Sunday, February 21, 2010

Casting Our Crowns

Revelation 4:10, 11

When we see finally see Jesus sitting on his throne, it will mean that we were not banished from God’s kingdom, even though we deserved to be. How wonderful!

We will be so thankful and so happy and so full of love for Jesus that we will want to place all of our awards and titles at his feet. Anything great we did in life will seem small compared to what He did for us.

That means all of my trophies, my ribbons, my championships, and any awards I got at work or school.

At his feet there will be Olympic medals, Superbowl rings, Grammys, Emmys, prom queen and homecoming queen tiaras, Miss Universe crowns, gold records, Nobel Peace prizes, Scholarship awards…

So should we really be living our lives trying to prove that we are awesome by seeing how many awards we can win and how much success we can achieve? Can we ever have enough or will someone always have more?

Will God love us more if we accomplish more?

Does God love any one of his kids more than another?

If we become a great leader many people will love us and it will prove that we are something special, right?

Remember, everyone wants to be the leader. Everyone wants to prove that they are awesome. Everyone thinks his ideas are the best. Lucifer did this in God’s kingdom. He wanted to prove that he was just as wise and good as God. He wanted to earn all of the angel’s admiration. He couldn’t just follow God. He got banished.

Maybe it is not God we are trying to impress, maybe it is other people. Maybe even our mom or dad.

We can not fall into the trap of judging our self worth by how other people treat us. People are naturally selfish and cruel. People like to show that they are better than you. Then just when you think you have done something great to get them to like you, they don’t, because they are jealous of you instead of happy for you.

Don’t put your trust in people. We need to remember that imperfect people do not really know how to be kind, or give love. Perfect love comes only from God. If you need to earn a parent’s love or a friend’s respect, it can never fully be done. Our only response is to forgive them for withholding love and get free from that pressure.

Love is not to be earned. It is to be given freely. It has nothing to do with appearances or accomplishments.

Chasing awards, respect, and admiration is a trick from the enemy to rob us of enjoying our lives.

God loves us already. He invited us to come to live with him forever in his kingdom. He rescued us. He is our hero. We owe Him everything.

He created us with talents and abilities to develop. Enjoy it!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How do you "hear" from God? Follow the nudge.

So, you have invited Jesus in to your heart. And you really want to do God’s will. And you have heard people say that God told them this or that. But you are pretty sure that God had not “told” you anything. What’s up with that?

We know that God is always leading us. He sent his Holy Spirit to join with our spirit. That is how we became “born again” when Jesus was invited into our hearts. We were blind to the things of God before that. Dead. Spiritually dead. But now we have a new spirit alive within us that is always leading, teaching, and guiding us. “Talking” to us.

Can you hear it? Is it your conscience? Yes. But now that you are born again it is also the The Holy Spirit.

Now you have a choice. You can ignore this quiet little nudge, or you can obey it. If you ignore it, it can seem to get quieter and quieter as you follow your own reasoning, thoughts, and desires. It will get harder and harder to hear the Holy Spirit. Then we begin to feel that God has deserted us and does not care about us. But really it was us that ignored Him.

If we obey the quiet little nudge of the Holy Spirit it can seem to get louder and clearer to us. The quicker we obey, the closer we follow the Lord and the clearer His voice becomes to us. Like tuning in a radio. Jesus perfectly obeyed the leading of the Holy Spirit while he was on the earth. It takes practice for us. The more you do it the more it becomes a natural way of life. This is one sure way to “hear” the Lord.

But what if that quiet little voice is not from God? How can you know? Do you know the character of God? That is why He made sure we have the bible, written by men who were inspired by the same Holy Spirit that is in you. So we can know what God is like. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you when you begin to study His word. The Holy Spirit will make God’s word clear for you a little at a time, like putting together a giant puzzle, piece by piece. It takes time and effort on our part, so don’t ever give up. Getting born again is quick, but growing up in God takes a lifetime.

We can love God and have the best intentions. But then all the cool things in this exciting world leave us no time to tune in on the things of God. We are busy with our jobs or school, and responsibilities, then our favorite games or TV or facebook. We can even be busy with our ministries or talents. There is nothing wrong with any of those things. But the bible tells us to “put God first”. That is our part. Find time, no, make time. Remember, God is quiet but the world is loud. We are to be following God, not having Him running after us.

The Holy Spirit might lead you to do different things at different times. God commonly gives new direction or thoughts to us when we are worshipping in song, or are quietly thinking about the scripture we just read, or are thinking through our problems after inviting Him into the situation, or are discussing Godly things with someone that we trust. But if you are following God and tuning in the best you can, but “hear” nothing new, then just trust, and stay thankful, and rest. This is how we learn to be patient and stay faithful.

There are also extreme ways to hear from God, but they are kind of rare. Someone could have a prophesy about you, or you could have a vision, or a God inspired dream. Sometimes you can have a very strong thought in your head that is not yours, but God’s. A few times in the bible God spoke out loud so that many people heard it at once. When we are in a crisis or scared we wish for this kind of voice. But usually God is the still small voice within us. More like a “knowing”. He reveals more and more to us as we follow, like headlights on a car, you can’t see what’s down the road until you move forward a little more.

The more you follow the ways of Jesus, the more you will know Him and the clearer his “voice” will become to you.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What is Love? Baby, don’t hurt me. 1 Cor. 13: 4-7

What if every child in the world could say…My parents love me.
I know because they are patient and gentle with me.
They treat me with kindness. They are not cruel, or eager to punish me.
They don’t do evil things to me or take out their frustrations on me. Nor will they ignore me or forget about me.
When I am happy it makes them happy also. They rejoice in my successes.
They share what they have with me. My needs are important to them.
They are not sarcastic or rude to me. They don’t laugh at me, or make fun of me.
They always welcome me, never push me away. They want to spend time with me.
They don’t keep a mental list of all the times that I misbehaved or made mistakes.
They forgive me, restore me, help me find the right path.
They are glad when I am truthful. They don’t want me to hide things form them, even my true thoughts or questions.
They never throw me out of the family. They are loyal to me.
They always believe the best of me even when I don’t deserve it.
They are fiercely on my side. They protect me. They have hope for me.

And what if every wife could say…My husband loves me.
I know because he is so patient with me. He does not lose his temper on me.
He is always kind to me, not cruel. He will not harm me. He will not take out his frustrations on me.
He will not ignore me. When I am happy it makes him happy also.
He shares what he has with me. My needs are important to him.
He is not sarcastic or rude to me. He doesn’t laugh at me, or make fun of me.
He gives me high priority. Always makes time for me. Doesn’t put me last. Wants to hear my opinion.
He doesn’t keep a list of the times that I messed up. He forgives and forgets. We start fresh.
I can be truthful with him. And he gives me the truth in kind and gentle ways.
He never gives up on me and kicks me out. He is loyal to me.
He always assumes the best of me. He trusts me.
He always defends me. He is always on my side.
He always protects me. He has high hopes for us.
(Of course we should also turn this to say, “My wife loves me” in the same way.)

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 tells us that this is exactly what perfect love is. Therefore we can say…God loves me.
He will always be patient with me. He is not mad at me or demanding my allegiance.
He is always kind to me, not cruel. He is not out to harm me. Nor will He forget about me.
When I am happy it makes Him happy also. He wants good for me, not evil.
He shares what He has with me. My needs are important to Him.
He is not sarcastic or rude to me. He doesn’t laugh at me, or scoff at me, or send me away.
He gives me high priority. Always has time for me. He longs to spend time with me.
He doesn’t keep a list of the times that I messed up. He forgets them. We start fresh.
Through Jesus He forgives me, and renews our relationship. He shows me the right path.
He wants me to know truth. He gives me the truth in kind and gentle ways. The Holy Spirit and the Bible.
He wants to know the true me, all of me.
He never gives up on me and kicks me out of his family. He is loyal to me.
He always defends me. He is always cheering for me.
He always protects me. He has high hopes for me. He never fails.

No parent or spouse can possibly love us as well as God does. We each need His help, His healing, and His perfect love.