What am I doing wrong?

I have received no comments on any post since I started in May.  I may be doing something wrong, but I don’t know what it is.  Please let me know your comments or what I am doing wrong by emailing me at james-mcnaughton@sbcglobal.net

Thank you and have a great day 🙂
Jim

P.S.  I realize that you may not want to log in to Google to comment because of privacy.  I also realize that you may not want to email me for that same reason.  I have never blogged before so I don’t know if I haven’t set this blog up right for comments or if it’s just that nobody has a comment.  Whatever the reason, I’m not going to worry about it.  I sincerely thank you for reading and I hope that Jesus blesses you richly.

Jim

How do I have Life to the Full?

Jesus said that even He did not come to be served but to serve and be a ransom for many.  This was after His disciples had been arguing about who would be the greatest.

What is important to me?  Is it to be great?  Jesus said to do that I need to be the slave all.  This made no sense before I knew Christ.  To be a Jesus learner He said I must deny myself.  I must stop wanting what I “naturally want” and choose to do what I don’t naturally want.

Serving others does not come naturally for me.  A friend of mine once said that he has the “gift of being served”.  It still makes me laugh because I (and everyone else?) has the same gift.  Since a Christ follower follows in the footsteps Christ, He wants me to serve, right?  But does He want me to be a ransom, too?  Not in the sense that I can pay for someone else’s sins, but Jesus died to serve me, to love me.  Am I to die for others?  I interpret this as me needing to value others above myself and what I want.

I can serve someone without valuing them, but I can’t value someone without serving them.  And as long as the “I” is more important than “You”, I don’t value you like Jesus does.

 Jesus said for us to die to ourselves daily, to take up our cross (God’s purpose for our lives of serving Him by serving others) and follow Him.  I can’t do this without the Holy Spirit’s help.  Pastor Dr. Charles F. Stanley of http://www.InTouch.org suggests that, before I get out of bed in the morning, I ask the Holy Spirit to fill me with Himself and lead me through the day.  Clare DeGraaf author of the blog Following Jesus in Real Life (www.claredegraaf.com, see the top of this blog), suggests asking God to give me impressions during the day of how I can be used by Him to help others.

So with all this dying and serving others what’s in it for me?  Is this all self-denial and pain?  Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full”.  When I serve Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit, I come to know God in a way I have never known, and I feel fully alive!.  As Eric Liddell, Olympic 400 metre champion and missionary to China said in the movie Chariots of Fire, “When I run, I feel His pleasure”.

You can feel His pleasure too!  Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you and lead you.  Then do what He says.  As Dr. Stanley says, “He will not ask you to do anything sinful or foolish”.  What God says will never contradict the Bible, if it does it is not the Holy Spirit speaking to you.  The devil will try to stop you, but as Jesus said, “take heart, I have overcome the world” and the devil.

Thankful and Grateful

Psalm 5:11-12 NIV84

11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.  

12 For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

I heard a loud grinding noise from the back of my car.  The back end was being pushed to the right.  I felt like God was telling me to turn the steering wheel ever so slightly to the right.  It seemed like an hour but lasted only a few seconds.  Finally the noise and pressure stopped and we both pulled over to the side of the expressway.

God was a literal shield for me that day and I am thankful and grateful to know Him and be protected by Him.  God stopped me from going into a deadly skid and roll at about 70 mph, when a young man (20 to 30), who was probably texting (according to the police officer), pressed into the left rear corner of my car.

I am not special.  God said He would protect me if I made Him my refuge.  I trust Him, I follow Him and I obey Him (very, very imperfectly) and He comes through on His promises.  He does what He decides is in His and my best interest.

And He will for you too.

God loves you just as much as He does me.  If you love Him and obey Him He takes responsibility for your welfare.  Read the Bible, do what it says, and watch God fulfill His promises to you.

Doing is believing.

 Psalm 8 NIV84

For the director of music. According to gittith. A psalm of David.

1 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet:
7 all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Matthew 21:4-16 NKJV

Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant 16 and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” 

And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read,

‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants 

You have perfected praise’?”

Jesus quoted this Scripture to the Pharisees to claim to them that the Scriptures were being fulfilled before their eyes.  He did not quote the latter half of the verse referring to silencing His enemies (the Pharisees) but because they were experts on the Scripture they would have known what the latter half of the verse said.  Jesus was witnessing to them that he is the Messiah and that they are God’s enemies.  But, the Pharisees didn’t believe the miracles Jesus’ performed were from God, so how could they believe He was from God?  Jesus said that anyone who obeys His words will know whether He comes from God or not.  How about you?  Do you want to know whether Jesus comes from God?

When I buy something and it doesn’t work I need to check to see if I followed the directions.  Our lives are like that.  God’s Word the Bible gives me the directions I need to know so that I can know God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit.  Just reading the Bible however, without actually doing what it says to do, just puffs me up with pride, (the opposite of love).

But, reading and doing God’s Word develops love in my heart.  Love for God.  And love for people.  When I help someone, like giving them a warm coat in the winter when they have none, or giving them food and schooling each day when they would otherwise go without… I am changed.  God changes me.  I feel a joy I’ve never known before.  The money I’ve spent on someone who needs it isn’t a loss or expense. It’s investing in them, investing in me, a gift given gratefully to God and investing in the joy we will all have in heaven.

So if you want to know Jesus, if you want to know if the Bible is true, then do what it says.  And Jesus will reveal Himself to you.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

   

Psalm 23  King James Version

   1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 

   2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 

  3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
  4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
  5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
   6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

THE LORD is my abba, Father, my dada, my daddy.  I can depend on Him.  I depend on Him like a child depends on his earthly father.  I can put all things in His hands.  
He likes me.  

