Don’t Just Listen–Do!

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:19-22 NIV)

We know from reading The Word that faith comes by hearing and hearing by The Word of God–says, Paul to us. Now, James tells us, don’t just listen to The Word, do it! If our faith in God is going to be sustained, then we must do what we hear and read from The Word–and not just people.

The Messengers of God are worth hearing when they are speaking God’s message. When they veer off into their own imaginations and opinions that are based on nothing–especially not The Word–no one is obligated to hear or do what they say, yet so many people do.

I’m thinking particularly about a pastor–somewhere–who poured bleach over the heads of his congregants to “wash them clean” because of erroneous understanding of The Word. The Word tells us that the blood Jesus shed on the cross is what washes us clean–not bleach or anything else we attempt to do. The psalmist mentions being washed by The Word–not the literal word–but as representing what Jesus would accomplish since He is The Word.

Getting back to hearing and not doing–many people claim to listen to their pastor on a Sunday morning and praise their messages, but when asked what they said–they develop amnesia. “I don’t know, but it sure was good.” Apparently, they were not the good ground into which The Word was supposed to be sown.

Then there are those who wouldn’t miss church for the world–uh uh–no siree, they’re not missing church. They are there every time the doors open and listen intently to every word heard, but then their lives don’t demonstrate what they heard (unless they heard a message that opposes God’s Word). From their actions, one can tell, they didn’t hear about loving one’s neighbor as themselves because the minute they got into the parking lot, they started cussing out everyone in their way. They get home and talk about everyone who attended church–they talk about the pastor and his wife; they talk about the noisy children; they talk about the ushers who are too slow; they talk about the soloist and how they could see better than they did; they talk about the choir director who, “couldn’t direct traffic.” They talk about everyone and since they “saw” so much going on, how on earth did they hear any Word?

We can hear without listening and when we pretend to listen the only person we fool is us. God is not mocked. He knows our hearts and He knows when we’re pretending to pay attention and so does everyone else when we are not doing The Word.

We “do The Word” when we obey The Word and people know we have either read with understanding or at listened to God’s messengers because they see it in our conduct. We who “do” The Word don’t live in opposition to The Word, but strive to obey God in all things and that obedience starts with knowing how to love others and God.

Today would be a good day to start–not just listening, but in doing The Word–loving all we meet and greet and making the devil cringe because we even woke up–with desire in our hearts to please God!

Invest Time In Doing, More Than Watching!

“Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. Sow your seed in the morning and at evening let your hands not be idle for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4-6 NIV)

Does anyone remember the old adage, “a watched pot never boils?” It is not entirely true, but what happens is that while a person is watching the water, it seems to take forever to start boiling. The fact of the matter is–when water reaches a specific temperature–usually 212 F or 100 C (depending upon altitude and purity of the water), it will boil–whether we watch it or not, but the principle here is–since we know it will boil, why watch it?

When we plant seeds into the ground–planting anything–will it grow any faster if we watch it or can we tell what is going on beneath the soil when we cannot see it occurring?

Even though we cannot see (without technology) how a body is formed from conception to birth, we know–given time (unless something impedes the growth), a baby will be born. We didn’t have to watch it to make it happen.

Children, once they reach a certain age (puberty), and as long as they are brought up in a nutritionally sound environment, they grow by leaps and bounds and even if we are watching, we miss some of the subtle changes and often, we are amazed when it appears that a child has grown overnight.

The same is true of our obedience to God in order to see the promises fulfilled. When He inspires us to do something, we have no need to “watch” it, but just to do and have faith that what He has put on our hearts will succeed. If He has planted the seed, He will water it and it will grow. However, we must be certain that the seed was planted by Him and not our desires, without consulting Him.

This is what I’ve learned about my own investment of time in writing. I did not understand “why” the Lord spoke to my heart and directed me to write–explaining scripture–and blogging it daily. I did not understand why–at certain intervals in my composition of books–He stops me and has me to write something expounding on His Word–for publication. As long as I do what He is telling me to do, I know He will fulfill every promise made and honor every request I’ve put before Him.

I love watching how many people are reading my books, but sometimes–when the numbers decline (and they do), I tend to get discouraged–momentarily. And then, just like a loving parent–He reminds me that the outcome of my writing–the gift He has given me–is not about me, but it’s all on Him. I don’t have to watch the sales or how many clicks the books are receiving. I just have to write–exercising the gift He has given me. In the fullness of time–whenever that is–His promise will be seen and I don’t have to know how He accomplishes all that He does; I just have to believe it.

The million plus readers we’ve petitioned Him for are coming to past–growing daily. Now, I just have to continue to write, totally trusting Him to speak to the hearts of all He would have to read what I write, and enjoy the efforts of my labor when it’s harvest time. Glory to God! I’ve only seen the beginning of the harvest to come, but I know when it’s time to gather it in–it will be all that He planned from the beginning of time.

So, let’s not waste our time in watching (trying to understand) to see how God will bring things to past (ministry, families, careers, etc.) but trust that He will and keep doing what He’s told us to do. 

Why Faith In God? Part 3

“Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” (Matthew 21:21 NIV) “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:10 NIV)

Notice how important it is to use “our mouths” to proclaim our faith. Jesus said, “You can say…” and Paul tells us, “With your mouth you profess your faith…” So, conversely, if we don’t “say” we won’t see our faith exercised or receive what we won’t say. This is why it is important for us to watch those things we say. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” We can use our tongues which are in our mouths–to speak life to our lives with our faith in God or we can speak death to our lives with negative confessions, expressing doubt. It’s up to us–remember–according to our faith–it will be what we say it will be.

Understanding the power we have with our tongues and expression of our faith, why would we contribute to having no ability to do anything worthwhile for others?

We can exercise our faith in God, by saying–“No weapon formed against us shall prosper” when we get that negative report from doctors. “By His stripes, I am healed.”  “There is no name above the name of Jesus,” and sickness and disease have names that are covered under the blood. And then we do everything we can to live a healthy life. There is no point in saying something, just to say it, now we have something we need to do.

We don’t have to be afraid of anything, so when the enemy attempts to ignite fear in us, we say “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind” and then move out in the power of His might!

We never have to accept defeat in any endeavor when we say, “I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me,” and then keep trying to accomplish whatever it is we’re trying to accomplish, until we do it right.

We can have what we say, when we refuse to allow negativity to enter into our minds and we keep professing we have what it is we need, no matter what things look like. Don’t allow what you see to determine what you speak! God created the world in seven days and there is nothing too hard for Him to do for those He loves and for those who complete faith is in Him!

Hallelujah, Jesus! Thanking Him for our needs being met, over and above anything we need so we will have surplus to assist others. Thanking Him for healing bodies with the same healing virtue used to heal the woman with the issue of blood. Thanking Him for protecting the vulnerable, and comforting hearts, and speaking to the hearts of those who commit evil. We may not see it the evidence, but we can rest assured that God hears us and knows everything about everything.

The one thing He will not do–is force anyone to do anything they do not want to do. So, while our faith in God is assured, we must also know that He gives free-will choice to the saved and unsaved, leaving all to the consequences of their choices.

Part 4 tomorrow!

Just Curious!

If The Word tells us “we can” do all things through Christ who strengthens us, why is it that many have become so comfortable with, “I can’t” that they don’t even try?

Either God is lying or those who say, “I can’t” are lying. I’m willing to stake my life on the fact that God is not lying, but people are lazy and complacent. Or they do not know how to say, “I don’t know how” or “I don’t do things as well as..” or “I simply do things differently.”

Can’t–the four letter word that keeps people from trying has become an excuse for Christians who say, “I can,” but never try and then their voice echoes with, “I can’ts’ for others to pick up the rhythm and sing the chorus,

“I can’t, I can’t, I can’t

Even though God says I can,

With all my aches and pains,

I’ll take my ill-informed stand

Allowing the enemy’s lies to reign,

I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.”

Okay, I think the point has been made. I don’t know how to drive a stick-shift well, but you won’t hear me say, I can’t. My artwork consists of mostly stick-people, but you won’t hear me say, I can’t draw. There are so many things that I probably don’t know how to do, but you won’t hear me say, I can’t–if I’ve never tried, I don’t know what I can do in my own power, but with Him, “I can do all things” to His glory!

Just Curious–what are your thoughts?

