Live Long & Prosper

Have you ever wondered, “How do I have a prosperous and long life?” Ephesians 6:2 gives us a key. Honor your mother and father and things will go well. Why honor? We honor because of the position. Parents may not necessarily deserve honor, but we are commanded to honor unconditionally, just because they hold the position of parent in our life. The position is designated for honor, so we have no excuse. So, how do we honor our parents through the course of our life?

As a child, we honor by obeying. We do what they ask and follow our parent’s instructions - willfully, cheerfully and immediately. I call this first-time obedience. God has ordained three authorities according to Scripture, home, church, and government. When we learn how to respond and relate to those in authority as a young person, it helps us throughout life. As a teenager, respect is valuable in showing honor. In Leviticus 19:3, God commands us to show great respect to our father and mother. It says nothing here about making an exception if they are flawed and imperfect. Forgive them for their imperfections, the good, the bad, and the ugly and treat them with respect. Another way is by listening to your parents. This proves your intelligence according to Proverbs 13:1. Foolish children do their own thing and go their own way. God gave you parents for a purpose, to help you become the person you were meant to be. Proverbs 6:20 says to obey your father’s commands is the path to life. But what if I am an adult? How do I show honor to my parents at this stage of life? Appreciate them. Appreciate your parents for their effort. They put up with you they whole time you were growing up. Appreciate them for their sacrifice. They went without things in order to raise you! Parenting is expensive. It's an unselfish decision to be a parent. Prov 23:25 says to give your father and mother joy. May she who gave you life be happy. Learn to value your parents and acknowledge that you understand that they've impacted you. Stay in touch with them. Call them and visit them. Provide for them as your roles are reversed.

God valued the honor of parents so much that he included it in His first, most basic and most important commandments, right up there with “don't murder” and “don’t commit adultery”. It's an important commandment with a promise for long life and prosperity. In fact, it is so important to honor your parents that even as Jesus was crucified and dying after a beating beyond imagination, He took time to make sure His own mother was cared for. He made seven statements while He was on the cross and one of them was to commission John to care for His mother Mary. Honor and care of His mother was that important. I Timothy 5:8 says that if anyone doesn't take care of his own relatives, especially his immediate family, that he has denied his Christian faith and he is worse than an unbeliever. We honor God when we honor our parents. Love is spelled t_i_m_e. Give your parents time. Show up. Call. Write. Text. Make time for them, to honor them and ultimately to honor God.

I know some are in a situation where parents were abusive or absent. What should you do if your parents hurt you? Face it and deal with it, so you can get on with your life. If you're carrying unfinished business, unforgiveness and hurt, you need to deal with it so those emotions don't surface and result in hurt of your own spouse and children, friends and family. Release the anger. Let it go and be healed. Forgive. Stop hiding. Stop blaming. Find a good counselor. Talk to your parents about how you feel if possible. Do the work necessary so you can move on with your life. Stop the cycle so it doesn't affect the generations that follow. Only God can heal you but it starts by facing the issues instead of pretending to be ok. Were you abandoned? Psalm 27:10 promises that the Lord Himself will take care of you. He never leaves you. You can turn to Him at any time. There is no indication in Scripture that we ever grow out of the command to honor our father and mother. And just as there is no end to the command, there is no expiration of the attached promise, that if you do this, it will go well with you. You will live long and prosper. Take God at His word and you will be blessed.

Talk About Trust

Talk About Trust

Today, I want to talk to you about trusting the process. Do you have kids? Things change rapidly with kids. Sometimes it feels like you are in a place where nothing will ever change. You have a two year old that throws a fit about everything. But give it two weeks. Things will change. Maybe you have an eight year old who is so enjoyably pleasant and cooperative. But…give it two weeks! Things WILL change. Life can be crazy. Sometimes we fight the process. We kick against the goads I’ve heard it said. But we need to trust the process. 

Trust is being able to have a sense of security and confidence when dealing with someone. For instance, I trust the team I work with. We’ve built trust together. We’ve supported each other and helped each other; we’ve prayed for each other and celebrated together. We’ve learned together and we are growing together.Trust is built by having the ability to predict that someone will act in a specific way and be dependable. When you have walked through life together, you learn what to expect from those you are walking through life with. 

