Rest While at Being at Work

We just left the weekend behind to start a new week. Can you stay at rest while at work this week? “Wait a second, how can I rest when I have to go to work?” Good question. There is an even better answer…Jesus.
Sound too simple? Truth usually is. Jesus came to give us rest, not just on Sabbath or on Sunday, but every day of the week. Rest is not the absence of expending energy. It’s the expenditure of faith. Rest is the truth that you can’t work your way to heaven or work your way into a better life. It’s about trusting the work Jesus already did for you, not your work for Him. By faith will you live out this truth this week?
Can you rest in the truth that Jesus paid and paved the way for you to go home someday? Take a load of your brain as you get ready for work. Can you rest in the truth that Jesus is living in and walking with you everywhere you go? If so, relax while you drive to work. Can you rest in the truth that Jesus who started the work of changing your life for the better will one day complete the task? If so, chill out as your park and get out of your car. Can you rest in the truth that your life has a purpose wherever you make a living? If so, put a smile on your face as you walk into your place of business.
Rest doesn’t happen on the weekends or after your get home from work. If that were true, then Joshua would have given the Israelites rest when he conquered the land of Canaan. Yet Hebrews 4:8 says that never happened. They still had battles to fight, even after entering the land. Rest is about facing your daily giants knowing the battle is already won. Rest is living each day in His presence knowing He can and will take care of you. You can, therefore, relax any and every day of the week.
You don’t have to be busy doing “stuff” to get something Jesus already gave you – life, love, significance and security. No, you can put your feet up and enjoy the rest Jesus has for you each and every day. So go ahead. Relax while at work this week. Oh yeah, tell Jesus, “Hi” for me.

Walking with Jesus is an Exercise of the Willing

Jesus asked a gentleman sitting by the Pool of Bethseda in Jerusalem, “Do you want to get well?” (Come to Israel with me and Hope for Israel in 2013 and see it for yourself!) This sounds like a strange question to ask a person who’d been sick for over thirty-eight years. It’s not as strange as it sounds when you look at Jesus’ response to the man after Jesus healed him. Jesus said, “Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” (John 5:5,14)
It appears from this comment that this guy had done something thirty-eight years earlier that landed him in his current situation – the inability to get into a pool of water without help. So the question naturally arose, did this guy really want to change? Jesus gave this guy a second chance at life. Would he repeat the same behaviors that caused his sickness and end up back here at this pool or see God continually change his life as he kept walking? It was his choice now.
One of the principles I teach in my parenting classes is that parents can’t control their kids, only influence them. You can’t make your children do anything. (“I’m standing on the outside, but sitting on the inside.”) You can only influence their choices by either turning up the consequences or taking away privileges/things. A loving parent does this in order to help their children see there is a better and more satisfying way to live.
Even God can’t control us! He can sure influence us in the right direction, however. We were created with the ability to choose; thus, we must want to change. We see this truth in the Old Testament stories of God sending plagues, famines, crop failures, drought, war, etc. on the people of Israel. (Deuteronomy 28) If they chose to live in His presence, there was peace. If they chose to live their way, God would turn up the heat. His goal was to get them to return to the path to peace. He wouldn’t or couldn’t make their choices for them. Love demands that He do this.
God relates the same way with believers today. Living with a BWV is only the process of getting closer to and living in the presence of Jesus. But if you don’t use it or want to use it, no one can make you. It’s your choice. Walking with Jesus is an exercise of the willing. If you want all that Jesus has for you – love, significance and security – you must choose to keep your biblically-based filter in the “On” position. If not, you could end up sitting by a pool watching others see their lives changed.

Focusing on Truth Overcomes Fear

Imagine sitting in your car. Your engine is humming quite nicely. Tunes are playing softly in the background. All of a sudden, your heart starts racing. Sweat beads form on your forehead. You can hardly catch your breath. You’re so afraid you simply want to get out of your car. And you haven’t even left your garage!
What are you afraid of, you’re still in the garage where no one can touch you? The common term used for this is an “anxiety attack.” How can you overcome your fears? Recent research studies have concluded what the Bible already teaches. Change the way you think. They call it cognitive therapy. I call live it living with a Biblical worldview. Those anxiety disorders that are not caused by physical challenges, can be overcome by recognizing where the fear starts and replacing it with the truth. Exchanging one thought for another one. Ripping up one mental picture and replacing it with a more peaceful one.
In the above scenario, being in the car brought back a rush of memories from a previous life-threatening accident. These memories came from touching the car seat, smelling the interior of the car, and hearing the engine hum. All this information brought them back to the scene of their accident, which resulted in their physical reactions: racing heart, sweaty forehead and rapid breathing. Yet they were safely in the garage, not out on the open road where they could be hit again.
The first step to recovery is to ask yourself, “Do I want to live without the fear? Am I willing to get help? And, am I willing to trust Jesus?” (Galatians 5:1) If yes, if you haven’t already done so, ask Jesus to take away those fears and/or painful memories. He can do the miracle! If He doesn’t, however, don’t beat yourself up. All He is saying is that He wants to use the everyday process He gave in His word – the FREEdom process part of a Biblical worldview.
With a friend or in a safe place, ask the Spirit to bring those painful images to mind that cause the fear. As you read the Word, ask the Spirit to show you the truths you’ll need to put in place of those fear causing memories. Then one by one take those fearful images and replace them in your mind with the truths the Spirit gave you. As you practice doing this every time those painful images re-surface, you’ll begin to heal or remove the pain attached to those memories. As this happens, the accompanying physical symptoms will also go away, much like a physical scar. As the wound heals, the pain goes away. All that remains is the memory of how the scar got there.
A study out of Toronto Canada pointed to the fact that there is “actual brain wave evidence that thoughts of God have a calming effect on the brain” for those who believe in God. Again, science is catching up with the Bible. Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace (opposite of fear) him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in You.” The key is what you allow your mind to focus on – Jesus and the truths He points out or your fears. Focusing on the truths the Spirit reveals to you will help you overcome your fears.

