The Believer’s Deadline

For some time now, I have been thinking about the absence of the fear of the Lord amongst Believers.

I think it’s a core issue that has caused many to compromise, embrace false doctrine, and fall away from right standing with God.

I believe we have made God into our own image; someone we can understand. Someone who’s thoughts are like our thoughts, and who’s ways are like our ways. We even think our thoughts are His thoughts, sometimes. Without seeking His Word, we go forward. It seems right to us, so let’s do it.

This kind of “faith” actually requires no faith at all.

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Somehow, the church got the idea that God was supposed to be approachable, and that seems to be the crux of the problem. He is not approachable, except through Christ. Only through Christ. We must come to Him clothed in the righteousness of Christ, cleansed by the blood. And, Christ is not something we put on and take off when we get to the church door.

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” (Romans 13:14)

“And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.” (Philippians 3:9)

The God of the Old Testament has not changed, and He never will. He required great things of those Saints of old, yet we expect Him to be satisfied with our measly gifts today. We give Him our “extra” time. We yawn and watch the clock. We decide how much we serve according to what we’re already doing, not according to how much there is to be done. We give more time to entertainment, than we do to knowing Him. Sports scores clutter more Facebook statuses than Scripture references. We pollute our minds watching and listening to things that should make us jump up and run out of the room. Why do we want to be a part of glorifying that which nailed our Savior to the Cross?

“Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

Friends, I have not written this to condemn anyone. I am not judging your choices, or prejudiced against your lifestyle. I am only concerned for the Body of Christ. The days are getting short, Brothers and Sisters. Christ is coming soon. That is not an inevitability that we just wait to arrive. “Why think about it? Why preach about it? It’s going to happen anyway.” No. We are missing the point, if that is what we think. Paul described this Christian life as a race to finish (2 Timothy 4:7). What runner ambles around the course, not caring whether or not he reaches the end? The Rapture is a deadline we are supposed to prepare ourselves for, and daily be working towards.

I love you, and I am praying for you. I pray you will allow these words to challenge you to search your heart. ❤

September 13, 2011

Let’s Make This Our Default Setting

 

Life can turn in a moment—one phone call. One word. One slip of your foot. One forgotten deadline. Life can feel very fragile.

That balance of bearable and unbearable circumstances is precarious.

However, we have an opportunity to do something powerful when Trouble shows up. It’s embodied in one simple statement; a declaration of faith:  I’m going to trust God, anyway.


Maybe, you’re going through some trouble right now. Have the scales tipped over to the unbearable side? If that’s the case, I want you to know that now is the time when your confession of faith in God is most important—and, most powerful!

Now, when you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel; when the only reports you hear are bad; when hope seems lost forever; when you’ve never felt more alone—this is when your faith is most challenged, and when it matters most that you press in harder than ever.

Yes, you’re going to feel scared, confused, hopeless—that’s OK. Emotions happen. Yet, even while you are feeling all those feels, your confession needs to be one of trust in the Lord.  You don’t have to feel like trusting God. Faith is not an emotion. We trust God out of reverence. It is an act of obedience and obedience always bears good fruit—the spiritual kind that makes life better!

I tell you what, no matter how dark or frightening or desperate your circumstances may seem right now, God is still bigger. God is still able. It’s none of our business how or when He fixes our troubles, but it’s our business to trust Him, anyway. He’ll take care of the rest!

So, say it out loud. Turn it into a song. Write it on paper, and tape it to your wall. Make it your Facebook status!

Come on. Say it with me: I’m going to trust God, anyway.

“Praise the Lord! For all who fear God and trust in him are blessed beyond expression. Yes, happy is the man who delights in doing His commands. He does not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what may happen. For he is settled in his mind that Jehovah will take care of him.Psalm 112:1&7 (TLB)

Praise the Lord! ❤

Every Tool in the Box

“Oh, no.”

I could hear from the tone of the Saxophone Player’s voice that something really bad had just happened. 

Doug was installing a new shower head we’d received for Christmas,  when the water pipe that pokes out from the shower wall broke off right into his hand. It didn’t unscrew off, mind you. It was sheared right at the point where the threading starts and it screws into another pipe.

