buildingbodies4christ

building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Worldly thinking”

Chest Moves

You should know by now that I keep my ears and eyes open to prophecy experts. I love to see how God is moving the pieces around. Sometimes it’s not too obvious. We can look back at history and see God working through circumstances, but it’s a little more difficult in real-time. Take the Bush-era, “W” that is. We weren’t too thrilled when the invasion to Iraq happened. But that was just a “chest piece” move by God. We don’t like to think about World War II being a chest piece move, but it was. Israel would not be in possession of their land today (and I know there are those who do not believe they have the rights to it) if it were not for WWII.

I read last night about the Wooden era of basketball at UCLA – seven national championships from 1967 to 1973. I know that isn’t much of a chest piece move. But the dates are significant. I think it has God’s hand print on it. From what I understand coach Wooden was a godly man. I don’t know what became of those young men who came through his program, but God does and knows exactly what He used them for.

1967 was a major step for Israel to get Jerusalem in their possession once again (I know, contested rights). 1973 abortion became legalized; the US got out of the Vietnam War in 1973; and a big Jesus movement happened in that same year. There was much strife between ’67 and ’73. I remember those years being filled with protests and the hippie movement with peace signs everywhere. Everybody wanted peace. Isn’t that what we want today? Peace in every corner of this world? The trouble is there will be no peace ever until Jesus returns.

I believe chest moves are countered by the enemy. One step for God’s Kingdom when bring the enemy to the door. Each move God makes, Satan and his demons will counter, which we will be right in the middle of the conflict. There is a battle going on – first for our soul, second for our walk. If God is moving in us, the enemy is going to make sure we don’t take that step. If there is no storm brewing, then we need to check our walk. Are we in step with God?

Andy Andrews wrote in his last book that it’s the little things that take us where we need to go. It’s the small decisions not the big ones that get us to our destination. I am not a “big picture” kind of person. I like to look at details. I guess that’s the analyst in me. Someone has to help me see the big picture. I can get bogged down in the details. I rely on God to move me away from the details and show me the next thing. I figure when the right time to move comes, God will show me the way. He has done it in the past, and I expect Him to do so in the future.

One thing Andy mentioned in his book was about what’s best. He asked three questions that have to be answered in our hearts to get to the best.

  1. Do you believe God wants the best for you? Think about it. If God loves you as He does, does He really want what’s best for you? Do you believe it?
  2. Do you believe God has a better imagination than you? Ah, YES. That one seems simple enough!
  3. Looking at your life, are you living the best life God has for you? That might be a “no” at this point. But that could change in a split second.

God has something in mind for all of us. He has chest piece moves ready to happen, and He needs people ready to do His work. There are small and large things that need to take place. Some of us will get the small stuff to do; others will get the big stuff. The presidents get the big stuff. Some are chosen to run countries, some are chosen to run large companies; and some are chosen to do the grunt work to help those in charge.

We all have a part to play; however, we have to be in God’s game. The best for us is to be part of God’s plan. We don’t like this word, but we have to surrender our desires and our plans for His. If we believe He loves us and wants the best for us, why would we choose something different? What could happen if we let God have His way in us? The BEST life ever! And the best life ever could impact the world for the better for generations to come. Wouldn’t that be something?

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 1 John 2:15-17 (NLT)

Note: Andy Andrew’s book The Little Things published 2017 by W Publishing Group, Nashville, TN

Pursuing the best life

I got a notice a couple of weeks ago that AT&T will be coming through my neighborhood to install a fiber optic line. A couple of days later, there were multiple colored lines spray painted in my yard and on the street. Then the real work began yesterday. Men were digging and drilling holes across the front of my yard. As I was watching them (for at least a few minutes at a time), I noticed there was a particular hard place for them to dig and drill. The place was near another hard place that I found a year or two after I moved into my house. The hard place was really a very large rock that extends from the front of my house to the back of the house; I assume the same rock. I didn’t know though that the rock extended to where they were digging. And apparently under my driveway. They were having a tough time making a trench under the driveway. They had to stop and readjust multiple times. They eventually got around the obstacle, but it took a couple of hours in the hot sun to get the job done.

All this was happening while I was preparing to write this blog. Before the men showed up, I had all the best intentions to write all day. I had several things to get done, but I got very distracted. I get easily distracted when it comes to my writing times. Over the last few months, it’s been a real struggle to sit down and write. It’s been very discouraging. Usually the words would flow before I sat down to write, but it’s not like that right now. However, when I sit down to write and focus on what God puts before me, the words come. The trouble isn’t writing, it’s sitting down to write.

My pastor spoke about focus this past Sunday. We are bombarded with distractions all around us. Everything can get us off track. The enemy uses the world to get our attention. The worldly things draw us away from God. Dr. Tony Evans said in a message last month that God doesn’t want us to love the world because it’s run by Satan. The world leaves God out. God will not compete with Satan. When we focus on worldly things, we worry. We place too much emphasis on things that do not matter; they are temporary and unimportant in the long run. We should look at things through an eternal lens. Will this thing matter to us in 100 years? We are after all eternal beings and will be somewhere in 100 years.

It reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha when Jesus came to visit. Martha was upset that Mary wasn’t helping in the kitchen. Mary had chosen to sit at the feet of Jesus, but Martha complained to Jesus that Mary was needed in the kitchen. But Jesus said, My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42 NLT) Mary was focused on the most important thing in that moment – Jesus. Martha was distracted by her work, and she failed to see the things that truly mattered.

Jesus is the solution for our worry. When we focus on Him, He gives us a different perspective on our circumstances. Only Jesus is bigger than our worries. We should focus on the One who can fix our circumstances; who controls all things.

Jesus told us through Scripture that the most important commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength (Deut 6:5). In other words, seek Him first and everything else falls into place. The Israelites were instructed to repeat this commandment over and over; to tell their children, to tie this commandment to their wrists and foreheads, and to write the commandment on their doorposts. This commandment was essential to keep God’s people focused on what mattered. When Israel forgot, they were lost and exiled. There were removed from their Promised Land because they chose idols instead of God. They lost their focus on what really mattered.

When our lives are centered on Jesus, He will lead us to the Promised Land; the best place. He doesn’t remove our circumstances, but He gives us peace in it. Jesus is our Shepherd who protects us against the enemy. He leads us to the green pastures and the cool living water to refresh our souls. Jesus said there’s only one thing worth being concerned about. Like Mary, have you found it? Sit with Jesus for a while before you do anything else and let Him be your guiding light. Find eternal value that will matter in the long run.

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. Colossians 3:1-2 (MSG)

There’s a Difference

I have been told that I am different. My tastes are unique. After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease eleven years ago, I eat differently than most people. The first Easter after my change to a healthier lifestyle was the first time I experienced the reality that I was totally different. My Mom was still alive and well at that point. The family was together as was the tradition for holidays. As usual, Mom fixed everyone’s favorite food, except I couldn’t eat any of it.

Mom forgot that I could no longer eat like the rest of the family. I had to have a different menu. Not because I wanted to be different, but because I had chosen to treat my disease with a food-based approach and not a medical prescription approach. My Mom didn’t get it. My family didn’t get it. And on that Easter Sunday, I had to come to terms with hard reality of being different.

I don’t think many people really like to be different, especially young people. We like our friends to be similar to us. Even our church life has the same mentality. We want to be like our neighbors – nice car, nice house, perfect lifestyle with perfect kids. And sometimes that comes with a hefty price tag. We go into debt to finance our desires. I heard Dave Ramsey say recently on a show that we need to be different. Normal is to be in debt. Different is to have a healthy bank account without the burden of debt. The Bible tells us debt is our master; we are a servant to it (Proverbs 22:7). Possessions possess us.

We all need a hard reality check. Jesus didn’t come to burden us but to free us from our burdens. No matter what we struggle with – health issues, debt, unhealthy habits, etc. – Jesus is the answer. How you say? If we are followers of Jesus, we should have a different mentality. We should have a different focus. Pastor Tony Evans has a teaching series on eternal focus. We should be living in the light of eternity. Possessions shouldn’t possess us – sell it. Move into something that is affordable. Free up the bank account so that it allows for Kingdom purpose – to help those in need at a moment’s notice.

Living a healthy lifestyle has changed me in more ways than just my eating habits. It has freed me from the burden of feeling sick and tired all the time. I have the freedom with a clear mind and satisfied heart. Living well is a choice. It may have a steep learning curve, but it’s worth it to be different. Finding the right people to encourage us along the way is important. We don’t all have to be alike. It’s healthy to have a diverse friendship base. They can teach us many things. However, there always has to be a true foundation of belief in Jesus so that no one can move us from Jesus’ rock of truth.

Jesus promised us the gift of the Holy Spirit when we receive His gift of salvation. The Holy Spirit is our guide to living a different life. The Spirit will give us a check in our spending habits, in our eating habits and in choosing a different path. However, we have to be sensitive to His promptings. If we continue to ignore the promptings, we will no longer feel His leading away from the things that will entangle us in an unhealthy life. There’s a difference in the way we live when the Spirit is in control. It’s not easy living differently, but it’s very rewarding when the Spirit gives us a nudge in the right direction. There’s always a blessing when we do the right thing.

As followers of Jesus, the world cannot give us what we desire. When we look to worldly things, we leave God out of the equation. When God is in the picture, everything is seen in a different light. I had a conversation last week with a fellow at the gym about marriage. He said marriage was overrated. I said, God has to be in the marriage too in order for it to be a good marriage. God has to be in the middle of our lives in order for it to be a good life. We have to live differently. It’s the only way to live a truly joyful, peaceful life. Jesus is the answer. Choose to be different!

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News. 2 Timothy 1:9-10 (NLT)

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