Why Standing Stones?

Why Standing Stones?

In ancient Israel, people stood stones on their end to commemorate a powerful move of God in their lives. It was a memorial to something God spoke or revealed or did. Often these standing stones became reference points in their lives. Today, we can find reference points in the written Word of God. Any scripture or sermon can speak something powerful into our lives, or reveal something of the nature of God. In this blog I offer, what can become a reference point for Christians, taken from God's ancient word and applied to today's world.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Are You Spiritually Fat?

I have a pie in my hand.  It’s a pie with a wonderful texture.  A chocolate cream pie with fluffy swirls of chocolate whipped cream.  Small delicate wheels of chocolate and a beautiful coating of glossy milk chocolate over a layer of chocolate cream and a layer of chocolate cake inside a pie shell.  This is one of Taiwan’s most delicious chocolate pies. I recently held this pie up and described it, and asked what people would do to get me to give up this pie.

There were a number of answers:

  1. “I would tell you ‘I love you,’ everyday for two weeks.”  (my daughter)
  2. “I would tell you, ‘I love you everyday for a year.’ (One of the brothers)
After that the answers turned a little more serious:

  1. I would pray for it.
Finally I got the answer I was looking for:

  1. I’d ask for it.

Indeed, to ask for the pie is all that was necessary, but then I refined the questioning a little more.  “How much of this pie do you want?”  The answer was disappointing, “Just a little slice.”

This is a good illustration about how we react to God.  We desire God.  We want to have God come into our hearts.  We ask for the promises of God.  But then what?  What do we do after that?  We limit what we’ll let God do in our lives.  In this post I want to write about getting all of God.

Luke 11:9-10 (NKJV)
11:9 "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

We Have to Ask to Receive

How do we go about receiving God’s grace?  What is the method of our salvation?  Is it found by doing good things?  Is it found by just saying the right words?  Or do we receive salvation by asking God for His Grace and mercy?

A while back I wrote out a simple sinner’s prayer for the people in my congregation.  So they could read it and understand how to pray with other people for salvation.  That’s a part of our service.  That’s what the altar call is about.  We ask who wants to get saved.  I wrote out the prayer so the people would also understand that salvation comes through faith.  If we look at the prayer, though, what is it?  It’s asking God for forgiveness and asking Jesus come into your heart and change you.
To receive the wonderful gift of salvation all we have to do is ask.  Just ASK.  We have to ask to receive. 

But it doesn’t end there.  Salvation shouldn’t be the only thing we want from God.  The Bible is full of the promises of God. 

Give and it will be given to you. (Luke 6:38)
Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I will be among them. (Matt 18:20)
Whosoever believes in Him shall not perish… (John 3:16)

There are promises all through the Bible.  Here’s another one:

Whatever you ask in My name I will do it.  (John 14:14)

The problem is that we don’t ask.    When we don’t ask we won’t receive.  Actually, we can’t receive.  There are many times when I have called for people to pray for healing and no one responds.  I wonder how many times people were in need of healing and didn’t come forward.  People complained about not feeling well or hurting, which is why I called for a healing line.  But they didn’t come.  I wonder how many others didn’t even mention they needed healing.

There is also the gift of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  People are afraid of receiving that gift, they’re afraid of speaking in tongues and being embarrassed so they don’t allow it.  On our church website (www.pottershouse.blogspot.com), we have testimonies of some of the saints.  One brother makes this statement:

"However, two months later, when I was to go out mountain-climbing alone, I suddenly thought of Jesus, and no one was nearby, and I wouldn't be embarrassed, so, I start to pray, confess what I have done wrong in the past, decide to repent, believe Jesus Christ."

I don’t think he’s alone in that.  I think there’s a lot of fear about how it will look to others, especially in Taiwan.  People are worried about what their family will think or say.  I’m not criticizing my brother, though; I think people everywhere are like that.  But what I don’t understand is, why are we afraid of receiving more of God. 

