Seek God Finished


So many of us run around on eggshells, wondering if God is watching every move we make, judging us, criticizing us, disappointed and angry. But if you read the Word, in Genesis 1, the first thing He did after creating man was bless them. He didn’t bring the law, the rules, and the hammer. He blessed them. It’s like His original objective for man was to pour out His blessing on him, to love us. It wasn’t to hurt us or criticize us.

What’s truly awesome is that when you study Galatians, you will see why Jesus died on the cross. It says Jesus came so the blessing God gave to Abraham could be restored unto us. That is part one of why He came. He came to restore the blessing.
But many of us are still living in the old covenant. We are still living in the Old Testament times, under the law. Galatians says, “Who has bewitched you and put you under the law? Weren’t you saved by grace?” Why do we continue to live by the law when we are a new creation, created to live by grace through Christ, who gives us strength, who is our righteousness? We are the righteousness of Christ. We are no longer jars of clay. We are a new creation, and John 5 says we have crossed from death unto life. Heaven on earth is knowing God. John 17:3 says eternal life is knowing God. It is to know God. That is what eternal life is. It starts today. It starts now.
What is different between the old covenant and the new covenant, before Christ and after Christ? It is that Christ sent His Holy Spirit—the all-powerful, the all-mighty God, who created heaven and earth—to live inside His people. That didn’t happen before. We couldn’t be a house of the Holy Spirit. We couldn’t be a house of God. We couldn’t be His temple because Christ had not come and made us clean to house the Holy Spirit. We weren’t worthy of it. He made us worthy. We never go back. We can’t say, “Without Him, I am weak,” because we are never without Him. If you say that, then you don’t understand you are truly never without Him once you’re in Him. It’s impossible ever to be without Him again. You are with Him.
It takes a while to renew your mind and truly understand what transpired that makes you who you are. You are no longer that old person barely saved. You are the righteousness of Christ, seated at the right hand of the Father with Jesus. You have a constant defender, an intercessor, who is Jesus. You constantly have God on your side every time you are weak in your tent or your flesh. You are strong in Him because He is in you. It is up to you and how much you have renewed your mind and have faith in who He says you are for His power actually to work in you. He says, “I can do more than you can even imagine according to my power that is at work in you.”
What kind of vessel are you? Are you one in whom His power is working?

Being Obedient to God

This is a dangerous statement because our society today tells us, “Just be you. Be who you are. You know who you are. Do what your heart desires. Fulfill your desires.”

I’ve learned the hard way to be careful about sharing this because it only exists for those people who are searching the heart of God in all of their ways—not some of their ways, not only in church on Sunday morning, but in all of their ways. They acknowledge God in all of their ways.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV) 

That word ‘acknowledge’ there means to know God relationally. In everything you do, be in communion with God. That’s really what it means.


If you go out and do what you want to do, and that includes sleeping around and making immoral choices, then you are not acknowledging God in all of your ways. He is not a God of sin. This message is not designed for people who are trying to fulfill their fantasies or their sinful desires.

This is for people who are truly seeking God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength. They are seeking to know Him. They read the Word. They are falling in love with God more every day. Those people can do this. God gives them the desires of their hearts.

When you’re not really seeking Him, when He is not your first priority and you are not pursuing Him with everything you have because He is good and you want to know Him, then the desires of your heart may not be purely His. They may be your desires for the old things your flesh used to want—you know, bigger house, nicer car, better body, somebody to love you, somebody to fill your void. 

Well, God is your void filler. He is your house. You are His house. You have everything you need in Him, and there is nothing that you lack. Lack is not your portion when you are in Him. I think it takes a while after we begin seeking God for the desires of our heart to transfer from our old, worldly desires to His desires.

But once you are seeking Him and you really know who you are as His child, He puts His desires in your heart. He puts in you the desire to take care of orphans and widows. He gives you the desire to help people. He gives you the desire not to honk the horn and be mad at somebody who road raged you or drove you off the road. He gives you the desire to offer freedom and forgiveness. He gives you the desires of your heart because He is placing His desires in your heart.

The more you seek Him, the more you find Him and the more He gives you His desires. When that happens, you’ll know. If the desire in your heart is to go out and smoke and drink, that’s not it, okay? You’ll know when it’s God’s desire. If you’re walking and you see someone and think, “I feel like I should give this person twenty bucks,” that’s probably God’s desire in your heart. He is going to provide the twenty bucks, and He is going to want you to give the twenty bucks away.