This was not good.

Doug texted our son-in-law, and asked if he could check it out the next day. Tim’s a handy fellow, and conveniently lives in the upstairs apartment. So, the next afternoon Tim came down with a pair of pliers in hand. I was surprised he only had a pair of pliers. I imagined the tub wall would have to be opened to get to the rest of pipe, and said so to Tim.

Cheerfully, (he’s a pretty upbeat guy) he said, “Well, maybe not. If I can remove the rest of the pipe, we shouldn’t have to open up the wall.” He explained that he’d checked on the situation earlier, before leaving for work, but the pliers he had used didn’t do the trick. “Hopefully, this pair will work.”

I went back to what I was doing (making applesauce), while he did his thing. About a minute later, he calls out: “I got it!”

“Oh, really?”

“Yeah, thanks to my grandfather’s pliers.” He laid them down to show me. “I couldn’t find them this morning, but I had a feeling they would do the trick.”

There are lots of pliers in the world, and they all work just fine, but that particular pair was just what Tim needed for that particular job.

I don’t use pliers often, but I use other tools. We all do. Some tools we reach for everyday, and some maybe only once a year. However, even that tool you only use once a year, like the hacksaw that Doug uses to make a fresh cut on our Christmas tree, is irreplaceable. Nothing else can do what it does. 

As I thought about tools, and how thoughtfully designed and carefully crafted they are for their particular purpose, I started to think about us—you and me. We’re actually tools, too. We were thoughtfully designed and carefully crafted, too. And, the Master Craftsman who designed us created us for a very particular purpose. 

Stop and think about that.

Now, no analogy is perfect, but I think there’s a measure of truth here. The Word of God tells us that we are gifted by God with certain talents: something we can do. These aren’t always talents like we normally think of talents—performance talents. It might be a talent for bringing order to chaos. Or, maybe you can turn a carrot and an egg it into a tasty and beautiful birthday cake. Maybe, you aren’t a singer, but you can make the singer’s voice heard above the drums in a room filled with 1,000 people.

As many tools are in any toolbox or kitchen drawer, it’s still just a drop in the bucket of how many different talents God has gifted His creation—you and me. Whether we have several, or have trouble thinking of even one, I can promise you that God has given you a talent, and He means for you to use it for the very purpose He intended.

So, what’s your talent? Does something come to mind? If you’re like I used to be, you might feel too insecure to say what you think your talent is, and that’s OK. I would probably still have a hard time admitting out loud that I have a talent for doing anything more than making gravy, and when I was younger—and so much more insecure—that’s the only talent I thought I had to offer the Lord. I baked cookies for the homeless, I cooked for church suppers, and I took meals to the sick. I took the only talent I thought I had, and used it every chance I could. As I kept serving the Lord with the talent I had, and doing anything else for the Lord—including things I was definitely not talented at doing—I discovered and acquired other talents.

Now, a reasonable question right now might be, “How do I find out what my talents are, and what God’s purpose is for my talent?”

Well, this is my simple answer: first, start doing whatsoever your hand finds to do for the Lord.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NKJV)

That’s one reason we need to be in church. In church, there are so many opportunities to serve God. Some opportunities might not sound very appealing. Or, we might be tempted to say, “I don’t think I have a talent for that.” Yet, as we start doing whatsoever our hand finds to do, we start to discover there are some things we’re actually really good at, and really enjoy doing. That’s a good sign. Our leaders are going to recognize our talents, too. We might not think we’ve a talent for something, because we compare ourselves to others, but our leaders can be more objective.

Now, your next reasonable question might be: “How will I know God’s purpose for my talent?” That answer is even simpler that the last answer. The ultimate purpose for any talent is that it glorify God.

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV)

Now, if we happen to attend a church that doesn’t have many opportunities, we can ask our pastor to help us find a local ministry that needs help. However, I suspect most pastors will have something for a willing person to do. We might start serving in just a small way, or in a way we really don’t think is using our talent (or that we are talented at doing), but that’s how God leads us to those works that He has prepared in advance for us to do. 

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

Start doing something, and see what God does next.