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Friday, May 29, 2015

God’s Purpose Is Greater Than My Problems or Pain

In review of 2 Corinthians 4:17 it says, “This small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble.”

Bottom Line:
The troubles you are facing now are small and won’t last forever. They will bring you a rich blessing that will make the troubles seem like nothing.

What this means to me:
Any of my present troubles, while they seem big now are really small and won’t last forever. They will however, bring me a tremendous and eternal glory that will make them seem like nothing.

When difficulties come one of my first thoughts is to try to blame somebody else. It’s much easier to point the blame and want some restitution, correction, easement, or release from the effects of it. I often feel this way when some trouble comes and I don’t think it was because of any mistake on my part.

What I’m learning is that no matter where my problem has come from, God still has a purpose for it in my life. Even when I do stupid things, God can use it. Even when other people hurt me intentionally, he can use it. Even when the devil plans bad things, God can bring good out of it.

What I need to remember is that God’s purpose in this is greater than my problems and my pain. God has a plan! I need to look past the temporary pain and look instead at the long-term benefit in my life.

Romans 5:3-4 says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that … they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady” (TLB).

God’s purpose for my problems and difficulty is to allow me to learn something. Every storm is a school. Every trial is a teacher. Every experience is an education. Every difficulty is for my development.

At times I’m a slow learner. What I find is that if I don’t learn something the first time, God will bring it up again. It will come back, because God is more interested in developing my character than he is in establishing my comfort. He is more interested in seeing me become more like Christ than he is in making things easy for me.

Through my current difficulties today God is telling me to, “Don't give up. Grow up.” Fulfill the purpose of this difficulty, become more and more like the person he created me to be and remember, “This small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble” (2 Corinthians 4:17 GNT).

As I reflect on present troubles, which is my arthritic pain, I do believe God is telling me to not give up. I really want to become more active (walking, getting out and about), however the pain is making it difficult. I know that as I get back into regular medication routine things will get better.  Meanwhile, being in this condition does keep me in closer prayer with God as I ask for healing and relief.

What I need to remember is that God’s purpose in this is much greater than my pain. God does have a plan! I need to look past the temporary pain and look instead at the long-term benefit in my life.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Three Mistakes to Avoid in the Face of Difficulty

In review of John 16:33b it says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Bottom Line:
On earth, we will experience troubles, but we should be confident in knowing that Jesus has overcome the things of this world.

What this means to me:
While I’m part of this world, I will experience trials, sorrows and troubles. But I should be encouraged knowing the Jesus has overcome the things of this world and he will help me through them.

Trouble is just part of life. I will have difficulties! Jesus tells me so in John 16:33b: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (NIV).

In Acts chapter 27, we see examples in when Paul set sail for Rome with other prisoners. They faced great difficulties on their journey because the winds were against them. Paul warned the men on one leg of their voyage that if they set sail, they would be caught in a major storm and the results would be disastrous. They decided to sail anyway, making three common mistakes that are the same mistakes we tend to make that get us into trouble.

First, don’t listen to and follow bad advice. “[They] followed the advice of the pilot” (Acts 27:11b). God had already said not to do it, and Paul warned them not to do it. But because the “expert” said it was OK, they did it. If God tells you to do one thing and all the experts in the world tell you to do something else, don’t listen to the experts. Listen to what God says.

Secondly, don’t follow the crowd. “The majority decided that [they] should sail on” (Acts 27:12a). The majority is often wrong! The majority of the Israelites wanted to go back to Egypt, and they were wrong, too. Peer pressure can keep people from doing what God wants them to do.

Thirdly, don’t rely on circumstances. “When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity” (Acts 27:13a). Paul warned the others that they were heading into a storm, but they sailed anyway. I should not go through every open door I see. I should not take advantage of every opportunity given to me. I should not accept every job that is offered to me. Satan can arrange circumstances, so I need to ask God for his direction.

I think experiencing difficulty allows me to turn my faith and hope towards him, otherwise I would only learn to count on myself.  Knowing these three mistakes will help me avoid them when I’m faced with difficulty in my journey.

As I reflect on these three common mistakes, I know I’ve done each of these. I’m probably more prone to following the crowd, mainly because it’s easier, I don’t have to think and it's usually the most socially acceptable action. After that I probably rely too much on circumstances.  Both of these likely reflect the easy path, not needing to think or check in with God. The good thing is that God has been able to weave even the bad choices I have made into making up who I am.  I just need to listen to what God says, not cave into peer pressure, and continually ask Him for direction.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Never Fear, Fret, or Forget While Waiting on God

In review of Psalm 103:2 it says, “Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.”

