God’s View of Pleasure

Posted: January 10th, 2014 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Flowing River 300x200 Gods View of Pleasure

What does God think about pleasure? How would you answer that?

How would your friends or co-workers answer?

I think many would tell us God is anti-pleasure. They might say God is mainly interested in having us follow His rules…rules that are meant to prohibit any sort of pleasure or fun.

And that’s a tragedy, because it’s not the God revealed in the Bible.

Check out this passage written by King David in Psalm 36…

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, Lord, preserve both people and animals. How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.

After describing God’s faithfulness, righteousness, justice, love and protection, David says, “They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.”

The Hebrew word used to describe feasting on God’s abundance means “to be satiated or saturated, to be drunk or intoxicated.”  And the Hebrew word for “delights” is the root word for Eden, as in the Garden of Eden, and it means “pleasure.”

So think about it…Adam and Eve were created to live in the “Garden of Pleasure.” And David describes God’s people drinking from His river of pleasure and feasting at His house to the point of intoxication.

My five senses tell me that you and I were wired to experience pleasure in a material world, but if that’s all we believe there is, then we’ve missed it all. God created us to live in friendship with Him. Physical pleasures are a gift from Him, not something to be sought apart from Him.

In fact, when we make pleasure our primary pursuit, pleasure is no longer something to be enjoyed, but an idol that must be served. The pursuit of pleasure apart from an intimate relationship with God leaves us feeling unsatisfied and empty. It leads to addictions as we try more and more to find something to fulfill us. What may have started out as pleasure becomes a prison.

God isn’t anti-pleasure. He’s not anti-sex. God isn’t out to kill a good time. True pleasure and true freedom aren’t found apart from God, they’re found in Him. And God’s commands regarding earthly pleasures aren’t meant to rob us of pleasure, but to provide for us and protect us from harm.

Pleasure is God’s creation, not man’s. If you want to experience maximum pleasure, then make 2014 a year of seeking God and walking according to His ways. The Author of Life knows what He’s doing. Seek Him. Trust Him. Feast and drink deeply.

In the last chapter of the Bible, the apostle John wrote, “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb…”

The river of life, the river of delights flows from God Himself…and He invites you to drink all you want.

Failed New Year’s Resolutions

Posted: January 6th, 2014 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

We’re a week into the new year. If you made any resolutions, how are you doing?

Maybe your goal is to get more organized or stop spending so much or begin making more time for family. Maybe it’s to exercise more and eat less.

I’m always sad to see the Christmas season end, but I do like the hope of a new year. It’s a blank slate. No regrets or mistakes or failures to obsess over. There’s hope and possibilities and dreams to be fulfilled.

Maybe you’re going strong after one week, but if you’re already starting to lose hope, let me encourage you to give yourself some grace and call a “do-over.” If a friend came to you feeling discouraged about not sticking with a new exercise plan, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t condemn her. So let’s not do it to ourselves.

I’m going to encourage you to start the year over with one goal. Just one. If you’ll stick with this one for the rest of January, then you can start to add some others in after that.

So here it is. Here’s your one goal. It’s from Psalm 37:4…

“Take delight in the Lord…”

That’s it. Make that your #1 goal. Make that your priority.

To delight in the Lord means to find your pleasure and enjoyment in Him. It’s not about trying to be better or praying more or stopping a bad habit. And it’s not about seeking God so He’ll give you something or make your life easier. It’s about seeking a deeper friendship with Him. It’s choosing to look to Him for satisfaction and fulfillment, not the temporal pleasures and diversions we so easily turn to.

I can’t tell you what taking delight in Him will look like for you. You may feel like you’re delighting in Him most when taking a long walk or when you’re serving others or spending the first hour of your day quietly with Him. At some point, it will probably mean spending more time reading His word, but when and how much time is up to you.

Will you try it? Will you choose to delight in Him? If so, you will experience the second half of the verse…

“…and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Don’t focus on that part though. Focus on delighting in Him. Then trust Him to do the second part.

