Archive for October, 2014

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Hello, i’m Dr. ed peterson the host of the me and I Am post and podcast. Today i’m going back to where this series of “Average” all begins, to the day where “when Jesus saw His ministry drawing huge crowds, He climbed a hillside. And those that were apprenticed to Him, the committed, (the not so average), climbed with Him. As they arrived at a (Purposed, Private) quiet place, He sat down and taught His climbing (not so average) companions. This is what He said:

minds“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

And there it is… Jesus says to His not “so average group,” You’re blessed when this is the way you live, when this is the way you think, when this is the way you talk and when this is the way you act and react with your lives. First He shares the when. “i’m blessed when i’m at the end of my rope.” Then the why. “With less of me there is more of God and His rule.”

Now the question for me is simply… is this a biography of my life? Do all the “when’s” look like what Jesus shares? my initial response is no… but i’m somewhere between, average, being how the general public deals with these things and blessed, how Jesus lays them out. Each one of those life situations that Jesus says i’m blessed with brings back a memory of how i reacted to that situation… and if my memory serves me right it was sometimes, less than blessed. But that’s okay… so long as i’m growing… INTENTIONALLY moving in the direction of being blessed more often than settling for average. i’m recalling the words of Jesus in the last post, from Matthew  7 somewhere around the 14th verse, The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention. To be vigorous and give total attention is not the average, as i’ve already shared.

fit inI think 2 Peter 1 verses 5 through 8 summarize todays thoughts perfectly for me. “So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus.”

Until next time live life Intentionally and “Be” Blessed!

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Hello I’m Dr. ed peterson the host of the me and I Am post and podcast. i’m sharing about my unwillingness to be called average and what the word says about what average looks like.

It’s time to see what Jesus describes as average and the flip side of NOT being average. Jesus is speaking in Matthew 7:13 (MSG). Don’t look for shortcuts to God.” Average people Shortcutlook for shortcuts to God. One example of how this speaks to me is regarding my quiet time, my alone time with God. While i can and do pray through-out the day, as i’m driving, working, shopping etc., i need to have some intentional time. Time where i PURPOSE to listen and pray, in a PRIVATE place free from distractions and while there is no magic amount of time to spend there, Jesus example was of a PROLONGED time. If I’m not going to be average then i’ll need Purposed, Private, Prolonged without any shortcuts time with God.  

Matthew 7:14 (MSG) “The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do.” Even though crowds of people do it. Even though the average person does it. Jesus is saying, life is not practiced in your spare time. Relationships are not practiced in my your time. Your words are not practiced in your spare time. my actions are not to be practiced in my spare time. Love is not practiced in my spare time. Jesus says, The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.” To be vigorous is to be strong, active, robust, energetic, forceful, powerful in action or effect. Jesus says, the way to ME requires total attention. Luke 6:45 (NIV) says, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” If i make take some liberty here by sharing what i’m hearing from this verse. A man who is not average brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an average man brings evil out of the evil stored in his heart. For the mouth speaks what both the average man and the not so average man’s heart is full of.

Matthew 7:15-20 “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned. Here are some words that pertain to everyone, average or not. Look for character! Who, and i’ll substitute people in place of just preachers are, is the main thing, not what they say! In this day and age it is difficult to find righteous men and women. Why? Because we are a people who settles for less. Out of comfort, complacency, convenience, laziness, and the reasons go on, we have way more knowledge than we do obedience. “When Jesus concluded his address, the crowd burst into applause. They had never heard teaching like this. It was apparent that he was living everything he was saying—quite a contrast to their religion teachers (the average teachers)! This was the best teaching they had ever heard.”

In closing Jesus shares why this should matter to me Matthew 7:21-25. ed, “Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands (average) strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here. These words I speak to you ed are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build your life on.”

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Welcome to the me and I Am post and podcast. i’m the host Dr. Ed Peterson. If this is your first time we’re in a series called “Average” and we’re looking at three chapters in the book of Matthew known as the Sermon on the mount.

Sand RockSo just a short recap. For years Ann Marie and i had a purpose statement for us to live by. One day while studying something else i felt led that it was an incorrect purpose, that while it sounded good it was wrongly worded. The original statement said “We live each day to apply the word to our lives, to our family and to others. On the surface it sounds like a noble undertaking. It sounds very spiritual right? So let me continue. i began an intense search for what could possibly be wrong with our purpose statement. Here’s briefly what i found. To apply the word to my life implies that my life is what is solid, unchanging, the foundation, that my life is the constant.

