If you have spent anytime around my 2 guys Jeff and Chad, you may have noticed a couple of similarities. Besides the fact they are both large in stature and have the biggest hearts anyone could ask for. Once they open their mouths it is suddenly revealed. They both have a southern draw. Jeff was born and raised in Mobile Alabama. “The Heart of Dixie and the Port City of the South”, as he likes to call it. Jeff didn’t leave Mobile till after he graduated from High School and then went into the United States Air Force.
Chad was born and raised in Kansas and has only been down south a handful of times. So, you may ask “Why does Chad often sound like he was born and raised in the south? And to that question I would respond “Because he lived around his father for 21 years.” He has practically been in his father’s back pocket most of his life. He admires his dad and wants to pretty much be exactly like him.
Now I am not gonna lie, I have heard Chad embellish his southern accent a few times and like any other southerner he can draw it out more sometimes than others. But Chad legitimately sounds like a southerner most days. Especially, when he is responding respectively to his elders as he as been taught to do so by saying “Yes, Ma’am and No Sir”.
All this got me thinking….. Isn’t that the way we should all talk? Oh! I don’t mean we need to have a southern draw, but we need to talk and act like our Heavenly Father. All to often in my husband and I’s line of work, we see people, accept Jesus as their Savior or claim they have in the past but yet we see no reflection of that from their lifestyle. They don’t talk like Him, They don’t act like Him and they never or rarely visit His house. But yet they say “Oh! I love God” or “Oh! God has been so good to me” they have even called us up and said “I just wanted to call you and tell you what God did for me today”.
Which, don’t get me wrong it is great that they are acknowledging where the good in their life comes from, and the fact they admit and realize there even is a God is a good thing too. But I often have to wonder and have actually been tempted to respond to them “ I don’t think God gave you that job, I think the devil did, because it is gonna keep your out of God’s house on Sunday” or “ Keep you so busy you don’t have anytime for God” Oh! And I love this one “ I have just been praying and asking God but I haven’t had an answer yet, and I don’t know why God hasn’t answered my prayer?” To which I really want to say “ Well if you want God to answer your prayers, the bible says you first have to follow Him”.
I often feel like, if we could see some people with spiritual eyes, they would look like those orphan children in the foreign countries, you know the ones, that are on the TV commercials, with their bellies swollen and flies swarming around their little faces, almost like they are just waiting from them to die. Because on the outside these people, look normal, but spiritually on the inside they are suffering from malnutrition.
God warned us about a society like this in the bible, in 2 Timothy (NIV)
“1….in the last days.2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money,boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents,ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. “
Did you hear that? “Having a form of godliness but denying its power” They have just enough salvation to get to heaven but not enough to live a victorious life. They have accepted Christ but they have refused to deny themselves and they are lovers of pleasure and wants their desires more than they love God. They aren’t willing to give up their will and their way, or they made it to a point in their spiritual walk after accepting Christ where, they came to a challenge and God didn’t answer their prayer the way they wanted.
So, they have a dilemma a crossroads as such, they have to ask themselves, do they continue to trust this God, that didn’t give them what they wanted or do they go back to their old lifestyle? For many they get stuck at a crossroads as such.They have what Henry Blackaby, in the book Experiencing God, calls a Crisis of Belief. With a little bit of Jesus in them, but a whole lot of the world still lingering. And I tell you from what I have seen, the longer a person, stays stuck, the further backwards they go.
They don’t understand that the reality is to truly to have an intimate, growing relationship with God. James tell us to “2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 NIV
And in Romans 5 we find, 3.“but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”
Then when I hear that word hope, it reminds me that God said “Now faith is the substance of things HOPED for and the evidence of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1 NIV. We cannot give up when things get bad in life, when life doesn’t go our way. God warned us all those years ago that “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”John 16:33 (NIV)
See the beauty of all this, is that we aren’t at the end of our story. We aren’t at the end of our life, even when we take our last breath on this earth, there is another life to come. So we have to hang on and trust in the Creator of the Universe, knowing that in HIs wisdom God will reveal His plan in time and the truth is, His plan is always better then what we could hope for. Opps! There is that word again! Hope! Don’t lose, it! Don’t let satan take it from you! Don’t give up!
Because “Faith is the substance of things HOPED for” and “Without Faith”,Hebrews 11:6 says “it is impossible to please God” and you know what the bonus points on this verse is? God says “He rewards those who seek Him” one translations said earnestly seeks Him, another said sincerely seeks Him, and another said “diligently seeks Him”.
Chad has earnestly sought to be like his father to the point he even sounds and often acts like him and yet he has rarely been to Alabama. So, if Chad can sound like his earthly father down here, how much more can we sound and act like our Heavenly Father if we will only seek Him and trust that when we follow Him everything will be okay, even if it doesn’t look like it now. Because we never want to forget, “hope does not disappoint….” Romans 5:5 NASB