a defensive shift to protecting what wonder we have already accumulated in holy information?  We will do well to continue the power-thread of godly information toward us for we are to grow in Spirit and in Truth. 

As long as we live, there will be new contours of God's will awaiting implant into our hearts.  That's why we should study all of the time.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

GOD IS NOT OUR WAITER

Might we have things at bit backwards at times?  Do we practice prayer sporadically and, when we do, it's the process of us sitting at the table (or pew) and placing our orders?  God, we'd like two days unscrambled so that by 8:00 p.m. we could note that they were over easy.  Too, would you keep others from disturbing us for You know we've got enough troubles of our own.  And, oh yes God, would you see to it that my tomorrow is carefree for I'm in need of a break from those pestering distruptors who seem to cut in line to my having a good day?  Huh, God?  Could ya?  Amen.

When our prayers are laced with the I wants coupled with incredible absent gaps of Thank Yous we are likely approaching God as our Waiter and not our relational Father.  Indeed, He is most interested in our needs and called for us to call on Him.  This thread is true.  Yet, to relate to Him as only one who takes our orders with little relationship misses the point of being His child.

How do I know this?  That's the way I once approached prayer.  I want.  I need.  I'd like.  Why haven't You...?  It took me decades to unlock the mystery of giving God vocal prayerful praise.  And, such a transition changed both my prayer life and my interaction with Him and others. 

Doors opened.  Effectiveness flowed.  His work flourished.  It seemed we finally partnered.

My concern is that when God is merely our Waiter (as was the case with me), that we will be sluggish in prayer while, simultaneously, bugged because He seems to be absent from our needs.  We need Him.  He wants us.  Maybe if we would make a transition from the I wants over to the Thank Yous we would find a Father/child relationship unfolding...that very thing that our inner being hungers for most.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

BELIEVE LIKE JESUS BELIEVED

Don't give up.  We have very much work to do.  That thing Jesus did, he wishes to do through us via his Spirit.  We have much believing to do.

Do not be discouraged at those matters which didn't work out...yet.  The close disciples clearly thought that when Jesus died the Kingdom was over.  They didn't have the muster to muster alone.  But they weren't ever to be left alone.  God would move into all of His people the way He had moved into His Son.

There are no mountains too high nor rivers too wide which can shut down the people of faith.  Isn't that the Bible story?  The Bible way?

Don't let anything or anyone pull you down.  Every dark moment is pregnant with aspiring light ready to be birthed at any moment.  That moment arrives when we determine the struggle is a Yes!

Live like you believe He is where you are!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

WHEN YOU WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

I'm not sure this is true.  It may be simply me and what makes me tick.  But I have to wonder about the rest of you as well.  Therefore, I share these thoughts should any of the rest of you feel similarly.

I have one main drive in life.  I want to make a difference.  While I've never wanted to be different (being included in the circle was always paramount to my confidence factor), my heart goes out to those countless numbers of dear individuals who suffer.  Some are ill, others are neglected, others are confused, and yet, others are stumped as to what to do about themselves, others, and life overall.

If it would be a boost to you, allow me to point out that your power resides within your ability to care about God and about others.  Jesus spoke such in his earlier days and the theme remains significantly amazing.  We are not to be the first consideration of our walk; God is and others are.  When this transition from self to Him and others develops, fulfillment immediately follows.  Every.  Time.

Yes, I know a few successful people who are in my world.  My admiration for them grows.  Too, I know a lot of failures who don't yet realize the true wonder of themselves.  Our goal is to inspire the world as the grace of God allows to be within our range.  Great and lonely people need words of hope, of love, of life.  We want to practice issuing those very empowering, inspiring, enriching words.

Nobody is a goner.  No one is doomed to be a useless failure.  What we do is cheer others on day in and day out.  As we plant seeds of cheer, take a good guess as to what we reap?  A harvest of the very thing we had sown.  It is not our job to take care of self first.  No, we are third in line.  God is first.  Others are second.

