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Peace in the Storms of Life

Ok, it’s time for a message.  Peace in the storms of life.  I was once a very fickle person; changing my mind often.  I cared only for what cared for me; I loved only what loved me and worse, I judged most things to be unworthy of my best cause I thought my best was deserved by only the best.  I was like many people whose natures is to run away from our storms and to the safety of the shelters we built for ourselves.

Then some years ago I saw in scripture just how fickle this was of me.    The book of Isaiah 38:17-19 says, “Indeed it was for my own peace that I had great bitterness; You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption … For you have cast all my sins behind Your back”.  This is what I learned.  Challenging stuff is part of learning how to live a challenging Life for the Lord.  His way with us is to strengthen us to live boldly for Him in many of the things we try to run from.  Great peace happens in the middle of the pits of our struggles; great love happens in the middle of the sense of being unloved.  And stability and faithfulness and truth and mercy and justice and all that is great of the Lord happens in lives where He can manifest those things to people and in places where they seem to be missing.

I learned that running from my situations didn’t change me.  Instead it often weakened me because I was emboldened to remain as I was when I ran.  I wanted what I needed which meant I didn’t want what the Lord wanted in the storms I faced.  The only things that change things is to learn to live faithfully and dependently and to lovingly right where you are.  We must learn to allow the Lord to turn our fickleness into a picture of faithfulness for Him.  The praise of a person on the run is not the same as the praise of one who lives strong and steadfast right in the middle of the storms of life. Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Lips That Cannot Stop Moving

Ok, it’s time for a message.  Lips that cannot stop moving.  “The Lord said; for as much as this people draw near Me with their mouths, and with their lips they do honor Me, but they have removed their heart far from Me” (Isaiah 29:13).  The more we talk, the less we listen.  The less we listen, the more we become our own counsel.  The more we counsel ourselves, the less counsel we receive from God.  And with all this, we ultimately grow to follow what is in our hearts – hearts that now have been counseled more by ourselves and by the world and less by God.  We remove our hearts from God when we come to feel like we know how to live our own lives and to solve our own problems.  With our lips we may still say “I prayed and the Lord told me this or this”.  But in reality when our hearts are removed from Him, we pray and we tell Him what we want Him to say to us.  We do not listen to Him or for Him because we have closed our hearts to hearing Him.

A heart that listens to God will not listen to counsel from anywhere else. Don’t be as those who pay lip service to God with lips that cannot stop moving.  God is a discerner of the heart of man.  It is really important to understand how easy it is to talk too much and so to get your counsel from yourself or from others but not from God.  God wants to speak to you about your situation; He doesn’t want you speaking to Him about what man has said about people like you who have your situation.  Man’s idea of what is fair for you and right for you and appropriate for you is not the same as God’s.  Man cannot get close to God by what he says or by his own standards of righteousness.  In fact the empty heartless words of mouth are a deception; man may deceive man but he can never deceive God.  When our hearts are removed and set on the things we believe we want and ought to have, we would rather talk about knowing God because we do not want to hear Him speak.  We do not want to hear Him speak because we do not want to hear Him tell us to do something different from what we want.  The more we talk then the less we can hear God talk because our minds keep our hearts under control.

Our one desire should be to truly honor God in all things.  This must start in our hearts because God speaks to the heart of man and a man hears with his heart.  “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness” (Romans 10:10).  We do not then believe with the mind but with the heart.  And if in our hearts we do believe God, then His righteousness will be manifested in the way we live.  Pray that God would make your heart a home for Christ His Son and you will be led to say less and to live more.  Fill up your heart with the life of Christ and He will cause what you do say with your mouth to be a reflection of the fact that He is enjoying the day living in your heart.

Live A Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Anxiety Robs Confidence

