Help!

How do you handle a crisis in your life? You may not be going through one now, but you will. Everyone does. How you handle a crisis determines something vital. Who you trust most. Generally the person or place that we turn to first determines who we trust most.

Psalm 55:22 tells us: Cast your cares on the Lord  and he will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.

The promise that God gives us is that as we cast our cares on the Lord, as we give them to Him, He will provide for us and never let us fall. He provides strength and confidence. The problem we run into is we have a tendency not to do our part (casting our cares), instead we hold on to them. We allow worry and fear instead to settle in and when that happens it shows that we are carrying the care instead of casting it on the Lord. Sometimes this is a process of learning to do this…but the more that you learn to do this in little things, you’ll learn to do this in the big things.

So, make the divine exchange with the Holy Spirit….give it to Him (even in the little things) and take the strength and the confidence that you can stand firm in any and all situations. That is His promise to you. You just do your part.

-Selah (“pause, and think of that.”)

A Passionate Response?

Last Sunday we took a moment to celebrate our salvation with shouts, clapping, singing, etc. I have to say that as I led us in that process it seemed as if some didn’t know how to celebrate God’s touch on their lives. Now I know that not everyone is wired the same way. That not everyone is comfortable raising their hands, clapping or shouting to the Lord. That’s OK. But….that doesn’t change the fact that we should know how to celebrate the greatest gift that we’ve been given. Maybe that was just a moment in time where it seemed like we didn’t know what to do, but unfortunately I feel that we have lost something along the way. Somewhere along the way we’ve lost the fire and celebration of our salvation.

I am reading an extremely challenging book right now and came across a line in it that speaks to this very situation. “A passionate response is the only adequate response.” Now I know that I am a “passionate” person, but honestly each of us are passionate (in different ways) about different things. My question to you would be, “If you’re not passionate and celebratory about your salvation….why not?”

Considering that if you’re a Christ follower that your salvation is the greatest gift you’ve ever been given, then a passionate response is the only adequate response! That passion should drive you as you celebrate what God has done in and for you. If it doesn’t, that would make me take a long hard look at your life, your relationship with Jesus and your response to Him and how you live your life.

So maybe today begin to think about this. Think about how you respond, not just when you are encouraged to celebrate your salvation, but how you respond to Jesus in all things….and remember. As Christ followers: “A passionate response is the only adequate response.”

Is your hand open?

There is a metaphor that I use as I look at my life,  which is “holding my life with an open hand.” …meaning I am not going to try to grab ahold of anything so tightly that if God wanted to give me something else in life I wouldn’t be able to take it because my hands are full. Instead I want to be intentionally flexible as I trust God with the direction of my life. So I am open to surrendering what I have at any time to God if He asks for something. So position, possessions, comfort, etc. they’re all on the table at any time. I have chosen to allow God to put into and take out of my hands whatever He wants, whenever He wants.

That is something that is a struggle at times because  we want to control everything in our life to get the greatest outcome but actually the greatest outcome doesn’t come from us controlling it all. It comes from us trusting God and holding everything with an open hand.

The book of Genesis is my favorite book of the Bible and holds probably my favorite person in the Bible (except Jesus) and that is Joseph. I love the story of Joseph’s life because it is a case study of holding our lives with an open hand.

If you’ll read about Joseph (Genesis 37-50) we see that Joseph simply trusted God with his life at every turn. He had so many mishaps but his focus was trusting God. We know this because in the 39th chapter after he was sold into slavery and now in Potiphar’s house in the 9th verse this shows his focus on trusting and pleasing God. He did the right thing where he was.

You see…my job and yours is to simply trust God in whatever situation I find myself in. His job is to see that His purpose is fulfilled where I am. When I keep my focus and trust in Jesus, I am perfect soil for what God wants to do in my life.

If we jump to the end of Genesis in 50:20 (my life verse)…we see that what was meant for harm against Jospeh God turned it for good, the saving of many lives. Through the whole process of divine dreams, slavery and prison, Joseph held the things in his life with an open hand knowing that God would put into and take out of his hand whatever was necessary at each moment.