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)
11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Our lack of faith puts us outside the will of God.  If you really want God to do something in your life; if you really want all that God has for you, then you need to seek Him…diligently.  Ask for all of God that you can get.

You know, when it comes to politics many people are very outspoken, sometimes too outspoken.  But every time you make a political statement there’s about 50% of the population who doesn’t like what you say.  We’re not afraid to offend people with political statements.  So why are we so afraid to let other see us declaring our faith or simply obeying God (by speaking in Tongues.)  Is that what makes us afraid to receive the gift, what others will think or say? 

Do we want all of God?  God comes in three parts; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Do you want all of God or just a slice?  Are you on a God diet?  Are you afraid to become “spiritually fat?”

Proverbs 13:4 (KJV)
13:4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

I want to have a fat soul, so give me all of God.  If you want it all, you have to ask for it.

Seek and You Will Find

When you need a job what do you do?  Look for it!  When you’re trying to find a certain book, what do you do?  Look for it!  When you’ve lost something what do you do?  Look for it!  When you need something from God what do you do…wonder why God doesn’t just give it to you?

The Bible says seek and you will find.  If you want something from God you need to take an action to find it.  What do you really need in life?  Where can you find the thing that you need?  I’ve seen people turn to all kinds of different things for answers. 

Do you turn to science?  Does science have all the answers?  Are scientists the ones who have a handle on all knowledge and reason?  To answer that let me say that many scientists are beginning to believe that Aliens from another planet are responsible for life on this planet.  Professor Richard Dawkins, eminent evolutionist said this:

“Well, it could come about in the following way. It could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved, probably by some kind of Darwinian means, probably to a very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this planet. Now, um, now that is a possibility, and an intriguing possibility. “  

What he’s saying is that aliens created life on this planet.  Some guys will say anything to avoid admitting that God exists.  This is supposed to be one of the brilliant scholars of our time.  But he doesn’t have any answers.  He has no proof of what he says…so he makes it up.  Should we go to people like him for answers?  So where should we go for the answers to problems in life?  What should we do when we really need something?  The Bible says, “Seek and you will find…”  God will respond if you’re seeking Him.  But the question is, “Are you seeking Him?  Are you really contending for a move of God?”   

That word contending is an interesting word.  Contending means striving.  But the root of the word contending comes from the same root as the word contest.  Contending means that we strive or work, together:  Each of us struggling, or fighting, without letting up for a common goal.  Fighting together as a team.  So if we want to see God move, we need to contend, together.

Philippians 1:27 (NKJV)
1:27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,

This scripture seems to imply that we strive together for common goals.  But did you know we can strive together for individual needs, as well.  That’s why we have prayer requests.  Do you pray for other people’s needs when you’re alone or just when they’re brought up as a prayer request at church?  That’s contending; working together to see people’s needs met.

Have you ever heard of synergy?  Synergy means that two people working together can accomplish much more than two people working independently on the same thing.  If we strive and contend together we can receive much more than if we remain independent and self-centered.

So if we want the most of what God has for us, we need to contend with other people to see that their needs are met.  Striving, or contending, like this is seeking God.  Remember Hebrews 11:6?

11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

The diligence with which we seek Him is an expression of our faith.  This scripture tells us he rewards those who diligently seek Him. 

We all need things from God.  There are things that are beyond our abilities:  Things that are impossible for us.  But those things are not impossible for God.  God is able to do all things.  But it is up to us to “activate” the move of God.  God is “activated” by our diligent seeking of Him.  He is “activated” by our faith. 


How is “diligently seeking” expressed?  First let’s define the word diligent: According to Mirriam-Webster’s dictionary diligent is characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort

So then, contending is an expression of diligence.  Contending is steady earnest, energetic effort.  Faithfulness, then, is also an expression of diligence, isn’t that right?  So what is faithfulness?  One part of faithfulness is praying for the others when you’re not with them.  One part of faithfulness is living out what you say you believe, when you’re alone.  Another part of faithfulness is being at church.  God often gives pastors something to preach that will really help people.  But the problem is that they never know when they can preach something like that because they I never know when people will be there.  In my church, whenever I preach on faithfulness, only the faithful ones hear it, because only the faithful come to church faithfully.  The ones who really would be helped benefit aren’t there.

