Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Power of God's Spoken Word

“By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.” Hebrews 11:3

When was the last time you told the wind to stop blowing, and it did?
Or maybe there was a time where you really needed a home-grown vegetable right in that moment, and the vegetable plant sprouted one right when you commanded it to?
I don’t know about you, but for me…that’s never happened.
The very beginning of the Bible opens up to tell about the story of creation. The first main concept to grasp from the creation story is this: at one point, everything we see now did not exist.
That in itself can be hard to imagine. We’ve all grown up with nature all around us, all of the trees and grass and shrubbery. But, everything has a beginning.
…and God spoke the world into existence.
God’s spoken word is filled with power. Let’s take a look at a few other examples of the power behind God’s word:
  • Peace in uncertain situations. In Luke 8: 22-25, the disciples are in a boat with Jesus when a storm develops around them, and the disciples become frightened and yell for Jesus (who was taking a nap). Verse 24 says this: “When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm.” Jesus can calm the storms in your life. That doesn’t necessarily mean that as soon as you call His name, everything will settle and your problems will be gone; but it does mean that you can have peace even in the midst of life’s turmoil.
  • Revitalization of things that have died.   In John 11:17-44, we read the story of the death of Lazarus. At this point in the story, Lazarus has already been dead for four days, and Jesus arrives on the scene at a time that everyone else thinks is too late. And yet, He demands to go to the tomb of Lazarus and have the stone rolled away. Verse 43-44: “Then Jesus shouted, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ And the dead man came out.” No matter what situation in your life you think is dead, God is able to resurrect it.
God can do many things simply by speaking them into existence. The true question is not in His ability; the question is in how much faith you have in what He has said.
How can you better prepare yourself to respond to God’s word?

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Impossible Calling

"For nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37

It can be done.

That thing that you feel God has called you to do, but you think it sounds absolutely crazy and out of your reach.

It is out of your reach...if you are doing it on your own.

But if you're doing it with God, it is most certainly possible.

God wants you to have faith in Him...not just that He exists (that's where faith begins), but that He is on your side and is leading you down a path to greater things.

The key is to take it one step at a time. Don’t worry about what tomorrow will look like; just focus on today. 

You may be years away from actually doing what God has called you into. You could be close to being there. Or...maybe you're already there and don't think that you can do this.

I have had the same dream since I was a kid, but I always thought it was out of my reach. If I keep looking at the big picture, it still seems impossible. However, I have seen what God has done in my life in the past year, and I believe that He will continue to grow me towards where He wants me to be.

It is the same for you.

God would not lead you to do something that you could not do with His help. There may be some days you are ready to quit, and other days where you love what you're doing and know you're right where you need to be.

No matter how you feel in the moment, God is always there, ready to help you with the next step.

What is the "impossible calling" you feel God has placed on your life?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Connection Between Thoughts and Attitude

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5

“I don’t like her”.

I didn’t start out with that attitude. But by the time I rehashed my reasons for disagreeing with her idea for the tenth time, that’s where I ended up. Suddenly, I began questioning her motives and her character.

Attitude is a powerful thing. It goes hand in hand with thoughts, and if one is negative, the other will also be negative. You will never be able to maintain a positive attitude while you are having negative thoughts, and vice versa.

However, as Christians, we are not expected to simply change our thoughts on our own. We do have to put forth some effort in acknowledging that our thought patterns are going in the wrong direction and choosing to change their direction, but then we have the Holy Spirit who works in us to change our thoughts.

“Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” Ephesians 4:23

It is important to have faith that if you turn your thoughts and attitudes over to the Holy Spirit, He can change them.

Wondering how you can have a mindset like Jesus in your relationships, especially with other Christians (who we sometimes hold to higher standards)? Here are a few examples from 1 Peter 3:8

  • Sympathize with each other. Respond to the needs of others at every opportunity that you can. Keep your ears and heart open to someone who needs help but may never ask for it.  Pray for understanding of their situation.
  • Love each other as brothers and sisters. Accept the differences that could cause division, and choose to love and help those around you. Celebrate the things that you have in common.
  • Be tenderhearted. Show compassion for others as they are going through joyful or tough seasons in life. 
  • Keep a humble attitude. Encourage others and rejoice in their success. Be gentle when dealing with others. Think more of others and less of yourself (Philippians 2:3).
The Holy Spirit will help you develop these attitudes as you choose to depend on Him. That is why it takes faith: even on the days where you feel like you've failed completely, you can get up and start over.

What negative thoughts have you had recently that are having an effect on how you view another person or group of people?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

From Unrest to Inspiration

Have you ever found yourself in a season of unrest?

You don't feel like you can do what you've been called to do, or you might even feel like you aren't in the right place at all.

I've been there. Transitions that I have faced have sometimes taken a toll on my confidence that I can do what I feel that I've been called to do. I've wanted to throw up my hands and run away on multiple occasions. 