Ok, it’s time for a message.  Anxiety robs confidence!  Hebrews 13:5 says “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.  For He Himself has said “I will never leave you nor forsake you””.  A few years ago I studied for six months and took a 400 question, six hour test for a professional certification I needed for my work. There were over two hundred people gathered together with me on the day of the test.  Half of them walked out of the testing center after only two hours- discouraged because the test was not easy.  I was one of the last people to finish.  At first I was overwhelmed at the magnitude of questions and the things I needed to know.  But I knew I had diligently studied and prepared myself; I was happy going into the test so I knew I would be happy coming through it.  I passed that test but I learned more from the Lord than from the test.  He is always by our sides during the times we are tested; we are not alone.  He generally does not talk while we are taking the test; we cannot hear Him clearly when we are noisy; and our anxieties and our angers and our emotions generally make it more difficult to get through the tests we face.  We cannot find the solution to some things because our anxiety and emotions robs our confidence.  Finally because we react and respond to our problems as if we are alone, we look in all the wrong places for solutions to problems that are not there.  The Lord is not our test; but He is our answer and He is always there.  When you feel like you are being tested, as much as is within you – remain calm.  Your Teacher is always there.  He has given you three things that will ensure you get through your test; a Spirit of power that will enable you to humbly overcome; and a Spirit of Love that will change your attitude and remind you of who you are and a Spirit of a sound mind that will help you focus on the right things.  These three He gives you because He will never leave nor forsake you.  Anxiety, anger and emotions make you forget who you are, so you forget what you know, so you don’t know what to do.  The Spirit of Power and Love and a Sound mind helps us understand that with Christ, we don’t get out of things but we go through things.  And these are things that make us better as we make things around us better. Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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You Need My Self-Awareness

Ok, it’s time for a message.  You need my self-awareness.  In the book of Matthew 7:3 we are asked “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye”?  One day I stopped to answer this question.  I found I was more interested in building myself up by tearing others down cause I was quick to share their faults and misgivings but my own I did not see.  I was fooled – when we look upon things through a dirty lens, sometimes what we see is more of ourselves than what is before us.  That speck we see in our neighbors behavior is sometimes a reflection of speck on a plank of bad behavior sitting in our own lives.  You see, God is always trying to tell us something.  Sometimes He uses what seems like a dirty dish in a way you would use a mirror to reflect back to each of us something about our own lives and behaviors that should be cleaned.  I learned that you need me to be very self aware of me and of my own faults so that I understand the impact I really have on you and the things I encounter.  I learned that God often let’s me see what I believe are faults so that I will be more willing to allow Him to sanitize my ways to His desires.  With me, He can remove the spot and the plank and even my whole eye if it will keep me from living in the pride of myself and in the sin of looking down at others.  Maybe God is trying to get you to see something too.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you

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What Am I Living For?

Ok it’s time for a message.  What am I living for?   In Philippians 3:14, Paul tells us this about himself – “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”.  With all that we have going on in life and in living every day, it’s easy to never have real focus about why we are here.  Paul is telling us he knows why he is here and he is focused on that one thing – the call of life with God in Christ.  Nothing in life is going to distract him from that.  So what about you?  What are you living for?  Hear this – in the world we set goals so we can have a reward.  The goal and the reward are not the same.  Sometimes we may believe the goal is too difficult or the reward isn’t enough to keep us pressing on so we give up.   But with God, our goal should be life with Christ and our prize is that same life with Christ.  He doesn’t want us to give up or to lose focus – the goal is too important and the prize is too important.  So don’t worry about your circumstances – things may be difficult for you right now or things may be great for you – either way if life with Christ is your goal, He will help you live that life through your circumstances – keep your eyes on Him and and not on yourself .  If you do that He will take care to favor the things that are focused on you.  So commit today to understand why you are here; let your past be your past;  live today as if you are meeting Christ for the first time and then Press On with that goal and with that prize in mind.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you

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Where Are all the Good People?

Ok, it’s time for a message.  Where are all the good people?  In Psalm 37:23 we are reminded that “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord; and He is delighted in his way”.  I struggled with this verse until I found it saying to me  that I was pursuing life for me in all the wrong ways.  I had to stop following my own ways for me; I had to  stop following my own understanding; to stop living from my own provisions; and stop depending on myself for my everything.  I was to start living like Christ lived in me and that meant most I had to live for Him and for others.  When I decided to do this, Christ took over and ordered my steps and my path and my going out and my coming in and all my doings.   And it was then that He found delight in my ways.  It was Him Who then said “man it is good” that you have decided to give up your ways and to pursue My ways.  Then I learned the Lord never leads us into failing.  His ways and His paths are better and surer for us than our own.  I was looking to be a good man who followed Christ only to find that following Christ was the thing that I needed to make me good in His eyes.  The good man is not found in just good places; the good man is found in tough and difficult and self centered places where the good of Christ is needed.  If you learn to let Him order your steps He will make all your tough places easier and He will make your crooked paths straight.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Beyond Understanding!

