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?

Let Go Let God

Last night we watched Facing the Giants.  Tonya told us we needed to watch it.  Early in the movie I sent her a txt, “So, you think I’m a loser.”  (I was just kidding).  This was an extremely inspiring movie.  Scene after scene I just laughed because I could see so much of my life in it.  Why did I laugh?  I guess I’m warped.  I did shed a tear or two as well.

About two weeks ago we had someone in our church portray the life of David… specifically the portion of David’s life when he faced Goliath.  I sat there that morning and I thought about the giants in my life.  I thought it’s time to stand up and face them. 

The movie last night reinforced the thought that it’s time to stand up to the giant.

While reading, praying, and journaling this morning the phrase came to mind, “Let go let God.”  I wrote it down in my journal and began to think about what that really means.

I read Isaiah 56 and 1 Peter 1.  My thoughts are about faith, hope, and trust.

A song came to mind by David and the Giants.  I couldn’t find the one I was looking for on YouTube but I did find the song “Let Go Let God” by David and the Giants. 

I’ve got a lot to say…

…and God is unlocking it all. 

Alright… here I am.  Computer keyboard in hand and ready to type.  I have a world of things racing through my mind at this moment.  The Holy Spirit is working double time on me.  (Maybe I’m just being honest with what He has been telling me for over 20 years – for the first time). 

It’s like I’m a book with a bunch of unfinished chapters in the middle of two bookends (Brad and James).  Thanks guys for the love and encouragement.

 

To reinforce matters Oswald Chambers hit me upside the head today too.

Our Lord’s making of a disciple is supernatural. He does not build on any natural capacity of ours at all. God does not ask us to do the things that are naturally easy for us— He only asks us to do the things that we are perfectly fit to do through His grace, and that is where the cross we must bear will always come. (My Utmost for His Highest, September 25).

So why all of the fear?  What is there to be afraid of?

Do you even know what in the world I am talking about?

I’m talking about 1 Peter 1:7 and Romans 10:14-15.  I’m talking about what Joel said to me back in Summer of 1985 – after I talked with him about 1 Peter 1:7.  He doesn’t remember it I’m sure… but I do.  I’m talking about the Holy Spirit speaking to me in the Fall of 1985 in Old Testament class through Romans 10:14-15.

It’s amazing how our minds recall the “God moments” in our lives. 

It’s amazing how it takes 20+ years to say yes… for such a time as this.

No shilly-shallying…

… when it comes to prayer.

According to Dictionary.com, to shilly-shally is:

1. to show indecision or hesitation; be irresolute; vacillate.
2. to waste time; dawdle.

Over the course of the last month I have taken my time getting through the book of Mark.  This morning I have completed that journey.  I know I will return to travel through the words found on these pages in the days ahead.  As I read this morning, I focused on the various times praying came up. 

Just after Jesus walked up to a fig tree and cursed it Jesus responds to Peter’s remark at the now shriveled up tree:

Jesus was matter-of-fact:  “Embrace this God-life.  Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you.  This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’ – no shuffling or shilly-shallying – and it’s as good as done.  That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large.  Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything.  And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking.  If you have anything against someone, forgive – only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins.” (Mark 11:22-25, The Message).

I guess the most striking moment for me was Peter, James, and John falling asleep as Jesus was agonizing in the garden.  Jesus comes to them and addresses Peter:

Simon, you went to sleep on me?  Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour?  Stay alert, be in prayer, so you don’t enter the danger zone without even knowing it.  Don’t be naive.  Part of you is eager, ready for anything in God; but another part is as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire. (Mark 14:37-38, The Message).

My take away here is this: 

  1. Stay alert
  2. Do not hesitate to pray
  3. Pray with faith – believing
  4. Pray about everything (there is nothing too small and it’s all important to God)
  5. Prayer is not all about asking 
  6. Prayer is getting things right with others and forgiveness of sins.

The need to pray about everything is very important.  To act without praying would be to take that “one thing” into your own hands… as if to live in ones own power. 

For me, the need to stay alert is crucial.  By living life alert in prayer allows the spirit man to be ready for anything.  As I’ve thought about this, I’ve considered the many times I have gone to the Lord in prayer with anxious – worried thoughts.  The day in and day out moments caught up in worry.  It would be real easy for Jesus to approach me as he did Peter and question, “Roye, you went to sleep on me? Stay alert!”

James compares those who “worry their prayers” to the waves of the sea.  “If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father.  He loves to help.  You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.  Ask boldly, believing, without a second thought.”  (James 1:5-6a, The Message).

Oswald Chambers in today’s Utmost speaks up on this subject as well,

Have you been propping up that foolish soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God to handle? Set all your opinions and speculations aside and “abide under the shadow of the Almighty” ( Psalm 91:1  ). Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about whatever concerns you. All our fretting and worrying is caused by planning without God.

Growing like Peter

Following God will always be one of the greatest acts any person could ever do. Too often when one tries to follow God in obedience others ridicule and tear down… judge whether this or that is a “wise” thing or not. The sad part is that more often than not it comes from “brothers and/ sisters” in Christ. Jesus experienced this himself from Peter. Jesus’ response to Peter was, “Get behind me Satan.”

One of the pressures a believer in Christ will face is the “approval” of those watching. The approval each Christian is to seek is that of God… and that approval can only be found in His Son – Jesus. Unfortunately, as humans we desire that nudge from others who affirm God’s working in our lives. Sometimes to the point of not moving unless all around agree or approve. Sometimes God just says, “Do this thing.” Our only response should be to obey.

Sometimes when we set out in following God’s dream for our lives we discover that the decision we’ve decided to make is not the right one (or the best one). In light of eternity, that’s alright. God’s grace is more than any of us could ever dream. It’s through making mistakes we get to know God… after-all that’s what He desires… for us to know Him. Think about the exchange between Jesus and Peter referenced above. Peter got to know God, His purposes, and His plans through his speaking out against His plan. We get to know Him when we do the right thing too… but for some reason it’s through those trials in life that the knowledge gained sticks with us all the more.

I’ve made some decisions in life (I’m sure have appeared to others as dumb… not well thought out moves.) But that’s ok… even though I’ve had to learn some tough lessons… I think I have come to know God in a much richer and deeper way. I’m still learning and growing in following Him. Even today as I pray through things on my heart… I’m getting to know Him

We should never think as though we have messed up God’s plan in anyway for having made a decision that may seem rather ridiculous to others. It just may be that those things that seem foolish to everyone else was indeed what God wanted all along.

Peter expresses what he came to know of God in 1 Peter 4:12-13, 19,

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad – because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world… So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you.