Posts Tagged ‘God’
Psalm 69:32a The humble will see their God at work and be glad. (NLT)
Today I decided to take the afternoon off and go to Disneyland for some fun. Even though it’s summer and Monday is my usual day off, I haven’t had much down time lately and I can always tell when I need to slow down and kick back and relax because it shows up in my sleep habits and attitude.
So as I was driving down the 91 Freeway with thousands of other drivers at breakneck speed to relax, everything came to a screeching halt.
People were going so fast that they didn’t see a 20 foot extension ladder stretched across several lanes. So naturally, they were forced to slow down and some actually had to stop so the debris could be cleared away. It’s a very typical experience on Southern California freeways.
However, it made me think about how that experience is also very typical of many people and their spiritual life.
They are so busy and living life at such a fast pace that they don’t even see a quarter of what’s going on right in front of them.
They’re in such a rush in their life that they don’t see what’s happening in their marriage. They don’t see the struggles that their kids are experiencing and most of the time don’t even see God at work in their life or the world at large.
The antidote is to slow down so you can see things better. After all, the best way to see the scenery is not in a plane going 600 miles per hour at 35,000 feet in the air. The best way is to see it is at ground level going 65 miles per hour in a car.
So, as I sit in the French Quarter in Disneyland listening to a band play some nice Jazz music I’d like to suggest that if you really want to get a better perspective on life, God and His will for your life; SLOW DOWN!
After all, God even rested after he created everything.
In May, Debra and I flew back to Orlando Florida to Disney World. Have you ever been on a plane and listened to the flight attendant’s instructions about what to do in case of an emergency? They say the same thing, every day on every flight. And no one ever listens to them.
Why? One reason is because the presentation is so boring! Let’s face it, even the flight attendants look bored out of their minds making the presentation! Plus, most of us have flown multiple times and have heard the same thing over and over! So, we just zone out and drift off into “la la land.”
This same dynamic can also happen in our relationship with God. We have a hard time staying close to Him. Our tendency is to drift off on our own and that’s when we get into trouble.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups… Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. (MSG)
Back in 1945 the U.S. Navy rolled out their first digital computer. It filled an entire room. One day though it just stopped working so they called in the technicians. They couldn’t figure out why it had stopped so they called in a few scientists. Finally, after a more thorough search, they found that deep inside the computer, a moth had crawled between two electrical contact points and was stuck. As a result, the circuit couldn’t be closed. As soon as the moth was removed, the computer started working again.
When sin comes between you and God it disrupts your fellowship with Him. How do you get the spiritual “bugs” out of your relationship with God? If you’ve drifted away from God, the best way to get back into fellowship with Him is to simply ask Him for forgiveness.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (NASB)
Asking for forgiveness will always restore your fellowship with God and bring you back to Him. And always remember, God’s promise to forgive you is not based on a feeling you have but on His faithfulness and righteousness.
So many times people think of prayer as some kind of Aladdin’s lamp. Like God is some kind of genie up in the sky. Some people think prayer is a First Aid Kit to be used in case of emergency. Some people think prayer is a tug of war and struggle with God to say “yes” to their prayer.
One of the discussions we focused on last night was how prayer changes us as individuals.
We focused on a passage in the Bible that most people would never think has anything to do with prayer but in fact, is all about prayer.
2 Corinthians 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (NIV)
The context of this verse has to do with Moses. When Moses had a close encounter with God on Mount Sinai his face would actually glow from being in God’s presence. So, he would wear a veil over his face.
But as believers, we have “unveiled faces” and are ability to approach God and come into his presence today through prayer. This passage shows us the affect prayer can have on our lives.
When you spend time in God’s presence through prayer you’re life is going to reflect God’s glory. It is going to be transformed into God’s likeness. This is a very natural thing. For instance, we know this is true in a parent child relationship. Children already look like their parents, but the more time a child spends with a parent the more that child is going to talk like that parent, walk like that parent and think like that parent.
The same is true concerning our relationship with God. The more time you spend with God in prayer, the more you are going to “transformed into his likeness.”
That means prayer is a vital element for our spiritual growth. You can’t grow-up to be more like God if you are not praying. Those people who are growing the most in their spiritual life are those spend the most time with God in prayer.
Paul described this growth in 2 Corinthians 3:18 as “ever-increasing.” In other words, spiritual growth should be “ever-increasing” in the Christian life.
You can tell when someone is growing spiritually and when they aren’t. You can see it in their life. It’s just as visible as the Lord’s glory that was reflected on the face of Moses after he was with God on Mount Sinai.
Coming near to God is all about having fellowship with Him. Some people want to have fellowship with God but just never feel very close to Him. In fact, I’ve even heard Christian people say, “I just don’t feel close to God.” How about you today? How close do you feel to God?
If you’re a Christian and you don’t feel close to God, that’s not because God has moved away from you. It’s because you have moved away from God.
So, how do you renew that feeling of being close to God? One of ways you can do this is by acknowledging God’s holiness. That’s the very first thing Jesus taught us to do in the model prayer. He said:
Matthew 6:9 “Pray along these lines: ‘Our Father in heaven, we honor your holy name.’” (LB)
This attitude of honor for God’s holiness is the environment in which fellowship with God is developed.
An example of this can be seen in the life of Moses. He is one of several people in the Bible who had up-close and personal experiences with God.
