Most of us are quite hectic and frantic during the Christmas season. There is no doubt that we often move so quickly through this season that we miss how powerful the Christmas story really is. I know I can get so caught up in doing all the stuff of Christmas that my mind is frazzled and I am not a peace. But scripture reminds me that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He longs to keep me at peace as I go about my life. He longs to provide peace the world over. The question is... Do we allow him to bring this divine peace to us and through us?
"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast,
About five weeks ago I slammed my finger and it has been a slow healing process for sure. Now I am waiting for the nail to fall off. It no longer hurts but I just ready for this to be behind me. It will take time, but in few weeks my finger will look just fine. The waiting is the hard part.
The football team has had a couple of hard losses. These games have hurt so much. I know we will rebound and will get better, but it just takes time. There is no way to know just how long it will take, but I do know that we are better than we have been in several seasons. I am most excited about our bright future. The waiting is the hard part.
I am not complete. You are not complete. As much as we try to fool ourselves we are not complete. Phil 1:6 reminds us that God began a good work in us and he will faithful to complete it. There is no doubt that it takes time. It does not happen over night. The process is the hard part for me and I am sure it is that way for you as well.
John 15:5 tells us that we must stay connected to Christ and as we do, the Lord will enable us to bear fruit. God is good and we can trust his work in us!
This great news and hope for all of us incomplete disciples.
I saw a great quote today. "Creativity, God invited it, Jesus modeled it, and the Holy Spirit empowers it." Do you feel creative? Do you ever pray for it? Sound funny? It may sound like just a bunch of craziness, but I don't think so. If God is the most creative, then he can illumine our minds with His creative bent. God is the most creatively bent, so as we walk with Him it stands to reason that He can make us creative as well.
Take a few moments and read Genesis 1 and 2. Remind yourself just how creative God is.
Pray that God would open your eyes to His creativity just under you nose. Certainly in your front yard or down the street!
Pray for God to bring out His creativity in your life!!
What is up in your life? Are you frustrated and angry with your life? Do you wish you could move to the next phase God has for you? You may wonder when ___ is going to come into your life. It could be money, job, relationship, etc. God is teaching us patience and trust the that he knows best. He longs for us to love Him above all. God is more interested in our relationship with Him than we can even imagine. He will use whatever situation we are in to draw us closer to his side. The faith journey is one that is forged with trust. Trust holds us to the hope that the Lord is at work even when we may not see it or feel it. God is working and moving in our lives at all times! We must trust that he knows best and longs for the best for us.
Read over Phil 4:11-13 and remember Paul is in prison.
Jesus would say it like this: be faithful where you are. Be faithful in the position you have and we just might find ourselves given more responsibility. Don't make this a formula or think that since you are being faithful God OWES you something.
Just know that God longs for us to be faithful and obedient to him regardless!!
"For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him..." 2 Chronicles 16:9
I find great comfort in knowing the Lord is longing to strengthen me and work on my behalf. It is so reassuring to know the Lord desires to be the catalyst in my life: for spiritual growth, victory over temptation, to do His will, etc. We can often feel alone and by ourselves but the Lord wants to take each of us and lead us to a place of honest trust in Him.
Westminster Shorter Catechism says: The chief end of man is glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.
Our lives should bring him glory. Our lives should give others a glimpse of his greatness. We can certainly live out our days in a life that does not necessarily do this or we can opt for more. We can opt to live a life that is only possible with the strength of God. Scripture also reminds us that we are clay in the potters hand. We are to place ourselves in the hands of God to be used by Him for His plan and purpose. So put yourself in the Lord's hands and let Him use you as He will. That is what Jonathan did in 1 Samuel 14. He took the lead when no one else would. He was willing to stand alone. Jonathon was willing to take the leap because he:
He saw the need. 1-3
No one would take action. His dad the King was perched under a tree in fear. The 600 men with him did not know what to do either, because they did not have any weapons. (see 13:16-22) Do you see the needs around you?
He had someone he could depend on. vs.7
We read that Jonathan had his right hand man. This guy was willing to to go with him. Do you have someone in your life like this? The 3am person.
He counted the cost - 4-6
There were no guarantees that all would work out for him. This is true for us too. There are no promises as to how things will work out. So we must count the cost. We must be willing to take the step to be who the Lord has called us to be.
He got the nod from God.vs. 8-12
God spoke to him in a very specific way. There was a very intimate relationship between Jonathan and the Lord. Are you cultivating this relationship with the Lord?
He acted on behalf of others. vs 12
Jonathan did not do this for his acclaim or his fame! He did this because Israel was in need. Are you living this way?
