Willing to do something or to assume a responsibility… Yes, that is part of what Webster had to say about being available. This is where the “available for God” rubber meets the road. Don’t jump all over that word “do” and go charging off to the streets to hand out tracts. Your job is to follow Him, not to lead the charge. The operative part of that phrase is “willing to do” and when I prayerfully concentrate on that, I find that the Lord often puts me in the middle of an opportunity. Remember the mission statement… Jesus said, “Follow me.” That means that you have to go where he goes and do what he does. You may very well find that it turns into what you would have once described as a “dirty” job but don’t sit at home or in a church with a climate-controlled environment marveling at what a wonderful and loving man Jesus Christ was. Follow Him. Do you want to know more about what that means in your life? Hit your knees and ask that you might, without thinking about it, seize the next opportunity to go where Jesus goes and do what Jesus does. Be aware that the opportunity might just slap you in the face and your “willing to do” may just find you smack-dab in the middle of an opportunity. _dg
Another wonderful part of salvation and being a real, live, born-again Christian is the list of qualifications that we receive as part of that. I am one who believes that our purpose can be distilled down to living a Christ-centered life, worshiping the Lord, spreading the gospel and praying without ceasing. If I can manage any of those things, the one that is most critical for me is prayer. Communication, communication, communication – That covers it. God Himself has communicated with us in the form of the Holy Scriptures. It is the word of God. Read it and pray. Listen to it and pray. Study it and pray. The word of God is your qualification to execute the task of availability to serve God’s purpose. Think of the human family structure and how the specie’s survival is based on communication between parent and child. It is even common throughout much of the animal kingdom. Prayer and study is your communication link with the Lord. Prayer and study is your qualification for the task of being available for the Lord.
Live your life in a Christ-centered fashion. There exists a profound outline for that and it can be found in the scriptures. Go to the gospel of Mark, chapter 12 and read two verses, 30 and 31. “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 one is this: Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31 NIV). If you will read the scriptures, establish and maintain an open communication line of prayer between you and Lord and follow the instructions in those two verses of Mark, you will be well on your way to a Christ-centered life. Salvation is free and it is easy. It is a gift. Living a Christ-centered life is not necessarily easy. Your dad was right when he told you to not expect that anything worthwhile would ever be easy. Living a Christ-centered life and living it out loud may well be both the hardest and the best things that you will ever do. To use the vernacular, it is so worth the effort.
Available for God – Part #2/4
“Accessible or obtainable in any drugstore”, much like the springs of Living water being available to all who thirst spiritually.
Our personal spiritual lives must be comprehensive in their scope. Just as I can find most of what I need in a drugstore, an unsaved person looking to me for answers about salvation and living for Jesus Christ should be able to find exactly what they need in their life. Spiritual honesty, happiness, inner peace? These are all commodities that born-again Christians possess and should exhibit.
As Christians, we have continuous access to the springs of Living water written about by the prophet Jeremiah (2:13). Consider this, the life’s purpose of a spring of water. It satisfies the thirst of any that will drink from it and, most importantly, it is moving on continuously. You cannot stop it or horde it as it will overflow your boundaries. The water from a single spring can combine with others and grow into a river and that river can move mountains. Such is the spiritual life blood of a Christian. As each one of us stays connected to the springs of Living water, the outflow of Christianity into the world is greater than that one spring quenching the thirst of one man. As Christians we must live a life of “passing it on”, of letting God’s Living water flow into and through us to all that we come into contact with.
On the eastern slopes of Elk mountain in southeast Wyoming is a spring that provides the headwaters of Mule Creek, one of my favorite places on earth. The rancher that ran his cattle on that part of the mountain was smart enough to drive a steel pipe into the rock that was the outlet for that spring. That enlarged and channeled the opening for the water, turning a trickle into a small creek that provided water for his herd. That little trickle of water grows and winds its way into the Platte river system that traverses Nebraska and flows into the Missouri river on its way to the Gulf. One little spring feeding one creek touches an awful lot of lives in the course of its own life. God’s springs of Living water are like that. If we, the individual Christian, can draw our life from the Living water of God, what flows through us will nourish other thirsty souls at distances that we neither imagine nor predict.
