Posts Tagged ‘experience’

  

“Suddenly…the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified…” (Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭9‬ NLT)

In 1984, Ray Stevens used comic storytelling to frame what occurs when a young adolescent boy catches a squirrel (while visiting his grandmother in Pascagoula, Mississippi), brings it into church, where several self-righteous members – all with sinful secrets to hide – are prominent members … and the squirrel breaks loose from a box the boy has kept it in. As the squirrel wreaks havoc, several members admit to their fellow congregation members their faults, and by song’s end they all make a vow to change! A squirrel-inspired revival! (Watch the video on YouTube! Hilarious!)

I grew up in church. I learned God’s word and worshipped with His people. But then one day, while visiting another church as a teenager, I experienced something different: His presence! I never knew such a thing existed! I saw and heard things that I didn’t understand, making it a little frightening. But just as quickly, I had a realization: If this is God, then it’s okay and is probably something to desire for. And so I did, and it has made all the difference in me. 

God doesn’t need a squirrel to draw you into His presence! What He looks for is a hungry heart. When He finds it, He reaches out with something real and tangible, which should be in every church. Come today and feel His presence for yourself! It will make all the difference! You are loved! 

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Whoever learns from correction is wise.” (Proverbs‬ ‭15‬:‭5‬ NLT)

As I rode in the passenger seat as my youngest child drove this morning to the corner store for breakfast items to bring home, I find myself full of parental wisdom. My desire is not to humiliate or frustrate my kids, but to show them a healthier, cheaper way to drive! So, with my knuckles turning white on the dash and my foot pounding a hole in the floor where another brake pedal SHOULD be, we survived the two block trip and he gained MUCH wisdom in a small amount of time.

God puts wise people into our life so that we can learn valuable lessons to enrich our lives. But if our pride won’t allow us to submit to counsel or correction, we doom ourselves to learn life the hard way, chin first. Then we whine about how tough life is when we could’ve had it better if we had only listened.

As you get ready to come to church tomorrow, come ready to learn. God’s word and His people are the best advisors that lead to a better life. Learn well and life will require less white knuckles! You are loved today!

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So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to God.” (1 Peter‬ ‭4‬:‭19‬ NLT)

As I was commuting down I-30 yesterday listening to the news on the radio, it was a veritable grocery list of human suffering: Ebola virus may be in Texas; ISIS terrorists still butchering people; bad winter coming; people still fighting in Ferguson, MO… It makes me want to grab a bag of chocolate donuts and lose myself in Netflix so I can forget about it! Who needs to suffer?!

The surprising answer is: You Do. Crises of faith serves to make us stronger, much more than warm fuzzy moments. In an article at christiancourier.com (read the whole article, The Value of Human Suffering), we see that one thing is certain: many who have passed through the crucible of suffering will acknowledge that they have found themselves infinitely better for the experience—bitter though it may have been. Robert Browning Hamilton memorialized it this way:

I walked a mile with Pleasure
She chatted all the way,
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne’er a word said she;
But oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me!

If you are finding yourself stewing away in Life’s crockpot, it will strike you as strange to think that suffering could please God. God does NOT desire for you to hurt, but to grow. Because we rarely grow the simple way, we force ourselves into tight spots. Stop griping and start growing! You’ve made it this far, He’ll see you through to a better end! You are loved!