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!

Eternity

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 November 2017

Bad Bosses

Ever have a “Bad Boss”? When I was a young Christian, I worked for six months in a casino as a dishwasher. Though I had a college degree, it was what God directed me to do. My boss was this six-foot-four, 240-pound, ex-Highway Patrolman, with a foul mouth and a mean heart. Once he found out I was a Christian, he’d harass and mock me in front the other workers. But, over time, I was the only guy he could trust, so he had me clean the gourmet kitchen, by myself. Periodically he’d come in and I’d share Jesus and, when I left the job, he called me and said, with emotion, “You’re a real friend of mine.” It reminded me of the words of Jesus: “love your enemies,” because you never know how God will use you to affect them.

Unlocking Your Destiny

I’ve found that there’s usually a hurt behind a head of steam. I am most passionate about what has specifically hurt, healed, or inspired me. Trace the reason you have raised your voice, emphasized a point, or told someone what you really think. If the fruit of your words are life to those who hear it, then it probably comes from a healed place. If the fruit of your words lead to an angry confrontation, ask God to show you where you need to be healed. If the acceleration of your voice inspires others to positive action, you have, in some way, tapped into your true identity and destiny. Stake a claim and mine it; there is life there. Your pain has led to a passion that will, however, unlock your destiny and help others.

If the Lights Are On…Someone’s Home!

It’s the simplest scientific question that anyone, even a child, should be able to answer. And yet some of our planet’s most brilliant scientists fail the test every time. Scientists freely admit, there are more stars than the grains of sand on all of the beaches in the world; that every galaxy has billions of stars. Even the deep fields of space have thousands of galaxies, with astrophysicists estimating there are actually more than two trillion. Typical galaxies, like our Milky Way, have 100 billion stars. That means the total number of stars or suns out there is two, followed by 23 zeroes, that’s 200 sextillion. People say, “If God would only do something BIG and beautiful in my life, I’d believe!” Look to the stars — if the lights are on…Someone’s home!

Good Responses

A good response has an infinitely longer shelf life than a great victory. You can have a great victory with a bad attitude, and impress no one. Whereas, win or lose, responding well can give others a glimpse into the heart of God. Frankly, there are so many poor responses to the challenges of life, that when a good response occurs, it turns heads, and even opens hearts. Bible luminaries, Joseph, Moses, and Esther, each responded well to their adversity and subsequently rescued the nation of Israel. Christ’s good response saved the entire world, and though the Apostle Paul was at one time filled with prejudice toward Christ-followers, he eventually responded well and opened the gospel to the Gentiles. Jesus said, “God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.” (Matthew 5:5, NLT)

Extra-Terrestrial Life & Imaginary Gods

I always laugh when I hear about man’s efforts to find extra-terrestrial life. With that said, before I received Jesus, I was travelling with a woman I thought was from Venus (as in the planet.) HA! But that’s a story for another time. Yet, all of our attempts to find the origin of life, outside of God, have failed. When we refuse to accept and honor the God who IS, sadly we spend our lives looking for an imaginary god, thinking we will have to be less responsible to him. Created to be worshippers, we will worship the temporary if we refuse to acknowledge the fact that our magnificent universe had to be created by Someone. Unwilling to accept a relationship with the God of love, we will vainly attempt to find love in all the wrong places.

Mercy and Grace

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want God to be fair to me. Him being fair would raise the bar so high, I’d never pass the test. What I really need is mercy. Someone said, “Mercy is the bad you deserve…and don’t get. Grace is the good you don’t deserve…and yet get.” (Creflo Dollar) I’m glad the Bible says, “God’s mercies are new every morning,” (Lamentations 3:23) and not His judgments are new every morning. If you thought God was harsh yesterday, wait till today. I love the Bible’s promise, “if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.” (James 2:13, NLT) Because I’m grateful for having received mercy, I want to offer others the mercy I have freely received. “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”

(Ephesians 2:8, NLT)

Burly Biker and a Big Knife

When I was a young Evangelist, one evening I was witnessing to a young girl on a motorcycle. She was open. But when her burly biker boyfriend returned, he was less than interested and, so, told me to get lost. Since I had already been really lost in my life, I wasn’t drawn to his recommendation, and commented that his girlfriend was interested in talking about Jesus. At that point, he was the one who lost it. Picking me up by my collar, I noticed a foot-long knife on his side. It wasn’t encouraging. When he got my face a couple of inches from his, much to my surprise, he covertly whispered empathetically, “I don’t want to have to do this to you.” And then he pushed me aside. His response reminds me of what I have seen on many occasions since: don’t judge someone’s inside by their outside.

