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The Key to Success - Pastor Clint Abbott's thoughts and blog

The Key to Success

July 20, 2017

S. 2 Chronicles 31:21 "In all that he did in the service of the temple of God and in his efforts to follow God's laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result he was very successful."

O> Hezekiah was successful. God's word says he was very successful. How is this so? I note the following key words:

"All he did" .. In everything, that is everything he did SERVING God. He served God and when he did, he did it with all he had. Added to this is the description was his EFFORTS to follow God's laws and commands. Hezekiah put effort or energy to following God's Word.

I don't think we are to follow God's Word without a plan and a commitment! There needs to be effort on our part to take the time to read God's Word, to know what it says and to live out (follow it/obey it). 

Thirdly, it says he SOUGHT his God WHOLEHEARTEDLY. He looked for, he searched, he sought His God. Not some other "god" but His God. The God of His Fathers, the God of Israel, Jehova - the Lord Almighty. His commitment to searching after God was with a "whole heart."  Not a half heart but a whole heart commitment.

There has been others who served God half heartedly, but Hezekiah was going after God with all he had, time, effort, energy and a whole heart. 

The result was success. He had success in leading people spiritually. He had success in leading the nation, that is in governing and discerning. 

A. We, at least I, miss out on God's best and blessing when I don't go after Him with everything. All of my energy, efforts, in all things,searching Him out. But the Word says when we do, there will be success.

My encouragement today is that you and I go after God with everything we have. Our efforts, our energy, serving, obeying Him. Being focused upon His word, His call and the opportunities He brings our way.

P. Thank you Father for this word today. I pray that you will give me strength and courage to live and serve you with such singleness and focus. In Jesus name!  Amen.

 

God's Salad Makes us Better Together - July 13, 2017

S. . Hebrews 10:23-25 "Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some do, but encourage one another especially now that the day of His return is drawing near."

O. Throughout the ages, people would draw near the Christian faith and then fall away. There are a variety of reasons I think of when I think of people falling away. Some are caught up with busyness of simply living - work, careers, family life, relationships, etc. Some are, I suppose, distracted from the Christian faith and some are led away to follow others belief systems. Some allow tragedies to separate them from having a fulfilling relationship with Jesus.

I get it! I can certainly understand. I am not immune to the difficulties and maladies of life and I believe the writer of Hebrews certainly understands this. YET -- he/she (we really don't know who the writer of Hebrews is) offers this encouraging Word, which some have referred to as the "Salad Bowl of Faith" because of all of the "let us" that is found here.

The encouragement here to guard against falling away is:

1) Hold tightly to the hope. Don't drop your guard. Hold tightly without wavering. Guard your heart and mind to continue to affirm the hope that we have in Jesus. I think this can mean that we are careful to what information/communication we allow into our minds. We are careful in what we read, what we watch, what we listen to and of course, careful in the relationships we have. We are to hold tightly to our faith. I don't think it means that we become narrow minded and judgmental; rather we can have an open mind on things, however one person has suggested that we not become so open minded that our brains fall out. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with have some narrowness. Jesus did say that "narrow is the way and wide is the gate to destruction." Matthew 7:13-14

2) Be creative to motivate/cheer people to acts of love & good works. Sometimes people need some encouragement in life. I'm not a counselor but I do encourage. It seems though that we need to put some thought in creating ways for people to receive that encouragement so that it prompts them to do good things.

I am learning that this can be done without always having the "cheer leader" voice ..that is being vocal, loud and demonstrative. I think there are actually subtle ways of offering positive encouragement and motivation to people to move their faith forward and do good things. There are times for the cheer leader voice and then there are times when we engage in simple communication that is positive and encouraging.

Just this past week rather than share my opinion about things or offer my own ideas, I found "positive results" when I shared with a young lady who is studying abroad that I would be praying for her for the next 7 weeks. Yesterday I think I brought encouragement to another young person sitting next to me at Starbucks. She was studying for the BAR exam to be an attorney. She takes the test August 24-25 and then in September she is moving to Dallas. She seemed a little concerned about the move (finding the right place to live, etc.). I let her know I'd be praying for her during this time. I gave her my card but then I also referred her to my Associate Pastor who has lived many years in the Dallas area, as a resource person she could connect with. She was genuinely thankful and I could see the anxiety lift from off of her.

3) Being faithful in attending church services and related events. People over time have life hit them and then they stop attending church. Or.. some allow the inconsistency of someone else's faith hinder their own and they no longer attend. The writer of Hebrews says that attending the church services and other related opportunities, brings encouragement to others. And it does. We are not meant to live on an island by ourselves. We are not meant to do what some call 21st century cocooning. This is where we leave our homes in our cars pulling out of the garage. We work and then upon arrival to our homes at the days end, we open the garage doors, pull in, close the doors behind us and do not go back out until the next morning.

We are meant for more .. We are created by God for relationships with others. God gives us gifts to be used to serve Him and meet other’s needs. When we do not attend the church services and related opportunities, we really do miss the opportunities that the Lord has for us.. for our personal growth but also our interpersonal growth opportunities,.. serving and encouraging others.

A. Because of this, I will determine to guard my heart and mind to the things of God's word. I will look for creative ways to positively influence others and I will continue to be faithful in meeting with God's people (the church through services, small groups and other events) as I know it builds them up and me too. And it's God's will for my life.

P. Father, thank you for calling me to SERVE you. I pray for the Holy Spirit's filling to give me strength and wisdom to be positive, encouraging and filled with faith. In Jesus' name!

God's Limitless Reach

God's Limitless Reach

July 10, 2017

S Micah 6:5 b  "...and remember your journey from Acacia Grove to Gilgal, when I, the Lord, did everything I could to teach you about my faithfulness."

O. God calls Israel to remember their journey, a journey in which HE blessed them with favor and protection against the enemy (Balak of Moab). The enemy wanted to curse them and ultimately destroy them, yet God protected and blessed them.

I love this verse! God says "I did everything I could to teach you."  Wow! I am calling this "God's limitless reach."  I can't even get my mind wrapped around that.. God did everything He could.. Does that imply He has a limit? It actually implies that God extended to Israel his "righteous acts" (kindness, mercy, faithfulness, grace). God's reach to His people is limitless. He desires so much for His people to know Him, that He continues to reach out. Many times He has to reach beyond, over, around, through, our sinful disobedience, but He does. His reach is limitless.. We have a Limitless God .. not just in the creation of all things but in the reconciliation of His people.. bringing us back into relationship with us.

A. I will continue to wait upon Him.. I will continue to trust in His plan and be open to His teaching me. He certainly has pulled out "all stops" and desires for me to learn and know just now faithful He is. He is limitless in His desire and in His reach.

P. Thank you Father that you do all you can (which I can't comprehend) to help me see just how faithful you are.  Grant me strength and patience and power to help others realize your limitless reach.