Jesus Is The Only Way
In 1972, I was an artist selling my wares in Lahaina, Maui, and a young “Jesus Freak” said something that infuriated me. He said, “Jesus was the ONLY way!” At the time I believed there were many paths to God. Jesus was “ONE” way, but certainly not “THE” way. He finally read these words of Jesus: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me.” THAT WAS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE TO ME THEN! But now I see these words as they really are: ABSOLUTE TRUTH! Jesus wasn’t just another option: a bright spot in this dark world. He WAS God come to Earth . . . the SAVIOR of the world. And, if you can believe it . . . He can save you too.
Short-changed or Over-paid
Do you feel like you’ve been short-changed by God, or over-paid? The answer to this question will not just affect HOW YOU PROCESS YOUR PAST, but HOW YOU VIEW YOUR FUTURE. Has God given any of us a RAW DEAL? Or have we merely MISINTERPRETED the OPPORTUNITIES He’s SENT OUR WAY. God’s Word says He’s given each of us, “…everything we need to live a godly, fulfilled life.” (2Peter 1:3) None of us have been SHORT-CHANGED. At times, we’re just SHORT-SIGHTED! We’ve missed seeing what God was really doing. Ask God to open your eyes to His plan. Ask Him to reveal the thoughts and intents of His heart. The God who sent His only Son to die in our place has ALWAYS given us His best.
Are We There Yet?
When I was growing up my family went on long car trips. I’d ask my parents, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” It’s a valid question, though when repeated every other minute, it’s a little annoying. But, I never asked my parents “Do you know where we are going?” I ASSUMED they knew . . . I TRUSTED they knew . . . I RESTED in their knowing. Trust is BELIEVING God has ALL the CLARITY I NEED. I DON’T NEED TO KNOW what’s going on, as long as I know HE KNOWS. A lot of my ASSUMPTIONS about life have REALLY BEEN PRESUMPTIONS. I’m not WALLOWING IN IGNORANCE, I’m RESTING IN A CONFIDENT TRUST that God’s guiding my life. At times, God let’s us know where we’re going. MOST OF THE TIME, we need to TRUST: HE KNOWS.
Shoeless And Homeless
A friend was driving on a cold, rainy day, when he saw a barefoot man walking a puppy. He said to himself, “He’s crazy!” The he thought: “Maybe he’s not barefoot by choice?” God encouraged my friend to go back. He responded, “OK Lord, if this is really You, his shoe size will be MY SIZE … 11.” Finding him rummaging through garbage cans, the homeless man shared how his pup chewed his sandals, and he was looking for bottles to buy more. My friend asked, “What size do you wear?” You guessed it, “11.” When my friend gave him his socks and shoes, the barefoot man’s eyes welled with tears. He then reached through the window and gave him a big hug. That moment made both their days. Hmm? I wonder what God has in store for YOU today?
Flying High In A Lawn Chair
On a hot July day, a 33-year-old truck driver decided a change was needed in his life. He’d been sitting around for months doing nothing. So, he attached 42 helium balloons to a lawn chair and lifted off. Just in case he flew too high, he took along a pellet gun to shoot out some of the balloons. Reaching high altitude very quickly, a shocked airplane pilot reported seeing “some guy in a lawn chair floating in the sky at 16,000 feet!” Finally, he began to shoot out a few balloons and was able to land safely 45 minutes later. Ha! Life can get pretty boring. That’s why the Bible says “without a vision, people live careless lives.” (Proverbs 29:18) We don’t need just a change of scenery, we just need God’s perspective for our lives.
Living In A Shed Or A Mansion
Incredible as it sounds, a man lived in a wooden shed with a metal roof, 3 feet wide, by 4 feet long, and 5 feet high for decades. He lived in this shed until he died at age 80. Though he could afford to move, he chose to spend his life in that little space. Are you limiting your growth in God? How big do you want your relationship to be? A shed? A shack? Or a mansion? Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions . . . I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2) Sure, this relates to our eternal future, but it also applies to the Kingdom of God within us. May your relationship with God be as BIG as His heart for you.
Getting New Vision
Do you need vision for your life? We all need a reason to get out of bed in the morning. A purpose to work hard! A reason to step out in faith! A fresh start, in order to experience what we’ve never experienced before. Initiative is the ability to take the lead; to introduce change and act first. But you can’t just try harder and expect different results. To do what you’ve never done . . . you’ll have to think what you’ve never thought. When you’re born again, GOD gives you new thoughts; a new reason to live; NEW HOPES, and NEW DREAMS. But you have to keep asking Him for them. It’s an “ask and it will be given to you” relationship. Don’t be afraid to ask God. He’s got all the vision you need.
