Do Your Best?


effort-boulderIt wasn’t too long ago that I rejected the notion that you had to do your best in order for God to do the rest. Basically, I was reacting to the idea that God was somehow limited in helping people according to what people did or didn’t do. The phrase certainly isn’t found anywhere in the Bible. However, the more I considered it, the more I recognized that we have also a responsibility in getting our prayers answered. We aren’t our own source of blessings for sure, but we do play a part in the equation. It seems it is not natural nor does it fit within the reality of living life to think that we simply offer up prayers and then expect God to deliver what we need with no efforts on our part. And while “best” is certainly a subjective term, we do have some responsibility in pursuing the answers and results that we need. Do we need to do our best for God to meet our need or is it rather that we need to apply the necessary actions in accordance with what we are believing for God to do for us?

I’m sure you are all familiar with, “the secret” which proclaimed that all we needed to do to get our needs met was to manifest it in our thinking first. And while there is definitely some truth blended in there, functioning purely in this manner would seem to work against the laws God has already established. Results do not fall from heaven anymore than crops can appear without first sowing seed and then cultivating them. With God, there is always an expectation of effort on our part to acquire something we need. What God has promised in His Word is always there for us, but we need to expend the effort to find it. Our efforts do not produce it as that is God’s job, but our efforts are required to receive it. Sitting at home praying and praying for something doesn’t generally work well unless what we are praying for is beyond our human capability. God does not expect us to figure out how to heal ourselves, but he does expect us to pursue the solutions. Maybe we have to go to the doctor. Maybe there is something in our lifestyle that is causing us difficulties. Maybe there is another cause we have not yet considered. Thus naturally we go to God in prayer and then in our pursuit of good health, we listen to what He is teaching us and showing us. Similarly, praying to win the lottery or stumble across a fortune doesn’t produce results either. It’s like supplying your child with a hundred toys then being amazed that they play with the boxes instead. Too much too soon tends to overwhelm and not meet the need. God supplies what you can handle when you can handle it. You still have to do your part in order to get your needs met; in order to receive it.

Life requires effort. There is no realm of success or prosperity that does not involve effort. You are where you are that you may learn and that you may grow. If you do not have enough there is a way to get more but that way demands effort. Shirking your work on the grounds that your employer does not pay you enough violates principle. Good work, noble work, effort supplied to be the best and do your best cannot help but be rewarded. The reason someone is your boss is because they have supplied some effort as has their boss and their boss and so on. There is no limit to what you can do or what you can be if you will supply the effort. There will always be those who have manipulated and done wrong to get ahead, but those folks are almost always found out eventually. Praying to God to meet your needs is always the first step, but you must learn how to cooperate with Him to get what you want. If you believe God is doing something to help you, then you will naturally be doing things to find what He has promised you. In order to get a new job, you first have to apply for the job. Even then, you have to learn to leverage your skills to meet the requirements of the job. People don’t owe you anything in this regard. Praying and praying for a new job won’t alleviate you of this responsibility. But, when you are sincere in your effort and committed to get an outcome that God has promised you, you will find that God is always able to do exceeding abundantly above all that you ask or can even conceive. I should add that God is never making things harder for you or teaching you tough life lessons. Nor is He dragging you through hardships in order to make you a better person. That is not how God works at all. Instead He is endeavoring to teach you and lead you through the hardships you are facing in order for you to learn how to best live and enjoy life. God does need the working of evil to help you get better. God simply works with you where you are and can be counted on to remedy every hardship you have ever experienced with his endless love and compassion. Do your part and let Him do His part.

If you think about it, those things that are most important to you are always backed by effort on your part. If your child becomes ill, you will scourge heaven and earth for the solution. You would not function haphazardly nor would you apply minimal effort. I would surmise that you would not stop seeking and pursuing until you found the answer and if you could not find an answer would petition God the more. The same holds true for our lives. If it is important to you and matters very much, you will continue to pursue it until you find it. If it doesn’t matter much or you can take it or leave it, your efforts in this regard will match. God is always willing to help you. Your life is important to Him. What you need He wants you to have. God is never the hold-back ever. People that teach that God is withholding blessings from you or punishing you for past behaviors, do not know God. God wills that all men be made whole and come to a knowledge of the truth. God is more anxious to solve your dilemma than you are for Him to do it. The problem is usually found in the things we believe that aren’t true or else the lack of believing effort we supply towards our solutions. You and I have to supply our best efforts. We have to become very clear about what we need and then become very concerned about receiving it. When we apply that combination we find God’s solutions fairly quickly. God heard you the first time you prayed it! Do your best.