You can trust that when you are seeking God with all of your heart, you are hearing from Him and He is putting His desires in your heart. When you are first learning to distinguish between God’s desires and the desires of your flesh, what you want to do is check His Word. See whether the desire in your heart lines up with how God teaches us to live in Scripture. If it doesn’t and it’s sinful, then you don’t want to follow that desire.

You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more. (Psalm 10:17-18 NIV)

One of the things I do is let the peace of Christ rule in me. I wake up with God on my heart, and I want to be with Him all of the time. I am with Him all of the time, and He is with me. Before I do anything, I stop and wait for the peace of God to run over me. I ask, “Is this the peace of God?” There’s a difference between man’s direction and God’s, and God’s is always surrounded by tremendous peace.

My Faith Is Weak—I Need More Faith

Immediately the boys father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 NIV)

We all have the faith of Jesus Christ. That’s what Scripture says. You cannot come to God without Him. He actually gives you the faith to believe in Him. The faith you have isn’t your own. You didn’t muster it up. You’re not some great person of faith. Yes, sometimes He gives people a spiritual gift of faith, but it’s still from Him. He is the author of it.


If you and I have the same faith because God gave it to us so we could know Him and love Him, then how do we make our faith work more effectually? Some people have more effective faith than I do. I look at them and think, “How is that? How is that possible?” I believe it comes from their relationship with God. They’re seeking Him and pursuing Him. They’re reading His Word, chomping it up, ingesting it, and believing what it says with childlike faith. It stirs them up.

I received a gift from a friend of mine. It’s a candle. I don’t burn candles in my home. I haven’t burned them since I had kids. I don’t want to risk the accidental knocking over and fire or wax in the carpet. It was a gift my friend gave to me, but it’s never really been used. It just sits there. I think that’s what faith is like. God gives it to you, and you either light it and use it, or you don’t and it just sits there.

So how do we light the candle of our faith? I believe the answer is in Hebrews 11:1. It says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (KJV). I believe hope is the fire for your faith. Hope is your part, and faith is God’s part. God gave you the faith; now, can you keep up your hope? Can you keep yourself focused on the promises of God? Can you keep yourself focused on this amazing promise: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV)?

Jesus also said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1 NIV). He wouldn’t give you a command you could not keep. I believe that when you let your heart be troubled, you lose your hope, and it’s not there to spark your faith. We need to learn, remember, and put our hope in the promises of God. 

“Listen carefully: I have given you authority [that you now possess] to tread on serpents and scorpions, and [the ability to exercise authority] over all the power of the enemy (Satan); and nothing will [in any way] harm you.” (Luke 10:19 AMP)

I keep my eyes on this truth. It keeps stirring me up. It builds up my hope. It makes my hope grow and become active and alive so it can light the candle of my faiththe faith that God has deposited in me. It’s not really my faith, so I cannot boast in it! I refer to it as my faith, but it’s really not. It was a gift given to me by God. It’s His. He deposited it. When I place my hope in Him, it lights and connects. The faith He has given me ignites, and sparks fly!

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Jump into your Bible. As you read, your hope in the Lord will grow and SOAR! 

Love, 
Sheri 


Encourage Yourself in the Lord

Several years ago, I got an offer to go work for a company in Dallas. I drove down to check everything out. Wow. I couldn’t believe rush hour traffic. Rush hour started at three o’clock and lasted until seven o’clock every evening. That is four hours. Your commute from home to work could easily be ninety minutes to two hours. My friends did it often. They would leave for the office by 6 a.m. so they could beat traffic on the way to the office, and they would come home at seven. I thought about the quality of life, and I turned that job down quickly.

In rush hour, you are never alone. There’s traffic everywhere. Everywhere you look, you see people, and you can wave and smile at people. On the other hand, sometimes if you’re driving at night on a country road, you may not see anyone for an hour.

