Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I'm speaking tonight to a group of United Methodist Women from our old church.  I can not wait to re-unite with them!  It's weird to be asked to speak to a group of such grounded, faithful women and I've been wondering what in the world I would say.  During lunch with the coordinator last week, it became clear that I was only supposed to lead a discussion, but on what?  The answer finally came!! 

How to be CONVINCED of God. 

This is just where I am right now in my own walk of faith.  Even over the last 2 weeks, I have experienced the value in living this life some think is crazy.  But I know Whom I have believed in, and I hope others will find the encouragement too.

So, here is a blog summary of what I'm facilitating.  I hope it convinces you of what God wants you to know about Him in this season of your life! 
For the last five years, I’ve faced a lot of tests of my mind, body and spirit.  My faith has been pushed to the limit numerous times and I know that all of you can identify with that feeling.  It doesn’t take cancer or even death entering your life to be faced with your choice to live fully in Christ or in a half-life of our own making.  That’s why we are here – to further understand what He wants from us in this season of life.

Trusting God alone does not mean you don’t do your homework.  It doesn’t mean you don’t prepare yourself and your family.  It doesn’t mean you go skipping through the meadow without a care in the world.

It just means you have reached a point of becoming CONVINCED of God’s way over your own.  It means you would rather believe in His plan than one you think of for yourself.  When you live this way, people will think you are nuts and they will think you ARE just skipping through life like it’s a meadow. 

But where I get tripped up is in the issues raised a few weeks back – the what ifs.  When things are uncertain, I try my best to visualize it out.  It’s not always about the bad, often about the good – I find I justify my planning, my tendency to make contingency plans on my contingency plans

(You know what I mean, well, if this happens, then we will do this.  But if this happens instead, we will do this….)

What I am really doing is trying to prepare myself if something goes wrong.  Not that it is a bad habit, but I find comfort in seeking out answers I can touch, see and feel, instead of comfort in God's care for me.  I start to peel God’s fingers off our future and grasp it for myself.  In that grasping, I lose what the Lord wants me to know about Him and how I can grow in Him. 

That’s the goal, right?  Growth in Christ.

But I find I am still more interested in finding that comfort.  But as I heard Pastor Dave Peterson say, God isn’t that interested in our comfort – He is interested in our growth.  While, I am concerned with how little I have to expand to have more of God in my life; God is concerned with seeing how far He can stretch me to display the maximum of His glory.

There are three things we must be convinced of to live an abundant life, full of trust in God in any season, but maybe struggle with attaining. This is disciplined work grounded in faith.  We have no ability to get there on our own, only to recognize what we need God to put into us right now.

We must be convinced of:

His Goodness, His Ability and His Majesty.

To be convinced of His Goodness, we must know that He cares for us.  We must seek our fulfillment only in Him.  And we must embrace the truth of Romans 8:28, that whatever happens to us WILL BE for God's glory and for our good.  We must learn to live in that goodness and instead of endlessly planning for what if's, we must believe in God's gifts of blessing.  We have to realize the bad we envision rarely, if ever, happens, and what has already happened to us (when we look back on it) was, in fact, for the best.  

This is most adequately pictured in Christ on the Cross.  He went to the ultimate, extreme length to show us what the Father would do - what He would do - to bring a lost world back to its Creator.

To be convinced of His Ability, we must remember the healings, the miracles, the signs He performed.  Examples like the deliverance into the Promised Land; Daniel in the lion's den; the curing of the 10 lepers; and the raising of Lazarus.  He performs those miracles and wonders still yet today - He did it for my own daughter.  But we must get into the mindset that He doesn't just do that for other people - He will do it for us if we let Him!!!

The model for this is Christ in the Tomb.  He showed that He could carry His Father's plan out all the way through to completion.  He could go where no other man could - to the grave and back.  If He can do that, He can do anything.

Finally, to be convinced of His Majesty, we must have an accurate picture of who He is and how we are to relate to Him.  Revelation 1:10, 12-18 provides the answer here:

I heard a loud voice behind me that sounded like a trumpet…I turned around to see who was speaking to me. When I turned, I saw seven golden lampstands…In the middle of them was someone who looked like the son of man: He was dressed in a long robe with a gold strip of cloth around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow. His eyes were like a blazing fire. His feet were like bronze metal glowing in a furnace. His voice sounded like rushing waters. He held seven stars in his right hand. Out of his mouth came a sharp sword that had two edges. His face was like the sun shining in all of its brightness.  

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead.  Then he put his right hand on me and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One. I was dead. But look! I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys to Death and Hell.

When we relate to Christ like this, we see Him as He truly is - Risen: Fully God, Fully Human, no in-between and now for all to see, magnified, glorified and bold to the extreme.  We must give over to His way, the way we cannot see, touch or feel.  We must practice giving over to the supernatural, not the natural.

When we live out the conviction of these three aspects of our faith - we will not fail to trust Him.  We will not fail to believe in what He has in store for us and we will be excited at the beginning of each day.  It is up to us to ask Him for the ability to believe all of these things and He will give them!  

After all - He has proved that He is convinced of us! 

No comments: