Category Archives: knowing God

just like me, taking God’s job

I woke up early this morning.  Long before the alarm went off.  My mind swirling with all the many things I need to do today as I return to the office.  Fretting over the planning I’ve not done.  Stressed about the To-Do list that keeps growing.  Services to plan.  Sundays.  Easter.  4th of July.  Christmas 2011.  Yes, even as far as Christmas.  Then God spoke.  The conversation went a little something like this:

God: “Why are you doing my job?”

Me: “What job?  What are you talking about?”

God: “Being Lord of your life.”

Me: “Oh, that one.  I guess I did it again.  I took over.”

God: “That’s my job.  Let me rule.  Let me reign.  Let me direct.  Let me remove the pride.  The fear.  The anxiety.  Let me have control.  I know what’s best.”

Me: “It’s all yours.  I don’t want it anymore.  Take it.  Take me.  Take it all.  It’s all yours!!!”

A simple conversation that made a huge difference.  I still couldn’t sleep.  But now it was because I was pumped.  Pumped about the day.  Pumped about the year.  Pumped to hit my knees and get into the Word.

But still I ask, why do I do that so often?  So quickly?  I take over and the result is always the same.  I end up in fear and anxiety.

To refocus me, God took me back to Romans 10:9.  It starts at salvation, confessing Jesus Christ as Lord.  It’s not just lip service.  It’s a real confession.  An acknowledgement of the truth.  When we confess Him as Lord it is a life change.  A submission.  A surrender.  We submit to Him as Lord.  Lord of our lives.  Lord of all.  Lord of salvation.  Lord of our hearts.

Then, I made a commitment. 1 Peter 3:15a:

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.

Before fear.  Before anxiety.  Before persecution (the context of this verse).  Before breathing.  Before my heart beats of the first time each day.  Before anything, I’m setting aside Christ Jesus as Lord.  Lord of my life.  Lord of my heart.  Lord of my family.  Lord of the Crisman house.  Lord of the ministry at Lynwood.  Lord of everything.

And now Lord, I’m listening…

Brian

Advertisements

obedience and the presence of the Lord

What a great time we had studying Jonah on Sunday.  Pastor Mark led us through a look at the life of Jonah and what it says about obedience.  Did you pick up on the relationship between obedience and knowing the presence of the Lord?  After God gave him the command to go and preach to Nineveh, Jonah 1:3 says,

But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.

Jonah was not only fleeing God’s will but His very presence as well.  And he knew it.  Look at what it says in verse 10,

Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.

Jonah knew what he was doing.  In disobeying God he was giving up intimate fellowship with Him.  But do we realize that?    Do we really consider the consequences of saying “No” to God or failing to say “Yes” when He calls?  Many Christians wonder why they don’t have a closer walk with the Lord.  Many don’t even believe one exists.  There are many reasons why this could be so, but I wonder if one of the biggest is disobedience.  How many Christians sit and wonder why they don’t know God more, why they don’t hear His voice or sense His awesome presence, yet harbor an area of incomplete obedience or full out disobedience?

Well, I can’t say much more.  Now you have to seek Him.  If you’re one of those (Hey, I’ve been there for sure) who wonder if there is more, or wonder what happened to the close relationship you once had with the Lord, ask for His guidance.  Ask Him, as David did (Psalm 139), to search you and know your heart.  To try you and know your thoughts.  To see if there is any offensive way in you and lead you in the way everlasting.  Oh, He already knows.  The progress comes when He reveals it to you and you turn to Him.  He’s waiting for you.

Praise God, He waits for us.

Brian


Luke 21: Watch Out!

So I’m reading through Luke and came to chapter 21.  It’s the Matthew 24 and 25 of Luke; a description of the time preceding the destruction of Jerusalem and the end times with the warning to look out.  Take a moment to read Luke 21.  When you see the part about earthquakes and famines you may start to take notice with the recent out break of earthquakes we’ve seen, especially when you get to verse 28 and Jesus says:

Now when you see these thing begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

He’s saying get ready.  When you see these things begin to take place (and there are many more signs than just earthquakes and famines – make sure you read the passage) look for the Lord’s return.  I know I’m skipping a lot about the Tribulation, persecution, etc.  I’m doing that on purpose to avoid the pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib, pre-millennial, post-millennial debate stuff.  Here’s my point today.  Here’s what God pointed out to me today, verse 34:

But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.

