Relationships Review {9.2.18}

I woke up this morning at 4:30. Way too early I might add. As I laid in bed trying to go back to sleep, I tossed and turned and tried to clear my mind. Then, finally the lightbulb went off. God, Do You have me awake for a reason? You’d think that after several years of God speaking to me in the middle of the night that I’d “get it” sooner than 45 minutes but…no. I was still trying to just get back to sleep. Anyway, He did have a message for me. It was one for my Sunday school class this morning as we spend time in prayer. It was also, I believe, a message for this blog post. Hopefully someone out there needed to hear it as much as I did.

It is probably a good idea to give ourselves a “Relationships Review” from time to time. Here are the things I believe God spoke to me about as I review my walk with Him and others. First, we have a Relationship with God (if we don’t, we need to). Second, we have relationships with others. Let’s look at what God says about them.

Our Relationship with GODRelationship with God

“The Greatest Commandment” – Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Praise: First and foremost, God deserves and inhabits our praise to Him. Praise for who He is; Praise for what He does; Praise His Holy Name. How will we praise God today? With our lips and with our lives, He deserves our praise.

Psalm 150 (NIV)

Praise the Lord.[a]

Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Thankfulness: Where to begin? No matter what our circumstance at this moment, we all have reason to be thankful to God. I think this song sums it up pretty well.

Give Thanks Don Moen, Paul Wilbur

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

Relationship not just SundayHowever, I also believe that God wants us to be specific in our communication with Him. What, specifically, are we thankful for today, at this moment? Sometimes all it takes is to open our eyes and ears to see the blessings of God. Let’s be truly thankful today and let God know it.

Our Relationships with OTHERS:

“Royal Law” – John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

My Witness/Ministry: Are we already serving God in some type of ministry? Are we already witnessing to others (by word and deed)? If so, great. But just because we are involved in a ministry, that doesn’t mean God doesn’t have something else for us to do. We must be open and continually looking for where God is working and where He might want us to join Him in His work.

Sometimes it’s an immediate need/ministry. Sometimes it’s a way off but I have come to realize that if it seems far-fetched or out of our comfort zone, it’s probably God calling us and not our own desires. Remember this, if we feel like we can’t do it – that’s when God gets the glory. We must pray about it and then be still, so we can hear His answer. It may come through prayer. It may come through a conversation with another person. God is creative after all. It could be any number of ways.

My Place of Service in the Body: Are we serving others in our place of worship/body of believers? Or, are we simply attending so we can be fed ourselves? Some people (and maybe it’s been us or is us) attend church services to feel good or to check of a box of sorts. Is it a ritual with us or a relationship? Do we attend church because we love God and He calls us to meet together? Or, do we just go because we think it will get us to heaven? Are we taking without giving? God never meant us to receive without passing/paying it forward. After all, we are called to be witnesses, not simply recipients. So, the question we must ask ourselves is, “How can I serve my fellow believers”?Relationships with Others

Maybe we feel like God might be calling us to something or someone to share the hope we have in Jesus? Is it a new neighbor? A family member? A lonely person at church? Is He calling us to intercede for our teens or children through prayer? Is He calling us to pray for our nation? Are we called to open our homes and share meals with those who need love? Does someone need encouragement? Does someone need a helping hand? Maybe there is a need in our community that we can help as we join in our local body of believers. Many hands make light work. What is it we think God might be speaking to us about?

So, let’s all give ourselves a “Relationship Review” and ask God to reveal our results. May God Bless You!

Unexpected Witness {2.19.18}

Recently my husband and I attended a dinner/show which featured an Elvis impersonator. It sounded like fun and something out of the ordinary. The dinner was wonderful, and we proceeded to the show. A band opened with songs from the 60’s and 70’s which we enjoyed. Then the music began. You know the music I’m talking about. ElvisThe music that announces to everyone that Elvis is coming. It gets louder and more powerful. You know something great is about to happen. He is in the building and will soon be on the stage. The anticipation mounted as we all awaited his presence. Then finally, there he was! But, wait! That’s not the Elvis I envisioned! The Elvis I was looking for had coal black hair and lots of it. He had big hairy sideburns. This guy was missing some hair (quite a bit in fact). He had some sideburns but nothing like I was expecting. Elvis eatingAnd, it appeared that he had been eating more than his share of peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Is this really Elvis?! I was expecting someone different. I knew the real Elvis wasn’t going to show up but I thought he would look like Elvis a bit more.  

Funny how we all have expectations and then when they are not realized, we are a bit disappointed. Well, his voice did not disappoint. He sounded really good. He sang several songs and then the band would do a song and that routine continued through the evening. He sang many of the Elvis favorites we all know and love. He also sang a hymn (one of my favorites I might add), which Elvis often did. About 2/3 of the way through the show though, he introduced his Dad to the audience and began sharing about his family and his faith. It was so touching and as he shared his testimony I gained a new respect and admiration for this Elvis who was so unexpected. He had shared a bit about his career and it was evident that he had opened for several stars we all recognized. He had been on TV many times as well. But, he was simply still singing Elvis songs, which he loved and, in the process, walking out his faith, unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This unconventional Elvis was doing what we are all called to do. God tells us in 1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”

God wants to use all of us to share the good news and further His kingdom. He wants none to perish. If Elvis can do it on stage in front of a group of people, surely I can do it in the neighborhood, supermarket or restaurant with a few. We don’t have to worry about what we will say. God will give us the words. He promises in John 14:26 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”  

Elvis 2I didn’t get the impression that this Elvis had planned to share his testimony but rather that it just came out as a natural result of his faith and obedience. 2 John 1:6 “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” No one seemed offended by his testimony. In fact, everyone seemed pleased to hear it.

We may never know the blessings of our obedience to God’s call on our lives. Maybe we will simply plant a seed of faith that another will water. We may lead someone to faith in Christ. If it causes someone to be curious about God, they will seek to know more. We know that anyone who seeks Him, finds Him.

This unexpected Elvis and his witness reminded me that no matter where I go or who I meet, God has a plan and a purpose for my life. I better be about the Father’s business every day and open my mouth and hands so that He can use me. How about you? Have you experienced an unexpected and unconventional witness for Christ? Have you been one?