"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly." Romans 5:6
Time is one of our greatest assets. We have more time on our hands than we realize. We certainly have time to give. Most of us waste much of our time, while God makes the most of His time. God gives us the example of working out His will in perfect timing. To give our time means we have an awareness of the needs around us, we understand the sacrifice it will take, and we see the blessings it brings to others.
Do you give people your time? Are you willing to sacrifice on behalf of others? God was willing and did! He gave himself as he acted on our behalf for our benefit. In the person of Jesus Christ we see the best example for our daily lives.
Romans 5:1-11 expresses this perfectly.
vs 1 -4 we see the Impact of his presence - We have peace, stand in his grace, and walk in hope. Do you walk in light of these realities? Do you walk with the Lord knowing that you have his presence?
vs 5-8 we see that God's gift was Intentional - Christ died for us while were enemies of the cross. We are powerless to save ourselves. Do you intentionally look for ways to help those around you?
vs 9-11 we see the price of his Investment - The love of God knows no price to high to display his love. It cost him is life. What are you willing to do to reach out and love those around you?
God gave himself will you?
The gift of time is great. It really is. May we make the most of the time God has given us. I am thankful he made the most of his time and we should as well.
Yesterday was not the easiest of days. I missed my dad and would have enjoyed giving him a call just to chat. He was a great friend and gave me so much wisdom. He helped me grow and be the man I am today. I think about his life and what all he stood for. He made such a huge impact on my life. Much of the impact was not even intentional. I say often, that more is caught than taught from our parents. This is a huge warning to all of us. People are watching!! The way he treated mom and helped around the house, was a great example for me. I am so proud to his son and pray that my life will be more like his a I grow older. I say this, because I saw Jesus in my dad. Like Paul admonished his congregations to follow his example, I want to follow the example of my father. The question that comes to mind, is my example worthy of being followed? Sigh... I have a long way to go. But I trust, " That he who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it." Phil 1:6
Here is an excerpt from a wonderful book I am finishing up. I hope that it challenges you as it has challenged me. Take some time to consider how you are living your life and how you are using the talents you have been blessed with.
"Consider what happens when all of us begin to look at our professions and areas of expertise not merely as means to an income or to career paths in our own context but as platforms for proclaiming the gospel in contexts around the world. Consider what happens when the church is not only sending traditional missionaries around the world but also businessmen and businesswomen, teachers ans students, doctors and politicians, engineers and technicians who are living out the gospel in contexts where a traditional missionary could never go."
From Radical, by David Platt
Pray about how God would lead you to live out your faith right where you live as well spending a week this next year share the gospel in another context. May God open your eyes to the way the Lord is at work and empower you to make radical decisions that will reshape your life forever!
Have you ever seen a piece of petrified wood? It looks more like stone than wood. I have only seen a couple of pieces of the wood. It looks cool but it is just there. Hard as a brick and not living. Our spiritual life can be this way. I visited with a friend of mine the other day and he talked about wanting to grow more in his faith. This guy is serving part time in a church and feels as though it has all become routine for him. His walk with the Lord seems stale and old. There is very little life in him and he feels as though something is missing. I hate this for him, because I know I can't give an answer that will fix it. Closeness with God is not fixed with an answer or merely manufactured over coffee. I offered support and prayer. I told him that I believed in him and that I believed he was on the right path. It may take time, but the Lord will speak to him as he seeks Him.
Have you ever felt petrified? Kind of like you are shell of your former self? You may look alive but there is nothing in the tank. You look like you have things together but secretly you know stuff is a mess. Others think your life is good but you know it to be a struggle. I am sure you have felt this way at some point in your life, but God walks us through these times to deeper places of trust. Our life with God is ever flowing and never the same. I think what we need is to grasp what Eugene Peterson called, "A Long Obedience in The Same Direction". We must learn to persevere and to continually run to the Lord as we live out the moments entrusted to us.
I am not sure where you are right now, but take some time and draw aside to seek him. Place yourself in a position for God to work. Allow the Lord the space to move in your life. Abide in Him and you will bear fruit. (John 15:5) The Lord will restore your joy and give you a sense of the refreshing life He longs for you to have.
I have been tired of my little pickup for awhile now. I have had it for the past 14 years. Honestly, I really do like my truck and will keep it even when I do get something else. But my recent travels to Africa gave me an adjustment on my attitude. I was able to take a long a look at the things that matter and don't matter in this life. I was able to revisit how my life should be lived. I want to live my life in a way that is counter-cultural. This means that I will not give in to materialism when it rears it's wicked head in my life. My truck runs fine but the newER car I was looking at runs much better and the air conditioning works all the time. But even still, I don't feel that I need to have a new vehicle right now, rather I need to focus my life on other matters of greater importance.
