Get Up and Get On!


It really doesn’t matter how life has overwhelmed us. This is not the issue. The issue is God is bigger than all that overcomes us. And He’s already acting on our behalf. We need to be obedient to His call! We need to remain faithful to our love and devotion to Him!

Trust Him…should always be the motto we live by. We can sum up scripture with one command – TRUST HIM!

Joshua, one of my favorite people in the word of God, was an incredible man of God! Talk about an overwhelming life! He was missioned with conquering every nation around him. He was called to forge new ground by killing every enemy in God’s path. The people he conquered was measured as the sand of the sea. What an overwhelming job! And Joshua left nothing undone! Nothing! He was a man of total reliance, total obedience, and total follow-through!  

Are we of the same fabric of character?

Joshua did not rest until he completed the task that God had commanded him. Nor should we! Rest is born out of total

Reliance,

Obedience,

and follow-through.

Joshua represented the foreshadowing of Jesus Christ, God’s Son.

Jesus was totally reliant upon His Father. “Not my will, but yours” was the motto Jesus lived by. Talk about overwhelming! Jesus even said to his disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death…” Indeed His mission was most overwhelming, but did He let that get in His way? Not at all…

Jesus was in total obedience to the Father; He carried His cross to His death upon it. He was laser focused on the mission He had to accomplish. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do…” This was His mission. The requirement of total forgiveness for all sin was achieved by this one man’s death.

Jesus rose from the dead opening the door for man to be in the presence of God. But follow-through was on His mind when He got up and walked out of that tomb! The mission was not over. It had barely begun! The mission to spread His gospel of grace to all people was now on the agenda. Forgiveness was atoned for, but now it needed to be shared and believed. Repentance and reception was next. Jesus would not leave this task undone. Church, He has invited you and me to join Him.

Are we burdened by this task?

Rest is not on our “to do” list until the job is done. The mission must be accomplished. Don’t allow being overwhelmed to steer you from this incredible assignment! Rest will only be ushered in when the gospel is spread to every person in every place and in every language. It’s time for follow-through! Church, it’s time to act. May what was said about Joshua be said about us, “He left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded…” It’s time to get up and get on with the call that God has given us! Let’s go!

Your first mission: Invite everyone you know to church this Sunday!

 Related readings: Joshua 11, Luke 23:34, Matthew 26:39

 

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Why Did God Command that Some People be Killed and Others Not in the Old Testament?


God is the only One who knows the desires and inclinations of the heart. As the human race, we see what is on the outside, but God sees what motivates man from the inside.

GodLooksAtTheHeart

We were all given a free will to choose our destiny. We have the power to choose our every decision and action in life. This is a not only called a free will, it’s a gift given to us by God. His wish is that we choose the good. He wants us to choose what is righteous not evil.

In some cases, there are people whose hearts are always inclined toward evil. Just in the days of Noah the Lord saw “…how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5).

God decided to wipe this people off the earth, leaving Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives alive.

Why did He keep their life and not the others? While Noah and his family were human, and certainly not without sin, Noah had the wish to do what was right. Noah was considered “…a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God” (Genesis 6:9).

What made him righteous? He walked…how?…faithfully…with who?…with God. We cannot be righteous without God’s consistent presence in our life. We have a choice. To walk with God…or walk alone. Sadly, to walk alone brings forth one thing from our hearts…every inclination to do evil.

Those whose hearts are inclined toward evil and have no room for good are dangerous to those who have a desire to do what’s right. Sin infects the soul, and sinful people unleashed on a population infect people. I believe that if those people in the Old Testament remained on earth they would have contaminated the little good in those around them.

Sin is a cancer to the soul. It crouches at the door wanting to devour its prey – man’s soul. But it only walks through the door of the one who wants to do wrong, those who choose to displease the Lord, and those who make it a point to walk without God. (See Cain’s story in Genesis 4)

Many people in the Old Testament chose to answer that door, to allow the sin to come to them as a friendly guest. The more they entertained this guest, the more this guest took over their heart. And in some cases, there were those who allowed this guest of sin to master them.

Total mastery of sin in our hearts will fully harden it.

If left to harden too long, there is a point of no return. Only God can see the person’s heart that has reached this place of no return. Like I said earlier, a person infected in this way becomes a toxic contagion that defiles others. For a hardened heart to survive, it feeds off of the righteous within their midst.

Think about it. There is the old saying, “Hurt people hurt people.” Hardened people who do not seek repair, seek to make others suffer with them. (A gossip can’t gossip if there isn’t someone to tear down and someone listening.) They find satisfaction in harming the happy. It becomes their food, their sustenance. I believe that God knew the hearts of those in the Old Testament. I believe that He knew they would not turn to Him, but instead they would go after those who were seeking Him; they would try with every bit of their energy to wreak havoc on their righteousness and turn their hearts away. (Sounds like puppets in the devil’s hand.)

Look at God’s people in Exodus. While waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain, some of God’s people became impatient. They gathered around Aaron, Moses’s right hand man, and they said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us.” Aaron, falling quickly under the pressure did as these men said. He answered, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons, and your daughters are wearing and bring them to me.” So they did this. And Aaron took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. They (I believe were the men who gathered around Aaron) said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”

As the story continues in Exodus 32 we see that Moses finds out. Obviously God knows what’s going on. God sends Moses down. God’s anger burns against his people. Moses pleads with the Lord to save these people. While Moses’ pleading saved many lives, there were some who the Lord deemed a death sentence. And Moses, under the command of God, sent the Levites to kill the 3,000 in the camp that God said needed to die. Why them, and not all?

