KLOVE Features September 2018

Laughing With God

Do you laugh with God? I hope you do. It’s so important to laugh with our close friends, and God wants to be our closest. The other day, I had run upstairs to get something, and came all the way down with something completely different. Going back up laughing, I asked God not to tell my wife, Suzie. I sensed He smiled. So, what keeps us from laughing with God? Do we think He doesn’t have a great sense of humor? Do we really believe He’s not laughing at us and with us? Or do we think He’d rather be angry, disconnected or disappointed with who we are? Is that how our parents treated us? Perhaps? But it certainly isn’t the way He wants to relate to us. Laugh with God! It will make your relationship with Him so much more enjoyable.

Chip On Our Shoulder

Ever feel like you’re getting whiplash from all the twists and turns in your life. Transitions are in store for all of us. Don’t get too settled on what you think is or should be happening. If “…a day is like a thousand years to the Lord…” (2 Peter 3:8, NLT), then our lives take less than two hours of God-time. So, I’ve been pastoring this church for about 20 minutes, God-time, and I’ll be heading into eternity in a half hour, God-time. The point is: Life goes fast! The Bible says, “…you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. ” (James 4:14, NKJV) The changes and transitions we experience in life are all tests: proving our character and molding us to become like Jesus.

Kindness to an Old Man

I was on a crowded plane recently when an extraordinary drama occurred during the flight. An elderly man, who looked around 90, was flying alone on what you’d assume would be one of his last flights. An hour in, he needed to use the restroom. Having a window seat, it took exceptional effort for the couple next to him to assist him out and then back into his seat. Others jumped in and eagerly helped. I was a few rows back praying as the scene unfolded and was so touched by the kindness of this team of strangers, each rising to the occasion from the back of the plane to the front. It was breathtaking! With all of the negative news often depicting the worst in humanity, this selfless kindness from strangers was truly unforgettable.

Slippery Expectations

Expectations are a slippery slope. We can go from hoping something happens, to being convinced it’s God’s will, without ever really confirming this with Him. The crowds were happy to applaud Jesus as He rode into Jerusalem a week before His crucifixion because they thought He was coming to be their liberator from the oppression of Rome. A week later, they were, likewise, happy to kill Him and exchange His life for a murderer named Barabbas because their expectations had been dashed. Many people are angry with God and others because they  superimposed an expectation that someone could not fulfill. Let your expectations be in God alone. Allow Him to fulfill all He has promised and intended for your life, and you’ll never be disappointed.

Clinging to Our Past

If we hold on to the past too tightly, we become the greatest enemy of our own future. Being attached to anything but God, will lead us further away from His best for our lives. When Jesus healed Lazarus and raised him from the dead, the Jewish leaders were terrified the Romans would take away their position of power. They foolishly decided they needed to kill Jesus. The High Priest said, “…it’s better…that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” He didn’t know it, but he was prophesying that Jesus would die for the nation of Israel. (John 11:50-51) Our lives will always come to a crossroads: will we cling to our misguided attachment to the past or obey the Spirit’s urging to go forward into God’s fantastic unknown?

The Irony of Getting Healed

We all tend to think that when we are tired or sore from physical activity, the last thing we want to do is move or even work out. Yet, that’s often the very thing we should do: move the sore muscles in order to get blood and oxygen flowing to them. The medical term for this is active rest. I’m not saying you have to exert yourself by lifting heavy weights or running a long distance because that may be the very reason you’re sore in the first place. But I am saying, get up and move, go for a walk, exert those sore muscles in some way. I have also found a spiritual counterpart for this principle. Whenever I don’t feel like praying, worshipping, reading the Word, getting up early to seek God, or going to church, that’s actually the very thing I need to do.

When Giving is Contagious

An employee at a fast food burger restaurant told me about a day when she was really having a hard time at work. Near the end of her shift, someone wanted to pay the bill for the next person in line. This continued for nine people. One person even paid over $40, and when asked if they really wanted to pay that much, said without wavering, “Absolutely!” This blessed the employee so much, it changed her whole day and set off a chain reaction among other shocked employees. Sure, the world can be a pretty creepy place, but it can also be a marvelous place as well. What crazy act of obedience has God planned for you and me today? Can’t wait to see what it is!

Everyone Prays in Hospice

I have a friend who’s worked in Hospice for many years, caring for people at the end of their lives. I was stunned when she said in passing that as a person comes to terms with the fact that they are dying, they invariably pray. A further inquiry determined that though the statement was a bit overstated, it was true in essence. That really got to me. When eternity stares people in the face, at last they acknowledge the obvious: they need to get right with God. What a mixed blessing! Some have this most important of all conversations with their Creator for the first time. For others, it’s a continuation of a marvelous, everlasting romance with Him. Since we all have a choice as to which to choose, I choose conversations throughout the day with the One who loves me most.

Salvaging From a Forest Fire

While our daughter was staying with her husband and kids in the home of friends, with little notice, she was told to immediately evacuate because a forest fire was now within reach. Making a frantic call to the home owners, she asked what she should salvage. The final sentence from the homeowners broke her heart, “Whatever you grab will be all our family has!” Those final words sent our daughter and her husband running through the home, trying to rescue items they thought would be most precious to this family. It made me think about each of our lives and how fragile they are. How, at any moment, we may have to assess what is most important. Only then will we fully realize that in order to choose wisely, we will have had to live wisely.

Getting Caught or Turning Myself In

Perhaps, the most foolish decision I’ll ever make is choosing between turning myself in, if I’m living in sin, or waiting to get caught and exposed. The words of Jesus provide a chilling warning: “The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.(Luke 12:2, NLT) Should we dismiss Christ’s words as hyperbole or overstatement or let the raw reality of their warning become the standard for how we should live? How would we live if we realized that every sin we tried to hide on Earth would be exposed during our lifetime? Run to the light, and live safe. “…if we confess our sins to him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9, NLT)

God’s on Our Side

Down through the ages, political and military leaders, in an effort to defeat an enemy, win a war, or rally a nation, have often proclaimed with unflinching absoluteness, “We have God on our side!” That’s quite a statement! Now, some were unquestionably heralding righteous causes, but as we often see today, when both sides claim the moral high ground, that God is on their side, we have to go to God’s Word to validate or incriminate whatever they are espousing. So, beware the counterfeit: the loud voices proclaiming without equivocation, not just that they are right, but that they are absolutely certain God is on their side. The irony is, I’ve heard people professing biblically incorrect moral or political positions followed by, “I know God’s on our side!” And I wonder what God thinks about it.

How to Be Perfect

Did you ever read the words of Jesus, “…be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect”? (Matthew 5:48, ESV) and think, “I’ve got no shot at that!” I know I have. Trying to achieve the unachievable would at best lead to a life of continual frustration, and at worst, transform us into self-righteous Pharisees. So what did Jesus have in mind when He heralded this highest of all bars? The word “perfect” here means to “be complete.” You could say, “Be complete as your Heavenly Father is complete.” Not that we have reached God-like perfection, but rather we are walking in a level of maturity, a completeness where we are representing Jesus well. Be as mature as you can be at this moment. Look for progress, not perfection. Keep going forward, even if you’ve just taken a few steps backward.

KLOVE Features August 2018

Surprising God

Would you like to surprise God? It sounds like it might be fun, but, sorry — you can’t. He already knows the past, present, and future simultaneously. And frankly, it’s better for us that He does. Though it means our lives have never surprised Him, it also means we’ve never disappointed Him either. God lives with complete understanding of our past, an absolute acceptance of our present, and a captivating hope for our future. Sure, we can’t surprise someone who knows everything, but we can’t disappoint someone who loves unconditionally either. One of the most comforting scriptures of all time says, “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!  How great is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17) What’s better than surprising God? Trusting Him, no matter what’s happening to you. That might be the most surprising adventure of all.

The Myth of “Justifiable Hatred”

I’m always amazed at how each generation rewrites its own history, inventing a “new” right and wrong. And how deeply they cling to their assumptions, as if the obvious is now, at last, evident for all clear thinking, morally advanced people to embrace. A current myth trending is that you’re allowed to hate; but only if you’re really right, and the wrong you’re hating merits being destroyed. I call it the “Myth of Justifiable Hatred.” We’re not the first generation to buy into its lie.  Demagogues and dictators have peddled the deception since the serpent coined it in the Garden. Funny! Jesus didn’t catch the revelation. He said that we should even love our enemies (Matthew 5:44), not hate them. Sure, it’s a lot harder to do, but in the end, it’s what He did for us, and now it’s our turn to pass it on.


I was talking with a teenage girl once who had a wristband on that intrigued me. I asked what it was about, and she said somewhat haltingly, “It’s about supporting the government; you know, pro-state.” Hmm? Asking to see it a little closer, I read the words “Healing Your Prostate.” I didn’t want to embarrass her, but thought it would be kinder to tell her, “I think it’s referring healing prostate cancer.” She was a great sport, and we had a good laugh, but as I reflect on it, it reminds me of the beliefs people walk around with that would be funny, if they weren’t so sad. I don’t want to stand before God and find out I’ve believed something that is patently absurd. Just because something is presented as truth doesn’t mean it is. Check it with the final truth standard, God’s Word, and in the end you’ll never be embarrassed believing it.

“We Want Justice!”

