Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘responsibility’

It’s not popular today to speak in terms of  “good and evil”.  Having grown up in a religious setting that tended to breed condemnation rather than confidence in the work of Christ in our hearts, I can understand it.

Nevertheless, we can’t ignore either word.  There is obviously both good and evil in the world.  Everywhere we look there is are hard things.  Poverty, sexual slavery, broken families, crime, bigotry, injustice, wars, and so on.   On the other hand, we see good in those work to make a difference or rise above their own negative circumstances or a raw hand that was dealt them.

What determines whether someone is good or evil?  Luke 6:43-45 makes it clear that it is the kind of fruit one bears.  It makes it clear the fruit we see comes from the condition of one’s heart.

Christ’s sacrificed life made it possible to live in goodness.  Salvation is for body, soul, and spirit.  Reunited or back in agreement with God, it is now up to us to plant and tend to the vineyard of our hearts, that we might produce GOOD FRUIT.

Andy Andrews, in his book The Traveler’s Gift, talks about one of the seven principles of success–I have a decided heart.  If we choose to follow Christ, then we must also decide to become like Him.

Luke 6:40 says “everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” A decided heart is one that refuses to let things unlike Christ remain in their heart.

One can’t have bitterness and say they are following Christ.  Nor can we dwell in unforgiveness, a vengeful spirit, self-centeredness, pride, apathy, rebellion, greed, etc.    Those attitudes will choke out the good fruit and fill our hearts with unhealthy habits and desires.

We also can’t live in the land of unbelief, a place that denies what God says about us or the priniciples and promises of God.   It is impossible to please God without faith!  Not just faith in his redemption, but walking it out by being who He has called us to be and producing good fruit.

Luke 6:45 says”For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”  Faith is a matter of confession and profession.  What you say matched by what you do  indicates the faith you have.    It is not enough to say “Lord, Lord”.   We must have faith that is rooted deep in our hearts vineyard.

That kind of faith, fills our heart with the qualities of God.  Love, forgiveness, peace, long-suffering, goodness, meekness, temperance.  It is other focused.  It is about blessing, not cursing.  It is about us rising up to our position in Christ’s kingdom and living from a decided heart!

It is work because faith without works is dead.  It’s not about performance for the sake of performance but it is about truly accepting the work of Christ and letting Him transform our hearts into a vineyard…the planting of the Lord.  It takes self-examination under the light of the Holy Spirit.  It takes a decision followed by committment, that we will continue to add the character of God to our lives, letting go of the things that hold us back or produce rotten fruit.

I am challenged today to inspect my fruit and pull out by God’s grace the things that produce bad fruit.  I am determined to put into my heart the seed that will create a bountiful harvest.

How about you?  What do you need to pull out or put into your heart to produce greater fruit?

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

As I read Hebrews 3, I find a lot to think about.  After the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea, it’s hard to believe that the children of Israel caused themselves to wander in the wilderness for 40 years!  Why?  Because they couldn’t or wouldn’t see God’s character and believe that He truly cared for them.

Sound familiar?  I have to ask myself, How many times have I not believed that God really loved me and would take care of me?  How many times have I resisted His love?

The Israelites weren’t exactly compliant people.  They wanted God to take care of them and then constantly ignored His direction for their lives. They thought their way was better and convinced themselves that they were right.

Sometimes that’s what we do in the wilderness too. When we are tested or delayed, we often make a bad choice to keep us in the wilderness.  Then, we blame God or someone else for our wilderness experience.  Even when God shows His hand of provision which includes direction for the way out, we ignore it and harden our hearts.  We treat God like He is a fairy godmother who will just wave a magic wand and fix everything for us.  Then when because of our choices we are stuck, we get mad at God and others.

The more we do that, the more we become acquainted with a hard heart and fail to acknowledge the ways of God according to verse 10.  We create our own vicious circle of wandering, rebellion, and bad outcomes.

It’s not that we don’t know what to do or how to do it in these moments, it’s that we’ve set our will ahead of God’s ways.

God was grieved by the Israelite’s  behavior.  He is grieved by ours as well.  He gives us the right to choose above all other things and won’t  prevent the consequences of our actions.

