Daily Archives: August 11, 2012

From “The Word For You Today” by Bruce Christian

THE JOY IS IN THE JOURNEY

Sometimes when we achieve the things we strive for, we find they’re not very fulfilling.  As we look back we realize that our greatest joy was not in the goal we reached, but in the growth we experienced on the way to it.  Scientist Koichi Tanaka describes this phenomenon and how it can come about during the enjoyable pursuit of a dream.  As he worked on trying to create an ion with lasers, he says: “I failed for weeks and months before I succeeded in making an ion.  Why did I continue the experiment?  Because I enjoyed it.  It was fun for me to come to know something that I had never known before, and that fun enabled me to persist.”  That persistence helped him to win a Nobel Peace prize in chemistry.  You have the potential to make many wonderful discoveries in life, and none greater than what you discover about God, and yourself.

One leadership expert writes: “The pursuit of my dream has taken me out of my comfort zone, elevated my thinking, given me confidence, and confirmed my sense of purpose.  My pursuit of the dream and my personal growth have become so intertwined that I now ask myself, ‘Did I make the dream, or did the dream make me?’  When your mind accepts a new idea or learns a new truth, it’s forever changed.  And once stretched, it takes on a new shape and never goes back to its original form.  When that happens, you experience true fulfillment.  No wonder children’s book author Elizabeth Coatsworth said, ‘When I dream, I am ageless.”

A Thought on Excuses

I want to tell you a story,

“There was a farmer who bought a new axe, and set it on his front porch. Before long his neighbor knocked on the door asking, “Can I borrow your axe?”
The farmer replied, “Nope. We’re having potatoes for supper.”
Puzzled, the neighbor asked, “What does borrowing your axe have to do with your having potatoes for supper?”
“Nothing,” replied the farmer, “but when you don’t want to loan your new axe, one excuse is as good as another.”

Now, the reason I’ve mentioned this story is because it’s a pretty good illustration of a truth that a lot of us live by in this world. When we don’t want to do something, we’re pretty good at making excuses for not doing things we don’t want to do.

Excuses are not anything new, people have been giving them for thousands of years, and other people have been dealing with those who give them for the same amount of time.

But nobody has dealt with excuses more than God. That’s right. God has heard more excuses than anyone else ever has or ever will, and chances are exceedingly good that He’s heard a few from you, too.

I’ve been reading in the book of Jeremiah, the first chapter, and there are three things I want to draw attention to, and they are: (1) God calls us. (2) God equips us; and (3) God affirms us.

I can just see you looking at these things and already starting to think of an excuse, and it’s true, that from the minute we’re called to do something for God, most of us start lining up our excuses one right after another.

For those of you who are familiar with your Bibles, I’m sure you can think of a number of people who were excuse givers right from the get go, and for those of you who aren’t well maybe you should dig into the “Word of God” a little more, and find out how God deals with those who have a tendency to offer excuses. But because I know some of you lack time (excuse) I’m going to help you out by showing you just one example so keep reading.

In Jeremiah 1:4-8, we learn a number of things. The first and most important thing is found in verse 5 which tells us that God formed us, knew us before we were even born, knew us in the womb, and had already sanctified and ordained us, which is a fancy way of saying He has given us all a purpose and made a plan for our lives.

To say or think anything different is to be expressly in defiance of God’s Holy Word, and to abort a “child” or “fetus” is “Murder.” This is a hard truth, but it’s God’s truth, not mine. I can tell you this, though, that if you find yourself in this most difficult of situations God can and will get you through this if you will allow Him to help you. God does not condone murder, but if ,sadly and tragically, you have had the life of your unborn child taken from you, I want you to know you are not beyond the love, mercy, and compassion of God. Don’t ever think you are, and don’t let anyone ever tell you aren’t. All God’s people have sinned, and Christ Jesus died for all sin, including yours.

There is great news and great encouragement in this verse for all people. First, it tells us we are all valuable, we are loved, and that each of us, and every life (yours) has meaning and purpose, and that you are not an accident. You have a plan to fulfill.

Verse 6 is where most of us insert our excuse whatever it may be. I’m too young, too old, too ill, too feeble, too busy, too uneducated, too something. Yet, you know and I know that we’re just being like the farmer who doesn’t want to loan his new axe (our life) and will say and do almost anything to get out of having to let our neighbor (God) use it.

The last couple of verses 7 & 8 are where God blows our excuses up in front of our faces, and tells us “Say not” and insert your carefully thought out and completely logical excuse here. God tells us in these two verses that He will send us, and that we will do whatever He asks of us, and that we’re not to be afraid of anything that may happen in carrying out what He’s asked of us for He will deliver us. Catch that? He will deliver us…Another way of saying this is that it’s not our ability we should rely on to do His will, but on His. And this leads us right into the next point that I want to address…

Nine out of ten times, when we offer an excuse it has something to do with us, our lack of some perceived ability we need in order to do something, and once again God takes our excuse, and lays it waste. As He does in verses 9 & 10 in which He makes it clear that it’s not our ability that will be used, but His. Like Jeremiah we like to pipe up and say I can’t, and God tells us the same thing He told Jeremiah I have given you the ability, and you can. I’m sorry but “I can’t” doesn’t have wings in the realm of God, and God will not let it fly. Try to offer “I can’t” and you’ll crash and burn, believe me.

