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Live Quietly Among Others

There was a period in the history of man and God where man did not have a king.  After the Israelites conquered the promised land, they lived on the land of promise, but they no longer had Moses or Joshua as their spiritual and earthly leaders.  I guess it would be natural that the people would soon fall away from following God when their spiritual leaders had been lost and not replaced.  In a way, since Moses and Joshua died, the people let God die in their lives.  They allowed themselves to do as they pleased.  

That was then.  What does it feel like to us today?  Judges 17:6 says, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”  So, what does it mean “right in his own eyes”?  If you and I see the same thing, but you see it differently than me, is it possible that we could both be right?  Could both of us be wrong?  I submit that the only way to be right in your own eyes is to give up your right for what is right before God.

When the Israelites had to learn to live without Joshua and without Moses, they had to learn to live before God.  But they didn’t do this.  Instead, they fought one another trying to live before one another.  People who had lived as one—as brothers, as relatives, as children of God—now lived as enemies towards one another.  They became noisy before one another.  They pursued what was right and best for themselves more than for anyone else.  They took one another before judges to have matters of dispute settled.  In many ways, they found it easier to live together as enemies than as brothers.  How could this be?  Because God is the only thing that can bring together things that would naturally be separate.   The Israelites couldn’t love one another.  The most the judges could do was to enable them to manage their hate and dislike towards one another.

When we fight with one another about what is right or wrong, we are more likely to be wrong than we are to be right.  Why is this so?  Because the only standard for what is right is found in God, so when we base right and wrong on anything else, we are likely to get it wrong.  We can be right before man, but man could still be wrong in his judgment.  Every king must have a king, every captain must have a captain, every law must itself have a law, every leader must have a leader, and every piece of authority must have over it an authority.  Everyone one of us who would rule our own lives must ourselves have a ruler over our lives.  If we have no one to answer to but ourselves, then we have no way of knowing if we are right or wrong because we are a poor standard for what is right.

If you want to live in right standing before man, learn to live humbly before God.  If you want what is right from man, learn to live humbly before God.  If you want your neighbor to do right before you, learn to live right before God.  If you want what all men want, learn to quiet down your life before men and live quietly before God.  He will make sure you have all the things you need—the things others seek in the wrong ways.  If you need judgment, quiet your life, and let Him judge first.  Learn how not to live like man lives.  If you do what man does, you will receive the sentence that man will receive.  Man’s best is nothing compared to God’s provision showered upon you.  Try to live before Him in humble submission to His Lordship over your life.  If God is your God, if He is your King, if He is your Lord, then you will learn to live a quiet peaceable life in submission to the higher things of the Spirit that are not seen by those who live for themselves.  If you quiet down, God will speak up on your behalf and make the noise of you and about you in the lives of others.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Live Protected

Scripture tells us Jacob and his children were forced to leave their homeland and go to Egypt because there was a famine in all the land.  In Egypt they found food and shelter because God had blessed their brother Joseph to rise to the prominence there as second in command to Pharoah.  Joseph had his brothers bring his dad and all that he had to Egypt where they would be cared for.  Pharoah, it is said, gave Jacob and his family the land of Goshen.  Goshen was the best land in Egypt.  But more than that, it was the land where God would protect His children from the hardships that were to come.  Goshen is God’s protected place.

God did not fight for the Israelites in Egypt.  Instead, He protected them while they were there.  And like them, God does not expect you and I to fight every day to live in peace where we are.  Often, He wants first to be our protection right where we are before there is a need for a battle.  But we must see how He works and be willing to accept protection more than we want to fight a battle.  

Scripture gives us another example in 2 Kings 6:8-23.  The king of Syria sought to kill the prophet Elisha because Elisha was doing the work of God to warn Israel about the plans of the king who fought to destroy the Israelites.  Scripture says, “And Elisha’s servant said to him, alas my master!  What shall we do?  So, Elisha answered, do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  Then Elisha prayed that God would open the eyes of his servant and allow him to see what he did not see yet.  Elisha’s servant saw the host of the Syrian army all around them and wondered in fear what they could do to save themselves.  But he did not see that what surrounded them was itself surrounded by a mountain full of horses and chariots of fire.  The Syrians surrounded Elisha, but God had surrounded the Syrians to protect Elisha.  