Anger

Have you noticed that more and more people are attached to having their own way, getting angry when it doesn’t happen? From road rage to extreme politics, our fuses are getting shorter and shorter. I remember when I was six years old, playing a game of softball. A big kid on the opposing team hit a ground ball that turned into a home run, winning the game. As his teammates hoisted him on their shoulders, parading him around the field, I lost it! Running toward him I sank my teeth into his exposed thigh, and bit him as hard as I could. It drew blood, and caused him to have to get a tetanus shot. Not my best day, and a scary memory to say the least, but close-up evidence as to what is potentially in the heart of every one of us.

Offenses

What offends us will reveal the condition of our heart. Seeing so many people getting offended these days about so many things, has made me search my own heart. What offends me? And, yes, I do get offended. I’ve found that it’s always something I haven’t fully surrendered to God: a word, an attitude, or a response by someone else can offend me. Brandon Naramore says, “The world can’t steal what you’ve already surrendered.” Likewise, your life is unprotected unless it’s fully surrendered to God. Jesus challenged all of us to search our own heart in order to weed out offenses when He said, “First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5, NLT)

The Hero of Your Story

Do you want to be the hero of your story? It’s a waste of time. First, because it’s not real. If you know Jesus, He will always be the hero of your story. If, on the other hand, you don’t know Jesus, you haven’t met the only Person who could rescue you from your sins. Unless God is the hero at the end of our lives, we have missed the primary point of our existence. We all know the story of David and Goliath. In America, we want to be David, the hero of the story. But, in many nations, they see David as a type of Jesus, rescuing us from our unbelief. Don’t live your life thinking you’re the hero. It will only lead to a false sense of confidence in self. Let Jesus be the Hero of your story, because He really is.

Cleaning a Greasy Ceiling

God is going to ask you to do things that only He knows will shape your character. When I was a young Christian, I cleaned the gourmet kitchen of a casino. I cleaned it six days a week, 7 ½ hours a day, without breaking for lunch. I wasn’t working for man, but for God. One day, I looked up at the greasy ceiling that hadn’t been cleaned in decades. God spoke to my heart to clean it. I did it at the beginning of my shift, with grease flying everywhere, including my hair and eyes. After about a month, 1/3 of the ceiling was spotless, and that’s when God transferred me. Never forget, promotion comes from God alone. The Bible says, “…work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…” (Colossians 3:23, ESV)

Church Lawsuit

In 2016, a lawyer wrote and said, “…when you spoke at my church in 1992, you quoted I Samuel 30:19, ‘But nothing of theirs was missing … David brought it all back.’ Then you said… ‘I don’t know what situation you are facing, but this verse will help guide you to the right answer.’ …your word provided guidance on what do to, and we had a fantastic outcome.” The lawyer then provided a detailed description of how they had been overcharged by a school district…five times the regular rental rate because they were a church. He wrote, “Your word brought unity and…the lawsuit (we filed) has borne amazing fruit… Churches across America have saved countless amounts of money in higher rent they never had to pay because of what you said to us that morning.” Though we may not see it at first, obedient seeds always bear fruit.

 

 

 

 

 

KLOVE Features October 2017

All I Had Left Was a Good Response

I once spoke at a large Christian Festival, right before one of the most popular Christian musicians performed. 30,000 people were in attendance and hundreds came forward to receive Jesus. It was marvelous! The next year, they invited me back to do the exact same thing. This time, I changed the airport I was going to fly in to, thinking another was closer. It wasn’t, and upon landing I realized I’d never make it in time to speak. It was crushing! With my wife and two pre-teen daughters in the car, I immediately realized all I had left was…a response. That’s it! And so, I disciplined my soul to respond well. I now believe that response, however painful, had a far greater impact on their lives, than if I everything had flowed seamlessly.

Cliff Ride vs. Thrill Ride

After an exhausting, overnight flight, my nephew picked me up at the airport. It was a rainy day, and as we came off an exit ramp, I was awakened by him yelling, “We’re going over!” As the car went airborne over a cliff, I yelled, “Jesus, help us!” The tiny sports car flipped over and over, but miraculously landed on its tires. Though we were not hurt, the car was totaled. On another occasion, I paid a lot of money to go on a thrill ride at an amusement park. One experience terrified me; the other entertained me. What’s the difference between the two experiences? One word: trust! My point is this: Is your relationship with Jesus a cliff ride or a thrill ride? How much you trust Him, will determine your answer.