One of the prevailing cries being passionately proclaimed on Earth is, “We want justice!” It covers a long list of grievances: from civil rights to equal rights. Some of the issues being championed are completely valid and demand attention and change, while others are significant departures from God’s best for His creation. But take heart! Even if you can’t get justice on Earth, don’t be discouraged. God promises equity in eternity! There, at last, the scales of justice will be balanced and fair. In the Book of Genesis, Abraham asks God, “Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?” (Genesis 18:25, NLT) The answer to the question is beyond comforting. In eternity, we will receive infinitely more than we deserve from a benevolent and generous Creator.

The Lost Fruit

Did you know that there is a lost fruit of the Spirit? Well, not exactly lost…just under-utilized. It’s as important a fruit as the others we talk more about: the love, joy, and peace God so freely gives us. But, this fruit is often hidden and obscure. Primarily, because it runs cross-grain to our American way of life: our over-abundant, over-indulgent, pleasure-seeking culture. It’s the fruit of the Spirit: self-control. Obesity is epidemic; pornography makes billions, and we are entertaining ourselves to death. We cast off restraint left and right, and consequently, our souls and spirits are crying out, frankly, not just for more love, joy and peace, but for the lost fruit: self-control. Perhaps, the only fruit of the Spirit that can rescue us from ourselves. God help us! Give us Your fruit: self-control!

I Am the Project

I’ve worked on many projects for God in my lifetime. Some have been completed, others have not. But once, when I had given myself to a task that wasn’t seeming to work out, I was frustrated and whining to God about why it was so difficult to complete an assignment — the project — He had given me. Out of the blue, the Lord spoke to my heart: “You are the project!” It was a lightning-bolt revelation. I’m fixated on some “thing” I think is really important, and God gives me a reality check and says, “Francis, you are the project. You’ve always been the project. Everything else is just details.” WOW! I think I’m doing something “BIG” for God, and He reminds me of what is “REALLY BIG” to Him. It is always…ALWAYS… US!

Over-reacting and Under-reacting

We live in a world where all-too-often we tend to overreact when something goes wrong and under-react when we need to do something right. We miss the mark by doing more or less than God asks us to. So, how do we dial in and hit the bulls-eye of God’s best for us? It will take caring more about protecting God’s reputation than our own. Refusing to bow to fear or self-preservation is perhaps the only way to responding appropriately to God’s will. To embrace the precise requests He asks of us without modifying them for convenience or scrapping them completely because we think we know better. I am so tired of missing the mark, and so desperate to finish well that I want to do exactly what He asks me to do…no more and no less. I’d make a lousy God!


In my nearly-half century of following Jesus, I believe the greatest stumbling block to people serving God is being offended. Jesus even had to encourage John the Baptist to not be offended. So, the issue of offense affects all of us. The Bible says offenses will come. Unresolved offenses are a breeding ground for bitterness. That’s also why the Bible says, “I fear lest a root of bitterness spring up and many will be the defiled.” Learn to forgive those who have offended you by seeing their need, and not fixating on their offense. All of us will be offended, and at times offend others, but if we commit to forgiving and asking forgiveness, we can finish our days with no offense in our heart toward anyone, just as Jesus modeled so beautifully for each of us on the Cross.

Cultural vs. Kingdom Compassion

There’s a funny word that people are doing a lot. It’s called bloviating. It means “to talk at length in an inflated or empty way.” People bloviate about all kinds of things: their accomplishments, their beliefs, and why they are so right about something. But what is most mystifying is when they bloviate about their compassion. There’s an eternal difference between cultural compassion, which is here today and gone tomorrow, ­­­and Kingdom compassion, which is birthed in the heart of God and lasts forever. The Bible says, “When (Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36, NLT) Jesus is still compassionate about our confusion and helplessness. But the only way He can help us is if we admit we are confused in our thinking and helpless without Him.

Paying-It-Forward at a Drive-Thru

A woman I met cares for a boy who is severely autistic and has dozens of seizures every day, some of them violent. To say the least, her job wears on her a great deal. One day, as she was going to work, she stopped for coffee at a drive-thru. Frankly, she was not looking forward to her job that day. When she reached the window and was told that the person ahead of her had paid $4 forward for her drink, this simple act of kindness changed her whole outlook and even her entire day. She said, “I actually couldn’t believe it. It set me free!” It meant more to her than if she had found a $50 bill on the street. What an amazing life-lesson! What simple act of kindness can you and I do that could actually make someone’s day?

Miraculous Salvations

God can intercept a life in the most miraculous way! One of my wife’s bridesmaids recently recounted to me her salvation. She had walked into our natural food store during the Jesus Movement in 1973 and was encouraged by our pastor to receive Jesus, which she did. A couple of days later as her car was giving her problems while she was driving, she noticed she had no need to take God’s name in vain, because her heart had been changed. Pulling into a country store in the middle of nowhere, she was approached by members of our Christian community who offered her assistance. Once again, God encouraged her commitment to Him. Now, decades later, she is happily married to one of the Christian men she met that first day in the natural food store. Are you still grateful for God rescuing you?


The other night I was going for a walk with my wife, when we ran into our daughter and her husband who live around the corner. In passing, she mentioned that as she was driving out of her housing complex onto the street that morning, she inadvertently cut a woman off. Though there was no ill will  intended on our daughter’s part, and she pulled over to let the woman by, she was shocked that as the woman drove past she held up the international hand signal of displeasure. It bothered our daughter so much that, now, many hours later, she mentioned it to us. We encouraged her, of course, but were left with the stale taste of feeling degraded. What if we became an affirmation-nation, instead of a degradation-nation? Wouldn’t that make it a wonderful place to live?





KLOVE Features July 2018

The Emotional Cost of Framing Pictures  

I went to a store to get an important picture framed. It meant a great deal to me and had a lot of emotion behind it. As a store attendant was assisting me, I commented that just looking at the picture made me want to cry. She shot back, “I cry with half of the people who come and get pictures framed.” The statement turned my head! After confirming that she really meant what she had just said, I asked her if she had realized when taking her job that there would be an emotional cost. She said, “No, but it’s worth it!” After further discussion, which frankly made us both emotional, I affirmed what we each knew. It is a privilege to help people process the most meaningful relationships and moments of their life.

God Sees Who We Are, Not Just What We Do

God is always pleased with who you are, just not with everything you do. Go back to one minute before you gave your life to Jesus. Did God love you then? Was He smiling down on you, or frowning? Did He suddenly have this cosmic epiphany and realize He really was head over heels in love with you? No! God felt the same way about us one minute before we received Jesus, as He did one minute after. He’s the same, yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) God can be saddened in what we do, but He’s never disappointed in who we are. God is not disillusioned with you, because He had no illusions about who you are to begin with. Jesus is infinitely bigger than what you and I have seen Him do for us.

The Miracles We Don’t See

The servants at the marriage of Cana did not know a miracle was taking place, that water had turned to wine, when they carried a cup to the bride’s father for him to taste. They did not know what they had, but they were obedient anyway. I often don’t know if my words and actions will be a difference maker in the lives of those around me, but I just try and share, give, and love what God has given me for others. Some of my greatest experiences in life have been realizing that, even though I initially didn’t see it, God had enabled me to be the carrier of a miracle. “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1, NLT)

Attitude is Everything!

In flying, a pilot is trained to rely on his instruments and not his natural instincts. That’s why the principle instrument on an airplane’s dashboard is the artificial horizon, also known as the “attitude indicator”. It provides a picture of the plane in relation to the actual horizon, which you could call “reality.” Are you pointing up, down, or sideways? The artificial horizon is the main instrument alerting the pilot that the airplane’s direction is appropriate or unsafe. So, too, in life, our attitude is everything. And the greatest instrument God has given us to define and refine our attitude is His Word. The Bible says, “…the word of God… judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, NIV) Keep God’s Word as the centerpiece of your spiritual dashboard, and you will have a healthy attitude, living a safe and blessed life.

Wake-Calls While Crop Dusting

Poor choices in life can cost us dearly. My wife Suzie’s first husband was a crop duster who died in a plane crash. It is a dangerous profession, from daybreak to dark, flying 150 miles-an-hour, 12 feet off the ground, missing power lines while applying seeds and pesticides to farmers’ fields. Our niece’s husband has also been a crop duster for 27 years. Recently, after losing a couple of fellow-crop dusters to accidents and having a close call where his poor decision-making almost cost the life of crew members, he told me he had decided to set an end date to retiring. He knew God had given him a wake-up call. It was time! What wake-up call is God giving you and me? And are we listening to His warnings? “Today, if you hear His voice, don’t harden your heart.” (Hebrews 3:15)

My Twin Brother and the Illuminated Cross

My twin brother, Joseph, before surrendering his life to Jesus, was living in Delhi, India. One day, as he was meditating in his room, when he opened his eyes, the outside door of his room was illuminated in the form of a cross. Immediately, he thought, “It’s Jesus! Jesus is the way.” A few days later, back in New York City, he discovered his whole family had become Christ-followers. Shortly after, he dedicated his life to Jesus as well. Forty years later, as he was telling someone about his encounter with the illuminated cross, they showed him historic documentation that hundreds of years ago, Christian craftsmen in Europe designed a door that displayed a cross in the hopes that God would use it to touch lives. We never know how God will use our simple acts of obedience to affect others.

