Go On Our Way

Luke 4:14-30

This is a passage I often think of when I feel out of place or unnoticed or unaccepted somewhere.

Perhaps it’s due to my personality or how sensitive I am, but throughout my life I have felt rejected over and over again: rejected by family members, rejected by church members, rejected by work and friends, many times, many ways.

So, of course, when Jesus says, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown”, I took comfort in that and yet I have stayed in Arizona all my life.

I’m not meaning to throw a piety party for myself but it was essential to explain the context for this post.

I think sometimes we can be called to do something, to serve in ministry, to work at a specific company, to get married, to start a church, and we’ll face opposition, we’ll face obstacles.

We may get fired, we may go through failed relationships or just not attract anyone around us, we may not have enough finances, and people may tell you that God is not calling you to that vocation or step.

Essentially, they will not accept your service.

Sometimes, yes, the Lord is closing a door…. but I KNOW you will see it firmly closed and you will feel Him calling you away rather than just feeling discouraged and unsure.

 

So let me suggest something. Maybe your calling is failing because He wants you somewhere else, a different state, country, maybe just a different church. Perhaps you’re too close to home.

In that case, it is hard not to over analyze the situation, to worry over costs, losing friends, community, breaking commitments, etc. but live by example.

After Jesus spoke about a prophet not being accepted in his hometown, Jesus was literally about to be thrown off a cliff. I don’t think anyone will be throwing you off a cliff, but sometimes, often, God calls us to do something very drastic that may confuse others, but we will “walk right through the crowd and go on our way.”

If you feel called and you are facing opposition, as the Lord where He wants you and prepared to be placed somewhere different by Him.

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Because you Said so

Luke 5:5

“Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.'”

How often do you find yourself feeling just like Peter in this passage? Have you found yourself exhausted, having tried everything, and the Lord says, “Keep trying”? Keep working at the job you hate. Keep going to the church small group you feel like you don’t fit in. Keep loving that person who treats you cruelly. Keep waiting for direction. Keep praising me through your health problems. Do it again. Try it with me. Let down your nets!

Is He telling you that right now in your life? Because He told Peter to do it again, and how did Peter respond?

Peter’s a little bit tired, grouchy, and apprehensive. He feels the need to mention to Jesus that he has been doing just that all night without success. BUT…. BUT! And this but is big for you and I. Peter chooses to listen and obey.

I don’t think it’s wrong to doubt and struggle when God asks you to do something. In fact, in many ways, I think it shows your true faith. That despite the fact you’ve been trying without visible success or fruit, you still obey. Even though you feel like there is no hope, no chance of change, you obey.

Peter may have obeyed simply to be nice, or because others were watching, or maybe because he thought, “To heck with it… I might as well try!” The thing is Peter didn’t know Jesus’ character yet, so his obedience was done out of flesh.

We have it so much better because we can obey out of love and faith in God’s character. We know He’s a God who comes through and honestly I think He loves it when we obey with apprehension because He is able to shock us and delight us when He does His miracle in our life.

 

 

 

Adventure

I read a wonderful devotional every morning called Jesus is Calling by Sarah Young.

It was Jan. 1st when I read the first page and read an insane sentence!

“Give yourself fully to this adventure of increasing attentiveness to my presence.”

THAT is a bold statement. You’re probably wondering why I would say that.

The world says life is an adventure too: make friends, travel, fall in love, party, get a great career, have children, go to Disneyland 😉 YOLO!

But as Christians our adventure looks different. All we are meant to do is be more attentive of the Lord. The more I live (and I know I am only 22), the more I realize how true that is.

Life isn’t truly about where I work, whom I marry, where I live. All of that is important of course, it comes from the Lord, and He uses it as much as other things in our life, but what He truly calls us to do is seek Him.

So to me, that sentence communicates something that is repeated so often in the Bible. No matter your circumstances, married, single, jobless, successful, no money ,rich, be content and seek Him because that’s where the adventures lies!

Give In Completely

Luke 1:63-64

“He asked for a writing tablet and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, ‘His name is John.’ Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God…”

Here we have the birth of John the Baptist, a miracle, as Elizabeth was well passed the age of bearing children. Zechariah, her husband, has been and is still deaf in speech due to his unbelief.

I wonder in this passage why it took so long for the Lord to return Zechariah’s speech. Hadn’t Zechariah already believed? It isn’t stated he had, but as soon as that child was born or as soon as Elizabeth became pregnant, He must have believed. So, why didn’t God return his speech until he wrote on the tablet?

