K-LOVE Radio Features – October 2011

Wanting a Different Life

Something is terribly wrong when you wish you had a different life—when you don’t look forward to getting up in the morning, when you believe your best days are behind you, or that past mistakes have disqualified you from ever having a great future. If you’re rarely or never content, then sooner or later you’ll try and replenish your inner emptiness with something—anything. You may try and fill it with fantasy, immerse it in illusion, or drown it in deception; but, as nature abhors a vacuum, nothing stays empty for long. Our lives are designed to be fully filled with one thing: our Creator. “I have asked the Lord for one thing – this is what I desire! I want to live in the Lord’s house all the days of my life…” (Psalm 27:4, NET)

Reality is No Friend

For many, reality is no friend. Their only hope is that a future dream will replace a present nightmare. In the meantime, a vicarious life is the only life they know. Living is experienced in their imagination, through the feelings or actions of another. They substitute who they could become for what someone else already is. It may be through a sport or a TV personality, or the neighbor down the street, but it’s a surrogate existence at best. In the long run, secondhand life is as deadly as secondhand smoke. All attempts to create an alternate ending to our present life will only confirm how much we need to submit to God’s perfect plan for us. “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.” (Ephesians 1:11a, The Message)

The Missing Fruit

A pastor friend of mine asked his congregation what fruit of God’s Spirit they believed was most actively working in their lives. Out of the hundreds of responses, one fruit was glaringly absent: self-control. This forgotten fruit will have to be found if we are to ever live lives worth living. Richard Nisbett, considered the world’s greatest authority on intelligence states that “he’d rather his son be high in self-control than intelligence; for self-control is key to a well-functioning life.” The Apostle Peter agrees and writes, “…make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness…” (2Peter 1:5-6, NLT)

Chasing Fantasy

Of the 50 most popular films of all time, nearly all have fantasy, supernatural, or otherworldly themes. Most of these successful film series have video game spin-offs, so you can be an unreal person in an unreal world any time you want to. But, why is there such a fascination in the paranormal, the supernatural, other worlds, fantasy, and super heroes? Why do we chase after illusion? Is it because deep down we know we’re capable of so much more? We long for life beyond our wildest dreams: true goodness, supernatural power, becoming all we were created to be and do. Only God can fulfill these longings—for He planted them in us! “It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it…found yourselves home free…” (Ephesians 1:13, The Message)

Essence of All Addictions

Every day we’re under siege. Many of us struggle with inner demons—experiencing infinitely less than God intended. We know we’re created to be more, even to dwell in a place far more pristine than this weary planet. Our Creator’s ultimate purpose has always been to give us more—more of Him. The essence of all addictions is empowerment through fantasy—life in the unreal. Fantasy can fulfill—at least for the moment. But only Jesus can fulfill forever. For those who follow Him, He promises “…God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4, NKJV) Today, reach out to Jesus for the life He created you to live.

Spiritual Frostbite

One of the greatest fears I have is that my heart will grow cold toward God. The experience of frostbite gives me a chilling reminder. When a part of our body is frostbitten, the blood in the tissue, half of which is water, freezes. The parts of our body furthest from our heart freeze first. Tissue that’s fully frozen can’t be revived and returned to normalcy. Frankly, it’s dead! The Bible refers to individuals who have drifted so far from Christ’s life-giving blood that they are twice dead, physically and spiritually. (Jude 1:12) This reminds us all of the greatest warning in Scripture concerning a cold or dead heart. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV) Jesus, keep our hearts from turning cold!

Hearing God

Are you able to hear God? Not with your natural ears, but with your spirit, your inner, supernatural ear? Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27, NKJV) And Paul the Apostle writes, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” (Romans 8:14, NLT) It seems the days it’s hardest to hear God, we need Him the most. I’m reminded of C.S. Lewis’ profound insight, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Jesus, open our ears to hear Your still-small voice. You are the One we need most. You are the One our heart longs for.

Imaginary Evil or Real Good

Every day, each of us fight to hold on to what is real and eternal—to not be deceived by the shallow and temporary. Abandoned by parents, exploited by peers, seduced by society, many of us are overexposed and underdeveloped. We’ve seen so much, yet become so little! Perhaps the greatest farce of our day is evil masquerading as good. Our

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age is a fashion show for evil. Simone Weil writes, “Imaginary evil is romantic and varied. Real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring. Real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.” (Weil S. Gravity and Grace. Rutledge; 1999.) “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31, ESV) Only God is truly good; and no one can fill our lives with goodness, except God!

Reality or Illusion

Is the life your living real, or an illusion? Are you putting your hope in what can never come to pass, or trusting in the guaranteed eternal realities that only come from your Creator. In the age of fake everything, evil has many facades: phony love, false peace, and imitation intimacy run rampant. Perhaps the most undermining of all is the loss of our true identity—who God created us to be. Can we call it thievery, when in most cases, like Esau of old; we give away our true identity and destiny for nothing? Unless we daily humble ourselves before God and submit to His will and purpose for us, our lives will merely reflect the counterfeits we have chased after. In the end, only God’s will—will be left standing!

The High Ground

Since the Garden of Eden, the devil’s goal has been to trick us into forfeiting our heavenly wealth for earthly trinkets. Disguising himself as good, he appears to occupy the high ground, the moral superiority—a better plan than God’s. He asked Eve, “Has God really said?” and then promised, “You won’t die!…God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5) Thousands of years later, the devil again attempted to marry good and evil by tempting the last Adam, Jesus. But this time he lost. Our Lord dismissed him with the Word of God. By knowing God’s truth we can expose any lie. And by believing God’s Word we are truly set free.

Numb

Why are so many people numb today? Numb to life, numb to God, numb to one another? The word numb literally means “taken or seized as by cold or grief.” It’s been defined as “deprived of the power to feel or move normally through cold or shock; emotionally unresponsive; indifferent; paralyzed.” (“numb.” TheFreeDictionary.com. 2009. Complete footnote: francisanfuso.com/numb) Living a numb existence leaves us desensitized, powerless, unresponsive, and unable to feel fully alive. Sadly, numb defines many in our generation! So, what will it take to propel us out of living a numb, boring existence? A fully surrendered heart; a desperate cry to the God of resurrection, “Jesus, remove from me all that drains Your life. Replace what is dead and dying with the abundant life You promised. Let me be truly free, even as You envisioned I would be.”

Un-Conscience

Much of the numbness that people experience today comes from a conscience that has ceased to feel. In the New Testament, Paul warned against this type of dead, hardened conscience, which has been seared and become callous. (1Timothy 4:1–2, ESV) It’s even more frightening when the deadness is not caused by delusion, but by a deliberate commitment to resist the will of God. In life, if we wait to get caught, instead of turning ourselves in, our conscience will become corrupted and polluted. Scripture confirms this. “Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted.” (Titus 1:15, ESV) “Jesus purify my heart! Let me run to the light, and not from it, for only there will I find You and my true self.”

K-LOVE Radio Features – September 2011

Struggling With Addiction

Are you struggling with an addiction? Many people are?

Society tries to make addictions a disease, which only removes our responsibility for our actions. We become victims with no need to repent, just to be understood and learn to manage our sin. All that does is increase the bondage.

Addictions are really “misdirected worship,” a false comfort! Instead of worshipping and receiving comfort from the Holy Spirit, the true Comforter, we look to things like food, entertainment, sports, drugs or shopping for comfort. It’s really idolatry…looking to someone or some thing to do for me what only God can do.

Today, spend some time worshipping Jesus or reading God’s Word.

He’ll comfort you like no one else can.

