Since You Asked

Is God Loosening Your Tent Stakes?

by Andy Wood on November 16, 2012

in Since You Asked

My friend Bruce Reinhardt has a unique way of communicating through metaphors.  He’s the one who taught me this phrase to describe when God is preparing us for a major change.  “We can look back and see that the Lord was loosening our tent stakes.”

I have long ago lost count of the number of times I have used that imagery.  It especially speaks to people who tend to think their “tents” (translation:  lives) are anchored in concrete.

If your heart’s still lost somewhere on Walton’s Mountain or you’re still imagining working at that same location until you’re shipped off to the retirement home you may need to wake up for this one.  We’re not just living in a mobile society.  We’re living in a changing one.

Fact is, you may actually be less mobile and still have multiple changes.  As of this year I have lived in Lubbock, Texas longer than anywhere in my life – 16 years.  But I’ve drawn paychecks from 16 different places.  Not all full-time, of course. But the point is, many of those had to do with changes that were handed to me that I didn’t ask for.  And not all of them involved leaving a place of employment. [click to continue…]

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Do you believe that God has a plan for everybody’s life?  Do you believe that He wants you to know what that plan is?

Ask the average believer and he or she will probably answer, “of course.”  The idea that God has a plan for our lives is right up there with the idea that we have a guardian angel and God wants us to go do heaven.

Ask Henry Blackaby, however, and he’ll probably tell you something different.  The esteemed author of Experiencing God says we get it backwards.  It’s not that God has a plan for my life… it’s that God has a plan, period.  And our task is to align ourselves with God’s plan for the world.

Point taken.  That doesn’t change the fact, however, that those whose hearts are turned toward God have a sincere desire to please Him, and to have confidence that they are following in a path He wants the to follow.

So… back to the question someone asked – How do you know when you’re doing God’s will?  Let me suggest three guideposts you can use to evaluate your life in light of God’s will for you. [click to continue…]

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Q – I am really backsliding in my relationship with God and I’m not really worshipping like I used to. What should I do? Please help.

There is more to life than trusting Christ as your Savior and waiting to die so you can show up in heaven.  He has designed a journey of growth, love, and intimacy that allows you to make choices today that will serve you in this life (the future) and the next (your eternal home in heaven).  It’s also possible, however, that you can waste your life and its opportunities for intimacy with the Lord.  That’s the basis of this question.

Every believer deals with this issue – what to do when we find ourselves drifting away from that connection with the Lord.  If somebody gave merit badges or degrees in this, I’d be at the front of the line!  Here are some things I have found to be helpful in reconnecting my life with God, reordering my priorities, and renewing my spiritual life. [click to continue…]

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Faithful: A Scripture Symphony

by Andy Wood on September 6, 2012

in Since You Asked

(Q – What is a good verse for staying faithful?
A – Here is a mashup of several…)

Help, Lord, for the godly are no more;
the faithful have vanished from among men.

I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his house, and he will minister before My anointed one always.

The Lord my God is God; You are the faithful God, keeping Your covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love You and keep Your commands.

Love the Lord, all his saints!
The Lord preserves the faithful,
but the proud He pays back in full.

You are the Rock, Your works are perfect,
and all Your ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just.

All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
for those who keep the demands of his covenant. [click to continue…]

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Callie has been seeking the Lord a lot lately.  That’s because not very many people are seeking Callie, and the loneliness hurts.  Badly.  Truth be told, Callie sometimes seeks the Lord to give Him a piece of her mind.  But she has developed the kind of relationship with God where that level of honesty is common.

Callie believes.  But her faith is being tested, almost as much as Stephen’s.

Stephen feels as though he’s two steps past the edge of the ledge, and “all” he has to stand on is the promises of God.  But Stephen wants more.  He wants some evidence – a little sight to go with his faith.  He’s willing to do anything for God, but he wants to know exactly what that “anything” is, and feels terribly insecure in the face of an unclear future.

