Wednesday, September 27, 2023

What Are We Waiting For?

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“What Are We Waiting For?”

Matthew 9:37-38 NLT

He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”


The past couple of weeks, a song stood out to me on the radio.  For King & Country “What Are We Waiting For” got my attention and I watched the video on YouTube and listened to the lyrics fully.  Wow, I was totally blown away and it was so inspiring!  If you get a chance, please go watch the lyric video and just take in the song and what it means.  It’s so powerful!


The 2 lines that stood out to me the most were:

Why are we wasting all the time like someone’s making more?

What if we could be the light that no one could ignore?

After listening to this song, and especially these 2 lines in the chorus, it makes me think of all the different times in our lives when we consider things to be urgent.  Things at home call for urgency.  Things at work come up and become urgent.  People reach out to contact us for an urgent matter we need to figure out.  The list could go on and on.  There seems to be a sense of urgency about so much in our lives each and every day in some way.


There’s nothing at all wrong with having a sense of urgency to take care of things with work, family and friends, but I cannot help but wonder why we don’t have the same sense of urgency when it comes to spreading God’s Word to people Who don’t know Him and need to hear His Word?  Why does it seem so often like everything else is urgent, but our mission to share God’s love with others doesn’t seem as urgent? 


We seem to waste a lot of time on things in life that we often think are more important.  We waste time on a lot if we really think about it.  I have been thinking about this song a lot and the call that God has given to us to make the most of the time we have each and every day.  We need to be much more urgent in our walk with God as He has called us to share His love with others.


We definitely need to be the light that no one can ignore.  We often tend to put off a lot of things we need to do, including reaching out to people who need to know His love.  We also fail to be urgent in reaching out to people to make amends with them if we’ve wronged them or tell them they’ve hurt us.  We leave so many different things unattended and God wants those things dealt with and not left alone.  What are we waiting for? 


We need to live life with more of an urgency in sharing God’s love.  His mission is clear for us to love others.  What are we waiting for?

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

The Rear-View Pitfall

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“The Rear-View Pitfall”

Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.


I want you all to imagine a ridiculous scenario.  Imagine not only yourself, but everyone else as well driving down the road with eyes focused on the rear-view mirror.  How in the world would anyone ever see where they are going?  It seems like a very insane thing to do, right?  People would be smashing into each other constantly and it would be mass chaos.  Sometimes traffic is still mass chaos, right??  Haha!


None of us would even consider keeping our eyes glued(figuratively speaking, of course!) to the mirror while driving.  If we are always looking back behind us, we never will see what’s coming as we continue to drive down the road. 


While this illustration obviously would be extremely hazardous to our safety and others around us, this is exactly how so many of us live our lives in our walk with God.  Not only does Isaiah say to forget the past, but the Apostle Paul told us that as well!  We are never to fully focus on what lies in the past.  However, so many of us focus on things in our past and we can’t get past that.  We dwell on it and it seems to come back to haunt us a lot. 


I have a very bad habit of focusing on the past and all the dumb things I’ve done.  The enemy constantly reminds me of what I’ve done and then I think those things define me.  I often find myself thinking everyone else is smarter than me and I always do dumb things.  Satan is really good at getting me to focus on my past and I’ve got to learn to not dwell on those things. 


God reminds me that I am not dumb and that I am His child.  He loves me and wants great things for my life and my future.  What I need to do instead is laugh at myself and move on with life so that I can enjoy the bright future He has planned ahead.


How about you?  Can you relate to any of these things I’m dealing with on a daily basis?  Are you struggling as well to put the past behind and look straight ahead into the wonderful new things God has planned? 


For so many of us, we need to end the rear-view pitfall and focus on all that God has in store for us for our future!

Monday, September 4, 2023

The Simplest, Yet Hardest Command

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“The Simplest, Yet Hardest Command”

John 15:2 NIV

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.


This passage came up the past week as the verse of the day in the Bible app.  Each time I come across this passage, I am reminded of two things. First, it’s one of the most simple commands to understand.  You don’t need a college or seminary degree to understand what it means.  Second, even though it’s a simple command, it must be one of the hardest commands to live out in our lives.