Pain, Passion, and Purpose

Each of us has a type of unclaimed lottery ticket from our childhood in the pocket closest to our heart. We will need faith and trust to fully retrieve its priceless value. It is not just death that brings pain, but the birth pangs of a renewed hope.

It always costs something to examine our hurts for the purpose of healing and not merely to reminisce our suffering. But, if we’re willing, our pain will reveal our passion, which, when submitted to God will unlock our purpose.

It is the will of God that what was stolen from us be restored, not just in our own life, but also for generations to come. May those yet to be born rise up and call us blessed for our willingness to examine the inner chambers of our heartache.

Fantasizing Fame and Fortune

Do you fantasize about fame and fortune?

8 out of 10 of 18- to 25-year-olds surveyed by Pew said getting rich is their most important or second- most-important life goal; half said the same about being famous.

If riches and fame were enough, then why does the song say, “It’s so hard to find. One rich man in ten with a satisfied mind.”

More and more, fantasy is offered as a substitute for reality. If you can’t have the life you want, get lost in the life you can imagine. But no reality-substitutes will ever truly satisfy; and only God can make the reality of our lives worth living. Jesus promised, “I have come that they may have life, and that you may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10, NKJV) Take Him up on it!

Reality vs. Fantasy

Which is more exciting to you, your real life, or your imagination? Every day, millions of people choose fantasy as a substitute for reality—often times it’s through the use of media.

Technology offers the potential for “wonderful use” or “horrible abuse,” and not just for those of us who are very young. The average video gamer is 35. People of all ages get more excited about their imaginary lives than they do about their real lives.

This year, romantic e-books will surpass paper books in sales, making it easier for women to read them without having a picture of a hunk on the cover.

As the Bible teaches, “…each one should be careful how he builds.” (1Corinthians 3:10, NIV) What has captured your attention: the temporary illusions of Earth or the eternal realities of Heaven?

Looking For Love

Are you looking for love? I hope so, because love’s looking for you—that is, the God who is love.

Deep down inside, we each have a sense that we’re made to love someone and be loved by someone in an infinite way.

That’s the main hook behind the “Twilight” series. It’s primary audience, teenage girls, are looking for love beyond the physical. Deep down, we all know that we’re created to be “first loved” and “then to love”.

We were created first for God’s pleasure, and as we yield to His will, we experience His pleasure for us. This opens the door to experience the ultimate pleasure in life: a relationship with Jesus.

The Bible says, “…in God’s presence is fullness of joy; at His right hand are pleasures, ‘delightful and sweet’, forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

Magnificence of God

Our thoughts about God will in some way determine how blessed our life is. Do we see the magnificence of God? How extraordinary He is? Or do we lose sight of Him and minimize His influence. Wouldn’t the God who made sunsets and starry nights know something about beauty?

Wouldn’t the One who created laughter know how to have fun? Wouldn’t the Prince of Peace help us rest? And, wouldn’t the One who made puppies and babies know all about cute?

God created sensual pleasure: the eye to behold beauty, the ear to enjoy music, the nose to embrace the fragrance of flowers, and taste for food. But best of all, wouldn’t the God who is love know all about relationships? That’s because a relationship with Him is what each of us is looking for.

Pleasure

Is pleasure evil? Absolutely not! Pleasure’s not the problem, until we make it a God. Money’s not the problem, until we love it more than God. Love is not the problem. “God is love.” The problem comes when we try and make “love a god.”

That’s when people become “…lovers of pleasure (fond of sensual pleasure) rather than lovers of God…” (2Timothy 3:4, NKJV)

We live in a world that worship’s pleasure, and worshipping pleasure will kill you. Worshipping anything other then God…will kill your spirit. Only God can connect us to eternal pleasures; and everything God does is designed to lead us into intimacy with Him.

God loves you and I enough to not allow us to be satisfied with anyone or anything less than Him. Therefore, the greatest pleasure in life is knowing God.

Value of Pain

Have you seen the value of your pain?

Even if you don’t see it now, God knows the potential we have because of our pain. It can be the strength and power to motivate us for good. He can transform the worst experiences we’ve gone through to give us full, healed lives that are able to heal and help others.

God doesn’t want us to live out our lives with gaping holes in our heart. The miracle thread suturing our emotional wounds is that whatever happens, no matter how horrible, it will work for our good if we love and follow God more than any one or anything else. The Bible promises, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NKJV)

God Thoughts

God’s not a God of can’t and don’t…He’s a God of can and do.

He’s not trying to rain on your party He wants to invite you to His!

The Law of Displacement states that you cannot move away from a thought, you can only move toward a thought. As nature abhors a vacuum, so nothing stays empty for long. We can fill our minds and hearts with things that satisfy for a moment, or allow God to give us what will never get old and boring.

God wants to replace our depressed thoughts with His perfect ones. That’s why we have to guard the epicenter of our affections…our heart. The Bible says, “Above all else, guard your heart (your inner man), for it affects everything you do.” (Proverbs 4:23) Give God your heart, and your life will be blessed.

Reclaiming Your Childhood

As incomprehensible as my pain once was, so now is the joy of a healed heart. Once a prisoner of tormenting memories and a desperate longing for a dad, my relationship with my Heavenly Father now provides all of the time and attention I need—showering me with every imaginable gift a son could want.

Now, many years after the battle for my childhood heart was fought, I find myself carefully examining the remains of past emotions—the relics of relational ruins. At times, all I seem to uncover are the dead remnants of an irreplaceable past. At other more hopeful moments, my efforts surface unparalleled revelations I will treasure for eternity and far exceed the value of the pain I once experienced.

French Revolution

During the French Revolution many of its leaders were determined to put an end to Christianity forever. One beautiful, clear night an atheist told one of his poor countrymen of these plans. “Everything will be abolished–churches, Bibles, clergymen. Yes, even the Word ‘God’ itself! We shall remove everything that speaks of religion.” The listener gave a quiet chuckle. “Why do you laugh?” demanded the other. The peasant pointed to the stars and replied, “I was just wondering how you and your crew would manage to get them down!”

The Bible says, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship.” (Psalm 19:1, NLT)

“When I look at the night sky and see the work of Your fingers— the moon and the stars You set in place— what are mere mortals that You should think about them…?” (Psalm 8:3-4, NLT)

The Last Marathoner

During the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, as spectators prepared to leave, after the running of the marathon, suddenly the sound of sirens and police whistles were heard.

More than an hour earlier, the winner of the 26-mile event had crossed the finish line. Now, all eyes turned to the gate. John Stephen Akhwari, wearing the colors of Tanzania, was the last man to finish the marathon. Bloodied and bandaged after being severely injured in a fall, Akhwari grimaced with each step. As he hobbled around the track, spectators rose and applauded him as if he were the winner.

After the race someone asked him why he had not quit. He replied, “My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 7,000 miles to finish it.” Don’t give up… finish well!

IRS

Someone sent their tax returns to the IRS and wrote, “Enclosed you will find a check for $150. I cheated on my income tax return last year, and have not been able to sleep ever since. If I still have trouble sleeping, I will send you the rest. Sincerely!”

Though a funny story, it speaks to us about how well we take responsibility for our own actions. Are we half-hearted in our repentance toward God?

When Jesus was here, He preached, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17, NLT)

He was saying, “Take full responsibility for the things you’ve done wrong, and you’ll be forgiven, and Heaven will come to Earth.”

