Monday, January 7, 2013

Stepping into Greatness

Change is hard.   I like change most of the time, but it is still hard.  I spent pretty much most of 2012 working on changing the only one I can change.  Me.   I would listen to ideas and try to comprehend.  At first the ideas would go way over my head.  After listening again, I would kind of get it, then I would get it, but not know how to apply it.   Then I would apply it, but it would be awkward like the first time you ride a bike.   Then you start to get a good handle on it.   Next thing you know what you thought you were getting good at in reality was just level 1 out of 1000 on the scale of greatness.  :)   Its frustrating and motivating all at the same time.  I love that humbling moment, and I think God enjoys it to.  I feel like I have it figured out then he opens up a new revelation.  A new perspective and it changes everything.  I am thankful for those that God puts in my life to show me those things. 

I need to be working harder to try to stay uninvolved from the things that can steal time from the things I need to be focused on.  There are always a million things that need done, but I believe that God only gives us just enough things to fill our day.  Chances are if I don't have enough time in the day to do what I need to do, then I am doing some things I shouldn't be doing.  The enemy is great at providing those distractions.  He doesn't just provide evil distractions either.  He provides nice things to do.  Ways that you can help people and ways that you can do many other wonderful things.  We have to be listening closely to Holy Spirt to know what is right.  If we settle for good, we can never be great.   Stepping into "greatness" means stepping away from "good".  Greatness never seems to stay in one spot either.  If we get a hold of it and think we can stop we are kidding ourselves.  What is great today is good tomorrow and worthless the next.   I just want to keep moving forward and striving for greatness in all of the areas of life.   David could have been satisfied with killing Goliath, and not become a great king.  What would this world be if Jesus wasn't willing to go to the cross, but instead just kept doing good things for the people he came in contact with?   I'm praying for vision to see past good into great!  

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stepping Out Of The Past But Not Forgetting It

I read in Ezekiel this morning. It shows great symbolism in how God saved Israel and raised her into a beautiful queen. God rescued her. She was abandoned as a newborn. Still covered in blood from her birth, no one even bothered to clean her up. God found her and cared for her, and adorned her with precious gifts and jewels. What was left on the ground as worthless was transformed by God into royalty; into someone who was priceless. If only the story ended there...

All of the love and the blessing they received was out of the relationship they had with God. They turned from God and worshiped idols, and commit terrible sins. Worse sins than Sodom. With great blessing comes great responsibility. We must be able to manage the freedom, power, and relationship that God gives us. A huge part of that is remembering what God has done for us and where he has brought us from.

-Ezekiel 16:22 2 In all your detestable practices and your prostitution you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, kicking about in your blood.

Israel forgot who loved them when they were nothing, and forgotten by the rest of the world. They forgot the one that brought them to the place of prosperity. People deal with blessing in different ways. Some people in their walk with God choose to stay in the state they were when God found them. They refuse to seek or accept anything good from God. Their life is lived barley getting by. They have no authority, no power, and no blessing other than the gift of eternal life. Others step out of the old life and into the new, but never learn responsibility. They take the blessings, and don't know how to handle them. Like the person who has been poor there whole life and then wins the lottery. They spend every penny and don't plan for the future. Soon they are more poor than before they won the lottery. They get so caught up in the the here and now that they have forgotten where they came from. This is what happened to Israel. I was taught when I was little, to work for things, because then you will appreciate them more. And there is definitely some truth to that. While we do contend for things in prayer, we always get far more than we have earned. It's called grace, and living in a world of grace requires great maturity.

We are responsible for the way we manage the resources that God gives us. No blessing is greater than the blessing of relationship with the creator. This relationship must continually be cultivated and poured into. Not just so God stays happy, and not so we can get what we want. Here is the deal... God is all powerful - all knowing - and is everywhere at the same time. pretty impressive huh? What I think is more impressive is how he completes us. Everywhere that we fall short in our own abilities is where there is a piece of God that can fit into your life and make it whole. And that is not just a spot here or a couple spots over there. Its everywhere. It is how it was always supposed to be! It is unnatural for us not to have God. He is not an add-on to your life. He is the critical part in the core of your being. He is a perfect fit, and when we are together a new world is before us, with rules that are different than the world we came from. It is realm where anything is possible. It is a place where dreams are not only dreamed, but fullfilled. It is our job to explore and learn and enjoy, but never forgetting where we came from or how we got where we are. Stay aware of your past, but don't live in it!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Joy of Repentance