Your Skin Gets Thinner With Age

Did you know your skin gets thinner with age? As the number of new cells produced decreases, our bodies make less collagen, the main protein found in skin which keeps it firm. As we age we also lose elastin, an additional protein which keeps our skin flexible. Lastly, as we grow older, we lose some of the fatty layer underneath our skin, making the skin seem even thinner. What’s the spiritual principle here? If we don’t allow Jesus to keep our heart yielded to Him, our thin skin may make us the grumpy old men and women we never wanted to become. Oswald Sanders described it this way, “Maturity is moving from a thin skin and a hard heart to a thick skin and a soft heart.” “Jesus, help us grow old gracefully!”

“I Don’t Know Who You Are!”

Recently, after upgrading my iPhone, out of habit, I asked Siri to call my wife. She shot back, “I don’t know who your wife is. Actually, I don’t know who you are…” Though I immediately laughed out loud, realizing I had not yet set up my new phone, I was also a tad bit hurt that my life was in some way invisible. As I reflected on this peculiarly funny incident, I realized that my feelings of being valued were deeply connected to my self-worth. It reminded me of an intense movie scene between a mother and daughter. The daughter had always felt she never measured up to her mother’s standards. At one highly emotional moment, the mother looked into her daughter’s eyes and tenderly said, “I see you! I see you!” All of us want to know what’s most important: the God of love sees us.

The Funniest Person Who Ever Lived

Would you think it was sacrilegious if I said, “God is the funniest person who ever lived?” I believe I can prove it. Let me start by asking: who’s funnier than the Inventor of laughter? Just Google, “Images of the funniest looking creatures” and you’ll see the genius of the most hilarious Artist who ever lived. So what’s my point? Have you stopped seeing the comedy and irony within your own life? If you never laugh at the crazy script God has written for you, the silly things you do, the bizarre circumstances and adventures you face every day, then you’re probably missing some of what God intended. Sure, God is simultaneously the most serious and complicated Person of all time as well. But, if we can’t laugh at life, we’ll never enjoy it.

What Gifts Have I Not Received?

Jesus said to the Woman at the Well, “If you only knew the gift I have for you.“ (John 4:10) “If you only knew…” It makes me wonder how many gifts Jesus wants to give me that I have yet to receive. I know and truly appreciate many of the gifts God has given me: everlasting life, forgiveness, health, family, friends, ministry. But, at times, I wonder what gifts I’m missing that He longs for me to have. What promises have I yet to believe in? What joys am I not walking in? The Bible tells us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…” (James 1:17, NIV) “Jesus, open my eyes to receive and praise You for the many gifts You have given me that I have yet to receive, and may actually leave this Earth having never opened.”

The Love of Fathers and Mothers

Is there anything more powerful than a parent’s belief in their children? At the marriage of Cana, when they ran out of wine, Jesus’ mother so believed in Him that she asked the attendants to do whatever He asked. She knew the call that was on His life, and I believe Christ’s humanity appreciated her affirmation more than we know. In a similar way, Jesus appreciated His Heavenly Father speaking from Heaven at His baptism, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.“ (Matthew 3:17, NKJV) Dads and moms, encourage your sons and daughters with your words, actions, and unconditional love. Our belief in them will be a wind at their back, a warmth to their soul, and may most define who they become.

Pop, Pop, Pop!

I once prayed for a woman with scoliosis of the spine, a significant curvature and twisting of her vertebrae. I didn’t know exactly what to pray, so I waited on God. After a while I said, “Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop!” That was it! Eight pops. Nothing else. I felt foolish but believed I’d prayed what I’d received. Two years went by. One night, in another city, she walked up to me smiling. Remembering her, I was initially embarrassed, but before I could speak she blurted out, “I went to a doctor after you prayed for me, and he said I have eight vertebrae out. And I believe one day I’ll hear those pops and be healed.” I was stunned. God had once again chosen foolish things to confound the wise. (1 Corinthians 1:27)

KLOVE Features June 2018

Feeling Bad About Yourself

Would you like to have no good reason to feel bad about yourself? Then let Jesus forgive everything you’ve ever done bad. While you’re at it, would you like a good reason to feel good about yourself? Then believe everything God promises to give you if you surrender your life to Him and receive His forgiveness: His love, His joy, and His peace! Because the Pharisees refused to allow Jesus to forgive them, they minimized what they’d done bad and so ultimately felt bad. On the other hand, the notorious sinner who washed His feet with her tears knew how bad she was compared to Jesus, and so was able to receive His complete forgiveness and feel good. And guess what? So, can you! Feel good today! Let Jesus forgive you.

The Worst Mission Experience Ever

Some experiences in life brand us. I was on a mission trip years ago with doctors, nurses and medical supplies to a remote village in Uganda. Hundreds had walked a full day to get eyeglasses and much-needed medicine. By the end of the 2nd day, we were out of everything. Yet, there were still 75 people who had received nothing. All we had left were 50 tiny bottles of shampoo. The final visual that haunts me today was a male nurse with tears running down his cheeks surrounded by a hundred clamoring, outstretched hands mobbing him while grabbing for what they really didn’t need. The scene was heart-wrenching, but through the painful memory, I am reminded of how much we in America have and take for granted. Be grateful for what you have. None of us have been short-changed.

Thermometers vs. Thermostats

Here’s a question I bet you’ve never been asked: are you a thermometer or a thermostat? A thermometer is an instrument that measures temperature, whereas a thermostat is a device that regulates temperature. The hero of my childhood, Dr. Martin Luther King, said the church is to be, “…not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.” Brilliant, and challenging! What do I believe: a collection of ideas that are popular before flawed humanity, or a clarion call of conviction modeling the timeless life and character of my courageous Creator? What others think is infinitely less important than what the eternal God knows is true. Whatever you do today: be a thermostat, changing the temperature of those around you.

 It’s Not Easy Being You

Would it surprise you if I said it’s easier being someone else than being who God created you to be? It’s easier skiing in someone else’s wake than creating one yourself. Olympic runners, cyclists, and skaters all race behind someone else. It’s called drafting, and it reduces drag by exploiting the lead objects slipstream. But, at some point, if you want to win the race, you’ll have to make your own wake, create your own draft, and cast your own shadow. Only then will you realize, it’s not easy being who God created you to be, and unless you receive the grace and power of God, you’ll let others lead you, never becoming the one-of-a-kind original God imagined. Sure, it’s not easy being you, but in the end, it will all be worth it.

Let God Do the Heavy Lifting

Do you feel weighed down with pressure? At times, we all do. It’s then we have to examine what are we carrying. A recent survey found that millennials (those in their 20’s and early 30’s) are experiencing more stress than boomers (people in their 60’s and early 70’s). So it seems, peace of mind and rest for our souls is getting harder to find. But, we were never meant to carry the weight of the world. Jesus offers us a much better way to live, “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30, NLT) We know we’re carrying the weight God intended for us when we let Him do the heavy lifting.

Someone Prayed For You

If you are a follower of Jesus, someone was praying for you whether you knew it or not. God uses prayer (relational connection to Him) to initiate His will on Earth. It may even be more absolute than we realize. The Bible says, “For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7, ESV) The founder of the Methodist Church, John Wesley, believed: “God can do nothing unless someone was praying.” You may not have known who was praying for you, but know this for sure — someone was. And this begs the question: who is God putting on my heart today for me to pray for? I may never meet them face to face on Earth, but my prayerful connection to God may be the difference-maker in their lives.

Extraordinary, But Not the Exception

The lives of many people in the Bible and throughout Church History have been extraordinary, but God never intended them to be the exception. At times, the exceptional past of history’s giants inspires and even provokes me, but it was never meant to intimidate me. I can’t run on the fumes of my yesterdays or anyone else’s. The day I let what others do intimidate me, instead of inspiring me, is the day I become a Pharisee. Jesus came to inspire, but some chose to let His character and authority intimidate them. He offered them an exceptional life, but they chose instead to be the exception. The day I believe I’m extraordinary, is the day I see God’s true intention for my life. My life is extraordinary, but God never intended it to be the exception.

Feeling Not Good Enough

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get so discouraged, I feel like the song lyric: “There’s always a reason to feel not good enough.” But there’s actually a good reason why we feel not good enough. It’s because we’re not! The Bible says, “No one is righteous— not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away…No one does good, not a single one.” (Romans 3:10-12, NLT) That’s why we need God’s mercy and forgiveness. Jesus added, “…a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” (Luke 7:47, NLT) When I surrendered my life to Jesus and received His forgiveness, I exchanged my unrighteousness for His sinless robes of righteousness and holiness. I stopped trying to be good enough and embraced His goodness. There is no one purely good, but God.

Bill Shea

My older brother’s wife, Kathy, is the daughter of William Shea, the gifted lawyer for whom New York’s Shea Stadium was named. When I was a brand-new Christian, I was alone with Mr. Shea in my brother’s home. Lacking tact, I quoted the scripture, “It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” (Matthew 19:24) I had cornered him, and though he was gracious, he was never alone with me again. It was the epitome of zeal without wisdom. Years later, his 11-year old grandson, Victor Thomas, born with learning disabilities, had the privilege of doing what I did not do: he led his grandfather and grandmother to Jesus. Memorizing an evangelism booklet I had written, Victor Thomas made up for my insensitivity.