Despite our purpose statement, the only constant in our life was the fact that it was constantly changing or a better way of saying it is that it was constantly being tossed about by circumstances. i used to describe my life as a roller coaster filled with ups and downs. One moment a high and seconds later rapidly heading downward to a new low. It was grueling and while i questioned all of it i had no clue as to why it was that way so i  actually just accepted it as the plan God had for my life.

i couldn’t have been more wrong! Having a purpose statement for my life for anyone’s life is one of the best things anyone can do. ”ll see if i can come back to that later. As i said i began an intense search for what could be wrong, but more specifically, if this statement is wrong then what should it be to be right? The simplest way for me to explain this is to share the corrected purpose statement. “We live each day to apply our live’s to the word, in our family and in others.” Did you catch that? i live each day to apply my life to the word, not the word to my life. The word never changes. It’s the constant! You’re asking, “does that mean that your life is no longer a roller coaster? Exactly! But that doesn’t mean the opportunity to get on that roller coaster doesn’t exist. And… if i do decide to get on the roller coaster, i’m on it for the purpose of the ride, the thrill, not the dread of the up’s and downs. my preference is to stay away from roller coasters, both spiritually and physically.

my first purpose statement was like trying to catch a plane that was already on the run-way, or often like trying to catch a plane already in the air. The current purpose statement is the plane setting at the gate waiting for me to get onboard. i booked a ticket to an intentional place where i desired to go.  i paid for it, i packed my bags for the trip, i checked in on-line,  printed out my boarding pass and i arrive at the gate without any stress. .

in summary the idea of applying the word to my life, while sounding good, is average. “And many are those who are entering through it.(the wide gate) (trying to apply the word to their lives) everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a stupid (foolish) man who built his house upon the sand (upon themselves). And the rain fell and the floods came (trials) and the winds blew (circumstances) and beat against that house (my life), and it fell (was over-whelmed)—and great and complete was the fall (panic, stress, fear, calamity, drama) of it. AVERAGE!

That’s not a judgment it’s the truth. Hardly a day goes by when someone doesn’t share about how difficult their life is and i understand because i’ve been there and let me say this, i still find myself there once in a while. It happens when i forget my purpose, when i forget my WHY.

Or i can choose differently. “Enter through the narrow gate; “But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed (intentional) that leads away to life, and few are those who find it. So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts upon them [obeying them] will be like a sensible (prudent, practical, wise) man who built his house upon the rock (anything but average). And the rain fell (trials, circumstance) and the floods (disappointments, hurts, doubts) came and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, WHY? Because it had been founded on the rock (on the WORD not my life).

Until next time be blessed and live intentionally… average or not average?

 

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Hello my name is Dr. ed peterson and i’m the host of the me and I Am post and podcast. i’m currently sharing about “Average.” Recently i shared about my new job in a call center. For the first time they posted our call numbers. The number at the top of the page was 98. That’s 98 calls for… not me. Then i saw 86 for… not me. i read on to see three people with 78… not me. i got all the way down to the number 29 before seeing my name. That’s 29 calls for me. Let’s see, there are 28 people in the class and i was thirteenth… “AVERAGE.” Ever so slightly above average and i’ll take all I can get at this point. Can you believe it? Well i don’t! One week one set of numbers does not identify me. So please… don’t call me average… not yet anyway.

PathIn Matthew 7:13,14 i shared Jesus’s words about the wide path and the narrow path. He states that many take the wide path and few the narrow or in other wards, the average take the wide and the not so average take the narrow. i closed out yesterday by stating that this series is vitally important to me and my desire to live life intentionally. Eventually i’ll get into the details of what Jesus said about intentional living but for today i’ll share why this should be vitally important to everyone and i’m not suggesting that it’s one size fits all. It will look differently for each person, allowing for the season each of us are in. But the principles of the words are the same for everyone who decides that they don’t want to be average. i had not read verses 26 and 27 until this morning, which by the way is how i’m treating this whole series, one bite at a time, reading only what i’m led to, as i’m led to. That simply means that i may not share it all in the order it’s written.

Anyway, Matthew 7:26,27 (MSG) ed, “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build your life on. ed, if you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.

