Whats Your Watts


wattReposted fromRadical Mentoring

Walk into a dark room and flip the light switch. Darkness disappears, replaced by light. In fact, darkness isn’t really a ‘thing’ in and of itself.  Just something that happens when there’s no light.

Genesis 1:4 recounts the creation of light . . . “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” Sometimes, we think of someone as bright. Every now and then, we’ll run into a Jesus-follower whose spirit shines. In church world, we want people to plug in. I guess it’s easy to compare spirituality to electricity because both are invisible and somewhat hard to understand.

The reality is that some people seem to be ‘15-watt’ people, others are ‘60-watt,’ while a few seem to glow naturally like ‘100-watt’ bulbs. If that happens to be you, you’re going to inevitably attract people (and maybe a few moths!). But what if you’re a ‘15-watt’ person? Or ‘30-watt’? Maybe you’re diligent about your faith walk but kind of private and quiet. Should you aspire to more light? And for what purpose?

I see three reasons we should aspire to have higher ‘wattage’ . . .

  1. Our personal peace deepens– When the Holy Spirit shines brightly within us, we’re more confident. When we trust God with outcomes, we deal better with our circumstances and we’re affirmed that Jesus is real and He’s right here with us and for us.
  2. Our influence grows – When we go public with our faith in Christ, others watch our lives in a special way. The cynics are waiting for us to fail so their lack of faith can be confirmed. The doubters will pay attention because our lives will enter into their decision to follow Jesus or not. And true believers will want to celebrate our faithfulness; they’re encouraged by our ‘bright light.’
  3. Our sin becomes more apparent – It is so easy to be dumbed down by the world, the flesh and the devil. “Hey, I know I’m not the best Christian in the world, but I’m not the worst either.” When our wattage is higher, we’re more sensitive to the sin that tempts us . . . our conscience quickens, and we’re more apt to turn away from bad stuff and ask forgiveness, both from God and from each other.

So how can we increase our wattage?

Through prayer. For over two years, I’ve told people about the strength and confidence I felt going in for my lung transplant. It was supernatural! I truly believe James 5:16 which says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective,” whether that prayer comes from you, a few or a multitude. I’m convinced the more people who pray and the more fervent the prayer, the higher the wattage of the person prayed for.

Let’s pray for each other in 2018, but don’t forget to pray for yourself. Ask God to raise your wattage for your good, the good of those around you, and for His glory.

Scripture: Once again, Jesus spoke to the people and said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

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WWJD Revisited


wwjd

Reposted from Radical Mentoring

Back in the ‘90’s, “What would Jesus do?” was all the rage. The phrase came from the subtitle of Charles Sheldon’s 1896 book In His Steps, a novel that sold over 30 million copies. WWJD caught on with young people and thousands of bracelets and bumper stickers were sold. In 2010, a movie called What Would Jesus Do? told the story of a drifter whose needs were ignored until someone thought, “What would Jesus do?” and took action. Serving caught on, the church woke up and lives were changed.

Although I never wore a bracelet, I loved the WWJD movement. But as my kids got older and sometimes acted out, I realized there weren’t many specifics about what Jesus would do in those situations since he didn’t have kids. Same for marriage or dealing with aging parents. In many ways, asking “What would Jesus do?” required imagination and was open to interpretation. For instance, my sister and I would have come to opposite conclusions as to what Jesus would do if confronted by a teenager with an unwanted pregnancy.

So, I came up with an alternative . . . “What would Jesus have me do?” That question got a little more in my face. Instead of hypothesizing about a young Jewish man living in a different millennium in a culture I don’t understand, this question led me to make it more personal. But when I stopped and thought about it, this question didn’t make sense either. Who is the question being asked of? Am I asking God? Jesus is God, so it’s like saying “George, what would George have me do?” That seemed a little crazy.

Then a few years ago, I learned to ask God directly “Lord, what would you have me know about this situation?” Amazingly, He’s often ready to answer. What He shows me is about the heart, either mine or the person I’m asking about. He leads me to patience, kindness, understanding, compassion and self-control. Sometimes I need more, so I’ll ask, “Lord, what would you have me do with what you’ve shown me?” Often that little prayer gets answered with an unction . . . a leading . . . a next step. Every time I obey, my faith gets stronger and often, it brings a ‘God-sized’ blessing.

The problem is seeing the people around us, stopping to bring God into the situation, listening to His voice, and then obeying without question. God will never direct you to do something that’s inconsistent with His Word and usually obeying requires faith . . . doing the right thing and trusting Him for the outcome. As we mature in our faith, we’re able to distinguish His voice from our own self-talk. The more we push ourselves to trust and obey, the louder and clearer His voice becomes.

