K-LOVE Features February 2016

Problems With Evolution

The theory of Evolution has lots of problems. First: there’s no “new creation” taking place at this time. None! If the Earth evolved, why did it stop? Second: matter is constantly changing, but the trend is always downward – toward deterioration – not upward. Third: lower life forms have, in certain instances, more complex cell formations than higher life forms. For example: frog cells are more complex than human cells. Hmm? And lastly, there’s no fossil evidence indicating that species evolved, and there are NO species that arise gradually. They each appear “all at once – fully formed.” Each in-between stage would have left fossils. And most people are unaware that Darwin’s strongest opponents were NOT Christians, but fossil experts. The Bible says, “…God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27, ESV)

 Something From Nothing

If you can believe, Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” you should have no problem believing the rest of the Bible. But, the opposite is also true! You’d think any objective person would realize it’s impossible to get “something” out of “nothing.” And saying it took billions and billions of years doesn’t make getting “something” out of “nothing” more feasible. Professor Richard Goldschmidt, a geneticist at the University of California at Berkeley, once wrote, “To suppose that…a random event could reconstruct even a single complex organ like a liver or kidney is about as reasonable as to suppose that an improved watch can be designed by throwing an old one against the wall.” The most un-scientific thought ever conceived by man is that: “something came from nothing.” We came from God, and to God we shall return.

God Is Hovering Over Your Life

Have you ever wondered why God made darkness before light? What’s the principle? God wants us to choose Him. We can choose light or darkness. Without a choice there’s no true love. God wants a Bride who desires Him. It’s not a shotgun wedding! Darkness will always be an option while we’re on this Earth. Though I hate darkness, especially in me, it’s darkness that gives me a greater appreciation for light. Seeing selfishness makes me love selflessness even more. The Bible says, “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the darkness.” Doesn’t that remind you of your life before you received Jesus? When I was suicidal – God was hovering over my life. When I was an atheist – God was hovering over my life. Whatever darkness you are facing right now, remember, God is hovering over your life!

 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

No leader had a greater impact in my youth than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. No words are sufficient to express the courage and wisdom I saw in him. He led the civil rights movement for 13 years. And during that time, more progress was made for African-Americans to achieve racial equality than in the previous 350 years. Somehow, the pure abandon of his life cut through both the national dysfunction and my own personal confusion. A flawed man, like each of us, and nearly every Bible hero, Dr. King remains the champion of abandon and conviction. He wrote, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” He prayed, “Use me, God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself.”

Drugs

Is there biblical validation for using drugs? Genesis 1:12 says, “God created all seed-bearing plants, and trees…and God saw that it was good.” Some have used this verse to justify the use of marijuana. But, not every plant is good for every purpose – hemlock is natural, but it’s a poison and will kill you. Try smoking poison ivy! Whatever God creates as good, will always have a counterfeit. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.” (John 14:27, ESV) Everything God created for good has a phony substitute: false peace, false truth, even false comfort. Our ability to determine the truth from the lies will not just affect our life on Earth, but eternity. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7, NIV) Sow wisely!

God and Resting

“God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when He rested from His work of creation.” (Genesis 2:3) Everything God does is holy, even rest. Resting is a holy act! Rest is NOT being entertained, spacing out, or just having fun. Rest is focused peace! Rest is not renting 3 DVD’s and vegging out! It’s not being lazy! It’s consciously trusting God with our lives! Rest is bowing to God, not the pressures of life, or the “God of performance!” It takes faith to rest in God! We are born “hardwired for rest!” The world is “hardwired for stress! We cannot be conformed to the image and likeness of God and not live at rest. God is not just a “God of Rest!” He’s a “God at REST!” Jesus, give us the rest in You we so desperately need!

Naked

Ever heard this statement? Since Adam and Eve were naked, obviously there’s nothing wrong with nakedness. In Genesis 2:25, although Adam and his wife were both naked, neither of them felt any shame. Shame has been defined as a negative emotion that combines feelings of dishonor, unworthiness, and embarrassment. Adam and Eve’s nakedness was far more than nudity. They were totally open and exposed before God and one another. Before the fall, they were naked, but didn’t see it as sinful. They were exposed, but not exploited! They were naked, but not immoral! They were unclothed, but not unprotected! They were undressed, but not uncovered! They were bare, but didn’t use one another! If you want to get back to the Garden! Live an honest, open and transparent life in the presence of God!

God Determines What Is Light

Do you want to know the most important thing God determines? God determines reality, what is real and what is not, what will last and what fades away, the eternal verses the temporary, right from wrong, truth verses lies. It’s all in His court. 2 Corinthians 4:6 says, the God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made this light shine in our hearts…” It is God who determines what is light and what is darkness, not man. God determines what your gender is, what marriage is, what truth is, what reality is. Not man! Not counterfeit light! The world is loaded with counterfeit light…counterfeit truth… even counterfeit peace. Have you identified the counterfeit truth in your life? It’s vital that you do! For only then can you find the eternal truth that will set you free.

Evil

The Devils attacks are always aimed at trying to get us to doubt the goodness of God and the badness of sin! Satan’s main lie is: “Sin’s not that bad and God’s not that good.” Before Adam and Eve sinned, all they had ever known was good. In a few moments, all that would change. Before that time, no human being had ever known “evil.” They had been “spoiled with good!” Evil would shatter all that! How many of us have found that knowing “evil” has been a real bonus to our lives? “Most of the time I feel if I found out one additional piece of information about evil, I would go crazy!” My evil cup is full up! I have seen and experienced way too much evil. “God, deliver us from evil, and fill us with Your goodness!”

Favoritism

Perhaps the most destructive attitude devastating family relationships is favoritism: valuing one child above another. It started in the first family, with Adam and Eve. Their firstborn son Cain’s name meant, “Here he is!” while his brother Abel’s name meant “Unsatisfactory!” One was elevated with, “Here he is!” and the other was deflated, “Here comes unsatisfactory!” How sad! It’s no wonder that Cain was ill prepared for Abel’s offering to God being accepted, while his own was rejected. He’d been fed the lie, “I’m more special than my brother Abel!” and therefore was unable to accept God esteeming Abel’s offering as better. Favoritism led to jealousy and even murder. Down through the ages, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph all had favorites. To see the destructive results, just look at the Middle East. Have no favorites! Love and value your children equally, and your family will be blessed.

Open Minded

Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m open minded!” When Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened in Genesis 3:7, the Bible says, “…they suddenly felt shame, unworthy and embarrassment.” Satan opened their eyes all right! But, there’s nothing more dangerous than a partial truth. Because a complete lie is rarely an effective temptation. At times when our “eyes are opened” we see less-not more. I did drugs – my eyes were opened. I saw less, not more. I had sex outside of marriage – I saw less, not more. I disobeyed my conscience… I saw less, not more. Disobedience always brings shame! So many people are living under a cloud of shame. All that happens is we feel naked…exposed…vulnerable… dishonored…unworthy and …embarrassed!

Cosmic Coincidences?

What takes more faith, believing something came from nothing, or believing that there is an intelligent design in the Universe? Think about this: imagine the size of a full moon in the sky. For every patch of sky the size of the moon, if you look deep into space, there are a million galaxies; and each one of those galaxies contains 200 billion stars, the size of our sun. There are actually as many stars in the Universe as there are grains of sand found on all the beaches in the world. WOW! So did all of that just happen? Is it a cosmic coincidence? Did it evolve from nothing? The Bible says, “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31, ESV) The most un-scientific thought ever conceived by man is that “something came from nothing.”

 

 

K-LOVE Features January 2016

My Response

Do you battle with anger? Proverbs 16:32, says, “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” In every area of life, our response to the unexpected is infinitely more important than what others do to us. If the thief ALWAYS comes to steal, kill and destroy, then responding like the world, the flesh and the devil will always lead to death. Jesus counters the devil’s lies with the truth. He said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly!” (John 10:10, ESV) Perhaps, the fruit of God’s Spirit we ignore the most, self-control, is the one that will set us free. Do what Jesus said, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for”…even if it’s self-control. (Matthew 7:7, NLT)

 

Societies Drifting

As society continues to drift further away from reality, only God’s Word is the truth that can set someone free. Everywhere, people are creating their own version of good and evil, truth and lies, but the “new” morality is merely repackaged, “old” immorality. Sadly, far from being profound or liberating, it is the perfect recipe for deception. It is: “man playing God.” From Rebellious Anarchists to Pleasure-Seeking Hedonists…Selfish Capitalists to Naïve Socialists, lack of discernment will always lead to deception and destruction. Jesus prayed in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” Where are you and I playing God in our lives?

