March 25, 2011

Humble Exaltation

Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

The parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. My thoughts for today are pretty short and to the point (for me at least):

You can choose to exalt yourself by comparing yourself to others or humble yourself by comparing yourself to God.

That's all I got today.

March 23, 2011

Goal Set/Goal Start

Yesterday I wrote about goals, Me goals and Kingdom goals. As I reflected on that through the day and into the evening, I realized that there is a me goal that makes sense to me. If I a doing something with myself or for myself for the furtherance of a Kingdom goal (let it always be a Big K focus), it could be a blessing in my life.

Yesterday I started what I hope is going to be a real and lasting attempt at an regular program of exercise and diet to lead to weight loss and better health. I have needed to do this for years and just have not wanted to get started. I pray I did last night and that I stick to it. I committed to it last week, but it was not until last night that I think I figured out why. It is not just for my benefit (but in the case of personal health, that is a darn good me goal), but it is truly a Kingdom goal.

God gave me this body and this life here on earth, I now pursue His will. How could I seek to do it without planning to have the maximum energy level to do it with? With the best possible health I can manage? (Ultimately leaving the decision of what that level is to Him, with me just doing my part to maintain it the best I can)

So for me, I need to think of exercise as a Kingdom goal, for it is quite clear I am not one of those unbalanced people who actually enjoy working out.

I hope I am up to the task He has given me, for I have let Him down before. But if the focus is Him and not me, it should be a whole lot easier to try to run this particular race.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (New King James Version)

March 22, 2011

What Am I Doing?

The current edition of Blog Carnival has me focusing on one word - Goals. (The first goal being to actually write something here and post it this morning).

It made me think think not about what goals I currently have, but what goals should I be setting.

Me Goals

I hope I have reached a point in my life that I am spending a minimum of time chasing things that are only for my benefit. I hope my material goals are more about sustenance than about success as I used to define it. (For I could define it in the past by three words: Me. Me. Me.) When I think about "me" now, I want to focus on things like keeping myself healthy and keep me walking with the Lord and walking in His Word. I am hoping my spiritual sustenance is much more important to me now than my physical sustenance. I realize that the spiritual will last longer (for eternity) and will feed me so much better. And this leads me to the second set of goals I hope to be pursuing more diligently.

Kingdom Goals:

By kingdom I mean big "K" (His Kingdom) and not little "k" (Me. Me. Me.) I am in His Word to study and share, not just reflect on internally but to deepen relationships with others by sharing His Word and what it means in my life; sharing His Word and what it can mean in the life of another if they accept Jesus as the only way to their salvation. Am I sharing the Gospel, fulfilling His commands that I do so in love, as He loved me? Have I made Christ the central focus of my life? Do I know that deep in my heart? More importantly, do others see and know that?

The Bottom Line:

If I am not doing things that are big K focused, I am wasting my time, and that is time He has given me to spend here, so I am wasting His time in a way.

I only have so much time here to work in His Kingdom to share it with others.

If I focus more on Him, I will focus more on others, and will focus much less on myself.

I think that is a pretty good goal to strive for.

March 21, 2011

I Can Do It

For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.
Deuteronomy 30:11 (New American Standard Bible)

The Lord will not ask me to do what I cannot do; He may very well ask me to do what I think I cannot do. There is a huge difference between those two.

What I always have to remember is that He is sovereign and His will be done. When I struggle with His will, it is because of my sinful nature, my doubts and my desires which make me think I cannot do what he wants me to do.

Of course I can, and we both know it (and He knew it long before I did).

The will of God is not beyond my grasp, but He will stretch me more than I think I can to be obedient to His will.

I need always remember who is actually in control around here.

And  it isn't me.

March 10, 2011

Good Riddance

But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come about that those whom you let remain of them will become as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they will trouble you in the land in which you live. And as I plan to do to them, so I will do to you.
Numbers 33:55-56 (New American Standard Bible)

As the Lord readied the nation of Israel to possess the land He had promised them, He gave very specific instructions as to what to do with the current inhabitants. The Lord knew what these would do to the nation if allowed to stay, and indeed what happened to Israel after they played the harlot to the false gods.