Champions

God is always looking for champions who will stand and fight in the Spirit realm. The word “champion” comes from a Hebrew word meaning, “the middle man, the man between two.” A champion was a man who stood between two armies, and fought as a representative of one. Romans 8:37 says, “…we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” If we are not willing to conquer evil, evil will conquer us. This has happened to God’s people throughout history. At the writing of the Book of Ezekiel, Israel had rebelled against God and was taken away as slaves. The Lord spoke through Ezekiel: “I searched for someone to stand in the gap…but I found no one.” (Ezekiel 22:30) Wherever you are, whatever battles you face, stand in the gap as God’s champion.

My Life Sucks!

I heard about a young worship leader who, while leading worship in a large contemporary church, sang out during the middle of worship, “My life sucks!” To say the least, the crowd was stunned. Fortunately, there was an older visiting worship leader, leading worship with him, who had the presence of mind to immediately sing out, without missing a beat, “But it’s not going to suck forever!” HA! It saved the day, and redeemed a fragile moment that could have quenched the Spirit and distracted the entire service. Proving a few things: your life may suck now, but be of good cheer, it’s not going to suck forever. And secondly, God can redeem the most difficult circumstances, and give us a good laugh and a fun memory at the same time.

Insignificance

All of us fight feelings of insignificance. Some of this is fueled by the condescending words of others. One of the most hurtful things in life is when you have a good motive, and you’re judged for having a bad one. In the Old Testament, David’s older brother, Eliab, put David down when he offered to fight Goliath. Eliab felt David was an insignificant person who had no right to speak up. He thought he knew David’s motivation, but in reality, he didn’t. Eliab’s motive, on the other hand, was envy. Like Jesus, who was called the son of David, David had to face the derogatory comments of those who envied him. In the end, our significance comes from our Creator. Only He knows our true value, and if we keep our eyes on Him, we’ll realize His call on our lives is actually… priceless.

All Things Work for Our Good

My wife Suzie was married before me. When she received Jesus, her husband wasn’t interested. On the day he was going to file for divorce, he was killed flying a crop duster. When her parents came to tell her at midnight her husband had died, she went into her bedroom to pack some things, and through her tears read this scripture on the wall: Romans 8:28. Paul the Apostle wrote, “And we know that all things work together for good, (which means, for our benefit) to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” It became the defining scripture for the rest of her life: a life that God has truly blessed, primarily I believe, because she continues to trust God and His wonderful promises.

Becoming Someone Else

One of the great seductions in this age of social media saturation is the temptation to become someone other than who God intended you to be. Peer pressure is a principle influence. In the Old Testament, King Saul wanted David to wear his armor when he fought Goliath. (1 Samuel 17:38-39) Yet, the only way we can ever fulfill our destiny is to become the person God intended, not someone else. God will always test you to see if you are following Him, following yourself, or following someone you want to impress. What inner armor is God developing in you? At some point, you will be asked to exchange it for what others think is better. Don’t give in! Your Heavenly Father has prepared you for this moment and will give you the courage to say “Yes” to Him alone.

My Wife’s Amazing Gift

My wife, Suzie, has a supernatural gift. She can materialize physical things that don’t exist. For example, I look in our pantry or refrigerator for something, and many times it’s just not there. But, when Suzie looks for these items, they miraculously appear. Seconds before they were gone! It’s a miracle! She insists that I’m just not seeing them, but that’s just her being humble about her extraordinary gift. HA! OK! Seriously, my “temporary blindness” reminds me of so many genuine supernatural dimensions that, at times, seem invisible to us, but, once found, they bless our lives with abundance. Keep looking and believing in the promises of God. “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 19:13, NASB)

Optimist and Pessimist Twins

A father had twin boys: an optimist and a pessimist. One day, the father put the pessimist in a room full of incredible toys, and the optimist in a room with a giant bag of manure. He came back later to the pessimist’s room and found him sitting in a corner completely disinterested with the toys. The Dad said, “What’s wrong?” The son responded, “I figured if I started to play with the toys, I’d get bored, or break them.” The Dad walked out shaking his head. He then went into the optimist son’s room, and found this son tearing the bag of manure to shreds. The Dad said, “What are you doing?” The son yelled, “There’s got to be a pony in here somewhere?” Funny story with a good point. God’s an eternal optimist, and we should be too.

Getting Sued

A year after we sold our home, the new owners sued us, claiming they discovered mold, and believed we knew about it. We didn’t! So, off to arbitration we went. The owners were so upset with us they wouldn’t meet in the same room. When we were presented pictures of the mold, it made us sick and sad. I then looked at the arbitrator and said, “I don’t believe we should give the owners what they’re asking for. We need to do much more!” At first, the arbitrator just stared, and then said, “I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I’ve never heard anyone say to me what you just did. I believe the owners will be happy to meet you.” When the owners came in, we both had tears in our eyes. I said, “We had no idea”, and then hugged them. No one can choose humility for us, it’s our choice alone.