 

Jesus Still Weeps

When you invite God into your pain, you will see His compassionate heart. The Bible says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15, ESV) Jesus knows your pain…your heartache! On Earth, “Jesus wept,” (John 11:35) and He still weeps with us even now. He models the good news that there is a God who cares. At times, we think we need to come to God with our “Sunday-Best,” when He is actually just as happy to see us in our “Monday-Worst.” What we really want to know is: “God, do You know what You’re doing with my life?” Believe that! God knows what to do with the broken pieces of your life.

 

God Is Speaking To You

Do you believe God is speaking to you? He is, I believe, every day! God speaks when He is about to accomplish His purposes. For, what God initiates, He always completes. He reveals Himself to increase our faith and trust in Him. When God speaks, you will recognize His inner voice, which will always seem unique to you. It is so divinely personal; you are convinced you have His complete attention. That’s because you do! God wants to communicate so clearly you will always know it is Him speaking. And never forget, God’s revelations are always designed to bring you into a love relationship with Him. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice.” God is speaking to you today. You’ll be blessed as you hear and obey.

 

Why We Need Faith

When God speaks, I will need faith to respond. Faith is the confidence that what God has promised or said will come to pass. Before I call my family, others, or even myself to exercise faith, I must be sure I have heard a word from God. When God lets me know what He wants to do through me, it will be something only He can do. The God who calls me is also the One who will enable me to do His will. Waiting on Him is always worth the wait. Fervent prayer will be one of the most demanding things I ever do. Obedience is my moment of truth. But only He should get the glory. God will never give me an assignment He will not enable me to complete.

 

The Real American Dream

You would think from listening to some people’s view of America, the Founding Father’s primary concern was to keep religion, and specifically Christianity, as far away as possible from projecting its views on society. But, if you spend any time examining what the founding leaders of America really said, you will have to conclude the exact opposite. As our Declaration of Independence so eloquently proclaims, “…all men are created equal…” and “…they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…” The fact is…America is not great because we think we’re great. America is only great because of God! May we follow the advice of Scripture, “Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34, NLT)


Swimming Upstream

A hero has been defined as “somebody who commits an act of remarkable bravery or who has shown great courage and strength of character.” (World English Dictionary) The Christian worldview has always been distained by the world. Most people are tossed back & forth by the world’s values. They succumb to the peer pressure of the culture. In the first century, when Paul arrived as a prisoner in Rome, he met with Jewish leaders who promptly said, concerning his being a Christ-follower, “…we know that it is spoken against everywhere.” (Acts 28:22) More and more, this seems to be the case today. But, know this for certain, as “darkness gets darker it only makes the light that much brighter.” As D. L. Moody once said, “You can’t talk cream and live skim milk.”

 

Choosing the Difficult

God will never force you to do anything. Love necessitates freedom to choose. Every decision Jesus made was His choice. He said, “No one takes My life from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (John 10:18) Jesus could have called down 12 legions of angels to rescue Him in His greatest hour of need. In ancient Rome, a legion was an army division of three to six thousand soldiers. So, 72,000 mighty angels could have rescued Jesus, but He chose what was most inconvenient and most difficult. Don’t be surprised if He asks you to do the same. I’ve found this to be true. But, what is also true is that I have never regretted taking the hard, obedient road.

 

Jesus, the Greatest Hero

All of us celebrate heroes, whether they are real or imagined. From mythological or comic book heroes, to actual heroes who put themselves in harms way to protect our families or nation. But, who is the greatest hero of all time? It would have to be Jesus, and for the following reasons: though He was God come to Earth, Jesus didn’t defend Himself, but instead gave His life defending others. Because of Christ’s selfless love, He was willing to call us “friends” when we were His enemies. And lastly, Jesus was willing to suffer a death others deserved; suffering, the Bible says, more than any man for our sake. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Yet, as brutal as Christ’s physical suffering was, it was nothing compared to becoming sin for us, and dying to pay the penalty that we deserved.

 

True Worship

Jesus said, you must, “…love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” But what would that look like? I believe one of the amazing experiences Jesus had, perfectly describes true worship. The Bible tells the story in the Luke 7. “When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.” (Luke 7:37-38) Her actions sublimely demonstrated what total, complete, abandoned worship looks like! How grateful I am for what Jesus has done for me is best seen in how I worship Him.

 

My Great Dane Story

I used to go for walks at night, to walk and pray. One night, around midnight, I was walking in my neighborhood, and all of a sudden, a man opened his front door to let his dog, a massive Great Dane, out. Immediately, this dog, as big as a horse, ran out, leapt over a hedge and made a beeline for me. It happened so quickly, all I could do was freeze. He then jumped up, put his giant paws on my shoulders and without missing a beat licked my face, from chin to forehead. Then, just as quickly, he turned around, did his thing on the ground and went back into his house. It was unbelievable! But, as I reflect on it now, there’s probably no better example of the Bible verse that says, “Stand still and see the salvation of God.” (Exodus 14:13)

 

A True Lover

The world glamorizes love, and even extols those they think are great lovers. But, what does a true lover look like? Wouldn’t it be someone who loved unconditionally, who forgave others unequivocally, and who refused to consider anyone un-loveable? The key quality of true love is that it’s not primarily designed to benefit you. True love thinks of others first. Therefore, we can never represent the God who is love if we think we’re better than other people. None of us are better than anyone else. If we say, we’re not that big of a sinner, it only means we’re comparing ourselves to other people on this Earth, when the significance of our sin only comes to light when we compare ourselves to our Creator. In which case, we have all sinned and are in need of God, our Savior.

 

K-LOVE Features December 2015

Honored

Do you feel dishonored? Many people feel dishonored by the people closest to them: a parent, a child, a spouse, or just society in general. It seems every day we hear of a person lashing out against someone whom they believe has dishonored them personally, or their nation, race, religion or family. Sadly, dishonored people tend to dishonor others. In our often cynical, sarcastic, polarized, condescending, bullying, culture, it’s not hard to feel dishonored. Yet, honoring is the invisible weapon God has given every one of us to be on an equal level with everyone else. It’s hard to learn from someone you resent or envy. We learn best from people we respect. So, do what the Bible says and you can change your world, “Honor everyone.” (1 Peter 2:17, ESV) “Respect everyone.” (1 Peter 2:17, NLT) “Treat everyone you meet with dignity.” (1 Peter 2:17, The Message) You can respect everyone without respecting what they believe.

Making Friends of Enemies

Perhaps the most important takeaway from of our past is learning from our mistakes while appreciating the grace and forgiveness of God. Yet, we all struggle to learn sufficiently. It reminds me of a sad reality spoken about in the Book of Judges. We’ll have to live with the enemy we refuse to drive out. When it comes to the inner battle we each face in our soul, making friends with enemies never ends well. If we don’t resist the devil, we’ll eventually make friends with him. The Bible says, “…resist the devil, and he will flee.” The devil would love us to believe that evil is really not that bad, and good is, likewise, not that good. But the only truth that will set a person free is aligning our lives with God’s reality, which is all that will ultimately last.

 

What Miracles Are We Missing

We have all seen miracles. But if we refuse to believe them or just plain forget they took place, we’ll lose their full potential. For it is the miracles we have each experienced that give us faith to believe for the miracles yet to come. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20, ESV) “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37, ESV) “Jesus, what miracles are we missing today? Open our eyes to see who You really are: the God of miracles. It is Your nature to do the impossible. And it is Your will for us to know You and see You as You really are. For only then can we see Your beauty. Only then can we discover the greater works You promised.”

Key To Happiness

A study was done on the effects a major life change has on a person’s happiness. Half of the people tested were big lottery winners. The other half suffered severe injuries in bad car accidents. It was determined that a few weeks after these drastic life-changing events took place, both groups were equally happy and satisfied with their lives. Thus proving: winning a million dollars is about as much fun as getting hit by a bus. Hmm? Who are the healthiest people you know: the spoiled or entitled ones, or those who have responded to the challenges of life by trusting God? Only by trusting the Author of life can we find fulfillment, and living a fruitful life is never about what we have or don’t have, it’s about how we respond to what we have or don’t have. Only then can godliness with contentment be a great gain.

 

Born Again…Again?

The only life worth living is the one God has planned for you, and the only way to experience that life is through a personal, intimate relationship with your Creator. Jesus said, “I am life!” (John 14:6) and the only people who believe Jesus was overstating what He would provide for them, are those who don’t yet know Him. If you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, you know that His goodness is one that surpasses all expectation. Forty-three percent of Americans say they have been born again, but only thirteen percent have a truly transforming faith. My question is: what good is a faith that doesn’t change you? If we say we’ve been born again, but don’t have a transformed life, then may I suggest being born again…again? Though it may sound funny, get “born again” as many times as it takes to see your life change.

