How wonderful to experience the unconditional love of God. A love that is based on His decision to love us according to His will, not on how we behave.
Easter proved it with the death, the burial and the resurrection of Jesus, His only begotten Son.
Rejoice friend, you can’t measure up. Through Jesus, His love invites you too!
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
1 John 3:1 ESV
Week in and week out, I hear stories of unfulfilled leaders running to and fro, hither and yon, from this to that, just to lament that they’re not getting anywhere.
Part of the challenge among leaders today is finding and sticking with a purpose.
There are just so many good things that we need to do.
My observation is that as our aim is off.
One resource that has been helpful for a few of us is in adjusting our sights:
I urge you to consider this helpful volume.
Regrets can be debilitating.
I heard from a colleague who got some ‘bad news.’ “What should I have done better?” Was the question.
This person was not even involved in the situation. But, we tend to see the world through the glass of our ability.
“Why do you think anything you might have done would have changed things?” I asked.
There was no answer
We must beware of thinking we can be the solutions to everyone’s problems. We can’t.
We must beware of thinking if I would have done this, or I should have done that.
Instead, consider the ‘bad news’ in a greater context, what can I learn? How can I pray? What are the ways now that I can point people to the gospel? How can I give God glory even in this? What are the things I can be thankful for in this?
It’s not all about us.
When we’re feeling sad about a situation, that should be a signal, not about what I woulda shoulda, but about how I can pray, rejoice and give thanks.
It’s turn our aim from earth to heaven. To Him who actually can do something.
“But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!”
Psalms 115:18 ESV
1. No prayer.
2. Infrequent prayer
3. Lack of proper focus on God means when we actually do pray, we’re really talking to ourselves.
4. Prayer has little effect on our perspective, on our life because it is not toward God but the problem.
Recently I’ve been unwell. I acquired a bug on my travels that I fought from my trip home for about 12 days. It’s worst effect was how it created the ‘woe is me’ mindset. There is a danger of having a spiritual ‘woe is me’ mindset too.
Sitting with some fellow disciples in our regular conversation helped me realize that I had been praying like #4 (above). My focus on the woes of some friends that I had shifted into the ‘woe is me.’
Once I realized it, I prayed properly and my focus in praying for these friends has shifted from the problem to seeing God as the only answer and laying them in His lap.
Proper prayer should take me (us) to the throne and dispel our concerns as we fear God the way Isaiah did (see Is. 6).
We do this when we enter into prayer having invested time in His words to us, words inspired by His Spirit, words that give life, words that – as Keller taught – give us a language for prayer.
Sitting (or standing) and slowly reading and rereading a Psalm helps me ascend the steps of prayer.
Then, having arrived at the throne, I see my Father so clearly, as I have abided in His word, I see His GREATNESS and am able to lay my burdens in His lap.
They are His burdens to carry, not mine.
How we view the world is a critical factor in our decisions and our emotional and spiritual condition. Too often our view of humanity is too high. We overestimate the image of God and underestimate the sin nature. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how poor (unbiblical) theology ruins our personal spiritual development (personal discipleship). There are a ton of reasons for this but one reason I’ve observed is the love of reading people talking about the Bible, or worse, their experience in the Christian endeavor (with little Bible input and lots of experiential anecdotes) more than reading the Bible itself. This is compounded when these authors place too high a value on the abilities of humans.
Our source is God.
When we lose sight of this, we’re on a wrong track.
Consider the psalmist:
“Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.” Psalms 113:5-8 ESV http://bible.com/59/psa.113.5-8.esv
Look to God, not man. He lifts us from the ash heap, not we ourselves.
Realize that our sin is a regular part of the battle and that the words of man can only help us as they point to the words of God and to our Father in Heaven. As much as the words of man point us to God, read and heed them in thankfulness for pointing us upwards, beyond the earth and heavens to Him.
All glory and praise to He who died and rose for us.
Now, this is not to say that we mustn’t read non biblical authors at all. There is much to learn from them. There is much to learn from history, biography, politics and even Christian literature.
What I am urging is that we look through God shaped lenses as we train our hearts and minds to know and follow Jesus as His disciple.
Know Him first. He will lift us up.
This email has been years in the making…
I have so much to be thankful for in getting to this point, but most of all I’m thankful for Sweet Anna who pushed me through. I am so blessed with this woman.
In meeting with fellow disciples, the following 7 questions are often helpful.
1. What are you thankful for today?
2. What are you struggling with lately? -or- What is causing stress in your life?
About the Scripture text you’ve read:
3. What does the text teach us about God and/or His character?
4. What does the text teach us about humanity? What are we really like?
5. How does it apply to me? or What does God need to change IN ME? or “I will…”
6. What should we do together to obey this message from God?
7. Who could you share this story with?
It should be duly noted that these questions are NOT original to me. I learned them from several independent sources. These 7 are an adaptation from what is know as the Disciple Making Movement. It truly is a movement with no head. I tried to find a real original source once to cite, but to no avail. Hence, this blurb of credit to that unknown source.