Again, we don’t know the heart of man, but God does. Some, I believe, had hearts too hardened to return to Him. And if left in the camp, they would have sought to harden others. They would have been a cancer to their tribes.

We do not decide who dies and who doesn’t. God does. His righteousness and his omniscience knows all, sees all, and can determine (with precise accuracy) whose hearts are totally incurable.

But the purpose of this blog is not to figure out who should die or who shouldn’t; but instead, it’s to become the person who is willing to walk faithfully with God, so that the sin crouching at our door does not become the guest of our heart. To walk faithfully with God and be impregnated with His presence is to repent of our sin and receive Christ, His Son, as our Savior, our Lord. Jesus is the cure for our evil inclined heart.

God said to Moses as he led these people, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14). His presence gives us rest from the sin and temptation that haunts us. His presence is what gives us the courage to choose what’s right and resist the evil. We must submit to the Lord to resist the devil. As we come near to God, He will come near to us. His presence is our salvation. He cleanses and purifies our hearts. He replaces the evil with the power to choose what’s right.

Just as sin is a cancer to the soul, God’s presence is the treatment to the cancer. Live in the presence and you rise up by His Spirit. Like Noah, you will be infectiously blameless among the people.

What is the One Act that is Most Neglected but Most Needed?


What is that one act that is most neglected but most needed?
This one act takes time. It is often the one act we claim we don’t have time for. It makes us slow our pace. It causes us to sacrifice our wants. It demands selflessness. It requires energy and focus. It should be our one core value above all others. It’s God’s core value. It’s His one act that changes a life forever. It’s this one act that makes Christianity different from all other religions. In fact this one act is so valuable, that without it many will feel lonely, hopeless; they will embrace depression, are filled with anxiety, are tempted to commit suicide, and are on the brink of death forever.

The challenge is this, we are so busy; we neglect this one thing that is most vital in life. It is this one thing we take with us into our future, our old age, our eternity! Our memories retain this one thing. All else is rubbish.

I have learned so much over the years, and now that I am 50 years old, I can look back and see that the most powerful part of my life are the relationships I have made. Those relationships have been the instrumental tool that God has used to help others see His love for them. I can also look back at the busy times in my life where I did not focus much on relationships and this hurt my influence in those most dear to me.

We can become quite consumed with the good things; we “Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there.” (Isaiah 28:10).  In the busy stage of our life, when work demands are high, when children are in school and are growing so quickly, it is easy to get busy with good things that often are the wrong things. If we stop long enough, we can see that we spend enormous amounts of time doing good things that are the wrong things. We can see that they are wrong by the measure of influence they have on people. If what we do is not influencing people with the love of Christ and His message of salvation, we’ve been doing too many good things that are quite possibly the wrong things – it’s time for a change.

Relationships are the key to change. They leverage all we do. It should be our main core value. Like I said earlier, this one act of relationship is God’s core value, why would He want us to be different? Jesus is the One who paved the way for this one act of relationship for us. His blood, his death and His resurrection tore the curtain of good things and make a way for the best thing – an personal relationship with God. It’s in this one most incredible act that allows God to be with us, to sympathize with our weakness, to meet our very desperate need for intimacy and makes us feel apart vs. a part. 

If we do life His way, the way of relationship, we will be “that person who is like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields fruit in season (naturally and seamlessly) and we will have leaves that do not wither (an influence that keeps influencing) and whatever we do we will prosper.” (Psalm 1:3). We will see the immeasurably more that God wants us to experience! Not just the marginally accepted that the most settle for. Marginal satisfies for a moment, but immeasurably more completes us for all eternity.

Make time for relationships today. Don’t rush through life so fast that you lose your power of influence. Make God’s way the good thing you do. In the end, people will call you blessed not because you’re awesome, but because you took the time to make them feel awesome.

Family

Getting the Most from New Adventures


Everyone is looking for an adventure.

It’s new. It’s exciting. It’s fresh.

The beginning is the best. It promises. Feelings are high.

Expectation hooks and draws us in.

rafting

But with every new adventure comes the perils of boredom, suffering, and monotony.

It’s the one who learns to navigate the dullness that finds they can climb higher, explore deeper and mature wider than when the adventure began.

However, we live in a culture where dullness and boredom are not passed through; instead, they are quickly abandoned.

A marriage becomes dry. A job is tedious. Parenting is exhausting. The new house needs repair. The new car is dented. College requires relentless study.

exhausted

And even the new vacation has its lulls.

People who lack the ability to wade the tides of monotony often seek another adventure. They quit at the onset of boredom; the excitement fades, and so do they.

For some, the promise of excitement, the rush of a new idea, or the onset of a unique experience is the goal; it’s not the lessons learned from the adventure.

Many are always seeking, yet never learning. They are flitting here and there, but never planted long enough to gain a life well taught. Lessons from flight are often shallow.

Adventures teach us. They steady us. They cultivate character. The one ingredient to making each new adventure fruitful is to stay the course and finish the race.

When we seek the highs only, we miss the roots of joy that only come from wading through the dullness.

Today, the road less traveled is not new experiences; it’s patient endurance through the new that becomes old. Each new experience does promise, but patient endurance is the key to their fulfillment.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Three Steps to Stay the Course

1. Make fulfillment the goal, not the experience.

2. Remember, finishing is the better feeling than starting.

3.  See each lull in the adventure as a stepping stone to a promise fulfilled.

“By your patient endurance you will gain your lives” – Jesus