Let's Be Inspired Together Blog Articles

 

Amazing Grace

Recently Paul Young, author of The Shack, shared his favorite joke. I love what this story tells us about Grace. What an incredible gift we have been given.

 

A pastor dies and he’s up at the pearly gates, but he’s not sure whether he can just walk in, so he shuffles around wondering what to do. Just then St. Peter shows up, so the pastor addresses him. “Hello, Peter...Um, pardon me, but I don’t know how this works. Do I need a hundred points or something to get in?”

 

“What do you think?” Peter replies.“Well,” the pastor says, “for thirty-five years I served in our local soup kitchen every week.” “OK,” Peter says, “I’ll give you a point for that.”“All right. And for fifteen years I faithfully served my flock as a pastor.”

 

“I don’t know...” Peter replies, rubbing his chin.“C’mon!” the pastor insists. “Fifteen years!” “Oh, all right, I’ll give you a point for that too.”

 

The pastor thinks, “Wow, that’s my whole life, and all I have are two points.”

 

Just then a fellow walks by the pastor and without even thinking about it goes right through the pearly gates. The pastor recognizes the man. He was a nice enough guy on earth, went to church a few times a year, owned a shop downtown.

 

But the pastor’s not happy. “Wait a minute, Peter. You mean to tell me that guy has a hundred points, and I have just two?”

Peter looks him in the eye and says, “No, he just doesn’t play that game.”

Grace is free, you can't and don't earn it. Receive it.

Put Your Hand in His!

The Psalmist tells us that God’s hands are faithful, fair and trustworthy (Psalm 111:7). Because of this, it makes joyful sense to commit everything about us into his hands (Psalm 31:5). It is there that we are safe, secure and where our heart finds its resting place. Yet, because he is so adventurous, Jesus invites us not to simply hide under his hand, but hold it as we journey with him on an incredible adventure. As we put our palm into his and as we let him lead us forward, there are privileges, responsibilities and discoveries that are beyond anything that we can currently understand.

 

Recently, I have been looking at the life of one of God’s greatest leaders – Moses – and seeing what God did as Moses slipped his hand into God’s and walked with him. As I share these hand holding moments, know that the same God who did these things with Moses wants to do them with you.

When Moses held God’s hand he experienced:

• That the ordinary can quickly become the extraordinary. As God was preparing Moses for the journey ahead, he responded to Moses reluctance in numerous ways. One was to demonstrate to him the extraordinary power that was available to him. He did this by challenging him to throw his staff down on the ground, watching it be transformed into a snake, and then be transformed back as he picked it up (Exodus 4:1-5). The point that God is making is that he was able to make the ordinary extraordinary as Moses walked with him.

• That when we open our hand to God, we have incredible authority. We read in Exodus 9 (29, 33) that Moses had authority even over terrible weather and nature itself. We tend to walk around believing that we are powerless, but the reality is that we stand alongside one who created the power that powers power!

• That when we raise our hands with God, we have victory. In the midst of difficult battles, even when it seems like we are losing the war; our God is greater than any other. Therefore, he always wins. As Moses lifted his hand to God, victory was his. As we lift our hands in surrender to the will of God, we win with him (Exodus 17:11). It is also worth noting that if we are to be a part of kingdom victories, then we need to surround ourselves with people who can help lift and hold our hands with us (Exodus 17:12).

• That as we extend our hands we carry the law of love. One of Moses biggest claims to fame was that he got to carry the Ten Commandments – the laws of love – down from the mountain of God (Exodus 34:29). As he carried them, his face glowed and people were drawn to him. As we grasp God’s hand, we also get to carry the law of love. A law that causes us to offer grace, mercy and deep abiding love to people who are far from God. A love that not only transforms our life, but that transforms the lives of humanity as well.

• That our hands were made to bless others. Throughout his life Moses became a man who was quick to bless. Leviticus 9:22 reminds us it brought great joy to Moses and those he served with to offer a blessing to people. He was able to do this because he knew that his hands were blessed by God (Deuteronomy 2:7) and that it was the Lord who made his hands prosper (Deuteronomy 28:7). We are blessed by God to bless others and it gets easier to do when we realize how much God has blessed us!

• That when we rest our hands, we are to use our hands to commission. We have a tendency to believe in our culture that when the time comes for us to rest our hands, it means that we need to retire. Moses offers us a different example. He spent the last season of his life commissioning people for the task that God had called them to. In Numbers 27:22-23 we see his final act was resting his hands upon others, ordaining them, empowering them and sending others out for the purpose that God has upon them. Resting our hands on others means not just bestowing authority, but wisdom, vision, and inspiration as well. Who should you rest your hands upon?

As you journey through life, grab His hand. He will lead you on an incredible adventure.

Progressing Trust

Jesus asks us to put our complete trust in him. The call of the gospel is 'everything'... Jesus is not content with 25% of us, 50% of us, or even 75%. He wants all of us. But he knows how hard this is for us and so, in his grace, offers to walk alongside us as we move forward towards greater levels of trust.

 

In Mark 5, Jesus encounters a Father who is frantically concerned that his young, 12 year old daughter, has a sickness that will lead to death. Ultimately, Jesus performs an amazing miracle in the life of this young girl, rescuing her from the grasp of the grave. While we are not sure how much time, distance or distraction there is between the time this man first pleads with Jesus and before his daughter was back on her feet (Vs 42) we do know that in the time that elapsed, there were numerous ways that Jesus walked alongside this concerned father and helped him to develop and increase his level of faith.

 

Note the following ways that Jesus encouraged this father to move towards deeper levels of faith throughout this amazing encounter;

 

Jesus walked with him. (5:24).We read that Jesus "went with Jarius". The same promise is true for us as we seek to trust him more. We don't trust in one who is distant from us, but in one who walks with us towards greater trust.

 

Jesus showed his power to him. (5:29). Through the healing of another, Jesus demonstrated that he has the power to fulfill Jarius' request. Seeing possibility become reality, even if in another, must have encouraged him. I know it does me.

 

Jesus challenged him to ignore the doubters (5:36). When doctors and skeptics said that death was already upon her, Jesus encourages Jarius to ignore the doubters and keep believing. How often in situations of trust are we robbed of moving forward because we believe those who doubt?

 

Jesus offer calm in the midst of great drama. (5:39). While people are panicking, reacting in an overly emotional way, Jesus asks them why there is so much commotion. The commotion is another sign of the lack of trust, rather than the calm assurance that is offered by the one we are invited to trust. Calmness creates trust.

 

Jesus demonstrates his worthiness for our trust (5:42). ...by healing the little girl. The greatest propeller of our trust is to see the promises of God fulfilled.

 

We are called to put our complete trust in God, as Jarius did. But Jarius was only able to do so because Jesus walked, showed, challenged, calmed and demonstrated to him along this miraculous journey. What's the next step forward in trust for you? As you prepare to make it, know that Jesus is with you, encouraging you to make it.

 

Give all you know of yourself to all you know of him.

Take Responsibility

I was asked recently what one of the most frustrating things is about serving and leading within God’s Church. This really wasn't a hard question for me to answer as this frustration often keeps me awake at night, praying that God will work to resolve the struggle I sense. The frustration revolves around the concept of people struggling to take personal responsibility for their own spiritual growth and having difficulty finding the desire to take responsibility for all that God has given to us. Jesus speaks specifically to this issue in Matthew 25:14-30. 

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