Glorifying God Where You Are

What if your purpose in life wasn’t so much about what you do or where you live, but about glorifying God (in) what you do and where you live?

Since I was a child I have wanted desperately for my life to count, to make an impact. Misguided, I have assumed that for this to take place, I must become a nun or it’s equivalent, a missionary or a pastor’s wife. Assuming nothing else would do.

After attending seminary and acquiring my Masters in Christian Education, I became a pastors wife and later a missionary. I’ve taught Bible studies and fulfilled numerous “ministry” roles. Then our life and ministry were seemingly put on hold. Our family of 5 was placed at a standstill waiting and trusting the Lord to bring about our next assignment.

For months I felt I had somehow lost my identity and longed for purpose, feeling I had none. Since no longer were we “doing” ministry, it was hard to recognize how or if my life was impacting anyone.

Then one day my eyes were opened as I looked around me and saw so many others who were not pastors wives, missionaries or nuns. They were teachers, dentist, counselors and moms who were living in their day to day environments making the most of every opportunity to minister to others, their co-workers and children. In the midst of “life” they were glorifying God where He had placed them and honoring Him.

The Lord has shown me that as John Piper says, “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.” He has taught me that it is not so much about what you do or don’t do or where you serve so much as it is about using each opportunity daily to dwell in His presence and honor Him in everything. For some that is done through the job they have, the church they pastor,the people they encounter or the children they raise.

There is much to be said for one who despite their circumstances, despite their feelings, glorifies God through each detail of their day. While washing dishes, bathing kids, teaching school or preparing a meal. When these are done with a thankful heart and offered up as an offering to the Lord, He is glorified, He is honored.

Yes, I am convinced that it matters little what you do or where you live. What matters most is glorifying Him despite these things and in the midst of where God has you. In doing what He has called you at this time in your life to do.

Let us glorify Him today where He has us by doing all things for His glory!

Thinking on Truth

It has been a long hard week. Due mostly to the fact that the majority of the week I have thought on lies. Not on purpose mind you, but lies nonetheless. It is amazing how quickly these lies filter into our thoughts. Unaware they come and if dwelt upon, they have the tendency to lead you to the bottom of the pit, as they have done for me this week.

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8 what we are to think upon and in essence what we are not to think upon. He says, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.”

Therefore, we are to think upon that which is true! Now this seems easy right? Wrong! We have to train our minds to do this, because it does not come naturally. Most of us allow our minds to wonder and dart about. As my husband says, my mind is much like spaghetti, and my thoughts tend to go from one extreme to another. Left to itself, my mind will go places it should not and think upon things the Lord never intended.

The enemy longs to distract us and he does this by targeting our thoughts. He longs to get us to believe lies and untruths concerning God, to make us dwell on the past  thinking about all the if onlys or worry about the future and all of the what if’s. If that doesn’t work he gets us angry at God by feeding us the lie that God is holding out on us.

How we think affects everything we do and say. This is why Paul tells us to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Paul understood the war that takes place each day in the mind. He knew how strong his emotions were and if he dwelt upon his situation or circumstance (considering he wrote most of the epistles from prison)  I’m sure he would have quickly become depressed. So Paul knew he had to be careful and guard his thoughts.

In the book, “Loving God with all of your Mind,” author Elizabeth George explains how serious this is. She says, one day as she was reading Phil. 4:8, the Lord made her aware of the fact that Paul is not just making a suggestion here, he is issuing a command.  Therefore when we do not think upon truth, we are sinning. She goes on to say that after understanding the seriousness of this, she began diligently guarding her thoughts and dealing seriously with lies. Casting them out and refusing to think upon anything that was not true. Amazingly as she did this, the stress and worries of life began to fade away and peace filtered in.

Most of us know the Scriptures. We know the truth, we have it memorized and can quote it. The problem is in applying it and living it. Knowing God cares but living as if He doesn’t. Knowing God will never leave or forsake us, yet feeling alone. We know He has good planned for us since before the creation of the world, yet we anxiously look toward our futures.

I know this, because this has been the reality of my week. Knowing in my head the truth, yet dwelling and thinking upon the lies. Living and feeling opposite of that which I know is true. I also know that this is no easy task. For our feelings tend to be stronger than the truth.

So how do we do this? I believe we have to train up our minds. The Lord tells us we are to love Him with all of our heart, soul, MIND and strength. We love Him with our minds when we train our minds to think upon truth. We can not be lazy. If we are, the lies will come in unawaringly and they will drag us down. We like the soldiers, must diligently train our minds. When a lie enters, we must cast it out with the truth. Allowing it to linger even for a second has the ability to drag us under.

Then what is true? The truth is, God loves you. He sent his son to die for your sins. He demonstrated His love at Calvary. You are special and important to Him. He even knows the number of hairs on your head and His thoughts of you outnumber the sands on the seashore. You are forgiven and righteous because of Christ. God has good works for you and your life that He planned before the foundation of the world. God does see and He does know what you’re going through. He has not forgotten you nor forsaken you. The Lord cares and is working all things out for good in your life, though at the moment you can not see what He’s doing. God is on His throne and He holds the whole world and your very life in His hand. He is sovereign and nothing takes Him by surprise. He cares for you and He can be trusted.

I encourage you and myself to take these and others truths of His Word to heart. To dwell and delight in these things. To ponder and meditate on truth. To get serious about dealing with lies and training our minds.  I realize this is difficult, but I also know it is well worth the effort.