Three Things God Wants

Posted: September 25th, 2013 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Screen Shot 2013 09 25 at 3.53.10 PM Three Things God Wants

I’m intentionally using the word “wants” as opposed to “needs.” God does not need anything. If He did, then He wouldn’t be complete. He doesn’t need anything at all. Not from you. Not from me. But God does want things. Let’s look at three of them. Take a moment to read Mark 5:1-20.

We see Jesus getting out of the boat after crossing the Sea of Galilee with His disciples. It was rough. They’d encountered a bad storm out on the lake. It got so bad that these experienced fishermen were fearing for their lives. Of course Jesus calmed the storm and then looked at them and said, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

So as Jesus steps out of the boat, a man possessed by a demon runs to meet him. Matthew’s gospel tells us there were actually two men, but Mark focuses his account on just one of them. You’ll see why.

Jesus tells the demon to come out of the man, which causes the man to fall to his knees in front of Jesus and scream, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!”

I find several interesting things about their initial encounter. First, when the man sees Jesus from a distance, he runs to meet Him. We don’t really know how far the man was from the lake shore, but “from a distance” sounds like at least a hundred yards or so, doesn’t it? Somehow though, this man recognizes someone “from a distance” that he’s never met before and then runs toward Him.

It sounds to me like he knew Jesus was coming and he immediately wants to find out what Jesus wants with him. It’s obvious though the man isn’t recognizing or questioning Jesus, it’s the demon inside him. So Jesus asks, “What is your name?” To which the demon replies, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”

It’s important to know that a Roman legion consisted of over 6,000 men. Now we don’t know if the man was possessed by 6,000 demons or just a large number, but either way there’s a lot of them. Mark’s account tells us the man was living among the tombs and had become so strong that no one could bind him any longer. He was powerful enough to break the chains and leg irons they used on him.

Night and day among the tombs and in the hills, this man would cry out and cut himself with stones. Imagine looking up on the hill everyday and seeing him roaming around, screaming and cutting himself. Based on the fact they’d tried to bind him, I think it’s safe to say this guy was terrorizing the region.

Legion proceeds to beg Jesus to not send them out of the area. Think about that for a minute. It’s 6,000 against 1, but the demons know they are outmatched. They’re begging Jesus to not torture them or send them away. They’re terrified of Him.

We don’t really know why the demons wanted to stay there. Maybe demons are assigned to certain areas and so they didn’t want to leave their post. I don’t know. For whatever the reason, Jesus gives the demons permission to go into a herd of pigs when they come out of the man. When they do, the herd immediately rushes off a cliff into the lake and drowns.

The pig herders run off to town and the nearby countryside and tell people what has happened. Now if you’ve read the passage, you know what happens next. If you haven’t read it–wouldn’t you assume the people rush out to thank Jesus for saving them from Legion?

That’s not what happens though. The people come out, they see the man who’d been possessed by the demon now dressed and in his right mind and they are afraid. Yup, they’re afraid. Not grateful. Not relieved. Just afraid.

And because they’re afraid, “…the people plead with Jesus to leave their region.” So Jesus gets into a boat…and leaves.

So what can we learn?

The first thing we see God wants takes place before Jesus and His disciples even meet Legion–God wants to be trusted. The disciples were afraid they were going to die out on the lake, but what was the truth of their circumstances? The Truth (John 14:6) was asleep on a cushion at the back of the boat. There was no reason to fear and every reason to have faith. Hebrews 11:6 begins: “And without faith it is impossible to please God…” Simply put: God likes to be believed.

The second thing God wants is for us to be free from the influence of evil. This man was actually possessed by demons. That’s not the case with most of us, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t influenced by demons. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul wrote, The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” When we listen to wrong ideas and teachings, we are being deceived and may well abandon the faith. Be careful who you listen to and what you allow into your mind.

Finally, God wants us to want Him. Could it be that Jesus had planned to drive the demons out and then spend time in that region teaching and healing people? Wherever Jesus went, He would teach, drive out demons and heal people. Here in the region of the Gerasenes, He drives out demons…and is then asked to leave. And so He does.

