buildingbodies4christ

building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Obedience”

The Stories

Over the last few days, I have been listening to several speakers tell their stories. I tuned into Daystar on my Roku and found Joni Lamb’s Table Talk. She was in Australia for the Plantshakers conference. To tell you the truth, I hadn’t heard of this conference before; but apparently this conference has been going on for years. One of the stories was a young man who started a bottled water company because he saw the plight of the poor with no clean water. He saw the statistics of the poor without water, and the statistics of how much bottled water is sold throughout the world. That gave him an idea. He had no experience in bottling water. He had no experience in business. But he had an idea – a God-sized idea. According to their website, they have given over $5.5 million to people in need. That’s pretty amazing! Check out https://thankyou.co/ for their amazing story.

I moved on to another speaker who talked about work that he and his wife are doing in the Middle East. Tom Doyle and his wife had a ministry that helps Christians in the Middle East. Their journey started when he was delivering a message to his church. During the message, the Lord impressed upon him that this was the last message he would preach to his church. His wife got the call as well. They both believed God was calling them to Gaza. Since that time, they have been ministering to the Christians in Syria and throughout the Middle East.

On Joni’s program, Tom spoke about some amazing conversion stories from the local believers in Syria. These men have chosen to stay in their country to win the lost. They all know that they will probably die for Jesus in that place. Tom mentioned that these men and women have such joy. Tom has a book out called Standing in the Fire that covers some of these stories. Check this out http://standinginthefirebook.com/ – the stories he told on Joni’s program are so inspirational.

On Joni’s program, she spoke to a couple who have a church in Manchester, England. They have been there for nine years and really making a difference in that place. The taping of this show was done long before the suicide bombing at the concert in Manchester a couple of weeks ago. So when I saw this program, I was intrigued by the fact there is a thriving church in this city where Satan chose to disrupt people’s lives by this tragedy. How much more can this church minister to this city now! Before this church, there were many churches in the city; but only a handful of churchgoers in each building. The church has been dying in England for years. But there is new life happening, and hopefully the church will have a greater impact in the midst of this tragedy.

I have heard there are pockets of rival going on in the western world. David Jeremiah said in one of his telecasts that all the great rivals have started by young people. They are the life blood of the church. Old men and women may have dreams, but the young can fulfill the dreams with their visions. It takes both in the church body. It takes us all to do our part. We all have stories to tell. Mine doesn’t have the thrill of the conversion stories in Syria. We all choose the path we will travel. I am praying my story has a better ending than the beginning. I want to make an impact on this world – I guess we all do. However, I will have to make some sacrifice to do it; we all do.

I guess that’s the kicker. We have to be willing to die to our self in order to move on with God. God can do amazing things through a willing heart. All we have to do is say Yes! As I consider this, I am reminded of the message at my church gathering on Sunday. The pastor said that desire informs behavior. Sin corrupts our desires and brings our destruction. The pastor mentioned that the intersection between desire and what we do is our idol. We will worship the desire of our hearts.

There is a war going on and the battle plays out for our hearts. We are told in Scripture to guard our hearts. Paul wrote in Ephesians about the armor we are to put on such as the breastplate to protect our vital organs. The heart is at stake here. In order to do the things God wants to do through us, we have to commit our hearts to him fully. There is no other way to have an amazing story to tell. When we get to heaven, I can imagine us telling our stories to each other. I pray for all of us to go out of this life with a blaze of God’s glory! Wahoo – what a ride! That’s my dream. What’s yours?

Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit everything you do to the Lord.
    Trust him, and he will help you. Psalm 37:4-5 (NLT)

Are you stuck?

That was the question I posed to my newsletter readers this month. I have been contemplating that myself this week. I have a routine that I follow pretty closely every day and every week. I work out three days a week – usually. I go to church every Sunday morning at the same time. I go to my small group every Tuesday night. I sit down at my computer every morning and look at emails before I get my morning smoothie. I have my quiet time at the same time every morning. That’s my usual week. Since last Wednesday, I had to rearrange a few things.

I hurt my shoulder a few months back and did not stop working out to rest it. I went to the chiropractor last Wednesday, and she got my shoulder back in working order. But instead of going to work out on Friday or Saturday or even Sunday, I decided to take a break. I also, started writing the book (PRAISE to the Lord for the inspiration that finally came!). So my days have been focused on getting words on the screen. I even decided to write in a different room to get my inspirational juices flowing.

