What God Has Been Teaching Me Lately XVII…
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.
October 23rd–31st, 2013
(please click on the Scripture chapter/verses below to read the actual Biblical text)
Teammates With God
Jesus is the Lightning, I am the bug.
But what a beautiful combination to light up the early Autumn harvest sky!
For those spiritually reborn thru faith in Jesus Christ, we sometimes want to crawl back in the womb—away from the worlds glare & cold & danger. As our new eyes develop we see more clearly the surrounding danger & our own weakness/inadequacy. Yet we also become more aware of Jesus with us. We notice more frequently the Jesus Who leads us through the battlefield where He has ALREADY WON the great victory over sin and death. Though we tremble at the bullets & bombs whizzing by & exploding around us, tho we wince at the fear in us which screams, “FLEE!”, tho we shake we follow Him in Whose presence death & evil itself tremble—we obey Him Who is feared by fear itself—we trust in Him Who is The Unshakable.
Yahweh Roi—The God Who Sees
God ALWAYS SEES the specific details of your suffering.
He never forgets you!
(Isaiah 49:16 NLT—“Jerusalem’s ruins are always on My mind”)
I. A decline in fame/attention/popularity doesnt mean God is using you less.
(John 3:26,30: “[Jesus] must become greater; I must become less.”)
II. Lack of fame/attention/popularity doesnt mean that God isnt using you
(Moses spent 40 “anonymous” years in the desert as a lowly shepherd;
Eunice & Lois had a powerful behind-the-scenes influence on Timothy—2 Timothy 1:5).
What if—by leaning into our strengths & only doing what we’re good at/comfortable with—
we stunt our growth and prevent God from working powerfully through us?
Comparing Yourself To Others
I. Dont look at the ways the Holy Spirit uses others–
focus on fully living out the ways He uses you.
II. Jesus gave Peter a specific command (feed My sheep & follow Me!)
& told Peter to stop worrying about Jesus’ plans for John.
I. What if pastors realized that 1 Timothy 5:8 is not only referring to FINANCES?
There are many other important and Biblical ways to provide for our families.
II. What if the spouse’s opinion of the pastor’s ministry at home
carried as much weight as the elders review of the pastor’s ministry at church?
III. What if elder boards gave pastors a MAXIMUM limit on the number of work hours in a week/month/year to stop them from neglecting their families?
IV. If Jesus were the pastor today of a U.S.church, He’d probably get fired
(John 6:66—”From that time on many no longer followed Him”).
V. God is concerned with the character of the hearts in the pews;
I’m not sure He’s focused on counting the number of butts in the pews.
I. 5,000th Tweet! If it’s my last it will be my best:
Jesus loves you, but you cannot earn Him;
receive Him so you cannot lose Him.
II. My 6 year old thanked me for a delicious dinner.
I said that her Mom made it—she did all the work; I just served it.
Kind of like w/God:
He did all the work
dying for us,
and giving the Holy Spirit to live/work in us who receive Jesus by faith…
…All we have to do now is serve Him up to those hungry for His love & forgiveness. Bon appetit!
II. Trusting Jesus doesnt take your problems away (in the short run),
just as wearing a down coat doesnt change the temperature outside—
but the coat does help you endure the cold outside.
III. “Pay for my ticket but dont sit by me or talk to me on the way or once we get there”
(implicitly said to Jesus by those who want heaven without receiving Christ as Savior).
IV. When it comes to faith, Jesus wants us to act our shoe-size, not our age.
V. Oh to be so full of the HolySpirit,
to have such faith,
to see with such eyes,
to shine so purely in the face of hatred.
Oh to serve those in deep suffering & be viewed like the Red Cross:
when others see you they know a tragedy has occurred
but they’re glad/relieved you are there.
I. Ever feel, at the beginning of a marathon, like you just finished one?
You are not alone…
Fear of God (God’s Holiness)
I. Many have lost the sense of God’s holiness/fearsome power.
Like an empty juicebox we toss Him aside when our salvation-thirst is quenched.
II. Thru faith in Jesus we ARE blessed to approach God’s Throne with confidence…
let’s still remember to remove our sandals for it is HOLY ground.
III. Abraham—when asked to do that which would’ve caused himself great pain—
chose to obey God because he had a healthy fear of the LORD…
…For Abraham, the pain from disobedience would have been worse than the pain from obedience. What an example for us today.
The Gospel (Good News)
Out with three year old daughter. Got home, door was locked, only I had the key.
Now unlocked, she still wasnt strong enough to open the door. I opened—she chose to enter…
…Like with Jesus—only He could unlock heaven with His death and return to life.
