Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Just exactly WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?!?!?


WWGHMD? Not as catchy as WWJD? But perhaps a bit more accurate. I remember when the popular What Would Jesus Do? first became known. Like most people, I thought “How clever. What a great standard to set for living life!” I also noticed that although it sounded very good and noble, when faced with actual tough decisions about our own behavior, the application of that standard wasn’t occurring as much as we’d like it to and was in fact, a bit hard to accomplish! It seemed almost like many folks felt like we had a “get out of jail free” card, in that the standard was so impossibly beyond our reach it wasn’t even worth trying for. After all, Jesus was perfect and sinless – two things none of us are! So even though we might ask the question What Would Jesus Do? our actual behavior was more in line with What is most comfortable for US to do?

It’s human nature to hang out in the comfort zone of our lives, to do what’s easiest for us, what’s most convenient. Since we cannot meet the standard of Jesus’ behavior, there’s no point trying and the whole thing becomes an exercise in futility. What if we asked a wholly different question? What if we asked What Would God Have Me Do? in any given situation and weighed our actions based on scriptural responses we are capable of by applying self-discipline to our actions? Now we’ve got a life changing standard we CAN live up to if we choose to!

Although I can’t manage to put aside all my emotions and thoughts and wants and desires as a flesh and blood person and always come up with the perfect behavior for every situation I face, I can set a standard to apply the wisdom of Biblical principles and some old fashioned self-discipline and behave in the best possible manner I can manage in any given circumstance. Romans 8:29 tells me clearly that God predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son. So this character shaping is a work of the Holy Spirit working in me to mold and make me as God desires me and you to be. This isn’t a work of the flesh, by the flesh and for the flesh. This is a spiritual work only He can accomplish. II Corinthians 3:18 shows that we are a work in progress by the statement of the Apostle Paul “But we all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image….” Which would lead us into a discussion of sanctification, a topic for another day.

I’m also aware of, teach and believe Ezekiel 36: 25-27 GOD puts His Holy Spirit in us, God writes His statutes on our hearts and moves us to obey, so there certainly is that element of Jesus living through us, Jesus working through us. However, that must also come into agreement with other verses of Scripture such as Proverbs 16:9 and 20:24, both of which indicate a unity in the two actions – we planning our actions, taking our actions while those plans and actions are directed by an Almighty God.

When you are faced with a choice, a difficult decision that hinges on how you react or behave in a certain set of circumstances, definitely consider what Jesus would have done and weighing in what you CAN DO to best represent your Lord in the situation to the best of your ability, trusting the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you by faith into the right behavior. Allow Gods grace to cover you but don’t use grace as an excuse for poor behavior! After all Jesus did tell us that the works that He did, we would do also and GREATER WORKS!! We have no excuse and with the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us, we need no excuse!

This is certainly a simplified way to look at what is actually a very complicated situation-mans behaviors- and yet, I continue to preach and adhere to the principle that God intended to simplify all this as much as possible so we could “get it”! He loves us that much. He wants us to GET IT!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thank God for the Struggles!

I thank God for all the struggles in my life both past and present. Those struggles are what kept me seeking, kept me pressing in to Him, kept me humble, kept me from thinking I could live “my life” without God, without obeying him without submitting to Him. I think about the times I “did it my way” and what mess ensued! Even with my best heart intentions I fell so far short it’s a joke to claim I “did my best”! At my absolute BEST I did the absolute WORST! Poor judgment, bad decision and outright SIN has been the result each and every time I failed to ask Gods guidance and then obey His commands! I’m still struggling with things! Still struggling with each day, each activity, each decision. Don’t we all struggle to “do whats right’? Only now, I know to take these struggles to my Heavenly Father and ASK HIM what to do! Then OBEY what He commands rather than doing what seems right to me at the time. The contrast in the outcome is startling!

Doing what seems right in my sight usually means what seems easiest, most convenient and will have the most advantageous outcome for MYSELF. Since I am not omniscient and don’t know the end from the beginning, the unfortunate results are that I hurt others by my choices whether I mean to or not, and in the end it turns out not to be the best thing for me, either!

Being so fully aware that I am not able on my own not only keeps me pressing in to Him, it keeps my ears sensitive to hear His commands which leads me into His will for me instead of my will - and that's always better! Trusting that there are no "coincidental" occurances when I walk by faith and being obedient to His command to go into all the world and preach the Gospel have led to the best days of my life!

Today, I met several new people as I boldly reached out with the Gospel and offered to pray for each of them. Two of them I am certain will become lifelong friends and ministry partners. Never would have happened if I hadn't kept my ears AND my heart open to GOD! And the new soul that just received Christ? All heavens is dancing on that one! What joy obedience brings! I highly recommend it.

The struggle we resent? It leads us to bigger better things, makes us stronger and brings the greater glory to God the Father. Struggles, I think I'm starting to appreciate them! Hope you will too. Be encouraged - Christ is coming soon!

We've added 2 of our songs to the website for you to sample, and if you'd like to help support this ministry work, we have CD;s you can purchase! The songs take a moment to download, so be patient!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dashing forward...

Just got off the phone with my protege', prayer partner, best friend and all around special big sister - who took the time to remind me why we're out here on this road! How easily we get caught up in unimportant trivial matters when great things are actually at stake - the hearts and souls of men and women who have yet to hear the Gospel of Christ!!! Thank you Kathleen!!

Two songs from our new CD's have been posted on the website. Check out the songs - buy the CD's to support the ministry, and GOD BLESS US EVERYONE!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Training Ground

Welcome to Gods training ground-the World at Large! I am amazed at the
things God shows us on a daily basis. As you read His Holy Scriptures and ask His guidance He speaks about your own hearts, your relationship to Him, your relationship to the Body of Christ and His church and your RESPONSIBILITY to the lost souls who have not heard the Gospel to the end that they believe it and receive salvation.

It would be so much easier to just be responsible for yourself, but God made us relational creatures and we are not able to escape our own natures. (That's why He had to make a way out of sin on our behalf, but that's another blog altogether!) As relational creatures we have to understand not only THAT our actions and reactions effect us and others around us, but HOW we and others are effected.

When we are younger and less mature, we "act" without giving much thought to how it effects anyone except ourselves. We must not stay in that place, never growing up to the place where we think BEFORE we act about how the action we take will effect other lives. For example, the Apostle Paul said he becomes all things to all people so that he might win some to Christ - that takes a lot of forethought and understanding of how others behave, how we can behave in accordance with THEIR WAY OF THINKING RATHER THAN OUR OWN so that our actions will then achieve our goal- reach them with our way of thinking. In our case, that "way of thinking" is Trust and Faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

It's a mindset. A manner of thinking that then dictates actions. More often than not, it also means we have to deliberately put aside our personal wants and desires, and even our needs in order to reach out to others with understanding, kindness, LOVE and the Gospel Truth of Salvation.

The training ground that best suits this change of behavior isn't a controlled environment, but the World at Large! Actually dealing with people, deliberately putting their need and want ahead of our own and following through so we then see the result - a way into their hearts! If people see you put them first, they are far more likely to listen attentively to what you have to say.

I've heard it put this way- people don't care about how much you know until they know how much you care. It can't be just words - it must be actions! Actions speak far more eloquently than words ever can. We cannot just tell them of Christs love and grace, we must SHOW them Christs Love and Grace!

This reason alone is a very good reason to get outside the four walls of our churches and obey Jesus' command:
Go into ALL THE WORLD and make disciples of all men! (MATTHEW 28:19-20 FOR THE EXACT QUOTE!)

and may God Bless you in your endeavor to obey Him!