Even though God could have easily destroyed the Syrians, God did not fight the Syrians that day.  Instead, He blinded them so they could not see where they were.  When God opened their eyes, the Syrian army found themselves prisoners of Israel.  Yet still God did not fight.  Contrary to human impulse, God fed the Syrians, nourished them, and sent them back to their homes.  By blinding the Syrians to the natural things they wanted to do, God revealed to them the power of the Spiritual things they did not see.  Now understanding the power of God, the Syrians never again raided the land of Israel.  Without spilling a drop of blood, God gave the Israelites His protection as He had given their ancestors in Goshen.

Like the Israelites, we must learn that often God’s protection comes just before He engages in the things we want to battle in our lives.  He wants to protect us from ourselves while He protects us from others.  He wants to protect us from those who would hurt us and do us harm, but He also wants to protect us from being like those who would hurt, harm, or endanger others.  Why is this?  Because sometimes we come up against an enemy stronger than us, and sometimes we are our own enemy or the enemy of someone God is trying to protect.  God wants us to live in the place where His protection abides.  He wants us to live in the Goshen He has prepared for us.

Perhaps God is not as willing to fight others as we are ready and willing to fight.  Instead, we must learn to live under His protection.  By opening the eyes of our hearts, our faith, and our beliefs, we can see what we struggle against is surrounded by the army of God.  Our natural eyes and our minds will tell us to fight those who fight against us.  But the Spirit of God might just be saying to us to stop fighting what God does not want to defeat.  Instead, learn to live a protected life—a life that says no matter what comes against me, there is something greater that surrounds the thing that has come up against me.  I know I will be protected so I will wait patiently here in my Goshen for the hand of God to deliver me and to deliver the thing that comes against me.

God’s Goshen is the best place for you to live under His protection.  When you take matters of your life into your own hands, you take God’s hands off the matters of your life.  If you will accept God’s protection, then you will be able to let God choose when and how to fight the battles that come your way.  Learn to live under His protection then you will know that you are protected.

Live a Delivered life.  Love you.

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His Joy, My Strength

In the Old Testament, the Bible speaks of the works of Sampson.  He was a strong man, stronger than any man of his time.  The Bible says he even killed a lion with his bare hands.  But Sampson’s strength was not simply natural; it was supernatural!  Soon after he was born, the Spirit of the Lord began to move upon him.  Sampson had the anointing of God’s favor which was the reason he could do so many powerful things that other men could not do.

You and I are no Sampson, but we have access to the same Love of the Lord that Sampson had.  Scripture tell us this in Nehemiah 8:10, “Then Nehemiah said to them, go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord.  Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  Nehemiah was reading the book of the law to the people who had not heard God’s word for many years.  When they heard it, they wept because they realized they were not living the way God wanted them to live.  They were sorrowful to the point of tears.  But Nehemiah encouraged them, because through their repentant sorrow, they would get to experience a supernatural strength much like Sampson’s that came in the way of Spiritual Joy.

I mentioned in one of my previous writings that joy and happiness are not the same thing.  Being happy is an emotion we have because of external circumstances we like.  Joy is a spiritual state of being that we come to when we realize who we are in Christ.  Joy is indeed the place where we get the strength to live through our circumstances instead of being overcome by our circumstances.  Joy is the realization of how much the Lord loves each of us.  It is coming to realize the real meaning of the children’s song, “Jesus loves me, Yes I know, For the bible tells me so.”  Most of us know this song, but few of us understand the joy that is present within it.  Joy comes not because the bible tells us Jesus loves us, but because we come to know for ourselves what it really means that Jesus loves us.

Just like the people of Nehemiah’s time came to know God’s Word and were moved to sorrow, we will be moved to a state of joy in our spirits when we come to know God’s love for us.  The person who comes to know that God simply loves loving us, that it is the Lord’s great joy that He gets to be our Lord, will be filled with the same joy Jesus has towards us, the same joy that moved Him to die for us so we could live with Him.