May we each allow the Holy Spirit to do what He came to do: convict us of sin. (John 16:8)

Carrying Boulders

Years ago in Africa when people had to cross dangerous, fast-moving rivers and streams, they would pick up the heaviest boulder they could carry and walk across. They realized the extra weight gave them surer footing and kept the rushing waters from sweeping them away.

How true concerning our carrying the burdens of life.

In the Message version of the book of James the brother of Jesus, who was later martyred for his faith, says, “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2-3, The Message)

Running Without Legs

On November 6, 1986, Bob W. Ireland, finished dead last—19,413th in the New York City Marathon. So, why was this so memorable? Because Bob was the first person to run a marathon with his arms…instead of his legs.

Bob was a forty-year-old Californian who lost his legs in an explosion in Vietnam in 1969. In the race of 1986, he recorded the slowest time in that marathon’s history: 4 days, 2 hours, 48 minutes, and 17 seconds.

When asked why he ran the race, Bob, a born-again Christian, said with conviction, “Success is not based on where you start, it’s where you finish.”

Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62, ESV)

Don’t let your limitations define you. Let the limitless God inspire you.

Initiating Without God

Our failure to accomplish something we initiate for God, in our own strength, weakens our ability to fully obey Him at a later time. Peter tried to show his commitment to never deny Jesus by cutting off the High Priest’s servant’s ear. (John 18:10-11) This humiliating failure of judgment discouraged him, making Peter more vulnerable to the accuser. Don’t try and do something for God in your own strength. Obeying Him is better than the most sacrificial act.

Though humble obedience will always cost us much, there’s nothing more fulfilling than obeying God.

Peter then warms himself in the courtyard of the high priest, and denies Jesus. If the only comfort we find is connected to the safety of Earth, we shouldn’t be surprised if we miss the true comfort of Heaven.

No One can comfort us like God.

Karl Marx

Years ago, a Jewish boy grew up in Germany. He adored his father and wanted to become just like him. The family’s life revolved around their religious practices, and the boy’s father faithfully took them every week to synagogue.

When the son was a teenager, his family moved to a town in Germany where there was no synagogue, only a Lutheran church. The church was the center of town life—all community leaders belonged to it.

When the father decided to join the Lutheran Church because it was good for business, the family was stunned. His lack of integrity so disappointed his son that he became angry and bitter.

The son’s name was Karl…Karl Marx, the founder of Communism. May integrity guide each of our lives! (Proverbs 11:3) For better or worse, many are watching!

Looking For Love

We each grow up looking for perfect love. God alone is the Father we’ve always wanted. He’s the perfect parent we each longed for. Many times, when our earthly parents missed the mark of God’s perfect, selfless love, a wound was created.

Your dad may have overlooked you, but God never forgot you. Your mom may not have given you emotional support, but Jesus wants to undergird your life with His love and care. The Bible says, “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.” (Psalms 27:10, NLT)

My Father in Heaven never abandoned me, not even when I was openly denying Him.

God knows what we’re looking for—what we’re longing for. We want Him! And the best news we’ll ever hear is: He wants us to!

Lasting Pleasure

In this world, everyone experiences a measure of pleasure. Everyone wins something!

The devil’s happy to give you the pleasure of Connecticut and Vermont Avenues, as long as he gets the pleasure of Boardwalk and Park Place. Because, if you’ve ever played Monopoly, you know Connecticut and Vermont Avenues are ultimately worthless.

You’re a winner! But you’ve won nothing of real value!

The only hope we have to overcome the seduction of destructive pleasures is to leave lesser pleasures for the greater One. There is no greater pleasure in life than a personal relationship with our Creator—the One who loves us most. “…In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

Invite Jesus to be your Lord and Savior today. Nothing compares to knowing Him.

K-LOVE Radio Features – August 2011

Why God?

Have you been saying, “God, why is this happening to me?” A better question would be, “God, what are you trying to show me?” The fact is God’s always trying to show us something of eternal value. Paul the Apostle assures us that “…it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13, NKJV) Though Paul was in prison and would eventually be beheaded, he still saw how God graciously used—for good—what Satan meant for evil. Refusing to see his circumstance in a negative light, Paul wrote, “…what [has happened] to me [this imprisonment] has actually only served to advance…the [spreading of the] good news.” (Philippians 1:12, Amplified) What a marvelous way to view life! The way God intended. Trusting Him every step of the way.

I Will Restore

Is your heart broken? God wants to help! His healing power can smother the smoldering pain, so that even remembering it is no longer painful. It may take years for the finished work to be accomplished, but God promises, “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…” (Joel 2:25, NKJV) It’s the very reason Jesus died on the Cross: “…it was our weaknesses He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down…He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5) Absolutely everything we have gone through in life can be healed, if our hearts remain open and trusting, surrendered to the One greater than our pain and our problems.

Hiding

Are you in any way hiding, either from God or people? It’s a sure way to NOT experience the wholeness you need. The Bible’s clear: “It is not good that man should be alone…” (Genesis 2:18, NKJV) In order to be healed, we must walk out into the light of God’s love, forgiveness, comfort, and power, with others—not alone. God’s love covers. His grace forgives, and His Spirit comforts and empowers us to be fully healed. Yet, since the Garden of Eden we’ve been prone to hide. (Genesis 3:10) Even from the God who loves us, but especially from the divinely orchestrated events designed for our maturing and growth. If we face our fears, they’ll dissolve. If we bow down to them, they become bondages, strongholds, and even generational curses. Run to the light! Jesus will meet you there!

Would Anybody Notice?

A 43-year-old man died while watching TV. For five years, no one noticed he was gone until his automatic payments stopped, when his money finally ran out. I hope someone notices when I die. I hope my presence will in some way be missed. In life, we reap what we sow. If we live, caring for others, at our point of need someone will care for us. We may NOT have been treated well, but we need to learn to live well…to forgive well…to love well. “To give,” as Jesus said, “expecting nothing in return.” (Luke 6:35) What others have done to us is their responsibility. What we do for others is ours. There is no valid reason to be self-absorbed. The God who gave His life for us expects us to do the same for others. Jesus, teach us to love like You love.

Worried?

Are you worried about your future? God isn’t! He’s got a plan. May we never give up on God’s will for us. May our hearts and minds remain steadfastly open to live our lives as He intended. May we always believe that our best days are ahead. Pessimism is from hell. The God who makes the sun rise every day is an eternal optimist, and so are His sons and daughters. Others may overlook us, but we’re never invisible to God. Our Father in Heaven is aware of all our needs. “… even the very hairs of your head are all numbered…so don’t be afraid…” (Matthew 10:30–31, NIV) Behind every challenge is a loving God whose victorious perspective is far greater than the trials we face. God owns the future. Trust Him!

Bored?

Are you bored? Boredom is a result of being unable or unwilling to see life from God’s perspective. The God who made galaxies isn’t boring. If we say we are following Him and yet lack the passion and purpose He intended, then, somewhere along the way, we’ve lost touch with the God who made us. Consequently, without knowing Him, we’ll never realize who we’re created to be. A friend of mine once challenged, “How many adventure movies do we have to watch before we begin to live the adventure God’s planned for us?” The Bible tells where to turn our attention, “Tune your ears to…wisdom; set your heart on a life of understanding… searching for it like a prospector panning for gold, like an adventurer on a treasure hunt…” (Proverbs 2:3, The Message) Search for God. There, you’ll find your life!

A Different Life

Do you wish you had a different life? Perhaps even that you were a different person? None of us are accidents! None of us are mistakes! A loving Creator has formed each one of us. May we join the psalmist and say, “I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14, ESV) Every second we spend wishing we were somewhere else, or even someone else, is a waste of time and a slap in the face of a God Who’s done everything possible for our wellbeing. We must stop waiting to live and start living! Today can be one of the best days of your life, if you’ll surrender to God, and believe the truth of His Word, more than what you feel.

