Archive for April, 2012

Relentless:

“Open doors…”

2 Thessalonians 1:11

God is always working in our lives…on all three facets – professional, personal, and private. Much of His work comes with little or no action required from us. However, there is quite a bit that requires us to do something. I pray daily that God will open and close doors as He sees fit. I pray that prayer with the full understanding that when He opens a door, He expects me to go through it. If I am honest, I must admit there are times that I don’t. Thank goodness for grace. How often do we pray for something, for God to open a door, and then sit back and wait…and wait…and wait? While all the time the door was wide open. He was waiting for us to go through. It’s like praying day in and day out to win the lottery. Then one day we hear a voice say, “Buy a ticket.” I have never had the Holy Spirit literally pick me up by my belt loop and throw through a door that God has opened. I have to go through it myself. The cool thing about going through a God opened door is that we may go through with one perspective or expectation and what God has planned is completely different. Of course, we don’t realize how cool it is at the time. It sometimes takes a while to see it. But when you love the Lord, put your life in His hands, and allow Him to guide your steps, hindsight is pretty clear…and awesome. All those situations and circumstances that you thought were bad, painful, or completely whacked, many of them I’m sure were flat out awful, actually brought you to the exact place you needed to be…at the exact time…fully prepared and equipped to receive the blessing of your life. Now that rocks!

Let’s now take it a few steps further and from a different perspective. Up to now, all of the focus has been on us…the blessings we get from acting on God’s promptings and going through doors He opens. What about all those around us – our families, friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc…? How does our responding to God’s call impact them…or others we may never even meet? What legacy do we leave? We might never know. But think about this. What, perhaps, would have happened if Abraham had not acted on God’s calling to pack up all he had and to take his family, leave his people and his country, and set out to parts unknown (Gen. 12)? What about Noah, before that (Gen. 6)? If he had not taken action and built the ark (let us not forget that he built it in the middle of the desert) where would we be? Let me bring it a little closer to home. What if all of the pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and believers in Christ throughout history hadn’t, at some point, acted on God’s prompting and call? Would you, or I, or people around the world ever have come to know or be shown the incredible love of God? Would we be visiting here together, today? Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Challenge: Go through the doors that God opens. Regardless of whether it makes sense or not…because often times it won’t. And, what we think we want…or don’t want…may not necessarily be what God wants for us. His plan is perfect and He knows exactly what He is doing. And what He is doing is the best for us…regardless of how many times we throw a look of utter confusion heavenward. If you have any doubts, pick up His Word. He gives us countless passages of reassurance. One of my favorites, which is also our family verse, is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV) What an awesome God we serve.

Prayer: Lord, thank You so much for Your grace, Your patience, Your love. I know I don’t always act on Your promptings. Please give me the strength and the confidence, not in my own but in You, to go through the doors You open. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Make sure to check out Servant Warrior Radio every Friday morning @ 6am CST on KJSL AM 630 TruthTalk630 St Louis, MO and worldwide at www.truthtalk630.comThe mission of Servant Warrior Ministries is to reach guys, from 5 to 105, where they are to impact and empower them to be who God created and called them to be. For more information go to www.servantwarriorministries.org.


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“Judging by the cover…”

Posted: April 2, 2012 in Articles

‘Beauty is only skin deep’… ‘Its true depth lies just beneath the surface’… ‘Things are not always as they appear’ … these and other phrases are ones we have heard all our lives. What do they mean? While I am confident our answer to the question “What do these phrases mean?” would be very similar, I truly wonder if we really get it…if we really apply the answer’s core message to those we meet every day. If we’re honest with ourselves, I think we know the answer.

There was a story that came out in the late nineties about how Stanford University was founded. The account of the story was that Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts, the home of Harvard University, in order to speak to the university’s president about erecting a building in honor of their son who attended Harvard but died unexpectedly. Apparently, the president of the university responded rather gruffly to the shabbily dressed ‘country hicks’ and asked if they had any idea how much it costs to build a building. He told them he had over seven and a half million dollars in the physical structures on the campus. Mrs. Stanford looked at her husband and commented that if that was all it cost to start a university they should start their own. Her comment left the Harvard president speechless and the Stanfords went back to California and started Stanford University. While this rendition of the origin of Stanford University is absolutely false, the underlying moral of the story and premise of “never judging someone by mere appearance” couldn’t be truer.

“My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith.  If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, “Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!” and either ignore the street person or say, “Better sit here in the back row,” haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted? Listen, dear friends. Isn’t it clear by now that God operates quite differently? He chose the world’s down-and-out as the kingdom’s first citizens, with full rights and privileges. This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God.” James 2:1-5 (MSG)

Every day, in the business marketplace…in schools…in our neighborhoods…in churches…people are judged based on their appearance. Of course, I am not speaking only of those who are looked down upon because they don’t quite meet a certain dress code or look. An attractive outer appearance has a similar impact but in the opposite way. How we present ourselves is very important. However, our outward appearance is not the determinant of who we are…and certainly is not what God looks at. A perfect example is the Lord’s appointment and rejection of Saul as king of Israel (1 Samuel 9, 15) and anointing of young David as the future king (1 Samuel 16). “When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’ 1 Samuel 16:6-7 (ESV).

I started at an early age to live by the creed “You only get one shot at making a first impression.” And appearance is a major factor in the impressions, both first and ongoing, that we make. However, one’s outer appearance doesn’t always reveal the “real” person. I have been guilty, more than I would like to admit, of judging someone based on appearance, both positively and negatively. I looked at them through my own filter and not God’s. And it’s interesting…and humbling…how God convicted me when I did…and how He still convicts me when I do.

“Lord, it is so easy to form opinions and impressions based on appearance. In today’s world, appearance has become so important and a condition of acceptance…of promotion. Lord, despite  what we look like to others and see others as, You know our heart and the people we are…and likely the people we want to be. Lord, give me the courage to look beyond the appearance to reach others and love them as You did…and do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

I have often said that following Christ is like riding in the front seat of a high speed roller coaster…with the lap bar up.  Join me this summer, right here, as we are going to be hanging out at the amusement park. It is going to be a wild ride. Until then, keep it real…and Armor Up!           

The above article appears in the April Issue of Power Source Magazine, www.powersourcemagazine.com and can be viewed HERE.