Hearing a Word from God

One of the most frequent questions I receive is how to hear from God. Yesterday I met with a man trying to discern from God a change in ministry setting. This morning I met with a young man trying to discern God’s voice. Shortly after I hear from an older pastor with the same question. Honestly, I’m not sure why they are asking me…it’s something I’m still learning…but I have thought a great deal about the subject.

Bottom line, there must be some people ready to hear from God. That’s a good thing in my opinion.

If you are trying to hear from God about an issue or just generally, let me share a few things I’ve written previously.

First, let me say that my favorite passage on hearing from God is Isaiah 30:15-21. I once wrote about it HERE.

Here are some other posts. The titles speak for themselves:

How to Hear God’s Voice

How to Hear From God

Jeremiah 18 Series

Are you looking to hear a word from God? What advice would you give?

Being Purposeful Isn’t Always Easy

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days John 11:5-6

Oh…the stress of leadership…

Jesus chose to stay, even though His friends were hurting…

Not because He was cruel…

Not because He didn’t care…

We know it wasn’t easy on Jesus…

It’s during this story we find the shortest verse in the Bible.

“Jesus wept.” (John 11:35)

Jesus wasn’t immune to the pain of people around Him.

Jesus waited, because a higher purpose was a stake.

(You can read the story HERE if you don’t know or remember it…)

It’s a good reminder…

Many times doing the right thing is the harder choice…

But, it’s still the right thing to do…

That’s true in leadership, in parenting, in friendships, in marriage…

Can you think of examples where choosing the right thing is hard to do?

What is one right thing you know you need to do, but you know it will be difficult?

Want more? For more about Jesus today, you might read:

25 Statements of Jesus that will Change Your Life

7 Questions of Jesus that will Change Your Life

Scripture Memorization, Week 20

Jehoshaphat was a great king, because he followed the ways of God. In an incredible example of humility, Jehoshaphat was willing to admit, in front of the people he was leading, that he didn’t have all the answers.

When facing a powerful rival nation, Jehoshaphat prayed a prayer. This week’s memory verse comes from that prayer.

Here is this week’s memory verse:

Do you ever feel overwhelmed, not knowing what step to take next? If you do, and if you want to join me this week in learning this short, simple prayer, simply comment on this post with the word “Amen!”

Together, this week, we’ll look to God for answers we do not have.

Organizational Learning From Google

I read recently that the creators of Google weren’t looking to create Google when they discovered the complex way of indexing pages. They were working on a research project for their PhD program and stumbled upon the genius of google page ranking, did a little more exploration, and the rest is the incredible history of Google. In fact, I also read where, learning from their history, Google allows employees up to 20% of their time to explore new ideas and innovation.

It made me think about how organizations function. Are we organized to discover the next Google?

Let your team explore and you’ll discover some great stuff. Finding the “next big thing” is certainly more difficult without the exploration.

Plus, it’s damaging long-term for a team to be limited in this area of growth potential. If your team isn’t freed to explore:

  • They grow bored
  • Growth stalls
  • Valuable discoveries are never found.

What new insights is your team discovering?

More importantly perhaps, are they being positioned for discovery? Do they even have the freedom, built into your system?

Scripture Memorization, Week 19

This week I encountered several people living in the bondage of the law. They were beating themselves up for not being able to maintain every rule, many of which were set by man and are not even clearly defined by Scripture.

The death of Jesus satisfied the wrath of God against people who could never keep His laws. The law portrays our sin, because it defines sin for us. We wouldn’t know it was wrong to lie, for example, unless that standard had been set. Jesus removed the burden of the law and provided for us His grace. Grace doesn’t give us a license to sin again. It gives a freedom to truly live. We are freed from the power sin had in our life.

Do you need this week’s memory verse? Here it is:

Friday Discussion: Eternal Security

A recent college graduate from our church sent me an email recently. She’s struggled with her spiritual past. She became a believer early in life, got off track for a while, and now she’s on fire for God, Her dilemma is whether she lost her salvation during that time. She wonders what would have happened to her eternally had she died during her time of wandering. She wanted to know why I believe in eternal security.

I realize I’m stepping in dangerous territory with this discussion question. This issue divides people theologically as much as any other. Some of my closest believing friends would disagree with me here, believing that one can lose their salvation, but I believe in eternal security. I am not a theologian so I look for simple answers.

Here is my quick answer to my friend:

Dear _______,

These are standard questions most people wrestle with at some point in life. Great questions.

Here’s a short answer. I believe in eternal security, because:

  • The Bible says “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you SHALL be saved”…not you might be saved…

  • The Bible says “Do not worry”…How could you not worry if you were constantly wondering if you’ve gone too far…if you had lost your salvation?

