Quick Thought: It’s Not Over

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, STAND FIRM. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
– 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV)

What ever you’re walking through or dealing with right now, know this:

Your story doesn’t end where you are today.

No matter how bad things are at the moment…
No matter how broken, messed up, or hopeless things seem…
Even if it looks like there’s no hope, no chance, no point of even trying…
Or how hard it is to keep holding on…

Don’t let go.
Don’t give up.
It’s NOT over.

Believe that God has no limits and that NOTHING is impossible. Keep following Jesus and trust in his perfect timing.

I love what Paul reminds us in Romans 4:

Against all hope, Abraham believed and so became the father of many nations…
He did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 
– Romans 4:18, 21

Press on…

Check out this song from Ricardo Sanchez:

itsnotover

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“God Understands Why I’m Disobeying Him…”

“God Understands Why I’m Disobeying Him…”

Wrong.

That is one of Satan’s go to moves. He wants us to believe that those things are for most people. Other people.

Him. Her. Them.

Anyone but us.

Our situation is different. Our circumstances are special. We get a pass.

I’ve read the Bible cover to cover and I’ve never seen any asterisks.

There’s no appendix in the back with a list of exceptions.

There’s no fine print or disclaimer at the bottom of the page that let’s us off the hook.

God’s word is God’s word. None of us get a pass.

We sometimes think that God will let it slide because we’re a pastor/deacon/regular attendee/church member/Sunday school teacher/volunteer/pastor’s kid/tither/missionary/bible school graduate/good person/(insert your perceived qualifying exception), and well, “God knows my heart, so I’m okay. We’re okay…”

But, God does see our heart, that’s the problem. We’re not okay. (And if you think you’ll find peace while blowing off God, read the book of Jonah. He was a prophet who served God faithfully. Until he tried to swap out what he wanted for what God told him. How’d that work out for him?)

During my time away from God, I became well versed in that kind of (il)logic and still have to fight it from time to time. We become rationalization specialists. Expert excuse makers. I could list those on my resume under special skills. It’s sad.

We start thinking things like:

“I know God says, forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, but I have a personal relationship with him, so I don’t need to “go to church.”

(((insert buzzer effect)))

Wrong.

“I know God says hating someone in your heart is murder in his eyes, but you don’t know my boss/uncle/neighbor. God understands why I can’t stand them. (Besides, wasn’t that just for the Bible people anyway?)”

Wrong.

“Yes, Jesus said what God has joined together let NO man tear apart, and yes, he hates divorce, but you don’t know my husband. God wants me to be happy, so he’ll understand.”

Cue the buzzer.

“It’s not really gossip, I’m just venting.”
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“Insurance companies expect you to fudge.”
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“I know this show is raunchy, and vulgar, but, I’m a grown up, it doesn’t affect me, I just ignore those parts.”
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We need to stop bending, twisting and parsing what He said into what WE want.

And if we’re not willing to say, “Okay God, your way,” and stop rewriting His word on the fly, to suit our whims of the moment, then aren’t we really the ruler of our hearts and lord of our lives?

Are we just putting on a pretty good show?

Fooling ourselves, or even others, doesn’t help us where it matters. As my Pastor in California used to say, “There’s no future in fronting.'”

God cannot be mocked.

Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.”
– Jesus (Matthew 7:21)

If we’re not following God, we’re not followers of God.

I mean, it makes sense, right?

Yes, what He tells us to do IS hard. Yes it WILL cost us. We may be scared. It may be uncomfortable. It may be the LAST THING we want to do.

– Ananias was really apprehensive about meeting with Saul, but he went.

– Noah didn’t want to be mocked and ridiculed, but he built the ark.

– Jesus asked God to avoid the cross, if there was another way, but He still died for us.

See, we don’t have to always want to it. We just have stop looking for loopholes and surrender.

Jesus said we need to DENY OURSELVES DAILY and follow him. We can’t do that and live for ourselves. It’s not possible.

We can be like James and John, who threw down their nets and never looked back. Or, like the rich young ruler, we can walk away sad.

Listen, we can’t do this on our own. We will NEVER be able to do the things we find difficult without praying to God daily for strength to obey him in these things. Get a friend to help hold you accountable in this area as well.

If you’d like more resources or prayer for a specific situation, please feel free to email me mr@thez.com.

Twitter Wisdom | What Does Doing The Right Thing Say About Us? Not Much…

But, as Paul Tripp points out in today’s #TwitterWisdom, it says a lot about God!

[@PaulTripp: Every act of personal obedience is concrete evidence of what only grace can do to change a heart.]

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
– Ephesians 2:8-9

I thought my friend Mike K’s Facebook profile picture illustrated what grace does to us perfectly:

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A note about Twitter Wisdom.

I’ve been featuring an uplifting, insightful, poignant, thought-provoking, clever and/or funny tweet that I come across each day on my radio show for several years. I am going to try to share some of them on my blog, as well.
Follow me on Twitter:
@mattonthez

Quick Thought: They Stole WHAT From Us?

Who knows how much our fears, worries and doubts have robbed from us.

Or how much they’ve stopped us from accomplishing.

Doubt, fear and worry are weapons the enemy uses to keep us from what God wants to do in us and through us.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 4:6-7

#believe #PressOn

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Quick Quote: Speak Life

“In every encounter we either give life or drain it. There is no neutral exchange.”
– Brennan Manning

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 18, that we hold the power of life and death in our tongues.

Let’s choose to build up, not tear down. Let’s speak life….

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
– Proverbs 16:24 ESV

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Quick Question: Before You Call A Lawyer…

Would you ever divorce your kids?

Okay, I see that smirk, but I’m asking a serious question.

No matter how much they may have hurt you, could you ever readjust your thinking to no longer consider them your child?

No matter how many times they’ve:

  • lied to you
  • stolen from you
  • disrespected you
  • embarrassed you
  • made you feel unappreciated
  • said hurtful things to you
  • or otherwise let you down

Even if it’s gotten so bad that you’ve had to institute some drastic “tough love” measures, would you ever stop holding out hope for healing and restoration?

I’m guessing that, except for the most extreme of cases, very few of us would ever stop thinking of them as our children, or stop hoping for a turnaround. (Let alone call a lawyer and legally disown them!)

Why do we see hurts from our spouses differently?

Do we give up because we can?

What if we DID think of them the same way?

What if we hoped and prayed for, believed in, held on, and unconditionally loved our fallen, broken, hurtful, unappreciative, annoying spouses 😉 like we do our kids?

Ask yourself this question. What would my child have to do for me to permanently sever our relationship and declare my love for them dead?

Seriously. Name it.

What would it take for you to walk into a court, look your son or daughter in the eye and publicly tell them that they’re no longer your child?

How hard would you work, how much would you give, to what lengths would you go before you ever even considered that as an option?

Is the threshold any lower for your spouse? Should we have any less grace, patience and unconditional love for them?

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails”
– 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Remember, our chances of success, in anything, dramatically increase when we remove the option to quit.

[Note: This is a very difficult subject. Please know that I am judging no 
one. My sole goal is to help save families from the pain of divorce, give a
different perspective, encourage those who are hurting to not give up hope,
and to point people toward our God, who SPECIALIZES in fixing what's broken. 

Stay tuned for some additional thoughts on this subject next week.]

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