There’s a quote by Catherine Booth, co-founder of the Salvation Army that goes: “I am tired of hearing the words, “I can’t.” Jeremiah said ,”I am a child,” but the Lord didn’t pat him on the back and say, ”Jeremiah, that is very good; I like that in you. Your humility is beautiful.” Oh no! God didn’t want any such mock humility. He reproved and rebuked it. I do not like the humility that is too humble to do as it is bid. When my children are too humble to do as they are bid, I pretty soon find a way to make them. I say, “Go and do it!” The Lord wants us to “Go and do it.

I want you to know dear reader that I have experienced this, myself. True humility and humbleness isn’t about not having ability or recognizing the ability one has, but in the attitude and spirit in which one uses and acknowledges the ability one has been given by our great and gracious God. Humility and humbleness can’t be used as an excuse anymore than any other excuse can be used. I am not worthy does not work, for God has made us worthy to do all He asks of us.

And just as Jeremiah was called so we are called to do the same things as he. The Bible clearly teaches that we are to do the same kind of things in that we are to stand for truth, we are to root out sin, we are to pull down strongholds of false and inaccurate thinking, we are to destroy and to throw down evil institutions and practices, and we’re to build the faith of others, and plant the seed of God’s love and forgiveness everywhere we go.

To not do so is to go against the Great God who made us, and gave His son, Jesus Christ, for us. You have the ability to do as He asks
For He has given it to you, and for you to disown it, or make excuse for your failure to use it as He intends is to place yourself in the unenviable position of having to explain to your precious Lord and Savior why you offered excuses for failing to carry out the will of the Heavenly Father when He who could have did not do so.

In conclusion, let me bring to you verses 17-19 in which God tells us in no uncertain terms that we are to gird up (prepare, gain knowledge, equip ourselves); to arise (stand up) and speak (proclaim) unto everyone all that I command of you, and that we’re not to be afraid to do so. God tells us that we will be as a defensed City, and iron pillar, and brazen walls against all who come against us in the way of people and institutions, and though they fight against us they will not prevail for God tells us that He is with us and will deliver us.

Christian brother and sister is God calling you to do something? Has He made you aware of something you need to change?
Has He told you that you need to get involved?
Has He told you that it’s time for you to take a stand for His truth?
Has He told you it’s time to stand with your brothers and sisters In Christ?

I do not say…God says…You have no excuse!

My Prayer to the Father, August 11, 2012

Heavenly Father
I come before You, Father
Knowing and acknowledging
That You are the Supreme God;
The Eternal God.
You, Father are the Creator
And the Sustainer of all Life.
You, Father are the Author of
Every good and pleasing thing
Which we have ever known,
Now know,
And will know in
Your Eternal Kingdom.

Heavenly Father
It is with gladness of heart that
I come before Your throne now.
Glad, Father, not because of
Anything I have done
Or will do,
But because of what
You have done for me.
You, Father have adopted me,
Not because of who I am,
But because of who
Your Son, Jesus, is.

Heavenly Father
It is because I know and feel
This gladness of heart
That I come to You with
My request tonight.
Father I ask You to
Break my heart.
Break my heart, and
Help me to see with Your eyes.
So that I might
Be able to see this world
I live in with all it’s inhabitants
In the way that You do.
Help me to see
As You see, and to feel
The pain You must feel
Seeing Your people
In the midst of their sin.
Break my heart, Father,
So that I might cry tears,
And pray,
And act,
And do all I can to
Show them
What becomes of
Their sinfulness.

Heavenly Father
Do not let me stand idly by
And watch, and
Not say a word, or
Lift a hand
When I see someone
In error.
Let me not be afraid
To raise my voice,
To use my feet and hands,
My heart and mind,
To at all times
And in all places
Proclaim the name of
Jesus Christ,
Lord of lords,
And King of kings
To all who face me,
And stand against me.

Heavenly Father
Let me declare Your love
In the face of anger;
Let me declare
Your mercy and compassion
On those undeserving;
Let me declare
Your strength and courage
In the face of adversity;
Let me declare
In each and every situation
To every single person
I meet
No matter what
They do or say
What You have given to me.

Heavenly Father
Please, don’t just break
My heart.
Break the hearts of
All Your children;
Break the heart of
Every child who calls upon
Your son, Jesus, and
Who places their
Faith and trust in Him.
Father, please make them see
That by offering
excuses for others,
By justifying what is evil,
By not confronting what is false,
By not standing for Your truth
That they are encouraging
And even promoting
The things that
Break Your heart.

Heavenly Father
Let me be broken hearted;
Let me be spurred to action
To involvement
To making a difference
To doing all
You call upon all Your children
To do.
Let me truly take up my cross
And follow after Him
Who took my sins
Upon Himself.
Let me, Father, not do less
Than He.

In Jesus name, I pray.
Amen.