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Trusting Your Life

Trusting Your Life to Jesus

I grew up in a loving home. My parents loved us. Imperfectly, as well all do. What was difficult is the constant tension. The tension between my parents created a tension in us children. Arguments would get volatile. Shouting was often heard. We never knew when it was going to blow up. I loved Jesus. I never wavered in Him. But I waived with myself. Why? Again, the instability in our home created an instability within me. Some of us got into harmful behaviors. Some of us worked hard to prove ourselves. We loved God, but we were struggled with trust.

Trust is harder in an unstable environment. We may question, “Am I good enough?” What gets in the way? Trying to prove our worthiness to God. Trusting is easy to talk about, its different when you actually have to trust in an unstable place. Where you cannot see the way forward.

Trust verses mistrust is one of the earliest things a child learns. If raised in a safe and caring environment trust comes easier. If raised in an unsettling or harmful environment trust is harder. We all have learned mistrust well. We all have encountered unsafe and harmful people. We love God, but it’s hard to trust when we throw our mistrust of people on to God.

Jesus said, ““Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” John 14:1

He comes to still our troubled hearts. He comes to instill in us what we do not have within us. He instills the faith we need to trust him. This is a lifelong process. We live in an unstable world. We learn trust though every circumstance that threatens to destabilize us.

When the money is just not there, and you are tempted to panic. When your health is threatened or even permanently weakened, you can be overwhelmed with frustration. When deep loss suddenly appears, pain and fear can grip your heart.                                                                  

Jesus says in every circumstance. “Don’t let your heart be troubled”. That seem so simplistic and may even cause us to question if that is possible. I have found that it may be hard, but it is possible.

The promise of Jesus is what sustain me.  He said, “I will never leave you.” Think about it for a moment. Let that sink in. Let Jesus words change your focus from what you lack to the One who provides all you need.

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Who's Got Your Back?

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Who's Got Your Back?

Who takes responsibility for your life? Who ultimately is responsible for your success? In one way we each must claim this for ourselves. But we were never meant to go it alone. By our very design we are relational and must have someone who cares enough to partner with us for our personal success.

Keith Ferrazzi make this point well in his book Who’s Got your Back?He makes clear that to be successful we need three people who will hold us accountable for us to be our best selves. I so need this, otherwise I drift and become ambiguous in goals and personal development. Who are those three people? They are the ones who will take responsibility for my success. For me they are people who have qualities I admire, who care about my well being and can add a fresh perspective.

There is One who ultimately has your back. There is a One who takes personal responsible for your success. Like any life coach the He holds you accountable and will not let you down. To the degree that you cooperate with your life coach, to the degree you are receptive to his “whispers” is the degree to which you become all of what the Creator intended you to be.

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Living with God's Power

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Living with God's Power

Everyone wants to have the ability to live well. We desire to have the strength within us to face the challenges with-out us. Where do we find that power? We serve a powerful God. Psalm 62:11 says, "Power, Oh God, belongs to you.."  His power is stronger than we imagine. But, His power does not work the way this world does. In seeking to live powerful lives, we need to let go of somethings and hold on to somethings. We need to let go of using power in ways that hurt and hold on to ways that help.

There are may different words in the Bible to describe power. One is the Greek word “bia”. It means force or violence. It is like a violent mob or threatening waves crashing against a ship, It is to force yourself upon another person. Whenever I try to force things to happen it leaves God's power out. It is easy to get off track and try to get pushy and default to "bia" power. I have made many decisions that I have forced and latter regretted. Whenever I have forced my will on another person, I  always regret it. Forced power is always second rate and causes harm to me or others. It is destructive and always life-taking. We must let go of it.

The other is “ischys”.  It means strength, the ability to make something happen. That's what we want. The ability to manger our loves. God’s power is the ability to make something happen, but it works invisibly and always it is life-giving. We must hold on to it.

God is poweful How do people misuse or misunderstand God's power?

1.  They act as if God was absent. They have to force life to get what they want in this world. “Bia” power. Or they feel abandoned by God and powerless to make things happen and withdraw. A denial of “ischys”. The ability of God.

