God Is For You!

"If God is for us, then who is against us?" Paul may grammatically be asking a question in Romans 8:31, but the truth is, he is actually making a very strong, factual statement. "God IS for us, so no one can be against us!" Here's another way to say it: "God is for us, so nothing else matters!" When you get this deep down in your spirit, something happens. You begin to understand just how significant you are to Him! And, my friend, nothing will ever change that!

During one of my visits to India I remember taking a taxi to the airport one evening to fly back to the States. We were traveling through the city of Hyderabad, making our way to the airport. The streets of the city were extremely crowded with people. This is the norm for the cities of India. Not only were there many people, but the streets were crowded with all sorts of vehicles such as bicycles, auto-rickshaws, motorcycles, buses, cars, tractors, and man-powered rickshaws.

At one point traffic came to a stand-still. As we were waiting for the traffic to begin moving again, I happened to glance over to the left side of the street and see a little elderly lady sitting on the curb. She looked frail and at the same time hardened. She was an untouchable. By cultural standards, she had absolutely no significance in society. She obviously was homeless, and about to settle down on the street for the night.

I thought to myself, "If this little lady died on the streets tonight in this vast city, no one would even know it - no one!" Immediately the Holy Spirit spoke to me, "I would!" He showed me that this poor, frail, untouchable lady was as significant to Him as any human being that has ever lived. He showed me that before she was even conceived, He had a plan for her. If she had been the only human on earth, Jesus still would have come and died for her. Listen carefully, you are just as significant! How do I know this? Because the Bible declares that God is for you! God is NOT against you. People can be against you. The world can be against you. Even circumstances can be formed against you. But if God is for you (and He is), nothing else matters.

According to Romans 8:29-30 your ARE foreknown and predestined to become conformed to the image of His very own Son, Jesus Christ! As He is...so are you in this world! (See 1 John 4:17) Romans 8:29-30 goes on to say that not only are you predestined, you are called, justified, and glorified!

He loves you with an everlasting love, even when you don't know it. And the greatest thing that could happen to you, me, or any of us is discovering that love. Because God loves you so much, nothing else matters! Not what they say. Not what people do. Not whether or not they receive you or accept you. His love is first and foremost all that matters. When you receive His love, then, and only then can you love others, even when they don't love you!

What are you facing at this moment in your life? What is moving against you? It is not nearly as significant as you think. Why? Because God is for you, not against you! Right now start dwelling on who and what God is in your life. He is Savior, the God of all creation, and, He is for you, not against you! If He is for you (and again, He is), then nothing else is significant. Nothing else matters! That's the truth.

Don't Rush Them In, And Rush Them Out! (Part 1)

Years ago I was extremely blessed with an all-expenses paid trip to Saudi Arabia for two months! The whole thing was courtesy of the United States Air Force! The truth is that this assignment literally changed my life!

We worked 12 hour shifts, 6 days a week. We enjoyed one day off per week. Shortly after I arrived, I discovered that an international worship service was held just outside the city of Riyadh, not too far from the Hotel in which we stayed. The really, really neat thing was that this service was held on the very same day of my assigned day off!

The service was held in someone's apartment, in a large company compound. In Saudi Arabia at the time there were large living compounds established by the various oil and airline companies. These compounds were like small towns that housed various company employees. People from all over the world lived in these compounds. As a result, the worship service was truly an international meeting. I met people from India, Pakistan, Britain, Germany, the U.S., and other nations of the world. The service was conducted in English, but everyone spoke with an accent. It was very cool! Again, this was in someone's rather large apartment.

We arrived at our first service in time to meet some new friends and hang out with them. But it was the actual service that changed my life.

When the service started, the leader of the group broke out into song while playing the acoustic guitar. That was it. No more singers nor musicians. The worship was amazing. Just the sight and sound of all these folks from different parts of the planet stirred my heart immensely. The people sang and sang and sang. They worshiped openly. There was no rush to "get through the music" to the rest of the service. There were times when we were simply silent before the Lord. Words of prophecy came forth. Gifts of the Holy Spirit were manifested. Truly it was a life-changing experience for me.

As I was pondering this experience early this morning something significant occurred to me: When people are rushed in, and rushed out, they never experience the life-changing presence of the Holy Spirit. This produces a gathering that is mostly devoid of His presence. We all, out of love for the God who has forgiven us, want to honor Him, bless Him, and do what we can for Him. I believe almost every truly born again believer feels this way. But we must realize that without His tangible presence, the gathering is mostly man-made. Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to come into our midst and glorify Jesus. So in our planning, we must plan for Him. In our rehearsals we must plan for Him. In our preaching, we must plan for the presence of the Holy Spirit! Jesus said, "He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you." (John 16:14, Underline added.)

I do believe we should be somewhat time conscious in planning and conducting our services. But we should be more Holy Spirit conscious, so that when He desires to move spontaneously we have given Him the place to do so. Never forget, He can do more in just a few seconds when allowed, than we could ever plan or calculate to do in our concrete time-slots!

This experience occurred a good many years ago. But, as I said, it changed my life. As a result of that one single experience, God led me to become a worship leader, psalmist, pastor, teacher, and missionary pastor. More on that in a later post!

Next, I will talk about making a place for Him. He always comes where He is welcomed, and that is the difference.