Tuesday, June 30, 2009
In the film Phoebe in Wonderland, Phoebe is a 9 year old girl having trouble fitting in with her classmates and feels that there is no hope for her. And even though her mother continuously tells her "I Love You", she still feels hopeless.
She notices the next school play is one of her favorite's,Alice in Wonderland, so she signs up to play the part of Alice. The drama teacher notices some talent in Phoebe and gives her the lead role, much to the dissatisfaction of the other girls.
As Phoebe begins to feverishly practice her role, the imaginative characters come to life in her presence, giving her tips and providing her with courage. The drama teacher has her own tactics to instruct these kids as well: the very first rehearsal she lets the kids do it on their own with no supervision,she also has them play a game called Trust Falls, which teaches them to trust each other. Smart tactics that work well when the teacher is dismissed after some misfortunate events. As Phoebe gains hope and confidence through her imaginary friends, she gets the whole cast to continue on with rehearsals without any drama teacher to instruct them. And the show successfully goes on as scheduled.
At one time or another some of us may have felt like Phoebe: trying to fit in with the other kids, or maybe even with our co workers, or a small group at church. We may have felt all is lost and hopeless. But, thankfully we have a loving God that we can put our hope and trust in. One who never fails:
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Rom.5:5)
We are refreshed and strengthened both physically and spiritually when we place our hope and expectations in Him.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (Heb.10:23)
This act of confessing our hope comes by: standing on God's promises, speaking out everyday that which we are in hope for, and thanking Him in advance for that answered prayer.
Faith is just not believing, it's understanding. It's understanding the hope that we have
in Christ Jesus.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
In men's Bible Study yesterday the conversation came up about people who read the Word of God, know many scriptures, yet still struggle with faith. We all came to the basic conclusion, it is more than just knowing the Word of God, you have to love the Word of God. You have to love the Word so much that you want to apply it to your life.
It is just like my love for football. I love it so much that I am willing to apply it into my life by sitting out there no matter how cold it is.
When it comes to the Word of God, heart knowledge is just as important as head knowledge. In fact it actually supercedes head knowledge.
But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work (word), this one will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:25)
If you love the Word of God, apply it to your life, apply it to your circumstances, and you will be blessed.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
One winter evening my grandfather was driving home from Bible study, it had been snowing steadily for a few hours and getting colder out. On a desolate farm road a few miles from home the car ran out of gas. He sat there for a few minutes and prayed. As he began to get out of the car, he was met by a man carrying a gas can. The man helped fill his tank with gas. As my grandfather proceeded to get back into his car, he had realized he hadn't even thanked the man. He turned back only to find the man was gone! He looked around but couldn't find or see anyone. My grandfather believed it was an angel.
For the hundreds of times I heard him tell that story or mention it in his sermons, it never changed. It always stayed the same, word for word. And you could see it in his eyes he was telling the truth each time he told it. Such a simple story, but it speaks volumes about trusting in God and asking for favor in any given situation. He took the worst of circumstances and put his faith in action with a simple prayer.
So what stops us from having a spiritual encounter or a miracle like this? In simple terms, it is our faith. In Romans 12:3 it says that, we ought not to think of ourselves as more highly than another, for God has given each of us the same measure of faith. We've all been given the same amount of faith, it's how we put that faith into action that produces results.
The Apostle Paul says his message and preaching were not with wise, persuasive words, but a demonstration of the Holy Spirit and the power of God.
God can use anyone of us, in any situation, as long as our faith rests not in human wisdom, but in God's power.
For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. (1Cor.4:20)
As a little kid I was fortunate enough to hang around my grandfather alot and see God perform miracles through him. It definitely felt like I was following Moses, or Peter, or Paul.
Earlier today I had a momentary lapse of faith. What 's most important is that I knew it. And I had to stop for a few minutes, pray, and ask God to forgive me for my lack of trust in that moment.
I could say I still have a long ways to go on reaching that level of faith that my grandfather had, but, once again, I have been given the same measure of faith. It's how I decide to use that faith. Today, I don't even look back and try to figure out what happened that night of the car running out of gas. I just accept and believe that it happened.
Right now I'm just trying to figure out why my next door neighbor has a goat in his backyard!
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
I love a great quote or saying. Here are some of my favorites that my Pastor often uses:
1. But without faith it is impossible to hang with God.
This one really needs no explanation, it speaks for itself, but here's the scripture:
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Heb.11:6)
2. Don't pray about them, pray for them.
This is my personal favorite, an important lesson I've learned. Sometimes we do get caught praying for God to fix that person (spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, parent, brother/sister, friend, co-worker, boss) instead of praying for that person. The one that may need the fixing is the one doing the praying. If you really care about that person your praying for then pray like you care for them.
3. I worship God with the lawnmower.
And my Pastor "REALLY DOES!!!" He's been teaching us alot about worshiping God wherever you are, whatever your doing. God is worthy of our praises continuously.
4. Stop being a spiritual sissy!
In other words: "Can't we all just get along!" Especially Christians. Stop getting offended by every little thing your neighbor does or whine about how they hurt your feelings. There are more important things in the world. We are to exemplify Jesus in all that we do.
You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Lev.19:18)
5. You need to go to Menards and get yourself some wood, build a bridge, and get over it
This bears reference to the last scripture: holding a grudge on somebody else.
6. You need to have a Bugs Bunny type of faith.
Bugs Bunny had no fear when it came to his foes. He'd look straight down the barrel of that shot gun of Elmer Fudd's and simply say, "What's up, Doc?"
For God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.(2Tim.1:7)
So now you can tell..I do pay attention in church!
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Tozier's whole ministry was about us disciplining ourselves into a real, worshipful relationship with our Creator. Tozier says:"If you major on knowing God and cultivate a sense of His presence in your daily life, practice the presence of God daily and seek to know the Holy Spirit in the scriptures, you will go a long way in serving your generation for God."
He also remarks that:
You can be straight as a gun barrel theologically and as empty as one spiritually."
Basicly what he is saying is we have a choice: either we can know about God just through the scriptures, or we can have the whole package. To know God so intimately we can recognize His voice when we need to hear from Him.
Our goal should be what Tozier's life was about:
Don't settle for the satisfaction of the needed appetite only, but to something bigger,
grander, and more eternal, that we might worship God and enjoy Him forever.
I recently saw the film Yes Man. Jim Carrey plays an unhappy, down on his luck guy. Upon the suggestion of a friend, Carrey goes to a self help guru's seminar called "Say Yes", in order to change his perspective on life. At the seminar he makes the sacred covenant of having to say yes to everything. Soon as he leaves, a homeless man asks him for a ride to the park. Carrey obliges. The next thing you know he is giving the homeless guy his cell phone to use and money! After he drops the man off, sure enough, his car runs out of gas, and his cell phone battery is now dead.
After trekking a few miles to the gas station, he meets the girl of his dreams. And so it went throughout the story. Everytime he said yes, no matter how bad it might have been , something good happened to him afterward.
When we say "yes" to worshipping God, and serving Him (even when it may look like it's a bad situation to get involved in) good things are bound to happen. Because it is a great, and mighty God that we serve. None of our actions will go in vain. As Tozier put it:
"Only cunning works of silver and gold should be offered to God."