Jesus wants to be wanted…and He won’t force Himself on us. Hebrews 11:6 ends with:  “…He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” The Greek word for “earnestly” carries with it the idea of searching, scrutinizing, craving and begging. God rewards those who search for and crave Him.

If you’ve been feeling disconnected from God, check yourself…

Are you trusting Him? When trouble comes, do you panic? Are you taking steps of faith because you know He’s faithful? Or do you play it safe?

Are you free from evil influences? How much time do you spend consuming various forms of media versus consuming His Word?

Do you want Him? Do you crave Him? You’re probably craving something…what is it if it’s not Jesus?

Following the Crowd

Posted: July 21st, 2013 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Who do you follow?

Who do you listen to?

Who is setting your course?

Who is telling you what you can or can’t accomplish?

As I was reading in the book of Acts this morning, it hit me how often the crowd didn’t have any clue what it was doing. Here’s what I mean…

When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in their local dialect, “These men are gods in human form!” (Acts 14:11) And yet a few verses later we read, “Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowds to their side. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of town, thinking he was dead.” (Acts 14:19)

These men are gods! No wait! Let’s stone Paul!

Then we have this…

Some of the Jews who listened were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with many God-fearing Greek men and quite a few prominent women. But some of the Jews were jealous, so they gathered some troublemakers from the marketplace to form a mob and start a riot. They attacked the home of Jason, searching for Paul and Silas so they could drag them out to the crowd. (Acts 17:4-5)

Doesn’t take much to start a riot. Just gather a few troublemakers and form a mob.

Acts 19:23-34 is one of my favorites…

About that time, serious trouble developed in Ephesus concerning the Way. It began with Demetrius, a silversmith who had a large business manufacturing silver shrines of the Greek goddess Artemis. He kept many craftsmen busy. He called them together, along with others employed in similar trades, and addressed them as follows:

“Gentlemen, you know that our wealth comes from this business. But as you have seen and heard, this man Paul has persuaded many people that handmade gods aren’t really gods at all. And he’s done this not only here in Ephesus but throughout the entire province! Of course, I’m not just talking about the loss of public respect for our business. I’m also concerned that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will lose its influence and that Artemis—this magnificent goddess worshiped throughout the province of Asia and all around the world—will be robbed of her great prestige!”

At this their anger boiled, and they began shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” Soon the whole city was filled with confusion. Everyone rushed to the amphitheater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, who were Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia. Paul wanted to go in, too, but the believers wouldn’t let him. Some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, also sent a message to him, begging him not to risk his life by entering the amphitheater.

Inside, the people were all shouting, some one thing and some another. Everything was in confusion. In fact, most of them didn’t even know why they were there. The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander forward and told him to explain the situation. He motioned for silence and tried to speak. But when the crowd realized he was a Jew, they started shouting again and kept it up for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians! Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

Did you catch the fact that most of them didn’t even know why they’d assembled? Of course that didn’t stop them from shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” for two hours.

And then in Acts 28:3-6, after Paul and 275 others with him are shipwrecked on the island of Malta…

As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, bit him on the hand. The people of the island saw it hanging from his hand and said to each other, “A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live.” But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed. The people waited for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw that he wasn’t harmed, they changed their minds and decided he was a god.

One moment the people are convinced Paul is a murderer being judged by the gods and the next moment they’ve decided he is a god.

As it was 2,000 years ago, I suspect the crowd is wrong more often than it’s right. To be honest, the crowd isn’t very smart. The crowd doesn’t think well. The crowd listens to the wrong voices.

The crowd is motivated by fear. The crowd will tell you why something can’t be done rather than why it can be done. The crowd will discourage you from standing strong. The crowd will encourage you to follow along on the path of least resistance.

The crowd will discourage you from charting a different course, from pursuing your dream, from taking steps of faith.

So what about you?

Who do you follow?

