Category Archives: TIME WITH GOD,

JOINED AT THE HEART.052418

What happens when you are really in a bind, you don’t know what to do, and there’s actually nowhere to go?  I guess the right answer is to do what you learned in church, to do what your momma and your daddy taught you about God.  But many questions are subject to interpretation.  There are a lot of gray areas.  In the meantime there’s a lot about what you believe, and who you can trust: God, the church, people who claim to be Christians, and those who really ACT like it.  Often there is nothing you can do except to lean on God, and hope to goodness that all that stuff you said you believed is really true.

So what do you really believe?  Well, I believe in leaning on God, trusting in Him.  Like Solomon said, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding . . .”  (Proverbs 3:5-6) Like the story about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, where they said, right before they were thrown into the fiery furnace, “The God we serve will deliver us, . . . but even if He doesn’t, we’re not going to bow down and worship the image you made.” (Daniel 3:1-30)  Talk about leaning on Jesus.  Whoa!  To get to that level of trust in God, you have to spend a lot of time getting connected to Him, joined at the heart, so when the time comes you’ll be ready.

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PRESENT YOUR BODIES (as a living sacrifice).051016

Salt and LightRomans 12:1 says, “I beg you, brothers and sisters, to present you bodies as a living sacrifice ….”

Romans 12 is a great message about “If you’re going to claim to be a Christian, act like it.”  For me, ‘present your body’ means to show up, be available, be willing to be obedient to serve and to do what God tells you to, one moment at a time.

So here’s my revelation for today: If you are a ‘true’ believer in Jesus, one who is steadily focusing on God, trusting Him and obeying Him, seeking His Face, surrendering to Him on a daily basis; you have the Spirit of the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY living in your own personal heart.  That is what it means to ‘be a Christian’.  Now, if you have God’s Holy Spirit in you, and you show up anywhere, work, school, a kid’s soccer game, a band concert, a walk in the park, a flood rescue effort, you are presenting your body as a living sacrifice, for God to use to touch other peoples lives.  You are making yourself available to do and to say exactly what God wants you to do and say.

Are y’all ready for this?  You know where it says, “You are the salt of the earth.”  “You are the light of the world.”  If you have God’s Spirit in your own heart, then you ARE doing what salt does.  You are flavoring and keeping the world from corruption and decay, just like salt flavors food and keeps it from decay.  You ARE God’s shining Light in the world, to show people the way, to comfort them, to keep them safe and sound.  You don’t even have to try; or plan; or prepare; or get a special education; or have a special degree, or ordination, or anointing.  You already ARE anointed.  You have the Spirit of the Living God in your own little heart.  You just can’t get any more anointed than that.  All you have to do is SHOW UP!

So I’ve been reading the whole 12th chapter of Romans, and bringing those things back to the first sentence of the chapter.  In verses 3-8 it talks about how God has given each of us a special gift (or gifts) to help the Body of Christ.  There’s a lot of talk about learning what your gift is, so you can do a better job of using it for God’s honor and glory.  I think it’s great to focus some attention on understanding what God’s plan is for your life, so you can do a better job of serving Him and others; but you know what I really think?  I think if you really trust God, and you surrender your whole self to Him on a regular basis, it doesn’t matter whether you know what your specific gift is or not.  If you SHOW UP when God tells you to, He will use you and your gift(s) in miraculous ways, even if you don’t know exactly what they are. Continue reading

DAILY QUIET TIME.050816

Hands Praying on Bible            Luke 9: 23 says, “If anyone would follow me (be my disciple), let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”  The point I want to focus on right now is about our daily habits. We can’t go many days without eating (and we certainly like to eat every day); we cannot live more than a few days without water; we have to sleep regularly, mostly every night. If we don’t go to work or school every day, we won’t last long in those endeavors. If we don’t do these things every day, we will languish, and diminish, and die.

I submit that if we don’t focus attention on our spiritual lives every day we will eventually wither and die spiritually. Because God wants so much to have a personal relationship with us, He gives us many, many extra chances to choose Him, so we won’t die forever (2 Peter 3:9). If we want to have a vibrant relationship with God, we must do it daily. We have to choose, this day, to serve Him. (Joshua 24:15) If we don’t eat daily, we won’t grow and develop properly physically; and if we don’t seek God daily, then we won’t grow and develop properly spiritually.

If anyone wants to draw near to God; if they want to develop a personal relationship with God; then they must focus their attention on God every day. The best times I have getting to know God better are the times when I take the time to: 1 Read the Bible and a devotional and let it soak in a little; 2 Read the prayer requests that I have received and think them over; both about the physical needs requested and about the spiritual needs that are represented by those requests; and then 3 kneel and talk to God; tell Him how much I want Him and how much I need Him in my life; about how thankful I am that He loves me and is taking care of me; about how much I love Him and how much I want to be more like Him and less like me, how I want to die to myself so He can live His life in me; and then I 4 wait; (and while I’m waiting),           I try to 5 listen for God about the needs in the prayer requests and how they relate to the Bible passage and the devotional. .
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IN THE BEGINNING.011716

skyI’m always fascinated with Genesis 1:1.  It says so much.  I keep learning more and more, both from research about the meanings, and from revelations that God gives me.  Just this week I’ve been reading the Amplified Version, and I love the points the explanatory notes make.  Here’s what it says;

“In the beginning God created [by forming from nothing] the heavens and the earth.”