The Difficulty of Doing God’s Will

Though God wants us to know His will, I’ve personally found it is at times very difficult to do it. Consequently, I now believe that this incredibly difficult goal is not an accident. Recently, I found an old message I had preached 40 years ago about knowing God’s will. In it, I listed nine times as a young Christian where I was struggling to know God’s will. I never made any massive mistakes, but I got off track a few times and had to repent. During that season, I ate so much humble pie I could have opened a bakery. I’ve come to the conclusion: God makes it hard to know and do His will, so we have to get to know Him in the process. Cultivating a relationship with God is what life is all about.

“I’m Going to Kill You!”

My life was threatened on many occasions when I pastored a Christian community in the late 1970’s. For 52 months, we ministered to dozens of individuals struggling with drugs and alcohol addictions. The first time I asked a man and his family to leave the community, it was because he was sneaking and doing drugs. He got so irate, as I walked away with my pastor, he yelled, “I’m going to kill you!” My pastor immediately whispered, “Don’t take it personally.” Wise advice, though it sounded somewhat ridiculous at the time. I realized I couldn’t take personal attacks personally, and came to the conclusion…either God is able to protect me, or I can’t be protected, believing the verse, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

The Ridiculous Leads to the Miraculous

Would you believe we at times need to do the ridiculous in order to experience the miraculous? Remember the story of Jesus putting mud and spit in a blind man’s eyes? Or, when He ate food in the home of contagious lepers? How about the over 100 years of absurdity when Noah built an ark in preparation for a flood?  Even though it had never even rained before. Or when the insulted Syrian General Naaman, was told he had to dip in the Jordan River seven times in order to be healed of leprosy? And then there is perhaps the most ridiculous act of all, bringing about the greatest miracle of all time: God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, dying on a cross for the sins of the world.





KLOVE Features May 2018

Moving the Unmovable, Shaking the Unshakable

Nothing in life is static. Everything is fluid…moveable…in motion. Yet, with the right amount of focus, what seems unchangeable can be conformed to God’s perfect will and purpose. At times, it requires pressure to move the seemingly unmovable. The pressure of prayer or the power of humble acceptance even makes the impossible, possible. At other times, only by flowing with God’s ultimate intention, can we see immoveable mountains moved and unshakeable evil shattered. It’s not our might or power that is the difference-maker, but God’s unwavering will and plan for each of our lives. But there are also times when we need to be unshakeable. The Psalmist wrote, “I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” (Psalm 16:8, NLT)

Difference Between Guilt and Shame

Do you know the difference between guilt and shame? It’s vital that you do. Guilt is feeling bad about what I’ve done compared to God’s best for my life. It is a divine protection. Shame is feeling bad about how others see me…even how I see myself. It is a total distraction. Because Jesus was sinless, God come in the flesh, He never experienced guilt because of His actions. Additionally, Jesus despised the shame of becoming sin for us and dying on the Cross. On the other hand, when we sin, and our conscience feels the guilt of our sin, we can ask and receive God’s forgiveness. But, when others try and shame us for not meeting their standard, whatever that may be, we must reject their rejection, and fight to live in the complete acceptance of Jesus.

Boy Choking on a Train

Once, when I was a teenager, I was riding a crowded train early one morning in New York City. Breaking the silence, a girl right behind me began to yell. “My brother, he’s choking! He can’t breathe!” Over and over again she shouted! Everyone crowded around, but no one did anything. I was the closest person to him but was frozen. She screamed, “He’s turning blue!” It was overwhelming! Then after what seemed forever, I heard a distant voice. “Let me through! Move out of the way!” A man, elbowed his way forward, picked the boy up, threw him over one arm, and smacked his back with the other. The boy coughed and began to breathe. Within minutes we were all back in our seats, as if nothing had happened. But my life was forever changed. I never, ever, wanted to be in a situation where I couldn’t help someone in need.

Eddie Rickenbacker

Each of us will either face our fears or cower from them. Victory in life requires courage. The most renowned American pilot during a war was Eddie Rickenbacker. By the end of World War 1, he had logged 300 combat hours: the most of any American pilot during a war. Rickenbacker survived 134 aerial encounters with the enemy and earned the Medal of Honor. He also endured a plane crash during World War 2 and spent 24 days on a raft in the Pacific Ocean. When Eddie was asked how he did it he said, “Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.” A great prayer to pray is, “Jesus, make me a person of conviction, make me a person of courage.” A courageous God will always answer that prayer.

Holding Your Ground

There’s a man in the Bible you’ve probably never heard of: Shammah the Hararite. In a battle with the Philistines, while others were running away, he stationed himself in the middle of a field, defended it, and won a great victory. (2 Samuel 23:11-12) Shammah’s father was named, Agee, which meant “someone who flees” or “someone who runs away”. Agee ran from his problems. Shammah faced them and broke the curse of cowardice over his family. It raises the question, what piece of ground are you and I called to defend? What heavenly stewardship have we been given? What eternal reality are we created to fight for. We all have these! We never really believe in anything, until we stand for something. “For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7, NET)

The Least Safe Thing You Can Do

Want to know what the least safe thing you can do is? It’s bowing to fear! It actually de-activates the grace and power of God. When Martin Luther, the great reformer, stood before a council in the 16th Century to answer charges of heresy and to hear a possible death sentence, he responded, “…my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot, and I will not, recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me!” Courage is not succeeding in what you are called to do. It is being willing to give your all, even if you don’t succeed. One day, when the disciples were terrified, Jesus spoke to them, “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” (Matthew 14:26-27) What are you afraid of? Face it, in the name and authority of Jesus!”

All the Faith We Need

How do you feel about your future? Are you excited or terrified? Do you have financial pressure? Over two-thirds of Americans with debt are not confident they’ll ever pay it off. Do you have relationships that are in trouble? So many are fractured and need the miracle of healing. As important as our present is, what we are believing for is equally important. The Bible says, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV) A.W. Tozer writes, “When we come to the place where everything can be predicted, and nobody expects anything unusual from God, we are in a rut.” Never forget, everything God has for you in the future can only be accessed by faith, and He promises He will give us all the faith we need.

We’re Always in the Majority

In the Old Testament, every time the King of Syria was going to attack Israel the prophet Elisha told the King of Israel what was about to happen. So, the King of Syria sent a great army to seize Elisha, and surround the city he was in. When Elisha’s servant got up one morning, he saw that his city was surrounded with a great army. The servant cried to Elisha, “What shall we do?” “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire. (2 Kings 6:15-17) When we are on God’s side, we’re always in the majority.

The Smartest Thing We Can Ever Do

If I’m to be truly led by God’s Spirit, I must be as committed to do nothing as I am to do something; to be as fully conscious at STOP SIGNS as I am at GREEN LIGHTS. I’m not wasting time when I’m waiting on God. He’s merely testing my willingness to obey Him more than my own preference. Am I as willing to rest in Him as I am to work for Him. In the Old Testament, the prophet Samuel commanded King Saul to wait for him to return before offering a sacrifice. Yet, Saul succumbed to fear and his own desires, and went ahead of God. It would cost Him dearly. Obeying and waiting on God is the wisest action we can ever take. It shows we trust Him more than ourselves, and that’s always the smartest thing we can do.

Palm Trees

The older I get, the less flexible my body becomes, and it really concerns me. I have to really stretch to remain pliable. When I was a young Christian, I quickly yielded to encouragements from God’s Spirit. But am I still obeying His slightest unction? It’s a serious question that requires great humility. The Bible says we need to become like palm trees. “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree…” (Psalm 92:12) A palm tree can bend so far over, it almost touches the ground. But when the wind finally stops, it bounces right back up. It reminds me of humility, which literally means “to hug dirt”. God wants us to be like palm trees because when the storms of life blow, if our roots are in Him, we’re going to bow before Him, and yet bounce right back as strong as before.

Go for the Gold!

No one ever encourages an Olympic athlete, “Go for the bronze!” Bronze is a mixture of two metals: copper and tin, and God doesn’t want our lives to be a mixture. Bronze is also hard and brittle. Nor does He want our lives to be hard and brittle. There’s also no expression, “Go for the silver!” Silver is a precious metal. Slightly harder than gold, but it tarnishes and ranks second to gold in its ability to be molded or shaped without breaking. Gold, on the other hand, is extremely rare. Only one out of a billion atoms of rock in Earth’s crust are gold. Gold is the most moldable and shapeable metal without breaking. One ounce of gold can be beaten out to 300 square feet. So, let me cheer on your life. “Go for the gold and settle for nothing less!”

The Courage of a Flight Attendant

Years ago, a plane crashed and burned on a runway in Philadelphia. A flight attendant stood at the door assisting passengers to safety. When she thought all were safe, she heard a woman screaming, “My baby, my baby!” The flight attendant then returned to the flaming plane, never to be seen again. When the burned wreckage was examined, they found the body of the flight attendant draped over the child she had tried to save. That’s courage! We may not complete every mission or every God-given assignment, but, may we be found faithful to, if need be, die trying. Courage is doing what’s right even if you don’t succeed. The Bible encourages each of us, “…be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” (Ephesians 6:10, ESV) Always remember, we serve of courageous God!