When we come to know that God loves loving us, we are strengthened in the Spirit to live in ways that enable us to overcome the challenges of life that cause others to stumble.  We have a supernatural strength to see right from wrong, to see good over bad, and to see what others cannot see.  We are given strength to understand all that we hear, to give when others take, and to serve when others want to be served.  The joy of the Lord brings a spiritual anointing upon our lives that enable us to be content in our natural state because our spiritual state has the power to change the things around us.

We may not be able to kill wild animals with our bare hands, but knowing that the Joy of the Lord is our strength gives us the confidence to endure with joy all that comes our way.  So go your way, and do not allow your circumstance or your desire for happiness keep you from the strength of the Lord that is found in His joy for you.  There is supernatural power in the Joy of the Lord.  Seek it and enjoy it.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Lost in Plain Sight

A few months ago, my youngest son asked me to meet him early one morning to help him with a project.  He told me exactly where he wanted me to meet him.  Well, that morning I drove to the place where I thought we were supposed to meet, but he was not there.  Within a short while, my son called and asked, “Dad, where are you?”  I told him I was sitting in the parking lot of the place he wanted to meet.  He said, “No Dad, you’re in the wrong place.”  He told me how to use my phone to share my location with him, then he told me to stay exactly where I was.  He arrived shortly, and I followed him to where he had instructed me to be.  I knew where I was, but I was still lost in relation to where I was supposed to be.

Many of us are like I was that day.  We get lost knowing exactly where we are.  Scripture tells us this in Isaiah 55: 8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord.”  Your life follows your thinking.  Look at how God constructs His Word here.  First, He deals with our thinking.  He says His thoughts are not our thoughts.  He is saying we think one thing, but He thinks another.  Then He says our ways are not His ways.  That is because our thinking is not His thinking so our ways cannot be His ways.  If we follow our thinking, we will have to follow our ways because ways must follow thinking.

Listen to what is being said here, and do not do as I did with my son.  I heard his instructions, but I did not understand all of what he was saying.  I thought I could figure out what I did not understand, but I did not even know what I did not understand.  I was lost before I even started out that morning, and I did not even realize that because I knew where I was all the time.

Sometimes knowing right where you are is the reason you are lost, and you do not know it.  I should have called my son, told him where I was, and asked if was where he wanted me to be.  But I did not do that.  So how can we guard against following our own thinking and our own ways so that we do not become lost in plain sight of knowing where we are?

First, we should always be thinking that we are here to seek the Lord.  While we have life, seeking to find Him should be at the top of our minds.  Now I can hear you ask, “Always?  How is it possible to always be seeking the Lord?”  God wants to be found by us so we can be certain that our thoughts of His whereabouts are the thoughts He has towards us.  He wants those of us who seek Him to find Him.  This is His promise to us.  If you seek Him, you will find Him when you seek Him with your whole heart, meaning your whole life.  Even if you are going to your six-year old’s soccer game, go seeking to find the Lord there.  He loves kids’ soccer.

Learn to turn away from thoughts that are clearly and purely your own.  Learn to listen to the Lord instead of what you say to yourself.  Listen carefully to Him, and you will find ways of living that will refresh your life when things are difficult.  Indulge in what the Lord gives you instead of what you can achieve for yourself.  You may not always know where you are, but you will always know that you are where He is.

Often, we think of wanting happiness and freedom when we should be thinking of having joy.  When we think of our happiness and freedom, we do things that may remove us from unhappy situations and with the hopes of finding happiness in some other ways.  This too is our thinking.  God wants us to focus on the pursuit of joy instead.  He promises joy!  Happiness is an emotional response to an earthly situation.  Happiness is carnal, but joy is a state of spiritual fulfilment.  Joy can be fully realized regardless of the state of your earthly life simply because God is there with you.  Joy is found when you can give to others while happiness is mostly about what you can get for yourself.

