Friday, July 27, 2012

God's Side

I heard something today that made me reflect on some things that have been going on in our culture lately.  Abraham Lincoln once said, "My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right."  WOW!  That shouldn't be such a revelation, but it is.  Instead of trying to argue that God is on our side, we should make every effort to reconcile ourselves and our lives, our way of thinking, to God and His Word.  There is one caveat to that realization, though...One would have to know what God's Word truly says by reading and studying it and applying it to their life, in order to know what God's side truly looks like.

There is a "WORLD" of difference between following Jesus and just assenting to Jesus and expecting Him to follow us.  In one view, we are more interested in pleasing the world and our personal desires than we are in pleasing God.  In the other view, we truly seek God and His truth, despite what others and the world have distorted as the new truth.  The two views are polar opposites.  The world's views can be deceiving and we can easily try to rationalize how God's Word does not apply to the world today or to our lives and views.  We pick sides, based on our own perspective and views.  We have become desensitized to God's views and over-sensitive to a world that is completely in left field. 

What to do?  It's a question, or series of questions, that every true believer of Jesus Christ has to ask of themselves.  Am I going to follow the world's ways or am I going to follow the ways of Jesus?  Am I going to keep my mouth shut or am I going to boldly stand up for truth against a culture that denies it?  Am I going to love those that hate me and what I believe because that is what Jesus would do?  Am I going to represent my Lord well, while being a light for His truth, in a dark world?  All of these questions come at me with great conviction.  Where is my answer?  The answer to any question we have is found in the presence of  our Lord.  We can go ahead of Him and act on our own or say how we feel about a particular situation, but we should always consult with God and ask Him how to handle the situation in love, with grace and truth.

I believe the bible to be the inerrant Word of God.  I don't take that lightly.  Yet, in that, I know that God commands us to love others, despite their view of His truth.  How to do that appropriately is always my quandary.  We must always love the person before the issue.  Yet we must love them enough that they see the real Jesus in our lives.  When people see the Jesus that leads our lives in Spirt and in truth and with a grace that loves well, it draws them to our Jesus.  Our lives should attract them to want the peace and joy in the Lord that we display.  Let's not get that wrong, folks.  We have to love on people enough that they want to know what, or WHO, drives us.  When that kind of relationship grows, it opens the door for questions about a God who loves us so much that He does not want to leave us where we are.  He does not want us to follow the ways of the world.  God loves us so much that He does not want us to be deceived.  He wants us to reconcile what we may or may not believe to His truth.  But, we have to truly want that ourselves before we will ever believe it.

It's "Come to Jesus" time when we truly let His Word divide truth and lies.  Our feelings and views are based on our perceptions of things.  When we truly give God and His Holy Spirit the wheel in the thoughts that drive our minds and actions, we are at a crossroads and we have to decide, "Are we going to continue to drive this vehicle or are we going to turn it over to Jesus?"  When we honestly turn control over to Jesus, we are set on a new path....His BEST path for our lives.  There is no auto-pilot in this kind of journey.  It is a purposeful decision to give God control and let Him take the wheel that guides us on our journey.  The truth is, we can end up on the other side of the "World".  We can end up in the best place we could possibly be.  We could actually end up on God's side.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Practicing Thankfulness

I am 100% certain that I am not the only person who feels the presence and blessings of God in my life.  Yet I talk to people or hear people all the time who say that they don't hear from God or they don't "feel" God.  This always leaves me in a quandary because I KNOW God is there; He is the common denominator.  The other denominator is the individual involved.  And, yes, I can remember when I wasn't so conscious of God's goodness and faithfulness.  I suppose it was not until I needed Him, BIG, in my life that I recognised that He was there all along.  What changed?  My pursuit of Him, of His peace, of His presence changed for me.  And that changed everything.

I'm not sure where you are on your journey with God today, but I can promise you this....God loves you and wants to be in relationship with you.  He wants you to know that He cares and He wants you to rest in His presence.  This is no easy task because it flies in the face of pride.  Our pride tells us that we can do life on our own; we don't really need any help.  God tells us we can do life much better if we surrender it to Him and let Him guide and lead us.  It really is a simple concept, yet so hard for so many of us to grasp. 

I've found that I can be assured of God's presence in my life as I seek Him and thank Him.  I'm truly amazed at the frequency in which He shows up as I do this.  And I'm even more aware that I'm the only one keeping Him at bay.  As my focus and thoughts toward, and of, God go, so my day and my life goes.  I read this in my "Jesus Is Calling" devotional today and I want to challenge you with it as well.  It is written as if Jesus is talking directly to us.  "When thankfulness flows freely from your heart and lips, let your gratitude draw you close to Me.  I want you to learn the art of giving thanks in all circumstances.  See how many times you can thank Me daily; this will awaken your awareness to a multitude of blessings.  It will also cushion the impact of trials when they come against you.  Practice My Presence by practicing the discipline of thankfulness."

I will never be the most brilliant person in the world; maybe not even in the room, but I will always be the one Jesus loves.  How do I know?  Because He has promised His love to me and He is faithful.  My gratitude for His love brings me in close proximity to Him.  He is always with me.  When we seek Him with all our heart, we will most definitely find Him.  He said as much in His Word.  I'm just blessed enough to believe Him and respond to His promise with gratitude.  You can too.  It will really change everything. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Soaking up the "Son"

It's bright and early on this 1st day of July in 2012 and I'm having my coffee...iced.  It's quiet delightful to enjoy the quietness of the morning and set my mind on things above.  It's much easier to do so before the world and it's distractions come rushing in.  A friend recently gave me Sarah Young's devotional, Jesus Calling.  I'm reading today's devotion and it's just perfect.  I thought I'd share it with you.  She uses her own words to paraphrase scripture and writes as though God were talking directly to us.  He always is, isn't He?

The following is based on scripture from Psalm 48:9; Deut 33:12; Psalm 37:4.  I know you will want to check out those bible addresses so God can further speak to you!

I AM LIFE AND LIGHT IN ABUNDANCE.  As you spend time "soaking" in My Presence, you are energized and lightened.  Through communing with Me, you transfer your heavy burdens to My strong shoulders.  By gazing at Me, you gain My perspective on your life.  This time alone with Me is essential for unscrambling your thoughts and smoothing out the day before you.

Be willing to fight for this precious time with Me.  Opposition comes in many forms: your own desire to linger in bed; the evil one's determination to distract you from Me; the pressure of family, friends, and your own inner critic to spend your time more productively.  As you grow in your desire to please Me above all else, you gain strength to resist these opponents.  Delight yourself in Me, for I am the deepest Desire of your heart!

Really enjoy this day the Lord has given us and, "Soak up the Son"!