KLOVE Features April 2018

Grace and Truth

How should we, as Christ-followers, communicate with our culture? We shouldn’t forget, how we share is as important as what we say. Unless truth is spoken in love, it becomes un-hearable, and not truth at all. The Bible says, “…the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17, ESV) If we ever hope to speak for the God of love, we will need to season His marvelous truth with grace. In order to represent Jesus well, the One who loves everyone unconditionally, we will need to “…be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32, NLT) “But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” (Galatians 5:15, ESV) “Be quick to listen and slow to speak.” (James 1:19)

Prayer for Luis Palau

Life sends challenges our way, that bring us to our knees and cause us to cry out to God for others. We are our brother’s keeper and guardian, (Genesis 4:9) and “sit together in the heavenly places…” (Ephesians 2:6, NKJV) As members of Christ’s body, “…If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26, NLT) And so, here is a special prayer request. Luis Palau, a world-renowned evangelist who’s touched millions, needs our prayers. He’s battling cancer. Recently, I saw a video he made with his two sons, Kevin and Andrew, that so humbly presented the need it made me cry. Like Aaron and Hur, his godly sons, filled with faith in their God, and love for their father, stood next to him explaining the need for prayer. So, I ask that you pause for a moment and pray for Luis Palau and his precious family.

Music and Unity

We all love music. It warms our soul and comforts our heart. It lifts us up when we are down and heals us when we hurt. But music can also teach us how to relate to one another in healthy ways. Music’s harmonies affirm our diversity. Music’s modulations take us to new heights. We don’t have to walk in uniformity. We can celebrate our God-given differences. Harmony is actually meticulously crafted diversity. We sing our songs together, in harmony, not in unison, and our harmonizing creates a marvelous unity, once again demonstrating the oneness in God’s diverse and complex creation. The boredom of uniformity will eventually drive you to discord. Sing the one-of-a-kind melody God has given you and find others with like-hearts. Living in that kind of harmony will actually bring Heaven to Earth.

Jesus’s Target Mission

Are you part of God’s target audience? Let’s see. Jesus came to Earth on a target mission to reach a particular audience. The Bible says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10) He only came to Earth for those who know they’re lost. He said, “…I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Matthew 9:13) Jesus only came for people who know they’re sick, proclaiming, “…only sick people need a doctor.” (Mark 2:17) We’re all lost. We’ll all sick. Sadly though, most people are in denial and will never allow their Creator to rescue them…the Divine Physician to heal them. If you’ve been in denial about your need, today is a perfect day to pray, “Jesus rescue me! Heal me! And I will follow You all the days of my life.”

Robert Jermain Thomas

Robert Jermain Thomas, as a missionary seemed to fail miserably. But amongst South Korea’s Christian community, this Welsh missionary is a household name. He brought the first bibles to Korea 150 years ago, and now Korea is perhaps the most Christianized country in the world. At 27 years old, after losing his young wife and baby during childbirth in China, he went by boat to Korea, gave away thousands of bibles, but was beheaded and martyred for his faith. Though it would take 40 years, the seed of his obedience and death eventually led to many thousands of Koreans coming to Jesus. Decades after his martyrdom, one of the men who killed Robert Jermain Thomas came forward during a late-night church service. His public acknowledgement brought a spirit of repentance that sparked a revival that continues today.

What Are We Spreading?

Every one of us are spreading something! The question is, what are we spreading? The ten spies were given the privilege of conquering the land God had promised them, but instead of walking courageously into this marvelous inheritance, they gave into doubt and unbelief and consequently spread fear throughout the wandering nation of Israel. Joshua and Caleb, on the other hand, had a different spirit. Believing God’s promise that they would inherit their promised land, they spread a message of faith, standing on the truth of God’s Word and promises. Their obedience and courageous proclamation did not immediately persuade the masses, but eventually they would lead their nation into all God promised. What hope, faith and love has God given you to spread. Don’t base your success on how others respond, but on whether you are obedient.

Capture the Flag

One of the most exhilarating games I played in my youth was Capture the Flag. It so reminds me of the spiritual rescuing I endeavor to do every day. The objective of the game is for players on two teams to make their way into the opposing team’s territory, grab a flag and return with it to their own territory without being tagged. On their own ground players are “safe”, but once they cross into the opposing team’s zone they’re vulnerable. Enemy players who are “tagged” are placed in jail. The thrill of the game is either running through enemy territory to liberate those in jail, or to be captured yourself and waiting for someone to liberate you. Being liberated, and then liberating others is the greatest joy in life! Isn’t that what Jesus has done for those of us who know Him?

Aerial Snowboarders and Their Coaches

While watching Aerial Snowboard Jumpers in the Winter Olympics, I heard a marvelous fact that reminded me of the criticalness of following God’s Spirit. Aerial Snowboarders ski off 10-foot ramps and are propelled 20 feet into the air while performing multiple flips before landing on an inclined hill. Some aerialists can perform triple back flips with five twists. It’s thrilling to watch! But, there was a hidden reality even more breathtaking. As the jumper’s twist and turn in the air, they lose their orientation. Consequently, they must rely completely on the voice of their coach who is offering direction during their jump. Their coach sees what they can’t see. If they listen to their coach, they land safely. If they don’t, they can potentially suffer serious injury. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Only He knows how to help you land safely.

Unbelieving Believers

Haven’t you found that there are different levels of believing. At times, I’ve met unbelieving believers; believers who were living as if they didn’t really believe anything of great consequence. At other times, I’ve encountered believing unbelievers; unbelievers who were so passionate and dedicated in proclaiming something that frankly was not worth believing. Yet, the fervency of these unbelievers made me only wish that all of us who are genuine Christ-followers would be as abandoned and committed as those who have given themselves fully to what was not worth believing or following. The question is, who are you and I: believers in Jesus who are filled with faith or unbelief? And who are the unbelievers around us who would gladly believe, if we modeled and then offered them a Jesus worth believing in?

Loving Your Enemies

Jesus loves your enemies. Will you join Him? We can see Christ’s heart with the Woman at the Well. She’s an outcast Samaritan, offering Him water at a Samaritan well. He’s a Jew, offering her the only water that leads to everlasting life. He wanted to help her, to love and heal someone least like Himself. The Message says, “This is what God does. He gives His best…the sun to warm and the rain to nourish–to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.” (Matthew 5:45, The Message) Unlike God, the devil comes to destroy. We can tell whom we represent by our end goal: to see others fulfilled or destroyed. Jesus said, “I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17) Jesus is still coming to love and heal. Will you join Him?

Listening is Loving

Our willingness to listen is one of the greatest indicators of how much we love. Jesus said that in the Last Days, “…the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12) More and more people are not listening to one another. They’re talking over each other, disinterested in what others think. Often, so adamant about what they believe, they’re no longer willing to hear. But, have you noticed, God doesn’t talk over us. He listens. He hears. He’s a very present help. And that’s why His Word says, “Be quick to listen. Slow to speak.” (James 1:19) I live with a gifted listener, my wife. I’ve watched her for decades, giving her complete attention to each person she talks with. It makes them feel valuable, special, significant, because they really are. It’s actually how, when we know God, He wants to make us feel?

Normal vs. Common

It is always mind boggling, and more often than not troubling, when I hear the latest new perspective society is now calling, “normal behavior”. It can make you laugh or cry, or both. But, at the end of the day, only God, the Creator of all things can determine what is “normal” and “healthy”. A sin-filled culture can’t define normalcy. It may be trending, popular, common, even fully accepted, but unless our beliefs have God’s seal of approval, they’re not normal, and never will be. The Bible challenges us, “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you… For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father…this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave.” (1 John 2:15-17, NLT)





KLOVE Features March 2018

Aerial Skiers and Their Training

Olympic Aerial Ski Jumpers ski off 10-foot ramps and are propelled 20 feet into the air while performing multiple flips before landing. It is amazing to watch and fascinating to study! But, what stunned me as much as their winter competitions was how they trained during the off season. Aerialists train for their jumping maneuvers during summer months by skiing on a specially constructed water ramp and landing in a large swimming pool. When they hit the water, a burst of air is sent up from the bottom of the pool just before landing to break up the surface tension of the water, thus softening the impact of the landing. When I heard this, my immediate thought was how the Word of God, the Breath of Life, softens the hard landings in my life. Oh God, how I love Your Word! (Psalm 119:97)

The Korean Revival

Forty years after Robert Jermain Thomas was martyred in Korea, a meeting took place that is credited as a turning point for revival in that nation. During this historic gathering in 1907, a church elder publicly confessed that he had been misusing church funds. That triggered an outpouring of public repentance, and many confessed their sin until the early morning hours. A policeman admitted he’d come to spy on the church meeting. A woman confessed adultery, and her husband publicly forgave her. Stunning the crowd, an old man then admitted he had killed Robert Jermain Thomas, nearly 40 years before. Then, a Korean elder confessed his hatred for another leader in the room. The two men fell to the floor, wept and prayed. These public confessions brought a spirit of repentance to the service that sparked a revival that continues today.

How You See Yourself

A friend of mine would tell his son as a young boy, “When you walk into a room believe everyone in that room likes you.” What an interesting approach to cultivating confidence in your child. Today, that young man is a mighty leader of many thousands of people in an amazing church. Is it possible that how we see ourselves affects how others see us as well? It happened in the Old Testament. The children of Israel sent 10 spies into the land who with trepidation exclaimed, “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” (Numbers 13:33, NIV) Consequently, they gave into fear instead of faith. So, the question is? Do you see your fruitful inheritance or your feared foe? Is your heart more filled with faith or fear? It will in some way determine your future.

