Monthly Archives: August 2011

You can’t stop an avalanche with a garden shovel

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.    Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

I simply love God’s word.  It seems like every time it instructs us to NOT do something, it gives us something else to do.  Don’t worry…instead, pray!   The verse above goes on to say, “Tell God…..…”  Wait a minute!  What do we need to tell God?  Doesn’t he know everything?  Why should we waste any time telling him something he already knows?

He knows when we’re…

…happy

…tired

…thankful

…worried

…angry

…doubting

…confused

I can tell you why in one word.  Relationship!  When we actively come to him with our heart opened a relationship is formed.  You see, only when we are honest with him will we have peace in our circumstance.  Only when we are bold enough to step near his throne will he guard our hearts and minds from all the distractions of life. 

When changes and trials approach us we really only have two options.  We can resist.  I like to compare this to attempting to stop an avalanche with a gardening shovel.  Our efforts are usually ineffective.  The other option is to accept it, and discover how to embrace it.  This leads to a strong witness to those around us.  It also is evidence that we are maturing in our faith.

What has shaken your world this week?  Take time today to tell Jesus all about it.  He’s waiting on you to invite him into your pain.  May you then have peace in his arms of love.

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Conduit of Praise

Recently, I was able to attend the final night of prayer concluding a week of prayer at our church.  I was unable to be there three other nights due to my work schedule, and I assisted in the kids area the other night (my wife is the Children’s Director).  Every time our church family gathers for these times of ‘Crave,’ as we call it, God inevitably speaks and reveals amazing things.  So I was very excited to participate on Friday.

As I was reading and meditating on the Word, I found myself stuck on a passage in 2 Corinthians.  Has that every happened to you?  Getting ‘stuck’ in a passage?  I read it over and over multiple times.  And this is what I read:

You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.      2 Corinthians 9:11

Simply stated, we will be blessed….to be a blessing!  And this is only the beginning.  The end piece of this passage is the key point.  Through our obedience (with those blessings) God will be praised!  Wow…what we do with what God gives us will determine the thankful voices of praise lifting up God’s name.

For some this means to be a blessing with finances.  But for others it may mean being a help, spreading your joy of life, being a listening ear, etc.  It may also mean forgiving someone who does not deserve your forgiveness.

How have you been blessed by God?  What would it look like if you were to bless others in the same way?  Be a conduit of praise for Him today.

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“I already have one!”

This Sunday morning I was leading a small group of 4th/5th grade girls.  One particular activity we had was to ‘build’ the perfect Dad.  You see, prior to class dozens of men’s heads, arms, legs, torsos, etc. were cut out from magazines.  The group had to dump all the parts out on the floor…pick their favorite fatherly attributes…and build away!  Now, just before we began the first round one of the girls raised her hand.  “Mr. Brent,” she said, “I don’t need to do this activity.  I already have one!”

Of course, the lesson was supposed to be teaching that God is our perfect Father in Heaven.  But I couldn’t help being taken back by this young girl’s heart-felt & sincere love for her earthly father.  What a blessing.

Which leads me to beg this question.  Can you relate to this young girl when you think about your own father?  Might I encourage you that it doesn’t matter really  how you answer.  Because either way….you are the child of an awesome, loving, loyal, forgiving, and understanding Heavenly Father!  You are His….and you are loved.  So you see, you already have one too!

1 John 3:1

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When FAITH Is No Longer Required

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.     Hebrews 11:1  (NIV)

I was reading more in ‘Seizing Your Devine Moment’ today. McManus made what I thought to be a very profound spiritual claim after referencing the passage above. He said, “Once something is a certainty, it no longer requires faith. Do not be surprised that what God asked of you yesterday is insufficient for your journey of faith today.” Now, I don’t know about you, but this has proven to be so true in my life. I can’t begin to tell you how many things in my past took immense steps of faith for me. And as I discovered this morning…the vast majority of those ‘leaps of faith’ would not be challenging for me today. I think it’s kind of like riding roller coasters. In general, you may enjoy them…but what if you had the chance to ride the largest & fastest roller coaster in the country? You may experience some nervousness, some anxiety as you approach the boarding area. In fact, the thought of saying, “forget this” might even come to mind more than once. The more you are exposed to enduring that particular roller coaster, however, the more familiar (certain) you become of the experience & the outcome.

Our willingness to walk with Jesus is quite similar in comparison. There will be times when He says, “Come on, get on this ride with me” and we reply with “Are you nuts?”

Today, ask yourself this question. Does my life today require faith…or am I just cruising in what is certain? If you are going to be certain of anything this week, be certain of this.God is a God of growth & challenge. Step out into where you have never been before. It will enrich your life, and God will bless others through you!

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What is praise?

Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion!  Tell among the peoples his deeds!    Psalm 9:11 (ESV)

As I was sitting in the café of our church on Sunday morning…listening to the people sing as the music played…the above verse came to mind.  Specifically, the second part resounded in my mind.  ‘Tell among the peoples his deeds’…my paraphrase being, BE OUTSPOKEN AND BOLD WHEN BRAGGING ABOUT GOD’S HANDIWORK!   This is what praise is, thanking him for all he has done.  But that’s not all.  I would encourage you that this should also include all that he is doing and is about to do.

Have you recognized his hand in your life in the past?  Praise him for those times.  Can you see him at work now?  Rest in the fact that he is…..and he is already at work in the things to come in your life.  Praise him for that as well.

Praise the LORD today…

 

…that he is control.

 

…that he cares for & loves us.

 

…and that he dwells among us 24/7.

 

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Emergency vs. Consistency

Romans 12:12 reads:

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

What a great word of instruction from Paul. It seems to me that Paul’s intent would be for this to be a daily application no matter what is going on. Yet, wouldn’t you agree that many times we approach passages like this as an emergency verse? Think of this. What if it were possible for us to go two or three weeks without food or water, yet feel virtually healthy? Then suddenly, and without warning, we experience this incredible hunger. We find ourselves eating and drinking vast quantities of food, as if to make up for lost nutrition. Now, we all know that this scenario is highly unlikely and unhealthy. Why then do we tend to consider scripture like this? We can last extended periods of time not feeding on God’s Word and still feel perfectly fine spiritually. It’s when difficulties in life come our way that we instantly feel that loss of spiritual nourishment, and diminished strength to endure.
My prayer for you this week has three parts:
1) May you remain confident in your hope in Jesus.
2) Whether trouble sneaks up on you or hits you like a ton of bricks, may you have patience and persistence to carry you through.
3) With whatever is going on in your personal life, workplace, family, or church…keep on praying!
Today, are you experiencing anger? Keep on praying.
Are you hurting? Keep on praying.
Are you confused? Keep on praying.
Are you comfortable in Gods arms? Keep on praying.

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Daddy’s Lap

Proverbs 18:10 reads:

The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.

photo by: thefatherheart.org

Names. Everybody’s got one. We either like what our parents named us, or we wish that we could change our name to something else…and some do! Onomatology is the study of names. Do you know what your name means? Mine (Brent) is from a Celtic word meaning ‘from the hill.’ Now, maybe I tend to read into things like this a little too much, but a couple questions come to mind. First, what ‘hill’ is being referred to? And second, what was the first Brent doing on that hill? See…random thoughts.

For those of us who believe in God and have given our lives over to Him, the scripture passage above offers tremendous hope and security. What’s in a name? Simply put…the name of God is our home base…our safe zone…our Daddy’s lap. Additionally, when we take a look at all of God’s names in the Bible it quickly becomes apparent that He is much more than that. He really is our everything.
So for this week, may you find safety, rest, and comfort sitting on the knee of your Heavenly Father. May you also feel His strong, loving arms embrace you as your child-like grin touches His heart.

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