Having trouble obeying God? Today’s world has such a warped view of who God is. Some say there is no God; some think He’s a cruel and vindictive Judge up there, ready to squash you like a bug for the slightest indiscretion. And some think He’s a Providential Prude who doesn’t know how to chill out and have a good time.
Wrong, wrong and wrong! God is none of the above. He is a loving God, who is perfect in all ways. And even though what He created has rebelled against Him, He is still patient and willing to forgive and teach those who come back to Him. His rules aren’t “rules”, really—they are more the directions with which to live life better in wealth, health, power and freedom.
I am reminded of a brother-in-law. He had a back injury, had surgery and then rehab. He came home with a bunch of “rules” that his doctor gave him, which, if he followed, would lead to a quicker, stronger and more viable recovery. He didn’t consider them oppressive rules from some dictator, rather he saw them as a set of directions from an expert in the field that would eventually produce a more satisfactory result than if he just went home and did what he felt was best. My brother-in-law had a choice with his doctor (just as we do with God). He could consider the doctor the expert and follow the directions, not just because it was a law, but because it was for his own good and the betterment of his broken condition. Or he could (as we sometimes do) disregard them as foolish restrictions on his freedoms, against which he would rebel.
One of those “restrictions” on him was no golfing for an extended period of time, Yuk. The “rules” to recovery were tough, painful, costly and restrictive. But he faithfully followed them and now is totally restored and playing golf regularly.
I gleaned many spiritual lessons from that situation. It reminded me of God and us. We are born with a broken Adam nature and in order to be “healed” from that condition, we need to follow God’s directions. But just like my brother-in-law did not look at the doc’s “rules” as repressive and restrictive, but rather restorative, so should we have that viewpoint with the Lord.
What God tells us to do or not do are not arbitrary rules for the sake of rules. It’s sort of like what the doctor does for us on the physical plane; God does for us on the spiritual plane. It is not to stifle us, but to make us whole, well and strong. God’s “do list” and “don’t do list” are for our good, to bring us to the highest level of not only our spiritual well-being, but as a by-product, our physical well-being, also.
Go to Dr. Jesus…His clinic is open 24/7! Endure the fire…it’s producing pure gold!
I saw a YouTube video the other day and it was a parody of a man meeting Jesus in a coffee shop. It really struck home.
In the video, Jesus is sitting at the table waiting for the guy who finally shows up, apologizing for being late. The man then rambles on about the problems in his life, the doubts about God, the pressures going, etc. It was an information dump on steroids! The man never once gave Jesus any time to interact with him, answer any questions, or comment on anything the man said. And then, just as abruptly as he came in, says that he’s got to go to work, and abruptly leaves, with Jesus sitting there longing for some quality time with the man.
Wow…if that isn’t the picture of our “quiet time” with Jesus. We squeeze Him into our schedule, yap the whole time and never just sit and bask in the power of His presence or the enormity of His love for us.
Remember now, this is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who has made the way for us to actually even be in His holy presence and reap the benefits of that presence. And what do we do? We give Him the bum’s rush!
Don’t do that. It’s the biggest mistake you can make. Practice and train yourself to make some purposeful “contact” with the Lord. Sit and bask in His presence. He loves you. He made you for Himself and wants to fellowship with you…let Him!
Just be yourself. He already knows you inside and out…it’s you who does not fully know who you are and what you are made of. By spending time with Him, He can help you know your rights and wrongs. He wants to bring out the best in you, to highlight His gifts in you and use you to draw others to Him. He even calls you "friend" (John 15:13-15). Do you call Him that in return? Endure the fire…it’s producing pure gold!
Last week we talked about our “noisy world”…the “white noise” all around us in a busy, industrial, workaholic culture. There’s also another noise—in your head—worry, concern, unanswered questions, unresolved issues, relational problems, financial and/or health problems, etc.
