What God Has Been Teaching Me Lately XIX…
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.
November 16th–30th, 2013
(Please click on the Bible chapter/verses below to read the actual Scriptural text)
I. Sometimes God lovingly drives us to our knees–and keeps us there!–
so we will finally notice His faithful footprints with us.
II. Joseph prepared for the seven years of famine during the seven years of plenty.
Lord Jesus, please help us prepare today for tomorrow’s trials.
III. Times of ease are to be used for training—not only resting—
just as champions prepare for the regular season during the offseason (1 Timothy 4:7b).
IV. Michael Phelps chose not to eat junk food for YEARS in preparation for the Olympics.
What strict training are you choosing as you follow Jesus? (1 Corinthians 9:25)
V. God sometimes allows/causes temporary trials today
so we can avoid terminal trouble tomorrow (Hebrews 12:7,11).
VI. Larger muscles come after enduring rigorous weight-lifting over time.
Similarly, hope comes after enduring rigorous trials over time (Romans 15:4).
I. Heaven will be amazing not because of WHAT is there but because of WHO is there…Jesus.
II. Lets focus not on what God will give us when we get to heaven
but on Who we will get to finally, & fully, see with our eyes: Jesus Himself.
III. What if many Christians—focusing too much on the stuff of heaven–
are disappointed when they arrive there & Jesus says, “Me. Heaven’s just Me. Still wanna be here?”
IV. Trying to have as much fun as possible before death
is like spending as much time as possible watching paint dry
before reluctantly going to an IMAX movie.
Christians! This life isnt the end! We dont need a bucketlist, we need a cross-list!
Let’s repent of our “practical atheism” & ask God to help us look forward to heaven!
Wisdom And Obedience
I. It’s not enough just to HAVE wisdom…we also have to use it.
Solomon had all the wisdom in the world and he still fell away from God’s path (James 1:22).
II. God spoke wisdom to General Naaman through his humble servants (2 Kings 5:13-15)…
…& Naaman listened!
Who are the humble people you need to humbly listen to?
III. Until my earthly term is run & done
and enter I into His heav’nly rest,
submit my steps will I by risen Son
and trust that where He leads me is the best
IV. Bearing fruit for Jesus—pointing others to Him and becoming like Him—
requires us to hear AND understand the Bible (Matthew 13:23).
Patience With Others
I. When we finally learn a lesson from God we want others to quickly get what took us years.
Have patience with others’ growth curves as others have had patience with yours.
II. There can be a subtle but ever-present loneliness in looking at godly Christians
and feeling as if they dont share your burden for intense focus on & dedication to Jesus.
Waiting On God
I. We “wait on the LORD” when we
look back to all He has done,
look ahead to all He will do,
and continue now to faithfully obey Him.
II. God calls us to patiently wait for Him 21x in the Bible—
one of the most difficult commands for 21st century U.S. Christians to obey.
III. Reading biographies blesses me much with one main drawback:
Looking at the complete lives of people makes me want my own life sped-up,
like a food critic used only to eating but not taking the time/effort to prepare meals.
IV. The only time a Christian should ever use the word quit
is when we remember that because of Jesus we’ve been acquitted of all our sins.
V. Oftentimes God doesn’t give us what we want
because He is teaching us to want what He gives.
VI. God the Father interrupted Peters hasty comments
and reminded Peter (& us!)
to stop talking so much so that we can listen to Jesus (Matthew 17:4-5).
Words are powerful.
God used them to create the universe.
We can use them to heal others (scalpel) or to harm others (knife/sword).
I. Holy Spirit, please help me to praise You when You use other Christians in prominent ways…
…please help me to be content with a behind-the-scenes role in Your Kingdom.
II. Please help me to obey You, Lord Jesus,
not as repayment for Your love I cannot afford,
but as gratitude for Your love I cannot afford to pass up.
III. While we were dying of thirst, Jesus was thirsting to die.
Holy Spirit, please help us to drink deeply of Jesus’ free gift of forgiveness & new life.
In His name I pray, Amen.
Resting in between workouts is just as important to getting in-shape as running/lifting weights.
Same is true spiritually (Psalm 46:10a).
Think Your Life Is Small/Mundane/Inconsequential/Boring?
God cares about the “little” details of our lives…
…compared to Him EVERYTHING is small!
(Isaiah 40:15—the nations are a drop in a bucket)
I. Jesus’ family lineage has a prostitute (Rahab) and a murderer/adulterer (David):
He DEFINITELY wants you in His family too no matter WHAT you have done!
II. You do NOT have to get yourself “cleaned up” before you can come to Jesus,
no more than you need to wait to get healthy before you go & see a doctor!
