Category Archives: Kingdom Life

The Holy Spirit Twiddles His Thumbs

Twiddle ThumbsYesterday, during our worship service, I had an inner image settle on my heart.  I “felt it” more than I saw it as a clear picture.

It was of the Holy Spirit twiddling His thumbs.

The next thing that flashed in my minds was, “Okay, that’s pretty strange!”

I said to myself, “What’s that all about?  It certainly doesn’t seem very scriptural.  The Holy Spirit wouldn’t be twiddling His thumbs”

Obviously it wasn’t a doctrinal statement about a characteristic of the Holy Spirit.  Instead He was using symbolic imagery to communicate a practical truth. 

Through this strange image, He was saying, “I’ve been given to the Father’s sons and daughters so that they may experience the promise Jesus made of an abundant life.  But, I’m not being given anything to do.”

We’ve fooled ourselves into thinking that God expects us to live the Christian life out of our natural abilities.  The fact is that our part is not to initiate, but to respond.  Jesus said that He watched and listened to the input of the Holy Spirit for His marching orders.  We have the same calling with the same backing as Jesus had when He walked this earth.

We believe in “the doctrine” of the reality and presence of the Holy Spirit.  But, we don’t often have a “working knowledge” of how to respond to Him.  On one hand it’s rather mysterious in how “we and He” work it all together.  Yet, on the other hand, it’s pretty straight forward.

I’ve come to the practical understanding that the Holy Spirit is my best friend here on earth.  Most of my prayers now days are directly to Him.  I’ve come to understand that He is my eyes and ears to connect to the invisible world of Spirit.  The eyes of my spirit and His are fused into one.  That truly is a mystery.  I can’t explain how.  But they are.  The same is spiritually true about the ears of my spirit and His ears to hear Spirit world sounds.

My natural eyes are connected to my brain, as are my natural ears.  The eyes and ears that are of a great deal more importance are the Spirit/spirit connection.

Here’s one example that I’ll end this post with.  It was during worship that I received this spiritually generated impression.  So, let’s talk about the “worship connection.”

We think we are supposed to summon all of our natural abilities and do the best we can to offer worship unto the Lord.  There’s a part of that that has truth to it.  However, what we employ naturally is to be a response to what we “see/sense” is happening in our “gut.”  Then we cooperate with that.  We do that.  We respond to that.

It starts with a prayer something like this, “Holy Spirit, please show me my part in heavenly spirit led worship today.  I’m letting you take the lead.  I will respond to what you show me.”  

This is where any number of things my happen…occur…become felt by you.  However it won’t happen in your brain.  It’ll happen in the center of your being…in your gut.  Respond to that.  You’ll have the best worship experiences when you approach it with the Holy Spirit leading the way.   This description is basically a pattern that can be applied to most anything in your day.

Is the Holy Spirit twiddling His thumbs with you?  Are you giving Him anything to do?  Or are you living more or less a “mere man” life?

Gary

 

 

 

Between a Rock and a Hard Place?

Rock and Hard PlaceBetween a rock and a hard place.  Yep.  Been there.  Done that.  Better said, “Sometimes still doing that.”  Any you know what?  I’ve gotten the t-shirt.  Not just any old “T” mind you.  I have one of the special designer models.

Now, those pressure points always work out for my good.  Although there have been times I thought I would die of old age first :)

So, what am I learning that is propelling my journey in an upward spiritual momentum? 

1.  Tight places are common to life.  Accept it.  Deal with it.  And keep moving forward rather than getting stuck in the “I’m a victim” quick sand.

2.  Tight places accompany a God-sized vision.  Dreaming a dream that’s actually going to amount to anything – and acting on that dream – is seldom (if ever) going to be a walk in the park.  So, keeping your eyes on Jesus and the goal He set before you is vital when the “kitchen heats up.”

3.  Tight places taunt you with discouragement.  Shake it off.  Lift your eyes.  Otherwise, the nasty critters that discouragement opens the door to make things worse.  There is no temptation that isn’t common to man.  Step over it and take the next most practical step.  You can’t control the other people that are affecting your story.  Keep your eyes fixed only on controlling your own thoughts and actions.  God is always BIGGER.