Bottom Line:
Let all that your are praise the Lord, never forget the good things he does for you.

What this means to me:
Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good and glorious things he does out of his kindness for me.

When a dream of mine gets delayed, it can often cause me to forget many things. I can easily forget what God has done in my life and all of his goodness to me in the past. I can tend to forget that God is with me. And more importantly, I can forget God’s ultimate power.

Forgetfulness was a big mistake that the Israelites made in the wilderness: “They forgot the many times [God] showed them his love, and they rebelled against the Almighty at the Red Sea. But he saved them, as he had promised, in order to show his great power. But they quickly forgot what he had done and acted without waiting for his advice” (Psalm 106:7b-8, 13 (GNT).

As I look back at their story, It’s unbelievable how short their memories were! In Egypt, God sent 10 plagues on the Egyptians just to rescue his people, and the children of Israel forget it just a few days later when they’re at the Red Sea saying, “We’re all going to die!” They forgot what God had done. Then, God does a miracle and opens the Red Sea. They walk through to the other side and immediately forget that miracle and cry, “We’re going to die of thirst!” God miraculously provides water. The Israelites forget that and complain, “We’re going to die because we have no food!” They were always forgetting.

But I shouldn’t be too quick to judge them, because I do the exact same thing. When a delay occurs, I often start acting like God’s never done anything for me before. The truth is that God has done things for me in the past, and I can count on him to do it again tomorrow and the next day and the day after that.

Instead of forgetting, I need to remember God’s promises. Whenever I have a problem, find a promise, like 2 Timothy 2:13: “Even when we are too weak to have any faith left, he remains faithful to us and will help us … and he will always carry out his promises to us” (TLB). The promises will always be greater than the problems I’m facing!

Here is something to consider, God may not have fulfilled a promise in my life because he’s waiting on me. He’s waiting on me to learn to not fear, not fret, not faint, not forget. He wants me to learn before he delivers.

While God can do things immediately, he’s working on a larger agenda. The delays that come in my life do not destroy God’s purpose, they actually fulfill God’s purpose in my life. So, “Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.” (Psalm 103:2).

Instead of forgetting, I need to remember God’s promises and what He has done for me in the past. I also need to consider that the delay may be because He’s waiting on me. He may be waiting on me to learn to not fear, not fret, not faint, not forget. Overall I need to keep in mind that delays may actually be fulfilling God’s purpose in my life.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Learning to Hold On and Not Give Up

In review of Galatians 6:9 it says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Bottom Line:
Don’t become tired of doing what is right, as long as you don’t give up, you’ll be rewarded when the time is right.

What this means to me:
I should never become weary or tired of doing what is good (in particular helping others), for a time will come when I’ll will reap a harvest of blessing from him, as long as I don’t get discouraged and give up.

I’m learning that whenever I go through the delays in life, I shouldn’t get discouraged. I shouldn’t lose heart. And more importantly I should never give up!

Scripture indicates that the Israelites did, and it delayed them and kept them out of the Promised Land. Numbers 14:2-4 says, “All the Israelites grumbled against Moses … ‘If only we had died in Egypt! …. We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt” (NIV). Things got tough and they gave up on their dream. They had been rescued after 400 years of slavery but then wanted to go back because they were being delayed.

Like the Israelites, some people would rather live in slavery than face the fear of freedom. They are not willing to push through and work on the problem until they get it right. They want to give up. They want to settle for mediocrity in life.

I shouldn’t settle for less than God’s best for my life. If this means going through a tunnel of conflict, I should take the tunnel. Of course, in the middle of the tunnel, it will be dark, and I’ll will want to run back to the light. But I’ve got to keep going until I come out on the other side into the light.

So Instead of getting discouraged, I am to be persistent and to pray.

Galatians 6:9 reminds me, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

This is the law of the harvest: There is always a delay between sowing and reaping. You plant in one season, and you reap in another. God wants to see if I’m going to keep cultivating, planting, and sowing. If he sees consistency, then the harvest will come. However It will not come immediately, because it proves nothing if he does it immediately; no character development or stretching of my faith.

Jesus said in Luke 18:1, “[You] must always pray and never lose heart” (Phillips).

Those are the two options I have in life: Either pray continually, or lose heart. I’ll always be doing one or the other. If I pray continually, I will not be discouraged. If I don’t pray continually, I will lose heart. I will get discouraged by the problems I’m facing; whether it’s at work or ministry or in my family. I’ve got to keep on praying!

