building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Greatness of God”

Pressing In

Several years ago, I realized I needed to make a move before I was in the age of unemployable; but I didn’t make the move. Like the times before when I have made a move, I stayed in the job until I became dissatisfied and restless. When the restlessness settled in, I jumped into something new. I didn’t know how I was going to make it on my own, but I felt that God was with me in it. And He was, just not the way I envisioned it.

It’s been seven years ago this month since I made the move to try this new thing. The new thing is no longer new or deemed feasible for my long-term progress. So here I am in this age of unemployable where I didn’t want to be. Is God doing something in this season? Yes, but it’s going to be different from what I envision – it’s just His way.

Over the last few weeks, I have been pressing more into God. I am learning how to pray more effectively or at least pressing into the desperation more and praying for God to move. At times, the lack of faith is evident with a certain downcast spirit. A feeling of defeat settles on me, which is not from God.

The feeling of defeat is none other than the enemy trying to devouring me. The enemy looks for those types of opportunities when the faith is weak and the opportunity to trust God is great. It’s the perfect set up for God, but also the perfect set up for the enemy to cast us into worry.

Speaking of worry, Dr. Tony Evans had a message on how to reverse anxiety. He said that worry is a sin. Worry means we are “torn into” – it shows we are torn between two masters and we cannot serve both. Worry actually shows our lack of faith in our great God. The passage in Matthew 6:25-34 gives us Jesus’ take on worry. The “worry” teaching comes right after the “money” teaching. Jesus told His disciples that life is more than food and clothes. He said to look at nature and see that nature doesn’t worry about the things we wring our hands over. The birds always get the worms. They always find twigs for nests. The lilies of the field receive sunshine and rain. God gives them exactly what they need to survive.

Why do we worry? God knows what we need. If He provides in nature, why don’t we think He will provide for us, who He loves more than the birds and the flowers? Jesus said to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.

Dr. Evans said that trouble in our lives is our opportunity for God to show up. This is the season to press harder into God’s loving embrace. Dr. Evans said that God doesn’t give us tomorrow’s mercy today. There are new mercies every day. God is faithful in today. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. So for today, this is the day to remember God’s faithfulness. He has been faithful in the past, so why would He change today? He doesn’t. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is never late. Nothing is a surprise either. I may have not seen this season coming, but He did.

I usually do not worry. I usually have more faith. Sometimes though, worry creeps in until I can get a hold of God’s promises. Once I get with God, He will reassure me and I find peace once again. This season will be a defining season for me – it will be a faith building exercise. It’s not the end of my story. God’s pen is still poised to write a greater testimony for me. I can’t wait to see how He will show up and show off. I can’t wait to sit down and write what He is doing. Right now, I am praising Him for the opportunity and for the provision for today. I am rejoicing that God is still on His throne and He still has His eyes on me.

Dr. Evans stated: God is in His rightful place; He is not reacting to us, but we need to react to Him. If God is moving, then we need to move with Him. We need to see the opportunities as they come. It means we keep our faith in Him but also do our part. God has me in the right place to learn a new lesson and I will write the testimony of God’s greatness. However, I wouldn’t mind if the prayer warriors reading this would help me pray about these matters.

In Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle 40 day prayer challenge he wrote that we need to share our testimonies of how God moves in our lives during our rough spots. We need to share it because others need to hear it. Mark wrote that if God did it for them, He might just do it for me. So testimonies are fuel for our faith. Let’s spark some fire in our souls; watch God work through us and give Him a shout of praise! Amen!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7


What’s in a Name?

How many times do we say “great” or “awesome” in any given day? “Awesome” used to roll off my tongue all the time, until I heard a comment from James MacDonald about it. A few years ago, he said that he would not use the word “awesome” unless he was talking about God or something related to Him. This past weekend, Pastor James spoke of the overuse of “great” as well. Both words used to denote a standard higher than average. They were used to describe something of significance, not average. But with overuse, the terms no longer hold much significance.

From the very beginning, Great and Awesome described our God. Back in the day (ancient days to as little as fifty years ago), God was feared. There was reverence in how we addressed Him. We understood the splendor and grandeur of our Great God. No one with a moral sense would ever take the Lord’s name in vain. Today, Jesus Christ has become a curse instead of a cry of adoration. We use the Lord’s name as a term of surprise (Oh my God! – now shortened to OMG!); or a term of exasperation (Oh Lord!). One day, every knee will bow at the name of Jesus – Lord of lords and King of kings. Do we get the significance of the greatness of His name?

This past Sunday, my pastor used the illustration of three chairs to show levels of commitment in following Jesus. One chair was still in the box. It represents one who does not have knowledge of Jesus, or has a rebellious heart toward Jesus. They are ones far from God. They are lost and have no hope.

The next chair is out of the box but not fully assembled. This chair represents those who know about Jesus, but they are not fully committed. These are the ones who are comfortable and have just enough of Jesus. They have one foot in church and one in the world. My pastor called them complacent and compromised. Revelation 3:16 calls them the “lukewarm” Christians – neither hot nor cold. Jesus was pretty harsh in His assessment of them and said He would “spit them out of His mouth” (or “vomit” as some have translated). Not a pretty picture of that type of relationship (“relationship” is loosely applied here).

The last chair is a fully assembled chair. It’s ready for use. You could trust this chair to hold your weight if you chose to sit in it. This represents the one fully committed – all in, as my pastor says – to a life devoted to following Jesus, no matter the cost. Their hearts are fully surrendered in all ways to follow Him.

Anne Graham Lotz said recently that the level of our commitment depends on our convictions. In this day and time, we suffer from a lack of conviction about who Jesus is and the message we are supposed to share. We have a “watered down” version of the Gospel message. There is no power behind the message. We have lost the “greatness” and the “awesomeness” of God.

God gave us ample evidence of His glory and majesty in His fingerprint of creation. I get a sense of wonder when I contemplate nature. Think about the earth. He holds it in the orbit that sustains life. It is tilted at just the right angle; it is placed at the right distance from the sun; it holds everything that we need in order to live and breathe. And He spoke it into existence!

What about our own body? Think about how the body works, without our conscious thought. The heart beats; the lungs expand to breath in the air we need; the digestion works (most of the time) to give us the nutrients to sustain us. And our feet are placed solidly on this earth to live a life worthy of our calling. And He formed us with His hands – in our mother’s womb. He knew us before He spoke the first word!

God placed the signs and wonders in the heavens to reflect His glory – to show the world He exists without uttering a word. Yet, He did not stay silent. He created and then engaged with us; not holding back His love for us. He gave voice to His Word so that we could hear and understand the Truth of who He is. That is pretty awesome!

He is the Maker of the Heavens. We have an awesome and great God. We need to discover Him again and be in awe of His glory and majesty. We need the respected “fear of the Lord” once again. Jesus Christ is the Name above all names. He is worthy of all our adoration. The Great I AM! The One who was, who is and who is to come! AWESOME!

But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 (NLT)

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