When we are little children, right and wrong are so very simple. Just do what our parents allow and abstain from what they prevent. Stop when they say stop and proceed when they approve. Not so simple when you grow up.
There are foundational dos and don’ts out of Exodus: no idols, no using the Lord’s name out of place, no murder, no adultery, no lying, no lies, no lusting someone’s spouse; no craving someone’s stuff; honor God as Lord, honor God above any other lesser god, honor the Lord’s day as Holy, honor your parents. And I’m sure we ALL do these with no problem at all. (SMILE!!) Well, at least I know you all do. I’ve got a bad hip from kneeling to repent so often! So very grateful for His forgiveness and His cleansing. But that’s not what I’m wanting you to think about.
What about what happens on the inside of you. If you have a personal relationship with The Lord, there is something in your life that He has asked you to do (or not to do) that is in addition to that list above. You know what I’m talking about – His will for your life. This might be giving your belongings to some person; it might be ending a romantic relationship; it might be writing a book; it might be refraining from some food; it might be moving to some foreign country to serve in missions full time; it might be accepting an illness as His assignment to teach believers how to die, etc. It could be easy and uncomfortable. It could be difficult and unimaginable. The bottom line is – you don’t want to do it!
The Holy Spirit’s conviction is strong within you and yet you don’t act in the way that you are led because of your own confusion or even your own fear. And now – you’re not feeling well, you’re worried about who you’re disappointing, etc. I want to encourage you to trust the Lord enough to act in the way that He is calling you. If you just trust Him the confusion and fear that you are facing will cease! I’m serious! The unrest, sickness, dissension, disunity, fear, duality, and sense of disloyalty to the King of Kings will cease! And let’s just be honest — you’re walking in sin when you act against what you know to be God’s will for you even if that action is not something that is against the teachings of Scripture. I’m praying for you!!
But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. Romans 14:23
I love reading through the history of God’s people throughout the Bible. Witnessing from the hands of those God ordained to pen it what our fleshly weakness looks like; what human faith can accomplish; and the enormous grace that God extends to us. I think my favorite thing to read is what Our Father has been willing to do for us!
The truth is that there is no issue that can arise in our lives that God is not aware of and from which He cannot bring victory … when we are COMPLETELY COMMITTED to
Nothing is impossible when our trust is in Him!! But when we rely upon ourselves – our knowledge; our own strength; our connections; when we use effort and plotting on our own inventiveness – ANYTHING: we can be assured that we will bring disaster and ruin into our circumstance!
Just look at King Asa. After committing himself to God’s ways he experienced peace and prosperity; but once all was well, he decided he had it under control and in took “the silver and gold out of the treasuries of the LORD’s temple and of his own palace” and sent it to a heathen leader to make a treaty that was not even necessary, because He was living under the beauty of a covenant with God Almighty! God’s response through the man of God, “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.” (The story can be found in 2 Chronicles 16)
My brothers and sisters, read your word and learn from the downfalls of others. Trust In Him Completely! Trust and don’t waver. Trust His strength. Trust His word. Trust His promises. He cannot fail!
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Reading through the Old Testament the last couple of weeks I find myself feeling a little sorry for the leaders of the Israelites; Aaron and Jeroboam especially. Both of them had their own weaknesses, but in both time periods, the people they were leading wanted a convenient and easy worship ambiance put in place for them. The people wanted familiar cultural acts and actions. They wanted actions that would be repeated so they wouldn’t have to think about what they were doing. They wanted things that they could see physically – images that compete with God’s image. In both cases the leaders ensured that they got what they wanted.
Believers today get in that same type of boat: 1) Trying to put idols in the place of our God. Some of our idols are : false rationale, materialism, and consumerism; 2) Wanting pastors to provide a way for us to wallow in some things without feeling guilt. Things like: personal achievement, self, and religion.
Well, just like then, so now!
Leaders in the Body of Christ today do not have an obligation to make worship more convenient for Christ followers. NO! They have an obligation to make worship of our God an unavoidable and inescapable part of our daily experience. Yes, DAILY! Not just on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening.
God Deserves Our Worship. That’s the Bottom Line. There is nothing more that He needs to do for us. He deserves our worship now – today! He deserves it And He deserves it no matter how He wants to receive it!