Picking Up Pieces of People

Please don’t consider the “small tests of life” as unimportant. They are a prerequisite for the greater tests ahead. Everything begins in a seed form. Jesus said, “The earth bears fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain…” (Mark 4:28) If we discard or ignore the day of small beginnings, we shouldn’t be surprised if we don’t have the future harvest we are hoping for. I was picking up a piece of paper on the street and God reminded me, of that “habit of obedience” was formed in me 40 years ago. What began with “picking up pieces of paper,” matured into “picking up pieces of people”. Don’t ignore the obedience of your youth. Without it, you will never become the person you were created to be.

Condescension Toward Believers

Have you had to deal with condescension from others because you are following Jesus? If you haven’t, you will. The giant Goliath sneered with contempt at David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with a stick? And he cursed David…” (1Samuel 17:41-42) Goliath was insulted that he even had to deal with someone so inferior as David. That’s how the high priests felt about Jesus…an insignificant carpenter from a lowly place in Galilee called Nazareth. That’s how many in higher education feel about Christians; how many evolutionists feel about “Intelligent Design”; and how many pro-choice people feel about pro-life people. There’s this condescending disdain…a disgust at our seeming inferiority. Just remember Who you will stand before at the end of time, and you’ll be fine.

KLOVE Features September 2017

Joy is a Conviction

In 2 Corinthians 12:10, Paul the Apostle writes, “I am content with weaknesses, hardships, and calamities.” Had Paul’s perspective been so radically transformed, he actually was content in his difficulties and struggles? It’s a truly “unconventional” thought! Paul actually found the cure for a shattered life! It’s a three-letter word: It’s called “joy”. Based upon my knowledge of Scripture, and living the Christian life for 45-years, I would define “joy” as: “a deep sense of inner elation and satisfaction that comes from seeing your life from God’s perspective, and responding properly to the challenges and suffering of life.” Joy is more of a conviction, than a feeling. That’s why Paul wrote “Always be full of joy in the Lord.” (Philippians 4:4)

Of Right and Wrong Responses

Do you believe that everything that happens to you, even the most difficult experiences are uniquely prepared for you, and have exceptional value if you can learn to see them from God’s perspective? Challenges are actually “opportunities in disguise”. Every irritation is a divine invitation to go to the next level. That’s why, how we see our lives is always a matter of perspective, not circumstance. Two people can go through nearly identical situations, and yet respond totally differently. The truth is, the right perspective will always produce the right response. Likewise, the wrong perspective will always produce the wrong response. Ask Jesus to help you unpack the value of the experiences in your life. For only then can you truly understand and even enjoy the life He’s given you.

Loving Your Life

What if I told you that God’s will is that you would love the life He’s given you. Would you think it was overstated? Is there any parent who wouldn’t want their child to love their lives? Imagine, if you were an all-powerful God, how you could use Your limitless power to make that a reality for all of your children. But, as God’s children, He has not designed us as mere onlookers. Here are three essential, long-term strategies we need in order to love our lives. Loving life is given to those who learn to embrace the setbacks in their lives, and see their hidden value. Loving life is given to those who develop an overcoming strategy to handle failure. And lastly, the ability to love your life is given to those who praise and thank God, even when things don’t appear to be working out.

Winston Churchill and Success

Want to know the best way to handle success? First learn how to handle failure. With that said, none of us will have a shortage of opportunities. In World War I, Winston Churchill, planned and lost the Battle of Gallipoli. Because of his poor decision making, many thousands of Allied soldiers died. He had failed miserably. Yet, 20 years later, during World War II, he led Great Britain to victory. He said, “Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” For his extraordinary leadership, many consider him the “Man of the Century”. Proving, once again, the best training for handling success, is to first learn how to handle failure. The Bible encourages us with this principle, “Although a righteous person may fall seven times, he gets up again…” (Proverbs 24:16, NET)

Is God Throwing Stones at You?

A little boy was playing with his toy sailboat on the shore of a quiet lake. When the wind pulled the sail boat away from the shoreline, he began to cry as it went farther and farther away. An older boy came upon the scene and began throwing stones at his tiny boat. The young boy cried, “Why are you throwing stones at my boat?” The older boy said, “I’m throwing stones on the far side of your boat to create some waves to bring the sailboat back to you. Trust me; I know what I’m doing.” Whenever you feel like God is throwing stones at your life, realize they are meant to draw you closer to Him, not to drive you away.” He says to all of us, “Trust Me, I know what I’m doing!” That’s why the Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”

Your Tests Are Your Testimony

Do you wish you didn’t have so many tests and trials? At a certain point, each of us do. But I’ve learned, after following Jesus for over 45 years, that the trials specifically created for me, bring out the best in me. The primary issue is whether we genuinely believe God’s promises and trust Him. If we do, shakings will eventually bring out the best in us, and are actually essential for each of our lives. We must go through shakings in order to become unshakeable! Our tests give us our testimony! Even our mess . . . gives us our message! God’s promises are greater than our problems, and a godly perspective will conquer any predicament. Rather than asking God to stop the struggles in your life, ask Him to reveal His grand purpose for them.

