master of life in earth, sky and sea

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Archive for the tag “Holy Spirit”

Not by might, nor by power…

seed

Now there is a statement most of us are familiar with!

In a natural frame of mind we tend to think that in order to survive in this world, a person must be tough, strong, unbending, and harsh.  Then we get this little poke from God who says, no leave it to me and succeed because you let my Spirit reign as though you are few and weak and of course, we are.

You see, to the Spirit, He is interested in lasting value and really that is all He is interested in.  So when we are harassed, tired, discouraged and poor, we need to rethink – God is on our side.  As I live for God, I determine each day NOT to trust my own strength or abilities.  Instead, I depend on God and the work of the power of the Holy Spirit.

My success depends on this!

Looking for mountains to be flattened and ready to give God thanks for His mercy and grace.

Are we saying its not the right time?

are we saying its not the right time

Let’s face it, we all have lots of things to do, have all kinds of pressures, some of us are bombarded left, right and centre and find ourselves in more times than we care to imagine – frustrated.

So how can we encourage one another to seek God in the midst of all of this?

Encouragement I believe is the right word because when we look inside ourselves I think we can admit that we are discouraged, if left unattended, we stop our devotional time with God.  Encouragement is the tool God has given us to motivate one another, turn ourselves around, pick up our tools and continue the work we had begun in our journey of adventure.

Unfortunately, we find ourselves not there.

It seems that instead of reaching the lost world for Jesus, investing in missions, interceding, giving…we have found our hope and strength and encouragement in the building up of our wealth.  Then we have moved on to displaying that wealth in the homes we live and the decor displays our passion for luxury.

What we have failed to see is that the harder we work for ourselves, the less we have because we have ignored our spiritual calling.  The exact same principle is true in the reverse.  When we put God first, He will provide for our deepest needs.  In other place of priority that we put Him in, all our efforts are futile.

Caring for our physical needs while ignoring our relationship with God leads only to ruin because you will find that material possessions do not satisfy.

Our problem lies in confused priorities.  Jobs, homes, vacations, and leisure activities may rank higher on our list of importance than God.  When is the right time to become unconfused?  When is the right time to connect with our relationship with God?

 

 

 

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How long must I call for help before you will listen?

Photosensitivity

For anyone who has a vision for changing the world, this seems to be a common theme in prayer.  It just seems that it takes forever for God to intervene.

This impatience of mine only gets into dangerous territory when I interpret God’s seeming snail pace movements as indifference in the face of evil.

We all can see what is going on around us and who isn’t saddened by the news we read in our headlines each day.  Worse still are the injustices that we never read about or the corruption that is hidden from our immediate view.  What about our Christian friends around the world that suffer for the very fact that they are Christians?

As rampant as injustice may seem to be, I am not called to allow my concern to cause me to doubt God or rebel against Him.  I am called to consider the message of God and to recognize God’s long-range plans and purposes.  God is doing it right, even if I do not understand why He works as He does.

Another danger sign for me is as the circumstances around me become almost unbearable, I begin to wonder if God has forgotten me.  That causes me to remind myself that He is in control.  He has a plan, He will judge, I am to stay humble and be willing to accept God’s answers and await His timing.

 

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Being moved by the Spirit

 

As leaders we sometimes want to stay away from the emotional – and on a good day this is sound advice.  My pastor wants to stay away from emotion so much that we only sing three songs on Sunday morning and only one can be semi-fast that might endear a few to clap their hands.  The Sunday service is timed and filled to capacity to ensure that there are no emotional periods where time it wasted.

As leaders when we are so wrapped up against something we miss the greatest spiritual connections of all time and we fail to sense the power of God‘s presence around us and miss the testimony of expressing what it felt like to touch the hem of His garment.

When it comes to leadership decisions, do I allow the Spirit of God to move me, to allow me to see the unseen, to hear the unheard?  You and I know that unless the Spirit of God opens our eyes, allows us to hear with understanding and see with clarity, we are just another normal leader who is trying to figure out how to do their job the best way possible.

Is it possible for God to take you in the Spirit and show you things?  Things that are not possible to see unless He shows you?