I am thankful for our trip to Africa, but it ruffles my materialistic feathers, and man that is hard. I need to hear God's voice of discipline even though it is still painful. God will lead us and will guide us in the way of life, but we must be ready, this journey is not for the faint of heart.
Walking with the Jesus is not easy, but it is the best.
Over the next few posts I plan to give some thoughts on our trip to Guinea. It is a great privilege of mine to lead students on mission trips around the world. From these experiences I have been impacted in so many ways. I am most grateful to have seen the Lord at work in many contexts. I leave invigorated and challenged.
I love seeing how God does His unbelievable work in other contexts. It is sad that we forget about the Lord working in our "home base" until we are exposed to his fresh work around the world. We get so used to our life and settling for the status quo, that we need to be shaken out of the dull-drums in order to "see" his work through the eyes of faith. The Lord is present and at work all over this beautiful planet. God is bigger and his arms reach beyond our imagination.
So let me ask you? Have you gotten lost in the day to day of your life? Have you forgotten that God is always present and at work in your life and the community where you live? You need not travel thousands of miles to be reminded that the Lord is always at work. Sure it can help, but it is not necessary to see God's faithful hand at work.
What can you and I do? Ask the Lord to open your eyes. Ask the Lord to take you to a place where you see his work through faith. Today do something for the Lord that you have never done before. This will break up the routine you are in and get you off the comfort seat in your faith.
God is at work. The question is, do we see it and are we going to join him?
Our team of 10 will be leaving tomorrow for our second trip to Guinea. We are most excited about the opportunity to go back and work with these wonderful people. The Lord has given us an opportunity to work with some of the most amazing missionaries. They have given their lives(19 years of work) to touch the lives of those far from God. Last year we had such a great experience and we expect to have another wonderful experience again this year. Please pray for us as we go serve in the name of Christ.
We must not treat missions as a trip, rather we must see it as way of life. If missions were just a trip, then we could easily compartmentalize it and go on with business as usual. But the truth is we have to live our lives in way that lives out the Gospel of Jesus Christ daily. We can't take the weekend off or go to work without having the eyes of Jesus Christ lead us. No we must be shaped by Christ in all we do.
"Press on..." The Apostle Paul to the Phillipian Christians
Where does your value come from? What are you worth? Is their a price on your life? God thinks so. He seems to think that you have great value. Most of the time people allow other things give them their value.
What gives you a sense of worth? Is it your career? Is it your name? Is it your financial status? Most people allow these aspects of their life to define them. The problem is these items in our life can change randomly and often. We are not guaranteed another day let alone that our wealth will last a lifetime. But this does not stop us.
The truth is we must realize that all external value is variable and can't be trusted. We must find our value in the fact that we are loved by God and he displayed this for us in Christ.
So let me ask you again. Where does your value come from? Only when we find our value from the significance God places on us we will never be satisfied. The Lord is overall and in all and when he fills us we are then changed by him. Everything changes.
You have value because God says you have value and that is enough!!
It has been a while and I'm so glad to be back actually. I miss taking the time to write out some of my thoughts. It really does seem that it has been way too long. This morning in my sermon I used Matthew 22:1-14 as my text. The text explains that the Kingdom of God is like a king who invites people to a wedding feast and wants them to come and join him at the feast. But they turn him down. The people are caught up in trivial activities and won't slip away for the banquet. When was the last time that you gave God the cold shoulder and turned aside toward your own desires. Have you ever turned God down? I have and I am sure you have. My prayer tonight as I go to bed is that I would be more mindful of the opportunities in front of me. I want to make the most of them. May God give us the courage to do all that he places on our hearts. May the Lord take us to new places as we walk with Him daily.
I love Easter. It is so much fun. Preaching is always fun, but during the Easter season it is so awesome. It seems that too often we only give it about one day a year and yet the affects of the Christ event are felt for a lifetime and beyond for the believer. Take some time this week and read the passages of scripture that relate to Easter. They will take your mind and heart to a new place.
I am praying for fresh movement of the Lord. I am praying that God would do something in and around me for His glory. Are you okay with the way things are in your life, marriage, or career? Take some time to evaluate what God is up to and what God might want to change or tweak. You never know what the Lord may do, so simply open your life up to him and he will lead!
There is a point in the life of Jesus when the scriptures say that he set out for Jerusalem. Jesus made a deliberate decision to go to Jerusalem. Jesus knew that he was stepping into the hornets nest, but there was no other way. Jesus knew he must face the ridicule and taunts of the religious leaders. He was well aware that he would soon face the pain of the cross and yet he did not back down.
