We Are But A Moment

We all like to think our life is the center of the everything. We don’t give voice to these thoughts, but we do tend to think of our life as outlasting everyone else’s. The reality, however, is that not one life that has ever existed on earth is truly lasting. 

Psalm 39:4-5 (NLT) “ LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”

Eternity is a difficult concept to understand, in fact it’s impossible to fully grasp by our finite minds. We each have a clearly defined beginning and death is a certainty. Our time here on earth will end. 

Our numbered days do have a number and each one of them is valuable. I look back on how I chose to spend some of those days and I realize, I wasted them on things that have no lasting value.

Eternity is a different beast. It has no beginning. There is no ending. Praise God that because of Jesus’ precious sacrifice on the cross that we will pass into eternity with joy into the presence of God. 

The scripture said our life is but a single breath to God. In the scheme of eternity our life is like a single dot on a line that stretches endlessly in either direction. 

How often do we make all of our decisions based on what will benefit the dot? We have this natural inclination to make decisions to benefit our life here on earth when our real life has barely begun. 

Colossians 3:3 (NKJV) For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Philippians 3:20 (NLT) But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

I would challenge you today to examine what factors you consider in your decision making process. Are you deciding how to spend your time and resources based on self fulfillment? That is the natural way of doing things, but should live each day based on how it will affect our eternity. 

I am reminded of the fact that all our gain on earth has zero eternal value. The only thing we can take with us to Heaven is other people. If anything could be said of my life when it is done, I hope it is that I did everything I could do to populate Heaven. 

When we were saved we were radically and gloriously transformed and added to the Kingdom of God. Let’s put aside our old life and get to work further building the Kingdom. 

The Battle Between…

Recently I’ve realized my faith isn’t as strong as I thought it was. That statement isn’t an easy one to make. We have perceptions of who we are and occasionally we have difficult moments where we truly see through our own web of self deception and see reality. Too often we only see our intentions and overlook our lack of action.

That’s the key right there, because to have faith is to know without doubt that what you believe will come to pass. When we are pursuing God’s will for our lives, we should live boldly with no doubt that our plans will succeed, because God is on our side. If you have this kind of faith then ACTION will be the natural byproduct. It’s easy to act on what we know, it’s hard to act on what we doubt.
GettyImages-489748108_master.0.jpgI will sit in a chair with confidence, because I know it will hold me up, but if you ask me to walk across a bridge made of  glass, forget it! I will be filled with fear and as a byproduct be filled with inaction. Frozen.

Frozen is where I have found myself on more than one occasion. I fully believe God’s ability to accomplish what He has put in my heart and in my life, yet many times when it comes down to it, I am filled with doubt.

Things don’t always work out the way we expect, these are the moments that test the genuineness of our faith. It is the trying times, when circumstances seem to tear apart our dreams that we will either stand firm on the promises of God or give way to fear.

In the latter half of Mark 5 we see such a moment develop. Jarius, a leader in the local synagogue came to Jesus full of faith that Jesus could heal his dying daughter. I am sure he was in a hurry and was frustrated by the great crowds following Jesus. As a father, worried over his dying daughter he must have been feeling very anxious when the woman with the issue of blood touched Jesus and he stopped to interrogate the crowd.

The woman confessed that it was her who had touched Him and Jesus told her, in verse 34 “Daughter, your faith has made you well.” Jesus knew she had faith because of the corresponding action, she fought her way through the thick throngs of people and was just barely able to touch the bottom of His robe.

Jarius must have felt encouraged, again seeing Jesus has the power to heal, and full of faith that Jesus would do the same for his daughter.

Then everything changed.

Mark 5:35-36  (NLT) While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.  But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.”

We know how the story ends. Jesus goes to the little girl and performs a great miracle, but what if Jarius had listened to his companions? What if he had set his sights completely upon his physical reality instead of having faith in a spiritual reality? It would have been easy to listen to this news and completely despair, but Jesus intervened.

There will be times we have to choose to look past our fears, look past our doubts and look to Jesus, trusting in Him completely. David understood this.

Psalm 38:13-15  (NLT) Meanwhile, my enemies lay traps to kill me. Those who wish me harm make plans to ruin me. All day long they plan their treachery. But I am deaf to all their threats. I am silent before them as one who cannot speak. I choose to hear nothing, and I make no reply. For I am waiting for you, O LordYou must answer for me, O Lord my God.