I know this to be true.  It isn't Rocket Science.  Rather, it is the very thread of Holy Spirit happiness and contentment.  One can have dollars and big business and still be very empty.  God and people fill a void unique to them as they are programmed for our very needy hearts.

Having a rough day?  Tell someone else what they mean to you?  Feeling useless and forgotten?  Be vocal to God about how you admire Him.  Watch your rough day scram.  When you want to make a difference, don't rehearse your wounds; but rather become vocal as to how God and others bless you richly.

Friday, February 09, 2018

WALKING BY CUTTING-EDGE FAITH OR THOUGHTLESS HABITUALISM?

There seems to be no equal to the dynamic and daring activation of believing that something can become when there is no sign, physically at the moment, of such unique possibility.  This is the intrigue of believing into a sphere of darkness; knowing all along that light will become alive in full demonstration.

The fault of religion is its subtle sloppiness of allowing the genuine article of faith to slip into an unconscious practice of nothing more than habitualistic dead performance.  When this happens we tend to give the best grades to the best performers.  Well...on occasion we even offer applause.

I'm guessing that you are much like me; you walk down both rows.  Your inclination, similar to mine, may be more about repetitive ritualism with occasional successful bursts of belief.  If not attentive, we will build churches on nothing less than past tradition coupled with current "I like very much" preferences.

When Jesus hit the scene, community had never seen anything like him; religious or non.  There was something bright, unassuming, daring, and fiercely humble about him.  He lived on mission to not get his way so that others could get theirs.  He died so that nations of individuals could live.

I'll never fathom the full measurement of his glory.  However, I will do my best to conscientiously be alert to the "what can be" of even the most routine situations...and people.  God fits our world; not by fitting in, but by purging the superficial ordinary from it.  He purifies; not by squeaky-cleaning our language and behavior, but by transforming average into sheer wowsville.

Yes, many are committed (and deeply involved) in church(es).  Yet, the call to connect to the driving force of the Spirit is the power connection for each of us.  I know many who know book, chapter, and verse.  That's most valuable.  The ability to transform fear into faith and blockades into entry ways into people's hearts is the real deal.

My guess is that you are much like me.  You will accept intimidation as something that can't be helped.  But I urge you to watch.  Watch for God to do things with you, for you, and through you that you would never have imagined...and then...don't look back....Ephesians 3:20-21.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

WHEN YOU BELIEVE THAT DEATH MET ITS MAKER

Every person of every age of every generation of every tribe faces what seem to be two realities; Life...and Death.  But, the truth is there is only one reality for the believer in, of, and with God.  That one reality would be Life.  The other seeming-reality will fade one day and be gone...forever.

The work Jesus did while on earth is the utmost of grand signals that, through him, Death met its maker.  And Death...died.  

Yes, Death suffered a horrible blow when, for three days, it surely sighed in a false glory that it had defeated yet another one in his early thirties who rested in his own grave.  How many millions of times over the years had Death strutted its stuff at such repeated scenes.  How many tears of heartbreak had been shed...oceans of accumulation.

Fortunately, the time came and Jesus got the Word from Father that it was time to break Death's back.  Hanging on the Cross, giving testimony to Father, Jesus entered through Death's front door brave and confident.  He submitted himself in all of his glory so that each of us could experience, personally forevermore, the breaking of the one who had hoped to breathe constant misery upon us all...Death.

It's okay!  Go ahead!  Believe it!  It's true!

deathwhere is your victory deathwhere is your  sting?  I Cor. 15:55...and verses 56-58 provides the answer.

Death.  Met.  Its.  Maker.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

MY HOPES AND FEARS OF EYELID SURGERY TODAY

My upper eyelids have become puffy which is causing significant loss of vision.  I'm soon headed off to surgery for this eye trimmery. 

My surgeon has been given instructions that, since this is basically cosmetic, I would like to come out looking like Brad Pitt.  I'm so often approached by strangers, anyway, asking for my autograph as they believe me to be...him.  I just go along with it as I don't want to disappoint.

