What God Has Been Teaching Me Lately XI…
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.
(June 16th–July 15th, 2013)
(Please click on the Bible links below to read the entire passage listed)
I. Serving/Loving Others
A. Overwhelmed by the love of the LORD shown to us the last few days by our loved ones in Chicago sending us out and our loved ones in South Dakota in receiving us!
B. He stooped low to lift others up; He asks nothing less of us who are called by His name. Whose undeserving feet will you wash today?
C. Feeling defeated today? Jesus wants to “re-feet” you with a swift readiness to share His Gospel of peace!
D. Let’s pray for Muslims during Ramadan that they would accept Jesus’ forgiveness on the Cross & allow Isa to be their Sirat al-Mustaqim!
E. My daughter Jasmine just told me that her Gobstoppers change flavor the longer you suck on them, the longer you keep from chomping down on them.
Made me think: there is a rarely experienced flavor (i.e. maturity/joy) in relationships–spousal, parental, familial, etc.–when we resist chomping down/spitting them out and continue to love, serve, build up, forgive, bless, encourage and invest in. Let’s never give up but wait patiently for the new flavors Jesus has for us as we obey Him.
II. Worshipping God
A. Obeying the LORD is a main ingredient in loving Him; enjoying God is a main ingredient in worshipping Him. #enjoyGod
B. Amazed yesterday by the two Bengal tigers at the bramble park zoo in Watertown, South Dakota. God is AMAZING for making such powerful and mesmerizing creatures! Reminds me of one of my favorite poems (“The Tyger” by William Blake, 1794):
C. As we spend much time today managing/taking care of the blessings, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us not neglect the Blesser.
D. What if our Sunday worship services were truly a Sundae for God–His dessert, if you will–where we capped off a week of loving Him and loving others (imperfectly, of course) by worshipping Him in spirit and in truth. Let’s love Jesus & others this week and serve Him a sweet dessert of praise this Sunday… J
III. Trusting God
Want spiritual direction? Trust GPS: God’s Providence & Sovereignty.
B. We must not wait until we “see Jesus” to have faith in Him. Just as one can only be nourished/strengthened AFTER eating food, so do we truly begin to see/notice Christ AFTER trusting in Him. Take the first steps of faith in Jesus today; He already made the first move by dying on the Cross.
“But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away” (2 Corinthians 3:16 NLT).
IV. God’s Love
A. “All You Need Is Love” was released by the Beatles 46 years ago today.
The song title is partially true–love (the “what”) may be all we need, but the Source of that love (the “Who”) is just as important–not just any love will meet the deepest desires of our immortal souls.
B. Yesterday long ago God attracted the animals to Noah’s saving ark; today, yes TODAY!, God attracts His image-bearers to His Son Jesus’ saving cross.
C. Jesus’ sinless life, execution and return to life has–for all who believe– extracted the claws/fangs from the lion of death so that we only face its toothless roar, only endure its menacing glare, but no longer live under the oppressive fear of its tearing bite.
D. Jesus is a door to door Tradesman, looking not to sell you anything but rather to offer you His perfect life in exchange for your sinful one. Sweet deal…for us…if we accept it.
E. Small ID card for a leatherbound journal–decided on filling out the blanks from a different perspective:
Name: Mathias John Seiwert III
Address: 777 Jesus Way
State: Eternal Joy
Zip Code: 77777
Phone #: 777.564.6316 (JOHN-316)
Blood Type: Jesus’
In Case of Emergency Call: On the Name of Jesus 🙂
V. The Storms Of Life
A. Storms: God will sometimes calm our storms, but He often chooses to carry us through them. What is more amazing: that a storm will eventually stop/blow itself out, or that God will carry us into the center of the storm where it is calm/peaceful though the winds are raging around us? God gets glorified the most in the latter scenario.
God often chooses to increase our faith in Him by revealing His incredible power as He makes us calm in the midst of danger instead of removing the danger.
B. If Jesus is your Savior, He will use EVERYTHING that happens to you today (and that which DOESN’T happen) for your ultimate good: to bring you into a closer, deeper, stronger, more contented friendship with Him. J
C. Why do we flee from trial, suffering, trouble, and opposition? God has designed muscles to get stronger only when they lift weights too heavy for them to comfortably handle. Similarly, our faith in Him can only strengthen when we repeatedly encounter situations too trying for us to deal with on our own.
VI. Sanctification (Becoming Like Jesus)
A. After we place our trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins (i.e. justification and salvation), the next important object of our faith is to trust the Holy Spirit to remodel/relocate both the make-up and direction of our lives (sanctification). Not only does He want to rip up the old railroad tracks and lay new rails in heavenly directions (our daily words/actions), He also wants to re-fill our railcars with a holy, fresh and aromatic cargo (our motives/thoughts/intentions).
B. Christ-followers–sharers and proclaimers of God’s love, grace, and truth–are issued neither camouflage nor protection for our backs…no blending in, no retreating.
