Accountability

We exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.  1 Thessalonians 2:12

Who do you keep accountable?  But more importantly, who keeps you accountable?

accountability-2All of us like to hold other people accountable rather it is at work, home, or as a volunteer in an organization.  But what about ourselves.  Who holds us accountable to ensure that we walk in a manner worthy of God?  We need someone in our lives that will ask us the hard questions?  Questions about your spiritual life, home life, and work life.  Questions about problems that have consumed your thoughts.  I know that I do.

It is good to have someone you can talk with as they challenge you with your walk with Christ.  To ensure there is nothing in your life that will prevent you from growing in Christ.  One of the concerns of the traditional church is that we have grown accustomed to doing our life on our own.

We don’t like it when others question us.  But the scripture tells us that we should confess our sins to one another.  Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” – James 5:16.

I have recently asked someone to be my ‘Paul’, someone who will pour their life into me and hold me accountable.  Asking me the hard questions.  If you don’t have someone, I would encourage you to find someone.

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Who Are You To Be Used By God?

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” – Exodus 3:11

In my reading today I read a scripture that I have read many times in the 45 years of being a Christ Follower.  But as I read this verse today for some reason I was stopped in my tracks, so to speak.  Those words, ‘Who am I that I should go?’

who-am-iWho am I?  Well, I am a husband, a Dad, a brother, a son, a friend to others, a teacher, a leader in ministry.  But what is this question really asking?  Is it asking about my character?  About my attitude?  What kind of work I do?  I don’t think so.  I think it goes much deeper.

Moses was responding as most of us do feeling as if he was a nobody.  But look at who God uses.  King Saul was a man helping his father on the farm, looking for his dad’s donkeys when God chose him to be the first king of Israel.  David was a shepherd boy on his dad’s farm when God chose him to be the second king of Israel.  Nehemiah was a cupbearer for the king of Persia when God gave him the burden to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.  Peter, James, and John were fishermen when Jesus called them to follow him.  Matthew was a tax collector.

And we could go on.  The woman at the well didn’t have a good reputation yet God used her to become a missionary in her Samaritan town.  Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho when God used her to rescue the Israelite spies and she become an ancestor to Jesus.

So who are you?  You are a creation of God.  He created you for a purpose.  Never think of yourself as someone that can never make a difference.  Yes, you may never be famous and you may never have your story told in a way that will last for centuries – even a couple of millenniums.   But you can make a difference.

What is the burden God has placed on your heart.  Has that developed into a passion.  This may be what God is wanting you to do.  To reach out and make a difference and bring glory to His name through the work He is moving you towards.  Don’t deny it.  Don’t say ‘Who am I that I should go?!’

The Devil Made Me do It!

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.  The LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?”  Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”  And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”  Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason?  Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side?  You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.  But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.”  And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. – Job 1:6-12

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat,
but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” – Luke 22:31-32a

flip-wilsonIf you are old enough (and you are telling your age if your do) you probably remember the comedian Flip Wilson and his famous saying, “The devil may me do it!”  It would always be after he did something he shouldn’t and we all would laugh at his attics and then he would say his catchphrase.  Though he was joking I think we all in the back of our minds believed that the reason we do things we shouldn’t is because ‘The devil made me do it.’

Well, scriptures teach us a different story.  Though Satan may entice us to do things, he cannot unless God allows him to.  The two scriptures cited above gives us examples.  One is of the man Job who was blessed and considered righteous before God.  The other, Peter, was part of Jesus’ inner circle who Jesus was pouring His life into and would later have a profound affect on the world.

One, God allowed for Satan to bring hardship to and the other Jesus said he prayed that his faith would not fail.  We know how it turned out for both men in their near future.

But there is one scripture we can rest assure of when it comes to personal temptation that God may allow to come our way.  That is 1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 

temptation-escapeGod WILL provide a way of escape for you every time.  It’s right there.  When things are going wrong like they did with Job and he could have cursed God as his wife encouraged him, God WILL provide a way to escape so you can glorify God.  When you are confronted as Peter would be about his relationship with Jesus later that night, God Will give you the strength to say the right thing so you can glorify God.

Three things we can take from 1 Corinthians 10:13;

  1. There is no temptation that will come to you that others have not had to face.
  2. God will not allow you to be tempted beyond your limit.
  3. God will provide a way of escape so you can endure.  You just have to look for it. Could be nothing more than walking away.

Memorize this verse.  The next time you feel Satan pressuring you, don’t say ‘The devil made me do it!’  Just quote this verse and look for the escape route.  It will be there.

God’s Creation in the Woods

Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!  So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.  All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.”  Selah.  Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.  He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot.  There did we rejoice in him, who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations. – Psalm 66:3-7

Living off the beaten path allows us to see all kinds of wild life.  The other evening when I was leaving the property I had to stop to allow five deer to move off the road.  One decided he wanted to play chicken with me but apparently decided I was bigger.  When he turned and leaped back into the woods so did they all.

One morning I got up and looked out the back door and there sitting on the fence and on the ground close by were about 20 wild turkeys.  When I open the slider to the deck they were spooked and took off into the woods.  Yes, wild turkeys can fly a short distance.

hawkThere is a couple of Hawks that have made our property home and we see them sitting in the trees, light poles, and my wife actually found one sitting on the railing of our front porch one morning.  They are very attentive as they watch the area for any object that may be dinner or cause them harm.  Their heads are always turning looking.

We see the stars and moon in all their brilliance as we have very little light invasion from the local community.  Looking up into the night sky we can occasionally see the ISS streak by and we have some of the most vibrant colors during sunset.

All of this reminds me of God’s creation and how it all sings His praises and brings glory to His name.  Even when we stay silent, nature is still crying out to God of His magnificence.  All of creation brings Glory to God.  Even the hawks as they watch the land reminds me of how God watches us.  No matter what is happening in ourr lives he is always watching.

I thank God this morning as I start my day for his ever watching eye. – Mike