Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Mystery of Life

Do you ever just want to scream out the question “why?” Maybe just yell at the top of your lungs in into the dark night sky? How about into a canyon and hear it’s echo? Maybe it is just a simple as in the middle of watching the news and a story breaks your heart. WHY? I have had a lot of extra time this week to ask the question “why” and even more time to try to figure out the answers.

I don’t know about you, but I like to plan and be prepared for what is to come. I don’t like to be unprepared and I don’t like looking as if I have no idea what is going on. At the very least, I like to have the appearance of being in control.

What I have been reminded of over the last weeks and months is this very simple reality… I am not in control. While I have the ability to make decisions and will get to experience most of the consequences, overall control is not in my grasp. None of us are in control.

I think about the people in Japan right now that thought they were in control just a few short weeks ago… now look at their lives – their houses – their investments – their everything. Everything changed in a matter of minutes. At this very moment, all of those people who thought they were in control are struggling to cope with a whole new way of life.

They may ask (and you may ask) “Why God?”

We need to remember that God is so much bigger than us and He is in control. It blows my mind to try to think outside of the human element for even a second and figure out what God is up to. Do you realize that He knew every little detail of our lives before we ever took our first breath? How is that possible? He knew that the earthquake would happen, the tsunami would happen, the cancer would happen, and the ________ would happen, and He is still able to work it all together for His glory… some how, some way.

There are times in life where life gets put into perspective. For me, one of those times is now.

James 4:14 tells us… Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

What is my life all about? How much longer will it go on? How much longer will I see family members on this Earth? Friends, neighbors, co workers… the list goes on. Who will go before us, who will bury us? We live as if we are never going to die but unfortunately, that is not the case. Death is a part of this life and it will come to each of us eventually.

Those wonderful thoughts that have flooded my mind have led me back to some other very basic questions…
Why are you here? Why am I here? What purpose are you and I supposed to have? How do we work into God’s overall plan? Am I doing anything to screw up His plan? Are we making the most of our time or are we wasting the opportunities that God has given us? What is really important?

Yeah. I know. Heavy thoughts. This is what happens when you lose control and all the pleasures of this world (our substitutes for real joy that are supposed to make you happy) fail at their job.

BUT… When you look at the questions above… when you come to realization that you were born to do more than just breathe and satisfy yourself, when you look to the true joy that is far beyond anything this world has to offer, life becomes a little more clear, even when you are not in control. Why? Because you know WHO is.

Monday, March 7, 2011

God is the initiator, we are merely the responder.

The following blog post is a "re-post" from Perry Noble, the Pastor of NewSpring Church in South Carolina.  It goes very well with what I was talking about yesterday (Luke 5:1-11) and I thought it was something you too should read.


(Taken from perrynoble.com)
In my opinion some of the scariest verses in the Bible are…
We are commanded by God in the Scriptures that, when we hear His voice to not harden our hearts.

How do we harden our hearts?

Simple…by KNOWING what God’s Word clearly says about something but refusing to obey because doing so might seriously interfere with the lifestyle that we are wanting to pursue.
  • It happens when people know they should respond to the Gospel but keep finding reasons to say no.
  • It happens when a person knows they are in an ungodly dating relationship but fears being alone more than they fear God.
  • It happens when a person knows their life is out of control…but fears if they confess their sin and ask for help it may seriously damage their reputation.
  • It happens when someone knows they should stop spending money the way they do…but have become dependent upon numbing their pain with the temporary satisfaction that trinkets bring.
  • It happens when a church leaders knows the direction God is wanting him/her to take the ministry…but they refuse to do so because they fear being unpopular with the people.
  • It happens when a person knows they should not continue to pursue the “innocent flirting” with someone at work…but…it feeds their ego or fulfills their emotions so they continue the practice.
  • It happens when a person knows they should stop the intimate connections they are making online…but refuses to stop because of the pleasure it brings.
  • It happens when we know we should invite someone to church and/or share Christ with them…but we convince ourselves that they would not be interested OR that we will simply do it later.
I could go on and on…but we all get the point.

When people harden their hearts in Scripture it just doesn’t go well for them.

My question is this…is there anything in your life that God seems to be relentless in coming after?

If so…are you repenting or defending?  Because, when you defend what you are doing in the face of a Holy and awesome God who wants nothing but the best for you…then you are actively hardening your heart.  AND…one day…you might not even be able to hear His voice anymore if you don’t deal with what He’s dealing with!

It’s not that most of us don’t hear the voice of God…it’s that we don’t like what we hear and so we either fight with Him or ask Him to tell us something else.  BUT…until we deal with what He’s dealing with we will NEVER get past where we are right now.  (See Ezekiel 14:1-6)

Today…if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart!