Comfortable?

2016-04-20 07.11.59.png

 

What is it you are praying for most? Do you want your life to be comfortable or significant? It’s not impossible for it to be both, but God is much more concerned in shaping us and making us into the image of His son, than making us “comfortable”. Being comforted is different than being comfortable. Being conformed to the image of Jesus is the only way to lead a significant life now that will matter later and this often only happens through discomfort and discontentedness. If God has placed you in an uncomfortable situation rest assured that He will bring you through and the things you learn and who you become will be far more valuable than any “comfort” this life would procure.‪#‎lifecoach‬ ‪#‎mentor‬ ‪#‎discipleship‬ ‪#‎disciple‬ ‪#‎vision2hear‬ ‪#‎v2hwave‬‪#‎v2hawaken‬

Advertisements

Devotionals For Leaders: Garden Of Weeds

garden of weeds

…our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. —Romans 6:6

Sin is not something we can manage. Try as we may to maintain it, sin will grow like a weed in a garden and that weed must be plucked out, killed, destroyed, lest it take over. We must come to this decisive moment on our own, though. There has to be a time when the beauty of the flowers, the fragrance of their blossoms become more desirable than the beauty of the weeds. Sure weeds have flowers and perhaps even a fragrance but nothing compared to that of the glorious rose! As tired as we may become of seeing the weeds grow, there has to be a time when we do something about it.

Paul speaks of dealing with the weeds of sin throughout the book of Romans. Taking a verse like Galatians 2:20, Paul declares his own identification with Jesus on the cross to the demise of sin. But in Romans 6:11 Paul gives a very clear statement that we must “ consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” We must look at things a certain way; ourselves a certain way.

If the beauty of the weeds in our lives is still attractive, it is because we have failed to envision a Garden for which we were created. We have been duped into looking at the fruit of one tree instead of the Fruits of the Garden. To get back to the Garden Life, we must identify with another tree first and that is the cross of Christ. Otherwise, sin will eventually overtake our entire being.

As leaders we must be as ruthless about sin in our lives, perhaps more than we are with anyone else. We cannot control or maintain other people’s spiritual diets, habits, or struggles but we can deal with our own. And we must. Paul says that there is only one way to deal with sin and that is to destroy it. We cannot pamper, cater, feed, nurture, hide, or pretend anything about sin. It is deadly; therefore must be destroyed in our own lives. Jesus died to destroy the nature and power of sin, thus we need not submit to it any longer.

Oswald Chambers said:

Pull yourself up, take some time alone with God, and make this important decision, saying, “Lord, identify me with Your death until I know that sin is dead in me.” Make the moral decision that sin in you must be put to death.

Final Thought: Sin will not grow at the foot of the cross.

John 13:12-17 The Power To Serve

Surge Power To Serve

12 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16 Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. John 13:12-17

What does the Son of God choose to do with His final mealtime with His disciples? Instead of focusing on the inevitable death that’s to come, He offers other thoughts during this last supper. Jesus chooses to turn the power-scale upside down. In an absolute power surge, Jesus shows where real power is found: in service. What can we take away from this passage about service?

Use power to serve others.

The most powerful person/leader to ever live chose to serve and not be served. Even in His soon-to-be-departure where He could have been focused on other things, He chose to focus on others. Jesus’ life was always focused on serving others. He did this all the way to the end. Jesus taught that power is not about being first but being able to be a servant to all.

Serving others is what we are called to do.

Jesus set the example and then commissioned His disciples to do as He did. It would be one thing if He had not shown us how but He did. Taking up something that would have been left for the lowliest of “servants” to do, Jesus shows that no task or job is beneath Him and therefore nothing should be too “low” for us. Stooping should be natural for disciples of Jesus. Obviously, this requires humility, as well as paying attention for the chances we have to serve others.

Jesus looked for opportunities to serve.

In our day, people try to avoid as much work and service as possible. But disciples of Jesus are not to be like this. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Jesus’ followers should be hard-working, ever-looking people who willingly jump at the chance to serve others. Jesus took this opportunity because He saw it as one. Others ignored it or thought someone else should do it, but Jesus realized that this was a great teaching and loving time. Service is an act of love. Disciples look for ways to serve because it’s a way to communicate love.

Servants look for ways to elevate others.

Jesus took advantage of this time to love His disciples and elevate them in value and importance. He was teaching them that stepping down was essential in learning to lead like Him. From the beginning of His life, Jesus had demonstrated that stepping down would be a huge part of what following Him would be about; He left Heaven and stepped down to earth. Now He is teaching His disciples who have had a hard time accepting who would be on His left and right in Heaven, that following Him is not about elevating ourselves but others. Stepping down to serve others is the first step in the right direction to following Him.

