Tag Archives: Initiative

Living In The Moment

Mat 6:33 Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Mat 6:34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. -THE MESSAGE.

One of the great challenges of life is just the simple task of living in this moment, living a “present tense life.” There are two great enemies of a walk with God that try to keep us from walking with God in the “now.” One is “the fantasy of what could have been,” and the other is “the fear of what might be.” Let me address each one of these for a moment.

1. The fantasy of what could have been- We all live our lives looking back to the past or ahead to the future. It’s rare that we live in the present tense. One of our enemies is the “fantasy of what could have been.” We will often look with a longing for a change because of our present adversities- “If only I had married the other person,” or “If only I had finished college,” or “If only I hadn’t made that horrible mistake” then life would be….. And our thoughts race to alternate present reality because of our dreams of “if only.” Dreaming about what could have been can be a wonderful diversion, but it’s sin plain and simple. The truth is that there is no “if only I had.” There is only what is. Dreaming about an alternate life that would turn out different is a fantasy that brings nothing good to our present situation. It only makes the “now” harder because our fantasy solutions would have completely eliminated our real dilemmas and the need to trust the Lord with our real problems today. So, here is the first sin we often fall into. When you are tempted to visit the land of “if only I had…” make the decision not to go. It’s a trip that only brings disappointment to what is your life right now.

2. The fear of what might be- The other problem I see many struggle with is “the fear of what might be.” They are experts at worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet. There is no way any of us can see the future, so for us to worry about it before it ever gets here is a clear lack of faith in God to care for our tomorrows. Jesus clearly said, “don’t worry about tomorrow.” He knew we were tempted to do this, and warned us against it. Fear of what might be often keeps us from walking with God and trusting him RIGHT NOW. We miss the joy of a walk with God in the present tense.

We each have to live a present tense life intentionally. The distractions of fantasy about the past and fear about the future will easily get our attention away from a walk with the living God right now. I mentioned the word “walk” intentionally. It’s the word that the bible uses to talk about our lives of faith. The bible calls it a walk because there are some wonderful present tense elements to a walk that will help us stay focused on the now. Here they are quickly for your consideration- a walk demands a destination, but it can only be done one step at a time, one foot on the path toward the goal, one decision at a time to reach the goal. A walk demands a present tense life. That word, walk, often helps me get back to “now.”

As you go through your day living your life and find the temptation toward fantasy or fear, stop for a moment and ask the Lord, “Lord, where are we right now? What are we working on? Why am I tempted to leave this present tense walk with you?” That quick prayer and awareness of the temptation to thoughts of the impossible will make your present tense life an exciting place to be and will quiet those fantasies and calm those fears. Have a great day.

Visit Mike at FinishingWell.

Living A Present-Tense Life

Mat 6:33 Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Mat 6:34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. -THE MESSAGE.

 

One of the great challenges of life is just the simple task of living in this moment, living a “present tense life.” There are two great enemies of a walk with God that try to keep us from walking with God in the “now.” One is “the fantasy of what could have been,” and the other is “the fear of what might be.” Let me address each one of these for a moment.

 

1. The fantasy of what could have been- We all live our lives looking back to the past or ahead to the future. It’s rare that we live in the present tense. One of our enemies is the “fantasy of what could have been.” We will often look with a longing for a change because of our present adversities- “If only I had married the other person,” or “If only I had finished college,” or “If only I hadn’t made that horrible mistake” then life would be….. And our thoughts race to alternate present reality because of our dreams of “if only.” Dreaming about what could have been can be a wonderful diversion, but it’s sin plain and simple. The truth is that there is no “if only I had.” There is only what is. Dreaming about an alternate life that would turn out different is a fantasy that brings nothing good to our present situation. It only makes the “now” harder because our fantasy solutions would have completely eliminated our real dilemmas and the need to trust the Lord with our real problems today. So, here is the first sin we often fall into. When you are tempted to visit the land of “if only I had…” make the decision not to go. It’s a trip that only brings disappointment to what is your life right now.

 

2. The fear of what might be- The other problem I see many struggle with is “the fear of what might be.” They are experts at worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet. There is no way any of us can see the future, so for us to worry about it before it ever gets here is a clear lack of faith in God to care for our tomorrows. Jesus clearly said, “don’t worry about tomorrow.” He knew we were tempted to do this, and warned us against it. Fear of what might be often keeps us from walking with God and trusting him RIGHT NOW. We miss the joy of a walk with God in the present tense.
We each have to live a present tense life intentionally. The distractions of fantasy about the past and fear about the future will easily get our attention away from a walk with the living God right now. I mentioned the word “walk” intentionally. It’s the word that the bible uses to talk about our lives of faith. The bible calls it a walk because there are some wonderful present tense elements to a walk that will help us stay focused on the now. Here they are quickly for your consideration- a walk demands a destination, but it can only be done one step at a time, one foot on the path toward the goal, one decision at a time to reach the goal. A walk demands a present tense life. That word, walk, often helps me get back to “now.”

 

As you go through your day living your life and find the temptation toward fantasy or fear, stop for a moment and ask the Lord, “Lord, where are we right now? What are we working on? Why am I tempted to leave this present tense walk with you?” That quick prayer and awareness of the temptation to thoughts of the impossible will make your present tense life an exciting place to be and will quiet those fantasies and calm those fears. Have a great day.
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Romans Road to Salvation

We are ALL Sinners…

Romans 3 v 23

 

“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God”

As much as we hate to admit it, there are no exceptions. I am a sinner, and so are you. Even though we do our best, we fall short.

We aim to reach a certain standard, if we set the standard ourselves we may even succeed in achieving it, but Paul tells us what the standard is. It is God’s glory. God is perfectly Holy, perfectly Good, perfectly Just, perfectly … Perfect. And we are not. We can never be “good enough” on our own to satisfy God. We fall short, often a long way short. We don’t make the grade.

So what?

The Penalty for our sins…

Romans 5 v 12

 

“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned”

Sin has consequences – death. But worse than death – death apart from God, heaven and all the glorious things there.  When the first man who ever lived decided to disobey God’s instructions and live his life his own way, the result was death. From there on death is everybody’s end in this life. Why? Because all have sinned.

Romans 6 v 23

 

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”

Death means our bodies will die. But it means much more than that. It also means separation from God forever and spending eternity in Hell. That is the wage of sin. By being sinners it is what we have earned, what we deserve, what we have chosen.

But – did you see the Good News in this verse? God wants to give us a gift – the gift of eternal life. We do not need to be separated from God forever in Hell, we can spend eternity with Him.

Notice these things…

  • It is a Gift – I cannot earn it; I don’t deserve it; I cannot work for it; I cannot do anything to make it mine except accept it – and neither can you. It’s a Gift.
  • It is God’s gift – God gives it; I can have it because He gives it; the initiative is His. It’s a gift that’s available to you too – as we shall see in a moment.
  • The gift comes through Jesus – it is in Christ Jesus our Lord. We have already seen that we an do nothing to get it ourselves. We must accept it the way it comes. And it comes through Jesus – no other way.

How much does God love us…

Romans 5 v 8

 

“God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”

Jesus died for us. God loved us so much that He sent His only son to take our place. The wages of sin is death. Someone has to die for my sin, someone has to die for your sin. We can either do it ourselves and be separated from God forever in Hell or we can accept that Jesus died for us. God sent Jesus to die on a cross for sins that He (Jesus) had never committed, but for your sins and for mine. This is the proof that God loves us. (see John 3 v 16-17)

How do I get this gift …

Romans 10 v 9-10

 

“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justifed, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved”.

He says ‘Confess and Believe’, or, ‘Believe and Confess’. The order is not important, the two things go together.

  • We need to believe what God has done. God sent His Son to die for our sins. Believe it!
  • God also raised him from death again to prove that He accepts the sacrifice Jesus made. Believe it!
  • Believing means more than just thinking it in our heads. It means Accept it, Trust it, Rely on it, Count on it – Believe it!

But Paul also says Confess it! Believing in our hearts should lead to action. To saying ‘Jesus is Lord’, speaking it out to ourselves and to others, living on the outside – by what we say and do – what we believe on the inside.Confess it!

When we believe we are justified – put right with God, acquitted of our sin – when we confess we are saved – from the consequences of our sin.

God’s promise…

Romans 10 v 13

 

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”

Notice who this includes – everyone!

But, what does ‘call on the name of the Lord’ mean? In Bible times (perhaps more so than today, at least in some parts of the world) names were given to show a person’s character, what they were really like. The name Jesus means ‘Saviour – one who saves’. To call on His name then is to ask him (call to him) to save us (his name). That’s God’s promise to you and me – if you will accept (believe) Jesus as your saviour (his name), He will accept and save you.

How can you call?

There is no special words you have to pray to be saved. God knows your heart. He knows if you truly believe that Jesus died for you and if you really accept His way of being saved.

  • Pray to God, just talk naturally to him.
  • Admit that you are a sinner and are lost unless he saves you.
  • Repent of your sins, that means tell God that you are sorry for them and that you will turn away from your sins.
  • Ask His forgiveness for them – be specific about which sins need forgiveness
  • Ask him to save you.
  • Then thank God for hearing your prayer (for he says ‘everyone who calls WILL be saved’). Thank Him for giving His only Son, Jesus, for your benefit.
  • Now ask Jesus to help you live as He would have you live. Thank him that He will.

No condemnation!…

Romans 8 v 1-2

 

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

We saw earlier that sin has consequences – being saved also has consequences. The first is that we are no longer condemned. Because of sin we were condemned to death – separation form God forever in Hell. But when we believe, accept, trust what Jesus did for us on the cross this verse tells us that there is no condemnation because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. Now that is Good News!

God’s promise is that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. If you have just prayed a prayer along the lines suggested above then you have ‘called on the Lord’ and now you are saved! Welcome to the family of God!

Elsewhere in the Bible this is called being ‘born again’ (see John 3 v 1-21). What has happened to you is not just a single event but the beginning of a whole new life. Now you need to go on living the life of a member of God’s family.

If you have just been ‘born again’ you need to grow up, to learn, to understand who you are, to get to know God more than you do so far, to discover the future He has prepared for you. Here are a few suggestions to get you going…

  • Read the Bible every day and listen to what God is telling you through His Word.
  • Continue to pray – talk with God – ask for his help, tell him you needs, build a relationship.
  • Find a Bible teaching Church, go there and enjoy the company of others in His family.
  • Get involved in your new family, the church. The leaders will guide and direct you in your new life.
  • Tell others of your experience (confess with your mouth, remember?), share your joy.

If you have read this page and have come to accept Jesus as your Saviour, please contact us and let us know. We will pray for you and ask God to guide you in your new life so that you continue to live for Him!

 

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