The Opinion of Other People Doesn’t Matter

The opinion of others doesn't matter.There is such a danger to arrogance. We are essentially selfish people. It’s our natural instinct to think of ourselves all the time. But it’s just as dangerous to consider the opinions of others. How many times have you made decisions because of how you thought you’d be seen by other people? Think about the clothes you wear, the music you listen to, friends you hang out with. We can be absolutely controlled by what we think others will approve of. And it’s wrong.

There is only one opinion that matters, and that is God’s. His opinion of you is given in love. He loves you, end of story. Take it to the bank. You are loved. There is no higher opinion than that. The opinions of people are fickle, but God’s is eternal. It is stead-fast! Meaning firm and dependable. Knowing that you are loved and that you do not have to live and die by the opinions of other people is absolutely freeing.

Be who you were meant to be, not what you think others want you to be. It may be hard to do if those other people happen to be your parents, with very strong opinions. Listen to your heart and trust God. That’s the key. Defiance in itself is a bad thing. If you are not hearing God, then nothing you do will make you happy anyway.

And what happens when you begin to do what you love and start to get praise for it? Be careful! That’s where arrogance can slip in and take root. There has to be a balance between doing what is excellent and walking in humility. Do all things as unto the Lord. If you boast in anything, boast in God. He loves an excellent spirit, but He also hates arrogance. There is beauty in being excellent with grace.  Ask God to teach you how to do that. Know when to keep your mouth closed. Know when to give God the glory. You don’t have to deny that you had anything to do with doing well, just go to your quiet time and give the praise to God. If what you’re doing is all about you, then you’ll want more praise for yourself. Seek to be humble and be excellent in what you do. Public opinion, good or bad, shouldn’t matter.

Are You Actually Living What The Scripture Says?

When we have the Bible available to us, we have no excuse for not obeying it. The problem is, we are so familiar with it that we forget to live it. Take for instance, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 5:3) Another way to look at that is, if you are not poor in spirit, you have no part of the kingdom of heaven.

Love requires humilityBeing poor in spirit does not mean being spiritually destitute. Think in terms of opposites. Poor in spirit is opposite of arrogance, pride, and selfishness. We have to be told to be poor in spirit because our natural tendency is to be selfish. We are born “me first”.  To live counter to that inclination takes work and thoughtfulness. Are you doing that? Do you have an interest in living in God’s kingdom, that very place of salvation? Then you’d better consider your attitude in life. God smiles on humility. If the Son of God, the magnificent Son, could be born in a barn, then we can live humbly before Him.

That, however, does not mean that you lose out on anything. Jesus said to take the lowly seat and you will be invited by others to sit in a higher place. (Luke 14:10) Bless are those who are poor in spirit. Blessed! What God gives is highly valued. Don’t assume that what you can acquire for yourself is better than what God will favor you with. You’d be wrong.

Pay attention to the scripture and consider how you live it. You may have an eternity to wish you did.

It’s Not About Bible Study Or Signs And Wonders

There’s a lot to be said for Bible study. It teaches you the truths of God and the stories of what He has done. But that’s just knowledge. There’s no life in just reading the Bible. Knowledge of God is not the same thing as salvation. The demons know God better than the average person who claims to be a Christian.

And then there are those who live and breathe the experience of signs and wonders. When God is present, anything can happen and there are groupies who seek after that as their goal in life. Signs and wonders are cool. They really are, but seeking after miracles is like a child following daddy around hoping for candy from his pockets.

Jesus warned that He would turn away those He did not know, even if they did signs and wonders. The intimacy of salvation is not in knowing the Bible or experiencing the unusual. It’s in desiring the heart of God. This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek after Him, of those who seek Your face. (Ps 24:6)

Love theEmmanuel is intimate with us. Lord your God with all your heart. Be drawn into Him. Share His love, His joy, His peace. You are His lover as much as He is yours. Seek His face. Seek His heart. Ask to know His thoughts. Emmanuel is God with us, in us, for a reason. He wants intimacy, communion. Desire Him, and the bells and whistles will follow.

My Experience Of The Presence Of God

Experiencing the presence of God.It is a danger to prescribe any experience of the presence of God as a formula. Don’t do it. Instead, add it to your list of what is. God is multidimensional and our experiences with Him will flux and flow  with Him. This is one adventure that I had.

I have been asking God to know more of Him. I am in such need of His presence in my life. I am too quick to judge. Too quick to protest. I need His kindness, His goodness, His grace in my life. So I ask Him daily for more of Him. Yesterday I told Him that I wanted to soak in His presence so that His very essence would bleed into my spirit, my soul, my body, my flesh, my bones, my DNA. I wanted to feel Him saturate me.

I went to my friend’s house for a time of worship. We few friends get together on a regular basis and just worship. We sang worship songs, one after another for about an hour, then something began to happen. Actually two things began to happen at the same time. I suddenly noticed that I was smelling incense. It was very strong, particularly in a spot to my immediate left. I looked around to see if there was a candle or incense burning near me, but there was nothing. It was the third time I smelled the perfume of heaven during worship.

