Last Sunday morning, when I arrived about 8:00, to prepare everything for service, as I usually do, I unlocked the door and got the cart which I use to bring my key board, projector and laptop from my car to the stage, and then I normally proceed to set everything up. I do this every Sunday without any problems, but this time, when I had loaded everything on the cart and tried to open the door….IT WAS LOCKED AND I WAS LOCKED OUT! Understand, please, that we only have one key to the front door and it was now locked inside, and there I stood with all my equipment, outside, unable to get in, with no way to get to the key…..fortunately, Allan, who works with the School system, has a master key of his own…..So, he drove over and unlocked the door so I could get in! I share this with you, because first, I was locked out of my purpose! Second, I felt as though I had no control over what had locked me out of my purpose and could not, in my own strength, finish my purpose! Third, there was someone who had a master key, who could re-open the door to my purpose for being there!
As a nation, tomorrow will be celebrated as Memorial Day, & in Washington D.C., among many other places, folks will gather at the World War two Memorial to remember & honor all those who served..
Then a few days later we Americans, & many among the allied nations of WW 2, will pause again to mark the Anniversary of D-Day (1944), & to remember the events of that day, when thousands fought and died on the beach of Normandy and in the ongoing conflict. We will be expressing our debt on the anniversary of those who paid the ultimate price for that victory.
During President Ronald Reagan’s term as president, he provided inspirational leadership to our nation during the cold war period. And I reference him this morning, because I want us to consider something he said, at a Memorial Day gathering for a grateful nation, and it’s something which is engraved upon his tombstone….
He said, “I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will eventually triumph. Because I know that there is purpose & worth to each & every life.”
I checked on the internet and found that over the past 3,400 years, of recorded history, we humans have only been entirely at peace for just 268 of those years… that means we have had peace just 8 percent of all recorded history. At least 108 million people were killed in wars in the twentieth century alone. The best estimates for the total number of people killed in wars throughout all of human history range from 150 million to 1 billion. Our world has had a history of turmoil and upheaval…..The bible says that men shall cry, “peace, peace but there is no peace”….
Have you ever asked yourself, "Why did God permit me to wake up this morning? Why is my heart still beating? Why am I here? What is the purpose of my existence?" With all the horror and terrible conditions in the world, why was I allowed to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave…..America! If we haven’t asked those questions, we need to, because there is a reason why God has permitted you & me to be here at this time and this place. We have a greater purpose!
With all it’s flaws and failings, we are still allowed to meet openly and safely here today, to worship and to serve God according to the dictates of our heart….to express our faith, to witness for Christ and to example & share our faith, without fear of imprisonment or torture!
In the O.T. book of Ecclesi-astes, King Solomon talks about negative results that arise when we have no sense of purpose. King Solomon, if anyone, should have known the answer. I mean, Solomon had it all. He had money more than he could ever spend in many life times. He had possessions more than he could ever enjoy. He had wives more than he could ever please.
He even had wisdom far greater than anyone else in his day. He had it all. Yet for a while, at least, he didn’t have a real grasp on the purpose of life, and he went through some dark and fearful days, when he was locked out of his purpose. Could it be that the most devastating wars that effect all of us, could be the ones within ourselves, that rage within our own souls?
Let me suggest, 6 subtle internal conflicts that could be sabotaging your life purpose…(1).Worrying about things you can do nothing about…. (2).Blaming anyone and anything for your results….(3). Expecting perfection from yourself or others …(4).Telling yourself that you can’t do it….(5). Jumping to conclusions without any facts to back it up…and last but not least (6). Procrastinating, putting off till tomorrow what you should be doing today… When you don’t know the purpose of your life, then life can be empty and it can become very meaningless. In Ecclesiastes 1:2 Solomon writes despairingly, “Meaningless! Meaningless!... Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” Without a guiding purpose, life doesn’t make much sense at all!
When you don’t know the purpose of your life, then life can be an endless series of dead ends and bridges to nowhere…
Solomon gets over into his whiney voice and says such things as, The sun rises & the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises,"…. "The wind blows to the south and returns to the north, in an endless cycle, around and around it goes...” Solomon feels like life is a treadmill or a merry go round going round & round, yet never getting anywhere, a lot of motion, but never making any progress…..And Solomon gives this response in vs. 8, "All things are wearisome, more than words can say (or It’s all just wearing me out)." Notice he says with his whiney voice in verse 8, "The eye never has enough of seeing, nor does the ear have its fill of hearing." When you don’t know the purpose of your life, you never seem to ever be really satisfied, regardless what you do or how much you have. We always want more and more is still never enough. We have gone from 10" black & white picture tubes to giant high-definition screens, with stereo phonic, surround sound. But we’re still not content. Put a 300 channel remote control in our hands & we’ll run through all the channels and still be looking for more. Because the things of life never really satisfy unless you know your purpose for living. When you don’t know your purpose, your life can get out of balance real quick, and things and people, lose their value and insignificance. Relationships and life goals are set adrift….The power of love can become the love of power…you start loving things and using people, instead of loving people and using things for the cause of the kingdom…. Jesus didn’t die for your car, your house, your job or your bank account….He died for the souls of men and women…to put other things before that, is out of balance! Listen to vs. 11, he says "There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.” (in other words, it’s all for nothing anyway) Tony Campola said, "If you ever start to feel proud, just remember that soon after your body has been lowered into the grave, your family & friends will be eating fried chicken and potato salad, telling jokes, moving on with their lives, and you’ll be history." (don’t you feel better already, after hearing that)? Now I don’t know about you, but that can be down- right depressing, if you don’t know your purpose)
When Solomon is describing that period of time when he got locked out of his purpose, he is describing an empty, meaningless, frustrating, futile, insignificant, out of control life that has lost sight of what is really important and valuable. Now if that in any way describes your life in any area, I want you to know that God has the master key of purpose for your life & for mine. Listen to this passage in God’s Word, from the Message Bible… Ephesians 1:4&5 "Long before He laid down earth’s foundation, He had us in mind. He had settled on us as the focus of His love to be made whole & holy by His love." This verse tells you and me, that long, long ago, even before He created the heavens & the earth, God had our purpose in mind.
Everything changed for me at 15 years of age, I felt locked out of my purpose….no matter how much I banged on the door, it didn’t seem to matter and life was meaningless. I felt that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was then that my pastor took a group of us to Youth Camp in West Virginia, for a two week spiritual adventure. Following chapel service where we were challenged to go deeper in God, a group of my buddies and myself, really got into prayer, we prayed all night, when God broke through into my life and in a vision, He came to me with His call upon my life to the ministry….
With His master key, He opened the door of my purpose and let me enter into an exciting new world of His plan for my life!!! He holds the key to every door and can get you where you need to be from any place you happen to be! After all He touched the globe from a tiny dot on the map, called Jerusalem, with a group of ordinary folks like you and me.
You may remember the rope I used to illustrate that God has an eternal purpose in mind for us, not just a purpose for this brief physical lifetime. I put a piece of red tape on the end of a 40 foot rope and we could see that the 1 inch wide piece of red tape represented our physical life while we are here on earth…that life may be 70, 80, or even more than 90 years, but it’s just a tiny little speck on the register of our complete life, which goes way beyond what we can imagine or even comprehend, because we’re going to live forever….that rope stretches on into eternity…that’s who we are...one little speed bump is nothing! this life and the things of life may come crashing into you like a freight train…and try to derail you, but if you know your eternal (forever) purpose, you will keep coming back stronger and better than ever! Because you have begun to live your life in the light of eternity!
The way you talk, and the way you view everything is a good mirror, that reveals whither or not you understand your true purpose….Your attitude as you go through the day and deal with negative situations, tells the world that you do or you don’t know your purpose. You wake up in the morning and you either say “Oh God, it’s morning”….or you say Hallelujah Lord, it’s morning!!!!
Everyone has struggles, but if you see that Satan is just trying to get you to give up, lay down and surrender the God given outcome that is ahead for you, then you’ll understand that Satan is afraid of your purpose, and if you stick with it, he knows that you’ll tear up His kingdom!!!! Hebrews 12:1 “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily distracts and hinders us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us v2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith”
Everything changes when we see life and the world the way God sees it! It is then, that we begin to attain the unattainable and we begin to see that things which seemed impossible are still possible!….Instead of seeing closed doors everywhere, we begin to see the one who said, “I am the door, I am the wayl….Enter by Me”!!! Philippians 3:12 “It is not as though I had already attained, or that I have already reached perfection, but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. v13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, v14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. v15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, have this mind and if in anything we are otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto us. v16 whatever level we have already attained, let us walk in that truth, and let us mind the same thing”.
When Paul says to forget those things which are behind that we may reach for those things which ahead… he’s addressing that work of sanctification that separates us from something and joins us to something else.. It is that transformative work which sets us apart for our eternal purpose, as we separate ourselves from the shortcomings, failures, and mistakes of the past, and enter the realms of His freedom and liberty, to fulfill God’s high calling! No matter where you’ve been and what has happened, God only sees what you are destined to become and to do, as a result of who you are and He offers you the master key to unlock the door of your purpose!
I want to give you 4 things that God wants us to do with the years that we have while we’re still on this earth.