1 Samuel 15:22 22 But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

This verse came to my mind last night during Bible study, and I think as we study repentance it is important. I think this is pretty easy to understand. God delights more in our obedience than he does in our sacrifice/repentance. However, something happens when we don't live up to that standard. It is almost like we would rather fake the obedience thing and not repent for our sin. Yes, obedience is better than sin, but sin with repentance is much better than sin with fake obedience! There is a bitter sweet joy that comes with repentance. But lets think about why repentance is bitter and hard to do, and also why it is sweet and an amazing thing to do. It is bitter and hard to do only for our flesh. It is painful for our pride and our ego. It is sweet and joyful, because our spirit comes alive again in the area where it was cut off from God. God immediately comes and breaths life over us where sin had separated us from God. Repentance is the first righteous thing that we can do in response to our sin. Certainly God would rather we not sin and not have to repent, but should we fall short his delight is in our repentance. It is the enemies plan not only cause us to sin, but to put such shame and condemnation on us that we don't feel like we can go to God and get this straightened out. The enemy knows that causing sin is only half of the battle after what Jesus has done for us. After sin he continues to bring an unhealthy guilt, with bombardments of accusations. He tears us down to the point where we do not feel worthy to go to God, or we are scared of God. I really feel that this lie needs to be exposed. We can always go to God. His response to our sin when we approach him in humble repentance is always to love - heal - and restore. So there is joy in repentance, and we should be quick and eager to repent should we fall short in our obedience to him. Have a great day!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Living only for God

I seem to find it difficult to keep my focus where it should be. It's sorta like a spiritual ADD or something I guess. He opens a door for me, and I go for it. I start out good, working for God and good things happen. But I become so passionate about it that it consumes me, and instead of my eyes being on God and his purposes, I have focused my eyes on the task at hand. Eventually I identify myself so closely to the task at hand that I cannot seperate the two. I become the task and the task becomes God. I feel like a leach that sucks the glory out of what God is doing sometimes. Not that I openingly say "this is becuase of me", but there is something inside of me that says it is. We have to be so careful! I don't think God's desire is for us to have no joy or have no satisfaction in serving him. It seems to be such a fine line sometimes though. First of all, we need to remember that we don't have to earn our salvation, we don't have to do good things to make it to heaven. From a human standpoint, I think I have worked my whole life to impress people, and I feel like I have to do that with God too, and that is not the case. But I want God to be proud of me you know...? "Well done my good and faithful servant"... That's what I want to hear. To me that verse translated says, "I'm proud of you". So naturally, I want to help my cause so that I can hear that. but there I go again, back to works to try to earn my place. I get that God loves us, and that love is unconditional, but something inside wants me to do more to earn more. Being competitive does not help this situation at all... It seems to be the satisfaction and success of what I do that motivates me to work so hard. I need a perspective change. The love I have for God needs to be my motivation. Doing work to get something back is not God's kind of love. His love is selfless. I suppose we need that we are so spirtually wealthy, that we don't have to do anything, because we have all that we could ever want, but we still work just because we love God. And in addition to this, I probably love God for what he has done for me. that's probably not right either. I mean, he has certainly done enough to earn my love, but should it be like that...? I dont' think so. I think my task is to look at God for who he is, and get to know his person, not his works. I need to fall in love with God on a new level. hmm... interesting... Didn't see this blog ending up this way. lol Thanks God ;)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hanging by a Thread

