Doing vs. Following

Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” Francis Chan

Solomon once wrote, “The LORD detests the sacrifices of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases Him.” (Proverbs 15:8)

Christians can be very religious. They do things for God (“sacrifices”) thinking that’s what they need to be doing.

Instead, they should ask what Jesus meant when He said, “It was finished.”

For one, it means no more sacrifices are or religiosity is needed. Jesus doesn’t need us to do anything. He did everything necessary to put us into a right relationship with the Father.

Yet, we often find ourselves doing all kinds of things we think we should do something for Him. I wonder if He’s saying, “What in the world are you doing? I not only didn’t ask you to do that, but I’m not even in it.”

The word prayer in this proverb not only means to talk with God, but its root also means to judge. When tied together, we are to ask God to help us make judgements on the actions we are about to take each day that will please Him.

Sometimes we assume what He wants done rather than slowing down to ask Him where He is walking and then follow Him.

Jesus doesn’t need our religiosity. He simply wants a love that follows Him.

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Come As Is

“Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me. And that Thou bid’est me come to thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!”

The woman who wrote the above words in a poem, which became the song, Just As I Am, “touched more hearts and influenced more people for Christ than any other song ever written.”

Guess when she wrote them? When she thought herself useless due to an illness that had striped her of all her talent, left her fatigued and her status with Jesus unsure.

She doubted she could ever have any value to Him. Yet, in the midst of this doubt, she clung to Jesus and penned the above life changing song.

Jesus doesn’t need who you think you need to be. He only wants you to come to Him. Let Him figure out the rest and the follow what He shows you, which could be as simple as writing down words on a page.

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My Choices

“With God I can walk through hard times in a place of peace and that peace will impact those directly around me. It starts with my choice.” Katherine Walden

Choices. In reality, they are all we have. Every day, the only thing we have total control over is our choices. 

We can choose to be happy, content, at peace, experience joy, no matter the circumstances in which we find ourselves. 

No, I haven’t lost my marbles. Yes, we live in a fallen world where other people’s choices can bring situations we would not have chosen for ourselves. 

Nonetheless, we still have choices.

No one wants to fall flat on their back. No one wants to be ridiculed. No one wants either physical or emotional pain.

But these circumstances don’t stop us from still having choices. It’s the like the old adage, “When life sends you lemons make lemonade…with lots of sugar!” 

This is what Jesus came to do – redeem life’s lemons as we listen to and follow Him in how to turn them into sweet lemonade.

Children of God, those who put their faith in Jesus as their God and Savior, guess what He does? He can save or make us whole again despite life’s lemons.

He can show us how to make choices in His strength to keep at peace when chaos reigns around us. He can show us how to have joy while enduring painful situations. 

You may not like lemons; but, they do have healing properties. Make choices today to heal and be made whole.

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Lovingly Seek

The ultimate test of our spirituality is not what we do for God, but is our seeking Him.

Love God? Ask yourself, “How often do I seek Him?”

Pictured is the Hebrew word to seek. Imagine a pristine field of acres upon acres of untouched wheat before the tractor drove across it.

Now let’s say the farmer wanted to cross the field to meet a friend. To do this, he drove his tractor through the field and returned home. Afterward, some of the wheat would appear to be trampled; but nonetheless, the field would look as it did before he crossed.

If the farmer, though, wanted to be with his friend more often, he’d drive his tractor over the same spot. And each time he has a conversation with his friend, the path gets easier and easier to cross.

This is what it means to seek God. We talk with Him so much that we make a pathway that gets easier with each conversation.

Religion and false spirituality is thinking we have to do for God what He’s already done for us. Biblical spirituality is about staying in connection with the Father while doing what He asks with us.

So what’s your field look like – some trampled wheat or a pathway? Lovingly seek your Father. He loves to walk with you as go about your daily life with Him.

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Just One More Lord

“God is in control, but He doesn’t expect you to lean on the shovel and pray for a hole.” Unknown

The Israelites returned to Jerusalem after being kicked out by God through Nebuchadnezzar, who razed both the Temple and Jerusalem to the ground.

Upon returning, the exiles now saw that destruction first hand – most for the very first time. For hundreds of yards, all they could see were boulders upon boulders. (Those pictured are the work of Rome, who also destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem.)

So what did they do? Delay. They take a few months off and then return to start the project. They got the burnt offering altar back up and running. But then, nothing more was done for another seven months – another delay.

In the meantime, they were “encouraged” to move forward by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, who ultimate penned the famous verse, “It’s not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord.” (4:6)

Yes, their prayers had been answered. God brought them home. Yes, the task He had for them seemed daunting, which led to the delays. They acted like the Temple would rise by itself!

They were relying on what they could see (boulders) and not on the One they couldn’t see.

Nope, each boulder would become a prayer. “Lord give me the strength to put one more boulder in place.” And once that was done, “Lord, give me the strength to one more boulder in place.” Repeat until the project was done.

What has the Lord asked you to do, but you’re making excuses for not loving Him enough to obey?

It’s time to focus on the One who can get it done through and with you – one boulder at a time.

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