Stephen believes.  But his faith is being tested, almost as much as John and Julie. [click to continue…]

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Q – Can you please define righteous anger as opposed to sinful anger? How do I handle it?

What?  There’s a such thing as righteous anger?

Nooooo.

In my head and my Bible, I knew better.  But for years emotionally I dismissed all anger as inherently sinful.  After all, when it’s described with words like “bitterness,” “wrath,” “malice,” “evil speaking” and the like, where’s the “righteous” in that?

I also spent many years feeling guilty for feeling or acting angry.  Know why?  Because I was guilty.

I learned a long time ago that when somebody spews, “I have a right to be angry,” they don’t know much about rights – which Christ-followers surrender completely at the point of salvation.  And there’s little chance that they’re describing righteous anger, either. [click to continue…]

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Q – What do you recommend in scripture or prayer to help someone get released (& peace) from the bondage of low self esteem related to body image and eating disorders?

A – Try this scripture mashup. For an even stronger experience, try reading it out loud.

+++++++

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know me, O Lord;
You see me;
And You examine my heart’s attitude toward You.

I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You have taken account of my wanderings;
Put my tears in Your bottle.
Are they not in Your book?

I know your sitting down,
And your going out and your coming in, [click to continue…]

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In my job I encounter a lot of difficult people in situations. I’m having a hard time seeing them in God’s eyes, so how do you love unlovable people?

Well, you’re already a step ahead of most people because you used the word “love” as a verb.  The reason most people have trouble loving difficult people is because to them “love” has something to do with a feeling, and they’re waiting around for the feelings to change.  All the while Stanley Steamroller is still on a roll right over you, or Oliver Obnoxious is still giving you all the reasons you should feel inferior.

Grrrrrr.  God loves you… but He doesn’t have to put up with you every day.

Can you imagine what it would be like to be on the other end of a frustrated phone call all day, every day?  Or to work at a Customer Service counter where, no matter who shows up, there’s a problem and they aren’t happy about it?

Can you imagine being a server in a busy restaurant on Sunday when the after-church crowd comes rolling in?

Oh.  Then there’s the bosses.  The coworkers.  The neglected or needy friends.  The family member.  And those are supposed to be for you!  I remember one place I used to live.  I didn’t have any enemies that I knew of.  My friends made me want to leave town.

How do you feel love for people like that?

Another problem with loving difficult people is that we tend to wait until we’re face-to-face with them before we head to the love dispenser.  By then it’s too late. [click to continue…]

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Promise.  It’s one of the most charming words in the English language.

Do you realize that so much of what we experience, of what we know about God, of our spiritual maturity, and of our success or failure in the Christian life has something to do with how we respond to the promises of God?  Peter says, “And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires” (2 Peter 1:4).

But what do you do when you are standing on the promises and it doesn’t turn out like you expected?

What do you do when you wait on the Lord, and all you get in return is more waiting?

What do you do when you know – you know you’ve heard from the Lord about a specific situation, and it just doesn’t happen?

In short, what do you do when you’re disappointed with God? [click to continue…]

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(Today I’m starting a new category called, “since you asked.”  It will field your questions on whatever level you wish to ask – all viewed through a LifeVesting lens.  To submit a question click the “Have a Question?” link above.)

A friend is getting ready to launch a job search, and sent me an extremely relevant question.  His school offers a class in putting together a resume, but nothing about writing a cover letter.  Did I have any advice?

Uh huh.  Believe I do.

(Rule #1 – Never use “uh huh” in a cover letter.)

If you’re a complete stranger, your cover letter can carry as much weight, if not more, than the actual resume.  It can make you rise to the top of the applicant pool or send your professional-looking stuff to the circular file.

I’ve seen this on both ends, as an employer and as an applicant.  A few years ago we conducted a nationwide search to fill two church staff positions.  As you might expect we got a ton of resumes and either cover letters or email messages.  A lot of my thoughts came from that experience of what drew our attention and what turned us off.  We learned as much from the cover letters/emails as we did the resumes. [click to continue…]

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