4.  Tight places are sometimes the result of our own lack of applying ourselves to wisdom.  There is definitely a time for action on our part, but my weakness has tended to being too quick on the draw.  I get a bright, glorious God idea, and forget that God, Himself laid the foundations of the earth (His own vision).  Proverbs 3:19   The process of wisdom comes, itself, from God.  But, there is always a process.

5.  Tight places are the laboratory of growth.  I have never been through a pressure point without it producing positive growth in my relationship with God and those around me.  Well…that is…the tight places where I’ve allowed the Holy Spirit to be my guide.  The “exits” produced by my own cunning?  No so much.

6.  Tight places have the potential of keeping us focused on our purpose.  As we walk through our earthly journey, we often need reminded that God has given us an assignment.  And that assignment is to bear good fruit.  When we get our eyes off of our assignment and onto our displeasure with the struggle and attempting to find the first exit (that God doesn’t make)…then the space between the rock and the hard place becomes a torture chamber for our souls.

Are you in a tight place today?  Does it seem like there’s no way of escape?  Does God seem to have abandoned you to tough it out?  

Is it possible that you are in a similar situation that the Apostle Paul encountered when he prayed three times for escape and God said…Nope.   Remember…

Paul wrote his great thorn message after he had discovered the answer.  His story is a living testimony that God’s counsel hit the nail right on the head.  He discovered the glory of Christ’s power within him to produce eternal fruit in all circumstances.  He didn’t need the circumstances (thorns) removed to overcome them.

“Lord, I want to do what’s important to you, today.  I want to bear the fruit you intend instead of insisting on an escape route.  I want to learn to be content, in You, in whatever circumstance I’m in until the day Your hand delivers me….to another place of fruit bearing.

Gary

 

 

 

 

 

 

How You Believe May Be Your Problem

Fist on tableWe all believe things.  It comes as natural as breathing.  We were created by God with that “DNA.” 

I gave a message several years back entitled, “Faith Is Easy.”  The key thought was similar…but different…to today’s post.  The message was that the believing part is the easy part.  The problem arises with the “what” part.

The first cousin to the “what” part of believing is the “how” we believe what we believe.  In my experience, most people fall into one of two categories…or a little of both.

  1. “I believe it this way and you believe it the wrong way”
  2. “You believe  it that way, but the way I believe is better?”

The deadly problem with both of those scenarios is that each thought or statement is too often born from a sense of superiority.  The result:  Deafened ears to the beat of each others hearts.  And…God made us to need each others heartbeats to find abundance for ourselves (and each other.)

“But…but…but…I’m not going to be pushed around by every wind of doctrine!”

Me neither.  I believe a firm foundation of healthy God centered beliefs is very important.  But, this is what I’ve learned…and am still learning:

“The gentle breeze of a peaceable attitude is far more effective in communicating truth than the scorching winds of a blowhard.”

I’ve also discovered…and am still discovering that some of the “biblical positions” I defensively held were not necessarily inaccurate.  But, they were waaaaay incomplete.

Paul tells the Ephesian church that Jesus came with a wrecking ball.   (You’ll find that in your favorite Ellis Amplified Translation).   He came to destroy the wall between Jew (the right people) and the Gentile Pagans (the wrong people.)

Too many years have been spent in Christianity (the people that supposedly know the heart of God) reconstructing what the cross demolished.  And the thing that has made that a doubly deadly pursuit is that it feeds the haughty spirit that drives the whole endeavor.

Being tossed back and forth without a stability in one’s foundations is not healthy.  Do those things that will continually nurture your love for God…AND…for your neighbor. 

Because guess what?

The Bible is a sword to defeat your true enemy…the devil.  It was never intended to be a weapon to wield against flesh and blood. 

