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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Nobody's Heart Has a PhD

The other day my wife and I were having a conversation with a friend who was telling us how amazed and thankful they were that the Lord has been using them to minister to people in places of influence. Despite the fact this friend doesn’t boast a high level of education, still they find themselves in the company of and able to minister spiritual things to people with very high degrees of education. During the course of the conversation the thought came out that wherever you go, people are people.  Though someone may have attained high levels of education, still the needs of the heart are the same. Nobody’s heart has a PhD!

Acts 17:26-27 says, And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us”. 
When I read this I see that people are people, each one created and set in their place with the express purpose of seeking God and finding Him. With this universal purpose for each individual, God has placed the desire in our hearts to know Him. When I cross paths with an individual who does not yet know Him, I can be certain that this desire to know God is hidden in their heart, regardless of social status. Not only this, but the Holy Spirit in me is calling out to this person’s heart and if I’m sensitive to that, I may just find myself with an opportunity to share Christ with them.
John 16:8 says, “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment”.
The Holy Spirit does the same thing in everyone’s heart. Though the path He takes will vary with each individual, His ministry is the same. If I am allowing Him to use me as He wills, my very presence in the life of an unbeliever will be a source of conviction. This is one reason why He tells us that all who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, (2 Timothy 3:12). Some people don’t respond too favorably to conviction! But maybe that’s a topic for another day.
I think the main thing I came away with in our conversation that day was that I shouldn’t be intimidated by a person’s attainments in life.  I should simply be available - and understand that God can use the most unlikely people to be the catalyst that changes a person’s heart and leads them to Life. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Building Lethal Attachments

The thought struck me as I sat around our backyard firepit after roasting hot dogs and marshmallows with our kids. My wife and I watched as our children went from racing eachother across the acre that is our property, to playing soccer, to having a badminton game.  The day’s earlier activities boasted a bike ride, a swim in the pool, shooting hoops in our driveway, and just all around enjoying eachother’s company (for the most part), and the freedom that characterizes our lives. We are truly blessed. Who doesn’t want to provide these comforts and freedoms for their children? I heard somewhere that people like us, people in North America, are among the most affluent people in the world; that we make up the richest 2% of the world’s population in terms of material wealth. But this wasn’t the question that struck me as I sat there.

What kind of attachments am I building in my children? In encouraging them to enjoy these things, am I unwittingly tying their heartstrings to the comforts and pleasures of this life? In so doing, might I be contributing to the formation of a generation “whose god is their belly... who set their minds on earthly things”*, so to speak? I might be able (and that is a BIG “might”),  to look at these things as temporal - here today gone tomorrow, but what about my children?  Can they so easily make that distinction? 

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the comforts of this life. I’m not wanting to bring condemnation or judgement on anyone. God created all things to be enjoyed by us, stewarded by us. The problem comes when we as believers forget about His kingdom and make the end our comfort, rather than God’s glory. Can we take the context of our little country paradise, and within that serve God faithfully, giving of ourselves and through hospitality spread the love of God? Can we hold the comforts and pleasures of this life at arms length, and teach our children to do the same, so that we can remain sensitive to God’s purposes and plans for each day of our lives? Can we avoid the plague of comfort that brought Israel of old to their knees, as it turned their hearts from their God? The world is waiting - are we willing?  

*Portion of Scripture taken from the Bible, Philippians 3:19