I believe this is what ‘abiding in Christ’ is all about. I believe this is what ‘walking with God’ is. I believe this is what ‘following Jesus’ is all about. I believe it’s way better than “What would Jesus do?”

Scripture: My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)

From A Mustard Seed


mustard-seed

Reposted from The River Walk

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (Matthew 17:20)

I remember going to a conference when I was a student at Central Bible College. Tommy Barnett was doing a leadership seminar and Nixa Assembly was sending its ministry team to go and hear him. Pastor Barnett was speaking on faith, I don’t remember the specifics, but at the end everyone was to write their dream on a little piece of paper, go up and leave it at the altar, and pick up this mustard seed in exchange.

Up to that point I’d never seen a mustard seed before. I knew conceptually that they were small. I’d been told so in countless Sunday School classes. This little seed was tiny. I’d say it was less than half the size of the little bullets you would use for a BB gun. On the flip side I knew that mustard trees were a pretty good size. I saw them on those Sunday School flannel graphs. I just didn’t realize how big they really can grow. From a seed that is less than two millimeters in diameter can grow a plant up to twenty-five feet high and nearly twice as wide,

There are different gifts given to different people in the church. Some people have faith. I can look at them, listen to them, and I am amazed. I’m more of a “trust, but verify” type of guy. You might say my faith is as small as a mustard seed. Good thing that is enough. I remember there used to be a magazine called Mountain Movers. It was chuck full of miracle stories of missionaries in other parts of the world. Each of those stories seemed to have two things in common, the missionary needed, God provided. There would come a point when a missionary realized they couldn’t possibly do what needed done, and then God would step in. Sometimes it was protection, sometimes provision, sometimes healing, always God would move.

I don’t need a lot of faith to see God do the miraculous in my life. All I need is to attempt the impossible. If I am always doing what is easy, if I am always living in the safe and the comfortable, I will never see a miracle. There won’t be any need. It is only when I step out that I will see Him step in. If I want to see Him move in big ways, I need to take my tiny faith and attempt big things with it. It will grow, but only when plante

Hope for Hurting Parents When Kids Rebel


Reposted from Pastors.com

As a pastor, more than other people, I see the hurt and the heartbreak that happens in a family when a child rebel-400x267makes rebellious and destructive decisions. And thankfully, there’s a story in the Bible that offers us a lot of insight.

What has often been called “the story of the prodigal son” is really a picture of how God shows his holiness, his goodness, and his kindness to his children – both of his sons were rebellious in their own ways. Some of the insights we learn about parenting from this story might surprise you.

The story, found in Luke 15:11-32, unfolds in three stages.

Stage 1: Rebellion.

Beginning in verse 11, “Jesus said, `There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.’”

Stage one is rebellion. In every parent-child relationship, there’s going to be a struggle. It’s a struggle for control, a power struggle.

At birth, as a parent, you are 100 percent in control. But as your child grows, the power gets transferred. Your control is not permanent. Kids want control sooner than we want to give it. They think they deserve it sooner than we’re ready to give it out. Kids have a sin nature. If you don’t believe that “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” you’ve never been a parent.

So what do you do when a child is legally independent and you can’t control them anymore?

  1. Let them go.
  2. Let them make their own mistakes.
  3. Let them experience the consequences of their own choices.

There is a price tag for rebellion. Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (NIV).

How do you as a parent feel when your child rebels? Guilty? Embarrassed? We tend to practice a lot of self-condemnation when our children rebel, but you are not the only influence in your child’s life. Your child has choices that he makes. She has friends that she chooses. He has teachers that you don’t control. She has books and movies that she sees. He has all kinds of influences and choices.

Stage 2: Regret.

Back to our story. Verse 17 says, “When he came to his senses…” You might be praying for that sentence in your child’s life. When is my kid going to wake up? When is he going to come to his senses? When is he going to see that he’s ruining his life? You’re praying for that.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and I will say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.””

Notice the change in attitude. He goes through a process of re-evaluation, regret, and repentance.

What do you do during this stage, while you’re waiting for your child to come to repent? Three things.

  1. Pray for your child, non-stop.
  2. Commit your child to God’s hands.
  3. Wait patiently.

Stage 3: Return.

Verse 20 says, “So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

Remember that in this story, this is the ideal father responding. This is God. This is not a typical human being. This is what God would do.

In fact, it is what God does to you in your rebellion. It’s a model for us.

  1. Love them faithfully, stubbornly.
  2. Accept them unconditionally and affectionately. (This doesn’t mean you approve of their actions.)
  3. Forgive them completely.

Verse 22 says, “But the father said to his servants.`Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate!’”