Jesus only wanted to be obedient. Do you? Do I? Most of the time I run the other way when Jesus is just is leading me further. I must deal with this tendency and begin to walk in full obedience. If Jesus is leading we will be fine. Jesus he overcame, thus we can too!!
How do you handle success in your life? Have you had much? Have you had a little here and there? Most people long for success, but mostly as the world defines it. We long to be known. We long to be famous, but but this should never be the focus of our attention. We should not allow something else to take the place God. We can put anything in this spot. For many it is the prize of fame. To be noticed. To be seen. To be heard. Timothy Keller says our hearts are idol factories. This is true.
But how do you handle the success in your life? So let's say your praying for a date? Do you thank God for the date or do you just go on the date? If you start a relationship with that person, is God involved in your relationship? Most of us get something from God and then forget God. We want are stocking stuffed but never give a thought about who gave it or pausing to give thanks for the prizes.
How about you?
As you know, I have been preaching through Nehemiah and it has been awesome. In chapter 6 he tells us that the wall has been completed, but he does not stop there. In chapters 8 and 9, Nehemiah leads the people worshiping the God who has delivered them. They have been in Exile and now 42000+ inhabitants read the Law and confess their sins. There is a sense that the people once again have the privilege of corporately worshiping the Lord their God.
Here is the deal. Nehemiah did not forget and neither should we! He honored the hand that led him to this point. He remembered the Lord and worshiped. I think we would do well to follow his example.
I have been preaching through Nehemiah over the past few weeks and have just loved it. The book gives us a glimpse of how the Lord has lead Nehemiah back to Jerusalem in order to rebuild the wall around the city. He has approached the King and has been given the freedom to go ahead with his plans. The only problem is that he begins to face detractors. He is criticized, beat down by various lies, engulfed with accusations, but he still marched on. Have you ever had this problem? Have you ever set your mind to a task and decided to move in a certain direction only to have those around be the first to offer a thousand reasons why you shouldn't proceed. People always seem to be there to tell you what not to do. Often your dreams and my dreams die at the hands of those standing up in judgement of these plans. You have a dream and set the plan but can't get anyone to buy in. Nehemiah had plenty of people that wanted to stop him, but he was able to make through the storm and make the most of the dreams God had given him. The question for you and me is not if we will have opposition, but how will we respond to opposition when we face it. Nehemiah chose to pray, stay the course, and act with integrity. How will you respond.
Go back and read the book of Nehemiah. Take some life lessons from and allow God to some amazing work in your life and the lives of those around you.
Ask yourself these questions:
What is the vision God has given me?
What are the obstacles in my way?
How am I responding? How should you respond?
Are trusting God with your plans and the work he wants to do in and through you?
Are you living with vision? Do you live your life on point or do you live a distracted life? The reason I ask this is because most of us don't feel that we have a clue about the direction that God wants us to move in. We live our lives in such a way that we can so easily get off track. Many live in reactionary mode rather than being proactive about their life. The point is that God has a plan and a purpose for you and for me. We can live on focus because God will give us an opportunity to live out the life He has in fact called us to and made us for.
God wants you to have vision so you can make the most of your life. Ask yourself these questions:
What is my experience? (the good, they bad and the ugly) Basically all of your life experience.
What are my desires? (this is what you love and enjoy)
What is God up to in my life right now? This means that you are actively seeking Him daily. It is hard to see a pattern when you are not engaging Him.
What is keeping me from doing what God is calling me to do? Obedience is always the right decision to make!
We spend all of our time running around in a frenzy most of the time. If we don't slow down, we will never make the most of our lives. God wants to do something in our lives that is truly amazing and there is no doubt we must hear from him so that we can follow him in obedience. The challenge for us is to press the pause button or stop our lives long enough to hear from the Lord. If we don't stop we will be pressed by all the other influences in our world. May you take some time regularly to engage the Lord.
Remember: We must stop before we start and when we do:
We are more like our heavenly Father.
We start we gain a new perspective on our life.
We are refreshed and gain new energy for the responsibilities God has given us.
We are able to remember how God has been faithful to us in the past.
We place God in his proper role - overall!
We learn to trust God rather than our effort.
Further Reading: Genesis 2:1-3; Deuteronomy 5:12-15
Hello, I am Stewart Moody. I live in Statesboro, GA with my wife Julie and our 4 pets. We have two dogs and two cats. We love life and strive to live it to the fullest.
email me: firstname.lastname@example.org