Responsibility

Lately the thought of responsibility has been on my mind, usually with the overwhelming urge to go up to some folks and exclaim, “You’re doing it wrong!” I keep thinking about history and how it has always seemed easier to divert the blame to others and keep focus off of the responsible party.

This is evident throughout our lives. Children like to place blame on other children, or in the best scenario, their siblings and sit back to watch as punishment takes place. Adults will even do this on a daily basis, just look at how many members of our Government tend to work. The easy thing to do is try and place the blame on others.

Political Groups have been founded on this principle taking issues that truly are no issue at all and placing blame on other groups to start public debate on what is right and wrong. I have come across story after story that depicts the tale of a convicted murderer who places the blame on the victim, or possibly even on his or her own parents, as to why a situation turned out like it did.

Many times we claim that it is instinctive to act in such a manner, but I want to show you in the book of Ezekiel that God will not stand for us placing the blame for our actions on someone else. If we look at Ezekiel 18 we see that God is telling the people that no longer will he allow men and women to blame their parents for how they turned out, nor will he let parents blame children. God states that, “The soul who sins shall die. (Ezekiel 18:4).

God tells us in this scripture that no one is held responsible for anyone else’s actions.   They are to accept responsibility for their own decisions that they make, and I feel that we need to apply this to our own lives today. We can’t place blame on others any more, today we need to accept that we are responsible for our own actions and we are the only one to blame when it goes wrong.   Stop allowing others to take the fall for something that you have done, claim responsibility today and come to terms with your need for redemption.

When we stand before God we will not be able to blame others, He will judge us based on what we ourselves have done, and it will be our actions alone that will be our downfall or victory. Please stop blaming others and just allow God to work, trusting Him and knowing that you alone will answer for what you alone have done.

In God We Still Trust

Today in America we are faced with many thoughts and choices that we have not fully prepared ourselves to think about. One of the biggest is deciding whether or not we still trust in God as we say we have.

We have political figures speaking out of both sides of their mouths on the issue, one minute stating that we are no longer a Christian nation, and the other, ending conversations and speeches with, “God bless America.” So my question today is which is it? Do we truly expect a God we say we no longer believe in to bless the people who do not trust or believe in him?

I think we, as Christians, need to take a stand and truly examine why this is taking place.   First, we all need to understand that we were created with this longing to be with and associate with our Creator.   We all have a desire to believe in a greater power because we all have a longing to be with God. We have a desire to feel whole, and that desire comes from an emptiness that we feel when we are apart from God. The problem today is that we have found anything and everything to take the place in hopes that we will find a sense of completion.

Today, we need to realize that money, sex, drugs, alcohol, possessions, or anything else we may try to put our trust in will not fill the hole that God is trying to fill in our lives.   We have to realize that for us to feel complete we must truly be trusting in God. We have to get back to where our life began, to the God who cared enough for us to do more than speak us into existence.

In looking at Creation, we see that God spoke everything into existence; but one creation He spent a little more time on. One creation God reached down and formed out of the dust and filled with His breath to give it life. That Creation was Man; God formed man, and continues to form man. So today, we must realize that we must continue to trust in God, because He still trusts in us.   God gave us life, God desired to be with us, and there is a desire within each of us to be with Him. Let Him fill that hole in your life today.

The Psalmist said in Psalm 139 that God knit him together in his mother’s womb, for he is fearfully and wonderfully made. Jeremiah states that we were known before the world knew us. God trusted that we would be great, and why not, we are created in His image…we are His!

Do you still trust in God?   He still trusts in you!

Closer

I was driving down the road the other day and something that I have seen over and over again struck me for the first time.  I have used my mirrors backing up and changing lanes now for more than 10 years as a licensed driver, and never have I thought of the spiritual aspect of the statement found on the passenger side mirror.  “OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR” are the simple words that are found there…but they are so much more than that to me now.