During the delay phases of my life, I should pray, “to help me hold on and not give up.” If I do, God has promised that he will help. I am not alone, so I don’t have to get discouraged, even when I’m delayed.

In general I find that there are two categories of delays I have in life. The first is delay caused by me not taking action when I really should be. This type of delay ends up hurting me and others as well. I’m prompted to move, but instead I hold back and end up losing out. The second delay is when there is something that seems to be holding me back from accomplishing something and this is one that is referenced by today’s study.  The legitimate delays from God have always seemed to benefit me in some way or another. I just need to trust in God and his timing, be persistent and pray knowing that He has always taken care of me in the past.

My prayers for help do not always need to be a routine scheduled time slow, I can pray short prayers throughout the day. This is what is means to pray continually.

So Instead of getting discouraged, I am to be persistent and to pray.

Friday, May 22, 2015

When there is a Delay, I Can Trust In God’s Timing

In review of Psalm 37:7-8 it says, “Rest in the Lord, wait patiently for him to act …. Don’t fret and worry — it only leads to harm.”

Bottom Line:
Rest and trust the Lord. Patiently wait for him to act. Don’t let it bother you when things seem to go better for others (even the sinful ones). Being bothered or inpatient can only lead to you to take actions that will end up harming you.

What this means to me:
I am to take rest in and trust the Lord to act at the right time. I should never let it bother me when those who do evil or sinful things seem to be prospering more than myself. Letting this bother me or taking my own actions will only lead me to sin myself.

As I pursue God’s dream for my life, I’ll inevitably run into delays. What I’m learning is that God uses those delays to prepare and test me so that I can face whatever is coming in the next phase of my faith journey.

I know that I tend to worry when I get delayed. Not reaching a goal or achieving a plan can stress me out. One tendency of mine is to complain. I’ve get uptight. I guess this is natural. The Israelites, when God delayed their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, reacted the same way: “On the way the people lost their patience and spoke against God and Moses. They complained” (Numbers 21:4b-5a GNT).

The Israelites’ complaining and fretting were the sins that kept them out of the Promised Land. No matter what God did for them, they found something to gripe about. They had no water, so God provided water. Then they had no food, but when God provided food, they complained about the food they got. It’s easy to gripe when we’re forced to wait. We wait, but then complain about it.

Proverbs 19:2 says, “Impatience will get you into trouble.” It’s frustrating to be in a hurry and find that God isn’t. I think I’m finally beginning to realize that God is never in a hurry! The Bible says a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day to God. He’s larger and greater than time. One of the most useless things I can do is to try and speed up God. I do this when I take matters into my own hands. I ultimately get myself into trouble by doing this.

As I get a dream from God and make the decision to go after it but then seem to be forced into God’s waiting room, I need to avoid trying to figure out ways of doing God’s dream on my own.

The Bible reminds me to trust God’s timing: “Rest in the Lord, wait patiently for him to act …. Don’t fret and worry — it only leads to harm” (Psalm 37:7-8 TLB).

Resting can be an act of faith. It means I’m waiting on God. When Jesus and the disciples were in a boat that was caught in a big storm, Jesus just kept sleeping through all the ruckus while the disciples freaked out. When they woke him up to ask, “Why are you sleeping?!” he responded, “Do you think God is going to let the boat sink with me in it?” By sleeping through the storm, Jesus was saying that we can trust God even in the middle of a storm.

When I face a storm, I tend to wake up at night and start to think and even fret about it. But now I can see that when I do that it means that I’m not living by faith. I’m not getting any sleep because I don’t really trust God to work it out. However God tells me, “Don’t fret. Remember I’m always with you, and trust my timing.”

In addition worry will only makes me miserable. So I’ll strive to stop worrying, and start trusting God to work in me and through me especially while I face a delay as I execute what I believe is his will.

Resting in the Lord can be difficult as I tend to run my life with little or no spare time. I feel like I should be doing something productive with all my waking hours. So resting often seems like wasting out on doing something productive. Delays are God’s way of building my faith muscle and my patience. I tend to want things at microwave rather than oven speed. Delays teach me to wait and trust in God. One thing I struggle with is it’s difficult to know how long I should wait,how much delay to endure. Stepping in and taking my own action occurs when I convince myself that I may need to push things along to make things happen. I can convince myself that I might have not understood God correctly and I need to take action.

