Tag Archives: Lord

Letting God take the lead

101 Cups of WaterMost of us want a helper, someone to lean on, to turn to; we want a boost from a copilot. That makes most of us insane, really, because sane people don’t want God as their copilot. Insane people do because that makes them the pilot and they can have the advantages of his help without the disadvantage of giving up the controls.

We like the whole idea of God working for us. Maybe that’s why we’re generally impotent in our faith, saltless, fruitless with the lost, and dismissed by the watching world. Maybe that’s why we’re frustrated, grasping, angry, and weary. Maybe that’s why others jump out our doors every chance they get!

Sanity really is better. When we’re sane—when we let God be our pilot—we’re inviting, welcoming to the watching world, relaxed, easy to be around.

What if we were flight attendants instead of copilots?

Imagine how joyful life could be, how safe, even fun, to serve others while God flies the plane across deep seas, above dry lands, over wicked wilderness (Psalm 107:23–43).

~ Excerpted from 101 Cups of Water by C.D. Baker

Are we letting God take the lead?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, God, Jesus, Religion and Spirituality, Trusting God

If I had hair left I’d be pulling it out!

Are you kidding me?!?!?!

I’ll spare you the details but it has been one of those weeks when the planned agenda not only isn’t flowing well but seems to have supernatural forces pushing in the opposite direction.

Yesterday evening I’m on my way home from picking up a pizza for Kyrsten’s golf banquet and trying to process the chaotic rhythm that has disrupted the last few days. The questions doing laps in my head were:

“Why in the world are all these things coming against me? Why can’t I get through an hour without some unexpected dilemma demanding my attention? Why can’t things go more according to my plan?”

Then as I was navigating the end-of-day traffic a different set of questions began to form in my mind. It went something like this:

“OK Lord. This week so far has gone nothing like I expected or planned. If You are sovereign – and I believe You are – what are You up to? What is going on? And how do I get in step with You?”

I’d love to tell you that the sky opened up with a message from God but that was not the case. I continued to wrestle with what God was up to but the shift in my questions changed my approach to life. I quit growling and actually enjoyed the evening with my family.

How easily we forget that life centers around God’s agenda and not ours. It’s His story, not our story.

May we learn to give ourselves continuously to be part of that story.

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

 

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Seeds of hope in the midst of darkness

The people of God were enduring one of the darkest hours of their existence as Judah was being conquered by the Babylonians. Jerusalem itself was under siege and would soon fall. All of this as a result of their rebellious spirit and unwillingness to honor God.

And yet, even as God brought devastation upon them, He planted seeds of hope. His plan to redeem mankind by bringing the Messiah into the world through the tribe of Judah would still come to pass.

The once strong nation of God had become a scattered people living in exile. It was during these dark moments that Jeremiah was inspired to write:

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. ~ Lamentations 3:25-26

What are you facing that only God is big enough to handle? Are you waiting on Him?
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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Encouragement, God, Hope, Peace, Trusting God

Genuine Worship

Worship is our greatest privilege, the highest thing we can do.

In genuine spiritual worship, we bow before the Most High God, the most merciful and reliable and winsome of all beings, and we crown Him as Lord of all that we are. We consent to His gracious, transforming work; we agree that He can work in us so that we’ll be willing and able to do His will. In other words, we choose to let Him be God in our lives.

Worship includes yielding to God as our Lord and Master. We see this in Romans 12:1, where God asks us to offer Him our bodies, our lives, our entire person. This, He says, is true worship.
~ Excerpted from Treasury of Praise by Ruth Myers

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under God, God's Will, Morphing, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Surrender, Worship

There is more going on!

In case you missed my blog from yesterday I mentioned sharing a series of posts based on our visit to Disney World last week. On our first day we visited Hollywood Studios – it’s all about the movies.

Movies in general are a great adventure into worlds unknown and full of wonder. From animated Disney favorites to screen classics of bygone eras.

One of the fascinating aspects of the different attractions is getting an inside peek at how they pull off spectacular stunts. You know… the hidden stuff that makes what we see on the big screen so amazing.

In the Extreme Stunt Show you witness breathtaking manuevers involving cars, motorcycles and falls from tall buildings. And there’s a visit from a real, live Lightening McQueen.

At one point in the show they pick a boy about 11 or 12-years-old to come out of the crowd and help by driving a stunt car using a remote control.

Can you imagine the excitement of that boy?!

After moving the car forward and backward a few times they have him spin it in a 360 degree circle. That’s when you notice a driver on the backside of the car. The boy wasn’t really in control.

That reality, that something more is going on than what we can see, is no where more true than with God.

When the prophet Elisha and his servant were surrounded by a hostile enemy Elisha prayed…

“’Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” ~ 2 Kings 6:17

What appeared to be a dead-end situation really wasn’t because God was active behind the scenes.

No matter what we are experiencing…

No matter what we encounter today…

No matter what we think we see…

…there is more going on!

The question is…

In the midst of our uncertainty and inability to see behind the scenes, will we trust God?
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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Faith, God, Trusting God

What would we ask of God?

We’ve all heard jokes about being granted a wish by a genie, but what if God showed up to grant us a request? This actually happened to a guy I know who was very serious about following God.

You can read about it yourself in 1 Kings 3:1-15. That guy was none other than Solomon, son of King David. After David’s death, Solomon became the next King of Israel. After completing the Temple God showed up in a dream to grant Solomon whatever he wanted.

Solomon could have requested anything of God but asked for wisdom to lead the people of Israel. It was a very selfless request and God was very pleased with Solomon.

In fact, God was so pleased that He gave Solomon not only what he asked for but more.

10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. ~ 1 Kings 3:10-13

People came from far and wide to learn from Solomon. And he penned thousands of proverbs because he wanted everyone to benefit from what God was teaching him.

But it didn’t last…

As wise as Solomon was, he broke God’s boundaries and married women from other nations. God had not placed this restriction on Israel because He was a racist but because He knew that if they let themselves be influenced by people of other nations they would eventually be led into worshipping false, pagan gods.

As selfless and respectable as Solomon’s request was, I believe his father David made an even better request.

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. ~ Psalm 27:4

Solomon wanted wisdom to serve God well.

David wanted more of God’s presence.

We don’t have to wait for a dream or special visit from God. We are made in His image and exercise a free will. We choose what matters most to us every day by what we give our time, attention and energy to pursuing.

Will we choose the presence of God above everything else today?
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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Christianity, Desire, Divine presence, God, intimacy with the Lord, Loving God, Priorities, Relationship with God, The Story, Wisdom

Are we settling for more and missing the best?

Our Indiana taxes came back different from what I had figured because I missed one newly required document. Ugh! A local office helped with the proper form to file an amendment.

When the gal helping me commented on not understanding why this new form was required she also added that just a few years ago we were suppose to be headed towards doing away with paper forms – an attempt to simplify the process.

I’ve heard that before in regard to other areas of life but I have yet to see much evidence that life is getting any more simple. This is perhaps most evident in the field of electronics.

With each new gadget or app we are empowered to walk around with the world at our fingertips. New technologies are great, but they don’t automatically make our life more meaningful.

We can do life differently!

Enjoying simplicity is counter to the message our consumer culture is barking from all angles. Society constantly tries to manipulate us into buying and consuming more than we need.

I see restoration-minded Christians bucking the trend. Instead of buying things they don’t really need, they fast periodically from those habits that suck them in to this alternate reality.

Certainly, this way of life often takes more effort and creativity on the front end, requiring their full imagination and a willingness to part with unnecessary comforts. But in the long run, they seem to be creating a more sustainable and less contrived existence.
~ Excerpted from The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons

Jesus came to bring us the opportunity to experience real life through a relationship with the Father. But is that the core of our existence?

Take some time to pause and reflect on what it is that gets the best of or the bulk of your attention and energy.

In the scheme of our rhythm of life how much attention are we giving to pursuing greater intimacy with the Lord?

Are we enjoying His presence throughout the day or are we preoccupied with the stuff of life?

Are we settling for more and missing the best?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Consumerism, Divine presence, God, intimacy with the Lord, Life in General, Margin, Priorities, Relationship with God, Stewardship

Are we falling or flying?

I’ve never been skydiving, though I had an opportunity a few years back to try it. My wife offered to get me a jump for my birthday but I decided to pass. Maybe when all the kids are grown and out of the house. (Sounds noble but in reality I just couldn’t get up the nerve!)

Bob Goff is the president and founder of Restore International, a nonprofit organization fighting injustice and human rights violations around the world. Bob has jumped twice and describes a significant difference between the two. You can read his entire story here.

His first jump took place years ago. After $40 and jumping off a pile of boxes – their training – he jumped from a small plane using what’s called a “static line.” It’s a piece of rope that is tied to the plane, and it pulls the ripcord on your parachute for you.

“My first time skydiving, I had no idea what I was doing. I also knew that I was betting my life on a piece of worn rope.”

His second jump was a whole new kind of experience.

“The second time I jumped was different. This time, I wasn’t hanging my life by a piece of rope. I was connected to someone who actually knew what they were doing.”

