Rise to the occasion… pt. 2

While reading in The Message this morning, there are three verses that stand out to me:

  • Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in your experience with God and Jesus, our Master (2 Peter 1:2).
  • Jesus resplendent with light from God the Father as the voice of Majestic Glory spoke: “This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of all my delight.” (2 Peter 1:17).
  • The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion.  And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word. (2 Peter 1:20-21).

If we are to “Rise to the Occasion…“, we must have these three truths found in 2 Peter evident in our lives from the inside out:

  1. We must be deepening in our experience with God and Jesus.
  2. We must be marked by God’s love.
  3. We must speak when prompted by the Holy Spirit. Not holding back but speaking God’s Message with love and grace.

I love these two words used together, “inside out”.  Our lives are hungry…  There is a deepening desire within us all to be changed from the inside out.  There is a hunger that can only be fulfilled by God’s love and grace found in Jesus. 

As I read 2 Peter this morning, I was reminded of the ways sin tries to destroy us and to keep us focused on feeding those desires of our flesh.  The Holy Spirit comes and changes us from the inside out.  I didn’t realize this until someone took the time to speak God’s love to me with love and grace.  Are you making the most of every opportunity?

As you go through this day and the rest of this week ask yourself:

  1. Am I deepening in my experience with Jesus?
  2. Is my life being marked by God’s love? 
  3. How can I be used by the Holy Spirit to speak of God’s love and grace with words and actions?

Rise to the occasion…

It’s the end of one of those weeks I would much rather forget.  I couldn’t wait to get to this day… FRIDAY!!!  It’s way too easy to get lost in a terrible, no good, rotten week.  It’s been one of those week were you begin to think, “I don’t think things could get worse!”  Then I catch myself and remember Job… I don’t want to go there. 

No matter what sort of week you may have had – I think Oswald Chambers sums it up nicely.

Remember that you have been saved so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in your body (see 2 Corinthians 4:10  ). Direct the total energy of your powers so that you may achieve everything your election as a child of God provides; rise every time to whatever occasion may come your way. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, May 15).

Who is your god?

I haven’t asked the question in awhile:  How are you doing with your Read through the Bible for 2009?  Are you on task with your goal for the year?  Have you begun to develop a healthy habit in reading the Bible?  I hope so!

The past several weeks have been tough for me.  My routine and schedule has been turned upside down.  I have been feeling a bit guilty for not staying on track with where I wanted to be.  Everyday I think, “I need to read the Bible.” 

Has reading the Bible become all about checking a box?  Or is reading the Bible drawing us closer and deeper in a relationship with Jesus? 

Of course, Oswald Chambers would have something to say on this!

Your god may be your little Christian habit— the habit of prayer or Bible reading at certain times of your day. Watch how your Father will upset your schedule if you begin to worship your habit instead of what the habit symbolizes. (My Utmost for His Highest, May 12).

This was a great reality check for me.  Reading God’s Word should never be about getting through it – like some book.  God’s Word is His voice to us…  Providing truth, life, freedom, and correction.  The focus of our everyday reading should never be about just being able to say, “I read the Bible for the day.”  It needs to be about, “What does God want to say to me today?”

As you continue reading through the Bible this year, make sure you are spending time to draw closer to Him as you read.  Don’t trade God in for the Christian habit (god).

Love means that there are no visible habits— that your habits are so immersed in the Lord that you practice them without realizing it. (My Utmost for His Highest, May 12).

Can you see what God is doing?

Have you ever ridden the log ride at Six Flags or at some other park? 

Lately my life has seemed much like I am riding a log ride (just not as fun).  My life is in motion bumping up against the parameters (or shall I say the principles) of life.  All the while, I know there is a destination out there that I will arrive at.  As Oswald Chambers puts it, I’m living my life based on principles rather than vision.

There is a difference between holding on to a principle and having a vision. A principle does not come from moral inspiration, but a vision does.

Our own idealistic principles may actually lull us into ruin. Examine yourself spiritually to see if you have vision, or only principles. (My Utmost for His Highest, May 9).

How do you live your life?  Do you get up everyday and hop onto the log ride of the expected routine in life or do you live it a bit more dangerously with a spiritual vision?  I know it seems like I have settled into the log ride and today am being challenged to get off of the ride and jump into a raft and conquor an uncharted river.  The Holy Spirit will be the guide and he will provide the vision.

Many years ago I went white water rafting on the Ocoee River in Tennessee.  I was nervous and stressed the entire time.  The water was freezing, the rapids were rough, and I had to trust the guide.  At times, I even got angry with the guide because I thought he was intentionally sending us through rougher water when it wasn’t necessary.

I realize in life I do the same thing.  At times, I get upset and angry with where this course is taking me.  I want to point a finger at the Holy Spirit and say, “Why didn’t you tell me to dig earlier?”  I’m quick to forget that He is teaching me as I go.  He allows the rough waters in my life and I need to learn from them. 

I have come to know when He is telling me to do something.  I have learned His voice.  But I haven’t overcome my fear of taking risks in following Him.  I like the log ride.  I know what I will experience in the log.  As for the the raft, there’s a risk and I will have to trust the Guide.

Have you lost the excitement for living?  Your job? Ministry? Family?  Read Proverbs 29:18,

  If people can’t see what God is doing,
   they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,
   they are most blessed. (The Message)

I know the following quote is from a message on marriage.  But it is applicable to any aspect of life that pertains to personal passion.  Job. Family. Ministry.  Whatever!  We all get involved in doing something based on how it makes us feel but to keep it going and alive there must be a plan… a vision.  It’s the plan that will keep you moving forward.

“Falling in love requires a pulse, staying in love requires a plan.” (Andy Stanley).

Are you following the vision for your life?  Or have you decided to remain comfortable with where you are?