KLOVE Radio Features – October 2019

Emotional Shock and Awe

In our ever-changing, 24-hour news cycle, media saturated world, what used to be experienced as a periodic catastrophic event, now comes across the airwaves as a constant assault on our emotional wellbeing. Many in the next generation never follow the news. They’ve been deluged from birth with an avalanche of bad news. It’s left them psychologically fragile. Additionally, people can say whatever they want to on social media, and often without consequence. Emotional shock and awe, from many directions, assaults our hearts and minds. Millennials are experiencing higher levels of anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide than generations past. I, too, guard what I see and hear. I do what the Bible recommends, “Guard my heart with all diligence, for out of it proceeds my life.”

The Integrity of the News

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t trusted the integrity of news content since I became an adult, many decades ago. All news is processed information; someone’s view of the world, often times, based upon their values. Good news doesn’t sell; it has to be shocking, even salacious, to get people’s attention. So, be careful that your world-view is based upon the Word of God and not the shifting morals of man. The Bible warns us, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world…” (Romans 12:2, NLT) And adds, “…the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God…” (1 Corinthians 3:19, NLT) Establish convictions and values based on God’s eternal Word, not the world’s values. I’m not saying be unaware of what’s happening in our nation and world, but have a healthy skepticism of all news until the truth finally emerges.

Hope Comes From Overcoming

All of us want to become stronger and healthier emotionally. Therefore, we need to realize our emotional health will rise or fall on the failures and obstacles we have overcome. Our struggles become the foundation and filter for how we view life and even the hope we have for the future. Only by properly processing the difficulties of life will we have hope for what’s ahead. The Bible says, “patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope.” (Romans 5:4, TPT) The opposite must, likewise, be true. Not processing life properly will make us feel hopeless. It’s why God says, eight times, in the Book of Revelation, “To him who overcomes…” ending with, “…He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.” (Revelation 21:7, NKJV)

What God’s Given Us Is Enough

Have you ever thought, “What God’s given me isn’t enough!” I know I have. HA! Pretty much every day. But, it’s a lie, first believed by Lucifer, the worship leader of Heaven, who thought he deserved more than what God had given him, and so rebelled and became the Devil. Likewise, one third of the angels agreed, and rebelled as well, becoming demons. What they’d been given was more than enough, but they chose to believe a lie, rather than believe the truth. The seed God’s given you is big enough to meet the need.  That’s in part why God says, “Strengthen the things which remain, and are about to die.” (Revelation 3:2, NKJV) Gideon’s 300 men were enough to defeat their enemy. All Moses had to do was throw down the staff God had given him. What’s in your hand? What has God placed in your heart? Use it! It’s enough to meet the need!

You’re Not Broken!

The other day, I heard my daughter, Havilah, offer healing insights as she was preaching. She said something quite profound, “You’re not broken! You just don’t know who you are!” WOW! The lights came on! What if our mental and emotional health could be best achieved by not fixating on what we’re not, but on who we are, and how God actually sees us? His view of us is infinitely more important than how we see ourselves. And as the One who made us, He’s the only Person who can fix us. What would inspire us more than becoming the person God intended us to be; to fulfill His will. That’s not just what we should want most. It’s what He wants most for us, and the very thing He’s fighting to make happen. “You’re not broken! You just don’t know who you really are!”

Drafting in Cycling

There’s a technique in cycling called drafting that occurs when a lead rider goes before other cyclists and blocks the wind. Additional riders are tucked in a vortex where they no longer push against the wind, but are literally being ‘carried’ along by the eddying flow of the air pocket created behind the lead rider. Because of the effort to shield others, the group of cyclists go faster, receiving the benefit of following a leader. It is also one of the many benefits of riding in a group, and requires less effort for those following. Ironically, the optimum drafting position is being as close to the leader’s wheel as possible. To me, this all speaks to the value of fellowship and community. We need each other, and following godly leaders can make our lives better in so many ways.