III. Jesus’ love for us is based on His choice to love us,
not on His feelings coming from our “faithfulness” to Him!
IV. We may not feel like royalty
(and we certainly dont ACT royally!)
but Jesus treats us like royalty & invites us into His family to be royalty forever!
V. Once you accept Jesus’ free grace & forgiveness,
He WILL clean you up because He already loves you,
not so that He will eventually love you!
God & Humans
I. Humans are rays: definite starting point extending forever in one direction.
God is a line: no starting point & extending forever in both (all) directions.
II. God is eternal, humans are immortal.
Jesus’ invitation to us is to spend our immortality—eternity!–with Him!
Our choice is to accept or decline.
III. Jesus experienced our sin-soaked world in a way we dont because it’s all we’ve ever known. Filthiness isnt understood by pigs for the same reason.
But lock modern humans, used to sanitized living, in a pig-pen for 33 years
& ask them to describe the effect of the mud/feces them…
…coming to earth was VERY COSTLY for Jesus.
IV. In Matthew 9:8, Jesus began fulfilling what He calls us to do in Matthew 5:16—
He let HIS light shine & it caused others to praise the Father!
Jesus not only tells us what to do, He SHOWS us what to do.
Stewarding GOD’S Money
Too many Americans unwittingly live their financial lives in this way:
“Why would I save todays money for tomorrow when I can spend tomorrows money today?”
I. Every single reason we might have for divorcing our spouse…
…we have done to God over & over again.
And yet He doesnt dirvorce us…wow.
II. The cardinal sin in sports is not losing…it’s quitting/giving up.
Same is true with marriage.
III. When Christians fulfill our vows/promises to our spouses,
non-Christians learn that Jesus filfills His vows/promises too.
Let’s not sin to try and get temporary happiness;
let’s continue to trust in Jesus to guarantee that we get eternal joy.
I. Holding a grudge against someone has a spiritual effect
similar to the physical effects of holding a brick in each hand for years…
…it causes arthritis of the joints & naturally prevents you from using your hands
in beautiful ways like playing piano, performing surgery, or helping-up someone who has fallen down.
II. Amazement AT Jesus can easily become
resentment, disbelief, and bitterness TOWARD Jesus
when we get angry at not getting what we want FROM Jesus (Matthew 13:53-57).
III. God helped Richard Wurmbrand love those who tortured him
by helping him look at them, not as they were but, as who they could become with Jesus. Wow.
I. Sometimes distance is needed for healing
but sometimes connections after distance can be therapeutic as well to reestablishing friendship…
…It’s often easier to be angry at people when we have ZERO contact w/them—
they become just a face/image & less of a real flesh/blood person.
II. Jesus stood up for someone who was being ridiculed/mistreated/bullied.
He calls & equips us to do the same (Matthew 26:10-13).
Chasing happiness is like trying to catch a butterfly with your hands:
extremely difficult & when you finally do you often crush it because it’s so fragile.
Don’t chase happiness; receive joy.
I. Pastors are not successful until they approach Saturday morning with family
with the same prayer & preparation as they approach Sunday morning in the pulpit.
II. My heart weeps over pastors who live at the very edge (or over the edge!) of what they can financially afford.
Jesus’ reputation takes a hit when non-Christians see pastors gorging on God’s “blessings”
while so many are starved/emaciated/malnourished.
Many today wish to have been alive on earth in Bible times.
Many in Bible times wish to have been alive on earth today (Matthew 13:16-17).
I. Jesus appealed to logic, reason, and common life events to teach truth (Matthew 5-7).
He calls & equips us to do the same.
II. Sometimes people believe in Jesus because of what we tell them about Jesus…
hopefully they’ll eventually believe because of what JESUS tells them about Himself (John 4:42).
III. We don’t obey Jesus so we can get to heaven,
we obey Jesus so we can point others to Jesus Who can get them to heaven!
IV. The star of Bethlehem shined on Jesus & pointed others to Him over 2,000 years ago…
so too are we stars pointing others to Jesus through our words & actions!
Worshiping God Through Music
I. Jesus sang hymns of praise to God the Father (Matthew 26:30).
II. Some of the purest worship can come
during grief &
before healing (Job 1:19-20).
Today might not have been the most amazing day of your life,
but it was still an amazing day to be alive! (Psalm 118:24)
I. We can resist what sin offers us when we remember what God has given us.
II. Like unwittingly mixing an acid & a base,
humans are in danger when we believe (mix) these two powerful lies:
a. that we’re alone &
b. that our current suffering will never change.
You arent defined by crimes unfairly committed against you;
you are defined by Jesus
Who allowed the ultimate crime to be unfairly committed against Him.