Live Ready To Face God
A catalyst for the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther was asked, “If Jesus was coming back tomorrow, what would you do?” He replied, “I’d plant a tree.” This speaks to our need to be about our heavenly Father’s business all the days of our lives. Jesus said, “Occupy till I come.” (Luke 19:13, KJV) Similarly, the great evangelist D.L. Moody was asked, “If Jesus was going to come back in five minutes, what would you do?” He said, “I’d finish my steak.” Moody wasn’t being brash, he was making an important point. Whatever we are doing should be appropriate, and God’s will, in the event Jesus comes for us, or we die and are taken to Him. Though we all fail, “living ready to face God” must be the goal for each of our lives in every moment.
Everyone battles with a deep sense of failure. It’s the horrible affect of sin in general, and specifically when we remember lapses of judgment at different points in our lives. We are each hoping for a great comeback, and that’s where God comes in. He’s the God of the great comeback! He continually draws and calls us to return to who He created us to be: to be conformed to His image and not to this world’s reflection, which lasts for a few moments. Great comebacks always require great courage, and there is no One cheering louder for you than Jesus. “We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all-all but the sin.” (Hebrews 4:15, The Message) The next time you’re facing failure, remember the God who believes in you.
Life Is A Test
Everything in life is a test. Every response, every challenge and every opportunity! From setbacks to successes, the moment we stop depending on Jesus we become susceptible to deception. Accept nothing at face value. “…for we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7, ESV) I’m not moved by what I see. I want to allow the inner witness of God’s Spirit to guide me. Every decision we make tests our motives, and in the end we will be judged by the thoughts and intents of our heart. The Bible says, “But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:10, NLT) Jesus, guide me through the treacherous waters of testing. You are able to protect me from great errors in judgment. I trust in You alone!
Completing the Mission
I once saw a statement on the back of a t-shirt that said, “Cowards Never Start! The Weak Never Finish! Winners Never Quit!” It provoked me to think. I want to start, and I want to finish! I want to win, and I believe God created me to be courageous and not a coward. I’m not destined to be a weakling, and I’m not called to quit. By His grace I will finish. By His mercy I will finish well. By His kindness I will complete the mission I have been given; The assignment prepared for me from the foundation of the world. If you can receive it and believe it, this is God’s destiny for your life as well. The Bible says, “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.” (2 Peter 1:3a, NLT)
Changing Your Boundaries
In the Old Testament, we read that Ancient Assyria conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Their method of overpowering a city was called “The Siege.” The Assyrians would surround a city and choke the life out of it by changing the cities boundaries. That’s exactly what’s happened to America. Only we’ve changed our own boundaries. We’ve changed the boundaries of right and wrong, of truth and lies. We’ve changed moral boundaries, destroying innocence, embracing impurity, and loving evil. We’ve changed the boundaries for marriage. We’ve changed the boundaries of what is real and what is unreal. We have become experts in “The Siege.” Have you changed your boundaries? May you return to the safety of the protective, healthy boundaries found first and foremost in the Word of God, the Bible.
Created To Be a Victor
All of us have been shell-shocked by life! We’ve all been disappointed by the ground shaking underneath us. Consequently, we are each at some point a refugee, refugees from a fallen planet, a broken world. We all need to be rescued. But will we stay refugees, or will we become rescuers? I have been rescued. I am being rescued, and I will continue to be rescued…but I want to be a rescuer. I’ve been a patient, but I want to live as a doctor. I am not a victim. I am created to be a victor. There was a time in my Christian life where I struggled getting out of bed. Now, I abound out of bed every morning in the dark to walk in the light. Who we are trusting in will determine how we process life. Trust Jesus!
Never think you have to bribe God to pay attention to you. We don’t have to inspire Him. He was inspired about us before we were created. That’s why He created us. We had Him before we said, “Hello!” He created us to be the love of His life…the bride of His dreams. An intimate life with God is not a bribe to get Him to pay attention to us. We have His full attention. He’s already completely fascinated with who we are. We know this is true because that’s the way we feel about our own children and grandchildren. God couldn’t love you any more than He already does because He started loving you at “peak love,” with an “everlasting love,” (Jeremiah 31:3) and nothing you could ever do can change that.
There’s a battle going on in each of our hearts. It’s between godly longings and carnal cravings. Unless we know we are attractive, even beautiful on the inside, we’ll never be attractive enough on the outside. We all long to be attractive, desired, and admired. You could say, we all want to be “cool.” That’s why our youth culture is so steeped in sarcasm and cynicism, putting other people down. It’s a direct result of how un-attractive and un-cool we really feel. We think, “If I can’t measure up, then no one else will either.” But until we see the beauty of God, we won’t be able to see ourselves as eternally attractive, desired and admired. Unless we know God is beautiful, we’ll never know we are beautiful…especially to Him.
Are you fulfilled? The enemy of our soul has always been counterfeit fulfillment. Most people expend huge amounts of time, energy, and money staying current on the temporary, illusive pleasures of life, while missing out on the tangible, eternal pleasures of God in the process. God has the answer for every inferior pleasure. As a matter of fact, God is the answer! Knowing the God who created pleasure is the only way to experience the real thing, and not the counterfeit. Accept no substitutes for a genuine, life-long relationship with your Creator. It’s the only way to a guilt-free, pleasure-filled life. The Bible says, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11, NKJV)
Struggled Getting Out Of Bed
There was a time in my Christian life when I struggled getting out of bed. It’s embarrassing to say it, but true nonetheless. My perspective about God and my life were in need of a complete overhaul. I thought I needed my circumstances to change before I could feel good about my life. The truth was I needed to trust that God had my life in His hands and that He would make all things work for my good if I loved Him and was committed to His will more than my will. Once I began to trust that God as a loving Father would never allow my life to be unfruitful, it changed my entire perspective. Now, I abound out of bed every morning in the dark to walk in the light! I love my life because I believe God loves my life.
Beauty For Ashes
Do you feel like your life is in ashes? God knows, and He can help. The Bible says God has given us “beauty for ashes…” (Isaiah 61:1, 3) WOW! Beauty for ashes! In most cases, ashes are good for absolutely nothing. Our spiritual ashes are the result of burning our passions on wrong things. We can look at our own ash heap and wonder, “Why would anyone want this?” No one wants ashes. That is, no one except God. He trades them for His beauty. It’s part of His heavenly recycling plan: His beauty for our ashes. God wants to answer our desire for beauty now, in this life, not just in eternity. What we look like to God is infinitely more important than what we look like to us. Never forget that He sees you as beautiful.
So much of today’s advertising can make us dissatisfied with how we look, what we have, and ultimately, who we are. We spend our time, energy and money fixing things about ourselves that we consider less than attractive. A beautiful God created us in such a way that we long to feel beautiful, but unless we see God’s heart for us, we’ll eventually see ourselves as ugly. Fortunately, when the Holy Spirit shows us what God is like and we see what we look like to God, something settles in our hearts, minds and emotions. That’s why the Bible says, “Do not let your adornment be merely outward…rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)