The first one is this. God wants me to get to know Him. Now, If I’m a part of His family that makes sense. Since He is my heavenly Father, and I am going to spend all eternity with Him, He would like me to know Him. Peter got a revelation of Him as he was sinking and that revelation allowed him to walk on top what was overwhelming him…..Mary got a revelation of Him as he transformed her life from prostitute, to disciple of Christ….the thief on the cross who was waiting for the end, found a new beginning….the sick and afflicted discovered the healer….Lazarus was dead when He found out he could live again with life more abundantly….and He’s moving in your direction right now, to give you a fresh revelation of Himself…..
This cry erupts from the soul and spirit of the great apostle of the faith, in Philippians 3:10 (Message Bible) “I have given up all that inferior stuff so that I might know Christ personally, experience His resurrection power, be a partner in His suffering, and go all the way with Him beyond death itself. v11 If there is any way to get in on the resurrection, I want to do it, that I may know Him…”
How do you get to know someone? Well, you spend time with them, talk with them, listen to them and do everything you can to just be with them. TO KNOW HIM IS TO LOVE HIM!
The 2nd thing that God wants me to do is to become like Christ. Winnie and I have been married so long, we finish each other’s sentences… We have shaped one another’s lives….She has made me a more considerate, sensitive and caring person (sometimes)….and I have put a sense of unpredictability, adventure, and the willingness to take risks into her! We give boundaries and a sense of direction to one another’s lives.
Speaking of that likeness, Someone said to me the other day… “I can see so much of the two of you in your children’s lives”.. That’s the greatest compliment any parent can get!!!! (if it’s in a good way…).
We can see this in 1 John 3:2 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, it does not yet appear what we shall be…but we know that when He reveals Himself, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is”.
It’s one thing to know someone, but it’s another thing to understand them…..The word “know” is the Hebrew “Yada”….to have intimate knowledge which translates into “understanding”. To put yourself in the place of someone else…..that’s called compassion!
Matthew 14:14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them….
Matthew 20:34 So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight..
Mark 1:41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and said unto him, be thou clean….
Luke 7:13 And when the Lord saw her, whose son had died, and he had compassion on her v14 And He touched the casket and said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. (Compassion will take you places you would never go otherwise, and cause you to do things you never thought possible)!
I can know about riding a bike, but only when I RIDE THE BIKE, do I “UNDERSTAND” bike riding! RIDE CHILD OF GOD, RIDE!!!! Last on my list of things that God has me here to do, is to share my life’s purpose with others.
You see, the meaning of life is to discover and develop your gift and the purpose of life is to give it away….
God did not call angels to share the good news of the gospel of Christ, He gave that privilege to you and me. God needs a body in the earth, through which He can show Himself and demonstrate Himself to the world. NEWS FLASH…..It’s Christ in you, the hope of Glory!
If you can’t figure out your purpose, then figure out your passion, for your passion will lead you right into your purpose!
When David Wilkerson was called of God and given a passion to take the gospel to the gangs of New York….he was confronted by Nicky Cruz, the leader of the dreaded Mau-Maus … Nicky’s father was a satanic priest, and when David told him that God loved him and Jesus died for him….Nicky said, I’m going to take this switch blade and cut you into a hundred pieces, then what will you do…..David said, “every piece will cry out, Jesus loves you and I love you”…. As a result of that meeting Nicky met with David and received Christ as his savior!
You better know your eternal purpose if you’re gonna do that!!!!
W.A. Dromgool wrote these words…..An old man, traveled a lonely way, And came at evening cold & gray,To a chasm deep & wide. The old man crossed in the twilight dim, for the swollen stream held no fear for him, but he turned when he reached the other side, and started building a bridge to span the tide. "Old man," cried a fellow pilgrim near, "You’re wasting your strength trying to build here. Your journey will end with the close of day, and you never again will come back this way. You have crossed the chasm deep & wide. Why do you build a bridge at eventide?"
And the builder raised his old gray head.. "Good friend, on the path I have come," he said, there follows after me today, a youth who even now is coming this way. This stream, which has been as nothing to me,
to that young person a pitfall could be. He, too, must cross in the twilight dim, good friend, I am building this bridge for him."
When Jesus opened the tomb, and marched out, He came out with the master key that would unlock the door of your purpose! He built a bridge that connected the Father’s plan with our God given destiny!
And He said in Matthew 16:19 “I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”.
Your God given purpose is the place where heaven and earth come together and embrace one another, so that God’s Divine plan in the earth, as it is in heaven, may be done!
Just as I was locked outside last Sunday, maybe there are some places where you feel locked out of your purpose…. What is it that is keeping you locked out? Maybe, like the disciples, it’s fear. Maybe it’s all the questions that you don’t have answers for, or disbelief, or the conditions you have placed where God never put conditions…...Perhaps it’s sorrow or a loss you’ve suffered. Maybe the wounds are so deep it doesn’t seem worth the risk to try again.
He stands before you with the master key that can open every locked door! He’s here today to give us all we need, so we can open the doors to a new life, a new creation, a new way of doing life and a new way of being. He may not change all the circumstances of your life and your world, but He enables us come out from under all our stuff, and live through those situations as a complete person, fulfilled, with inner peace, joy that comes from another dimension, and with eternal perspective!
It’s time to step outside the limits, to take the lid off, to stretch and enlarge your boundaries!
The bible says that after Jesus was placed in the tomb…..the disciples lost their purpose….they lost their direction….they came under the power of fear, doubt and confusion….They locked themselves in a room with fear as their companion…..
John 2019 “The disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, they had locked all the doors in the house.
Suddenly Jesus was with them, He stood among them, and said, "Peace be unto you." v20 Then He showed them His hands and side. v21 then Jesus repeated His greeting: "Peace be unto you. Just as the Father has sent me, I send you." v22 Then He took a deep breath and breathed into them and said. "Receive the Holy Spirit". (They received the power for their purpose)
In a moment, their purpose was unlocked, and they were given understanding by the Spirit. Shortly after this, they gathered in an upper room and came out with the Power of the Holy Spirit’s anointing resting on their lives and 3,000 were added to the Church in one day!
They received “Dunamis”, to overwhelm what had overwhelmed them…They received “Ischus”, the ability to cause little to become much… They received “Exuesia”, the delegated authority to do the works Christ.. and they received “Kratos”, to be unstoppable as they did the Father’s will in the earth…..
He has the “Power for your Purpose” available today….Let God renew your calling and purpose…..come into His glorious liberty! He is opening the door for you to walk through….
Zechariah 4:6 “It’s not by might nor by power, but it is by My Spirit, says the Lord”
In Acts 26:4 (Paul is speaking) "The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. v.5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, that I conformed to the strictest rules, living as a Pharisee. v.13 At Midday, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions.
I am using this as our opening scripture, because Paul is here, being examined before Agrippa and is reflecting back on His life and mentions a specific time, a defining moment of transformation which he calls "Midday" or "the middle place" or the "in between time", in his life story...
I believe that the Book of Books is so inspired as to touch every part of our lives. I also believe that the Book has the ability to address every phase and time frame of our lives. It has the ability to reach us when we are children. It has the ability to direct us in our youth. It has the ability to guide us in our decisions as adults. And then on into the golden years of our lives. It has the ability to give us financial counsel, techniques for child rearing, and for marriage strength and bliss. It has the ability to encourage those who are seniors in age. In fact, there is nothing more thrilling than to hear an older Christian or an older preacher express how God has led them through their many years of life.
Our personal story is our unique journey and it is as individual as our finger prints, and yet there is so much we all share in common.Two men well into retirement, were talking about their lives. Norm said, “I’m 85 years old and feel like I'm falling apart. How do you feel George?” George replied, “Even though I’m almost 100, I feel like a new-born babe.” “How in the world can you feel like a new-born at your age?” Norm asked. Well, it's like this...“I don’t have any teeth, I don’t have any hair, I can’t sleep through the night, and I’m back to wearing diapers.” (I'm talking about the constantly changing phases of our lives)
There are many temptations that face young people. There is the danger of looking ahead to "When I grow up, I am going to be thus and so!" or when I get older and I've had a chance to have my fun, then I'll make a commitment to Christ"
Sometimes waiting on “someday” causes young people to fail, in seizing the moments here and now . Don’t wait on someday, as Nike says...just do it!!! While the young are living in tomorrow, older adults sometimes try to live in the past. There is the talk of the "good old days" and an easier, simpler time. The danger is that this can keep us from learning and changing to meet the challenges and opportunities of today! Retirement isn't an expiration date for learning and growing and continuing to develop.
1Samuel 7:12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah (to watch and wait) and Shen (to point to). He named it Ebenezer, which means, "This far has the LORD helped us." We can encourage ourselves in the transition times of our lives by counting and sharing with others, our Ebenezers! (The wonderful ways God has faithfully been there throughout our lives.)
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning to the end. He noted that first came the date of her birth and he spoke of the last date with tears. But he said what mattered most of all was the “dash” between the years. For it matters not, how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard, are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left. (You could be at “ mid dash range”). To be less quick to anger and appreciate folks much more. And love the people in our lives, like we’ve never loved before. If we treat each other with respect, and more often wear a smile. Remembering that this special dash, only lasts a little while. So when your eulogy’s being read, and your life is being rehashed. Would you be glad for the things they say, about how you spent your dash?
Psalm 91 is one of the most encouraging Psalms that was written, it focuses on the ability of God to take care of those who will trust in him. There is not a single aspect of life that the Psalmist did not cover here.
We find in this Psalm.....(A). The Position of the Believer -- Psalm 91:1-2 He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. v.2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.