 

Lovely People Love

It’s been said, the secret of being loved is being lovely, and the secret of being lovely is learning to love others. There are no lovely, self-centered people, and we can’t even fully love until we’ve received God’s love. So, what’s the solution? Let the God who is love be the Lord of your life. Let the love He has for you, flow through you to others. The Bible says, “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” (1 John 4:16, NLT) “Jesus, so live in me, that when people see me, they, in some tangible way, are seeing You…Your love…Your kindness…Your selfless heart for them.”

Servant Leaders

If your goal in life is to lead people, you’re going to be frustrated, because only a few people want to be led. But if you aim to be a servant, you’ll never lack for followers. Jesus said in Mark 9:35 (ESV), “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” No person is ever honored for what they have received. Honor is the reward of those who give. God is a giver, and He searches the whole earth to find someone like Him. And when He does, He blesses them. “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45, ESV) Want people to follow you? Lay down your life for them. Never forget, there is a servant leader sitting on a throne in Heaven.

 

Encourage One Another

A minister in Florida had a funeral conducted for himself while he was still living. The printed order of service gave his explanation, “This, my funeral, is being held because I have no pleasure in words I cannot hear, flowers I cannot smell, and friends I cannot see.” After the service one man said he would never compliment his pastor because it might make him proud. Really? More likely, it would’ve encouraged him. Flattery is always wrong, but a genuine word of affirmation is always right. 1 Corinthians 12:26 says, “…if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” When was the last time you honored someone who has helped you, by encouraging them? “Speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out…no one left behind.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, The Message)

 

Exhorting One Another

Did you know that none of us can fulfill our destiny, without other people? Pastor Bill Hybel’s, when he was the chaplain of the Chicago Bears Football Team, would do a Bible study for the players. One day, he walked into the locker room and found them critiquing one another while watching films of the previous game. They were laying aside pride and asking other people to tell them the truth. They realized that they needed others to help them improve. We all do! The Bible says in Hebrews 3:13, “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” I can only fulfill my destiny if I let God and other people speak into my life.

The FUI’s

Every since I was a baby Christian, I’ve had to deal with three consistent attacks of the enemy, especially in my finances. They are Fear, Unbelief and Ignorance. “F” for Fear, “U” for Unbelief, and “I” for Ignorance. I call them the FUI’s. “Ah FUI! I’m afraid I won’t have enough if I obey God!” “Ah FUI! I can’t believe God will provide for my needs if I obey Him!” “Ah FUI! I don’t believe God’s Word asks me to obey!” They are the wasps, gnats and mosquitoes that attack my life. Annoying little buggers that I must continually swat and resist. Jesus said it clearly, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (Luke 6:38, NLT)

 

No Coincidences

Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous. But it’s never His way of staying distant. The sooner we eliminate words like “accident” and “lucky” from our vocabulary, the sooner we will take the blinders off our spiritual eyes. We are eternal, spirit beings having a temporary earthly experience. Don’t be distracted by what you see. Be committed to what you can’t see, and yet lasts forever. There are no coincidences in any of our lives, just divinely scripted, perfectly crafted, absolutely majestic moments that only a loving God could orchestrate. Love never fails, and God is love. God’s plans for us are always for our good; to fill our future with hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) Commit to seeing your life from God’s perspective, trust Him every moment, and eventually you will see His genius.

Chasing Success

All of us at times fail, and even though these failures can be devastating, if we process them well, God will show us their true value. The Bible says, “…we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:18, NLT) So, in order to see the value of your failures, believe what God says about you, that, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1, ESV) that, “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37, ESV) and lastly, “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.” (1 John 4:16, NLT)

 

 

K-LOVE Features November 2015

Something Brand New

There is a great verse in the Book of Isaiah that encourages me so much, especially in The Message paraphrase Bible: “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert…” (Isaiah 43:18-19, The Message) I love that! We all spend way too much time dwelling on the past; a past that’s covered and forgiven by the blood of Jesus. Sure, I’ve had to look at my past in order to let Jesus heal me, but I don’t allow the enemy to rub my nose in my mistakes and failings. Once I’ve repented of them, I focus on the good that Jesus has done in spite of my shortcomings, not what I’ve done wrong.

 

Gratitude

Are you grateful for what Jesus has done and is doing in your life? I am! If we’re not grateful for what we have, we will eventually lose what we have. We will lose sight of it…touch with it and connection to it. Gratitude connects us to eternal realities. Only gratitude leads to true joy. The Bible says, “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT) Happiness depends on happenings. Joy depends on perspective. When we are the keepers of our gratitude, we are then the reapers of our joy. If we cultivate an attitude of gratitude, then no one will be able to steal our joy. “For the joy set before Him, Jesus even endured the cross.” (Hebrews 12:2)

 

Shaking and Awakenings

Are you being shaken? I know I am. I believe God shakes us to awake us! In fact, great shakings usually happen right before great awakenings. In the Book of Judges, Gideon felt he was the weakest and the least, and yet God said He would be with him to make up the difference. When Gideon faced a massive Midianite army, he initially only had 32,000 men. But God thought even that was too many and so reduced it to a mere 300. God often contradicts what we think would make sense because only He knows what should happen. He’s chosen, out of all possibilities, the best plan to bring about His desired purpose for us. We don’t need our circumstances to change in order to have peace; all we need to do is trust God.

 

Giving Up Too Soon

Recently, I led a man to Jesus who the week before had put his neck on a railroad track to take his life, and only lifted it up right before the train passed in front of him. He’s the father of three young children. Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation!” (John 16:33) He wasn’t overstating this. Life is really tough! Then Jesus added, “But…take heart…take courage…cheer up…I have overcome so that you can overcome.” “I’m victorious so you can be victorious…” Those were not empty words. Because Jesus conquered sin and the death sin produces, we can be “…more than conquerors through Him who loved us and gave His life for us.” (Romans 8:37) Don’t give up too soon! Find the victory behind God’s promises.

 

Forgiveness and Gratitude

In Luke 7:44-47 of The Message paraphrase Bible, Jesus said, “Do you see this woman? I came to your home; you provided no water for my feet, but she rained tears on my feet and dried them with her hair. You gave me no greeting, but from the time I arrived she hasn’t quit kissing my feet. You provided nothing for freshening up, but she has soothed my feet with perfume. Impressive, isn’t it? She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.” If the greatest blessing we could ever receive is being pardoned…forgiven for our sins, then the most appropriate response to this greatest of all gestures is to actually BE grateful!

 

Getting God’s Attention

Do you believe that when you pray you are finally getting God’s attention? Actually, the opposite is true! Whenever we pray, it’s because God has finally gotten our attention. That’s what happened in the Upper Room at Pentecost. The 120 disciples were gathered there united in prayer because God had, at last, gotten their complete attention. God only finishes what He authors. That’s why we are never the scriptwriters, but we can be what He always intended us to be: script doers. In the Bible it says, “…don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” (James 1:22, NLT) “Jesus, You have my complete attention! I want Your will, and not my own. Help me to be a doer of the Word and not merely a hearer, deceiving myself.”

 

Character Is Not a Consolation Prize

What are you chasing after in life: money, fame, security, peace of mind? If the goal of life is to become like our Creator, then Christ-like character is what we should be emulating. Character is not a consolation prize. It’s the main event! We were created in the image and likeness of God in order to become like Jesus. The Bible says, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” (Philippians 2:4-5, NLT) Being like Jesus is the fulfillment of being created in God’s image; and the fruit of Him being the first fruits of God’s new creation. Don’t chase after what lasts for only a moment. Pursue what lasts forever…becoming like Jesus; it is the greatest honor in life and the only life worth pursuing.

How the Devil Lies To Us

There are three primary ways the devil lies to us. First, about who God is! Then about what God says; and thirdly, about who God says we are. We can see from His beautiful creation that God is beautiful. And the fact He doesn’t boast in His creation with light shows saying, “This morning’s sunrise is brought to you by God,” demonstrates He’s humble. This beautiful, humble God died on a cross so that we could be engrafted into His marvelous family for eternity. He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3) So, the next time the devil tries to lie to you, remind him of who God is, what He says, and who you are in Him: a forgiven, loved and cherished child of the most-high God!

 

Living Grateful

Are you grateful? Better yet, do you live grateful? Harvard professor Shawn Achor said in his book, “The Happiness Advantage,” that training your brain to be “positive first” yields the greatest success. In fact, 75% of your success on the job can be traced, not to your intelligence, but to your optimism. His research shows the importance of focusing every day on three events that have occurred in the last 24 hours for which you are grateful. Doing this makes a positive imprint on your brain. Gratitude connects us to eternal realities and is perhaps the clearest indication that we are seeing our lives as God intended. Only gratitude leads to true joy. The Bible says, “Always be joyful. Be thankful in all circumstances…”    (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT)

 

Shaping Worries Into Prayers

Would you like to get a victory over worry? Here’s a sure fire way to do it! I love how the Message Bible says, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Philippians 4:6-7) WOW! “…shape worries into prayers.” What a marvelous concept! I’ve found, petitions require trust and praise requires gratitude! When I allow God to shape my worries into prayers the wholeness of God begins to shape my life. Cast off the worries of life, because our worries are temporary, but our worship is eternal!