Here’s one closing thought:

I know some self-proclaimed atheists who act more like Jesus demonstrated in the Scriptures than those who claim to be His “right ones.”  Do I believe Atheism is a good choice, or even the right one.  Nope.  Not at all.  But, do I believe in respecting a self-proclaimed atheist and earn the right to express the virtues and values of Christ-life to him or her.  Yep.  Absolutely.

Be careful lest you find Jesus on the other side of the line you’ve drawn between you and someone else.  It may not be truth that is dividing your relationships with others.  How you blieve may be your problem.

Please feel free to add to the conversation below:

Gary

 

When Making Choices

Two EvilsWe are constantly confronted with making choices.  It’s the stuff that life is made of.

A common phrase is, “I’m choosing the lesser of two evils.”

Bad choice.  Evil can only produce more evil regardless of “greater” or “lesser.”

Instead, there’s always a “third alternative.”  You may feel driven to make a choice, but the Holy Spirit never drives us.  He’s our Guide.In a “westernized” world, we live in a culture of hurry.

A “lesser evil” driven by the felt need to hurry is a product of fear.  Fear will never guide anyone to God’s wisdom of choices.

The response to being driven to decide “right now” is to STOP.  Take a deep breath.  Settle your heart.  Ask God for His wisdom…His “third alternative.”  And don’t make a decision until a peaceable intuition lights gently on your heart.

Charles Spurgeon said, “Of two evils, choose neither.”  That was some of the greatest wisdom he ever uttered.

The song goes, “Slow down, you’re moving to fast…”

Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Does this apply to you, today?

Gary

 

 

The Best Way To Discover God’s Will

local-phone-serviceHow to find God’s will is a very sought after subject.  Another topic that mirrors it is how to find or discover one’s purpose in life.

I’ve discovered a couple of things that add clarity to those subjects.   In this article I hope to effectively communicate those realities so that they will become like fresh bread for your own pursuits in life.

Discovery #1:  The idea of “God’s Will” is different in the Scriptures than we often think of it today.

When we read the words. God’s willwe typically think it is a revealing of God’s sovereignly determined path, or His command to be obeyed.  It, therefore, is our job to find it or be out of God’s will and consequently be walking in disobedience.

There is an aspect of the truth about His determined purposes in Christ that will happen.  However, the original meanings of the English word for “will” were:

want
wish
desire
pleasure

That would make the Lord’s Prayer read like this, “Your Kingdom come, Your pleasure be done on earth…”

Being God, He could dictate His desires, right?   Right.  He could.  But, that’s not His pleasure in working with His Sons and Daughters.   There are a multitude of ways God’s pleasure for us can be fulfilled.

We are His family, created in His image.  We’ve been given choices with a multitude of ways to please Him.  It’s about living life with our Heavenly Father.  It’s about discovering a vast variety of ways to do that.

God’s Will Isn’t Lost.

I read a testimonial about a dedicated woman of God that I highly respect.  As she was praying about a teaching she was about to give, she asked the Lord, “What do you want me to teach about?”  She sensed Him saying, “What do you want to teach about?”  She responded, “I’ve been thinking about (a subject).  She sensed the Lord respond, “Good subject.  I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say.”  She then said, “Would You guide me?”  His reply was, “Sure, if you’d like.  I’d be happy to.”

Discovery #2:  God’s will is best heard.

In the picture of the girl in this article, she is using the universal sign for “Call me.”  The message behind it is, “Let’s talk.”

The very definition of the Greek words for “church” means “out called.”  Our purpose as “the called” is our vocation.   The word vocation is rooted in the word voice.

A great deal of information can be relayed by written words, but clarity of those words depends on person to person contact.  Written words alone can mean so many different things, depending on how the reader interprets the words.

There have been countless friendships broken or damaged through social media sites like Facebook.  Don’t misunderstand (which proves my point).  I’m not saying Facebook has no value.  I’m saying that real world relationships are dependent on face to face interaction.

In my humble opinion, that’s why there are so many divisions in the church world.  Everyone is reading the same text, and dividing over what it actually means.

Let me ask a question.  Which relationship will prosper most between a husband and wife.  One where all the two do is write letters to each other for communication, or where the two sit and converse with each other?