Because You Say So!

In Luke 5, when Jesus first met the Apostle Peter, he borrowed His boat to preach to a crowd on the shoreline. Afterward, he told Peter to go catch some fish. Peter’s response demonstrated both the reality of our struggle here on Earth, how frustrating and fruitless it often seems. Yet, how critical it is that we believe God more than the hopelessness of our circumstances. Peter responded, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because You say so, I will let down the nets.” (Luke 5:5 NIV) “Because You say so!” WOW! How would our lives change if you and I responded to God’s Word like that? Peter was basically saying, “I don’t care how hopeless and fruitless it’s been. Because you said it, Jesus, I’m going to believe it and do it.”

The Best Hugs I Ever Received

In the early 1990’s, my family and I lived in Los Angeles. We attended a great church and had wonderful friends, but because of the vastness of the metropolitan area, I never saw anyone I knew in public. It was very different from my experience in the previous two decades living in small towns. One day, I was walking down a busy street and a saw a friend from my church. I was so excited to see him, I gave him a big hug. He was standing with a half-dozen special needs men he worked with, who when they saw him hug me, lined up to each give me long, joyful hugs. It made me emotional! The hug drought in that large city had ended. Frankly, they were some of the best hugs I’ve ever had. End the hug drought in someone’s life today.

Are We Blind To The Blind?

In John 9, Jesus healed a man born blind, who spent his life as a beggar. When his neighbors heard he had been healed, some didn’t believe it. They said, “It’s not him; just someone who looks like him.” It reminds me of how easy it is to not fully look at the hurting people around us. We don’t look at them long enough to fully recognize who they are. We’re blind to the needy neighbors around us, even though we may have seen them over and over for decades. Because we never really look at them, our unbelief overpowers reality. Which of our neighbors is invisible to us? Why don’t we see them? Is it because really seeing them would require us to love them, touch them, speak to them, be kind to them, help them? “Jesus, open my eyes to see the needs of those around me.”

Living Out Our Commitments

In John 11, Christ’s disciples said they were ready to die for Him. But when opportunity came for them to give their lives, they all ran away. It’s great to have convictions, but we really need to think through the implications of those convictions so that, when the opportunity arises, we will be faithful and do the right thing. People make vows to their spouses, but are unfaithful. When temptation comes, they bow to momentary pleasure, and abandon those they promised to love and cherish. Sure, all of us have at times failed to keep commitments we’ve made. But, we don’t have to perpetuate momentary failures. Remember the words of Jesus in Revelation 2, “Think about how far you have fallen! Repent and do the works of love you did at first.” (Revelation 2:5, TPT)

Of Leftovers and Reruns

God never repeats or duplicates anything! Every molecule in the universe is an original. Every moment in our lives is a first. The sun sets on the best and worst of days, but will rise tomorrow with God saying, “Watch this! You ain’t seen nothing yet!” If you and I are longing for the old days, we’re going to miss the new things God wants to do today. God doesn’t eat leftovers or watch reruns. Everything He does is brand, spanking new. Isaiah 43:19 says, “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19, NLT) Wishing for the “good old days” may keep us from seeing the good days ahead. Enjoy today! There are gifts hidden in each moment.

Recognizing Your Breakthrough Moment

Would you recognize your breakthrough moment: the time God wants to open a door of opportunity for you to go to the next level, to receive a victory… a healing… a revelation? It’s time to discern in your spirit a shift in the heavenlies. Elijah said, “I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!” (1 Kings 18:41, NLT) Moses told the helpless Israelites, “…stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord,” (Exodus 14:13, NKJV) After being beaten, Paul and Silas praised and worshipped God in prison. (Acts 16:25) Each of these breakout moments were counter intuitive. Our breakthrough moment will always be at low tide, when we need the God of the impossible or else. Thinking, “I’ve never seen it this bad!” should remind you that you are closer than ever to the breakthrough you need. Remember, the darkest and coldest moment is always right before the sun rises.

KLOVE Radio Features – September 2019

New Snorkel Mask

I swim laps for exercise. But as I got older, I found my neck began to hurt more and more while I did. I have used swim goggles over the years, but decided to try a full face snorkel mask to eliminate the continuous turning of my neck to breathe. Immediately, the pain completely ceased. My primary problem wasn’t a bad neck; it was a bad habit. A new structure allowed a new healthy habit to form. How many areas in our lives are causing unnecessary pain that could be easily corrected with a new structure or habit? It made me think about various dimensions of our lives. Are you having a consistent problem in a certain area? You might find the root…if you change up some of the habits that surround the issue!

Risk or Rot

There is a principle in investment called the risk/reward ratio. It helps investors manage their risk of losing money on trades. Even if a trader has some profitable trades, he will lose money over time if his win rate is below 50%. I believe the risk/reward principle has a spiritual counterpart. Chuck Swindoll put it this way: “If you don’t risk, you rot.” Pretty straight-forward! Every time we step out in faith, we risk. The Bible is clear, “…it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6, NLT) Faith is not foolish, and obeying the Spirit of God is His will for each of us. It will always require risking what we have, in order to receive what God wants to give us. That’s the safest investment we could ever make.

God’s Upside Down Smarts

Basketball coaches tell young people, ”Don’t make an easy shot hard.” Likewise, you probably have heard the expression, “Work smarter, not harder.” Both sayings imply that “less is more.” It reminds me of many dimensions of God’s wisdom that so-called ‘smart’ people miss completely, and how God’s Word says, “God chose those whom the world considers foolish to shame those who think they are wise, and God chose the puny and powerless to shame the high and mighty. He chose the lowly, the laughable in the world’s eyes—nobodies—so that He would shame the somebodies. For He chose what is regarded as insignificant in order to supersede what is regarded as prominent…” (1 Corinthians 1:27-28, TPT) It’s an upside down Kingdom. No one’s smarter than God. In the end, what He thinks is all that matters.

The Evidence of God in Our Lives

When the Bible says that the disciples of Jesus were “…recognized…as men who had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13, NLT), it demonstrates that those who really know Him, can, at times, carry a presence that is tangible. This is, likewise, evident when Moses encountered God’s presence on the mountain, and the Bible says, “…When Aaron and the people of Israel saw the radiance of Moses’ face, they were afraid to come near him.” (Exodus 34:30, NLT) There was no mistaking where Moses had been. He’d been with Jesus! Likewise, high priests in the Old Testament had an aroma on themselves because they were surrounded by the fragrance of the Altar of Incense in the Holy of Holies. When someone’s been in the presence of God, it shows. May that be said about each of us who claim to know Him.

No One’s Fairer Than God

Have you ever fought jealousy when you’ve seen God bless someone else? I know I have. In Matthew 20, Jesus paid wages to workers who showed up late in the day and worked only a short period of time; the same as those who worked throughout an entire day. No surprise, those who worked longer hours were upset. Jesus then challenged them, “Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?” (Matthew 20:15, NLT) All of us can see the kindness of God extended in different ways to different people. But, why should we be upset and jealous that God is kind to others? What if I told you that, in eternity, if we have responded well to the tests uniquely prepared for our lives, our reward will equal that given to anyone else on Earth? No one’s fairer than God; you just have to believe it in faith and wait long enough to receive it.

When You Think You’re Finished

Many times in life, we think we’re finished, but we’re not. We’re convinced what we’re hoping for will never happen. In Mark 5, Jesus came to a home where a young girl had died. Jesus, however, knew what He was about to do, and therefore said, “She’s only sleeping.” (Mark 5:39) There are times when something we are believing for is not going to happen. It’s over, and there’s no point in waiting for it to return. But, there are other times, when what appears to be dead is just on pause, and God wants us to keep the flame of faith burning in our hearts. This will require a willingness to be less attached to what we’d like to see take place, and more committed to God‘s will being done. Trust that God is able to make this distinction clear to us and, if we are more attached to Him, it will be impossible to miss His will for us.

