Friday, May 28, 2010

Sweating for Jesus

Today I sit in the office at work and as I wipe the sweat from my brow, I am thankful for all that God has done for me.  I'd probably be more thankful if the air-conditioning was working properly, but regardless, I am still thankful.

I am in a place that I never again imagined that I would be; doing something that I love; working in an area that I find gives me greater purpose.  But God has reminded me today that the purpose of what I do is not as important as the importance of what I was created to do.

Tonight, the youth are heading to one of the local high schools in town for a worship service.  This service was put together by students, for students to worship God.  It is a joined effort of the major high schools in the city and they have culminated their efforts to bring their praise to the One.  What a cool example of what the church is supposed to be today.  We were created to worship our God!  We were created to bring glory unto Him.  These kids are attempting to do that tonight as one body; the church!  That is exciting!

So as I sit in my non-functioning air conditioned office, I will remember that I am created to worship him and that even though I never thought I would be in this place, may I never forget that He is the reason why I am.  It was because of HIS grace that I can sweat for Him and testify to His goodness!

No matter what you're going through today, remember the words of Psalm 100:

1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.   
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
       come before him with joyful songs.

 3 Know that the LORD is God.
       It is he who made us, and we are his;
       we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
       and his courts with praise;
       give thanks to him and praise his name.

 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
       his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Dog's Life

Have you ever felt like nothing is going your way and that life just seems to be throwing you every possible curve that it can?  Have you ever felt like you're just not going to make it?  Have you ever felt like just giving up?

I was reminded tonight by a mangy little cur that life might be difficult, but sometimes when it seems like the end of the line, you still have another life.  My brother's dog is named Murphy.  He is really cute and I've really grown to like him over the past little while.  I live with my brother and the puppy dog has spent many nights sleeping on the corner of my bed with me.

This dog has seen death a number of times.  He ate some grass soaked in pesticide.  He has eaten enough Easter chocolate to kill most humans, let alone a dog, but a few weeks back, Murphy had one of his closest encounters yet.  He was struck by a car which ran over his rear quarters.  My brother had messaged me and told me that it would probably be the fun loving furball's last ride to the vet.  I have to admit, I was emotionally moved and maybe even shed a tear.

The truth is, in the bible, there is a guy named Job.  The guy had everything going for him.  He was wealthy, had a healthy family and a great life.  God allowed Satan to attack Job, but he never allowed Satan to kill him.  At first, it was his wealth and his family.  Within minutes, Job had lost all his farm animals and his children.  Imagine ... losing everything in a matter of minutes.  Would you still believe that God existed?  That he loved you?

Job's response was a little odd to say the least, but if you just lost everything, I am sure that your response would be a little odd too.  The bible says that Job tore off his clothes (awkward), shaved his head (Britney Spears much?) and said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart."  Okay ... I am with him up to this point.  HOWEVER ... Job's next statement baffles me: "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; ... (still with him) ...  may the name of the Lord be praised."  *THUD*  Seriously ... praise God for taking away everything?  I want some of that wine he is drinking.

A little while later, Satan decides that it isn't enough that he has killed off his family and stolen his wealth, he decides to strike him down with some lovely boils from head to toe.  Again, just when he thought it couldn't get worse ... it does.  Have you been there?  Even Job's wife says, "Are you still holding on to your intergrity?  Curse God and die!" ... to which Job replies, "You are you talking like a foolish woman. ... (which in itself could get me in trouble if I went deeper with it so we will just leave that alone) ... Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?"

See ... the truth of Job's story is not what He got from God (although God did give him a new family and wealth) but what it really comes down to is that God believed in God despite how grueling the situation got.  It didn't matter if times were good or if times were bad, he was going to acknowledge God as God.

So Murphy ... hit by a car ... but yet he lives another day to bark about it.  Life doesn't always go the way we expect.  I am sure that this puppy dog didn't want to get hit by a car, but despite it, he still keeps fighting to live for another day.  Despite all he has been through, he still comes to us for food, water and of course some attention.