                                      

Scripture says there is a wide path and a narrow path. I think of it in terms of traffic. The wide path is like rush hour traffic. It’s busy. Most people are on this road, going in the same direction. They’re all on a mission to get somewhere, from here to there, point A to point B. The narrow path is the less-traveled road. The people on it are few and far between. You might be walking all by yourself for a while before you see another person passing by.
I think the narrow path in Christ can feel lonely at times. You can look around and see the busy rush hour traffic, but you don’t jump in and join it. You choose to take a secondary road. It’s like deciding, “I’m getting off of interstate 40 onto this side road. I’m going to take the backwoods route.”
Think about it. When you get off onto those secondary roads, they’re more peaceful and winding. They’re beautiful. But sometimes the rest stop is a backwoods mechanic shop with a filthy bathroom. The towns are few and far between. Sometimes you have to pee in the grass. It can be challenging to take the narrow path of God because it isn’t traveled by as many people.
Christians can fall into the trap of doing things because everyone else is doing them. Sometimes we don’t even think about it or we figure, “It’s okay for this family, so it’s okay for our family.” I see Christians doing this every day. They give their kids wider and wider boundaries. What they are doing is taking them from the narrow path to the wide path. Their children start exposing themselves to entertainment and other influences that may jeopardize their purity. Before you know it, instead of following God, they are following the world.
As Christians, we need to protect the wellspring of life that is our heart and make good choices. I believe Christians should be out front. People should want to be like us. They should be following our way and wanting to make the choices we’re making because our fruit is awesome. We don’t look like the world. We love the world, but we don’t look like the world. We’re in the world but not of the world.
I will tell you right now, making the decision to stay on the narrow path no matter what is lonely at times. You are going to find that your friends on the narrow path are a wide range of ages, say seventy down to twelve. There are so few people that you have to change your perspective of what your friendship circle should look like so you can be close with people who you know are making these choices with you.
I would encourage you to connect, but when you feel lonely, encourage yourself in the Lord. Keep yourself encouraged like David in 1 Samuel 30. Don’t look to anyone else to encourage you. Enjoy their encouragement when it comes along but don’t rely on it. Don’t stand on it for strength. Stand on the Lord and His strength and remember what He has done for you already.

Being Obedient to God

This is a dangerous statement because our society today tells us, “Just be you. Be who you are. You know who you are. Do what your heart desires. Fulfill your desires.”

I’ve learned the hard way to be careful about sharing this because it only exists for those people who are searching the heart of God in all of their ways—not some of their ways, not only in church on Sunday morning, but in all of their ways. They acknowledge God in all of their ways.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV) 

That word ‘acknowledge’ there means to know God relationally. In everything you do, be in communion with God. That’s really what it means.


If you go out and do what you want to do, and that includes sleeping around and making immoral choices, then you are not acknowledging God in all of your ways. He is not a God of sin. This message is not designed for people who are trying to fulfill their fantasies or their sinful desires.

This is for people who are truly seeking God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength. They are seeking to know Him. They read the Word. They are falling in love with God more every day. Those people can do this. God gives them the desires of their hearts.

When you’re not really seeking Him, when He is not your first priority and you are not pursuing Him with everything you have because He is good and you want to know Him, then the desires of your heart may not be purely His. They may be your desires for the old things your flesh used to want—you know, bigger house, nicer car, better body, somebody to love you, somebody to fill your void. 

Well, God is your void filler. He is your house. You are His house. You have everything you need in Him, and there is nothing that you lack. Lack is not your portion when you are in Him. I think it takes a while after we begin seeking God for the desires of our heart to transfer from our old, worldly desires to His desires.

But once you are seeking Him and you really know who you are as His child, He puts His desires in your heart. He puts in you the desire to take care of orphans and widows. He gives you the desire to help people. He gives you the desire not to honk the horn and be mad at somebody who road raged you or drove you off the road. He gives you the desire to offer freedom and forgiveness. He gives you the desires of your heart because He is placing His desires in your heart.

The more you seek Him, the more you find Him and the more He gives you His desires. When that happens, you’ll know. If the desire in your heart is to go out and smoke and drink, that’s not it, okay? You’ll know when it’s God’s desire. If you’re walking and you see someone and think, “I feel like I should give this person twenty bucks,” that’s probably God’s desire in your heart. He is going to provide the twenty bucks, and He is going to want you to give the twenty bucks away.

You can trust that when you are seeking God with all of your heart, you are hearing from Him and He is putting His desires in your heart. When you are first learning to distinguish between God’s desires and the desires of your flesh, what you want to do is check His Word. See whether the desire in your heart lines up with how God teaches us to live in Scripture. If it doesn’t and it’s sinful, then you don’t want to follow that desire.

You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more. (Psalm 10:17-18 NIV)

One of the things I do is let the peace of Christ rule in me. I wake up with God on my heart, and I want to be with Him all of the time. I am with Him all of the time, and He is with me. Before I do anything, I stop and wait for the peace of God to run over me. I ask, “Is this the peace of God?” There’s a difference between man’s direction and God’s, and God’s is always surrounded by tremendous peace.

