Friday, September 3, 2010

Are you walking in gratitude?

When Robinson Crusoe was wrecked on his lonely island, he drew up in two columns what he called the evil and the good. He was cast on a desolate island, but he was still alive--not drowned, as he ship's company was. He was apart from human society, but he was not starving. He had no clothes, but he was in a hot climate where he did not need them. He was without mean of defense, but he saw not wild beasts such as he had seen on the coast of Africa. He had no one to whom he could speak, but God had sent the ship so near to the shore that he could get out of it all the things necessary for his basic needs. So he concluded that there was not any condition in the world so miserable but that one could find something for which to be grateful.

For many of us, when there is a slight disturbance in the force of our lives, we tend to forget to look for and discover the things we have. We can always find something to express our gratitude for...even if it is something menial or minor. Remember that God looks for and it pleased when we walk and abide in the spirit of is evidence that we trust God.

Gratitude arises from the lived perception, evaluation, and acceptance of all of life as grace. the grateful heart cries out in the morning, "Thank you, Lord, for the gift of a new day." And it continues to express its gratitude as the blessings unfold. Brennan Manning, in his book "Ruthless Trust," suggests that "to walk in gratitude is a way of living that is inclusive, attentive, contagious, and theocentric." He continues by saying, "the antithesis of giving thanks is grumbling. The grumblers live in a state of self-induced stress."

The Apostle Paul echoed these final instructions to the Thessalonians, "give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." The late Henri Nouwen captures the spiritual work of gratitude when he said:

"To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives--the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections--that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to this present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for. Let's us not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God."

Make a conscious choice today to live and walk in will change your life!

Give thanks with a grateful heart!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Are You Willing to Wait?

How are you at waiting on God? How do you determine if God is giving you the green light to move forward? Many believers make the mistake of adding up all the pluses and then concluding that God has given them the green light. Several factors go into making a decision from the Lord.

It is important to do three things before you make a decision on a matter. First, you should gather facts. Fact gathering allows you to determine all the realities of a given situation. However, this does not ultimately drive your decision, but it can put a stop to it. For instance, if you were planning to build a shopping center and you knew the only way to lease the space was to rent to a porn shop, your decision would be made. God would not lead you to enter into unrighteous ventures.

Second, is the Holy Spirit guiding you in your decision? "If the Lord delights in a man's way, He makes his steps firm" (Ps. 37:23). George Mueller cites that the steps are also "by the Lord." God puts hedges around us, but many times we bull our way through the hedges under the guise of tenacity and perseverance. This too is unrighteousness. One wise workplace believer stated that the greatest success one can have in business is to know when it is time to pull the plug rather than keep forcing a situation. Not all businesses last forever.

Third, has your decision been confirmed? God has placed others around us to be used as instruments in our lives to confirm decisions and keep us from the deceit of our own heart. "Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses" (2 Cor. 13:1b). This is God's way of keeping us within the hedge of His protection.

"Write your plans in pencil and give God the eraser."

Monday, February 1, 2010

Getting God's Attention

I am attending my first Pastor's School Conference in Phoenix, Az. Tonight, I witnessed something awesome and inspiring as a Parade of Ministries from Phoenix First Assembly of God. I was awestruck as thousands of people for over 2 hours of outreach ministries were paraded on the platform of this enormous church. One of the things that touched my heart was the wonderful testimonies of how the Lord saved and rescued so many from prison, drugs, broken homes, loneliness, suicide, you name it, it was covered. The atmosphere in the place was simply electric as I was caught up in the euphoria of Salvation!

Pastor Tommy Barnett, who has been there 30 years, shared the vision that brought him to Phoenix and what he saw and what drives him today. Briefly, he shared how God led him to Phoenix because he desired to be in a place where you would never reach everyone. He also shared what has driven him since day one, "If I can get the attention of God, the impossible can happen." The conference is called the "Solutionary Conference," putting the words revolutionary and solution together.

I wonder what would happen in my life and yours when we "get God's attention!"

Consider the possibilities as ministry is rethought where permission is granted to begin ministries and maybe realize when a ramp is provided for the lost...they will come!