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I ride my bicycle to commune with God; the exercise is icing on the cake. Our conversations are most often about people He has me praying for, conversations I need to have with others, or lessons we are preparing to write or teach. Every once in a while, God uses the ride to show me something about myself and/or His kingdom.

Here’s one from the other day.

Distractions are a big part of cycling – passing cars and approaching dogs in particular. Most are not a threat, but it only takes one. Having to deal with them on a regular basis has taught me to allow distraction when necessary, and then get back to matter at hand. It has become a natural part of the process.

I wish I could say the same about hills.

Hills are different than cars and dogs. They don’t generate the same adrenaline spike as a ferocious dog on the loose or a driver passing on a hill. In fact, they don’t scare me at all. On the other hand, they last longer, the distress builds over time, and the distraction is real and present discomfort and pain.

Hills are a major distraction to my communion with God.

For me, hills are a metaphor for the challenging seasons of our lives. These may be momentary, lengthy, or any amount of time in between. God has used the hills in my life to reveal a few things about myself and my relationship with Him:

  1. The more I focus on the pain, the greater the pain becomes.
  2. When I set my mind on things above, the hill is not only less of a distraction, but easier to navigate.
  3. The approach I take has a dramatically positive effect on my mental and physical response to the effort after cresting the hill.
  4. It occurs to me as I write this that having a riding partner to remind me of these things – and encourage me in them during the climb – would be an incredible blessing.

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And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:2-3

In response to Jesus’ declaration that the Temple would be destroyed, His disciples asked three questions:

  1. When will this happen?
  2. What will be the sign of Your coming?
  3. What will be the sign of the end of the age?

Jesus could have answered the first of these questions directly (i.e., in about 40 years). He chose not to. Well, actually, His Father chose not to.

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. Matthew 24:36

Furthermore, notice that the disciples did not ask “when” in regard to His coming, nor the end of the age. Somehow, they knew better.

So, why has this become our focus?

Is the time and energy we spend trying to determine the day and hour a distraction from more important matters? I believe it is.  In fact, Jesus has promised that the day and hour we come to expect will not be accurate.

Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:44

Jesus could have quickly, and succinctly, answered all three of the disciple’s questions. Instead, He used their questions to raise more important matters. There was something much more important that He wanted them (and us) to understand, believe and obey.

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.” Matthew 24:4

But he who endures to the end shall be saved. Matthew 24:13

Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour
your Lord is coming.
Matthew 24:42

Take heed, endure and watch; for though you do not know the day or the hour, tribulation – and then judgment – is coming.

The primary purpose of this discourse is the disciple’s preparation. God help us to discover the same passion for those in our spheres of influence.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

To the beloved, whom I love in truth:  I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers; just as you walk in the truth.

God speaks when we surrender to the desire in our hearts to hear from Him. This is true beyond our “quiet times” – even while we are exercising (or working in the yard, painting the house, etc).

Most of you know that I ride a bicycle for exercise. I also ride to hear from God. As long as I go out most interested in hearing what He has to say, He always says something.

Sometimes we discuss His plans for my work. Sometimes we talk about a decision I have to make, or a situation I am dealing with. Several times, He has shown me a spiritual truth through my cycling. Here’s a recent example:

There is a form to cycling that is most efficient and productive. It varies by individual; and individuals have different keys to help them maintain good form. For me that is “butt back, hips forward and heels down”.

Maintaining form is most difficult when it is most needed. When the hill won’t end soon enough – particularly at the end of a ride – I find myself reverting back to old habits. I move up on the seat, roll my back and start pedaling through my toes. Read the rest of this entry »

Mountaineering_iStockAnd not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

Tribulation has been promised to the children of God (John 16:33). Received appropriately, it also promises to be good for us. “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” Calvin Coolidge (borrowed from the Apostle Paul)

But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Romans 8:25

As Christian Leaders in the Workplace, we have a strategic advantage. As spiritual beings, our vision is supernaturally attuned to the things we do not see. Our hope is not dependent on the temporal. Tribulations and trials do not tear us down. By the grace of God, they build us up.

God has put a hope in your heart for the things of His kingdom, in the workplace. He is looking to show Himself strong on behalf of those that will wait for it with perseverance. Take a moment and prayerfully consider the area in your life that is calling out for faithful perseverance. Joyfully join into the Holy Spirit’s work for your transformation (2Corinthians 3:18; Romans 12:2).

Humbly yours and forever His,

A Storm is ComingAs we mourn with the families of those 21 martyrs, we’d better take this warning seriously as these acts of terror will only spread throughout Europe and the United States. If this concerns you like it does me, share this. The storm is coming. Franklin Graham (Facebook post in response to ISIS murder of 21 Egyptian Christians)

Over the last month, I’ve encouraged you to force open your eyes and ears, and to decide (with the Lord) what you believe we are facing in the near future. I think it is only fair to do the same with you. I will start by saying that I believe Franklin Graham’s words are prophetic; not that we will see Christians murdered on American soil (though that is possible), but that “the storm is coming”.

It reminds me of what Jesus had to say at the conclusion of The Sermon on the Mount:

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. Matthew 7:24-27

Regardless of what the house falling or standing might mean to you, it is certainly something significant. We must prepare for the coming storm. Hearing the sayings of Jesus and doing them is the requirement for strong houses.

To assist in your preparation, I have created a list of The Sayings of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount. Of course, you can read them for yourself. In either case, reading alone won’t produce the faith we need. We must have His rhema (right now, spoken word). Please start seeking Him for it.

Humbly yours and forever His,

A Storm is ComingAs a follow-up to What I Believe – The Storm is Coming, I would like to get your input on a couple of other things I have come to believe. First, I believe that my title for that first article is a bit misleading. I don’t believe the storm that is coming is “The Storm”, meaning the Great Tribulation. As we see in Matthew 24 and Mark 13, Jesus taught that there would be small “t” tribulations before the big “T” one occurred. This should be sobering news, particularly for those that think they are going to avoid suffering via a pre-Tribulation escape plan.

Secondly, I want to encourage you that spiritual preparation is paramount for everyone that believes a storm is coming. This is contrary to our protective nature; and contrary to what most of the world is promoting. Even in the church, many are encouraging – and selling – physical preparation (e.g., freeze dried food, hedge funds, guns and ammo, leaving the country). When you look at it from their perspective, you quickly learn that there are hundreds of things each of us could do to protect ourselves from the storm.

And that is the problem!!
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Stormy WeatherThe following are my (rather raw) notes from a meeting that was organized to hear from God on the question, “How do we spiritually prepare for the coming storm?” I strongly encourage you to read them prayerfully; with spiritual determination and discipline to hear what God would say to you (not every word is for every person). Remember, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; but faith without works is dead. You are responsible for your response to what you hear the Lord say in this exercise. Please let me know what you are hearing; it may be something that we all need to hear. Read the rest of this entry »

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