You Are God’s Masterpiece

Here’s a challenging life goal. Believe what God thinks about you, more than what you think about yourself. Try to embrace this scripture. The Bible says, emphatically, “You are God’s masterpiece!” WOW! That’s how God views you. It continues, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” There are a few key points here: First, you are God’s… not your own. Second, He thinks you’re a masterpiece, not a hot mess. And lastly, He’s planned really good things for us…for our future. Amazing! Begin every day believing the truth about how God sees your life and future, and it will not just change you, it will inspire those around you to believe it as well.

Doing Exploits

I believe each of us who know Jesus should want to do mighty things for Him. The Bible encourages us to do just that, when it says, “…the people that know their God shall be strong and do exploits…” (Daniel 11:32, KJV) What a motivating verse! And when you consider the meaning of the word “exploits,” it becomes even more intriguing. Our doing exploits for God means to, “be courageous, even to be restored to our former strength.” What a challenging thought! For those of us who have been followers of Jesus for many years, are we as strong and courageous as we once were? Has some passion been lost over time? It’s a question I consider regularly. When the Bible says that, in the Last Days, “…the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:23, NLT), I discipline my mind to primarily focus on one person…myself.

What I Think You Should Think

One of the most popular head games people play, I entitle: “What I Think You Should Think!“ It goes something like this, “I’ve already figured out what you should be thinking and what your response should be to a certain situation. So, if you don’t have that response, you’re not just wrong, you might even be bad or evil.” Me walking around assuming that my perspective is invariably the higher ground is perhaps one of the best definitions of pride I’ve ever heard. Don’t play the game “What I Think You Should Think.“. Instead, have a humble heart, and continually ask Jesus what He thinks about any given issue or situation. Then, acknowledge that you don’t know what’s best and therefore have no right to judge someone else. We each will stand before God alone.

What Is Our Motive For Doing Things?

Would you and I do more to prop up our image and reputation (what others think of us) than we would do merely because it was the right thing to do? In Luke 11, a man knocked on a neighbor’s door late at night asking for some food. The owner of the house tried to get him to go away, and only gave him what he wanted when he realized his reputation would be damaged if he didn’t give him food. It provokes me to consider my motive for my own actions, especially the good actions that I do. Am I, at times, more generous or selfless when others are watching? I’ve done that! But, in contrast, when the Bible says, “Love isn’t self-serving” (1 Corinthians 13:5, NET), it’s actually saying something extraordinary: the all-powerful God of the Universe thinks more about us…than He does Himself.

First World Problems

Perhaps you’ve heard the term: “First World Problem.” It’s a slang expression referring to issues in First World nations (countries in the Western world), that people complain about. Our problems, when compared to real problems in the rest of the world, are pathetically inconvenient and even laughable. Some of these “First World Problems” can be expressed in this way: “There’s nothing to drink at home… except an unlimited supply of fresh drinking water.” “The brightness of my smartphone hurts my eyes.” “My walk-in closet isn’t big enough.” “I ate so much I feel sick.” “If my ripped jeans keep ripping, I’ll need to buy a new of pair ripped jeans.” HA! Petty aren’t they? But how many of us make statements like this without thinking? “God, awaken our hearts to hear our thoughts and words, because they misrepresent You.”

Seeking God’s Kingdom First

We’ve all read the scripture, “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) This incredible verse is the will and promise of God for all of us who allow Jesus to be first in our lives. But, perhaps, like me, you’ve wondered if making God’s Kingdom first has reduced the possibilities for your life to a narrow list…a lesser list…a boring list. Nothing could be further from the truth! The Almighty God, who shares His Kingdom with those who seek Him first, promises to give us the best of the best: nothing shortchanged, nothing less than perfect, the cream off the top of His heart. By seeking God first, we give up nothing eternal or priceless. Instead, we exchange the seductions of Earth for the countless blessings of Heaven.

