Where Is Your Focus? (Just A Thought #26)

Does God still move today? I was asked that question recently at work. A man sat in my office and looked at me with questioning eyes. I told him that Yes, unequivocally, God still moves today. He still speaks to His children.

The sad part is we don't always listen. My heart breaks when I hear of believers who struggle in their faith because God has not blessed them financially or they are struggling physically. Many have said they don't know where they have sinned or why these things happen when they tithe regularly.

I look in the New Testament and can't find one man or woman of faith who did not suffer though. Every believer seems to have struggled with some kind of problem. Yes, many found relief in God. However, even according to church tradition, only one disciple had a peaceful death, and that was John, who spent his later years in prison. Each one suffered for his faith. Even Paul, a man who fulfilled the Lord's commands, suffered. He was shipwrecked, beaten and imprisoned regularly. Did Paul sin as a believer to suffer these things? Did he not tithe enough? He had an affliction God would not remove. What was Paul doing wrong?

Enough! The real news is that our hope is in the future! Look at Hebrews 11. Those men and women suffered! They had hard times. Most did not see the promise in this life. However, each one was healed in eternity. Each one dances today on the streets of gold! I think we need to change our view of blessings. Yes, God heals today! Yes, God blesses some of us financially. However, each day we wake up is a blessing and gift from God. The fact we can walk, talk, read, move, etc. is a gift from God. Are we more focused on Him or what we can get from Him?

If God did not provide one more blessing of finances, or restore one more person's health would he stop being God? Of course not.

What does God want? He wants us. Not prayers of "Oh God give me," or "Bless me," but "Oh God I love you! I want more of you! Not what you can give me, but you!"

These words may seem harsh. I hesitate in writing them. However, it is time for a change. I want more of God. Not more from Him but more of Him! Yes, I've struggled with finances, struggled with health. However we need to let these things draw us nearer to God. If we had all our needs met here what would we need God for? Honestly, most of us, me included, would quickly become distracted by the things of this life. We could say we won't but if we had everything in abundance our minds would drift away from the One who anchors us in every storm.

Do you search more for His hand, or His face? Psalm 105:4 "Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always."


Reach Out

This week I have been thinking a lot about evangelism. I realized that I don't do enough in this area. However I also have been thinking about motivation in evangelism as well.

See I used to think I should tell others about God because I have to. Well in some part that is true. Matthew does end with the command to Go into all the world, preaching to all nations! It is a command. However I think we should also look at our motivation. Over the years my motivation has, at times, been because of the "command" aspect. "I'm doing this because the Lord told me to." Is that really a good enough reason?

Think about it. When we were kids and our parents told us to do something what was our reaction. I would obey but sometimes my attitude was more of a "foot dragging, heart not in it" type of obedience! I did it because I knew I should but had no joy in it! Kind of like evangelism!

However there were also times where I really obeyed because I loved my parents and wanted to please them. I also saw their concerns and quickly made them my concern as well. My attitude was different.

I want my evangelism to be the same way. Jesus Christ had a motivation for the lost! He gave His life for us! God had a motivation for the lost! He sent His Son!

I must admit I am not always motivated!

However I want that to change. I want God's heart for the lost! I realized this week that people are dying around me every day and going to Hell! I know a "Secret" that can save their life! It would be a sin not to help them. If I have "oxygen" and refuse to give it to a man who can't breathe I would be guilty of murder! If I saw a building on fire and did not attempt to help rescue those inside when I see someone stuck in the door burning I would be just as guilty! If I know how to swim and see someone drowning and do nothing I would deserve to found guilty by a judge. You get the picture. We who know Jesus Christ have a hope, a freedom, a LIFE more abundant. We have the capacity to have a Peace that passes all understanding even in the midst of trials. We have a way to escape the flames of hell! Yet there are those dying in SIN everyday! I feel responsible, now more than ever, to tell people of the One who can set them free! Who can forgive them! Deliver them!

What about you?


A Fresh Perspective

I survived the Blizzard of 93!

The storm struck in March and left Tennessee in a mess. I remember listening to the radio as the snow fell and hearing all the calls for rescue vehicles coming in over the radio. Power lines fell, people were stranded, the salt trucks could not keep up. All told the storm did $6.6 billion in damages. In East Tn. where I lived we received a little over 10 inches of snow. That summer people were wearing an "I Survived the Blizzard of 93" t-shirts.

Now here in Canada where I live now 10 inches does not qualify as a blizzard. In fact when I share this with people here they even chuckle a little. It's all about perspective though. Tenn. does not get much snow. They have very few salt trucks even. There is no need. Some winters there we were wearing t-shirts in Dec. 10 inches of snow there is crippling.

Perspective. Kind of like our relationship with God.

As a young believer I kept hearing the phrase, "A sinner saved by grace." Now don't get me wrong that is a very true statement. However many people live there. That becomes their identity. They walk around and see themselves as a sinner. Well when you focus on sin what are you going to do? That's right sin. Tell a child, or a husband, not to take a bite of fresh out of the oven cookies and what will they do? Eat a cookie. We want what we think about.

Yes I was a sinner saved by grace. However now I am a New Creation in Christ Jesus! (2 Corinthians 5:17) I was crucified with Christ and I no longer live! (Galatians 2:20). My perspective has changed. I see myself as new in Christ. When I think on Him I can't be thinking about sin. The key there though is keeping my mind fixed on Christ. When I take my eyes off Jesus I fall faster than a ton of bricks. However when I fix my eyes on Him I can't be thinking about sin.

I want to encourage you to develop a fresh perspective. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus!