Inadequacy of words…

Lord God, greater than I can ever describe here – let me use my feeble words to give you praise as I am able.  You are mighty and with me.  You bring strength and comfort.  You set my feet on the right path and equip me to walk it.  You ARE an ever present help in times of need. You should not be tested and at the same time you are long-suffering. Thank you so much for that.  I give you praise Lord God.  I give you praise because there is no other response to your majesty.  When I see the perfect sunrise, Mt. Rainier on a clear day when the mountain seems to loom, my incredible Issac Lake view – they all inspire me and bring an ease to my soul- these things cannot be compared to you.  You are alive and you created every one of them.  All were created by the perfect and most beautiful.  The best of this creation around me only reflects a negligible infraction of you.  
 
I don’t understand you God and your mysteries are deep.  Yet as I follow the clouds begin to depart and I see the sun, the mountain, the lake – and then beyond them the great giver of all life! Oh Praise to you God!  Praise to you!  I want to switch this over to my typical asking of forgiveness – and I need it – but right now my eyes are on you and I keep them there.  I am nothing and everything.  I am lost and I am found.  I am blind and I see more clearly than those around me.  I have sinned and your mercies are new every morning.  And here we are in the dark hours before the dawn and I am knowing your mercy and majesty.   I am unable to express the depth of thankfulness for that and no doubt do not even fully appreciate it as much as I should.
 
I am forced to grasp at words I know, images I know, comparisons that try to convey who you are and how I see you – and they fall short.  My mouth opens and the Spirit speaks in words that cannot be understood by me.  In groaning that has more meaning than my most eloquent phrases.  Not only do you bless me so much, save my life and set me on a path – you give me the tools to praise you beyond my own vocabulary and emotion.  You are everything.  The great I am.  And I give you praise.  It is what I was created to do.  The creator is worthy of nothing less.
-Mike

You can please some of the people some of the time…

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

 – Galations 1:10

In considering this verse it did not take long for me to draw parallels to my work life.  I have responsibility over a large number of employees who are in place for the purpose of meeting the mission of my organization.  You are hard pressed today to pick up a book on leadership and not see the importance of caring for and development of your employees.  Part of that thinking is that “a happy workforce is a productive workforce” (I put it in quotes because I am sure someone said it – if not, I just did).  This certainly makes sense and today we see this played out in ways no one would have dreamed about 50 years ago.

Google is a great example of this philosophy in action and is one of the most sought after places of employment today.  An employee at Google has access to breakfast through dinner at no cost – right there in the workplace.  They not only serve you the food, but they pick you up from home in their own bus to get you to work.  And don’t forget your dog Skippy, he can come along and join you for the day.  Need a few months off to climb Mount Everest?  That can be accommodated.  Don’t worry, when you get back to work you’ll have a massage waiting for you to soothe those tired muscles!

Of course, this is not just one big free ride.  It all is intended to ultimately achieve the company’s mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”.  Oh, and I would be remiss to leave out the $16 Billion they made along the way in 2013.

Meeting the mission is the primary driver for any organization.  While a productive work force is key to achieving that, organizations frequently need to make decisions which do not always please all of their employees.  I personally have experienced this in an organization which has had to make significant changes due, in great part, to forces outside of our control.  I have found that I cannot prioritize pleasing people ahead of meeting the mission.

When we focus back on Paul’s mission in Galations, the stakes are much higher than any organization – they are eternal and driven by the ultimate CEO, God himself.  There is no room for compromise of scripture in order to please people.  How would Paul respond to the condition of the church in America today?  How does your life reflect on these truths?  As a servant of Christ I must be unwavering in my commitment to the mission laid out before me in scripture.   While I need to demonstrate the love of Christ to a dying world, this cannot come at the expense of watered down truth; and ultimately means I will find myself alienated from much of the world around me.  There is one Gospel.  There is one truth. The least loving thing I can do is hold the full truth of scripture from my unbelieving neighbor or even the brother sitting in the chair next to me at church.

We need to embrace a sense of urgency in our own lives to abide in Christ and commit to striving toward obedience to the fullness of scripture.  It is then that the Holy Spirit will be our guide to do all of these things beyond the limitations of our own wisdom and strength.  Because I find myself this morning falling far short of righteousness, I embrace the encouragement of Paul….

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.  But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.   – Phillipians 3:14-17

I pray we will press on today in Christ to further our mission to a world in need of Him.

-Mike

God is good!

God is faithful and just. He is good, righteous, loving, patient…he is everything you and I need.

More than enough.

Never underestimate the amazing God we serve.

His word is true…And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Remember that his timing is different from ours. And remember Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

WOW! God is so good.