Not just anyone is my shepherd, The LORD is my Shepherd.  He knows everything.  He has the character to always do what is right and best for me regardless of what it costs Him.  He is in charge, He is the one I belong to.  I want to follow Him and suffer for Him if I must because I know that in the end it will be best for others and for me and I will develop a fellowship with Jesus that I can’t develop any other way. Jesus will direct my steps… by obeying Him I will not be in want.

The Lord is my shepherd.  He will take care of me.  He will take care of my necessities.  He will guide me and he knows the way.  He is the Good Shepherd, He suffers condemnation so that His sheep will not have to suffer condemnation.

I will never lack any good thing.  I am like a tree planted by streams of water, whose leaf does not wither in drought.  God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, promise to give me everything I need.  I do not need to fear lacking anything at any time.  If I put God first, if I obey Him, all things I need will be given to me as well.  My primary source of worry – lack – has been taken care of by Jesus.

The Father is my Shepherd.  Shepherds love their sheep, at least this one does.  He loves and cares for me even when I am unaware of His work on my behalf.  He loves me when I am ungrateful, and when I thank Him.  Father, Thank you for sending Jesus to die for me when I did not deserve it.  Help me to love like You.  For the need of the other person.  Not just when I have loving feelings.

Lord, I love some people but I don’t like them.  How do you do it?  Do you love in the hope of someday the other person loving You back?  Is that what it means to dig around the plant and give it fertilizer and if it still doesn’t produce fruit then you cut it down?  Or do you have warm feelings toward those who seemingly reject Your love?

How can I be a better father to my sons?  What does it mean to be a better husband?  I want to be a husband like the husband in Alex Kendrick’s “Fireproof.”  I want to pursue my wife with my whole heart.  I want to take the “Love Dare”.  I want to be a father like Alex Kendrick portrayed in “Courageous” – not a “good-enough” father but wholeheartedly devoted to You and and my wife and my children  Oh Lord, light a fire in me that burns in devotion for You, my wife and my children.  Lord, I want to take this “Resolution” from the movie “Courageous” seriously.  You are my Rock, I have none other but You.  Fill me anew with your Spirit, make me fully alive.  Would You be the focus of all my thoughts, all my dreams and all my aspirations.  Lord, I want to Love You, but I don’t know how.  I want my heart and thoughts to be with You.  I want to have special conversations with You.  Would You speak with me the way You do with Dr. Charles Stanley of In Touch Ministries?

Lord, I am proud.  Help me to humble myself before You.

Lord, I want to be willing to do anything for You.

Leading by following? through Prayer?

1 It happened after this that the people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat. …   3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.  4 So Judah gathered together to ask help from the LORD … [Jehoshaphat prayed,] 12 “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” 13 Now all Judah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, stood before the LORD. 14 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel … in the midst of the assembly.  15And he said, … “Thus says the LORD to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.  16 Tomorrow go down against them. …17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, 19 Then the Levites … stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with voices loud and high. … Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”  21… He appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the LORD, For His mercy endures forever.” 22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.  23 For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another. … No one had escaped.  2 Chronicles 20:1 … 24 (NKJV) 

But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.  Nehemiah 4:9, (NIV)

Jehoshaphat and Nehemiah depended upon on God through prayer to lead God’s people through possible life threatening disaster. Jehoshaphat obeyed God by not fighting but setting the singers ahead of the army praising God.  Nehemiah did what God said by continuing God’s work but posting a guard and being ready to fight.  It is important to remember that both of these leaders talked to and listened to God first before they led.  We lead by listening to and following God.  We listen by reading and meditating on Scripture and investing unhurried time in prayer. God is the leader, we are the followers.  Remember, you can’t take anyone else any farther than you have allowed God to take you.

God’s subtle tones of the sky by Jeremy McNaughton

How is it that giving money to those who need it makes me the happiest?

Where to run when there’s a storm by my son Jeremy McNaughton

In 2009 the internet took my job away at the local newspaper where I worked.  God used this time to show me that my god was money, not Him.  I trusted money.  I could tell my money what I wanted it to do for me.  But I was not aware that money was my master.  I made my decisions based on money, not God’s will.  I determined my limits by how much money I had, not by what God promised to supply.  But when neither my wife or I had a job, we were forced to depend on God.


And eventually, I felt free.

I trusted the One who provided for me because He loves me.  Money never made me feel loved.  When I trusted God to provide for my needs I felt like I had enough and if I didn’t have enough I asked Him for what I needed and He always provided.  With money as my god I always wanted more and never felt I had enough.
What got us through the time without jobs, what gave us confidence that we could depend on God to supply our needs, was we were obeying God and depending on His promises.  

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things (food, clothing and shelter) will be added unto you. – Jesus, Matthew 6:33

Jesus is the King of the kingdom.  We get our righteousness from Him as our Savior.  If we have Jesus as our Lord and Savior He says in the Bible that He will provide for our needs.  We believed that and Jesus back up His promise and kept us supplied with the money we needed.  We gave God back 10% of everything we earned at that time and we continued to support the people and programs we donated to before.

But beware!  If you give to get you will never be satisfied, it’s just another form of greed.  But if you give money because you love the other person, you will be filled with joy and God will refill your empty hand so that you can give again.  That is fun!

And consider the additional blessings of considering the poor.

Blessed is he who considers the poor;
The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive,
The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.
And he will be blessed on the earth;
You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies.
The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness;
You will sustain him on his sickbed.  Psalms 41:1 – 3 (NKJV)


Will God really do all this?  Why don’t you try Him and find out?