(B). The Power of Their God -- Psalm 91:3-4 He will certainly save you from hidden traps and from deadly sickness. v.4 He will cover you with His wings. Under the feathers of His wings you will find safety. He is faithful. He will keep you safe like a shield or a tower.
(C). The Immunity of the Believer -- Psalm 91:5-10 You won't have to be afraid of the terrors that come during the night. You won't have to fear the arrows that come at you during the day. v.6 You won't have to be afraid of the sickness that attacks in the darkness. You won't have to fear the plague that destroys at midday. v.7 A thousand may fall dead at your side. Ten thousand may fall near your right hand. But no harm will come to you. v.8 You will see with your own eyes how God judges sinful people. v.9 The LORD is the one who keeps you safe. So let the Most High God be a dwelling place to you. v.10 Then no harm will come to you. No destruction will come near your tent.
(D). The Elevation of the Believer Over Their Trouble -- Psalm 91:11-13 For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; v.12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. v.13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
(E). God’s Exaltation of The Church -- Psalm 91:14-16 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges My name. v.15 He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. v.16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."
The origin of Psalm 91 is most likely from the pen of Moses, who wrote the previous Psalm # 90. While this Psalm declares the things that God will provide relief from, there is a phrase that breaks it down for our benefit…
Psalm 91:6 You won't have to be afraid of the sickness that attacks in the darkness. You won't have to fear that WHICH destroys in the MIDDAY. (The in between time) Paul asks the question in Galatians 5:7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from finishing?
The danger of the in between place, is that you can be obsessed with the fear that you are past your best. It's the fear that the stuff you've done in the past is the best you will ever do. On our death bed, the things we thought were important will be as nothing. What have we done to create a lasting memory today, either for ourselves or someone else? What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it. Mid-life is when Father Time and Mother Nature conspire together and you're caught in the middle!
When you're younger, you think of your age in fractions. 4 1/2, or 5 1/2. You never hear 36 1/2 or 50 1/2. You become 2, you turn 40, you reach 50, you make it to 60, and now you're moving so fast you hit 70!" -- Mid-life is when: You know all the answers--but nobody asks you the questions. You are too tired to work-- but you’re too broke to quit. Your work is less fun--and your fun is way too much work. Your narrow waist and your broad mind have now changed places. You have more hair growing on your eyebrows and ears than on your head. You now read the obituary page every day to see if you're on it.
The scriptures and life itself, are filled with Examples of Men Who Failed at the middle place.
What a tragedy that having begun so well and endured so much, many have made shipwreck of their lives in the in between time of their life. Men often are defeated during life’s middle time.
Jeremiah 15:9 -- ". . .(Speaking here of the Jewish people) Her sun is going down while it is still her midday (middle time).” The Jews were positioned at a historic transition point... old and new covenants were rushing together, law and grace were running to embrace , Judgment and salvation were about to kiss one another and release Divine Justice... hope and reality were about to unite and become one..
The "in between place" is when life takes a turn, when the rules you've followed now seem to change, when the currents of life shift in mid- stream and begin to pull in a new direction.
Studies have shown that mid-life crises is most likely to occur between the ages of 30 to 60 and can last 3-10 years in men and 2-5 years in women. But individuals can experience spiritual crises at various other times as well.
The most prominent transitional triggers and symptoms that may manifest, include...1. change in work or career 2. spousal or relationship changes. 3. children growing up and leaving home 4. aging and/or death of parents 5. increased use of alcohol or drug use 6. behavioral change— aquiring unusual or expensive items such as motorbikes, boats, sports cars, jewelry, gadgets, tattoos, piercings, etc. 7. paying special attention to physical appearance such as, wearing "younger" designer clothes, acting and speaking like the youth culture etc. 8.entering relationships with younger people 9. depression and blaming themselves or their spouse for their failures. 10. radical changes in life patterns, philosophies and beliefs
How subtly Satan slips his chains upon the children of man…Samson experienced disaster when he began to play around with Delilah in the land of the Philistines. One thing led to another and the saddest thing said of Samson is "He did not know that the Spirit had departed from him." David crashed and burned in life’s middle time. King Saul lost his throne and his life, in life’s middle time. Solomon, one of the wisest of men, played the fool in life’s middle time. Judas sold out the Son of God for 30 pieces of silver during the middle time of life.
These are real problems of real people. We may have a genuine experience with God that is undeniable yet, life’s middle time can become perilous times, if the will has not been trained and the spirit is not well grounded in the principles and values of the word. 1 John breaks the pull of the world down into 3 categories...
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
There are some clear points of reference and some biblical principles that can allow us to overcome the middle times of life and the times of transition. We are not exempt to the destruction that can come at life’s middle time just because we are Spirit filled. Whether we like it or not, we are forced to ask ourselves how and why do such things happen. (
A). The middle time is a time of preoccupation and self focus.
The enemy would like nothing more than for the church to become preoccupied with non-spiritual things and to become satisfied with it's accomplishment. He is not bothered by those who have no time for God, like the person who has traded spiritual growth and development for earthly success.
Luke 12:16 records the parable of the man who wanted to tear down existing barns and build bigger ones to hold all his prosperity. He wanted to eat, drink, and be merry, boasting in his successes. All of that is fine but little did he know that his soul was to be required of God (he had neglected eternal things)
As you walk through the cemetery, there are children, young people, college age, middle aged, and seniors there. Death is no respecter of age. We have today, never tomorrow to do what we need to do. When we are in the groove and success seems to happen everywhere in our lives, we have to remember "What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?" As good as it may seem now, sooner or later, Life will start losing it’s cutting edge and become an exhausting drudgery and a heavy burden, when we leave God out of the picture.
When we get caught up into the routine of life, preoccupation and busy-ness have a way of robbing us of our Christian ideals and spiritual visions of youth. Our ideals and visions are smothered by materialism, lust and acquiring things. Even good things can replace God in our hearts and lives.
(B). In the middle time you can lose your Vision or Dream. Many, as children, start out as dreamers..... A little boy may say, "When I grow up I am going to . . . .and it seems that before the sentence can be completed..." we get to be men and our dreams die in the midst of our battles and our burdens. Joseph never lost his dream from childhood in spite of all that he went through. Through all his trials and tribulations, Paul was able to say, when brought before King Agrippa, to be examined...
Act 26:19 "So then, Oh, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.
(He held fast to the vision with the tenacity that he is known for) There is a powerful epitaph of the life of David we find in the book of Acts...
Act 13:36 For David, after he had served his generation by the will of God, was laid to rest with his fathers.....When your vision dies and when your dreams get, misplaced, burnout and middle time has a way of destroying your life direction and affecting those around you. Let it be said that we didn't lose our direction in the middle time...Jesus after the resurrection, had made a fire and cooked fish for the disciples as they brought in their boats from a hard night of fishing...He called to them...
John 21:15 Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me more than these? He answered him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love You. And He said unto him, Feed my lambs. v.16 He said to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me? And He answered him, Yes, Lord; You know that I love You. And He said unto him, Feed my sheep. v.17 He said unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me? Peter was aggravated because he said unto him the third time, do you love me? And he said unto him, Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You. Jesus said unto him, Feed my sheep. (Do what I have called you to do, This is only the in between time, it is not permanent) Transitions are only a comma, not a period.. it's not a time to quit, it's only a time to pause to re-gather strength and direction...The In between, is a time to recapture the vision of your youth. Men may say, "I have no time for dreaming, I am a realist. My job is to make a living." Our primary business is not to make a living. Our primary business is to make a life. Making a life is what gives meaning and purpose to your living.
A new pilot took his girlfriend on his first nighttime "solo" flight. They had flown around for a while and He wanted to be really cool, and impress her, so as he was approaching the small field to land, instead of making the usual official requests to the tower, he just said: "Guess whoooo?" Without missing a beat, the controller switched off all the field lights and said: "Guess where..." (you can lose your direction real quick when you're not walking in the light) And when we're in between, we really need help from the control tower.
(C). Get a handle on stress in the Transition Time….
This is the age, Of the half read page, And the quick hash, And the mad dash, The sleepless Night, With the nerves tight; The plane hop, With the brief stop, The lamp tan, In a short span, your best shot, In your bad spot; Then, there’s the brain strain, And the heart pain, And the cat naps, Till something snaps-- And the fun’s all done!!! Stress robs the body of it’s health, it robs the heart of it’s warmth, and it robs the mind of it’s sharpness. Stress will cause the breakdown at midday. Someone has said" the hurrider I go, the behinder I get" (When stress does the talking )it says stuff like....This day was a total waste of makeup and hair spray. Errors have been made. Others will be blamed. I'm not touchy, I've been in a bad mood for 28 years. Allow me to introduce all of my selves. I just want revenge. so what's wrong with that? Aw, I'm sorry, did I step on your poor little bitty ego? Now, can I set the laser printer on stun? When I want your opinion, I'll just give it to you.
(Have you heard stress talking lately?)
(D). Know what you can and cannot do
I'm reminded of a pastor of a small town who pastored the only church in town. No matter what he was doing, he dropped everything and left at 10:45 every morning, and told no one where he was going. One day his secretary said, pastor, I need to know where you are in case of an emergency. He said, at 10:45 I go down and watch the train go through town... it's the only thing that moves around here without me pushing it! (We have to know our limits....and we will find them ....or they will find us)
The disciples were suffering burnout, melt down, critical mass... in.....John 21:2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. v.3 Simon Peter said unto them, I go a fishing. They answered him, We also go with you. Well, Jesus shows up in the midst of burn out! In the process of teaching them, Jesus tells them what's ahead and what to expect in their future....John 21:21 Peter says to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? (referring to John) v.23 Jesus said unto him, what is that to you, you just follow me....