The Rationality of God Liking You

Perhaps you find it easy to believe that God loves you, but harder to believe He likes you. God liking you is the only rational, reasonable, explanation for His actions. He’s omniscient (All Knowing). He sees your past, present and future. Whatever opinion He has about you, He’s always had about you. He’s the same, yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) We are God’s beloved! We are God’s friend! You would never say to a best friend, “I love you! But, I don’t like you!” A best friend is someone who has seen you at your worst, and still loves you & still “likes” being with you. Do any of us have any question that God has seen us at your worst? I fail a lot! But, God’s promise is: “There’s nothing you can do to make Me not like you!”

What American’s Think About God

What American’s think about God is quite revealing. A recent survey determined 28% believe in an “Authoritarian God”, who is angry at humanity’s sins. 24% believe God is “Distant”, and is more of a cosmic force that launched the world, and then left it spinning on its own. 21% say He’s “Critical”, having a judgmental eye on the world, but is not willing to intervene, either to punish or comfort. Surprisingly and sadly, only 22% believe in a “Benevolent God”, who is forgiving and accepting of anyone who repents. So, the challenge for all of us who have a relationship with the “Benevolent God”, whose name is Jesus, is to represent Him in an authentic and genuine way. Because the only way someone can see the Person of God…is in His people.

She Called Him “Daddy”

One of the most amazing examples of a father loving a daughter that I’ve seen was with my wife, Suzie, and her father. When Suzie was twenty years old, she was arrested for carrying marijuana across the Canadian border. She spent a sleepless night in a felony cell. Suzie thought her parents back in California, who she was very close to, wouldn’t hear about it. But they did. Not knowing they had, she called home a few days later, and her dad said, “I heard about the problem you had in Canada.” Totally embarrassed, Suzie froze on the phone. Her dad quickly followed up with, “That’s water under the bridge honey. We just want to know if you’re OK!” She called him “Daddy” her whole life. It always makes me emotional when I tell the story, because “…the glory of children is their fathers.” (Proverbs 17:6)

Complete Surrender

In the Book of Genesis, when young Isaac asked his father Abraham, “Where’s the lamb for the sacrifice?” Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So, when Abraham bound his son and placed him on the altar, it demonstrated an incredible trust relationship between a father and his son. He laid his 12-year old son willingly on the altar, and Isaac completely surrendered to the will of his father . . . just like Jesus! How about us? When we’re in trouble, do we run to God as a trusted Father, or away from Him. God knows if we’ve completely surrendered or not. We can’t fake it! He knows if we really trust Him or not, and there will always come opportunities for us to show Him.

The Cross

Nothing demonstrates how much God loves us more than Christ’s death on the Cross. By crucifying His Son, God chose the most difficult alternative, out of all possible options. Jesus became what He hated the most…sin. It was the greatest torture of all. Jesus had to be God, and not some created fall guy sent down to do His dirty work. God gave us His best. He didn’t have an ace up His sleeve. It cost God the Father the life of His Son. The two great Christian ordinances: The Lord’s Supper and Water Baptism, both remind us of the Cross. There’s a poem I heard as a young Christian that sums it up well. “What giving again I asked in dismay, and must I keep giving and giving always? No, said an angel piercing me through. Just give till the Savior stops giving to you.”

Hypocrisy

There has never been an age in need of authenticity more than this age. Our generation has been hyped to death. Therefore, the critique of many non-Christians about our seeming hypocrisy is a devastating indictment. As a teenager myself, it was hypocrisy that drew me away from Christianity into atheism. But, the problem is not just hypocrisy. The problem is the air of moral superiority many Christians carry around. The word hypocrite is taken from an old Greek word that refers to the wearing of a mask. In Ancient Greece, actors often wore masks according to the character they played. Their character’s appearance on the stage was a façade…it was an “act.” If our faith is not genuine, no one wants it, not even God. While there is breath in us, may we each represent Jesus well.

