Sunday, November 27, 2011

God does not talk just to talk

Today I attended an out of town church for the first time in a while. I was expecting to be super inspired and uplifted and left feeling a little disappointed. I often times find myself comparing churches to the church I attend in Austin and they just don't seem to measure up.

Today's message was about the elderly and how we are called biblicly to care for the elder. At first thought, I don't have many elderly people in my life that I interact with frequently and thus the message did not hit home. But as I was driving back to Austin a few hours later it really became clear how selfish my mindset was in all of this and how I was failing to see His big picture.

I frequently find myself "judging" church because it does not fit my immediate needs or what I think I need. When it does not jump out and speak directly to my heart in the most obvious ways I often make an excuse, check out mentally, and wait for the next week. But today I realized that God is in control and that He has certain messages and words He wants us to hear, whether we like it or not. We are all part of His grander plan and we must work to remove the selfish thoughts from our mind and center our focus on Him and His call.

Yeah, I don't have a lot of elderly around me every day but could that be because I have not been caring for the elderly like He expects? Maybe that is the exact reason God lead me to that church today. I am sure there are elderly out there that could use my help.

We are constantly wanting God to be on our terms, to meet our expectations and needs. We want Him to tell us exactly what we want to hear and get upset or turn away when He tells us something completely different. We want God to be convenient in our lives and we want our petty problems to be the most important thing in the world. When we aren't jolted out of our seat on Sunday we quickly lose focus and tune out. How disrespectful can we be that when God does not "entertain us", we turn?

The point of this message is not to encourage you to help the elderly (although this is a great thing) but to understand that God is in full control whether we want Him to be or not. Having faith and trusting in Him is the hardest part about walking in Christ and it is so easy for us to close our ears and hear only what we want, when we want. But when God speaks we must listen. If we really give it some thought we realize that the times that God's words are spoken and do not seem relevant, are actually the times we need to go back for a second look. I don't think God talks to us, just to talk. He has something He wants us to hear. An old teacher from middle school used to say "A hint to the wise is sufficient".

"Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is~Ephesians 5:15-17."


Monday, November 21, 2011

Checked by God

So it has been a little while since my last post and its funny because sometimes I am full of things to write about and share and then other times its as if I never had a blog. I never want to force a post just to have content, it has to come to me, and it did.....

So last weekend while having lunch with my parents my dad recommended that I go and get a physical to check out everything, particularly my heart. He has no reason to recommend that other than the fact that I have been running and training at a high level. Of course, I did not take it serious and pretty much ignored the doctor's order. Sure enough, a friend sent me an article about a young man that died recently while running a half marathon in San Antonio, the very next day. Of course, this hit me hard and so I scheduled an appointment and went in for a visit. During my visit the doctor noted high blood pressure and some potential abnormalities with my heart that could mean time away from running.

As you could imagine, I was immediately so frustrated that something could potentially be taken away from that I love so very much; running! I did not care about my health all I could think about was the fact that I may not be able to run and train like I love to do. How could it be? I have never felt better in my life or been in better shape. I was finally getting the results I wanted and could see my hard work paying off. I had a goal and how could something like this come in between me and that goal? Of course I was in denial and blamed it on a bad diagnosis.

But as I thought about this more and more it finally started to hit me. What I realized is that I have put my fitness in front of God. I train so hard, eat perfectly, never miss a work out but I wasn't doing the same in my relationship with Him. In fact, my fitness and training has become a false idol and has pulled me away from God without me even realizing it. I definitely forget to pray, to read the bible, to keep God on my mind but yet I can maintain incredible discipline with my fitness. It never crossed my mind that a seemingly positive thing could pull me away and be a negative. But yes, fitness of all things has pulled me away from my walk with God. The bible makes it very clear that we are to have no false idols. It does not say that we can have false idols if they are "good" for us.

"You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments."~ Exodus 20:3-6

God Himself has checked me yet again. Our God is a jealous God and wants us near Him always. He is a God that has reached down and grabbed me in the midst of me straying. If I really believe in God that means that I believe that He is in total control. That means that I accept whatever He throws at me because it is all for His great purpose.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your sould and with all your strength and with all your mind"~Luke 10:27


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Look Again

Look again....opportunity is everywhere. As we live out our daily lives, each situation we encounter presents opportunity no matter if it is positive or negative. Sometimes, however that opportunity is not obvious and we get caught up.

If we believe that everything happens for a reason, or even more, His reason, then each trial and tribulation we encounter must be an opportunity. Could it be a test of our will? Could it be a chance to gain something for our journey? An opportunity to inspire someone else? To learn and grow? We must trust that each circumstance we encounter happens with good reason to prepare us.

"If you do not stand firm in your faith then you will not stand at all"~Isaiah 7:9

I had lunch with a friend today who was not enjoying his current career and was considering a change. As we talked, something hit me that really made great sense. That is, that it does not matter what the situation, we must seek the opportunity. As we continued talking, I asked him what he wanted out of life and what he was trying to accomplish. As we discussed these, I could really see the opportunity that was being overlooked. I recommended that he really think hard about what he wants out of life and his career and then do everything he can to get there.

His current job may simply be a stepping stone to his real passion, but if he fails to see the available opportunity he may miss out on his dreams. He must see the current job as an opportunity to learn as much as he can and grow. He must think about what skills he can learn and acquire in his current job that will help him get to his real passion. He must be ready when the opportunity he has been waiting for, presents itself.

If we respond negatively to adverse or even positive situations then we are defeated. I have always learned and seen that the devil is constantly at work in our lives trying to tempt us to fall. The devil wants nothing more than for us to give up and take the easy road. He wants us to sit their miserably at our desk while hating our job and quit; without having a new one.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”~Winston Churchill

I firmly believe that we all have a purpose on this earth and that each of our purposes has something to do with what we love or are really good at? It may not be the thing we think we are good at but maybe a hidden talent or skill that we never noticed. Being closed minded about the opportunity that is all around us will likely lead us down the wrong path. I personally am impressed and inspired by how people deal with adversity. I love hearing how someone positively responded to a seemingly terrible situation. I love to see fight in the dog.

Life is hard, business is hard and only the strong survive and thrive. When a situation is thrown at you that you did not expect or ask for, how will you respond? Will you learn from it and grow? Will you find a way to see the positive over the negative so that you can move forward with something to take away? Look again and make the most out of it.

Havin' a second look