Don’t try to manage everyone else's problems? Don’t try to sit in God’s place of judgment on others. (here comes the judge) Be careful that you don’t develop a “Messianic Complex” where you feel that you have to save everyone and everything! There are those who pray for their problems and then get up and go right back into trying to solve what only God can. There are times when we must take our burdens and difficulties to God and to let Him manage it for us. I think of the pastor who prayed for a lady at the alter..."bless her lord, and fix her so she doesn't leak"!
A few years ago there was a church, which had a pretty good team in the church softball league. The assistant pastor and business manager of the church was the pitcher. They were doing well, when he suddenly collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. He never got to the hospital. The church was in shock as suddenly they were confronted with the loss of this man who was a vital part of the church's life and vision. If Satan can't get us to sin or give up, he'll try to cripple or kill us with stress ! No one person can do it all...
An expectant mother was looking for advice. She said, "Grandma, when you and Grandpa had your first baby, did Grandpa ever handle the middle-of-the-night feeding?" Her grandma replied, "No. I always did that." The young woman laughed. "That must have been before women's liberation, Grandma." No, The grandmother responded, it was before we had baby bottles."
Some things you just have to do yourself, but there are many things that others can do. If you think you're irreplaceable, probably even God is saying 'you gotta be kidd'n"
Hear the Lord say to you today......Matthew 11:28-29 -- "Come unto me, all you that labor and are burdened down, and I will give you rest." "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls."
Work WITH God rather than FOR Him. You're not a hireling! You're a son or a daughter of the most high God! (BIG DIFFERENCE!) So....Remember when God chose Moses, he was a basket case... think of what He can do for you!
(D). Impatience equals frustration and barrenness in the Middle time of transition There are clear laws that govern the harvest. There never will be a peanut harvest in January. There will never be a tomato harvest in March. In our life there have to be times when God breaks up fallow ground, and plows up our life's field. There has to be a time when the land doesn't produce a single thing. There has to be a time of preparation and process. Because we don’t understand the spiritual laws of harvest, we experience impatience and discouragement and lose hope. Part of spiritual maturity is patience and an understanding that the idle times are also important times in life.
(E) If the tension is always tight something will eventually break...(give it some slack) If the soil is not broken up, it cannot receive the rain from heaven and the seed will never produce. Impatience is usually a sign of a heart that is beginning to become hard and insensitive. A heart that needs to be broken and melted before the Lord. We must allow God to BREAK UP THE FALLOW GROUND.
Isaiah 40:29-31 -- "He gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increases strength." "Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:" "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
(F). Be careful of judging yourself by the Achievements of Others.
2 Corinthians 10:11 People should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, is the same thing we will be in our actions when we are present. v.12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise”. Paul is dealing with self-promotion here... instead of letting our gifts make a place for us... (it is said that he who blows his own trumpet is probably a wind bag) Shakespeare said it well, when he said "to thine own self be true"
I cannot keep up with all the Joneses. I cannot keep up with all the Smiths but I sure can be the best me that I can be. Comparing ourselves among ourselves is a dangerous thing to do. The standard that we have to measure by is the Word of God.
Competition can be healthy, as long as you compete with yourself and strive to do better and be better than you've done in the past. Run your best time... jump your best jump... do your best job...be your best self...
(G) There'll always be someone better than you, but you are the one that made yourself available to God...He'll use you! And God will get all the glory!
Speaking of Competition....A police officer pulled over a driver and informed him that because he was wearing his seat belt, he had just won $5,000 in a safety competition. "What are you going to do with the prize money?" the officer asked.The man responded, "I guess I'll go to driving school and get my license." At that moment, his wife, who was seated next to him, chimed in, "Officer, don't listen to him. He's a smart aleck when he's drunk." This woke up the guy in the back seat, who, when he saw the cop, blurted out, "I knew we wouldn't get far in this stolen car." At that moment, there was a knock from the trunk and a voice asked, "Are we over the border yet?" (so much for winning the $5,000.00)
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak." So I am very happy to brag about how weak I am. Then Christ's power can rest on me”.
Thank God He uses flawed, ordinary, and even inferior vessels! He knows how to take them and finish shaping and molding them to be what He intended them to be from the start. Children are like snowmen, they come unassembled, but God has placed it on some our hearts to assist Him in the assembly process.... (so let’s build some snowmen) Gideon wasn't the most gifted person in the land but he was available! God was able to free the Israelites from bondage in Egypt through Moses, who felt inadequate and was a stutterer [Exodus 4].
God was able to give Jericho into the hands of the Israelites just by having them walk around the city….Sometimes all He needs is your walk. [Joshua 6]. God was able to give Goliath into David’s hands. David gave God what he had….his sling. [1Samuel17]. God was able to save Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fiery furnace because they were faithful, loyal and trusting. [Daniel 3]. God was able to protect Daniel in the lion’s den, he believed God was greater than what he saw and felt. [Daniel 6]. God was able to use twelve ordinary men to take the good news of Jesus Christ to the world, they gave Him their lives and their will. God’s “power is made perfect in our weakness”
(H).. He's God and We're not…Burnout and Mid-life Crisis is often the results of our attempts to sit as God and run the world from our own Lazy-Boy recliner, the way we coach football games.
Repent of playing God and give Him his job back. He's God and I'm not! To many young people date and then marry, to try and change the other person, but it only ends up destroying their Christian walk and relationship. It couldn't be any clearer than Paul makes it...
2 Corinthians 6:14 Be not unequally yoked (fastened, bound, tied,) together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion (koy'-tay...cohabitation, partnership, intercourse, intimacy) has light with darkness?
Our job is not to keep rewriting the bible.... our job is just to obey it. Too many wives have a messiah complex and are trying to save their husbands by manipulating them into the kingdom. (don't be unequally yoked together) Too many Pastors are manipulating people with gadgets and trinkets and fancy twisting and turning of scriptures and teaching a universalist version of salvation, to build their own kingdoms.
Too many Christians are telling the lost to do what I say and not what I do. (the world doesn't care what we know until they know how much we care!) I don't like the truth sometimes, but I appreciate those who speak it when it's not easy to hear.. it tells me they truly care.
(I). Don't live By Circumstances, It will put you down on the mat for the count, when you least expect it! 2 Corinthians 5:7 gives the exhortation to walk by faith and not by sight.
The man who lives by faith understands that his circumstances will pass in due time. Don't camp there, keep moving through.. it's only temporary...People and circumstances do not make me what I am, they only reveal who I really am. Circumstances are the rulers of the weak; but they are the tools of the wise.” No change of circumstances can repair a defect of character.
Eventually it will catch up to you like taking a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night. Numbers 21:4 -- "And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way”. Everything looked the same and the journey had became a treadmill to them. The way was through a wilderness and through hostile country and it began to drag them down. (The new in everything can wear off quickly, can't it!)
In Revelation 2:4 the Ephesian Church was said to have left their first love. They allowed themselves to lose their cutting edge they had lost their joy. The freshness and excitement was gone. (The thrill is gone baby)
Circumstances will make your steps heavy in the Middle time. Lukewarm spirits began to creep in. Obligation alone will dry you out! Being stuck in a rut, may not be a grave, but something inside begins to die if you're not careful!
A couple who were on a trip, and were driving down a scenic country road, when they suddenly came upon a muddy section where they became stuck fast! No sooner had they mired down, then a farmer came down the road on his tractor. They waved him down and were greatly relieved when he stopped and asked if he could help. He told them that it would be $50.00 to pull them out. They gladly paid him and were pulled out. He told them that they were the 20th car he had pulled out that day. They asked when he did his farm work, that he must do it at night since pulling folks out took so much of his time. Oh, no, he said, I spend the night watering down the mud hole. (Isn’t that just like the devil?)
Well, whatever got you there... God knows how to get us out and get you going again. Paul gives the church a wonderful teaching on staying fresh and vital in it's Christian walk... even in the in between places....
1 Thessalonians 5 is great instruction for all of us. v.11 “Encourage one another and build each other up. v.12 Respect those who work hard among you. v.13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. v.14 Help the weak and be patient with everyone. v.15 Always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. v.16 Be joyful always; v.17 Pray continually; v.18 Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you. v.19 Do not discourage in the Spirit's moving. v.20 Do not discount the importance of prophecies. v.21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. v.22 Avoid every kind of evil. v.23 Be blameless until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. v.25 Brothers, pray for us (and all in authority). v.26 Show holy love to one another at every opportunity”.
There’s something very interesting in....1 Samuel 17:2 “ And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of “Elah”, (the place in between) and set the battle in array against the Philistines. v3 And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley in between them. “Elah”... in the Hebrew is (ah'-yil) and means "place of strength" It was here in the in between place, that David slew Goliath... where God showed Himself strong!
WE HAVE MANY EXAMPLES OF MEN WHO FLOURISHED AT THE "In between place" IN THEIR LIVES. They understood that the process was greater than the individual events!
(tell someone, "I'm in process, and I’m not finished yet")
Without valleys there could be no mountains.. it would be just a flat level plains!
Valleys are where we grow, so we can challenge the mountains.