Live Awake

Do you know what time it is? It’s time to wake up! The Bible is our alarm clock. It says, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Eph 5:14, NLT) Unless we LIVE AWAKE, our God-given opportunities are quickly slipping through our fingers. Unless we open our hearts to what’s on God’s heart, we’ll miss what we’ve never seen before, and may never see again. I want to LIVE FULLY AWAKE! Believing the God who “only does wonderful things” (Psalm 72:18) has written the best possible script for my life. “…no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him. but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.” (1Corinthians 2:9-10, NIV) Awaken me Jesus! Awaken me to the life You’ve dreamed for me. Far better than anything I can imagine for myself.

“No”

We’ve all had a love-hate relationship with the word “No.” But as painful as “No” may be, it can be a lifesaver. If we don’t learn how to say “No,” we’ll eventually lose our ability to say, “Yes” to all that is eternal and good. Ask any addict, boss, or good parent and they’ll tell you that “No” can be the difference between life and death. At times, no amount of “Yes’s” can undo the damage done by a missed opportunity to say, “No!” Unless we learn to say, “No” to the world, our flesh, and the devil, (1John 2:15-17) we’ll eventually be overwhelmed by the seductive power of their combined “Yes.” Say “Yes” to God and “No” to the enemy of your soul. Say “Yes” to Jesus, and invite Him to be the Lord of your life.

“Yes”

In my own life, I not only wish I had said, “No” sooner and more often, I also wish I had said “Yes” to God a lot sooner as well. Each of us can experience either purposeful pain, which always works for our good, or pointless pain that beats us up for no good reason at all. It’s our choice! Frankly, a “Yes” to Jesus will save you a whole lot of pain as well. The Bible provides a clear remedy: “Humble yourselves…under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.” (1Peter 5:6, NIV) As the Psalmist prayed to God, “…I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against You, and You alone, have I sinned…” (Psalm 51:3-4a, NLT) “Lord, I say ‘Yes’ to Your Spirit!”

More Faith

Do you feel like you need more faith? We all do! Receiving God-given faith will require our full surrender. Yet, true faith is effortless; like ripened fruit, it falls into our hands with ease. It just takes the right kind of heart. Jesus promised, “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30) A partial faith in God means we distrust Him. When we are full of faith, He’s able to fill us with His life. Live a life filled with “…faith (that) comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17, ESV) God wants to speak to each of us every day through His Word, the Bible. It’s the best way to receive the faith we need to get to know God and see Him move mountains in our lives.

Hanging On

Do you feel like you’re barely hanging on? God’s not brought you this far to fail, but to finish…and to finish well. Paul the Apostle was “…certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6, NLT) If we are committed to live for Jesus, He will watch over our lives. If we allow God to finish what He’s started in us, we’ll be more than pleased with the results, we’ll be amazed! If we’re willing to first trust Him, like Job, “GOD blessed Job’s later life even more than his earlier life.” (Job 42:12, The Message) You may have had a rough start, even a troubled middle, but above all else, be committed to surrender fully to God and finish well.

Feel Like a Failure?

Do you feel like a failure? Even when we fail, it’s not the end of the story. It’s actually an opportunity for us to be humble enough to grasp the nail-scarred hand of a gracious God. The One who willingly gave His life for us so that our fellowship with Him could be restored, and never broken again. We’ve all failed God. As the Bible states, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23, NLT) We’ve failed, but He’s never failed us…and never will. Our failure may even be completely our fault, but it’s not a deal breaker. The Bible promises, “…if we are unfaithful, God remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2Timothy 2:13, NLT) He cannot deny His plan for us…His heart for us. Let today begin a new season of trusting the God who never fails.

Children

Why are children so special to us? Because they are first special to God. He created their innocence, genuineness and sincerity. The more it is preserved in them, the more it captures our hearts. Children give us a glimpse into pristine qualities found in God Himself. Jesus went so far as to say, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18:3, NIV) Every doorway to our future is purposefully designed to be entered with child-like faith; with arms reaching high, captivated by our faithful God. It begins when we are born again (John 3:3). Only then can God’s Spirit soften our heart as we allow Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. Today, pray and begin your new childlike walk with Jesus!

Blaming God

Are you blaming God for the difficulties in your life? At times, we each misinterpret our struggles and blame an innocent God. I can understand it, because I’ve done it, but it’s a complete dead end. It’s time to cast our fears aside, disregard past misunderstandings, and wrap our arms around the only completely trustworthy Person: Jesus Christ. Whether we realize it or not, He is the One who has never failed us. He was willing to die on a Cross in our place—for our sins. We’ll stop blaming God for anything when we realize Jesus took the blame for everything. “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (2Corinthians 5:21, NLT) No one has ever loved you like Jesus!

Power of Pain

Even if we don’t see it, God knows the potential we have if we learn to process our pain. Pain can give us the strength and power needed to motivate us for good. God can transform the worst experiences we’ve gone through to give us full lives that are able to help and even heal others. He also never meant for us to live out our lives with gaping holes in our hearts. The miracle thread suturing these emotional wounds is that whatever happens, no matter how horrible, it will work for our good if we are willing to love and follow God. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NKJV) Today, love God and live your purpose!

Benefit of Pain

All the wounds in our lives have extraordinary value when we allow God to heal us. They become the doorways to His one-of-a kind destiny for our lives. God doesn’t just make all things work for our good—He allows all things to mold us into the people He created us to be. Without suffering, we will only be shallow representations of whom God intended. I used to dread the emptiness of suffering, but now I honestly value the growth suffering has brought to my life.

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The long-term benefit of pain far outweighs the temporary grief it causes. As the Bible teaches, “…the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18, ESV) Trust God! Embrace the pain! Enjoy the journey!

Suffering

The healing hand of our Creator can redeem absolutely everything we have ever gone through. Jesus intentionally allowed Himself to experience and overcome every temptation possible so that we would fully know He understands each of our struggles. The Bible tells us that because Jesus “…has gone through suffering and testing, He is able to help us when we are being tested.” (Hebrews 2:18, NLT) God isn’t worried that my suffering will cripple me forever; He’s fully confident that my struggles will help develop His character in my life. God even allows suffering to be so intense at times that we’ll do whatever it takes to get free. Freedom is part of our destiny—we were made for it. But, at times, suffering is the doorway to being free.

Doctorate in Depression

Before I was a Christian, I spent six months contemplating ending my life. At that time I thought I would never get through it. I was an atheist, recovering from a failed relationship, and suffering from what I called a “doctorate in depression.” Was there any value in all I went through? Absolutely! Now I can empathize with people who feel hopeless and depressed. God wants to heal you so completely that He will use every sadness in your past to help someone in your present. Nothing is ever wasted in God’s Kingdom. I am absolutely convinced it’s God’s will for every person to take what the devil meant for evil and see it transformed into good. (Genesis 50:20) The way to reverse the damage done in our past is to allow God’s Spirit and truth to heal us in the present.

Beauty For Ashes

Many of my childhood were painful! But if I had wasted my life wallowing in the dysfunction of my youth, I would never have experienced wholeness in my marriage and the happiness of raising healthy children. If I hadn’t received God’s healing, I would have passed on the same sorrow and pain to my own kids. They have received a healthy start, not just a mangled past. They have their own challenges, but not the baggage I was unwilling to unpack. God wants to do so much healing in your life as well. “…He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.” (Isaiah 61:3a, Amplified Bible) No one wants your ashes. That is, no one except God.

