Shout it from the mountaintops!

Recently I attended a writer’s conference at a nearby Christian university. The presenter of the social media workshop posed these questions, ‘what is your passion?’ and, ‘what is your purpose?’ As she talked about this I could only think about what I call ‘my message.’

My passion and my purpose are wrapped up in ‘my message.’

We all have a message, something that we want to shout from the mountaintops. It is often born of a story, an experience, or a tragedy. For some it is learned or discovered. Or, it can be from a revelation from God.

All of us have a message that we convey to the world; an outstanding theme in our journey with God.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”   Acts 1:8

As followers of Christ, I believe that our message should contain two parts; 1) a message about God, and 2) a message about humanity.

Passion about God + Passion about People

There are multiple places in the bible that we can find the two greatest commandments. Jesus told us that the most important things for us to do are to love God, and love others. These two are significantly more important than any other.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”   Luke 10:27

Our message, as followers of Christ, therefore, should also contain these two most important parts. Our message to the world should be what you want people to know about God and what you want people know about themselves.

Who is God to me?

God is loving, merciful, forgiving, and the great comforter.

I could say that He is loving and merciful, but that leaves out His great compassion.
I could say that He is kind and forgiving, but that leaves out His faithfulness.
I could say that He is strong and powerful, but that leaves out that He is perfect peace.

God is just so many things. One could say He is everything!

In other words . . . . . He is soooo good! Saying that God is good encompasses everything else about His character. All the things of God fall underneath the umbrella of His ‘goodness’.Umbrella illustrationThis theme has permeated my life for the last five years.

“O taste and see that the LORD is good!”  Psalm 34:8

What is most precious to me about God is His goodness. In my high points and low points of life, He has always been there. He has always been so good to me.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”   Psalm 107:1

Therefore, the first part of my message is that God is good.

About six months ago, I learned of a girl that had been coming to my church with a friend of my mom’s. She was nineteen and very much lost. I knew very little about the details of her life, but I felt drawn to her nonetheless. And, one Sunday, we met.

I wanted to help her, so we agreed that we would meet for coffee later that week.

I can pick out the people in a room that think that they don’t matter. And, she definitely was one of them.

She wrote me a note the day that I met her. It read . . . . 


Angel lady,

The unspoken/unknown connection that has called you to me has intensely impacted my heart and strength to hold on in ways you are unable to comprehend. But just know, wherever this goes – you are just one more strange sign in my life to not give up faith.

There are good people with good intentions, like angels upon the earth who were sent at a time of weakness.  You are unaware of the impact your concern or interest, whatever it may be, has on my heart and faith.


I was shocked by her words. She knew that I wanted to get together with her, but other than that, I had done nothing for her. We only met once. And, I am definitely no angel lady!

Somehow, that tiny gesture of reaching out touched her soul.

I never saw her again. She canceled our coffee date and never came to church with my mom’s friend again. I tried to get in touch with her, but gave up after a while.

I think about her often. And, I have been praying for her ever since.

It’s amazing to me how desperately people want to know that they matter. And sometimes it takes very little to let them know that they do.

I desperately want people to know that they matter.

Whether or not a person knows that they matter can change their purpose, where they live, who they associate with, and most importantly, who they live for. It can change everything.

What if people knew without a doubt that they mattered to God?
What if they knew that they are His masterpiece?
What if they knew that they are worth dying for?

My message to the world is:
GOD IS GOOD, and YOU MATTER!Cartoon Illustration of  Businessman Speaking with a Megaphone.

 

Surely God is good to Israel, To those who are pure in heart!   Psalm 73:1

God created us all for a purpose. God created us to have passion. He created us with a message. And our message should become our mission.

What is your passion about God? What is your passion about people? What is your message?

Our God is in Heaven; He does whatever He pleases

Who gets blessed? And, what does getting or being blessed look like?

Why does the family down the street get the big house and the nice cars and the perfect kids? Why does one person get healed from cancer and another does not? Is being born in one country instead of another a blessing?

Why do the wicked seem to have no consequences?

Why does God do what He does? Or, why does God not do other things?

These are tough questions that we all have asked at one time or another.