Psalm 62:8 reminds us, "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge."  So when you're going through those difficult times, have faith in God.  When you're going through some good times, have faith in God.  No matter what you're experiencing, have faith in God.  He will carry you through!

Never Lose the Passion,

Friday, May 14, 2010

Waiting for Isaac

Has God ever promised you something and you feel like He isn't coming through on His end of the deal?  Maybe you're believing for your debt to be cleared.  Maybe you're waiting for a relationship to be created or restored.  Maybe you're waiting for a prodigal child to return to their relationship with God.

In Genesis, God promises Abram that he will be the father of many nations.  At the time of the promise, Abram was in his 80's.  Naturally, Abram and Sarai both had a strong reason to believe that this was impossible, but in Genesis 15:6, the Bible says that: "And [Abram] believed in the LORD, and [God] counted it to him for righteousness."  Abram believed.

There are times in our lives that "we believe".  I am believing in God for many things in my life.  I am looking to God and trusting that HE IS and that HE WILL.  However, that doesn't mean that I always do what I am supposed to do.

In Genesis 16, Sarai brings her maidservant to Abram and says, "Have your way with Hagar so that God will give me the promise of children through her" (The Dean Paraphrase).  So ... Abram being the man of faith that he is conveniently agrees.  But God's promise wasn't in Hagar's being, it was through Sarai.  God wanted to show His Glory in His time!  Hagar gets pregnant and gives birth to Ishmael, but Ishmael wasn't the promise.

So we have a promise, and we in turn try to force God's hand to receive it in our time, not His.  I've been there so many times and you would think that I would figure that out by now, but I guess I am just stubborn.  I know what the promise is, but I still look for the Ishmael instead of waiting on God.  I'm still humbled by the whole process.

BUT ...

Just because we go to the Ishmael doesn't mean that the promise is null and void.  God is true to His promises and He will come through, but we have to have faith in Him, and not the promise.  We have to have faith that He will respond in His sovereign time.  If we look back to the story, Ishmael was born when Abram was 86 years old.  However, Isaac was born when Abraham was 101 years old.  Abraham had to wait 15 years after for the promise to be fulfilled.  THE PROMISE WAS FULFILLED!

All that said, remember your promises from the start of this blurb?  Remember the things that God has promised you and that you haven't seen?  Have you tried to make the promises come to fruition by creating Ishmael or are you waiting for God to provide the Isaac?  I would love to say that I have figured out this waiting thing but that would just make me a liar.  However, I am believing God for the promise!  I am believing God that HE IS and that HE WILL.  He is real!  He is alive!  He is at work!  Keep waiting on God and He will come through!

Waiting for Isaac,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Faith In God

I recently preached a sermon at our church where as I was preaching, I realized that this message (even though some received something from it) wasn`t for the congregation as much as it was for me.

A lot of the times in my past, I have been overwhelmed by my personal circumstances.  I have seen financial, relational and emotional low times in my life where I wondered why do I bother believing that God is going to help me out of my situation.  It wasn`t so much that I was depressed, but more of the fact that I was let down that God "failed" me again.  I started to believe that because God didn't answer my prayers the way that I thought He should or in the time frame when I thought I needed Him to answer, that maybe, just maybe, God didn't really exist.  Maybe He was just a wild figment of my imagination.

But that brings me back to my sermon.  As I was preparing, I was reminded that God is not a God of situations, but rather that God just is.  In Exodus 3:14, God was speaking to Moses through a burning bush and he said to him, "Moses!  Tell them that I AM sent you."  God never said, "I'm that God that did this" or "I'm that God that did that", but he said, "I AM WHO I AM".

God doesn't need circumstances to be God.  The truth is ... He is God, and it is up to us to have faith that He is who He says He is and that He will respond to us. (Heb 11:6)  God's existence does not depend on our circumstances.  God's existence doesn't depend on what happens to us.  God exists because He says He exists and it is up to us to have faith in that.

So when you're struggling to understand why God allows things to happen, trust Him, because HE IS GOD!  HE IS REAL!  He knows what is best for your situation and because He is sovereign, let Him figure it out and just believe that HE IS and HE WILL RESPOND!

Never Lose the Passion,