Reminders

I sometimes often need to be reminded to do things. It’s not that I don’t care; it’s that I don’t remember. Now before you tell me it’s because I’m getting older, you should know that this has been the case for many years. I’m not helping myself here, am I? The truth is, I tend to take on many things at once, so it’s easy to forget some stuff. 20 years ago I used note cards or a Franklin Planner. Remember the Franklin Covey Planner? Amazing!

I don’t use the paper planner anymore, but I do use google assistant on my phone. It’s much simpler and even a better reminder tool. “Ok google, remind me to pick up the kids from school at 3:30.” And you know what? It does! My phone dings and up pops my reminder. It’s like I have a personal assistant!

While these daily reminders are helpful to our daily lives, we also need reminders for the bigger things. Reminders to keep going when we are discouraged. Reminders of the importance of our influence on our children. Reminders to love our wives. Reminders of who we are in Christ. Reminders of God’s calling on our lives. We need reminders.

1 Chronicles 11:1-2  All Israel came together to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, even while Saul was king, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord your God said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’”

You see what happened there? The people came together and reminded him of God’s calling on his life. They reminded him that God had told him that he would become the leader of Israel. Now I’m not sure if David was hesitant to lead. I don’t know if he eagerly stepped up to the plate or waited to be asked. But I do know this: he had people in his life that reminded him of his destiny.

How about you? Do you need to be reminded of God’s promises today? It is so important to remember what God has spoken over your life. Maybe on the good days, you do remember. But on the hard days, we tend to get discouraged and lose our hope. Friends, google assistant isn’t going to remind you of the promises of God. Franklin Covey certainly isn’t going to do it. We need each other. We are the reminders!

*I encourage you today to seek out people who will remind you of the things God has for you. And I encourage you to speak up to those in your life who need to be reminded.

Advice in the wrong places

We all need good advice from time to time. Now there are good places to ask for advice and there are not so good places. The last thing you want to do in your time of need is go to a bad place for advice. Yet we can easily fall into that trap. How? By going to people who are simply going to tell us what we want to hear. The truth is, advice isn’t always fun to receive. It may cause you to rethink your course. It may cause you to see things in a new way. It can determine our next steps. So get good advice!

In the Bible, Saul didn’t get good advice. He made bad decisions, often because of bad advice. He went to the wrong sources. And because of that, it led to him not following the word of the Lord. 1 Chronicles 10:13-14a Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance, and did not inquire of the Lord. 

Ok, I get it. Sometimes you are desperate for an answer. God isn’t answering fast enough. But please, do not go to searching for advice from the wrong places. The horoscope is not the right advice for your day. A fortune cookie is certainly not going to give you the answer you need. And if getting direction from a fortune cookie isn’t bad enough, do NOT seek out wisdom from a fortune teller. The last thing you need is to inquire of a medium like Saul did.

Why does this all matter? It matters because as God’s children, He desires to lead us to places of life. He is to be the voice that gives us direction. He is the one who is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. When we start doing things like consulting horoscopes and mediums, we are essentially consulting the devil for our future. We are looking to a person who has some kind of power, but that power is not from God. That’s dangerous.

So if you need advice, inquire of the Lord. Make that your way of life. Don’t search for advice in the wrong places.

Don’t Airbnb the devil

Airbnb, the lease-a-room phenomenon, was started by a couple of room mates in 2008. It all started because they were having a hard time paying rent. They came up with an idea to set up a few air-mattresses in their living room and see if anyone would rent a night’s stay. Along with the night’s stay, they would serve their guests breakfast. So they set up a simple website so that people could register. They soon had their first guests who paid $80 for a night’s stay on their air-mattress and a free breakfast. Not long after, Airbed and Breakfast (Airbnb) was officially launched.

Now I imagine that leasing out a room or space in your living room can be somewhat nerve racking, especially if you get a bad house guest. What if the person who leases your room is high maintenance? What if they are incredibly messy? What if they are diabolically evil and are hatching a plan to destroy your house? Okay, that was a little far-fetched. But what if? Well, if that was the case, you’d be a fool to lease them a room. Why would you lease a room out to someone who wants to ruin you?

Nehemiah 13:4-5 Before this, Eliashib the priest had been put in charge of the storerooms of the house of our God. He was closely associated with Tobiah, and he had provided him with a large room formerly used to store the grain offerings and incense and temple articles, and also the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil prescribed for the Levites, musicians and gatekeepers, as well as the contributions for the priests.

Eliashib took a sacred room in the house of God and put it on Airbnb. Then he leased it to Tobiah. Tobiah! This is the guy who ridiculed Nehemiah and the Israelites who came to rebuild the wall. He opposed the very work of God in Jerusalem. He was a troublemaker and a mocker. In the story of Nehemiah, he was a bad guy. Yet, he was allowed to sublet a room in the house of God. It’s preposterous!