So hold everything with an open hand, don’t hold anything so tightly that you miss what God wants to give you, do the right thing where you are, trust God in every situation and watch as He fulfills His purpose in and through you.

 

What do you do when you have more questions than answers?

Do you sometimes feel like you have more questions than answers? Do you sometimes feel like you just don’t have the right answer to the question that is right in front of you? There are so many situations in life with seemingly multiple right answers. Sure, you could choose this or that…but there is a right answer for where you are.

The amazing thing is that when you don’t have the answer, God does. God’s got this and you can trust Him. You just need to position yourself to hear what God is saying about every situation in your life. Sometimes that positioning means we quiet our mouths and open our ears…sometimes thats the struggle.

But understand this…sometimes the answer isn’t what you think it should be, and sometimes it’s not found in an equation, it’s found in an emotion. Peace…is so often the answer that God gives. But whatever the answer is the promise is that God’s grace is sufficient and with you as we simply humble ourselves to listen to what He’s saying.  So maybe stop, drop and roll….no I’m just kidding. What you maybe need to do is simply Stop. Listen. Obey.

 

Prisoners of Hope

As I was reading in Zechariah 9 the other day, the Word of the Lord jumped off the page to me. In the chapter we see where God is declaring judgement upon the enemies of Israel.  In the 11th verse, God reminds them of the blood covenant and the freedom it brings, and then the 12th verse is what simply leapt into my heart.

Zechariah 9:12 Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.

Two big things that the Lord spoke to me:

  1. He calls them (and me) prisoners of hope.
  2. He declared a double portion of restoration.

When the enemy tries to steal, kill and destroy…what God has deposited in me is the reality that I am a “prisoner of hope”.  Because of the covenant relationship I am in with God I have found Him to be faithful and true. My history with Him tells me that I can wait in “hope” through all the struggles I have. In fact not only can I wait, but I am a prisoner…I am bound to the hope that He has deposited in my heart. He has promised and I know that God fulfills His promise. So in spite of what I sometimes see with my eyes, sometimes what seem as hopeless situations…I am held fast, I am “in chains” to the hope of the Lord.

Secondly, what the enemy thinks he’s stolen and when he thinks he’s won, Jesus is declaring back into my life a double portion. So even when something seems to be stolen, I can stand confident because this is God’s promise. So next time you feel like the enemy has killed, destroyed or stolen something from you…stand back and remember…you’ve been promised twice what was just taken. It actually is an upgrade in your life, so rejoice in hope of the blessing which is coming your way.

-Pastor Patrick

 

 

 

Who are you?

Have you ever asked that question…really? Who are you? What kind of person are you? Not, what kind of person do you want to be? But what kind of person are you? About a year ago I was with my pastor and he shared some of what I’m sharing with you today about addressing that question in our own lives. In Proverbs, scripture defines people in different ways depending on how we act and how we live. The four different persons described are: Simple, Foolish, Wise and Scoffers.

Simple people are defined as people that just don’t know something. They haven’t been educated in areas and are simply unaware about things. It doesn’t make them bad or good, just simple. John Maxwell says it this way, “There are some things that you don’t know and there are some things that you don’t know that you don’t know.” The first part of that is uneducated in an area, the second part to that is simply you don’t even know that you’re missing something.

Foolish people are defined as people who make excuses why they do the wrong things. They’re unteachable and often use anger as a defense mechanism when confronted.

Wise people are defined as people who are teachable. They listen, they grow and they’re intentional about how they live their lives in a Godly manner.

Scoffers are defined as people who make fun of wise council and other people’s wisdom. Scoffers appear wise and may seem like they win the battle, but they don’t gain anything from the encounter and simply don’t learn anything.

With this Biblical criteria ask yourself that question again. Who are you? I pray that as you continue to grow that you would strive to be wise and teachable. So often this is shown through in difficult times. The choice is yours. Who will you be?

-Pastor Patrick