KLOVE Features August 2017

High Mountain Lakes

While hiking around a high mountain lake, a knowledgeable friend told me that high mountain lake water levels remain the same, whether in drought or during elevated water seasons. Wow! That got my attention, as one of my prayers is to walk in the fullness of Christ. He then explained why this happens. First, these lakes must have sufficient outflow, and secondly, the springs and snow above the lakes supply a steady inflow of water. What a wonderful principle! When we, as followers of Jesus, can climb above the challenges in our lowest valleys, we can experience a continually abundant flow of God’s Spirit. Yet, in order for our lives to remain full, they must overflow to others. Trust God in your winters, receive His springs of living water, and let your life overflow to help others.

Starring in Your Own Movie

Clint Eastwood has asked the three young American heroes who stopped a terrorist attack on a French train in 2016 to play themselves in his upcoming movie, “The 15:17 to Paris.” Their heroic courage, at a crucial moment, saved countless lives. It made me think about each of us. We each get to star in our own movies, viewed by the great cloud of heavenly witnesses mentioned in Hebrews 12. We’re not the lead, but we are supporting actors. It’s also our call if we want to make our movie a horror or love story, a nightmare or an adventure. The script God’s written for us is perfectly type cast for who we are, and makes our lives an adventurous love story for the ages. Follow the lead Actor, Jesus, and your life will have a happy ending.

What Are We Passing On?

In each of our lives, we all pass on something; whether good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. Someone may have to fight the battles I refuse to. Someone must be courageous where I cowered. What will my children, grandchildren, and future descendants inherit? In this sense, healing is always multi-generational. It took a previous generation sacrificing their fathers and brothers, mothers and sisters in order to stop the Nazis. Someone relentlessly persisted to end the epidemic of polio. Jesus defeated the plague of sin that would forever destroy each of our lives, by dying on a Cross in our place. May God embed this truth in our hearts: whatever isn’t healed, we pass on! Healing has a voice. It says, “Do whatever it takes to receive God’s healing.”

Exploring God’s Love and Mercy

We can never know God’s love until we fail, and then see that He is still madly in love with us. The plan of God we cannot see is greater than the circumstances we can. God’s grace is more than sufficient, if we allow His strength to rise up above our weakness. We all appreciate spring flowers and summer fruit. But, it’s the dying in fall, and storms of winter that bring the most bountiful harvest. The greatest value of our worst sins and God’s forgiveness is that they most clearly demonstrate the extent Jesus went through, to cover our most foolish mistakes. Don’t spend your time fixating on what you’ve done wrong, explore the vast reality of God’s love and mercy, seen most vividly in His death on the Cross.

Happiness is What You Bring

Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. It’s what you bring to the day, not what the day brings to you. Your overdependence on temporary satisfaction, will invariably lead you to future disappointment. Happiness is not having what you want, it’s training your soul to want what you have. Love the life you have and joyfully receive every meal placed before you. The value of your most challenging circumstances is always hidden. Masses of humanity, gorge themselves on the crumbs of Earth . . . not realizing their true hunger is for the feasts of Heaven. Accept God’s promise to His followers, “…God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28, NLT)

Bless Your Storms

There are no accidental storms. Bless the storms that come to your life, and stop chasing fleeting, unfulfilling pleasures. We never know which storm will bring the most challenge, or the greatest benefit, to our lives. Therefore, embrace storms as they come, remembering God has no desire to give you peace from the storms of life. His perfect plan is to give you peace in the storms. The storms in our lives challenge our identity; who we are and what we really believe. Peace that comes when the storm stops is temporary. Learning to have peace during the storm is infinitely better, and has eternal benefits. We were created to meet Jesus in the storms of life. And frankly, few of us have time for Him outside of them.

Hope Will Never Disappoint

If hope came to your life, would you recognize it? Hope is often hidden in a mystery. We can’t blame God for our lack of hope, because each of us are given equal amounts of hope. Yet, hope without diligence is mere “wishful thinking.” In what area is God asking you to have hope? It will take faith to receive God’s hope, because it always works in tandem with faith. I can’t become more than I hope to be! Frankly, hoping for better days will get me off track. Hoping for a better understanding of God’s love will dial me in. God promises that hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:5) A hopeful attitude has no expiration date.

Ask “What?”, not “Why?”

We know we are walking in the resurrection life Jesus died to give us, when we are more interested in trusting God than asking life’s most asked question, “Why is this happening to me?” “Why, God?” should never be the question. It’s a waste of time! “God, I trust You! What are You trying to show me?” in infinitely better. It shows we believe God’s Word more than what we see or feel. Frankly, the more I know me, the less I trust me. And the more I know God, the more I trust Him. Love never fails, and God is love. So, trust Him no matter what! As the Psalmist wrote, “…Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned…” (Psalm 37:25, NLT) Never!