As ridiculous and foolish as it may sound, so many of God’s people are subletting rooms to bad guys. You see, we are called the house of God. We are to be a place that God dwells. Unfortunately, there are people that have taken their house and placed a room (or rooms) on Airbnb. And in those rooms, they are letting the devil reside; they have given space to the bad guy. When we do this, we are allowing him to make a mess of our souls. But we leave him there as we refuse to deal with our sin, our offenses, our addictions, and our pride. We give him space to roam in our hearts when we decide that the world’s way is better than God’s way.

So what do you do? Nehemiah responded this way in verses 8-9:  I was greatly displeased and threw all Tobiah’s household goods out of the room. I gave orders to purify the rooms, and then I put back into them the equipment of the house of God, with the grain offerings and the incense.

He stepped in with the authority he had and kicked Tobiah right on out of there. That guy’s voice would not remain in the house of God any longer. His influence would not pollute worship to God. Tobiah didn’t belong in the house of God and the devil doesn’t belong in yours. So stand in the authority of Jesus today and kick him out. Ask a friend to pray with you. Deal with the bad guys that you have leased space to. Clean your house friends – you will be glad you did!

Get your praise on

How do you respond to something that went well? How about something big you just accomplished? I often take a big breath in relief or admire the awesome outcome or take a nap. It varies. But I generally want to admire the work and invite someone to come admire it with me. I’ll tell what I usually don’t do: break out in song. But the Israelites did when they finished rebuilding the wall in the book of Nehemiah.

Nehemiah 12:27 At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps, and lyres. 

“We just finished a huge construction project. Let’s have a praise party!” And a praise party they had. Rather than walking around the city and admiring their work, they got a band and a choir together and praised on it. They got their praise on! They did more than gather in the middle of the city and say a quick prayer of thanks. Literally, they walked around the entire wall and praised over it. Some of them even praised on the wall.

What’s remarkable to me was the decision to take the time to praise God. Even more, they praised Him for every square inch of their success. They had prayed to Him for the provision and safety of this project and now they were praising Him for it’s completion. We should be doing the same thing in our own lives. Has God come through for you? Praise Him. Has He answered your prayer? Praise Him. Start singing, grab some cymbals, lift your voice. Praise Him for what He has done. Give Him the credit. Rather than admire the work, admire the one who made that work happen.

Get your praise on, people! 

You got this

I’m not a huge risk taker. I have never been prone to accept dares. Well there was that one time that I ate some strange mixture of who knows what. I was a teenager and I did it to get out of a job. I remember the flavor was sweet… and sour… and spicy… and well, just gross in general. That was just that one time. My preferred comfort level with dares is to be the guy standing several feet away shouting, “you got this!” You feel me?

I’ll be the first to high-five a successful dare-taker, though. I will be thoroughly impressed with their stupidity bravery. Such was the case with some Israelites way back in the day. They got a high five for their own risk-taking efforts. They had a crowd shouting “you got this!” So, what was the risk?

Nehemiah 11:2 The people commended all who volunteered to live in Jerusalem.

I know, I know. It doesn’t really seem like that big of a deal. But it was. Jerusalem was pretty much an abandoned city at this point. It didn’t have a bustling marketplace. The farmlands weren’t established. There wasn’t much protection and certainly no army. The only sure thing was that there were enemies who didn’t like the place. Let’s just say that the real estate agent had to get creative on the listing. “A charming little town that needs love.” Honestly, I’m not sure if anyone actually wanted to be uprooted to live there.

However, there were people who volunteered to do so. Apparently, the brave souls decided that a good place to reside was in the city of God. It was an uncertain future, but it was the place that God had ordained. I believe that those who volunteered to live there were not only commended, but blessed. See, when you choose to live in the place God has ordained, you will certainly find His blessing in that place. 

So I encourage to live boldly in the place that God has ordained in your life. What season has He called you to? Live in it. Who has He called you to be life to? Live in that. Where are the places of ministry that He is asking you to step into. Live there! You got this. You can take the risk. You will be commended and blessed!

Neglect isn’t always obvious… at first

Neglect isn’t always obvious. Well, at least it isn’t obvious at first. I’ll give you an example. Let’s pretend that I go several years without a daily exercise routine in my life. I’ll be okay at first, relying on my young age and past work. But what happens in the long run? I get old. I get out of shape. My body gets sore, not from lifting weights, but from lifting myself out of bed in the morning. Hey now, wipe that smile off your face; this is purely hypothetical!

