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Archive for the month “September, 2012”

God inhabits eternity

Imagine no time, no real past. present or future in the sense that the future is already known.

What does it take for one to live in such a place with Him?

I mean for eternity…

Why am I consumed in my quest for power and money and why does death scare me?

Death probably scares me because it will separate me from my power and money and put me out of my sense of denial that there is even a God.

My quest for things that do no matter in light of eternity make the things that do matter small and trivial.  I am sure that a contrite and humble heart is what is required to live with God.  Can a humble and contrite heart help me in the here and now?

What miracle takes place in my heart when I turn to God, repent of the wrong direction in my life, and decide to follow Him – will He give me new courage?

Will He fight for me, will He heal me, lead and comfort me, and will He help me when I am grieving.  Will He show me my sin so that I can confess and make things right, will He give me peace, peace beyond my own understanding?

God, who inhabits eternity, here is my heart, as contrite and humble as I can give, forgive me and let me follow you.  I trust you to do all these things for me because You said You would – take my life today and make it Yours. Amen.

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“I am God alone”

You and I know that this is an easy concept to grasp and understand – most of us growing up as children in the church would recognize this a million miles away and those of us, who each Easter are faithful in watching the Ten Commandments, who also be well attuned to this.

Teaching this subject to about 15 teenagers was looking to be quite a simple task and they answered beautifully and wonderfully.

So the time to go deeper came up quickly and were they ever shocked when they discovered that there were other gods in their lives and that God was more like a monarch in their lives as opposed to the absolute leader – God alone.

I am afraid that as an adult, I too fail to realize that what I know in my head is not true necessarily in my heart.  A quick look at my checkbook, my daily planner, and my attitude when talking about the future and I know without a shadow of a doubt that God may not be my absolute, one and only, that I have served this day.

So each day as I enter a new post, I see the title of my blog and remember that it was God who laid the foundations of the earth, it was the palm of His right hand that spread out the heavens above and it was Him speaking the Word, and what did not exist came into being.  Then He turned the stewardship of all of this to you and I.  We serve an awesome God, the one and only – there is no other.

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Do we have the right to question God?

Let me quickly share with you that there is a difference between the freedom to ask God questions verses the right to question what He does.

I mean, He is God, He made the earth and created us.  He made the heavans and the vastness of the stars.  He knows everything there is to know about you and I and He still loves us.  He never looks for a reward for all that He does.

So I think we have the freedom to inquire from God His plan and seeking instructions as to how we can best fit into that plan or to understand it better from His perspective.

I was sharing a bit of this on Sunday morning – we know God is God because He is the only one who knows the future.  As God, I think that He wants us to ask me of things to come – it indicates that we believe He is God and we know that no one can direct and order future events; and we might go so far as to say that it is our duty and privilege to do so.

The idea is:

1. That God alone could direct future events, and give information respecting them.

2. That instead of complaining of His actions, we should humbly inquire of Him in regard to their design, and the proper manner of meeting them; and

3. That if they were made the subject of humble, fervent, believing prayer, He would order them so as to promote our welfare, and would furnish us grace to meet them in a proper manner.

However, when we think that we know what God should be doing and start to give Him directions concerning the work of His hands, then we cross the line of inquiry.

God wants us to present our desires, He allows us to share our hearts with Him and we believe that He hears our prayers.  We believe that He wants to bless us and care for us, providing us with what is best in our lives.  So when He answers, however that might be, our call is not to complain or oppose or challenge Him.


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Small mistakes

There is a saying that dead flies will cause even a bottle of perfume to stink!

Our heart will lead us to either good or evil.  If our heart is the moment of measurement, then in fact, you can identify an evil person just by the way they walk down the street.

So what does it mean when a good person makes a small mistake that can outweigh all of their wisdom and honour?

We have seen it happen many, many times and in many, many lives – the outcomes are evident in the lives that have been destroyed.

When we consider the cost of doing good, accomplishing much, we rarely take the time to consider what is the status of our heart. Therein might lay our weakest link.

