Sunday, August 26, 2012
The most common manner God speaks to us is through scripture itself which is God’s divine word. The more we read the Bible with a seeking heart, the more God reveals to us. Proverbs 1:5 says "let the wise listen and add to their learning". If you’ve spent much time reading God’s Word you’ve no doubt read the same passage of scripture multiple times and suddenly had a revelation about what it really meant and how it applies in your life. That's God's voice coming through the written Word. READ YOUR BIBLE. God is speaking to you loud and clear!
God speaks to us through our individual circumstances. He gives each of us gifts that He wants us to use to build His Kingdom. The gifts of preaching, teaching, raising money, praying, caring for the sick, ministering to the afflicted, building relationships, etc. are God’s way of telling you what He would have you do. In 1 Peter 4:10 God tells us He gives us these gifts to serve others with. USE YOUR GIFTS. God is speaking to you loud and clear!
God speaks to us through other people and the wise counsel they provide. For example, the Pastor who always seems to be talking to you from the pulpit, the Godly friend who encourages you when you are facing life’s challenges or the spouse who lovingly reminds you of your obligations to your marriage and children. You know that little voice or tug at your heart when you feel it. LISTEN TO WISE COUNSEL. God is speaking to you loud and clear!
While these are not the only ways in which God speaks to us they are certainly THREE WAYS THAT GOD MAY BE SPEAKING TO YOU.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Any successful leader will tell you that it is impossible to build a high performing business or organization without a plan that involves setting goals and establishing priorities to achieve the goals. You have to possess a clear understanding of the goals you need to achieve to be successful and you must prioritize the time and resources you use in working to accomplish your goals. It's LEADERSHIP 101.
I'd suggest to you that those same two keys, goals and priorities, are essential to enhancing your walk with God. And here is why I believe that. If we are not intentional in developing our relationship with God we are simply working Him in when we can or just letting our relationship with Him happen. And that is not what we should want and it is clearly not what God describes that he wants in Jeremiah 24:7 where he says of His beloved children "I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart."
Here are three simple steps that effective business leaders use to form a plan that you can use to "tighten up" your walk with God:
- Identify the key goals you need to achieve as part of your plan to improve your relationship with God. Common goals might include daily prayer, daily bible reading, ministry work, church volunteer work, etc. Actually I think these common goals I've mentioned are likely at the top of the list of things you need to do to get closer to God.
- Prioritize the key goals you need to accomplish as part of your plan. Listen, none of us have unlimited time on our hands. There are just so many hours in a given day - 24 right? So establish which goals you think are most important to help you deepen your walk with God and put those at the top of your list of daily activities. Make sure you devote the biggest portion of your available time to the highest priority goals.
- Execute your plan. As they say in the Nike commercials "Just Do It". You've established what you need to do and what is most important to do - so simply do what you know you need to do.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
As I watched Dr. Charles Stanley teach on the topic of God's Precious Promises this morning (http://www.intouch.org/you/sermon-outlines/content?topic=god_s_precious_promises_sermon_outline) I noticed how different his approach was compared to many popular mainstream pastors and teachers. While the message was certainly positive, it was not the typical "just believe and you'll receive" message that is so popular and sought after today.
First, he made clear that the promises were made only to Believers in Romans 5:6-11. Then he went on to explain where the promises were made in 2 Peter 1:3-4 which reads "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us very great and precious promises...". He then proceeded to describe all the richness of the things God has promised us, to wit: daily cleansing (1 John 1:9), answered prayers (1 John 5:14-15), peace (Phil 4:6-7) and healing (Psalms 103:1-3) to name just a few. But with those promises come some conditions: "...you must believe and not doubt..." (James 1:6), "...no good thing will He withheld from them that walk uprightly" (Psalm 84:11).
Just to be clear we aren't guaranteed the benefits without the commitments. There are too many teachers who would leave their students believing they can receive what they ask for pretty much on their own terms. That is, they can live to a standard that they find acceptable and simply because they ask in the name Jesus Christ it will be answered. That's not what an all powerful and benevolent God is required to accept.
You cannot lose the promises as clearly stated in John 10:27-30 "And I will give them (my sheep, my children) eternal life; and they shall never perish,...". But our sin can separate us from the promises as stated in Psalm 84:11 if we are not earnest and diligent in our obedience. Obedience to God's commandments (which are always good for us anyway) in return for the possibility of unlimited blessings that only the Creator of all things could promise - A SMALL PRICE TO PAY FOR SUCH RICHES.
Friday, August 10, 2012
It's incredible that hundreds of years before the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ the Prophet Isaiah was writing in such detail about the coming Messiah and the way in which He would be received. Isaiah Chapters 35, 40, 52 and 53 among others spoke clearly of the things to come. Yet the Jewish leaders who stood in the presence of the promised Messiah and knew the scriptures from memory were so wrapped up in the religion they had themselves created that they denied His very existence. They were misled and blinded by their own religious prescriptions and teachings.
And that is what happens when man begins to speak for scripture instead of letting the scripture speak for itself. The things that man does not understand in scripture he tends to explain to his convenience. The things that man does not care for in scripture he tends to change to his favor. Man's religion becomes one of accomodation for man's sinful nature. That in effect "changes" what God has written. In Revelation 22:19 it is said "And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book." In my estimation that's about as stern and plain a warning on the penalties for altering God's word as we could read. It clearly states "GOD DOESN'T WANT ANY CO-AUTHORS".
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
While reading John MacArthur's "The Vanishing Conscience" I was struck by his discussion of how society seems bent on encouraging us to blame our wrong doing on someone else or teaching us to ignore feelings of guilt as a means to feel better about ourselves.
Now making yourself feel better when you are feeling bad about something you've done wrong sounds like a good idea until you consider that those feelings of guilt we are trying to "get rid of" or "ignore" are the gift of conscience that God has blessed all human kind with. That conscience is the regulator of our actions. Without feelings of remorse for our wrong doing we easily violate God's laws and those of the land. In a world where there is no conscience there is only anarchy and lawlessness.
Feelings of guilt over the commission of sinful acts is a normal reaction. It is acknowledgement of sin and the inherent sense that repentance is required for forgiveness. No amount of blame shifting or attempts to ignore sin will make the feeling go away. The guilt is only replaced with depression, aggression, or other harmful conditions.
The only true freedom from guilt lies in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:8-9 says "If we say that we have no sin we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Basically, if we admit what we know we've done wrong and ask for forgiveness it will be forgiven. Our conscience is cleansed. We have not forgotten what we have done but we know we have been forgiven. A CLEANSED CONSCIENCE IS THE KEY TO CLEANER LIVING.