Monthly Archives: February 2018
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
“It is so cold and rainy! I wish it were spring!”
“It is so hot and muggy! I wish it were fall!”
“It is too noisy! It is too quiet! It is too fast! It is too slow!”
“Those refs are terrible! “Those umps are useless!” “These games are rigged!”
“This phone never works!” “I always have to do everything!”
“These politicians are crooks!” “ALL they do is fight – they never get anything done!”
Blah ….. ..Blah ……..Blah ……… Blah!!!!
Is it possible to do everything without grumbling or complaining? Or maybe the question for you is: Is it possible to do anything without grumbling or complaining?
Does your life revolve around YOU? Because that is what complaining is – the spinning desire to concentrate on yourself and your own needs, desires and comforts. What would happen if you stopped? Would you end up with nothing to say?
The purpose of not grumbling or complaining is so we can become blameless and pure. The assumption then is that if we don’t stop, we continue to be part of the warped and crooked generation doing and speaking what does not please God.
Complaining is actually an affront against God. It is disagreeing with the circumstances He has placed us in. Instead of being lights in the darkness of that situation, we make the darkness darker unless we choose to be the light with God’s help. Sometimes just stopping the complaint can bring a whole new perspective to a situation or hope to what appears to be a hopeless place.
My prayer for us this week is that we rejoice in our circumstances, giving thanks to God for using us for His glory in situations that call us to be the light in the darkness.
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
1 John 2:15-17
There is a point in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia – Prince Caspian – when Lucy hears Aslan’s voice (Aslan represents Jesus in this series) and excitedly reports this to the rest of the group who are trying to come to the aid of Prince Caspian but have lost their way. The rest of the group, Peter, Susan, Edmund and a dwarf dismiss her proclamation and decide to “vote” which takes them down the wrong path. Lucy who was so certain that she heard Aslan follows the group because she doubts herself in light of the “logic” of her older brothers and sister.
After the children are lost and facing danger, Aslan calls to Lucy again in the middle of the night and she follows his voice until she sees him. He asks her why she did not follow Him. She ashamedly admits her error.
This is a critical lesson for all of us who proclaim ourselves to be Jesus Followers. Many of us are prone to take the advise of worldly advisors or other Christians before seeking God in situations both personally and in the Church. Likewise, many of us “offer advice” to other Christians or “take a vote“ without seeking God in the situation. Our well-intentioned seeking or advising without Godly direction can take us down the logical worldly path straight into danger.
My prayer for us this week is that we seek God in our situations and make every effort to listen for His voice.
Scripture reassures us, “No one who trusts God like this—heart and soul—will ever regret it.” It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. “Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.”
But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? That’s why Scripture exclaims,
A sight to take your breath away!
Grand processions of people
telling all the good things of God!
But not everybody is ready for this, ready to see and hear and act. Isaiah asked what we all ask at one time or another: “Does anyone care, God? Is anyone listening and believing a word of it?” The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to.
Romans 10:11-17 The Message
Many of us have experienced the defeatist attitude expressed by Isaiah, “Does anyone care, God?” It is usually expressed when we are having difficulty “hearing” from God and our default thought is “What difference does it make, God – nobody cares anyway.”
When we are not “hearing”, it may be that we should be persevering by trusting that God’s Plan is in motion. We must trust that He works in mysterious ways to bring about His plan. His Plan is always to “prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11 (remember to think of this from God’s perspective not your own).
In the meantime, remember that before a person can trust, they have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there is nothing to listen to.
My prayer for us this week is that we be alert to opportunities that God orchestrates to “tell the good things of God” in our situations! We can be used as God’s instruments to assist others to listen so they can trust in God.
Jesus, the Way to the Father
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.”
“No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”
Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!
Each of us is on our own journey – yet we share common potholes. One such pothole is “pride” in our own abilities and direction. You know, the voice that says, “I am going to do this particular thing, in this particular way, at this moment for this reason because I can. I am able and I am skilled and I know what is best.”
We set out on this journey of our own making and then suddenly, we hit a pothole that causes a slight wheel alignment issue – a change in our plans.
But again, we know our goal and our purpose – what’s a little pothole? We go ahead on our own accord, newly aligned in the manor we see fit and move on down the road. The next pothole we see a bit too late and hit it head on – flattening a tire. We pull off the road –disabled and disconcerted.
But again, we know our goal and our purpose – we can fix a flat tire, right? We arrange for a tire fix and continue on in the same manner knowing what we want and how we are going to do it. We chalk the event up to “fate” and move on as if there is nothing else to think about. However, the next pothole we hit is totally unexpected and we have no idea we even hit it until we are totally disabled. Stranded with no idea how to fix the problem, we sit in our mess.
At this point, we may get a distinct feeling that maybe we have been operating the vehicle on the wrong power. Maybe we need to take some time for reassessment of our plan and purpose. Maybe we “don’t know” what we are doing. Maybe we are headed in the wrong direction and didn’t even realize it because we were focused on ourselves instead of the ONE who is in charge.
“Pride” is a subtle and debilitating state of being. I’m not talking here about “civic pride” or “school pride” or “familial pride” in the accomplishments of a family member. I am talking about the “pride” we take in ourselves – in making our own plans and setting our own agenda without seeking God in the process. It is living life without the realization that God is in control and we are not.
And pride in ourselves is a “trust” issue. Do we trust God? Do we trust that Jesus was sent by God to be the final sacrifice for the sin of the world and in that sacrifice He conquered death creating a pathway to eternal life? Do we understand that we will not enter eternal life on our own but only through Jesus? Do we comprehend that “our” plans without Him means we don’t trust that His plans are best.
As we grow in our faith, our pride diminishes, but beware of the deeply imbedded areas of our lives where pride still flourishes. These areas will be brought to the forefront as we journey forward on the path set for us. God is not finished with us and He is in the habit of refining us so that we are more and more like Jesus. In this process, it is good to keep our eyes on Jesus and accept with gratitude the refining process.
Remember, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.
So go forth this week with your eyes fixed on Jesus – reassess your own plans in light of His knowing and trusting that His plans are to prosper you and not to harm you but to give you hope and a future.