The second thing that happened was that I began to feel very heavy. I was sitting on a couch and laid my head back against the wall, but I still felt too heavy to sit up. So I kicked off my shoes and curled up with my head on a pillow. I closed my eyes and felt the peace of God flow into me. That’s all. No voice from heaven. No transcendental vision. Just peace. And when I laid down, the smell of incense went away.

When my friends noticed me curled up on the couch, they were concerned that something was wrong, but I smiled to let them know I was fine, so they let me be. I was grateful that God sent the perfume of heaven to me to let me know that He was directing what was happening. I would have been concerned that my sudden weakness was physical otherwise.

After a while, the others left off their prayers and I felt ready to join them in communion. I sat up feeling well and truly soaked, like the weight of a sponge that was saturated with water. The weight of peace on me was something my body felt. I asked if anyone else smelled the incense. They did not.

Today, I still feel the residual weight of that peace. I want to carry it with me always. Yes, my God is with me. I feel His peace. No, I’m not afraid. I feel His peace. I know my heart’s desires will be filled. I feel His peace. And now I am greedy. I want more. I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, and I want more.

The Kingdom of God Is Like Nothing Else In The World

The kingdom of God is within usThe kingdom of heaven is to me the greatest mystery of the universe. No matter which I side I look at, there are a dozen other facets to try to piece together and it makes for a challenging experience.

The disciples thought the kingdom of heaven would conquer the Roman occupation. The ruling of kings was all that they knew. What Jesus offered was, and still is, baffling. This kingdom is transcendental. It’s a living thing. It grows, not like a church grows because more people attend, it grows like a presence in the Spirit. It is a place in the heart that connects to the corresponding place in other believers. It makes a connection place for Jesus to come. Where two or more are gathered in my name

  • The kingdom of God is like a man scattering seed, some will receive it and some will not.
  • It is like a tiny mustard seed that grows to provide shade and shelter.
  • It is like the innocence of little children.
  • It is the inheritance of the poor in spirit.
  • It is like leaven– a small touch of the kingdom can grow into a greater presence.
  • It is like the great supper where the poor and neglected are honored over those who do not value it.
  • It is righteousness, peace and joy.
  • It is not in word, but power.

The Spirit of God is within us to accomplish His will on earth. And to accomplish His will, we need to be poor in spirit, like a little child, yet speak in power, with righteousness, peace, and joy. The kingdom of God is complex, yet stunningly simple. And to become a citizen of this kingdom, you must let go of your humanity. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2Cor 5:17) A citizen of the kingdom is a new kind of creation — human with God living in him. When God moves in, He brings His kingdom with Him.

The disciples did not preach a salvation message to people. They preached the kingdom of God. Living in the kingdom is not about avoiding hell. It is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. It is a way of life, a destination, a presence, and the hope of a lost world.

Your kingdom come, your will be done…

Look Around — God Is Here

God is seen clearly in the beauty of His creation.Sometimes we have to stop to consider beauty. If you’ve ever stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon, on the beach of an ocean at sunset, or a snowy hilltop in the morning, you have the opportunity to see the eternal. Not in the sense that these things will last forever, they won’t. At some point, there will be a new heaven and a new earth. But the serenity, peace, and beauty of a thing comes straight from the One who created it. Look at the pictures of snowflakes and see the delicate creativity of each one. It’s more than impressive, it’s awe inspiring.

I like to spend time by myself in a place that makes me look into the ethereal beauty of something that’s  bigger than me, even if it’s the face of a tiny flower. I see the heart and nature of God. I see Him. And one day I will stand before His throne and look into His eyes and recognize that I’ve seen them before.

Is Christmas Still A Religious Holiday?

Is Christmas a religious holiday?What does Santa Claus, reindeer, and elves have to do with Christmas? Let’s face it, Christmas is no longer a religious holiday, it’s a retail holiday. But really, I’m coming to terms with that. God instituted feast days, holy days (holidays), for times of remembrance. There were rituals, special food, and gathering of family and community. I think He’s okay with having times of celebration. Christmas may have lost all true meaning of the birth of Jesus, but for the world where people have no honor for Jesus as Savior, it’s still a time of good will for all men. It’s still a time of family and feasting and festivity.

I’ve come to accept that Christmas is not really about God, so I just accept the fun part and enjoy it. And then I go into my room and stand before Abba Father in amazement. He knew, before the first word of creation was spoken that He would sacrifice His Son. He knew the humiliation and torment that would come. I have to ask Jesus, “How? How did You leave the Father? How did you do it? How did You leave all that was holy and bright with glory and praise? How did You come here? Not even as a king, but as an infant?”

And He answers, like He always does, “Because I love you more than you can possibly know. I love you, I love you, I love you. I loved you then. I love you now. And I will always love you.”

Such a weight of love is humbling and so full of life. He came to be born as a human because He loves me so much. It’s enough to make my heart sing and dance. So Christmas is fun for family and friends. It’s something to look forward to every year, even with the stress and frustrations of shopping. But the One who loves me like no other, I will celebrate every single day.