Thursday, March 9, 2017

Surviving the Struggles in Life

Sometimes when it rains, it pours.

Several years ago we had a few weeks of difficulty all in a row.  My wife had health problems unlike she has ever had in the past.  First she had what doctors called gastritis for about three to four weeks.  Just when that seemed to be taming down, she had a bad infection in a back tooth.  That problem took an oral surgeon to fix.  A few days later she found a lump on her neck which concerned doctors enough to send her to Nashville for a biopsy.  Oh, and in the midst of all of this our van wouldn’t start and needed a costly repair. Stuff happens.

You’ve probably had days or weeks like this too.  It’s times like this that your faith in God really gets tested.  Thankfully, each incident worked out.

What should we do when problems like this mount?

1) Keep doing what is right-  Don’t give up on doing the right things just because it gets harder.
2) Keep believing-  God id still who he says he is even though it might be hard to see him at the moment.
3) Lean on the help of others-  God puts people into our lives to help us through tough times.
4) Pray for the learning-  Hardship is one of the best teachers.  I often ask God for the lessons in the midst of it.
5)  Find a way to laugh-  Laughter is a great medicine.  Take a break from the analyzing of the problems and go do something fun.
Keep looking up!  Good times always come around again.
Check out my video here-  Re-Thinking Struggles
Let me know what you do to get through difficult times.  Put your comments in below.

Re-Thinking Struggles - video

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Focus on Kingdom Harvest

I must admit that I dream often of living on a farm. Picking through the garden and hearing the animals stir are just some of the things that I really enjoy. Looking out over fields as they change through the winter, spring, summer and fall displaying the wonders of God’s creation delivers me to a peace of heart and mind.

This time of year is obviously very important in farm life- Harvest. All year the workers plan and maintain the crops trusting that weather will cooperate so the harvest will be abundant. Harvest is the time to reap all the benefits of the past year’s work.

Does His passion for soul harvest affect us?

Jesus was very concerned for the harvest as well. His harvest is the harvest of the the souls of men, women, boys and girls. A love for the lost souls of humanity drove Jesus to the cross. Does His passion for soul harvest affect us? Really, does it become important enough to us that we take action?

As we consider our part in the harvest of souls for the kingdom of God, where should we start? Prayer is the starting line for all things in the kingdom of God. In a good relationship with God, we have the ability to understand what He has for us to do, how to do it and when to do it. Matthew 9:37-38 helps us with this very thought, “Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”"

Whatever we find ourselves praying for is what has taken priority in our hearts. 

Let’s make the Great Commission a priority in our prayers as a church and individually. Pray to the Lord of the harvest because we want to reach people for Christ. Pray to the Lord of the harvest because Jesus told us to. Pray to the Lord of the harvest because we want God to use us. With all that we are let’s pray to the Lord of the harvest for the harvest.

Consider this interesting thought as you make plans to pray to the Lord of the harvest:
For according as our desires are, so are our prayers; and as our prayers are, so shall be the grace, and as that is, so shall be the measure of glory. Pray for it as earnestly as you desire it.
Jeremy Taylor, private chaplain to King Charles 1644

Friday, November 18, 2016

Grasping the Will of God

God’s will is so big, so much of an awesome thing that we, or at least I, sometimes feel that it cannot be fathomed. Is that the way God is though?
All through the Bible we see that although He does not reveal everything that we would like to know, He does reveal Himself to humanity. We are not left in the dark. There are a couple ways that we should look at God’s will to help us keep perspective.

God’s Generally Revealed Will-

We have the Bible and the teachings of those who have learned about Him before us. This is not going to be an in depth theological discussion here, trust me.  God made sure that His history with humanity would be recorded, so that we could understand how He would act, react and even what He expects from us.  I want to keep it that simple, but I know that smarter people than me have been arguing on how to interpret the Bible for centuries.  In simplicity, though, He has given us His truths in the history and teachings in the Bible.  He has already revealed what relationship with Him will look like, and what living for Him looks like.

God’s Specific Will for Me-

Here’s where it gets tricky.  How do we know what God specifically wants us to do?  Does He ever give us specifics?  In my experience, yes, He does.  But my experience is only so important to me and a few others that maybe like me enough to believe what I say.
The Bible, however, does give evidence to His specific guidance.  I am not going  to name every story, but you can think of a few as I do.  Moses goes deliver my people from Egypt.  Joshua march around Jericho for seven days, and on the seventh day, seven times followed by a great shout.
How about in the New Testament? Saul, go to Straight St., and then later, be a witness to the Gentiles. John, write down this revelation, and there are so many more.  It’s pretty evident that God can have some some specifics for us, but how do we get that?
My experience has been this… when I seek answers, I find answers.  I do not always get answers the moment I ask.  Maybe you do.  In fact this verse has been such a help to me.  God is telling the Israelites, in Deuteronomy 4:29, that when they get taken into exile for idolatry that ” if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Dawn and I have been in a more serious seeking mode for a few years now, and He has been leading us.  Not always every little detail gets revealed (I think He gave us a brain for that), but then when, where and how comes.  It’s not always the very direction that were were looking for or wanted either, but as we have followed we’ve never been disappointed.

What would seeking God for his specific will do for you?

If you seek Him with all your heart, it will lead you to Him, His truth and His will.  Read the Bible like you need it to live.  Pray for God to lead as if you were blind.  Be ready for the ride of your life.  Never settle for less.