 

The Best Alarm Clocks

The greatest blessing we could ever receive is being pardoned…forgiven for our sins. And the most appropriate response to this greatest of all gestures is being grateful! The Message Bible paraphrase says, “Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude.” (Colossians 4:2) We are not awake until we are grateful! We are actually sleeping through our rescue. So, how do I get fully awake in order to live gratefully? I’ve found that the Word of God and the presence of God are my best alarm clocks. They wake me up every day. Focusing on my problems will lull me to sleep. Feasting on God’s promises wakes me up to eternal realities. I want to live awake. “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14b, ESV)

 

God’s Protection

One of my favorite verses in the Bible encourages me that no matter what troubles I’m going through God will protect me. It’s found in Isaiah 43. “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Isaiah 43:1-3, NLT) WOW! What a promise! When the enemy tries to focus you on your problems, set your eyes on God’s promises. Our problems are temporary, while His promises are eternal.

 

 

K-LOVE Features October 2015

Being a Giver

Every person who’s a giver is glad when other people are giving. Every person who, at this point, is a “taker” is evaluating, “Will becoming a giver actually change my life for the good?” “Are the promises of God really true?” “Will He really open the windows of Heaven for me?” “Have the righteous never ever been forsaken?” All these questions can be answered with one scripture. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, NKJV) Because God so loved…He gave. Not just anything, but His only Son. God’s a giver! That’s why He gives His best, and that’s why those who know Him do the same.

Responding To Loss

Every one of us experiences difficulties and disappointments; even at times, devastating losses. But how we respond to them will determine whether we’ll lead victorious or defeated lives. David, one of the great men in the Bible, suffered numerous setbacks. But perhaps the most crushing was when the wives and children and property of all of his men were stolen at Ziklag. Even after his men threatened to kill him because of it, David refused to give into despair. Instead, the Bible says, he found strength in the LORD his God. (1 Samuel 30:6) Because he trusted God, everything that had been lost was restored, and even more amazingly, a few weeks later, after waiting 17 years, David was made King of Israel. Proving once again that responding well to loss activates the grace and power of God.

Why Ostriches Bury Their Heads

Why do ostriches bury their head in the sand? Is it because they are trying to hide and run away from a fight? Hardly! It’s actually because they’re turning their eggs. They are taking care of their family. They are nurturing the next generation. In the most distracted age of all time, we should never feel we are wasting our time being present and caring for our children and grandchildren. The Bible says, God “…gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them–even the children not yet born–and they in turn will teach their own children.” (Psalm 78:5-6, NLT) One of the best ways we can rescue our children from harm is to be present and vigilant in their lives.

Rejecting Insecurities

The other day I was feeling really insecure about my life, and so I began to pray. God then reminded me that when I doubt and minimize my value, I am minimizing Him simultaneously. I may not be everything, but I am certainly something, and unless I identify what that something is, and affirm it, my insecurities will merely demonstrate my lack of trust in the beautiful life God has promised me. God is working in me and through me. I believe it! First, because He believes it, and secondly because I have seen His faithfulness over many decades. The Bible says, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.” (Nahum 1:7, NKJV) God, I reject my insecurities and trust you with my life!

Salvation and Sanctification

God has saved us from two things: our sin and ourselves. Salvation saves us from our sin, but sanctification saves us from ourselves. Our trusting in the blood of Jesus frees us from the power of sin and death, but our pursuit of walking in daily dependency upon Him further transforms us into His image and likeness. The Bible says, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11, ESV) Being “sanctified” means we have been set apart and declared holy because of Christ’s death and resurrection. And being “justified” means God has made us right in His sight. Both mean we have been blessed beyond our wildest dreams.

When You Are Attacked

The other day the enemy attacked me in a vulnerable part of my life. I had accepted a new person on Facebook. Before doing this I always examine their Facebook page to see if they’re safe and then accept the invitation. One woman seemed safe and so I accepted her friend request but when I clicked on an email she sent me alerting me to a new Facebook post, I was bombarded with full-on pornography. I clicked off immediately, but realized once again: if my enemy can’t get me to give up, he’ll try and get me to give in. The Bible says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) And advises us to, “Resist the devil and he will flee.” (James 4:7) Wise words for each of us who want to finish well.

Promises or Problems

Are you feeling overwhelmed by your problems? At times, all of us do. But it’s at these vulnerable moments we need to remember God’s promises and not obsess over our problems. Often times, God won’t even address our problems, because He wants to remind us about His promises. The truth is, in order for breakthroughs to happen in life, we have to consciously choose to get our eyes off our problems and focus on God’s promises. And the only way we can know what they are is if we spend time each day in God’s Word. The Bible says, “…the word of God is living and powerful…” (Hebrews 4:12a, NKJV) and in it “… he has granted to us his precious and very great promises…so that through them we may become partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4a, ESV)

God’s Protection

An army friend who did four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan said: “I’ve seen temperatures over 130 degrees Fahrenheit.” Then he added something quite profound. “The wind always comes from the sunny-side, so you have to create shade in order to be protected.” Hmm? “…create shade!” That made me think: the wind of God’s Spirit is always in the challenges of life, when difficulties heat up. I’ve found the best way to block out the scorching heat of the day is to find shade in the Word and presence of God. King David wrote, “I trust in the Lord for protection.” (Psalm 11:1, NLT) Today, find some shade in the presence of God, under the shade of His Word, “… taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” (Ephesians 6:16, NKJV)

Living Water

A friend of mine was sharing how plants that grow near contaminated or stagnant water have a higher risk of containing toxic contaminants as well as invisible bacteria or parasites. In other words, don’t eat food near water that is contaminated or stagnant. That made me think. What are the sources of my spiritual food? Do I let contaminated entertainment fill my mind? Is my spiritual life stagnant or vibrant? Am I flowing with the Spirit of God or standing still waiting for something to happen? Jesus promised, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38, NKJV) Jesus, You are the Bread of Life. Help me to feast on Your Word every day, that I may live a safe and abundant life.

Losing Hope For Our Future

Our setbacks won’t define us, but how we respond to them will. Tests always bring out what and who we’re trusting in. If you’re discouraged right now, it means you’re being overwhelmed by your circumstances. It means, in some way, you’re not trusting God. God has never lost hope for our future. And only He knows the tests we will need to face in order to live fulfilled lives. Don’t be surprised if the season you are closest to walking in your destiny is simultaneously the lowest point in your life. We have to get creamed before we can get crowned. The Bible says, “…since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering…” (2 Timothy 2:12) We’ll lose hope for our future, when we lose hope in God.

Hearing What You’ve Never Heard

We all tend to place the new that God is doing in us in old, familiar contexts. But that only produces false comfort. We put new wine in old wineskins. In Matthew 17, on the Mount of Transfiguration, the disciples wanted to build a tabernacle or temple…an old, familiar wineskin. But, the temple of God was now in man. They didn’t need an external house for God, they needed an internal relationship. So, the Father had to speak from Heaven and basically say, “Hey, this is my Son, be quiet and listen to Him.” The Creator of the Universe isn’t interested in repeating or duplicating anything. Whenever we think we know what God’s about to say, we should be quiet and listen because we’re about to hear something we’ve never heard before.

Acceptance Before God

Are you trying to live a godly life? That’s wonderful! But it won’t help you earn God’s favor? The Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NKJV) We don’t merit God’s favor by living a godly life. We already have His complete love and acceptance when we receive the gift He purchased for us, a gift that cost Jesus His life when He died on a cross in our place, something that lasts forever: it’s called eternal life. John 17:3 says, “…this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” Sure, I want to live a godly life, and I pursue this every day, but my acceptance before God comes through Christ alone.

 

K-LOVE Features September 2015

Life’s Frustrations

All of us are frustrated at times when things don’t make sense—when life doesn’t add up. At these less than enjoyable moments we express our frustrations to God and anyone who’ll listen. But I’ve come to the conclusion that if I get fed up with life’s complexities I’m missing the whole point. If everything made sense on Earth, we wouldn’t need to learn to trust God. If everything we experienced made us happy, we wouldn’t need to receive God’s joy, which is never dependent upon what’s happening. If every mishap were understandable, we wouldn’t need peace that goes beyond understanding. Frankly, if our lives were seamlessly blessed, we’d never be stretched to maturity, and learn to be fully dependent and know the God who holds our future in His loving hands.

