One of the great challenges of our day is that hardly any of us are very good at stilling ourselves before the Lord. The good news is that we can all learn to do so.
There is, however, an additional problem that might surface as we learn to be still. As we behold God’s goodness, experience measures of healing in our souls, and get in touch with our true selves, we have the potential to get stuck.
Sometimes, we can so enjoy our time with the Lord that we become passive in our faith.
When we learn to receive, rather than strive, we might (unintentionally) forget the value of purposefully pursuing the Lord, and the importance of obeying His direction.
No one means to become too passive or disobedient, but it can happen if we over-prize our experience of Him, rather than our growing relationship with Him.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
The verse goes on to say, “I wil be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in...
Jesus said that in the last days the love of most people will grow cold. Is your love cold or hot
with the presence and purposes of God? Real love is focused and intentional. It is focused on
another or others. It is intentional in that it is expressed – it is an active verb. You can tell if you
are expressing this kind of love, they will experience it and others will see it. Real love is
demonstrative. Its deepest source and inspiration comes from God.
“God is love.” (1 John 4:8) Love is the expression of His essence – and it is His motivation for
creation. His creation expresses His love and shares His love. As we experience love, walk in
love and act lovingly, we bare His image in this world. Let’s look at three clear, yet counter-
cultural expressions of love. This kind of love is a prophetic sign in our day. It points to a
greater source and purpose than ourselves.
“Be devoted to one another...
What do people mean when they say they “hear God’s voice?” Can everyone hear God? Do people have the same capacity and/or ability to hear the Lord? Does the Lord “speak” more often or more clearly in some places and at some times than others?
The book of 1 Samuel notes, “In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.” (1 Sam. 3:1). Apparently, there are different dispensations regarding the frequency and clarity of God's communication. Approximately 3,100 years ago the people of God were not experiencing much of the revelation of God. Then Samuel was born, and God started communicating boldly through the prophets.
In the New Testament, the book of Hebrews begins, “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through...
Names are important; they carry meaning. When we name a pet, we usually try to capture its “personality” or some strong identifying trait or characteristic. In Bible times, name giving was an important responsibility. People would pray and share insight in order to understand God’s intent for the new life that He was creating.
Have you ever realized that God invented you, planned you, created you and set you in this particular generation and location for His purposes? None of these things are happenstance. Whether or not your present “natural” name clearly reflects God’s purposes, He does have an intimate and purposeful name for you. (Revelation 2:17)
Other people, and the structures of this world, have their names for you, too. Some of these labels may be harmful or playful or affectionate, while others might describe how you have been useful (or not) for their purposes. We must be careful, however, not to build our identity on the...
How can you tell how badly someone wants something? There seem to be two primary indicators. First, how hard are they trying to get what they want? Second, how long are they willing to keep trying? How much someone wants something is often a function of both factors – intensity and perseverance.
Once, when I arrived at Logan airport late for my flight, the passion with which I pleaded for mercy and help from the airline administrator indicated that I wanted very badly to be placed on that plane immediately. Passion, intensity and the exertion of energy often indicate deep desire. Sometimes, however, shear hard work is not enough to get what you want; it requires sustained effort over a long period of time. Lincoln demonstrated, through his unwillingness to give up after repeated political losses and failures, that he really wanted to become president of the United States. From time to time a wall must be struck repeatedly, over a long period of...
Do you ever feel out of sorts, like something isn’t right within you and you need some form of comfort? Where do you look and what do you do for comfort in times like this?
We all have different things that bring us some level of relief. Some are benign and some may be toxic. Some help us draw near to God, and some are false comforts that produce guilt and shame within us. It is important to remember that on the deepest level God is our great comfort in Jesus Christ, and He willingly comforts us in all our troubles. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
What about your family, or your neighborhood, or city – Who/what can console on these larger levels? You can probably think of some families that participate in particular false comforts from generation to generation; some neighborhoods are known for their false comforts; and even some cities are known this way. But Jesus Christ alone is the real consolation for people!
The angels declared at the birth of Jesus, ...
Sometimes the things that seem like they will make our lives easier and more efficient are the very things that can steal our purpose and passion right out from under us.
God’s desire has always been to draw people from all nations into His eternal household. But, “doing church” (or, in this case, "doing temple") got in the way of that purpose in the lives and practice of the people of God. Addressing the people in Jerusalem, Jesus quoted from the book of Isaiah and said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.’” (Mark 11:17) When the people came to make sacrifices at the temple they had to bring animals, or grain or whatever was needed. This proved to be quite an inconvenience for those who had a long way to travel, so they developed a system of exchange right at the temple. People could simply bring money and “buy” what they needed for...
I can remember it very clearly, as if it were yesterday. I was seated in a room with nearly 500 elderly people, listening to a presentation of the significance of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. The man speaking was also drawing an elaborate picture with chalk pastels. I had heard many of the “facts” before, I had even heard some of the stories, but I had never really understood the significance of Jesus ascending into heaven.
Recently, on May 26th, was the celebration of what western church historians call Ascension Day; the celebration of Jesus being carried or taken up into heaven. (The story is recorded in the books of Mark, Luke and Acts.) I am reminded how on that evening many years ago I came to realize that when Jesus ascended into heaven, it opened the way for me to have a relationship with Him, the living God-man – and nothing has been the same ever since.
Do you believe that Jesus ascended into heaven 40 days after He was crucified and...
Many people want to be healthier and in better shape. Today the number of popular diet program options is mind boggling. Keto. Paleo. Intermittent Fasting. Cleanses. Mediterranean, just to name a few.
Do you, too, want to get in better shape? If so, I have one question that I must ask; do you want a short-term or a long-term solution?
Many people want to look nice for an upcoming event or reunion, but fewer seek to sustain a life change that will make a difference for the long haul. Do you want to cut excess sugar for the next 10-20 years, or is this a short-term fancy? Are you willing to keep at your exercise plan for years and years, or is it related to some short-term goal?
Sometimes people address their faith-life in a similar way. They want to get in “spiritual shape;” they are hoping it will happen by magic, and they put their hope in a “crash-diet” of Sunday sermons and crisis prayers. Many of us hope that we...
Is there anyone who really knows you, who has experienced the big events of your life with you, who knows your feelings and perspectives? You may have a few people who have shared in some (or even most) of the significant happenings of your life, but no one has really been there with you through them all. Even the people who have been with you haven’t really seen and experienced what you have. They have seen things from their own unique perspective. They may have experienced many things with you, but not inside you. Only God knows you like that! Every memory that you have can be shared with God. He was there, not just with you but WITH you. He is the only One with whom you will ever really, really, really be able to share your life. He knows you inside out (literally and figuratively), and He wants to share your life with you.
So, why do we so often keep God at a distance, only sharing “our religious lives” with Him? Is it because we think that if...