22 11 2016

Faith is first listening to God before you venture out to serve him. Too many times we Christians have a tendency to slap God’s name on our own plans. Before we go out onto the field of play, we must make sure that we have spent the proper time hearing the Lord’s instructions in the locker room. In many ways, Jesus is like our Head Coach carefully drawing the x’s and the o’s out for us so that we move gracefully and intelligently through the challenges of life. Too many of us are calling too many “audibles” at the line of scrimmage and changing the play at the last minute because we don’t like what God has called us to do.  But listening to heaven comes first at every stage of life, and in every circumstance if we want to live meaningful days here on earth.

 Did you know that Jesus didn’t just love us enough to rescue us, but also made sure that we would submit to his ruling us? Our Lord didn’t just save us from our past sins so we could go off and stay stuck in the rut of doing our own thing in the days to come. This is why I believe that if Jesus is going to be your Savior, then he must also be your Lord. What was his common invitation to his disciples? It was, “Follow Me!” It wasn’t, “Go your own way and I’ll catch up with you when we get to eternity.” Are you missing out on the fullness of faith because you are refusing to let God lead?

 This is why Christianity is really more about relationship than just another religion. A foundational word that should define our walk with God is “Together!” Let’s face facts; the Lord could have accomplished his will much quicker without us. Even the angels would not have given him as great a hard time as we do. We hem and haw and kick the ground and roll our eyes and put off the inevitable as long as we can. How much more fruitful might it all be if we would just stay true to what God wants us to do not really for him as much as with him. Every time you fall in line behind the Lord and accompany him into the great wide open, there will always be many tales to tell at the end of the day. Could it be that we have fallen into the trap of making faith a solo act rather than a team performance?  

 Fighting faith is showing courage in the face of humanly overwhelming odds. The Bible is filled with story after story of how God defied the odds and orchestrated overcoming the impossible through the most unlikely of characters. Are there Giants populating the Promised Land? No problem! The enemy is sporting chariots and wearing under armor and you’re guys are wearing sandals? Who cares? Famine in the land and your cupboards are bear? Jehovah Jireh is on the move! The bigger the task, the more we need the Lord and that is a good thing because it leads us to the God thing! Nobody grows in their devotion if the heart is never engaged in the process. Could it be that the Church is dying on the vine because she refuses to fuse with the Branch? Apart from Jesus we can do nothing and unfortunately, we are becoming experts in that realm of the journey.    

 Faith is humble and not honor-seeking. If we need our name in the spotlight, the chances are good that we will end up in the dark. If God knows what you are doing, is that enough? If it isn’t, then we must ask ourselves, why not? If all the honor, glory, praise and applause are supposed to end up in the lap of our Lord, why are we whining when we are not credited on the program? If I get to be the literal stage that my Jesus performs upon, is there any higher privilege in life? If we are using God to pad our own resume, then it is safe to say that we have the flow chart upside down. Prayer is the engine that drives the vehicle and the Holy Spirit is the fuel. If there is an oil leak under our hood, it is because we aren’t deflecting the light as we should. Reflections of our Savior are to allow God to use us to magnify him. When that happens, mankind wins big. When it doesn’t, we begin to sink in the selfish sin we get stuck in.

 We can, and should, live our lives and order our legacy not only historically but theologically. Life is not just simply collecting data and recollecting what happened! The real secret is to open the eyes of our hearts and look to see how God was with us all the way. If there has been anything good that has happened in life, it is because God didn’t abandon us when we needed him most. Thanksgiving is totally dependent upon us finding God. He will never leave us nor forsake us no matter how difficult the days have been. He is a promise keeper in a promise breaking culture. He is the one who assures a phenomenal future no matter how bleak yesterday might have been. A healthy walk with God keeps us from over-honoring ourselves in success, or despairing in our struggles.  And it never leaves us empty hearted when life results in empty handed situations.

 So what is the lesson for God’s people this Thanksgiving? God wins! So blessing is to be found in fighting for and with him; it is sacrificially putting us in his service whatever the odds or likely cost. Conversely, there are consequences for those who do the opposite, who stay inactive when God needs his children to step up their service. Remember, it is not that the Lord requires help but that the Lord allows his people to “help.” Knowing that you and I are always loved and daily wanted may be our biggest and best blessing of all. Happy Thanksgiving! If gratitude is the key to heaven, then today is the day for faith to unlock the door. God is on the move and is always cooking something amazing and that is one meal you don’t want to miss. 



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