Acceptance

What Really Matters in a House

Leave it to Beaver was a popular television series, that aired from 1957 to 1963. Those who watched the original programs or reruns may recognize the outside of the Cleaver residence. Nice house for the day.

The truth about the house is that the outside was just that: a movie set front for the Cleaver residence. There were no actual rooms inside. No places for children to explore. It was a made-for-TV front. Nothing more than a house’s front, that had no place to enter and enjoy.

People’s lives are like houses. The body is the outside, hiding the real person on the inside. The outside roof may be well designed and insulated, but I wouldn’t want to live on it, would you? There may be beautiful windows, allowing light to shine in on the interior, but outside windows fail to convey how charming the inside rooms really are.

Getting to know the inside of a person is like coming to appreciate the interior of a beautiful home: the inside-not the outside-should be the focus. Instead of living and dining rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms, the “rooms” in people contain dreams, aspirations, gifts and talents, as well as hopes for the future. All worth knowing and appreciating.

As with houses, our focus on people should be them, not the outside of the “house” they live in. Sometimes changes to our outside cause focus to be on that, rather than what’s on the inside. No matter much “paint” or changes are made to ones outside it’s just that-the outside. 

Over time a house’s front may undergo many changes. The same is true concerning a person yet, like a house, the person’s real value is found in getting aquatinted with and appreciating his/her “rooms”-those things of great value which make that person special in the eyes of the beholder. 

The inside of a house-and person-is what really matters to those looking for real value. The fake fronts, the facades? Let’s leave them to Beaver.

Does God Get Lonely?

For those who believe in God, one thing is understood: God is bigger than us. How big? I don't know, but big enough to meet every need of humanity, including yours and mine. At the same time, this question has been asked for more years than anyone can remember, and many more besides: Does God get lonely? Has He ever felt alone? After all, God is, well, God. All powerful, ever present, all wise. Creator of heaven and earth.

According to the Gospel of John 4:24, God is a spirit. As such, the only part of His vast creation capable of spending quality time with Him would be restricted to those who are also spirit beings. The Bible offers insight into who qualifies to enjoy God's fellowship.

According to the first chapter of the book of Genesis, verses 26 and 27, God made Mankind (male and female) in His image and likeness, someone who was also a spirit being. Nowhere does the Bible state that birds, fish, plants, or other animals are created in God's image. If so (and it is), then God is their Creator, but there is no basis for any relationship, based on fellowship. We can thus conclude that only human beings qualify to spend time with God, to know Him personally.

But, still, does God get lonely? No, in the sense that there's anything inadequate with God. But yes, in the sense that just as we, as human beings, long for fellowship with other human beings, including spiritually. God, as a spirit being, created us with a heart hunger to fellowship with other spirit beings, including Him.

As a result God, Himself, has a hunger to fellowship with other spirit beings, those created in His image and likeness. With animals, trees, and water out of the picture, that leaves us, people like you and me. Not even angels qualify to fellowship with God in a manner that He longs to have with us.

God needs your fellowship; He wants to fellowship with you, to be-if you will-the ultimate Pal. To commune on a level far beyond that enjoyed in even the most intimate marriage relationship between a man and a woman.

So, does God get lonely? He's lonely for a relationship with each human being. He has so much to not just teach, but share out of His own heart on a one-on one basis.

Just Him and you. Pals, confidants, and best friends. That's what God longs for, and what's being offered through His Son, Jesus Christ, the one Way to knowing God.

So, yes God is lonely for you, if you don't know Him. If you do, He's always longing for more: more fellowship, more secrets shared, more revelation into Hims as a Person.

Your questions and/or comments are welcomed.

 

How's Your HC?

The word conditioning holds different meanings, depending on who you're talking to. There's physical conditioning, mental conditioning and hair conditioning, for openers. For the Christian a different kind of conditioning exists, one that, generally speaking, is unheard of or underused. It's called heir conditioning, as in being conditioned to being an heir of God, joint (equal) heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:16,17).

As children of God, we are His heirs. Usually, being heirs means that someone died, a will was read, and those mentioned receive whatever the deceased left to them. In this case, however, the person who died-Jesus-has been resurrected, and is very much alive.

And, now, as God's children, we still get to receive and enjoy our inheritance.

God made the world, which is His (Psalm 51:12). He made it for us, His children, not the devil and his crowd. As His heirs, God wants us to have the very best in life, being willing to use it to further His kingdom, here in this life. He wants us to enjoy our inheritance, without our eyes and hearts holding on to temporal things, which we can't take with us.

More than temporal things, though, God wants us to truly know the reality of our place in Christ, as the triumphant Church in the earth, enforcing Satan's defeat, which Jesus won for us. As the Church, Christ's Body (Ephesians 1:22,23; Colossians 1:18, 24), we are to rule as kings in this life, by Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17). This is part of our inheritance.

