Imagine going on a walk with God

pappa-1

I was reading my dad’s blog this morning and he shared a wonderful story of my great-grandfather and some important lessons for us on walking with God. I asked my dad if I could share his post with you and he graciously said I could. I hope this blesses you like it blessed me. Take it away Dad: 

 

I remember when I was a pre-teen and my grandfather used to visit us that he would love for me to join him as he went on his morning walks.  Normally it was mid morning, and he was always dressed in a suit jacket (open collar), and his hat and a walking cane!  This was the stylish thing to do, to carry a walking cane, and swing it with a special style!

I also liked to walk with him, because his pockets always contained candy which he would give to the neighbor kids, who would always come and talk to him.  I don’t remember any of the conversations I had with him, but I was just happy that he asked me to go with him on his walks.

I was reminded of this because as we read of Enoch in the Bible not much is said of Enoch, but what is said of him says much that we could heed for a relationship with God!

Enoch we find is in the lineage drawn between “Joseph the Carpenter” (remember him?) and Adam the first man, that God created!  He lived a total of 365 years which was “chicken feed” compared to his father Jared who lived 962 years, and Methuselah his son, recorded to be the oldest living person at 969 years!

But it says that “Enoch walked with God” (Genesis 5:22) and that “he pleased God” (Hebrews 11: 5)!   This is what drew me to Enoch!  We all desire to walk with God and to please God, especially if the end result is the same as of Enoch, because we find that it says, when Enoch walked with God and he was not, because God took him (5:24)

We see from the beginning that God liked to walk with his people.  It seems from Genesis 3, that everyday God would come and walk in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve.  And here he walks with Enoch!  Oh how I would love to take a walk with God in the cool of the evening, or the morning!  But, maybe it is possible!

I see them have some animated conversations about all the beauty that surrounded them, the things which God said “was good” when he created them, including the people!  I see Enoch walking on Cloud 9 for this privilege, because Hebrews 11:5 says, ‘he pleased God’.  Why does the term, “Lord of the Dance” keep popping in my head?  Is it because I see children break out into impromptu moments of dance, when they are happy?  Was Enoch like this when he was walking with God?

There was another thought about Enoch from Hebrews 11: 5 and 6, which I had not seen before.  Verse 6 always stood apart to me, but here I see that as it follows verse 5 and it connects to the mention that Enoch pleased God.  How did he do it?

Hebrews 11: 5-6 gives us the answer. By faith.  Faith in what?

1.  That He exists

2.  That He cares enough to respond to those who seek him.

So what was Enoch doing?  He believed God, and I guess he had a personal relationship with God and walked with God.

And finally I was seeing Enoch in Jude 1: 14-16 coming back with Jesus and a thousand angels in the last days… just like he was taken away!  Two people had this experience of been taken away by God, without seeing death, Elijah (2 Kings Chapter 1) and Enoch in (Genesis 5).  (Side note:  It helps to have your name start with the letter “E” if you want to experience “translation”!!!!  Just kidding.)

                     Yes, we can walk with God because he wants to walk with us, and yes we can please God, because all we need to know and believe is that God exists and that He cares to respond to me if I seek Him?

Three principles of moving from reactionary faith to strategic faith

Faith

Last night I was at the prayer service at my home church. Part of this service is a short devotional thought from one of the pastors. Worship director Mark Alan Schoolmeesters was sharing from the Lord’s Prayer on the phrase, “Lead us not into temptation.” I have written elsewhere on this important prayer, but Mark had a great line that really caught my attention. He said, “Are you strategic or reactionary in your faith?”

This question got me thinking and my mind spinning with the stories of faith from the Bible. Not sure all of Mark’s intention, but where it took my thinking could be revolutionary to your faith. When I think of strategic faith it is a faith based on the truth of God’s word that moves us into bold decisions to follow Jesus. Reaction “faith” reaches out to God based on the crisis at hand and sometimes may not be faith at all. Here are some principles of God’s word that can move you into more strategic faith.

Strategic faith is forward looking while reactionary faith is focused on the current crisis.

Often our faith is based on the difficulty of the moment. It may be the current temptation we are facing or the problem that seems to be overwhelming us. Abraham however had strategic faith, “For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11: 10) In what areas is your relationship with God drawing you to take steps beyond your current circumstances? Caleb and Joshua called the Israelites to strategic faith even the circumstances said otherwise. 