Think about a job for a moment.  How many bosses are going to give you a raise if you’re haphazard about being at work?  How many bosses are going to be thinking about your family and your needs, when you’re not there?

I used to be on the phone or emailing with all my friends from Colton, all the time.  But since I’ve been here and not seeing them I rarely hear from most of them.  Out of sight out of mind.

The same is true in our jobs, if you want the most from your career; you have to be there to receive it.  The same is also true with God.  If you want the most of God’s promises, you need to be here where God dispenses them.

How many things come between you sand hearing from God?  What kinds of things are more important to you than diligently seeking God?  This goes back to my last point.  How can we strive and work together when we don’t gather together?  When we don’t pray together?  When we don’t join together to do the work of God.  That isn’t synergy it’s independently working on the same things.  Striving together is seen in faithfully gathering together to work toward the common goal of seeing each other’s needs met. 

If you want more of God your life, you need to rpess for more of God in the lives of the others in your church.

Reader’s Digest had an article called, “What Good is a Tree.”  This article talks about a substance that is produced when the roots of two trees touch that reduces competition.  A fungus is produced that links the two trees together, so nourishment can be transferred between them.

For example, if one tree has access to water and the other has access to sunlight the trees have the means to share together…they will both have water and sunlight.

We have need of each other’s prayers in order to receive the most from God.  If you’re not in church and diligently contending, you are actually keeping the rest of your church from receiving the maximum of God for their lives.

So Are You on a God Diet?

What about it?  Do you want a small slice of God or do you want it all; all of the promises; all of the blessing; all of the wisdom of God?  How much you get depends on how much you ask. 

When I go to Costco, I hate it when they give me samples of something to taste, especially if it’s something that I like.  Do you know why?  Because a little taste isn’t enough, I want as much as I want.  Sometimes I want to go to the end of the line to get another sample.  That’s greedy, huh?  But not when t comes to God because there is enough of God to satisfy everyone.  We can all have as much as we want.  All we have to do is ask and diligently seek Him.  If we will knock He will invite us in and give us whar we ask.

Recently, we went to Pizza Hut very close to the time when they were about to close.  They were cleaning up and getting ready to leave.  But we knocked on the door and they opened up and we were the last customers.  We ordered and they gave us what we had ordered.  But then, they gave us even more than what we ordered.  They had prepared something perishable and it didn’t sell, they were going to have to throw it away, but rather than do that they gave it to us.  That’s how God works, too.  Remember the story of Solomon’s first night as king?

He has a vision, God says what is that you want ask and I’ll give it to you.  So Solomon asks for wisdom and character to lead his people.  God gave it to him.  But then, check this out.  God says if you had asked for money and power I would have given those to you, but since you asked for wisdom and character, I’ll give you money and power, too

Solomon got all the promises of God and then some.  He wanted all that God had for him and God didn’t hold back.  I’d say at that time in his life Solomon wanted to be spiritually fat. 

What about you, what do you want?  You know, being too skinny is unhealthy.  In God’s spiritual medical system heart disease comes from being too skinny; from not being spiritually fat enough.  When our hearts aren’t filled up with God there is room for other things to come in and begin to displace God. 

There’s a type of firefighting equipment, it’s a chemical that displaces the oxygen from the area of the fire.  But it doesn’t work in as sealed room full of air, because there is no place for the air to go. 

The problem is that our hearts aren’t sealed there are leaks there; places where God can be displaced through.  If we aren’t full of God then other things can come in to our hearts and displace God through these leaky places.  We need to stay full.  We need as much of God as we can hold.  We need to keep pressing for more of God, because we leak.  How much of God do you want?  Do you want all of God or just a little slice?  Are you afraid to become spiritually fat?  How much of God do you REALLY want?

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