Hide And Seek With God
At the entrance of a manufacturing plant, a sign read: “If you’re like a wheelbarrow, going no further than you’re pushed, you need not apply for work here!” God has hidden the precious things on Earth in such a way that finding them is a REWARD to the DILIGENT . . . a PRIZE to the INDUSTRIOUS . . . but a DISAPPOINTMENT to the LAZY. The nut is hidden in its shell. The pearl is buried at the bottom of the ocean. Gold is imprisoned in the mountain. Gems are only found when you crush rock, and oil and gas are deep within the earth. Even the ground only gives its harvest to the hard-working farmer. God says, “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13) Seek God, and you’ll find what’s priceless!
Love Compels Us
A missionary in Africa was asked if he really liked what he was doing. His response was shocking. “Do I like this work? No. My wife and I don’t like dirt. We don’t like crawling into vile huts through goat refuse. We don’t like the heat, and the disease. And we don’t like being away from our loved ones, and all of the conveniences of home. But . . . are WE TO DO only those things for Jesus that we like to do? Liking
or disliking has nothing to do with it. We’re called to ‘Go’ . . . and we go. Love compels us.” God is love. That’s who He is. And whatever He asks us to do will be motivated by His nature . . . His love. What’s God asking you to do today?
The Devoted Terrier
In Edinburgh, Scotland there’s a statue of a small Scottish Terrier. The master of the dog had died when it was two-years-old. But the dog followed the funeral procession to the gravesite. After everyone had gone and the grave was covered, the little dog crawled to the foot of the grave, as if to wait for his master’s return. The dog waited and waited through all kinds of weather and unbelievable ordeals. People would capture the dog and take him home, but he always escaped and returned to the foot of the grave of his master to continue the vigil. The dog waited until death—for 14 years. (SLOW) I wonder . . . how much more you and I should be devoted to Jesus?
The Gurkhas of Nepal are renowned as fearless fighters. One day, during a war, they were asked if they would be willing to jump from airplanes into combat. The Gurkhas didn’t understand what was involved, but they bravely said they would do it, asking only that the planes fly slowly over a swampy area and no higher than 100 feet. When they were told that their parachutes wouldn’t have time to open at that height, the Gurkhas replied, “Oh, you didn’t mention that we’d have parachutes!” That’s commitment! It makes us brave, and willing to give everything, even our lives. Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” He was committed. The QUESTION IS . . . are we?
I Hate Imperfection
I hate imperfection! Don’t you? Especially in others. But when it’s my imperfection, I ask everyone around me for grace, patience and understanding. The funny thing is, in life, we generally don’t receive any more grace than we’ve given. That’s why Jesus challenged us, “…whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them…” (Matthew 7:12) It’s a boomerang! Paul writes, “What a person plants, he will harvest.” (Galatians 6:7, The Message) And…“A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7, NIV) Proverbs says it this way, “…a man who has friends must himself be friendly…” (Proverbs 18:24a, NKJV) And finally Jesus added an even greater warning, “If you forgive others, you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37b, NLT) Sounds, like, if I want to be loved, then I better start loving others.
Attached To God’s Preference
Being attached to MY preference can be REALLY dangerous. Why? Because I’ve NEVER KNOWN what’s best for me. Only God does. SURE, I’ve been ATTACHED TO LOTS OF THINGS, and EVEN PEOPLE I thought I DESPERATELY NEEDED, but they weren’t what I was really looking for. What I REALLY WANTED was God! Now . . . my OVERWHELMING PREFERENCE in life is to FULLY EMBRACE God’s preference. Every day, I choose to wake up excited to see what MY HEAVENLY FATHER has picked out for me. And God doesn’t make junk! His best for me is the script He’s already written. His perfect will. The Bible says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1Corinthians 2:9–10, NLT)
I’m perfect…have NO problems…and am ALWAYS like Jesus. Do these comments give you confidence in me? OF COURSE NOT! I need a Savior! Unless people SEE MY STRUGGLES . . . NOT JUST MY VICTORIES, they’ll never UNDERSTAND what it means to be a GENUINE CHRIST FOLLOWER…in an INCREDIBLY DISINGENUOUS AGE. Everything good in my life is not because of me. It’s because of God’s grace. Jesus loves me…warts and all! And He was the most authentic, genuine person who ever walked the face of the earth. If we have ANY HOPE of REPRESENTING GOD WELL on this Earth, our lives must IN SOME WAY model that SAME LEVEL of HUMBLE INTEGRITY Jesus modeled. CHRIST IN YOU…it’s YOUR ONLY HOPE of glorifying God. (Colossians 1:27)
Hot Meals Or Whole-hearted
Are you more attached to knowing God…or receiving His blessing? When Jesus walked the Earth, many people loved to be around him for the HOT MEALS…for the loaves and the fishes. But when it came down to being WHOLE-HEARTED FOLLOWERS…DISCIPLES…they were gone. Our MOTIVE will always determine the outcome of whatever we’re hoping for. We rarely call someone a “friend” who only sticks around to see what we’ll give them. If our motive is to glorify God, and not merely to benefit ourselves, then God’s blessing and favor can rest upon us. Ask God to give you His heart to do HIS WILL, and NOT your own. God has good things to give you but the best thing is a friendship with Him.