Conversing brings about clarity of understanding.  And, it’s the same with our relationship with the Lord.

I know a man that loved a woman.  His desire was to do anything for her that she desired.  But, he also said something very insightful.  He said, “I can’t read a crystal ball.  You are going to have to tell me what you want.”  Because this was about a love relationship, he didn’t mean that he wanted her to just leave him notes with her instructions on them.   Talk.  Conversation implied.

The best way to discover God’s will, purpose, and desire for your life is to hear Him talk to you about it.  It will all come out in your conversations with Him about life that happens all around you every day.

God’s Saying, “Call Me…Let’s Talk”

Remember:  The Church are “Called.”  They hear voices! :)

Just a suggestion.  Start the conversation with a hug.   It’s easy.  Just imagine how you give your husband, wife, child, or friend a real hug and then imagine that.

Gary

 

 

 

 

Courage Is For Weaklings

Courage-to-challenge-the-climb-of-the-cliff_1680x1050Courage.  Bravery.  Hutzpah.  Grit. “Brass ones.”

These words describe the feelings one has on the path to experiencing life on God’s terms.

They move together and at the same time or your desired destination will never be reached.  Nope.  Never.

Unless you are experiencing everything you believe God wants for your life already, you probably haven’t crossed “the chicken line.”  (The edge of where you feel safe and secure).

The Secret Hidden In Plain Sight:

Courage is doing something you are insecure about or afraid to attempt at the same time you feel like you’re going to puke.  Sometimes the fear begins to subside quickly once you begin, sometimes not. 

Whether your feelings begin to feel more calm right away or more slowly, the “salvation” comes with the momentum of movement.

Starting (while you’re afraid) is the hard part.  If you start with committed intention and intensity, the resulting momentum will carry you over the finish line.

If you are “stuck” where you’re at, it may be the result of thinking that you have to feel confident and not afraid before you take the first step.

Commit to something before you have all the answers.  Commit to the first step before you have confidence that you can do it.  Commit to something without a built in escape hatch.  If it’s the right thing.  If it’s the loving thing.  If it’s something God has been drawing your attention to (and you’ve been waiting for someone else to do it) commit it to God’s care and JUMP, LEAP, THROW YOURSELF INTO IT. 

The Holy Spirit is your promised “help” (John 16).  The word for help is much richer in quality than we usually realize.  It means:  “To come along side, support, and rescue.”  You see, He knows your weakness better than you do.  But…yuh gotta make yer move.  That part He will not do for you.

Nine times out of ten, you will be feeling some kind of fear until sometime after you’ve take the first step.  Otherwise, you don’t need courage.

What’s your testimony?  Please comment.  It just may help someone else.  Just maybe you need courage to comment.  :)  Btw…did you know there’s no testimony without a test?

Gary

 

 

 

Do You Know Jesus As Your Partner?

open-to-partnershipI’ve made a truly life changing discovery and I’d like to share that with you.

From a very young age, I’ve known Jesus (in evangelical terminology) as my Lord and Savior.  But, in the last few years I’ve discovered that there’s another dimension of relationship that the Lord desires with me.

You may feel like I’m playing with words.  I know how you might feel.  I probably would have felt the same way myself if I’d read this article a few years ago.  But now, I know – by ever increasing experience – that what I’ve realized is the heart-beat of the abundant life Jesus promised His disciples.

The Savior and Lord Dimension

I responded to Jesus as my Savior at a very young age.  My parents had introduced me to my need for forgiveness.  My heart embraced the truth of that and I asked Jesus to come live in me.
The sense of peace that flooded my heart was incredible.  Jesus was my very own Savior.  As I grew, I knew that I could always call on HIm to rescue me from all kinds of hard situations, and I could pray and ask Him to help my friends and family, too, when they needed it.

As time went on, I learned the importance of His Lordship over my life.  He was God and it was important to acknowledge and live by His supremacy.   I also learned about Jesus in terms of Priesthood and Kingship.  He was always the interceding High Priest of my life.  He was also the Sovereign King to respect like  no Other.

