Friday, August 31, 2012

Real Relationships

After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself...and Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. (1 Samuel 18:1,3)

When we study the relationship of Jonathan and David we see a true picture of COVENANT RELATIONSHIP.  

Their relationship is a model of...
  • Unconditional acceptance
  • Loyalty
  • Commitment
Can the same be said of our relationships with one another?  Are we modeling John 13:35?

"By this all men will know that
you are my disciples, if you
love one another."

The Greek word for LOVE and FELLOWSHIP is "KOINONIA."  It means a relationship with God and other Christians that is INTERWOVEN in COVENANT and implies a deliberate, deep commitment with open, honest caring and sharing.

Every relationship in your life requires EFFORT and WORK.  If you're going to find the right have to BE the right friend first.  When we seek out friendships, our goal shouldn't be to find someone who can meet our needs...but rather to BE someone that can meet the needs of others.

As I've given more thought to relationships this week, I've come to appreciate the real relationships that I have in my life.  

Do you have some relationships
in your life that aren't

Are there people in your life that are draining
you rather than replenishing you?

According to the Scriptures, we have been given the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18) I honestly believe that every relationship we have can and should, if at all possible (Romans 12:18), be reconciled.  Reconciliation is God honoring and is a reflection of our own heart.

Not to sound contradictory, but there are times when you may have to consider letting go of a relationship temporarily or permanently.  

Here are some thoughts about when it may be time to let them go...

When they expect you to be someone you're not.
  • Don't change who you are for anyone else.  It's wiser to lose someone over being who you are, than to keep them by being someone you're not.  It's easier to mend a broken heart, than it is to piece together a shattered identity.  It's easier to fill an empty space in your life where someone else used to be, than it is to fill the empty space inside yourself where you used to be.
When their actions don't match their words.
  • Everyone deserves someone who helps them look forward to tomorrow.  If someone has the opposite effect on you, because they are consistently inconsistent and their actions don't match up with their words, it's time to let them go.  It's always better to be alone than to be in bad company.  Don't listen to what people say; watch what they do.  Your true friends will slowly reveal themselves over time.

True friendship is a promise 
made in the heart - 
silent, unwritten, 
unbreakable by distance, 
and unchangeable by time.

When you are trying to force them to love you.
  • Never beg someone to be your friend. Friendship and true love is about freedom.  There are times when people will walk away from you...that's not the end of life.  It's probably more of a beginning of an understanding that love sometimes leaves for a reason, but never leaves without a lesson.  If someone truly loves you, they will never give you a reason to doubt it.  Anyone can come into your life and say how much they love you, but it takes someone really in covenant with you to STAY in your life and PROVE how much they love you. 
When they only love you for your status.
  • People who want to be your friend only because of the status it offers them won't stay by your side forever.  People who love you for WHO you are and not WHAT your title is will never leave you. 
When they continue to break your trust.
  • Love means giving someone the chance to hurt you, but trusting them not to.  When you completely trust a person, without any doubt, you'll automatically get one of two results - a FRIEND for life or a LESSON for life.  Either way there's a positive outcome.  Either you confirm the fact that this person cares about you, or you get the opportunity to weed them out of your life and make room for those who do.  In the end, you'll discover who's FAKE, who's TRUE, and who would RISK IT ALL for you.
When they continue to overlook your worth.
  • You have to know your worth based on God's love and affirmation!  When you give your life to someone who doesn't respect you, you surrender pieces of your soul that you'll never get back. There comes a point when you have to let go and stop chasing some people.  If someone wants you in their life, they'll find a way to put you there.  Sometimes you just to need to let go and accept the fact that they don't care for you the way you care for them.  Let them leave your life quietly.  Letting go is oftentimes easier than holding on.  We think it's too hard to let go, until we actually do.  Then we ask ourselves, "Why didn't I do this sooner?"  Bishop T.D. Jakes says, "I have the gift of goodbye!"

Here are some random thoughts as well...
  • Speak up for your heart so that you won't have any regrets.
  • Life is about being honest and sharing your happiness with others.
  • If you allow people to make more withdrawals than deposits in your life, you will be out of balance and in the negative before you know it.
  • Don't let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of going after yours.
  • Follow your heart.
  • Take risks.
  • Don't just make the safe and easy choices because you're afraid of what might happen.  If you do, nothing will ever happen.  Chances must be taken, mistakes must be made, and lessons must be learned.
  • It might be an uphill climb, but when you reach that mountaintop it will be worth every ounce of blood, sweat and tears you put into it.
  • Overcome your heartache and you'll eventually forget the reasons why you cried and who caused the pain.
  • What matters most is not the first but the final chapters of your life.
  • Never let go of hope. 
  • Keep pushing forward.
  • Someday all the pieces will come together.
  • Even if everything doesn't turn out exactly the way you had anticipated, good things will still transpire in your life.
  • Do whatever you can to bring about reconciliation and restoration...then leave the results to God.
  • NEVER stop loving people.

2 Corinthians 5:19-20
  It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting upand holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor). 
So we are Christ’s ambassadors, God making His appeal as it were through us. We [as Christ’s personal representatives] beg you for His sake to lay hold of the divine favor [now offered you] and be reconciled to God.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Stop Hugging The Trunk

We first read about Elijah in 1 Kings 17 - he's referred to as one of the greatest prophets in the Bible.  One thing for sure...we know he was BOLD!
  • There's no evidence of him coming from a family of prophets...
  • There's no indication that he had special connections with the "higher up's"...
And yet, he marches into the king and pronounces a TOTAL DROUGHT in Israel for many years!  WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS?  What kind of guy is he that he possess such AUTHORITY, CONFIDENCE and BOLDNESS?

Here's why...HE HAD A WORD FROM GOD!

All you need is a WORD from the Lord!  One WORD from God will put you in a place of AUTHORITY!  That's what gave Elijah the courage to step into the supernatural because he had heard from God and believed what God told him!

Friend...if you are a believer...then you've already received a certain amount of REVELATION from God!
  • We've received the TRUTH about SALVATION and believed it!
  • When we share that TRUTH with others we witness the miracle of the NEW BIRTH in the lives of people around us!
Elijah prophesied the drought before it came to pass.  

God was the AUTHOR and Elijah was the INSTRUMENT.  

Elijah's willingness to risk everything for what God had shown him was one of the key elements that PROPELLED him into LEADERSHIP!

LEADERSHIP IS COSTLY!  The faint hearted never become anyone's hero.  It's risky to do what God lays on your heart!
  • God knew that Elijah's obedience to Him put Elijah's life in jeopardy.
  • God provided a hiding place for Elijah by the brook Cherith where God commanded ravens to feed him!
  • Can you imagine being fed by the birds?  I guess Elijah could have said at that moment, "this is for the birds!"

Being OBEDIENT to God puts us in a position to receive SUPERNATURAL SUPPLY!  I believe when we obey the Lord, regardless of the cost to us personally, God is compelled to SUPPLY our needs!

There is no need for God to SUPPLY our needs when we aren't doing ANYTHING that requires more than what we can PRODUCE!

We don't experience divine intervention until we get out on a limb!  Stop hugging the trunk and go where the fruit is...out on the limb!  Sometimes the wind will make the limb not be be fruitful, we have to let go of our security blankets and take a leap of faith!

More to come...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Things That Really Matter

We need a good rain in Indianapolis!  Unlike London or even Florida where it seemingly rains every day, we've been a little dry here in Central Indiana.  A storm blew through on Sunday and there was evidence of that storm from some of the trees that were uprooted.

The storm blows in and removes things that don't belong.  Maybe God has sent or allowed storms to come roaring into our lives so that He can remove what doesn't belong.  If it's true in nature, it's also true in our lives - the very thing you think is devastating can also be God's tool to cleanse and improve!

When I read Acts 27 I'm reminded of Paul's trip to Rome on that big cargo ship.  276 people are sailing with him and suddenly they get hit by a massive storm system that batters and threatens to destroy them!

The Bible says, "A wind of hurricane force...swept down from the island.  The ship was caught by the storm...We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard.  On the third day, they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands."

Eventually, Paul is visited by an angel.  After that encounter, Paul tells his fellow shipmates..."Keep up your courage...only the ship will be destroyed.  Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.'"

Storms CLARIFY the things that really
matter and the things that really don't.

In this case, they threw overboard cargo they thought they needed but they didn't really need.  That might be what God's trying to get you to do as the storm is battering you:

  • Set some new priorities!
  • Get rid of some cargo you've accumulated!
  • Get rid of relationships that were hindering you!

Just as God clarified for Paul what really mattered and his LIFE MISSION, it could be that God wants to use your personal hurricane to get you to focus on what He's called you to do.

Sometimes we have a tendency to hang on to people and things that God is trying to cut out of our life for our own protection and purpose.  

Just like the storm that arose in Jonah chapter one - God allowed it to uproot what was wrong in the ship.  Sometimes, due to our own misjudgment of people's character we blindly allow Jonah's in our ship who are grossly in error through misconduct, character issues and rebellion.

If you give all your attention to Jonah, you'll neglect the PEOPLE God has called you to reach. 

Your LIFE MISSION is what matters - the things God has given you to do will survive the storm!

The hurricanes of life seem devastating some times, but He allows them to accomplish things that might not happen any other way.  Perhaps God is removing what has blocked the rays of sunshine in your something beautiful can grow!

Paul encouraged his shipmates to stay in the ship during the storm.  They did.  All of them survived the storm.