Parents Are Asking the Wrong Question

“Did you have fun today?”
“What did you do for fun?”
“Did you have fun with your friends?”
What is the one consistent word here? Its the three-letter word fun


F-U-N. 
Fun.

This type of question is ruining our children’s ability simply to BE. I hear parents, grandparents, and siblings asking young people, “Are you going to have a fun day? What did you do that was fun? Did you have fun with your friends?” 

I hear people asking this sort of question all of the time, even in my own house.
Is this really the question we should be asking? Should we gauge the quality of a young person’s day based on whether he or she had fun? 

We need to ask ourselves what we are teaching our children by asking this.

We are giving them the impression that 
life is all about having fun.
I’m not trying to suggest that children—or adults for that matter—should never have fun. We should love what we do. We should be engaged; we should have energy for life. We should enjoy our lives because Jesus came to bring us life “to the full” (John 10:10 NIV).
On the other hand, Jesus also said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). 

Hardships are part of life. We will experience struggles. We must often deal with troubling circumstances. In times of trial, however, we can have peace and find strength because we know Jesus loves us. He understands our pain and is both able and willing to help us in all things. We can find joy in the growth of our relationship with Him.

It will not be fun, but there is GOOD in it.

Recently, I took care of a child for a friend of mine. When my friend came to pick up her daughter, one of the first things she did was ask her child, “What did you do for fun today?” Her daughter replied, “Nothing. I haven’t done anything fun today.” The reaction to this statement bordered on shock, as if such a circumstance were unthinkable. 

Why is it unthinkable? What is horrible about a child not having fun all of the time? You shouldnt entertain your own children, and I shouldnt entertain them, either.
If I gear my children’s lives toward fun, I am setting them up for future failure, depression, and battles when life isnt fun. I am setting them up for disappointment in marriage because they won’t be able to appreciate those low-key days of rest and recovery with their spouses after hectic times. I want my children to be able to treasure the quiet moments of simple companionship. 

When we emphasize the value of fun, 
we are sowing in our children 
the need to be entertained continuously. 


We are setting them up to view other people in terms of how they can make life more fun. We are encouraging our children to seek relationships based on fun. We are teaching them that it is okay to avoid or abandon tasks and relationships that don’t seem fun.

Many children today are constantly asking, “What are we going to do now?” They are always seeking new ways to entertain themselves. Next time your kids are with a play date or hanging out with teenage friends, listen to them talk with each other. Take note of how often they ask each other what they will do next. 

Listen to them tell each other that what they’ve been doing is getting old; they are bored and ready for the next source of entertainment. Girls who play indoors are always jumping to the next activity: “Hey, lets edit pictures. Lets do a photo shoot. Let’s play a game. Lets make a video. Lets make a song. Lets do all of these projects together. Lets go play this sport. Lets go play that. Im tired of this—lets move on.”
As a mother, I certainly appreciate when my children can entertain themselves and come up with activities on their own. The trouble is that kids don’t stay focused on a particular goal. They don’t stay engaged and committed. You don’t see kids building a fort all day long the way we did when we were young. These days its more of a frenzy. Kids dart from one activity to the next to the next to the next. Theres no break.
I don’t hear kids suggesting to each other that they hang out and talk for a while or read a book or study the Bible. I know these suggestions sound odd, but they shouldn’t. Life isnt about bouncing wildly from one fun activity to the next. I’m afraid that children who live in restless pursuit of entertainment will grow into adults who are never satisfied with simply being. God created us as human beings, yet we allow our children to be only human doings. We are setting our children on a dangerous course because, let’s face it, most entertainment for kids and for adults is of this world and not of God. 

The desire for stimulation can distract us from 
the values and purposes of God. 


Will our children be too busy ping-ponging around to realize that?

I believe we need to stop asking children, “Did you have fun today?” We need to stop telling them when they leave the house, “Be sure to have fun!” Since it’s in our power to influence our children’s focus, let’s choose some different questions: 

Whom did you encourage today? 
How were you encouraged today? 
Did you share your beautiful smile with someone? 
Did anyone surprise you with a beautiful smile? 
Did you see someone do something kind today? 
Did you share with a friend today? 
Did you help your friends mommy when you were at their house all day? 
Did you leave their place better than you found it? 
When you spent time with your friends, did you ask how they were doing and actually listen to the answer? 
Did you ask them if they were hurting in any way?
We assume our children are too young and emotionally immature to have those kinds of conversations with us and their friends. How can we believe this when we know that children are not too young to be hurt? They could already, on any given day, be suffering rejection and deep wounds. They are already being challenged morally. They are already struggling with matters of the mind and spirit and body. Our children need adults who are willing to be transparent and dig deeply with them at the earliest ages.
We should never look down on people because they are young. We shouldnt assume children are incapable of deep conversation. It is up to us to teach them. 