On one occasion Moses was tending Jethro’s flock of sheep. When he came to Mount Sinai Moses saw a burning bush. But even though it was burning it was never consumed. So, he decided to get a closer look. As he came closer, God spoke to him from the burning bush. Look at what God said:
Exodus 3:5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” (NIV)
If you want to come near to God and fellowship with Him you must have respect for His holiness. You must acknowledge His perfect character.
Several places in the Bible we are told to come near to God. But we are also told that when we come near to Him we must come in purity.
Hebrews 10:22 So let us come near to God with a sincere heart and a sure faith, with hearts that have been purified from a guilty conscience… (TEV)
We can experience fellowship with a holy God and come close to Him but only in purity because that is God’s nature. So, whatever impurity or sin is in your life, you first must confess it to God in order to come close to Him.
James 4:8 Come close to God, and he will come close to you. Clean up your lives, you sinners, and clear your minds, you doubters. (GW)
Genesis 5:22-24 After that, Enoch lived in fellowship with God for 300 years and had other children. 23 He lived to be 365 years old. 24 He spent his life in fellowship with God, and then he disappeared, because God took him away. (TEV)
This Sunday at The Bridge Church we’re going to continue looking at the book of First John and learn about how to fellowship with God.
Have you ever thought about how it is possible for us as human beings to be able to fellowship with the supreme ruler of the universe? After all, I have a hard time having fellowship with some people I know let alone GOD!
The first step to having fellowship with God begins with having a relationship with Him. What’s the difference between having a relationship with God and having fellowship with God?
Relationship is you POSSESSING GOD, but fellowship is GOD POSSESSING you.
You can never have fellowship with God until you’ve first established a personal relationship with Him. One of the reasons why some people lack confidence in God isn’t because of their relationship with God but it’s because they’re out of fellowship with Him.
Having a personal relationship with God is becoming a member of His family by faith in Jesus Christ. Having fellowship with God is experiencing Jesus Christ everyday of your life. Are you experiencing that kind of fellowship with God?
Confidence is something most people are lacking today. Many people doubt their abilities and as a result live their life depressed and discouraged.
The problem is, the more that you look for confidence within yourself, the more depressed and discouraged you become because no one knows you better than yourself.
So, the answer is to stop trying to be self-confident and start being God-confident. The result will be life changing!
Psalm 56:3-4 But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in you. Yes, I will trust the promises of God. And since I am trusting him, what can mere man do to me? (LB)
What are you putting your confidence in today? Your job, your money, your health, your strength, your family, friends… what? None of those can give you the confidence you need to make it through life. Only God can give you the confidence to do that!
In the Bible, the family is referred to as a garden. It’s a garden for growing people. So the question is: “How is your garden growing?”
In the family, you learn the most basic skills of life. You learn how to walk, talk, eat, how to use a TV remote — basic skills that you have to have in life. God wants your family to be a learning center.
Ephesians 6:4 Parents, don’t be hard on your children. Raise them properly. Teach them and instruct them about the Lord. (CEV)
Sometimes teaching and instruction is simply knowing which end of the child to pat. The head or the rear. The object of all training in the family is to help move your children from being under your control as a parent to self control and eventually God’s control. You don’t want to have to tell your kids what to do for the rest of their life. You want them to eventually know what to do on their own and also learn how to ask God for help along the way.
Many parents these days intentionally try not to influence their children when it comes to God. That’s because they want their children to grow up and make their own decision. As well intentioned as that might be, it’s still wrong!
Parents influence their children in all kinds of ways. They tell them what to eat, what to drink, what to wear, when to go to bed, when to get up. They tell them what they’re going to do during the day like go to school and clean their room. But when it comes to the most important thing of all in life… their spiritual values, many parents just check out and abdicate their role as a parent.
Instead, we need to teach our children not only the things they’re going to need to become mature responsible adults in our world but also mature responsible Christians who will bring honor and glory to God.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 These commandments… 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (NIV)
Colossians 3:2 Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. (NLT)
One of the reasons why so many people have financial troubles is because their value system is out of whack. They’re more concerned about the external things in life rather than the eternal things. We need to look at life from God’s viewpoint and realize that everything we own is temporary. Only God’s values will last forever.
Matthew 13:22 The ground covered with thistles represents a man who hears the message, but the cares of this life and his longing for money choke out God’s Word, and he does less and less for God. (LB)
How do you know when you’re not living your life according to God’s value system? Jesus said, you do less and less for God.
We’ve got time for work, play, hobbies, TV, sports and you name it. But we just don’t have any time for God.
The Bible says God always comes first. What you live for is much more important than what you live on. If you’re neglecting the things of God you’re not focusing on God’s values.
Matthew 6:24a “You cannot serve two masters: God and money. (LB)
Jesus is saying we all have a choice. We can choose what or who we will live for. The question is: “Will I live for Christ or will I live for my possessions? Who is going to be your master?” Jesus said, you cannot serve two masters.
Job 31:24, 28 If I have put my trust in money, if my happiness depends on wealth, …it would mean that I have denied the God of heaven. (LB)
Whatever you trust in for your security is your god? If you’re trusting in your career for your security, that’s your god. If you’re trusting your paycheck for your security, that’s your god. If you’re trusting in your savings or pension plan for your security, that’s your god. If you’re trusting in your home for your security, that’s your god. But, if you’re trusting in God, He is your God.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. (NCV)