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Posts Tagged ‘process’

Clocks and Calendars

August 24th, 2016

Worry and hurry suggest the urgency of a wrong agenda.

“The Lord will work out His plans for my life.” Psalm 138:8 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today are about “clocks and calendars.”

So much of our daily lives and activities seem to be governed by clocks and calendars. God operates within His plans that are timeless and eternal. Timing is everything. The right thing at the wrong time is no better than the wrong thing at the right time. Sometimes, I am off schedule, earlier than was necessary or later than is useful. However, God is always exactly on time – His time. Maybe you are in a circumstance where you think that God is late, that He should have done what you asked much sooner. Be assured; “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8-9 NIV.

Lazarus, a dear friend of Jesus, was seriously ill. Martha, his sister, asked Jesus to come, but for reasons known only to Jesus, He delayed several days before coming to Bethany. Read John 11:1-45 NIV. Understandably, Martha was distraught. In her view, Jesus had done the wrong thing. While Jesus delayed, Lazarus died. Martha was heartbroken. The situation seemed irreparable. By her view of events, Jesus was too late. Is God ever too late?

You have probably had similar emotions when God hasn’t worked when you expected or in the way you anticipated. Disappointed, hopeless, and upset, Martha saw an opportunity missed. Jesus saw an opportunity whose time had finally come. “Lazarus’ sickness . . is for the glory of God.” John 11:4 NKJV. The glory of God is rarely achieved in the manner you anticipate or on the schedule you had hoped.

There is never a wrong time for God to do what is His will to do. God’s timing is flawless. Jesus’ schedule is completely aligned with His Father, always and completely. “The Son can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son does also.” Read John 5:19-21 NIV. That should be your goal as well. At God’s time, in God’s way, and for God’s purpose, God’s will is best accomplished.

Your dilemma is not a project for God to complete but rather a process for your faith, trust, and obedience to develop and strengthen. “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV. You may not prefer His process, but His process is best. God is more concerned with doing right what He plans for your life, than He is about getting it done how and when you think it ought to be. His vision and purpose will be fulfilled.

 Worry and hurry usually suggest the urgency of a wrong agenda – your agenda instead of His. Persuading God to accept your clock or calendar will be futile and frustrating. Be assured as was David, “The Lord will work out His plans for my life.” Psalm 138:8 NLT. Beware of your insistence and impatience. Grow your confidence and expectation as you welcome God’s timing on every occasion. “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to trust God for the calendar and moments of your life.

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Christian Communications 2016

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A Work in Progress

March 20th, 2015

“Like clay is in the hand of the potter, so are you in My hand.” Jeremiah 18:6 NIV.

Remain in God’s hands until His work is complete and His plan evident.

My thoughts and comments today are about “a work in progress.”

People are so impatient; we expect everything to be immediate. What we want, we want now. You must learn that whatever is worth having is worth waiting for. And whatever is worth waiting for is worth the time and effort that necessitates.

As it pertains to your spiritual life and development, your best efforts alone will not achieve all God intends for you. Try as diligently as you might, your efforts will fall short. What needs to happen in your spiritual life requires God for its accomplishment. Yes, there are spiritual disciplines to which you must steadfastly commit yourself and be diligent in doing so. “Make every effort to add to your faith goodness . . knowledge . . self-control . . perseverance . . Godliness . . brotherly kindness, and love.” 2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV. Ultimately, your spiritual growth requires the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling and working within you. Spiritual maturity occurs as you rest in God’s hands fully and continually, to work as He wills.

Jeremiah visited a potter’s shop and observed the potter at work when, “the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him . . like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in My hand.” Jeremiah 18:1-4/6 NIV. The work in His hands requires more than the quality of the clay; the ultimate outcome is due to the vision, diligence, and skill of the potter. Impurities or failure may temporarily mar God’s design and delay His intention, but all is not lost.

