Solo – The Mystery of a Mighty God

19 01 2009

Job 9 :2-4,14-23

Vs. 2-4 “The question is, ‘How can mere mortals get right with God?’ If we wanted to bring our case before him, what chance would we ever have? Not one in a thousand! God’s wisdom is so deep, God’s power so immense, who could take him on and come out in one piece?”

Have you ever argued or “wrestled” with God? I have had some big matches with God. Somewhere, I began really looking at my relationship with God as just that…a relationship. All relationships, even the very best, have conflict. So I argue with God in certain areas of my life. I let him know exactly how I feel (ironic when you realize He already knows how I feel). I let him know what I think is wrong in His areas. And yes, I let him know all the changes that need to happen to make things “right.” Many times these arguments will last an hour or two. But I can say there has been some that has lasted days, weeks and on two occasions, months.

For those who know me really well, you may find that a little shocking. However, let me give you a few observations from my arguments with God.

1. I always continue to love God (He loves me through it as well.)
2. I always continue to serve God
3. I am brutually honest and open.
4. I do all the talking first but I make time to listen afterwards.
5. Most importantly – He always wins.

Yep, lost every argument in the end. But, the journey is amazing because of the things he shows me and teaches me. In hindsight, I look at the wisdom and His ability to have the best interests of all involved in mind. It is always healthy because it reminds me that God didn’t love me because I am a puppet. Instead, he loves me because of all the things he wired me to be.

But if you really want to know, He does win every time. And in the end, so do I.


Solo – God Gives, God Takes

15 01 2009

Job 1:1,8-11,21

Vs. 21 – “God gives, God takes. God’s name be ever blessed.”

If you want to sum up the story of Job, here it is. First of 42 chapters and it is all put into one statement. Now to enjoy the richness, emotion and passion of the story, you really need to read the other chapters.

Basic question: Can you live today by this statement? Wow, not sure I could without adding a few lines. When I think of the things I hold dear, it is tremendously difficult. You take my dog I would be fine, but you take one of my family members and I would go bezerk. Job lost so much and still made this statement. God truly holds everything in his hand and we get to enjoy so much each day. Makes you want to give a longer hug, listen a little more and smile more.

Thanks, God for what you do allow us to have each day. And for the things you decide to take, help us to keep our eyes on you.

Solo – Just Such a Time

14 01 2009

Esther 4: 7 – 14

Vs. 14. “Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this.”

There are some bible stories or passages that always resonate when you read them. They jump off the page and they bring life. This is one of those passages. I love the story of Esther and this is the prelude to the climax. I joke that every movie has one line in it that sums up the entire movie. For me, this line sums up the entire book of Esther. For all the turmoil and subsequent victory, it all hinged on what Esther was going to do with this statement.

Looking at all that is going on at the time of this writing, what does this time represent to you? What challenge lies before you that is so daunting that you have to put yourself on God’s altar for it to happen? It is truly God’s purpose to raise you up but it all starts with our willingness to put ourselves in that place of vulnerability like Esther did. When you are in God’s will and totally surrendered, God moves into the realm that only He can work. But, we are the catalyst. It is never easy – it is a true dying to self and selfish desires. If God can save a nation by one person’s obedience, I can’t even imagine how God can work on your behalf.

Maybe, it’s time…

Solo – Linking Arms

13 01 2009

I Chronicles 11:10-11

“These are the chiefs of David’s Mighty Men, the ones who linked arms with him as he took up his kingship, with all Israel joining in, helping him become king in just the way God had spoken regarding Israel…”

Wow! When you think of Kind David having a band of men who he needed to accomplish God’s will. This passage has so many rich word pictures – chiefs, Mighty Men, linked arms, took up his kingship, helping him become king, and just the way God has spoken.

At Catalyst this year, one of the speakers talked about each person having a “Personal Board of Directors.” This group would be the ones who “link arms” with you as you try to accomplish God’s will for your life “just as He has spoken.” For you to ascend to your rightful place, you need to surround yourself with chiefs – people who are used to leading, overseeing, questioning and probing. They need to be mighty – this is not the group you are mentoring, but the ones who are mentoring and challenging you. They need to know you so vulnerability is a must. With that vulnerability, confidentiality will build trust and confidence as you move forward. If you don’t have a group like this in place, I encourage you to begin the process today. Don’t rush this – it truly is a lifelong journey. There are some good and even great people out there. But to be a “Mighty Man (Woman), you have to be extraordinary.

One last thought – the image of linking arms is so big. Try this, get your family together and pray together. Instead of holding hands, do a huddle. Get as close as you can – link up! Then pray. It is vulnerable, awkward, recharging, physical and draws you to another level of closeness. Come on – link up and ascend to your rightful place together!

Solo – Investing in People

12 01 2009

2 Kings 11: 17 – 12:2
vs. 17 “…They were God’s people…”

This whole passage is dedicated to the story of Jehoiada, the priest during the time of Joash becoming king. Great story but what jumped out was one of the covenants. This one was exclusively between God and the people. Basically, they were God’s people.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to Bible readers because that is what the people of Israel were called for most of the Old Testament. However, something jumped out at me this morning. I think of myself as a Christian but rarely do I think of myself as one of God’s people. Semantics to some, but to me it brought out some questions and principles.

1. What are the benefits of being one of God’s people?
2. What are the responsibilities of being one of God’s people?
3. What relationship is necessary to remain “in” with the people?
4. What unique marks do God’s people have?
5. What will it cost me to be one of God’s people?
6. Is there any other group that I would rather be a part of?
7. Covenant means lifetime to me – from both sides of the deal?
8. Am I contributing to the group?
9. Who do I want to see added to the group?
10. Would I do it again?

Simple and difficult questions. When God makes a covenant, He doesn’t back away.

Solo – When Trusting God is a Handful

8 01 2009

I Kings 17:7-16

This is a “down the pipe” Sunday School story. Any of us who were in Sunday school, heard the story of Elijah and the widow whose oil and flour never ran out. It has all the elements. Elijah, man of God, who has been alone in the desert (being fed by ravens and drinking from the brook.) God’s version of Survivorman, so he is probably strong, rugged, a man of few words, and silent. The widow, who has done all she can for her son and herself, and is now on her last meal march. She is tired and worn out and resolved in herself that this is it. A question so “out there” you can only imagine the turmoil of “why should I do that” to “what is it going to hurt?” Amazingly, she goes with the stranger’s request and “shazam,” she is winner of the grand prize.

I hope you don’t think I am belittling the story – in fact, it is one of my favorites. When you break it down, there are so many angles to look at this story. So many questions that jump out about trust, emotions, faith, feelings, humility, etc. So, let me give you a one question to ponder and apply to your own life.

How do you think the widow felt when she put her hand in the jar and there was another handful of flour?

No magic formula here – ponder and let that one permeate. Keep turning it like a diamond and let the different facets of the question, her life, Elijah’s life, and yes, your life blend together. Believe me, it is a handful.

Solo – A Dream Fulfilled

7 01 2009

I Kings 5:1-5

vs. 5 “Now, here is what I want to do: Build a temple in honor of God…”

Having heard this story so many times, I was tempted to move on. But the last phrase jumped out at me. At first, I thought, “God, Solomon fulfilled his Dad’s promise, you lived in a temple in the old Testament times, not really accurate for today, you don’t live in a building – you live in hearts…” Ahh, and there is the “aha.”

I always hear about “my body being a temple of the Holy Spirit.” The focus of course being on the outside and gives people a platform to talk about health, drinking, drugs, tatoos, etc. This morning it struck me about the importance of keeping our heart issues at the highest level of humility, growth, and reverence for God. Build the temple – build the heart. And why not – Solomon also commented how it was time to build because “God had provided peace all around.” We have something today that Solomon didn’t have. The Holy Spirit is given to us as helper and Jesus came as the prince of peace. With God backing us with both the life/death/resurrection of Christ and the ongoing help of the Holy Spirit, we are poised to “build our temple.” So, let’s attack those heart issues and bring in God’s presence and power to create an atmosphere for God to live and move through us.