Archive for the ‘Lordship’ Category

Whose Honor Do You Seek?

In recent years I have grown to realize that only actions I’ve taken to further God’s honor will have lasting value. Also, I have grown to realize that often when I think I am pursuing God’s honor, I am seeking a lot of my own honor too.

As I reflected on this, I recalled one of my favorite stories that illustrate a time when I did seek God’s honor above mine.

I had recently given my colonel notice that I would be getting out of the Air Force in six months. This notification was necessary to give the Air Force time to train my replacement.

I had also become a Christian four months earlier, and was proud of it.

One of my duties in the Air Force was to manage a part of the performance of a large aerospace company who provided considerable engineering services to the development and testing of the Minuteman Missile program.

But the company didn’t like me. One of the big reasons was because I gave them a hard time when they sought to spend money out of my budget. I hated wasting government money and often I felt that they were more interested in spending government money than giving the Air Force a good product.

So, one night they tried to get me fired. After dinner three of them tried to talk the Colonel into firing me, with me sitting at the table.

They said to the Colonel, “You can’t trust him, he’s getting out in a few months. He won’t work hard.”

I felt anger and blurted out,” Oh yes he can! I’m a Christian.”

Then one of them said, “So what? Carl’s one too (one of the three men at the table).”

Without batting an eye, I said, ”Well, he certainly doesn’t act like one.”

Carl melted into his chair.

The Colonel didn’t fire me that night but trusted me to make good on my promise to do a good job for him because I was a Christian. I had no other reason to work hard.

After that night, I went to work with more determination and energy that I had ever had had before. And good things begin to happen. I stayed in budget, several engineering projects were completed, and a number of other projects went well.

At one point, the Colonel questioned me about changing my mind about getting out of the service because I was working so hard.

As my time in the Air Force drew to a close, he honored me with the Commendation Medal for meritorious service.

As I reflect on this experience, I sensed the main reason that this very challenging job turned out so well, was that God was helping me because I did it to honor him. I did it in the name of being a Christian, not for self-glory. I had no idea that there was even such a thing as a Commendation Medal.

Also God says, ”I honor those who honor Me (1 Samuel 2:20).

So, may this true story encourage us to seek God’s honor in all that we do this year.

Why Honor God?

Who else should we honor, ourselves? “What do you have that you did not receive, but if you received it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). Whatever we have that would move us to honor ourselves is a gift from God anyway. “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father” (James 1:17).

We honor God simply because he deserves to be honored and wants to be honored for who he is and what he has done for us.

How We Do It

So, how do we honor God? Go to church every week? Try to be a good Christian?

He says to us, “Do what I want you to do. Be different; be like Me (1 Peter 4:2, paraphrased).

He also says, “You don’t need to honor yourself, because I have already honored you because you are my child (Isaiah 43:4, paraphrased; Romans 8:18).

Finally, we honor God by growing spiritually and giving love to others. Jesus says, “This is my Father’s [honor], that you bear much fruit” (John 15:8, NIV).

So, are we “seeking great things for [ourselves]? Do not seek them, for behold I am going to bring disaster on all flesh” (Jeremiah 45:5), God warns. The entire honor we seek for ourselves is wasted effort.

However, as we seek to honor God in every task, may we remember that he says, “I honor those who honor Me.”

 

 

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Is Your Life Meaningful?

When I was twenty, I began the journey to find a meaningful life. The blueprint that I had been given for a meaningful life was to get a good education, get a good job, get married, have three kids, be involved in the community and then die.

But I thought that this was a meaningless life.

I thought that there had to be more. There had to be more than just perpetuating the specie.

But a meaningful life is hard to find. Or is it?

The wisest man who ever lived looked back on his life and declared it meaningless! He asked, “What does a man gain for all his labor at which he toils under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3, NIV).

He also declared that “The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear filled with hearing” (Ecclesiastes 1:8).

So, what is a meaningful life? The dictionary defines a meaningful life as having significance, purpose and value. A meaningful life is not empty, pointless, or senseless. So, do you have a meaningful life?

You may say, “Sure, I have a meaningful life earning lots of money and enjoying the rewards of my work.” But do you? God says, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul” (Matthew 16:26, NIV).

You may say, “I have a meaningful life because I am a Christian and I will be going to heaven someday.” But do you? God says, “Each man’s work will become evident,…because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will be test the quality of each person’s work” (1 Corinthians 3:13). God is saying to us that only what we do in his will, in his power, and for his purposes will be rewarded in heaven.

I am often astonished at how little we settle for in life. My goodness, we only go around once- we have only one chance to get it right.

