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Friday, November 19, 2010

Steering Through Chaos #1 - Transition

Traffic jams never occur at convenient times. Any type of "transition" or change causes traffic chaos. Whether it is the merging of lanes, or a simple shifting of lanes due to construction, the speed and flow of traffic is affected... sometimes dramatically.

Recently I was driving down Rt 476 South from the Turnpike. As soon as I pulled past the toll booth, I knew I was in trouble. Major Traffic Jam! Immediately I felt the anxiety level rise inside me. I looked for at least one lane I might be able to swerve into, that I might be the exception to the delay... but to no avail.

Eventually we came to the source of the problem, CONSTRUCTION. Yeah, big surprise for us PA drivers! Almost miraculously, as soon as we passed the construction work, it was if God had parted the red seas. The traffic dispersed, the speed increase and I was on my way to my destination. NOW, let me make a transition of my own...

Transition, changes and "construction zones" in life have much of the same impact. We think everything is going along just fine, when all of a sudden... BAM! Traffic Jam! It may come in the form of a lay off, your child's learning disability, major illness or surgery, or an expensive car repair. Each of these, among so many others, cause the anxiety levels to rise, and the progress of life to halt.

But let me bring an important Theological truth into the equation. The Sovereignty of God is the biblical teaching that all things are under God's rule and control, and that nothing happens without His direction or permission. God works not just some things but all things according to the counsel of His own will (see Eph. 1:11). Bottom line, God is in Control!!!

Therefore, it's not so much what happens to you, but what happens in you that matters. As Scott Wilson says in his book, you will "grow only to the level of your pain threshold."

But, let's also keep in mind. The other side of the "problem," traffic opens up, and you're cruising down the road of life once again. Instead of judging experiences of life as "good or bad", perhaps we can examine SELF so that we might LOVING HIM MORE FULLY,LISTEN MORE INTENTLY, AND OBEY MORE GLADLY! We call this Submission, and it is seen in the transitions of life.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Devotion

I read this morning from Ezra chapter 7 words that caused me to examine my life, time and priorities. Check out what Ezra 7:9b-10 says about this Man of God, "the gracious hand of his God was on him. 10 For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel."

We are a culture who chases after the newest and shiniest object, gimmick, person or idea. We are enamored with the new. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the new, we run the risk of schizophrenic pursuits. When we are chasing everything, WE ARE DEVOTED TO NOTHING!!!

Think about it for a moment, what are you truly devoted to? What dominates your passions, excitement, time commitments, & energies. When people think of you, what comes to mind. The people of Ezra's day all knew what he was devoted to. Even King Artaxerxes understood, causing him to respond with favor to this inspiring priest, Ezra.

Let me give a few examples... When you thing of these people, what's do you associate them with:
- Donald Trump
- Michael Jordan
- James Dobson
- Billy Graham
- Bono
- Nelson Mandela

Clear pictures of what these people stand for come to mind, simply because they devoted their lives to a singular pursuit. So I end with a simple question that has the ability to re-chart your life's course:

?WHERE'S YOUR DEVOTION?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Love Bank

Willard Harley, in his book, HIS NEEDS, HER NEEDS, shares a powerful concept when it comes to relationships and affair proofing your marriage. He said is is found in the "Love Bank". If one's love bank is full, then we are satisfied. If it is empty, then we feel empty, unsatisfied, and want our needs to be met.

He says that our Love Banks are filled by someone (ideally our spouse) meeting our most important emotional needs. Harley suggests the following list as the top 5 needs for women & men. As you read this list, please don't miss the Scripture verse I mention at the bottom. Harley describes them as follows:

WOMEN:
1. Affection
2. Conversation
3. Honesty & Openness
4. Financial Support
5. Family Commitment

MEN:
1. Sexual Fulfillment
2. Recreational Companionship
3. An Attractive Spouse
4. Domestic Support
5. Admiration

As you consider these needs, PLEASE READ Luke 6:27-38. This will be our passage for Sunday's message on "Acceptance". Notice the powerful principle found in v. 38... You Get What You Give.

Purpose in Prayer

Sunday was a refreshing morning, as the Holy Spirit redirected us toward our knees. This is where our battles are won. It is our prayers that release the power of Heaven! It is our prayers that move the Hand of God. 2 Chronicles 20:15 we read, "For the battle is not yours, but God's". But for some reason we try to own the battle ourselves.

v. 17 continues, "Take up your position, Stand Firm, and See the Deliverance." Our position is on our knees in prayer, doing battle in the heavenly realms. It is about time that we take our positions once again, as the people of God. It is true that God has not left us, but when we fail to pray, we leave God. Friends, OUR SUCCESS COMES FROM THE LORD!

Let me conclude with an excerpt from one of the most prolific writers on prayer,

"It is true that the mightiest successes that come to God's cause are created and carried on by prayer. God's day of power; the angelic days of activity and power are when God's Church comes into its mightiest inheritance and mightiest faith and mightiest prayer. God's conquering days are when the saints have given themselves to mightiest prayer. When God's house on earth is a house of prayer, then God's house in heaven is busy and all potent in its plans and movements, then His earthly armies are clothed with the triumphs and spoils of victory and His enemies defeated on every hand."