Archive for January, 2016

As I have shared before, I am an engineer.  So much so that my wife struggles not to roll her eyes as she says it.  My natural inclination is to observe, analyze, and critique.  This mindset helps me solve problems and improve processes.  However by themselves they are not conducive to building strong, vibrant, loving relationships.  Through the years though I have changed.  I still have these attributes, but they have been tempered.  And I am a better person for it.

I am very thankful for my parents.  They strove to raise my siblings and I right.  They taught us manners, respect for all people, putting other’s needs ahead of my own, and the importance of family.  They took us to church and established a pattern of faithful attendance.  They disciplined me when I strayed, but at the end of the discipline was always a hug and words of affirmation.  My parents established an excellent foundation for the transformation.

As I have recounted in an earlier post, I strayed significantly through my college years, trying new and formerly forbidden things.  I was a person swimming further and further from shore.  But God did an amazing thing.  He brought me to a place where I could clearly see the two choices I had.  I could continue my life of swimming in deep water and being my own master or I could chose to follow Him completely.  It’s funny because He did not threaten me with bad stuff if I chose not to follow Him.  He just indicated that life “All In” with Him would mean He would never leave me or forsake me.

I accepted His offer and a change took place immediately.  God put His Spirit within me and I knew it.  I look at that weekend and that afternoon visit to the chapel at Camp Hartner in Louisiana as my second birthday.  I mention all of this as background though.  While God entered my life in a real and tangible way at that time, a lot of my ingrained habits and thought patterns were still influenced by the worldly patterns I had become comfortable with.  The Holy Spirit had been active in wooing and encouraging me to take the step of faith before my conversion.  When I accepted Jesus as my Lord, the Holy Spirit began the work in me that has led to much positive change such as the transformation of a fairly rigid engineer into a relatively relational person who happens to have some engineering skills.

The Holy Spirit will guide you as you seek to know and follow the Father better.  Here are some of the practical steps that I was led to which have proved crucial to my transformation.  In fact they fit under the admonition Paul gives in Romans 12:1-2.  “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.  Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Read the Word and Seek the Lord Early Every Day.  Start the day in prayer and quiet reflection on Who God is.  Talk to Him and let Him speak to you through the bible.  Select a good, short devotional to supplement your prayer time.  My wife and I have been blessed time and again with the short devotionals found in the devotional Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  I have experimented with doing this at other times of the day, but I have found that dedicating my first hour or so to the Lord has the greatest impact and seems to flavor the rest of the day with a sweet sense of His nearness.

Develop Close Faith Friendships and Encourage One Another.  While this needs to be within your family too, it actually must include a few close friends.  I’ve dived into this topic at length in a previous post, but it is vital that we have people we trust who can be Christ’s hands, feet, and heart to us in times of need.  And we in turn will have times when the Lord uses us for others.  God did not intend for us to do life alone.  When He looked at Adam in the garden He said it was not good for him to be alone.  That is true of believers.  God knows we need faithful fellowship.  Ask Him and He will lead you to those people who will become your faith friends.

Join the Church and Plug In.  Jesus died for the Church, so the Church is very important to Him.  Find a Church that is vibrant.  One that consistently points to Jesus and what He is doing.  Look for signs of Jesus actively working within the Church.  Signs such as growth in numbers, bondages broken, lives being transformed, consistently maturing fellowship, regular outreach beyond the walls of the Church, and joy in following Jesus.  Once you find this Church then get involved.  Consider your gifts, talents, and passion and see where you can put them to work in the Church.

Bloom Where You Are Planted.  God has put you in a place to be His ambassador.  The life you live is a reflection of where you are in your walk.  Jesus desires to use each one of us in the redemption of this world.  If you are in a hard place, a difficult place, the light and love of Jesus will stand-out more than ever.  Every believer is called to minister in Jesus’ Name.  Some of that ministry may be within the Church, but my experience indicates that the greatest need and most frequent opportunities are outside the walls of the Church.  Make this a topic in your quiet time with the Lord, asking Him to guide you to the person(s) you are to speak to that day.

Remember, it’s All About the Relationships.  Jesus left His place in heaven and entered mortal life so He could relate to us, so He could establish a relationship with us.  He loves us so much that He took our place when sin, our sin, was judged and executed on the cross.  And because of that we can live in intimate relationship with Him.  And He wants us to value the relationships that we have with others.  Because they matter to Him, they should matter to us as well.  As we grow closer to Jesus, we will begin to see others as Jesus sees them.  And we will love more and more like Jesus loves.

Have a blessed day today as you grow in your life with Jesus.


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