Category Archives: DO GOD’S WILL

BIBLICAL CONNECTIONS (REINFORCEMENTS).080916

Young Boy With DogHave you heard that line, “If you want to teach a dog or a kid, you’ve got to say it over and over.”  I just made that up.  But it’s true.  Whatever it is you want ’em to learn; if you say it enough, if you demonstrate it enough, it will finally soak in. You create those neural links in their heads and their bodies. You can bet on it.  I think God had that same policy in mind when He dictated the Bible to the writers.  One subject I’ve noticed lately (over and over) is about HEARING AND DOING.  I don’t know how many times my momma said it, but I finally got it, “YOU’VE GOT TO DO WHAT I SAY!”  (whether you like it or not; if you want to live long and do good.)

Jesus said it almost that loud and that strong in Matthew 7:24-26, when He said, “If you hear My words and do what I say, I’ll think you’re a wise man . . . but if you hear My words and you don’t do them, you’re a fool. . .” (my paraphrase).  And in James 1:22, God says, through James, “Be a DOER of the Word, and not just a hearer; deceiving yourselves.”  If we don’t do what Jesus says, we’re fools, and we’re lying to ourselves.  In Luke 11:27-28, a woman said, “Blessed is the woman who gave birth to you . . .” and Jesus said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep (guard, defend) it.”

And it’s not just about “don’t do this and don’t do that”.  It’s about what you DO as a positive act, an act of your will.  It’s like in John 5:24, He says, “If you pay attention (heed, do) what I say, and trust Him who sent Me, you have eternal life.”  Trusting in God is not easy; but it’s the only thing that works in this life.  You have to DO IT as an act of your will.  Over and over, until it starts to feel easy (or at least easier.)  That’s the only way you’re ever going to have the peace that passes understanding is when you trust Jesus as an act of your will.

That’s what He’s talking about when He says, “If you follow God’s commands, you will live!”  See Luke 10:28.

“The Gospel is not about making bad people good, it’s about making dead people alive!” David Crowder
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CONSISTENCY.040516

Open Your Heart Concept

“Consistency is the crutch of small minds.”  Tex (from a letter to my kids)

Some people said Jesus was inconsistent because He said people should abide by the law one time, and the next time He said people should be led by the Spirit, and be merciful to lawbreakers. Even in the Old Testament, God said He’d rather have someone with an obedient heart than sacrifice, even though sacrifice was according to the law.

Over and over in the Bible, it says that God looks at the heart.  Somehow or other it should be the way we look at it too.  I’m sure people ought to do what they say they will, but you don’t have to do the same way ever time. Different situations require different responses.

And this isn’t situation ethics either.  It is just realizing that we ascribe to a higher law, which is layman’s terms is being true to God and the people that God puts you with, above being true to man’s law or any dogmatic principle.  (How do you know which is is right?  If you’re seeking God, you’ll know.)  Like it says in the Bible, “This is the first and great commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, . . . And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”  This is the fulfillment of all of the law and all of the prophets.  If you love God, you will keep His commandments; if you love your neighbor, you’ll treat him right.

My experience has been that if you abide by these two commandments, you won’t always appear consistent to the world, but you will usually do the right thing, and you will be consistent to God and in your heart.

DO JUSTLY, LOVE MERCY, WALK HUMBLY.030416

Natur Wald“What does the Lord require of you?  Do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8                                 [From a letter to my kids]

            To “do justly” means to treat other people like you’d like to be treated. (Matt 7:12) To be fair, to take care of folks.  To do what you say you will.  Like my Daddy says, “A man’s word is as good as his bond.”   “He … swears to his own hurt and does not change;” Psalm 15:4.

            To “love mercy” means that you realize that the only way to live long and do good is to have God’s mercy on a regular basis, and you realize that to get mercy you have to give mercy.  You realize that mercy is better than judgment, any day.  If you have to choose between punishing somebody or letting them loose and forgetting about it; LET THEM LOOSE.  “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord, I will repay.” (Rom 12:19)  “Blessed, (happy) are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Matt 5:7.  The second great commandment originates in Leviticus 19:18, where it says, “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”  Mercy means to forgive and forget.

            To “walk humbly with your God.”  That means that you realize that God is everything, and without God you are nothing.  In Romans 12:3, “Don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought to think.” [paraphrase]  You’re no better that the least of these.  “He who would be great, first let him serve.” Mark 10:43. “The last shall be first, and the first shall be last.” Matt 20:16.

            “God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;” 1 Corin. 1:27.  Just remember that it’s not your power, but the power of God within you, and you’ll do just fine.

ROLES NOT GOALS. PURPOSE.022916

stone faced            “God has a purpose for your life.  All you’ve got to do is figure out what it is.”            [This is from a letter to my ‘young-adult’ kids in 1995]  “I used to wonder what I was doing here.  Sometimes I even wondered what you were doing here.  I finally got the message.  God has a plan for my life.  Actually, I think He has a plan for every person’s life, but some folks never figure out what it is.

“When I was a kid I bought into the idea that goal setting and goal pursuing and goal orientation were the way to achieve everything I wanted in life, and happiness too!  When I was 15 I wanted $1 million by the time I was 30.  I focused a lot of attention on it.  I read the right books and tried to practice what they preached.  But somehow it never worked for me.  I guess I just didn’t want it bad enough.  I just couldn’t get motivated enough.  I had a lot of other things on my mind.  Looking back, maybe God didn’t want me to be a millionaire.