It’s all swimming around in there. So much so, it raises up dust, so to speak, and clouds our thinking. Clouded thinking is dangerous and Satan takes advantage of us during those vulnerable times of doubt and confusion. You are apt to mistake the voice of reason and desire for the voice of God. Other times, in the fog of thought, you make a rash decision or have a knee-jerk reaction to circumstances. We all struggle with this, sometimes more than not.
Don’t be discouraged. There is a way out, but you have to practice it. You have to grab those thoughts and stop worrying long enough, the “noise” in your head will stop and you can hear God’s still small voice. Don’t mix them now, because if you keep that sticky web of worrisome thought rattling around while still trying to hear God’s voice, it won’t work!
You can’t do it alone, though. Ask the Spirit of God to quiet down the noise in your mind so it’s only His thoughts in there…even if only momentarily.
Remember Romans 12:2 that tells us, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” Then and only then, can you know the will of God and what is pleasing to Him.
Don’t bring your dumb brain to the fight for your soul because you’ll lose every time. Get into the habit of starting your day with a few quiet moments in the presence of Jesus and let Him bring His rest to your soul. Endure the fire…it’s producing pure gold!
FAITH—funny word. To some, it means wishing or hoping; to some, it means your belief system or what your religious affiliation may be. But the original meaning is “binding”. So “faith” in Jesus Christ doesn’t just mean you acknowledge His existence—it means you should be “bound” to Him. It means you walk as He walked, talk as He talked, think, act, do, as He did. Big difference!
Jesus eagerly served God, to the death even. He obeyed, totally, and He knew there was a joy unspeakable and full of glory that was awaiting Him with Father in heaven.
Do you have that joy as crises assail you? Why in the world do we respond with fear and anxiety if we know the “good news” and how the story ends, so to speak?
Hindsight is 20/20, as we have so often heard. But it is what we often see when we realize that God worked out our dilemma after all! Well, isn’t that what faith is all about—believing God (bound to Him) ahead of time for what will only make sense as we look back on it?
In Revelation, Jesus says, “I am coming soon”—well, a couple of thousand years have passed since He said that. So, will you have faith in front of that, knowing it will make sense as we look back after it has happened and He has come? I think I’ll work on that because He is faithful. How about you? Endure the fire—it’s producing pure gold!
So many Christians feel like they are far from God because they don’t feel the thrill or ecstasy of past moments. Well, be careful friend—a relationship with God is not all mountaintops, there are many valleys, too. Just like in a long-standing, faithful marriage—it may start out as a roaring bonfire on the beach, but eventually settles into a warm and comforting fireplace with glowing embers.
God is steady, worthy, perfect, pure and totally unchangingly dependable. We are the ones who vacillate and wobble. Have no fear—whether you “feel” the roar of His bonfire or the warm comfort of His embers, know that God is with you and will play out His plan for you, whether you “feel” it or not.
There are many spiritual forces that try to throw cold water on the roaring fire or the smoldering embers to try to diminish God’s presence and purpose in your life. Call out on Jesus to protect you at those times and stop trying to figure Him out, for He is wrapped in mystery and paradox beyond our understanding. Hindsight is 20/20, they say. But don’t spend your time looking back, look forward to the riches and treasures that yet await you here in His presence and beyond in eternity. Endure the fire—it’s producing pure gold!
If you say you trust God, then why are you hopping around like popcorn kernels in a hot frying pan? Geesh—God said He chose you before the foundation of the world and knew you before your bones were even formed! He loves you with a perfect and clean love. So why do any of us worry and fret? Why can’t we just trust this worthy God?
Pride, rebellion, selfishness, greed, lust in any form, etc.—all keep us looking at the details and coming up with all sorts of plans and ideas. Plans and ideas which, for the most, part not only don’t work, but often compound the original problem!
Ask God to help you be able to trust Him. His plans are to prosper you and not harm you, you know! You have an eternal inheritance if you are in His family, an inheritance granting you immeasurable joy and treasure. Go on—trust Him—He’s the only One you can! Jeremiah 29:11. Endure the fire—it’s producing pure gold!
