Friday, May 20, 2016


Authority is a principle that’s known to most people.  Some people appreciate it because they understand that without any authority in our lives, things would be chaos.  Yet others, detest the idea of anyone having authority over them.

Authority is seen all through Scripture.  It is an attribute of God.  It is a part of His nature. He has authority over everything and everyone.

I was reading through the book of Matthew this week and thinking this week about the authority of Jesus.  Jesus continually demonstrated His authority.  Matthew 7:28-29 comes right after Jesus has preached the Sermon on the Mount.  “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law."

Jesus taught with authority.  In the culture of that day, most of the teachers quoted other people.  Jesus didn’t quote anyone. He just spoke the truth and did it with authority.

In Matthew 8 we find the story about Jesus calming the storm.  You remember the story.  The storm was raging and the disciples were afraid. Jesus was asleep and they went and woke Him up.  Jesus then rebuked the winds and the waves and it immediately got calm.  The disciples were amazed that the even the winds and the waves obeyed Him.

That chapter goes on to tell the story about Jesus driving the demons out of a man and into a herd of pigs. In this story, the demons recognized Jesus and obeyed Him.
In Matthew 9 we see Jesus healing the paralytic man.  In this story, Jesus shows His power over sickness and disease.

Then He calls Matthew to follow Him.

As I thought through these passages, I came up with these ideas.  If I really believe Jesus had authority over the wind, the waves, the demons, and sickness, how could I not follow Him?

This is not a “have to” follow Him.  This is - “WOW! God chose me to follow Him!”  This is - I “get to” follow Him.  What is there to be afraid of?  Everything is under His authority.  He created it all.  He’s in control of it all.

And He calls me to follow Him, just like He called Matthew. So what are my choices?  I have the freewill to choose to get up and follow, or to refuse and go my own way.  But I must choose.

I choose to get up and get moving and follow Jesus.  There’s more to having a relationship with Jesus than just praying a prayer.  There’s more to it than just studying His Word.  Although both of those things are important, I’m saying there’s more.  There’s obedience and action.

If you continue to read through Matthew you find that Jesus calls 12 disciples. Then in Matthew 10, He tells them that He is sending them out like sheep among wolves.  He is cautioning them about the world in which He is sending them into.  This is true today as I go out as a disciple of Jesus. The world wants to tear me apart. Sometimes it is even people in my own family that come against me. But what choice do I have – I either follow, or I turn my back on Jesus.

My decision - I simply have to follow Jesus – it’s all I want to do.  I trust Him completely. I believe everything He has promised me.

In Matthew 24, Jesus tells us that many people will turn their backs on their faith, but he that endures to the end will be saved.  It’s all going to be worth it.  It might not be easy, but the rewards will be amazing.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Soul Searching

I’ve spent the last month doing some real soul searching.  I was wrestling with God about continuing on in my current job.  I want more than anything to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord.  At age 55, I am still wrestling with where is He leading me?  Am I where I am supposed to be?  I am finding that this is really a lifelong pursuit of God and seeking to stay in the center of His plan for my life.

How can I know that I am doing what I am called to do?

The first thing to consider is, am I walking with God?  Am I seeking to grow in my relationship with God? Am I spending time in the Word and in prayer?  Am I seeking to know Him and not just seeking to know about Him?  Am I taking advantage of opportunities in my church for Bible study and growth? 
Proverbs 3:5-6  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
I need to be willing to surrender my will to God’s will.  I need to be committed to doing whatever it is that He desires for me to do.  I can’t try to manipulate God.  I can’t tell God what my plans are and just expect Him to put His stamp of approval on them.  Jesus died for me, I should be willing to live for Him.  When I surrender my will to His, He will direct my steps.
Romans 12:1-2  “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
I need to be willing to be obedient to what I already know to be God’s will.  God reveals a lot of what His plan for our lives is through His Word.  Do I know His Word?  Am I living obediently to all I know? If I don’t obey what I already know to be true, why would He want to reveal any more of His plan for my life?  Obedience is a key beginning step.
Another key step is to seek the input of godly advisors in my life.  I need to seek out men and women who I know have a close walk with the Lord.  People I know will give me sound Biblical and godly advice.  I am trying to surround myself with five people who are living in close obedience to the Lord.  Then when they give me advice, I need to listen! 
Proverbs 11:14  “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.”
I have been created to fulfill a specific role in this world. (And not just me - you were, too.) There is no one else who can achieve completely what God has created me to do. God has gifted me to perform some specific ministry/ good works which I alone was created to do. 
Ephesians 2:10  “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
I need to pay attention to how God has gifted me.  His plan for me will most likely be related to the gifts He has already given me. 
1 Peter 4:10  “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

I need to be quiet and listen to God’s Spirit.  I need to pray and I need to lay my heart out before the Lord, but then I simply need to shut up and listen.  I need to pay attention to what God might be saying to me.  I need to ask the Lord some key questions and then be still.

•What is my next step in my job?
•What is my next step in my ministry?
•What is my next step for my marriage?
•What is my next step for my education?
•What is my next step for my finances?
I need to spend time meditating on these kinds of questions.  I need to listen and allow God to speak to me.  Then I need to write down what He speaks to my heart - I can’t trust my memory!  What an amazing experience as His Spirit guides my thoughts and words.  I long for those times when He speaks to me like that!
John 10:27  “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
I need to listen to the Spirit, but I also need to listen to my heart. 
Psalm 37:4-5 "Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass."
As I am walking with the Lord, He will actually allow me to do things that I love to do.  When I am close to Him, He shapes my desires so that I desire the things that He has already called me to do. 
For example, I never knew that I liked to speak to groups of people about my faith.  As I sought Him, He opened the doors for me to speak at a women’s retreat.  I never knew I could have that much fun!  Then pretty soon I got another opportunity and then another and then another.  His plan is amazing and exciting!  I have the most fun in life when I am doing His will.  All that is because He is changing me and my heart to want to do the things for which He created me.
God often shows His plan for my life by lining up circumstances in obvious ways. And, He also shows me what is not His will for me in the same way.  He’s a master of opening and closing doors.  This is not to say that every open door is definitely God’s plan for me, but it does help give me some basic direction.
Does all of this mean it is easy to discern God’s will for me?  Not always.  But it does give me somewhere to start?  These principles help guide me in my pursuit to do and to be exactly what He wants me to do and to be.  As I seek Him with my whole heart, I will find Him.
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