As I consider what I’m studying about this morning, I think one thing I can do to know more about the right amount of time to wait is for me to continue to practicing being still so that I can hear from Him. I may not be getting the instructions or faith I need to wait because I’m not listening for God to speak to me. I think I’ll try to use some time on Saturday/Sunday mornings just to review his Word and then be quiet in God’s presence and allow him to speak to me. Overall, when there is a delay, I can trust in God’s timing to be right.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

God Can Delay Dreams by Design

In review of Deuteronomy 8:2 it says, “Do you remember how the Lord led you through the wilderness for all those forty years, humbling you and testing you to find out how you would respond, and whether or not you would really obey him?”

Bottom Line:
Don’t forget how the Lord has guided you in the past, sending difficulties your way to see how you would respond and whether you would really obey his commands.

What this means to me:
God has brought all of my past experiences, difficulties and situations around to train me and test to see how I would respond. He is interested in building my character and to see if I would endure, and ultimately choose to obey his commands regardless of the situation.

It’s really rare that any dream would ever be fulfilled immediately. Generally there’s always a waiting period. God’s Word points out how Abraham had the dream of being the father of a great nation, and he ended up waiting 90 years before he was even told he was going to have a son. Noah had the dream of building an ark, however it took him 120 years. The Israelites were brought out of Egypt and then wandered around for 40 years before they went into the Promised Land, interestingly enough the actual distance on foot between Egypt and Israel was about a two-week walk.

Just like the case of the Israelites, delay is often by design. What I’m learning is that God uses delays to prepare me. Almost every dream has difficulties. However God uses the delays to get me ready for those difficulties. God knew that if the Israelites went to war unprepared, they wouldn’t be able to handle it, so he knew he needed that time to prepare them for what was ahead.

God also uses delays to test me. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 8:2, “Do you remember how the Lord led you through the wilderness for all those forty years, humbling you and testing you to find out how you would respond, and whether or not you would really obey him?” (TLB)

So when a dream of mine is delayed, I should not fear. Fear was the first mistake the Israelites made. Deuteronomy 1:28 says, “Why should we go there? We are afraid. The men we sent tell us that the people there are stronger and taller than we are” (GNT). Seems the Israelites had enough faith to move out of Egypt, but they didn’t have enough faith to move into the Promised Land. They were afraid.

The problem with fear is that it will keep me in the wilderness. It ends up prolonging the delay. I may have had dreams there were been fulfilled, this was likely not because of God, but because of myself; because I wouldn’t step out in faith when I needed to.

The antidote to this fear is to focus on God’s presence. I should realize that God is with me. When I’m afraid to go after the dream God has given me, I need to focus on God’s presence. He says, “Fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10a TLB). He’s with me now, he always has been, and he always will be.

So when I experience a delay, God has not forgotten me. It is likely a delay by design. And God knows what I’m going through. He wants to build my character, and he wants me to learn to trust in him. So I can count on him for his help, so I shouldn’t fear.

As I reflect back, I can see where God has not wasted any experience or situation in my life. Even though they are painful, they have delayed me in order to prepare me, they have helped me become better prepared or have a better understanding so that I can handle it better. I think the best way for me to show God that I trust him with the details and situations of my life is to trust that he will always do what’s best for me and for me to be obedient regardless of the lack of progress or when it seems nothing it happening or going to take place.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Four Decisions That Determine Your Destiny

In review of James 1:7-8 it says, “If you are … unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord.”

Bottom Line:
Indecision and lack of faith for God to provide an answer is a sure sign that you won’t receive any direction from the Lord.

What this means to me:
If I don’t ask with faith, then every decision I make will be uncertain. I should not expect the Lord to give me a solid answer.

I’m reminded this morning of a Dr. Seuss’ poem, “The Zode in the Road,” in which a young Zode comes to a fork in the road and spends quite some time trying to decide which place to go to. He thinks about the possibility that one place may be too hot and the other too cool or one too high and the other too low. After scratching his head in indecision, the Zode finally decides to play it safe and “start off for both places at once!” And that meant the Zode got nowhere.

The key is to not be a Zode like this and waste my life. I should not live in mediocrity. I shouldn’t just exist! I need to move forward and make the decisions that will determine my destiny.

What I’m learning is that there are four life-changing decisions that every person has to make:

One, to commit your life to Christ and become a part of his family. Fortunately I had done this one.