The Partnership Dimension

Somehow it had alluded me that His design and purpose for “us” was a naturally supernatural partnership as co-laborers.  I was very familiar with the illustration of being yoked together.  But, I think I also felt that to simply mean that I was invited to “yoke up” with Him as a kind of submission.

I had not fully realized (nor do I fully now realize) the sense of “co-ness” His heart desired.  He wanted to work along side me much like the relationship of best friends or a healthy husband and wife companionship.  His desire is to walk through the ups and downs of daily life working side by side to climb every mountain, ford ever stream…(as the song says.)

He also desires to walk arm in arm while feeling every low I feel, being exhilarated by every event that excites me, giving guidance beyond my natural wisdom, and basking in the peace of satisfaction that comes with important solutions solved.

The Communion In Communication

As I have “grown” in our partnership, I’ve discovered that hearing His voice plays even a more important role than Him hearing mine.

Important Side Note:  He loves the sound of my voice as I partner with Him.  I’ve simply been adapting myself to the fact that it’s far more important to hear what He has to say.

What If You Don’t Hear His Voice?

Can a person have a partnership with Jesus if it’s not an understood two way communication?  I would like to say, yes.  I guess…sort of.   But, it will be experienced with far less security and pleasure if the communication isn’t clearly two-way.

But, If You Are His Child, You Do Hear His Voice.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”  (John 10:27)

You simply may not have learned the “sound” of His voice.
It was important (no it was VITAL) for me to practice the art of developing hearing ears.  Here’s what I’ve learned about what His voice sounds like because the phrase, “Hear His Voice” is a human attempt to describe a multi-faced language.

Here Are Just A Few Of The Ways I Hear Him Speak To Me:

1.  I am reminded of a Bible verse or story—or one is highlighted to me when I am reading the Bible.  I’ve found that studying and pondering the scriptures creates and atmosphere that is most conducive to experience clarity in His “voice.”

2.  I ‘see’ a picture in my mind’s eye that “emerges” without my conscious effort to imagine it.

3.  An idea or impression comes to my mind.  It’s usually very non intrusive and I have to pay attention to the “hunch” for it to increase in clarity.

4. I feel something emotionally or physically.  This is variation of “seeing” with my minds eye.  It registers in my body or in my emotions rather than in the form of a picture.  There are times I will suddenly, for no seeming reason, be encountered by a wave of depression.  I am learning that to often be a call to intercede for someone. I also will have waves of unusual confidence, joy, or peace.  Sometimes an understanding of what it applies to comes with the emotion.  Many times I need to ask the Lord to help me understand what or who it applies to.

5.  A word comes to mind or I ‘see’ a written word in my imagination.

6.  Something will “stand out” when I’m talking with someone.  This happens especially if I’ve been seeking for an answer to a problem or situation.  This also happens during a teaching I’m listening to.  And…would you believe, I say things at times when I’m preaching that I think, “that’s for me, too.”

7.  Dreams.  I don’t remember the majority of my dreams on a regular basis.  However, if I do remember – even parts – of a dream long after I’ve awakened, I pay attention to it and ask the Lord to help me further with it.   I don’t put heavy weight on dreams for life direction, but I give them a much more respected place in my life than I used to.

8.  Talking to myself.  I used to wonder if some of my thoughts were me or the Lord.  Since then, I’ve realized that since He is one with me.  When I am asking the Lord a question, I will sometimes get an inner response that sounds like I just answered myself.  For me, the check on this is to look to how those thoughts “felt.”  When it’s the Lord, my inner voice will sound wiser than I actually am.  It will be a thought that’s fresh and seems to linger in a positive way.

I used to be afraid to “listen” for two primary reasons:

1.  I was afraid of what I feared He may ask me to do.  So, I didn’t really try to listen.

2.  I was afraid that I wouldn’t “hear” anything, or that what I might here would be the devil.

I just simply had to get over both of those fears.

Bottom Line:  There is nothing more satisfying (if not at times a bit frustrating) to have an ever increasing partnership in this life with the Lord. 