Because Bob’s jump partner had done this thousands of times he exuded a sense of calm and confidence. This gave Bob a sense of security that made what seemed like falling the first time feel like flying this second time.

Bob goes on to express that what enabled him to trust his jump partner is similar to what enables him to trust God with all the circumstances of life that we find ourselves facing.

Bob’s jump partner was there in the flesh. He had done this before. He knew what he was doing and was confident that it would all turn out well.

Jesus came in the flesh. He’s done life on our terms. He knows everything that we could ever face and He is confident that it will turn out well.

“Most of all, I’ve felt connected to Him. Not just by rope or so many straps, but by grace and hope and love that hold me even tighter.”

Before Jesus left this earth to return to the Father, He promised that He would never leave or forsake us. It was a reference to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit for those who surrender their lives to trust God’s grace.

Are we pursuing greater intimacy with the Lord? Are we making our relationship with Him the most important part of life? Are we connected to Him by grace and hope and love?

Are we falling or flying?
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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Divine presence, God, Grace, Holy Spirit, Hope, intimacy with the Lord, Love of God, Trusting God

I didn’t expect to like it

I didn’t watch it on purpose and didn’t expect to like it. I sat down to peck on the laptop and Mykaela, one of my 17-year-old daughters, had it on.

Robert Irvine, a world-famous chef, completely transforms an about-to-go-under restaurant. In 48 hours of furious activity they change the physical appearance, the menu and the habits/attitudes of those involved.

I found myself wanting to watch more episodes but wasn’t sure why.

With a background in carpentry I enjoy how they tackle significant changes to the decor on a very limited budget. And the creativity is rather ingenious. But that’s not it.

As a pastor who counsels people it is intriguing to watch Irvine help the owners and staff navigate the relational issues and management habits that have been hampering progress. But that’s not it.

As a guy who seldom meets a meal he doesn’t enjoy, the variety of food they cook and the subtle but critical changes made by Chef Irvine are very interesting. But that’s not it.

After watching 5 or 6 episodes it finally dawned on me why I like this show.

The owners don’t know what else to do and are within months, weeks or even days of going belly up. For most, they have invested not only sweat equity but all their money. In short, they are hopeless.

Robert Irvine brings experience, insight and tough love when necessary. But ultimately, what he brings is HOPE.

The value of hope is immeasurable and universal. But the hope we have in Christ is beyond anything this world can offer.

“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.”
~ Psalm 31:24

“…those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
~ Isaiah 40:31

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.”
~ 1 Peter 3:15

It’s easy to get discouraged. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s easy to want to throw in the towel. What challenges are you facing? What circumstances of life are wearing you down?

Are you putting your hope in God?
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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Encouragement, God, Hope, Trusting God

Can we journey with God and wrestle with doubts?

The account of God using Gideon and just 300 Israelites to defeat over 200,000 Midianites is a great story, but it’s the irony within the story that has captured my attention. (Judges 6-8)

An angel of the Lord appears to Gideon and gives him God’s directive. But Gideon isn’t sure it’s really the Lord so he asks for some confirmation. God is agreeable and sends fire to consume a meat offering laid on a rock.

Gideon is awe-struck and agrees to go with the Lord on this special ops mission. But along the way he has some doubts. So he asks the Lord for another sign and places some fleece on a bowl before heading to bed.

God again privides the miracle and Gideon is convinced… almost! He wants another sign using the same fleece and bowl but in a different way. God does it again.

Then after whittling Gideon’s troops down from 32,000 to just 300 men God grants Gideon yet another confirmation. He allows Gideon to sneak into the enemy camp and overhear them talking about some strange dreams. In these dreams the Israelites roll down the hill like a large boulder and crush them.

Gideon’s weak faith is again bolstered and the battle is won in short order.

God’s rescue is amazing but even more amazing is how Gideon was used in spite of his doubts. God didn’t get angry with him or give up on him.

Does anyone else find that the least bit encouraging?

We can follow God… we can be used to carry out His kingdom purposes… we can do His work… and we can wrestle with doubts at the same time!

Faith is obviously a critical part of our journey with God and it is impossible to please Him without it (Hebrews 11:6). But that doesn’t mean we won’t still wrestle with some occasional doubts.

Every time I’ve struggled through a season of doubt I’ve come out the other side of it with a stronger, deeper faith. The important thing is to be honest with our questions and seek out some good people/resources to help sort it out.

The critical element in our journey with God is not our unwavering faith but God’s unwavering presence!

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Check out my Resources tab above for some good books on this subject. One of the best is Faith and Doubt by John Ortberg.

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Divine presence, Doubt, Faith, Trusting God