Moses was the deliverer of the children of Israel during life’s middle time. Joshua became the courageous follower and received the mantle of Moses’ leadership in life’s middle time. John Wesley’s most productive years were the middle time of life. John Knox shook Scotland with his prayers in life’s middle time. Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses were nailed to the church door during life’s middle time. John Bunyon wrote Pilgrim’s Progress during the middle times of life.
Patrick Henry gave his immortal speech, "I know not what course others may take, but as for me give me liberty or give me death!" during life’s middle time. Wellington led the great victory at Waterloo in life’s middle time. Caesar crossed the Rubicon at the middle of his great soldier career. The Wright Brothers found their wings in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina during life’s middle time. Henry Ford manufactured his first car during this time. Robert Fulton and his steamboat found their place in history, in life’s middle time.
Actually, it is difficult to say at what point in age, a Christian is at "mid-life" because we are eternal creations of God... (so I suppose that would be, 10 million, 20 million years...maybe?) But we know that God has promised in Psalm 34:17 The righteous cry, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. v.18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saves such as be of a contrite spirit. v.19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivers him out of them all. David said "yea though I walk through the valley (the in between place) I will fear no evil, for thou art with me... a table prepared... anointed with oil... refreshed with living water….. (AT ALL TIMES!)
Now I’m so knowledgeable in this area, because I’ve had two amazing women in my life who are mothers….my own mom and the mother of my children….If I could apply even half the lessons these two ladies have tried to impart to me….then I would be one amazing guy…..(could you say…”Power to the mothers!!”)
John 19:26 (from the Message bible) “Jesus' mother, his aunt Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross. v26 Jesus saw His mother and John, the disciple He loved standing near her. He said to His mother, "Woman, I want you to take John as your son." v27 Then to the disciple John He said, "This is now your mother." From that moment the disciple John, accepted her as his own mother”.
Mary witnessed the crucifixion from the foot of the cross. Can you even begin to imagine how she must’ve felt?
Jesus turns to John and says, take care of her like she was your mother, He then looks at His mother and says, let him stand in my place as your son. John lived a very long life, and I believe he took care of Mary until she was received into heaven.
So we have this word picture, of Jesus on the cross, bearing the weight of the sins of the whole world on His shoulders, yet He sees to it that His mother is taken care of after He is gone!
As God, Jesus is dealing with the weight of timeless eternal matters, but as a man, He’s showing all of us today how important it is to take care of and to love our mothers!
Mothers are amazing. It is well and good that today is a day marked off to say thank you to all the moms….., the stay at home moms, the working moms, the single moms, the struggling and victorious moms who give so much of themselves to their families, fulfilling the sacrifice of Christ in the most humble and incredible ways.
To you all we say, “Thank you. We could not be who we are without your love and sacrifice.”
As an abandoned child, (Yuup, that’s My picture at 6 yrs old on the screen, …that’s how you spell trouble) But, Lola Elliott was the lady who took me in and raised me as her son, taught me about Christ, and made sure I had the Godly influence of the church. When I was struggling with my own self-worth, and confused by insecurities and a need for acceptance… she sat me down and said the most important words she could have said….She said “Charles, when my own two children were born, I had to accept whatever came, but I saw you and I chose you to be my son!!!!” She was not my birth mother, but I was the son, born from her heart…..
The Bible has much to say about motherhood. The story of redemption is full of many stories of women, women who brought down kings and raised up kings, who preserved the people of God and who opened the way for exodus, conquest, and redemption.
Along the way, many of these stories are stories of women who worked, wept, and waited for children—women who saw their place in the story of God as being related to their calling in the place of motherhood.
stories such as Sarah, Rebecca, Hannah, Mary, Elizabeth, Bathsheba, Ruth, Jochebed and Zipporah testify to the diversity of paths that may all be called, faithfully, “motherhood”.
“Motherhood” mysteriously takes many forms, as each person who finds that role to be part of her story works out what it means in her own calling and election, in the face of her own challenges and in the joys of her own blessings.
We do motherhood a disservice when we try to make it take one form and one shape and one size fits all…. Indeed, no two moms are any more alike than any two sons or daughters are alike.
Moms need to be free, to be the best YOU that you can be, to become unlike any other mom you may have ever seen, but to be what God has called you to be in the life of your family and the high calling you have been given. Mom’s need to learn from the example and wisdom of other women as well as you can, but don’t try to become them. God did not give your children to them, but He placed them in your care, He entrusted them to you, so for their sake, be the BEST YOU, that you can be!!!!.
You honor the trust you have been given, not by simply imitating others, but by seeking out the gifts and blessings that you can uniquely offer your children. That freedom is not a license to be irresponsible by claiming…”this is just the way I am!) but it comes with an immense challenge, that by struggling, collecting wisdom, and discerning what is right and faithful, you can become exactly the mother God created you to be rather than a copy of someone else.
God gives us different mothers because we all have different needs and challenges. Some of us struggle to understand boundaries and responsibility, some of us struggle to find our independence. Some of us children need to be coaxed into hitting the books, some who are book-worms, need to be coaxed out of them from time to time. Some of us need more help making friendships, some of us need more help understanding what it means to have boundaries in our relationships.
Different mothers do things differently, and part of the challenge in this role—like in many of the things God calls us to— is figuring out what it means to do it, uniquely as you are called to do.
Motherhood, is a Divinely chosen calling, and it is intensely personal.
But that doesn’t mean it’s all about you. Listen, if I have one challenge to give you today, it’s to learn the awesome mystery, that as personal as your calling is, it is not all about you.
In fact, in the call to motherhood we can clearly see the challenge everyone, everywhere faces as they are called by God to do anything. We must learn to live as most moms live, as though the world doesn’t revolve around us.
In accepting any call of God we lay down any claim to our own self-interests, and place ourselves at God’s disposal.
Hear that well: when I say that motherhood is not about you, It’s not just about your children, either. Rather, it is all about God’s call on your life as a mother…..What you want or desire, will be added as you seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you”, as you participate through Motherhood, in God’s story and mission.
May God bless your work, Mom, because often the rewards aren’t seen right away, but it is His work, because it is part of His mission, for the sake of His glory. It is one place where, amazingly, you become co-workers and co-creators with God, His ambassadors of loving, of longsuffering, of mercy, of compassion, acceptance, forgiveness, and reconciliation….
I wrote a poem for my Mom, who is with the Lord….
I entitled it, “The Mother Inside of You”
Your Mother is the place you came from, your first home here on earth...
She's the guide you follow, as your life takes shape and you discover your values and worth. She's the first love you experienced, the first heart entwined with yours, no one can take that special place, In the eyes of a child, so adored. As time goes by, with it’s shifts and turns, your love grows ever strong and true, And the mother who carried you inside of her, now you carry inside of you...
Mom, your name means something important! In the original Hebrew, the first mother’s name is “Chavah”. This name embodies both the essence of life itself and the creative ability to grant that life to others. The idea of “Mother….Chavah…” expresses not only the ability to physically give birth, but also to create, nourish, and enhance every area of life. This is the ability of a mother to take something from it’s rough undeveloped state, nurture, shape and develop it, and bring it to it’s full potential through her God given gifts and abilities. If your mother has gone to her reward, you can appreciate her contribution to your life by living your life to honor her and be a credit to her memory.
If you still have your mother with you, regardless of her age, you can love her in these 7 ways….
1. You need to Love her verbally.
Men usually have the philosophy—“I don’t have to say I love you, you already know it. I have told you before, if I change my mind I’ll let you know”! Or, “I may not say it but I SHOW you my love”, and that may be true, but a woman needs to hear those wonderful, soothing, magical words, that honor and lift her to the high places… “I Love You!”
Children need to hear it…and saying it makes you more of a man, not less! Our spouses need to hear it frequently and for us guys, that’s something we have to really keep working on….
I came across this letter to Abby, the advice guru in the newspaper columns…..DEAR ABBY: I enlisted shortly after Pearl Harbor. Thirty-six days later, I was on my way to the Philippines. En route, the Philippines fell to the Japanese, and we were routed to Australia. Eleven days after we landed, I met the most beautiful girl in the world.
On our first date, I told her I was going to marry her, and I did, 18 months later, while on a 10-day R-and-R leave from New Guinea. After more than 57 years of marriage and two children, my beloved "Mary" died five days before Christmas. Although we agreed that our ashes were to be scattered over the mountains, I found I could not part with hers.
While Mary was alive, she would frequently say, "You don't know how much I love you." I'd reply, "Likewise." But I never said those words, "I love you." Now her ashes are here on my dresser, where I tell her several times a day how much I love her, but it's too late. Although I wrote poetry to her, I could not bring myself to say the three words I knew she wanted most to hear.
As my loving wife was dying and we thought she was comatose, I told her often, "There are not enough words to tell you how much I love you. "Before she died, she woke up and she whispered, "Not enough words" and then she passed away. The reason I'm writing is to urge men to express their feelings while their loved ones are alive. I don't know why, but many men are reluctant to express the depth of their feelings. – Very truly yours, MISSING MARY IN COLORADO.”
Our spouses need to hear it, our children…and our mothers also!
Some men would say, I’m just not tuned that way…then get retuned! Or they’ll say, “I’m just not comfortable”…then you need to start being uncomfortable until it feels comfortable, for her sake!
Love her Verbally…
2. You need to Love her physically.
When’s the last time you gave her a big hug without her asking for it…or a kiss on the cheek, or a neck rub, or just sat on the couch and held her for a change?