It takes time to grasp the reality of what God is saying to us: We are His heirs, joint (equal) heirs with Jesus Christ Himself. What Jesus is heir to we are, in equal portions. No intelligent person would think of Jesus as a pauper. No He's King of kings and Lord of lords. Well, who are the kings Jesus is King of?  Us. Again, all part of our inheritance.

Being willing to believe what the Bible says about us is the first step towards knowing and walking in our inheritance. For some, the obstacles of religious thinking will have to be overcome, but their persistent efforts towards doing so will be well worth it.

I'm passing on what's begun in my own life. Whatever time and effort I'm putting in to improve my heir conditioning-being conditioned to think, believe, talk, and act like an heir of God-is paying off

And I'm just getting started.

So, how's your HC? How's your heir conditioning coming along-being conditioned to think, believe, talk, and act like an heir of God? If this sounds too good to be true remember that God sees this about you. Since agreeing with and acting like an heir pleases God, go ahead and please Him.

 

God Loves Introverts

Not everyone is outgoing by nature. For those who are, never apologize for being who and what you are. On the other hand there are introverts. They are often behind the scenes, their creative gifts making possible the finished products which benefit all of us. Introverts are, too often, considered shy. This could be true in some cases, however, being introverted and being shy are not the same. I know one person who, though introverted, is certainly not shy. This person is just not one to start a conversation or enjoy crowds. One on one, a lot of introverts are engaging, conversational (to a point), and offer perspectives on life worth hearing. Introverts can be creative thinkers, seeing solutions others miss.

No one sees everything. My wife and children see things I don't. At times, I see things my wife doesn't. Not to make her look bad but, in part, to protect her; to make her look good. Introverts see things differently; they think outside the proverbial  status quo box; they're very analytical at times. To some that's being slow, but I see it as a potential way to do something in a way that could save family, business, or a church time and money.

In my opinion, leadership quality can improve by making room for introverts, starting with one. Not in pity or to be condescending, but recognizing that inside that quiet one, who's outside the spotlight, may very well be the gifts and talents needed at that moment. Pastors in need of creative solutions do well to ask God to send the right person(s). But how many will recognize God's answer, when it comes in the form of an introvert?

God loves everyone-the whole world for that matter-according to John 3:16, in the New Testament. Are you extroverted? God loves you. Perhaps you're on the shy side; it's hard for you to be around other people, until you get to each other. Well, God loves you. Maybe you're neither extroverted or shy, just a regular gal or guy. God loves you.

Finally, though, you may be an introvert. You're not outgoing; you're not actually shy. Initiating conversation is outside your comfort zone, so to speak. But, once you get started, you have a lot in you to share with those who-you hope-will listen to what you have to say. God loves you. Trust Him to open doors of opportunity whereby your gifts and talents can be shared in your own, unique, way. Be willing to go outside your own comfort zone.

Do you know an introvert? Is it you? How well are their (your?) viewpoints received?

Lies About God

In my experience, God is the most misunderstood person-ever. Some things you can say about God is that He's all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful, and loving. In fact, God IS love. At the same time there are some things said about God which just aren't true; they're lies. Here are just a few things said about God which, although seemingly true, are lies:

Lie #1: God is in control

You've probably heard it from the pulpit of a service you've attended,"God is in control." But if God is truly in control than why are so many Christians being killed for their faith? Why are so many millions suffering from sickness, disease, and/or poverty? If God is in control it doesn't take much intelligence to realize He's sure made a mess of things.

The truth of the matter is that there is a devil in this world. According to the Bible, his name is Satan, the enemy of God and every Christian. Satan is the ultimate thief, whose three-fold purpose is to kill, steal, and destroy human beings, just like you and me. Whether by sickness, tornados, poverty, or murder, the devil will-if allowed to-make lives miserable. Then he'll then laugh when people, whether intentionally or in ignorance, blame God for what they allowed the devil to do. No, God is not in control.

The truth is that Christians are to rule over the devil, enforcing his defeat, according to James 4:7 and I Peter 5:8,9. Romans 5:17 teaches that we are to reign in this life, as kings-not paupers. We are to put the devil on the run, in Jesus' Name. Now that's the truth.

Lie #2: God can do anything He wants to:

This is another lie that many, including myself, have heard more than once. To be truthful, it's a lie. Why? Here are things God simply cannot do:

He can't make people get saved; He can't make people pay tithes; He can't make people serve Him. Although He wants to, God, Who is a gentleman, can't make anyone do any of these things, because we all have the gift of choice-to obey or disobey God. I could go on about things God can't do, but you get the point: God can't do anything He wants to.

Filter what you hear, through the truth about what's being said or written. Get to know God for yourself, through His Word and through fellowshipping (talking) with Him. Who knows, there may be other lies about God you'll hear and reject, because you know better.

And that's the truth. What other lies about God have you heard? How have you responded?

 

The Value of Your Testimony

Not every Christian is called to preach from a platform, to children or youth, or on the mission field. Not everyone is gifted to regularly speak in front of groups of people. Every Christian, however, has something so valuable, yet often overlooked: their personal testimony of what God did for them to bring them to a saving knowledge of Christ. Since no two testimonies are alike, what you have to share will vary, in some measure, from what others have to say.