Ok, it’s time for a message. Beyond Understanding! In the book of Proverbs, 3:13, scripture tells us “Happy is the man that finds wisdom, the man who gets understanding.” One of the greatest things we can have in life is to learn how to live with what we do not understand. We will never have enough knowledge to problem solve our way to success; we will never have enough knowledge to pass every test we encounter; we will never understand all the things we face daily. But we can learn how to live happily with what we do not understand. It is wisdom that can teach you that just because you do not understand something doesn’t make that thing a harm or threat to you. Wisdom is something to have so you don’t have to live in fear and under the control of what you cannot control. You can get more with wisdom than what you can buy with gold or silver. With our own understanding we will spend all we have trying to find answers when wisdom simply wants to teach us how to live long happy fruitful lives with unanswered questions. Often those that seem like they are the greatest among us are not always wise nor does age bring understanding to everyone. But within each of us is the Spirit of the Lord; it is through Him that the Lord Almighty brings us wisdom and understanding so that we can live in peace and in fulfillment right in the middle of our lack of understanding. Don’t allow the blessings of this message be beyond your understanding. Live a Delivered Life. Love you.

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Praise Changes You

Ok, it’s time for a message.  Praise changes you.   In the book of Psalms we are urged to praise the Lord.  In Psalm 149:6 about the saints it says – “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth”.  Praise is not just something we do at church; it is not something we just do in prayer; it is not just something we do when we are being thankful.  Genuine praise is more than words; it is a life of gratefulness trying to live in our lives.  Praise will change who is in control of your life.  When your mouth is full of praise for God, you will have no room to speak in ways that do not praise Him.  When your heart is full of praise for Him you will have no room to have motives that would be contrary to His desires; and when your life is a life of praise for Him you will have no room to live as if you own Him because He has saved you.  When praise is our life; when it’s our heart; and when it’s the language of our mouth there will be no room in our mouths for the little nasty words that fill our hearts and our lives today.  A word of praise that comes from a life of praise is God’s way of saying to others look at them.  They love Me because I love them.  Praise  will change the most difficult and most stubborn and the most unruly thing about us – our attitudes.  And if we can change our attitudes we can change our favor and fortunes. God wants your praise for sure but not just for Himself; He knows real praise is a real life changer.  So let your life and heart and mouth be full of praise for Him.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Help Me to Know Me

Ok, it’s time for a message.  Help me to know me.  Psalm 139:23-24 says “Search me O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”.  There is a line in a worship song that I like that says “Help me to know my ways”.  There was a time where I spent far too much time trying to tell others what was wrong in their lives.  Then one day I heard myself say to me “let me help you see what is wrong with you”.  I learned that it’s hard to find the wicked mean hurtful things in our own lives until we learn to live in our own spotlight.  So I try to do that – especially in the world we have today – because the spotlights we use for others are bigger than ever.  Now, I live each day asking God to search me out; show me what He finds; root out all the evil; and then to lead me in ways that will endure.  Most of us want what is right; but sometimes because of the stuff we have in us we just don’t know what right is.  I used to be like that.  I learned from Him that it isn’t enough to want to do right; it isn’t enough to believe I do right.  What’s more important to me now is to allow Him to do to me what I wanted done to others.  God taught me this – to know that the eyes of everyone else are always on me so I learned to live as if God is always searching me out so what you find will be something useful for your life.  When you let the Lord search you out you can know He is always very near to you – that is awesome!  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you

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Wise Counsel

Ok, it’s time for a message.  Proverbs 1:5 tells us “A wise man will hear and increase learning.  A man of understanding will attain wise counsel”.  A wise man is a person who listens for and lives by what the Lord says to him.  A wise man doesn’t do what he did yesterday nor does he do what others are doing.  A wise man does what others would never think to do because he listens for the Lord in all things.  A wise man learns from what he is not doing as much as he learns from what he does.  A man of understanding is a man who has been taught by wisdom.  A man of understanding will have knowledge of how before he has experiences because he seeks to learn from what wisdom can say to him.  A man of understanding treats wisdom like it is a person more than just a higher level of knowledge.  So a man of understanding has a personal relationship with the man of wisdom.  You can become a wise man and a man of understanding when you stop living by what you learn from the world and you live by what can only be learned from the Lord.  You cannot have a life with Christ when you have a prenup agreement with yourself to act on your own in some things you won’t trust the Lord to handle your way.  Wisdom and understanding covers you and keeps you from the times when you want to act like everyone else acts because you believe experience is the best teacher for some matters of your life.  The world teaches you how you should act so your thinking will follow your worldly acts; but the wise and understanding man is first taught by the Lord so his in his thinking his acts are shown to be more of the Lord than of the world.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you