Stand Out


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God did not call us to blend in, but to stand out. Let your light shine. – Craig Groeschel
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God Told Me


 

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Reposted from Radical Mentoring

There’s a little twinge in my spirit when I hear the words “God told me” come out of someone’s mouth (including my own).

Did He? Does He? How do you know it was God?

What’s our motive for qualifying what we’re about to say with “God told me.” Are we trying to sound ‘super-spiritual’? Do we think the truth we’re about to share has to have the heavy-duty punch of “God said” to be worth the attention?

I try not to get into theology on this blog because there are usually as many opinions as readers. Nobody has concrete answers to theological questions. I subscribe to this quote (often misattributed to St. Augustine) . . .

“In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.”

As Jesus-followers, we have a responsibility to represent Jesus and His Kingdom well. We’re told in Corinthians to be “ambassadors for Christ.” To me, that means when people see us, they see people living as Jesus lived. Loving. Serving. “Gentle and humble in heart.”

The humble in heart part is what I’m talking about here. It’s hard to appear humble in heart while we’re saying “God told me,” or “God wants me to,” or the even more dangerous, “God wants you to . . .”

Personally, I do believe God speaks to us individually. It’s almost always about matters of the heart, and it’s always for our good. But His words for us are just that . . . they’re for us. When we start adding “God told me” to things we’re saying, there are often unintended consequences . . .

  • Listeners get distracted from what’s being said by the “God told me” part. If what you’re saying is truth from God, won’t the Holy Spirit reveal that without us having to punctuate it with “God told me”?
  • Unbelievers can be intimidated and feel even more like outsiders . . . pushed further away from meaningful faith.
  • New or less mature believers lose heart, feeling there’s something wrong with them because God’s not speaking to them.
  • The believer doing the talking accidentally glorifies himself instead of Jesus.
  • The person talking could get it wrong, repeating things they imagined but God wasn’t in.

Let’s be thoughtful, careful and prayerful with our words, especially when we invoke the name of the God, who is so holy that the Jews didn’t even speak His name for 300 years.

Let’s be careful to avoid sin . . . including the sin of self-righteousness.

Scripture: You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. (Exodus 20:7)

Our Work Can Be Worship


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Many people dread their work. If you’re one of them, try changing your attitude toward your work! God’s eyes fall on the work of our hands. One stay-at-home-mom keeps this sign over her sink: “Divine tasks performed here, daily.” Indeed, work can be worship.

Peter wrote, “You are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God.” (1 Peter 2:9). So, let every detail in your life—your words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus. (Colossians 3:17). You don’t drive to an office, you drive to a sanctuary. You don’t attend a school, you attend a temple. You may not wear a clerical collar, but you could, because your work is God’s pulpit!

Reposted from Max Lucado

Worship


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Reposted from Max Lucado

Worship adjusts us. It lowers the chin of the haughty and straightens the back of the burdened.  It bows the knees, singing to him our praise.  Opening our hearts, it offers to him our uniqueness. Worship properly positions the worshiper.  And oh how we need it!

We walk through life so bent out of shape.  Cure any flare up of commonness by setting your eyes on our uncommon King.  Worship lifts our eyes and sets them “on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power” (Colossians 3:1).

We worship God because we need to.  But our need runs a distant second to the thoroughbred reason for worship: God deserves it.  God would die for your sin before he’d let you die in your sin. What do you do with such a Savior?  You lift up your gift in worship.

R U Saved


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Reposted from The Isaiah 53:5 Project

Something non-believers tell me all the time is that they were once, some even very devout, Christians who, often with a significant amount of heartache and personal turmoil, walked away from the faith and will never go back.

I hate to argue with people over this or even tell them they might be wrong because, truth is, no one but them and God will actually ever know for sure.

But, then again, I hate to sugarcoat biblical truths too so…

I was studying Revelation 3:16 in Matthews Henry’s Concise Commentary this morning and this line jumped out at me.

“There are many in Hell, who once thought themselves far in the way to Heaven. Let us beg of God that we may not be left to flatter and deceive ourselves.”

Not only do I agree with that completely, I think its central meaning can be rightly applied to another verse I have also been studying lately, 1 John 2:19.

“They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”

If there are people who proclaim to be actual confessing Christians that will find themselves in Hell, certainly there are deconverts who were never truly saved despite how adamantly they may declare they were.

Causes of the indifference and inconsistency in religion Revelation 3:16 speaks of, the commentary explains are, self-conceit and self-delusion. If one thinks about these key terms, along with “flatter and deceive” in the above quote, they explain quite a bit.

 

Why The Bible Matters


bibleReposted from Radical Mentoring

Why do so few people read the Bible?

I’m not talking about a random verse pulled out to make a point, I’m talking about the book itself . . . the entity . . . this thing that’s integral to our faith. It’s one of the most important topics!

God’s Word is eternal . . . it’ll last beyond the internet, the Super Bowl, the iPhone, the Final Four . . . everything. In heaven, we’ll recognize the words, the wisdom, and the authors, and we’ll never tire of learning what it all means.

So why bother now? Why not wait until heaven when we’ll have all the time in the world? (. . . or out of the world?) Besides, is this stuff really important? Is it really true? Why do we struggle to ‘get into it’?

There’s the fact that God’s Word has been around . . . unchanged for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and almost half the world’s population believe its essence. A friend of mine was ready to commit his life to the nine ‘insights’ spelled out in The Celestine Prophecy. I asked, “Wow, what if the author changes his mind, or discovers some new truth?” Shortly after, he published The Tenth Insight. My friend later became a Jesus-follower.

Isn’t it smarter to build your life on a time-tested plan?  The New Testament approach to life is wise, effective, stable, practical, and true.

“But isn’t the Bible just a compendium of stories and folklore, pieced together by church people with a motive?”

Sounds convincing, until you try to explain how the Dead Sea Scrolls perfectly matched earlier manuscripts and were untouched by church people from their recording until their discovery in the 1950’s. The Bible is true. You can depend on it.

“But is it relevant?” You bet it is! Here’s just one example . . .

You get a new job or have your first child or move to a new church. You’re scared out of your skin! But when you read 2 Timothy 1:7, God reminds you “the spirit of fear is not of God, but God is love, power and a sound mind.” Suddenly, you realize “Hey, I can do this! God loves me! This fear I’m feeling isn’t coming from Him . . . I have His power within me . . . I can discipline myself . . . I have a sound mind . . . let’s get on with it!” You’re no longer afraid.

And one more point . . . the Bible is supernatural! I’m not kidding.

Remember Hebrews 4:12? For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Paraphrase: God will use His Word to help you sort out your thoughts and attitudes regarding what you want (i.e., your “heart”).

I take that to mean when I read the Bible and ask, “God, what are you teaching me here?” or “Lord, what would you have me do?” He’ll often give me wisdom I’m not smart enough to discover on my own.

And then I try to obey. I also write it down in my journal, because I don’t want to forget. I’ve unearthed much of what’s written in my blog posts this way.

So . . . read your Bible. And chat with the Author as you read. Pray. Ask questions. Listen to His answers and instructions.