The God who by His mere words created a world out of nothing, whispers, “Trust Me.” Remain in God’s hands until His work is complete and His plan evident. The process may seem dizzying at times and the purpose unclear, but rest in your Creator. “What we will be has not yet been made known . . but we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.” See 1 John 3:1-3 NIV. That’s God’s promise.

EDL pix work in progressGod knows exactly what He is doing. You are a work in progress, while He faithfully conforms you into the image of His Son, Jesus, as you have asked Him to do. “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.” Romans 8:28-29 NIV. That seems well beyond your finite ability to comprehend, but true nevertheless. I am not yet what I will be nor am I what I once was. “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV.

When I was a young pastor with few skills and many uncertainties, God spoke His Word to my heart, “The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” Read 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NIV. Of that truth, I have never had reason to be uncertain. Across the years, I continue to be strengthened by the promise of His faithfulness. Read 2 Timothy 3:16/Hebrews 13:20-21. You are God’s unique design fashioned for His service and glory.

Participate and cooperate in the grand process that is called spiritual life. Really, this life is but prelude to life, eternal and incomparably glorious. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10.

Today, my prayer for you is that the lasting impressions on your life are His alone.

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Seeds and Harvests

November 18th, 2014

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest . . shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22 NKJV.

Every seed you plant schedules a harvest.

My thoughts and comments today are about “seeds and harvests.”

I don’t know anyone who enjoys waiting. What you want, you want now. But that is not how life works. Things that come too quickly or too easily are not appreciated as fully. God designed life to have a necessary process. “Consider the farmers who eagerly look for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They patiently wait for the precious harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient.” James 5:7-8 NLT. And without the process, you will miss the preparation essential to experience God’s best. David got it right. “But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God. My times are in Your hand.’” Psalm 31:14-15 NAS. Peace and satisfaction come when you rest in God’s hands and trust in God’s time.

Solomon wisely observed, “Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses . . God has set the right time for everything.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 TEV. Life works best when you believe God and trust His timing. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart; and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14 NIV. Trust and tranquility relax life, granting you patience with peace of heart and mind.

Process is important. God’s process begins with sowing and ends with harvest. Every harvest begins with a seed. With no seed planted or no patience with the process, you will not experience a harvest. Nothing comes from nothing; nothing ever has. Here are two simple, practical considerations: sow what you plan to reap (See Galatians 6:7-9); sow in the measure that you hope to reap. See 2 Corinthians 9:6-11. NIV.

Those who pour their life generously into the lives of others are replenished, while those who hold and hoard everything for themselves worry about parting with what they have and end up losing it, or not enjoying it while they have it. The Bible says, “Some people give their money freely and still grow richer. Others are cautious, and yet grow poorer. Be generous, and you will be prosperous. Help others, and you will be helped. People curse a man who hoards . .” Proverbs 11:24-26 TEV.

Now, when you have planted seed in abundance having allowed the necessary process for the planted seed to germinate and release its inherent life, God promises the time of harvest will come just as He established from the beginning. Every seed you plant schedules a harvest. God built His promise into every seed. “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest . . shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22 NKJV. You plant the seeds; God promises the harvest.

God wants to bless you and give you more; His intent is far greater than your having excess. There should be a distinction between excess and abundance. Excess is what you hoard and hide for yourself. Abundance is the means from which you validate your stewardship to God and exhibit a generosity toward others. Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 NIV. Jesus’ context was about forgiveness, but the principle is broadly applicable to every area of stewardship in the Kingdom of God.

Today, my prayer for you is that you sow in faith so that you may reap in joy.

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The Process of Progress

September 16th, 2014

“Old things have passed away; all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV.

Exchanging the expendable for the expedient is the process of progress.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the process of progress.”

Life is a process of perpetual change. It is a delusion that things can remain as they were or are. They never do, nor should they. Paul envisioned the boundless intention of God for your spiritual development while warning of the tragedy of stunted development, “Until we all come . . to a [maturing] man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we be should no longer be children . . but may grow up in all things into Christ.” Ephesians 4:13-15. Anything less is inadequate and unworthy of the grace God has shown to your life. Progress is not at all sudden; it is deliberate and incremental.

