Five Foundational Truths of Surrender: Truth #4

There are five foundational truths of surrender;

  1. God is good.
  2. God is in control.
  3. God knows more than we know.
  4. God can do more with what we have that we can. God doesn’t need your stuff, He wants you. He wants all of you, and He realizes that many times our stuff come between Him and us. We have a tendency to seek our stuff first….but as we seek God first He will manage all of our details (Matt 6:33).

 

Some Bullet Point Thoughts about the School Shooting in Parkland, Florida

• Don’t just share the hashtag #PrayForParklandFlorida., or type “prayers sent”, etc. Actually, stop and pray for the families involved, the school staff, and the churches in the area as they help one another.

• Are we so self-absorbed (in the best possible usage of the term) that we really don’t care enough to begin praying bold heartfelt prayers, having meaningful conversations, and making a difference where we live?

• Don’t make this a conversation about needing more laws or more gun control. Laws do not change a heart. Laws do not fix mental illness or evil. Regardless of where you stand politically, this is not a gun issue.

• For me, the conversation is about how do we handle mental illness and the ever-increasing spiritual darkness in our nation. Like, if Jesus was here in the flesh right now, would he call that mental illness or would He cast out a demon? If we see a homeless guy running around a cemetery naked and wild (Luke 8:26-39), we would call that mental illness, but Jesus called it demonic. I’m not saying we should blame everything on a demon, and I don’t think a prayer fixes all mental illness issues, but I do believe it is both are issues, not one or the other.

• It bothers me that this type of tragedy has become common enough that we seem to have developed a numbness to it. It is “just had another school shooting”. We get more outraged over common things that happen like someone cutting us off in traffic, or our “fries being cold again” when we go through the drive-through. We get more brokenhearted over what happened on “This is Us” or when a favorite musician dies of a drug overdose.

• It bothers me that we get more vocal and passionate about the political conversations surrounding a tragedy rather than the spiritual conversations that need to be happening.

• At the end of the day, we need Jesus. Evil will always be present and active, but the spiritual apathy of supposed Christ-followers and our churches, only allows the darkness to spread. We are called to be light in the darkness. Light and darkness cannot co-exist. As light increases, darkness decreases.

“All it takes for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing”. Apathy is killing us. Fear of offending someone is killing us. The “It’s not my problem” attitude is killing us.

 

 

Five Foundational Truths of Surrender: Truth #3

There are five foundational truths of surrender;

  1. God is good.
  2. God is in control.
  3. God knows more than we know. Don’t feel bad…..He is God for heaven sakes! The wisest, most highly educated person has a limit to their knowledge. But God’s wisdom and understanding are without measure or limitation.

…to be continued

Five Foundational Truths of Surrender: Truth #2

There are five foundational truths of surrender;

  1. God is good. God is always good. Sure bad things happen. Life is tough. Some days even seem impossible to survive. Yet God promises to never leave us or forsake us. He doesn’t promise there will not be those impossible days, but He does promise to walk through them with us.
  2. God is in control. Life happens. When it is bad we want to blame God. But God loved you so much He gave us the ability to choose. We can choose disobedience, etc…and reap the consequences of our choices. Sometimes things that are completely out of our control happen….but don’t be confused, God was not caught by surprise. God is in your tomorrow already.

…to be continued

 

 

 

 

Five Foundational Truths of Surrender: Truth #1

Though surrender may not be a very popular topic, when it comes to Christ-following it is an absolute necessity. Jesus is the perfect example of surrender. In Philippians 2:5-8 Paul challenged us to make our “attitudes the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in the appearance of a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death….even death on a cross.”

The phrase that stands out to me is “did not see equality with God as something to be grasped”. That pretty much sums up surrender. Willful disobedience is our way of saying that we have a right to disagree, debate, and disobey God. Surrender is how we rightly align our heart, mind, attitudes, and behaviors with God. Even the most compliant of us have a tendency to struggle with complete surrender to God. Though surrender is never easy, it does become easier once we understand some basic principles of surrender.

There are five foundational truths of surrender;

  1. God is good. God is always good. Sure bad things happen. Life is tough. Some days even seem impossible to survive. Yet God promises to never leave us or forsake us. He doesn’t promise there will not be those impossible days, but He does promise to walk through them with us.

…to be continued

The Power of Perspective During Tough Times

“Dear Mom and Dad, I’m sorry to be so long in writing. Unfortunately, all my stationery was destroyed the night our dorm was set on fire by the demonstrators. I’m out of the hospital now, and the doctors say my eyesight should return; sooner or later. The wonderful boy, Bill, who rescued me from the fire, kindly offered to share his little apartment with me until the dorm is rebuilt. He comes from a good family so you won’t be surprised when I tell you we’re going to be married. In fact, since you’ve always wanted a grandchild, you’ll be glad to know that you’ll be grandparents next month.”