Do you see the warning?  We can get so distracted by the cares of this life that we miss the most obvious things going on right before us – even the most important things.  He’s letting us know that it is possible to get so wrapped up in the things that we “need” or “love” (i.e. money, fleshly desires, sports events, power, etc.-  this list could go on for days – just insert what He’s speaking to you) that we can even miss His second coming.  If we can by the “cares of this life” that we miss something as big as that, how much easier is it to miss His presence everyday, His speaking to us with that still small voice, or His Spirit guiding us each day?  How much easier is it for us to be so distracted that we don’t even know that we are missing Him?

Take a moment today, or tomorrow morning, and let the Holy Spirit search your heart.  Are you distracted?  What do you need to give up?  What priorities need to change so that you can seek the Lord?  Make sure you take time to listen to Him.  It is all too easy to get distracted.  Take it from ADD boy.

Brian


testing the will of God?

This morning, my reading through Romans put at that great apex of the book.  That place that where every pastor has to explain the word, “Therefore.”  You know what I’m talking about, chapter 12.  12 :1 says (in the NIV), “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of god’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.”  Oh, there is so much to unwrap there.  But I can’t do it in one post.

But, the “therefore” sermons are so true.  The understanding of the word “therefore” in the English language is that when you read it, you have to pay attention to what comes before it because what comes after it is directly related or a caused by what comes before.  Does that make sense?  The deal with Romans is that chapters 1 – 11 have discussed man’s sin, the punishment deserved, God’s wrath, God’s love, God’s mercy, and Jesus sacrifice for our sin, then we get the “therefore.”  What comes next is our response.  Total surrender.  Total sacrifice.  This is our spiritual act of worship.  Some translations say our “reasonable service.”  In His infinite wisdom, God gave that word a double meaning in the Greek.  It is our worship.  And it is our only reasonable response to God’s incredible love and mercy.

But verse two is what grabbed me today: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (ESV)  Again, so much is said here.  But this got me, “…that by testing you may discern what is the will of God…”  Testing?  What does it mean by “testing?”  Some translations say “test and approve”, “discern”, and “prove.”   The Greek seems to go along with trying, proving, discerning, and approving.  So, while we are surrendering our minds to the Holy Spirit, through God’s Word, for daily renewal, we are to test to see what God’s will is.  I wonder if this goes along with the Experiencing God principle that as long as we are seeking God’s will, He will not let us go the wrong way, or make the wrong decision.  It’s a little freeing to me.

If you want to know God’s will, seek Him.  Dive into His Word.  Let him transform you by renewing your mind.  Then go for His will.  Test things out.  Investigate and learn to see where He is working.  Then, join Him there.  I promise you, following His will is never dull.  It is a great adventure.

Note: in Romans 12:2, the Greek word for “test” also has the idea that the testing is to bring out the good or best in us.  Seeking God and seeking His will will always result in good for us.  At very least, knowing Him more!

Seek.

Brian


how long?

How long should we seek God?  Good question.  Never stop.  Never stop pursuing Him.  Never stop longing to know Him more.  We can never know all of God in our earthly state so we should never stop seeking to know Him more.

Today, I was in Exodus 33.  Long story as to why I was there, I won’t bore you with the details.  I was looking for verse 11.  I love verse 11.  The beginning of this chapter describes what would happen every time when Moses entered the tent of meeting.  The pillar of cloud representing God’s presence would descend and stand at the entrance to the tent.  Then, verse 11:

Thus the Lord (Yahweh) used to speak to Moses face to face as a man speaks to his friend.

Wow.  How cool is that?  You’d think that Moses must have known the Lord as much as a man can.  But then, you keep reading.  In verse 13 Moses prays:

Now therefore, if I have found favor in Your sight, please show me now Your ways, that I may know You in order to find favor in Your sight.

Moses was still seeking God.  Longing to know Him more.  The man whom God spoke to face to face was still asking to know Him more.

Let’s take a lesson from Moses.  Let’s continually seek God.  Never stop.  Pursue Him with all our hearts.

God, please give us the longing to know You more.  Please, revive us!  Amen.

Brian