As a young father, I have seen my two year old take a flying leap off his changing table, fully confident I will catch him. However, my eight year old has more experience. She is not as trusting. She wants to fly with all abandon like her little brother, but she will ask me to get closer and closer until she can touch my shoulder and then gently shifts her weight into my arms. Do you believe God is aware enough and strong enough to catch you when you leap? Maybe you hesitate to jump. It takes guts. Are you an entrepreneur? I admire you! Do you believe God will catch you? Maybe you will jump when you can feel God’s hand on you, when you feel God is closer.God will catch you, every time. 

There is a story in Judges 6 about a man named Gideon who began to trust God and then became trustworthy of God. It is a story of Gideon vs the vast army of the Ammonites. Gideon was desperate. The Israelites were on a downward spiral of sin. They would turn their backs on God, begin to sin and would lose the blessings and covering of God. Then they would repent, begin walking again with God, get comfortable in His protection, and then get lax and begin sinning again. In this passage, we find Gideon in this pit, desperate and poverty stricken. An angel shows up and calls him a mighty warrior. He tells Gideon that the Lord is with him! Gideon wasn’t sure he could trust this word because his people were in such dire need. Gideon had to learn to trust the process and do things God’s way. 

You know in your own heart if you trust God. There was a battle in Gideon’s life in addition to the battle with the armies of the Ammonites. Gideon had a battle within. He had to learn to trust God. He tested God but then, God tested him. Gideon amassed an army of 32,000 but God told him to send 22,000 home. God tested Gideon again until Gideon was left with 300. 

Have you ever had a fight, been right, but oh sooooo wrong in the “process”?When we do things on our own, we’re not under the protection of the process.I always have to ask myself two questions when I'm in a fight. Is this worth it? And who will I be at the end of this fight?Gideon’s army won the battle because they did it God’s way. If they had done it in their own strength, they likely would have died, we would not be telling this story, and God would have gotten none of the glory. 

When you trust the process, God’s power moves. God will take you step by step.The first step is to take the first step. A good friend of mine says, “Just start.” As we step out, God’sword is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105).Ask the Lord. He will speak to you. His word is alive and active, working on your behalf. The Word, for those who will work the Word. He will direct you. Confirm things through God and His Word. Trust the process. You know where you are supposed to go. Go to God first. 

A process is a series of actions or changes and if you want your tomorrow to look different from your today, you are going to have to do something today to make your tomorrow different.Take a step in the process. It’s not easy but it’s fruitful. Enjoy the process and endure the process. Romans 5:3-5 describes how it will go, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

I believe many people in the church are here to learn, work on themselves and move past the hurdles that once stopped them from accomplishing all that God has for them. But if you quit the process, you won’t see the end results.Don’t run when things get hard, press in for your future, press in for your breakthrough. Who do you want to be on the other side? God will create you into something new if you trust the process. God is working, speaking and moving. Let His Word work in you. 

Have you ever known someone who transformed themselves physically, began working out and bulked up so they looked like a different person? They have trusted the process. It’s not easy. And it won’t impact everyone the same way. But people who follow the process will get stronger and see their body be able to do things it has not been able to do before. The goal is to be a better version of yourself. The same goes for spiritual growth and strength. As you commit to discipline, to the Word and to relationships with others who can challenge you in your faith, you will become a better version of your spiritual self. In fact, we can use this process of growth and discipline in all we do - marriage, work, parenting, etc.  

Gideon would have lost the battle even with 32,000 men. But God said to trust the process. He said to do it His way. Blow the horn. Crack the pots. Watch the flame, the fire of God. The enemy was so distraught that they killed themselves. Start with worship each day. Incorporate prayer & praise. Read, study and meditate on God’s Word. Get in the Presence of God. Life needs God. It’s never going to be easy. But choose to grow in an upward spiral. Take steps toward God. 

You may not be where you want to be, but if you look back, you’re not the same person that you once were. Take a deep breath and smile, God’s not done with you! It was a process for you to read this today. Maybe someone showed you this blog or told you about Motor City Church. Maybe they prayed for you. Trust the process. Are you stuck? Pray for breakthrough and vision.Dreams are Free!Get full of God. Trust the process.