We are born with this sentence on our life; ”It is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Sounds kind of scary. What have we done to reverse this sentence?

King Solomon was the wise man that declared that his life had been largely meaningless. He concluded toward the end of his life that a meaningful life was to “fear God and keep his commandments, because this applies to every person. Because God will bring every act to judgment” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

God wants us to have a meaningful life. “I came that they may have life and may have it abundantly” (John 10:10). He wants to lift us out of our frustrating and stressful grind to experience how important we are and how much he loves us (Isaiah 43:4). He wants to lift us “out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

So, do you want a meaningful life?

Then, ask him to come into you life and be your Lord and Savior (John 1:12). If you do not know what this means, ask someone who does.

If you are already a Christian, do you want to live a meaningful life?

Then, may you gradually relinquish control of your life to God “who sees all [our] ways and numbers all [our] steps” (Job 31:4).

Don’t blow it. Live a meaningful life!

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God Rules!

It was October 5, a beautiful Fall Saturday morning. I looked forward to a busy day of Saturday chores. However, as soon as I got out of bed, I sensed a tightening of the muscles in my chest, like someone had thrown a net over me and was pulling the net tighter.

I immediately recognize this as a possible heart attack and laid on the floor. I called to my wife to call the paramedics. Within minutes, our place was crawling with paramedics.

They began running a number of tests and then about ten minutes later carried me out to the ambulance. We were heading to a local hospital. They had not detected signs of a heart attack and did not think it was necessary to take me to a large hospital in San Bernardino that specialized in heart treatment.

At the hospital, they began running a variety of tests. None showed that I had anything wrong. However, as I was being positioned to have a stress test, I groaned that the pain level had gone from a 3 to a 7. This caused the technician to pause and seek counsel from a cardiologist.

The cardiologist ordered that the stress test be stopped and that a CAT Scan be done. I learned later that the stress test would have probably killed me.

The CAT Scan revealed that I had an aneurism of the aorta, the large artery in the heart. However, this hospital did not have the resources to deal with this medical problem. There were two hospitals in the area that did have the resources, but neither hospital had an empty bed.

So, they waited as I had an aneurism that could burst at ay moment.  Finally, a bed opened at 2:30 A.M. Monday morning at the large hospital in San Bernardino and I was delivered there in the wee hours of Monday morning.

The doctors began to run test and determined I also had a number of partially blocked arteries that would require surgery in a couple of years. However, the doctors were more focused on fixing the immediate problem, which was the aneurism of the aorta.

The aneurism was slightly smaller than what they required for surgery. They therefore, seriously considered using medicine rather than surgery to fix it. However, one of the doctors was suspicious that the aorta was bleeding because of the back pain I was complaining about.

They finally decided to operate on Tuesday morning. When they did operate, they quickly discovered that my aorta was bleeding, which would have killed me if it had continued bleeding much longer.

So, after a 9-hour operation, I had an partially-artificial aorta and 6 bypasses. Two major surgeries were done at the same time.

However, The prognosis is good. No heart damage and expectations of a full recovery.

So, what can we learn through an experience like this? These are some lessons I learned in a deeper way:

  • God is very much involved in our lives and makes sure that nothing happens outside of his will. His will was for me to live this time and he made sure the doctors made the right decisions. “Whether for correction, or for his world, or for lovingkindnesses, He causes it to happen” (Job 37:13).
  • We really do not know what will happen to us in the future. I had no idea I would be fighting for my life that day when I arose that beautiful Saturday morning. “You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).
  • God has purposes for each one of us being on earth. Until those purposes are fulfilled, he will use his Almighty power to keep us alive. I believe he had other works he wanted to do with me before he took me home to heaven. “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38).
  • God rules!

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Waiting is Good

I find myself waiting a lot these days. Boy, is it frustrating too! I want to make things happen. But I wait.

Why?

I am slowly learning that God often is doing good things in the waiting period that prepare me for the challenges when the wait is over.

For example, I started a ministry last year. I have worked really hard to make it succeed! Yet, it is small and growing slowly. I am waiting for ministry doors to swing open.

However, in the meantime, he has also led me to improve my marriage, deepen my relationship with him, and grow in writing skills. He wants me to have a strong foundation so I will be able to handle whatever challenges he has planned for me in the future.

Also, wonderful things can happen to our faith as we wait. “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). We can grow in expecting good from a good God before it happens.

We can also be delivered from our problems as we wait for God. “I waited patiently for the Lord;.. and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm” (Psalm 40:1-2). Instead of bullying our way through our problems in our own strength and often failing, we can learn to wait for his help.