 

KLOVE Radio Features – August 2019

The Bride of God’s Dreams

The Declaration of Independence states unequivocally, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…” The impact of this reality must be explored in order to be fully appreciated. Why God created us reveals not just His magnificent heart, but our marvelous value to Him. The Bible tells us clearly why Jesus gave His life, “…to present (His Bride) to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.” (Ephesians 5:27, NLT) Never forget, God created you to be the Bride of His dreams, not the embodiment of His disappointment. No matter what we have done, or will ever do, He will always delight in forgiving us and welcoming us back with open arms.

Crushed Ice or Cubes

I love how God can speak to us through even the most mundane dimensions of life. I like ice cubes from my refrigerator more than crushed ice. I think it’s probably a speed thing. I can get the cubes faster than the crushed ice. But the cubes sometimes get stuck, so I have to open the refrigerator door and bang the cubes to let them loose. It’s frustrating. My wife, on the other hand, likes crushed ice. Recently, I filled my glass with crushed ice and found there was no problem getting it. I said to my wife, “Do you ever have a problem getting crushed ice out of the refrigerator?” She said, “No!” I then had a God-thought, “If I’m willing to be crushed, I’ll have less frustration.” It’s a thought I continue to have every time I fill my glass with crushed ice.

BIG God or BIG Mac

I want to bring up a sensitive subject that most of us face. It’s our weight, and it may not be a little problem. For the first time in history, there are more people overweight on the planet than hungry. 40% of American women are obese, and 38% of men. Because of increased obesity, unhealthy eating habits, and physical inactivity, we may be the first generation that is less healthy and has a shorter life span than our parents. So, does God even care if we live longer? Of course He does. What parent wouldn’t? The Bible says, living a long life is a blessing…not a curse. (Ephesians 6:3) Perhaps it’s time, as the Bible says, to “…glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (I Corinthians 6:20, NKJV) I want to pursue a BIG God, more than a BIG Mac.

Making Room For the New

My life is full; even, at times, crowded. There is too much to do and too many options. I’m realizing more and more, that in order to make room for the new, I have to say goodbye to the old. And sometimes that’s heart breaking. Because, I like the old. I’m attached to it. But, more and more, I hear God saying, “Francis, move on. I have something new for you; something better.” If the old was better, then God would model this. But He doesn’t. Not only is every day new, but every molecule and moment. He’s cloned and duplicated nothing. So, I’ve not just come to the conclusion, but the conviction, “I want to embrace God’s new for my life, rather than cling to my old. He’s not watching reruns or eating left overs, so why should I?”

Everything is Going Exactly As Planned

There are times when each of us thinks, “The devil is so smart, and evil is so powerful. It looks like darkness is winning.” But this is a complete lie! God is the smartest Person in any room. He’s always been and will be the most powerful Person in any world. Light repels darkness without breaking a sweat. Don’t ever be concerned that somehow it looks like the devil, evil, and darkness are going to win. They are mere throwbacks from a doomed rebellion. Has-beens from a lost age. I love that somewhere in Heaven there’s a giant banner that reads,  “Everything is going exactly as planned!” I want to be as concerned about the future as God is. And He’s not concerned at all. The Bible says, “By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.” (2 Peter 1:3, NLT)

The Main Event is Still Ahead

Recently, I had another setback. Once again, something didn’t work out. I lost something I valued. It was disappointing. Realizing I couldn’t get it back, God quickened my mind to come to the best conclusion possible. “Francis, if all you have left is a good response to a bad situation, then get over it. The main event is still up ahead.” Wow! That’s good! The main event is still up ahead. Have a good response to a bad situation! Nothing of lasting value has been lost; just something temporary. Get over it! Move on! Something better is ahead. Trust God and you won’t be DISappointed, because the main appointment is still on the schedule, around a few more turns. Love never fails, and God is love. Believe it, and the truth will set you free!