If we raise our children to pursue fun, we cant expect them 
suddenly to transform into insightful, compassionate 
human beings when they reach adulthood. 


We need to teach them while they are young: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Prov. 22:6 NIV). We need to teach our children how to be introspective, how to search their own souls and seek the Lord. We need to teach them to pay attention to their thoughts, emotions, and experiences. We need to teach them to take a genuine, loving interest in other people’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences. People are never too young to learn the Lord’s ways and do the Lord’s work.

It is important for our children to learn how to connect with their friends on a deeper level. Otherwise the friendships they have when they are young won’t be sustainable beyond this particular season of their lives. We should teach kids from a young age the value of developing sound, lasting relationships.
Spending time with other people isn’t about cramming in as many fun activities as possible. Rather, it’s about companionship. It’s about relaxing your guard and getting to know each other. It’s about learning how to love each other. Close friends know how to rest together. They find refreshment in each other’s company. Kids need to understand that it’s okay to say, “You know what, Im tired. Lets chill and hang out. Maybe we can read together or talk for a while.”
What’s not okay is complaining about being bored. Maybe one person enjoys sharing some quiet time while another person doesn’t. The main objective isnt to have fun and be entertained. When you are with the people you love, you can find enjoyment in the busy times as well as the quiet times.
I notice many children today who seemoverstimulated and utterly exhausted. Adults allow and expect kids to stay on the go all of the time, jumping from one activity to the next to the next to the next. No wonder kids are tired! No one has taught them how to be still. No one has taught them the value of being still.
Stillness calms people. It is enjoyable. It allows us to rest and reflect. Kids, too, can learn to be comfortable enough with themselves and the people around them simply to be. 

How else will they ever hear the still, quiet voice of God?



My Faith Is Weak—I Need More Faith

Immediately the boys father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 NIV)

We all have the faith of Jesus Christ. That’s what Scripture says. You cannot come to God without Him. He actually gives you the faith to believe in Him. The faith you have isn’t your own. You didn’t muster it up. You’re not some great person of faith. Yes, sometimes He gives people a spiritual gift of faith, but it’s still from Him. He is the author of it.


If you and I have the same faith because God gave it to us so we could know Him and love Him, then how do we make our faith work more effectually? Some people have more effective faith than I do. I look at them and think, “How is that? How is that possible?” I believe it comes from their relationship with God. They’re seeking Him and pursuing Him. They’re reading His Word, chomping it up, ingesting it, and believing what it says with childlike faith. It stirs them up.

I received a gift from a friend of mine. It’s a candle. I don’t burn candles in my home. I haven’t burned them since I had kids. I don’t want to risk the accidental knocking over and fire or wax in the carpet. It was a gift my friend gave to me, but it’s never really been used. It just sits there. I think that’s what faith is like. God gives it to you, and you either light it and use it, or you don’t and it just sits there.

So how do we light the candle of our faith? I believe the answer is in Hebrews 11:1. It says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (KJV). I believe hope is the fire for your faith. Hope is your part, and faith is God’s part. God gave you the faith; now, can you keep up your hope? Can you keep yourself focused on the promises of God? Can you keep yourself focused on this amazing promise: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV)?

Jesus also said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1 NIV). He wouldn’t give you a command you could not keep. I believe that when you let your heart be troubled, you lose your hope, and it’s not there to spark your faith. We need to learn, remember, and put our hope in the promises of God. 

“Listen carefully: I have given you authority [that you now possess] to tread on serpents and scorpions, and [the ability to exercise authority] over all the power of the enemy (Satan); and nothing will [in any way] harm you.” (Luke 10:19 AMP)

I keep my eyes on this truth. It keeps stirring me up. It builds up my hope. It makes my hope grow and become active and alive so it can light the candle of my faiththe faith that God has deposited in me. It’s not really my faith, so I cannot boast in it! I refer to it as my faith, but it’s really not. It was a gift given to me by God. It’s His. He deposited it. When I place my hope in Him, it lights and connects. The faith He has given me ignites, and sparks fly!

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Jump into your Bible. As you read, your hope in the Lord will grow and SOAR! 