Waiting on God can help us not to quit too soon. “And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap, if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9). A comfort to me in waiting on ministry results has been the reminder that “my toil is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Finally, waiting for God just makes sense. It is logical. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who [lives] in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). That’s right! By not waiting on him, we can do nothing that truly serves God (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

Therefore, let us learn to wait for God. It will be hard. We will need retraining to wait. “All [waiting] for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11).

So, what are you waiting on God for? Ask him to help you see the good that he is doing as you wait and give him thanks.

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Our culture teaches us to make things happen. Be a leader! Then we will become an important person.

But God does not want us to make things happen. He wants to make things happen. He wants us to cooperate with him in making things happen (Matthew 11:28-30).

Sometimes I have waited for God to make things happen. For instance, I waited for God to provide me with a wife. He finally made things happen when I was 31 by bringing into my life a wonderful Christian lady.

I cooperated with him by following his guidance and relying on his support during the courtship process. We just celebrated our 36th anniversary of a good marriage!

However, I have not always waited for God to make things happen. Several years ago I wanted to get promoted. I foolishly believed that I would be a more important person if I were promoted.

So, I took matters into my own hands and began adding responsibilities to my job in order to get my position upgraded. And I succeeded!

But I actually failed. I had so many responsibilities I could not keep control of the organization. I suffered through the humiliation of a demotion that left me in a lower position than when I started. I tried to make things happen without God and suffered for it.

God promises us that we can make anything happen that he wants to happen through his strength (Philippians 4:13). He also consoles us that we are already important and do not need to make things happen (Isaiah 43:4).

We are not the only ones who try to make things happen without God.

Abraham jumped the gun and did not wait for God to provide Isaac as the son that he promised. Instead, Abraham tried to make it happen by having Ismael first (Genesis 16).

As many of you know, Ismael became the father of the Arabic nations. Israel has been suffering ever since. There are consequences for not letting God make it happen.

Saul tried to make it happen too. He did not wait for Samuel to arrive and make the burnt offerings as commanded by God. Instead, he jumped to the gun and made the offerings himself. He lost the throne over that foolish decision (I Samuel 13).

So, why are we prone to try to make things happen? Why don’t we wait on the Lord and make things happen together?

It is not hard to understand why. We have been well trained to make things happen. Until God came into our lives, we were the only ones who could make things happen. This habit of making things happen without God still persists after we become Christians (Romans 7: 14-25). We often like it that way too for it appeals to our pride.

So, how can you stop trying to make things happen without God? What is one thing you can do today to grow more in your partnership with God in making things happen?

May I suggest that you ask God to show you one thing in your life today in which you are trying to make happen without his leadership. Ask him what you can do to cooperate with him. And then cooperate with him in making it happen!

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The Road Less Travelled

I have been grieving since I heard a couple of days ago that a man who has had a great influence on my life had died. He has been an inspiration and guide to me for over eight years through his books. His name is Dallas Willard.

One of his key teachings concerned the “Easy Yoke.”  He took this teaching from Matthew 11:28-30, where Jesus says, “My yoke is easy and My load is light.” His yoke for us is to take the road of his choosing depending on his guidance and help. Sadly, it is often a road less travelled.

Let me briefly illustrate.

Up until a month ago, I planned to self-publish a book without professional editing. I had received up until then a lot of good help, but it was not at the professional-level.

But I have changed my mind in the last month. I have chosen to take the road less travelled.

In the last month, God has made clear to me that this was his book, not mine. He also wants this book to be professionally edited so that it could do a good job in telling his message.

In addition, he wanted me to give up my ego and seek his glory on this journey. He also wanted me to learn from him about how to write better.

I feel like I am living “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).“

So, why do we often not choose to take the road less travelled? Why do we choose to be weary and heavy-laden (Matthew 11:28)?  Why do we often take the hard road?

One big reason is that we would rather do life our way. We do not want to take the road that God has mapped out for us. We would rather take our own road without his help.

Another reason is that we do not rely on “ You are precious, you are honored and I love you” (Isaiah 43:4). As a result, we frantically seek achievement, reputation, and material things to meet these needs. But as the verse above says, we already have these things as gifts from God!

A third reason is that we often take responsibility for the results. We try to make it happen. We can’t trust that God will make it happen. We fail to “Come to Jesus and find rest for our souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

So, how to we take this road less travelled?

One suggestion is that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a prayer. We can come to Jesus and ask him to help us take on his yoke. We next trust what God promises, which is  “I am with you, I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you (Isaiah 41:10).

We then walk with Jesus on the road less travelled.

Rich Kehoe

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