But am I stuck spiritually? That’s what I am wrestling with this morning. In my quiet time for the last two mornings, I have been reading in Revelation 3. The church in Ephesus had been doing things well. They had been serving the Lord and doing all that they were supposed to be doing, yet they had forgotten their first priority was to love. One of the things that God has pressed upon me is to demonstrative love toward Him by helping others. We are to “do good” but we are called first to love. The Ephesians church forgot the love part. I wrote in the newsletter last month that “being a disciple of Jesus means that we will demonstrate our love for Him. We don’t earn His favor or earn our heavenly home by doing good works. It comes by belief in the grace of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus says that we are to love God with all our hearts, soul and strength. We are to love others as we love ourselves. These are the two greatest commandments stated in the Bible – so Jesus says.”

We are told if we are His disciples that we will obey His teachings. In order to obey, we have to know what He teaches us in the Gospels. The central theme in His teachings is: loving others. There really is no other message that we should take away except the way Jesus demonstrated love toward everyone He meet. He even loved the Pharisees – they just didn’t understand though. He wept over Jerusalem when He knew they were going to be battered and scattered for generations because of their lack of love for God and Him. They just didn’t get it. Sometimes I think we don’t either. We – the people of God – could be viewed as the church at Ephesus in this time and place. We are all about helping others, but are we too busy to love God? There are too many things that keep us from devotion to God and to Jesus. We don’t make time to get in His word and learn what we need to be the people we need to be. The weather is turning for the better here in the US (or at least in the south) so that will mean that outdoor activities may keep us from going to church.

Andy Stanley said in a recent sermon “Devotion to God is authenticated by love for others.” In First Corinthians 13, in the famous love speech, “if there’s no love in our action, then it means nothing but devotion to me.” People in the world understand selfishness and it’s “all about me.” But we are to be different. We are to live differently. God said in His word that He created good works for us to do. Before the foundation of the world, He thought of us and gave us a hope and a future. The way life was supposed to be was in an intimate relationship with Him. That’s what He desires. When we finally understand that we are to Love Him and show love toward others, we will finally shake off the Pharisee robe and live as a follower of Jesus!

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. Hebrews 6:10-12

Small Tasks

As I sit down to write on this particular morning, I am humbled by revelations on my character. Sometimes when I write, I feel that I come across as knowing all the answers or I hear such great things from God. I am just a sojourner just like you. Most days all I hear is silence. A few of those days I swing on doubt rather than belief. I have just read the first chapter of Jonah, and I so get his running when he heard what God wanted him to do. If it’s hard or something that takes me out of my comfort zone, I might have the urge to run on most days as well. Most days, I don’t believe I am going to do anything really great for Jesus. I believe He has tasks assigned to me just as Jonah had a task assigned to him. But I think in the grand scheme of God’s plan, they will be small tasks of obedience.

There a just a few people who are called to be Jonah or Moses or Paul of their times. There are many others who are called to be the support staff to those of greater significance in the Kingdom. I am sure there are even fewer who have a great vision or dream that God has placed in them. Whether we just don’t dream anymore or we’re just not prepared properly to receive it.

I am struck by the fact that God prepares us so much more for the tasks ahead for years before the dream or vision is revealed. Moses had forty years in the back country tending his father-in-law’s flock before he was given his great vision. It was the day in and day out tasks of learning how to survive in the desert with a flock – maybe sheep, knowing they relied upon him to feed them and water them. Moses had his support group as he led God’s people in the desert for forty years after their escape from Egypt. He was trained to handle the tasks of moving them about to find the water, the food and the shelter.

King David had years as a shepherd boy then a warrior before he ever became king. David had his mighty band of warriors as well as Jonathon. Jonathon realized his role was not going to be king, but he was a mighty big encourager to the one who was going to be crowned king.

We all have a role in God’s kingdom. We all have to be prepared for it. Each step of obedience is a step toward fitting into the role God has assigned. Each task accomplished is one more character building exercise. God is more concerned about our character than what we actually accomplish. It really takes the pressure off to know that it’s up to God and not us. We are to be obedient in what He gives us, but He has a purpose that He will fulfill, not us. Whew, it’s all about Jesus, not me! Thank you Jesus!

For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. Philippians 1:10-11 (NLT)

Post Navigation