I want to encourage you today, don’t listen to the negative voices that would have you believe your dreams are dead. Be like David and choose not to hear them and definitely don’t respond. Instead wait on the Lord.

Continue to have faith that He will make a way.

 

Evaluating Spiritual Growth

Today is evaluation day! It’s time to take an honest peek and examine how you are growing spiritually. Don’t worry, no one here is going to cast shame upon you if you’ve fallen short of your own expectations, in fact I’ll never know.

It’s an important truth that if we don’t evaluate our progress, we can’t truly know if we are progressing. I encourage you today to honestly look at your spiritual life and ask yourself if you are pursuing Jesus the way you really want to? Are you spending time with Him daily? Is that time a priority, uninterrupted and effective or is it more something you try to squeeze between dinner and your evening shows?

Is your life displaying the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23)? Are you treating people with kindness? Are you speaking to people with love? Or perhaps you are short with people, displaying an attitude and choosing to spend all your time selfishly? Don’t worry, I’ve been selfish more times than anyone I know. It’s hard to hide this stuff from myself. Evaluation day can be hard, but it is important to be honest with who you are and your progress or lack of progress.

Today let’s look at what Jesus had to say as He was explaining the parable of the sower to His disciples.

Mark 4:14-20 (NLT) The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others.  The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away.  The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word,  but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.  And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

How is the seed of God’s word growing in your life? Is His Word growing deep roots in your life as you meditate and seek to apply it daily to your life? Or is your relationship with God shallow and your affections easily swayed?

The seed falling among thorns has been a particular struggle in my life. Too often I’ve allowed His word to be cut off because I was too busy spending all my time on other things to truly let it grow in my life.

My prayer for all of us today is that we would begin clearing the soil for fresh spiritual growth. That we would be free of worldly concern and begin to plant deep roots, growing day by day closer to Jesus.

The temptation we all face when we try to grow in our walk with God is that we don’t see immediate results. We try to seek God for a week and we feel like we aren’t getting anywhere and after the second week we are so discouraged we become inconsistent or quit all together.

Don’t give up! Keep going. You are not forgotten by God. You are His precious child and He has great things in store for you, but you must choose to keep going and to keep growing.

Thanks for going with me on the journey of my blog’s first week. I’ll be back next Monday with another week of devotional blogs!

God bless you today!

Success Key: Consistency

Ask any of my students to tell you something I say every single time I preach and they will almost certainly tell you, “Read your Bible and Pray.” There is no question, I am going to say it! Why? Because there is power in being consistent. There is power in doing what you know to do every single time.

I know that if I keep saying it, they might start doing it. For the Christian there is nothing we should do more consistently than opening up our Bible and reading it. Shutting the door to our prayer closet and seeking the heart of God.

Many of us know the promises of God and believe we will receive them. A few promises we love to boast about are His peace, provision and joy. Yet, many of us approach our devotional life with inconsistency and get discouraged when we aren’t experiencing what we believe we as Christians are entitled to. Some times we even conclude that our beliefs must be wrong or we blame God in frustration for not keeping His word.

We often forget that many of the promises in scripture are conditional and dependent upon us doing our part.

Psalm 37:4-6 (NLT) Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.

Psalm 37:7 (NLT) Be still in the presence of the Lordand wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

In these scriptures we can see some amazing promise; God will give you the desires of your heart, He will help you, He will act on your behalf. However, if we do not delight in the Lord, if we don’t commit everything we do to the Lord, if we don’t Trust Him then should we expect to receive the fulfillment of those promises? No!

If we want to consistently walk in the promises of scripture, we must consistently live as the scripture instructs us to live. Josuha 1:8 is so much more than just a moving scripture.

Joshua 1:8 (NKJV) This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

It is a lesson in the power of consistency! If we do what is right day and night, every day, regardless of circumstance or emotion we can be sure He will provide for us and keep His promises!

The power of consistency is an essential aspect of our faith. This is a principle so powerful that it applies to every area of life. In fact, it is an essential key to success. If you consistently study, consistently work hard, consistently tend to your garden, consistently put on a good attitude, you will experience amazing long term results.

Even the smallest action (positive or negative) done consistently over time will have powerful results in your life! So I would challenge you today to examine your habits. Do you have a daily devotional time with Jesus? Do you consistently choose to turn from sin? Do you work hard or find yourself slacking?

Recently I read Proverbs 10:4 which says, “Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich.” (NLT) There is great truth in the principle. Hard work is the key to all we do, and hard work done consistently will lead to success. Shake off your laziness. Shake off your apathy and pursue God and His dreams for your life!