He is my Savior.  He is my Lord.  He is my Partner and Co-laborer.  I treasure that.

Gary

 

 

 

 

 

5 Abundant Life Realities

bluearrow1Before you continue, register your email FREE to receive automatic updates:  Thanks!  Enjoy the article :)

I’m sure you want to enjoy an abundant life.  I know I sure do.  Truth be told, I already experience abundance in my life.  But, the words that Jesus used indicates the kind of fullness that overflows…that is impossible to measure.  So, it’s logical that there’s always more to be had, eh? :)

Just to be clear…

When I say abundance of life, I am including the full spectrum of what that means.  Finances are important because that is the normal medium of exchange.  But, more cash is only a potential part of the whole.  In fact, there are other things that are more powerful than money that people don’t often consider.

Sometimes we need favor more than we need cash.  And, although it’s not nearly as common as it once was, bartering is another form of “currency” that potentially has a great deal of value.

But, I digress…

I want to draw our attention to the fact that there are elements in the “abundance package” that must be acknowledged as valid, or authentic abundance will never be achieved.  First the points and then the descriptions:

  1. Failing is in the same pea-pod as abundance.
  2. Being “brain-weary” busy is a road that leads away from abundance.
  3. Starting “somewhere” will get you closer to abundance than the most brilliant, creative idea.
  4. Waiting for someone, including God, to give you abundance is a waste of valuable time.
  5. What you own does not prove your abundance.

Failing is in the same pea-pod as abundance

Failing is not the same as failure.  Failing is like falling down when a baby is learning to walk.  We all will be babies at many things in life as we are learning them.  The failure is the baby who refuses to get up and try again.

The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.  One of the greatest baseball players of all time, Babe Ruth, holds many “at bat victories.  Babe Ruth also struck out far more times than he connected with the ball.

Behind every great piece of art is a thousand failed attempts to make it, but these attempts are simply never shown to us.  Whatever defines abundance for you is perfected by getting up one more time than you fall down. That especially includes relationships.  You may not be good at them, but you can become increasingly better as long as you don’t throw in the towel.  Positive relationships with others is one of the most valuable commodities we will ever own.

Being “brain-weary” busy is a road that leads away from abundance.

Some people would equate abundance with being active and busy.   Being active can lead to abundance, but with so many people I’ve known through the years (including today…and including myself) always being “on the go” actually leads away from abundance.

Busyness isn’t a virtue, nor is it something to respect.  Though we all have seasons of crazy schedules, very few of us have a legitimate need to be busy ALL the time.  We simply don’t know how to live within our means, prioritize properly, and say no when we should.

Being busy rarely equates to productive abundance these days.  Though being busy can make us feel more alive than anything else for a moment, the sensation is not sustainable long term.  We will inevitably, whether tomorrow or on our deathbed, come to wish that we spent less time in the buzz of busyness and more time actually living a purposeful life.  We’ll realize we traded constant activity for many of the things that truly matter.

Starting “somewhere” will get you closer to abundance than the most brilliant, creative idea.

Abundance never comes to look for you while you wait around thinking about it.  Ideas about abundance are useless without action.  Creative ideas holds ten percent of the value of any truth.  Ninety percent of the power is in the activating of the information.  Remember that the next conference or workshop or bible study you attend.

If you wait until you feel 100% ready to begin, you’ll likely miss out on the abundant life that Jesus promises us and those who’d be positively affected by our imperfect actions.

Waiting for someone, including God, to give you abundance is a waste of valuable time.

Too many sincere Christians are waiting on God to act on His own and bless their lives with His abundance without partnering with Him in the process.

We need to wait on the Lord for richness of relationship with Him.  We need to do the same things to foster closeness with Him that we would with any earthly relationship we care about.  He grants wonderful ideas in those times, but it’s for the purpose of acting on His ideas and practical wisdom.  He’s looking for co-creators of abundance.  Not that act on their own, but in concert with Him.

What you own does not prove your abundance.