She’s the first persons who ever touched you…because she wrapped you up in her womb for 9 months, and when you came out into the world, her first priority was to hold you, and she cuddled you, stroked your head, rubbed your feet, held your little cheeks against hers, and gave you something to hold onto …in love she did all these things, including grooming you and kissing away all your BOO-BOOS!
When you were little she Would say, “give me sugar”, and you’d pucker up and she’d accept your wet, sloppy kiss and even say thank you! You gave her bear hugs so tight she didn’t have to hold on to you…you’d just cling to her skirt or her hand as she walked around!
She changed your diapers, potty trained you, and held the Kleenex for you to blow your nose! She wiped food off of your face years longer than she should have ! She constantly touched you!
And then came the day when she handed you over to someone else and she stepped aside. Her life has gone through some heavy changes, but she deserves your touch and she should never have to be without that physical sign of endearment! Your physical touch…..
It would mean more to her than flowers or candy, or eating out, or a diamond necklace [well, let’s not go too far with this!]
Folks hug their animals, their favorite clothes, their stuffed toys, they even hug trees, so certainly we can save lots of hugs for our moms…Whenever I visit the convalescent home and give the older ladies a hug, You can tell, they’re starved for that simple, innocent brand of physical contact…..a hug. (they all want one!)
You need to love your mom Physically and Verbally… 3. You need to Love her patiently…..Mothers have an incredible job with no pay. No position in the business world compares to the physical, emotional, and spiritual commitment she has in motherhood. No occupation is so demanding with so little training or preparation….
One poet has written….She rises up at break of day and through her tasks she races. She cooks the meals as best she may and scrubs the children’s faces. While schoolbooks, lunches, homework too, all need consideration... Still, the census man insists, that she has— “No Occupation.” When breakfast dishes all are done, She bakes a pudding, maybe. She cleans the rooms up, one by one, With one eye on the baby. The mending pile she then attacks, by shear determination, and yet the census man insists, she has — “No Occupation.” She irons for a while, then she presses pants for Daddy. She welcomes with a cheery smile returning lads and lasses. A hearty dinner next she cooks (no time for relaxation), and yet the census man insists, She has—“No Occupation.”
Don’t ever make the mistake of asking a Mom, Do you work, or do you just stay at home? The only thing worse you can ask her is when she’s due if you’re not 100% sure she’s expecting!
And many ladies today have to work in addition to the full time job they already have at home.
Here’s the point, in spite of all she does for us, we often become impatient with her… Sometimes what you don’t say is as important as what you do say……
So, love her patiently. Because she’s so sensitive to your needs and focused on what concerns you…be careful that you don’t take advantage of her, or fail to appreciate how much she cares about you….it’s more of a reason to be patient with her and to love her and honor her!
So, for all of us older and younger children with living mothers: Love her patiently.
An 80 yr. old mom, wrote a letter to her kids, and when they opened it, this is how it began…. “To all my children”:
“I suppose my upcoming birthday started my thoughts along these lines...This is a good time to tell you that what I truly want are things I can never get enough of, yet they are free. I want the intangibles. I would like for you to come and sit with me, and for you to be relaxed. We can talk, or we can be silent. I would just like for us to be together. I need your patience when I don’t hear what you say the first time. I know how tiresome it is to always be repeating, but sometimes I must ask you to repeat. I need your patience when I think too much about the past, when you have to put up with my slowness and my set ways. I want you to be tolerant with what the years have done to me physically. Please be understanding about my personal care habits. I spill things. I lose things. I get unduly excited when I try to figure out my bank statements. I can’t remember what time to take my medication, or if I took it already. I take too many naps. Sometimes sleep helps to pass the day. Well, kids, there you have it: Time, Patience, and Understanding. Those are priceless gifts that I want. In his letter to all his spiritual children in the Lord, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” I know I can, too! It’s a wonderful feeling to know His eye is on the sparrow and I know He cares for me. I guess being old isn’t so bad after all!....With Love,Your Mom.”
So, Love your mother Patiently…
4. You need to love her attentively.
A Godly mom, will always listen as you pour out your heart…she has a sympathetic ear, and always has…and even as an adult you’ve gone to her when you wanted someone who would really listen and understand…and she’ll always be on your side, regardless of the other problems she’s juggling.
They did a documentary about men who were going to be executed for capital crimes. They interviewed the men and their mothers, too. Invariably the moms would say, He’s such a good boy! Interviewer: yes, but he slaughtered 37 people with an axe!... The mom’s response was, “I know, but he has a good heart!” (that’s a mother’s love)
It’s no wonder we like to talk to a Godly mom…she listens…but she may be getting up in years, she has issues of her own to deal with, and it’s your turn to be her “rock”…and take time to listen…!
“But, (you may say) she’s always complaining”…yes, just like you did!
“She only talks about herself, and she asks the same question over and over”…yes, just like you did!
In their older days, our parents have many fears, worries, and anxieties.. May we treat them as we would hope to be treated when we are in their shoes!.....Love them Attentively and Patiently…
As I was writing this message, this poem came into being as well, I entitled it…. “In a Mother’s Hands”….
Her hands are now twisted with age and years,the hands that encouraged me to press beyond my fears. Sometimes those hands, had to bend this young child. For they were giving boundaries that must last for a while.
Now her hands are more beautiful than anything could be.
For her hands are the reason, that I have become me….
6. You need to love her generously…..There’s nothing too good for her, we could never repay her, but we ought to try before she is gone and the moments are lost!
How many times did she refuse to spend on herself until all your needs were met…she could easily do without, and now it’s time for her to have something she wants! How many times did she give up opportunities so you could have more opportunities!
Here’s a math question for you…. If there’s a family of10 at the table and one apple pie, how much does each one get? Each one gets One ninth! Because if mom is at the table, she will always say she doesn’t want any, so everyone else can have enough….! …..So, Love her generously…
7. You need to love her honorably. …..If I spoke to my mom the way some kids do today, I wouldn’t even be her to speak to you today!!!!
*…..Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God has given you”.
No matter how old you are, or how far you may go, this command is still in affect……! Some might respond….“Yeah, but my mother wasn’t very honorable!” Well, the Bible says nothing about that qualification…it only asks, is she your mother, then she should be honored!
By the way, only one of the 10 commandments includes a clear built-in promise of the blessing of a long life and the enjoyment of what God has given you! …..If you can’t do it for her, do it for yourself!!!!
I saw this on the internet….When God created mothers, He was well into His sixth day, when an angel appeared and said, "You're adding a lot of extras with this one." The Lord replied, "have you seen the specs on this model? She has to be completely vulnerable but not weak, She must have 180 moveable parts, Run on black coffee and leftovers; Have a lap and a backside that instantly disappears when she stands up; A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointing love affair; And six pair of hands." The angel shook her head slowly and said, "Six pair of hands? No way!" "Well, It's not the hands that are causing me problems," said the Lord. "It's the three pair of eyes that mothers have to have.
"One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks 'What are you kids doing in there?' and she already knows.
Another in the back of her head that sees what she doesn’t want to, but what she needs to know, and of course the ones in front that look at a child when he goofs up and says, 'I understand and I love you,' Without ever speaking a single word.
"I'm so close to creating something that is so like myself. Already, I have one who heals herself when she is sick ...can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger ...and get a nine year old to stand under a shower. Not only can she think, she can reason have insight into things before they happen, and the ability to compromise."
Finally, the angel bent over and ran a finger across the cheek of the mother. "There's a leak," it pronounced, "I told you that you were trying to put too much in this model." "That's not a leak," said the Lord, "it's a tear." "What’s it for?" asked the angel.
The Lord replied, "It's for expressing joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness and it’s her way of showing pride in her family."
"You're a genius!" shouted the angel.
With a serious look on his face, the Lord said, "I didn't put it there, her love and concern for her family created that."
Mom’s, in closing, I want to give you God’s formula for happiness, fulfillment and contentment in your life. (You should put this on the fridge)
1 Thessalonians 5:15 follow (focus on) that which is good, both in yourself, and to all people. Verse 16 Rejoice evermore (at all times in everything). Verse 17 Pray without ceasing (at all times in everything). Verse 18 In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Verse 19 Quench not the Spirit (acknowledge and be aware of the Holy Spirit working in and through everything).
Verse 20 Despise not prophesying (be yielded to the Holy Spirit to hear what He is saying as He brings revelation). Verse 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good (test everything by the Word of God, and good Godly council, from those who are sound and solid in the faith and who minister in the word of God).
Verse 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. (Leave those things alone, which pollute the well of your spirit and diminish the power of God in your life)
Verse 23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (God can only sanctify what we consecrate and separate unto Him)….Your tongue, your ears, your eyes, your activities, your relationships and friendships, your life patterns, and all the things that you dwell on and give a place of importance….
How about a big hand right now, for the crowning jewel of God’s creation: our mothers!
Closing Prayer for Mothers….
Heavenly Father, as a mother gives life and nourishment to her children, even so you watch over your Church to nourish it and give it life. You have entrusted moms with the care of every precious human life from its very beginning in the womb. You have given to women the capacity of participating with You in the creation of new life. Give her courage in times of fear or pain, understanding in times of uncertainty and doubt, and hope in times of trouble. As a child’s first teacher and guide, grant that our moms may be given the wisdom and council to nurture the faith of God, within their children. Help these moms to grow daily in the knowledge and understanding of Christ, and release in them the gifts necessary, to impart this knowledge faithfully to their children, and to all who depend upon them. We speak blessing upon "spiritual mothers", those who, though they may have no children of their own, nevertheless selflessly care for the children of others -- of every age and place in life. Grant that they may know the joy of fulfilling this motherly calling, whether in teaching, nursing, religious life, or in other work which recognizes and fosters the true dignity of every human being created in Your image and likeness.