K-LOVE Radio Features – July 2011

The Purpose of Prayer

Don’t wait for God to answer your prayers. The purpose of prayer is not to get answers, but to get to know God!

Every answer to prayer will be followed by other requests.

We think: “If this or that would just happen, then I’d be fulfilled.”

Yet, even miracles will leave you dissatisfied if you don’t turn your attention back to God. It’s a great seduction! I fell into it for years.

Only one out of the ten lepers Jesus healed came back to thank Him. (Luke 17:17–18) Nine out of ten never looked back.

Don’t obsess over what you don’t have; rejoice in every morsel God provides, and more will come. He’s a loving Father who promises to give us everything we need.

Jesus saves the best wine for last.

 

Seeing Needs Not Offenses

When people hurt us, we always have a choice. Either we seek the healing God alone can give, or we find ourselves wallowing in the pain of past offenses.

No one escapes the planet unhurt. It’s the price of admission to the human race: a marathon not for the faint-hearted or faultfinding, but for the faithful few who are more humbled by their own shortcomings than the faults of others.

Ask God to show you people’s needs, not their offenses.

Be a pathfinder, not a faultfinder!

Learn to forgive, not just be forgiven.

God’s perfect plan is designed to heal my past, establish my present, and inspire me to run toward a future beyond my wildest dreams.

Do you see it? It’s right in front of you.

 

Dying To Live

How often should we die to our ambitions, our self-will, and even ourselves?

Resurrection life is only available to dead people.

If Jesus had to die to get it, so do we.

So, how can you tell if you’re dead to yourself? When you’re asleep in a boat in the middle of a violent storm. When someone slaps you on one cheek and you turn the other. When all Hell’s breaking loose outside of you and yet you keep allowing the peace of God to rise up inside you.

Resurrection life is only available through Jesus Christ—for He alone conquered sin and death for each of us.

Trust in Jesus and you’ll never taste of death . . . only everlasting life.

Not just in Heaven, but right here on Earth.

 

What’s On God’s Heart?

A friend of mine went into the wilderness to spend time with God and, frankly, get away from people. One night in the middle of nowhere looking up at the stars, he prayed a tender, humble prayer, “God, I’m always sharing what’s on my heart. What’s on Yours?”

Breaking the complete silence, the sound of a small plane flying high overhead caught his attention.

Immediately, God’s Spirit shot back, “The world—the world’s on My heart!”

Jesus described the Father’s heart so clearly when He said, “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)

The question is: do we love what God loves—the people in this broken world?

 

Losing Something to Gain Everything

A missionary I once met had spent years ministering to a remote tribe without seeing any converts.

One day, a member of the tribe accidentally electrocuted the missionary’s nine-year-old son. The tribe had a custom that when someone was killed, the victim’s relatives had the right to take revenge. They expected the missionary to take the life of the one who took his son’s life. But instead of exacting retribution, the missionary forgave him. This response sent a shockwave through the tribe. They’d never heard of anyone forgiving such a deed.

Eventually, because of he and his wife’s selfless attitude, the entire tribe came to know Jesus. His family had experienced an incomprehensible loss, but their willingness to forgive changed everything.

Forgive those who have hurt you. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.

 

Being A Doctor Or A Patient

How do you recover when someone hurts you? If your goal is to understand—with a humble heart, eventually you’ll be healed.

But, if you refuse to budge, and merely nurse the hurt caused by others, then your pain will only grow deeper.

At times, our attitude is the clearest indication of what we’re most committed to: stewing or healing, remembering or reconciling.

Am I on a journey to become a doctor, or destined to remain a patient?

The only person who can make that decision is me. I may be hurt, but I must be more committed to being healed, than rehashing my pain.

Jesus suffered and died so we could become completely whole inside.

Receiving that healing is a life-long process, but worth every minute.

 

Forgetting God

Have you forgotten Who God is?

He doesn’t just act loving—God is love! And if we seek Him with all our heart, we’ll become like Him: a loving person.

Jesus commanded us to love ALL people at ALL times, no matter what they may say or do to harm us. Only this response accurately models the heart of a God who’s called us to live as He lived, and even be willing to die as He died.

If we’re leaning on Jesus, no one can ever do anything to make us not love them.

I must never lose sight of this reality: all of the grace I’ll ever need to obey God is continually available to me.

All God asks us to do is reach out and receive it.

 

We Are As Loved As Jesus

Learning to trust God accesses the peace of mind that seems impossible to attain. Yet, it’s always within reach—with arms of faith.

Believe God for the impossible. Not with presumption, based on the desires of your own heart, but with real faith. Faith that’s grounded upon the sublime plan of the God who knows all things, loves us infinitely, and always uses His wisdom for our good.

Jesus said, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” (John 15:9)

It may be hard to believe, but we are as loved by the Father as Jesus was. And He longs for us to remain in a constant connection with His unconditional love for us.

Only then can we process life as God intended.

 

Freedom’s Ahead When Self’s Behind

The self-centeredness of others may have hurt you, but it will be your own self-obsession that will keep the pain alive. The greatest enemy to your being as free as God intended is not sin, but self!

Jesus already took care of your sins when He died on the Cross. Now you must learn to die to yourself, in order to be truly free.

Freedom’s ahead, when self’s behind!

Learn to rest so completely in God’s perfection that you’re not overwhelmed by your own lack.

If we refuse to accept God’s plan for our lives, we consign ourselves to a brave new world of perpetual un-fulfillment.

Waiting for a better life is like staring at your dinner, hoping to improve its taste.

The magnificent life God created for you…it’s what’s for dinner.

 

God Takes Pleasure In You

If we believe Jesus died and rose again, and have allowed Him to be our Lord and Savior, then the Bible says we are now God’s sons and daughters.

Though we may firmly believe this, we can still at times feel God’s ashamed of us. We wonder if He is glad or sad; grateful or disappointed in whom we have become?

How we answer this question will shape our thinking in every dimension of our lives and could not possibly be over-estimated. Jesus said to His Heavenly Father, “You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” (John 17:23b)

Ever see doting parents smile at their child? That’s how God feels about you. God takes pleasure in the very thought of you. You make God smile! Believe it. It’s a truth that will set you free.

Listen To This Radio Feature

 

God Likes You

For the first 30 years of my Christian life I didn’t think God liked me.

Now, if God was an imperfect human, that would make sense. But He’s not! Each of us make decisions to like or dislike people based upon their past or present actions.

But imagine being completely aware of everything a person will ever do. No longer would your estimation be based upon individual events. Your picture of them would be complete. At that moment, if you like them, it would be because you see the entirety of their lives. That’s exactly how God sees us.

If you’ve ever believed God loved you, or liked you, He still does. Why? Because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) God enjoys you! “How precious…are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17)

 

The Right Question

Whenever you find yourself wondering why something’s happening, realize it’s never a coincidence. It’s invariably God working in you, giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him.

Actually, WHY is typically the wrong question; WHAT is the word we should be asking. “God, WHAT are you trying to show me?” The situation, no matter how bleak, is not a mere accident; it’s God at work, even using what Satan meant for evil.

If we love God and are committed to doing His will, He promises us in Romans 8: 28, that all things, no matter how much they hurt, that happen to us will work for our good, either on Earth or in Heaven.

That’s a PROMISE God will keep.

Listen To This Radio Feature

 

K-LOVE Radio Features – June 2011

Seeing With God’s Eyes

Are you embracing the season you are in? If not, you’re missing God’s best for you.