I often find myself wondering why it seems so difficult to love some people.  I want to love others with a genuine love of Christ.  I want them to see Him in me and through me.  However, I’m often finding it hard to love people who are way different than me.  Instead of taking the perspective and attitude that I can love on people and learn so much from them in how they are different, I find myself feeling like I want to stick with small talk and go to talk to others I get along with better.


I know I’m not alone in this feeling.  As I consider this, I’m remembering 2 different quotes I’ve seen in the past from TobyMac.  One is “Love Difficult People.  You’re one of them.” The other quote is “When Jesus said love your neighbor, He knew your neighbor would act, look, believe and love differently than you.  It’s kind of the whole point.”


Those 2 quotes are so very powerful and they should stick in our minds every day when we encounter others who we won’t feel as comfortable talking to.  We are commanded to love others, especially those who are different from us.  I tend to often forget God wants me to learn from others that are different from me.  I often want to shy away from getting into conversations that make me a bit uncomfortable. 


We all need to remember the people Jesus came into contact with on a daily basis.  He got his hands dirty talking to people who were way different and He interacted with them to show the love of God.  God calls us to live this command out and reach out to people in any ways we can to show His love.


Funny thing is, even if we talk to people who are different from us, that doesn’t mean we have to agree with what they say or what they do.  We can respectfully disagree and still show the love of God.  However, I am not good at conversations where I disagree with people.  I’ve just never been good at those discussions.  I need to remember that I can learn from them and they can learn from me.  Showing love and respect is the key. 


Jesus told us to love others.  No one is excluded from that command.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

He Cares About The Details

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“He Cares About The Details”

Matthew 1:17 NIV

Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.


The other day, I was just reading through the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1.  To be quite honest, I’m not all that crazy about reading through the genealogies in Scripture.  I have a hard time following any of them and the details don’t get retained in my mind.  They just don’t hit deep spiritually with me and I tend to read through them quickly so that I can get to other important things in the Bible. 


Details are important in life.  We need details when we do a project at home, at work, for school or somewhere else.  Details are vital in doing anything.  Even though I’m not crazy about those genealogies, God is and I need to remember that God is all about the details of life. 


As I consider all the details of our lives, it reminds me that God always interested and cares very deeply about the details of our lives.  When we go to God in prayer, sometimes we just pray generally.  We may think, “God isn’t all interested in the nitty gritty details of my life.  I don’t want to waste His time going into such deep details.”  If we feel like this at all, we are very wrong.  God deeply cares about every single detail in our lives. 


Whether we think details in our lives are important or not or if we pray specifically for little details that concern us, we should know that God is always interested in hearing the details, no matter how much.  He created us and knows the number of hairs on our heads.  Why in the world would we ever think He is not concerned about the smallest details of our lives?  He wants to hear us pray about little things that we might possibly think aren’t important.  He cares about all of it.  If it’s on our mind, He wants to hear from us on it. 


Again, after reading the genealogy the other day, I honestly thought, “Oh boy, here we go again with all of these details I will not remember.”  Then God immediately reminded me how important all the details of life are to Him.  I felt guilty about rushing through those details to get to the rest of my reading. 


The next time we read through any details that seem to bore us, make us yawn or just seem unimportant at the time, let us never forget that all details in life are important to God.  He cares deeply about EVERYTHING we deal with in life, no matter how insignificant we may think they are.   

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Letting Go & Letting God

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“Letting Go & Letting God”

1 Peter 5:7

NIV- Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

NLT- Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.


No matter how hard I try to submit and surrender myself to God each day, I find myself taking over shortly after and starting to worry about life all day long.  Why do I find it so hard to let go and let God be in total control?  So many days, I find myself worried and having concerns about so many things.  I watch my wife and girls work through various things in their lives and I try to think about how I can be a better husband and father. 


Aside from thinking about them, I often think of all the things I need to take care of and accomplish.  While I’m only given one day at a time, I find myself worrying about things days ahead and even weeks or months. 


When I get to the point where I can fully focus on God and all His provisions and remember that I need to just let go, I finally feel at peace.  I come to a place where I realize I cannot control things and I cannot figure everything out.  Why am I always trying to be in control of so much and figure things out?


