Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Who's You're Daddy?

Have you ever just wanted to handcuff God, drag him to the nearest precinct, sit Him down, and ask Him a few questions?  Why is this happening to me?  Where are you?  I have no problem with Him being omniscient.  I am relieved He is omnipresent.  But what is going on with His omnipotence?  You wouldn’t expect a police officer to idly watch as a bank is being robbed.  You wouldn’t expect a doctor to continue eating his lunch as a patron goes into cardiac arrest.  So why does it seem like God can be a lazy, late, and lost Superman whenever I need Him the most?

I spent last week teaching my son how to ride his bike.  At first, he didn’t want anything to do with it.   He preferred the training wheels because it was too much work to balance himself.  After his first fall, my initial reaction was to pick him up and put him back on his seat.  But I knew that would only prolong the training.  I decided the best thing to do was give him instructions.  Michael is strong enough to pick himself up, so I knew helping him physically wasn’t necessary.  What IS necessary is to help him spiritually.  I can think of no better spiritual exercise, than the exercise of obedience.

Michael already has a tendency to whine and demand relief.  And as my only son, I already have a tendency to use my power to give it.  But is that really the best thing?  In America, we’ve adopted a Chinese proverb for the importance of reproducing our values.  (If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime.)  I commanded Michael to get up, stop whining, and get back on the bike.  On his third attempt, I let go of his shoulders, and he’s never looked back.  It took discipline for me to idly stand with arms folded and tell him what to do.  If felt uncomfortable because my desire was to give him temporary relief from his pain and let him continue with the training wheels.  But I also knew about the future joy and freedom that he would experience once he did it.  This was something Michael had to trust me with.  But I had to MAKE him trust me.

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. – James 1:22

I have met many Christians who are quite familiar with the scriptures.  But knowing God’s word in theory is powerless.  The power of God’s word is in the application.  I know a guy who has no job and has recently filed for bankruptcy.  He claims he is trusting God, but in reality he’s not.  God has already provided us with a book to align ourselves with His will and purpose.  My friend isn’t trusting in God to come through.  He is trusting in his fairy God-Mother to appear, cut up his credit cards, turn off the television, iron his clothes, re-work his resume, AND drive him around in a limousine while filling out applications.  Did I mention he is unemployed by choice?  Well he is.  This is just one example of how we can completely ignore the fact that God is NOT interested in our temporary comfort.  He is interested in conforming us into His image.  The quicker we get back on the bike, the quicker we can learn the lesson.  I have assembled many entertainment centers, play sets, and office furniture WITHOUT following the directions.  In doing so, I’ve wasted hours of my life having to go back and start over.  Sadly, I’ve done the same thing with my life, and wasted YEARS.

But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God. – 1 Samuel 30:6

It may seem like God is silent, absent, or apathetic.  But that is a feeling that we need to douse with the water of God’s word.  He said He would never leave us or forsake us.  The very hairs of our head are numbered.  Nothing happens without his knowledge.  We may not understand it.  We may not like it.  It may hurt.  But it all boils down to who knows best.  If He knows best, there is no reason for God to explain Himself.  God had to endure 37 chapters of Job and the peanut gallery struggling to explain what was going on?  When Michael fell off his bike and began to whine, I had to silence him with a raised voice.  I love the fact that God did the same thing with Job.  God answered THROUGH A TORNADO and said,

Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?  Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.  “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” – Job 38:

If God seems silent in your situation, open your Bible and speak to the situation.
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap one or the other. – Proverbs 18:21

If God seems still in your situation, put on your work gloves and do something about it.
Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom. – Ecclesiastes 9:10

If God seems stoic about your situation, get on your knees and trade your fear for His faith.
Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. – Matthew 8:26

Now that I think about it, I can’t recall a time when Michael came to me with a legitimate emergency.  Embarrassingly, I can recall dozens of emergencies that I’ve waved in God’s face.  I’m encouraged to know that God raised his voice and set the record straight with Job.  Who’s knows you better than you know yourself?  Who answers to who?  Get back on the bike and do exactly as He says.  Those who want the temporary bowl of RELIEF to satisfy their hunger will delay REVELATION and the banquet table of God's purpose in their life.

"When you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.”

Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.” – John 21:18-19

I'm growing older in my relationship with God, and I can tell by the lessons.  I'm sure Michael can tell as well.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


What makes the Christian life exciting also makes it terrifying - there is no itinerary. Sure, you can create your own. However, I suggest you write it in pencil and leave plenty of room in the margins – cause’ there will be changes. Having a goal, a plan, or an outline is like my wife having a perm; it may look and feel better, but it’s only temporary.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalms 119:105

Oh how I wish it said, He is a system of street lights so I won’t fear what’s lurking in the bushes. I’d even settle for Him being high beams so I can see a bit further and wider. Like mapping programs, why can’t God offer a zoom out button? It can be quite frustrating when I don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s my life and I should be able to make decisions that have my best interests at hand. Had I known my plan would draw enemy fire, I would have drawn a fallback plan. If God would clue me in, I could help Him strategize, or at least discuss a compromise.

And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was calm. But He said to them, “Where is your faith?” Luke 8:22-25

(Why didn’t you tell me there was going to be a storm that would scare me to death? I would have still sailed…honestly.)

God knows that men and rivers follow the path of least resistance. He is a candle at our feet, so we won’t stub our toe; and a torch on the path so we can stay ON it. He never promised to be a spotlight so we would know when to jump off. Here’s a principle; if Jesus doesn’t tell you what is ahead, it’s probably because you would avoid it. Remember, the only way Murdock got B. A. Baracus in the air was to wake him after the flight. If the plan called for air travel, best you leave that part out.

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. John 16:12

God’s direction get’s us moving; but His direction, is not always His destiny. God will give us just enough information to get us to the next pit stop. What’s great about having a map is that I can SEE my route. What’s bad about having a map is that I can see OTHER routes. It is the alternate routes that God wants us to stay away from. He knows that at first sign of traffic, I’m already looking for a side street to cut through. Here’s another principle; most of our short cuts go back around the same mountain. God in His infinite wisdom has ordered our lessons perfectly. There is no skipping and coming back to it later.

If God told you that you would lose your job, would you have still given that much to charity? If God told you they would never come back, would you have let them go? If God told you she would leave, would you have still loved her? If God told you he would die young, would you have allowed yourself to fall in love? Here’s a thought; Jesus knew Judas would betray Him, but that didn’t change the picks. 

The Bible says that “our ways are not His ways” and “our thoughts are not His thoughts.” As a follower of Christ, I need not worry about the future. He reserved my destination and my future is secure. It is the journey that makes this life worth living - a journey that is lit at my feet. Because getting me there is His job description; trusting Him is mine.