C. Here’s what God wants us to spiritually do as we are physically/mentally doing our tasks today:
1. Remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ said (Keep reading that Bible!);
2. Build each other up in your most holy faith (how can you help someone meet Jesus through your actions/words today?);
3. Pray in the power of the Holy Spirit (YES!);
4. Await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ [quietly trust that He WILL come back to bring you Home to be with Him forever!], who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
D. A friend asked: “How do you get patience to wait on God’s will?”
1. Ask The Holy Spirit to give you such patience.
2. Make the choice not to do anything to force God’s will (or YOUR will) to happen. Let HIM be God.
3. Choose each day to be faithful where God has you: sacrificially put others’ needs before your own and grow closer to Jesus thru Bible-reading & church attendnce.
4. As you do numbers 1-3 above while u wait for God to act, your patience w/the LORD grows over time like a long-distance runner’s over months of training.
You are loved & cherished! 🙂
VII. God Cares About Every Detail Of Your Life
A. 90% of The Lord Jesus’ earthly life WASN’T recorded in the Bible, and only a small portion of the remaining 10% was written about (and yet God the Father said He was well pleased with His Son even though most of His earthly life didn’t “make the headlines!”). The mundane MATTERS to God…every moment/task is an opportunity to worship and honor Him.
B. Today is as important to the LORD as Sunday! Let’s make decisions & use words to show others how great Jesus is, how much He loves them, & how much they need Him!
C. Every week can’t be a vacation, every day can’t be your birthday, every moment can’t be the time of your life; life is mostly the mundane/common/normal, but that is to be celebrated, not endured! If we really look, the view at the bottom can be just as beautiful as at the top.
D. How can the mundane be miraculous? When Jesus is with you. His presence makes the darkest cemetery alive. The ground around the burning bush was holy not because the literal sand was special but because the LORD was there with Moses. He is with you as well, forgiven follower of Jesus. Your mundane moments today are miraculous. Let’s take off our sandals and worship HIM through our thoughts, words, actions, and plans. J
VIII. American Church Growth—Width Vs. Depth
Deeply saddened by the American Church’s implicit emphasis on numerical growth. We say we want such growth b/c that shows that more people are coming to faith in Jesus, but the former (church attendance) doesn’t necessarily lead to the latter (trusting Jesus). We celebrate local churches and pastors who have tremendous numerical growth–WHY? We aren’t good at growing vertically the people we already have–so why do we want to grow horizontally? We’re like architects who keep adding additions to a house without having any furniture to put in the rooms.
B. Many local churches around the U.S. are consciously or subconsciously avoiding taking stands on controversial issues that are deemed to be unattached to salvation in order to introduce Jesus to non-believers “through the back door” and, once/if they are saved, introduce them then to the more controversial beliefs of Christ…This is dangerous indeed and not at all what Jesus did.
A. What does the number 7 smell like?
What does the color blue taste like?
How does it feel to touch a sunset?
These and many other questions will be answered in heaven…be there! Jesus will show you the way…
B. Desire heaven? Jesus desires to chaffeur you there Himself. J
X. Evangelism and Social Media
In our new age of 30 second sound bites and 140 character Tweets, certain topics simply cannot be discussed adequately in such a short space. This is an important lesson for us who utilize social media as one way to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
XI. Obedience To and Blessing From God
Please be wary of those who tell you that your obedience to God leads to more material blessing from God. God Almighty wants to give you more than mere toys; He wants to give you Himself, His Holy Spirit! When we desire trinkets we are settling for crumbs when a feast is offered to us.
“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good GIFTS to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give THE HOLY SPIRIT to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13 NIV emphasis added)
A. Looking to “get lit” this weekend?Instead of being filled with drugs and alcohol, Jesus wants to fill you with the Light of His presence so you can truly shine like stars in the universe!
B. Understanding and detecting sin is like teaching wetness to a fish, foul odors to a pig, darkness/colors to a bat; sin is all we’ve ever known and thus we have grown used to it and have even learned how to enjoy it to the point that we recoil from dryness, cleanliness, perfume, and light. We’ve limped so long that we aren’t sure running is possible and might not want to leap if given the chance…
XIII. Remembering What God Has Done
Remembering/reminiscing on great events of the past enables us to kind of relive them and be blessed again by them–thus a synonym for this is “re-collecting” (gathering again). No wonder the LORD wants us to not forget His great deeds of the past. Let’s gather them again today.
XIV. Friendship With God
A. What does it mean to be “in your prime?” Certainly not numerical youth or physical prowess/health. Rather, Biblical “prime” is to have a deep/personal friendship with God. That’s why forgiven followers of Jesus will be “forever young” in heaven.
B. Ancient of Days, please help us today to
-worship You as we work;
-praise You as we play;
-love You and others as we labor;
-rejoice in You as we rest;
-submit to You as we stumble;
-acknowledge You as we achieve;
-surrender to You as we suffer;
-focus on You as we fidget;
-look ahead to You as we laugh;
-pursue You as we plan;
-confess to You as we convalesce;
-fix our eyes on You as we forgive;
-have joy in You as we journey.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.