“But ed, if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”

WrongSometime ago i shared a series of posts regarding “my outer collapses exist because my inner strength could not sustain them.” That’s exactly what those two verses are again saying to me. ed, if you want to be average and settle for life collapsing in around you the choose the wide path, only use My words in Bible studies, for posting a blog. Don’t work them into your life, build your life on the sandy beach and then be constantly ready for collapse.  But, ed, if you want to be able to handle ALL life, ALL  it’s “stuff” then be intentional about the words you speak and the actions you take, the life you live. Then rest in the knowledge that NOTHING, NO THING, no financial need, no loss of a job, no illness, no hurt, no chocolate cake, no ice cream, no coffee cake, no death, NO THING can move you ed, as you ed are fixed in place to the Rock.

i keep referring to intentional living, as though it’s only intentional to not be average. Not so! Regardless of where i’m at and what my choices are they are intentional. i am intentionally working at not being average… most of the time. Then other times my intention is to be just that, average. Intentional is simply doing something on purpose. Sometimes i purpose to be average, to settle for less than what is available to me.

i must share that i do have a slight issue with the interpretation of Jesus words… that is how they worded them for our understanding. For years Ann Marie and i had a life purpose statement that said, “We live each day to apply the word to our lives, our family and toward others. Then one day while doing another study God shared with me that i had it wrong. Wrong? How’s that possible, was my immediate response? And i’m out of time. So until next time, when i’ll share how it was possible, be blessed and thanks for joining me on me and I AM.

Average…

Posted: October 14, 2014 in Average..., Podcasts
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Hello i’m Dr. ed Peterson the host of the me and I AM post and podcast and i want to say thank you for joining me today.

imagesAverage: typical; common; ordinary: on the /an average, usually; typically:

You can call me most anything BUT… PLEASE DON”T CALL ME  AVERAGE!!!!!

It’s not my desire to do what is typical! i don’t care to say common things! It is my intention to NOT live an ordinary life! So what you’re saying ed is that you’re better than everyone else? Not at all, but i am not average!

There are people who wish they were average. They seem to have a little or a lot less than their friends so they feel they are not average. How many people today struggle with feeling below average when it comes to body type? Then there are others who are satisfied being average. They have a “don’t rock the boat” attitude. Still others wish they weren’t average but never find the motivation to be anything but average. As for me… well as i’m looking back, i can’t ever remember being average. Oh there have been plenty of times when i’ve done the average thing but in general… average is not how i think.

First off i’m not boasting and this has nothing to do with my pride. i’m still smarting from my recent scolding regarding my pride which i shared about recently in posts titled “No Way… Not me” and Yes Way… Yes me. No, this is not about pride. Just off the cuff i’d say this is more about intent. Now “PLEASE”… don’t be offended. This is me and what each of you decide for your life is between you and God. There’s no judgment toward those who are satisfied with average. There’s no condemnation intended for those that want to be more than average but can’t quite seem to get there.

This series will not be average, meaning that in the past i have shared about a topic in multiple posts for several consecutive days. This series will differ in that while i’ll share in multiple posts they will not be in consecutive days, they will come…. well I’m not quite sure. i have no set plan, not even an outline for sharing. While i’m always excited to receive comments, for this series i’m actually asking for some participation, some outside thoughts.

The basis for these posts will come from Matthew 7:13, 14 (AMP) “Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it. But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it.”

I just have to share these words as the Message states them. “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.”

In both cases there is a distinction between two roads, two types of people, between being average or not. Here’s what i hear in those words. “for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it.” many are average and are entering through it. Many… the average are entering through the wide gate. “Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do.” Even though crowds… average people do, don’t fall for that stuff.

And i’m out of time. This series will cover 3 full chapters of Matthew, so placing a time frame on it right now is not possible. These 3 chapters are referred to as The Sermon On The Mount and the material contained within them are of vital importance to me and my intention to NOT be called average. Until the next time be blessed and live life intentionally!

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strugglingWhen God says “No” it’s most likely going to be a struggle. Romans 5:3-5 (AMP) says, “Moreover [ed be full of joy now!] ed, exult and triumph in your troubles and rejoice in your sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.” And if i’m looking for results verse 5 details them saying, Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames ed, for God’s love has been poured out in ed’s heart through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to ed.”

I feel it’s important to note that in verses 6,7 and 8 there comes a great truth that i need to understand and hold dear to my heart. For me these verses are like a shield of protection. “While ed was yet in weakness [powerless to help himself], at the fitting time Christ died for (in behalf of) ed the ungodly. Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die. But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for ed by the fact that while he was still a sinner, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for ed.”

