In Need of Down Time

The wheels have been going much too fast and I have not disciplined myself as I should. The words "Be still and know that I am God" are meant as a reminder concerning the pace we attempt to live life. When is the last time you took a respite? This means no book, no electronic devices, only your mind and the presence of the Lord.

We need these times to infuse a degree of sanity into our hectic pace. Without these rests, we may be able to maintain our physical energy and even our psychological strength BUT we are unable to maintain a sense of spiritual freshness. "They that wait on the Lord, shall renew their strength." These are the times we each need if we are going to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord.


It Is Not a Race, It is a Life

Did you walk at the normative Western Hemisphere pace today or did you walk in step with Jesus? A sure way of telling which speed you traveled is to reflect back on the number of needs you observed in others and whether or not you stopped to meet these.

Jesus never reacted to any situation as if it were an emergency and He had time for each interruption that He faced. If I am going to be Christ-like then this is an opportunity in which I need to be victorious. Not only does my spiritual growth depend upon it but the person that needs my attention may also be searching for someone to show them AGAPE love.


A TIME for Quiet

"Be still and know that I am God," the Psalms gave this advice a long time ago. This is difficult to remember to do in a day in which we pack our days as full as possible. With the constant barrage of activities and the relentless banging of sounds, it is as if we do not want to genuinely know God.

If I learn to know God intimately, the result is that He desires to make the deep changes within me that will conform me to the image of His son. This means my emotional crutches will be broken and I will have to lean on Him. My mind is cooperative in saying this is a good thing but the weakened self does not want to live outside of the walls and safety devices that have been constructed for protective reasons.

Thus, we continue to live at a frantic pace with constant noise. Even if we attempt to do many things for God, we never learn to know God because we can not tolerate the quiet that leads to this end.


First Option

How many times in the last twenty-four hours have I pursued God? Did I pursue God with my whole heart or did I seek Him only when a difficult situation arose?

If I am approaching the point where I pray without ceasing, then God will need to be my first option and not my fall back plan. I need to always be aware of God's presence. If I am able to see His hand at work in the small details, I may find Him using me for other tasks as my faith would be increasing.


LIVING In God's Blessing

To live in the blessing of God, which means I am experiencing His peace and joy, I must live in the will of God. All to often we miss the blessing because we think that we should receive a special gift that tells others of our uniqueness in God's eyes. I believe the blessing of God is simply His presence in our lives on a daily basis. In contrast the curse that is described in the Bible is not a hex placed on us but simply God removing His presence from us.

It appears to me that God’s intention is not to intimidate and force my hand but rather a loving notation to direct my conduct into consistency with His will. If I learn to be content with the 'materialistic blessings' that I have and focus on accomplishing the will of God, then I will be of all people one who is most blest.


Measuring Wealth

What is your view of money? Do you see it as a tool to purchase what you need and or want in life? Is it to be managed and budgeted so that you have the resources to purchase what you need or want? Or do you see money as something to be invested towards future necessities? No matter which of these is your approach to money, what are some Biblical views of money?

First, I want to remind us that the love of money is the root of all evil. That inward desire that keeps one from being content with what we have is an indicator of greed and materialism that is detrimental to living by faith. A pure heart does not attempt to hoard money but rather realizes that Scripture teaches that we are to use money to invest in those people who have needs (Ephesians 04:28).

Wealth is measured in relationships rather than in materialistic possessions with the greatest wealth being evident in a deep relationship with God. When a person lies on their death bed, a frequent observation that is mentioned is that I wish I would have spent more time with my family. I have never heard anyone state that they wished they would have worked harder or that they would have earned another dollar.


LOVING the People of the World

I spent the afternoon with persons in need of financial, food, and/or clothing assistance at a local ministry. In working with these people, it is important to remember these are human beings created in God's image. They are not to be looked down upon but rather as person's deserving of God's love.

It is imperative that the church learn to love all of God's people groups and that acceptance into God's kingdom is not contingent upon people becoming WASP's in their thinking. The issue is to help people, including those within the church, to accept the mindset of Christ as we go into the world.


It's Too Simple

The call of God is straightforward and simple -- FOLLOW ME and the result of responding to this call is also very simplistic, "I will make you fishers of men." We make the call so complicated and want to wrestle with ourselves and God but the call is FOLLOW Christ.