That is my hope....that I will come out looking even more like Brad Pitt.

Here is my fear.

What if I awaken from surgery and I don't look like Brad.  What if the doctor makes a mistake and I look exactly like Tom Selleck.  You tell me....what am I going to do with that dilemma?  Uh oh?

Sunday, February 04, 2018

WHAT WILL TURN AMERICA BACK TO GOD...SERIOUSLY?

America's spiritual fiber is suffering.  It isn't a matter of the pro or con of church attendance.  Neither is it due to a lack of Bible promoters and quoters.  No, our struggle for relief in this smothering religiosity of ours is that we have failed to find the Truth.

Now...before the religious want to gather 'round that word--Truth--and begin to charge toward all neighbors, might we pause a moment?  Truth isn't just quoting nor is it just knowing scriptures.  It isn't about one being well-versed.  America is full of such dynamics; yet remains quite sluggish in our effectivity to make any impact along the way.

What will seriously turn America back to God?  It isn't what I would have ever assumed in my younger years.  I believe the answer is to be found within an experiential brokenness known as the humility-factor.  Communities have grown cold to our obnoxious strutting of, "We've got life figured out.  Why don't you?"  Of course the bigger problem is, that for many like myself, we glare in our faith rather than shine.

I'm finding that our own good news resides within a zone that I would never have guessed way back when.  Our secret isn't in how much Bible we know, how many converts we gather, nor how many mission trips we take.  No...our impact is buried within the raw fact that we are each the greater sinner of any other neighbor...churched or un.

Consider Romans 7:24, "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?" This apostolic world leader for God and His Kingdom knew a thing or two.  Foremost was his truthful awareness of how much he wasn't.  Paul knew what it was that made himself effectively tick.  He was wretched.  Odd, don't your think?

"WRETCHED: Deeply afflicted, miserable, despicable, dejected, distressed, poor in quality or ability, inferior, contemptible."  Yes!  This rare servant of God was amazing because he fundamentally knew two prominent factors: (1) God is the power and the hope, and (2) Paul was riddled with weakness and unimpressive ability.  Astonishing Truth.

What will turn America back to God...seriously?  When we refrain from parading our withering accomplishments and admit that without the Spirit of Jesus we are sunk, a new Christian attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving will begin to permeate society at large.  We are not the know-it-alls about Truth that many of us wish to promote.

No, we are worthy of God's rejection if it weren't that He practices His own call for mercy and forgiveness.  God's call that we take up our crosses and follow His Son is a far cry from our coming out looking good or getting our own impressive way as we seem to so strongly desire.


Saturday, February 03, 2018

SO...WHAT IF WE APPLY OURSELVES TO IMPROVEMENT

Anyone can criticize.  It takes little faith to join the ranks of the harping and habitual complainers.  Yet, what we find most fascination is that, indeed, much improvement it needed in others...and within ourselves.  Jesus has always been keen on each of us removing the beam from our own eye first before assisting the neighbor.

Do things need to change?  Improve?  Advance? 

Most certainly.  Activation is needed; our activation.  Self-evaluation will often lead to the root problem among us.  Are we accusatory?  Self-indulging?  Ignorantly judgmental?  Have we slipped into a form of godliness while denying it's intended power...just as Bible expresses that such will happen?

There's a lot wrong with the church.  At the very same time, there is very much right about it.  One of the latter truths is that we are becoming more confessional about our own personal weakness.  Problems are not a "they" issue.  It is a "we" reduced more pertinently to "me".  Until we hang our hats and our hopes on the literal activity of Jesus in today's experience, we will find ourselves striving without effectivity.

If we could apply ourselves to improvement, progress has a spiritual chance.  Wagging tongues will lose their strength.  Personal evaluation will shut our mouths.  Faith in God will become prominent.  Thanksgiving will flood the community rather than selective gripes.

If we apply ourselves to improvement, others will have more room to be encouraged to do the same.