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What to Do When You’re Far from God – Monday Morning Momentum Minute

Meet Jonah, Meet You
     Last month, I had an opportunity to think out loud with some men about Jonah and his journey. Short book, but poignant. Jonah had an assignment, given directly to him by the mouth of God. But, he tried the impossible – he ran from God. Now, as a father of three toddlers and a teen, a husband of one wife, and a personal pastor to more than a dozen men, I feel the pull of trying to be in more than one place at a time. Imagine the futility of trying to run from a God who is everywhere at once?

And, yet, he ran.

     Whether Jonah was trying to run from an omnipresent God or just the mission before him, he ran.

And, so do you. And, so do I.

Spotting the Lies
     As I listened to the men around the room it became clear that we’ve all pulled a Jonah from time to time. The question was before us – “what line of thinking have you followed to talk yourself into doing what you want rather than obeying God?” Pride took many colorful shapes and sizes. Here are a few:

  1. “This is too small.” Either God had called a man to do something so simple, it seemed insignificant (“regular or unleaded?”). So, why would I obey that? God wanted me to pat someone on the back, let someone off the hook, skip a meal, take the neighbor’s teenager out for breakfast, whatever. And, now there’s a void in my soul because I know I left something undone… it feels like there’s… space… between you and God.
  2. “But, I’d rather do X.” How many times have you wanted to just veg out in front of some mindless TV before bed, when you know God was calling you to read the word to know something new about Him, read the word to your kids, read them a bedtime story, or just pray with your spouse? As you look back on what you spent that time on, you feel… estranged from God.
  3. “I was just following orders.” One guy shared the tension he felt over having shot men to death in Vietnam, all the while knowing God commanded us not to murder. Decades later, he still carries the guilt and shame. How often have we feared man rather than the God who created all men? It’s as if God’s voice were strained and far off while the voices of men were painfully close.
  4. “God will forgive me.” Many argue to this day that we are under grace, not law. They are correct when this is applied to salvation. However, does obedience play any part in our lives? I have two words for you: “Ananias” and “Sapphira”.

     Or course, this is not an exhaustive list. But, the pattern the Lord revealed to me as I listened to the men around the room is this: we disobey God for one of two reasons: either we minimize the call He has given us or the consequences of disobedience. Minimizing the consequences says “I am more able than God to control/withstand outcomes.” Minimizing the call says “I know better than God/God clearly doesn’t see this with clear enough eyes.”

The Truth
     Jesus taught in the parable of the talents that when we are faithful with little, we prove our eligibility for greater responsibility. “This is too small” is not only a lie, but a barrier to moving forward in our assignment from God.

     At any given moment, I can think of a dozen things I’d rather be doing… in the flesh. But, we are called to live by the Spirit (read Romans 8 exhaustively). So, there’s another lie to cast down – what I want to do and what I ought to do must be parsed, constantly.

     Fear of man will prove to be a snare… (Proverbs 29:25) … but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. Understanding “safe” is important – it doesn’t mean we might not get fired by someone who commands us to do evil – they may be bent on evil and not to be turned around. Consider Pharaoh or Potipher’s wife or even Eli’s sons.

     The most important word in the Gospel is this: repent. Turn around in your mind and head back to God. Repent. Repent. Repent. Yes, we are under grace. But, we are called to obedience nonetheless. Prohibitions against premarital sex, lying, murder, envy, and all other forms of disobedience are not nullified because of the cross. They are merely “covered”. There is an eternal price to be paid for disobedience, of which we’ve talked before – forfeiture of eternal rewards, in part or in whole. See 2 Cor. 5:10.

     Here is our call – fear God and obey His commands. When we sin, repent – let’s be sure to quickly and sincerely change our minds and agree with God that what we did was wrong. And, then, experience His grace, forgiveness, and mercy. More importantly, restore ourselves to fellowship with the God of the universe, who invites us to call Him, “Father”.

Be Encouraged
     The death of Ananias and Sapphira was the exception, not apparently the rule – otherwise the church at Corinth would have all been dead after Paul’s first letter, for example. Grace is available, but it doesn’t shield us from the consequences of sin, only the judgment against it. God offers great freedom, love, and forgiveness, but also a massive eternal 401K to those who overcome, obey, and repent. May you retire a bizillionaire to your Father’s house to hear the words “well done, good and faithful servant”!

AP

Announcement – Rabbi Jonathan Cahn Transcript Delay

Yesterday, we promised to release part 1 of the transcript of the Jonathan Cahn keynote speech today. But, on further review, it makes no sense to publish it in parts. I’m 2/3 of the way through it and will do all I can to publish it Tuesday, during the day. It’s a long one, but well worth the read.

Much agape,
AP

Only $6,500 to Go and GREAT NEWS!!!

He Reigns… He Provides
      Every month, it’s the same thing – God does wild, eleventh hour stuff to shock us with His care and understanding of our provision as a ministry and a family. This month is no different, except the shock level is a little higher. While incoming year end support seemed to trickle in slowly and matching funds began to wane, God used a few, key people to shift the tide:

     Today, we stand about $6,500 from meeting the most basic support needs… Inches from the finish line. Better than that, we now have about $2,500 in matching funds to help make your giving go farther. Rather than clog everyone’s inbox with moment to moment updates, I’m simply going to put it out there on the blog and Facebook a couple more times over the next two weeks just to keep people “in the know” regarding where we’re at.

Asking Specific, Asking Big
     While the total need above is “most basic support needs”, that contains a lot of smaller parts. Included in this number are “parts” like phone and internet (<$80/month combined), fuel and mileage ($400), postage $48 per quarter, secure post office fee ($240 for the year of 2013), Constant Contact email service - reaching 400 readers (about $196 for 2013), Speak Life - marriage conference scholarship ($300) for 4 couples in need of a "tune up"/marriage tweaks.      On top of that, I’m going to take a strange step out and ask big – I don’t believe we’re here to just “finish the year at ‘basic needs funded’ “. I believe we’re here to make an impact on more men and marriages this year than ever. I believe we’re here to do more than just “break even”. I’d like to give you an opportunity to participate in that kind of life change by bringing this ministry from 40% to 80% to 100% funded.     Would you consider joining us in support, starting January 2013, as a $25 supporter, $100 supporter, or even “board level” at $200? To Support Online Using our Secure Online Giving Portal:
Monthly Support:

One Time Support:

To support by check, make your check payable to Seasons of Life Ministries and mail to:
Seasons of Life Ministries
2659 Freedom Parkway
Suite 285
Cumming, GA 30041

Thanks, and Merry Christmas!!!

AP

Why the Election Was Rigged from the Start

18 The wrath of GodE)’>(E) 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made,G)’>(G)
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.I)’>(I) 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for imagesK)’>(K) in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.M)’>(M) and worshiped and served created thingsO)’>(O) Amen.Q)’>(Q) to shameful lusts.S)’>(S) 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.U)’>(U) to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips,W)’>(W)

2 Cor. 11.2
For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy…”

2 Tim. 3.1-5 

God must instruct and discipline us.

God has many roles, one is as a thief – where He takes away from us to discipline us. But, it’s unnecessary loss!!!