Archive for April, 2013

A Time to Rest

A Pastor at my church recently asked me if I wanted to work with him in the fall to bring a new ministry into the church. I felt excited about it, but at the same time I felt tired. I thought of all the extra work I would have to do.

Then another person in the church asked if I would help out in another ministry. The commitment would be just a few hours once in awhile.

At the same time, I began to notice physical signs of being stressed. I began to ponder what might be causing these feelings. I then thought of the many challenges I have had to face in the last few months. Several of them have yet to be overcome.

I decided right then that this summer needed to be a time for me to rest. I needed to pay attention to the stress within me and care for my soul. I can’t give much when I am exhausted within.

But I hate to rest. I hate to experience the painful feeling within when I slow down and pay attention to them. Often I would rather run from my feelings and stay busy. Therefore, I struggle to rest.

Yet, God says that there is a time for every event under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). This means that there is a time to rest. God does not want us to work all of the time. This rest could be for a few hours a week or a slowed-down summer.

Yet, we often resist rest. We often resist rest because we can’t conqueror and earn the praise of others and acceptance by ourselves.

I read a book several years ago called When I Rest I Feel Guilty. The author felt that he had to be busy all the time to be a worthwhile person. Many of us feel the same way. So, we don’t rest.

God encourages us to “Cease striving and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). It seems that some of us resist the idea that we need his help and refuse to face our limitations. We choose to try to muscle our way through life in the illusion that we can make life work without God. So, we don’t rest.

We would be wise to follow God into his green pastures and quiet waters (Psalm 23). We would be wise to allow him to restore our souls as we rest.

So, how do you feel about rest? Do you think it is a waste of time or a little scary?

Ask God to show you if you need more rest. If you do, ask him to give you the courage to rest and how to best do it.

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Do You Live Like an Agnostic?

I was having breakfast with a friend the other day when he said to me, “I think I am an agnostic. I know what the Bible says, but I do not sense that God is with me during the day. It seems like he leaves me to my own wits and wisdom to make life work.”

I was stunned! How could he say such things? Yet, I think there is a lot of truth in what he said about the way we live much of the time.

I had a second conversation with another friend this week regarding how a church business meeting had been conducted. He told me that the purpose of the meeting was to plan for the future. Yet, there seemed to be little prayer and seeking God through his Word influencing the meeting. He could see little difference between this planning meeting and one that would have been done in a secular business.

Both of these conversations show how difficult it is for us to include God in our daily lives. We were born to leave God out of our lives. We also have been trained to leave God out of our lives.  Our families, friends, culture, and bad habits often steer us away from living life with God.

This is sad. God deeply desires our companionship through the day. He says we can do nothing of eternal value without him (John 15:5). He also says that to partner with him through the day is good for us,  “for My yoke is easy and My load is light” (Matthew 11:30).

But what do we do about it? What do we do with our strong desire and commitment to go through a day without seeking his help?

God says to commit this giant autonomy problem to him and he will help us change (Psalm 55:22). He also promises that as we live our day allowing him to help us we will experience his love, peace, and joy (Galatians 5:22). We grow hungrier for his presence when we “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).

So, do you live like an agnostic? If you do, do you realize what you are missing? Let God into your day. Let him help you face your problems at work and at home. Let him guide and give you the strength to live life with him.

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Can You Handle Success?


I have started a new ministry in the last year and have written a book. I have worked hard to succeed. Both the ministry and the book are trying to help people to grow into a deeper and richer relationship with God. It is exciting and God is blessing!

Lately, it has dawned on me that I may not be ready for success. There is some evidence to suspect that success may get me distracted off my higher priority commitments. These are commitments like my relationship with God and my family relationships. Now, my prayers are, “Lord don’t make me any more successful that I can handle!” “Change me so that I can handle success.”

We all dream of being successful. We want to make an impact on the world. We often want to make a lot of money and live in a big house. We want people to think that we are smart and to respect us. We want to raise good kids and have a great marriage. Then, we will be successful.

But will we be? Do we really know what success is? Will pursuing success cause us to fail at life?

So many of the successful people in the Bible did not handle success well. Solomon enjoyed much success, but ended a disillusioned and bitter old man. David was the greatest ruler Israel ever had, yet at the height of his success he became a murderer and adulterer. Uzziah became powerful as the king of Judah, but then acted proudly and corruptly and his life ended in disgrace.

God warned Israel of success. He warned them not to forget him and become proud when they achieved success in the Promised Land. He did not want them to take credit for the success that he gave them. He warned them “you shall perish, because you would not listen to the voice of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8: 14-20).

So, can you handle success? I heard it said that for every 100 people who can handle failure, only one can handle success.

But what is success? How would God define success for us? This is what the Bible says:

  • Ø Success is doing whatever tasks God gives us, in his power, and for his honor and purposes (1 Corinthians 3: 10-15).
  • Ø Success is being content with our circumstances as we rely on God’s help (Philippians 4:12-13).
  • Ø Success is respecting God and keeping his commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

So, can you handle this kind of success?

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