The truth is, there are places in my life that I can easily neglect. Places that don’t have instant results. Places that seem intangible because I can’t see the good they do with my eyes. I don’t neglect the obvious stuff. I go to work and pay my bills. I stay on my side of the road and pay attention when I drive. I parent my children and make sure their needs are met. Of course I do the obvious stuff, because when I don’t the consequences are obvious.

The things I neglect tend to be the not-so-obvious ones. Which is why the results of that neglect isn’t always obvious. Well, at least it isn’t at first. The result of neglect exists even when we can’t see it. Neglect your wife and it will erode your marriage. Neglect your body and discover the aches and pains of old age. Neglect your walk with God and discover the erosion of your soul.

house-falling-apart

Nehemiah 10:39b “We will not neglect the house of our God.” 

The commitment made by God’s people here is simply this: we will not neglect his house. Now in this context, they were literally talking about the temple of God. They were talking about the place of church. They had committed to be faithful in their giving and in their service. Because when you neglect the house of God, you neglect the kingdom work that God has called us to.

But wait, there’s more! For us New Testament Christians, the application goes a step further. Not only is the house of God the gathering place of the church. The house of God is the dwelling place of God…in us! We are called His house. We are His temple. Caring for that temple is up to us. When we neglect our spiritual house, we neglect the work of God in us.

The neglect isn’t always obvious… at first. But over time, our heart begins to erode. Our passion for our Savior begins to wane. Our love begins to fade. Our mission and our vision seem to have left the building. We cannot neglect the house! We must return to self-discipline, discipleship, the Word, and prayer. Because if we don’t we will eventually dry up, burn out, and find ourselves empty.

Neglect not the house of our God. Do the work today. If you do, you will find living water returning to your soul and filling those dry places. You will rediscover hope and vision. You will remember where left your peace. Don’t neglect becoming a house for God to dwell.

You still have those bell-bottoms?

There are some people out there who hang on to their clothes forever. Now it’s possible that when they bought those clothes, they were in style. But when you wear that same thing for 10+ years, you are behind the curve. Yes, I’m talking to you, lady who saved those bell-bottoms because they fit well. You too, husband who is still wearing the same shirt from 20 years ago. My goodness, how in the world has that shirt not worn out? Oh, you’re wife says that it has worn out, but somehow you’ve managed to prevent her from throwing it out. Impressive.

bell-bottom-flared-70s-jeans

You know those people. You may even be one of those people. It’s not all bad, though. If you hang on to it long enough, it might be back in style when your kids are teenagers. After all, doesn’t fashion just recycle every 30 years or so? I swear a few years back I saw a ton of 80’s fashion again. Please no. I mean… just… no. We don’t need another era of neons and acid washed jeans. We don’t need more huge hair and certainly not more perms. Now I can respect a girl who rocks her natural curls. But perms need not apply.

*I’m really tempted to post a picture of my once teenager sister with her braces, perm, white tattered jeans, and jean jacket. But I’ll be nice. After all, she might come back at me and post a picture of me in my pink shirt, black leather skinny tie, and side-spike haircut. Oh, and penny-loafers complete with pennies. Truce? 

I digress. Where was I? Oh yes, the fashion merry-go-round. As I as saying, if you hang on to old clothes long enough (not recommended), they will eventually come back into style again. Which is why I believe that the Israelites who wandered in the desert for 40 years were all pretty fashionable at one point or another. I’m pretty sure they were at the beginning and the end, because the fashion merry-go-round would have come around by then. Let’s take a look.

Nehemiah 9:21  For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.

Hello? Their clothes did not wear out! The old husbands still had their college T-shirts that just wouldn’t wear thin. The wives were in disbelief at the quality of that tired old shirt. Well, not exactly. But seriously, their clothes did not wear out. How in the world did that happen. How is it that 40 years later, they were still rockin’ the same bell-bottoms?

I’ll tell ya how: God is an incredible provider! Even in the midst of Israel’s disobedience, rebellion, doubt, whining, and complaining, God took care of them. He took really good care of them. He supernaturally provided food for them. Shoot, water came out of a rock for goodness sake. And their clothes. Their clothes did not wear out for 40 years! They lacked nothing. zip, zilch, nada, NOTHING!

When God leads us on our own journeys, He is faithful in the same way. He is a good provider. He makes bell-bottoms last (although He can’t guarantee they will be in style). I have found in my own life that as I pursue His ways and His calling, He takes care of my needs. Cars seem to run longer. Food is always on the table. Clothes last, bills are paid, kids are provided for. That is the God that we serve. He cares for us. He is the PROVIDER!

We, too, can find the same level of provision that the Israelites found in the wilderness. It all starts with trust. Place your trust in Him today and find that He is the God of the everlasting bell-bottom.