 

**Physical incapacity–must include the inability to sit on your own or the inability to stand on your own. If you can do these two things, there are many things “you can do” without thinking about, “I can’t.”***

Loving Him!

“Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;” (Deuteronomy 7:9 NKJV).

If we think about all the popular and contemporary songs and poetry about love–we might get a glimpse of what “love” means to some people, but unfortunately, those songs and poetry have inadvertently set a standard for many about the meaning of love that simply does not stand the test of time.

Love–in its most simplistic form–does! What does it do? Love serves the object of its affection without reservation, unconditionally.

Love seeks to bring others closer–to the one who loves and those around them.

Love takes a licking and keeps on ticking (excuse the analogy) from Timex. But then–love is timeless–it never tires of loving, no matter what happens.

Love overlooks the faults and shortcomings of those it loves and loves regardless of those faults. Love recognizes that there are no perfect people, and accepts their own imperfections, but strives for perfection. Love does not criticize but encourages others to always do what is right.

Love sets the example for others to follow. Rather than talk a good talk–love walks the love-walk–daily in all kinds of weather.

Love–what is it good for? Absolutely everything and for everyone.

Therefore–if we truly know Love (for He is love), we would have no problem loving Him or others–no matter their gender, ethnicity, age, or past. For God is without gender (as we know it–He is Spirit and Father), He has no ethnicity. He has no age and His past, present and future are interwoven in His being–Timeless. He simply–is!

So rather than concentrate our efforts on demeaning and criticizing others, let’s look at how God loves us and how He wants us to love others. We just might be surprised at the time we save–finding more to show those we love–just how much we love, them and Him!

Be a Light!

“…Let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NIV).

If we look at the this entire passage of conversation in which Jesus is telling us how our roles should be seen, we get the picture of being a person who is absolutely necessary in bringing others into the knowledge of God.  In verse 13–we are salt–we have the ability to preserve and stop the bloodshed.  In verse 14–we are light–the light that must shine brightly in a dark world so others can see their way back to Christ.  If they see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven, they are more likely going to accept God’s way of doing things.

So, are the problems we face in the world the fault of the people who don’t know God and deny His existence or is that we have not fulfilled our role?  Are we being the preservative of others’ souls we’re instructed to be (instructing, advising, being an example)?  Are others seeing our good deeds so we can win them, not by what we say, but by what they see?

This is not an accusation, but it is intended to ignite reflection about how we–who say we believe–do things.  If we are just talking the talk and not walking it, we’re wasting our time and the time of those we are attempting to convince.  In the minds of some–we are hypocrites. In the minds of some–we are crazy.  I’d rather be thought crazy–because of my public proclamations of God’s goodness than a hypocrite because I’m talking too much or too loud and saying and doing nothing. I’d rather be the light than a partaker of the darkness.

Lord, help me to become a beacon of light in the dark places of souls of all those around me so they will glorify You.

 

We Used To Do It!

Reading for today, Colossians 3:4-10, I am reminded of the things that I used to do.  Paul tells the Church at Colosse that when Christ appears, we will appear with Him in glory (raised with a glorified body), but he also reminds them of the things they used to do and should not still be doing because of the new self created in Christ.

The point of this passage of scripture is simply this:  We have a past–used to do some things that were ungodly, illegal, immoral, and unethical.  We used to lie, hold onto anger, bitterness and unforgiveness. But that was then–when we did not know we had a Savior who loved us enough to die for us.  Now that we know, who He is and who we are in Him, none of those things we used to do (in opposition to God and self) should be a part of our new nature. If they are, are we really a new creation or have we just taken up a facade (external attributes), but our thought-life, our inner nature, has not changed?

God knows those who are His and if we are attempting to fool anyone; the only person we fool is ourselves.  When the enemy plants thoughts in our minds, remind him–“I used to do those things, but they are no longer part of my life!”

Now, we can start doing some new things–those things that will glorify God–and assure us of our new nature and then we can look the enemy in the face and say, “Look at me now and see what I am doing right now!” We can defeat the power of the enemy, by not dwelling on the things we used to do, but preparing to do all that God has planned for us!

When cloudy days or thoughts interfere with what you need to do–now, just remember those clouds will go away, when we think brighter thoughts. sunny day