If you find yourself in a journey that leads you to wander in the wilderness season, you may want to ask yourself if you need to adjust your will.  Are you listening to God’s direction?  Do you believe He loves you and will care for you even if you are asked to do something you don’t want to do?  Where has your heart become hardened to God’s desires and ways?

The answer to those questions and taking the action to correct them, just might lead you into the promised land.

 

Read Full Post »

I just reached an impossible goal in our home-business.  It was amazing to watch what happened after I became convicted that it could and committed to working until it did. There were so many times when it looked like it would not happen, but in the end, it came to be.

Life is like that.  Sometimes we have lofty and good goals but what is happening or what we are seeing makes us think it is impossible.

I love II Corinthians 5:7-9.  Here’s my paraphrase:  We move in life by faith.  Our lives and our behavior is regulated by our conviction and belief  about God’s relationship with us and the divine things He’s promised.  We accept those with trust and holy burning desire and therefore we don’t walk by what we see or what appears.  We have confident courage no matter where we are at.  We are constantly ambitious as we work earnestly at pleasing Him. 

One of the reasons I do this blog is because I want every person to really understand and experience a PERSONAL relationship with God.  I know the more personal that becomes the more we understand God’s love for us.  The more we understand how much God loves  the more we will do what pleases Him.

Here’s a few keys to that relationship and a life of blessing.

A. If you need a behavior change, it starts with your belief about your relationship with God.  How seriously do you take what God says?  How strongly do you believe His principles and trust that He will do what He promises?

B.  A life of faith requires burning desire.   What is more important to you–your own desires or what pleases God?  When we have a burning desire to pursue the principles  of His kingdom rather than our own way, we will experience a life of faith and blessing.

C. A life of faith requires ambition.  When I reached for my business goal, I gave it all I had.  I left every ounce of energy on the table and at the end, I was spent.  That is what ambition looks like.  What could change for you if you determined that you were going to pursue God and strive to please Him more than anything else in your life?

I dare say, we would have better marriages, parent better, experience better finances, be more satisfied in our work and play, have better relationships and a greater circle of influence if we would live a life of conviction and belief about God and His relationship with us.  We would take it seriously.  We would understand that life is sacred and we would work with everything that is in us to establish and grow His kingdom on earth and strive with all we have to please Him. 

 

Read Full Post »

Christians talk alot about hearing God and God hearing us.  My heart was stirred this morning as I read Isaiah 10:17-18.  These verses reveal God’s heart and what His ear is tuned in to.

When I am talking to God, often it is about me trying to gain something for me.  Maybe it’s direction, answers, healing, etc.  All good things to pray about.  Sometimes I hear clearly and other times not.

What could happen if I began to ask to hear as God hears rather than for God to hear me?

I can only imagine.  Not only would I know what I should do, but I’d be able to make a bigger difference.

I would be tuned into those who are oppressed and minister to those who are fatherless or burdened down with life.

The enemy of our souls wants nothing more then to destroy us by bringing hopelessness, fear, and despair.  There are so many people who are longing for just one word or one action that will begin to bring them out of that pit.  True justice is reversing the sentence on someone who has experienced injustice.

Many have lived through something that was not because of their choice and would have chosen a much different path had they been able to.  When you really think about it, all of us have experienced things that are unjust.

I am freshly challenged to desire God’s ear and be a minister of His love and justice.

Teach me to hear with your ear, O God.

Read Full Post »

Remember the line from A Few Good Men when Tom Cruise asks Jack Nicholsen to tell the truth on the stand.  Jack, vehemently looks at Tom and says, “Truth?  You can’t handle the truth?”

Throughout the years, truth has been debated.  It’s no different today but as an “older” person, it seems to have changed into a time when all “truth” is what we say it is.

As a Christ follower, what God’s word says is important.  Scripture is not something to be used to beat someone up with but it is the roadmap for a life well lived.

James 1 paints two very different portraits of the way people handle the Word (the truth of God).  There are two camps of people.  The DOERS and the LISTENERS.

