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Luke 5:4 (ESV) And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,  “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

The most beautiful mystery of scripture is that God pursues you that you might pursue Him. God sent His Son so that all humanity has an opportunity of Salvation. He came to us and died for us while were yet sinners separated from Him. The pursuit of God is indeed beautiful and mysterious. The pursuit of God is always that you might follow.

Simply hearing the invitation to follow Him is not following. Talking about the invitation to follow is not following. Admiring those who have accepted the invitation to follow is not following. You only become a follower of Christ when you follow. In other words, you become something by doing.

Many years ago, my cousin used to talking about repelling down mountains all the time. Almost every time I was around him he would be telling stories of his latest adventure. His passion was evident as you listened to him.

After many months of hearing about repelling, listening to his stories and admiring the accomplishments he had performed, I was compelled to try the sport myself.

I asked him to take me repelling, and he did. The climb up the mountain was free. The view from the top of the mountain was free. Getting geared up for repelling was free. Watching him do it first was free. Doing it myself cost me something.

It cost me leaning back over the cliff and trusting the rope to hold me, and actually repelling down the face of the mountain. Once I reached the bottom of the mountain, I could and did officially call myself a repeller.

The same is true when it comes to following God. There are many who call themselves Christians, but it is quite another thing to call yourself a Christ follower. To call yourself a follower you must follow. You become a follower by following.

When Jesus told Peter to put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch, He was inviting Him one step closer to following Him. He was asking Peter to trust that He could make more out of life than Peter ever could on his own. When you respond to the leading of Jesus you are one step closer to following Jesus.

We know how the story ends. Peter obeys and a great catch of fish begins to break the nets. Peter is blown away and confesses that he is a sinful man. The command to follow is then given, and Peter’s life is changed forever. He moves past just hearing, listening and admiring. He becomes a follower by following.

I want you to know today that you will never become the true you until you follow God. You can never be fully human the way God intends for you to be unless you follow. You must do something to be something. The doing I’m referring to is to follow Him and bring Him the glory He alone rightfully deserves.

Kyle Idleman once wrote, “Following Jesus isn’t something you can do at night where no one notices. It’s a twenty-four-hour-a-day commitment that will interfere with your life. That’s not the small print—that’s a guarantee.”

Salvation is free but discipleship will cost you something. You become a follower by following.

EmptyhandsImage Credit

Is it just me or is there anyone else that worries about not worrying about what God may or may not do? When I’m under pressure, I tend to overlook for answers in my own strength.

At times,  it manifest in running every scenario that could happen, or should happen to the point I can’t even sleep well at night. Time and time again living my faith in this manner proves to be a big waste of…well…FAITH.

After all the time wasted searching in my own power, I always end up with nothing! Then it happens. God reminds me that I can’t do anything with NOTHING but He can do anything and everything with NOTHING.

Suddenly, deep in my heart I can feel a groaning of the Spirit of God praying for me the perfect will of God and then it happens; peace consumes me. Sometimes, when you stop looking, and you stop trying to figure it all out, God moves for His glory in your life.

The searcher of hearts is always looking and listening for the groaning of the Spirit inside our hearts. God is always having conversations and communion in our hearts. When there are no more words to pray, the Spirit of God intercedes with groanings at the intersection of ruin and misery within the Christ Follower.

You must share in God’s sufferings to share in His glory. However, suffering when complete gives way to a beautiful witness of His glory and that is enough. God uses suffering, emptiness and troubled times of unanswered prayers to build His character in us, conforming us to Christ, and prepare us for final glory when heaven and earth become one.

You might not get what you thought you needed, but you will get what brings Him the most glory. Sometimes it takes getting nothing to get everything.

Romans 8:26-30 (NKJV)
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for uswith groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

emptiness_sings_scan

I’ve have found that the worst thing to do with emptiness is to try and run from it. If you run from emptiness, you will miss the song.

Emptiness that is not avoided, causes you to ask questions you would otherwise never ask. Emptiness is not the valley of death, but rather, the valley of teaching and even a valley of Joy.

I once read, “Emptiness itself can birth the fullness of grace because in the emptiness,  we have the opportunity to turn to God, the only begetter of grace, and there find all the fullness of joy.”

