LifeChange

    Where’s Your Dependency?

There’s a lot of debate going on about government’s role in people’s lives. Many decry what they consider an over dependency on government in every area of life.

Sadly, I see a similar trend in Christian circles today: a growing dependency by Christians on what someone else says about the Bible. What someone else has written about how to ______________. You fill in the blank. 

While I certainly recognize ministry gifts in our midst, such as teachers and evangelists, they are not to take the place of our own personal time with God and His Word. 

The Bible says that the entrance of God’s Word gives light (Psalm 119:130). Light is knowledge. God’s knowledge is worth having.

Here are three suggestions for receiving the knowledge of God:

First, get alone with God. Talk to Him as you would to someone who knows everything about you, which God already does. 

Sometimes, talking to God is easier than hearing from Him. Just remember that God also has things He wants to say to us.

My second suggestion is get into God’s Word for yourself. Just you, God, and His Word. The more you do this the quieter your mind will become. With a quiet mind you’ll better hear from God.

While all Scripture is good, our main focus should be on the Epistles-letters written to fellow Christians, from Romans to Jude. It is in the Epistles that we learn why Jesus died, as well as our rights and responsibilities as sons and daughters of God.

Thirdly, Get a pad of paper and something to write with. God will share truths with anyone who’ll quieten his/her mind to hear what He saying to ones spirit, including yours. Simple, yet rewarding.

Again, God put good teachers and preachers in the Church universal to inform and inspire us. But not at the expense of us hearing from God for ourselves in times of prayer and study.

If you’re already doing these three things, good. Perhaps seeing these suggestions will help you-or someone you know-to hear from God for himself/herself. While still being blessed from the preaching and teaching of those gifted of God to do so.

What Season Are You In?

As I write, it’s cold and wet outside. Surface conditions could be worse if this rain turns to snow. After all, my calendar tells me that it’s winter. 

Winter is a season in Oklahoma where outside conditions remind us of the wisdom of having warm clothes to wear, and actually wearing them.

Spring, Summer, and Fall comprise the remaining seasons all of us live in. Regardless of where you live you will go through all four seasons-hopefully many times. The more seasons you go through the longer you’ve been living.

Here are some things about natural seasons: 

  1. You don’t skip seasons. It’s Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, in that order.

  2. It’s to your advantage to recognize the season that you’re in. Grass is best mowed without snow on it. Christmas lights in July? Wait awhile. 

  3. Your actions in the present season affect the ones coming next. Spring planting affects summer cultivation and fall harvest. Works every time.

These same principles apply to our lives, spiritually speaking. 

Your winter may be a time of preparation for the next season God has for you. Your spring may be a time of planting time, talent, and/or other resources for a harvest of promotion or other increase in your fall. Your summer may be a season of maintaining/guarding what you’ve planted. Your fall may be a season of harvest after seasons of preparation, planting, and patience. With God not all seasons are the same length.

Not everything is measured by seasons. Getting along is not a season. Neither is being nice or walking in love. No, these are constants. 

Spiritually speaking, what season are you in? Ecclesiastes 3 states that there is a time for every purpose under Heaven. What we do for God involves seasons. It’s not always winter or summer. Spring may seem to go on forever, but harvest time WILL come, if we stay at it (Galatians 6:9).

Recognizing and correctly responding to the season you’re in right now can affect both the length and frequency seasons in your own walk with God. Hopefully this post will help you identify and flourish in the season you’re in, as well as show you things for the season ahead.

Why Wait Until Midnight?

Why Wait ‘til Midnight?

Living on this earth means having to face real problems. At times the situation you’re facing may seem hopeless. You’re not alone.

In the Bible, the book of Acts, chapter 16 we see Paul and Silas unjustly thrown into a Philippian jail. The “crime"? For being used of God to deliver a young woman from demonic bondage.

Beaten with their feet in stocks, Paul and Silas were facing  imprisonment or, worse, death. Not a time for campfire songs.

Both Paul and Silas began to do something in their midnight hour: pray and sing praises to God. While they were doing something seemingly insignificant, God sent the answer.

Things we can learn from Paul and Silas’s experience:

1. Never underestimate the power of prayer. No, it’s not the only thing to do but, in Paul and Silas’s case, what else could they do?  No Bible, no sermons on what to do when unjustly jailed, no internet. It pays to know how to pray.

2.   Singing praises to God is an act of faith, not a feeling. There’s something about singing praises that just works.

3. Praying and singing praises to God opened the door for something good to happen to Paul and Silas. In their case the prison doors were opened and the bands of all were loosed.

Your situation may not be unjust imprisonment, but just as real. It was literally midnight for Paul and Silas. Your situation may seem like a midnight to you-dark and bleak. But God hasn’t changed.

Even though He knows, tell God what’s going on. Remind Him of his promises, then begin to praise God for His goodness, His mercy, His might power to deliver you from that situation. Singing praises to God opens the door for Him to work on your behalf.

