Friday, November 22, 2013

Who are you giving the remote?

To whom are you giving your remote, Jesus or “relational stuff”?  Ah, but I get ahead of myself.

Every day “relational stuff” - that is jealousy, envy, anger, bitterness, hurt, unforgiveness and the like - tries to beat down the door to your life, sit in your chair and run the remote that controls your love, thoughts, actions and soul.

Every day Jesus waits close by gently knocking, asking to be in that chair.

Every day we must make the choice who sits in that chair with remote in hand.  Not as easy a choice as you might think.

“Relational stuff” KILLS us.  Not just metaphorically, but in honest to goodness truth.  And it kills us EVERY TIME.

If you think that is hyperbole or extreme you are wrong.  “Relational stuff” is a slow, deliberate killer, taking its time to pull us down the winding path to certain death, exacting pain every step of the way. 

It kills our hearts by numbing us, handcuffing our God placed ability to make emotional connection with others.  Given time it creates calluses that harden our hearts, making us unable to even love those we WANT to love.

It kills our minds, freezing our ability to think clearly. The seed of relational angst continually distracts at the most inconvenient times, fills our minds with detrimental thoughts and finally hi-jacks our ability to see reality and choose to love as we should.

It kills our bodies. There are many well documented studies that cite the years that relational issues carve off of our life spans, and negatively impact the quality of our lives while we breathe.

Worst of all, it kills our souls.  It is literally impossible to have life in our souls and death in our relationships.  Jesus will not venture where relational stuff rules.  Thus our souls are too full of the relational stuff to which we cling to allow God to love us or love to flow through us.

One danger is in letting relational angst in for any length of time.  The longer allowed to sit in your chair, control the remote and your appetites, the harder it is to kick out and welcome Jesus in. 

Another danger is to downplay, dismiss or ignore its presence.  Which I notice is what so many western Christians do.  We pretend we love each other while allowing “relational stuff” to rule and Jesus to wait in the rain.  When we do, we die another day.


If there is any “relational stuff” in your chair today, KICK IT OUT, mash it to a pulp and bury it.  Forgive, let hurt go, reconcile with “that” person, set aside anger... whatever you have to do to get Jesus in the chair! Then hand Him the remote and the snack tray so He will in charge of your life.  You will be amazed as LIFE pours into you.

13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:13–15 (NIV)

Boldly, Herb

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Prayer is... WHAT???? Not what you think

We think it is about us.  Left to ourselves we think EVERYTHING is about us.  Just look at a two year old.

But it is not.  It is about how God created things, living aligned and what He wants to accomplish.


I sometimes hate even using that word because it is so fraught with overtones of religion, when God designed it to be a pathway to relationship.  It is so much more than what that word usually brings to our gray cells. 

When Jesus talked about and modeled prayer, it was about a way of life... walking in tune with the Father... being so aligned that He was naturally nudged in the Father’s direction... constant conversation with the One He loved and missed... enjoying what the Father could pour into Him... feeling fully alive!!

I think “COMMUNION” is a better word.  Yet it, too, is attached to religion.  Not talking about the juice and bread ceremony, but rather living life together, interacting, constantly conversing, always aware of one another’s presence and desiring to please the other.

THAT is a small glimpse of what Jesus meant by “prayer”.  And He said it was THE KEY to the ability to do some things.  When Jesus said that some things ONLY happen through prayer, it was relationship - THAT kind of relationship - that He was talking about.  Not ritual, religious duty, but an alive, relational, fulfilling, “can’t wait to talk” experience.

When Jesus cast out a horrible demon from a boy after the disciples could not, THAT is the kind of relationship, constant companionship “prayer” He is talking about.  Read it...

After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”Mark 9:28-29 (NIV)

So next time you try to get yourself in a lather, thinking that kind of intensity will get God to do something for you...
Or next time you think God is not listening or caring...
Or next time you blow off talking with God...

STOP IT!  Back off and focus on the relational interaction – the COMMUNION, rather than the activity. 

Be warned, though.  It will humble you, challenge you, convict you, but it will also lead you to the COMMUNION with God you have always longed for.

God can hardly wait!  What are YOU waiting for. Stop reading and start talking with your Heavenly DAD. 

Boldly, Herb

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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Crisis Creates Opportunity

We wish... we long... we hope... we pray... for opportunity. 

Opportunity to experience something good, powerful, significant, wonderful, helpful. 
Opportunity to have God show up like He did in the Bible.

Then we whine about the very circumstances that are the breeding ground for Him to do so.

You see... it is CRISES, PROBLEMS, DIFFICULTIES that create opportunity.  Until we are staring into the eyes of something so big or bad that we cannot handle or do anything about, we are not in the place of opportunity. 

I think having eyes to see that way is a big part of what “faith” is all about.

Daniel got the word that everyone on “Team Wisemen” had been ordered to the gallows, (Daniel 2).  What did he see?  As the rest of the team saw CRISIS, Daniel saw OPPORTUNITY.  He boldly went to see the king, asking for time (he got it), prayed fervently with his three friends for God’s answer (he got it).  By seeking and surrendering to God he went from death row to vice-king of Babylon.  CRISIS creates OPPORTUNITY.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were ordered with the rest of the new and revised “Team Wisemen” to the Plain of Dura, (Daniel 3).  Arriving they saw a ninety foot statue, heard the announcement that all were to bow and worship when the orchestra struck a tune, and realized they were in a CRISIS.  But they saw OPPORTUNITY.  They refused to bow, made their stand with the king and vowed absolute loyalty to God even if they were thrown into the flaming furnace. They saw OPPORTUNITY to point people to the only true God, even at the cost of their lives, knowing God would deliver here or hereafter.  In fury, the king ordered them tossed into the flames.

AN ASIDE:  What would you do if you were there?  Our tendency, “But God!  I’m not supposed to be IN the fire, You were supposed to swoop down as my celestial superman and save me FROM the fire!” and other such whining.  If we put on faith eyes we see that we cannot experience the DEPTH of God’s miracle unless we experience the DEPTH of the danger!!

BACK TO THE STORY:  Into the flames they were thrown, where Jesus was waiting for them, where they walked around in the fire high fiving Jesus, where they experienced God! The king ordered them out, ordered the world never to criticize God and promoted them to high office. CRISIS created OPPORTUNITY.

What crisis, problem, difficulty are you experiencing?  Look at them again with fresh eyes... faith eyes.  Do you see that God is bigger?  That only as you go through them that God can show up big?  Lean into God, seek Him with all you’ve got, trust Him no matter what and watch God turn your CRISIS, PROBLEM or DIFFICULTY into OPPORTUNITY to experience Him and to point people to Him.

Here’s what God says...
                “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27 (NIV)

 From this day forward choose to view every circumstance that causes your heart to pound as OPPORTUNITY for God to show up – no matter how hot the fire gets.

Boldly, Herb

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