I’ve squandered too many wonderful days, in magnificent places, with fascinating people, because I was unable to get my heart around what was happening, and instead longed for what was not. I’ll never get those days back, but I’m committed to not repeat that mistake.

It’s dangerous to have a favorite season. People hate winter when everything they’re attached to lies dead or frozen. Frankly, our best season should be the one we’re presently in. It’s a matter of perspective! Believing yesterday wasn’t a great day, only means I missed what God was trying to do in me.

Today, see with God’s eyes! Let today be the best day of your life!

 

When God Uses Bulldozers

Do you feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you?

When God’s at work in our lives, He prunes away what is dead and dying! When it’s a vast, eternal work, He uses bulldozers. At times, the experience can be so overwhelming we think we’ll never recover! but don’t fear; in time, old fruit orchards are pulled up and new ones are planted. All for our good!

For a few short years you may not see the fruit you once did, but get ready, up around the bend, in God’s perfect time, your harvest will be abundant. You will be a different person, transformed by responding well to the dealings of God.

The Bible promises, “Let nothing move you…because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1Corinthians 15:58, NIV)

 

Mountain Moving Faith

Are you facing mountains of pain and discouragement? Does a mass of misery threaten to bankrupt your entire investment in God? Don’t let it!

It’s been powerfully said, “Stop telling God how big your mountains are, and start telling your mountains how big your God is.”

Life always comes down to a show down. A standoff! Who’s going to BLINK first! If God is God then trust Him! If God is able, then believe Him! The Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6, NIV)

So what are you going to believe? How big your mountains are? Or how big your GOD is? Be encouraged, even with faith as little as a mustard seed your mountains can be moved. We serve a powerful God!

 

Being Successful

Are you convinced God wants you to be successful? He absolutely does! But only He knows what success looks like.

Like any good father, God wants us to experience fulfilled lives; but unlike our earthly fathers, He’s completely capable of making our fulfillment a reality. The primary problem we have is that we often fail to see our lives from God’s point of view.

Ask God to reveal what He is doing in and around you today. As you wade through life’s circumstances, resist the temptation to rejoice in only the opportunities that please you. The truly successful followers of God have learned to eat the meals placed before them with grateful hearts. The Bible says, “In everything give thanks.” (1Thessalonians 5:18)

Rejoicing forever…starts now!

 

The Invisible World

You and I have never seen anything eternal with our natural eyes. This world is the matrix. The real world is invisible, and can Only be seen with eyes of faith.

So, in order to change the visible realm, we must learn to see into the invisible. This world is not our final destiny. Our goal in life is to discover God’s eternal blessings, and not be seduced by earth’s temporary distractions.

Frankly, our time here is a dress rehearsal. every aspect of life on Earth is a test. As Jesus prayed to His Father, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Luke 11:2, NKJV)

His prayer was heard, and it will be answered.

Only Heaven can reveal the best in us. Allow Heaven to come to Earth in your life today.

 

Remember Who He Is

Are you asking God to reveal Himself to you? It’s a great prayer!

But we shouldn’t be surprised if God doesn’t give us new revelations of Himself until we are obedient to the old ones He’s already given us. If we mistakenly take our eyes off of all He’s revealed to us and in us, eventually our nature will lead us to focus primarily on our problems.

We must remember who God is, and who we are in Him.

How we feel is the greatest indication of what we’re looking at. Are we filled with faith or fear? Delight or dread? Hope or hopelessness?

Oh, that we would see Jesus! (John 12:21) Seeing and believing who He is, will help us remember who we are created to be. And this will make all the difference!

 

Measuring Up To God

Are you trying to measure up to God? You must be exhausted! Because you’ll never do it! Remember, He’s perfect, and as you’ve noticed, we’re not.

But, as we grow more attached to His perfection, we’ll be less stumbled by our own imperfection. The goal in life is not to measure up to God. That would be futile! Instead, His marvelous plan is that we would learn to rest so completely in His perfection that we are not overwhelmed by our own lack.

“Jesus saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.” (Titus 3:5a, NIV)

When we receive God’s perfect love for us, we begin to understand that He covers us with such love and compassion and we can then more easily focus on what’s right in Him, more than what’s wrong in us.

 

Smiling Back At God

Do you think God answering your prayers will make your day? It won’t! You’ll just ask Him for something else. And the merry-go round will continue!

The satisfaction you’re looking for doesn’t come from God answering your prayers, it comes from learning to love and trust Him regardless of His answer.

When you really know God, you have to trust Him. Because everything about Him is completely trust-worthy. At that point, you’ll refuse to depend on what you seem to understand. You’ll be trusting God with all of your heart, and not leaning upon your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

Once we believe God is smiling at us, the best response we can ever give Him is to smile back. Trust God today, and smile back!

 

Unthinkables

Are you experiencing an unthinkable situation? Life is filled with them!

We don’t mind the “good unthinkables”: we get an inheritance, we’re healed, we fall in love, or we even accept God’s forgiveness. But it’s the seemingly “bad unthinkables”: the left hooks: the sudden death of a loved one, divorce, bankruptcy, chronic pain, or a terminal illness.

These are the challenges of life that rock our world. BUT the Bible says, “Have no fear of sudden disaster…” (Proverbs 3:25, NIV)

If we respond properly to the unthinkable tests of life, they’ll bring us to a whole new level of faith in our relationship with God. It’s true: many things catch us off guard, but nothing is a surprise to God.

Believe that He is with you in the middle of your unthinkables.

Why? Because He really is!

 

The End is the Process

All of us think we know what’s best for us, but we rarely do.

We pray, “God, if you would just do this or that, then my life will be blessed!” As if we actually know better than God does. I don’t have enough information to know what’s best for me. So, I need to trust that God always does.

Oswald Chambers writes, “We must never put our dreams of success as God’s purpose for us; His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not. The question of getting to a particular end is a mere incident. What we call the process, God calls the end.”

The end goal for God is the process He’s guiding us through. (My Utmost For His Highest)

 

Never Be Disappointed

Have you come to terms with what God wants for your life? It’s important that you do!

All good parents want their children to succeed. Though God’s definition of success and failure are often different than ours, a continual, conscious dependence upon Him will always lead us toward healthy growth and becoming more like Jesus.

God the Father is most glorified in us when we are most fruitful in Him. That’s why Jesus came: not to give us the life of our dreams, but the life of His dreams for us. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b, NKJV)

If you and I let God determine what his abundant life looks like we’ll never be disappointed.

 

God of All Seasons

All of us want to hear the voice of God. The inner voice that leads and guides our life. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27, NKJV)

So, when will we hear God clearest? We hear God best in Winter seasons of life. During the more fragrant and obviously blessed seasons of our lives we are frankly, too busy, too distracted.

In winter, all we have is time. We’ve been rained-out, snowed under, or frozen solid. At last God has our attention. If we spend our time wishing winter was over, we’ll miss the best time to rest, listen, and be restored.

Adam and Eve were seduced in Summer. David fell in the springtime. Embrace your winters. They really are the best time for us to get to know God.

 

Keep Digging

Are you frustrated about something?

Frustrations are actually doorways to our destiny. Until we see our lives from God’s point of view, we’ll never understand the good that’s possible because of these frustrations. If we obsess over the pain and displeasure associated with the struggles of life, we’ll miss their entire point.

In 2Corinthains 12:10, the Bible even tells us to take pleasure in our pain!

Each of our lives are intentionally shrouded in secrecy; our true purpose is often disguised in a maze of problems. Complaining about our setbacks only distracts us from receiving the truth behind the mystery.

