Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Acting alone for God

Yes this is my second post on the same day after not posting for a while. I have tried to post on some days and it just didn't seem like the thoughts were flowing for what I wanted to say so rather than bore you with something meaningless I opted to be quiet. But today 2 thoughts were coming that didn't seem to fit on the same post.

Let's meditate together on acting alone for God. I know God did not create us to be hermits, always by ourselves, although that lifestyle seems pretty tempting sometimes. But think of the many instances in the Bible where one person had to act on what God had told him alone, not a group of believers.

John the Baptist came to my mind first this morning. He had to tell Herod the truth about the adultry situation in Herod's family. The Bible didn't say anything about the believers getting together and discussing what ought to be done about confronting Herod with the situation. John told Herod himself and John was the only one beheaded for it. There wasn't a group of people arrested for conspiring against Herod. John acted alone for God on this one.

Abraham acted alone when God told him to sacrifice Isaac. Joseph alone had the dreams and told them to his family. And he was certainly alone on his journey from the the pit to the jail in Egypt to being second in command to Pharoah. Many of the disciples made decisions each day on what they faced for the day whether it was a healing, a rebuking of a liar, or facing a crowd of Pharisees with the truth. They didn't have a big conference asking believers if they should heal, how should they confront Annanias and Sapphira or if they should speak so plainly to the Pharisees.

The disciples didn't stay huddled up in a clique either. I looked up the word clique today. It means a select few, priveleged, splinter group, sect. They boldly went out to do God's business and they suffered for it. They didn't get permission from the Sanhedrin about where they were aloud to go or what they were aloud to do. Many times they acted alone for God. And they were marked and persecuted but they did a work for God. Their prayer life and Bible knowledge and closeness to God directed them to act on God's behalf.

Today many people feel they can't take a step one way or the other unless they have permission from some human. Even in society, Americans have the mind set that they need the government to tell them what to do and solve their problems.

Let us walk today with God in a way that we can act at His direction. It is amazing the vision He can give us when He helps us pull ourselves away from organized religion to think for ourselves.


No, it is not Friday, but we can still thank God. TODAY GOD IS FIRST.

This morning God encouraged me with II Corinthians 12:10 "I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong" Back to verse 9 "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." This was the apostle Paul speaking.

Most of the time being thankful in our troubles does not come natural, even to the Christian. In another scripture Paul said he had to learn to be content. And when he was having a mountain top experience he was given a thorn in the flesh to buffet him. So even the apostle Paul had to feel weak, beat upon and dissatisfied with his circumstances. But he made an effort to be thankful and glory that God's power was going to be shown by getting Paul through his problems.

I don't think any of us are protected from having days where we feel like the devil is pressing us down on every side. No, I'm not talking about being dragged through sin. I'm talking about depression and not knowing which direction to take next. Not having the strength within ourselves to face the problems that surround us. But I have personally experienced over and over God coming in and lifting those black clouds and giving me renewed strength and vision. Sometimes He has solved the problem but more often He has given me strength to keep going through it.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Different characteristics of God

When we read in the Bible verses that tell us to have the mind of Christ or be Godlike or be filled with the Holy Spirit there is an attribute that automatically comes to our mind. For most people the attributes that are most prevalent are loving, peaceful and sweet. The human mind likes to push to the side the fact that God is angry with the wicked every day. Or that Jesus stood up to the Pharisees and talked very plain and what most people today would call rude. But Jesus did not apologize for one word of it. When the apostles were first filled with the Holy Ghost after Jesus went back to heaven, they had a boldness that caused them to speak very plainly with people. Stephen spoke so plain he got stoned to death. I know of at least one time when the disciples asked Jesus, "Don't you know that you offended the Pharisees?"

Today, if Jesus stood in our pulpits and said what was on His heart, most Christians would think He had overstepped His bounds. They would tell Him He just couldn't talk like that around here and that he had a bad Spirit.

And yet, as Christians we ignore that side of Christ. We don't want to take on that characteristic of God. But if we are going to stand for God, yes, in the way He would have us to, we are going to have to speak up at times when it makes us uncomfortable. Sometimes it is not going to make us very popular. But doesn't God tell us to please Him and not man? He most certainly does.

You see, He is sending us out amidst wolves in sheeps clothing just like He did the disciples. Spiritually we cannot afford to be sweet talked by a wolf that looks like a sheep. We need to be in our Bibles and in prayer and on our guard. Read in Acts how the power of the Holy Spirit affected their actions.

As God breaths on us, let us be filled with all of His characteristics.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Breath on Me, Breath of God

Here are the words to an old hymn I was playing this morning: Text: Edwin Hatch Music: Robert Jackson

Breath on me, Breath of God
Fill me with life a new
That I may love what Thou dost love
And do what Thou wouldst do

Breath on me Breath of God
Until my heart is pure
Until my will is one with Thine
To do and to endure

Breath on me Breath of God
Till I am wholly Thine
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine

Breath on me Breath of God
So shall I never die
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity

How strong is just a breath from God. The song references John 20:22 when Jesus "breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost"

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Surprise! Surprise!

I really got suprised today. About 2:30 this afternoon at work, one of my co-workers, Cheryl,called me and asked if I was really busy and could I please take the box of mail to our other building. She said that Tracy, who was covering that this week, needed to work on her May closing reports. I said sure. I went and ask Tracy exactly what I needed to do and proceeded to carry the box to the van, opened the passenger door, slid it in. As I proceeded to walk around to the driver side, there stood Rick, Julie and Lori. Rick said "Come on we're kidnapping you." I said "I can't I have to take this mail to the other building." He called to Cheryl (I didn't know she had come out the door after me) to help him out. She proceeded to take the mail back out of the van. The four of us got in Julie's View and took off. I kept asking questions but nobody would tell me anything. We ended up at the rest home where we have volunteered for almost 7 years. I knew they were having ice cream for the residents today. But my "3 family members" had a certain grin on their face and I suspected something else was going on. Sure enough, when the homemade ice cream was ready, Lisa, the activity director surprised me with a volunteer of the year plaque, 2 cards, an Ingles gift card and lots of nice words and hugs. I felt like crying. I never suspected that my "3 family members" knew about it for several weeks. Then tonight, Clay said he was sorry he couldn't take off work today to come.

What a nice "breath of fresh air"! Thank you everyone! Love you all!