The reason we DON’T TRUST GOD is because we don’t know Him . . . the reverse is also true; you can’t KNOW SOMEONE unless you first trust him. If we knew God, we’d certainly love and trust Him; and that means trusting Him to reveal His understanding to us, in His timing, not ours. The trusting person is the one who’s no more attached to GOD GIVING HIM CLARITY than GOD STAYING SILENT. It MAKES NO DIFFERENCE! He KNOWS the main event is not ‘ME knowing what’s going on.’ But, “GOD KNOWING what’s going on. The more I know God the more I trust Him. The more I depend upon MY OWN UNDERSTANDING, the LESS PEACE I HAVE. (Proverbs 3:5–6) Trust God and enjoy your life! It’s the only life you have.
God’s Withholding Nothing
Does the God of the Universe fit inside your brain? If you think you’ve got God figured out, your God isn’t big enough. So why do we think we can fully understand what He’s doing or even what’s best for us? Until we esteem God’s Word more than OUR OWN THOUGHTS, we’ll squirm every time something goes contrary to OUR EXPECTATIONS. I don’t need to figure out WHAT’S GOING ON as long as I TRUST the God who already knows. If I lack wisdom I can ask God for His help…but I must ask without doubting Him. The next time you think GOD’S WITHHOLDING INSIGHT FROM YOU, believe that it would be WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION. God will withhold nothing from us, if it’s truly for our good. But, never forget, only He knows what’s best.
Have You Lost Heart?
Have you lost heart? God knows where it is. He will help you find it. Earth is brief! Heaven is long! Though our time here is the shortest chapter of our endless lives, it will set the tone for eternity. While it’s appropriate to rejoice in its brevity, it’s wise to be concerned with its finality. Let the Apostle Paul’s words lift your spirits, “Therefore WE DO NOT lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the INWARD MAN is being renewed day by day. For our LIGHT AFFLICTION which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…” (2Corinthians 4:16–17) Don’t lose heart! The eternal glory will be worth every pressure and trouble we’ll ever go through.
The Purpose Of Pressure
Have the pressures of life gotten to you? The challenge comes, not in that we have pressures, but in how we view them. If they are anchors around our necks weighing us down in despair, then we are MISSING THEIR POINT ENTIRELY. Instead of sinking us, the pressures in our lives ACTUALLY ANCHOR US to the One who loves us most. In eternity, we’ll thank God for each trial He so wisely designed with us in mind. There are no accidental struggles in life; just MARVELOUSLY CRAFTED STRETCHING’S that not only bring out the best in us, but, once ours eyes are opened, reveal the BEST OF GOD’S ALL-WISE INTENTIONS FOR US. Let life’s pressures MAKE YOU into the person God intended. It’s gonna be worth it! It’s gonna be worth it all!
Just as BEAUTY is in the eyes of the beholder, so is BONDAGE. I always have a choice in how I SEE MY LIFE. NO ONE, and NO SITUATION can force me to be DEPRESSED or DISCOURAGED . . . angry or bitter. These DEFORMED responses to life are ALL in my court. I can welcome them as FRIENDS, or dismiss them as the DISTRACTING ENEMIES they really are. EVERY situation in my life is an OPPORTUNITY to see the MIRACULOUS, saving hand of God. I can live with EXCITED anticipation of how God is going to DELIVER ME out of my SEEMING predicaments, or I can wait FRETTING for the other shoe to fall. This is ONE SITUATION where I CHOOSE to see my life from God’s point of view.