  • It takes grace to be saved, why would it take works to remain saved?

  • Works are the result of salvation, not to earn or keep salvation…

  • Was there ever a time when you were “living in sin” when you didn’t “believe”? I’d say probably not…you may not have looked like a believer…but Jesus looks at the heart, not the outward appearance…

  • If we start drawing lines of how to lose salvation, where does the line stop? Could we ever remain saved? It’s just like the law…Jesus even added higher standards…one bad thought…one lust…one hatred…one dishonoring of parents…one idol placed in front of God…and we’re doomed…who then could be saved? Read the rich young ruler story…”What’s impossible for man is possible with God”…

The bottom line though is what difference does it make about what could have happened then? The bottom line is, are you saved now? Which, from watching your heart and life, I believe you are indeed.

Rejoice in your salvation!

Love your heart!

Hope this helps!

God bless,

Ron

There is so much more to this issue, but I suspect many others, including me, have wrestled with this same issue.

How would you have answered?

What questions do you have about eternal security?

Does this testimony resemble your own?

Share your thoughts!

Encouragement During Clouded Reality: When You Can’t Sense God’s Truth

Someone needs to read this…

I sense it…

The Psalmist wrote:

Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?

Has his steadfast love forever ceased?

Are his promises at an end for all time?

Has God forgotten to be gracious?

Has he in anger shut up his compassion?

(Psalm 77:7-9)

Have you ever felt like this before?

Have you ever felt like all hope is gone?

I have many times.

I’ve learned this…

When my emotions cloud or control my reality, I have to go back to truth….to faith…to trusting God when I can’t sense, see or feel God.

I have to walk with clouded glasses to the reality I know…I believe…is there…even when it makes no apparent sense to do so.

I know, in my heart, by His Word, and by experience that God can never NOT be gracious…

Any good parent could never neglect his or her children…

You know that…

The Psalmist had to remember that too…

I will remember the deeds of the Lord…

Yes I will remember your wonders of old…

I will ponder all your work…

And meditate on your mighty deeds…

Your way, O God, is holy…

What god is great like our God?

You are the God who works wonders…

You have made known your might among the peoples…

(Psalm 77:11-14)

Do you need a reminder today that God is still on His throne, He is still in control, and He’s still working a plan?

I’m praying for you. If you need specific prayer, leave a comment. My readers love praying for people!

BTW, I addressed this issue in my Easter message. You can find that HERE.

10 Things You Can’t Change and 10 Things You Can

There are some things we can’t change and some things we can. Learning the difference and adjusting accordingly is in large part one of the secret’s of a happy life. Concentrating more on the things you can’t change than on the things you can causes frustration, disappointment, and even depression. Let me list a few and you’ll see what I mean.

Things you CAN’T change:

God’s sovereignty
The circumstances around you
The weather
The day of the week
Your past
Other people’s actions
Time passing
Words said to you
The economy
Your heritage

Things you CAN change:

Your prayer life
Your attitude
Your perspective
Your reaction to other people’s actions
Your words
Your preparation
Your priorities
Your habits
Your commitment level
Your facial expression

What examples would you add to my list of things you can’t change and things you can’t?

Which of the things you can change do you need to change today?

7 Ways for a Leader to Offer Praise

One aspect of leadership is appreciating the people one leads. I must admit, this has to be a discipline for me, because I’m not naturally wired for this. I expect much from people, so I don’t always feel the need to acknowledge the excellent work I feel everyone should do naturally.

I realize, however, that all of us, including me, enjoy hearing we did a good job, so offering praise is a necessary part of a leader’s responsibility.

Here are 7 ways a leader should offer praise:

Be specific – Tell the person what he or she did well in specific rather than general terminology.

Be honest – False praise or praise offered only for person gain is seldom appreciated.

Be intentional – You have to discipline yourself to praise…or at least some of us do. Don’t assume someone else will do it or that the person receives enough praise.

Be quick – People shouldn’t wait long after a job done well to receive praise for it.

Be creative – Find unique ways to offer praise. Send a card, flowers, phone call…and don’t forget the personal, face-to-face approach.

Be unique – Don’t say the same thing everyone else is saying. Find the thing or aspect to praise that no one else has noted.

Be helpful – Offer praise that helps the person recognize strengths and encourages them in that area.

Make this post better, by answering some of these questions:

What would you add to my list?

Do you agree with my assessment?

Should leaders discipline themselves to offer praise?

How do you do this as a leader?

What creative ways do you have to offer praise?