Send the Comforter of the Holy Spirit, to all mothers who sorrow for children that are ill or seperated from their families, or who are in trouble or danger of any kind. May Your Holy Spirit constantly inspire, enlarge, refresh and strengthen these as the supernatural mothers You designed them to be. Let the example of their faith and love shine forth.
Lord, Grant that we, the sons and daughters, may honor them always with a spirit of profound respect, honor, and appreciation. May our mothers, receive Your Grace abundantly in this earthly life, and may they look forward to eternal joy in Your presence in the life to come. We ask this through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns, world without end…..AMEN.
If I were to ask most Christians, what their biggest problem was…they would probably say that their problem was their circumstances, or their sins, their weight, their friends, their physical condition, their family, their church, their job, their finances, their spouse, their relationship with God, their schedule, their responsibilities, their out of control emotions, where they live, their lack of skills or talent…That’s just to mention a few….. But God would respond by telling us that “None of those things are the real problem”
So, WHAT IS THE PROBLEM, THEN, YOU MIGHT ASK……..LET’S LET GOD ANSWER THAT FOR HIMSELF….
John 12:36 “While you have light, believe in the light, that you may be the children of light”. Mark 11:24 “Therefore I say unto you, Whatsoever things you desire, when you pray, believe that you have received them, and you shall have them”
What this is saying to us is….that our problem is with our beliefs. Every area of our lives is a reflection of what we believe. The reason we have so many problems in our lives is because we have so many beliefs that have not been transformed. There are 4 areas of belief that shape our entire lives.
These are: Beliefs about yourself… Beliefs about God… Beliefs about others…and Beliefs about your circumstances
Romans 12:2 says: “We are transformed by the renewing of our minds.” Proverbs 27:3 says: “As a man thinks (believes) in his heart so is he.”
The way we think in these four areas of life will determine how we experience life…. The way we think in these four areas of life will determine how we experience each of these four areas of life. It is of the utmost importance that we not allow ourselves to be deceived and believe, what God thinks about each one of these areas! To believe what God believes about you…To believe what God says about Himself…To believe what God believes about others…To believe what God believes about your circumstances.
The problem with deception is that it is very deceiving. If we knew we were being deceived we would never let it keep happening…..If we, as believers, are the victims of deception in areas which affects our belief system, then surely our number one priority, if we are to experience personal transformation should be the renewing of our minds, so that we think, see and do life, the way God sees it! We can only change our conduct and our actions by changing our beliefs! And that is impossible, if we do not acknowledge that it needs fixing...However, usually we focus on what, how, where and when we do things, and we don’t focus on Why we do what we do!
Folks don’t lose weight and keep it off, until they change the way they think and believe about food! We don’t successfully change, until we change our beliefs about why change is necessary….
Believing Correctly will help you to…. Overcome sins you have been struggling with…Be set free from your negativity and depression…Help you experience a peace that transcends understanding and goes beyond feelings …. it will Strengthen your relationship with God….Get more results with less stress than you’ve ever imagined possible….Allow you to rest confident in God’s goodness, not your own performance and ability….Let you Focus on your beliefs not just your conduct…Focus on growing and developing, not guilt-tripping and self-defeating….
It is important that we don’t allow Satan to deceive us about the important work of the Holy Spirit in every area and function of our lives….
John 16:8 “And when He (the Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world (those without Christ) of sin, and (those who know Christ) of righteousness, and of judgment (upon Satan and His works) v9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged”.
Notice that unbelievers are convicted of sin…..and the rest of verse 9 says as believers, the Greek word used is elegchôs which means, “to bring to light.” In other words we are convinced of righteousness, that means when we fall short, He reminds us that we are the righteousness of God in Christ…When we are believing and acting in a way that is below what God says we are….He “brings to light” what Christ has made us to be, so we can now operate in that….
I become “convinced” so that my beliefs can become my daily experience, shaping me into His image! Have you ever tried to say something nice to someone to encourage them and they have taken it the completely opposite way? Maybe you told them that they look great, and they take it that they looked terrible before….and have lost a lot of weight only for them to think you are commenting on the fact that they must have been fat before.
We’ve all experienced people taking what we clearly say and completely misinterpreting it on some level at some point in life. Why does this happen? It’s quite simple really, this happens because of one of two reasons. Either the person is not confident in and of themselves, or they do not trust that you are really saying what you are saying, because they do not trust you as a person.
Now, we can trust the Holy Spirit, and we can always trust His motives. The truth is that you are the righteousness of Christ. You are righteous! That’s why the Holy Spirit is constantly (convincing) you of this fact. If your beliefs are messed up in this area, you won’t live like it is true! Imagine that I get angry at a loved one and Holy Spirit starts to convince me of my righteousness. He says…“you are full of peace and joy… you can be so much greater than what you are settling for right now”, But if I believe that I’m a filthy, dirty, rotten sinner what am I going to hear? I’m going to hear condemnation and conviction of sin. I’m going to hear “ I’m disappointed in you, you got angry and you are supposed to be peaceful and full of joy. You really messed up this time!”
So, instead of repenting and rising to my potential….I will be weighed down in guilt and condemnation. Just to prove my point about how guilt and condemnation centered we are….I’m going to start quoting a verse and I want you to finish it…. Romans 3:23 All have sinned and……you would respond (come short of the glory of God)…Now who here today, can complete this sentence which is finished in the next two verses…(verses 24 and 25) “Our Redemption, that is in Christ Jesus, v25 whom God set before us as a propitiation (atonement) by His blood, is to be received by faith. This was to show God’s own righteousness, because in His divine forbearance he has forgotten our former sins (as though they never existed).” We can Quote the condemning part, but often miss the redemptive part in shaping our belief system!
If God’s voice to you is always hard and condemning and finger pointing at everything in your life….the problem may be that you are hearing Him through the unredeemed beliefs that haven’t yet been transformed through the work of grace! And if you don’t feel He ever speaks to you, perhaps it’s because you’re afraid of what He’s going to say, and you’re not sure you want to hear it….
Let’s settle it once and for all, He’s totally for you, even if He doesn’t like what you may be doing….He loves you like no one ever has, before or since. He totally and completely loves us as we are, but He loves us enough to not leave us that way! Ask for a hearing heart and a listening spirit, because He is speaking, personally, privately, specifically, lovingly, graciously and continuously.
John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears My words, and believes on Him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life”. Luke 6:47 “Whosoever comes unto me, and hears My words, and does them, I will show you to whom he is like, v48 He is like a man which built an house, and dug deep, and laid the foundation on a rock and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded upon a rock”.
IF YOUR LIFE IS BUILT ON THE ROCK OF THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN CHRIST, YOU CAN STAND FAST, AND OVERCOME EVERY THING THAT COMES AGAINST WHAT YOU HAVE BUILT UPON HIS WORD…..
We are not sinners saved by grace, because having been saved by grace, it is as though we never were sinners! The work of justification means that our past never existed in God’s mind! It is so totally erased, that all He sees is a blank page, covered by the blood of Jesus, and marked “Cancelled”! We are saints saved by grace, and we are redeemed, transformed, new creations in Christ Jesus. We have been made the righteous of God, we didn’t earn it or deserve it, He made us to become that!. We must identify with the new nature, not keep dragging around the old as part of our new identity. So, our beliefs in that work of justification, release us to think, speak and act differently than we ever did before….
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. v18 And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation, v19 this is because God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, (holding it over their heads) and has committed unto us the same word (of the ministry) of reconciliation”.
We were not created to worship God…. God is not so insecure that He needed to create us to worship Him. God did not create man to have more beings worshiping Him… He has millions of angels to do that….He is all sufficient in and of Himself. In fact, even if we didn’t worship Him the rocks and all creation would cry out His praise.
We were created to enjoy having an intimate relationship and fellowship with Him and out of that relationship and fellowship, comes our worship, our praise, our devotion and our good works….
Our challenge is not to love God more but to receive and to embrace His love more and more. As we focus on God’s love for us our love for Him will grow. It is in letting God love us, that we learn how to love ourselves and others, and it is then that we learn the true capacity of our own love! It is then, that we become more involved in loving than being loved in return, and our feelings don’t get hurt, and we don’t get easily offended at others, because it is in the very act of loving, that we are expressing His love and then experiencing that love flowing back to us.
We are told in Mark 12:30 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength”.
This verse is called the greatest commandment, and yet, love cannot be commanded or demanded, because it must be given freely, by choice, and from a free will! We choose to love, because when we were unlovely, He loved us, and gave Himself for us! It was unconditional and it was undeserved!
The same is true of Holiness….Holy living is not achieved out of obligation or from trying hard, but it comes out of believing, trusting and falling in love with the Lord. We cannot achieve holiness, by how we act, how we speak, or anything we do out of our own effort….I say this because, Holiness is what Christ has made us to become….we don’t get saved and become 10 percent Holy….then work and strive to reach the place where we are a little more holy than the areas where we are not holy…
So we strive to become 51% holy, where holiness now outweighs the other part that is unholy….Even if we become 80% holy, then we are still unholy!....When we try to measure holiness on a percentage scale, we turn salvation into a system of works and bring ourselves back under condemnation. We reject grace and make it all about how well we perform instead of what God has imparted out of His own love and grace. 1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
1Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light: v10 Which in times past were not a people, but are now are the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy”.
