Taking the Word to the World

Archive for July, 2015

First Kiss

I did it. First time ever. Or at least as long as I can remember. I kissed the pavement! Early Monday morning, walking briskly along, in exercise mode, I missed my footing, took a Goliath-sized fall, propelling me into my chin. I presently unproudly display a bloodied, burned, bruised, battered chin and wrist. Plus there is the knee hidden in the name of modesty yet painfully punished. I picked my battered body off the ground, with my walk abruptly and prematurely brought to the unfinished line, and limped home. There, I cleaned up and cleared out sundry wounds.

Surely, there are some spiritual implications here. Yep. Sometimes, we fall down. God picks us up. Scarred. Scratched. Battered by the world, bruised by sin, He washes us. He cleanses us. He restores us. He scrubs away our infirmities.

“He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along” (Psalm 40:2, NLT). “Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other” (Psalm 85:10, NIV).

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God’s Test Time

“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am” (Genesis 22:1). Unbelievable? God tempted His friend and follower. Not quite. God doesn’t tempt anyone (James 1: 13-14). He tests to prove us.

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Any instructor knows one of the greatest motivational teaching tools and techniques available is to say, “That will be on the test!” Students perk up. Notebooks fly open. Pens are grasped. Notes are scribbled. Highlighters underline.

It was a test that God gave to Abraham, not a temptation to sin. God didn’t want Abraham’s life. (Or should I say, God didn’t want Abraham’s promised son’s life). He wanted Abraham’s heart. He wanted to prove what was already there. Without tests we wouldn’t know what we are made of. Without tests we wouldn’t know what God is made of.

What’s the difference between temptations, trials, tribulations, and tests? I will take a little peek at temptations, trials, and tests.

Temptation:

  • Designed by Satan to draw us away from God.
  • Comes from the flesh.
  • Typically attacks a weak spot.
  • Commonly come from within.
  • Designed to bring out the worst in us.
  • Usually money, sex, power. Girls, gold, and glory.
  • Biblically divided:
    • Lust of the flesh
    • Lust of the eyes
    • Pride of life

The bottom line: Satan tempts us to bring out the worst in us.

Test or Trial:

  1. Usually test our strengths.
  2. Bring out the best in us.
  3. Usually come from outside/without.
  4. Designed by God to draw us closer to Himself.
  5. Regularly is a God-given opportunity for you to practice and test your spiritual relationship with God.
  6. Sent from God
  7. All of life is a test. Always being tested. God watches your responses (Rick Warren).

Remember:

  1. Character is both developed and revealed by tests.
  2. True faith is tested.
  3. Trust is not necessarily spoken it is demonstrated.

Here’s the bottom line: God tests us to help bring out the best in us.

In the first few chapters of Job there is this conversation in heaven concerning him. He has no idea. In fact, you have no idea the conversations that may be going on in heaven about you.

We can pass the test, with flying colors, and get the gold star/seal just like Job (and Abraham): “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:10-12).

God’s test will bring out the best in us!

photo credit: Jim’s Wood Turning via photopin (license)

Myriad of Feelings Generated by Young People

You may have thought from the title that this is a blog about gripes concerning young people. Nope. Far from it! Recently, I spent three marvelous weeks on Guam, where they say America’s day begins; probably because the island is fifteen hours ahead of us in places like St. Louis.

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Each day, a couple hours after the sun rose, we staggered into a waiting classroom. We covered over seventy sessions equipping young—and not so young—minds for missionary and ministry service.

Each day I looked into the faces of fourteen amazing, anointed, able, apostolic, developing individuals.

I …

  • Sensed their passion
  • Saw their vision
  • Felt their burden
  • Listened to their devotion
  • Studied their gifting
  • Discussed their future
  • Dreamed of their destiny
  • Heard their prayers
  • Applauded their inspiration and perspiration

I was…

  • Touched by their kindness
  • Impressed by their togetherness
  • Strengthened by their courage
  • Motivated by their desires
  • Humbled by their sacrifice
  • Stirred by their desires
  • Awestruck by their possibilities
  • Enthralled by their sensitivity

They left me…

  • Convicted
  • Corrected
  • Challenged
  • Captivated
  • Changed

Three weeks with these world-changers wildly, well, and wisely spent. An amazing investment!