Month: April 2021

Give Me This Mountain

Joshua 14:12 “Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the LORD spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim [were] there, and [that] the cities [were] great [and] fortified. It may be that the LORD [will be] with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the LORD said.”  

 

Very few people would make such a request and even fewer would make a request for a mountain at the age of 85. But Caleb, one of the 12 spies who went and spied out the Promise Land for God’s people, was no ordinary man. By God’s grace for 85 years his streng
th had been sustained and his faith in God had only increased. And now at the point in life when the land was being divided among the children of Israel, instead of requesting a piece of property where he could settle down and take it easy like most people would, he asked for the mountain. He asked for the challenge. He wasn’t interested in the populated valley or the green meadows, he wanted the mountain. Why would he do that?  Why would anyone his age do that?  Caleb knew that making such a request would keep him dependent on the presence and power of God. Caleb still wanted to obey God and drive out the trespassing Anakim. More than likely you need a challenge that will keep you completely dependent on God’s presence and power, we all do. But what is it going to be?  Do you see a mountain challenge anywhere?  Don’t let yo
ur age be a factor as you look to a mountain, but have faith as Caleb did and said, “it may be that the LORD will be with me”.  What will you do for the kingdom and glory of God that is going to challenge you?  What mountain are you going to take on for His glory?  Caleb was a mountain man and you can be a mountain man or woman, but the mountain will never be easy.  Taking on a mountain will require focus, discipline and great faith in Almighty God.  If you will take a moment to ask God to show you a mountain to take on, I promise you He will show you.  Let Christ be exalted and make Him the king of the mountain.

Relax, He Knows Where You Are!

Being noticed is one of the biggest driving forces in our society today. People want to be seen, heard, and recognized.  People do whatever it takes to be noticed, from the dying of their hair different colors to wearing flashy clothes, to not wearing much at all to be noticed. Sadly, this mentality has come into the church on Sunday mornings with bright suits, big ties, high heel shoes and low-cut revealing dresses. People want to be “seen.”  Perhaps it’s a fear of not being noticed or overlooked or it may even be peer pressure.  Whatever it is that drives this common mentality, it’s definitely in our human nature to want others to see us and acknowledge us.

But as a follower of Christ, please don’t concern yourself with being noticed or being a part of the “Who’s Who” in society to the best of your ability.  Don’t bother with being in the religious clique or running in with the popular crowd. You must believe that God knows where you are and when He has an assignment for you.  I have this on good authority from God’s Word:

When the prophet Samuel came to the house of Jesse to appoint a new King for Israel, none of the seven sons that passed before Samuel were chosen. Initially Samuel was going to anoint Eliab as the new King. He “looked” like the chosen one, but God told Samuel, “For the Lord does not see as a man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  The one Samuel was looking for wasn’t even among those who had gathered.  The one Samuel was looking for wasn’t even invited, because someone needed to keep watch over the flock.  David didn’t seem to concern himself with being at the sacrifice and was content to keep watching the flock.  But God, got who He was looking for.

David wasn’t trying to be noticed or in with the popular crowd, he was just being faithful over a few things, and God made him ruler over many things.  Believe today that God sees you!  Don’t stress if you’re overlooked or not in the “in crowd.”  With God, you don’t need to be, because when your assignment comes up, He knows where to find you.

Get Real!

On the same day Jesus rose from the grave He appeared to the apostles.  He spoke peace to them and then showed them His hands and His side. This was not only the visible proof that He was the One they had committed their lives to, but the showing of His hands and side has far more greater meaning to us.  

Recently I smashed the ends of my fingers on both hands. My fingernails have turned black and ugly from the injury. The painful incident and my startling reaction to it was so traumatic that I have shared it with many people. I’ve shared the story because I witnessed God help me in that moment of pain. I was manually pulling down a garage door and my fingers got caught between where two panels come together. I couldn’t pull my fingers out and I couldn’t lift the door back up. The pain was severe and I didn’t care who heard me yelling in pain.  But I know it was God who quickened me to kick the door up with my foot, releasing my fingers.  I’ve shared this story because in my personal trauma, God was with me. Many times we are quick to share our physical wounds with others, but not so quick to show the wounds on the inside. Most of the time we don’t want people to know about the wounds of our hearts and minds, but when we do, something happens to whoever is listening. They are relieved to know you are real and can relate to what they maybe going through. Those disciples must have felt so alone and discouraged until Jesus appeared and showed them His wounds.  When was the last time you got real with someone like Jesus did and showed them your wounds? What about the wounds on the inside? Jesus showed His wounds and the disciples were glad and believed in Him. Don’t be afraid to show people the healed wounds in your life.  It just may bring the healing to them they need.

Because He Lives…

Just take a moment to fill in the blank, “Because He lives, I can __________ __________!”  This truth has to be more to us than the familiar lyrics of an old gospel song.  Because Jesus lives and death couldn’t keep Him and the grave couldn’t stop Him, there is power to live your life by.  His resurrected life enables us to do what we could not otherwise do.  Not only that, but because of His life, we are able to have a life.  What I mean is that we exist, only because He exists.  Think about it, if God somehow stopped existing this moment, so would every form of life, including human life.  The apostle Paul said,

The reality of our lives is that we are God-sustained and not self-sustained.  He is the One who gives us breath and keeps our hearts beating.  He is the One who holds all things together.  Because He lives, and only because He lives, I can face tomorrow.  I can get up in the morning.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Because He lives, I can go beyond my natural abilities and do what only can be done in His power.  I can love those who are not so loving.  I can forgive those who have wronged me.  I can walk where God wants me to walk.  I can endure what life throws at me.  I can love my neighbors as myself.  I can be the witness He wants me to be.  I can survive the fiery storms and I can walk through the valley.

Because He lives, I can face the giants that threaten.  God is your enabler!  Yes He is, because otherwise you would have quit a long time ago.  The reason you are still going and giving and loving and haven’t become bitter and angry and isolated is because of God.  His life means everything to the disciple of Christ.  Because He lives, you can go to bed tonight and have sweet rest.  Because He lives, you can live in complete confidence that He sees you right where you are, knows where you’ve been, knows how you feel and knows what you need.  Because He lives, I can believe and know that everything is going to be alright.  Because He lives, I can lift my head up and march on in the name of Jesus!  March on!

Don’t Want to be Here!

 

You do know there are many many people who are where they are, but do not want to be there.  Recently I heard the story of a family going on an incredible vacation, but the 14 year old son didn’t want to be there.  Instead of trying to enjoy the trip, he just made everyone else miserable.  How unfortunate for the family and for the young man who couldn’t get over himself and embrace the experience.  No doubt, it’s hard to be some where with someone who doesn’t want to be there.  They don’t say it, but it’s almost as if they see it as their personal responsibility to make everyone else miserable.  You’ve heard it said, and it’s true, “Misery loves company.”  Miserable people are every where today.  You work with some and you go to church with some and they are on your child’s ball team and they are behind the counter.  I was thinking that Judas, the betrayer of the Messiah, had to be a miserable person.  In a moment of humble sacrifice Mary anointed the Lord’s feet with oil and wiped His feet with her hair.  But Judas spoke up and said, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”  John 12:5.

Judas killed that sweet moment of fellowship and service to the Lord.  Judas was with the disciples, but he really didn’t want to be.  And that’s what people do when they are in a place they don’t want to be, they say something or do something that ruins what could be an amazing moment for others.  Judas’ main problem is that he simply needed Jesus!  He was with Jesus, but didn’t have Jesus and he was miserable.  

So what do you do when you find yourself in a place you don’t want to be?  Ask God to change your heart and attitude, because you want to be a light where ever you go.  Be careful about what comes out of your mouth, because those with you may absolutely love where they are.  Believe that where you are right now is not where you will always be, God can move you or change you.  Several years ago I went to evening service at our church and I didn’t want to go, but my wife strong armed me.  I went almost mad, but I knew I needed to go even for a witness to my young children.  About half-way in to the song service I noticed how my attitude had changed.  By the time we left that service, I was so blessed to have gone.

Whether you know it or not, you are a vital part of the atmosphere around you.  You either are a catalyst the presence of the Holy Spirit or a hindrance.  Don’t be guilty of blocking the Spirit from moving and don’t be guilty of making everyone around you miserable.  Be changed in Jesus Name and make every place you go meaningful and enjoyable for everyone else.

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