Two, to commit to the habits that will help me grow spiritually. I shouldn’t be a wishy-washy, lukewarm, shallow Christian. Go head on and be all that God wants me to be. In this one I have developed some spiritual disciplines that have helped me in my daily walk with God.

Three, to use my talents, gifts, abilities, and experiences to serve God and others. I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus for while, however It’s time to get off the bench, and get back into the game.

Fourth, to share Jesus Christ with others. Now that I know the Good News, I’m to become a messenger so that others may hear it, as well.

Today’s verse reminds me, “If you are … unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:7-8 GNT). The decision is mine!

Its awesome that God lets us make our own decisions about our destinies. He’s never forceful, he let’s us make up our own minds, but implores us and shows us what our lives will be like if we follow him.

I have to admit that indecision and procrastination have been something I have struggled with in my own life. I’m sure I’ve missed out on some truly great things God had in store for me or others through what He would have done through me.

I believe a current decision that God is asking to me move forward with today is starting to plug into a church community. Now that we have moved, He has revealed one to my wife and I, however, I’ve been reserved in any real commitment wanting to fully check out all options. However I believe some of this is me trying to find what we had before when we were in Southern California. So, I believe I will move forward with taking the first steps in moving forward and getting together in a night time study with those in this community we have been investigating so that I can begin to build relationships.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Six Steps for Biblical Decision-making

In review of Proverbs 28:26 it says, “A man is a fool to trust himself! But those who use God’s wisdom are safe.”

Bottom Line:
It’s foolish to trust yourself, those who use God’s wisdom are safe and will do all right.

What this means to me:
It’s foolish for me to rely on my own insight, instead I should be safe and follow the teachings of wiser people.

God gave Moses the dream of leading the children of Israel out of 400 years of slavery, but Moses had to make the decision to confront Pharaoh. God gave Noah the dream of saving the world from the flood, but Noah had to make the decision to build the ark. God gave Abraham the dream of building a new nation, but Abraham had to make the decision to leave everything he had and go out into the unknown.

Just like these men, I will never realize God’s dream for my life until I come to the stage of decision-making and step out in faith.

Whether it’s about my career, marriage, finances, health, or children, there is a simple, workable plan for making biblical decisions that will keep me on track toward pursuing God’s dream for my life.

Step 1 - Pray for guidance.
Before I do anything else, I should get God’s perspective on the issue. “A man is a fool to trust himself! But those who use God’s wisdom are safe” (Proverbs 28:26 TLB).

Step 2 - Get the facts.
There is no contradiction between faith and fact. Find out everything I can before making a decision. Proverbs 13:16 says, “All who are prudent act with knowledge” (NIV).

Step 3 - Ask for advice.
Talk to somebody who’s made a similar decision and friends who know my weaknesses. “The more good advice you get, the more likely you are to win” (Proverbs 24:6b GNT).

Step 4 - Calculate the cost. Every decision has a price tag; it will cost time, money, energy, reputation, talents, and resources. Proverbs 20:25 says, “It is a trap to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider one’s vows” (NIV). When people pressure you to make a decision, it’s OK for me to say, “I’ll get back to you.” It’s more important to make a wise decision than a quick decision.

Step 5 - Prepare for problems.
In faith, expect the best. Expect God to work in your life. But also prepare for the problems that are part of every decision. Solomon said in Proverbs 22:3, “A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” (TLB).

Step 6 - Face your fears.
Perfectionism paralyzes potential. God has always used imperfect people in imperfect situations to get his will done. Ecclesiastes 11:4 says, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” I have to trust God and start moving in spite of my problems, fears, and doubts.

In retrospect, I think I’m hesitant at times to pray or ask God for direction because I’m afraid it may not always be what I personally wanted or how I wanted it to go. There are also times when I think my thing is not important enough to bother God with it. When it comes to getting counsel from others, often just the logistics of getting with someone and the timing of when you need to make a decision end up affecting the ability to do this. However, honestly I think this is also coupled with the fear that I may hear something I may not want.

Lately I believe the step that’s been most difficult for me is step 3, asking for advice. I just need to learn to be open to things I might now be willing to look at or accept. Also now that I have moved it will be more a little more difficult since I do not have a local base quite yet that I can draw on. If I run into a situation, I can always reach out and contact those I know from the past. I end my time this morning asking for God’s help in making me open to following these steps and taking them to heart.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Learning To Use and Not Waste My Shape

In review of Ephesians 2:10 it says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Bottom Line:
We are God’s own work, refined through our relationship in Christ to do the good works God had prepared in advance for us to do.

