God Calls Us to be Humbly Daring!

 

For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth.  By You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb; my praise is continually of You.

Psalm 71:5-6 (NASB)peak-experience

Psalm 71, written by David, speaks of God as a refuge and fortress and rock in the midst of the plots and schemes of ruthless men against him.  As I read again this morning verses 5-6 stood out to me.  It is clear that our great God is our refuge and strength in times of trouble.  If you’re facing trials and difficulties, know that you can find salvation and help in Him.

But as I read these verses this morning, the word that jumped off the page was confidence.  David declares that the Lord has been his confidence since his youth.  David understood there was no room for self-reliance.  Sure, there were huge failures in his life, but in the end, he always returned to the truth that without the Lord, he was hopeless.  Think of David’s defeat of Goliath, his willingness to trust God’s timing in becoming king as he fled from Saul, and his reliance upon God as he led Israel.

Two Mission-Cripping Mindsets
As you consider your own life, maybe you realize you are looking to yourself for confidence in far too many instances.  Doing this leads to two mission-crippling mindsets:

  1. Pride – If you fail to recognize God as the strength and provider of all things in your life, you begin to take credit for things that only God deserves.  This makes you a glory thief, and God will not share His glory!  This pride will quickly lead to Kingdom ineffectiveness.
  2. Fear – The opposite mindset created by self-reliance is that of fear.  If you believe it is up to you to change the world in your strength and abilities and you recognize how short you fall in being able to do this, you will be handcuffed by fear.  You’ll never dare to do great things because you think its up to you.  This too hinders you from experiencing the fullness of what God wants to do through you.

A Proper Balance
When we find our confidence in the Lord, we’ll find proper balance between pride and fear.  Pride is dispelled by confidence in the Lord because we recognize God as the source of power working through us to accomplish His mission.

Fear is dispelled when we understand its not up to us. All God is asking from us is surrender and obedience, and when we do this, we’ll see Him do things through us we never dreamed of doing.  We will risk boldly when we know it is Him working in us.

Both of these proper mindsets give God all glory for what He does.

O Lord, may we find our confidence in You today, and may this keep us humble while daring greatly as we see You at work through us to change the world.

Rest in Jesus,

Andy

 

Hope in the Storms

The saying rings true for all of us.  You are either in the middle of a storm in your life, you are coming out of a storm in your life, or you are about to enter into a storm in your life.  With so much turmoil swirling around us, where do we find hope and peace?  I believe King David gives us several examples of hope in the storms. Continue reading

Affection Builders

When it comes to having a heart for God, there are certain things that He has uniquely created us to enjoy that stir our affections for Him.  There are certain things we experience with our senses that cause us to whisper deep within our souls, “thank you God!”  Flowing from this gratitude is a heart more in touch with the love that comes naturally between a child and their Father.

We were made for this.  God has hard-wired us to love.  Unfortunately, sin has perverted this natural bent and uses it to lead to addictions and idolatry.  Sin leads us to seek satisfaction and fulfillment in things instead of our Creator.  However, when we are born again by repenting of sin and putting our faith in Jesus Christ, God in His grace, creates something inside us that helps us understand that He is the One worthy of all our affection.  He is our ultimate satisfaction and fulfillment.  God in His grace and mercy has surrounded us with reminders of His love for us.

For some, their love for God is built by an early morning before the sun comes up with an open Bible and hot coffee.  For some it’s walks on the beach.  For some it’s hiking in the woods.  All of us, who know Christ, have things in our lives that stir us to a deeper love and affection for God.  These things cause spontaneous worship.

For me, one of my BIG affection builders is my girls.  In fact, it is my girls that led me to sit down and start writing this.  When I see their faces, there is almost an instant “thank you Lord” that flows from my lips.  Don’t get me wrong, there are other times when their behavior or craziness causes me to lose my mind in a negative way. But, for example, tonight I walked past a little picture of the three of us from a recent “daddy/daughter date night” and my heart was full to overflowing, and I literally whispered, “thank you God.”  As I sit here and type this, I have a full heart, not only with love for my children, but deep loe for the gracious God who gave them to me.

