Thinking of the countless Wednesday nights that I sat in a Bible Study in a school, in a classroom, in a church sanctuary. Thinking of my many pastor friends all over this nation that gather with their congregants to study God’s word in sanctuaries, classrooms, basements, etc. I keep wondering if one of them might be next. I keep thinking might we be next? I went to my office yesterday and sat in meetings all day – important meetings, kingdom meetings with people who I know care for me – but only one person in that office asked how my heart was as relates to what happened in South Carolina. Sadly, I was not surprised. Not an indictment on my colleagues, but an indicator of a bigger problem that is affecting this nation, especially the Body of Christ. We don’t see one another. We don’t love one another. We just live among one another, existing and tightly controlling when and how our paths might cross outside of the office or outside of the local church body. When will we have the courage to admit that we hate? When will we have the courage to admit that we overlook injustice because it is easier than facing it? When will we have the courage to admit that we don’t love equally across ethnic lines? We Have A Problem and if we’re not careful, it will carry us away – down a river of death, pain, and ultimately separation from the will of the God we say that we love! Yes – I am affected by the tragedy! I am affected because we try to make these images trite, common – we act like its just another tragedy. What’s the difference to us whether it is a boy with a hoodie; a man stealing cigarettes; a man who just robbed a store; or, a group of people studying the Word of God! This thing is escalating! This tragedy – this act of our enemy Satan – has rocked me to my core! Not just a racial attack – but an affront to the Christian faith as well. There is no alleged shooter here — there are no alleged victims; it is all crystal clear! This guy intended to do evil and he did just that. Call it mental illness; call it hate; call it demonic activity — SEMANTICS! It is evil. It is demonic. It is sin. I am not praying for reconciliation or peace – I am praying for truth! I am praying that we will open our eyes and put feet to our faith. I am praying that the Body of Christ will ensure that our behavior will match what we say we believe so that we can be change agents in this world. We need to admit, as a nation, that there is a problem because only then will we have any chance at peace. Yes, my heart breaks that they were murdered — but not just because they were black and murdered — because they were murdered at all!
Exist. That’s where most of us spend our time — in that one word – exist. EXIST – a word that really has nothing to do with who we were created to be at all! EXIST – quite boring really – it makes me think of words like survive, subsist. We exist because He created us – but He didn’t create us to merely exist – He created us to THRIVE and to live lives of purpose. We fail every day to grasp ahold of God’s wondrous plans for our existence. His will for our lives will glorify Him and satisfy us and He has give us His Word and the Holy Spirit to guide us into His perfect will for us. His will is not a mystery – but we do not seek it.
It’s true – we don’t seek His will for us; not because we don’t want to be in His will, but because we are afraid of what He might ask us to give up. We are careful to be good people; to go to church; to give to the poor; to keep the law of the land; etc. and in return we expect God’s favor to rest on our lives. He is a gracious God – and many times He does bless mundane lives. But why would you settle for the mundane when you could have the magnificent? What if He created you to bring hope to the lost? to bring healing to broken hearts? to preach the gospel in a foreign country? to be the image of Christ for your neighborhood?
I worked for Rosewood Hotels and Resorts as Corporate HR Manager in my other life. It was a fairy tale story. I was a temp in their F&B department; then a temp in HR; and the VP of HR saw something in me and gave me the job which helped me put my hubby through seminary. It was a great job! I got to see the world and stay in beautiful places. My friends loved to tell their friends where I worked. They thought it was magnificent – as did I. Some of my friends even enjoyed comp nights at some of the finest hotels and resorts in the world. But one day God knocked on the door of my heart and said Africa is where He wanted Lloyd and I to serve. I remember telling my boss I was resigning so that we could pursue the missionary life and she asked if I could afford to do it — I told her I couldn’t afford NOT to do it. Just 3 years later we were in Ghana – leading people to the Lord; training pastors and their wives; training community leaders; giving our lives away! 10 years after that we were asked to be Africa Directors for our mission and we get to encourage, equip and empower other missionaries AND I still get to see God’s beautiful creation all over the world! The money is nothing to write home about for sure! – but I am satisfied! AND I know beyond any shadow of doubt that God is glorified through my life. I am convinced that I am so satisfied because this life that I live is not about me – everyday my life points to and depends upon Him.
I could very well have fought God early on and tried to hang on to my corner office with the beautiful view; to my title and the prestige it brought with it — but I trusted Him enough to believe that whatever He had in front of me would be incredible – more incredible than I could imagine. I decided to believe His word when it says that He can do immeasurably more than my little mind can conceive. I decided to believe that the one who created me knew the purpose He had for me and I decided to live a life in step with Him. I never once questioned His word to me – I knew that it was He who placed me in that job, and I knew that should I ever need a job again He would surely open the door for me. I’m not perfect – not by any stretch of the imagination; but I had enough wisdom to trust in The One who is trustworthy.