After all these years and looking back on the events i shared in Part 1, i can’t recall ever asking why. What i do remember is that when all was said and done there was a peace in the midst of sadness. i think on these events once in a while, wondering what if? What if the end result was according to my choice? Then i move on, knowing that those loved ones… and i, are right where God decided. While there is a time and a need for grieving, there is a greater need for me to trust and rejoice. That may sound cold and uncaring but i assure it is not. It is me surrendering my will and my understanding, to one who is greater. i cared deeply about these events, these people. That’s exactly why i’m okay with how things turned out… trusting God with knowing what was best.

The essence of trust is not asking why. In each of these situations within a few days, we said our good-byes for the last time. It’s probably the hardest thing i have ever had to do. But my trust in God is not shaken as i found hope in the words from 2 Corinthians 15:54: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

DietingIn this series i focused on death but these thoughts, principles, applications, apply to every situation whether its, fore-closure of a home, declaring bankruptcy, eviction from a home, financial need, a bad marriage, divorce and even dieting. You name it there is Word to cover it. i want to close by going back to Paul’s words as a summary for this series and as i often do make it personal to me.

There was given me a thorn (a circumstance) in my flesh (my mind, will and emotions), a trial, a tribulation, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted, to teach me, to lead me, to guide me, to prepare me. Multiple times i prayed to God about this and begged that it might depart from me; But He (God) said “no” to me. He then said, “My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you ed [sufficient against any danger and enables you ed to bear the trouble manfully]; ed My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. ed, I want you to gladly glory in your weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Me your God may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon you! So for My sake ed, be well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when ed is weak in [human strength], then and only then is he [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength).

ed, I gave you a promise in Isaiah 43:2 (AMP) I AM the God of My word. I promise you ed that when you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. ed, when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you.

Thank you so much for joining me. My hope is that by sharing my experiences you will be able to glean something that will stir your heart to intentionally search for more. So until next time “BE BLESSED AND LIVE LIFE INTENTIONALLY.”

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Welcome to the me and I AM post and podcast. i’m your host Dr. ed peterson. Today we’re in Part 3 of our series, “When God Says “No”…?

paulWhile it may seem random there is always a purpose to when God says “No.” Paul said this about what he thought God’s purpose was for saying no. “And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness (preeminence) of these revelations, there was given me a thorn (a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted. I’m not saying that’s the only reason. It’s just one of many. Each of us can and probably will experience a different reason.

So let’s look at lesson number one. i must not… i repeat i must not, let the presence of the storm, indicate the absence of God. i have and will continue to face storms: financial, emotional, health, relationships. But Isaiah 43:2 (AMP) promises, “ed, when you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. ed, when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you.” i am not alone, despite what i feel!

Lesson number two. i must intentionally search for the light of God which can and will shine into the darkness of my pain, shine into my fear, my despair, my hopelessness, my loneliness, my emptiness, my times when God says no. “Am I not a God near at hand”—God’s Decree— “and not a God far off? Can anyone hide out in a corner where I can’t see him?” God’s Decree. “Am I not present everywhere, whether seen or unseen?” God’s Decree.

So what are my options, what am i to do when God says “no?” i can get self-help books… but there are times when self doesn’t cut it. my need is God. my need is His grace. Psalm 46 starts out, “God is ed’s Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble.” If i let Him, God “exchanges, beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3). And Ephesians 6:13 encourages by instructing me that “having done all, then stand.”

In the end it may all boil down to this. What is the will of God for my life? 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” The will of God for my life is to give thanks… “IN” everything, not for everything. Anyone can be thankful for good things and i can always find an excuse to be bitter. The enemy will try to push my buttons so that i lose my joy. Trust says, “God, You know what’s best for me.” and thus in a single word comes lesson number three. Trust…, Proverbs 3:5 (MSG) “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; but in these times when God says “No” my heart is often broken or at least hurting? To that God replies, don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God!”

tight ropeThere’s a story i read about a daredevil who was about to walk a tightrope across Niagara Falls. He turned to the crowd and said, “Do you believe I can do this?” “YES” they screamed back. “To make it more difficult, I am going to push a wheelbarrow across with me. Do you still believe I can do it?” “YES” “OK, who wants to ride in the wheelbarrow? Silence.

God asks, “ed, do you trust me?” “YES” “To make it more difficult, I am going to allow situations to come into your life that will challenge you. Do you still trust me?” “YES” “OK, then will you rejoice in those situations?”

Thanks for joining me today. I hope you’ll come back for more on the topic of “When God Says “No.”