Only the Holy Spirit can then open the door of faith—He helps us see the real Jesus…
…Our role is then to choose to receive Jesus as Savior by faith:
to walk into the warmth of the Father’s Home & family forever…or not.
Suffering Can Fuel Evangelism
I. We taste and see that the LORD is good (Psalm 34:8) through ALL items on His menu:
As we taste all of God’s heavenly menu (the easy and the difficult, the mild and the spicy),
we are able to more effectively invite others to His heavenly Banquet:
It’s hard to tell others about a restaurant if we only hang out in the lobby;
it’s hard to suggest food to others if we only smell/nibble at the crumbs.
II. God allows us to get wounds on earth so we can receive His comfort
& share that comfort with others who suffer.
My Dreams and God’s Dreams
Please forgive me, Savior, and help me—my food seems to be doing MY will/what I want:
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him Who sent Me and to finish His work” (John 4:34).
Many Christians are taking a “Thomas Jefferson” approach to the Bible—
we are cutting out the parts that we don’t like and/or that others don’t agree with for the sake of “unity” & “inclusiveness.”
Let’s remember Jesus’ words in Revelation 22:18-19 (dont add to or remove from the words of this scroll).
If we remove the slivers in the Cross that give us splinters/rub us raw,
can it still hold up the Savior so He can offer us forgiveness for our sins?
If we were to start removing certain ingredients from medicine,
could it still effectively cure us?
Let’s trust the ENTIRE Bible.
I. Does anyone know what God has done for you?
Have you told others how He brought you “out of Egypt”?
Moses’ father-in-law Jethro heard…because Moses told him.
II. The harvest is plenty but the workers are few (Luke 10:2).
The harvest is READY but the workers are not.
The wheat is waiting but the combines are idle.
Revival starts with the Church.
I. Holy Spirit, please give us the strength today to strive to do what You ask us to do
while resting securely in what Jesus has already done for us.
II. Shiny/unused medical equipment is criminal in a crowded ER—
it’s also criminal for Holy Spirit-equipped Christians to remain on our couches.
I. Satan tempted Jesus to sin by offering Him all the world’s kingdoms (Luke 4:5-7).
Jesus resisted—He knew they were already His (Hebrews 1:1-2).
We too can resist what sin offers us when we remember what God has given us thru faith in Jesus.
II. Teach us, Holy One, to receive Your eternal joy in our soul
rather than chase temporary happiness on a shelf.
In Jesus’ name i pray–amen.
Heavenly Father, please help me
to receive blessings from Your hand gratefully
& then pass them to others quickly
so my hands are free to embrace Yours completely.
I. What must have gone thru Eve’s mind when pregnant—
she was the 1st human to be so and thus everything was new and unexpected!
Yet she waited—thru the pain and mystery—for the completion of God’s plan: birth.
He calls us similarly to wait—thru the pain and mystery of our circumstances—for His plan to be birthed in our lives.
II. In heaven, Jesus will turn off our temporary inner faucet of mourning
& guide us to His outer faucet of eternal joy, peace, rest & satisfaction.
III. Overwhelmed by life? Look at the Scoreboard!
Please click HERE
IV. Whats more amazing: that people stick with Jesus after years of torture
or that God allows them to suffer so long?
Suffering is part of His plan.
V. What if every time people threw coal at you they became diamonds?
God promises to do that for those who trust Jesus.
VI. Please help me have this kind of faith in You, Lord;
I am not yet there & it seems impossible to reach. WEAN ME!
VII. In a slum, we can doubt the beauty of the world God has created,
a beauty that can be refreshed by looking at a picture of the earth taken from space…
…Sometimes we must do the same with the LORD
when our circumstances in the trenches
cause us to doubt and forget His Big-Picture beauty/goodness/love.
Give Glory (Credit) To God
Upon the birth of the 1st human child,
even in her amazement Eve gave credit to God:
“With the LORD’s help I have produced a man!” (Genesis 4:1)
God And Humans
I. Though similar as heat & light, the sun is much different from a spark.
So is God different from us. He’s more real & ALIVE than anything we will ever know.
II. Humanity w/out God is an intricate scaffolding without a building within:
Impressive from afar but a close look shows nothing inside.
So what are they working on so furiously?
III. God’s mercy/patience seemed irresponsible to Jonah (Jonah 4:1-4);
dont be surprised if God’s judgment/punishment sometimes seems unfair to us.
The real question is, will we continue to worship and obey the LORD
in spite of not understanding/agreeing with His ways? He answers to NONE.
God’s ways are not our ways—
we didnt ELECT Him,
we cant impeach Him
&He will never be controlled by the wishes of His spiritual shareholders.
IV. The Tower of Babel was the ancient worlds YouTube–their way of “broadcasting themselves.”
God still doesnt play that way.