In those times where you feel like just giving up, asking “what’s the point?” take comfort in the truth that God has a purpose for it all.

  • God is there, with you, right now.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

Everywhere you go, God is there. More than that, He has gone in front of you and knows what is ahead. Do not let situations or conflict discourage you.
  • God will not disappoint you.
“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given to us.” Romans 5:5

If God has promised it to you, He will do it. It may not be on the same timetable as you would complete it, but just keep trusting Him.

  • Be enthusiastic to bring honor to God.
“He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God.” Numbers 25:13

If you feel that you have lost passion for what you do, just focus on one thing: bringing honor to God. He will restore your passion as you focus on Him.

  • Do what you do now well.
“Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.” Ecclesiastes 9:10

Once you reach the end of your life, there is no do-over. You won’t need to work, plan, or have knowledge and wisdom after you are gone from this earth.  This is the time to do what we are called to do, and do it well.

Sometimes we fall into states of depression or dissatisfaction; but we don’t have to stay there. Rest on the faithful promises from God, and allow them to inspire you to move forward just where you are right now.

How can you become enthusiastic for the honor of God today?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Promises Fulfilled

“His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” Psalm 91:4

How many people have promised you something, only to not fulfill that promise?…teachers. People you look up to and trust.

Whether the broken promise is due to circumstances out of their control, or a decision to not follow through, it never feels good to be on the receiving end of a broken promise. It’s not fun to be on the giving end of one either.

God has made promises to us. Eternal promises that nothing in this world can take away from us.
He also makes some promises to us during our life on earth. Not that life will be easy…it never is.

  •  Freedom from condemnation. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
  •  Help for us. “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13
  • Patience with us. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

God promises all believers certain promises…and then there are the promises He whispers into your ear, that are just for your particular situation.

Take a few moments to sit in silence, listening for God. What is God promising you in your situation today?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Restful Productivity

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" Matthew 11:28

If you were going to create something that would be able to be productive, like a robot or a virtual personal assistant, would you create it with the need to be shut down on occasion?

Or would you want it to run 24/7?

In this generation of smart phones, when was the last time you turned yours off? Hint: Airplane mode doesn't count.

God started it.

God created us with a need to rest. I know a lot of us wonder why; why can't we have all 24 hours each day to get things done? Why would God create us with the disadvantage of tiredness?
Could it be because our tendency to become tired leads us to dependency on God?
If we never got tired, we might actually buy into the belief that we can do it all.

An Outline for Work and Rest     

The story of creation, aside from being a wonderful account for how God formed the world we know, teaches us two things about work:
  1. God focused on one thing every day. Instead of going in many different directions to "get it all done", God instead created each section of our world individually. Day one: Light to separate day and night. Day two: Sky. Day three: Land to separate the seas...etc.
  2. There was a day focused on rest. "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work." Genesis 2:2 There was a separation point between the work of creation and the following days. God did not need to rest; He was setting an example for us to follow. As we finish one project or goal, we need to step back and rest and reflect before jumping into the next assignment.
 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. Psalm 23:1
Even though we become tired and need rest, we can also rejoice in the fact that in Christ, we lack nothing.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What do you want to do with your life?
Where do you see yourself in five years?

Why are you pursuing this particular field?

These are all questions we are familiar with, if you’re anywhere from eight to 80 years old. All throughout our life, the focus is on what we are planning on doing, what career we are planning to follow.
As Christians, we wonder about God’s will for us quite often. That’s the point where the questions go from the ones above to this:
What does God have planned for my life? Is this really the job He wants me to take? Is this the right place to live or should I move? Where will God have me in five years?
The answer for what God’s will is for our lives is in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

God simply wants us to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. Everything else flows from these things. God will work through our rejoicing, prayers, and thankfulness to reach others.
This means that whether you are a doctor, waitress, or stay at home mom, God wants you to rejoice, pray, and give thanks during your day. But what does this look like, you might ask? Here are some examples from the above mentioned jobs:


·         A doctor can rejoice when a patient’s tests come back with good results

·         A waitress can rejoice when all of the customer’s orders are correct from the kitchen

·         A stay at home mom can rejoice when her kids happily help with chores


·         A doctor can pray for those families who get bad news, that they will lean into God and experience healing

·         A waitress can pray for each family that she serves

·         A stay at home mom can pray for her children to become world changers

Giving thanks

·         A doctor can give thanks when surgeries go well and when patients take on a healthier way of life

·         A waitress can give thanks for all of the people she has come into contact with and for what God did through her in the time that they were in the restaurant

·         A stay at home mom can give thanks when she senses her children are learning life lessons, even if they are hard in the moment.

I once heard a pastor say: “A calling has nothing to do with your occupation and everything to do with your identity.” Since our calling is about our identity and not only our jobs, our calling is a part of every area of our lives.  

What your job is ultimately does not matter when it comes to God’s will: what matters is who you are in Christ.