Return To The Secret Place

In the past six months I have greatly increased by devotional life (time spent in prayer and reading scripture). I am not only spending more time in prayer and study, but I am doing it more consistently. Last week I started a book that is reminding me of some truths I haven’t thought about in a little while.

The book is “Secrets of the Secret Place” by Bob Sorge. Often growing up and throughout my life I have referred to my prayer time as going into the secret place, but I hadn’t thought about that frame of reference in quite a while.

Matthew 6:6 (NKJV) But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly

It really is quite amazing to think about. Not only has God provided me with salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, but He actively wants to have a relationship with me! I can have a private and personal relationship with the God who created all that is known and not yet known with His very breath.

Like many of you, I don’t see myself as anything special. Certainly I would not think myself worthy of time with Kings or Presidents, yet my God who is the King of all Kings wants to meet me in the secret place.

In fact He is already there waiting! That’s what the scripture says. My Father is in the secret place! All I have to do is go to my room, shut the door and pray.

This is something all of us should place great value on. Our time with our Heavenly Father should be the highlight of our day! We should look forward to spending time with Jesus, but all too often our prayer life becomes an after thought. Sure we will open up the Bible if we have a little time left after doing all the other things that desperately demand our attention. We have it backwards.

I believe there is great importance in starting our day in the secret place. Starting the day by asking God His plan for our day. Spending time pouring our love on Jesus. Reading His words and asking Him to speak to us. Friend, none of the countless other things demanding your time are as important as your Father who is waiting in the secret place.

I don’t say any of these things to guilt you, or make you regret time you’ve missed. I don’t believe that God is an angry God waiting to get you alone so He can yell at you for not spending more time with Him. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of regret. Just go home, shut the door and enter into a special moment with your Father.

One last thing that sticks out to me in that scripture is the phrase “shut the door.” This could mean different things to different people in different situations. I feel the root meaning is to get away from distractions. Today that might mean turning off your phone. If you’re like me and use your phone as a part of your devotional life that can be difficult. Find the do not disturb mode. Find the silent button and use it!

Nothing that can appear on your screen is more important that the work God is doing in your life. We will talk a little bit more about our phones tomorrow. For today take courage in knowing God is waiting for you in the secret place.

Don’t keep Him waiting.

Why I Write…

Thanks for joining me! I can’t wait to share with you some things the Lord has dropped in my heart. This will be a daily blog (Monday through Friday) that you can visit to find inspiration and motivation in your continued pursuit of Jesus! We live in a real world, facing real issues and often time are not equipped spiritually to deal with it. (Maybe that’s just me?)

I believe we are not called to live in our world, ducking, dodging and barely getting by. We are called to approach our world head on with boldness and authority. That is why I am starting this blog, I want to see the church rise up out of obscurity and operate in the same authority of Jesus that amazed the people in Mark 1:21-28.

I am writing because I feel the Lord telling me to write and we should always do what the Lord tells us right? I feel there are two reasons for me to step out and begin writing this blog. First, this is beneficial for me! It gives me a daily outlet to share some spiritual truths that don’t quite fit into my weekly lessons for the teenagers of Christian Life Assembly of God. It also is something I can focus on to keep me from my own distractions and vices. Did you know there are an INCREDIBLE amount of distractions in the world?

The second reason I am writing is to encourage you in your walk with God. That’s always been my heart, to see people seeking God with a greater sense of purpose! The time in which we live is crucial and the hour never more critical. We must be a generation that seeks the Lord and believes for His power to be displayed.

Recently I was reading Habkkuk 3:2 and it said, I have heard all about you, LordI am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by.(NLT)

We are living in an age where we NEED to see a powerful move of God! Throughout history He has always shown up to defend His people. He hasn’t just shown up, He’s shown up BIG! He’s done BIG MIRACLES and shown the whole world that He is God! I believe He is ready and poised to do it again. He’s just waiting on us. He is waiting on us to be that generation to passionately pray and pursue Him with everything we’ve got! Let us be a people who depart sin at every turn and truly seek the presence and power of God!

I hope you will join me on this journey. (You can subscribe, my clicking the About/Subscribe button at the top of the page.)I’ll make you a deal. I’ll try not to be TOO long winded, if you’ll try to apply these principles to your life and passionately pursue Jesus!

I’ll leave you with this scripture:

Psalm 24:3-6 (NKJV)
Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?

Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face.