Strategic faith is based on the promise of God and reactionary faith is based on the appearance of circumstances.

Abraham again is a great example of both sides of this story. When he had Ishmael with Hagar he was acting based on the appearance of things. Isaac however was born based on the promise of God. What are the promises of God that He has spoken to your life that should be guiding your life? Maybe you need to go back and take hold of them again.

Reactionary faith may help me out of my current difficulty, but strategic faith puts me in a situation to change the course of my life and those around me.

I am not saying that there are not times when reactionary faith is important. When we are in temptation that is the time to call out to God for help not simply wish we had prayed earlier, “Lead me not into temptation.” When we are sinking in the sea, like Peter, that is the moment to simply reach out in faith and say, “Lord save me.” The difference is we also need strategic faith that gets us out of the boat in the first place.

An easy illustration of this is to compare reactionary faith to caffeine-coffee, tea and energy drinks. When you are tired these can help you get through the day. Strategic faith is like a health lifestyle that gives you energy every day. It is not that you might not have a day where you have a bad nights sleep and drink a cup of coffee, but the healthy lifestyle gives you the energy for normal days. Crisis will come and we should react to reach out to God in faith, but may we grow in taking strategic steps of faith that change the direction of our lives.  How are you going to grow in taking strategic steps of faith?

Do you dare sit in a chair across from Jesus?

Chairs

When I was in college one of my professors gave a simple idea for us when it came to prayer. I have taken his idea and adapted it to something I use when I speak. The idea is very simple. I take two chairs and set them up on the stage partially facing each other. I then encourage them to think of prayer as them sitting in one seat and Jesus sitting in the other having a conversation.

Recently this idea has captivated my imagination even more. Are we daring enough to sit in the chair across from Jesus to have a conversation. Sitting down with Jesus has life changing possibilities. Sitting down with Jesus doesn’t always go as we expect.

We know that this should be expected since that is what happened to people in gospels when they “sat down” to a conversation with Jesus. To take a line from a TV show we when we sit down with Jesus we should expect the unexpected. Read again the drama of the Gospels and you will be amazed at the potential of those moments. Speaking of drama and TV how does conversation with Jesus compare with some of the “greats”

Jesus is more insightful than Sherlock Holmes

If you have read a book, watched a TV show, or movie about Sherlock Holmes I would imagine that sitting down with him would have been an interesting activity. As you arrive at 221B Baker Street and Dr. Watson takes your coat you would be wondering what details Holmes would notice. But sitting down with Jesus it is likely that he will dig below the surface. Just ask the woman at the well. No point in pretending with Him it is time to be honest. Do you dare to sit in the chair?

Jesus is wiser than Yoda

When we sit down with Jesus in prayer it is not like traveling to a galaxy far far away. Even as a kid his wisdom amazed. His insight challenged the religious leaders of the day. His discernment cut through the arguments of His enemies. When we come to “sit in the chairs” with Jesus, His insight could forever change our thinking. Do you dare to sit in the chair?

Jesus is more life changing than a training sequence in a Rocky movie

It so many movies there is a moment where the hero changes and maybe there is a montage of workout scenes and the person is a difference person. Or a group of ragtag people is turned into an army. Sitting down with Jesus can have an even more dramatic impact. Zacchaeus has a short encounter with Jesus and it changes his life. One of the criminals on a cross next to Jesus has a brief encounter with Him that changes his eternity. Do you dare to sit in the chair?

Jesus is more world changing than Pinky and the Brain

I don’t mean to get you upset on this one, but there is an old TV show that I have never watched. But the is a funny conversation that is at the heart of the premise of the show. Pinky asks Brain, “What do you want to do tonight?” To which Brain replies, “Same thing we do every night. Try to take over the world.” Although I mention that to be funny, we find in the story of the disciples that the longer you sit with Jesus you end up on a real mission to change the world. Mark 3:14 reminds us that Jesus invited them to be with Him and then He would send them out. There message is still changing the world. Do you dare to sit in the chair?

Conversation with Jesus can be life changing. Prayer does not need to be complicated, but it can be transformative. Do you dare to sit in the chair?