Is it the crowd?

Changing Your Mind

Posted: June 20th, 2013 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Think back over the past 24 hours or so. What emotions have been most prominent?

Have you felt happy or joyful? Peaceful? Content? Secure?

Or have you been angry? Anxious? Worried?

Maybe you’ve felt frustrated. Or discouraged. Or afraid.

More than likely, you’ve experienced multiple emotions…sometimes within just a few minutes. Often, our emotions fluctuate depending on our circumstances. If things are going well, we tend to feel better. When circumstances are hard or confusing, it’s easy to give into negative emotions.

I like to think of negative emotions like the warning lights on the dashboard of a car. When the “check engine” light comes on it usually means there’s something going on underneath the hood that needs to be checked out. It’s the same with emotions like fear, worry, discouragement, anger and anxiety. Those feelings are a signal that something in us needs to be checked out.

Romans 8:5-8 says…

5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

The mind set on and governed by the flesh is hostile to God, is unable to submit to God’s law and is characterized by death. But the mind set on the Spirit pleases God and experiences life and peace.

The flesh is that part of us that still desires to live independently of God. It’s that part of us that seeks to get our physical needs met according to the world’s plan. The flesh is consumed with the current, material realm in which we live. The flesh doesn’t give thought to the spiritual realm or eternity.

So what emotions have you been feeling lately? Would you put them under the heading of “life and peace” or “death?”

If you’ve been primarily dealing with negative emotions, then chances are your mind has been set on the flesh. Your feelings don’t randomly occur. They result from your thoughts, from your mindset. The answer for feeling better isn’t to try and change your feelings. The answer lies in changing your thoughts. We have to choose to set our minds on what God’s Spirit desires. And the only way to do that is to invest time in God’s word. There’s no substitute for it.

Maybe the beginning of summer is a good time to make a new start, to change your mindset. Choose to set your mind on what the Spirit desires. Learn to see your circumstances the way God sees them. He promises life and peace to those who do.

Praying for a Breakthrough

Posted: May 3rd, 2013 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

I used to pray for “breakthroughs.” For God to do something big, something unmistakeable to change my circumstances. Do you pray that way?

My breakthrough prayers usually sounded something like this: “O Lord, You see my situation! I really need You to come through! I need a breakthrough today!”

If it’s not finances for you, maybe it’s in your marriage you’re praying for a breakthrough. Or with one or more of your kids. Or in your work. Maybe it’s in the area of your health. I’m not suggesting you stop praying for a breakthrough, but I think there’s a better way to pray that’s more in line with how God works.

I can’t speak for you, but I know that when I’m praying for a breakthrough what I’m really saying is this: “God, I’m uncomfortable and I don’t really like it, so I want You to change my hard circumstances to pleasant ones. And I want You to do it today.”

What my breakthrough prayer is revealing is my desire for personal ease and comfort more than my desire to know God better or be conformed to His image. And yet God’s way of dealing with us isn’t to make our lives easier, it’s to make us stronger and better equipped to handle whatever comes. God’s plan is for me to know Him and trust Him to take me through, not out of my difficulties.

Look at the pattern we see in His word. God didn’t stop all the wrongs done to Joseph and then immediately rescue him when he was thrown in prison. God accomplished His purposes as Joseph went through trials not out of them. The same is true for Moses and Abraham and David and Daniel. It’s true for Jesus’ disciples. And it’s true for me and you.

God’s pattern isn’t to take us out of trials, it’s to take us through them. Rather than praying for a “breakthrough” next time, try praying for a “go through.” Trust Him for the grace, power and wisdom to go through the trial. It’s in the trial that we often experience God.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

The Vine and the Branch

Posted: April 11th, 2013 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Fitness, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Yesterday, we talked about taking a spiritual fitness test. If we’re honest, most of us would say we’re not doing as well as we’d like to do. At least that’s what I’d say. I’d always like to be further along. I’d like to bear more fruit. I’d like to be less tempted by the same old sins. I’d like to know God better than I do.