“P.S. Please disregard the above practice for my class in English Composition. There was no fire, I haven’t been in the hospital, I’m not pregnant and I don’t even have a steady boyfriend. But I did get a D in French and an F in Chemistry, and I just wanted to be sure you received this news in the proper perspective.”

Your perspective makes all the difference in the world, and it influences how you respond to problems at work, problems at home, problems with your health. Paul says that as Christians we can rejoice even in tough times because we have hope and because we know that God is working in our lives. “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance.” (Romans 5:3)

Believe it or not, suffering can be productive! It does accomplish something. Problems have a purpose. Your trials and difficulties have value. Just as in childbirth so it is in other areas of life, it is easier to handle suffering when you know there is a purpose in it, and that it is not just in vain.

Now, what exactly does our suffering produce? First, Paul says our suffering produces perseverance (Romans 5:3). The Greek word for perseverance literally means “the ability to handle pressure.” That’s what perseverance is — the ability to handle pressure, to hang in there, to never give up but to keep on keeping on. When we make it through a difficult time without giving up, our character and confidence are strengthened, enabling us to handle even more pressure when it comes in the future.

Next, Paul says perseverance produces character (Romans 5:4). This word occurs only a few times in the Bible, and it means “proven reliable.” God uses the problems in your life to produce perseverance and character. And internal character, not circumstances, produces joy. Then, Paul says, character produces hope (Romans 5:4). Remember, in the Bible, the word hope doesn’t mean “I wish” or “I want.” It means confidence in Christ’s power. Instead of destroying our hope, problems are designed to increase our hope!

Problems don’t automatically produce perseverance and character and hope. Some people go through tough times, and all that happens to them is they become bitter, angry and uptight.  Perseverance, character, and hope are produced in us only when we choose the right attitude.

And what is the right attitude? Joy is the right attitude. James echoes Paul’s teaching on this subject: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2-3). Notice again, joy comes “because you know.” It’s always a matter of perspective. James continues, “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (v. 4).

I have Bad News for the Alt-Right Crowd

I have bad news for alt-right racists.

“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar. For whoever does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” — 1 John 4:20.

And if they do make it to heaven based on God's grace (we ALL need that, none of us are worthy), then based on scripture's description below, they will absolutely HATE it. Haahhahaa

“After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb! ” Revelation 7:9-10

God is not a racist. Torch-wielding white nationalists and white supremacists marching through Charlottesville, Virginia, Friday night and rallying again Saturday are clearly in conflict with scripture, as well as the nature & character of God.

As followers of Christ our number one responsibility is to be an ever increasing better reflection of Jesus.

Don't get sucked into stupid controversies and arguments, but don't be afraid to reflect Jesus either. The darkness around you simply cannot put out the light within you that shines through you. Be light in the darkness!

Where is God During Tragedy?

Difficulty, difficult days, and difficult seasons of time are a normal part of our lives. I encouraged you to remember who God is, to remember what God can do, and I encouraged you to allow God to keep working through and through you regardless of the circumstances surrounding you.

Tragedy is something we have no control over. It comes will no warning and as no respecter of person, circumstance, title, or age. When tragedy arrives everything else stops. Our schedules no longer matter. Our to-do lists no longer matter. Time seems to stop and freeze. Our minds become numb with disbelieve and denial. The reality of the tragedy simply overwhelms our minds.

Tragedy comes in all forms and scopes; national, regional, community, personal, and even private. In the case of a community tragedy like a tornado, hurricane, etc… the entire region is touched and pauses to hurt and help. If it is a personal tragedy, our close family and friends are touched and pause to aid us. And there are times that the tragedy is very private and few people realize what the individual is coping with that day.

The reality is that every single day tragedy occurs somewhere around us. People die, find out they have a terminal illness, lose businesses, have house fires, are abused, throw away their potential through addiction, etc. Everyday people ask the question, “Where was God when “blank” happened?”

An equal reality is that our loving God is always there in the midst of the tragedy. Life happens! Scripture says, “It rains on the just and the unjust”. We want to live our lives as we choose, then call on God to help us on an emergency basis, and to protect us from anything bad or difficult. God is not some sort of genie in a bottle wanting to grant us our three wishes.

In Revelation 12:12 God himself is quoted, “ Rejoice you heavens, and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows his time is short.” There is a real enemy who according to Jesus in John 10:10, is here only to kill, steal, and destroy. God has sent Jesus to provide live and live to the fullest.

When tragedy hits, remember that God is there with you. You are never alone. He will provide peace and strength in the midst of your storm. Trust Him. Even you don’t understand. Even when you can’t His hand, trust His heart. God will use every single that happens in your life, good and bad, to make you who He wants you to be! Let tough times, the storms or life, and even tragedy to draw you closer to God. When all is said and done, God will always prove to be faithful!