I’m still not sure if we have to supply our best for God to do the rest, but I am sure that we have to apply some effort to get the job done. What is it that you need or have been pining away for, for such a long time? What do you need in order to make your life complete? Don’t spend another moment waiting on God as God is waiting on you. Take action, any action! Do something. Get real serious about getting your need met and don’t leave anything to fate or chance. God wills for you to have what you need today. Get after it my friends. Do your best…

Just some good thoughts…

The Real Deal


WorldReligions-164107922-c72cce704d4d4521962046df4fa8ce3fI think all people have that little inkling inside that softly urges them towards finding out about spiritual realities. We have all sort of heard of God and maybe have some questions about who He is and why things happen the way they do. Unfortunately, when you begin your quest, you realize that there are so many choices out there to consider; all of them claiming to have a corner on the truth. So, you try this one and check that one. You go to your friend’s church, your parent’s church; try an online thing and maybe do some additional reading. The more you search the more you realize that each group claims to be right and has some shade to throw on the other groups. Assuming you are sincere in your quest, how would you know? How can you be sure you are making a good choice and not something that leads you down the road of heretical tyranny? Lord knows we have all heard of cults that start good then end dreadfully bad. Of course we have the Bible which seems like the logical place to start, but other folks have their own bibles as well, some as reported additions, others as completely separate works. Again, how could you possibly know? Well, I think there is one thing that all the counterfeits have in common and one thing that points you to the truth. The real deal is the truth and there is only one truth.

If you think about it, this whole notion that there are many ways to get to Ohio and it doesn’t matter which way you go as long as you get to Ohio, is fraught with flaws and errors. In other words, if your goal is to go to heaven and live forever, does it really matter which way you go as long as you get there? Well, it seems like the answer would be no if you ended up there anyway. But, would you end up there? Is it not possible that you are believing a bunch of stuff and doing a bunch of stuff to arrive at destination heaven that have nothing at all to do with getting to heaven? What if you find yourself caught up on some treadmill of required works to please God that have nothing to do with pleasing God? Imagine devoting your life and heart to some way of being only to find out that it wasn’t necessary at all? You know what I mean. Some of you aren’t eating meat. Some of you refuse to eat foods considered unclean in the Old Testament. Some of you abstain from alcohol. Some of you think sex is reserved for procreation and should be avoided whenever possible. Some of you believe you cannot expose certain parts of your body and on and on and on. The list; the requirements are endless. How can you possibly know? How can you be sure you are on the right track? How can you be sure what you believe is the real deal?

Delving a little deeper, it seems as if there is an absolute referred to as the truth, that there could only be one truth. The truth is the truth and it cannot contradict itself. There is one truth and accordingly the rest cannot be the truth and must be error. If you have the truth, why would you need additional truths or alternate truths? 3 x 5 equals 15 no matter how you want to slice it. Life would turn into chaos if the truth had many other faces and those facades did not agree with one another. It is not limited or ignorant to believe there is one way to go. There is one God and one truth and one correct way to believe. This false notion that there are many different ways to arrive at the same place has confused mankind for centuries. I have found there is one surefire method to help you determine if what you are believing is based on the truth or on error. There is one acid test you may apply in every situation. That test either points you to God the Creator of the heavens and the earth or it points you back to yourself. All counterfeit truth points you to yourself and what you do right and what you do wrong. The subject of religion is not God, it is you. The focus is always on what man does; what man says; what man thinks and not what God does, says or thinks. The real deal is God and the counterfeit deal is man’s ideas.

Whenever and wherever you find yourself in a group or an ideology or a church where the focus is you and what you do or don’t do, that place will always be wrong. The focus of Christianity will always, always be what God does (and did) and not on what man does (or did). The truth focuses on our Savior, Jesus Christ and what he did for us. Religion focuses on where you are not right with God; works you must do to make yourself right with God and whatever else they can come up with to keep you in perpetual bondage and condemnation. Look, I aint mad at your church and I aint coming at your belief system. What I’m opposed to are these options and ideas that aren’t helping you or leading you to anything good. The undeniable acid test is the subject of focus. What is the subject of focus? You know yourself well enough and I know myself well enough to be confident of one thing. If my ability to get to heaven, to know the truth, to experience goodness and blessings is dependent upon me, then I am in serious trouble (and so are you). You cannot get there on your own no matter what you do or don’t do. The more you focus on yourself, the more imperfection you will find. You cannot clean yourself up no matter how much discipline and  effort you supply. Only the Savior can clean you up and he did it for you before you were even born! The real deal is what God did for us, not what we do for God.

Look, ask yourself the question. That group you fellowship with, those folks you hang out with, that leader you have been faithfully following, do they lead your focus towards God and what He does and will do or do they lead your focus back to yourself and whatever it is that is wrong with you. Are you the subject? Are you the focus? Is there so much more you must do in order to finally please God? If so the chances are you are on the wrong track. People mean well, God bless them, but sometimes what they say and promote as true isn’t true at all. You cannot earn God’s goodness and you cannot earn your way to heaven no matter how hard you try. All of God’s goodness and blessings come to you when you believe what He did for you and not by what you must do for Him. The Savior (our Savior) died for you so you would not have to live that way any longer. Turn your focus away from yourself and your inadequacies and back to God and His perfection. There is only one way to go and that way leads to God and God alone. God is the real deal…

Just some good thoughts…