In the story of Job, the question of blessings and ‘the law of retribution’ caused Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar to get stuck.

They believed strongly in the idea of cause and effect. They assumed that what happened to Job was 1) done by God, and 2) because of  sin. Neither of which was true.

Eliphaz speaks.

You will pray to him, and he will hear you,
and you will fulfill your vows.
28 What you decide on will be done,
and light will shine on your ways.   Job 22:27

Bildad speaks.

Since your children sinned against Him,
He gave them over to their rebellion.
But if you earnestly seek God
and ask the Almighty for mercy,
if you are pure and upright,
then He will move even now on your behalf.    Job 8:4-6

Zophar speaks.

But if only God would speak
and declare His case[b] against you,
He would show you the secrets of wisdom,
for true wisdom has two sides.   Job 11:5-6

If Job would just repent and change his ways everything would be better, so they thought.

They were stuck. They couldn’t fathom a cause outside of themselves – meaning humanity. They couldn’t fathom the cause being all about the glory of God and not  Job or his children.

How often do we get stuck like these men? We can’t figure out why God gives blessings to some and not others.

I’ve lived a righteous life, why is this happening to me?
Why is God not answering my prayers and healing me?
Am I being punished for something?
Why did God protect their child and not mine?

We think that it is all about us. We are so wrong.

But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.  Psalm 115:3

Everything God does is ultimately for His own glory. It’s not about us.

How often do we look at the questions of life through the lens of our own humanness; our own importance; our own significance?

The world revolves around the human race, right? After all we dominate over the earth. We are far superior to any other living thing. We like the idea of being the center of the universe.

However, this mentality is exactly what keeps us stuck.

What if we viewed life through the lens of God’s glory?

Once we grasp the fact that it is all about Him and not us, it takes the pressure off. Then, we are free to be His children, and free to be who He created us to be.

God doesn’t necessarily give us what we deserve or don’t deserve, or try to make everyone happy. He doesn’t do things for this person or that nation. It is about His glory, and His glory alone.

“Be still, and know that I am God.
   I will be exalted among the nations,
   I will be exalted in the earth!”   Psalm 46:10

The fact that God does everything for His own glory does not make Him selfish. If we look at it through very human eyes, then we might see it as selfish. But, if we look at it through His eyes, the picture is very different.

The fact that it is all about Him is a good thing. Because He is good!

According to John Piper in his book, Desiring God,

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

We want God to be glorified and He wants us to be satisfied. It’s mutually beneficial. The way He designed it is perfect. He goes on to say . . . .

“God’s passion to be glorified and our passion to be satisfied are one experience in the Christ-exalting act of worship–singing in the sanctuary and suffering in the streets.”

“We get the mercy; He gets the glory. We get the happiness in Him; He gets the honor from us.”

He is so good! And when we live to glorify Him, our lives are transformed.

We should be thankful that the universe does not revolve around us. If it did, the world would be an empty, lonely and dark place. It would be a black hole without the glory of God. He brings light. And, He brings everything that’s good in the world.

So, does God do whatever He pleases? You bet He does! And, thank God for it!

“But he stands alone, and who can oppose him?
   He does whatever he pleases.   Job 23:13

 

Holy Spirit you are welcome here; Enjoying the presence of God

God and I have a good thing going. Our times together are amazing. There is nothing like someone as small and insignificant as I am being in the presence of the almighty God. It’s crazy!

In His presence, I have nothing to worry about. I can be totally vulnerable and naked with Him and still be completely loved and accepted. With God there is nothing to fear, nothing I have to hide, nothing to make me feel like I don’t belong, and nothing but His perfect peace.

There is nothing greater in this life than having a personal relationship with the almighty God. I talk with Him throughout the day. I spend time on my knees in worship and reverence to Him, and I have fallen in love with His Word.

He walks with me and He talks with me. He tells me I am His own.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!   1 John 3:1

He teaches me daily through prayer and scripture and the words He gives me to write.

My soul hungers and thirsts for more of Him. I can’t get enough. He is so beautiful and Jesus Walks On Waterthere is nothing like Him. I can’t explain how strong the longing is when I am not able to slow down and enjoy a quiet space with my Heavenly Father.