Learn to seek joy before happiness, and you will be led by the Spirit to live in ways that will be in plain sight of the Lord.   Check to see if you are lost knowing right where you are.  If you are, perhaps it is because you are listening more to yourself than you are listening to the Lord.  Perhaps also it is because you are seeking to have something for yourself rather than seeking to give more of yourself to others.  And perhaps it is because you are consumed with the idea that happiness is the measure of how great your life is rather than with finding joy in the life you have just as it is.  Do not be lost in plain sight of knowing where you are.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, seek Him while He may be found, and call upon Him while He is near.  Then He will establish His thoughts and His ways to be your very own.Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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A New You

In the book of Genesis, we learn that God created man and all the other animals on the sixth day of creation.  But there was something special about the account of man’s creation.  God has a conversation with Himself in which He says He will make man to be different in a special way.  Man was to be made in the image of God Himself.  Indeed, this makes man different from any other thing that God created.  One of the first blessings God gave us at our creation was to be made in His image.  One of the of the best blessings He gives us each day of our lives is the opportunity to live like we were made in His image.  With our birth, God started His work in us; with our lives, we should allow Him to finish His work.

Isaiah 64:8 reminds us, “But now O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; And we are all the work of Your hand.”  With our births, God created the clay from which our lives could be fashioned into the finished products He envisions for each of us.  But we can sometimes keep Him from finishing His work because we start to work on ourselves by ourselves.  Because we can think and reason for ourselves, one of the ways we are made in His image, we sometimes think we are a more finished product than we are.  The scripture says three things that should help us remember that we will always be a work in progress with God.  God is always trying to create a new you in you. 

First, He reminds us He is our Father.  And if He is our Father, that means without saying it, we are His children.  So, we must know what a father is and what does it mean to be a child of the Father.  A father is our provider, our safety, our guide, our encourager, our problem solver, and our source of love.  A father gives his children a sense of the value they have and the potential of who they can become.  A father is the example of the type of person we should want to grow to be.  

But the Father God speaks of is much more.  This Father is the Source of the raw material that is used to produce the persons we are.  A Father is the place where we get our existence.  Before we were born, a Father was the source of the idea of who we would be.  A Father is the Source of all the knowledge we can know about ourselves because the Father chooses the raw materials that become the finished products we are.  Without a Father we cannot be a child.  A Father helps you quench the old you so that the New You can come forth.  You cannot be a New You unless you know what the Father had in mind for who you ought to be.  Do you know God as your Father?

Next scripture tells us God is the potter and we are the clay.  If we are going to become New Persons, we need to understand the divine order of things.  There was a time when I thought I knew best who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do with my life.  Then I learned that God is the potter of our lives; He wants to craft us into something that He has in mind.  Life with God can never be what I think I want it to be for me.  Sometimes we say that God lives in us by His Spirit, and this is spiritually sound thinking.  But when we recognize that God is the potter of our lives, we don’t just say He lives in us.  More than that, we learn that it is better for us to live out our lives in Him.  When we are in Him, it is more likely we will submit to Him as the potter, recognizing that we are but the clay of His workmanship.  If you are your own potter, you cannot be the clay.  And if you are the clay, you need the work of a Potter to fashion you into something New.  If you come to live in Him, then you will come to live as the clay in His hands.

Finally, scripture tells us that we are the work of His hands.  When we submit to the fact that He is our Father and that we are but clay in His hands, we understand that God has shaped us to be who we are.  God knows what He is doing with our lives more than we can know what is happening with our lives.  If we find ourselves orchestrating our lives instead of following what His design for our lives, we are probably trying to work out our own lives without His help.  God wants to work on you, and He wants to work in you.  Your job is to allow Him to complete His work.  With God things of yesterday are old, and they must pass away so that new things can come forth.  If you are no different today from who you were yesterday, you probably have not allowed the work of His hands to bring forth a new you.  

