Week of February 20, 2011
Being Guided like Jesus
When Jesus walked the earth, He followed God's guidance completely. The first people God created also initially followed God's guidance. Then they became disobedient from the selfishness of wanting to "be like God" and seeing the fruit God said not to eat was "pleasing" in appearance. When we deny what we want and ourselves, we are reverting back to the unselfish way God created us. Jesus teaches us that to get to heaven we need to do what God "wants", which may not always be what we want. One of the major examples of doing what God "wants" is that Jesus says everything He said and did is what God told Him to "say" and "do". Although some religious doctrines imply Jesus is just a pretend man without a human free will or a deception and was really God on earth, Jesus' statement to God after trying to avoid the unpleasant crucifixion "do what You want, not what I want" makes it very clear that Jesus had a free will and was making a human effort to do what God wants. Jesus tells us "He who believes in Me will do the same things that I do. He will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father". This is possible for all people who believe in Jesus. Normally this statement is understood to refer to miracles. It is possible that the statement could also apply to our doing what God wants just like Jesus did. Could we subordinate ourselves to the extent that everything we say and do is what God tells us? Most people are not interested in submitting to God to that extent and may prefer to stop reading now1.
If a person has a desire to follow Jesus' example and be totally submitted to God, a first step is to be willing to "give up the things they want. They must be willing to give up their lives daily to follow" Jesus. God complements that level of dedication during the revelation to John when He says, "they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid of death". To be that dedicated to God is admirable but not easy. First is to want to be that dedicated and then to be willing to say to yourself that you will be that dedicated. If you say or brag to others your willingness to die for God, denying your self may have just been defeated. To give up self or ego and focus on what God wants may be in part what Jesus is sharing when He says, "He who is in love with life will have it taken from him; and he who has no care for his life in this world will keep it for ever and ever". No one knows for sure how he or she will react when his or her life is threatened for following God or His son Jesus. If you want to be that dedicated and you tell yourself that you want to be that dedicated, then ask God (and subsequently thank God daily) for helping you to deny yourself and "guiding me in everything I think, say and do". Personal opinions, political thoughts, everything needs to be subordinated to what God wants. This is not easy and is not for everyone. Jesus says, "Everyone who has been given much will be responsible for much. Much more will be expected from the one who has been given more". Many times Jesus is recorded as going off to pray. To be totally submitted to God a person needs to consult God's guidance frequently. Remember as Jesus tells us, "God can do all things" 2. Recently a man at Tulsa University made the news by running a mile faster than 4 minutes, which only happened for the first time in history a few decades ago. Yet many centuries ago God "gave special strength to Elijah so that he was able to run ahead of Ahab's chariot to the entrance of the city!" This would be much faster than a 4-minute mile for a much longer distance. "With God, everything is possible" 3.
1. Ge 3:2-9 (NI); Mt 7:21; Jn 12:49; 14:31; Lk 22:42; Jn 14:12 (IC)
2. Lk 9:23; Rev 12:11(NC); Jn 12:25 (BB); Lk 12:48; Mt 19:26 (IC)
3. 1 Ki 18:44-46; Mt 19:26 (TL)
note: click here for bible verse and translation abbreviations
A Psalm for reflection "For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end." Ps 48:14 (NI)
Understanding the Teaching: What I share in the teaching is what I believe God wants me to share. All the direct quotes from God are highlighted in royal purple. Of course the words of Jesus are in red. Rather than follow some made up doctrine, remember that Jesus said that every thing He said (Jn 12:49) and everything He did (Jn 14:31) comes from God. All teachings and all opinions should be supported by what we learn from God or Jesus (see the scripture referred to in the footnote).
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MARRIAGE WORKSHOP MOMENT
To refresh what you have learned in our Workshop or entice you to experience our Workshop
"Remember, all marriages can be better, if you use what you learned."
In all marriages you have issues. Most marriages have money issues. Some may have issues of distrust or in-laws or sex, etc. Issues can represent on going subjects of disagreement in a marriage. Events are a surface happening that triggers an issue. For example, if money is tight and a bill comes (an event), it may trigger a disagreement, about the issue of money. Or if one person has issues of distrust and the other person comes home late (an event), this can trigger an argument. When an argument is triggered it is a good to call time out and use the Speaker Listener Technique in your discussion. In some marriages, people tell me this type of discussion is almost a daily occurrence. Instead of waiting for an event to trigger an argument, it is better to discuss issues in you weekly couples meeting. Then when an event happens, the issue may already be resolved.
The Better Half "When your partner won't support your efforts to make your marriage better" Without your spouse's support to improve your marriage, you can still pray daily for God's will to be done in each of your lives and your marriage ("all things are possible with God", Mark 10:27 NIV). The subject of an event triggering issues is more difficult when your partners will not work on the issue. You can help defuse volatile situations if during good times you bring up potentially volatile issues and try to resolve them when times are going good.
Note: if you have attended a previous Workshop, we encourage you to come for a refresher. The only difference is now you must call the day before (Saturday) to reserve your seat.
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