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Welcome to me and I AM! i’m your host Dr. ed peterson and we’re in a series titled “When God Says “No.” Thanks for joining us.

There are those who believe that if i live righteously, i will never be attacked by the enemy. Others believe that if i don’t see an answer, i must be praying wrong, i must have opened the door to the devil, or there is sin in my life which hasn’t been confessed and repented for. Personally, i reject both those conclusions. There will be times when there is an unexplainable “no.” Ecclesiastes 9:11 (AMP) says “I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, neither is bread to the wise nor riches to men of intelligence and understanding nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.” Sometimes my life is just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Verse 12 goes on to say, “For man also knows not his time [of death]: as the fishes are taken in an evil net, and as the birds are caught in the snare, so are the sons of men snared in an evil time when [calamity] falls suddenly upon them.”

Examples of when God has said “no:”

  • One day life is grand for Job… then in that very same day Job lost all of his property, family and his health. Through 30 some chapters i read how his friends accuse him of lack of faith and un-repented sin. Finally God puts an end to it and asks, “Who are you to question what I do?”
  • Abraham, at 70, was promised he would be the “Father of Many Nations” which by the way is what his name meant. Then for 25 years it seemed as though God said “no.” Think about it, for 25 years introducing himself as “Father of Many Nations”. “How many children do you have?” “Well…, i have no children.”
  • Moses asked God to heal his sister, Miriam, of leprosy. God said “no,” she had to live outside the camp for a week before she was healed.
  • David prayed and fasted for seven days for the life of his son by Bathsheba, still the baby died, God said “no.”
  • 2 Corinthians 12 (Amp), Paul shares, Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me; But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.” God said “no.”
  • And what about Jesus? Was He exempt? In Mark, Jesus faced the agony of the cross, taking on the sin of mankind and what must have felt like abandonment by His Father. Three times He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” God said “no.”

In every case, God heard the prayers but they were overruled. i have the right to object but He has the right to overrule. When God says no, what do i do? What am i supposed to do? i say yes to grace. His empowerment and my choice to surrender. It sounds simple but it’s much easier to sing about surrender than it is to live it, especially when His answer is no?

money,time,future,godIn another case the prophet Habakkuk shares his wisdom when experiencing a time when God said no. In Habakkuk 3:17&18, he said, “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls— Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” When death, destruction, hurt, abandonment, etc., etc. comes to me what will i do? “Yet i will rejoice in the Lord, i will joy in the God of my salvation.”

Again thank you for joining me today. Tomorrow i’ll continue sharing my experience and the lessons learned regarding times “When God Says “No.”

Until then be blessed and live life intentionally!

 

 

 

 

 

 

PLEASE CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO LISTEN.

Thank you for joining me. i’m Dr. ed Peterson and i’m the host for this 5 part series of posts regarding “When God Says No.” Often I’m in a struggle asking, praying, pleading for God to intervene or move on my behalf and He says “no.” Other times i struggle after and because God says, “no.” Either way the struggle can be painful or overwhelming.

StruggleThere are times when, no matter how hard i pray or how strongly i believe, loved ones die, friends go to prison, marriages end and seemingly bad things happen. What do i do when God says no? Do people 20 years in a wheel chair get up and walk? Are dead raised to life? Are prison sentences suddenly commuted? Yes! Yet there are times when God says no. When it happens, what happens to my  faith? Is it destroyed? Do i walk away in a temper tantrum saying, “i’m through with You, God.”? What exactly am i supposed to do when God says no?

Again, i’m not discounting the reality, of divine interventions. For me there are no coincidences and if i’m living life intentionally it is almost impossible to not see the hand of God at work in His entire creation and in every situation.

i’ll share a personal example of one the most difficult struggles i encountered when God said no. Many years a go we went to visit my sister in-law only to find her lying on the bed unconscious. She was rushed to the hospital where she remained in that state on life support. The hours and days seemed to linger on endlessly as we sat, praying and believing. Hundreds did the same. The hour came when the doctors told us that we had to make “THE” decision. Take her off life support or leave her on and wait. If you’ve never had to make that decision… let’s just hope you never have to. i watched as family struggled with the realities, regardless of which decision they made. Finally there was a consensus to remove her from life support. The calls went out for more prayer. Not just any prayer, but that she would return to life, that she would be whole. The next decision was, who would be in the room with her as they removed the breathing tubes? i don’t remember all the details, only that i was in that room. i  remember praying profusely while the nurses prepared for the moment to come. And then… they asked if i was ready, to which i responded “yes.” i knew nothing about what it was to be ready. i just knew what i was praying and believing for. i could feel the power of the hundreds who were praying at that moment.