What I like about this father is he didn’t rub it in. He didn’t keep reminding his son, holding it over his head the rest of his life. The father gave him a second chance. He forgave him completely.

This story shows how God deals with our rebellion. That’s the primary purpose of it. We’ve taken matters into our own hands. The Bible says that we’ve all sinned and we’ve all done our own thing. We’ve messed up our lives. But God says, “Come on home!” God gives us another chance.

 

He Left Heaven For You


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Reposted from The Isaiah 53:5 Project

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
– Isaiah 53:5

Jesus Christ left Heaven – for YOU.

He left Heaven and entered a world He knew would hate Him – for YOU.

He endured beatings – for YOU.

He was unimaginably tortured – for YOU.

He suffered – for YOU.

He hung on a cross – for YOU.

He shed his blood – for YOU.

He died – for YOU.

Amazing, isn’t it?

The Ministry of Presence – Be There…


presenceReposted from chrisaomministries

So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.

There is much to be said about Job, and how Satan brought destruction and disease to his life. How his fear opened the door, how in his affliction, he stood, as in the day of his prosperity, alone, and without compare in the earth.

Notice here Jobs comforters. Much has been said, about how wrong they were in their evaluation of the reasons for Job’s distress, but in this passage, they did right. They saw the destruction that had occurred in Job’s life, and they did what very few seemed to have learned these days: they did not speak! They simply sat with him, their presence attempting to bring some solace to a grief torn soul.

Some years ago, I was called to minister to a woman, who’s mother had died, and who had been very traumatized by a series of horrible events in her life. There was so much I wanted to say, as my wife and I would visit her, but Holy Spirit would put a zip on my lip, and I would simply, quietly sit with her.

Even that appeared too much for her, so I would lift her up in fervent prayer, crying out for God to do what no man could do, heal her, give her hope and an future. One day when I was praying, I saw a picture of her, and it seemed that all of her skin had been burnt away. I was reminded of a medical procedure I had heard of for victims of third degree burns, where the victim was immersed in some sort of fluid, while the skin grew back. That any touch to the person before that, caused them excruciating pain.

In the picture the Lord showed me that as I prayed, this woman was being immersed in the Holy Spirit, and His comfort was the healing she needed.
I did not see her for a couple of years, but when I did, I was amazed! She had married, and was the very joyful mother of two beautiful children! Truly God had turned her mourning into joy!

Sometimes, all we can do after tragedy, is simply be there, then quietly pray for the afflicted, from a distance. God’s love and healing, go deeper than anyone’s deepest pain. Jesus is Lord!

I read an article about Job’s wife that was thought provoking, extolling the virtues of Job’s wife.

The Scripture is unclear what happened to Job’s wife at the end of the story, but this author quoted believes she lived through Job’s trial (personally, I am not so sure). Here’s what they said:

“While we weep with Job, we miss the faithful, steady presence of his wife. She put aside her own grief to stay care for her husband. Imagine the exhausting drain, caring for a suffering soul like Job. Imagine the loud howls of agony, hour after hour, day after day. Imagine the one you love walking the thin line of sanity, suffering excruciating, debilitating pain.

Job’s wife continued this mission of mercy without the resources of a helpful support network, without any financial resources, without relief. Their children were gone, their friends and family scattered, her God seemingly absent.”

In any case, there is a love and comfort from Holy Spirit available in our deepest trial, a peace that passes all understanding, a love that endures, faithfully to the end, stronger than death…

Achieve Victory Through Surrender


Reposted from Miracles Each Day

Traditional Christian inspirational writing has long emphasized surrendering to God. A search of the Bible doesn’t find very much emphasis, though surrendering works for many people most of the time. When we surrender to God, we let Him know that we can’t make it on our own. Our lives start to feel better, internally, and we get more done. We are in league with His methods of working, and He calms our anxieties enough for us to proceed easily and peacefully.

This surrender is what is needed now as we head into a new era. When we re-surrender each day, we find out how really potent this practice is. And when we re-surrender over a long time, we find ourselves in the midst of creating the new, the practice that Jesus is encouraging in this passage for today.

Surrendering works. When we are fretting about the future, just know that God knows that we are not limitless, that we have boundaries of indecision that impinge on our lives. These boundaries will hinder us in anything that we do, if we don’t surrender anew, and often.

When we surrender, we feel that we have a helping hand from the Almighty. Our Self is not above needing help, just because it is said to be a part of God Himself. Beings on the Other Side stand ready to help us also. We are never alone. Jesus himself stands ready to help. The way clears, the future is brighter, and we walk a smooth pathway. Life improves with surrender, daily and without fail.