In James 1:21-24, a listener is compared to a man who looks in the mirror, sees himself and then goes away and forgets what he looks like.  Mmmmmm, I wonder if doing has anything to do with knowing who we are.  What do you think?

The problem with listeners, is that they are not living authentically. Instead of obeying the truth, they make excuses and try to reason with it.  Verse 22 says they betray themselves and fall into deception.   It’s kind of like a teen-ager.  Ever known one who told you where you were all wrong, while making excuses for their own behavior?

Think about the TRUTH, (God’s way).  If we say we are Christ followers, then we have to follow Christ!  We must ask ourselves:  Am I walking in His way in my marriage?  Am I parenting my kids like He says?  Am I following His principles in my job or business?  Am I handling my money, my health, my relationships the way He directs me too?

I think the biggest question of all is, “Am I trying to reason with God and His principles and commands to justify my choices?

We can’t truly say we are followers of Christ and ignore a life of true worship.  True worship is expressed in the outward actions of our inner lives.  A blessed and authentic life is one that handles God’s truth by acting on it!

 

Read Full Post »

I love the power of testimony.  If you don’t understand that, it’s the power of being inspired and learning from someone’s story or experience.  The scripture is full of story and they have some very profound lessons for life.

Nehemiah 9:15 is a great example.  Talking about the experience of the children of Israel and Moses in the wilderness it tells us:  “You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst: and you told them to go in and possess the land You had sworn to given them.”

When I read a scripture, I always ask, How does that apply to my life now?   

Here’s what I see in this verse.

1.  God is a provider.   He understood that the Israelites needed food and water if they were going to complete the journey.  He knew their needs.

2.  When He provides, He goes above and beyond.   He will bring what we need straight from heaven or out of a rock if need be.  He is not limited by the natural.  He has the power to create and release the right provision at the right time for our need at that moment.

3.  He has a reason for provision.  God is not a genie in a bottle that operates to grant us our ever wish or desire.  When He provides He has a purpose in it.  It is so we can go and possess the land He has given us.

Love that last one for a couple reasons.  First, it’s a promise!  God has given each of His children a land to possess.  This promised land is a land of wholeness.   It represents our access to all that God has for us and sharing that access with others.  It’s a land of being and serving the purposes of heaven.

God gives us all we need but then tells us to go possess it.

Maybe your marriage needs to enter the land of wholeness.   Maybe you need better parenting skills or have a child who has a need.  Maybe your job or business is lacking in provision or fulfillment.   Maybe you are hurting from the past or  need healing in body or soul.

Whatever your need, God has provided.  God doesn’t want us to live in broken lives.  Reach out and take His provision and then go possess the promised place of wholeness.

What has God provided to you so you can move toward wholeness in your life?

What step can you take today to use that provision and possess the thing you want to see changed?

 

Read Full Post »

Wasn’t much of a rock and roller back in the late 60’s but who wouldn’t recognize the Stones hit, I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.

Dads and moms, women and men alike, want to be satisfied.  We all want a full, abundant life.  Yet even though America is full of opportunity, freedom,  and blessing, we often find ourselves longing for more than we currently have.

When we find ourselves in a place where we are unsatisfied with any part of our life, perhaps we should take Proverbs 11:25 to heart.  “The liberal person shall be enriched, and he who waters shall himself be watered.”

With every promise comes a responsibility.  This one is clear.  You won’t have the promise of an enriched,  abundant, thirst quenching life if you aren’t living a life of liberality.

All to often we live asking or expecting things from others. What would happen if we stopped that pattern and began to ask ourselves what we can give in any situation?

What if in our marriages we stopped expecting our spouse to meet our need, and asked ourselves what we could do to bless them?  What could happen if instead of being tight-fisted with our finances, we looked for places or people we could bless?  What would life look like if we lived looking for a way to meet others hunger and thirst for a better life instead of worrying about our own?

An open heart results in an open hand.  An open hand has given away what it holds dear and has room to receive more of what God offers.

What can you do to today to open up your heart?  What is in your hand that you can offer to someone else with a generous attitude?

Live Liberally!

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »