A Matter of the Heart

Jan 11 2013

Verse of the Day: 1 Chronicles 22:13 “That’s what will make you successful, following the directions and doing the things that God commanded…..” (The Message)

Well here we are coming to the end of the first full week in January and the 10th day into the New Year. And I was wondering how many people make resolutions or plans each year and what are the results for achieving those plans? So, I did a Google search and here are some of the results I found: 45% of people usually make a New Year’s resolution, 17% infrequently make them, and 38% absolutely never make any. Only 8% successfully reach their goals, 49% have infrequent success, and 24% never succeed. Now if you are in your twenties you have a 39% chance of success, but if you are over 50 it drops to a 14% chance of success. In one week those who are still trying to reach their goal is 75%, two weeks it drops to 71%, past 30 days it drops to 64% and after 6 months only 46% of the people are still trying to reach their  planned goal.

So, why is it that so many people fail to follow through on their plans or never even make one? Well I think it’s like anything else in life when decisions or plans are made without consulting God first and including Him in that planning. I feel they are destined to fail. And when there is no vision from God we will fail. Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish….” (NIV)

I know for me personally, when I consult God first and allow Him to have control over my plans the results are always better. The way I see it, if you fail to plan with God, then you plan to fail. We can’t expect God to bless our plans anymore than we can blame Him and wonder why we failed again if we didn't include Him in the planning process.

Well I can already hear someone saying, “But I did include God” “I went to Him first” and “I still failed”. While let me give you my two cents worth-my guess is while you might have had a plan somewhere along the way you altered or changed the plan without consulting with God again. Ok, I hear you again saying something like this, “But you just don’t understand my life and the demands I have, my plans are always getting changed, the kids, work, my spouse and even the church - they need me.” Well guess what- that’s called “LIFE”. And while life can throw a lot of different road blocks and detours in the plans God has put in place for you and with you, that doesn't mean you give up, abandon the plan or change the final goal altogether. 

Think of it this way-it’s no different than being on a long road trip-say from New Mexico to Florida in hopes of going to Disney World. And along the way you run into road construction. While you might be off your original plan or course for a short time and distance, if you will follow the detour signs you will eventually get back to that original plan. And God will do the same with your life when you include Him in your plans. He will help you get through and around those obstacles and get you on the right path again. But if you lose sight of God’s plans and decide to change it without his help it would be just like losing sight of the detour signs. And before you know it you’re lost and discouraged to the point you either turn around, give up altogether, or settle for something less. Like going to a Chucky Cheese restaurant in a town you can’t even pronounce instead of making it to Disney World.

So, I don’t know if you made any New Year’s resolutions or plans’ this year or where you fall into the statistics shown above. But, if your plans don’t include God I pray you will stop long enough to ask Him what He has planned for you this year. And when those plans include God regardless what life throws in your path He will give you a reroute for getting around the detours and back on the right course. All you have to do is follow His directions and remember Who, What, and Where holds the plans for your final destination. So, the next time you’re making plans for life or a trip- include the Lord in them-after all He is better at planning than any travel agent, or professional planner I know. With God’s plans in place the trip and ride will be a lot less stressful and the odds for success are unmatched by anyone or anything else. Have a great weekend in the Lord and share it with someone!

Jan 10 2013

 

Verse of the Day: 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?.....I will be their God, and they will be my people.” “Therefore come out from them and be separated…..” (NIV)  Read these entire verses 14-18.

Is it just me or does it also appear to you that the world and society are drifting away from God at a faster and faster pace every day? And while that separation from God seems to be getting wider and wider every day it also seems to me that those who call themselves Christians for the most part are no further away from the world’s sins than before. Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated you from God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” (NIV) Now don’t get me wrong I truly believe that those who are truly following and seeking the Lord today are setting themselves apart from the world. And as the Bible tells us in the last days the Light will get lighter and the dark will get darker. But as the world standards have changed and accepted and allowed more and more darkness (sin) in to the world--Christians have also allowed their values to be compromised from God’s original plans for their lives. I like how Ron Hutchcraft describes it in a devotion he wrote entitled “Drawing a Line” He states:  “See, there's always a noticeable difference between lost people and God's people. It's kind of my equal distance theory. There's always an equal distance between the standards and lifestyles of the people of God and the people of the world.

Let's say (figuratively speaking) that the church, or the people of God, are always ten miles closer to God than the world is. The problem is that as the world moves to the left, away from God, so does the church. Now, we're still ten miles away from the marriages of the world, and from the sexual standards of the world, and their hardness, and their love of material things. But as the world moves faster and faster away from God's standards, so do we. We're still the same distance from our culture. So, in a matter of like five or ten years, we Christians are where lost people were only a few years ago, accepting what we thought we would never accept, doing what we never thought we'd do, watching,  listening to. But we can feel pretty good about it, because we're better than the folks around us.”

Oh! How true it seems to be that Christianity stands preaching to the world about being changed and yet the world doesn’t see any true difference or change—all they see is the same old, same old things, just a different day. Matthew 23:28 “In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”  Read the entire chapter of Matthew 23 and see how God condemns the leaders for their hypocrisy. If we as Christians stand our ground and don’t move toward or with the world’s new standards, and turn back to God’s standards for living, then and only then will society and this world truly see a difference. The gap between Light and darkness will grow wider and wider and the Light will be brighter and clearer than ever before. 

God’s Word tell us to be in the world as He wants us to be His light, but He also warns us in many different ways not to be of the world. So, how big is your gap today? What are you doing to shine God’s light in this world? If you were on trial and being accused of being a true follower of Christ and causing and/or increasing the gap between the world’s values/standards and God’s values and standards is there enough evidence to find you guilty as charged. I pray that as you go through this New Year you will stand firm in your faith and you will not give up any more ground, but battle for ground lost in the past. This is a battle worth fighting!! Lets’ take back the ground we have lost in our families, schools, states and our nation. Lets’ be the light of Christ for this world. So, go out and HAVE A GREAT DAY IN THE LORD AND SHARE IT WITH SOMEONE!