Prayers of Agreement

Do you ever feel as if you’re trying to persuade God to do the right thing for you or someone you love? Though each of us can relate to this, it’s more of a prayer of unbelief than faith. The Bible tells us clearly who God is: loving, caring, gracious, powerful, our Healer, our Comforter, everything we could ever hope for in a Person. Yet, for some reason, we find ourselves praying silly prayers like, “God, if you want to, can you help so and so; if you so desire, watch over my children,” as opposed to praying strong, clear prayers in agreement with who God says He is. This leads me to the biblically accurate conclusion: the most powerful prayer I can pray is, “God, I agree! I agree with Your Word!”

 

 

I’m a Christian too!

Years ago, after speaking in a church in Southern California, my family and I were about to leave a hotel, when I heard someone yell, “Stop him, he stole her purse!” Fifty feet away, I saw the thief run by, with two guys chasing him. I started to run as well, and because they were tired from having run a few blocks already I was able to catch the thief. Sitting on top of him, waiting for the police to arrive, I figured I’d try and tell him about Jesus. Still breathing heavy I said, “I know God brought me to you because I’m a Christian.” Immediately, his eyes got wide and he shot back, “I’m a Christian too!” Though I was startled, considering the age we live in, I wasn’t totally surprised. It brought to light, perhaps the challenge of our day, am I representing Jesus in a way that truly does justice to who He is and the marvelous rescuing work He’s done in my life?

 

Dig a Ditch

Are you thirsty for God? We all should be. In 2 Kings 3, the armies of Israel and Judah were out of water for seven days. They were literally: dying of thirst. So, they contacted the prophet Elisha, and he told them to ‘Make this valley full of ditches.’ For thus says the Lord: ‘You shall not see wind, nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water…this is a simple matter in the sight of the Lord…” “Now it happened in the morning…that suddenly water came…and the land was filled with water.” (2 Kings 3:16-18a, 20, NKJV) Are you out of water? Dig a ditch…sow a seed…obey God’s Word! He’s the God of happy endings. He wants to bless you.

 

 

Is God Playing Got-cha?

Do you believe God primarily focuses on the mistakes you’ve made, or is He trying to heal you and protect you from destroying your life? Is He playing, “Got-cha!” or trying to “Help-ya?” When Adam and Eve sinned, God first said to them, “Where are you?” not “What have you done?” God’s far more concerned about our relationship with Him, than anything bad we’ve done. He’s first a Dad who wants to help and protect. That’s why the Bible says, “The LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.” (Psalm 121:7, NLT) Since we all sin, it’s vital that we know when we blow it, we can run to God and not away from Him. We should turn ourselves in, and not wait to be caught. No one cares more about you than Jesus.

 

 

Counterfeit Creators

This age is the wild west of moral ambiguity, where everyone does what’s right in their own eyes. But without the biblical compass of good and evil, truth and lies, who determines what’s right and wrong? Without divine discernment, we choose if our babies live or die. We determine if selling the body parts of babies is right or wrong. We decide if lions and whales are more valuable than babies created in the image and likeness of our Creator God. We determine our gender. We choose when we want to die. We judge whom we want to give ourselves to physically. We decide what our eyes should see and what our hearts should embrace. In the end, we become counterfeit creators, created in the image of our vain imaginations, putting our hope in what can never fulfill or come to pass.

Discernment Defined

Ours is the age of little discernment. Compare Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary definition of the word “discern.” He wrote, “to see or understand the difference…between good and evil, truth and falsehood.” What a tremendous definition! Unfortunately, modern editors corrupted it. The 2015 version of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines discern: “to recognize or identify right from wrong.” No longer is it “to see or understand the difference…between good and evil, truth and falsehood.” With good and evil, truth and lies taken out of this definition, we’re left with personal preference, and no resemblance to absolute truth at all. Ironically, this supposed, “new and improved” definition of discern completely lacks discernment. Jesus admonishes each of us, “See that no one leads you astray.” (Matthew 24:4, ESV)

 

Encyclical By Pope Francis

A recent Encyclical by Pope Francis focused on many things, not just Climate Change. He wrote at length about Creation having a Creator, valuing the difference between masculinity and femininity, looking up from our phones and encountering one another, saving the baby humans, and stopping the cynicism, secularism and immorality. The news media may never report it, but it was biblical food-for-thought. May we each have the courage to affirm what is eternally true, and not just cherry-pick what is politically correct or applauded by society and its ever-changing moral standards. As Jesus promised, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.(Matthew 24:35, ESV) Or, may I add, become passé: God’s truth will never become “out of date.”

 

Evolution’s Origin

Sir Julian Huxley, the grandson of Thomas Huxley, known as “Darwin’s bulldog,” and brother of Aldous Huxley’s, author of, “Brave New World,” was considered the premier evolutionist in the world. Once, Sir Julian was asked in a TV interview: “Why do you think that Evolution caught on so quickly?” His answer was startling, “We all jumped at the Origin of the Species because (“…the evidence uncovered by Darwin was so scientifically compelling that we were forced by pure reason to accept the facts as true.” Is that what he said? NO!) His response was, “We all jumped at the origin of the species because the idea of God interfered with our sexual mores.” “Our sexual mores” = “our sexual morality,” “our sex lives.” You mean, the origin of Evolution isn’t purely scientific? Hardly, it was anti-religious, anti-moral, and anti-God right from the beginning.

The Satisfied Life

If my life on Earth is not enough to satisfy me, then I’m obviously missing how God wants me to process my life. This is confirmed in the book of 2nd Peter, which says, “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him…” (2 Peter 1:3, NLT) God has given me everything I need to live a satisfied life. Additionally, if my future in Heaven is not captivating enough to make me long to be there, then I am not discerning what Heaven will really be like. 1st Peter adds, “…we have a priceless inheritance…that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.” (1 Peter 1:3-4, NLT) All of this encourages me to love the life God has prepared for me both now and forever.

 

God’s Good News Covers All Bad News

Have you ever thought: “There are so many bad things happening in my life, nothing good could ever come out of it?” Maybe this next thought will comfort you. The good news of the gospel is good enough to cover all of the bad news in your life. As God is bigger than my problems, His plan for my future won’t just work for my good, it will make me the person I really would want to be if I was in my right mind and trusted Him completely. We make the gospel bad news when we focus on what we’re not, and what God has not yet fulfilled in us. But, we keep the gospel “good news,” as He intended, when we concentrate on who Jesus is, our God and Savior, and not our sins and short-comings.

 

Character is Not a Consolation Prize

Did you ever wonder: what’s the main goal of being a Christ-follower? If you don’t know what it is, you will never hit the target. So here it is: The primary goal of following Jesus is to become like Him. The fact is—being like Jesus isn’t the pinstripes on a car. It’s the engine. Character is not a consolation prize. It’s the main event. Romans 8:29 says, that God chose us to become like His Son, so that His Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. Our becoming like Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s original intention: creating us in the image and likeness of God. So, the next time you complain about your struggles, remember they are helping shape you into the person you were created to be.

 

 

 

KLOVE Features August 2015

Life’s Great Irony

Do you have father wounds or mother wounds? Though it is unsettling to retrieve the priceless value of past hurts, they are actually the birth pangs of renewed hope. Many of us have an unclaimed lottery ticket from our childhood in the pocket closest to our heart. Even though it will be painful, it is God’s will that what was stolen from us is restored, not just in our own life, but for generations to come. God can use the sadness in our past to help someone in our present. Every healed hurt in our lives offers hope to others. That’s life’s great irony: that every person takes what the devil meant for evil and sees it transformed into good. If we yield to God’s Spirit, nothing is ever wasted in the Kingdom of God.

 

The Richest Person You Know

Have you ever imagined someone rich dying and leaving you everything? It could happen! Actually, it did happen! 2 Corinthians 8:9 says, “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” And then in Romans, “…since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” (Romans 8:17, NLT) So, the next time you’re a little jealous of someone who has something you don’t, just remember, if you really are a follower of Jesus, you are the richest person you know.

 

Processing Your Past

We don’t bury our wounds dead. We bury them alive. If you haven’t fully processed your past, it’s not your past! It’s still your present. And you can’t get to your future, if you’re stuck in your present because you’re unwilling to sufficiently unpack your past. But the good news is, there was Someone with you during every hurtful, difficult moment. And, even though it’s hard for you to look at certain events, He’s already provided a marvelous way of escaping the endless pain in order to experience the healing and freedom your heart longs for. This healing process will not only bring you closer to your Creator, but it will provide the insight to free others as well. The Bible says, “…God is faithful…he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, ESV)

Changing What You Believe

Repentance is not just a change of behavior; it’s a change of belief. I used to think the transformation process meant first changing my actions, but now I begin by focusing on changing what I really believe. It’s a simple principle! If you want to change your behavior, change your beliefs. I can believe the Bible is the Word of God, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to feed on it. In order for God’s Word to really change me, I have to believe it’s even more important than my food; only then do I see it’s true value. In the original language, the Greek word for “repent” is “metanoeo,” which means, “to change your mind.” Only God can do this, but He can’t do it without our surrender. “Jesus, change my behavior by helping me to change what I believe!”