Can you relate?

Today, let’s look at the only way we’ll ever truly make progress in the Christian life. The “secret” is found in John 15. You can read the whole chapter here. We’re just going to look at one verse though. Verse 5 says:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

It’s really that simple. Remaining in Jesus results in a life that bears much fruit.

The secret isn’t working harder or longer. It’s not trying harder. It’s not following a list of rules.

The secret is to remain in Jesus. So how do we do that?

Let’s take a look at a few passages that might help…

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness… (Matthew 6:33)

When asked which commandment was the most important, Jesus said:

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Let’s not ever lose sight of this very simple truth: God is a person who wants to be loved and sought after.

He doesn’t need our love or attention. He doesn’t need us for anything. But He does want us. He wants us to love Him and seek Him and make Him our top priority. He wants us to surrender total control of our lives to Him. That’s what it means to remain in Him–surrendering to Him and loving and seeking Him.

Then as we remain in Him, we bear much fruit as He produces His life in us and through us and we become more like Him.

Apart from Him, we can do nothing.

It’s a very simple concept. It’s just not easy to practice. Naturally, we don’t want to surrender. We want to maintain control over our lives. We think we know what’s best for us. We’re not always convinced God is looking out for us. And so we assume control and go our own way…which always results in less fruit, less of the life we really want.

If you’re not happy with where you are, if you’re continuing to struggle with sin, if life seems void of joy and peace and purpose…then it’s time to get reattached to the vine. And then remain there by seeking Him. Remain there by making your love relationship with Christ more important than anything else.

The branch just remains and bears whatever fruit the vine produces.

The Tragedy of a Life Without Purpose

Posted: January 25th, 2013 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Why are you here? On earth, I mean. Why do you exist?

If the atheist is right, then questions of meaning or purpose are irrelevant. If the universe exists purely by chance, then you and I have no purpose. Of course, we could each assign a purpose to our own lives, but there’s nothing beyond that. There’s no higher purpose. Without God, we exist by accident and ultimately have no meaning.

Have you ever wondered why famous or wealthy people commit suicide? They seemingly have it all–money, houses, cars, vacation, jewelry, power and popularity. And yet, some choose to end their own lives or waste away consumed by drugs or alcohol. Without a purpose and significance, I’m left with two choices–end my life or numb my life. Without a genuine purpose in life, without true meaning, our lives are empty.

But if God created this life and knows how it should be lived, then there’s a third option: I can align my life with the truth. I can choose to believe God and live according to His purposes and plan for my life.

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he begins by writing “to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus.”

A saint isn’t someone who has lived an exemplary life or performed a miracle of some sort. A saint is someone who has been set apart by God for His purposes. If you have placed your faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, then you are a saint. You have been set apart from the world system, from your former way of life, from the bondage of sin and from the power of Satan. God has assigned meaning and significance to your life. He has a plan for you.

Is it possible to miss God’s purposes and plan for our lives? Absolutely. When we continue to live according to the world’s plan, then we miss out on what God says is true and all He wants to do in and through us. The world’s plan is easy to identify. It is primarily concerned with the accumulation of material wealth and possessions, maximizing pleasure and/or giving my life away to a someone or something other than Jesus. Ultimately, the world’s way of doing life comes down to this–does whatever I’m doing make me happy?

What do you desire most? What are you passionate about? What do you spend your time and money on? The answers to those questions will help you figure out whether you’re living for God’s purposes or your own.

The truth is this: God calls us saints. He says we are set apart for His purposes and plans.

Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Real life is found in a relationship with God through Jesus. And as we walk with Him through life, we discover the work He has for us to do. Meaning, happiness, peace and fulfillment come as a result of living our lives aligned with God’s purposes and plans for us.

You are a saint. God has set you apart. He has given meaning to your life. If life often feels busy or hectic or meaningless or ordinary, then be sure you’re aligned with God’s truth. Are you making your relationship with Him your number one priority? And are you seeing your life and family and work as an opportunity to serve Him and reflect His glory and goodness to those around you?