Rather than worrying about careers and activities simply approach people in the same way a fisherman approaches fishing.
1. Find a good spot.
2. Use tasty bait.
3. Take your time.
4. Work with the catch.
5. Repeat the process.


Water That Is Alive Makes Changes

Christ states that we are to be "living water". I like this translation, 'water that is alive' as I think of water running down a mountain side, falling over a cliff as a water fall, or bubbling up as an artesian well when I think of water that is alive.

With the energized and vitamin enriched drinks that are available, it is as if we are being told that plain water is insufficient. Well, Jesus had this thought first as He promised water that is alive. Water that is alive gives me the connotation that it can not be contained but is refreshing in sight, sound, and taste. We as Christian are to be this kind of relief for the people of the world.


Persuasion Is Not an Evangelism Tool

On occasion, we want to persuade someone to consider becoming a Christian at an intellectual level. While this is noble, decisions are made by humans at least at four levels. One is the physical, another the emotional, a third is the intellectual, and the fourth is the spiritual.

The issue is that we can NOT persuade a person at any of these levels to become a follower of Christ. It is only the Holy Spirit that can relate at this level as our job is limited to that of being witnesses. My task is not to persuade but to share a testimony of the work that God has brought about in my life.

IF my life has credibility with the recipient, then they may open themselves to allow the Holy Spirit to speak with them. While this advice runs counter to so much of the personal evangelism mentality, the essence of it is seen in the life of Jesus. He never pressured, coerced or forced a person towards Himself. Rather, He permitted potential followers to walk away. Do I concern myself with results and numbers or with faithfulness and obedience to God? The answer to this makes a significant difference for the people that I meet.


Appreciate 'Cinco de Mayo'

The celebration of "Cinco de Mayo" is a reminder that all people enjoy and appreciate their freedom and liberty. While political freedom is of value, spiritual freedom is of infinitely greater value.

We are not able to earn the inner freedom of the spirit which allows a person to be genuine in their love for others but it is provided as a gift by God through the person of Jesus Christ. This inner release brings a person peace and joy of an origin which is beyond human manufacturing. As the world seeks an inner sanctuary, it is time for Christians to share the peace that passes our understanding with them. It was shared with us and it is imperative that we extend it to others with our most generous expressions.


To Get More Done -- WAIT

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. Jesus affirmed this concept by telling His disciples that they should wait in Jerusalem until they are anointed with the Holy Spirit.

As an impatient people, we are not often ready to wait for anything. We view waiting as an interruption, something which prohibits us from moving forward. The Bible views "waiting" as proactive, a method of watching, discerning, and surrendering rather than bringing progress to a halt. This requires patience, which is a fruit of the Spirit. Thus, in our waiting we are more inclined to be working with God rather than implementing our own ideas.


The Old Brain Needs NEW Thought Patterns

A living sacrifice, which Paul states is the normative preparation for worship, is learning to live in two states at the same time. One is that the old nature is put to death while the new person is alive in Christ. This is impossible to achieve on one's own efforts and a challenge to maintain even when walking with the Spirit.

Paul continues by stating that one aspect of being a living sacrifice is that of not being conformed to the world. On the surface, it is easy to assume that this is not a major problem because I compare myself with the common person off of the street. However, to break my conformity with the world requires that I allow Christ complete control of my will, desires, and aspirations.

These are areas that I seldom surrender to God as I am able to impress people with my words that I am all that I should be in Christ. However, I may have never yielded at the deeper level where Christ wants to transform my thoughts and my goals. The true believer is the one in which there is little differentiation between their thought life and Christ's. Again, I repeat that I want the mind of Christ to control my decision making process.


I Know NOTHING But What I Was Told

God has chosen to reveal His nature and being to humans on a very limited scale. In light of this minuscule knowledge it is surprising how much we claim to know about God and the manner in which He works.
The bottom line is that we know very little.

One is that I know that God relates to us through grace out of His love. This love, when accepted compels me to respond with the same love. I also know that God is Holy and that nothing unclean or sinful can enter into His presence.

These two are known to me because God chose to let me in on it and not because my intellectual capabilities discovered it. If I could fully comprehend the implications of these two attributes, I would not need to know anything else about God. These surpass my aptitudes and will keep me busy as long as I traverse this planet.