There’s not necessarily anything wrong with owning things (depending on one’s motivations), but things are just that…things.  They prove nothing about the abundance of one’s life.

One final word…

Life and change are also two peas in the same pod.  However good or bad a situation is now, it will change.  That’s the one thing you can count on.  So when life is good, enjoy it.  Don’t go looking for something better every second.  Happiness never comes to those who don’t appreciate what they have while they have it.

Also, don’t be constantly expecting you will loose something precious.  But, allow it to grow and change.  Just because it’s changing doesn’t mean you are loosing it.

Something I sometimes sense while I’m writing…

The last sentence in italics had the deep feeling that it was a word of encouragement from the Lord for somebody reading it.  It’s not there by accident.

May the experience of abundance in life be yours!  Perhaps it will, once you begin to change the definition. :)

Remember…Subscribing to this blog is easy and FREE!  I love FREE, right?

Gary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re Not Alone Cause Everybody Feels Like Quitting

mountaineerThe goal looks great (in photos).  In person, actually putting forth the effort, there are periods of pleasure;  But, also of pressure. 

Under the stress, strain, and fatigue of those less than pleasant times,  you begin to question whether it’s worth it.  You feel like quitting.

You’re not alone.  Everybody feels like quitting.  That emotion is common.

Everything didn’t come easy to Jesus

It may surprise you, but Jesus didn’t pop out of Mary’s womb, walking.  He had to learn to walk.  His first steps would have been like any other child’s first steps.  (Wobbly step, wobbly step, seat plant.  Wobbly step, firmer step, face plant.)  Just like you and me, Jesus had to learn stuff.  The process of learning is not a result of sin.  Actually acting like you already knows it all is.  Having a teachable attitude is a virtue.

Everything didn’t come easy to Jesus.  Pressing forward to acquire wisdom for your job, family, and spiritual life will not be a “piece of cake.”  So don’t expect it.  And don’t stop “pressing in” when it gets frustrating.  Don’t give up.  Some things are easier, some things are harder.  But nothing worthwhile is without effort.

Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.”
Hebrews 5:8

Being blessed of God doesn’t mean things will be easy

Sometimes we get the mistaken idea that “blessings” will equal “easy street.”  We – also mistakenly – add to that, if I can stop sinning and take my authority over the devil then I will find my ease.

Although sins have their bitter fruit (even if it seems to start sweet) that makes things hard, “hard” does not equal sin.  Although the deception of the devil is real, and demons like screwing with God’s kids, every hard thing we encounter was not the work of a demon.  I call such ideas, Christian Conspiracy Theories.

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

To “press on” indicates an intense pursuit and sustained effort.  It includes the idea of pressing against resistance.

Important Clarification:  The expression here, “has called me heavenward…” can have the legitimate applied meaning of a future state in Christ.  Ie:  Working hard till we get out of this hell-hole.  I grew up with that emphasis in my church.  However, since then, I’ve learned that God calling me heavenward in Christ-Jesus has a great deal to do with the current Christ centered and anointed life.  I press forward to example the truth of heaven here and now.  My heavenly calling includes “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Being an active disciple of Jesus isn’t easy.  It isn’t for the coward or the recluse.  It isn’t a life without resistance, frustration, and sorrows.

But it is also a life of great peace, joy, love, and deep satisfaction.  

Press on and press through my brothers and sisters.  Actively seek the ever increasing wisdom of the Holy Spirit to guide you.  It’s more than worth it.  Not just there, but in many here-and-nows.

(Side note:  My wife and I have had plenty of circumstances that brought self-sacrifice, frustration, and between a rock and hard times.  However…the sweet fruit of seeing fresh joy, dignity, and confidence restored to many who’d hit bottom….well…it’s not worthy to be compared to the light afflictions.)

Gary

What’s your experience?  Join the conversation: (Comment Below)
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God’s Open Doors For….

open doorsWe all have faced or are facing closed doors.  These doors are often the one’s we need most to be open.  They are doors to health, to jobs, to friendships, and more.

How do you get these doors of necessity opened?  That’s what I’m going to discuss today.