You are a saint. And you can begin living like one today.

Who Do You Need to Ignore?

Posted: January 10th, 2013 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

I learned a number of years ago that well-meaning people sometimes need to be ignored. Good people, nice people can sometimes be the most discouraging.

God was leading me to take a step of faith. A big one. And the more I obeyed and trusted Him, the more He confirmed I was doing the right thing. I’d never been more sure of a direction from God. In numerous ways, He encouraged me to believe Him, not my feelings or circumstances.

That didn’t mean He was also speaking to those around me though. I’m sure to others, my path looked foolish, irresponsible, even reckless. Some of the most discouraging people were some close friends. Either by the questions they asked, the comments they made or even the look on their faces–they were discouraging me from continuing to believe God.

In Mark 5, a man named, Jairus, comes to Jesus and pleads with Him to come heal his 12-year-old daughter who’s dying. As Jesus is on the way to heal her, some men come to tell Jairus his daughter has died. Verse 36 says:

Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Sometimes we have to ignore others, so we can believe God.

If God is leading you to take a step of faith, then trust Him and take the step. Just understand you will very likely encounter resistance, skepticism and discouragement from those closest to you. During those times, you will need to go back to God and spend time in His word and in prayer to receive encouragement and strengthening in your faith. And the bigger the step of faith, the more you will need for God to confirm His plan.

Let me close with a word of caution. Before you choose to ignore someone’s counsel–be sure you are hearing clearly from God. We cannot always trust our desires. Our feelings will often lead us astray. God will never lead you to do anything that contradicts His word.

A man once told me he believed God had led him to have an affair with another woman. No, those were his own sinful desires that led him into an affair and a deceived mind that allowed him to conclude it was God.

The more time you bathe your mind in God’s word and in prayer, the more confidence you can have in taking bold steps of faith.

So is there someone you need to ignore so you can believe God?

The Danger of Forgetting

Posted: August 4th, 2012 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Truth | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

It happened again yesterday. A young child was left buckled in his car seat while his great-grandparents were in a store for two hours. They simply forgot he was in the car.

The outside temperature was over 100. It was closer to 140 inside the car. The little boy never had a chance. Because not just one person forgot, but two.

Forgetting can be devastating.

Can you imagine how that couple feels today? And the grandparents? And the parents? They’ll never get over it.

Robyn and I once forgot our second daughter in her car seat. Fortunately, it wasn’t hot and the van was parked inside the garage. It only took us a few minutes to realize we’d left her.

As human beings, we have a remarkable capacity to forget. We forget appointments. We forget birthdays. We forget why we just walked into a room. We forget children in their car seats.

Forgetting doesn’t always lead to death, but there are other serious consequences. And we’re all vulnerable. Everyday.

That’s why in Deuteronomy 4, Moses said to the nation of Israel, “watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget” and “remember the day you stood before the Lord your God” and “be careful not to forget.”

It’s why in Proverbs 4, Solomon says, “Do not forsake wisdom” and “hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.”

We forget God. We forget His instructions. We forget what He’s done in our lives.

And then we live as if He practically doesn’t even exist. We face problems on our own. We worry. We become consumed with anxiety. We wear ourselves out trying to get our needs met. We chase after things we think will bring us happiness and fulfillment, but only leave us wanting more.

All because we forget Him.

Here’s a simple test to see if you’ve forgotten God: if you want anyone or anything more than you do God, then you’ve forgotten Him.

He isn’t meant to be a compartment in our lives. He’s not an add-on. He’s not an app to amuse us when we’re bored.

He’s the point. Of everything. There is no other point.

Have you forgotten that?

The newspaper included a suggestion for remembering there’s a child in the backseat. Place a stuffed animal in the car seat. Then whenever you buckle a child into the seat, move the stuffed animal to the front seat with you. Seeing the stuffed animal reminds you have a child back there.

Maybe you and I need a stuffed animal. Something to remind us there’s a Point. And we’re not it.