 

God’s Presence

If you have been born again, then you have experienced the presence of God—and like me, you know God’s presence has been the difference between life and death. That’s why when God told Moses in the wilderness, “My presence will go with you…” Moses responded, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” (Exodus 33:14-15) Moses was saying ‘God, if you’re not going with me, then I don’t want to go. I already saw that movie. It didn’t end well.’ Either we let Jesus lead us by His Spirit, or we return to following someone who doesn’t know where they’re going. Only God knows what is best for me. I never have, and following Him has been the greatest joy in my life.

 

Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)

Perhaps you’ve heard of the pseudo-psychological condition called FOMO, which stands for the Fear Of Missing Out. It is described, tongue and cheek, as “a medical condition of extreme anxiety regarding the fun others could be having without you.” HA! Now, if you’re extroverted, you probably know what I’m talking about. But if you’re an introvert, you may be really glad you missed the party. Either way, all of us want to be included in the best parts of life. And so, I’ve found the absolutely best part of living is getting to know the Creator of Life, all life, past, present and future life, and that’s the Lord Jesus Christ. He’s the God who is life. Accept no substitutes, and you’ll never feel like you’re missing out.

Let No One Deceive You

Jesus said the days would come when there would be leaders who would “…deceive, if possible, even (the elect) God’s chosen ones.” (Matthew 24:24) It’s a scary thought, and why the Bible says, “Let no one deceive you with empty words…” (Ephesians 5:6) So, here is one of the clearest ways of know someone is trying to deceive you with empty words. When they try and diminish the Bible as God’s Word—explaining why it’s wrong when it says this or that…that they have a more advanced moral, philosophical, and spiritual perspective. The truth is “All Scripture is inspired by God…” (2 Timothy 3:16a) and as the Bible says in its final verses, there are grave consequences to those who would attempt to add or subtract from the words of this book. God’s Word is truth, and the only truth that will set you free.

 

False Summits

Every mountain climber has a goal of reaching the summit. In our pursuit of getting to the top, we often take the most obvious route. Yet, quite often, in thinking we are nearing the peak we find we are actually at what is called a false summit. It’s defined as a precipice we can see directly in front of us, that actually shadows or hides the true summit. At these anti-climactic moments, it is essential to realize that these false summits were placed there by God to keep us dependent upon Him, and trust in what He says is true and not what we feel or see. If we fail to do this, we will be discouraged by what is before us. We must set our sights not on the obvious, but on the ultimate goal: the summit, the highest point God has called us to.

 

Trusting God’s Motive

Do you feel like God has let you down? All of us will at some point think this. Even Jesus groaned, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) Yet, attributing a bad motive to God only means we’re not seeing Him clearly. After Adam and Eve sinned, God covered them with animal skins not because he was ashamed of them, but because he wanted to comfort them. This is why the motive we ascribe to God is perhaps the clearest indication of how well we know Him. God is love. God is kind, forgiving and gracious. Is that the God you know? If not, somewhere along the way your perspective of God has been skewed by a wrong attitude or lack of understanding. Guard your responses to life, for they will show if you really know and trust God.

 

Favor

I was using the word “success” in relation to God with one of my daughters when she said, “You know Dad, even though I know what you mean, a better word to use is the word “favor.” I loved her recommendation, and when I looked up a definition of “favor,” it only got better. Favor is defined as “support or advancement given as a sign of approval, overgenerous preferential treatment, and an act of kindness beyond what is due.” WOW! Isn’t that what God does for us? How would our experience of life change if we viewed every challenge as a promotion, every struggle as an opportunity, and every difficulty as divinely ordained by God. If we really trusted that a loving, gracious, generous God had planned the best life possible for each of us, we’d live in the peace beyond our understanding; fully embracing His favor.

 

Inches to Miles, Molehills to Mountains

Not every time you and I obey God and step out in faith will we get the desired result. But, I truly believe every time I obey God it will result in my character being formed, my trust and relationship with Him being strengthened, and being further prepared for the greater acts of faith ahead. I would never have believed for the mile, if I had not first believed for the first inch. If I can’t trust God to remove the molehill, I’ll never trust Him to remove the mountain. The Bible says, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” (Zechariah 4:10, NLT) Jesus affirmed this principle as well. “First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens.” (Mark 4:28, NLT)

 

Unanswered Prayers

Do you feel that God is not answering your prayers? Does He seem far away? All of us will experience this. Yet, our faith is proven, not by answered prayer, but by our willingness to be obedient even when prayers seemed to be unanswered. By the way, every prayer gets answered. Sometimes, the answer is just “No!” But it’s never an angry or indifferent “No!” It’s always a wise, discerning, loving, Fatherly “No. No, my son or daughter, that wouldn’t be best for you! Just trust Me, and down the road you’ll see I had your best interest in mind.” Finally, we should never forget, the purpose of prayer is not to get a desired answer, but to develop the desired relationship with our all-wise, all-loving, all-powerful Creator. And, if we trust God, that prayer always gets answered.

 

 

KLOVE Features July 2015

Rear View Mirrors

Did you ever consider why your rear view mirror is so much smaller than your windshield? It’s because we should be infinitely more concerned with what’s ahead of us than what’s behind us. We may glimpse at the past, but we must fully focus on what’s present and future. Frankly, there’s a high probability that we will wreck if we are overly fixated on what’s happening behind us. Paul the Apostle wrote a similar admonition, “…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 and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:13-14, NLT) I learn from my past, but I live in the present and long for the future. It’s a safe way to live.

Pity Parties

Want to go to a really small party and have no fun? Have a pity party! There’s only room for one person, because no one else wants to come. You’ll have to laugh at your jokes, cry over your own stories, and clean up after yourself. While parties are meant to make us feel better, pity parties always make not only us feel worse, but they’re downers for anyone foolish enough to accept our invitation. As a matter of fact, you can’t even get God to attend a pity party and He’s omnipresent. But when God throws a party they’re filled with joy. His invitation says, “Always be joyful. Never stop praying, be thankful in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT) I like God’s parties! They’re just better!

The Winning Side of Expectations

Are you disappointed because something you were really looking forward to didn’t happen? Has it left you devastated and discouraged? Let me offer a thought on how to get on the winning side of expectations? It’s made my life infinitely better. Expect nothing from others and much from yourself. Assume other people will not necessarily do what is right or what I hope, but be completely committed to do right and respond well no matter what happens or what others do. In the end, what I do is my responsibility, what others do is theirs. Lastly, even when I mess up and respond poorly, I must remember what the Bible says, “If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts…” (1 John 3:20, NIV) I like God and, the really good news is, He likes me.

Abandonment and Rejection

Have you struggled with abandonment and rejection? I know I have! I left my family at 11 years of age to live in an oppressive boarding school, and never lived at home again. It created deep wounds inside my heart. I felt completely abandoned and rejected by my father in particular who is in control of the decision. Because of that experience I’ve had to really concentrate on learning to trust that, though my natural father abandoned and rejected me, my Heavenly Father never has. It’s been a long process, but one I have far more victory in then I could ever have imagined. Many years ago, this Bible verse greatly encouraged me, “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.” (Psalm 27:10, NLT)

Using God

Have you ever been used by someone else? And then, when they were done with you, you were discarded. Your usefulness had expired. It can be one of the most hurtful experiences in life. Sadly, it happens all the time: in relationships, in jobs—used and discarded, out with the old and in with the new. Once, during an extended time of worship in the presence of God, He spoke clearly to my heart, “I don’t want to be used.” Wow! It jolted me! I didn’t just want a relationship with God; I was using Him for what He could do for me. As none of us want to be used, neither does God. Perhaps you would like to join me in this prayer, “God, I don’t want to use You! I want to live for you…to know You! I want to love you! That’s what I really want!”Word Count: 149 words

Defining Grace

Would it surprise you if I said I’ve learned far more from my failures than my successes? Actually, we all need to fail in order to learn about what we each need most. It’s called grace! I can’t fully appreciate who I’m called to be, until I fail to be just that. One Christian leader defined grace in a similar way, “Grace is the empowering presence of God enabling you to be who He created you to be, and to do what He has called you to do.” (James Ryle) As God is the difference-maker in each of our lives, unless we see our desperate need for Him, we’ll try and live without Him. This always leads to un-fulfillment. I was created by God and for God. Only when I acknowledge this can I find my true purpose.