Let me start with a dream I had just a few days ago:

(Dreams can give us clues.  That’s one reason I’ve been learning to pay attention to mine, even when the ones I remember seem depressing.)

My Dream:

I was attempting to enter a closed door to my bedroom.  When I first turned the knob and began to enter, the door was blocked within a couple of inches like something or someone was on the other side preventing my entrance.

I tried to enter my bedroom (a place of rest in dream symbol), several times.  Each time my attempts would partially open the door but be resisted with a few inches.

Finally, I turned the knob and with all my might I pushed the door open.  This time it opened two thirds of the way, but the force on the other side immediately slammed the door back shut.

I woke up very frustrated.

What Was My Dream Saying?

I initially passed it off as a demonic resistance of some sort.  Frankly, I was just frustrated because I thought that I had been doing all the right things to progress in areas of resistance.  As my wife and I were in our car the next day, I expressed my feelings about the frustrating dream I had had the night before.  I had barely begun to explain the dream to her when I suddenly knew what was being communicated.

“There are closed doors you’ve been struggling with that you can’t open with natural abilities.  You need to be asking me to open the doors.”  Immediately with that thought the scripture came to me, “I open doors no man can close and close doors no man can open.”  (Rev. 3)

Truth be told, I thought I already had been committing the hard places to God and trusting Him with the outcome.  And, in a way, I had been…sort of.

I had been “trusting God” (in a general Christian way) but hadn’t been specific about seeking Him as the Door Opener.

I don’t believe that God plays technical games with us.  But, I believe there are specifics in spiritual life that move us along a more successful path as we learn them.

Faith is a function of specifics.  Without specifics faith doesn’t have a path to walk on and “gets caught in the weeds.”

Don’t stop reading here.  Now is when this becomes very helpful:

1. Trust is about overall non-specific confidence in God.  Faith is about specific “targets.”

2. Trust is about the foundation of sureness in God we walk upon.  Faith takes specific steps on that foundation.

The Process That Works Wonders

It’s actually a combination of work and ease.  It boils down to two (actually four) steps:

1.  Fueling your confidence by searching the scriptures to see God’s logos (logic) concerning your specific need.  In this case we are talking about doors.  Therefore, I googled the words, “doors in scripture.”  I knew there were some but it surprised me how many.

2.  Taking faith steps was not a matter of “confessing” the scriptures 10 times a minute in hopes it would do something.  Although…repeating the words will help fix them in your mind.  God is already aware of them, but we need help remembering and fixing them in our conscious minds.

3.  Forming mental pictures in my imagination of what the scriptures promise is available to me.  One of the most powerful gifts God gave us was the “power” of the imagination.  Ie:  Imaging what we conceptually believe.  That’s where the logic of truth becomes the heart of truth.

4.  I say out-loud to myself the picture I see.  In this case, an open door.  Your inner “door image” will look different than mine.  But it will keep my inner view of truth on the path instead of letting my natural mind pull me off into the weeds.

I hope it goes without saying that it’s understood that this all is saturated with confidence that it’s the power of God that’s doing the opening and that purposeful thanksgiving is the anchor that keeps your soul stable.

Jesus is the earth manifestation of God that’s our specific example to follow.  Fix your eyes on Him helps us focus our hearts.  As you consider what I’ve written here, and as you begin taking fresh steps of trust and faith, I’ve included an audio of “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” below to play:

Quick tip:  Divorce yourself right now from the whining words, “But, it’s so hard!”  They are keeping you from your desired outcome.

The Biggest, Most Important Thing You Need To Open Closed Doors Is Learning to FIX
YOUR EYES upon Jesus as the specific source.  As you look at the open door in the imagination of your heart, you are trusting Him as your “Open Door.” Every time your mind wander into the weeds of worry, intentionally turn them back with confidence and faith to the open door.  The outcome is sure!  In fact, in this kind of faith process, you’ll discover fresh practical ideas and steps coming to your mind to act upon in faith.

Stop gazing in fear and frustration at your lack and start fixing your eyes on the Door Opener!

Play