In my emptiness,  I’ve established I’m often to quick to look for human help before finding joy and peace with God first. When I was younger in my faith I often found myself asking for help from anyone who would listen, and then I would pray and ask God to bless what I had just asked for.

Older and more mature now, I now seek the joy in emptiness and then asking is nothing more than breathing out from a place of assurance- no matter the answer to come. When you stop running from emptiness you are one step closer to hearing a creative song.

Emptiness was the starting place of God in Genesis, and it’s still His creative starting place in your life now. Give your emptiness to God and watch as He speaks, “Let there be!” Emptiness is the place God begins to complete you. Emptiness is a place God begins to sing through you. This is how emptiness sings!

Genesis 1:2 (NKJV)
2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

second-thoughts

The primary key to operating an automobile is being in control of the vehicle and not vice versa. Can you imagine letting go of the wheel and letting the car take you where it wants to go? If the car is aligned correctly, you might make it a few hundred feet before running off the road and crashing. However,  the crash would surely happen unless you regained control by taking hold of the wheel again.

Thoughts have the same potential. You can control them and have a great adventure of faith or you can let go of the “Wheel,” and let them take you where they want to go. You might cruise unharmed for a few hundred feet, but sooner of later you are going to crash unless you regain control of your thoughts for God’s purpose.

Your thoughts can be a temple of worship for God, or your thoughts can be an idol of destruction that leads you astray and off course. The choice is your choice to make. Each of us needs to take control of our thoughts, giving them over to God along with everything else in our lives.

We are commanded in scripture to bring every thought into obedience to Christ Jesus. (2 Cor 5:10) Every thought means every thought. We are called to bring the good, bad and the ugly thoughts to the feet of Jesus and filter them there.

Believe it or not, you have exceptional control over what you do with your thoughts. Thoughts coming into your mind are often fast and furious, but they are never non-controllable. When a thought comes to you, a choice has to be made and can be made.

I challenge you today. Take inventory of your thought life today. It will tell you much about yourself. Ask God to make you more awake to what’s on your mind. Ask God to help move you in Godly directions with your thought life.  I promise you that if you fill your mind with good thoughts, the bad will soon dilute and lose power of influence in your life.

Philippians 4:8 (NKJV) 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

pour

Trusting God to show up can be a bit of an enigma. You need God to meet a need in your life or ministry, so you pray He shows up, and yet on the other hand God is everywhere, so it’s impossible for Him to be absent. In other words, praying He shows up is almost redundant, yet we ask anyway because the Bible encourages us to ask. The Lord’s Prayer being just one example of many in scripture.

I think a better way to look at asking God to show up is to ask God to give us eyes to see where He is at work in the situation and pursue it. Pursuing God is the more proactive form of asking Him for help. When you know God is always present and at work, then it’s just a matter of pursuing. Asking is just the opening of your heart to see with your eyes of faith where He is already active.

Even when the Bible speaks of God at rest, it’s better stated that God is in control. When God is at rest in the Bible that doesn’t mean He is kicked back with His feet up doing nothing. That’s more of our definition of rest then God’s definition of rest. Rest for God is control. He is sovereign and in control, and there is nothing passive about either.

God’s invitation to ask of Him is a real command, but it must never be forgotten that it is for our benefit and not His.  Prayer is mostly about bringing ourselves into alignment with God’s heart.

I’m not sure what you need God to show up for right now, but there is one thing that I am sure of, and it’s this- Grace is accessible to you right now, and so there’s no reason to struggle and fight for an answer. He is the answer for right now because He is the ‘right now’ God working at all times. Trusting God to show up can be a bit of an enigma, but that is half the joy of pursuing Him.

The power of God’s grace is working in your life. And whatever amount you need, is being poured into your cup right now.  So, belly up to the grace of God and say, “Pour me another.”

Choose Image_0

I’m not good with emptiness, but God is great with emptiness. Emptiness often becomes God’s greatest creative place in your life and mine.

Joseph was found in an empty well in Genesis 37:24 because of the envy of his brothers; yet eventually through the sovereign determination of God is made prime minister, second in the land of Egypt.

