ISO God’s Will

God uses our everyday experiences to teach us. A couple of days ago I was sharing with the women at our weekly Women’s Bible study class something the Lord had recently revealed to me. He brought to mind a past experience.

After my divorce, I spent a few years working in retail. When I first got into retail I was clueless as to how companies evaluate and assess employee performance to come up with a rating – a rating that determines one’s annual raise. I’m not sure if all companies have the same practice, but this company required managers to provide three positives and three negatives for every eval. No exceptions.

My boss was a very sweet woman. She was nonetheless – a boss. And although she could find no fault in my performance, she did find room for improvement. As I recalled the moment, my boss was praising my job performance…etc. Then came the but… “You are always on time, blah, blah, blah… however… you are not always at your duty station.” I was like – what?!. “It’s not detrimental, but when your shift starts you need to be on the sales floor, in your department. That’s where I need you.” She went on.

I knew I was always at work up to 15 minutes early.  I clocked in and out, promptly. And the Lord said that’s like – church attendance – to me. I had thought about it before. But the Lord reminded me that I can go to church, Sunday, Wednesday, Bible study, etc… and still not be where He needs me.

For many reasons, Americans have hang-ups with church attendance, whether it be for or against. Many Christians have left the church for one reason or another. Unbelievers simply think of church goers as hypocrites. We say one thing – but practice another. I am one of those Christians that left the church. But the last couple of years I’ve been working my way back in, but I admit I am not impressed with the new church menu i.e. made to order – mega-tech – brick and mortar meetinghouse.

So where was I going with all this? Well, first – from the voice of my favorite singer-songwriter, long gone but not forgotten…

“We were given the Scriptures to humble us into realizing that God is right, and the rest of us are just guessing.”  ― Rich Mullins
The Lord was impressing upon me that church attendance, weekly Bible studies, etc. serve a purpose. Other than the obvious, that purpose can be different for everyone. My response – Lord what is my purpose? 

When I considered God’s will for my life I remembered the words of Rich Mullins…

“God did not give Joseph any special information about how to get from being the son of a nomad in Palestine to being Pharaoh’s right hand man in Egypt. What He did give Joseph were eleven jealous brothers, the attention of a very loose and vengeful woman, the ability to do the service of interpreting dreams and managing other people’s affairs and the grace to do that faithfully wherever he was.”
― Rich Mullins

“I would like to encourage you to stop thinking of what you’re doing as ministry. Start realizing that your ministry is how much of a tip you leave when you eat in a restaurant; when you leave a hotel room whether you leave it all messed up or not; whether you flush your own toilet or not. Your ministry is the way that you love people. And you love people when you write something that is encouraging to them, something challenging. You love people when you call your wife and say, ‘I’m going to be late for dinner,’ instead of letting her burn the meal. You love people when maybe you cook a meal for your wife sometime, because you know she’s really tired. Loving people – being respectful toward them – is much more important than writing or doing music.” ― Rich Mullins

We may have different experiences, but we fall into the same darkness. We jump into the same abyss. We trip over the same potholes. We get sucked into by the same sinkholes. 

Still, the God that leads me – leads everyone that He calls, everyone that calls on His name. God has a place for everyone He calls. He guides there. He meets us there.

“My son, give me your heart, And let your eyes observe my ways.” Proverbs 23:26

As believers, we must not forsake the assembling of the saints. But it’s not our presence in “church” that God desires. It’s our heart. When He has our heart – we will be in the assembly of saints and we will be where he needs us to be – when He needs us to be anywhere. But God doesn’t necessarily need me to be present anywhere. He does desire that I be willing to be present wherever He wants me to be.

“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8 (NKJV) 

Sometimes, we only need to be still and wait.

Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

Psalm 46:10

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ISO Curiosity

Commitment vs Surrender

Surrender vs. Commitment
Adrian Rogers, a famous 20th-century Baptist pastor, once went on a mission trip to Romania. Over the course of two weeks, he bonded with his interpreter but hadn’t learned much about the man’s thoughts. So toward the end of the trip, he asked the man, “Tell me, what do you think of American Christians?”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” came the strange reply. This, of course, only made Dr. Rogers more curious, so he began to press the man for an answer.

After several attempts, Dr. Rogers finally said, “Why won’t you tell me? I really want to know.”

Finally, the interpreter capitulated. “Well, OK then, but you’re not going to like my answer. I don’t think you Americans understand what Christianity is all about. Back in the 1960s, you started to use the word ‘commitment’ to describe your relationship with Christ. However, any time a word comes into usage, another word goes into disuse.”

The man continued, “Until the 1960s, you Americans talked about ‘surrender’ to Christ. Surrender means giving up control, turning over all to the Master Jesus. By changing to the word ‘commitment,’ your relationship with Christ has become something you do, and therefore you are able to keep control. ‘Surrender’ means giving up all rights to one’s self. You Americans don’t like to do that, so, instead, you make a commitment.”

The Act of Surrender
Have you truly surrendered—not just committed—your life to Jesus Christ? Maybe you have “prayed a sinner’s prayer,” maybe not. Maybe you’ve surrendered in the past but have taken back control of your life. In any case, be sure to settle this issue before you stop reading this. 

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Thank you for reading. Be blessed!

God is always instructing us…

Hello Everyone,

Back in 2014 the Lord was relentlessly working on me. I battled with my thoughts trying to understand what the Lord was trying to teach me. I had questions but God had his own agenda – teaching me self-examination. I kept diaries and in them I wrote down all my sorted thoughts. Later, I was able to re-read all and reflect on how the Lord brought me through so much darkness.

GPJo4

9/13/2014
Q: Can today’s Christian truly walk in the Spirit?
We live in the world, and our thoughts are ever engrossed in the things of the world. We consume without restraint. If we could count worldly entanglements as we do calories, some of us would be grotesquely obese. We would need a crane to move us.
It’s not that we can’t walk in the Spirit. The Lord equipped us and sealed us with the Holy Spirit.
Just as we have it in us to eat sensibly, we choose not to. We are equipped with all the right tools to live by the Spirit. We choose not to. And we socialize the next generation to do likewise.
As Christians, we are more in tune to the things of this world, to the things that satisfy the flesh, that please the eye and that build us up.
No one wants to be ugly; no one wants to see ugly; no one wants to be made to feel ugly.
The war that rages for our soul is not at the forefront of our mind, just as the war that rages across the world is nowhere near us. We are aware of both, but neither produces fear or compels us to reflect.
What if the war came to my community? Would I then take heed?
As believers how much of our life is bound to the world, to worldly things?
Are you more comfortable watching the latest reality show – than watching the reality of the homeless guy in the corner?
Are you bothered by unkempt people?
Are you more likely to be found discussing topics with someone of great intellect or insight than the guy next door that cannot articulate a simple sentence?
Do you spend more time in the gym, the dept. stores, shopping, investing in the appearance of your flesh than the heavy guy next door that could use a friend?
And how do you handle your thoughts in the worldly interactions? Do you concede to the lustful thoughts…etc.?
What if instead of seeing through our physical eyes – we saw our interactions through the Spirit. Wouldn’t that make it more real, scary perhaps – but indeed more real?
Just what is your thought life? Is it keeping you bound to the things of this world, or separating you from the things of this world?
The flesh – the eyes – and that pride continue to battle for the destruction of this soul.
Lord have mercy on me and save me from my wretched self.

1 Corinthians 1:27-29 – NKJV
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.

Thank you for reading. Be blessed!