So what is it in your life that builds your affection for God?  Obviously, there are the affection builders that are common to all followers of Christ. (i.e. Bible reading, prayer, worship). But what are the unique things that God has wired you to enjoy so that they point you to Him and cause your love for Him to grow.  Whether its sunrises/sunsets, beaches, mountains, or just sitting in the quiet with your Bible open, figure out what causes your heart to swell with love for Him, and do those things often.

Rest in Jesus,

Andy

Chronological Bible Reading – February 14 – Our Tent of Meeting

Today’s Reading: Exodus 30-38

The Tent of Meeting

I am almost certain that I write about this passage every year as I come to it.  It is so rich with truth for us that we must be reminded regularly of the lessons learned from Moses’ Tent of Meeting.

Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting… – Exodus 33:7a (NASB)

Thus the Lord used to speak with Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.  When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent. – Exodus 33:11 (NASB)

What an incredible reality that the God of all Creation can and will speak to us and we can meet with Him and speak to Him as a man speaks with his friend.  This meeting was very limited in the Old Testament.  However, through Jesus Christ, all have access to God through faith.

How often we neglect so great a privilege.  In light of this reality, when we stop and consider the things we allow to keep us from meeting with God on a regular basis, we should be ashamed.  However, when we come to our senses and return to meet with Him, His grace means we will not face condemnation from Him.  His love for us never fails. He is always waiting for us to come to our senses and answer His call to us to meet with Him.  May we never get over the reality that we can meet and fellowship intimately with the Sovereign God of the Universe.

Ponder this truth and examine where you are in your commitment to Him.  Where you see deficiency, repent and find the grace given through Jesus Christ that strengthens you to return to a place of close fellowship with your Heavenly Father.

Moses’ Pattern for Prayer

Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight… – Exodus 33:13 (NASB)

The (Moses) said to (God), “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. – Exodus 33:15 (NASB)

What a model for prayer we see with Moses as he meets with God.  The cry of his prayer is two-fold:

  1. Let me know You.
  2. Lead me by Your presence.

This should be a pattern and part of our prayer life on a daily basis.  To know God is our heart’s cry.  To be led by Him results in a life well lived for His Kingdom purposes.  It is in knowing Him that we find the strength to walk the path He sets before us.  The beauty is that the Christian life is not powered only by a distant encounter with God from our past, but by the moment-by-moment reality of His presence and power at work in and through us by His Spirit.  This reality exists because of the Gospel.  It is because of what Jesus has done and the grace that is given through faith in Him that we know our great God and walk with Him.

May this truth fill our hearts, and stir us to enjoy the intimate fellowship with Him that Jesus came to provide.

Rest in Jesus,

Andy

Chronological Bible Reading – January 30 – “Risk is Right”

Today’s Reading: Genesis 45-46:12

The secret is out.  Joseph has revealed his true identity to his brothers as well as his desire to provide for them and their father.  he sends his brothers back to his father with the good news that the son he believed to be dead was, in fact, alive.  Joseph’s instructions are to bring everyone to Egypt where they can be cared for.  They pack up everything and begin their journey to Egypt.  However, when they make it to Beersheba, a town along the way to Egypt, they stop.  In a moment of what must have been apprehension, God appears to Jacob in a dream and says,

I am God, the God of your father.  Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes. – Genesis 46:3-4 (ESV)

This promise relieves all fear and Jacob moves to Egypt.  The rest of the story will play out in the coming chapters, however the point to capture today is the source of Jacob’s comfort and confidence.  God promised to go with him.

I am reminded this morning of the reality of God’s presence in my own life.  As a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, I have the promise of God’s Word that helps me see that God is always with me.  When I walk in His ways, I know there is nothing to fear.  His plans are better than anything I can create for myself.  Wherever I go, whatever I face, I can know without doubt or wavering that the God of all creation is with me and loves me.  May this create a confidence and trust in me that leads to God’s greater work in and through me, my family, and my ministry.

