Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Oooo...that's good!

So I've decided that I'm going to start sharing things that encourage me; either from a sermon I heard or from a book I'm reading...or even from a conversation with a wise individual. So many times throughout my day/week I hear something and think: "ooo....that's good" for the chance it may encourage you in any way, I thought I'd share. Feel free to add to the thought or share some of your "ooo....that's good" moments in the comment section because I'd love to add them to my mental list. =)

Here's a couple from this week. These may encourage you if: you are needing to learn how to find more rest in your life ...or... if you are needing wisdom regarding certain friendships ...or... if you feel like something in your life is hopeless and you are in need of a miracle...
1) The first one came from a sermon I was listening to from Mike Bickle on the Song of Solomon. There were a lot of things that stood out to me but I thought this was worded really well and is so true:

"Two-fold spiritual rest of a believer: a) the rest of a believer: We experience this with the knowledge that we are fully forgiven as a free gift in Jesus. b) The rest of intimacy: we experience this as we pursue intimacy with God. There is no rest until we conclude the highest purpose of our life is intimacy with God. Augustine (354-430 AS) wrote, "Man does not rest until he finds his rest in God." We only find our ultimate purpose for life in being wholehearted in our love for God. This is our highest life purpose that brings us peace and happiness in this life. Many believes who have the assurance of being forgiven are striving to find purpose and happiness. It is not a n issue of going to heaven but how and why they live on earth. There is a God-shaped vacuum in our hearts that can only be fulfilled in the rest of intimacy. Without resting in this area of our lives, we are far more vulnerable to strongholds and addictions, etc."

"Living before an audience of one. I heard the story of a concert pianist in the last century that longed to play in the great concert hall in Vienna. When he finished his first concert before thousands, the people gave him a long standing ovation. Afterwards, he was asked, "Was it the greatest moment in your life to receive this long applause?" The concert pianist replied, "No! I liked it, but it was not the most important thing to me," he said, "When the people all sat down, an elderly man who say in the top corner of the balcony simply nodded his head at me. That was the greatest moment of m life because he is the master who taught me for 30 years. One nod from him was worth much more than the long applause of the masses."

"We must learn to live before an audience of One. Receiving the nod from our Master has great power in the hearts of those who love Him. It has more power than the approval of all others."

2) The second one came from my Aunt, an amazing counselor of many years and follower of Christ:

"We can easily enjoy acquaintances, but we "bear with" true friends and family. This has helped me understand how we can meet someone and have a great time of fellowship and love being with that new friend and acquaintance. But the test of true friends and family are the willingness to "bear with". This is our responsibility in Christ and is a commitment."

3) The last one came from Tony Evans via a newsletter from Life Today:

"When God puts you or me between a rock and a hard place, He will often make a request that makes absolutely no sense. His request to the mourners (of Lazarus death) is not logical. Lazarus is literally between a rock and a hard place. Lazarus is literally behind a stone. Jesus asked the mourners to remove the stone without giving them any more information.

Here's the spiritual truth you can apply to your daily life: When God is getting ready to do something significant in our life that involves a deliverance from a situation gone bad, or a resurrection of a situation that has died, it will often include an illogical request. And I want to encourage you, when that happens, don't go logical on God. What we often do with God in situations like that is debate the instruction. Just life Martha did. Jesus' instruction to her was pretty simple, "Remove the stone."

With God it's not about logic. It's about doing what He says to do in faith. Once you add human logic to the Word of God, you ignore the power of God in your situation. Jesus doesn't want to have a discussion about the stone He has old us to remove. He doesn't want to know how big the stone is. He doesn't want to know how long the stone has been there. He doesn't even want to know how dead the dead is behind the stone. All Jesus wants you to do it remove the stone.

To experience the living Christ in your dead situation, belief must precede sight, because without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). Faith precedes sight. One of the great verses in the Bible describes this situation. It says, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (11:1). In other words, belief requires no empirical evidence to validate what you are doing. There is nothing to taste, smell, touch, hear, or see in order for you to believe. There is nothing that the five senses can grab because if there is, then that is no longer faith. You don't have to see something to know that it's real. But what you do have to do is act in faith.

God says, the righteous "shall live by faith" (10:38). So how do you know when you have faith? You only know that you have faith when you remove the stone - when you do the thing that God has asked you to do. If you're not doing the thing that He told you to do, then you're not having faith. If you're discussing it, you're not at the point of faith yet; you're at the point of discussion. If you're thinking about it, you're not at the point of faith yet; you're at the point of thought.

You're not at the point of faith until God sees the stone move.

What can you expect to happen when you remove the stone? Jesus told Martha that if she will believe, she will see the "glory of God." The glory of God is seeing God manifest Himself in your situation.

God wants to make some dead scenarios come forth. He wants to make dead careers come alive once more. He wants to resurrect dead marriages.

Martha and Mary didn't make life come forth. All they did was remove the stone at His word. Then He created the miracle.

Someone reading this needs a miracle. Something in your life has died, and you need God to call it back to life. Someone is trapped in an addiction. You've tried everything that you know to get out of it but it doesn't seem to work. What you need is a resurrection. God can take your dead and dying scenario and call forth a resurrection. He can take what looks like a rotting situation and give it new life. He's just waiting for you to remove the stone. When we do what God says to do in faith, God is free to bring forth life."

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