Love, 
Sheri 


Parents Are Asking the Wrong Question

“Did you have fun today?”
“What did you do for fun?”
“Did you have fun with your friends?”
What is the one consistent word here? Its the three-letter word fun


F-U-N. 
Fun.

This type of question is ruining our children’s ability simply to BE. I hear parents, grandparents, and siblings asking young people, “Are you going to have a fun day? What did you do that was fun? Did you have fun with your friends?” 

I hear people asking this sort of question all of the time, even in my own house.
Is the focus of this question the right one parents should be asking? Should we gauge the quality of a young person’s day based on whether or not they had fun? 

We need to ask ourselves what we are teaching our children by asking this. 

We are giving them the impression that life is all about having fun.
I’m not trying to suggest children—or adults—should never have fun. We should love what we do. We should be engaged; we should have energy for life. We should enjoy our lives because Jesus came to bring us life “to the full” (John 10:10 NIV).
On the other hand, Jesus also said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). 

Hardships are part of life. We will experience struggles. We must often deal with troubling circumstances. In times of trial, however, we can have peace and find strength because we know Jesus loves us. He understands our pain and is both able and willing to help us in all things. We can find joy in the growth of our relationship with Him. It will not be fun, but there is good in it.

Recently, I took care of a child for a friend of mine. When my friend came to pick up her daughter, one of the first things she did was ask her child, “What did you do for fun today?” Her daughter replied, “Nothing. I haven’t done anything fun today.” The reaction to this statement bordered on shock, as if such a circumstance were unthinkable. Yet why is it unthinkable? What is horrible about a child not having fun all of the time? You shouldnt entertain your own children, and I shouldnt entertain yours, either.
If I gear my children’s lives toward fun, I am setting them up for future failure, depression, and battles when life isnt fun. I am setting them up for disappointment in marriage because they won’t be able to appreciate those low-key days of rest and recovery with their spouses after hectic times. Will they be able to treasure the quiet moments of simple companionship? 

When we emphasize the value of fun, we are sowing their the need to be entertained continuously. We are setting them up to view other people in terms of how they can make life more fun. We are encouraging our children to seek relationships based on fun. We are teaching them that it is okay to avoid or abandon tasks and relationships if they don’t seem fun.
Many children today are constantly asking, “What are we going to do now?” They are always seeking new ways to entertain themselves. Next time your kids are with a play date or hanging out with teenage friends, listen to them talk with each other. Take note of how often they ask each other what they will do next. Listen to them tell each other what they’ve been doing is getting old; they are bored and ready for the next source of entertainment. Girls who play indoors are always jumping to the next activity: “Hey, lets edit pictures. Lets do a photo shoot. Let’s play a game. Lets make a video. Lets make a song. Lets do all of these projects together. Lets go play this sport. Lets go play that. Im tired of this—lets move on.”
As a mother, I certainly appreciate when my children can entertain themselves and come up with activities on their own. The trouble is, kids don’t stay focused on a particular goal. They don’t stay engaged and committed. You don’t see kids building a fort all day long the way we did when we were young. These days its more of a frenzy: Kids dart from one activity to the next to the next to the next. Theres no break.
I don’t hear kids suggesting to each other to hang out and talk for a while or read a book or study the Bible. I know these suggestions sounds odd, but they shouldn’t. Life isnt about bouncing wildly from one fun activity to the next. I’m afraid children who live in restless pursuit of entertainment will grow into adults who are never satisfied with simply being. God created us as human beings, yet we allow our children to be only human doings. We are setting our children on a dangerous course because, let’s face it, most entertainment for kids and for adults is of this world and not of God. The desire for stimulation can distract us from the values and purposes of God. Will our children be too busy ping-ponging around to realize that?
I believe we need to stop asking children, “Did you have fun today?” We need to stop telling them when they leave the house, “Be sure to have fun!” Since it’s in our power to influence our children’s focus, let’s choose some different questions: Who did you encourage today? How were you encouraged today? Did you share your beautiful smile with someone? Did anyone surprise you with a beautiful smile and prompt you to smile back? Did you see someone do something kind today? Did you share with a friend today? Did you help your friends mommy when you were at their house all day? Did you leave their place better than you found it? When you spent time with your friends, did you ask how they were doing and actually listen to the answer? Did you ask them if they were hurting in any way?
We assume our children are too young and emotionally immature to have those kinds of conversations with us and with their friends. How can we believe this when we know children are not too young to be hurt? They could already, on any given day, be suffering rejection and deep wounds. They are already being challenged morally. They are already struggling with matters of the mind and spirit and body. Our children need adults who are willing to be transparent and dig deeply with them at the earliest ages.
We should never look down on people because they are young. We shouldnt assume children are incapable of deep conversation. It is up to us to teach them. If we raise our children to pursue fun, we can’t expect them suddenly to transform into insightful, compassionate human beings when they reach adulthood. We need to teach them while they are young: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Prov. 22:6 NIV). We need to teach our children how to be introspective—how to search their own souls and seek the Lord. We need to teach them to pay attention to their thoughts, emotions, and experiences. We need to teach them to take a genuine, loving interest in other people’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences. People are never too young to learn the Lord’s ways and do the Lord’s work.
It is important for our children to learn how to connect with their friends on a deeper level. Otherwise the friendships they have when they are young won’t be sustainable beyond this particular season of their lives. We should teach kids from a young age the value of developing sound, lasting relationships.
Spending time with other people isn’t about cramming in as many fun activities as possible. Rather, it’s about companionship. It’s about relaxing your guard and getting to know each other. It’s about learning how to love each other. Close friends know how to rest together. They find refreshment in each other’s company. Kids need to understand that it’s okay to say, “You know what, Im tired. Lets chill and hang out. Maybe we can read together or talk for a while.”
What’s not okay is complaining about being bored. Maybe one person enjoys sharing some quiet time while another person doesn’t. The main objective isnt to have fun—to be entertained. When you are with the people you love, you can find enjoyment in the busy times as well as the quiet times.
I notice many children today who seemoverstimulated and utterly exhausted. Adults allow and expect kids to stay on the go all of the time, jumping from one activity to the next to the next to the next. No wonder kids are tired! No one has taught them how to be still. No one has taught them the value of being still.
Stillness calms people. It is enjoyable. It allows us to rest and reflect. Kids, too, can learn to be comfortable enough with themselves and the people around them simply to be. How else will they ever hear the still, quiet voice of God?



