Tag Archives: Long Time

The Big Lie

I watched the beginning of a video a few weeks ago that is haunting. I couldn’t watch it all. I didn’t want to see the end. It was the video of a young lady committing suicide. Someone had filmed it. The beginning of the video was heartbreaking as she just stood there…on the edge of this tall building looking down. I stopped the video before she moved a muscle. The title told me all I needed to know. I can’t imagine the thoughts of someone as they make this kind of life ending decision. It’s a tragic event in the life of someone God has made. It’s a horrible end of the life of someone dear to God. I just couldn’t watch the point of decision…the point where she leans forward and moves beyond her ability to make any other decision. The rest is inevitable.

It made me think about something that I have been dwelling on for a long time. It’s what I call the big lie. It’s a lie that started many centuries ago, but continues to be believed even today. Here’s the lie- I can find happiness disobeying God. It’s a lie that we have believed to our own fall for centuries.
At first, you have a sense that all is well. You might find pleasure for a moment, a little excitement, maybe a thrill; but there will be a moment when you move past your ability to make any further choices and you begin to fall. The outcome is unavoidable. It will happen every time and yet I hear over and over again, as people tell me they want to make a choice that is clearly sin in scripture, “I just want to be happy…” My response is the same each time. It’s a response I have repeated to those on “the edge of their building” over and over again….”You will never find happiness disobeying God.” But what I know is that most people don’t believe me and so they go on that horrible quest that starts with the decision to jump and always ends in death.
Here’s how the book of James describes it,
James 1:15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Look at the way James describes this- conception, birth, full growth and then death. From conception to birth there is a time of growth. The baby is growing in the mother’s womb. For a few months it looks like there were no results from the intimate act that had in fact conceived a new baby, but soon the action begins to show….soon there’s a birth, then growth and finally death. This is the perfect description of disobedience to God. For a moment there is pleasure, no one disputes that, but there will be a birth coming. There will be results from sin, it will come to light, it will grow up and ultimately there will be a death because of the choice. Sin has a price and it’s high!
I’ve seen this so many times in my role as a pastor I could almost predict the outcome when a person decides that it is “ok” to disobey God because….”don’t you know….I just want to be happy.” There are a hundred stories I could tell. They all end the same. The big lie has not changed in centuries, nor have the results. Don’t believe the culture when they tell you that it’s ok, because God would surely want you happy. I must tell you that God is more interested in your obedience than he is in your happiness. If you do things God’s way happiness will be one of the results. If you do things your way happiness will always elude you because…you will never find happiness disobeying God.
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When Things Happen Suddenly

According to the dictionary here are some definitions for suddenly:  happening, coming, made, or done quickly, without warning, unexpectedly, occurring without transition from the previous form or state, done abruptly, quickly made or provided.

So often we get caught up in the day-to-day processes of life that we can lose hope and feel like things will never change.  Sometimes we hear of famous people who seem to be an overnight sensation and wonder “why did it come so easily for them”?  However, you discover from the story of their life that they had been diligently working away for years in small ventures, gaining experience and perfecting their skills, just waiting to land the right opportunity.

Looking through the Bible there are some wonderful examples of those who experience their sudden moment.  Shepherds tending their flocks, a group of people united in faith and purpose, prisoners praying and singing, and a misguided man on a journey of cruel intention – all of them experienced their appointed moment of “suddenly”.  Listed below are their stories.

 

Luke 2:13 – And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God…

God shows up to announce a fulfillment of His promise and purpose.  These were ordinary shepherds doing ordinary work.  They weren’t too busy or distracted to hear and respond to the spectacular announcement made by the angels.  Sometimes the promise has been a long time coming, but as we remain available to respond God will make sure we don’t miss its sudden arrival.

Matthew 17: 5 – While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”

Don’t be surprised when God suddenly decides to publicly praise, reward or honor you as a result of your faithfulness.  When your praise is God ordained, you don’t have to be fearful of pride gaining a foothold.  He knows just the right way to bless and acknowledge you in such a way that you won’t become prideful.  You can rejoice in knowing that your Heavenly Father is pleased with you.

Acts 2:2 – And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

As we wait patiently and faithfully continue doing what we know we’re supposed to do, God will show up in a big way to reveal something more of His purpose for us.  Something new and unexpected is suddenly made available to us by His gracious provision.  The key is to be patient and faithful right where you are at now.

Acts 9:3 – As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.

Then there are those times when God encounters people when they aren’t even looking for Him.  Perhaps you have been interceding on behalf of someone else for a long time, but don’t be surprised when they share with you about their sudden and unexpected, God-orchestrated encounter.  He knows exactly how, when and where to meet people in their journey of life.

Acts 16:26 – Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.

Sometimes we feel resistance that is the same as heavy chains upon us.  But there are no chains so great that God cannot loose us from them as we keep our focus on Him.  The resistance you feel can be used as a point of growth and strengthening, but it is not meant to endure forever.  When the time is right you will be enabled to freely move on to the next thing appointed for you and ultimately celebrate success.

Sometimes what feels like a sudden change is something that has been gradually building and it just feels sudden because it has been a long time coming.  Some sudden moments have been built by the bridge of faithfulness and endurance, other times those moments have been built through life experience and preparation, and others are simply God’s grace and purpose extended to us.  Be encouraged and remember that God has not forgotten you and He knows the perfect timing for your moment of “suddenly”.

I have personally experienced an entire season of sudden moments where multiple things seemed to converge like change and crisis, leaving me both confused and in awe.  It could have been entirely overwhelming at the time, but looking back I see where God’s hand guided me and the wisdom of His timing makes so much sense in hindsight.

Have you ever experience a moment of suddenly with God?  Are you anticipating God to move suddenly in your life this year?  What can you do to be prepared for you suddenly moment?  Your comments are always welcome and are a wonderful source of encouragement for others.

 

Lightning photo by Larry Johnson