Validate your feelings…are you kidding me?

You’re having a great time with your family at your favorite restaurant. The hostess sat you at a table directly across from the bathroom with your two boys, ages 10 and 12. They ask and you give them permission to use the restroom. A few minutes later, a waiter comes out of the bathroom heading directly towards your table. He looks ticked. When he arrives, he begins to chew you out. Your kids are flushing toilet paper down the toilet causing water to flood the floor, which he has to clean up.
How do you feel? Confused, my boys wouldn’t do that? Embarrassed, my boys could do that? Anger, at your boys for doing such a thing and the waiter for treating you so horribly?
You get up from your pleasant evening and head to the bathroom. Once there, you discover your boys using the stalls properly. It’s not your kids who are stuffing the toilet with paper. Now, how do you feel? Relieved, as a smile comes across your face?
I’m sure there are other feelings arising within you, but let’s stick to your initial reaction. Were your initial feelings justified? No! They were based upon faulty information. If your kids had gone and returned from the bathroom without incident, your pleasant night would’ve continued. Yet, because of faulty information and your reaction to it, your evening became one big teachable moment.
I don’t believe just because someone “feels” something that they those feelings must be validated. “I’m angry and you have to accept that fact.” No, I don’t. The definition of validation is to be “sound; just; well founded; well grounded in logic or truth.” What if your anger is not based on truth? It is no longer sound, just and well founded. So why validate it?
Feelings don’t need to be automatically validated. They do need to be acknowledged so you can discover what is underneath – the root issue of what is happening. What is causing these feelings? Is it righteous? Is it true? In the above situation, you felt embarrassed and angry until you checked out the cause and discovered your emotions to be unfounded.
Some have put feelings above truth. The Bible never does. In fact, faith often runs opposite of the way we feel or think. Faith tells us to do something that is in our best interest, whether we feel like it or not. In this situation, faith tells us to slow down, process what we’re hearing and feeling through the Word (Biblical worldview) so we can listen to Jesus and let Him show us how to respond.
I like what one person said, “You can’t feel your way to faith.” Your feelings will catch up as you by faith put what Jesus tells you to do into action. At this point, I’ll be more than glad to validate your feelings.

God Gave Me a Brain…Right?

Our van was recently totaled after someone hit it in a parking lot. As we started our internet search to find a replacement, we asked God to guide our decision to find the best car for us. After 4 hours, we’d narrowed it to two vans, both at least an hour away from our home. After again asking the Lord to guide us, we sensed Him pointing us toward one particular vehicle, though we’d never actually seen it. We drove to the dealer to look at it, again asking the Lord to guide our decision. We ended up purchasing the vehicle.
I’ve often been asked when it comes to living with a biblically-based truth filter, “Hasn’t God given me a brain. Why do I have to clear every decision through Him? Why not just think a decision through and go for it?”
My first response is, “Well, what does the Bible have to say about this?” (See BWV definition in About.) First, humanity was born with a sin nature (Ps. 51:5), which affects our thinking. I need help. Second, Jesus was born without a sin nature (Luke 1:31,35) yet He cleared everything through His Father (Jn. 5:19). As His disciple, shouldn’t I follow His lead? Lastly, Paul states in 2 Corinthians 10:5 that we are to demolish all arguments that set themselves up against the knowledge of Jesus. We can make logical deductions, have sound rational bases for our decisions; and, can even be justified in our actions, but still be wrong!
Our brains are tainted with the left over residue of the sin nature. We’ve been thinking our way for so long, how do we know what the Lord wants? And doesn’t He want what is best for us, even when it comes to making a decision about buying a used car? This is a Biblical worldview. Filtering every area of our lives through the Book because we trust our God to know what is best for us.
Everything about the car “looked” good. It was detailed inside and out, right down to the new tires. I did all the things my mechanic told me to do in checking out a car. But I couldn’t see the important parts of the vehicle – the engine and transmission. The Lord could (Heb. 4:13). He could see past my justifications for buying this car. He could expose any loopholes in my rationalizations. He could even help me sort out what I was seeing to see what I couldn’t.
Yes, God gave us a brain. He expects us to use it by realizing we belong to Him, believing He knows what is best for us, and trusting Him to guide us to the best, even when it comes to used car buying. How is this done? Choose to use the brain God gave you by living with a Biblical worldview to filter out any and all lies in our thinking so we can draw closer to Him.