When you accept God as your Father and realize you are His child, when you realize He is the potter and you are the clay, and when you realize you are the workmanship of His hands, then you will be a new person each day.  God has something new in mind for you for every new day that He gives to you.  God does not want you to take the old you into a new day.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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A Small Voice, Still

God spoke to Moses from a burning bush that was not consumed by the fire.  He parted the Red Sea so that the Israelites could escape the Egyptians.  He brought water from a rock for the thirsty Israelites while they were in the desert.  He stopped the waters of the Jordan River so that the Israelites could cross on dry land.  Mary had the baby Jesus, but she was a virgin.  Jesus turned water into wine.  Hearing these stories for as long as I can remember, I grew up looking for a great God to appear in great and unimaginable ways.  I bet that for much of my life I missed God’s presence because I was watching for the impossible.  But now I know that the secret to the great starts with the small.

1 Kings 19:11-13 captures an account of God revealing Himself to the prophet Elijah.  The scripture says this: “Then God said, go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.  And behold the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.”  Elijah was looking for the Lord, and he was told where to find Him.  Elijah arrived at that place looking for something great because he had something great going on in his life at the time.  An evil person was determined to kill him, so he was looking for something greater than his circumstance.  When he heard the wind and saw its destruction, Elijah was sure God was there.  But He was not.  Like Elijah, we have a lot of stuff going on all around us today.  There is a lot of noise, and a great wind strong enough to change the course of our lives blows all around us.  But God is not in the wind, nor is He in the difficult circumstances we create in our lives. We must look to find Him elsewhere.

Scripture continues: “And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.”  If the wind was not enough, Elijah had to endure the shaking and rumbling of the foundation of the earth right under his feet and the fire that comes with that.  Surely, he thought, God would be there.  But again, the Lord was not in the earthquake or the fire.  We may find ourselves on shaky ground.  We may find our foundation unsure, our sources of stability falling away, and everything around us consumed by unquenchable fire.  Then we look more intently for the Lord because we know He can match rumblings for rumblings and fire with hotter fire.

So, we believe, when the things around us and under us and over us begin to shake and burn, it must mean the Lord is there.  But He is not.  God does not rock our shaky foundations with more instability, nor does He fight our fires with more fire.  He will wait for us to stop weakening our foundations and throwing fuel on the flames of our lives.  If you are looking for God to avenge a wrong done to you, perhaps you should stop looking.  God’s ways are not our ways.

After the wind, after the earthquake, and after the fire, there was “a still small voice.”  Scripture continues: “So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave.  Suddenly a voice came to him and spoke. ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’”  Elijah answered that he had always been zealous for the things of the Lord, and although he was not perfect, he was still looking for Him and had not turned to other gods.  So, what about you and me?  Sometimes the difficulties we face seem to be so big that we start looking for God in a big way.  But the secret to the big often starts with the small.  God will not shout at you, nor will He handcuff your enemies.  A small rudder is used to turn a large ship.  So it is with God.  In the middle of our chaos, He comes to us with a still small voice to see whether we will quiet ourselves so that we can hear what He is asking us.

So, quiet down your life.  You may not be able to remove yourself from a current circumstance straight away, but that should not keep you from hearing the Lord’s voice clearly just where you are.  He speaks to us in a still small voice, so we must learn to hear the quiet that is always present in the middle of our storms.  The miracle of hearing Him does not just come to us in the form of things that are impossible; it comes also in the improbable things that happen in our lives because we learn to listen for His voice in the calm of our lives.  If you allow Him to teach you how to listen for Him, He will teach you how to hear Him from wherever you are.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Don’t Take Transgressions Personal

One day Peter asks Jesus how many times he must forgive a person who sins against him.  “Up to seven times?” he asks.  Peter wasn’t looking for a way to forgive; he was looking for a way to limit forgiveness.  I have often asked myself what the worst thing is anyone has ever done to me that would make me feel like I could never forgive them.  I am grateful that I have found there is really no trespass of any sorts against me that is so great that I would not forgive.  I know how messed up I am, and I know how much I may offend others, giving me a need for their forgiveness, so I live towards others in a way that I want to be forgiving of anything and everything because others must live with me and my own shortcomings.