The key to life is to not stop at the surface of a problem, but to dig deep enough to uncover the reason and value behind each trouble.

 

Communicating With God

Every day God is trying to communicate with us—deep down in our spirit.  Are we listening? An unbelieving planet resists loudly, while the Kingdom of faith persists quietly. Romanian pastor Richard Wurmbrand spent 14 years in a communist prison for his faith. He once wrote, “The one thing you Americans are most afraid of is silence.”

There’s so much noise in this world. So many voices! So many options! We must make a concerted effort to learn to listen. As God spoke the world into existence (Genesis 1:1–3), He can speak life to every dimension in our lives.

We need to let God speak to us through His Word… in worship… and in prayer. Even as we go through our day, God is speaking! May we hear Him today.

 

Loving the Light

Men love darkness; yet the God who is light still loves men.

Perhaps the greatest miracle that can take place in a person’s heart, is going from loving darkness to loving light. If there’s a greater miracle than that, I’ve never seen it.

The Bible says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” (Ephesians 5:8, NIV)

It is the gnawing repetition of darkness that makes us crave the light. No one ever ended their life wishing they had given themselves over to greater darkness. The opposite is true.

Are you sick of darkness? If so, crave the light! Let Jesus shine His life in and through you today! Remember, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14, NKJV) Be that light!

 

What Season Are You In?

Do you know the spiritual season you are in? It will help if you do.

Looking for fruit in the middle of Winter, will leave you disappointed. Trying to hold on to parts of your life in Fall, when emotional leaves fall away, will make you frustrated. Look to Jesus in each season!

When God wants Spring and Summer to come in your life, it will happen. But we do ourselves a distinct disservice by refusing to embrace the season right in front of us. Spring flowers will come soon enough. Summer fruit is on the menu. In the meantime, don’t miss what God is trying to show you today.

From God’s point of view, there is no best season. Let the season you’re in be the best season of your life.

 

You Complete Me

What’s it going to take to make you and I the complete person we want to be?

There was a famous line at the end of a movie where a man finally admits he loves a woman and says, “You complete me!”

Wow! That’s romantic! Sensational! It’ll make you cry! But it’s just not true!

Now, I love my wife dearly, and she loves me. But I don’t complete her, and she doesn’t complete me. Unless you and I find our completeness in the God who created us, we’ll never be complete. In the Book of Colossians, the Bible is crystal clear, “We are complete in Him (in Jesus).” (Colossians 2:10)

I’ve seen people try and find the completeness they long for in everything imaginable, but there’s only one thing that works: a daily relationship with Jesus Christ.

 

Using God

What are you most attached to? God? Or what He can do for you?

Your answer will determine how much blessing you’ll see in your life.

Life’s all about being more committed to knowing God and less concerned with what we think we need from Him. No one wants to be used! Not even God.

Focus on abiding in Jesus–not using Him. Paul said, “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead.” (Philippians 3:10, NLT)

God knows our needs even before we ask. It merely demonstrates a lack of relationship to keep parroting the obvious. He’s already done more than enough for each of us to fully trust Him.

May our eyes be opened to see Jesus, the lover of our soul, and not just what He’s done for us.

 

Trimming the Dead

Have you noticed anything dead in your heart? Let Jesus prune it away.

Let Him trim off what is dead and useless. Let Him remove what has no lasting value and will only weigh you down. Soon you will rebound from your winter, basking among the beautiful flowers and sweet fruit of a fully surrendered life, reflecting on how wonderful your winter was.

God is committed to establishing our internal, long-term health. Therefore, He cuts away what we’re attached to on Earth, even what appears to be somewhat healthy, in order to produce what’s eternal: His destiny for our life.

Be only attached to Jesus. The Bible says, “As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as His own children.” (Hebrews 12:7a, NLT)

 

A Life Worth Loving

Are you living the life you want to live? If not, what’s missing? Maybe it’s faith!

Everything God has for us must be received by faith. In other words, we must receive God’s gifts on His terms: by faith.

I need the same amount of faith to embrace the life God gives me, as I needed to embrace the God who saved me. It takes no faith to say, “God has not given me a life worth living.”

On the other hand, it takes great faith to believe the truth: “God can ONLY give me a life worth loving.” I love my life because it’s a gift from God. But I still need to see my life through His eyes of faith to really understand why it is worth living.

Faith makes all the difference!

 

K-LOVE Radio Features – May 2011

Setbacks

Are you experiencing setbacks? Why do our hearts melt when tested? Is it because we fear what we don’t know, or because we fail to trust the God who knows all things?

Research has proven that no one drowns gracefully. We all struggle to stay afloat. At times, accepting what we cannot undo, with true humility, is the only good option. Being humbled by life is always awkward, even embarrassing, but if we trust God in the struggle, it eventually yields the eternal fruit of a fully blessed life.

Long ago, I settled in my heart to live as an optimist. I want to enthusiastically wade through disappointments. Paul the apostle understood this when he wrote, “now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ…” (2Corinthians 2:14a) Trust God! He’ll never fail you!



Emotional Roller Coaster

Are you riding an emotional roller coaster? One moment you’re overcoming, and the next you’re being overcome. The psalmist wrote, “I am overcome with joy because of your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.” (Psalms 31:7, NLT)

It seems that we have a choice to be overcome by joy or by despair. If there were nothing to overcome, then we’d have no reason to fight for joy. Like ripened fruit, it would just fall from the trees of life. But that’s not the case.

We’ll have to fight in order to receive the joy God has prepared for us. At times, we’re fighting fears and doubts, on other occasions it’s lies and circumstances.

Whatever it is, fight for joy…it’s absolutely worth fighting for!



Out of Control

Are your circumstances out of control? What happens to us may seem completely out of our control, but how we view life is always our choice. I can choose to see my life from God’s life-giving point of view, or be limited by the narrowness of fear, unbelief and ignorance which only leads to anger, panic, and despair.

We each have the choice to look up, past the distracting struggles that keep us stuck in the past, bound in the present, and lacking hope for our future. We must be committed to go forward, whatever comes our way, choosing to remain “…steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the lord, knowing that our labor is not in vain in the lord.” (1Corinthians 15:58)

Look up! God sees you! He will help!



Bringing Out The Best In You

Are you facing major trials? Feel like giving up? Please don’t!

Trials are meant to bring out the best in us, not the worst. They throw the pass beyond our reach, but not beyond God’s intent and grace. It isn’t an accident when we feel completely inadequate to meet our own needs. God’s the only one who can make up the difference in every dimension of our lives.

When you’re struggling, continually reach out to Jesus to receive the grace you need. Oswald Chambers writes, “God does not give us overcoming life: He gives us life as we overcome.” The discouragements of yesterday don’t disqualify you, the setbacks of today can’t sabotage you, and the failures of tomorrow won’t finish you. You were created to be victorious…to overcome. Live your purpose!



Humility Leads To Success

Everyone wants to be successful! But most people miss one of the great paradoxes of life. They mistakenly believe the doorway to success is through their strengths. It’s not! Our strengths are far more dangerous than our weaknesses, providing the easiest way for us to fail. In our weakness we learn to lean upon Jesus, in order to receive the strength we need.

Humility comes from embracing our weakness, and delighting in God’s strength. It’s only when we embrace this captivating quality, the humility of Jesus, that the irresistible grace of God is released in us. ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ (1Peter 5:5b) if pride is resistible, then humility must be, irresistible.

Humble yourself! It will activate the irresistible grace of God in your life.



