Are Those You Follow Worthy of Your Time? Ask God First.

Many want to lead, but who should we follow?  Let the Spirit of God guide you.

Many want to lead, but who should we follow? Let the Spirit of God guide you.

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.”

(1 John 4:4-6) NIV

I always like to share the passages that I read. The Bible is just such a powerful gift. It’s our sword for a reason.

In 1 John 4, we are asked to be vigilant by testing those who claim to be of God. We are told God is love, and those who do not love are not from God. God sacrificed His Son, and those who do not believe in the sacrificial gift are also not from God.

How many people go out into the world proclaiming they love and they believe, but their actions and words really don’t reflect this truth? I can think of those who try to lead flocks of people when instead of being a shepherd, they really are the wolf.

God gave us His Spirit and with it comes our ability to perform a truth test. Our first commandment is to love God with everything we are, and the second commandment is to love each other as we love Him. We are sheep asked to follow His voice and not the voice of the world. Those who hate what we love-hate us. They never knew the atoning love of God and will make every effort to lead us astray.

You are given the Spirit of God. Listen and apply the truth test to those you follow and believe. False prophets are here, and you are given the ability to see through their facade.

Satan Has a Crowbar, But We Have a Sword!

Don't let Satan divide and conquer. Wield the gift you have been given in the Armor of God.

Don’t let Satan divide and conquer. Wield the gift you have been given in the Armor of God.

“Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” (1 John 3:21-24) NIV

On my way to drop off my girls at school today, I was praying the Armor of God over them. Watching them walk towards the front door of the school building, I could see how many different ways Satan had the opportunity to steal their joy and push them off the track that God has planned for them. It occurred to me that Satan’s weapon of choice is a crowbar.

He finds the cracks in our defenses, wedges in the curved neck of the beat-up tool, and pulls and yanks until the walls we thought were solid come crumbling down.

This is why our armor is so incredibly important. We can’t shore up every piece of brick and mortar we stacked around us because that would take our undivided diligence. Unfortunately, we are constantly facing division due to sin, and with every drop of its precipitation, our mortar will weaken.

First John 3:21-24 is asking us to keep God’s commands, and the very first one is to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ. It is through this belief that we are able to wear the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and carry the sword of the spirit.

How often in our lives do we feel like everything is running smoothly and out of nowhere, there is a division within our family, discourse at our workplace, jealousy and coveting of what others have, dissatisfaction with our place in this world, or love seems lost between a spouse but found in someone else?

This doesn’t start out big. It starts out small. It starts with a fleeting thought, a silent wish, anger at a wrong, or desiring more than God has provided. It’s a scratch in the weakened mortar until enough space is made for the crowbar to do its job.

The weapon of offense given to us is a sword. Our sword is the Word of God. In all honesty, sometimes our sword can be difficult to pick up. I know when I open God’s Word, it creates a call to action. I read a verse that reminds me to help someone, warns against a chosen path I have taken, informs me the anger I harbor at the unfairness of a situation is time being wasted, and asks me to stop living for the world and start living for Him.

Sometimes I will look at my Bible and think to myself:

Man, I just don’t have time to deal with what God may be asking me to do today. I have a right to be mad, and I just can’t let it go right now.

But God, I want new carpeting! Can’t I just charge it this one time?

Or my favorite:

I have too much of my own things to deal with!

As I walk past my Bible and leave God’s Word idle, Satan is chipping away at the wall I created because I believed the lie that my armor was too cumbersome, I am just too tired, or I really don’t have the time.

The sword that he is deathly afraid of is left on my bedside table which makes his crowbar more powerful than it ought to be. One look at our sword and he will flee.

If this is true, why do we leave it leaning on the wall to collect dust?

God’s Spirit is in you and Satan hates that. John tells us that by keeping God’s commands, God lives in us. His Spirit is dwelling within our very souls. Let’s show our enemy the glint of our steel by reading God’s Word, believing in His son, and following His commands. He will take his rusted crowbar and run.

Santa vs. Jesus

Who will win by getting all of your attention this Christmas?

Who will win by gaining all of your attention this Christmas?

I wrote this poem this past March, and oh how it struck me as I read it again.

My daughter went to the Casting Crowns and for King and County concert this past weekend with a dear friend of mine. When she came home, she told me she had heard something she never thought of before. At the concert, the singer said when Jesus was born, there was no room at the Inn. During every Christmas season since, there is still no room for Jesus. Year after year He is uninvited to His own birthday party. Mallory said to me, “Mom, I never thought of it like that before. That is so true, and it makes me really sad.”

If we could ask Jesus what He wants for His birthday, do you think His answer would be, “Please go into debt and spend a lot of money on your children, family, and friends and buy presents that no one will remember receiving by the following Christmas. Also, make sure you are a frazzled mess while you shop, wrap, and prepare in honor of a fictitious man who you pretend is the mascot of Christmas but really you are the one supplying the goods. Do all of this and let the days melt into seconds as you forget to reflect on Me because you are too busy catering to the world”?

I think we can agree that is not what He would want for His birthday. He wants you. He wants every part of you-the good, the bad, and the ugly. He wants you to lift up your face to Him and see Him in all of His glory. He wants you for Christmas. Will you invite Him to His birthday celebration this year?

 

I pencil God in on Sundays,
10:15 is when I’m bringing my crew.
 
I pencil God in on holidays,
It’s the right Christian thing to do.
 
I pencil God in at bedtime,
Falling asleep before finishing my prayers.
 
I pencil God in the next morning,
To finish telling Him my worries and cares.
 
I pencil God in when my life,
Brings me crashing down to my knees.
 
My mirror breaking into a million shards,
No longer reflecting a life full of peace.
 
I pencil God in when I’m concerned,
And control no longer seems mine.
 
I pencil God in when I’m pleased,
And life seems to be going just fine.
 
I pencil God in when I’m driving,
And a song reaches into my soul.
 
I belt out and sing of His praises,
My voice wavering out of control.
 
I pencil God in when it’s convenient,
Or when my mind wanders over to Him.
 
But my God’s pencil is broken,
His thoughts of me never a whim.
 
He carries no lead or eraser,
His calendar cleared open and wide.
 
Waiting for me to turn and see Him,
But my schedule makes me push Him aside.
 
My pencil is fervently writing,
All that I am required to do.
 
And time is just too precious,
To sit quietly and listen to His truths.
 
So the day my pencil slows to a standstill,
And my life is nearer to the end,
 
Will the moments I scheduled be remembered,
Or the times I introduced Christ to a friend?
 
Will the deadlines be oh so important,
Or the marks I made when they were complete?
 
Or the times when I faced my Savior,
While I sat and listened at His feet?
 
It’s time that I broke my pencil,
Making it look exactly like God’s.
 
No eraser or lead to speak of,
No appointment getting all of my nods.
 
I need to look up to my Savior,
Every minute of every day.
 
And put my life on the path He has chosen,
And throw my calendar away.