Wednesday, April 20, 2011

God's Choice or Chance

How do you determine God's will for your life. Do you go on your feelings; do you go on the circumstances you find yourself in; or do you look to God's Word for the final say on His will?

Many people make major decisions in their lives based on how they feel. And friends, feelings are probably the poorest determiner of the top three. "It can't be wrong, when it feels so right" has gotten many Christians into troublesome situations. Feelings are so dependent on present circumstances and can often lie to us about what is really true. We all have feelings and they are often legitimate barometers in our lives that should drive us to find truth where it really is.

Circumstances are also shaky determiners of God's will for our lives. They come and go and change often. They are the basis for feelings and we know that feelings can often lie to us. Based on where you find yourself right now and what has just happened or has happened in the past, you feel that God doesn't love you. You feel that He has abandoned you. You feel that life is not worth living. You feel isolated and alone. When circumstances leave you with feelings like these, be careful in what direction you choose to go. It could be disastrous.

The only true and never- failing way to really know God's will is to know His Word. It is clearer than most people would want to admit. When people say the Bible is too hard to read, they really mean that they don't like to read it or don't want to read it. The many versions of the Bible average out to about a sixth grade reading ability. Wow! What excuse do you come up with too often to not read His Word? To know His Word is to know His will. His Word will destroy lies. God has and will always love you. He will never leave you or forsake you. Your life is precious to God. His exceeding great and precious promises will always blow away the lies that the enemy of your soul tries to destroy you with.

Friends, one final word. Doing God's will is not like going to a grocery store. You know: like going down the aisles of The God's Will Store. Oh, blessings -- yes, I take some of that. Prosperity -- yup, I really want a lots of that. Grace -- oh, can't have enough of that. What's that there, sacrifice -- no, I'll pass. Suffering -- no, thanks. Generous giving -- don't need that right now.

Get the picture. Up North Wisdom says we have two choices: doing or not doing God's will. It's all or nothing. It's not ours to pick and choose. Make a commitment today. "Lord, with Your help, I am going all the way with you. I will read Your Word and I will live by Your Word. I choose everything you have for me. Thank You for forgiving me, Lord, when I fail and go my own way. I will not go back. The World behind me and the Cross before me -- no turning back, no turning back." Amen.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Post It

I write a lot of notes to myself. It's the only way I will remember to do certain things --or to not do certain things. And I post those notes in the places that I have to see them. I understand one can post notes on their computers as well. I don't -- at least not yet. :)

My mother wrote notes to herself and put them in places where she would be prone to see them. We found some of them after she went to heaven. They were notes to remind her to do or not do certain things. Things like: "Don't get bitter when things don't turn out the way I want them to." "Be easy to be around." "Develop a sweet spirit as I get older." "Don't be a complainer." "Be an encourager." You get the picture?

The Psalmist prayed that his words, thoughts and spirit would be acceptable to God. Are yours? Are mine? Maybe we need to write more notes to ourselves. How do people see you? How do you see yourself? What changes do you want and need to make in the way you talk, act and think? If you ask God, believe me He will show you very clearly just what those areas are.

Up North Wisdom says "take a chance." Listen to how God speaks to you about these and other areas of your life that both you and He want to change. Write many notes to yourself and post them in obvious places where you have to look at them many times throughout the day. As one wise former pastor who is now in heaven used to say often: "It's not how you start that really matters the most, but how you finish that really counts." I want to finish well, don't you? Get those posty-notes ready, friends. The Best Is Yet To Come!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Listen and Respond

"I just wish God would speak to me about this matter." "I wish I could hear clearly from God." Have you ever said or thought those things? I think we all have. What keeps us (me) from hearing? Maybe the question is : why should God speak clearly to us if He knows we won't respond?

There are many areas where God is speaking clearly to the church and yet waits for a proper response and a proper response will take us far out of our comfort zones. We live in such a me first society. It would be hard to believe that any one would doubt that by just watching and listening to what is going on around them.

A huge change that God wants to take place in our lives when we become a believer is to change us from me first to others first. If life has to be always about me, then we have missed something and continue to miss one of the great essentials of the Christian Faith.

Ask God (if you dare) to reveal what areas of comfort that He wants to move you from and what will that look like in your life. How will you know? Easy.

Read and respond to God's Word.
Listen to the people who love and care for you.
Listen to your pastors on Sunday mornings and the times you need to be speaking to them.
Be open to being made very uncomfortable.

I know so many are not happy or content in their life's journey. Stop getting so angry and bitter about life's circumstances. Can you hear that? Repent. Do it now. Forgive others (and yourself) and then receive God's forgiveness. Up North Wisdom says understand the times. We are moving at breakneck speed towards the final hours. We don't have time to indulge ourselves in selfishness, self-pity, self-anything. God, others and me in that order may make you uncomfortable but it will bring you fulfillment that no other way can.

Open yourself up to that truth. Listen and respond (and join the uncomfortable club). Do it for the sake of God's Kingdom. You will learn to love it. And remember: The Best Is Yet To Come!