SIGN 2 (3)

Growing is natural; remaining the same is not. Without necessary change there would be no process for progress. If your life remained static, you would be less than you could and should be. I often reflect on the unconstrained potential that redemption restores to any and everyone who comes to Christ in faith. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the sons of God.” John 1:12 KJV. What expansive potential is held in those words, “given the power to become.” What you become in Christ has so much to do with your choices and desire. “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

John later wrote, “We are already God’s children, and we can’t even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when Jesus comes, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He really is.” 1 John 3:2 NLT. Now the power of the Spirit is at work in you until the day the transformation into Christ-likeness is complete.

There are elements of your Christian life that are accomplished, finished works of grace. Yet there are also dimensions of Christian life that continue in the process of your becoming less of what you were and more than you had ever been. When you have done all that you are to do, God has not yet completed all that He will do. Read Philippians 3:12-14 NIV. You and I remain a glorious work in progress. “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV.

Paul wrote, “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. Wonderful, new things await you in Christ, being released as you willingly relinquish your old ways. Meditate on Ephesians 4:21-32.

Redemption occurs in a moment of transformation; Christ-likeness is a lifelong process of conformation. Read Romans 8:28-29 NIV. Writing about his Christian liberties, Paul said, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” 1 Corinthians 10:23 NIV. Exchanging the expendable for the expedient is the process of progress.

Today, my prayer for you is to never accept the good as a substitute for God’s best.

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Recognition and Opportunities

April 4th, 2014

“You were loyal with small things. I will let you care for greater things.” Matthew 25:23 NCV.

Greater responsibilities require achievements worthy of recognition.

My thoughts and comments today are about “recognition and opportunities.”

People seem to think they should start at the top. You might hope for the big and important opportunities first, but that is not how life really works. You may look at the ease with which someone does their job successfully, and assume that you could do it just as easily. Greater opportunities and responsibilities require achievements worthy of recognition. You don’t understand the tireless effort that provided another’s success and developed their skills.

On your path to success, small responsibilities provide useful lessons and needed experience. Learn from the struggles and mistakes. Life experiences prepare you for greater opportunities. When the opportunity comes, be ready for it. “Overnight success” usually takes a long time. Success that comes too quickly usually isn’t handled well or enjoyed long.

Mistakenly, some begin to think promotion is about what they have done. Here’s what really happens. Along your way, people appreciate your effort and see your potential, generously giving you opportunities to achieve and applauding your success. As I look back across my life, anything that I have been allowed to accomplish or become has been the direct result of the grace of God and the graciousness of a lot of people on my behalf. I have given the effort, but others have given me opportunity, encouragement, and much assistance. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV.

Most importantly, don’t confuse success with achievement. Everyone wants success, or at least the benefits, privileges, and rewards success can bring. A culture of impatience values the product more than the process. Noteworthy achievement requires sacrifice and comes when you have prepared well, become equipped for success, and worked diligently.

Be forewarned. Success, when unearned and unprepared for, can result in ultimate failure. In subtle ways, success can corrupt values and cloud your judgment, making you arrogant when you should be appreciative, or greedy when you should be generous. Hold public praise and recognition gratefully, but lightly; use it wisely, while it’s yours to enjoy. Jesus taught an irreversible principle of the Kingdom of God, “The Master said, ‘You did well. You were loyal with small things. I will let you care for greater things. Come and share My joy with Me.’” Matthew 25:23 NCV.

Achievement and success begin by your being a good manager and faithful servant with what you have now. Jesus taught, “If you have not been faithful in that which is least, you will not be faithful in that which is much. If you have not been faithful with riches, who will give you true wealth? If you have not been faithful in what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?” Luke 16:10-12. So much of your future can be the product of a diligent past. Be faithful in the things presently at hand and greater opportunities will be given and greater success achieved.

My prayer for you today is: prefer God’s reward above the recognition of others.

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