The Biggest Liar I’ve Ever Known

Reality is the biggest pill we’ll ever swallow. In the short term, it’s easier to give in to illusion and deception. But, we all realize the long term consequences far outweigh the temporary benefits. If we are honest with ourselves, though the devil is called the father of lies (John 8:44), no one has lied to me more than me. Frankly, I’m the biggest liar I’ve ever known. So, the question is, why do I deceive myself so often? The simplest answer is, I’m also the most selfish person I’ve ever known. Self is never the solution; it’s always the heart of the problem. Jesus showed us the cure for selfishness. The Bible says, “(Jesus emptied Himself. He) made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.” Obsession with self is the disease, and allowing God to fill us with His servant nature is the cure.

Getting and Never Forgetting

All of us have heard the expression, “She gets it.” It implies that someone has connected some important dots and had a life-altering revelation. It may be of such a magnitude that a person is never the same again. They have had a B.C. and A.D. moment. But, there’s always the challenge that what we  “get” we may eventually “for-get.” It literally means we will “fail to remember.” Sure, there are many things in life worth forgetting. But, there are some “gets” that we should never “for-get.” I never want to forget who Jesus is and what He has done for me by dying on a Cross that I deserved. I never want to forget who He created me to be, and what He created me to do. With all of my heart, “I get it!” and I never want to…forget it.

Ten Reasons the Nine Lepers Were Ungrateful

Though history is silent, I’ve always wondered why nine of the ten lepers Jesus healed in Luke 17 didn’t return to glorify God for their miraculous healings. You could say the nine lepers were loud in their request but quiet in their thanksgiving. Here are ten possible reasons for their ingratitude, and ours as well. 1 They got distracted. 2 They were selfish. 3 They succumbed to peer pressure. 4 Once healed, they followed the crowd. 5 They didn’t want to be associated with other lepers anymore. 6 Once the stigma was gone, so was their compassion. 7 They thought they were better than other lepers. 8 They embraced their resurrection, but refused to carry their cross. 9 They loved little. 10 And they were happy to receive God’s healing, but didn’t believe they needed His forgiveness.

Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-Jitsu is an ancient fighting style invented by Indian monks traveling from monastery to monastery who were being attacked by pirates and robbed. They needed a way to protect themselves, and so developed a technique that used leverage and not strength to defeat their opponents. You could say that the results of Jiu-Jitsu are counterintuitive. Contrary to what you would expect, it allows the fighter to finish the fight without hurting the other person. The technique is so effective that the opponent will either give up or be incapacitated. It teaches the athlete how to get solutions without causing unnecessary damage. What a marvelous principle! In this world, where too many times people hurt others thinking they have won, how much better off we would be if we didn’t crush others, but instead, crowned them with love?

Catalysts

A catalyst has been defined as “a substance that promotes a reaction while using less energy, yet with a greater result.” One of the most valuable attributes of true catalysts is that the essence of who they are is not altered in the process. They speed up change, without compromising their true value. They don’t alter the genuineness of who they are while simultaneously motivating and inspiring others to change for the better. Jesus was the ultimate Catalyst for good. He didn’t change the essence of who He was: His charisma didn’t alter His character. He motivated others to change without diminishing His magnificence. I don’t have to become someone different than who God created me to be. As long as I’m pursuing that purpose, I can encourage others to follow my example and be themselves as well.

Excited About Who Jesus Is

Are you ever disappointed with the things you say and do? I know I am, and often. The Message Bible, in Romans 7, puts it this way. “I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway.” (Romans 7:18-19, MSG) Thankfully, in the next chapter, it resolves the problem. The Bible says, “A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing (me) from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2, MSG) When I embrace the reality of who Jesus is, and what He’s done for me and in me, I want to be more excited about Him, than disappointed with who I’m not, and what I’ve not done.