Why is it so hard to follow directions? As a teacher I once gave my 8th grade science students a test and verbally told them to read the whole test before doing anything else. The first line on the test also said in bold font “READ THE ENTIRE TEST BEFORE DOING ANYTHING ELSE!“. I would love to tell you that all 141 students followed my directions. Knowing that the same type of test had been given to them in 6th grade surely guaranteed their success. All day, maybe 5 students followed my directions. How do I know? Because the “questions’ had them doing silly things like walking in a circle, writing their name backwards, singing Happy Birthday, etc. The next to last question instructed them to ignore all other questions, put their name on their paper and sit quietly. I was amazed that they fell for it a second time! I’m glad as adults we have grown out of that! We would never ignore instructions to restart a computer whenever programs aren’t working right. We would never fuss, complain, and get angry before we checked that all cords are connected and restarting the machine which we know is intentionally out to get us. RIGHT!
Why? Why is it we don’t want to follow directions?
In life, instead of just looking foolish, it leads to suffering. Look around at the broken lives, homes, and relationships. Notice the pain and suffering which surround us daily. It all comes from our choices to ignore the directions. Our creator gave us a set of directions for life in His word. When we choose to ignore it and live the way we think is best, we will end up like those students by wasting time and accomplishing little of significance. Living by the Word, brings life in the fullest. Yet we continue to fall for the tricks of the enemy and ignore the directions.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” We have probably read those words many times, yet we keep ignoring it. Maybe we think it is too comp,I ate, or maybe it is to simple to us. We are born with a desire to do things our way. We inherited this tenacity for rebellion from Adam and Eve. They had a perfect home and only one rule. Yet they ignored God’s rule and ate the forbidden fruit. We must break the cycle and get back to living by the directions. Quit second guessing and trying to outsmart the instructor. Follow the instructions set forth in the word of life.
Let’s start following the directions given to us by our loving Father.
You prep for months. Special furniture gets purchased and assembled. A room gets painted, redesigned, and prepared. Finally the big day arrives and it happens. A new member of the family makes their debut. Then it hits you that you have just witnessed a miracle! A church is born!
This weekend I get to witness that miracle. The Purpose launches in Baton Rouge, La on Sunday. My brother, Joel is the founding pastor. It has been great to follow his journey from California to Baton Rouge. God stirred his heart for the unchurched in that city. This is pure pioneer work. When they hit the ground it was just his family of 4. They have connected with people, assembled a launch team, and rented a movie theater. This weekend it all comes to fruition.
Join with me in praying for The Purpose. Pray that they reach unchurched people and help them discover their reason to live. Pray that God opens a door for the gospel into the homes of the many unchurched families. Praise God for another Bible believing church joining the family.
I’ve noticed something. It is dark when I head to work every morning, it was dark when we finished up Nib,e study Wednesday night. Football season with is crazy themes a ad pep rallies have invaded the schools. Now they are discussing a cold front on the way. I believe a change is in the air. Fall must be drawing near!
It is refreshing to see changes happening. A new season comes in and brings different activities. With Autumn, comes the start of holiday season. (Was that a Christmas tee I just saw at Wal-Mart?)
Change can be good for us as well if it is a change for the right reasons and to get us headed in the right direction. There are times in our lives when we can feel burned out. We can feel dry and used up like the land at the end of a Texas summer. When we get to that place we need the refreshing and renewing that can come from God. When we have been living in the flesh, we exhaust our spirits and starve them. When we repent, He is faithful to forgive us and heal us.
Unfortunately, God knew that Israel’s sin nature would win at times and Israel would forsake Him. He had warned them if judgment when that happened, however, God also instructed them in what to do to turn back to Him and experience revival. He said in 2 Chronicles 7:14 “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”NKJV.
Just like Israel, when we need revival, we can follow this pattern,
• Humble ourselves- Submit to our sovereign God. Acknowledge His lordship cover you.
• Pray- take the issue to God. Ask His forgiveness and for Him to heal our land.
• Seek God’s face- earnestly seek Him. Long for His touch and fellowship.
• Turn from our wicked ways- repent! Turn away from our sinful lusts and begin to follow Him anew.