2. They act as if their agenda is the same as God’s. "God is on my side. So my side is right and everyone else is wrong." How many times have people used God’s name to justify war, aggression toward another group of people. To get what they want.  People have even used the Bible to get people to behave. The Bible says…, then blasted another person without even hearing them out.

This is so unlike God.  In order to let God's power work in our lives we have to believe that he is working. That He is near and he will give us his power to live.

When we find ourselves at the wrong end of power, people using or misusing us. Or, us using or misusing power, then God gives us hope. Isaiah the prophet says, "He (God) gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary." Isaiah 40:29-31

We wait.

We wait expectantly for him to work. One prophet Zephaniah told the king that the battle is not won by human ability. He said it like this. “It is not by force or strength, but by my Spirit says the Lord.”

We wait. We wait in expectation. 

Jesus promised his followers great power from Holy Spirit. What instructions did he give to them? Go out in power? get busy doing? No, before they did anything, they were told to wait until God's power came upon them. Then and then only would they have the effective persistent power to do what only God could do.

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Living Prayerfully

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Living Prayerfully

Jared Brock took a yearlong 37,000-mile journey around the world to learn how to pray. He danced with Hasidic Jews, discovered the 330 year of home of Brother Lawrence, Practice the Presence of God. He attended the world’s largest church in Seoul Korea and meets the Pope for lunch.

Along the journey recorded in his recent book, “The Year of Living Prayerfully” he has incredible experiences listening to people talk about prayer. Though it he begins to understand the wide open world of living prayerfully.

One of his conclusion is:

“Prayer is the main dish and everything else is gravy”

I believe this!

Jerrod learned prayer by listening for one-year to people who prayed.

If we are honest we all are novices, we are all novices when it comes to prayer. We don’t know what we are doing and we may not really understand the God to whom we are talking. It’s a good thing that God doesn’t judge our prayers. But he helps our prayers. We pray, “Lord help me learn how to pray- so it really makes a difference.”

The apostle Paul encourages us with these words,

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.      Romans 8:26

Living prayerfully? It’s learning how to pray. Not assuming I already know.

It’s like learning anything.

·     First you have to hear about it. Learn about it observe it.

·     Then you practice it.

·     Lastly, it just becomes a part of what you do. You live it. It becomes a part of you.

We live in a most anxious time. Do you feel it?

…the prevailing anxiety in our culture of anxiety?

So many of people have an anxiousness that is right below the surface of their lives. Think of the tensions between the haves and have not’s, the tensions between races, the tension between political views. Anxiousness is everywhere.

I believe this must be resisted.

When people are anxious, all sorts of bad stuff shows up. They complain and swear and curse. Did you ever notice how complaining when things go wrong robs you of your joy? Living prayerfully stops me in my tracks. Damning things that go wrong, swearing at people who act stupidly, what does it do to me? When I humble myself before God and pray, I acknowledge that everything I do and say is in the presence of God.

The world doesn’t need our anger or compliant, it needs our prayer. Living prayerfully reorients our hearts away from whining and complaining to gratefulness. We need to pray:

·     When we’re tired and keep telling ourselves how weary we are.

·     When we’re frustrated and want everyone to know it.

·     When we just can’t see a way through.

·     When life is going good.

How do we pray for the things that cause us anxiety? That can be tough, there is a lot to be anxious about! I know I have had to work thought it. But the apostle Paul gives us good advice when facing anxious times.

He said,

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 NIV

An anxious heart prevents us from receiving from God. How so? It weighs us down. God peace and presence cannot enter. Anxiousness is relieved in a country when its people look to God in prayer. Anxiety is refocused on God though prayer. The Message says it this way,

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:7

Anxiety is relieved as we allow God to lift our needs.

It moves us from anxiousness to faith! Living prayerfully is to live non-anxiously.

Living prayerfully and not anxiously is three things.

·     Firstly, you hear what the Lord is saying to you in his word. To live prayerfully is to listen to God saying “lay your anxious heart down”.  

·     Then you practice praying with faith and not worry as the driver in your life. Anxious prayer does us no good. To pray without worry- pray without the anxiety we are so prone to let drive us - is a habit to be learned.

·     Lastly, you live it. It becomes a part of you.

What if this coming year you and I determine to live prayerfully and never to let our prayers and our daily lives be driven by any kind of worry? Anticipate how life changing that will be. 

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