JUST DO IT

“And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul…” -Deuteronomy 10:12

This verse occurs at a time when Israel had disobeyed God. They were living for themselves and their own pleasure.

God told Moses, “I will wipe them out as a people and I will build a new nation from you.” But, Moses prayed for the Israelites and asked God to spare them.

And so Moses says to the congregation,”God has spared you. And now what does He require of you?”  Simply that you love Him with all your heart and do what His Word tells you for your own good.”

Here is a penetrating question: “Am I willing to do whatever it takes to obey God with courage and faith?”

Am I willing to trust God and put Him first in my finances by giving 10% of my gross income in worship to Him, even though that feels less secure to me?

If God is the Creator, the Great Counselor, the Almighty One, My Source, My Shield, My Defender, Am I seeking to put Him first in my day by taking the time to read and pray for 30 minutes?

Am I willing to serve Him with all my heart by unselfishly committing to volunteer in ministry?

Am I willing to step out and talk with someone about Jesus or invite them to church this week?

What is your step of obedience?

A lot of people confuse information with transformation. A lot of people know a lot about the Bible but they are not mature. There is no growth without doing what God says.

You need to respond to what God is asking of you in your heart now, so that He can give you what is next. There are no short-cuts in God’s character training.

What is your step of obedience?

Take it in faith. Take it with courage and trust in a God who is Good and Great.

You will never be sorry for giving your life fully to the One who created you and knows what is best for you.

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The Enemy Attack #1

“The tempter came to him (JESUS) and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”–Matthew 4:3 (NIV)

Satan’s attack against Jesus is two-fold.  He challenges his identity with the Father.  And He challenges the Father’s provision in his life.

During Jesus baptism, right before this temptation, God identified Him as His beloved Son.  Satan is challenging the very words God has just spoken.

He does the same in my life and yours.  What is our identity?

God’s word says, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”-John 1:12-13 (NIV)

You are a child of God.  God has declared it to be so through Jesus.

But Satan whispers in our hearts, IF you are child of God, and God is good, where is His provision?  Where is His help?  Why isn’t God taking care of this?  Why is this happening to you?  Why does He not intervene now?  Why does it have to be so hard?

It is at these times.  We need to stand.  Remind yourself, who God has declared you to be.  Remind yourself, that God is good and He is faithful.  He has promised to meet our needs on a daily basis.

Second, we need to wait.  Don’t panic, pray.  Don’t take things in your hands.  Wait for God’s provision.  Jesus could have turned those stones to bread.  He waited.

And, in God’s timing, immediately after His temptation, the angels came with a God prepared meal to meet his need.

Don’t romanticize this desert scene.  Jesus was at the point of starvation.  His life was not easy.  But, He lived to glorify the Father.  And He trusted fully in Him.

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I Approve

Preparing my heart, my soul, my mind, my body for my message in the morning.  Many times I feel as a teacher of God’s Word. Who am I to teach this?  I don’t fully understand it?  I have not fully applied this to my life?  I am so flawed it is ridiculous!

Matthew 3:14 says, “But John tried to detour him (JESUS), saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

John is sensing that he is a sinner.  He is totally inadequate to be the one who would baptize the King of Kings.  There are several reasons why Jesus was baptized.  But, I believe one reason is that He approved of John’s ministry.

Even though, he was flawed.  And even though, he was inadequate.  Jesus said publicly, “I approve of his service for Me.”

Something to think about fellow servants of Jesus.  He loves you.  Prepare your mind and body.  Confess your sins.  Strengthen your hearts with your King’s affirmation.  Perhaps the Holy Spirit is whispering to you, “I know you are flawed, but I want to use you.  I approve of your service for Me.”

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The Mystery of God

“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  –Matthew 3:16-17

In this passage, we see the Tri-une nature of God revealed.  This is mind boggling.  There are not three Gods.  There is one God in three equal but distinct Persons.  I don’t understand it.  I cannot explain it.  But, God reveals to us in His word.  This is His nature.

I am OK with the mystery of God.  The Bible is full of tensions that I cannot in my finite state solve.  If I could comprehend and understand God, he would be very small.

God has revealed Himself in creation, in His word, and He is most fully revealed in Jesus.  I know enough to bow before my King.  I know enough to worship my Lord.  I know enough to respond to His invitaton to know Him personally and spend an eternity getting to know Him.

By the way, you never exhaust getting to know an Infinite God.

The Tri-une nature of God is profound because it means, contrary to much of today’s teaching, God did not and does not need me.  There is perfect community, perfect harmony, total satisfaction within the Godhead.

But, He chooses to love you and me.  So, great is His love that He sent His Son to die for you and me in order to redeem us from our sin.

When love is demanding, it is not love.  When love is needy, it is not love.  It is restrictive, and smothering, and selfish.

God chose to create you and me, to love us, to walk with us.  It is not a demand.  It is not a need.  It is an amazing, unbelievable invitation!

One that causes my heart to cry, “God, thank you, thank you, for choosing to love me.  You don’t need me.  But, You still love me.    And You want me to live with You forever.”  Blows my mind and heart, in a good way!

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WHY??

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.  He delights in every detail of their lives.  Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand.”
-Psalm 37:23-24

If God directs the steps of our lives, he also directs from our perspective, what we would call the stops and detours.  Paul in Acts 16 tried to preach the gospel in Asia.  But, he was blocked twice by the Holy Spirit because the Lord had a different destination, a different plan.

Where am I headed?  God has always been good to me.  I have always ultimately experienced the provision of God.  I have always experienced God’s favor and Him opening doors.

Recently, I have been in a season, from my vantage point, that feels like closed doors, stops, and detours.

I know that sometimes things don’t work out simply because of our own sin, or lack of skill, or lack of wisdom, or other people’s sin, or the right timing, etc…

But, equally true is that if things don’t work out, come through, or open up in the way that we desire–they’re failure to do so is also directed from the Lord.

In these moments, I struggle for some rationale for myself and for others, when God does not answer in the way we believed or prayed He would.  All I have is—“It just is.”

God sees things we don’t and knows things we can’t.  And so, we trust Him no matter what.  He is still Good.  He will be Faithful.  He will provide sufficient courage for us to exalt Jesus in whatever situations come.

We don’t keep spinning our wheels asking, Why?  But, now what?  What is the next step you want me to take Lord?

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Life is Difficult

Life is difficult.  Yes, I said it.  I know–DUH!!

We have situational difficulties, relational difficulties, and emotional difficulties.  Difficulties are a given in our lives.  They are unpredictable and impartial.

So, what can we do?

We cannot control our circumstances, but we can control our response.

You and I can choose to trust God in the midst of our fear, our anger, our confusion, our disappointments, and our hurts.

The Bible says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

God is with you.  He will never leave you or forsake you.  He is sufficient for what you need to face today.  Praise Him today.  Trust Him with taking care of tomorrow.

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God is 4 U!

In Romans 8, Paul goes out of his way to say, the Father is for you.  The Son is for you.  The Holy Spirit is for you.  GOD IS FOR YOU!

I need to be reminded of that regularly.  This life is full of problems, trials, and difficulties.  And when I am in the midst of these, I can begin to feel like God is against me.  He has abandoned me.  You know, why doesn’t He just give me a little hope?  Why doesn’t He move?  I don’t understand.  Why does it have to be so hard?  Why does it have to be this way?

Someone once told me never to doubt in the dark what you know to be true in the light.

Here is the TRUTH.  This is LIGHT.

Romans 8:35-39 says,

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep. 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God is for YOU.  

God does not promise you explanations for your circumstances.  But He does promise that He is for YOU.  He promises His presence and the strength to handle today.  He promises that if you put Him first you need not fear anything else.

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