What is a testimony? A testimony is testifying (telling) to what God has done in someone's life. It usually includes sharing how that person came into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. It can include what God is now doing in that person's life, as well as what differences God has made, since becoming that person's Heavenly Father.

Everyone Christian has a testimony, whether it has ever been shared with someone or not. Everyone who values his/her salvation experience has a testimony worth sharing. Everyone includes you, whether you think it's valuable or not.

What God has done in your life is valuable to God and, hopefully, to you. Jesus paid the ultimate price for your salvation (with His Blood). Now that's something worth sharing.

I was part of the so-called Jesus Movement, that started in the late 1960s. Even though I never killed killed anyone, never spent time in jail (by the grace of God), took drugs, or engaged in premarital sex, I was still a sinner in need of a Savior. Once saved, I got around other Christians, some who had been through some "stuff." While attending a Christian school, I heard numerous students tell of how God delivered them out of this or that lifestyle. What a thrill to see a life redeemed from sin and washed clean for Jesus.

Unfortunately, there was a tendency to "rate" testimonies: the darker the other life, the more glorious the testimony. Delivered from drugs, promiscuity, and satanic worship? Praise God. Been a Christian since as far back as you can remember? That's nice. Ho hum.

Regardless of that former life, your testimony is valuable to more people than you think. Someone is waiting to hear what God has done in your life. Your personal testimony is often more easily related to than many sermons and is, hopefully, shorter.

So, what's your testimony? What has God, through Jesus Christ, done for you? Are you willing, as opportunity arises, to share your (brief) testimony? Then ask God for opportunities, and always be ready to tell what the Lord has done for you.

Sharing your testimony with this ministry might be a way to get started. You can share your testimony with us at: info@hubertgardner.org. I'd certainly like to read yours.

It May Be Time To Change Mirrors

Mirrors provide a reflection of how we look on the outside. We all use mirrors to check hair, ties, and general appearance. Personally, I'm glad for mirrors. Without them I would have missed the spot on my shirt, the hairs needing spraying or, worse, the unnecessary object in my nose. God has a mirror, in a manner of speaking. It's called His Word. Looking into God's Word allows us to see ourselves on the inside as God does, to get a glimpse of how we look in Christ, in God's sight. And we all look a whole lot better in Christ, than out. I know I do.

It's alright to have a good appearance, naturally speaking. More people ought to pay attention to how they look on the outside. At the same time, let's not forget to see ourselves in God's mirror, in the light of God's Word-especially the books of Romans through Revelation. These are the books written directly to Christians. It's here that we can get a true picture of how we look to God, and how He wants us to look before the world, those who are without Christ.

After all, we're His representatives in the earth, to those without Christ. And what better time to show Christ to the world than at Christmas?

If your only focus is your outward appearance, it may be time to change mirrors. It may be time see yourself in God's mirror, to focus more on how you look to God-and others, in Christ.

God's Busy

God's a busy Person. Just think about it: He's created a universe that He's keeping in order. He created Earth, the crown jewel of our universe. He created a wonderful Plan of Redemption for all Mankind, then sent His only Son to consummate it through His death, burial, and resurrection. On top of all that, God is continually watching over His every Word to make sure they all come to pass. Okay, so God's busy. After all He's, well, God. But is He too busy watching over the universe and His Word to have an eternal interest in you, in what you're doing?  Is God too busy to want-and be able-to help you get from where you are to where you want to be?

I don't think so. In fact, I know so. How can I be so sure? Because the Living God, Who is upholding the universe He created,  loves me with an everlasting love. He loves you with the same love that He loves Jesus with (John 17:23). It's so, so believe and accept it. God has an intimate interest in you. To take this one step further, He is now the Heavenly Father of all those who have believed on and confessed Jesus, God's Son, as Lord of their lives. Is God your Heavenly Father? If so, great. If not, He can be.

A father cares about his children. Although busy, good fathers make the time for their children. Good fathers are vitally interested in their children for who they are-not just what they can do for Daddy. God's that-and more.  God wants to be a part of every moment of your individual life, helping you to become and be the person He created you to be. He's made available the resources of Heaven to make it so.

Yes, God's busy. After all, there are so many things to do when you're God. Just remember though, that, because He's God, He can do so many different things at once, including taking care of you, hearing and answering your prayers, spending time with you whenever you want (hopefully often), and letting you get as close to Him as you want to be. As busy as God is, you can't get too close to Him; you can't know Him too well. Quite a Father, now isn't He?

God's busy-busy desiring your love, trust, fellowship, and needing you to help Him carry out His Plan of redemption in the Earth today.

It's time to get busy knowing the Living God Who's always busy, yet has all the time in eternity, so to speak, to live in and through you.

If you have not yet received Jesus as your Savior, click here to do so now.