That is what our church needs. That is what our community, state, and nation need as well. Sin is the disease which is strangling us and Jesus, the Great Physician, is the only one who can heal us.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I had been a bivocational pastor for just a couple of weeks and was new to being a classroom teacher. The rumor came that a plane had hit the world trade center. How tragic I thought. We turned on the news in our classroom and like most of America were stunned to see a second plane hit the other tower. I knew we were at war. Many thoughts ran through my mind. Which country was to blame? Why commercial airlines and not their own planes. As more details came out pictures of the pentagon and news of a 4th missing plane surfaced. Terrorists was the word we started getting. I recall kids asking, “Why?”. Why would anyone hijack a plane and kill themselves and innocent civilians by intentionally crashing it into a building. I was more pastor than teacher that day. It is difficult for us to understand a culture so devoted to hate that they would attack others due to disagreeing with our freedoms. That it was done to make us feel less secure and force us to convert to their murderous brand of religion or die. Now word has come of 11 airplanes “missing” in Lybia. The news and social media are filled with the atrocities being done by followers of radical Islam. They have an army that is sweeping Iraq and Syria. They are persecuting Christians and anyone else who dares to refuse to follow their murderous and hateful teachings. They have publically stated, like most nations in the Middle East, that they want to destroy Israel and drive them into the ocean. Their friends in Hamas rain down rockets upon Israel and the world has the audacity to criticize Israel for defending themselves by destroying the sites from which the attacks were launched.
What is happening in the world? Why does life seem to mean so little to so many today? I personally feel we are seeing the prophesy of Paul play out before our eyes. He said in 2 Timothy 3:1-7 NKJV “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
We need to pray like never before. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray for God to preserve us. Pray that His love will overcome their hatred and they will give up their brutality and know the peace of God.
I admit it, I am a large man. One time I was at Scarborough Faire, and heard it explained. My ancestors were the Robinson sept of the Gunn clan of Scotland. The re-enactors explained that there are three kinds of Scots, wee little Scots, average Scots, and “Oh my gosh that’s a big Scot!” I clearly descend from that latter claymore wielding variety. Being large, I have to walk with a little more care than others. If I’m not careful, I hit my head on things to which the rest of you might be blissfully unaware. I also have to consider the ability of quaint wooden bridges to adequately resist the force of gravity while I am crossing them. Many times my wisdom fails as I break things and nearly knock myself out.
In life we must also consider our steps. Paul said this to the believers in Colosse. “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Colossians 4:5-6 NKJV). We must walk in wisdom toward unbelievers. I have always considered this to be a reminder to consider our testimony. We must never do things to push people away. Our words and actions will either draw people to Christ or scatter them away. These verses remind us to think before we speak and act. Consider the impact we will have on the people around us.
May we all walk in wisdom and this draw others to the Savior.
Tomorrow, students in our area return to school. As I walked through the halls, I have seen bulletin boards being redone and mountains of trash being removed as teachers moved out the old and brought in the new. It is always exciting to see the buildings with their fresh paint, displays, arrangements, supplies, backpacks, and even faces as everything is set in order for class to start. Each new year holds such promise. As the days go on, paint will be chipped, backpacks will start wearing out, and the “new” will fade. Then is the time in which the staff and students have to dig deep and keep working even though things aren’t as fresh. It is then that we must persevere.
We will face times of struggle in our walk with God. Standing for Him won’t always be new and fresh. Paul said it this way when writing the churches in Galatia, ”9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Gal. 6:9 (NKJV) That is good advice in all areas of life.
Don’t let yourself grow tired of doing what is right. Stick to the task at hand and do it with all of your heart. You can have a good year.
Our prayers go with all the students and teachers as they begin class tomorrow. May they not grow weary and have a successful year.
I’m an American and the principle of having liberty is deep within my heart, I want to be left alone to succeed or fail without an army of bureaucrats coming in and interfering. I have an awesome mother and do not need the government to act as a helicopter mom for me. From the things I eat, the cars I drive, to the light bulbs I use, I want freedom! Leave me alone and I’ll leave everyone else alone
However, in discussing liberty in 1 Corinthians 10, Paul informs believers that we sometimes must voluntarily give up our freedom for the sake of the people we are with. In Corinth, most meat markets were selling meat from pagan temples. After blood or portions of animals were used in sacrifices, the rest would be sold at the market. Paul discussed the fact that the Corinthians were free to eat whatever they wanted with thanksgiving, He also advised that if their host mentioned the food had first been offered to idols, then for the conscience of their host, they should abstain. By mentioning it, the host obviously assumed it would be sinful to eat. The dilemma for the believer was to eat because it wasn’t sinful and be viewed to be an idol worshiper, or to abstain and fulfill the expectations of the host. A believer’s testimony would be hurt if he ate after being warned. Paul concluded the discussion this way, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” (I Corinthians 10:31-33 NKJV)
In our efforts to influence people for Christ, we sometimes will have to limit our freedoms. Instead of blatantly flaunting our freedom from ritualistic laws and customs, we need to consider the effect of our actions on the audience. Ultimately, we are advised to do all for the glory of God. Instead if seeking our own profit, we should seek the profit of all, “that they might be saved.”
Although I love my liberty, I will sacrifice it temporarily in order to win someone to Christ, After that, I will work on helping them embrace liberty as well.