Just a few comments. 1] ‘In the beginning’: Before anything else existed except God; the very beginning.  God, the Pre-existent One.

2] God created: He formed it from nothing.  That’s what the Hebrew word ‘bara’ translated as ‘created’, means: ‘formed it from nothing’.  Reminds me of what it says in verse 3, “God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light.”  He spoke the worlds into existence.  Actually, because Hebrew has words and tenses we don’t even have in English, as close as we can come to the word translated as ‘spoke’ is: “He willed it to exist.”

3] ‘the heavens and the earth’.  It’s all those galaxies out there in the universe, as well as this ‘blue dot’ among them.  God ‘spoke’ them all into existence, from absolutely nothing.

I’m glad we have God, who is so powerful and so gifted that He can do all that.  And if you read on down in the first chapter, He created all the rest of the stuff on the earth; plants, fish, birds, reptiles, mammals and finally men and women.  (and ultimately you and me).  He made each of us unique.  Look at the tip of your index finger on your right hand. There is a finger-print that is different from anyone else, anyone else who has ever lived or is living right now.  You are special. God made you special because He loves you, and He wants to have a relationship with you.  You in particular, not just as a member of the human race.  Whenever you’re ready, you can know Him for your very own self too, if you don’t already.

HOPELESSLY DEVOTED TO YOU.122215

Female choir conductor during performanceSounds crazy, but every time I hear this song from Grease, sung by Olivia Newton-John, I think about God, and about how I feel the same way about God that she felt about John Travolta.  I am hopelessly devoted.  Even if God didn’t love me back, I’d still be totally committed, totally surrendered to Jesus, because I know that He is my only hope, my only Deliverer, my only real LIFE.  In the song, Olivia says, “My head says I should leave, but my heart says to ‘hang on till the end’.”  Sometimes I feel that way.  My head says there’s just no sense in what’s going on. Why would God do that to me or to someone I love?  But my heart keeps saying what Peter said, when Jesus asked the disciples if they were going to leave Him too.  Peter said, “Where would we go?”  ‘Course God is different from John T.  God not only wants me, but He loved me when I didn’t want Him or love Him.  He’s there every minute, in my heart, telling me He’s taking care of me.

‘Devoted’ makes me think about ‘devotional’.  When I was a kid, maybe 8-10 years old, my momma would give me a copy of the Upper Room daily devotional, those little bitty books that had a few words about God for each day.  She said I ought to read it.  She didn’t say much else about it, about why I should read it.  I remember thinking, ‘I can read the Bible if I want to think about God, and I do read the Bible; so what do I need with some old person telling me what to think about God?”  So being young and dumb, I didn’t read it.  I think if she’d explained a little more to me about why it was a good idea, if I’d just think about God for a few minutes, early in the morning each day, that it would truly change my life; that I would begin to feel the Presence of God in my life from that one small daily act.  So, and this is truly humorous (and sad at the same time), I promptly started reading a devotional every day when I was about 54 years old.  Doesn’t take me long to get it, huh? Continue reading

SMALL GROUPS FOR JESUS 3.111115

drinks, communication, friendship and people concept - happy young women with cups sitting at table and talking in mall or cafeThis is my last post about “small groups for Jesus”, at least for the time being.  I just have a few more comments to make.

1] In my opinion, small groups are like family; they’re not about enforcing rules, and everybody being disciplined; they’re about letting God’s love flow through you into other people.  You may not believe this, but I’m convinced that almost every single person is acutely aware of their short-comings, and what they really need, on a regular basis, is encouragement and moral support.  (I find a lot of support for this attitude throughout the Bible; call it grace and mercy)  Small groups are, and should be, about sharing and expressing the fruits of the Spirit; and while self-control is one of the fruits and is therefore important to God and should be important to us; it is the very last thing on the list.  Wonder why that is?  (I don’t even know if there IS a hierarchy of the fruits, but I hear a lot more about love in the Bible than I do about self-control.)

2] One of the central, indispensible ingredients of a small group is trust.  Continue reading

EVERYTHING’S CHANGING.110715

past lifeAt my house we have a 66-year-old husband, a 55-year-old wife, and a 17-year-old son.  Everyone is involved in more than we can say grace over.  And though we have each other; for which we are all very grateful; we daily shake our heads and strain our brains to maintain stability.  Our church got a whole new pastoral staff this summer, and there have been multiple collateral changes.  For one thing our son and I have been involved for several years in a close working relationship with our youth director who’s been here for 11 years and is now, just this month, moving on.  Most of the kids we have worked with for 5-6 years have graduated from high school and gone off to college.  The few that are left are struggling to keep the program together.  As we look to the future, things are shifting. Seems like almost every week there is an announcement of another change in the leadership. Sometimes we almost lose heart.

But not for long.  Do you know that if you trust God, you can have peace in your heart, in spite of all the crazy stuff that’s going on?  Philippians 4:6-7.  Continue reading