We had no idea what following Jesus would demand when we started out. Oh, we thought we knew. We had hopes. We had great ideas.
We thought the Christian life meant that once we believed in Jesus, if we walked obediently, certain things would happen:
- God would bless us
- Protect us
- Put us at ease
- Basically dote on us as His children.
To some extent, we still expect that. But God wants to give us something greater than those things.
Many Christians feel like oddballs in their local churches, confused why serving God holds such little joy or passion. Not fulfilling. Just frustrating. I get it. Let me explain.
I hold as my single claim to fame the day I danced for the judges at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. But I’ll be honest: I never intended to dance. I auditioned as a guitar player, yet when the judges called me back the next day, they asked me to dance as well! Bad idea.
End of audition. I immediately lost the job. Why? They misplaced me.
You know where else I see dancing guitarists? The church.
The time always seems right to receive God’s blessings. After all, we could use some—right? But sometimes we need to pause and remember what God has done already.
With so much focus on the needs of the moment, we can lose sight of the fact that God has already brought us so far.
After wandering 40 years in the wilderness, Israel camped on the Plains of Moab, poised to enter the Promised Land. But before receiving the blessings ahead, they needed to remember the blessing that lay behind them.
So do we.
The world makes promises it can’t keep. It says the reason we’re unhappy is that we just haven’t found the right whatever yet. But if we keep looking, we’ll find it.
The right spouse, the right hairdo, the right salary, the right entertainment system, the right church, the right pastor, the right Bible, the right seminar, ad infinitum . . . ad nauseam.
You don’t have to be without Jesus to fall into the trap. Even those of us who do believe in Jesus can chase those shadows.
We may not know we’re looking for God. But we are.
This new volume, The Complete 101 Collection: What Every Leader Needs to Know, sits about two inches thick and includes most of John Maxwell’s popular content on leadership.
Some great content here on essential topics each framed around chapters on attitude, self-improvement, leadership, relationships, success, teamwork, equipping, and mentoring.
Jesus had just dropped the bomb. At Caesarea Philippi, the Lord informed His star-struck disciples that He, the Messiah, would soon die and rise again. Amazingly, that didn’t hit them as good news.
To these men—who only understood the Messiah in terms of providing the good life of God’s kingdom—news of Jesus’ death came as a sucker punch to their dreams. It’s no wonder Peter blurted, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You” (Matt. 16:22).
Jesus’ reply should cause us all to pause and ponder:
If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. —Matthew 16:24
In wake of their confusion, Jesus took these disappointed disciples to a nearby mountain for a good dose of hope. They needed it.
As we struggle with our own disappointments, we can use that same hope today. We need it too.
In our lives busy with people, it’s tough to appreciate the value of solitude. But one look at Saint George’s Monastery in the Wilderness of Judea gives us reason to pause and ponder the necessity of solitude with God.
As I scanned the monastery’s blue domes and white arches that dot the colorless canvas of the wilderness, I marveled at the time and ingenuity it would have taken to build and rebuild these structures.
I found myself wondering, Why would ANYONE want to live way out there? A friend of mine wondered if the monks in the monastery thought the same thing about us.
Sometimes in our hurry, it does us good to contemplate the value of solitude.
God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things, and that’s true. But God also uses extraordinary people to do very ordinary things. Faithfulness to God is tested in the fires of the ordinary.
I love to save money by buying used books, because I read a lot. But if the book is one I plan to highlight a lot, I pony up and get the Kindle e-book. Here’s why you should too.
While reading an e-book I like to highlight key quotes or passages, add my own notes, and even share some of that content on social media. My Kindle reader on my iPad mini allows all of that. Pretty sweet.
While these features are nice, they aren’t compelling enough to fork over the price of an e-book (even though most are only about $9).
But one additional reason makes it totally worth it—especially when highlighting your Bible.
The connection between between the first steps we take in making a decision and its final outcome often seems unrelated. Walking the path of wisdom or the way of foolishness has domino effects far greater than we can imagine.
For us, a disciplined intake of Scripture certainly promises wisdom. But wisdom offers a course of action, not just a course of instruction.
The book of Proverbs reveals the outcome of the pathways we are walking. And it tells us how to stay on the path of wisdom.