Friday, 20 September 2013

Moments


The moments that seem insignificant prepare us for the moments that are most significant.
Steven Furtick
Steven Furtick
As a more chronologically mature person I appreciated this thought from Steven Furtick who is among the bright new leaders in Christendom.   Our lives are made up of predominantly little, insignificant, mundane moments.  It is during these moments that our hearts are particularly on display to all mighty God.  It is in the little moments when no one is watching or paying attention to our behavior that who we truly are surfaces.  Do I get impatient if someone left the cap off the toothpaste causing it to harden?  Do I get frustrated when I can’t find my car keys?  Do I get annoyed when I find that someone in the family has eaten the bagel that I had set aside for breakfast?  Do I let a fellow road warrior cut in front of me when I realize he/she is having a hard time merging in?  Do I put on another pot of coffee at work when I have taken the last cup?  I think you are beginning to get the idea.  We have hundreds of little moments every day.

Why is it so important how I respond to these daily occurrences?  Because as I have said they reflect my heart.  More specifically, as a Christian, my responses to life reflect how well I am manifesting the Fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5,i.e. faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, joy, kindness, love, peace, patience and self-control.

If I have learned to rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit during the little moments of my life it more than likely that I will seek Him when faced with more daunting challenges.  If I have sought God’s will for my life when confronted with those insignificant trials and temptations of daily life it stands to reason that I will seek His counsel when faced with more pressing matters.
                                                        
Life is a learning laboratory, offering many teachable moments.  It is like when I was in school and had numerous quizzes throughout the week.  At the end of the week we had a test.  The test was a compilation of the quizzes.  If I did well on the quizzes, I did well on the test.  If we do well handling the little moments of life we will be better able to handle those that are more sigficant.    

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Believe and Not Doubt

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  James 1:5-7

Wisdom, as James understands it, is the ability to live life well and make good decisions. Wisdom doesn’t come from old age or hard knocks. Wisdom begins with knowing and depending absolutely on God, who is never stingy when it comes to wisdom for those who seek it. He supplies all the wisdom we need when we ask. But when we try to go it alone—without God—trouble is around the corner.  Footnote in the Voice translation.

I can assure you that wisdom does not come with age or I would be rivaling Solomon but I digress.  What made todays verse come to mind is a time of uncertainty that my wife and I are facing.  It is not of a serious nature but it is the type of situation that we would be most comforted if we knew what the Lord had in store for us within the next 12 months.  I could have chosen Matthew 6:34 which says “34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

 What appears to be causing our angst is that at some level we must be doubting that God’s plan for our lives will be every bit as good or better than the plan we have for ourselves.  Do not get me wrong, on an intellectual level we totally believe that God is sovereign, all powerful and in complete control.  We accept as fact that He is merciful, full of grace and compassion.  But…

Come on admit it, even the staunchest of believers have their “But” moments.  It is when Satan makes a grand entrance into the recesses of our minds and plants doubt.  “Did God really say…” what a great opening line to entice Eve.  In our case Satan is saying “what if God’s plan is ultimately better for you but not at all what you are hoping for?”

Facing the unknown whether it is retirement, a serious illness, or the fate of a wayward child is difficult for those of us of the “microwave” generation. We are used to getting things quickly, particularly information off the internet.  So waiting upon the Lord as we are instructed to do, seems most challenging.

It is in these circumstances that when both the husband and wife are born again believers one or the other can shine the light of God’s Word on your situation.

 

Monday, 16 September 2013

Is God on the Sidelines?

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6


There was an interesting line in a recent Family Life blog that posed the question, “Is Jesus Christ the One who gets the credits in the movie of your life, or is He the plot?”  I interpreted this question to mean does your life play out with little regard to Jesus on a daily basis or is He an integral part of your day?  Does He just show up occasionally and get mentioned in passing or does He provide the filter through which you see all of your life?  Is Christ a bit player in your life’s drama or does He have the leading role?

For some who are born again believers Jesus shows up in the aftermath of a difficult situation, almost as an afterthought a prayer is thrown up asking God for help.  There are those who seek God’s presence daily so that when tribulation comes they lean on Him for strength and to learn from their difficulties.

Over my life time I have probably been in both categories.  Early in my Christian walk in all honestly my faith may have resembled more of a “Hail Mary” type of relationship with Christ.  In football speak a Hail Mary is usually a desperation play called by the quarterback at the end of the game.  It is a pass into the end zone with less than a minute on the clock with the hope of completing the pass and winning the game.  In more recent years I have tried to let Him call each play of the game instead of waiting until I’m in trouble.  I don’t win every game but it is sure easier.

Obviously many couples struggle in their marriage. For such couples, going to a counselor is like the Hail Mary pass, it is a last minute desperate attempt to salvage what appears to be a losing effort.  Even for avowed Christians, God is most often on the bench on the sidelines. He certainly is not on their field of life calling the plays.  Ironically, to continue with the football metaphor, this is like running the ball on every play even though the defensive line of your opponent has stopped you at the line of scrimmage every time.  In the case of marriage the couple keeps behaving and thinking in the same ways that got them into their dilemma to begin with.

So wise guy what’s the solution?  Seek help early in your marriage don’t wait until the end of the game.  Whether it means going to a marriage seminar, reading some of the truly good Christian marriage books together or seeking a Christian marriage counselor.