The time came and the tubes were removed. It gets a little fuzzy here but what i do remember very clearly were her eyes opening and her body taking a deep breath… i thought the power of all those prayers had been answered, and then, just as quickly, she closed her eyes and that was it. United we had sought God and within less than a minute, God said…no. i’ve always thought that it wasn’t God saying no, but that my sister-in-law said no. That she, in that brief moment when her eyes opened made a choice that she did not want to come back. The why is not important. Today i’m not as solid in my belief because in another situation involving my daughter, there appeared what seemed like a miraculous intervention and then again a month down the road God said “no.” This unborn child had no ability to determine if she wanted to be born or not. This was God’s decision. Then in another scenario with my mother-in-law, confrontation (illness) came, prayer went out, a divine intervention seemed to appear, (you’ll be able to take her home) but ultimately God said no. i know that God’s ways are not my ways because in these situations, if it were up to me, the out-come would have been quite different.

And we’re out of time so i ask you to come back tomorrow for more of me and I AM as i continue to share my experiences with “When God Says “no.”

 

PLEASE CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO LISTEN.

i announced that i was ready by saying, “ring, ring, ring” and in less than three minutes my call was over. i breathed a partial sigh of relief, accepted the good response from the class and trainers despite the fact that it wasn’t perfect. UGHHH! Seems anti-climatic right? Not for me. From the start this story has an element of funniness, but i sensed that it was more serious. As long as there is a me, there is a reason to laugh!

Despite ending the call it took about forty-five minutes before my hand stopped shaking and two hours before my heart stopped pounding. Oh… my… goodness… that was a first! Brief assessment. For my entire life i have gone into every situation KNOWING that i could add value immediately to whatever it was. In this situation, i have no value to add. i know nothing about the medical field nor working in a call center. In my class, 18 out of the 28 have a minimum of 5 years experience and more than half of those, have 10 years or more experience. i am not going to stand out! At least not as one of the best. i did decide from day one that i would wear a dress shirt and tie every day.

stressSo why? Why such… angst? Stress, anxiety. self-doubt, fear? Nope! i didn’t want to look foolish in front of this room filled with strangers and trainers. How does a guy who’s favorite verse is Philippians 2:13 “[Not in ed’s own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in ed [energizing and creating in ed the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight” get into this mess? Simple, eyes off God, eyes on self. Mind set on the gifts and not the giver of the gifts.

Being over-confident in myself, and not liking the idea of having it challenged made this all about me, all about now. Webster’s uses different wording, “pride is a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.”

In James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5: it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” my pride put me in the unbearable position of having to choose between “ed, you can do this because you can do all things through Me” and ed, you’re going to look foolish, your too old, you’re not smart enough.” Paul writes, in Romans 12:3, “I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think” i was choosing a well dressed lie over the truth.

Pride shows up in many ways. i think i deserve more money. i think i deserve more respect, i’ve paid my dues. i can’t say, “i used to be proud, those days are over!” That in itself would be pride. In the book Humility , C. J. Mahaney describes himself as “a proud man pursuing humility by the grace of God.” As a disciple of Christ, i venture in the direction of humility, by the grace of God. The question is not, “Have i arrived?” but rather, “Am i even trying?”

Pride is like a mother who is pregnant. It eventually give birth. In pride, Satan rebelled against God because he desired to be God. In pride, Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit because they wanted to be like God. In pride, i reject God’s wisdom, will, and Word because i think i know better. All sin comes out of pride—and all virtue, all holiness, and all glory to God are birthed out of humility. Humility considers every decision by asking, “Who gets the glory?”

my war against pride is not being fought by focusing on my humility—but rather, my relationship with God. Humility is not the absence of pride. Humility is the presence God.

[Jesus] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:6–11

i almost forgot, as for adding value, well God pointed out my added value and made it clear that it’s not that no one else was adding this value as well. my added value is prayer… prayer over every phone call i make to every doctor, whom will be explaining these results to a person who is receiving health test results. Go figure… eight years of being in a prayer center. It’s never going to be noticed like being the fastest or best but that’s okay. i have no clue as to if there will be any results but, that’s okay. Seriously! i am just now understanding why God began teaching me over nine months ago about being willing to be a “simple” creation of God. No fame, no glory, no fan fare, no pats on the back, no recognition, nothing but “being still and knowing, that He is God.”