Still, you may ask, how can anyone be so sure they can forgive anything or anyone?  Well, I have learned that it is easier to have a forgiving spirit than it is to forgive as an act towards others.  I try not to take the things people do towards me personally.  Scripture gives us the ultimate example of what it means to have a forgiving Spirit.  In Luke 23:34 Jesus is on the cross about to die.  He says to God, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”  Sometimes that personal person in me wonders why He didn’t say, “Father give them a taste of their own medicine”.

So, how is it that Jesus could not only forgive the people who killed Him, but He also could ask God our Father to forgive them as well?  Well, just as Jesus doesn’t just love us—He is love, I believe Jesus doesn’t take things personally.  He doesn’t just forgive; He is the Spirit of forgiveness.  So then, how can you and I live in a forgiving way in a world where people do things that hurt us, harm us, or cause us pain, sometimes intentionally?  Well, I believe we can best do that when we come to ask the Father for a Spirit of forgiveness which will keep us from taking personal the things people do to us.

I know just the thought of forgiving others for the harms they do to us can be difficult for us to even think about, especially when people do things to us over and again.  But forgiving frees us while unforgiving binds us.  When we are free we can move on, but when we are bound we will fight on.  So, if you want to be free to live above the stuff that binds others, ask the Lord to help you learn to never take personal attacks on you personally.  You will know that you have a Spirit of forgiveness when you :

  • Learn to never take personal the things people do towards you—if you don’t take things personal then you won’t respond to others as if you are wounded by their acts;
  • Learn to never be offended by the things people do towards you—if you are not offended then you will not be revengeful;
  • Learn to use forgiveness to heal things that are broken—if you learn to heal you won’t further break things that need restoration;
  • Learn to live as if you are a child—if you live as a child then God your Father will be there to protect and care for you;
  • Learn that God has made you more perfect than you can imagine—if you remember God made you to be perfect, you will not allow the things people do toward you to reveal the small imperfections that God is still working to help you to overcome.

I don’t know what the most unforgivable thing is anyone has ever done towards you, but forgive that thing and person anyway.  We are called to forgive, never to avenge.   Learn never to take things personally, but instead make all things personal to God.  No matter what others may say or do towards you, always remember that you are a child of God and that He will fight the battles you face if you get out of the way and allow Him to do so.

Like Jesus, let’s learn to ask God first to forgive others more than we fight with others because forgiveness is healing and restoring and freeing.  Forgiveness frees you from the binding actions others place on you.  Ask the Lord to give you a forgiving Spirit and others will know that you live in the power and Love of the Lord.  When you learn not to take things personal, the Lord can make personal to Himself all the things that happen in your life.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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He Cares for You

Did you know that God’s mind is always on you?  Does that surprise you at all?  What does that mean to you?  And do you understand what it means to cast your cares upon Him?  I know that many of us find it difficult to let go of things that are trying to get hold of us, especially when circumstances demand our constant and immediate attention.  Many of us find ourselves in difficult and complex situations that make it is hard to see how the Lord will help us through, especially when we see that so many things must change for us.  

Still, whether we understand these things or not, scripture encourages us to give our cares over to Him. Nothing we face is so big that He does not have His eyes trained on it for us.  We can believe that about Him.  Scripture encourages us in 1 Peter 5:6-7, saying, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”  Have you ever cared about something or someone so deeply that your mind was always on them?  God would not tell us to cast our cares on Him if He did not intend to have you and all that you care about on His mind daily.

Jesus tells us that not even the life of a little sparrow escapes the eyes and goodness of God.  How much more then will He want to care for you and me?  If His eyes are on the sparrows, then surely His heart is on us.  At some time in your life you have probably had someone tell you to “mind your own business.”  I would like to share a few things that will help you put yourself into the position where God minds your business for you.  How great would that be?

First, learn to live a submissive life instead of a contrary life.  God resists us when we live as if we can handle things on our own.  If you live like you control all that happens in your life, He will stand by and let you have charge over all aspects of your life.  A submissive life is a humble life, and a humble life is the kind of life God rewards with the power of His grace.  If you want God to mind your business for you, then give Him all the things that make up your cares of life and let Him care for them.  Humble yourself under God’s hand, and He will lift you out of your circumstances and your burdens.

Then, learn to learn from life and the things that happen around you.  God cannot help you with your business when you refuse to learn from your business.  There are people around you who are smarter than you are about some things; learn from them.  There are people who do some things better than you do; learn from them.  There are people who discipline themselves to live in ways that are better than you do; learn from them.  If you are too hard hearted and stiff necked to learn from the things that are happening around you, it is unlikely you will learn from the soft gentle ways God uses to help you.  Pride keeps you from learning because pride keeps you trying to be more than you are.  Pride keeps you from being all you can be.  Failure happens when pride prevents the learning needed for you to be successful.  Learn to be a learner in life and God will be your teacher.

Finally, if you want God to mind your business, give Him all the things that you care about.  Throw your cares into His arms and then fill your arms with the things of His life.  By filling your arms with His things, you will not have a way to pull back the things you give away to Him.  He tells us to take His yoke upon ourselves, so let’s do that.  Throw your cares of life on His wagon and then yoke yourself to Him and learn to pull the burden He gives you.  He promises that His burden is lighter than the burden of your own cares.  Go to Him and swap out your cares for yourself with His cares for you.  When you learn to care about what He cares about, you will discover how much He has been caring for you all along.

If you want God to mind your business, cast your cares on Him and let Him teach you how to view your cares through the lens of His power rather than through the weaknesses of your own strengths.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Wait

Tell me.  How many of you, when you are in a hurry, will get to the elevator and press the button, but while you wait for it to arrive you decide to take the stairs instead?  The elevator just does not arrive fast enough for many of us.  So, we exhaust ourselves by taking the stairs only to realize when we get to our floor the elevator has made it there just ahead of us.  If we do not think we need the Lord’s help with a thing, it is not likely we would think to wait on Him.  We can take the stairs using our own strength.  The elevator will always arrive on time, but our impatience can make it seem like it is delayed.

I want to encourage you to be one to wait on the Lord for everything.  Psalms 27:14 encourages us with this simple message, “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart:  Wait, I say, on the Lord!”  If you learn to wait on Him for everything you do and all that you want to do, then He add to you natural strength, His Spiritual strength to make things happen.

We don’t know for certain, but the belief is that it took Noah at least 75 years to build the ark that would later save his family from the great flood.  Abraham had to wait till he was almost 100 years old before he became father to his only son Isaac.  Joseph spent several years in an Egyptian prison for something he did not do before he was released and made second in command in Egypt.  The Israelites were captive in Egypt for over 400 years before God brought them out by Moses.  It can take an Oyster over a year or more to produce a pearl.  

You might say Noah took such a long time to build the ark so that other people would have time to learn to love God.  You might say Abraham had to wait as long as he did because he had to learn to be a great father.  You might say Joseph spent time in prison so he could learn to wait on the Lord for everything.  You might say it took over 400 years to secure the release of the Israelites because they had to grow in numbers that would rival their enemies who were already in the promised land.  And you might say the oyster takes as long as it does to produce that pearl because the oyster must learn to live with a difficulty that will not go away.  When you learn to wait, the Lord will be there to help you endure and get through your greatest difficulties.

We are very impatient people today.  We do not want to wait for much, but we want much to change in our lives each day. We are challenged to wait in two simple ways.  We must learn to wait for something good to happen in our lives, or we must learn to wait for something difficult to stop happening in our lives.  Waiting comes down to those two simple things.  The challenge for each of us is to learn to wait on the Lord so that we do not lean upon our own strength to get us through.

What should you do while you are waiting on the Lord?

  • Don’t make things harder for Him to work on your behalf.  If you are waiting on the Lord to change the heart of someone you care about, wait for Him to change your heart instead.  A change in you which might be the thing needed to change the heart of someone else.
  • Don’t expect to get something for yourself without changing something about yourself.  Often times the miracle you are waiting on is the miracle you allow the Lord to do by changing something in you.
  • Don’t complain about where you are while you wait for things to change.  Your attitude is an indication of whether you are waiting faithfully on Him or whether you are faithfully frustrated with Him.

What is the Lord doing while you are waiting for Him?  Noah probably asked this question many times!

