Beware the Counterfeit
Each of us is drawn to beauty! We love to laugh! We long for peace of mind! Wouldn’t the God who made sunsets and starry nights know something about beauty? Is it too hard to imagine that the Creator of laughter knows all about fun? Certainly, the rest offered by the Prince of Peace would compare to none. Since God offers all pleasures to us, the pleasures are ours to choose. Will they be superior pleasures that satisfy and fill to overflowing into eternity, or the shallow sensations that last for a moment, leaving us empty and filled with regret? Be drawn to beauty—the beauty of God and His holiness! Seek pleasure—the pleasure of His company! Beware the counterfeit…
Deepest of All Desires
Would you believe that God wants to give you the desire of your heart? He does! But only He knows what that deepest of all desires is. Let your heart be filled with desire—the desire to know Him more! Deep down, we each have a longing to love and be loved in an infinite way. That’s the primary hook behind a recent book and movie series. Its principle audience, teenage girls, looks for love beyond the physical. The deepest of all desires is to be “first loved” and “then to love.” Until we believe God is fascinated with us, we will search in vain to find someone who is! We were created first for God’s pleasure—the One who love us the most. But the admission price to this endlessly delightful relationship requires complete surrender and commitment.
If you’re like me, I’m sure your heart aches as you see the level of darkness and deception in our broken culture. Yet, it is the storms of Earth that compel us to storm Heaven! The history of the church of Jesus Christ has been shaped by those willing to break free from the pack—to risk it all for the sake of obeying God’s Spirit even if it costs their lives. These were the true world changers! Who among us will stand up and become a difference-maker? Who will inspire those who are too numb to do what they know is right? Who will pay the ultimate price and awaken the conscience of this generation? Revival is coming! It’s up around the bend! It’s within reach! You were made for it, and it was made for you!
What would it take to live fully awake? To be wholeheartedly surrendered, all day, every day. The great missionary C.T. Studd once said, “Preach as though you’ll never preach again. What a dying man would say to dying men.” He followed this challenge by sacrificially laying down his life on the mission field. Though I am not a perfect example of this approach to life, I have tried ever since to live every day of my life as if it might be my last: my last time to worship, to pray, and to express love, my last moment to be fully awake! The God, who died for me, rescued me for the very purpose of living a fully conscious, fully committed life. Now it is my responsibility to live at that level of commitment.
What I Really Believe
What we really believe is shown in how we live… the things most important to us can be found in our checkbook ledgers and where we spend our time How I treat my spouse is what I really believe about marriage. How I care for my children is the clearest indication of my convictions about family. How connected I am to God’s Word demonstrates best of all what I think of the Bible. When Jesus said, “You shall know them by their fruit,” (Matthew 7:16) He was saying, “Show Me your life, and I’ll show you who you really are.” I’ve been many things in my life, some good and some not so good. But in the deepest part of my heart, I know I was created to love and represent my Creator well.
Fear is a part of each of our lives. Every day we make decisions what to fear, and what not to fear. We should fear being foolish and reckless. We should not fear doing the right thing. When Jesus died and rose again, He broke the power of sin and death. The Bible says I no longer need to fear death: “…only by dying could He (Jesus) break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could He set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.” (Hebrews 2:14-15) Jesus Himself challenges me, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)
In the Name of Christ. Stop!
In the fourth century a monk named Telemachus heard God’s Spirit tell him to go to Rome. Upon arrival, he followed a crowd to the Coliseum. Realizing the gladiators were about to fight to the death he cried out, “In the name of Christ, stop!” Over and over again he shouted it. Finally he ran onto the arena floor, all the while yelling, “In the name of Christ, stop!” When a gladiator killed him with a sword, the atmosphere changed! They stopped fighting and the crowd became mute! Slowly, one spectator at a time left the stadium, until it was abandoned. It would be the last event between gladiators in the Roman Coliseum. One man obeyed God, fearlessly doing what no one had ever done. He proclaimed, “Enough is enough! I’m willing to give my life to change this tide of injustice.”
Earth-Shaking and Heaven Summoning
Of the handful of nation-transforming revivals that have taken place since Pentecost and the birth of the church, many consider the Welsh revival of 1904 the most Earth-shaking and Heaven summoning. It came, as revivals invariably do, during a low-tide spiritual moment. Empty churches, cold hearts, lethargic Christians, and flourishing evil. Sounds like some of the church and culture in North America and Europe today. Up steps a 27-year-old miner named Evan Roberts with a far younger band of men and women, each eager to see God move as He did in the beginning of creation: “…and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2) Jesus, move upon our hearts to take us out of darkness, into Your marvelous light!
Are you going through a difficult time? Don’t despair! God knows, and wants to help you! When the depth of man’s heart is filled with darkness, God shows up and says, “ ‘Let there be light,’ and there is light.” (Genesis 1:3) Did He intend this command for exclusive periods of history? Or can we declare its power now? The Bible is crystal clear. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV) Jesus still wants to fill our darkness with light! He still longs to remove the depth of sin that imprisons our hearts. No matter how dark your life may seem, never forget, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37, NIV) Jesus, fill us with Your liberating light—fill
us with Your love!
Making God Smile
There is a battle going on in each of us, between who we once were, and who we are called to be. It will either fill us with light or darkness. “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8) Yet, Jesus said, “If your eye is single, your whole body will be filled with light.” (Luke 11:34) Will we face the duplicity in us, our churches, and within our culture, or will we bow to fear, doubt, and turn away? Will I put an end to the numbness buried in my own heart? This is the question that haunts me; may it haunt you as well. And may, at the end of our soul searching, we come to the best-of-all conclusions: that the only life worth living is the fully abandoned one, a life that makes God smile and the devil tremble.