Faithful or Familiar

God has never been attached to anything He’s created…not a moment, a memory or a miracle. They all happen for a reason, but the creation must serve the purpose of the Creator, and not visa-versa. We won’t be faithful if we’re attached to the familiar. We all find comfort in the known, the common. They provide a sense of security. We think we know what will happen next, when in actuality we have no idea. God is not tame. He cannot be domesticated. He won’t listen to reason, because only He knows what reason looks like. Fifteen minutes after Moses went up the mountain they were dreaming of Egypt. Wishing for the good old days, usually indicates we have a bad memory. Be faithful, and don’t let the familiar seduce you with false comforts.

Praying or Grumbling

All of us feel the pressures of life that threaten to overwhelm us. They can drive us to our knees and compel us to pray or drive us crazy and propel us to cry out in fear. Do we start out praying and believing for something from God and end up complaining and grumbling for nothing at all? Do we begin by trusting the God knows best and wind up naively believing we do? The Message says, “These are the ‘grumblers,’ the bellyachers, grabbing for the biggest piece of the pie, talking big, saying anything they think will get them ahead.” (Jude 1:16, The Message) Elijah challenged the people: “How long are you going to sit on the fence? If God is the real God, follow him; if it’s Baal, follow him. Make up your minds!” (1 Kings 18:21, The Message) Pray, in faith, believing!

Being Right is Overrated

One of the greatest illusions of this, or any age, is the assumption that what I believe is almost always right. Especially, that I am usually “more-right” than what someone else believes. If you want to take comfort in rightness, then affirm what God knows is true, not what you think. No one has deceived me more than me. And yet, no one can dig me out of deception if I harden my heart. There is great reassurance in agreeing with God’s Word and Spirit, and only an illusion of peace when I spend my life agreeing with myself. Agreeing with yourself is not a multitude of counsel, and only leads to a multitude of mistakes. Agreeing with God’s Word always leads to rest and reassurance! Never presume you know better and you will live in peace, and not regret.

Peace Through Humility

True peace only comes through humility. Only when we humble ourselves can we connect with the Prince of Peace and “…experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” (Philippians 4:7, NLT) Only when we acknowledge our sin can we meet the Savior. “So, humble yourselves under God’s strong hand, and in his own good time he will lift you up. You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him…” (1 Peter 5:6-7, Phillips) …because no One cares for you more than He does. But peace without pursuing a humble relationship with Jesus will only lead to compromise and deception. Reject the illusions of peace that parade all around us. Promising much but delivering more pain than promise. Jesus said, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.” (John 14:27, NLT)

Why Can’t I?

One of the scariest sentences we could ever say was echoed by Peter right before He denied Jesus. “Lord, why cannot I follow You now? (John 13:37) “Why can’t I?” It’s a sentence we all say a lot! Adam and Eve each said it, “Why can’t I eat that fruit?” Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, said at the end of his life, “Why can’t I worship another god?” Paul, the religious Pharisee said, “Why can’t I do what’s right?” People say, “Why can’t I date that guy?” “Why can’t I watch that movie?” “Why can’t I listen to that music?” “Why can’t I give in to that pleasure?” “Why can’t I flirt? Lie…steal…curse! It’s this attitude in me that scares me most and keeps me on my face before a Holy God. Deception is stalking all of us.

Getting God’s Best

We all wonder at times, is God really giving me His best? It’s a sad and silly thought, but real. The Bible promises each of us, “No good thing will God withhold from those who love Him.” () In the Old Testament, King David stole another man’s wife. When God sent the prophet Nathan to expose David’s sin, God did not say to David, “I’m regret having given you so much!” He said, “If what I gave you was not enough, I would have given you much, much more.” () God is a God of more not less. It’s true, He will give you less at times of what you don’t need, but He loves to give us more of what we really do need. Which is primarily, more of Himself. No One wants to bless your life more than God.

Missing God

They killed Jesus thinking they were doing God’s will. () I cannot help but think of some of the things I’ve done. Was I doing them following God’s will, or my own? This troubled me for 15 years when I traveled and ministered in the Gifts of the Spirit over thousands of people. Some of whom still contact me in various ways every week, now 25 years later. It always bothered me that I was not 100% accurate. I even spoke to a few national leaders about it and considered stopping altogether. Only as I came to the end of that ministry season did the Holy Spirit speak to me about His reason for not clearly showing me why. He wanted to keep me dependent upon Him, because I knew, what we all should know, at any moment we are capable of missing God.

Wanting More

All of us want more. It’s a universal desire. And there is no One who wants you to have more than God. He is a God of more and not less. The challenge is looking to God alone for His increase. Lucifer wanted more glory, so he rebelled. Adam and Eve wanted more and so they disobeyed. Cain wanted more and so killed his brother Abel. Jacob wanted more and so cheated. Judas wanted more and stole. Everyone wants more, but you don’t have to rebel, disobey, kill, cheat or steal to get it. Abraham wanted more and so believed. David wanted more and so gave himself to worship. Daniel wanted more and so trusted. Paul wanted more and so he learned to be content. Do you want more? That’s great! But let God determine what more looks like.

Look Forward, Not Back

When looking back starts looking good, you know you’re in trouble. We must train our souls to look forward, not back. Remember Lot’s wife! () She was turned into a pillar of salt because she longed for what had been lost more than the possibilities of what could be found. Jesus likewise didn’t mince words about the dangers are looking backward. He commanded, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62, NLT) Christ’s challenge is alive today. The Message says, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.” (Luke 9:62, The Message) Paul the Apostle wrote, “…I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race…” (Philippians 3:13-14, NLT)

KLOVE Features February 2018

Being Used by God

You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room for God to use you; nor the most talented. I’ve known lots of gifted people who blew up their lives for nothing. I’m always provoked when I think about the life of Solomon: called the wisest man who ever lived. And yet, because he married many ungodly women, at the end of his life he worshipped demons. Consequently, his children didn’t serve God and his legacy continued to deteriorate: the man whom God appeared to…twice. Soooo, if you want to be used by God, remember what The Message says: “…what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously-take God seriously.” (Micah 6:8, The Message)

Little Man and Big Man

I’m often concerned about the sadness of my soul. I’ve found, the psalmist was as well. He wrote, “Why are you in despair, (depressed) O my soul?” (Psalm 43:5a) The Hebrew word hear means, “Why are you so upset that you cry aloud, you murmur, growl, roar, and rage.” It’s one of the reasons I sometimes refer to my soul as “little man”, and my spirit as “big man”. I have to train my “little man” because he tends to murmur, growl, roar, and rage when he doesn’t get his way. The psalmist continued, “I have stilled and quieted my soul…like a baby content in its mother’s arms…” (Psalm 131:2) David, the beloved of God, trained his soul, and resolved, “I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again…” (Psalm 43:5b) May we never stop seeing the value of hoping in God.

Junk Drawers, Attics, and Garages

We all have things in our junk drawer. Objects we store that we don’t want to throw away but see no immediate use for. When it’s completely out of control, it leads to hoarding. In moderation, these items wind up in attics or garages, waiting for our children to eventually throw them away in mass. It all reminds me of the unresolved issues we store away with mental and emotional moth balls and cobwebs. The truth is, time doesn’t heal. Jesus does! And He’ll never take away, what we don’t freely give Him. The longer I live, the less baggage I want to carry around, for in the end, all I can take with me is what is eternal and meant for my good. You’ll never see a U-Haul following a funeral procession.

The Colors in Light

The whole creation speaks of God’s love. The Bible says, “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5, NKJV) When God spoke, “Let there be light”, (Genesis 1:3), He actually was speaking all colors into existence. By shining light through a prism, white light is separated into all of the colors. Likewise, light shining through moisture in the air after a rain forms a rainbow with seven distinct colors as well. So, we see that the God of light, Creator of all of colors, all peoples, and all races, birthed the Universe with the beauty of diversity. Likewise, when the light and life of Jesus shines in our heats we at last realize that in order to love God, we must love what He loves, which is all people. If you know God, let there be light.

Outside the Box

Many of us have said, “I want to live outside the box.” What we’re saying is, “I don’t want to be limited, restricted, or hemmed in. I want to experience the freedom and liberty Jesus intended.” Recently, a friend shared what a college professor told him, “In order to live outside the box, you have to first know what’s in the box.” That really got my attention! In an age where so many of us have chaffed against limitations and the feeling of being hamstrung by everything from government to religion, relationships to our own insecurities, we ache to break out. But the very essence of innovation is being so familiar with the old, you become acutely aware of the breakthrough that’s needed. Then we can ask the Creator to take us outside boxes of limitation into realms that are truly an improvement.

Responding to the Present

When I went up to the counter to pay the bill at a restaurant, the pen they gave me didn’t work. Asking for a new pen, the waitress quickly responded, “Oh, let me put a paper underneath your bill because writing directly on to marble makes your pen skip.” It was a good surface, a fine pen, but it needed something in-between to make it work. How intriguing! In each of our lives, it’s not the hand we’ve been dealt or even the challenges we face that are the true key to our success, it’s the attitude and response we have to the twists and turns of life that make the difference. Many times, we want to dismiss our past as worthless, and our future as hopeless, when the difference-maker is all about our response to the present.