I was driving home from work and looked in the mirror to see one of the most beautiful sunsets that I have ever seen, and those words directly below this image brought me into a moment of worship with God.  Realizing that God has created everything that we see around us I was brought to a moment of awe that was indescribable.  I realized that God, although we may not feel Him, is closer than He appears.  God is amazing.

In the same way looking in that mirror reminded me that at the times that I am struggling with life, struggling to get by during the times of depression and anger, that He is right there with me…walking beside me, or better yet, riding passenger in my car.

So, to rephrase this, “GOD IS CLOSER THAN HE APPEARS”.  Wow, what an amazing thought…no matter what we’re going through, no matter what struggles are going on in our heads, no matter what we are facing in our lives – GOD IS RIGHT THERE!!!   HE is there when we wake in the morning, HE is there when we are driving down the road, HE is even there when we feel no one is there for us.  HE is the first, HE is the last…meaning HE was there before us, and will be there after us…HE is in charge, HE is in control, HE never changes, HE is the creator of all, and most of all, HE WANTS TO BE OUR FRIEND!

He sees through the muck and the mire, to the depths of our hearts, and loves us the same as if we had never sinned.  He will never leave us hanging, never stand us up, never let us down…

What an amazing God we serve!

objects in mirror

Challenges

http://gilkalai.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/chess.jpg

We all face challenges in our lives…we all have moments in which we haven’t a clue as to what the next move is…in life’s game of chess, we sometimes can be the Queen, feeling as if we could move anywhere – getting in and out of trouble with ease.

Other times, we feel as if we are a pawn in this chess match…we feel expendable…we feel as if we are used up and put out to be taken down by the world.

Here is where we make a choice…

Here is where we have to look at the entire game, and not just the next move…

In chess, to be a world champion, you have to be able to think ahead…you have to be able to read the board and anticipate your opponents next move.  To win, you have to manipulate the pieces in such a way to earn the victory in an attack that your opponent doesn’t see coming.  The strategy is simple, disguise your plans in such a way that the real surprise comes from a trap that you’ve set many moves in advance.

The enemy that we as Christians face knows how to manipulate the playing field in such a way that we are blindsided by the attack…in those times, if we are the queen, we come crashing down to reality…if we are the pawn, we have to realize that maybe we served our purpose…to provide enough protection to keep the king safe.

In the game of chess, the object is to take down the other king, on our side…the king is the King of Kings.  We all have our part to play in this game, and some of us may be taken down by the enemy, but we have to serve our purpose.

Being taken down by the enemy doesn’t mean we are out, it means we have accomplished our part…it means that we have sacrificed ourselves for the greater cause.  A number of saints have met their demise in this fashion…Stephen was stoned for his part…Paul was imprisioned over and over…the Disciples were run out of town after town in an effort to stifle the game plan…and Jesus, He was the queen.  Jesus moved where he needed, could take any piece, but the most amazing part of this game we are a part of…Jesus moved himself in front of the pawns…Jesus moved himself to the front lines to accomplish the ultimate goal.

We may be a pawn…but we serve a purpose.

The real part we play comes when we realize our role, when we realize what our purpose is…when we realize we may have to put ourselves in danger’s way and sacrifice everything to accomplish the ultimate protection.

A well strategized game of chess is one in which the player uses the pawns to set up the move that will overtake the opponent.  A champion in the game of chess utilizes the pawn as one of the most important pieces on the board…because when you put the pawn in a position to be taken, the real reason could be that the knight or the rook is standing in wait to take the opponent’s bishop or queen.

Play your role, and if sacrifice is required for the opponent to be overtaken – deny yourself…

Sounds familiar doesn’t it

“23Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

— Luke 9:23-24 (NIV)

To succeed, you must sacrifice…to win, you must deny yourself.  Jesus lays it out plain and simple – If you want to save yourself, if you want to save the world…you must lose your life to save it.  You must deny yourself to become like Christ…you must give up everything sometimes to receive the true blessing that awaits.