Friends, do you find yourselves struggling with these things I struggle with daily?  Are you finding yourselves filled with anxiety and stress and worry almost all day, every day?  So many of us in various ways. 


We must make it a point to go to God and submit and surrender to Him and allow Him lead us and take these burdens from us.  It’s hard to let go and let God be in control because so often we feel we need to be in control.  Cast all your anxiety on Him.  Give all your worries to Him.  I like both translations here and they are great at giving a different perspective on this passage. 


Letting go and letting God is hard to do!  It is not an easy task because we so often want to take care of things in our own way.  We get overwhelmed and stressed and wonder why things aren’t better.  God wants us to give these worries and concerns to Him as He promises to lead us and give us peace.  He cares for us and wants the best for our lives.


We need to practice so much more of letting go and letting God!

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

More Alert Than Ever

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“More Alert Than Ever”

1 Peter 5:8 NIV

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.


I have 1 older daughter who has been driving for over 1 year now.  I have a younger daughter who is taking driver’s education and will start driving the end of September.  As I think about this, I am not only concerned about how they will both do on the roads, I am so much more concerned about how others will be around them while on the road. 


We tell our daughters often enough about how alert you must be on the road, especially these days with all the distractions that are happening and how careless so many are while behind the wheel.  None of us are perfect and we’ve all made dumb mistakes while driving.  However, I think about people who are deliberately just not paying attention and with my youngest daughter about to get out on the road, it just scares me.  I want them to be alert more than ever.


This is just one example of how we need to be on the alert.  I also think of many other ways we need to be on the alert and very aware of unexpected happenings.  We have people who are doing everything they can to scam others.  You have some sales people who will try whatever they can to get a deal and rip you off.  There are a lot of good sales people out there, but there are some very sly ones as well. 


I could go on and on about the different ways we must be alert to protect ourselves from those who try to take advantage of us.  As much as we need to protect ourselves against these people, we also need to realize we have an enemy that prowls around just waiting to distract us and trick us every turn we make. 


We absolutely must be on our guard each and every day.  We don’t need to be paranoid and freaking out by any means, but we do need to be on the alert and aware so that we can be ready when these attacks happen.  We need to stay strong in the faith and be ready when the enemy tries to trick us.  He is so very good at it indeed!  However, we have an amazing and powerful God Who cannot be defeated and will help us at every turn. 


Let us be on the alert every day, in His Word and ready for whatever may come our way. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Fully Focused

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“Fully Focused”

Acts 20:24 NLT

But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.


Isn’t it crazy and amazing how unfocused we can become at times in our lives?  Many of us probably have consistent days of having tons of things on our minds.  We try to cram as many things as we possibly can into one day.  We need to get productive and do as much as possible.  Sometimes I talk with others who say, “Too much to do and not enough hours in the day to do them”.  While this is funny at first, it’s really actually sad.  We get way too much on our plates and then we end up not fully focusing on really anything. 


As I think about this passage in Acts, it’s amazing how focused Paul was on the task he had at hand.  He accomplished many things in life, but nothing became more important to him than being fully focused on Christ and finishing the work for the Kingdom.  That is ALL he was focused on.  He came to realize that no accomplishment is better or greater than serving the Kingdom and doing the work of God.  He considered everything else in life nothing unless it was serving Christ.


I often wonder how many things I put importance on in my daily life that really doesn’t mean much.  Maybe we all need to take a step back and consider what all we do each day and what meaning it really has.  What means the most to us?  Work?  Family? Hobbies?  What means the absolute most to you?  Hopefully it is a relationship and life served in Christ.  Paul was fully focused and we need to be as well.


Instead of us trying to focus on a million things each day, perhaps we should realize there is only 1 focus we need each day.  Our focus should be solely on Christ alone.  I want to be fully focused, but I just have so many things on my mind each day.  Now, don’t get me wrong, we need to take care of responsibilities each day for sure.  However, we tend to get focused on way too many things and end up running ourselves down.  We need to be fully focused as Paul was and strive to serve Christ each day.  In doing this, our priorities will align and we will take care of things that are truly important.


Let’s be fully focused as Paul was and strive to finish the work God has called us to do.