Midnight situations are the exception, not the norm. Since prayer and praise work all the time, why wait ’til midnight to praise God? After all, prayer is neither seasonal nor situational. It’s when things are going well that it’s easier to pray, praise, and spend more time in the presence of God, without outside pressures.

 

Does God Have an Ego?

God is, well, God. All-mighty, all-wise, all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present, and all- loving. All at the same time. So, the question arises: Does God have an ego? Stop and think about this: human beings with wealth, power, and influence far less than God's have enormous egos. To be able to do whatever you want, go wherever you want and have it all can be heady stuff for those with billions, even "mere" mega millionaires.

So, is God an egomaniac? Does He see Himself as better-and better off-than all of us put together? If so then, on that basis alone, God has an ego that's out of this world. Literally.

But if God, Who never changes, has an ego, then it's constant-the same yesterday, today, and forever. Ego has to do with self-worth, self-importance, self-identity. Since God knows exactly Who He is, the size of whatever ego God has isn't going to ever change.

Human ego is dependent upon affirmation from others, from external circumstances. God desires our attention, praise, and worship to Him. But any failure on our part to do so won't change God a bit.

We must recognize that being in God's presence is as much for our benefit as it is for His. God doesn't need our praise and adoration to boost His ego. Being in God's presence to praise, magnify, and worship Him caused God, as recorded in the Bible, to do things for lives which didn't happen any other way.  Chains were loosed (Acts 12:5-7),  prisons were opened (Acts 16:25,26), and God gave specific plans (Acts 13:2). He's still doing this today.

If God has an ego, it's certainly not like ours, subject to being inflated-or deflated for that matter. His is constant, because God knows-and is secure in-Who He is at all times. Like God, we can and should be secure in who we are, in Christ, at all times.

We can and should be wholly independent of needing the affirmation of others to bolster our ego. By renewing our minds to think like God-to think in line with the New Testament-our egos will become more like God's: constant, settled, unchanging.

The kind of ego worth working for and demonstrating to the lost-and most Christians.

God's New Year's Resolutions

With a new year many have already made New Year's resolutions. Ranging from dieting to meeting new friends, resolutions represent change. Regardless of how many New Year's resolutions are actually kept, some are adamant about this year's batch of resolutions because.....people want to change. But, what about God? Does He have any New Year's resolutions for this-or any-year? If so, what are they?

The truth is that God doesn't make New Year resolutions for this-or any other-year. The reason why is that resolutions are about change, and God never changes (Malachi 3:6).  Since God is always the same, you can count on Him to be the same this year as last-or any year for that matter. God is the same right now as He was whenever the beginning began, the coming of Jesus, or a minute ago. My friend, that's good news.

Not only is God the same (Hebrews 13:8), but He's always willing to help us change to be more like Him. To not want to change is to be satisfied with the present situation. I don't know about you, but I want to change, because I need to. I'm not nearly satisfied with where I'm at in my walk with God, are you?

While I'm changing this year I invite you to do the same. Even if you've already written down New Year's resolutions ask God to show you that area or areas needing changing. God might surprise you by pointing out an area that seems insignificant, yet making that change may bring success to the rest of your life. Nothing's too small for God's help.

I can do this-we can do this. And watch God have His way with the results.

Happy New Year, to each of you following my posts. It's going to be a year like no other.

In Whose Sight?

For some reason work is hard, perhaps explaining why it's called work. I have no recollection of any work being easy. Some was easier than others, but still work. When we work who are we doing it for? Some would say for money, for the boss, or for the company we're working for. While this may be true for some, there's a reason even many Christians overlook: what we do ought to be done as unto God. Colossians 3:23 tells us that, whatever we do is to be done unto the Lord, as unto God.

Doing things unto ones supervisor, teacher, parent, or country is to lower the bar of life, so to speak. Doing things unto God, however, keeps the bar of life where it belongs: at its highest point.

There's something exhilarating about doing our best unto God, as though the "work order" came from Him. Even when no one sees all of what we're doing we rest in the fact that God sees and knows, as well as the attitude of our heart towards what we're doing.

Doing things as unto God often means doing things in a manner above and beyond worldly expectations-especially when it comes to something called quality. Quality means doing things with excellence, our very best.

There's something rewarding about knowing that, as a Christian, you've done your best in any given situation. Whether cleaning house, being a part of a work-related project, or studying for Sunday's sermon, motive matters. Colossians 3:24 tells us that, ultimately, it is God who will reward us. No matter how employers act or the pay scale, doing things as unto God is trusting Him for what we need.

Pride in workmanship has lost its importance with many. As Christians, our work is our witness. Unfortunately, doing things right stands out. What used to be mediocre now passes for excellence. Those who are doing things right in the sight of man will settle for an earthly reward. Those who do things right in God's sight will receive His reward, on top of any natural compensation.

Whether it's your room, marriage, home, vehicle, place of work, or church, in whose sight are you doing things?

Excuse me now, I have cleaning that's waiting to be done. In God's sight.