40 Days to Lasting Change Day 5
Right Word at the Right Time
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints, and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
As I have listened to people’s AHA stories over the years, one of the questions I often ask is: Looking back, can you see how God tried to get your attention even though you didn’t realize it? I am completely convinced that part of the supernatural power of God’s Word is that it often intersects with our lives when we are most desperate for the truth. Hebrews tells us it is “alive and active.”
Like a GPS system that gives us a heads-up when our exit is quickly approaching, God’s Word speaks into our lives right when we need it the most. As we seek and study the Bible, we give the Holy Spirit opportunity to shape our thinking, guide us, and sound alarms when necessary. Digging into Scripture is our way of listening and tuning our ears to our Father’s voice. (Idleman, Kyle. 40 Days to Lasting Change: An AHA Challenge (pp. 48-50). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.)
I’m reminded today that God’s word can come in my daily time with Him or in desperate times without Him. It’s hard to hear the voice of one we don’t know. As we spend time in God’s word we learn to hear God’s voice and when I give Him the best of my time rather than the left-over time, I learn to treasure His word for my walk. It seems like when we’re in a desperate place rather than a deliberate place we find ourselves in a disconnected place where it’s hard to hear the Father. I want to hear and recognize my Father’s voice every step of the way.
40 Days to Lasting Change Day 4
And he said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you.” Ezekiel 3:10
But here’s what I’ve discovered: the effectiveness of an alarm is in direct correlation to how much you don’t want to hear it. In other words, until your desire to not hear the alarm outweighs your desire to keep sleeping—you’re not going to wake up. Often, we miss the alarms sounding in our lives because we don’t want to hear them. But chances are that if you’re reading this book and seeking an AHA journey, you have a desire to awaken. You don’t have to hit rock bottom before you come to your senses. God often sends us warnings and alarms to get our attention. (Idleman, Kyle. 40 Days to Lasting Change: An AHA Challenge. David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.)
This morning I realize once again that to really live this life we must wake up. I used to tell my kids that anyone can stay in bed, it doesn’t take any effort to do that, but those who really want to live, get up when they wake up. God sends alarms into our lives to wake us up so that we can live this life. Hitting the snooze can be dangerous. The more often we hit the snooze the more time, talents and treasure we waste, and the more opportunities walk away.
Undoubtedly there were alarms that went off for the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 as he began to slip into failure and sleep away his future. His father never quits loving and looking him, but the son is no longer living on his father’s farm where he can really know this love. The son can’t hear the alarms until he awakes to pure disaster and disappointment. Ignoring the alarms, the son sleeps his way into sorrow but awakening every day his father arises with hope and expectation for each day. Here’s the deal, we can be awakened by the divine or the demonic. Heaven awakens us to love but hell awakens us to the laughter of ridicule. And God doesn’t waste the time, talents, or treasures of life for anyone.
Let’s wake up when the alarms in life go off and live this life.
40 Days to Lasting Change Day 3
A Tale of Two Fathers
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing. Psalm 68:5–6
A few years ago I came home from work to find that my wife and kids had agreed to dog-sit for some friends. The dog’s name was Pork Chop. Everyone was excited about our new houseguest, but when I walked into the room, Pork Chop was not glad to see me. He responded to my presence by peeing on the floor and running into the next room. I tried not to take it too personally, but every time I walked in, I got the same response from Pork Chop. We later found out that Pork Chop’s owners had rescued him from an abusive situation where he’d learned to be afraid of men. He had no reason to fear me—I had taken this dog into my home and provided food and shelter for him—but because he had learned to be afraid of men, he would always run away. I could never get close to him. That’s how some people relate to God.* They run away to the Distant Country and never give Him a chance because they’ve been conditioned to be afraid of Him. (Idleman, Kyle. 40 Days to Lasting Change: An AHA Challenge (pp. 31-32). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.)
Today I’m reminded of how important is to know God personally. Too often we get our perspective of God from what others have said about Him or from our experiences with people rather than with Jesus. It’s so easy to take the idea of God and form it to fit into our little heads and hearts when God is so much bigger than we can imagine. I’m asking God to “Open my eyes” to see Him for who He really is so that I can live in His great big love on His great big ranch in His great big house. I find that big picture of God from reading & relying on His word for my world. Who wants to live is a wrong picture of God?
40 Days to Lasting Change Day 2
Where Are You?
But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:9
Have you ever been lost or disoriented in a mall or maybe an amusement park? You may have known where you were trying to go, but unless you knew where you were starting from, it was impossible to figure out how to get there. When you walked up to the giant map, the first thing you looked for was not your future destination but your current location. Your eyes scanned the map looking for that familiar “You Are Here” symbol. AHA begins with recognizing your current location. In one area or another, all of us are in the Distant Country. “Where are you?” God still asks us today. It’s a rhetorical question from Him. But it’s an invitation filled with longing. It’s a plea filled with all the love and expectation and acceptance of the Prodigal Son’s Father. It’s an open invitation to return home. (Idleman, Kyle. 40 Days to Lasting Change: An AHA Challenge (pp 25 & 29). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.)
Today I’m encouraged to be honest with where I am. That sounds so simple and yet it’s one of the hardest things to figure out sometimes without God opening our eyes to see. Where am I relationally, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and so on? We turn our attention to the why rather than the where, as if the why holds the truth I need at this moment. But unless I know where I am with God, myself, my life, my work, and others then how can I answer the question why? Once again God comes walking through the garden asking Adam and Eve, “Where are you?” After I know where I am I can begin to think about why I am where I am. Isn’t it great that God wants me to know where before He asks why? He loves me. He wants to come to where I am and then we, together, can work out the why. The prodigal son’s father wants him to know where he before he knows anything else. He’s home and right now that’s all that matters. And the Father is happy to take his son in his arms and make him know that he is home. I can work out the whys once I know where I am personally, relationally, spiritually, financially, and so on. It’s an amazing journey this walk with Jesus.
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. Psalm 119:18
I love witnessing AHA. I see it almost every weekend at the church where I serve. I listen to people as they tell about the spiritual awakening they have experienced. In that moment there was a beautiful collision. At just the right time, a person’s life collides with God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit, and everything changes. (Idleman, Kyle. 40 Days to Lasting Change: An AHA Challenge (p. 19). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.)
Today I’m reminded that God gave me eyes to see and if I’m willing He will bring honesty out of the haze. Things will begin to appear that have been obscured in my past by the haze created in my world of fears, frustrations, and foolishness. God wants me to see. His word says I will see (Heb 4:12) and His work enables me to see (1 Cor 2:12) but He waits for us to want to see. God comes asking us, “Where are you?” What a great image of how God comes to us, not with a judgmental attitude but a sincere and caring heart. “Where are you?” And if we are willing to see our true situation we can find ourselves back on the farm (the Prodigal Son) and back in His space (Matthew 11:28). God has made me to see. I’m not made to live in deception and death. It can be scary to see the truth, but God is with me and His plans for me are good. I can’t be afraid to see the truth or I’ll miss the dance of this life with Jesus. And it all begins by asking God to open my eyes. The author writes, “Lasting change requires aha moments.” That’s so true.