Shaken not Stirred

“There is a difference between believing in God and trusting in God.” Terry Norton
What would you do if you saw your son lying face down on a football field unable to move? What would you trust God for knowing that your son would only have a 3% chance of ever moving anything below his collarbone again?
Those were the thoughts running through Terry Norton’s mind the day he was told by doctors that his son, Chris, would never walk anywhere again, let alone walk down the aisle with his bride, Emily, on their wedding day (pictured).
Terry thought his faith was pretty strong, but his faith hadn’t really been tested like this before.
He said, “When things were at their darkest, I sat there with my eyes closed and thought about every wasted night, every wasted minute I had spent worrying about things that didn’t matter. Stress at work, drama with friends or a youth sport, you name it, I thought, what a waste. When you finally face a real “challenge” you realize how much time we spend worrying about insignificant things.”
Terry’s faith had been stirred from time to time, but never shaken to the point where he had to trust in someone bigger than himself.
Biblical faith is not stated. It’s seen. Believing things about God are not the same as doing what He says to do because you trust Him. Knowing about God and knowing Him from experience are two completely different things.
Do you merely believe Jesus? Or, are you trusting Him? Your choices in the present, not your words, will reveal whether your faith can withstand a good shaking in the future.
Take a page from God’s playbook for Ken. Move on to trust. You’re going to need it in the coming days.

Freedom Realities

“We can’t really tell how crooked our thinking is until we line it up with the straight edge of Scripture.” Elisabeth Elliot
Take up your cross. Love those who are hard to love anyways. Forgive others or your Father won’t forgive you. Be okay when people insult you. Do it right…every time. If you want to be perfect, sell everything and give it away.
Jesus said those words, not me. Pretty tough stuff, right? Yet, the reality is that Jesus knew who He was talking to in each case; and, it was exactly what they needed to hear if they wanted to find life today, tomorrow and on into eternity.
Jesus tells it to us straight, out of love. It is the only way to set us free from what hinders us from becoming more like Him.
I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this, but there have been times when I’ve shut my Bible or didn’t even open it because I didn’t want to hear what I knew I was about to read.
Yet, to grow closer to Jesus, I needed those tough words spoken to me so He could expose what was in the way of my loving Him.
Jesus says what needs to be said in a loving and appropriate manner, even when the words are tough. It’s the only way to live in freedom. If you are not hearing those types of words from time to time, you’re probably listening to the wrong god.

Be Honest with Yourself

Lying to yourself hurts you the most.
One symbol in this picture stands for being honest with oneself. The other tries to hide behind an unworkable ideal where one can live anyway they want.
In the upper left hand corner is a cross. Jesus says by looking to Him when He was on the cross, one would find salvation. This act of dying, which would lead to a resurrection, would prove that He is God; and, the only One who can give life real and lasting meaning and fulfillment.
The one in the lower right is the anarchist symbol, which stands for “no gods, no masters”. However nice the sound of living free of outward authority might be, it doesn’t work in the real world.
Scripture repeatedly exposes the reality of this philosophy – personal and societal chaos. Read Romans 1 or the end of Judges. See the types of behaviors that result when there is no higher authority than humanity itself.
Nature abhors a vacuum. Someone or something will always fill that authority vacuum – you or someone else.
Please remember two truths here. One, you, I and the rest of humanity are broken. And two, government is broken people making broken decisions, no matter how noble their ideals may sound.
A better life and a better society start with being honest with ourselves. You and I reek at being our own authority. If you have not yet grasped this truth, be patient. You will. Need help? Read the history of mankind.
Jesus submitted to a higher authority – His Father. He only did and said what His Father said. Yes, this led to His death. But that was not the end of the story. He rose again!
Only Jesus can bring dead things, like your personal life, career, marriage, family, city, country, etc., to life again.
If you claim to be a Jesus follower, be honest with yourself. Are you submitting to Jesus’ authority in your life? Be honest. Before you say or do anything, are you listening to Him first and then doing what He says?
Want change? It starts with being honest with yourself.

The Hardest Simplicity

The conscience can go off at the most inopportune time!
There are times in the Scriptures when we walk with God; and at other times, we run with Him.
Both imply one thing. We’re making progress toward becoming like Jesus; even if, at times, it’s at a slower pace.
What impedes this progress? What we allow to roll around in our heads. If we fall down, which means no forward movement, it is because we chose not to do what He said to do. And then, a wonderful thing happens, our conscience starts pinging like crazy!
Wonderful? Yup. This pinging is God’s way of getting our attention to come to Him, ask His forgiveness; and then, grab His hand up to begin walking or running with Him again. It’s that simple.
We make it hard by ignoring the pinging. We do this, more than likely, because we feel like we don’t have the right to get up so quickly.
You’re right. You don’t. Yet, Jesus made it possible based on what He already did.
The hardest (because we don’t deserve it) simplicity (He made it easy to get up), then is making progress to quickly turn back to Him once you fall rather stay down in your drug of choice.
Yes, the conscience can go off at any time. In Christ, however, you have the ability to turn it off…quickly…through turning back to Jesus.