I truly believe that when we fail to take inventory of the status of our heart, if we fail to consider the consequences or find ourselves in a state of denial so that we may give ourselves permission to journey off the path, these small mistakes are like daggers that once the pierce us, they continue on their journey through us.

They can only be stopped through confession – the cost of confession could mean embarrassment, punishment and maybe even exile.  So most of us yield to the temptation to ensure that no one knows about the mistake – it never happened – and so the daggers continue to move through our bodies, continuing to destroy us.  Sometimes the truth will be found while we are yet alive, other times the truth is found once we have passed away – either way the cost is great.

We will all stand before God at some point.  He is a live witness to our wayward ways and speech.  I pray for boldness today to catch myself making those small mistakes and ask God for help to overcome the temptation.  If I should catch myself yielding to the temptation, I must ask for forgiveness.  May the seeds of complacency and willingness to allow evil at all in my heart be something that I lay aside in my decision to be a follower of Jesus.

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A good reputation

It would seem that most of us would like to have a good reputation.  Most of us would tie this in to a successful life surrounded by honour.  It is the building up of one’s life journey, preparing for a eulogy that will bring ultimate honour at one’s death.

I have always felt that this was my task in life and even thought Solomon himself tossed and turned on this and have pursued it with rigor.

However,  I think it is safe to say that there are different levels of reputation and that not all of us our in control of any one portion.  There is my personal reputation as it comes to keeping my word, the business reputation that keeps to core values, the spiritual reputation that sees me following God, and there are moral values that see me honouring others and the life that I have been given responsibility for.

I see this more and more as I get older – I will fail in one or more of these areas of life.  I see more clearly that it is not pursuit of a good reputation that builds my character, it is in the failure that I find out who I really am and what I am really made of.  Please understand, that when I say failure, that might not mean I actually failed, but that others or circumstances, or judgement, or gossip has determined such a failure.

Looking back on my life, I have seen many instances where people have tried to determine my reputation.  My parents for sure, my siblings most definitely, and then as I started my own family there is no doubt that my leadership in the home has been one of the most watched events in my life. God has graciously given me much honour in my home life and I have been given much honour by others because of His grace.

In business, I looked upon my success as a good reputation, however, that has been uncovered to be something very fleeting.  Today more than ever, I see my success as a leveraging tool that can be abused by myself or by others.  No longer am I seen as a blessing to those I work for and lately I have to watch myself because I am sensing my own doubt about being a blessing for those I work with.  Others want to take, while I strive to give – you can imagine what those who do not get say about me. As I get older, I realize that my giftedness comes completely from the hand of God.  As those I work for only care for the money I make for them, I spend time building, growing and developing in others the values that God has given to me – that is seen as a complete waste of time.  The idea is that they get everything they can from me and when I have emptied myself, they let me go and hire another – my values are not as important as my giftedness to succeed – trust me that is depressing, especially for a man, as we unfortunately tie our value to our work experiences.

So I have learned much over these past five years on how to rely on my reputation as a follower of Jesus knowing that it is my response to life in this arena that defines me most.  How I respond to gossip, slander, abuse, misguided values, leadership who have lost their way – it all matters – because it defines who I am in the most important relationship of my life.

A good reputation is better than the most expensive perfume.  Understanding this in the light of God’s grace and mercy and understanding that it only matters what He says when we stand before Him and not what is said at our funeral.  So when I think of those who have died for their faith, think of those who were burned at the stake, I realize that the world called them failures and yet I believe that as they died, Jesus was no longer sitting at the right hand of God, but was standing, taking notice of the reputation of one who loved Him so much.  Job did the same thing – revealing his love and honour to God, even when his reputation seemed to be stripped completely away – yet he made sure to express his honour and love to God and never once did he curse Him – all this while God, the angels, Satan and demons watched.

If you find yourself a bit lost, do not worry, look at Saul.  He was so determined that he was building a good reputation for himself that it took a personal visit from Jesus Himself to get his attention and bring truth into his life.  Today we know Saul as the apostle Paul and what an honour it was for him to declare the foolishness of the cross and to the wisdom of the world – the death and resurrection of our Lord.


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