Earthly and Heavenly Values

Beware the absolutes in the world’s values. Conventional wisdom is often convenient thinking. Many of the norms of Earth are abnormal in Heaven. It will always take courage to go against the condescension’s of the crowd. In the Book of Acts, the 1st Century Christians were continually vilified for their faith. The Bible says, “…the only thing we know about this movement is that it is denounced everywhere.” (Acts 28:22, NLT) If we faint under pressure, out strength is too small. (Proverbs 24:10) We must go to Jesus to get His strength and wisdom, in order to be washed in God’s eternal values, not the temporary, jaded values of Earth. We must not be seduced into thinking following Jesus should be easy. He said, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.” (John 15:18, NLT) We must be conformed to God’s image…alone!

Stinky Feet

I have a large nose. I can smell a pizza a half a mile away. Once, I was driving with an older man of God who I really respected. But, when he slipped off his shoes, immediately, a horribly pungent stench filled our car. I was stunned! My mind raced. Can’t he smell that? What if he takes off his socks? Within a few minutes, the smell seemed to dissipate. The next day, as we drove again, the same foul odor filled our vehicle. I quickly looked over to see if his shoes were on. They were. Then after doing some mental math I sheepishly said, what’s that smell? “Oh, that’s a pulp mill.” Ugh! Here I’d judged my brother without knowing all of the facts. It exposed a stinky pattern in me, I sadly repeat far too often.

David Cassidy’s Final Words

It has been said that the final words of a person’s life are extraordinarily revealing. Nothing confirms this conviction more than actor and musician David Cassidy’s closing statement to family members before passing away. He lamented, “So much wasted time!” These haunting words are a chilling reminder to all of us about how precious life is, and how quickly it flies by. The Bible confirms this reality when it says, “…redeem the time for these are evil days.” (Ephesians 5:16) I want to live fully awake…to be intimately connected to the God who made me, the people who love me, and the needs around me. The sands in each of our hour glasses are falling quickly. May we fulfill why a loving God created us, walking in our exceptional, one-of-a-kind, identities and destinies.

Carnival Mirrors vs. Reality

We live in an age when people share their experience as reality and their world view as truth. Alternate realities and revisions of history are born every nanosecond. The Bible says, “A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart.” (Proverbs 21:2, NIV) The truth is, our motive is as important as our message. Being right is overrated, because doing right is all that really matters. We sit pompously on our anthills, a speck in the Universe, feeling superior to other ants, while a humble Servant sits on a throne in Heaven, amused by how puny we really are, and endeavoring to guide us passed the carnival mirrors of Earth to an ultimate reality check that, if we view sooner than later, can spare us a lifetime of aimlessness and chasing the wind.

Navigationally Challenged

My twin brother Joseph and I are navigationally challenged and directionally impaired. Frankly, we get lost…a lot. I once had a visiting pastor from Florida guide me around my own small town. And on his honeymoon, my brother Joseph and his bride drove in the wrong direction for half a day, only to turn around and arrive back where they started that morning. Though it’s embarrassing to admit our limitations, it is infinitely less significant than the problem and solution God provided for all humankind: “We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on (Jesus).” (Isaiah 53:6, The Message) As sad as being lost was, being found has made it all worth it.

KLOVE Features January 2018

Google’s Culture of Collaboration

A friend worked at Google and described how the company fostered a unique culture of collaboration. They believe the highest paid person in the room does not have all the answers. This creates an unguarded atmosphere, where managers are less concerned about protecting their position, and are encouraged to hire and cultivate exceptional performers. They realize being surrounded by people who were less gifted and capable, because of the fear of being replaced, would merely drag the team down. This mindset allows employees to identify their potential. What a great principle! Who in your life can you encourage to excel, without being threatened by their achievement. My twin daughters have often said to me, “Dad, your ceiling is our floor!” You know what: I really love looking up at their floor.

Accepting Limitations in Others

Accepting the limitation of others requires seeing them with the eyes of God. We are all limited in some way, and have people in our lives who are likewise restricted in some way. If I was walking with someone who couldn’t walk as fast as I do, I’d change my stride to make them feel valued and included. It is what God does with us every moment. The Bible says, “…we who are strong ought to bear with the weaknesses of the weak and not to please ourselves.” (Romans 15:1) Who does God want you to come alongside and slow down for? Would you give them the same value God offers you? I’ve thought on many occasions while ministering to the sick or elderly, I’m not just sowing seeds of love for them, but for myself and those I love. The seeds we sow are the ones we’ll reap.

I Get Stuck So Easily

I’ve found the Christian life works perfectly for those of us who are easily stuck, people like…me. I am soooo susceptible to dead ends: in my mind, my will, my heart. But, I’m not alone. Paul the Apostle wrote about his great struggle to be the person he wanted to be, “I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” (Romans 17:18b-19, NLT) He then writes, “The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 17:25a, NLT) Only Jesus could cover the monstrous things I’ve done, could love and accept me when I don’t love and accept myself. I don’t have to measure up to some impossible standard. He measured up for me, and all I have to do is believe and receive His incredible love for me.

Our Lowest Moment

My goal in life is to be completely “unshaken” by life’s challenges. It’s one of the human qualities I most love about Jesus. In John, Chapter 8, religious leaders wanted to kill Him. You could call that an unsettling moment. But, He just walked passed them. He wasn’t shaken or disturbed by this near-death confrontation. He kept walking and soon healed a blind man. In my own life, I don’t want to be rattled by what just happened, because I’ll miss what’s about to happen. Don’t be surprised if the point in which you’re closest to fulfilling your destiny is simultaneously the lowest point in your life. Jesus became sin for us on the Cross. His lowest moment! But He said, “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! (John 12:27, NLT)

The Earthquake Sandwich

Have you been saying, “God, why is this happening to me?” A better question would be, “God, what are you trying to show me?” He’s always trying to show us something of eternal value. As “emotional” earthquakes are preceded by great inspirations, they are followed by great “spiritual” revelations as well. I call it the “Earthquake Sandwich”. All “revelations” or “inspirations from God” are tested with shakings. Responding well to great shakings brings further revelation and inspiration. Revelations are what keep our relationship with God, fresh…current. They are either initiated by God’s Word or His Spirit, and must be consistent with the Bible. So, after you are stirred, get ready to be shaken. Live fully awake, and ready for your next adventure with Jesus. Here it comes!

Karma vs. Christianity

Do you believe you are experiencing great difficulties primarily because you’ve done something wrong? It’s really an unbiblical thought. That’s what Job’s friends thought. He must have done bad things to be suffering the way he did, but that’s not what God thought. This line of thinking is actually closer to “Hinduism” and “Buddhism”, not “Christianity”. In the Buddhist and Hindu religions, “Karma” is considered “the force produced by a person’s actions in one life that influences what happens to them in future lives.” The Bible demolishes the false concept of reincarnation when it says, “. . . it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment . . .” (Hebrews 9:27, ESV) Jesus didn’t come to Earth to judge or condemn us, He came to rescue us from the consequences of our own poor decisions.

When People Don’t Believe You

If someone doesn’t believe Jesus really transformed your life, don’t let it bother you. You’re the one He rescued, and no one can take that away from you. I was the one who, on the night I received Jesus, was delivered from demonic oppression because I worshipped Hindu gods. I was the one who, when I prayed to Jesus on that night, began to be choked by the Hindu necklace I wore. I was the one who then prayed my first prayer as a new Christian, and had my hand rip the necklace off my neck, so I could breathe. Some didn’t believe Jesus healed people in His day, and some won’t believe you and I either. But, don’t let it faze you. They’re really too late. It already happened to me, and it already happened to you.

Your Day of Rescue

Could anything be sadder than missing your only chance of being rescued? If God visited your life, would you refuse to receive His help. That’s exactly what happened to the Pharisees. They were outraged Jesus healed a blind man, and chided Him, “Are you saying we’re blind?” It takes real humility to accept that you are spiritually blind without Jesus. Only those who humble themselves can receive God’s gifts: forgiveness, everlasting life, and intimacy with our Creator. How foolish to shut our eyes to the light of the world, when there’s no other light coming! Then Jesus said, perhaps the most convicting sentence in the Bible. “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty. But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.” (John 9:41) Today is your day of rescue, your day of God visiting you…if you want it to be.

The Final Car Ride

A cab driver picked up a woman in her 80’s at 2:30 in the morning. She was leaving home for the last time. He recounted, “As I walked her to the cab, she kept thanking me for my kindness.” I said. “I try to treat my passengers the way I’d want my mother treated.” Giving me a destination, she asked, “Could you drive through downtown?” I answered. “It’s not the shortest way.” She said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.” Looking in the rear-view mirror, her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left. The doctor says I don’t have very long.” I quietly shut off the meter. For hours, we drove through the city, stopping at places significant to her. I didn’t charge her, and don’t think I’ve done anything more important in my life. People may not remember what you did or said, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel!


