Monday, April 30, 2012

Good...vs. GREAT


Do.  Doing.  Done.  We use these words a lot, don’t we?  What I’m about to do.  What are you doing right now?  We have done some great things, haven’t we?  The Lord has really convicted me lately about the motivations behind the things I do.  I realize this may be sounding like a tongue twisting passage like that in Romans 7:15-17, but stay with me, and I think this will all make sense. 


There are a lot of “good” things in this life.  Activities, projects, even church things that are wonderful, often necessary things.  However, there are very few “great” things in this life.  I would assume that most of us would rather do the “great” things in life rather than just “good,” right?  How do we know a great thing when we see it?  Most of the time, we will miss them on our own.  We must rely on the Lord to guide even our smallest steps.  When He speaks, we have to be ready to move.  Otherwise, we may get distracted by something that is more attractive to our own desires, rather than God’s.  I know that I am guilty of doing the things that I enjoy more than the things that I do not.  But what if God is wanting to push my boudaries a bit?  What if He is not satisfied to let me just stay the same? 

None of us like to be out of our comfort zone.  We prefer the safety of our own corner of the world.  I like to surround myself with "good" things, but I must admit that many of the "good" things that we do seem a bit hollow. 

I turned 37 last month.  I have no idea why, but this is the first birthday that really got my attention.  30 didn't bother me, 35 was no problem...but the realization set in this year that my "I'll do that someday" thoughts needed to go away.  I have been a part of some amazing things so far in life.  Grew up on a farm and ranch, went to an awesome university, married an amazing Godly woman, was given two beautiful daughters, that's just the personal highlights.  God has allowed me to be a part of some amazing ministry over the past 20 years.  Mission trips to far points on the globe, ministries right here at home, watching youth catch the vision of Jesus, and so many things that I do not have time to mention here.  At 37, I could start taking it a bit easy, and admire the things that God has allowed me to be a part of.  I could look back forever....and live like Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynomite.  "We coulda won state in '82!" 

I love where I came from.  I love being who God made me to be.  But I do NOT want to live in the past.  I want to be a part of what God is doing right NOW!  His greatness being shown to a dying world is my greatest desire!  This passage has really hit home with me lately.  Hope it speaks to you, as well!

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.”  -- James 1:22-25 (NIV)


Monday, April 23, 2012

Strength


Where is your strength today?  We are constantly bombarded by ways to make our bodies “stronger,” to “strengthen” our retirement fund, or shampoo ads that tell us how to have “strong” hair.  We see the word so often that we often find ourselves believing that our own strength is up to us.  If we go to the right gym, retirement planner, and make proper choices in the shampoo aisle, we should be “strong,” right?  Of course, this is false…but where does true strength come from? 

Webster’s defines strength as:  the quality or state of being strong, capacity for exertion or endurance, or the power to resist force.”  Honestly, being strong on our own is a complete illusion that man has come up with.  None of us can be strong at all times, and in all situations.  From the strongest athletes or the brightest minds in our society, to those regarded as “lowly”…when it comes to our spiritual condition, we are ALL weak.

 Throughout the Bible, we see kings and queens, prophets, servants, and even Jesus himself seek and find their true strength in the power of God.  Like King David, we need to remember that the true source of strength in our lives is the Lord.  I pray that you find comfort in shelter of the Almighty today!

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.   The LORD is the strength of his people;  he is the saving refuge of his anointed.  Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!  Be their shepherd and carry them forever.” -- Psalm 28:7-9 ESV

Monday, April 2, 2012

Do You Worry?

Do you worry?  I mean seriously…do you?  Sure, we know that we are not supposed to worry, so we call it other things.  Concern, doubt, fear, heartache, uneasiness, apprehension are all terms that we use to replace the word “worry” in our everyday lives.  I confess that have my share of worry in my own life.  It is when I find myself in the midst of a very trying situation that I begin to let these thoughts consume me. 

I have heard the term defined in this way, “Worry is telling God that He can’t…”    Another source shows the root form of the English term worry to mean, “to strangle, or to choke.”  When we make the decision to worry, we are making the judgment that our problems are bigger than God is.  Our lack of faith “chokes” out the power of God in our lives.  Jesus tells us this:

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.”  -- Luke 12:22-23 (NIV)

 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” -- Matt 6:33-34 (NIV)

I need to be reminded that my focus MUST remain on God, and not the things that the world tells are important. God must show me these important things!  I think of this quote from Francis Chan quite often.  It’s words are so true!

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.” – Francis Chan