Believe With Your Feet

The phrase, “Believe With Your Feet” just popped into my mind. In my point of view, the author of that metaphor was the Holy Spirit.  

I believe that a person who believes with their feet are the most authentic Believers.

It actually doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know where this is headed.  Afterall, that’s a picture that lighted on my imagination…and I’m no rocket scientist.

To believe with one’s feet is putting a picture to the idea of “walking out” what one sees and affirms with in their heads.  

The truth is:

Agreeing with the most theological, most scriptural, most studied out, deepest statement of God’s “verily” own truth is void of authentic value until…

It has feet on it.

But once we believe with our feet, we begin walking a new, exciting, wonderful, beautiful, terrifying, life changing, life giving…LIFE.

Today, I invite you to begin (or continue) “Believing With Your Feet.”   

Gary

Struggles Give Birth

StruggleDon’t confuse your path with your destination.  Just because it’s stormy now doesn’t mean you aren’t headed for sunshine. 

Struggles of doubt and trust.  Wrestlings with dashed dreams (or at least the perceptions of the moment).  Knock down drag out wars with self doubts.  Perplexities.  Disappointments.  Struggling to understand.  These and everything in between.

Every one of us struggle!  And often “the storm” seems much more like a destructive hurricane than a passing thunderstorm.

Some believe that struggles are sent by God.  Other’s believe it’s the opposition of the devil.  Still others would combine the causes.  Some God sent.  Some Devil produced.

I really don’t spend a lot of time trying to analyze and categorize the reasons.  To me, that takes me to a process of “reasonings” that isn’t all that helpful.

The scriptures give us this counsel:

  • “Fight the good fight of faith” (I Timothy 6:12)
  • “Strive to enter rest” (Hebrews 4:11)

The fight of faith is a good fight.  Rest can be entered by you & I.

Strugglings, wrestlings, strivings, and everything that comes with it is not a sign of immaturity or shame in God’s eyes.  In fact, each new, fresh dream pursued very often brings a boat load of contradictions to that dream or desire.  

Actually, it seems that almost everyone I know, including myself, is “pressing” the good press.  I, personally, am not saying, “Oh, yea…more!  Pour it on!”  If you’re a masochist, then go for it.  (Although, I think you may need to be committed.)   But, I don’t like personal pain or discomfort.  Never have.  But….

I also know what it is to be contented and happy.  And, although the sweat of struggle isn’t joyful for the moment, I’ve tasted the “Praise God” outcome over and over and over.  I wouldn’t trade my personal history with the Lord for anything!  I win…even when (at the time) it may seem like I’m loosing or have lost. 

Typically, when I actually have lost…I’ve found a much better path I probably wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.

Struggle on, brothuh!  Stuggle on, sistuh!  Choose trust in Him.  In reality, struggle is not your enemy!

Gary

 

 

Becoming Content With Uncertainty

Ummm…content with uncertainty? Is that really possible? Or, is this going to be “pie in the sky” that “preaches” well, but isn’t really achievable?

Yes, I am discovering it is a do-able deal.  It’s not easy because there are so many mental habits to retrain.  But, it is obtainable if…

We begin to understand that the word obtainable is seen as a process and not a destination.

Let me share with you some thoughts that I’ve found very helpful and have led me in my journey to increasing peace, joy, and faith.  Let’s look at Philippians 4:11-12:

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

Although the Apostle Paul is speaking specifically here of material things, I believe the Holy Spirit is revealing a much broader application of living truth and practical reality.

Paul also said to the Corinthian church, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;” (2 Cor. 4:8).

Just a little bit later in his letter, Paul said, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

If you put just these three verses together, I believe it is safe to say that Paul –flesh and blood just like you or me– was in the place in his journey of becoming content with uncertainty…because he was convinced in the truth and character of what (Who) he could not see.

We are a people obsessed with goals and achievements.  However, relationships don’t really unfold and mature that way.  Relationship is a process of learning, experiencing, and knowing.  It can be messy.  There’s a proverb that says, “Where the stall is clean there is no ox.”  As Bill Johnson, pastor of Bethel Church, Redding, CA says, “There are no poopless cows.”   He also says, “If you want the peace that passes understanding, you have to give up your right to understand.”  I personally applaud and am learning to live with the truth of both of those statements.

Living with uncertainty is living with mystery.  Becoming content with mystery is becoming content with the God of mystery. 

The “fear” of the Lord that’s the beginning of wisdom can be rightly understood as, living in the “mystery” of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  We, as Christ followers, have a desperate need to return to the mysteries of God.  He is awesome.  To be such, you and I have to deeply trust Him in the many, many things we don’t understand.  We must abandon the demand to get our heads around everything.  We must embrace the “I don’t knows” of circumstances because God knows all things and is working them for our good.

Gary

 

 

 


 

Bigger Than Reason by Gary Ellis

Trust is not birthed in the laboratory of “reasonableness.”  Faith won’t be judged in the courtroom of common sense.  

Since we Westerners are products of the “age of reason,” it’s natural for us to make “being reasonable” the cornerstone of our success and the highest attribute of the God we worship.  We don’t call it the highest attribute.  Certainly not!  But in practical reality that’s how we often “measure” Him.

However, if we seriously and conscientiously read the Scriptures, we discover multiplied instances where God does not appear reasonable at all.  Then,
if we add a host of real life experiences from our own stories and the stories of others we know…..well…admit it…there seems to be an unreasonable side to God.  The God who radically and extravagantly loves us.

<Side note:  Now come on.  Let’s be honest.  Haven’t there been times when you’ve taken a “faith stand” and felt very confident that things would turn out the way you wanted them to….and they didn’t?>

Here’s part of the problem.  We hold on to our own thoughts of what we consider to be a reasonable outcome.  We claim our “faith in God” when we’re actually attempting to have or maintain confidence that God’s “reasonableness” jibes with ours.

The Apostle Paul tells us that Abraham hoped beyond hope (Romans 4:18).  Jesus spoke to His disciples at a very unreasonable hour of apparent failure, “You believe in God.  Believe also in me…(John 14:1). 

Trusting actually becomes easier if we release God from “being reasonable” and simply trust the depth, breadth, and width of His love…even when all circumstances seem “unreasonable.”

Gary

 

 

Postpone Panic by Gary Ellis

I’ve discovered (and am still discovering) that “panic” to respond to a negative situation or circumstance is never what Dr. Jesus orders.

For me, panic has never been motivated by faith.  And, what’s more…the results to a “panic driven reaction” always has one of the following results:

  1. The “solution” was temporary.
  2. The “solution” didn’t bring peace.
  3. The “solution” caused even more problems.
  4. The “solution” didn’t help me grow in faith or trust.

Most of the time the need for an “immediate response” is a faulty perception.

It has been my experience, time and time again, that God is never caught off guard.  He has never says, “Whoa…we have a problem, Houston!”

What’s more…God is smart enough to know the ins and outs and all the natty little details.  Typically He alone has the perfect wisdom to apply the perfect solution.  And if we let Him do “His Job,” His ways and means will work out far better than our “panic attack.”

Does this excuse an attitude of procrastination on our part?  Nope.  Not at all.  You know whether or not procrastination is your “drug of choice.”

But, if you are feeling “panicky” and driven to respond out of fear…then stop.  Pull back.  Tell God you trust him with (this or that) situation or person.  And, also tell Him that you know He knows how to do His job and doesn’t need your advice.

Decisions that you are given no time to make are not normally the result of something God’s wisdom would lead you into.

Postpone Panic.  Stop focusing on natural circumstances.  Intentionally turn the situation over, in trust, to the One who has perfect wisdom.

In fact, sometimes you need to just take a nap or a night’s sleep as an act of faith.  Avoiding life through sleep is not what I’m advocating.  But, I think you know that already.

Panic decisions and actions are not your friends.

Please Leave A Comment Of Your Own Experience
It May Help Someone Else

Gary

Who Does God Help?

As we come to the end of 2010, many are saying, “I can’t wait for this year to be over!”  They then are deciding their “New Year Resolutions” in hopes they can help make 2011 better.

This is where the saying, “God helps those who help themselves” comes in.

Although there is an element in our faith walks that requires self action or initiative, that motivational phrase is also very misleading.

Something closer to God’s truth would be…

“God delivers them who’ve come to the end of themselves.”

God’s power is released into the circumstances and lives where there is no confidence in the flesh.

Now let me quickly say that “no confidence in the flesh” is not the same thing as “despising oneself.”

Mankind is fearfully and wonderfully made, says the Psalmist (Psalm 139:14).  God doesn’t make junk.

I’ve recently told two people lately (with tough love) that they needed to “get over themselves.”  In both cases I truly love the individuals.  I care about them.  But self focused pride is an insidious thing.  And, very deceptive.  It sounds very reasonable.

But, despising oneself is not (I repeat) the same thing as having no confidence in the flesh.

It is when we come to the end of trusting ourselves to do what only God can do (which is most things), and keep relying on His grace in EVERY situation, that He is allowed to step in and step up.  He’s waiting for you and I to “get over ourselves.”

No more New Year resolutions to do better!  Resolve instead to stay at the end of yourself and allow God to be God in however He AS GOD works gracefully in your life.

Gary


The Importance of Pocket Change

I don’t know about you, but my pockets seem to always be full of coins.  I guess I just automatically pay with paper money.

Although too much pocket change is cumbersome, there’s also a secret to be discovered in having plenty of “pocket change.”

Of course, the coinage I refer to is not literal but symbolic.  And it really will make a huge difference in your ability to lead anyone.  Whether your leadership is as a parent, boss, ministry leader, or even friend, the principle of “pocket change” is a truth as sure as “sugar is sweet.”

You Get Some Change Simply By Grace

We all start in the life leadership roles we’ve been given with change in our pockets.  Somehow, God put it there as an act of grace.  However, we have to maintain it.  It’s similar to the way God worked with the Israelites when they moved camp.  Each time, He would initially start the fire on the altar supernaturally.  But then the priests had to maintain the fire.

The “Pocket Change” Does Not Remain Unchanged

When we make good decisions that “pay off” in positive ways for those we are leading, it adds more “change to our pockets.”
When (not if, but when) our actions and decisions are perceived to be detrimental (or actually are)…we loose some change.

Too Many Withdrawals Put Us At Risk

If we continue making more withdrawals than received additions, we eventually loose any pocket change.  When that happens, the next bad decision or action finds no grace no matter how innocent or small.

Trust Is A Must

You may be in a situation where you don’t seem to be able to “move forward” with an invidual.  Lack of “pocket change” could be the reason.
“Pocket Change” in this article is a symbolic expression for the quality, “Trust.”   And, trust is a must in all our life experiences because somewhere, somehow you have a “leadership role” in somebodies life.

And, you are only a leader to the same proportion that you are trusted.  Furthermore trust is ONLY DEVELOPED in an atmosphere of intentional relationship.  We can’t even receive trust by spiritual revelation.  Only the reality of the need for trust.  Trust is fashioned on the potter’s wheel of relational life.

If you know you’ve lost all your pocket change with someone, begin by asking God to show you opportunities to re-gain that trust.  Start with pennies and work up.  Ask for God’s grace on yourself and the other person.  Know that it may take some time.  Just start.

Someone said, if you have a choice between the qualities of skill, intelligence, or trust – ALWAYS opt for trust.  It is trust that pays off richly in life.

Gary