I was overwhelmed at lunch today. I was reading in psalms, and I began to think about how fortunate I am to know Christ. Then I began to think how many things their are to throw us off course. God is strict. He is loving, but what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. The result of any sin; big or small is death. There is one thing and one thing along that helps us escape the result of sin. Salvation through Christ! I had this vision of me hanging over a pit. I was hanging onto a thread. there was a huge amount of area around me, and I could not see the bottom of the pit. All I knew is that I didn't want to go down, and I didn't want to let go of the thread. These are our lives. We hang by a thread. The thread of salvation. It will never break, and it will always be in reach if you want it to be. But it blew me away, that if God wanted to. If he really wanted to, he could cut that thread, and I would be gone forever. Do you have any idea how blessed we really are!!?? I mean really? He has lowered us a line. A life line, literally. And what do we do..? over and over again, we let go of the thread, and then grab a hold again. Some of us even tie the thread around our ankle and go bungee-jumping. Not that it would break, but perhaps the knot that WE tied, isn't quite as secure as we think it is... I have a feeling that if our eyes were opened up, to the pit of death that surrounds us we would think differently. The enemy puts things just at the end of our reach that are tempting. we reach with one hand on the thread and the other for what our flesh desires. He wants us to slip, he wants us to want what he has so much that we will loosen our grip on the thread and fall into the pit. I was clinging so hard to this rope, and I was thanking God so much for it as I gripped harder and harder. It was all I wanted. This sounds like a terrible position to be in, dangling over a pit. but considering the alternative, dangling is much better than falling. It is the best place we can be actually. Totally dependent upon God. Not just, "oh, I'm going to try my best to live for him" No, No.. dependent to point that your life depends on it, because guess what..? It does! I mean seriously... Are you getting this or is it just me? We are completely and utterly useless and dead without what Jesus did on the cross. As much as we mess around, and let go and fall for a bit, before we grab hold. Why doesn't he just cut the line? I certainly don't deserve it. All, I know is that his grace is unmatched, and his mercy is endless. I don't know know how this vision plays out doctrinally. Once saved always saved, predestination or any of that stuff. All I know is that I need Jesus, and so do you. I pray that today you will have an encounter with God that opens your eyes like he did mine.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Restoration

I read in Ezra this morning. What powerful moments there where when the Jews made the trip out of captivity to the time they offered sacrifices when they arrived, and when they finished laying the foundation of the temple. These people had learned lessons of the past, and had their hearts turned toward God. The old wept, and the young shouted for joy at the foundation being completed. Rebuilding/Restoration is a beautiful thing. Yes, it would have been better never to have had to rebuild. It would have been better if the Israelites would have stayed obedient to God. However, they did not. But God, who is full of grace and mercy takes our disobedience (sin) from us, as we humble ourselves before him and blesses the relationship between him and his people. There were no torn clothes, no sack clothe and ashes as they morned for what they and their fathers had done in the past. They new where they came from and they didn't just ignore the bad things of the past, but the time of mourning was over, and the time of celebration was here. It was time to get back to God. they made the sacrifices and worked on there relationship with God. One stone at a time was placed in it's spot. so that they could worship God the way they were commanded. After we accept Christ we are instantly restored, but still continue to improve the temple, to make it strong and beautiful. As we are restored and rebuilt in Christ, we remove the junk out of the way and place a solid foundation down. We should weep and be joyful as the Holy Spirit works in us. Don't stop building the temple. Don't stop at the foundation, but let Christ complete his edifying work in your life.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ask Him

I read in 2 Kings this morning about Hezekiah. He is one of the few kings of Judah that was devoted to God, before they entered captivity in Babylon . When Hezekiah gets sick Isaiah comes and tells him that he will not recover but he will die from this illness. Isaiah leaves and Hezekiah prays to the Lord asking him to let him live. Isaiah gets a word from the Lord in the courtyard and turns around and tells the king he will live another 15 years. What just happened here?? Don't these words of the Lord conflict agaist each other? Can God not make up his mind? What changed? A prayer changed everything. Hezekiah reminded God (like he forgot or something) that he had lived his life for him. So why did Hezekiah telling God something he already knew change the outcome, and appear to show God changing his mind?? There seems to be an outcome that God has planned if we don't come to him, and an outcome that he has if we do. God is still in total control, because he knows if we will come to him or not before we know it. I think this is sounding really confusing, so I'm sorry. God has more than we can imagine for our lives, and I wonder how many times I could have come to him and great blessing would have been released, instead of suffering through something, or doing it the hard way. God like any good father wants to do things to bless his children. I believe he is eagar for our next break through into heaven. Don't be afraid to ask for something from God. His desire is to always do what is best for you.