What has He asked you to do to honor Him? What does your worship look like?
After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 1 Kings 12:28
He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” Exodus 32:4
On January 17, 2017 – I was involved in a serious car accident with my sweetheart. I was driving and went unconscious while behind the wheel for several minutes. The car was going down the highway at about 70MPH. Lloyd had to maintain his composure while: 1) hoping that his unconscious wife was alive ; 2) having thoughts of what his life (and his children’s lives) might be like if she was not alive; 3) realizing that he would have to save our lives; and 4) realizing that no matter what he did, only God could save us.
The King of Kings was with us that night for sure because Lloyd says the muscle in my right leg relaxed which let the car start to slow down while he grabbed the wheel. We crashed into a traffic sign instead of into oncoming traffic. Eric, an off duty Colorado police officer, was behind us and stopped to help Lloyd to navigate the madness – which was also wonderful because the calls to 911 kept saying “call failed”. God kept Lloyd and I here and I just cannot thank Him enough!
The reactions of our friends/family were varied:”God has something planned for you!”; “It wasn’t time for you to go!”; “God extended His grace to you!”; “God granted His grace to us!”; “God looked out for us!”; “Thank God!”; “Get to the doctor!”; “REST!”; “Don’t ever travel again!”; Or in some cases – just tears or looks that needed no words.
My heart and Lloyd’s heart have been running through a gamut of emotions. We are grateful! We’ve been concerned! We have had some fear that has passed. But the most amazing thing is that we have felt great passion for our callings toward the gospel being spread across the earth. We have felt a burning urgency to carry out some of the things that God has placed in our hearts in recent days. We have found ourselves worshipping everywhere we go because that has been one of the most effective tools against the fear and concern. Gratefulness. Concern. Fear. Passion. Urgency. Worship! Yes – worship has been one of the most effective tools against the negative thoughts or feelings – I can see what Paul and Silas felt at midnight! We lived to see another new mercy. This mercy – we truly can say we’ve never witnessed before! Nothing in us has us wanting to stop doing what God has called us to do. This latest experience has only made us both want to dive deeper into it and get it done with more passion; more excellence; and as soon as we can do it.
What about you? As you live your life for the King of Kings are you acting as if your eternal life will be lived right where you are?! I want to encourage you to live it like every moment just might be your last where you are. None of us know when our last moment is – I’m not saying that you might die; but I am saying that you might be moved!! You just don’t know! If the Lord tells you to share the gospel with someone – Open Your Mouth Today! If the Lord tells you to write a book – Put The Pen To The Page Today! If the Lord tells you to get under someone’s discipleship – Make The Move Today! If the Lord tells you to get a doctorate degree – Start The Program Today! If God makes a way for you to show some hospitality – do it Today! Don’t Procrastinate! Don’t Hesitate! Don’t try to fit God’s plan into your schedule.
If you’ve made the decision to call Him the Lord of your life – just go ahead and trust in Him completely and move your own understanding of things out of the way. Relinquish your own idea about what might be right about how to carry things out over to Him and believe that He really will work it out in the way that is best for you!
As for Lloyd and I, YES – God has asked us to do some pretty radical things in the last couple of years and we’ve done most with very little hesitation; but we’ve piddled around on some that aren’t so comfortable or easy. This latest experience has just told us to go on and Do It! He’s Ordering our Steps. He’s Making the Path Plain. He’s Got Us! In Fact — He Has Got It All!! Nothing that He’s asking of us is too hard for us because all of our strength is in Him and all of our purpose rests in Him and our life is hidden in His Son!
In fact, the only reason we even ARE is Him!
Proverbs 3:5,6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Reading in 1 Samuel (1 Samuel 14:1-14) this morning about Jonathan and his armor bearer carrying out a two-man commando raid! Crazy – right??!!
I mean they climbed up there not knowing for sure what God would do, thinking that ‘perhaps’ God might act on their behalf, believing that God just might give them a sign to indicate a victory (that an entire army could not secure) would be given to Israel through their hands. Crazy Faith – the kind of faith that sees powerful Kingdom things happen in our lives.
Jonathan’s ‘perhaps’ is not that God is able, but that God will act. This is what audacious faith looks like. Continue reading