Tag Archives: Lifetime

God in the Furnace

It’s often hard to see God, to see his hand, his work in our lives. It’s often hard to sense his presence, but for the believer he’s ever present. In fact, he says he will never leave us, but most of the time we don’t sense his presence, we aren’t aware of his care.For me it’s the busy life I live that makes his voice hard to hear, his face hard to see. I don’t take the time to quiet my mind and heart to listen, to see him ever with me.The times when God is most visible, the times when we see him the most clearly are times of test, times of trial. It’s in those refining moments the ever present one is most clearly seen….with us even in the heat of the trial.As I read Daniel 3 this morning, the story of Daniel’s friends and their trial by fire, the ever present one is unseen until Daniel’s friends are in the midst of the flames. In those refining moments, in the furnaces of our lives, God’s presence is most clearly seen. It’s in those moments when we desperately need to see him. In the midst of the trial our questions abound, in the midst of the heat we need him most. Has he brought us to this trial to destroy us? Is he punishing us for our sins? Why is this happening to us?

And in the midst of the furnace God is with us. He never leaves us. Last night I was with a family in the furnace of a lifetime. It’s a trial by fire to be sure. This is when they most need God’s presence, his care, his love. It’s in their furnace that they will see him. He is always with us, always caring for us….even in the furnace of trials.

But why trials? Why use the furnace to make himself known and seen? It’s because in the furnace no one can help us but God. As the king said to Daniel’s friends, “Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” The king has defined the test- Is there a God who can deliver from the furnace? Is there someone to help when the trials of life overwhelm? The answer from the furnace is “YES! I’m here with you. Don’t worry, I will take care of you.”

The God of glory is always with us working for our good and his glory. In the midst of your furnace God is with you making himself known to you and seen by the world. In the midst of the furnace all other distractions are burned away and we see the ever present God who is always with us.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Decisions

Our lives are the result of a myriad of decisions we make each day. Decisions based on decisions we have made in the past. Each decision builds on the last one and charts a course for our lives that finds us where we are today. I’m fascinated with my own decisions and the fact that they are so different from those of others. We each chart our own course, and that course finds each of us at a different place in our lives. How did I get here? One choice at a time. It happens over a lifetime as we make little turns, small choices that make us who we are and move us to where we are. What do you base your decisions upon? What map are you using? How do you chart your course? All of those questions are important because they determine your direction and course. One man made a series of decisions, a series of course choices that affected his life. I like the choices he made. Here are one man’s choices:
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Psalm 101:1 – A Psalm of David. I will sing of lovingkindness and justice, To You, O LORD, I will sing praises.
Psalm 101:2  – I will give heed to the blameless way. When will You come to me? I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart.
Psalm 101:3 – I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me.
Psalm 101:4 –  A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil.
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Where have you choices taken you? Are you where you want to be? If your map is the word of God then you have the perfect guide to steer your life to the right destination. If you follow this map you will never regret your course or the harbor at the end of your journey. All of our lives demand decisions and we are making them each day…..if you aren’t where you want to be then change course, get the map that will guide you to the right port. Each day gives us the opportunity to make decisions that will change our course, that will change our lives. Each day our decisions are taking us somewhere. May I encourage you to chart a course that others have followed to a wonderful destination. It’s all a matter of decisions.
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Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Amazing God


Yesterday we had our first snow of the winter in Texas. The flakes were huge, wet and sticky. Of course, here in Texas that means car wrecks, schools closed and other problems, but the snow itself was beautiful.

Science has looked at snow one flake at a time and found that each flake is different, each one is unique. To know that the millions of snowflakes I saw yesterday are each unique and different causes me to be in awe of God’s creativity. Even in these small little snowflakes God is showing us his creativity and beauty. He is an amazing God.

I wonder, as I see all these little things that declare design and creativity, how anyone could deny God, but we do. Yesterday I preached the second week of a short series looking at Romans 9-11. It’s a challenging passage. One of the topics in this passage is how we harden our hearts to God’s work.

A story that shows this is the story of John 11. In this chapter, to be brief, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. That should get your attention, but here’s the different responses from those who saw this once in a lifetime miracle. “Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.”

Some believed, but there were some who hardened their hearts to the evidence of God’s work in their presence. Today, in Texas, snow gave evidence to an amazing God. I hope you don’t miss his work in our midst. I hope you don’t miss him.

Thankful

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

“It takes a lifetime to just begin to understand the truth. It’s a long journey, and one that is filled with adventure. To not go is to become mostly bored, and resigned to finding entertainment as stimulus to ease the soul ache.” — D.J. Chuang

 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

They feared the Lord and….


I read this passage this morning and have been thinking about it all day. The one word that got the nation of Israel in trouble was the word “and.” It struck me that not much has changed in nearly 3,000 years. We still have our “and” to deal with. Here’s the verse that caught my attention and makes me think about my own life,

2 Kings 17:33They feared the LORD and served their own gods according to the custom of the nations from among whom they had been carried away into exile.

The “and” always gets us in trouble, doesn’t it? Here are a few examples of how much trouble this can cause us:
-We love God AND our stuff. From experience I will tell you that God won’t allow that “and” to remain. The creator will not compete with his creation.
-We fear the Lord AND man. Fear of man will quickly take our focus off of God.
-We serve God AND money. As you know from Jesus’ words this will not work.
So I wonder. How much of my life is complicated and compromised by “and?”

What are you thankful for?

It’s Thanksgiving week and an opportunity to thank God for his care, provision and love. We have so much to thank him for…not only what he has given, but also what he has not given.
When we have so much we forget how blessed we really are. So, what are you thankful for? May I start?
I’m thankful for God’s care. We are so richly blessed! I’m thankful for a place to live, a job I love, a family that is amazing, friends that care about me and health.
There is so much more….so much we take for granted, but let me start with that short list and I will add to it as we go through the week. So, what are you thankful for?