I am being repetitive, I know, to a purpose (like Paul).

The truth is Zechariah probably had believed in God’s power during his wife’s pregnancy,  but I guarantee you he had many doubts. I am sure he was excited and praising the Lord, then wondering the next second if the baby would survive, wondering even perhaps if the baby was truly from the Lord.

It wasn’t until he gave in fully to the Lord’s will in everything, even in his son’s name, that God restored his speech. Even though others thought it crazy and strange to name their son John, Zechariah was fully convicted in his heart and mind to follow God’s plans so he showed that to others by writing on the tablet.

We have to do the same. No matter how crazy it seems, no matter how impossible, or scary, or confusing, we need to believe wholeheartedly in God’s power. Preferably immediately and not later, so the Lord doesn’t have to silence us to teach us something.

And we shouldn’t keep our faith and trust in His power to ourselves. Sure, sometimes people won’t understand us, but you never know, you may get a response like this… “All the neighbors were filled with awe” and that glorifies the Lord.

My Refuge and Strength

Psalm 57:1

“I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.”

Here above lies the mysterious believers of Christ do not stop believing in the midst of troubles.

Nowhere does God promise us we will have peace and smooth sailing on this earth because of Him. In fact, He tells us the world is broken and as lights in darkness, we may find more trouble than others because of Him.

So, why believe?

I have many answers for that, but I’ll focus on this Psalm.

Being a follower of Christ, a child of God, we are not delivered from disaster, but we do have the Lord’s hand over us through every step of our life.

No others can say there is the creator of the universe protecting them through chaos, giving them peace and comfort through pain, even giving them clarity in darkness and confusion.

That’s what He does for us and so much more!

In disaster, take shelter in the shadow of His wings, not to keep the disaster from happening, but to draw closer to Him, to get you through it with your heart and soul intact.

Finding Favor in Christ

Luke 1:28 & 30

“Mary, you have found favor with God.”

It just struck me today, how beautiful and sometimes misunderstood this moment is.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Mary was an especially faithful and righteous woman of God. The Lord knew her heart and trusted His son with her.

But, God’s favor falling upon Mary doesn’t make her holier than thou, or some kind of angel or God herself.

The reason I find this to all be so beautiful is because, Mary is the first of many to come to be highly favored because of Christ’s coming.

She providentially happens to be the one carrying Christ, thus making for a different case than others, but still illustrating for the first time the power of Christ’s coming.

Because of Christ’s coming, we all are now highly favored. We have all found favor with the Lord. Christ’s coming lead to his crucifixion, sacrifice, and resurrection! All of this makes each of us equally forgiven of our sins and loved by God.

Mary was just the first to see the favor Christ’s coming would bring to the world.

Feet on the Ground, Heart in Heaven

“My feet on the ground, my heart in heaven.”

Lyrics have a way of speaking to us personally, whether it hits a spot of serenity within us or pushes a button.

This line from the song Deliverance by Strahan is one I always smile at and pray that I live by.

2015-15 is the year I participated in something called Surge. Churches around AZ had members of their congregation participiating in this bible class/conference, incredible experience. We read very popular Christian books and discussed them. Each book and discussion brought us closer to Christ and revealing new concepts to us. It was life changing for me and a great step closer in my walk with God.

One of the many things that came up was the fact that many Christians live either too much in heaven or too much on earth.

If we live too much in the world, so focused on earthly pleasures and sorrows, we are no longer living like we are set apart, which we are called to do. Called o store all our treasures in heaven as this earth will pass away.

BUT, many Christians also have the attitude of believing so much their home and destination is in heaven that they ignore the world. We are also called to be lights in the darkness. To bring a foretaste of God’s kingdom to the earth. We can’t do that if we are looking so far ahead to heaven, saying we don’t belong on this earth, with an attitude that the earth doesn’t matter.

My point is, we should live with our feet on the ground and out heart in heaven.

A long as God keeps you on earth, you are meant to serve Him on earth, to do His will and glorify Him on earth! But always our trust should be for our Lord in heaven, and yes, that is our home! We can’t put full faith and confidence in anything on earth because we are meant to put it in Christ.

Thus, let’s don’t forget to walk this world with your savior, but to give your heart and soul to Him in heaven.