I have always loved hymns, and in particular, learning the stories behind how they were written. The story behind I Have Decided to Follow Jesus is one that I found particularly moving… “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” is a Christian hymn originating from India. The lyrics are based on the last words of a man […]
Here’s a more penetrating question for each of us. To what degree are our lives and relationship with Him a great contradiction as well? In how many areas and ways do we call Him Lord, yet disregard, disobey, and even defy His will and direction for our lives? Where has He spoken His purpose to us, and we, for whatever reason or justification, told Him, “Never Lord?” Where are we doing so now?
I think we are most prone to this sin, and yes, it is sin, when Christ leads us to a place far outside our comfort zone. He requires of us something out of our ordinary experience. Something we were sure He never would. I have lost track of all the times I have heard believers say, “I don’t think the Lord would do that.” I’ve said it myself. Surely that mindset was upon Peter. The Jews had very strict dietary regulations and boundaries. He could not envision the Father ever taking him outside of them. Yet He did. Where are the self-made boundaries that we’ve set up in our lives that put a limit to just how deep our obedience to Him will go?
Where are we living “the great contradiction?”
Christ meets us where we are, and where we are is filled with contradictions. Growth in grace is a process of those contradictions being removed, one contradiction at a time. Do you welcome that? Or, do you go on living “the great contradiction?”
“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?” – Psalms 56:3-4
When faced with uncertainty, fearful situations, or challenges today… In that moment we choose either to rely on our own abilities and strength OR we may choose HIM in whom all wisdom, provision, and grace IS certainly found.
Choose the best way, the only sure way found in Christ Jesus is to trust God first and then, armed by His provision and wisdom move forward bravely in confidence that HE alone is trustworthy! Blessings and peace for today.
“As they talked together, I thought about all the times our “dates” have gotten interrupted, or when the trees have gotten in the way, or when our plans have changed. Most times it would leave me being frustrated- because my focus was always on ME- wanting to make MYSELF happy.” ~Julie Harris
Source: when things get in the way
How often are we guilty of missing a blessing by God? We all get busy focused on our desires, goals, and plans. How very often we find ourselves in a situation not so different, it might not be a stroll with our husband or wife, it might be at work or the store or anyone of a number of moments. The same and yet different, different yes and yet the same in that we are interrupted for our intended course.
As Julie has pointed out, “…those things are really blessings in disguise – if only we know what to look for.”
We plan and yet God calls us to live in the moment. To look to Him for what we need now. Not only what we need, we are to see how He wants us to meet the needs of others. Blessings come in so many different ways, are we looking?
Blessings and Peace, ~Robert
“I am so thankful for the many “trees” that have stood with me and supported me throughout the years. And I am grateful to be walking this journey of life-
with my husband
and my family in Christ…
and you!” ~Julie Harris
stepping in time we walk in stride thankful you are by my side… with no one else I’d rather be- all is right when you’re walking with me I came home the other day to BOTH tv…
Source: walking with me
Who are the “trees” in your life and mine, the ones we need to reach out to and simply say thank you for being a part of my life? Great or small, each has gifted us with a portion of themselves and contributed to who we are and will become.
For those of us in Christ Jesus, God uses everything in our life to work His out the transformation in us into the likeness of Jesus! Paul told us to be “transformed by the renewal of your mind,…” Romans 12:2. As God uses His word to work this renewal, He also uses brothers and sisters in Christ in this process. In Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Blessing and Peace Always,
“…that we would be in a place where He is able to “hit” all the spots in our hearts and spirits that He longs to minister to, and bring healing and wholeness” (Pastor O).
What follows here is a message given to a dear Pastor friend who being guided by the Holy Spirit shares with us today. My prayer is that as you read the message, that the sweet Holy Spirit will guide you into a deeper walk as you meditate on these words. You will not happen upon these words by accident or happenstance, you are here by the appointment of God and have a choice before you… Read and accept or push aside as not relevant… Having read this far, I pray your heart and mind will remain open and eager to receive!
“For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are.” Hebrews 4:12………”I like to open my Bible and pray, ‘Lord God, let the words leap off the page into my soul, make them vivid, powerful, and fresh to my heart.’ ” Charles Spurgeon
Moving targets are hard to hit. Our flesh is expert in being just that when it comes to the probing, cleansing, freeing word of the Father. It finds endless ways to avoid Him. Pursuits of pleasure. Accumulation of goods. Unending forms of escapism. Busyness, and yes, even “ministry” pursuits done in His name. Anything that can keep us from being perfectly still before Him, allowing Him to search us and “see if there be any hurtful (wicked) way within us.” David asked the Father to do just that. When did we last do so?
Have you ever tried to hold a cat that didn’t want to be held? Near impossible is it not? This is exactly how we can be with Him. When His Holy Spirit starts closing in on us, and what is the truth about us, our squirming, like the cats, grows more and more frantic. There are areas of our lives where we don’t wish to know the truth, where we prefer the lie, the delusion. That’s far more comfortable…..and much safer for our flesh. We don’t want our true motives exposed. Motives that seem so noble on the surface, but at root are centered on ourselves. We can see that in so many of our prayers. Yet how many of them will have ourselves as the main beneficiary if He should answer as we want? How many people’s lives and life situations do we intercede for that in being answered will in the end make our lives better. Difficult mates, children, congregants coming to Christ, surrendering all, being delivered, will result in our lives being made less difficult, and a lot more content, and in ministry, successful. We can pray and seek for many wonderful things with so many impure motives. Yet we can go on deceiving ourselves about it all so long as we keep moving….squirming….avoiding.
We won’t be doing this forever though. Sooner or later, He will pin us down on it all. For all of our sake, I hope its sooner….on this side of eternity, rather than later, when we stand before Him, and everything becomes known. Everything exposed………May His word never cease to “hit the spot” in you and me. Giving life to us, and crushing death within us. Exposed but whole. Exposed but free.
Chris Tiegreen writes, “Do we take the time to ponder which of our own wineskins have attempted to accommodate Jesus and failed?….On what points are we rigid? Where do our expectations lie? Do we insist that Jesus bring about our own vision for the future? Do we try to constrain Him to our church structures? Do we rely on methodology in our ministry? (They)….may be good, but Jesus will not fit. He defies constraint. The Lion of Judah cannot be tamed.”
Jesus said in John 3:8, “The wind blows wherever it pleases.” We cannot control the wind. Why do we seek to control He who is the Source of the wind? Joubert’s quote is powerful. The less we seek to define Almighty God, the more we may know Him. And the desire of His heart, His greatest desire, is that we know Him. He is a mystery. He says so Himself. But He invites us to enter into His mystery, and behold Him to reveal Himself in its midst. To do that, we have to let go of all of our presumptions about Him. I had a very great friend who has since gone home to Him. One of the favorite things he used to say was that he had an “Oops theology.” As in, “Oops, I guess I was wrong.” Old wineskins can never live in such a theology. Only new ones can. He will never violate the truth and authority of His Word, but we must know that our limited minds cannot begin to understand how deep, high, and wide His truth really is.
I continue to grow older, and my natural skin is losing the soft, flexible feel it once had. Yet it is my fervent hope that the “skin” of my heart remain as tender and pliable as that of a child. How about you? In the spiritual realm, we’re all wineskins. Are we old ones…..or new?