A gift for the Father

Today is Father’s Day, a day set aside in our country to honor dads.  This particular Father’s Day is special for me for a few reasons.  No matter your family situation, though, this can be a special day for you if you are a Christian.

After all, all Christians have at least one Father. Jesus told the disciples at the last supper, “If you know me you know the Father.”  There is no better gift you can give God the Father than to commit to know His Son Jesus Christ better.

In this world of believing only what you can see, feel, taste, and touch, it takes faith to have a relationship with Jesus. Jesus wants a relationship with you, and even if He has a relationship with you, He wants a stronger one.  This is a reality that all of us forget about sometimes. A lot of people claim to be Christians, claim to have a relationship with God, but don’t really show it in their daily lives.

Sometimes we consider things too hard.  Perhaps obedience to the Lord would make us too uncomfortable or offend someone. Well I’m here to tell you today from personal experience that there is no better feeling than knowing you are doing the will of God.  There is no greater peace than that which comes from Jesus Christ. If you are obedient to whatever He would have you do, the peace and satisfaction that comes from knowing it is pleasing to the Father is greater than any worldly discomfort you might feel in the interim. God had been telling me to do something for several years now, and I had acknowledged, then ignored, that command.

Well I finally obeyed God recently, and the old adage of a burden, a weight being lifted is true indeed. Following the will of God may make the world think you’re crazy.  Consider that a compliment!  To live a holy life, as God intends, we must be different.  Holy means set apart.  Christians should be set apart from the rest of the world.  We are in the world, but not OF the world. When people questioned the actions and words of the apostles during the early stages of the Church, they responded:  “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) That’s the true test of your faith.

Who are you obeying?  God?  The world?  Does the world consider you different?  Examine yourself and ask “Can anyone I know easily tell by my words and actions that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior of my life?” God has given us the ultimate gift already, but this Father’s Day consider your relationship to your Heavenly Father.  There is no greater gift you can give Him than your whole self.

Life shouldn’t be a roller coaster

I got to thinking about Thunder Road today.  It’s a big roller coaster at Carowinds, the amusement park that sits on the border of North and South Carolina, just south of Charlotte.

It’s an amusing couple of minutes.

The thing is, you get in your “car,” for lack of a better term, and immediately go around a turn slowly.  You begin climbing this big hill, then you know what happens…

You go down the other side of this big hill, the momentum of which takes you up and down subsequent smaller hills.

Like I said, it’s an amusing couple of minutes.

Lately I got to thinking about my own life, and I was mulling over a fact that I’ve known for a long time.  I’m very susceptible to up and down swings in my relationship with God.

Anything having to do with a relationship with God has to do with life in general, which brings me to the title of this column.  Life shouldn’t be a roller coaster.

God doesn’t work in ups and down.  He is constant, everything about Him.  He has, is, and always will be loving, just, peace, comfort, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

God doesn’t spend a week with you, convince you to fix something in your life, then leave for a month only to come back and tell you to fix the same things again.

Satan learned long ago that the best way to get to Christians is not to pummel them bad, bad, bad.  Sure, you see cases like that sometimes, but the best way for Satan to get to you is to make you content with your current situation.

When you are content you let your guard down.  You begin to get confident, believing that you can handle things.  That’s how a lot of people who seem to be on fire for the Lord flame out.

Here’s a basic truth to try and live by every day.  You can’t handle things.  If you could, there would be no need for Jesus Christ.

Here’s another truth.  A personal relationship with God that flourishes consists of a believer putting complete faith in Christ, giving everything they have.

When I think of the apostle Paul, I have to wonder if I’ve ever had that great a relationship with God.  After his conversion, he pretty much had nothing, yet he went everywhere preaching the gospel.  He was imprisoned, persecuted, even killed, but during his life he gave all he had to Jesus, and look what Jesus did with Paul.

It’s hard to think of another servant of God in the church era of history that has been more influential in bringing people to Christ.  Paul is still witnessing today through his letters in the New Testament.

There’s a 4Him song going on a decade old that goes, “I want to be a man that you (God) could write about a thousand years from now.”

If someone were to write about my relationship with God, I have doubts as if someone reading it could be inspired at all to come to know Jesus.  Yet Paul, who lived two thousand years ago, wrote words inspired of God that have led millions to Christ.  That’s a testimony.

Chances are, no matter what you do in this earthly life, you won’t be leading millions to Christ.  But what about one, two, or three.

One of my favorite verses is 1 Corinthians 10:31.  It goes a little something like this:  “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.”  Now check this out.

“By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”  John 15:8
Jesus is the Vine, we are the branches.  But what kind of fruit are we bearing?  Up and down Christianity doesn’t cut it.  God is all about consistency.

We will never bear fruit until we learn to live by the aforementioned truths, right out of the Word of God.  We’ve got to give all we have to God.  I don’t trust myself to bear fruit, that’s why I just need to give everything to God and trust Him to bear fruit through me.

Here are some questions I need to start asking myself.  We all should.  Do I have a sense of urgency in leading people to Christ?  Do I love everyone the way Christ loves everyone?

The old adage of not being able to take anything with you to heaven is only partly accurate.  The Bible talks about believers storing up treasures from the Christ-like works we do on earth.  I want to be selfish in this way only.  I want lots of those treasures.  But in order to be selfish that way, I need to be selfless every other way, giving everything to the Lord.

Lines for roller coasters are too long any way.  God is always there, and always ready for you to begin serving Him.