Someone reading this is on the brink – God is talking to you and showing you great and mighty things; but you have taken your focus off of the blesser and become fixated on the blessings (material) and are afraid to let them go in order to run hard after what He has for you. I will not tell you that following God is easy – but I will tell you that he loves you and what He has planned for you is satisfying – completely satisfying. Don’t waste time fighting His will for you — be wise enough to trust the God in whom all wisdom dwells. He won’t lead you astray!
Look around you! This world needs the people of God on their posts. The Body of Christ needs to rise up and grab hold of God’s plan. Every believer needs to get in step with God’s will for their lives and allow him to complete the great work that He is doing within us. Take a stand to walk like God’s child today; don’t waste another minute following after the world’s lures — grab hold of Him and His will for you today! If you want to live a life well spent – and not just exist without purpose – choose the wise way – choose His way!
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15,16)
Lots of talk lately about these Preachers of LA – lots of people hate the show, lots of others think its great they these preachers have so much, lots of others think all preachers are the same, and many are not sure who are what these guys represent. Most of the talk revolves around what they have – materially. And, unfortunately, I don’t know much so I can’t give a really strong opinion; but I can tell you what I know. Giving your life completely to the service of God and to the work of the Kingdom will not, necessarily, bring material riches – but your needs WILL be supplied. Now – that’s truth!
When we made the commitment to missions the first thing God required of us was to give up our possessions and our positions. That means we sold EVERY material possessions and resigned our secular jobs – nice cushy jobs. The next thing He required of us was to give up our control. That meant se had to go on support –depending upon people of God who are faithful to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission to faithfully give to our work each month in order that we are able to accomplish what God has called us to do. The next thing He required was to have no consideration for what we should eat or drink. In other words we were not to consider the fact that we would no longer be a two income family – and barely a one income family –
Now – again I don’t know much – but here’s what I know. We sold our house but we have never been without a place to live. We sold the cars – but we have always had a car to drive. Savings .. what savings?! – but one boy is through college and has started grad school and the other is in college. We have access to decent medical/dental care – seems that someone who loves the Lord always gets our case in their hands. Our bank accounts are anemic – but there are groceries in the fridge AND the freezer.
It kind of tickles me – because here’s what I know. If God gave us mansions, cars, clothes, etc – I would have no choice but to share them with the body, and in effect give them back to the service of the King. I can’t speak for the Preachers of LA – but as for me and my house – we’ve been called into dedicated service and desperate dependence to the King, and our payment DAILY is that He will/and does meet our need! It’s not a bad thing to have THINGS – but it is a bad thing when things become the WHY of our love and dedication to the Lord!
He Is Enough! He Satisfies Completely! What We Have In Him Is More Than ENOUGH!
1 Kings 20:42 “He said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall go for his life, and your people for his people”
God gave Israel victory and according to God’s law the enemy should have been destroyed – in allowing the king to live, Israel sinned against God.
Sometimes the things that God asks us to do are hard things. They are hard because we view them through a human lens and want to judge the actions based upon human logic. If the Lord tells us to slay a giant – we feel that this act would be inhumane – and we would, instead, want to imprison the giant. This is a truth across our lives and is truly a test of our heart’s devotion to God. When we face an issue, are we really willing to do whatever it is God demands of us? We want Him to assure our victory, but are we really willing to do whatever he demands? I am reminded of the scripture that tells us that those who love him and would follow him would ‘hate’ father, mother, sister, brother, etc. There are times in our lives when God may ask us to cut off relationships, confront sin, admonish the unfaithful and even harder tasks. He assures our victory if we would only obey his word without compromise. But our hearts and minds must be truly girded up with the full armor of God if we are to be able to stand. It is important that we remember at all times that our lives are hidden in – wrapped up in — lost in the person of Jesus Christ. If we take thought of our own desires or even the unpleasant nature of a request posed to us by the Father we are living with our minds on things of this earth. As we set our minds on God’s will and God’s way – it is imperative that we really believe that without obedience victory will not come. We must live our lives in the name of and for the sake of our King. No compromise! It is good to extend mercy – but not if God speaks against it. It is good to be gracious to our enemies – but not if God speaks against it. We must be prayerful – listening – trusting.
Father, As you lead me and guide me, may my heart be malleable, open and ready to receive your instruction. Help me to lean only on your understanding and not be tempted to bring to mind what I believe and know in the flesh. Father help me to obey completely at all times and in all situations. Help me to fight the fear of this world and this age and to embrace Your approval only. May my heart seek to obey, love and trust you with all that is within me. When you tell me to rout the enemy, please give me the courage to do so. When you tell me to extend mercy, please give me the wisdom to do so. Lead me and guide me. I will follow. Amen