What God Has Been Teaching Me Lately VI…
Greetings My Friends~
As a humble pilgrim following Jesus through the rainforests and deserts of this earthly life, I would like to humbly share some of what God has been bubbling up in my mind/heart lately.
I pray that these thoughts are cushions in your shoes, balm to your burns, umbrellas for the rain, and shade to the scorching heat as you too follow the Lord Jesus each day.
(please click on the Bible passages below to read the full text)
(December 7th, 2012–March 17th, 2013)
I. True Faith In Jesus…
A. Merely placing Jesus neatly on the shelf of the mind is no different than keeping a rabbit’s foot in the fold of a pocket. Christ is God and is thus meant to be obeyed; He is not a charm that is meant to be used.
B. It’s not enough just to have a key to your house on a cold evening; you also need to put the key in the lock, open the door, and enter…
…Similarly, it’s not enough to simply “find Jesus” (that is, to just believe in Him); He also needs to be surrendered to.
II. Focusing On Jesus
A. Discouraged? Weary? Dragging? Soak in, think about, chew on, discuss with others, journal on, sing about, marvel at, analyze, and constantly focus on the mistreatment Jesus endured on your behalf. He is the emotional balm for the inflammation of your mind/soul.
B. Let’s beware of relying on feelings too much. There is nothing wrong with feelings; but let’s not put too much weight on them, using them to make life-changing decisions. There will be times when God “feels” far away, when He “feels” to have abandoned us, when He “feels” as if He doesn’t exist. We WILL FEEL LIKE THIS at some point(s) in our lives: just don’t give up on Jesus. Push through these feelings—God is always there, and everything we have learned about God in the Bible at home & church is true, whether we feel it or not (as you read these words you cannot FEEL the electrical currents running through your brain, allowing it to function and keep you alive. But that electricity is there!). There will come a time in heaven when we will see Jesus face to face and we won’t have to have the type of faith we have on earth; until that glorious day, continue to trust and follow Jesus, even when it feels difficult.
C. Jesus wins (and so do all who hope in Him). No matter how hopeless life appears, He wins. Everything we endure for Him is worth it. Trust in Him and you WILL see Jesus’ face someday and hear Him say, “Well done, my beloved. Enter into your Master’s happiness.” J
Song: “Worn” by Tenth Avenue North
D. The circumstances of life cannot change the character of God any more than a bruise on your arm can change your dna:
Song: “Praise You In This Storm” by Casting Crowns
E. Many of us have “stained-glass” images of God: stained because they have been tainted by some of our sufferings in this world, and glass because they are fragile and can’t handle our sufferings…
…May we have the courage to ask Jesus to shatter our “stained-glass” images of God and to show us Who He really is, pure (good) and strong (reliable)…
F. The straw might have broken the camel’s back, but Jesus has YOUR back, my friends…
…never forget that we are NEVER alone.
A. God’s job is not to give us more so we’ll be happy; our job is to learn to be happy with what God has already given us.
IV. Evidence of God In Nature
A. So thankful for those late winter/early spring mornings when you walk outside and, instead of getting smacked with an icy blast of stinging wind, you get wrapped in the cashmere embrace of a mild breeze.
V. Simple Blessings
A. I love it how kids ask you to chase them, scream with joy when you start after them, wait for you to catch up if they get far ahead of you, tell you to stop right when you catch them/start tickling them, and then the moment you stop, they ask you to “do it again.” J
VI. Shining For Jesus
A. Light bulbs are designed to burn brightly—to display their designated wattage—regardless of the lamp they’re placed in…
…Similarly, God wants us to shine for Him wherever He has placed us and whatever we are going through—whether we like it or not. We might not like the shape, style, color, or size of the lamp, but we cannot let that dim our glow.
Matthew 5:16 The Message; Silly Cartoon Image
B. I don’t want to just tell people facts about Jesus, I want to introduce them to Him. I want to give off the aroma of Christ everywhere I go. Whether people agree with my beliefs or not, I want them at least to say about me, “He certainly loves Jesus, he clearly loves me, and he shows me that Jesus loves me too.”
C. You might not be able to control the size of your feet, but you do control the imprint they leave behind you…
D. God does not mature us in His Son to eventually send us off on our own (as earthly parents do their children, to help prepare them to live after the parents have passed away) – rather, He matures us, refines us & grows us to become even more dependent on Him…this turns out to help us experience true freedom, real life, and lasting joy…
E. The official “uniform” of a follower of Jesus should simply be wrapping ourselves head-to-toe in mirrors so that we can walk around reflecting the love and grace and Truth of Jesus…
John 3:29-30 NIV; Philippians 2:5-11 NLT
F. You might not be able to change people’s entire lives, but you can change a moment of their lives…start now…
VII. Physical Death
A. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful servants” (Psalm 116:15 NIV).
How can that verse be true? How can the death of God’s people be so beautiful to Him when it’s often so painful for us?
Just as parents celebrate the end of the nine month gestation/pregnancy period because its end enables the child to be born, so the end of our 20/50/80+ year earthly period is simultaneously the beginning our eternal life with God face-to-face. That is why the death of His people is precious to Him; He desires for us to know Him more deeply than we ever could on earth.
VIII. Heaven and Hell
A. The flatulence of heaven and wisdom is sweeter than the fragrance of hell and sin.
1 Corinthians 1:25 NIV; 1 Corinthians 2:8-10 NLT
Like moths to flames to sin’s heat we are drawn,
Its pleasures bloom but with’ring soon are gone,
And leaving in its ‘stead a pois’nous weed,
That chokes our wants and also what we need.