Lord, hear my voice when I call; be gracious to me and answer me. Ps 27:7 (CSB)
I love this verse. Can we know that the Lord hears our prayers? Do we trust and believe that the God of heaven and earth, the maker of the stars, the one who forms the cosmos by the word of His mouth, He who knows all and controls every aspect of His creation, isn’t too busy to hear from us? Do you believe that your prayers rip through the chaos and travel directly to God’s ears? Indeed, He does HEAR! He does not strain, but constantly attends to the heartache of His children.
So, take your concerns and your needs to Him. Believe that He hears you, and that He will act on your behalf, the same way He did for David. You need only to “wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart be courageous. Wait for the Lord” (v 14).
If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself. 2 Timothy 2:13 (CSB)
In recent days I was confronted by a question which I believe the Holy Spirit prompted. It’s a probing inquiry, one that requires thoughtful and honest self-reflection.
“Is my faith seasonal?”
Intimacy with the Lord isn’t only for the brokenhearted. It’s not just for the poor, the stressed, the sick, and the depressed.
Do you ever feel so comfortable, so well-off, that you forget the need for daily intimacy with the Lord? I do.
I’m in a season where I see (better yet, feel!) the need. I pray that I don’t leave this place. Ever. Life demands my reliance upon Him; I just see it more right now.
That’s everyday. Let’s not forget that. Let’s live like we need Him, daily.
His beauty drips on the canvas of the artist. His order stands strong and stable through the architect. His comfort covers the troubled like a blanket in the counselor. His accuracy resounds from the lips of the pastor. His love for language dances on the fingertips of the poet. His nurturing nature pours forth from the parent.
His attributes are displayed all around us and through us. God’s character is revealed through the actions, emotions, work, and friendships of His people.
We bear the image of the living God. Let’s do it well. Whatever it is that you do, do it as a revelation of the Creator of all that is good.
He is worthy.
Oh, that suffocating feeling of anxiety. When your thoughts begin to choke your brain, and you can feel your mind struggling to remain sane. Each thought erratic, like spastic breathing. Christians are not immune to this element of humanity.
In fact, we often visit Matthew 6:25-34 when we are wrestling with worry.
“Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Matt. 6:33, MSG)
Easy to read, tough to trust. When the worries cast immense shadows, His peace is harder to find.
I want to throw out an idea. Supplement Matthew 6 with the book of Ecclesiastes.
Listen to Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Ecclesiastes 12:6 & 7: “Life, lovely while it lasts, is soon over. Life as we know it, precious and beautiful, ends. The body is put back in the same ground it came from. The spirit returns to God, who first breathed it.”
This is peace for the worried soul. How so? One day, when we are finally laid to rest, if we are in Christ, our spirit will return to its ultimate Source of comfort. Our strife will end, and we will reside in God’s care forever. What we grasp so tightly on earth will one day be replaced with gifts our minds cannot possibly comprehend. We know it to be true, but sometimes we need to be reminded.
It’s not nihilistic; it’s hopeful. It’s not just hopeful; it’s true, and one day it will be reality.
It is much easier to give advice than to receive it. It’s enjoyable to lend people an ear and respond to their situation with wisdom and practicality. Giving direction comes more naturally to us than taking it because giving requires no action on our part…or so we believe. Usually, we assume it’s only the recipient who is responsible for the response.
Have you ever considered that those who give good advice often struggle to do it themselves? It’s the internal battles that teach us the hard truths worth sharing with others. If life were simple, we wouldn’t fight to give solid answers to complex questions.
What’s the point in me choosing to focus on this? Think about this, the next time you give advice to someone, ask yourself if you follow your counsel. We are only as credible as the consistency of our actions. If we instruct others in one way, then contradict ourselves by our actions, we all but erase everything we’ve said. We’ll have shared nice thoughts, but the advice given will lack real, tangible evidence.
This is really just another way to remind us to stay humble when we’re asked for direction in a given situation/circumstance. Sound wisdom requires both parties to receive, act, and adjust accordingly. Watch the advice you give others…it might be something you need to hear as well.
Over the past year I have observed a disturbing phenomenon in the church. More and more believers are conforming, trying to become conveyer belt Christians. Somehow, a culture of dull Christianity is starting to exist. It’s as if the world is full of colorful personalities, but we paint in black and white.
We need more disciples who challenge us to see our world differently. Personalities who overwhelm the world they exist in with dazzling color and hypnotic sound. I see an ache for lives that are abundantly infectious, persuasive, and transmittable outside the four walls of our Sunday gathering spots.
Our lives tend to be boring. We have a bent towards restriction, more focused on not breaking rules than bending the norm. The world is attractive to others because it appears to promise more than Christianity does …and based on the way some of us live, we believe that too.
I challenge you not to be swayed by popular Christian culture. Be orthodox in doctrine, yet spectacular in the way you live. Carry out your life in Christ with all the richness and freedom that you have always wanted to.
Be yourself. Explore. Push the limits. Embrace freedom in Christ.
I write often on this subject because I believe in it. Authenticity is a rare social jewel. We crave to be around genuine people, but we feel vulnerable actually being that individual.
When I mention “authentic,” what exactly am I referring to as it pertains to Christians? In this post I want to share five criteria I associate with an authentic believer.
- No pretense. I’ve met quite a few Christians who like to pull power moves…act like they want to disciple the world…have everyone look up to them. This automatically makes me cringe and move on.
- Real about their entertainment choices. This may seem unrelated, but I think our media choices say a lot about our level of authenticity. People’s convictions vary on what they watch and listen to. Folks who straight up tell you what they like with confidence are much more genuine then those who pretend to only watch “Christian approved media.”
- Aware of their weaknesses. Without being self-depreciating, those who are authentic will be honest about what they’re good at and the attributes they lack.
- Honest, but kind. Kindness without honesty is spineless, and honesty without kindness is graceless. But, the perfect balance…that’s something to cherish!
- Quick to laugh. Life is humorous, and sometimes it’s both dark and comical. I’ve noticed those who have healthy humor are usually pretty down to earth folks.
Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t. These are five of my observations. I think we could all do ourselves a favor by trying to put our genuine selves forward. Let’s be real with everyone. It builds community and strong friendship, and will make you more satisfied socially.