Encourage yourself in the Lord

Several years ago, I got an offer to go to work for a company in Dallas. I drove down to check everything out. Wow. I couldn’t believe rush hour traffic. Rush hour started at three o’clock and lasted until seven o’clock every evening. That is four hours. Your commute from home to work could easily be up to two hours just for you driving. Ninety minutes to two hours, my friends did it often. They would leave for the office by six am so they could beat traffic on the way in to the office and they would come home at seven. I just thought about the quality of life and I turned that job down quickly.

In rush hour, you never are alone. There’s traffic everywhere. You constantly have to look and see—you see people, and you can wave at people and smile at people. They are everywhere, just constantly busy. But at night, when you’re driving—sometimes, you might be in a drive in a country road, and not see anyone for an hour.
                                     
Scripture says that there is a wide path and a narrow path. I think of those like traffic. The wide path is like rush hour traffic. It’s busy. Everyone is on it. Everyone’s going the same direction. They are all heading towards home. They’re all on a mission to get somewhere, from here to there, point A to point B. But the narrow path is a less-travelled road. Sometimes, people that are on it are few and far between. You might be walking a while all by yourself until you see another person passing you by.
I think the narrow path in Christ can feel lonely at times. You can look around and you can see the busy rush hour traffic but you don’t jump in and go on it. You choose to take a secondary road. If you’ve ever been on a trip or you’re like, “I’m getting off of interstate 40 and I’m going to go on this side road and backwoods.”
Think about it. When you get off on those roads, they’re more peaceful, they’re more winding. They’re beautiful. But sometimes the rest stops are a backwoods mechanic shop and its bathroom is filthy, dirty. There are few, far between. Sometimes you have to pee in the grass. It’s because, truly, the narrow path of God isn’t travelled by as many people. You’ve got people that are going to movies that may jeopardize your own purity because we gotta protect the wellspring of life which is our heart and make good choices.
So every choice we make, we never make it because everyone else is doing it or, “It’s okay for this family so it’s okay for our family.” I see Christians doing this every day. Every day, they are giving their kids wider and wider boundaries. What they are doing is they are taking them from the narrow path to a wider path. They are increasing their path from the narrow path into the wide path. So all of a sudden, the world is leading our children, not our children being led by God.
I believe that Christians should be the front. People should wanna be like us. They should be following our way. They should be making choices that we’re making because our fruit is awesome. We don’t look like the world. We love the world, but we don’t look like the world. We’re in the world, but not of the world.
I will tell you right now, making the decision to stay firmly planted on the narrow path no matter what is lonely at times. I think if you’re in your twenties, you’re gonna find that your friends on a narrow path is gonna be in a huge age range. Say 70 down to 12. There are so few people—few, and far between. You have to change your perspective of what your friendship circle is going to look like so that you can have an inner circle that is close and tight and the people that you know are making those choices with you.
I would encourage you to connect. When you feel lonely, just encourage yourself in the Lord. Keep yourself encouraged like 1 Samuel 36. Don’t look to anyone else to encourage you. Enjoy their encouragement when it comes along but don’t look to it. Don’t stand on it for strength. Stand on the Lord and His strength and what he has done for you already.

