Saturday, August 22, 2009

Knock Knock. Who's There?

They say that opportunity only knocks once, but I think that saying was made up by someone who only had one door in his life. I’ve come to find my life is full of many doors. Many choices. Many directions. And many door-to-door salesmen. And in the midst of all the ringing doorbells and junk mail, Jesus stands at the door and knocks. (Revelation 3:20)

Currently, I am in a battle of who I could be and who I should be.

Have you ever questioned decisions you make in life and analyze every last detail about them? When dealing with a calling of God on your life, you will most likely ask many times, “What is foolishness and what is faith?” Will I look back and say, “Look what the Good Lord has done,” or “Good Lord, what have I done!?”

It’s a tricky journey this life, full of deceptions, ladders that take you to the top only to find out that the top is just the bottom of another level, and greener grass that you may discover burns just as easily as the grass on the other side. And let’s not forget about fear. Fear of failure. Fear of becoming our parents. Fear of having to say, “I was wrong.”

Is there such a thing as a safe bet or a sure shot? And if we choose to stand for what we feel God is calling us to do, that doesn’t mean He won’t let us break. Matthew 21:44 says, “He who falls on this stone (Jesus) will be broken to pieces.” Is that what answering the call of Jesus means? A life full of brokenness? Is the way of Jesus really the wisest way to go? The man was a poor, homeless vagabond. One time He even had to make a miraculous catch of a fish with a coin in his mouth just to pay his taxes. (Matthew 17:24-26) So does a life with Jesus mean we have to depend on miraculous catches and just pray to God the fish are biting today?

Is that really what life is? Saying, “God, I am wholly dependant on you for everything because I have nothing else to rest upon but your words.” That is abundant life?

That is abundant life. And I want to live.

Here’s the deal, at least for me, and I don’t mean to sound conceited, but I really feel I could play “the game” and be “successful.” From what I’ve seen in most of the business world, it’s a matter of meager talent and who you can schmooze over to be successful. Anyone could play the game. People love hearing what they want to hear, and if you tell it to them they’ll love you for it. It’s not hard to find success in you chase after it. But is that success in the eyes of the Lord? I’ve got a hunch that anything the world views as good, God views it as just the opposite. And really, anything I’ve ever done that’s amounted to any form of success is only from God and through God.

Now this is not to say that anyone who brings home a paycheck is not honoring the Lord. By no means am I saying that. Trust me. But when it comes to the calling of God on each one of our lives, we had better make sure we are chasing after His view of success and what He wants for our lives. Many people may give you advice contradictory to what you have heard from the Lord. And I’m not saying don’t listen to advice or wisdom, but be careful what kind of wisdom you are listening to. I’ve come to find fear can sound a lot like concern.

So many decisions. So many knocking doors. A relentless, jealous God who chooses to knock on your door instead of knocking it down.

So many choices. One God.

Matthew 6:24
No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.

What is God calling you to do? A decision for what God’s calling you to do may seem crazy, and in the viewpoint of worldly success it may be ridiculous, but God is a Good Shepherd. He knows how to lead His sheep to the right pastures.

Remember Psalm 23. God is such a Good Shepherd. We will not want. A life without God will leave you wanting God. A life with God will leave you wanting nothing else.

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Believe Now

John 2:19-22
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days. The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words Jesus had spoken.

God is huge. Massive. Indescribably big. Sometimes when He would bring His presence to earth He would come with fire or lightning and thunder, or some powerful, visible force.

Exodus 20:18
When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear.

Sometimes it’s really easy to look at the signs and say, “Oh yeah, that’s definitely God.” But sometimes God does not come like you think He will, or even wish He would. In 1 Kings 19, God appeared to Elijah, and there was a great and powerful wind, an earthquake, and a fire, but God was not in them. Then, came a gentle whisper, which was the Lord.

Why does the Lord come in ways that are so hard to be sure of sometimes? Why doesn’t He just write it on the wall or send us angels in dreams? I could give you the answer that most would say (and is correct)—faith. But my honest answer right now is this: I don’t know.

I really have no clue why God doesn’t always speak up loud when we are desperate and broken. Why does it have to be a still small voice?

I really can’t figure it out, but I do know this, God actually speaks to us. He really does.

Luke 10:27
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.”

Don’t even question it. Jesus still speaks.

What sticks out to me from the passage of John 2 is that it wasn’t until after Jesus had risen from the dead that “then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.”

Here’s a phrase we are all familiar with: “Uh huh? Prove it.” “Really? You’re better at this than me? Prove it.” “Yeah? You are friends with Justin Timberlake? Prove it.” Let’s face it, when we get down to it, we are not very trusting or believing people by nature. And those of us that are quick to believe to believe are referred to as “na├»ve.” Maybe the fact that we are so slow to believe can be attributed to years of disappointing moments, being fooled too many times, or maybe we just don’t watch enough Disney movies anymore. Whatever the reasons are, it’s true that we are not quick to believe in most things. The same was with the disciples of Jesus.

When it comes to the words of the Lord, many times all we will have is His words. No other signs. And if your life is like mine, sometimes it seems that things are happening just the opposite of what the Lord’s words are. But those are the times we must look back on our lives and the old stories in the Scriptures, and how the words of the Lord have always been true and done just what they said they would do.

In Isaiah 55, the Lord compares His words to the rain that falls and waters the earth.

Isaiah 55:11
So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

So it’s a fact: God’s word will never fail.

What if we were a people who didn’t have to wait for the proof before we believed the words of the Lord? The disciples had to wait until Jesus actually resurrected until they believed His words; what if we were a people who took Him at His word?

Jesus told Thomas, “Blessed are those who have no seen and yet have believed,” (John 20:24). It is possible to believe without “the proof.” The proof is the unfailing voice of Jesus.

But the age old question is, “Well, how do I know that it’s God?” We all ask it. I ask it everyday. And really, it’s a good question to ask. But let’s be real, most of the times we ask that, we are using it as a defense to what God is telling us to do. “How do I know that’s God? It might not be so I just won’t do anything about it.” Sound familiar? If it doesn’t, you’re probably lying. Now go repent…

Alright, welcome back. I hope the confession was good for your soul.

I feel that we sell God so short on how and how often He speaks. God is speaking all the time. The question is: are we listening all the time? I’m not saying we never need to pray about anything or seek advice and counsel, but I think most of the reason we are not seeing bigger things of God in our lives is not because we keep mishearing God, but because we aren’t doing anything about what we do hear.

“Prove it. Prove that’s God’s voice.” You prove it! Prove it by doing something with it. And honestly, so what if we get things wrong once in a while? Really, it’s not that big of a deal. Would you rather be a person who never acts on anything because “what if I’m wrong sometimes,” or a person that believes the words of Jesus before He has physical proof?

God is not setting us up to fail. And the devil isn’t speaking words like, “Hey, go witness to that person,” or “What if you just did something radical and crazy for Jesus?” I’m 100% positive you don’t have to worry about the devil prompting you to move forward in the Kingdom of God.

Jesus is speaking. I believe He’s calling so many of us to do great things everyday. It might be a little uncomfortable, it might not make much sense, you might not see a dime in it, but it just might be Jesus. I’d say take some chances, but I don’t feel it’s a matter of chance; it’s a matter of faith.

What could be done for the Kingdom if we learned to believe and act on the word of the Lord? Don’t wait for the proof, prove it yourself.

Luke 10:28
[Jesus] replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”