Hustle-bustle—all around us is noise—loud noise, soft noise, but ever-present noise! Yet God talks to us in a “still, small voice”. Ever wonder why that is mentioned? In today’s world, trying to hear from God seems almost impossible. Cars, machines, 24-hour news, computers, Facebook, cell phones, movies-on-demand, iPods, iPads…I give up!
We have to work hard at pulling away for some quiet time with the Lord, but it is essential for your inner peace and spiritual growth. So many distractions today make the choice of silence and solitude extremely difficult! The overstimulation in our daily grind crowds out the senses, and we continue to live in sensory overdrive—or maybe even overwhelm!
Slow it down, compadre—spend time alone with Jesus and learn to discern the unseen in a very “seen and heard” world.
2 Corinthians 4:18, So if we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Endure the fire—it’s producing pure gold!
Someone once said, “Despair is suffering without meaning.” We all suffer one way or another. We make poor decisions, or others come against us or just the happenstances of life. What you do and how you think during these suffering times often determines whether the suffering will make you or break you.
If you know in your heart of hearts that all suffering has meaning, then you’ll push back that despair. We have to understand, though, that God did not invent suffering, as some may think. Suffering was introduced after Adam and Eve disobeyed and separated all mankind from God. (Thank you, Jesus, for sewing us back together!)
Suffering is here to stay, on this side of heaven, at least. But what can you do? Read Romans 5:3-4. It tells us we can actually exult in our tribulations (wha-a-a-a-t?). Yes, because tribulations bring about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character, and proven character, hope. That’s how people, who have had much greater suffering than any of us, i.e., POWs, Boston bombing amputees, Holocaust survivors, disaster victims, etc., have said they coped with their situations. Many have said they not only coped with the tribulation but have extracted great personal meaning and growth from their suffering. If we let it, suffering can benefit us, slow us down and help move us and others towards God…the ultimate Hope! Endure the fire—it’s producing pure gold!
You can’t give another person what you’ve found and experienced, but you can cause someone to have a desire for it. Do others see your love for mate and family? Do they see your honesty, integrity, hard work and determination? Do they see it in a manner that stirs up a thirst in them to have what you have? I don’t mean just to have your “stuff”. I mean your relationship to God and others, your love of worshipping Him, your prayer life, etc.
Do you speak of your connection with God in a manner so exciting that others would want that, too? Well, you do it for restaurants at which you’ve just eaten; for movies that you’ve just seen or books that you’ve just read.
Speaking of books, my latest book is now published and available at Xulon Press, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble in paperback and e-book format. “DMR-5, The Next Generation”, is touching so many hearts and minds. There are two common threads that have permeated the readers’ comments. They are that the story stirred in the reader a desire to deepen their relationship with God and the other is that this book needs to be in the hands of every youth in America.
I know that was a shameless advertisement for “DMR-5”, but it is producing our prayerful result that hearts would desire to turn and return to the Lord and that the next generation would learn to rise up and take this country back to its higher moral accomplishments. Read it and see for yourself. You will be stirred like never before to know and serve God. I can’t give you what I’ve gotten in writing that book, but I can tell you that you’ll never be the same again after reading it.
Get excited for the Lord and share that with others! Endure the fire…it’s producing pure gold!
The experienced sailor is not the one who has served only while the ship is moored to the dock. The experienced sailor has weathered the storms and maybe even suffered a shipwreck or two.
Are you just “tethered” to the dock of your church? Are you just “tethered” to your opinions or your comfort zone? God doesn’t want you just tied to the dock; He wants you past the harbor and into the open seas of life. Go deep with Him and don’t stay in the shallows.
Be careful though, if you don’t cut the ropes holding you to the dock, God just may have to do that for you. A “life storm” may have to be used to blast you out of your error or your complacency.
Don’t be a sluggard before God. Be vibrant in your prayer life, be vibrant in your giving and helping others and, most of all, be vibrant and lively in your communication with God so as to hear from Him. Being led by His Spirit just might mean you’re gonna leave that comfy little dock of yours! Endure the fire…it’s producing pure gold!