I remember hearing the phrase, “risk is right” used in connection to a philosophy for life.  The point is to drive you to live a life of risk understanding that great risk can possibly equal great reward.  In relationship, in business, and life in general, many adopt this philosophy.  However, based upon the overarching promise of God’s presence and sovereign work in the life of a person who trusts in Him, it appears that risk no longer exists.  There is no risk in following the directives given by our sovereign and loving God, for He is with us. So, in the eyes of the world, following God is a huge risk, but in light of truth, indeed, “risk is right.”

Rest in Jesus

Andy

Chronological Bible Reading – January 28 – God’s Timing is Greater

Today’s Reading: Genesis 40-41

We see throughout Joseph’s life a common thread of faithfulness, but we also see over and over the phrase, “the Lord was with him.”  As we discussed yesterday, it would not appear to be the case based on the circumstances we see in his life.  But today we’ll see God’s plan play out according to God’s timing. Continue reading

Chronological Bible Reading – January 19 – “Is anything too difficult?”

Today’s Reading: Genesis 16-18

Is anything too difficult for the Lord? – Genesis 18:14 (NASB)

Within the church today, most people would agree that nothing is too difficult for the Lord.  However, our actions and choices do not always reflect a genuine belief of this truth.  We find ourselves becoming self-reliant when we take matters into our own hands.  Abraham did the same thing, and he is considered the father of our faith.  He wasn’t willing to be patient when it came to God fulfilling the promise that he would have a son.  I can’t say I blame him. Continue reading

Chronological Bible Reading – January 18 – The Gospel in Genesis 12

Today’s Reading: Genesis 11:27-15:21

Now the LORD said to Abram,
Go forth from you country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.
Genesis 12:1-3 (NASB)

In Genesis 12, God makes a promise to Abraham.  He calls him away from everything he knows to the ultimate unknown.  He must leave family and land to follow God who has made this promise.  The last phrase of verse 3 is HUGE!  God promises to bless all the families of the earth through Abram.  How? Continue reading

Chronological Bible Reading – January 16 – A Holy “Cup Check”

Today’s Reading: Job 38-42

All the “friendly” advice is over.  All of Job’s pleas and questions have ended.  It is now God’s time to speak into this situation.  God confronts Job with a lengthy list of questions intended to remind Job how small he really is in light of his Creator.

Now, gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding…
Job 38:3-4 (NASB)

I once heard Matt Chandler explain the phrase, “gird up your loins” as God telling Job, “Put your cup on and let’s do this!”  I still smile a bit even as I write that phrase.  I don’t want to minimize what is happening here with humor, but as you read God’s questions and challenge to Job it becomes almost amusingly clear that there is no answer that Job can give.  God is making His point very clear.  At one point there is even a bit of holy sarcasm that comes from God,

Where is the way to the dwelling of light?
And darkness, where is its place,
That you may take it to its territory
And that you may discern the paths to its home?
You know, for you were born then,
And the number of your days is great!
Job 38:19-21 (NASB)

God exposes Job’s folly through this lengthy series of questions.  His intent is to remind Job of the reality of who he has been questioning throughout this ordeal.  God’s questions are intended to lead Job to acknowledge who God is and repent.

Honestly, aren’t we all guilty of Job’s sin at points in our lives where we question God? We face difficulties or trials and suddenly we are struck with memory loss.  How arrogant and conceited it is to think that our circumstances are such that they serve as the final proof that God “dropped the ball.”  He must not care.  Thousands of years of testimony of His faithfulness are out the window because my life is tough.

Not just in our times of trial, but also when it comes to our daily lives, we can be guilty of Job’s folly.  By tackling our day on our own in our wisdom and abilities, we are basically saying we don’t need God.  Just as Job sought to reason through in his wisdom without seeking the One who possesses all answers and holds all control, we can ignore the all-knowing Creator of all things.

God help us see Your reality through the fog of our circumstances.  The reality that declares Your sovereignty, love, grace, mercy, and all other holy attributes is available to us through faith in Jesus Christ.  We, as Your children have a loving Father who knows right where we are.  When the fog becomes so thick that we question you, shine the light of Your truth so brightly that the fog lifts and we say with Job,

I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes.
Job 42:5-6 (NASB)

Rest in Jesus,

Andy