Depending On the Vine

All of us would rather show off our fruit than let others see where we’ve been pruned. But without the pruning we would eventually lose our dependency on the vine. Then, in time, we’d think we are the ones who produced the fruit, rather than the vine being our source. Jesus said, “…every branch that bears fruit (the Father) prunes, that it may bear more fruit…Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:2, 4-5 NKJV) “Prune me Oh God, that I may bear fruit that looks like You.”

True Freedom

We live in a world that mistakes freedom for being free. Sure, we have license to do whatever we want, but there is always a consequence, a cause and effect for every action. My name Francis means “free one.” During my reckless years I was free to do whatever I wanted to. But free love cost me so much, I’m still making payments. Only when the Son of God set me free did I experience God’s promise, “…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17, NIV) The Bible challenges us, “…you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13, NLT)

Disappointed With the Church

Have you been disappointed with the Church? I know I have! It reminds me so much of me, at times, its depressing. I wish I was more consistent, more loving, everything God asks me to be. But, often, I’m not. Paul the Apostle described it this way. “I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t… Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 7:18-19, 24-25, NLT) Yes, the church is imperfect, just like the people who are part of it, but the moments we genuinely reflect Jesus give me hope that He who has begun a good work in us will bring it to completion. (Philippians 1:6)

The Sound of Your Voice

Do you like the sound of your voice? God does! The Bible says, “The LORD hears His people when they call to Him for help.” (Psalm 34:17, NLT) Growing up I didn’t like the way my voice sounded. I wanted it to be deeper, richer. Now, I find it ironic that I’m on radio. God’s got a great sense of humor. But it also demonstrates that God is far more gracious than critical. He focuses on what really matters. The Bible says, “The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7, NLT) Maybe, if God likes the sound of my voice, I should like it also. Let me take it one step further. If God likes me, I should like me too.

God’s Known You Forever

We may be just getting to know God, but He’s not just getting to know us. We’ve been in His heart since the beginning of time. God said to the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” (Jeremiah 1:5, NIV) Growing up I felt like an afterthought to my natural father, but that’s never been what my Heavenly Father thinks of me. He’s been waiting for my life to come forth since time immemorial. Each of us is given such a unique part of God’s heart that we actually bring Him pleasure. The Bible says, “…the LORD takes pleasure in his people…” (Psalm 149:4, ESV) Even when I don’t take pleasure in me, I take comfort in the reality that God does.

Loneliness & Fellowship

Are you lonely? If you are, you’re not alone. There’s a woman in Korea who makes $9,000 a month dining with people online. Though studies have shown people who believe in God are less lonely than those who don’t, even Christ-followers can have a broad web of connections through social media but still be lonely. Acts 2:42 clearly states that one of the four essential dimensions in the early church was that they devoted themselves to fellowship: a deep expression of love between Christians. I once asked a man who had a large library of early Christian writings what one aspect of the New Testament church most impacted him. He said, every Sunday believers had “love feasts,” where they spent much of the day breaking bread in fellowship. Sounds like a God idea!

KLOVE Features June 2015

Grace Isn’t Cheap

There is no more marvelous word in the Christian faith than “grace.” It’s what Jesus provided for us when He died in our place. It’s God’s gift to us. God’s unmerited favor! Kindness we don’t deserve, or could ever earn. Grace is the divine assistance given to humans for their rebirth and sanctification, allowing us to actually become holy. It’s our “Get Out Of Hell Free Card,” but it didn’t come cheap. It cost Jesus His life! But, there is something we can do to miss all of that marvelous grace. The Bible says, “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled…” (Hebrews 12:15, ESV) Who wants to flunk being forgiven? Forgive those who have hurt you!

 Don’t Be Creative…Be Obedient

When it comes to obeying God, “stopping” may be as courageous as “starting.” No action is more heroic than another. All that matters is, what is God asking you to do. If God is saying, “Go forward!” then go forward. But, if He’s saying, “Stop,” then stopping is the most-gutsy thing you can do at that moment. This is why I have no preference when it comes to God’s will. I don’t know enough to have one. I’d have to know the future and all possibilities. I accept that the wisest thing I can ever do is “obey God.” I don’t even need to be creative. I just need to submit to the will of the only Person who knows what really should happen. And this obedience has truly allowed my life to be blessed.

 Dying To Live

Are you prepared for the future? I’ve found in my own life, nothing jars me more than a left-hook from nowhere that rocks my world. So, it’s important to ask, “Am I merely preparing my heart for success, or am I getting ready for the inevitable reality of facing some measure failure…setback…or severe struggle?” Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24, ESV) Am I practically, tangibly, daily, preparing my heart to take up my cross…dying to myself…dying to my will? Is there really such a thing as a cross-less resurrection? The truth is, the cross is not an option if I’m truly going to follow Jesus? There is no cross-less resurrection. I accept the reality that I am dying to live.

The Least of These

We all know the admonition of Jesus, that as much as you’ve done it to the least of these you’ve done it to Me. It is in constant reminder of the reality that everyone, the matter how weak or seemingly insignificant is important to God. We have a special needs man named Michael who comes every week with adult supervision to clean our church. When he found himself in an ICU ward, word came to me that he had asked for me in particular to come. It broke my heart and made me cry when I realized I was more excited about him contacting me and requesting my presence then if he had been a well-known public figure. From God’s perspective, we must never forget, everyone we meet is, to Him, a well-known public figure.

 Backstage Pass With God

I have a backstage pass with God. But don’t be jealous, if Jesus is your Lord, so do you. Because God’s heart is for me, I can jump into His lap any time I want to. He’s always excited to see me. He enjoys me infinitely more than I could ever enjoy Him. Because He created me to be a fascination to Him there is nothing I could ever do to turn His heart away from me. Jesus died to insure that I always have right standing before my Heavenly Father. I am a delight to God, and He’s promised me, if I delight myself in Him He will grant me the desires of my heart. Desires I guard, so that they come from Him alone, and not from my shallow understanding.

 The Most Trust Worthy Person of All

God brings each of us to the end of ourselves! But don’t be discouraged. It’s the safest place to be. For only there can we meet God, when we have no other recourse but to turn to Him. Often it’s after we have tried every other option but Him. We find ourselves with a deep dissatisfaction, that frankly is Heaven-sent. So, the question is, are you desperate enough to want God—first and foremost? I’ve found it’s the healthiest place to be. Where Jesus plus nothing is everything! Where we finally accept that only what God authors will He finish. Where at last I learn to trust, the most trust worthy Person of all time. The Bible says, “…those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.” (Psalm 9:10, ESV)

Prayers That Move Mountains

It takes God to love God. We have never initiated anything eternal. Either God authors it or it will eventually cease to exist. What is God initiating in your heart? What cloud, the size of a fist, is on the horizon that will bring the rain your heart longs for and will help those around you? Our prayers merely affirm what God has already started. Our prayers are meant to agree with what’s on God’s heart. That’s when we commune with Him as a son and daughter, a beloved member of His family, and not some disconnected part of Christ’s body. Pray with the power of agreement that moves mountains, raises the dead, shake cities, and brings Heaven to Earth. Our prayers help fulfill God’s will on Earth.

 Getting Healed and Whole

Some people get healed, but are still not whole. Jesus healed ten lepers, but only one got whole, and returned to glorify and thank God (Luke 17:15-16). Ironically, he was a Samaritan: half-Jew and half-Gentile, but a whole follower of Jesus. In Acts 3, the man unable to walk from birth at the Beautiful Gate, not only got healed, he became so whole he went away walking, leaping and praising God. (Acts 3: 8) I’m not looking to God for a quick fix. I’m trusting in Him for the long haul. He doesn’t want to date me. He wants to marry me. Getting my temporary, natural body healed would be wonderful, but what is infinitely better is my spirit communing with my Creator, and my eternal soul, mind will and emotions completely restored.

 Emotional Safety Nests

Do you have an emotional safety net? I believe it’s vital in oder for us to thrive in life. An emotional safety net is that place I go in God when I’m overwhelmed about what’s happening or what could happen to me. It’s the perspective that brings me peace of mind. I’m not talking about donuts and drugs or fantasy and other false comforts. It’s confidence in God that is so secure, so unwavering, that it brings me the greatest comfort when I am most fragile. The Bible says experience gives us hope. Initially it was the experience of Bible characters, historic Christ-followers, or people I knew and respected that brought me hope. In time it was my own experience. I just need to remember and take shelter in the emotional safety net that if God is for me, who can be against me?