The problems of Earth can’t compare to the promises of Heaven. Would you believe that in eternity the Bible says, we who are genuine followers of Jesus, are going to be a visible display of the infinite, limitless riches of the grace and kindness of God. (Philippians 2:7, The Passion) We are destined to be trophies of God’s mercy; a pageant of His everlasting love, and a spectacle of His boundless blessings and timeless truth. Stretch your imagination, let it run wild with anticipation, and you will barely scratch the surface of the glorious things God has prepared for those who love Him. Don’t be fooled by the counterfeits of Earth, they are empty substitutes for the riches of Christ and the eternal rewards Jesus purchased for those who believe in Him. Receive His resurrection life and you will life forever.

Going Against the Flow

Are we willing to press through a crowd in order to touch Jesus? It will be the tipping point for God using us. One day, when Jesus was on His way to pray for someone, a desperate woman went against the flow in order to touch Him. She’d suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, losing all her money to doctors, only to get worse. (Mark 5:24) Coming behind Jesus she touched His robe. Immediately the bleeding stopped. She had been completely healed, all because she was willing to push through a mob. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” (Mark 5:34, NLT) We, too, must press through mobs of fear, discouragement, apathy and peer pressure. What crowd do you need to press through in order to touch Jesus and be healed?

Sobbing in Her Arms

I once ministered in the city where my mother lived. It blessed me immensely when she came to the service. She was the one who loved me well growing up, even though I spent years in boarding schools because my father was in politics. She was the one who prayed for my soul when I was an atheist and desperately lost in deception and drugs. I received Jesus on Mother’s Day because of her prayers. Sitting near the back and suffering from dementia, I asked her to stand as I began to share about her influence in my life. I broke down. Someone yelled, “Give her a hug!” I continued to try and speak, only to break down again. The same person yelled with greater emphasis, “Give her a hug!” This time, I walked down the aisle to meet her. Sobbing in her arms, she whispered, “That’s OK sweetheart.” It would be the last time I saw my mother in her right mind.




KLOVE Features December 2017


It seems everything on Earth is either increasing or decreasing in value. A watch that once belonged to Paul Newman recently sold for $17 million. While a painting by Leonardo Da Vinci sold for $266 million. What about in Heaven? What is our value to God? Would it surprise you if I said it is impossible for us to become more or less valuable to God? From His vantage point, as our Creator, our value is fixed and unchangeable. We are priceless to Him! And if we could ever actually believe this, it would change our lives. We’d never again give into hopelessness and despair. We’d realize we are so precious to God, He’d do everything possible to forgive and heal our past, establish our present, and preserve our future. That’s why Jesus came!


When Jesus said the meek will inherit the Earth, in Matthew 5:5, what did He mean? We are meek toward God when we accept His dealings with us as good, without disputing or resisting them. We are not passive; we are passionately focused and surrendered. In the Old Testament, the meek were those who totally relied on God rather than upon their own strength to defend themselves against injustice. Therefore, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is even using them to purify His followers, and that He will deliver us in His perfect time. Down through the ages, Christian martyrs were neither helpless nor hopeless, but fully trusting in the God who held their lives and future in His trustworthy hands.

Flying on Instruments

A friend of mine who is a pilot said he is required to fly “instruments only” at night or when in the clouds. In those situations, he’s not allowed to fly under “visual flight rules.” This is compulsory because the sensors in the brain will at times disorient pilots from keeping the plane level. One day, while flying in the clouds and looking at his instruments, they indicated his plane was pitched up as if it was ascending, while another instrument showed he was descending at a thousand feet a minute. At that moment, if he had followed his instincts, he would have pulled back, stalled the plane, and probably crashed. Following his instruments saved his life. Following the truth of God’s Word, and not our feelings, will save our lives as well. “For we walk by faith (in God’s Word), not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7, NKJV)

The End of Your Movie

Have you ever had someone tell you about their favorite movie, and they said, “Oh, you’re going love the end!” And they are a trustworthy person; fully believable, and not prone to exaggeration. Then you watch the movie and you can’t wait for the ending. No matter how difficult certain portions of the movie may be, you can’t wait to see what happens at the end. What if I told you that’s exactly the script God has written for your life. Your movie has the best ending ever! If you’ll just trust Jesus…follow Him…and believe in Him, more than the challenges you face, you’ll see God is the greatest Script Writer of all time, and you are one of the stars in His movie. “Those who are wise…will shine like the stars forever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3, NIV)

An Honest Assessment from Friends

When I was a young Christian, it took two friends two hours to provide some objectivity as to how I was wired. They were primarily trying to alert me to the fact that I was very, very intense. It wasn’t a negative critique. It was just a helpful assessment of how God made me. Do you know how you are wired: your temperament, personality, giftings, passions, even your vulnerabilities and weaknesses? I’ve looked back on that conversation, now decades later, and realized, with a much fuller appreciation, that my friends were trying to help me, to give me a healthy grid for the rest of my life. Ask some friends who love you, people you trust, to give you an honest assessment of who you are. If you can hear them, it will change your life.

The Worst Commercial Airline Disaster

In the early days of commercial aviation, the captain had the final say, and it was unacceptable to challenge his or her decision-making. This led to many crashes. The worst commercial airline disaster in aviation history occurred in 1977, when two Boeing 747 passenger airliners collided on the runway of Tenerife Airport, because dense fog kept the pilots and control tower from seeing one another. At that time, the co-pilot’s inability to challenge the pilot’s decision-making led to 583 fatalities. Commercial airlines now require a pilot and a co-pilot to share responsibilities, with the co-pilot being able to advise the pilot in the event his decision-making is skewed. This speaks to me of accountability. Who in your life would be able to challenge your decision-making and spare you and others much pain and regret?

The Hand You Are Dealt

All of us process life differently. I’m intense; my wife Suzie is relaxed. I had a difficult childhood, lost in an oppressive boarding school. She had a marvelous one, surrounded by her happy family. I’ve forgiven her! HA! Our nature and nurture experiences are completely different, but I’m not going to wince, whine or wobble about the hand I was dealt. Even though I don’t wake up each morning to low-hanging hope, I’ve learned to climb the tree of worship and the Word in order to live an abundant life. None of our foundations disqualify us or establish us. It’s what we do with the hand we are dealt. None of us have been short-changed. We have each been lavishly overpaid. When you accept this fact, you finally arrive at a new level of trust.

My Father

When my father was just eight years old, after the death of his own father, he immigrated from Sicily to New York City. As a young boy, he shined shoes to make money, living in a one-room apartment with his mother, brothers and sister. He’d sit in a corner to study, and went to the top of his class in college and law school, becoming a famous political figure: a U. S. Congressman for five terms, and a New York State Supreme Court Justice. Presidents courted his favor; he was knighted by the Pope, and had his picture on the front page of the New York Times when he died. But when he left home, that final day, he was a frustrated, unfulfilled man. It made an indelible impression on me, that without God, no achievement can ever fulfill us.

Climbing a Goal Post

When I was 19, I went to a football game with my twin brother, Joseph, between Rutgers and Princeton. Since Joseph attended Rutgers, when his team won I was elated. Sadly, though, I was drunk and out of control. Shimmying up a goalpost, I had the top of the 32-foot pole under my stomach as hundreds of people below began to tear it down. Suddenly, the heavy metal pole snapped, stopping just four feet from the ground, and violently shaking me off. Completely dazed, a stranger walked up and said, “You’re an idiot!”  Until then, I didn’t know who I was. Now, at last I had clarity. I was an idiot! HA! How many of us climb the imaginary goalposts of shallow recognition, not realizing we’ll soon fall? My Creator best defines who I am. I will gaze into His eyes to see my true reflection.

The Privilege of God-given Abilities

I have a friend who is a surgeon. He takes his job so seriously, he describes it in this way: “I get the privilege of people trusting me so completely, they allow me to place them unconscious, take a scalpel, and operate on them, believing it is for their benefit. I am so conscientious about the stewardship I’ve been given, that when I walk through the hospital I am continually reminded of the honor God has granted me. Even after doing this for 30 years, I’m still amazed this is what I am privileged to do.” How revealing! Perhaps the reason we are each given unique gifts and graces is because God wants us to see them as a privilege and not a burden. What responsibility has God given you, and are you taking it seriously?

God’s Spared Her Sons Life

A military Mom’s son was stationed in Iraq. She told me with tears how God had protected him. He was the only medic in his unit, when a Suburban filled with explosives wiped out an entire block. Knocked unconscious, when he woke up, having no idea how long he’d been out, he routinely began to administer first aid to those around him. On another occasion, his life was spared. A bomb landed just a few feet from him, shaking the ground, but didn’t explode. Even after all of these near-death experiences, her son has not yet surrendered his life to Jesus, but she is absolutely believing he will. As this year comes to an end, who are you praying for and believing will come to their spiritual senses, allowing Jesus to rescue their lives?

God’s Special Gift for You

I have a quirky doctor friend who has no interest in eating food. He literally says, “I am never hungry!” Going so far as to admit, “If there was a pill I could take that would provide all of the nourishment I would need for any given day, I would take it, and never go through the process of eating food.” One of the unusual aspects of his food connection is that he does have one absolute craving: chocolate, and considers this God’s silver lining, a special blessing from God over his life, allowing him this singular indulgence. He smiles and laughs when he talks about this, and considers it God’s special gift to him. Have you discovered an exceptional gift God the Father has given you? It will make you smile when you do.