Archive for September, 2012

Yesterday was my annual “Freak Out” session when I visited the doctor for my annual physical. You see, I suffer from “White Coat Syndrome,” which means I get scared when I am being checked out by the doctor. So, as usual my blood pressure was sky-high (it returns to normal after I leave the doctor’s office), and I felt embarrassed for being so scared.

Recently, I sought the Lord to try to understand why this happens to me. As a result, one thing became clearer to me. I have been trained to fear weakness in myself, and to exhibit weakness to others because I fear rejection. Since I regard high blood pressure and being afraid as weaknesses, I fear my rejection and the rejection of others.

However, in recent years, God has been helping me to live more in the reality that no matter how high my blood pressure goes, or how scared I am, I am still accepted by him. It does not matter at all what I think or what others think of my performance. I am still acceptable and okay to God. His acceptance is what counts.

So, yesterday when I received my usual high blood pressure reading and felt embarrassed for being weak in my eyes, I repeated to myself over and over again that I was still accepted and loved by God. I did not need to beat myself up for being weak because my acceptance by God did not depend on being strong. This reduced the pain of being weak.

After the physical, I wondered why God has not enabled me to overcome this weakness in my life through his power. I then recalled Paul’s struggle about his “thorn in the flesh” that God left in his life to keep him from becoming conceited.  This made me think that perhaps why God has left this weakness in my life is to remind me of my desperate need for his support to live each day. By depending on his support, I will be strong!

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Without a Vision

I recently challenged a group of people to go deeper with God in allowing him to transform them at the heart-level. I was shocked to hear a couple of them say that they did not want to do this. They did not want to be transformed at the heart-level.

I have always been puzzled by people who by their words or actions do not want to grow spiritually. I have always placed a high priority on growing spiritually throughout my Christian life. So, it is hard for me to understand those who do not want to grow.

Someone asked me a few nights ago why so few Christians want to leave their comfortable status quo and go on to a deeper journey with God. I told him that I thought this desire to go deeper with God is a gift that God gives to some. I also said that I think people fill their lives with substitutes for God that dull their hunger for him.

However, today, I thought of another reason. I think a lot of people lack vision. They really cannot imagine how wonderful their lives would be in the presence of God throughout the day. Below is an excerpt from my book, Experiencing God’s Transforming Love, which I wrote in hopes of capturing a glimpse of the wonderful biblical reality that would motivate them to go deep with God:

“Imagine living in the presence of Someone who is very strong, and who is head-over-heels in love with us. Imagine Someone whose smile slowly melts away our fears and tensions. Imagine Someone who is always there for us, but gives us space when we need it. Imagine Someone who will never reject us no matter how weak and unbelieving we are. Imagine Someone who enjoys being with us and delights in who we really are.”

Perhaps with this vision people may not be so reluctant to have their lives and reality transformed. Perhaps they will be drawn from their darkness into the light of an intimate love relationship with God that he so desires with each of them.

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I love to see results from my efforts. My ego rises and falls with results. My joy is found in success.  However, a number of my projects failed to give me the results that I wanted this summer. So, I have been fighting discouragement and doing some complaining to God.

However, the other day in my quiet time I came across 1 Thessalonians 2:1 in which Paul is expressing thanks for the results he got when he planted a church in Thessalonica. His results were small (probably less than 50 people) in comparison to the 200,000 potential converts that there were in the city. A city that was largely hostile to his message. Yet, Paul rejoiced in the results.

This made me stop and think that I also had some results in my various projects. Not as much as I wanted, but nevertheless supernatural results. So, I began to thank the Lord for the results that I did have.

I also recalled the verse in the book of Habakkuk that even if the fig tree does not blossom, I still have the Lord with me. His constant presence in my life gives me much to rejoice about, even if there are no results! This was a challenge to me to find my joy in the journey with God, not results.

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Why Wait For God?

Many of us live our lives as if no one is watching. However, God is lovingly watching over our lives, and will one day reward us for every thought and deed that honors him (II Corinthians 5:10).  May we have waited long enough for God to show us and empower us to think and do the deeds that truly honor him.

Another reason to wait for God is because we can’t really do anything of lasting value without him. He says, “for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). This means that when we fail to wait for God, all our busyness is a waste of time.

We also need to wait for God because this is how we were made to operate. He created us to partner with him in facing the challenges and pains of life. “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and You Shall Find Rest For Your Souls” (Matthew 11:29). When we fail to wait on God, we often bring a lot of unnecessary stress into our lives.

A fourth reason to wait for God is because we really do not know the right way to go. Yes, the way we think we should go may be right by worldly standards, but is it right by God’s standards?  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). We wait for God to live our lives successfully.

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