The Game of Faith

I’ve been playing a wonderful game with God for many years. I call it the Game of Faith. It’s actually quite serious, but fun too. Here’s how it works. When you are absolutely persuaded God has spoken a clear word from Scripture to your spirit, the longer you are able to stand on that word without seeing any tangible answer to your prayers, you win. I try and trust longer and longer without doubting. It builds spiritual muscles, glorifies God, and makes me smile. Why do I play the game? Because I know that God is completely trustworthy, and I’m really tired of not trusting Him. It’s a way to remind myself that He’s worth waiting for. He’s always been faithful, whether I see it, feel it, or know it.

 Unconditional Love Requires Conditional Faith

God’s love is unconditional, but accessing His life and grace always requires conditional faith. The Bible says, “Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.” (James 2:26, NLT) This principle was evident even in the Old Testament story about Naaman, the Syrian general. He would not have been healed of his leprosy if he had been unwilling to obey God, speaking through the prophet Elijah, to dip in the Jordan River seven times. So, yes, God’s love is unconditional, it is freely given to each of us. But, in order to receive this marvelous love, we’re going to have to step out in faith. This will take effort, obedience, and often, great courage. But, the reward for this faith will intimately connect us with the God who is love.

 What Do You Really Want?

There’s a question I sense Jesus asking me quite often that doesn’t have an easy answer. He says, “What do you really want? Do you want Me, or just what I can do for you? Do you want to use Me, or get to know Me?” I can answer it quickly, and say I want to know You Jesus! But do my thoughts and actions confirm this? In the Book of John, two disciples were following Jesus. Then He turned and said, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Teacher, where are You staying?” Jesus said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw…and remained with Him… (John 1:37-39) At the end of the day, God doesn’t want to be used any more than we do. He wants a relationship that lasts forever.

 

KLOVE Features May 2015

Knowing God’s Motive

Learning to fight in the ring is dangerous. We must first practice in the gym. It’s only through preparation that we can be truly prepared. What Jesus resisted personally in the desert, He defeated permanently on the Cross. He became rejected so I can be accepted; uncovered so I can be covered; needy, so I can be satisfied; and weak, so I can live strong. God didn’t find Adam and Eve in the Garden to shame them. He found them wallowing in their sin, so He could cover them. Unless we trust that the motive of God is good and kind, merciful and forgiving, we’ll live in shame and regret, instead of His endless peace and forgiveness. What God thinks of me is infinitely more important than what I think of myself.

Little By Little

All of us would like God to move faster to help us, and slower to discipline us, but the reason He doesn’t fulfill this desire is because His plan is better. When the Children of Israel were concerned about the giants in the land of Canaan, God said, “I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you…” (Exodus 23:29-30a, NKJV) If God gave us the Garden of Eden all at once, it would turn into a jungle. God is leading us one step at a time, one prayer at a time, and one act of faith at a time. Trust in His leading. It is the only way to arrive safely home.

The Value of Little Things

As a young man I had a job cleaning a restaurant’s kitchen. No matter how spotless I made it, it would be a mess the next day. One day as I was mopping my way out, I caught a strand of the mop on the leg of a dishwasher. Though I initially thought, “I’ll get it tomorrow.” God send me back 15 minutes later to pick it up. Now, forty years down the road, I’m still obeying and seeing the value of little things. We can spend our lives waiting to see a tree, when God wants us to first see a seed. The abundance of a garden starts with the tiniest sprout. If we can’t see the value of the seed, we’ll never reap its abundance. The Bible says, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.” (Zechariah 4:10, NLT)

Complete in Him, Alone

In a world of seemingly infinite options, we can consider God’s will as just another possibility, one choice in a countless number of equally good alternatives. Yet, only God’s will brings about the fullness of our true potential. Only God’s will brings us to the best of all possible options. Our will can only magnify our lack of completeness. When the Bible says, “…you are complete in Him” (Colossians 2:10, NKJV), it is not listing Jesus as one of a number of perfectly fine would-be gods. It is saying that only through Jesus Christ, God the Son come to Earth, can we be forgiven for our sins and fulfill His one-of-a-kind destiny. The Bible says, “…there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, ESV)

Circular Journeys

As I was getting off a plane to go to a connecting flight, I glanced at the electronic Departure Board to see what gate was next. Having flown so much, I was confident I knew what I was doing. Taking the tram in this busy airport, I arrived at the gate only to realize I had read the flight information incorrectly and actually needed to go back to the original gate I had arrived at 15 minutes before. After racing to get there, I walked back into my first plane and even was assigned the exact same seat. As I sat back, now sweating, 30 minutes into my circular journey, I laughed at my foolishness, and God gently reminded me to pay attention, and to not take even little things for granted. It was a good lesson I hope I never forget.

The Humor and Holiness of God

One of the indicators for me that a person really knows God is that they understand, not just His Holiness, but also His humor. A person who really knows God can cry or laugh in His presence, because the reason they feel, care, and enjoy life is because God feels and cares, and is the most joyful Person who ever lived. Jesus wept, but He also laughed and had such an enjoyable personality that children were attracted to Him. When we see God as both a Father and a friend, we can then fully honor, love and enjoy Him. When we can laugh at the challenges of life, without being anxious or worried, we are then trusting that God is greater than the struggles of Earth and always has our lives in His safe hands.

The Tests of Earth

How we view our challenges will determine whether they work for our good or not. It is vitally important that I see my struggles as a test and not a threat. Greater is he who is in me than anything that could assault me. Considering the tests of Earth as threats to my wellbeing ultimately turns my life into a fear-based experience rather than a faith-filled opportunity, perfectly crafted for my good. No one can force me to bow to fear and unbelief. The enemy cannot intimidate me, unless I allow him to. I must choose to reverently bow, each and every day, to the Holy Spirit and His protective will for my life. The Bible says, “…for in Him we live and move and have our being…” (Acts 17:28, NKJV)

The Prayer of Jabez

All of us have identity issues. Our challenge is: will we see ourselves as God intended or as others determine? There’s a famous prayer in the Bible. Prayed by a man named Jabez, whose name meant “sorrow and pain.” He prayed, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed…that I may not cause pain!” God granted Jabez what he requested. (1 Chronicles 4:10) Jabez had spent his life viewing himself through someone else’s lens. They saw him as one who brought pain and sorrow. He wanted to break that curse and did. What curse have others placed on you that God wants to break off? May we each pray prayers that connect us to God’s true identity and destiny for us, and not the hurtful misrepresentations of others.

Complete Forgiveness, Acceptance and Peace

There are many absolute truths in life, but there’s one we should never forget. I can’t relive what happened to me, but I can reprocess its affect on my life and future. How others see me is their choice, but how I see me is always mine. Most people’s regrets are NOT about what they did do, but about what they didn’t do. And many times, corrective actions can get my life back on track. The most predominant, one-word command given to all humanity by God is: “Repent!” It means, “turn away from the way you’ve been thinking and begin to see your life the way God sees it.” That perspective will always bring us to a place of complete forgiveness, acceptance and peace.

Being a Positive Person

One of my goals is to be a positive person. Why? Because that’s how God views, not just my future, but also everyone He created. We can fixate on the wrong in others and ourselves for so long that’s all we wind up seeing. We can naively think, because I’ve always viewed myself a certain way, it must be how God sees me. But nothing could be further from the truth. No one has ever been encouraged by criticism, built up by negativism, or inspired by sarcasm. There is not a judgmental, angry Creator in Heaven, but rather a loving, forgiving Father, who wants to make right every wrong done to us, or by us. His greatest desire should be ours as well: to spend eternity with us, accepted and loved.

Trusting the God Who Knows

If you have to know what’s going on before you can trust God, you will never fully trust Him. I don’t have to know what’s happening, I just have to trust God knows. I have never banged on a cockpit door asking the pilot if he knew where he was going. How we respond to life is infinitely more important than what happens to us. I’m going to focus on what’s happening IN me not around me! I want to trust in God’s irrevocable promises, and to remember God’s undeniable goodness. Whatever reality I focus on, I will eventually become. I will believe the truth that there’s a loving God who was not just delighted when He created me, but is delighted whenever He thinks of me, and He thinks of me all the time. It is God’s goodness that leads me to change.

Blessed Beyond Measure

Here are some absolutes I’ve found that have brought me both pain and pleasure: if I have a preference, I won’t get God’s will. If I give into fear, or question whether God is able, I won’t get His best for my life. But if I believe the truth: that God not only knows what’s best for me, but if I trust Him, He’s ordered my steps in such a way that my life will turn out infinitely better than I could ever have imagined. If I focus on the tiny amount of faith He’s given me, I will find it’s more than enough to transform any impossible situation into one of infinite hope. And lastly, if I believe as the Bible says that God is “…able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20, ESV), my life will be blessed beyond measure.