Being Obedient to God!

This is a dangerous statement because our society today, in our world—that’s what they say. “Just be you. Be who you are. Just be. You know who you are. Just do what your heart’s desire. Fulfill it.”

I’ve learned the hard way to be careful of sharing this because really, it only exists for those people who are searching the heart of God in all of their ways—not some of their ways, not only on church on Sunday morning—but in all of their ways. They’re acknowledging God in all of their ways.

Proverbs 3, 5 and 6 says, “Acknowledge God in all of your ways and he will make your path straight.” That word acknowledge there means to relationally know God. So in everything you do, relationally, just be in communion with God—that’s really what it means—in all of your ways.

If you go out and do what you wanna do, and that includes sleeping around and being immoral and making immoral choices, then you are not acknowledging God in all of your ways. He is not a God of sin. So this message is not for you. This is not designed for someone who is just trying to fulfill their fantasies or the desires of their heart.

This is for the person who is really seeking God with all their hearts, soul, mind, strength. They’re seeking to know him. They’re reading the word. They’re in the word. They’re falling in love with God more every day. Those people, they can really do this. God gives us the desires of our heart.

When you’re not really seeking him, and he’s not your first priority, and you’re not pursuing him with everything you have and chasing after him because he’s good and you just wanna know him, then that the desires of your heart may not be purely his. They may still be yours or for the old things that your flesh used to desire. You know, bigger house, nicer car, better body, somebody to love you, somebody to fill your void. Well God is your void filler. He is your house. You’re his house. You have everything you need in him and there’s nothing that you’re lacking. There is no lack. Lack is not your portion when you’re in him. I think that it takes a while after seeking God for desires of our heart to transfer from our old, worldly desires to his desires.

But once you’re seeking him and you’re really knowing who you are and you’re his child, you know what, he’s gonna put his desires in your heart. He’s gonna put the desire to take care of orphans and widows. He’s gonna give you the desire to help people. He give you the desire to not honk the horn and be mad at somebody because they road raged you or drove you off the road. He’s gonna give you the desire to offer freedom and forgiveness. He’s gonna give you the desire of your heart because he’s placing his desires in your heart.

The more you seek him, the more you find him; the more that you find him, the more that he just gives you his desires. When that happens, you’ll know. The desire in your heart is to go out and smoke and drink—that’s not it, okay? That’s not what it is. But you’ll know when it’s God’s desire. If you’re walking and you see someone and you think, “Gosh, I feel like I should give them 20 bucks,” you know what, that’s probably God’s desire in your heart. You know, you can sit there and say, “Well is this God or is this me? I don’t know. Is this God telling me to give him 20 bucks?” I mean, honestly, it’s probably God. You can trust that. You can trust that he’s putting his desires n you and they’re becoming your desires. He’s gonna give you the desires of your heart. He’s gonna provide the 20 bucks and he’s gonna want you to give the 20 bucks away.

So you can trust that when you’re seeking God with all of your heart, that you’re hearing from him and he’s putting his desires on your heart. What you wanna do is make sure you know that what he asked you to do lines up with the scripture. If it doesn’t and it’s sinful then that’s when you don’t want to listen.

So when you’re just first learning to just follow the desires of your heart because you know God put them there, just check them against the word of God.

Psalms 10:17 basically—if you read that and dissect it, which would be great with your walk with Christ, it’s another scripture to show you how God is putting his desires in your heart.

For me, one of the things that I do is I let the peace of Christ rule in me. I wake up with God on my heart and I want to be with him all the time. I am with him all the time. He’s with me. I just stop and let the peace of God run over me and I just kinda wait for it before I do anything. I’m like, “Is this the peace of God?” There’s a difference and man’s direction and God’s is always surrounded by tremendous peace.