What this means to me:
God has made me who I am. I am his handiwork. With my life connected to Christ Jesus I am made new and predestined for a life which is created to do good deeds that will ultimately help others.

In order to know God’s will for my life, I’ve got to look at what I’m good at. Why would God give me certain gifts, abilities, and talents and not expect me to use them? That would be a waste.

God gave me Spiritual gifts, Heart/Passions, Abilities, a Personality, and Experiences (SHAPE) that make me unique, and when I take time to figure out how God has shaped me, it will give me direction for where I should go with my life. I can therefore ask myself, “What am I good at? What do I love to do? What is my passion? What turns me on, and what turns me off? What is it that people affirm in me? How can God use those abilities for his Kingdom?”

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (NIV). The word for God’s handiwork in Greek is the word poema, from which we get the word poem. I am God’s poem. I am a work of art. I am unique. There is nobody like me!

But there’s more to life than being unique. God wants me to be unique and effective. He designed me the way he did so that I could do good works. Even before I was born, God had predesigned a role for me in life. He said, “I’m going to make Mark and give him certain gifts, abilities, and talents, and I’m going to allow him to go through certain experiences; some good, some painful, and some educational. I’m going to bring all of these things together, because I want something done in the world that will take that kind of person to do it.”

Ultimately one day I’ll stand before God and he’ll ask, “What did you do with what I gave you?” If I don’t use my experiences and my shape for what God intended, I’ve missed the point.

I am saved to serve. It’s called having a ministry in which I use my talents and gifts to help others. Fulfillment means being who and what God meant for me to be.

The Bible says, “God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other” (1 Peter 4:10a TLB).

Today I will take some time and to think about my SHAPE. What are the Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences God has given me that make me uniquely me?  Then I’ll consider how I’d like to use them in a future ministry.

This morning as I think about the dream God has given me so far and my SHAPE, I see myself just being an example of a life lived in devotion to him. I also see myself helping to mentor others with what I have experienced and learned so far. I also enjoy leading fellowship discussions and helping others in their own relationships with God.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Learning to Be Still So That I Can Hear From God

In review of Job 37:14 it says, “Pause a moment, Job, and listen; consider the wonderful things God does.”

Bottom Line:
Pause and consider the wonder of God.

What this means to me:
I am to take the time to pause and carefully consider the many wonderful things God has done, and will continue to do.

One thing I’m learning is that I need to be quiet in order to hear God speak. To hear God’s vision, I’ll need to turn off the television. I can’t really listen to God and the TV (or anything else for that matter) at the same time!

One possible reason for not hearing God speak could be my lack of just being quiet with him. Something is always going on in my mind, so while God is trying to get through to me on the telephone of life, he gets a busy signal. It appears that I need to reserve time alone with God.

The Bible says in Job 37:14, “Pause a moment, Job, and listen; consider the wonderful things God does” (GNT).

From his Word I learn that God wants to spend time with me. He wants me to “Pause, be quiet, get alone, and learn solitude so He can talk with me.” As an adult I know I get spiritual wiggles. It’s really hard to be still and be quiet.

Here’s something to consider:

Is getting God’s dream for my life worth a day of my life? The thought here was to take an entire day and do nothing but be alone with God. Talk to Him in prayer. Let God talk to me through his word. Relax. Think. Write down the thoughts he puts in my mind. Set some goals. Look through my schedule. Set my priorities. Spend the day saying, “God, where do you want me to go? What direction do you want my feet headed?”

What I’m learning is that God will speak to those who take the time to listen, not just for a day, but on a regular basis. I guess that is why they call this quiet time.

Even though I may think that I don’t have time for this, it’s important to do. It’s all about figuring out why I’m here on Earth. It’s imperative to make the time.

In retrospect, my weekday routine is to spend time in prayer quietly before leaving my house. I then spend additional time such as reading and documenting what I read while enjoying my first cup of coffee at Starbucks. Given this routine, I only spend a few minutes at the beginning of my prayer time just being quiet. I usually use the following verse as a springboard for my quiet time, “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” (Matthew 6:6 MSG)

But based upon what I’m studying this morning I realize that I’m not really spending much time actually being quiet and waiting on God to speak to me. I need to consider if there is something I can adjust in my weekday morning routine, or perhaps something to supplement it with on the weekends so that I can be still and quiet before him. I do have some time coming up tomorrow morning when my wife and daughter are getting together. Perhaps I’ll consider using this time to do a smaller version of just spending time with God.