I have recently realized that my desire for Him has surpassed my desire for just about anything else in this life.

I long to be with Him more than romance, more than sexual ecstasy or a breathtaking vista. Time with Him is more precious than a good book on a crisp fall day, laughing with friends, the sound of leaves rustling in the wind, or a hot bath on a cold day. It is more precious than a great victory or achievement. It is more valuable than silver or gold.

I want to be alone with Him more than any earthly possession. Nothing compares to Him. When I think about what He did for me, nothing else matters.

“the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”  Matthew 13:45-46  

I have even found myself sitting in church wishing that I could be at home alone with Him in His Word. Nowhere else in my life do I experience the joy, peace and divine power within me like when I am communing with The Almighty. Sometimes I wish that I could stay there, just He and I, forever.

Splendor and majesty are [found] in His presence;
Strength and joy are [found] in His place (sanctuary).   1 Chronicles 16:27 (AMP)

A friend of mine recently attended a conference in which the theme was ‘spacious places’. They were talking about ‘spacious places’ not in terms of a ‘where’, but in terms of a ‘who.’ In other words, God is our spacious place. What a beautiful picture of God’s perfect peace. He is like a breath of fresh air filling our lungs.

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.  Psalm 18:19

I don’t know if you experience euphoria and peace in your relationship with God or not. I don’t know if you long for Him more than anything else in this world. It’s okay if you don’t. We all have our own spiritual journeys. I haven’t always been where I am now with God.

The great thing is, everyone can have this awesome personal and intimate relationship with God. You can experience God in a more profound way if you so desire. I guarantee it! You can rest in his arms and enjoy His spacious places. You can be completely you. You are His beloved.

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.   Jeremiah 29:13

Imagine a relationship with God so amazing that you get butterflies in your stomach when you are in His presence. Picture a worship experience so intense that you can physically feel Him move in you. Imagine being on your knees as God rains down healing, and the redemptive power of Jesus Christ over you.

Do we believe that our relationship with God can be so exciting and fulfilling and intimate that we desire Him more than we desire our husbands or wives, girlfriends or boyfriends, or even our children? 

“in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing . . . . . if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”  – C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

God is so good. Everything that He has planned for you is good. And He delights in you greatly! He longs to be sought after, experienced and encountered in a powerful way, and to have an intimate relationship with each one of us.

The amazing love, grace and acceptance that He offers is worth more than anything we can find on this earth. And, He gives it freely.

O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him  Psalm 34:8

God is easy, because of His amazing grace.

People, on the other hand, are not. I often think that I would be the perfect Christian if it weren’t for other people.

Things are so good in God’s presence. It is a perfect space, and I never want to leave. But when you add other human beings to the mix, things get messy.

I know that I am to love and serve others. I am not resisting that. Those are not the people that I am talking about necessarily.

I am talking about the people that are more involved in our lives. Those that disappoint us, judge us, make demands on us, don’t understand us, or have wronged us. I am talking about people who bring out the hurts, jealousy, and discouragement in us.

Some people bring out the worst in us.

I am much more blameless and upright before God in isolation. Isn’t it enough to deal with my own sin and brokenness? But to pile on the sin and brokenness of everyone else sometimes seems overwhelming.

 . . . . . yet, not my will but Yours be done   Luke 22:42

The whole point of this life is ‘people’. I can’t get around it. I can’t go over or under it. I can’t look past it. I can’t please God without loving and caring for the people He has put in my life. He has made that very clear in scripture. But, I admit, that sometimes I really wish that I could.

“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”   Mark 12:31

I ask for forgiveness in this area of my life all the time. I know this attitude toward other people is not pleasing to God. He wants me to love and serve others generously and joyfully. But, He is so gracious. He is the God of second chances . . . and third . . . . and fourth!

It all comes down to this, sometimes we have to do the hard stuff. The stuff that we don’t want to do. It’s not about us, it’s about Him. We have to accept all of God’s words, or none of them.

But, that is ok with me. I am eternally in His debt. The joy and worth that I get from Him is beyond words; beyond explanation. My cup overflows, and I don’t deserve any of it. Praise be to God, for He is good!

You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.   Psalm 16:11