The Lord knows what is good for us to have, what is right to be in our lives. If He wants something removed, I should move swiftly to do so. it will sting and prick me until I do.

Obedience is a blessing. For I will never master what the Lord would rid me of.

March 9, 2011

Glory and Joy

For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.
1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 (New American Standard Bible)
In his book Simple Prayers, Ken Boa directly relates this to passage the people who he has the privilege to have a ministry with.

I have to admit, I do not often think that way, but I like where Dr. Boa has taken this. Clearly the glory and joy in our life should be from God, all joy emanates from pleasing Him, all glory should be His, and His alone.

But can a source of it in our lives come from ministering to people He loves, working that they may grow closer to Him as he draws them in, using us as His tools?

Oh yeah, it sure can.

So by ministering to others, I can generation a continual source of glory and joy in my life. By being obedient, I can be rewarded through His love with more than I can ever generate on my own.

My joy.

His glory.

That works for me.

March 8, 2011

Be Careful

As I read through Numbers 28, the laws for offerings laid down by the Lord for the nation of Israel, I am most struck by a warning He gives at the very beginning of that chapter. 

You shall be careful to present my offering...

Through Jesus we now can approach the throne of grace in gladness, and boldly, for we are His children, redeemed by the sacrifice of our Savior. We have access any time, for any matter.

But I know that I, like many, probably take that for granted much of the time.

Yes, we have unlimited access. Yes, He is concerned about all that concerns us. Yes. He loves us and wants us to approach Him.

But do we always do it with the reverence and awe, with the praise and thankfulness that we should?

I cannot say that I do, after all I am a sinful being in a fallen world; it took the death of His Son for me to be able to come before Him, acceptable in His sight.

Yes, I want to come before my Father continuously, for both praise and worship, to ask for wisdom and mercy.

But let me never take it for granted.

For where would I be if He took me for granted?

March 7, 2011

All My Other Stuff

We spent yesterday visiting with friends who attend Reunion Church down at the Dallas Convention Center. Before the service at the church, we visited with them at a small worship service with The Men of Nehemiah. I'll leave it to you if you want to go and read up on this really cool ministry. One of the big things I got out of it is that when you have nothing but Jesus to hold onto in your life, you love Him with your all, and you are not afraid to show it.

Makes me think about whether my stuff ever gets in the way of loving Jesus the way these men love Him, and showing it the way that they do.

It also makes me realize that we sometimes have a whole lot to learn from people that society often looks down upon, in this case men who are dealing with issues of poverty, homelessness,substance abuse, crime and violence. Dealing with the aftermath.

But loving Jesus with a passion and a dependence that is sometimes missing amongst those of us who have other stuff to cling to, and not just Jesus.

It was a refreshing and sobering reminder to keep the main thing the main thing:

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2 (NASB)

March 5, 2011

How Do You Fit In?

A woman's leadership ministry is not where you would expect to find me. I am not a woman (nor have I ever played one on TV). But I have been privileged through the world of social media to meet some of the women starting a new ministry, LeadHer, and I am hoping to support them as I can. We are  hopeful at the ministry I work at, EvanTell, to be able to provide really good evangelism training and teaching materials. To come alongside these women in ministry to partner and provide their evangelism training needs. That is what we do, that is what we like to do. And we try to do it as well as possible. Thrilled to be able to develop a partnership between EvanTell and LeadHer.

But I wanted to offer support as a Christian man to as group of Christian women starting off on following hard after the Lord and working in His harvest. As I thought about blogging in support I decided to talk to the men who support the women who are getting this off the ground.

Encourage. Applaud. Support.

New ministry can be scary, because while God knows the path, we are just learning it.So be there for the women you love and support them. Proverbs 27:17 talks about iron sharpening iron. In this case, be the steel in their lives to support them as they throw in with total trust in the Lord. They believe, but help them in their unbelief. (Mark 9:24)

Because they are fallible. They are sinful in their nature. They are human.

Just like you. Just like me.

And they need our help. Just like we need theirs.

And they deserve our help.

Probably more than we do.

They have to depend completely on the Lord, just like us.

So men, get behind them, get on board.

Let her LeadHer.