 

Cut Down, Remove and Destroy

I read today about King Hezekiah. For years God’s people had done evil in His eyes. They had served other gods and been led astray. When Hezekiah becomes king he determines to do something about this. He begins by bringing in the Levites and the priest. The Bible says that they consecrated themselves to God. Which means they set themselves apart and dealt with any and all sin in their lives. For sixteen days they worked to purify the temple and to remove all the things within that were not supposed to be there. They restored it in accordance to the way it was to be. Hezekiah knew offerings had to be made, blood sprinkled and sins atoned for. So he brought 7 bulls, 7 rams, 7 male lambs and 7 male goats and offered them as sin offerings unto the Lord. While the offerings were being made, the people sang praises to God and worshipped. King Hezekiah then called all to come and offer sacrifices and thanksgiving offerings unto the Lord. At the end of this time, the Bible says the Israelites went throughout all of Judah and cut down Asherah poles, smashed and removed sacred stones and destroyed the high places and alters built to other gods. These people were serious about following after the Lord. (2 Chronicles 29-31).

Fast forward to the present time and though we may not have high places, Asherah poles or sacred stones throughout our homes, churches or lands. I do believe we all have idols in our lives and gods we bow down to. These could be anything from a long for control, to food, t.v. music, sports, drugs,or alcohol. For an idol is simply anything we put before God.

As I read this today, I sensed the Lord asking me, “What things are you willing to destroy, cut down and remove in your life so that you may draw close to Me?” As followers of Christ, we may not have addictions or struggle with blatant sins. But, what about the issues of the heart. Selfishness, pride, greed, lust, anger and worry? My guess is we that struggle with one or more of these.

I was recently reading a book by Nancy Leigh Demoss called Holiness. In this book she describes the fact that as Christians we are called to be holy, set apart unto the Lord. This holiness comes through our acceptance and relationship with Christ. For it is He who justifies us and makes us holy through His blood. However, the Scripture teaches repeatedly that we are to put off certain things and put on others to grow in our walks with Christ.In our pursuit of holiness we must deal and deal severely with sin. Nancy says in Latin that the word put off means to mutilate or to destroy completely. Anyone who has ever gardened knows that when pulling weeds it is not enough to pull it up unless you get the root. For without the root, it will continue to grow and destroy.

This is the picture seen in the story of Hezekiah. Sin was not just dealt with on the surface, it was cut down, removed and destroyed. In the Sermon on the Mt. Jesus gives us a vivid description of dealing with sin. He says, “that if your arm causes you to sin, cut it off. If your eyes causes you to sin, pluck it out (Mathew 5).” He was and is serious about sin. Jesus was seeking to make a strong point that we are to destroy, cut out and remove anything in our lives that leads us to sin. In the book Holiness, Nancy writes that if watching t.v., listening to certain music, hanging out with ungodly influences, playing certain games or reading fictional reading leads you to sin, to rid yourself of these things.

I have thought much about this, this week. See it is easy to point our fingers and blame others for the problems in the church, problems in the school and problems in the government, but this will not change anything. The real issue begins with me and with you. Are we willing to be Holy, set apart from the world? Do we long to pursue Christ and grow in our walks with Him? If the answer is yes and I hope it is, then we must be ready to cut down, remove and destroy things in our lives that lead us to sin and draw us away from Christ.

As our walks with Christ grow and as we deal severely with sin. Others will take notice and I am convinced God will use this to spark change and repentance in others lives. As this happens within our churches, lives will be changed and repentance of sin will be evident. So that once again our churches will be lights in this dark world.

Yet, it begins with us. So I will ask you what things in your life lead you to sin? Take time to really think about this. Pray about it and ask the Lord to show you all areas where purification needs to be made. As He reveals these things to you, be willing to cut down, remove and destroy these things. For as you do, your intimacy for Christ will grow, His holiness will be evident and lives will be changed.

Pressing On

 

My youngest son and I have begun riding bikes together. Each day we strive to add a few more lap to our workout. We began at ten, then 12 and today made it to 15. There were many times this morning when my legs burned and I really wanted to quit. Times when I didn’t know if I could go another lap. Yet, I pressed on. I didn’t quit or give up.

 

I have found this to be true in my walk with the Lord as well. As I have journeyed with Him the past 15 years or more, there have been both mountain top experiences when life was so good I could hardly contain myself. And there have been dark valleys when my flesh has said “I can’t do this.” When my heart has been weary and I have just wanted to quit. Times the Devil has filled my mind with lies telling me God is holding out on me and that He doesn’t really care.

 

So what do we do when we are in the valleys of life. What are we to do when we can not see His goodness and when it just seems hopeless?

 

We press on! Hosea 6:3 says, “Let us acknowledge the Lord, let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”

 

 

Isaiah 43 depicts where God is when we are in the valleys and gives us the strength needed to press on. It says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed yu; I have summoned you by name; you ae mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with ou; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

 

The Lord never promised that we would not have troubles or times when we didn’t think we could go on. In fact He promised we would have troubles. The difference is, when we are in the midst of the waters, the fire and the darkest of valleys. He is right there with us. He walks beside us and carries us when we can not go on.

 

Yet He desires that we press on. That we hold fast and stand firm. Believing that as sure as the sun rises He will appear. He will come and He will help us.

So if you are weary and worn today, cry out to Him. Pour out your heart like water before Him. But do not give up, press on! For He will come and He will bless your endurace as you remain faithful unto Him.