Holiness means “set apart, reserved for, and separated” unto Him….He did that when you received Him as your Savior and made Him your Lord! His standard for holiness is not what we do, or what we say, or how much our good outweighs our bad. Rather His standard is who He has made us to be! He set us apart for Himself, for His blessings, for His provision, and for His promises…..His grace gave that to us, we don’t earn it or deserve it! The question is, what will we do with it!!!!
Let’s not fall for the age-old trap of thinking we are earning something based on our own effort. We are not overcoming our sin and becoming more righteous, rather we are being convinced by the Holy Spirit of who Christ has made us to be and as we believe it more and more, it begins to be manifested in our lives more and more.
You CAN BE HOLY, because YOU ARE HOLY! What is your part in this? Just receive what God has already provided in Christ from a place of trust and belief. Then out of that reality and truth, you begin to talk, think and act as you believe you are! Can you thank the Lord right now that He has made you holy!!!!
Francois du Toit said… “Any information that dwells on your lack and emptiness and leaves you with a sense of always falling short rather than emphasizing our completeness in Christ, is a clear distraction from the truth” – We are not orphans or abandoned children, but we are beloved sons and daughters of the most High God!
Jesus said in Matthew 6:30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? v31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, With what shall we be clothed? v32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. v33 But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”.
We do without, and we suffer lack, because we believe things, which have limited us, blocked us and stolen from us….Jesus always put the emphasis on what we believe and why we believe it.
Mark 16:17 “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues v18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover”.
What we believe will be the ruling influence of our actions and our words…
Robert Anthony…“You can have anything you want if you will give up the belief that you can't have it.”
Dennis Waitley…“If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won't, you most assuredly won't, for belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.”
Saint Augustine…“Seek not to understand, so you can believe, but believe so that you may understand.” Satan’s deceptions never change God's mind about us, but they often succeed in changing our mind about God…
Romans 8:31 “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? v32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
God has always been and will always be for you….He is there for you right now, working out things, before you ever get there….He has gone ahead of you, to make sure all you need is available to do whatever He has asked you to do. God looks at you through the finished work of Christ on the cross, He said, “It is finished”… then, He went further to seal it by rising from the dead!
You can’t impress God with anything that you’re able to drum up by sweating and trying and striving. He’s already impressed with you, since you are created in His very own image, redeemed, set apart, called and anointed!!! He loves you as you are, not as you think you ought to be. The Holy Spirit is not trying to change God’s mind about us, but He is convincing our minds about God and what God believes about us and sees us to be in Christ.
We could compare the Christian life to the Four Key Elements… Earth, Wind, Fire and Water….
The first element, is Earth, and it represents the grounded life…Jesus was called the Son of man and Son of God…He had a spiritual linage and an earthly linage….. this element is about allowing Christ to develop our whole person, as He shapes us and molds us more and more, into His image and likeness. It is about expanding and growing in faith and our belief about who we are and what we have in Christ, so that our earthly experience comes into alignment with our spiritual heritage and position…. It’s about living a life that is deeply rooted in constant, unchanging values like faith, family, and character, which are fueled by regular study of the Scriptures, habitual meditation and conversation with God, a prayerful listening ear to hear His voice and living our lives with a desire to be pleasing to Him.
The element of earth speaks of nurturing our earthly relationships with generosity, attentiveness, time, caring and tenderness. It speaks of opening our soul to every event that stimulates and inspires integrity, honesty, perseverance, true courage, faithfulness, goodness, and compassionate Christ-like love… Are we living in the grounded element of earth?
The second element is wind, and it speaks of the inspired life…..It is what powers the sails of our Spirit and propels us forth, when all else falls short….Like a sailor who knows how to set the sails of his boat to catch the slightest breezes God might send his way, we catch the winds of the Spirit’s inspiration, and allow it to carry us in the direction of God’s will and God’s ways.
The wind of inspiration may come as dreams, visions, the quite inner voice of God, prophecy, words of knowledge and as wisdom from above. This inspiration allows the church to be edified, guided and directed by God……Are we living in the element of Wind?….
The third element is Fire…..and this element is about living the passionate, anointed and empowered Life which breaks us out of mundane, common place, same old--same old Christianity and creates an atmosphere and climate for super-natural, extraordinary living, even in ordinary places and situations! It is a life that is spiritually motivated, kingdom oriented, and actively engaged with God’s new creation mission of redemption and restoration, in this world which He loves so much.
Fire speaks of that which continually cleanses, refines, purifies and consecrates us! Fire compels us to take a stand, even when we stand alone….it compels us to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves…to be a faithful servant and supporter of the abandoned, the rejected, the lonely and the outcast. Are we living in the element of fire?
Last is The Element Of Water…..Water pours from the highest mountains and flows through the lowest valleys…. The ocean water that has touched the shores of Key West, has made it’s way around the world….It speaks of the global impact which every believer can have in prayer, in giving, in witnessing, In relationships….
Who could have known that as John the Baptist stepped into the Jordon to baptize Jesus in that remote area of the world, that what was done in those waters would echo around the globe. When we move in the river of God, it takes us places we never planned to go, and allows us to accomplish things we never imagined we could ever do….Do we allow the element of water to take us to the lowest areas of our community or the highest levels, as God wishes it? The call goes out….
John 4:14 “Whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst again, for the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life”.
Just as our physical body is mostly water, and must have water to sustain it, the body of Christ functions best, in the river of God….God has so designed us in His body, the church, that we all have a vital place, just as each part of our body, joined to every other part….is positioned, fashioned, and designed to flow together in God’s great river of His plan of the ages. No part is more important than any other part, and the body could not be whole and complete without every connection, functioning and working as it was intended by God….!
Ephesians 4:15 “But speaking the truth in love, that we may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: v16 From whom the whole body is fitly joined together and is compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, making increase of the body by the edifying of itself in love”.
May God continue to transform our thinking that we may believe and trust Him that we are what He sees us and designed us to be, so that we may continue to receive all that He has prepared for us! You can’t improve on what He has done, and nothing needs to be added to it, or taken from it….
His work and His plan for you and me is perfect, complete, and is ours as we believe and receive it! He has made provision for each of us, and the future which is planned for each of us is beyond our wildest expectations, and it shall come to pass, even as every generation that has come before us is able to see how their time fits together and connects with every other generation before them, to connect the dots of the Father’s eternal purpose.
Each part lived out by every person is a vital link to that which will come after. May we be true to our generational calling, as it was said of David, may it be said of of us….. Acts 13:36 “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, was laid to rest with his fathers…”
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should shew forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light”
There is a new manifestation of His Kingdom waiting for us to discover, each day of each year! Jesus is letting us know that if we will let go of all our self- limiting, negative, beliefs about life and faith and the church, we can move into a gospel of God’s good news story repeating itself again and again!
We are not about hanging on to the past, but welcoming another opportunity to live out and tell our story. Yes, we may get stung here or there, but there’s lot’s of honey as well!
Luke 12:29 "Don't spend time thinking about what you will eat or drink. Don't worry about it. 12:30 People who are ungodly run after all of those things. Your Father knows that you need them. 12:31 "But put God's kingdom first. Then those other things will also be given to you. 12:32 Do not be afraid. Your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom”.
Jesus is telling us to reorient our thinking . . change our direction. Stop living like it's yesterday, or last year, or some point in our past. Stop reliving the pain, the disappointment, the mistakes, the failures… and know that it may have happened, but it is not who you are, but it is an opportunity to reveal the real you. Your past has an expiration date, but your future goes on into forever!
Feelings follow thoughts like a caboose follows a locomotive. If the locomotive goes into the valley, then the caboose will follow it down into the valley. But if the locomotive goes up a mountain, the caboose will also go up the mountain. If my thoughts go down, my emotions go down. If my thoughts go up, my emotions and actions go up... My mind, thoughts and beliefs, are the engine and my words, emotions and actions are the caboose!
The problem for most of the listeners in Jesus’ day, wasn't immorality or criminal behavior. It was just the spiritual rut they were in; Jesus was calling them to turn away from their comfortable, theologically fortified status quo. They needed to turn from their empty religious routines, their flimsy faith, their small expectations, their fears and doubts about God, their religious prejudices, their cynical unbelief, and their fear of rejection. They needed to turn from beliefs that bore no good fruit in their daily lives, and routines and patterns that didn't include love for others and a passion for seeing lives transformed! They needed to grab the “gusto” of spiritual transformation and revival!
Jesus asks us to lift our expectations. The kingdom is here whether you believe it or not, but your decision to believe it will open a door for you to participate and enter in to it. We are partners with God in creating who we are and who we will be… He has given us the hammer and chisel to work with Him in shaping and forming who we will be!
If you helped create it, then you can help change it! Our faith isn't about playing it safe, but taking the personal risk to work as partners with God to perform his works in our circles of influence at school and work, in our neighborhoods, with family members and friends. It’s about believing that in every situation, He will make a way where there is no way! He has given us the tools we need to carve out the change that is needed! It’s knowing that the Holy Spirit within us will give us the right approach, the right thing to say and the right way to say it, in each situation and with each person. If God be for us, who and what can stand against us!!!