I think so.  If these things happened in the OT, I am sure they still happen today.  In our pursuit of being masters of life in earth, sky and sea, I actually think its impossible unless we do allow God to lead us first, we follow, and then we share those things He has caused us to see, hear and experience.  I am not looking for the experience, but trusting God that if this is the best way for me to lead, He will open me to it.

Looking forward to the adventure of the day.

 

 

 

 

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Serving God because I am fearful?

If you are like me, everyone around you is saying that no one should serve God out of fear – it is all about loving Him because He first loved us.

Yet, maybe, just maybe, if we reflected on our journey – maybe, just maybe, we had a bit of fear that enabled us to begin our journey with Christ.

My dad could “scare” anyone into the kingdom.  He talked up hell and vividly described it that anyone in their right mind would not want to spend eternity there and so they made a decision to say a prayer asking Jesus to accept them so they did not have to go to hell.  So do some Baptist ministers that I know.

Others are afraid of people around them that could hurt them – gangs, violence, bullies, workplace confrontations etc. and so they look upon their worship of God, and the amount of time they spend with Him as a “good luck” charm – keeping evil away.

Others think that God is ready to pounce on them at any moment, taking away blessing or causing pain when they do something wrong.  Unfortunately that is what makes penance so popular.

So I started to try to remember what my experience has been with God.  Am I using Him because I want a free “get out of Hell” card, or is He my lucky charm and I can sleep at nights knowing that I am doing enough worship to guarantee protection, or do I just want to get by in life without getting sucker punched because I messed up on something?

I told you about my dad, so I think that when I was between 12 – 15, there is no doubt that I followed Jesus because I was absolutely scared into heaven.  I mean, for those that remember the movies from MarkIV Productions and Hal Lindsay and David Wilkerson, I think you know what that could do for a teenager.

However, if that is what it took for me to follow Christ, along with some huge arms and fists that belong to my dad who demanded a walk that was pretty intense about manners, values and character, then I accept it.  Each of us begins our journey in a certain way and we all discover a bit more about Jesus as we go along.

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Seek guidance from God = Success

We all need someone in our lives who can instruct us in the “fearing” of God.

I believe we live in the days where we all need a tutor who understands the mind of God and can instruct us to see Him in many more ways than we can imagine.

It’s true isn’t it – being a Christian is quite the easiest of all things to do, but being a follower of Christ is incredibly difficult.  Lately I have been hearing about the athletes that have decided to abstain from premarital sexual relationships and they say that this commitment is harder to do than the day-to-day regimes they face in preparing for their sport.  I think the same goes with drinking alcoholic beverages.

Life does not start with what we do not do, nor are we defined by what we do not do – it is in the decision to seek God alone, first, our priority, that brings us forward and enables to be successful.

It is the knowing Him, the following Him, the worship of Him,  and the understanding of who He is and why His directions are so important to follow.

Let’s face it, God never forsakes any who seek Him, and therefore we are the cause of our own destruction.

He will never suffer any to seek His face in vain.

 

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May the Lord do what is best

In my everyday battle with evil in this world, I face the perceived enemy with a sense of courage and by committing myself to God and the battle to Him, I also commit the success to Him.

I am not sure when and where I picked up this frame of living, but I know that it has held me together through many battles.  In fact, if we are going to have an argument in our marriage, it will be because my sense of perfect peace stresses out my wife who takes it as if I do not care.

The safety is in trusting that the Lord will do what is best for us. As we submit to HIm, seeking peace with Him and yielding ourselves to Him as His servants, we have courage.  With that courage we help each other.

Yes, I have too many stories to tell, as you might too, of followers of Christ who have left that path because what they thought God should do, He didn’t.  I can’t speak into their lives – it takes an incredible amount of courage to step into a battle, surrounded by evil, and see yourself coming out of it whole.  However, our salvation never came to us by sight, rather it came by faith.  We should live our life in the same manner.  For if we should deviate, we may not see our salvation because of either our unbelief or because of sin that has crept and found a place in our heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When do you stop being loyal?

This is a really important question.

So many of us from the older generation can quickly respond and say we will always be loyal – that is what we are trained and designed to be and do.

The younger generation seems to always hold leadership in accountability and if you do not measure up – loyalty is lost to the new guy.

That seems to be the case these days with Blackberry and Apple.  Blackberry’s problems started when they couldn’t deliver as they promised.  That broken promise and their inability to speak into that lost the loyalty of thousands of customers to another brand product that had been keeping their promise.

You will notice that while the older generation will still do their grocery shopping at their most favorite grocer, the younger generation has no problem shopping at all of them – for the best deal, price and quality.  There might be a different grocer that can deliver on each of these separately and if they should lose their trust, off they go finding another grocer that can deliver.  So it is common to hear of younger families shopping at three different grocers as opposed to just one.

Then there is myself and others in ministry that get really confused on this issue.  Your leader is messing up, he is leaving God and prayer out of the equation and is running the ministry like a secular business.  God has become outdated in business practice and making money is determined by the wise business decisions of those employed.  Yet if God called you there to serve, how does He call you out or how does He call you somewhere else?  So at times it feels like the dysfunctional structure is swallowing you alive and yet you feel too guilty to leave?

What about all of us in our church lives?  How often do the older generation stick with their one church and never leave, and I mean never leave.  Their children leave and are no longer following God because of their relationship with the church, but the parents will not leave.  Why?  Blind loyalty and a built-in mechanism that says that one should be loyal unto death.

So, when do we stop being loyal?

First of all, I come with only one rule on this issue – I am loyal to my Saviour, and Lord, Jesus Christ – and to no one else.

He calls me to and away from on many occasions.  The Holy Spirit calls people who are required at a certain time, at a certain place, for a certain task, for a set amount of time for an important job to be done.  God chose a person to do it and the Spirit gave that person the needed power and ability.

Secondly, that loyalty comes as a servant of the most high God.  Everything I own comes from Him and I am privileged to be a steward of such amazing gifts.  My family and I need to be part of the family of God.  We want to be around people who believe that same thing – they desire to see God’s will done, they are experienced in hearing and following those whose reputations have them laying their lives for the cause of  Christ.  We are all drawn to those who know who they are in Christ and are brave, determined and faithful.

That makes me loyal to only two things on this earth – my wife and my children.  So when my activity or the activities of our family in this journey of following Jesus are threatened in any way shape or form, I need to come before Him and ask for a plan of action.  The action plan is rather simple – do I become part of the system and change it, influence it, guide it from within, or do I leave, needing to either grow in other areas, be developed in other gifts, become a leader myself in another situation.

Loyalty for the sake of loyalty is dysfunctional at best.  It makes us convince others to die at this crossroad and keep them bound.   The guilt put on us by others makes the choice of leaving almost impossible.  The fear of the future and of change makes this a great excuse to stay put.  The desire to please and rescue enable the dysfunction to continue.  Loyalty can trumps God’s call, even when we see our family dying around us and our friends lives being messed up.

When you see your life dying on the inside and starting to show visible signs of that decay on the outside, think about what or who you are being loyal to and why.  Even if it means a short recess away to get a better perspective, take the time to pray it through, spending more time with Jesus and getting a sense that maybe its time to stop being “loyal.”

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Presenting the Message

Have you ever had to confront someone, even someone in authority?

It takes great courage, skill, and tact to speak to someone in a way that would make them aware of their wrong actions.

When I have to confront someone with unpleasant news, I usually pray for courage, skill and tact.  Especially if I want that person to respond constructively.  How I present my message may be as important as what I say.

Sort of seasoning my words with wisdom.

Don’t worry – I have messed up a few times – and there were more times that I did not confront because I was too afraid.  Hence the reason I believe in prayer!

 

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“Let them be”

Let’s face it…the pattern is so “stuck-in-a-rut”…we will sometimes not turn back to God unless we are stunned by some sort of suffering, oppression or maybe even death.  Not that this is caused by God, but because it is a result of us ignoring Him as His ultimate role as God – ruler and judge.  So I ask myself each morning – what will it take for me to follow Him today?

God waits patiently for us to come around. When we do, God sends comfort to us right when we need it most and need Him most.

 

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