1. Satan wants us comfortable. It has really impressed me, how comfort is one of our biggest enemies. It keeps us from growing, addressing sin, and ultimately, feeling deeply joyful and vibrant. We get dull.
Let’s FIGHT every day to ADVANCE the kingdom of God. Just little actions do so much. Let’s pray harder, with faith. Let’s address our sins. Let’s open our mouths more, think of others more, dig deeper in the Bible. Life can be so exciting and fulfilling if we will shake off the lethargy that settles on us like a cozy blanket.
Woe to those who are at ease in Zion. . . You lie on beds adorned with ivory and lounge on your couches. Amos 1:1,4
2. Keep offering the gospel to those we know. Don’t just think, “I talked to them and they weren’t interested. The door is closed.” God is working all the time. This might be the time they’re open.
Sharing the gospel is like a game of Marco Polo. We keep calling out, and listening for a response. Like the verse in Ecclesiastes, we keep casting our bread on the waters, sending our ships out to sea, knowing after many days some will return. We keep planting seeds, KNOWING that God is making some of them grow.
“Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return.” Ecc 11:1
“You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness.” Ps 65:1
3. Abiding happiness doesn’t come from answered prayer. Our prayer life can become a merry-go-round of focusing on what we want to happen, rejoicing when it finally comes to be, and then moving on to the next prayer “need.” It can become a cycle of want that never ends.
Instead, we need to focus on gratitude. We need to praise God, and just soak up being in His presence. We need to rejoice in the moment.
Your boundary lines mark out pleasant places for me. Indeed, my inheritance is something beautiful. Ps 16:6
4. Resurrect the lost art of friendship. “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15
I realize that I’ve forgotten how to be a friend to those closest to me. Here are things I am working on:
- I need to get past the shallow superficiality, sharing of banalities and GET REAL! Talk about what my life has really been like. CONFIDE.
- I need to believe that each friend has something for me. It isn’t just me giving to them. I’m learning to relax, and let the relationship wash over me, meeting my needs. I’m learning that we all need connections. Sometimes it’s enough to just listen to a friend, appreciate who they are, learn about their life. We simply need the back and forth that is a relationship. It is actually soothing.
- I need to reach out to friends more with my little pieces of daily news, my joys and heartbreaks. That is what a friend does.
- I need to do things with my friends more – go shopping, have them over just to hang out.
5. God is SUPER excited to have children. “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” James 1:18
I hadn’t thought about it before, but when I meditated on that verse, I realized that we are God’s first true children. Just as a farmer plants a crop, and eagerly waits for the fruit, God has eagerly waited to have offspring who can actually come into his presence and dwell with Him. It is incredible to think we are spiritual beings, born of the Word and Spirit. “You received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.'” (Romans 8:15) “In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ.” (Eph 1:4b-5a)
Ken asked me yesterday why I had wanted to have a baby so much. I had had a miscarriage, and after that, I would have given almost anything to have a child. I had to think a bit, but I told him that I wanted for our unit to increase. I had this wonderful togetherness with my husband, but I wanted it to encompass more. There would be a wonderful togetherness of my husband AND children.
Surely it is the same with God. The difference is that I longed for children for a short space of time. When I got pregnant, I only had nine months of anticipation before my child was born. God waited THOUSANDS of years for us! Just think how fired up he is!
6. People are like candy and Christmas. What is God’s attitude about people? He thinks each individual is the best thing ever. “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:7
Look at how the father greeted the prodigal son in the parable in Luke: “he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20) God is so excited when we come to him.
In the same way, I need to be more excited when I see people. God thinks they are super special, and so should I! I need to treat my time with them like it is a gift.