At 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 →
If you’re going to make a disciple, presumably you’re going to teach ’em something. So what are you thinking about teaching them? I’m of the opinion that if you want to have a lasting effect on someone, the best thing you can do is change their behavior; more to the point, you create some new habit that will stay with them for a long time, like having a quiet time: reading the Bible and some devotional and then talking and listening to God for a few minutes early in the morning each day. If you don’t do anything but that, and it sticks, it’ll have a profound effect on their lives forever after.
But let me tell you. It’s not easy to get people started on a new habit, even if it’s short; even if it gives them a whole new outlook on life; even if it changes their hearts and eventually changes their lives. I’ve talked to my kids (I have four) about this subject on repeated occasions, and so far two have really gotten it. I’m still waiting, and hoping, and praying that they will get it and keep it forever. But it just doesn’t work to brow-beat them about it. Some days I think repetition is the key. On a good day, maybe they’ll say “Yes, I’ll do it.” But it’s easy to fall off the wagon, even when you’ve been doing it for a long time. I know that from experience, so I’m pretty unjudgmental about how, where, and when they have a quiet time. The really great thing is, God is working! He’s moving in their lives, even when I’m not looking.
It’s sad to say, but a lot of people think prayer is solely about asking for stuff, especially in an emergency. Even sadder is that a lot of them only pray in an emergency. Makes for a strained relationship with God, if the only time you talk to Him is when you need something, especially only when you are in dire straits. I’ve heard a lot of parents say that it makes them sad that their college age kids, or even young adult children, only call them when they need money. Sounds like the kids don’t really care about having a real relationship with their parents.
But you know, God’s not like that. He really wants to have a close, personal, dare I say intimate relationship with you. He already knows all about you anyway. He’s been looking at your heart. Why shouldn’t you really let Him in and begin to develop a relationship with Him where you know a lot more about Him. Get intimately acquainted with God. For my money, that’s what prayer is, and should be about.
Yesterday we had Sunday School for youth at our church. The discussion was loosely based on the Lectionary. We discussed two passages in particular, one was Jesus’ prayer in John 17, where He says, “I pray that they (the disciples) may all be one. As I am one with You Father, and You are one with Me, they may be one with Us, that the world may know that You sent me.” The other passage was Psalm 1, verses 1-3, where David says, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His Law does he meditate both day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”
We talked a little about what it means to “be one” with God. About how if we trust God, His own Spirit comes to live in our own hearts, and in a real sense, we are all one with Jesus and God because we all share the same Spirit. We even talked a little about how when Jesus’ Spirit comes to live in our hearts, we have a change of the way we look at things, the way we feel about things, so that we are better able to DO what we’re supposed to in a spiritual sense and in a natural sense as well, because God is supernaturally moving in our hearts and our lives. Continue reading →
In Joshua 1:8, The LORD says to Joshua, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. ”
It’s a lot like Psalm 1:1-3, where David says, ” Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the river, his leaf will not wither, and whatever he does will prosper.” Continue reading →
How can you tell if people are Christians? There are several things:
1] They love one another. 2] They trust God and surrender to Him daily. 3] They seek God’s will, and His Power, and His direction in their lives. 4] They bear fruit – a] Fruits of the Spirit b] Fruits of more disciples 5] They read, study and memorize the Bible. 6] They pray for themselves and others, they meditate on God’s Word and they listen for God. 7] They tell what they’ve seen and heard about what God is doing in their lives and in the lives of others. (They just can’t help it.) 8] They are ready to give a reason for the hope that is in them. 9] They know, be, make and teach others to make, disciples (followers) of Jesus. 10] They gather themselves together regularly to worship God and encourage each other.
Might be a good idea to compare ourselves to this list periodically, to see how we’re doing. None of us are doing all the right things all the time, but it’s God’s will that we continually grow and develop as Christians by the power and the grace of His Holy Spirit. (Sometimes you run into someone who exhibits the love and peace of Jesus in their personal demeanor, and even though they don’t say it in so many words, you just know they have to be followers of the King.)
Two things to remember: 1] This is not a comprehensive list of things Christians do (LOL); it’s just a good place to start; and 2] What this is really all about is having a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ our Lord, and being more like Him every day.
Prayer 1]Listen for God. Meditate on His Word.Apply the revelations you get to your life. Prayer 2] Don’t worry. Give your problems to God; trust Him; get peace. Like Phil. 4:6-7. Prayer 3]Trouble?Pray. Sick? Pray for each other so that you may be healed. God can and will fix it. Pray together, pray separately, pray for each other, pray for those who depend on you. Like James 5:13-20. Continue reading →