Expect the Unexpected

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I have kept a “to-do” list for most of my adult life. I like to think that is wise time management. It’s the mark of a good leader, right? But the truth is I hardly ever get everything checked off my list.

As I began writing this blog; a thought came me. Maybe the reason I like a list is it brings security and certainty to my day. I begin my day reading the Bible and praying but much of my prayer time is asking God to bless MY plans for the day. Would it not be better to seek God rather than making plans for God?

The longer I live, I think that spiritual maturity is less knowing the future and more of a moment by moment sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. We like being in control but following Christ is about giving up control!

Uncertainty is what makes life exciting. Following Jesus was (and is) anything but boring. Jesus never promises security. What He promised was uncertainty. Jesus didn’t even know where He would end up at the end of the day. Luke 9:58

When the disciples woke on the Day of Pentecost, they could never have planned the events that would take place! It never occurred to the shepherd boy David that today I will slay a giant! Moses never had plans to part the Red  Sea. If you read the Gospels, you will find Jesus repeatedly facing the unplanned requests. Blind people were healed. {He did not plan that.} He comes across a funeral procession, stops and raises a dead boy. (Not on His itinerary) The religious leaders bring a woman caught in the act of adultery and they want an immediate judgment.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We need to expect the unexpected. Some of the best things in life are totally unplanned and unexpected! Faith is embracing the uncertainties of life. At the wedding at Cana a problem arose, they ran out of wine. Someone dropped the ball and did not purchase enough wine! Do? That unforeseen problem set the stage for Jesus’ first miracle. If everything had gone according to plan, Jesus would not have turned the water into wine. John 2:1-12  No problem =No miracle. 

Don’t fear the uncertain; God has it all under control. “The Lord directs the steps of the godly…” Psalm 37:23

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Is God Your Friend?

What is God like? How would you describe Him? I am sure that there would be a variety of answers. Most have a wrong idea of who God is. Some people view God as kind, benevolent like a heavenly grandfather granting his children every whim they desire. On the other hand, some see God as the celestial cop; waiting to punish us as so as we step out of line. And others, fall somewhere between the two.

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Those familiar with Facebook are familiar with the term “befriended.” It refers to one person who is enrolled in Facebook inviting another person to be their “friend” which enables them to share information. 

Recently a new television program, God Befriended Me premiered. It is a humorous, uplifting drama about an outspoken atheist whose life is turned upside down when he receives a friend request on social media from God and unwittingly becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him.

That got me to thinking. Isn’t that exactly what God is all about? He has called each of us to close relationship with Him. ““No longer do I call you slaves…but I have called you friends.” John 15  Abraham, the patriarch of the Old Testament was referred to as the friend of God. James 2:23. 

When people think about God being your friend, they think it is sacrilegious. But Jesus, Himself,  calls us His friends because He communicates with us. John 15:14 Our relationship with God is the most personal relationship we can ever have but the choice is yours. Will you accept His invitation to be His friend?

 

Prayer Is Surrender

Now, this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (1 John 5:14)

Nothing lies outside the reach of prayer except that which lies outside of the will of God. God will only answer the request He inspires. You see, prayer is surrender—surrender to the will of God. It’s cooperation with His will.

God’s Plan

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

I am sure that most parents wonder what the future holds for their new child. As a Christ-follower, I believe God has a wonderful plan for every person born. That plan was established before we are born. “Before I shaped you in the womb, I [God] knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you:…” Jeremiah 1:5

In 1969 my wife and I stood at the church altar to dedicate our infant son to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For those who maybe unfamiliar with this ceremony; allow me to explain. A baby dedication is a ceremony in which believing parents make a commitment before the Lord to submit a child to God’s will and to raise that child according to God’s Word and God’s ways. (See Luke 2:22)

We watched as God took our  son and called him to be a pastor. This past Sunday I had the privilege to stand at the church altar and pray for my son as he prepares to go to Guatemala on a Work and Witness missions trip. We never imagined God giving our son the honor of taking the Gospel message to people in another part of the world!

My wife and I would appreciate you praying for our son and the team as they depart tomorrow. Below is a picture of our son [on the right] with a team member from his church.

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Are You Adopted?

“I have had the privilege of knowing several couples who have adopted children into their family. One couple had adopted several children from Russia. The children were brothers and sisters and the couple did not want them to be separated.

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When a couple goes through the adoption process, their desire is to become parents, to offer a home and a family to a child that has neither. When the adoption process is complete, that child legally becomes a son or daughter.

Think about the spiritual analogies. In adoption, there is a high cost to the parents and no cost to the child. [The Child Welfare Information Gateway, a U.S. government-funded adoption information service, estimates that the average U.S. adoption costs $8,000 to $40,000. ] As a Christ-follower, we are heirs to Christ’s Kingdom. We become legal, official children of God. Adoption comes at an enormous cost to the parents.

What does it cost the child? Nothing! It required the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. Adoption came at a grace cost to the Father.We are adopted by God for the same reason that any parent adopts – out of seer love. In His great love, He plans adoption, pays the cost,  becomes our Father and unites us to a whole family of brothers and sisters.

Celestial Magnet

The world population was estimated to have reached 7.6 billion as of December 2017. In those billions of people; we find a myriad of differences: languages, political views, cultural differences, music and the list goes on.

But it might surprise you that every person on this planet has ONE thing in common. We are worshipers. Every day, all day long, everywhere you go, you worship. It’s what you do. It’s who you are.

I don’t know whether or not you consider yourself a “worshiping” kind of person, but you cannot help but worship—something. It’s what you were made to do. The native of the rainforest of South America and the stockbroker on Wall Street; are both worshipers. The object of their worship may be different but they are still worshipers.

I think it’s because we were designed that way. We were made for God. The Bible says it this way: All things were made by Him, and all things were made for Him. When I was a child, one of my favorite toys was a set of magnets in the shape of two Scottie dogs. Image result for magnetic toy scottie dogs

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As a child, I did not understand the dynamics of magnetic poles. It was intriguing that opposite poles attract! It might be a theological stretch but humanity has an initiate attraction to God. He is holy – we are not. He is loving – we are not. He possesses all knowledge – we do not. We may not know or understand that we have “something” within us that demands being fulfilled.

So, we endeavor to fill that “empty space” with pleasure, money, relationships, things; not realizing that only God Himself can fill that “God-shaped” vacuum that fills us all. A different spouse won’t meet that need. Changing jobs or geographical location, more money, bigger home, a more expensive car all are all vanity. All of our hungers point to the deeper hunger that only God can satisfy.

He keeps satisfying you with good things… Ps 103:5

We All Worship Something

Romans 1:25 is a really interesting verse. The New Living Translation says, “They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator Himself…”  

That’s an indication that they had worshiped God but decided to take something else [“they traded”]  to worship. The word “traded” suggests that they couldn’t have had both. {Matthew 6:24) They had to give up one for the other. We are either worshipping God or we are worshiping something else. We must trade one for the other. Because worship is how we respond to the thing we value the most. There can be nothing above that thing or equal to it.

The thing we spend we spend most of our time thinking about, doing, giving the most attention to, putting all our energy into? That’s what we worship!

What are you worshiping? What things are you putting before God?