  • He is trying to order your steps in Him rather than in the world.  Make it easy for Him and stop wondering about chasing your own paths to nowhere.
  • He is trying to work His miracle in you so that others can see His favor upon you.  If you are determined to do it by yourself, it is not likely He will be able to do more than what you do for yourself.
  • He is waiting to see if you will wait to see.  The Lord cannot deliver you from your challenge if you are going to take the stairs to another level of your challenge.

Learn how to deny your urge to try to be successful at everything that you do and wait on Him to help you do what you cannot do.  Our circumstances do not determine the speed at which the Lord responds to our needs. Our patience to wait in those needs is what determines how quickly the Lord helps us.  Learn to always be heard by the Lord by being silent before everyone.  Then the Lord will speak for you and others will hear about you.  Learn to take your impatience to the doorstep of the elevator of patience.  Press the button and then wait on the Lord to deliver you through your circumstance.  Wait on the Lord; He will come in time to deliver you.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Memorial Stones

My message today has more relevant meaning because we will celebrate Memorial Day tomorrow.  This is a day that we honor military personnel who died in the service of our country. More specifically, it honors those who have died because of wounds they sustained during a battle.  So Memorial Day is the way we remind ourselves and our country to remember to honor those who died protecting our way of life.  I imagine without this day set aside as it is, we would probably live our lives forgetting the cost that has been paid so that we can live the lives we have.

Like Memorial Day, God did many things and continues to do things that would be a reminder to us to remember Who He is and how He works in our behalf to make sure we have an abundant life with Him.  In Joshua 4:3-6, scripture says, “Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests feet stood firm…that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’  Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were held back before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, when it crossed over the Jordan.”

At that time, the Israelites were a fragile people, but God made a way for them to cross over the Jordan river on dry land.  On our own we are a fragile people today.  We need reminders so that we can remember the things that are most important to us.  God knew this would be a challenge for us.  So, the twelve stones became reminders to the Israelites to remember the day that the Lord made a way for them to cross the Jordan and enter the Promised Land for the first time.  God wants us to remember the things that will help us learn to live in ways that will give us more abundant lives.  But worldly views have confused us, causing us to remember the things that we should not want to be reminded of.  For example:

  • God says to remind yourself to remember that Jesus died for you and me so that we may have eternal life, but our world view says remember that no one can care about your life more than you can, so we reject any reminders of what Jesus means to us.
  • God says to remind yourself to remember that all life is a gift of God, but our world view says remember that life is the product of a man and a woman, so you should reject any reminders that life comes from anything higher than two humans.
  • God says to remind yourself to remember to love one another just as Christ loves you, but our world view says remember that the last person you loved hurt you, so you should reject any reminders that you should love others unconditionally.
  • God says to remind yourself to remember that God wants to be a part of all your life, but our world view says remember that God created you to think and act on your own, so you don’t need any reminders that tell you to submit to anything or anyone that keeps you from exercising your free will.
  • God says to remind yourself to remember that you should choose the life that will lead to eternal life in heaven with God, but our world view says remember that heaven and hell are not proven to exist, so we reject reminders that there can be anything beyond life but death.
  • God says to remind yourself to remember to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and all things on earth will be provided to you, but our world view says remember good things comes only to those who work harder than the next person, so we reject reminders to pursue anything other than what we believe is best for us today, seeking only things we can achieve through our own hard work.
  • God says to remind yourself to remember to honor your mother and your father which is the first commandment with a promise (long life), but our world view says remember we do not have to honor or respect anyone or anything that has not itself honored or respected us, so we reject reminders to do otherwise.

So, as this is a season of reminders, let us remind ourselves to remember that God says that in all our ways that we should acknowledge Him, and He will direct our paths.   When God is directing our steps and our thinking, we will not be misled by a majority thinking that our world views are the best views to have.   In doing this that we have the opportunity in Christ to live a life that is fully delivered from the world view way of living that is all around us today.  So, let’s create some memorial stones in our hearts today, stones that will remind us to remember that God is for our good and never for our harm, despite our world view which might suggest otherwise.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.