What God Has Been Teaching Me Lately XX…
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.
December 1st–15th, 2013
(Please click on the Bible chapter/verses below to read the actual Scripture passages)
I. Let’s give God the “firstchips” of our income:
when we open up the bag every two weeks,
let Him get the big round ones instead of the smashed crumbs at the bottom.
II. The amount (love, money, friendship, etc.) that we give to God &others
is directly tied to our understanding of how much HE has given us (Luke 7:47).
I. As warm/fuzzy as Christmas and the Nativity account are,
they are inseparably connected to Good Friday—Jesus was born to DIE.
II. Because of the powerful decision made by God to be born as a human,
Christmas also demands a powerful decision from us: saying yes or no to Jesus.
III. I usually go somewhere so I can GET something:
school to learn,
restaurant for food,
mall for stuff.
But Jesus came to earth not to get but to GIVE (John 10:10). Wow.
I. God demonstrates His love (Romans 5:8).
He shows/puts-flesh-on His love—
He doesnt just FEEL it, He reveals it.
He calls and equips us to do the same.
II. The way—sacrifice and consistency—that we love God and others
is directly tied to our understanding of how much HE loves us (Luke 7:47).
III. When our kids go out there is a HIGH chance they’ll be safe;
when God the Father sent Jesus to earth it was GUARANTEED He’d suffer/die. Wow.
IV. Amazing that God decided to make humans KNOWING the terrible things we would do,
knowing the pain we would cause Him & His Son Jesus;
Imagine a smithe making a knife knowing that it would someday kill him or one of his children–
thats God’s situation when He created humans. His love is truly amazing.
I. The full life that Jesus offers us & wants us to have (John 10:10) involves us
becoming who He made us to be &
doing what He made us to do.
II. The full life that Jesus offers us & wants us to have (John 10:10) involves
changing our perspective from “I HAVE to obey” to “I GET to obey.”
III. Activities in life are more fun the better you are at them;
the same is true with life itself:
we have more joy the more we become like Jesus.
IV. Life is more amazing as we display the fruit (characteristics) of God the Holy Spirit:
peace, patience, love, joy, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, and gentleness
But are we willing to allow God to do the painful work IN US
that is necessary for Him to shine THRU US?
You cant enjoy steak without the fire.
We begin to see Jesus more clearly AFTER we are born-again (place our faith in Him)
just as an infant’s vision clears up AFTER he/she is born.
I. I have to duck my head going downstairs where I live;
I still duck at another’s house even though I don’t need to,
just as past mistreatment causes us to flinch with safe people.
II. Immersing ourselves in Jesus’ suffering softens the caked-on portions of our heart,
just as a pan left in soapy water is easier to clean later.
Obedience To God
I. Obedience to God does NOT earn us heaven…
but it IS the way that we show Jesus that we love Him (John 14:23-24).
II. Obedience to God does NOT get us into heaven…
but it IS the way that we help others
praise God & see how great He is (Matthew 5:14-16).
IV. The most dangerous thing a child can do in a moving car
is put his/her hands on the steering wheel.
Same is true for adults in life; let Jesus drive!
I. I would much rather be led by God
into the painful trials He has prepared for me
than to wander into suffering because of my sinful/unwise choices.
II. Make the choice TODAY that you wont give up TOMORROW, no matter what!
As Dr. Tony Evans has said, “Trust in the darkness what you learned in the light.”
III. Jesus warns us of future trials so we can prepare;
some of the most devastating injuries in football happen when a player cant brace for the impact.
I. God is gracious to teach us lessons after we sin,
but we DO NOT have to sin in order to learn those lessons! Choices matter.
II. Your sins & mistakes did not make you who you are today;
GOD made you who you are today!
You dont have to sin to learn important life lessons.
III. To those desiring joy, sin is like saltwater to a dehydrated person lost at sea—
LOOKS good, LOTS around, REFRESHES momentarily but KILLS in the end.
IV. Saying you’ve “earned a little sin” after much faithfulness
is like saying you’ve earned a little fun—jumping off a skyscraper—
because you climbed the stairs to the top…
You still have to deal with the ground.
I. God ALWAYS provides an escape when we are surrounded by temptation/sin—
look for it! Dont quit! (1 Corinthians 10:13)
II. Those who resist temptation
aren’t “less experienced” in life
than those who’ve given in to it.
Otherwise, Satan would be wiser than Jesus.
III. What’s YOUR best defense against temptation?
The same as Jesus’:
an accurate understanding of the Bible (Luke 4:1-13).
I. Holy Spirit, thank You SO MUCH for blessing me
to teach Your Truth in the church building AND outside of it via social media.
II. Please help me, Lord, with my lack of faith that no one is listening/paying attention to me,
that the cups of refreshing water that I offer to others each day in Jesus’ name
are being passed by or intentionally dumped onto the sidewalk.
Help me not to grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9).
In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
III. Lord Jesus, please help me to keep planting, fertilizing, nurturing & watering
Your Truth in the world even though I cant see whats happening beneath the soil.
When hurt by others, lets not stew in the wrong done to us
but rather soak in The Wrong done to Jesus—this loosens the grime of bitterness.
You dont wear a thermometer to get warm;
it simply points you to a winter coat that can fend off the cold.
Same with God’s rules—they can’t save you but point us to Jesus Who can.
I. Be VERY careful if you won’t listen to someone’s instruction
because of their past, relatives, age, or socio-economic position (John 9:34).
II. Jesus relied on the support/generosity of others (Luke 8:1-3)…
…do you? Or are you still trying to be “self-sufficient”?
When God graciously promotes us we’re still accountable to Him:
great responsibility FROM God = great responsibility TO God (Genesis 2:15-17).
82x in the Bible, God talks about His guarantee to fulfill all His promises (yes, I counted!).
WOW. God ain’t playin’…what He says He will do, HE WILL DO!
God Knows Best
Realizing why I get frustrated when I don’t get what I want:
I’m believing the lie that I know whats best for myself. I don’t. Only God does.
With Jesus, your history is HISTORY!
“I will forgive their sins and remember them no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).
Children arent collectibles to accessorize your lifestyle;
they’re made in God’s image & entrusted to your care to dedicate your lifestyle to.
In movies, stars’ names are listed at the beginning & everyone else’s during the end credits.
God’s the Star of life but in heaven He will reveal our good deeds,
what we did for Him behind the scenes (Luke 8:17).
We need to soak in Scripture, not just scan it.
The Bible isnt a microwave…it’s a Crock-Pot & we need to marinade in it slowly over time.
I. Care more about
what God wants and
Who God is
than what God gives (Matthew 6:33).
II. Take the weight out of waiting…fix your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2).