Last night I was thinking about the first time I got a glimpse of God’s glory. It was absolutely amazing. This has happened a few times. Everything in me longs to stay in that place with God. A place where I am filled with an amazing peace and joy that only comes when you have been in the presence of God. I had this burning passion. I would bring my sister out into the garage for Bible study, planning on it taking half an hour, but every single time I would start talking I would lose myself and it would go on for hours. It was amazing. God was speaking to me and through me. After a few months things changed. It felt like God was testing my faith, and in that time I would get on my knees and pray. I would humble myself before Him and every time I did I could hear His voice so clearly. My heart lost that burning passion after a while. Last night was the first time in a long time that I spent time alone with God. I spent so much time praying. Praying that He would rekindle the flame within me. I prayed about every thing big and small that was holding me back from living in that wonderful place I talked about earlier. I asked the Lord for scripture and this is what he gave me…Psalms 51

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me…
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart…
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit…
 
It was exactly what I needed. The Lord is always faithful!
The sermon today was another answer to prayer. The Pastor talked about a few things, but the part that really hit me was when he talked about the transfiguration.
Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them,and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them.And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
You know when you get a glimpse of the glory of God you never want to leave. You want to stay there. You want to set up camp and stay there forever. But the pastor made a good point when he said we weren’t made to spend our lives “on the mountaintop”. We were made to live in the valley. When I first heard this I questioned it, but he went on to say, Yes, the mountaintop is the best, and He gives us those seasons, but you can’t always stay on the mountaintop. He puts us in the valley for a reason. He puts us there to build our faith. He puts us there to help…to make disciples. The valley is a privilege. If we always stay up on the mountaintop how can those who don’t know Jesus come to know Him? How can we bring hope to those hurting? We were made to live in the valley. So the encouragement I got is that whenever I go through a season that isn’t exactly what I want and isn’t a place that is comfortable it’s not always a bad thing. And I have realized that I need to work on thriving in every place God puts me…not just on the mountaintop. So wherever I am I need to press in more, seek God more, and pray more. Bless the Lord in EVERY circumstance. On the mountaintop and in the valley.

Food for Thought

I was reading a sermon this morning by David Platt, titled: Chapter 6: Where Glory Dwells.

There were a few things he said that really stuck out to me. I would greatly encourage you to listen to the sermon or read it here. Hope you have a wonderful day!!!

This church could have the least talented people and the least gifted people, the least amount of resources, and that kind of church under the power of the Holy Spirit of God can shake the nations for His glory. Do we believe this? Do we believe that we can accomplish more as a church in the next month with the power of the Holy Spirit than we could in the next 100 years apart from His power?

The purpose of our redemption is worship.

And what this is pointing us to today is that the ultimate purpose of salvation is what? It’s worship. God saves us for worship. God delivers us for worship.

Do you know almost 50 times – in these first 4 books of the Bible alone, almost 50 times we see the phrase, and you see it over and over again in your reading, “Either you or they will know that I am the Lord.”

We possess His presence. Oh, the wonder of this. The wonder of this and the seriousness of it. Brothers and sisters, do not play with sin. Brothers, stop looking at that on the Internet. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit of God. Brothers and sisters, watch what you fill your minds with, what you give your body to, what comes out of your mouth. In the same way that a High Priest would go into the holy of holies once a year in holy fear, help us God. Help us to realize what you have entrusted to us. Help us to guard your holiness, to realize the wonder and the seriousness of the fact we possess His presence.

Come aside, men and women, please, students, come aside from the trifling stuff in this world and see this eternal truth. Christ has died on a cross and risen from the grave that you might know God. That you might walk with God now and enjoy God for all eternity. So if you have not yet trusted in Christ, I urge you to do that now. Turn, turn, turn from yourself, turn from your sin and trust in Christ.

Do not waver in a moment, not live in pride or in pleasures in stuff of this world. Turn and trust in Him. And when you do, when you do, brothers and sisters, when you do, then seek His glory. Seek after Him and long for more and more and more of Him because you know there’s coming a day, you know there’s coming a day when you’re going to see Him in all His fullness. So do not be content now to be complacent before your God.

My prayer for all of us is that we would truly take these verses to heart and not just be hearers of the Word but doers of the Word! Follow Him!

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Matthew 16:24-25

What’s Your Focus?

It’s been awhile..a long while!

I don’t know about any of you, but I get so caught up in the stresses of life. To a point where God no longer is my focus, but it’s that thing that has taken it’s spot center stage. In your life there will always be something that is your focus. That something can be anything. So many times we are blind to idolatry in our lives because we don’t take the time to reevaluate what really takes precedence in our hearts.
A lot of times the hardships I’m facing take that center stage role. The thing is I don’t think I’m dwelling on it when I pray and pray and pray about it…but I am. Don’t get me wrong we are supposed to cast all our cares on the Lord. But that’s just it we are supposed to cast our cares upon him. Give them to him and  let go. So many times we miss the let go part. Why am I not feeling your peace Lord?  Maybe it’s because you aren’t trusting God entirely to take care of you. And that’s when something gets put before God.

An idol is anybody or anything that has our love and loyalty ahead of God, and as a result decreases our dependence on Him, our desperation for Him and our devotion to Him.

I don’t love being stressed out, but when I think about it I am pretty loyal to it. I give my hardships lots of attention. Or sometimes it’s other things that I put before God unintentionally. Things that you would think how could that be idolatry? Serving in the church can take precedence over God. Family, friends, music…whatever!

I’m writing this to you to urge you to look at yourself…really look at your heart and ask yourself is there anything I am putting before God? And then do something about it! After all even if you look and see that God is right where he is intended to be in your life, there is always room to grow!

1 Corinthians 10:12 says Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

It feels good to be able to see God working. When your eyes are focused on something other than Him it is so easy to doubt. When you refocus…When you ask God to rekindle that flame in your heart, He is faithful and He will do it. And then it’s so clear that he is right here and that he has been here all along!

I’m praying for you all as this new year approaches. Praying for His guidance in your life and that you would taste and see that the Lord is good!