Perpetual Overcomers

How do you connect with an invisible God? It must be by faith! Unless you walk by faith, one day you will find out you are not following Him at all. That’s why the Bible says, “…it is impossible to please God without faith.” (Hebrews 11;6, NLT) Never let your feelings dictate your faith. Put your faith in the facts, God’s Word, the Holy Bible, because feelings will come and go. As, Jesus was the perpetual Overcomer, if your life is hidden with Christ in God, you are called to be a perpetual overcomer as well. Jesus, “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings…” (Psalm 17:8, NIV) “I trust in You, more than what I feel or see. For it is Your eternal promises that guide my life.”

Changing or Exchanging

Are you struggling to change, and feel you’re not making much headway? Here’s a helpful hint: life is more about exchanging than changing. If we will surrender our lives to the Lordship of Jesus, God promises, as the Message Bible says, to give us “…bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. (To) Rename (us) “Oaks of Righteousness” planted by God to display his glory.” (Isaiah 61:3, The Message) God will replace fear with faith, but it will take resignation and commitment to see this change. A divine discontent–convinced, that there must be something more! Nothing goes from “before” to “after” without something in-between. And that in-between is always, and forever, Jesus.

We’ve All Seen Too Much

Perhaps, like me, you’ve wondered what standing at the judgement seat of Christ, mentioned in 2 Corinthians 5:10, will be like? Is it something to dread, or a privilege to look forward to? Is Jesus going to be our accuser or advocate? The choice is always ours. The Bible says, because of the sacrifice of Jesus, we can “…with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16, ESV) Frankly, there is no excuse for unbelief. We’ve all seen way too much. I can either turn myself in, or wait to be caught. One will lead to a relationship of love, trust and forgiveness. The other to misunderstanding God’s heart so staggeringly, I will have died believing a lie.

Fuels for Forest Fires

One of the most destructive dangers during hot summer months in many states are wild fires. Millions of acres and hundreds of homes are destroyed every year. This natural danger has a direct application for our spiritual lives. There are preventive measures that can keep our lives safe. Dead vegetation that allows a fire to climb up from the landscape or forest floors into the tree canopy should be eliminated. Ground fuel consisting of pine needles, dry leaves, twigs and other dead brush should be trimmed within 50 feet of homes. Each of these natural precautions are consistent with what Jesus can do in our lives if we allow Him, “He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” (John 15:2, NLT)

KLOVE Features July 2017

Fistless, Footless and Toothless

Are you ready to fight for yourself and others? You need to be. A great evangelist, and ex-major league baseball player said, “I’m against sin. I’ll kick it as long as I’ve got a foot, and I’ll fight it as long as I’ve got a fist. I’ll butt it as long as I’ve got a head. I’ll bite it as long as I’ve got a tooth. And when I’m old and fistless, and footless, and toothless, I’ll gum it till I go home to Glory and it goes home to perdition!” When it comes to the spirit-realm, none of us should be pacifists. Peace at all costs means we will live under tyrants, bow, when we should stand, roll over and play dead, when we should be rising up and courageously living as God intended. We were made to conquer, not cower.

Just Say the Name, Jesus

A prisoner on Death Row, named Rusty Woomer, sat on the floor of his cell without moving, letting dozens of roach’s crawl all over him. Completely depressed, he wouldn’t even flick them off. Rusty was a 35-year-old murderer of four innocent people. Facing the electric chair, he’d sank into hopelessness. One day, a Christian man from Prison Fellowship pleaded with him: “Rusty, just say the name, Jesus!” Though nearly comatose, slowly, painfully, Rusty whispered “Jesus”. Eventually, after further encouragements, Rusty prayed to receive Jesus. A week later, Rusty’s cell was spotless. Gone were the dirt, the roaches, the porn magazines. The walls were scrubbed, the bed was made, the scent of disinfectant was in the air.’ Rusty was smiling and joyful. Are you hopeless? Ask Jesus to help you.

Work is Not Part of the Curse

Did you know that work is not a part of the curse? We will be working throughout eternity. Not with the sweat of our brow, but with diligence and commitment. We live in an age where there are many jobs, that people are just not willing to do. And yet, until we discipline our soul to do what is inconvenient, and perhaps unattractive, we’ll never become the man or woman God has created us to be. No dad or mom finds fulfillment in changing a poopy diaper. It’s just a dirty job that needs to be done. How serious is God about hard work, the Bible says, “if anyone is unwilling to work, neither should he eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10) Diligence: it’s what we need, in order to have the dinner God wants us to have.

Eight Ways to Be Blessed

In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, chapter 5, Jesus describes eight ways for us to be blessed. “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”  Sounds like perfect advice, in order to be blessed. (Matthew 5:3-10, NLT)

Should We Care What People Think?

Do we care what people think? We should! Rick Warren shares that, “Over and over again the Bible says that Jesus knew their thoughts. This demonstrates the importance of finding common ground with those we are ministering to. What are their needs, their problems, stresses and challenges? What are their hurts? Everybody’s hurting somewhere, about something. What are they freaking out about? And what are their interests?” Sure, we should never dwell on other people’s judgments and criticalness of us, but if we want to reach them, we will need insights from God about what they are thinking. The Bible says, “…Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. (Ephesians 4:29, NLT)

Only Jesus Satisfies

People, typically, won’t open their heart to Jesus because they’re afraid of dying tomorrow. Openness comes when they see their desperate need to learn how to live today. The Bible says, it’s God’s kindness that leads us to turn away from sin. (Romans 2:4) Running away from something never inspires us to become a different person, we all long to run toward something: something good for us, that fulfills us, that strengthens us. At the end of the day, there’s only one Person who can satisfy our greatest needs: and that’s Jesus. He alone said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 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.” (Matthew 11:28-29, NLT)

Three Levels of Conviction

I’ve found there are three levels of conviction. The lowest rung is being embarrassed. We’re embarrassed we said or did something. It means our conscience is alive and in action. The next level of conviction I call, “fed up”. It means we are at least listening to the Holy Spirit. But, it does not guarantee that a change in our behavior is forthcoming. In order for that to happen we need to go to a further level of conviction. We have to become “desperate” in order to obey whatever the Spirit of God asks. So, the next time we face conviction from the Holy Spirit, may we not wallow in “embarrassment”, may we not stop at merely being “fed up”, but may we be “desperate” enough to change, whatever the cost.

Dependency is a Necessity!

One of the ways we know we are in right relationship with God is we are increasing in our dependency upon Him. Attitudes of independence are often just subtle forms of rebellion. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” He wasn’t exaggerating. Without complete dependence on Jesus we can accomplish nothing of lasting value. Dependency is a necessity! Partial reliance upon God merely provides an out for us to eventually do what we want, and not what God wants. It is a subtle trap! A leak that will drain away the fullness of the Spirit in our lives. “Jesus, without You I can do nothing!”

Knowing the Future

Recently, while reflecting on my future, I said to someone, “I really don’t need to know what’s ahead.” When I said it, I was a bit stunned by the absoluteness of my comment. Adding to my surprise I experienced an immediate surge in my spirit that by making the assertion, “I really don’t need to know what’s ahead”, I was connecting with God in a faith-filled way. The fact is, I don’t have to know the future if I am fully trusting the One who does. Though I endeavor to remain fully conscious while I patiently wait on God to reveal His will, I want to do this with complete confidence in God’s future for my life. God is trust-worthy, and His will is worth trusting. So, let me say to you, “You really don’t need to know the future, if you’re trusting the only Person who does.

Eating Off Someone Else’s Plate

What would you think, if when you sat down to have a meal with someone, they consistently reached over and ate from your plate? Even if they were a toddler, I’m sure you would find it completely unacceptable behavior. It would demonstrate that something was indeed wrong with the person. But that’s exactly what we do when we are jealous. We ignore what we have been given and begin to covet what has been given to someone else. As absurd as it would be in the natural, physical world, so it is absurd in the supernatural spiritual world as well. What God has given to each of us is all we need to become who He created us to be. Bloom where you are planted, and you’ll live a full and fulfilled life.

Chasing the Illusion

Are you looking to man for your approval? If so, you will never be satisfied. Only Jesus knows why we were created. Only He can satisfy the longing in our souls. People exhaust themselves trying to get the attention, approval, and acceptance of others. What an absolute waste of time! We are each living for an audience of One. The only One who can fulfill us! We were created for His pleasure, and only Jesus can give us the lasting pleasures we seek. In His presence, and His presence alone, is there joy overflowing, and eternal pleasures that bring peace and not regret. (Psalm 16:11) Be done with chasing the world’s illusions. We are complete in Jesus, and Jesus alone. (Colossians 2:10)

God’s Magnificent Intention

The fact that we don’t see our sin clearly is one of the obvious indications we are still walking in darkness. Our first acknowledgement of sin is merely the tip of the iceberg. Infinitely bigger realities are beneath the surface. But the choice is always ours. Will we respond to the first inklings of the Spirit’s conviction, or will we deny what time cannot heal, and only God can make right. The closer we get to light, what is faint becomes clearer. General sins get undeniably specific. The Holy Spirit is never vague. He is always precise! A Father on a mission: to rescue His children, even if they are initially unable to understand His magnificent intention, and resist His best for them.