Sunday, January 30, 2011

Right Perspectives

A few years ago I had to break down and get eyeglasses. The reason of course was that I could no longer see. Although my decision had been postponed for months it was the best thing I could have done. Those glasses gave me a new perspective. When compared to our relationship with God there are times when the hardest thing in the world for us to do is to put on our spiritual glasses and see things in the light of God’s glory. So often our vision becomes distorted. We begin to see up as down and in as out. Our circumstances are magnified way beyond our capability. However, I've found that if we can get past how we see things and how we think they ought to be, we can get a new glimpse of God’s glory and power at work in our lives. Do you see your life from God’s perspective or only from your limited view of how you think things ought to be? We cannot deny the challenges we face in life that seek to bully us. However, we should be reminded of the apostle Paul who was great at seeing his problems in a different light. In Romans 8:18-19 he states, "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." He went on to say that we are "more than conquerors through him that loved us." One day little Bobby’s father came into the front room and saw the boy looking out on the street through the big end of a telescope. He said, "Son, that’s not the way you look through a telescope. If you look through it that way, you make the objects look smaller. A telescope is to make things look bigger." But Bobby smiled and said, "Daddy, the bully who’s always beating me up is out on the street. I turned the telescope around because he’s my main problem, and I want to see him smaller than he really is." I don’t know of anything that would reduce the size of our problems in our own eyes more than gaining God’s perspective on them. Too often, our perception allows our circumstances to blind us to our opportunities. Through the Word God has given us spiritual glasses that allows us to see clearly who we are and the potential that has been given us through Christ. Why not put them on they'll make an incredible difference.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Changing The Atmosphere

There's nothing worse than being in a bad atmosphere. It can lead to frustration, doubt, fear and ultimately defeat. When Jesus found himself there he prayed and that praying always changed things. He believed that anything could be altered by prayer. Maybe that's why in Luke 18:1 he stated "men ought always to pray and not faint." He knew that daily we would be faced with an atmosphere that would need changing and prayer was the way to bring it about. In light of this I think it necessary that we ask the question, "how are we doing?" Far too often we allow ourselves to exist in unfavorable circumstances because we try alternative measures while neglecting the very tool that can make a difference. S.D. Gordon has said, “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed." In the words of another author this aspect of prayer is something that "many people believe in, some do it and others do it well." It is those who do it well that are able to change the atmosphere. You and I can be one of them. The option for change is within our reach. Why not try effectual praying?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Only in Eternity

I don't know how you handle a Sunday evening but this is typically my routine. I come home, change clothes, take a seat on the couch and reflect. That reflection normally involves rehearsing parts of my message and asking certain questions. "Did I say the right things? Did I connect with the people? Did they understand the points being made?" Most importantly is the question, "Did the services bring about change?" The only problem is there is no criteria or assessment tool that allows one to evaluate the final results. On this night my inquiry continues but with an added bit of interest. We're just completing the first week of a twenty-one day fast. I'm hungry, tired, and moderately depressed. This all comes with the turf, especially when you're glancing at the TV and all you see is Pizza, Subs, and McRibs. But they that "endure to the end" will enjoy such morsels on another day. While trying to be humorous there is one other question that preoccupies my mind; "Will my preaching, fasting and praying really make a difference?" Those reading this will admit I'm not alone on this one. You want to know too! To get the answer I realize that my focus has to change from the seen to the unseen. The truth is obedience produces opposition which produces obscurity. Although unmeasurable with the naked eye or ear, there is a profound sense that in the spirit realm things are happening in my life as well as the lives of others and will be known ONLY IN ETERNITY!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Ultimate Prize

As I write this blog I am sitting in front of the television watching two teams battle it out for the National Championship. They have spent days traveling, practicing, and mentally preparing for the big game, but now they're in the heat of the battle. Both want to win. However, the team that winds up with the trophy will be the one who properly executes what they have learned. This is the case with our spiritual lives. We pray, study, and gird ourselves with all the principles for battle. Yet, how often we fail to successfully utilize what we have learned when confronted by the enemy. Instead of passing with faith we are preoccupied with fear. Instead of blocking with the word we back up. Instead of running we find ourselves resting. Knowing the importance of the game Paul says, "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." Well at present it's halftime. Each team is in the locker room being admonished by their coach. They are being instructed not to lose sight of what this moment means. It's the opportunity of a lifetime. They are being told that they can win regardless the opposition. As we all know the outcome is yet to be seen because only the future will reveal the ultimate winner. I do know that each team will walk back on the field believing they can win the game. So can you! The championship is yours.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Second Chance At Living

Bruce Larson in his book, "Living Beyond Our Fears", tells a great story about a judge in Yugoslavia who had an unfortunate accident. He was electrocuted when he reached up to turn on the light while standing in the bathtub. His wife found his body sprawled on the bathroom floor. He was pronounced dead and, as was the custom in that particular town, he was placed in a room under a crypt in the town cemetery for 24 hours before burial. In the middle of the night, the judge came to, realized where he was, and rushed over to alert the guard, who promptly ran off terrified. "Fortunately, he returned with a friend, and they released the newly revived judge, whose first thought was to phone his wife and reassure her. He got no farther than, 'Darling, it's me--' when she screamed and fainted. Next he went to the houses of several friends, who were sure he was a ghost. In a last desperate measure, he called a friend in a distant city, who had not heard of his death, and who interceded for him with his family and friends." While humorous, this story reminds me of a great truth. Many of us are temporarily knocked unconscious by reaching for the things of the world around us. But when we come to ourselves and acknowledge what has happened we're quick to realize that God is gracious and gives us a second chance at life. He does so after every sin; after every disappointment. That's why we focus on new beginnings and fresh starts during the New Year. Admitting failure is not the problem because we're so experienced at it. However, the greater challenge is to take the second chance and to do better at it. My prayer is that 2011 will be a year when we take the grace that God gives us and purpose in our hearts that we will do the best we can. In doing so it will trully be a Happy New Year!