Emptiness doesn’t have to be a negative situation or a negative emotion when you know God is truly sovereign in your life. In fact, the greatest place to see the true message of what God can do with “empty” things is to ponder the empty tomb of Christ. The empty tomb is not a message of defeat and hopelessness. The empty tomb speaks to all of us, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” Revelation 1:18

Maybe today you are feeling empty. Maybe today the future doesn’t seem so hopeful for you. Maybe today you can’t see past the moment of pain at all. Instead, You find yourself  hearing the negative and defeating voice of emptiness, and not the life giving voice emptiness has under the command of God.

You need to choose which voice you are going to listen to. Choose the negative and defeating voice and you will reap what that path leads to. Choose the life giving voice of emptiness and you will reap what that path leads to. If you are jobless today, if you are broken today by stress that is almost unbearable, if you are in the middle of family drama that is endless, there is hope for you. Your emptiness is a gift if you listen to the right voice.

Emptiness is a crisis, but in every crisis there is an opportunity for God to show off for His own glory. If you truly believe that God is sovereign, then you must believe that God has a plan and purpose in and through your emptiness. You can’t ever forget that God always shows up to demonstrate His glory in His perfect timing. God can work wonders beyond your dreams!

Which voice will you choose? Will you choose the negative and defeating voice, or the life giving voice of God? I think we both know which is correct. Now choose wisely.

Whisper

“Anything that God has ever done, He can do now. Anything that God has done anywhere else, He can do here. Anything that God has done for anyone else, He can do for you.” A. W. Tozer

“Anything that God has ever done, He can do now.”

That’s correct. You serve a ‘now’ God.  God can move in your life at this present time or moment. Take a breath and then Whisper to your soul, “God is closer than the air I just breathed.” I challenge you today to be mindful of Gods presence in your life. He doesn’t just drop in for a visit. God lives inside of you if you are a Christ follower. You are submerged in the unconditional perfect love of the God of the ‘now.’ The future can’t be experienced, and the past is consumed in the annuals of time.  You only have this moment and God has you in this moment. Whisper to your soul, The ‘now’ God is completely loving me right now!

“Anything that God has done anywhere else, He can do here.”

The scriptures declare that God is the great “I Am.” You don’t have to  look back at a past event God has performed for His glory and wonder if He can do a great miracle where you are in the present. If God can do a miracle anywhere, He can do it where you are.  He is not the “I was” or the “I might be.”  He is the “I Am.” Whisper to your soul, “God is here.”

“Anything that God has done for anyone else, He can do for you.”

You are His child. He loves and cares for you. Be awake to what he wants to do for you in order to bring Him glory. Be awake to the fact that it’s not about you in the first place. Life is about bringing God glory. You have been chosen to bring Him glory, and therefore, He will do for you in order to make much of Him. You are a branch attached to Jesus, the source of life. He is the vine, and we are just branches that produce fruit for His glory. Whisper to your soul, “He will do for me and through me what best brings Him glory.”

May this day be the great day you have hoped for! Whisper to your soul, “Let it be.”

Overlooked No More!

April 26, 2013 — 2 Comments

Jesus And Woman At Well1

Have you ever felt overlooked? Have you ever been overlooked? The answer to both questions are probably a resounding, “Yes.’ In John Chapter 4, Jesus meets a woman at the well and takes away her feeling of being overlooked.

She wasn’t overlooked because she didn’t have others around her; she was surround by people in her village, but she still felt alone. It’s been said, “Being lonely isn’t having no one around you, it’s the feeling that there is no one around you who cares.

She was undergoing feelings of being unwanted; which is poverty unto itself. The women of the town was ostracizing her. The tale-tale sign was the time of the day that she went to draw water from the well.

Sure, she had some bad choices happening in her life, but don’t we all? We find out soon enough that she had experienced 5 husbands in her life, and the one she was living with at the moment wasn’t her husband. Jesus said to her, “for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband…” Her choices in life, right or wrong (I think wrong) caused her to be overlooked.

However, the great news was God hadn’t overlooked her. In fact, He was led of prayer to go to the very spot she was going to be that day. Her life was about to intersect with the one who never overlooks anyone.

The day before life was dark and depressing. This day, the day she met Christ, changed her forever. Jesus shared with her about the true water of life that would transform her. Jesus didn’t overlook her but gave her life and true love. He rescued her.

She now belonged to someone greater than herself. She would soon come to understand; as it has been said, “Who you are is rooted in whose you are.’ She could now drop all the unnecessary baggage in her life. She was now under the power of Jesus’ watchful eye.

It was now impossible for her to ever be truly overlooked again. God is always mindful of you, therefore, you can’t be overlooked with Him in your life.

When it seems you are being overlooked; instead of getting down about it, cheer up! You just might be getting ready to run into Jesus and have a day changing (life changing) event.

 

MountDiabloEmilieHike

You were not meant to be alone and isolated from people. You were never meant to say, “All I need is God and no one else.” God created us for fellowship with Him and fellowship with others. It’s God’s perfect plan.

I once had a friend who began to pull away from the body of Christ. He became disenfranchised for many reasons and finally allowed things to pull him away from those that loved him. He didn’t leave God, but he did say over and over to others, and me “All I need is God and no one else.”

Somehow, he had bought into the lie that he could do it with just God. By cutting off the flesh of humanity, he thought his life would be richer and fuller. Over the next several months,  he systematically cut off his best friends also. I was among that number, and it hurt and grieved me horribly.

He would touch base with me by phone from time to time, but it was shallow, and I could hear in his voice that he was slipping over the edge. The fellowship of the body of Christ had been traded in and replaced with a pseudo kind of Christian fellowship that consisted of just him and God.

It sounds good on the surface to say, “All I need is God and no one else,” but the fact of the matter it’s impossible to have true biblical fellowship cut off from the body. You and I were designed to have a vertical relationship with God and a horizontal relationship with each other.

My friend came up with a thought in isolation away from the body because he said he heard the voice of God tell him to do something. He didn’t run the voice through scripture to see if it contradicted anything and he didn’t run the voice by any believers for accountability. He simply “heard a voice,” and obeyed the voice.

The story is long;  therefore I will make it short and more bullet point for your reading.

  • He said he heard God tell him to drive out to the Mt. Diablo and climb to the top to be alone with him for many days. (Temperatures can reach high 90’s and above)
  • He was told to tell no one and to take only water
  • He drove his truck to the park and parked it at the bottom of the mountain.
  • He took his keys and threw them into a pond and threw his cell phone into the pond also.
  • He hiked up the mountain and found a place to worship and talk with God.
  • He used up all his water before reaching the top and over the next few days he dehydrated and began to see things.
  • He saw and heard angles telling him to do things and many other things that would be just too strange to share with you.
  • Finally, with the heat being too much to handle he unclothed himself wholly and lay down to die. That’s correct, he was naked on the mountain.
  • He was found the next morning almost dead. He was hanging on to life by a thread.
  • “All I need is God and no one else,” had taken him to a place of death and not life.

He finally made a full recovery in the hospital. His parents, family and friends were all happy he was alive. I would love to say he fully learned his lesson, but it wasn’t over night. Even after almost dying, he still had a grudge against the body of Christ. Over the years,  he has slowly worked through his issues, and last I heard he was doing well.

Pastor Rick Warren once said, “Why is it important to join a local church family? Because it proves you are committed to your spiritual brothers and sisters in reality, not just in theory. God wants you to love real people, not ideal people. You can spend a lifetime searching for the perfect church, but you will never find it. You are called to love imperfect sinners, just as God does.”

mute button
You were called to be more than just aware of God’s presence in your life. You were called to be awakened to the presence of God in your life.

There was a time in my life when I was just aware of God. I was religious. I attended the church. I knew the praise songs by heart. I liked the preacher. I liked the people I went to church with. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. I was good at checking the God box in order to feel like my life had balance.

What I really needed was a relationship that was fully awake to God speaking into my life. I had just enough religion to smell Christian. I was aware of God but not awakened to God.

Allow me to Illustrate it for you.

There are times I’ll be watching T.V. and my wife begins to talk with me. I can hear her talking…I’m aware of her presence, but I’m not awakened to her. The T.V. has my full attention, and I can just kind of hear her in the background. It’s not until I mute the T.V, turn and look her in the eyes that she has my full attention. When I mute the T.V., I move from awareness to an awakening.

The bible tells us; we are able to hear God’s voice and we will not follow another. We can only hear Him and follow Him, when we mute the other voices that are competing for our attention.

When you mute the other voices, you move from awareness to an awakening. If you find yourself just being aware of God in your life…then hit the mute button. You would be amazed at how fast you wake up.