 

Quiet Time: Thoughts And Reflections 1 John 2:2

Quiet Time

He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world —1 John 2:2

Jesus being my “propitiation” means that His sacrifice of Himself satisfied God’s anger and wrath of sin, thus opening the door for all to walk through into a relationship with God by faith in Christ alone.
As a missionary for Christ, this is to be the message preached, that the world can be saved through the death, burial and resurrection of Christ because He alone is what satisfies God’s wrath of sin. This gift of grace extends to all who believe. There is no limitation to whom can be saved because of what Christ has already done.

Jesus is not caught up in some battle for a nationalistic belief, personal preference, or racist bias. However, He is seeking that all would acknowledge Him in unwavering allegiance as the Lord of all because He is the Lamb of God who took away the sins, not just of my own, or a city, or nation but of the entire world. A missionary committed to the Lord is one who is devoted to that message being preached throughout the world.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I cannot take on my own persuasion as to where to to whom the gospel is preached. Much like Jonah, some may have a tendency to hold onto prejudices and want to let people die apart from God’s love. Yet God sent His son to die and be the propitiation for the WHOLE world. It’s not about me preaching what I like or want to share. I must share TRUTH and the TRUTH is that God sent His son for everyone, not just the people I like.

George Lockhart

 

Quiet Time: Thoughts And Reflections

Quiet Time

You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am . . . . I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master . . .John 13:13, 16

Jesus is not interested in me learning some good principle or teaching. What He is interested in is developing my character and life until I am just like Him. Jesus wants to be more than my Guide through life as He is also the Source of life.Having a master and teacher means that I am continually under instruction. The Lord is not one to take instructions but He will not force His way into my life. He will patiently wait for me to realize that I am lost and then lead me if I am willing to heed His teaching.
Jesus wants me to follow Him out of love and obedience because I trust Him. He is not desirous for me to be in relationship with Him if it’s out of obligation or a sense of compulsion. No one wants that! A relationship like that is simply miserable. Often in our society we look at obedience as a word to be despised, yet Jesus Himself “learned” obedience and poured out His love because on a loving relationship with His Father.

Jesus was the role model and example of every character quality trait in its perfection. If I want to learn anything about character or human relationships, I should be willing and desirous to learn from the very best.

For more on this topic read My Utmost For His Highest

 

Can You Hear Me Now Part 3

can you hear me now header

 

Luke 10:38-42

38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Making sure one’s life is in focus is of utmost importance. In fact, many people are more prepared for “retiring” than for dying, more prepared for this life than for the next. Is this the case for you? There are a couple of things that stand out to me from this passage in Luke that I have to remember if I want to keep my focus for life.

Realize What Distracts Me.

Martha was distracted as the verse says. And her distractions came from something “good” in life. She was busy about serving the Lord, preparing a meal for Him and the disciples. There was nothing inherently wrong with what she was doing; except that it distracted her from what was of greatest importance. There are going to be days when I will have to choose between what is good, better or best. What I have to remember is: say yes to the best and say no to the rest. Anything can become a distraction: things, people, or service. An old tongue twister I heard years ago is a great reminder to me in times like this: the main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.  Martha had this chance to have Jesus in her home and to spend intimate time with Him but she got caught up in serving. She got more involved in what she was doing instead of why she was doing it.

Remember Why I Am Doing What I Am Doing.

I believe that Martha’s heart was full of good intentions and plans when she invited Jesus and the guys over. But then something happened. She got overwhelmed by trying to pull off a huge meal. She got involved in all the details of the day and got lost in frustration and anger. When overwhelmed with projects, service, people, and busyness, it’s easy to become exhausted emotionally and spiritually. Running on emotional and spiritual fumes leads to a fuming attitude, and Martha certainly had one. She had forgotten why she was doing the preparation. She had forgotten who it was she was doing this for. It became all about her, what was fair or “right”. She had forgotten that she was the one who had invited Jesus over for the meal and her attitude had dissolved into an accusatory assault not only on her sister but her guest. Martha had completely lost focus. When I am blaming others or blaming God for work that I am doing or chose to do, then my life is out of focus.

Refocus On Jesus.

Martha came to Jesus with her complaint but she was not awarded her request. Jesus gently rebukes her and then explains that Mary had chosen the right thing, which was to focus on the Lord, listening to what He said. Martha was asking…even demanding that Jesus tell her to help. But Jesus isn’t persuaded nor inclined to do so. This requires Martha to refocus on Jesus. All things come to a halt. Martha has to stop for a moment and refocus. Her sensibility and frustrations are now called into the light. “Why are you so worried about this, Martha?” In other words; Where did you lose your focus? How did this happen? Let’s stop for a few minutes and look at this from a different perspective. Jesus asks the same of me. Of you. Can you hear me now?

George ProfileGeorge Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves as the Creative/Mission Pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA