Who Do You Blame?

If someone offered you an umbrella to use in a rain storm and you said "No, thanks.", who's fault would it be that you got wet walking in the rain? It would be your fault for refusing to accept the protection you were offered! Protection is worthless if not accepted and put to use. Yet almost everyday, I hear people asking why God let a particular thing happen to them. I ask them if they pray or go to church or try to live holy lives and they say they don't. Some don't even confess to believe there is a God. (It seems that the only time some people will acknowledge the existence of God is when they need to blame Him for something!) God promises to take care of His children, not someone else's children. If you don't belong to Him, why would you expect His mercy and protection?
Someone once said that our lives are like a car we're driving. We won't let God drive because we think we're better at it than He is. We even tend to relegate Him to the back seat and if He tries to warn us of danger, we call Him a "back-seat driver" and ignore Him. When we wreck our car however, the first thing we do is look in the back seat and ask Him "Why did you let this happen?". Ain't it the truth! Another wise person said "Never give the devil a ride because he'll always want to drive.". Did you ever look to see who's driving your car?
God's promises are always true (the Bible says they are yes and amen), but only to those He promised them to. That's where people get confused. A lot of people are claiming things that don't belong to them and then they get mad when they don't get them! God wants us to come under His protective wing and be forgiven and safe, but He is not responsible if we decide not to come. Jesus is our refuge, our place of safety. If you put your trust in Him, you can claim the promises of God and be sure they will overtake you. If you decide against Jesus, your on your own. We need to stop blaming God for our own mistakes.



The greatest thing about God, to me, is His mercy. Where would we be without it? We would be helplessly waiting for eternal punishment without any hope of escaping. Jesus is the supreme manifestation of God's mercy. Jesus is the way made where there was no way. Jesus is the payment for our debts when there was no way we could pay for ourselves. Jesus is God's mercy with skin on; He is walking, talking mercy!
Unfortunately, the mercy that brings life and hope is also the very reason many people don't believe in God. Because God is merciful and doesn't judge sin swiftly and severely, people think He either doesn't care or doesn't exist! Because God is merciful and doesn't punish people immediately, some people think that they are getting away with something. They think that either God can't or won't interfere in the daily lives of people. Other people think that there is no God and that's why He doesn't do anything. They don't realize that God is merciful to everyone and is only giving people time to see their mistakes and repent. God doesn't want to punish people; God doesn't want people to go to Hell; God doesn't want people to suffer for their mistakes. God created us because He wanted us to exist with Him and He loves us more than we could ever imagine. He is merciful by His very nature and if He wasn't, we would be lost forever!
If God judges sin and we suffer for what we have done, we complain that God is unfair. If God is merciful and delays punishment and is willing to forgive, we say God doesn't care if we sin or we say that since God doesn't act, He must not exist.



When I think about my life, who I am and what I am, I remember a scene from the animated film, The Lion King. Simba, son of the Lion King, has run away from his rightful place as King, following his father's death. He didn't see himself as a king; He didn't feel like a king; He didn't think he could handle being king. His father appeared to him in a vision and said "Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become.".
Those words have stayed with me for years now and have come to be a reminder to me that there's never a good stopping place in life. Life is a journey and we are meant to keep moving until the journey is over. If we stop at a comfortable place, we are in danger of staying there forever. Remember what you learned in science class: an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion? In other words, it's easier to keep going than to get going.
I must admit that I am one of the world's worst at staying motivated and keeping up the pace. I get tired and allow my feelings to stop my progress. My intention is to just slow down long enough to rest, but then I look around and notice that I am standing still! I'm just grateful that the Holy Spirit loves me enough to not leave me in that condition. He comes along side me and reminds me of that scene in the Lion King (among other things) and whispers in my ear "You are more than you have become. Keep going. Seek completeness. Be all you were created to be!"
Contemplate your life. Think about who you are and who you were created to be. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and insight into what God wants for you. Let's all seek greatness. I believe that God created us to be extraordinary beings, we just have to keep on keeping on.


Make Your Declaration

"This I declare of the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God and I am trusting in Him." Psalm 91.2

"The LORD says, 'I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them. I will satisfy them with a long life and give them my salvation.'" Psalm 92.14-16

When I wake up in the morning, I thank God for a new day of His blessings and I make my declaration of faith just as the Psalmist did in Psalm 91. The Lord alone is my refuge. He is my God and I am trusting in Him for everything. I am convinced beyond any doubt that He is able and willing to take care of me. I am not living in some fantasy world where I sit on my couch and expect some supernatural creature to serve me hand and foot without my having to lift a finger. I go to work, I pay my debts, I care for my wife and kids; I do what I can with what I have and I do it all in gratitude and joy for the ability and means to do it. But I know that God is making a way for me every day. I know that He works behind the scenes causing circumstances to work for my good. He does for me exactly what He said He would do for those who love Him and trust in Him. I believe I will live a good, long life full of God's grace and mercy and even in times of trouble I know He will be there and will bring me out quickly and unharmed.
God has blessed me with faith to believe in Him and I am going to use that faith to make my declaration every day. We all need to confess what we believe and then expect to see what we hope for happen for us. God is faithful. He will never let you down of leave you alone. He will do what He has promised for those He has promised it to. Wouldn't your day go much better if you knew God was working behind the scenes on your behalf? Believe in Him and be blessed;Trust in Him and receive the promises; Declare His name and enjoy His deliverance and His salvation.


In a Box

There's a popular saying these days among Christians concerning not putting God "in a box", meaning, of course, that we shouldn't hem God in by trying to define Him according to our human understanding. Any attempt to define God by saying "this is how God does things" or "this is what God thinks about it" (beyond what the Bible teaches us) is sure to limit God's working in our lives and is not only unwise, but dangerous. God is sovereign and has proven to us in His word that He always thinks, as we say, "outside the box". He does things in strange ways sometimes just to confound "the wise". God is beyond definition.
We understand that it is unwise to put God in a box and yet we still put each other in a box. We define "Christian" and then try to make everyone fit that description. We say Christians "talk like this" and "act like this" and "think this way". The Bible gives clear instruction on Christian behavior and we can trust in what it says. The problem starts when we begin to add our human traditions to what the word of God says. Besides, who are we to judge another man's servant? Christians are God's children and God's servants and we have no legitimate right to judge anyone outside of what the Bible clearly states. The world condemns us enough already; why do we insist on downing each other?!
We shouldn't put God in a box and we shouldn't put our fellow Christians in a box and we shouldn't put ourselves in a box. Being a Christian is all about freedom. Jesus set us free!


Pure Religion

In the book of James God says to us that "to visit the widows and the fatherless" is what He considers pure and undefiled religion. I've always heard that "God helps those who help themselves", but in reality, God helps those who can't help themselves. All through the Bible God shows His concern for the less fortunate, the widows and orphans, the oppressed, the weak and the helpless. God is for the underdog. He picked Israel to be His people because they were so small and helpless. Since this is God's attitude about pure and undefiled religion, shouldn't it be ours as well? After all, we say we are His children; shouldn't His children want what He wants and feel like He feels? I'm afraid we will find out at the judgment of the saints that a lot of the "Christian stuff" we have been doing kept us from doing what God really wanted us to be doing. People are hungry; people are without hope and in need of encouragement; people are alone and need to be befriended; people are sick and need prayer; people are in prison and need to be visited. Jesus said that whatever we do for these people, we do for Him!


Hope or Faith?

Many who claim to live by faith are actually living by hope. Hope and faith are two different things and understanding the differences and interdependencies of the two is very important. Hope is a good thing, but hope isn't the secret to pleasing God; faith is.
Hope is the believing that something you want to happen can actually happen. When all hope is lost, what is the point in living? Without hope people perish. Without hope, there is nothing to fend off fear and despair. As long as there is a chance, there is still hope and as long as there is hope, there is still that flickering flame that lights the darkness.
But, hope is a future event. We hope that something will happen. We hope it is going to happen. Our hope is for someday. But faith is for right now! Faith is a present thing. Faith gives substance to hope. The Bible says that faith is the substance of things hoped for. Faith is the present knowing that what we hope can happen, absolutely will happen. It's the difference between will and can! Did you ever hear someone say they wanted something so bad they could taste it? That's faith! How can you taste something that you don't have yet?: by faith! Faith allows us to know and expect what hope only allows us to want and and look forward to.
I believe that faith takes spiritual things and makes them natural things. The Bible says that every good gift comes down from from Heaven from our Father. What is in Heaven but spiritual things? Heaven is a spiritual place full of spiritual creatures and spiritual things. I believe that it is faith that gives literal substance to those spiritual things we hope for that come down from Heaven from God our Father. It pleases God when He blesses His children with good things and the Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God. When we have faith for the things we hope for, God is able to send that spiritual blessing to us and our faith gives it substance so that we can use it. Before you start thinking I'm a nut or something, think about this: God created everything out of nothing. Everything was spiritual before God made it into physical matter. The Bible tells us to have the faith of God.
Check yourself and see if you have faith or just hope; you need both. No hope leads to despair. No faith leads to no hope.

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