Living your Christianity out loud keeps the water from the springs of Living water flowing. We have only to quench our own thirst and to pass it on.
Available for God – Part #1/4, “Present or ready for immediate use.”
When I last wrote about being available for God, I unintentionally opened the proverbial Webster’s can of worms. I thought that I knew what “available” meant but, perhaps like many of us, I had not considered the details. Being available for God means a lot more than our just glibly saying that we are available to Him. The first part of the definition of “available”, present or ready for immediate use slapped me hard. It helps me to think about it this way: If a friend asks me to go fishing or camping with them, I am available but not until I go home and pack my gear. I might even need to linger and make sure my dog has enough food for the day or that the back door is locked. There are a dozen little things that stop me from being immediately available, as in “get in the truck” ready. If I want to be available to God I need to be in a constant state of “get in the truck” ready for Him. If I expect my life to be a living witness for Jesus Christ it has to be something that can be instantly deduced by anyone who sees or knows me. It is behavior. It is countenance. It is real and it is always God’s truth behind the smile in my life. To be available, to be “get in the truck” ready for immediate use by God, is something ready-made for prayer without ceasing. A real-life personal example of this happened to me during the past Christmas season. I had purchased something in a local store and the cashier, as I was leaving the store, wished me a “Happy Holiday.” Without much thinking I replied with “Thank you but I am celebrating the birth of my Savior. You have a Merry Christmas.” You could say that I was already in the truck that day.
Back to my premise, being available to God is a continuous process that requires a reaction to God’s providing an opportunity for us. We are to be available for God to use in any way he chooses and in any instant of time. Get in the truck.
My little sister and I talk for hours about that word “available.” Webster says “present or ready for immediate use, accessible, qualified or willing to do something or to assume a responsibility.” Ouch. Ready, accessible, qualified and willing to assume a responsibility. That’s quite a mouthful or list of chores when God is in the loop. I can always fail to be at least one of those four things at any given moment. The wonderful thing is that if I am living my own Christianity out loud, all four of those things are present by default. If my day-to-day life is testament to my salvation and evidence of God’s grace then “available” is the default condition. By the same measurement, if one of those things are missing there is an issue that needs to be resolved by prayer. That sounds hard but it strikes me as true.
Words from an old rocker, Bob Seger, in his tune “Against the Wind” make me smile and cry at the same time. I was reading the “Running on Sober” blog today and it took me back to my days of chemical addiction when the only dreams I could muster were concerned with survival and the next drink. Survival was in the number two slot of that pitiful menu. If not for the grace of God and the love of a mother I would have been buried and forgotten long ago, my eternity sealed on the wrong side of the grass. I did not talk to anyone outside of my own head and I heard nothing but the impact of a box of food from my mother as she left it on my porch. She gave me the only chance she could in the only way she could.
I was not waiting for God to find me. He knew where I was. I had gone through 8(!) dui arrests and several rehab programs. A judge who did not like me gave me the chance I needed when he locked me up for a few months. By God’s design and with an accident in jail, I ended up in the rehab sponsored by the VA (I am an old Marine) hospital and, by choice, I voluntarily spent 18 months there. That is what it took for me to get head out of my whatever and decide to move on with my life. I am thirteen years down the road now and life is a good thing. Living my own Christianity out loud has become my life.
Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty” and Bob Seger’s “Against the Wind” are pretty descriptive terms in my life. “Amazing Grace” fits me to a tee. _dg
The title says what I want you to hear. Do you call yourself a born-again Christian when you are alone or just when other people are listening? Does anyone else know that you are a Christian? If you are selective about who knows that you are a born-again Christian, what does that say? Living your faith seems like the surest way to spread the message of Christianity to everyone in your personal world. Are you living your faith out loud?