“After I got baptized in the Holy Spirit, I started seeing differently.  I decided that God had a purpose for my life, a destiny.  Somehow, I got the message that God has a role (really a bunch of roles) for me to play in my life.  In fact each of us is given a number of readymade roles to play when we’re born.  Like the role of a son or a daughter, the role of brother or sister.  Then pretty soon you get the role of student, then later employee, then girlfriend or boyfriend, then husband or wife, then father or mother, then maybe employer, or doctor or lawyer, or teacher, or preacher, or seeker or finder.  What fulfills your destiny, and God’s purpose, is for you to be the very best you can at whatever role God has given you for that time.  And what’s really neat is that this will make you happy.  Seems to me that chasing a goal is not very fulfilling, but being best in your role is very fulfilling, and with your role you fit into God’s plan perfectly.  Just remember when you can’t figure out what you’re doing here, or where you’re going, or why; focus on being that person, that character, the very best you possibly can.  You’ll be surprised how happy it will make you.

“The thing that separates the exceptional people in the world, the 2-3%, and the rest of the folks, is that the 2-3% have realized that God has a grand design for their lives.  (Here again, a lot of people call it a lifetime goal, which is OK with me.)  Many people spend all their time just living from day to day, so they never have time to fulfill that grand design.  Eating and sleeping, working and raising kids may be enough for most folks, but it’s not enough for me.  I may never amount to a hill of beans, but it won’t be because I didn’t try.  Oh, and by the way, I still think that grand design is about the role you play in your life with other people; not so much about making a million dollars, or being the President, or climbing the highest mountain, or building the biggest building, even though those are perfectly OK things to aspire to.  (Heck, if you don’t aspire to something, you’ll never amount to anything.)

“But in the end, the best way to help other people is to get in tune with God’s purpose for our lives, and focus our attention on fulfilling His grand design for us. In the meantime we will still have time to eat and sleep and play and have fun and raise kids, just like everybody else. And we may do something truly memorable.”

OBEDIENCE 101.022116

White lighthouse tower on St. Anastasia Island“I have no right to say I believe in God unless I order my life as under His all-seeing Eye.”  Disciples Indeed, Oswald Chambers.

Matthew 7:21, 24-27: 21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter . . .” 24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. . . . 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. . . .” NLT

What is the “will of the Father”?  For us to do what Jesus says.  In John 5:24, Jesus said, “If you  [pay attention to] (heed, obey) what I say, and trust Him who sent Me, you have eternal life; you will never be condemned; you have passed from death unto life.”

But don’t just say the words.  God is looking at your heart.  He knows if your heart has been changed.

HOUSE ON SAND.033015.jpg

PRAYING FOR TOMMY.123115

Older man expressing pain or depression, verticalJames 5:14-15: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”

I knew Tommy since I was a little kid.  We went to the same church together.  His daddy and my uncle were both deacons there.  He was five years older than me, so we weren’t close, but I knew that he was a ‘famous’ football player.  He played quarterback for our high school, and a time or two they went to the State Championship.  Later, my cousin Danny, Tommy and I sorta ‘grew up together’ in the oil business for the last 30 years or so.  We’ve had lots of ups and downs.  Tommy and his high school sweetheart Tanya were married for maybe 30 years and then got a divorce.  They had two kids.  Tommy had spells of drinking and running with some pretty fast folks.

But we were friends to the end.  Early last year he started having headaches and was diagnosed with a tumor in his sinuses which turned out to be inoperable.  It pressed on his optic nerve and he became blind.  He took a lot of treatments, and while they may have helped some, he wasn’t getting any better.  I went to visit him in November, the week before Thanksgiving.  We’re both old, but he didn’t look good.  His one eye was swollen shut and the other was staring.  He was sitting in a chair with a blanket over his lap.  We talked a some about old times, football and the weather.

I’d brought along my friend Loyde, and when we got ready to go, I said, “Tommy, before we go, we’d like to pray for you.”  He said he needed all the help he could get. So we knelt beside his chair, put our hands on him and prayed.  I prayed for him to be healed.  I prayed that the God Who raises people from the dead would raise Tommy up too.  Tommy prayed that God would give him courage.  At the end Loyde quoted James 5:14-15 and said, “We’re elders and we’d like to anoint you with oil and pray so that you too can be healed like this verse says.”  Tommy said, ‘Yes.’

About two weeks later Tommy died.  I don’t know why God didn’t heal him and raise Him up like new, as if from the dead.  I guess some might say that what we did was dumb, knowing that Tommy was terminal; but I’m sure that we did what God wanted us to do; and I’m just as sure that God’s will was done by us all trusting God to take care of Tommy.

 

PRACTICING CHRISTIAN, PART FOUR.102415

Silhouette illustration of a man praying under the lightSURRENDER to JESUS and MAKE HIM THE LORD OF YOUR LIFE (every day)  In some Christian churches you can ‘get saved’ by walking down the aisle at the end of a service and declaring your allegiance (devotion) to Jesus.  Maybe you fill out a card with some personal information.  Then the pastor introduces you to the congregation and they vote you in on the spot and you’re saved. You’re a full member of the Body of Christ.  You’re going to heaven.  What more need be said?  Well . . .where’s the teaching and the understanding and the commitment?

In other churches you’re baptized into the church as an infant, then when you’re around 12 you go through confirmation, with the intention that you learn the basic principles of the faith and then you make a commitment to follow Jesus, with baptism by the clergy, and hopefully of the Holy Spirit.

Clearly either of these systems is dependent on concerted effort by the church community to teach the Bible, to demonstrate the fundamentals of the faith, to show ’em what it feels like to have a personal relationship with the Living God.  It requires all of us having a consistent commitment to Jesus and to our brothers and sisters in the Body. Continue reading