How God Uses Celebrities

Most people’s desires are not God’s desires. We’ll do anything to change the way we look—to change only the shell—when God wants to transform the pearl within us. Outward transformation will never make us whole. And since the kingdom of God can only be accessed from inside your spirit, it follows that the wholeness we’re looking for will come from within, when we surrender our lives to Jesus.

Don’t waste your time wishing for a new life; ask God to give you a new perspective on the life he’s given you.

One of the key ways God uses celebrities: is to show us that you can have everything in the physical world and still be unfulfilled. Embrace the life God has freely given you, not the life you wish you had.



Reminiscing Our Pain

Have you been severely wounded? At one time or another, all of us will be.

But, at some point, we’ll have to decide: are we on a journey to be healed and help others, or attached to remaining a patient? We may be hurt, but are we more committed to being healed, or reminiscing our pain?

When we hold on to a bitter perspective, we become unwilling to understand, forgive, and be healed. A far better way is to exchange your pain for his peace—to allow God to have his way.

We were created to meet Jesus in the middle of our storms. Frankly, few of us have time for him outside of the storms of life. If you let him, God will give you the “…peace that goes far beyond your understanding.” (Philippians 4:7)



Forgetting What You Have

Do you appreciate all you have?

I once read about an elderly American woman who died of starvation, alone in her apartment, because she didn’t have any money. Yet when the police examined her belongings, they found over $100,000 in cash buried inside the mattress she died on. She forgot what she had!

Amazing gifts have been buried deep inside each of us. Remember them! Extraordinary opportunities are all around us! What have you overlooked, that’s right in front of you? Ask God to show you!

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. But we know these things because God has revealed them to us by his spirit…” (1Corinthians 2:9–10, NLT)

Let God show you what you’ve overlooked!



Respond Well Department

I once heard some jolting news that could have been received as sad and disappointing. But God in his mercy quickly reminded me of my only responsibility. I am only in charge of the respond well department; because he is in charge of everything else. Wow! What a relief! For a moment, I thought I might be in trouble. Then I got my eyes back on Jesus!

The world says, “Be in control!” the word says “Give God control!” (Ephesians 5:18, NLT)”

Every challenge in life is designed to reveal our weakness and God’s strength—to make us realize not just how desperately we need Him, but how absolutely sufficient His grace is in each of our lives.

God’s given us everything we need to love the life He’s given us. (2Peter 1:3)



Living Optimistic

Are you optimistic about your life, or pessimistic?

Long ago, I settled in my heart to live as an optimist. I want to live life enthusiastically wading through every disappointment.

Paul the apostle was also an eternal optimist. He once wrote, “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ…” (2Corinthians 2:14a)

There’s no aspect of our lives that’s ever been an oversight to God. The psalmist wrote, “My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret…” (Psalms 139:15) God has never made even one mistake concerning our lives. “…I am fearfully and wonderfully made…and that my soul knows very well.” (Psalms 139:14) We have each been given an infinite potential by a gracious God. Let’s purpose to live our potential!



No Shortcuts

In life there are no shortcuts, only detours.

Even if we’re momentarily pleased by one of life’s circumstances, it’ll be short-lived. May we each accept the obvious: God desires to change us, not change the world around us. In life, if we can’t appreciate what we have, we’ll never be pleased with what’s ahead.

There’s actually no faster way to get to where your heart wants to be than by accepting and embracing the will of God for your life. It’s the express train to fulfillment!

The primary reason we don’t love the life God’s given us is because we don’t know God. We don’t trust Him, and inevitably we begin to play God ourselves. It always ends badly. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” (Proverbs 3:5a) Let God be God! He’s really good at it!



Lousy God

I would be a lousy God! I know this is true based on how I treat my friends when they’re in trouble. I tend to want to bail them out of every crisis they encounter. So, if I were God, I’d spoil the whole planet. Not only do I not know what’s best for me, I rarely know what’s best for others.

God’s infinitely more interested in fixing us than in fixing our problems. As a matter of fact, and this may surprise you — at times, he’s the author of our problems. While we’re saying, “God, stop the problem!” he’s saying, “stop the whining, and begin to understand what I am allowing.”

Rest in God! Trust him completely! Stand your ground! Fight to receive all he has for you, and believe that he will never, ever, desert you!



Pain Reveals Purpose

When Jesus faced the greatest trials of His life, He didn’t try and manipulate His Father in Heaven to lighten His load. Instead, Jesus realized that His pain further revealed His true purpose in life. Jesus once prayed, “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour.’ But for this purpose I came to this hour.” (John 12:27) He’s saying, “My pain reveals My purpose!”

Being created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26) was the beginning of our purpose. Finishing that work is now our destiny. Anything that keeps us from fulfilling God’s ultimate purpose—being conformed to His image—must be disregarded and treated as a distraction. Tragically, most people live and die distracted. Don’t let it happen to you! Be committed to live only His purpose for your life.



Created For A Fight

We were born for trouble; created for a fight! Through trouble our soul is formed, shaped, and molded into the image of an untroubled God. I get a kick out of two overstated expressions, “Don’t give me any good news, it only weakens me” and “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room.”

If your troubles were completely removed, you’d merely eliminate your purpose in life: which is to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. “For whom God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” (Romans 8:29) defining your purpose in life reduces frustration, increases your focus, and keeps you on track to fulfill God’s will for your life.

It’s a fight God Himself will help you win!



The Easy Life

Would you like your life to be easier? All of us would!

Yet, as I look back over my life, my consistent appeals for God to make my life easier have not fallen on deaf ears due to indifference; the all-knowing, all-caring God has merely dismissed my fleeting appeals as narrow-minded, showing lack of foresight. He knows the easy life would destroy my potential; therefore, He makes my life purposefully challenging.

Only by pressing the olive is the oil poured out; only by crushing the flower is the true fragrance released. Only as Paul and his companions were “pressed out of measure… insomuch that we despaired even of life” (2Corinthians 1:8, KJV) did they experience the “sweet-smelling aroma (and become) an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.” (Philippians 4:18)



Train Your Soul

You may never train a lion, but there’s one thing you need to train: and that’s your soul!

Each day I try and train my soul to embrace every second of my God-intended life. From God’s point of view, all days are created equal. There is no best day in heaven. A perfect God has flawlessly crafted every molecule and every moment of my life. If I’m attached to my dream for my life, it will slip through my fingers. But, if I embrace God’s plan, I can begin to live the pleasures of eternal life right now.

Train your soul: your mind, will and emotions to embrace the long-term value of every circumstance in your life. A soul without self-control will blind us from seeing life as God intended.

There are no accidents, only divinely crafted opportunities!



Pleasures That Satisfy

If pleasure’s the goal in life, then everyone wins something…a measure of pleasure! The devil’s happy to give us the pleasures of Connecticut and Vermont Avenues, as long as he gets to keep boardwalk and park place. But, if you’ve ever played Monopoly, you know that Connecticut and Vermont Avenues are basically worthless, while boardwalk and park place are priceless.

The devil offers counterfeit intimacy—through some shallow, momentary pleasure. It’s pleasure, but without eternity—a forgery of what we’re created for: which is a personal relationship with God.

Only God’s way leads to life: “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasures of living with You forever.” (Psalm 16:11, NLT)

The only pleasure that truly satisfies is the pleasure that comes from God.



Blaming God

Are you blaming God for the challenges in your life? It’s really a dead end!

When we stop blaming Him for our lives and begin to thank Him for the magnificent, daily opportunities He gives each of us, then Jesus truly becomes our Lord, and life becomes a joy, not a joke. This happens when we reign in every thought and humble ourselves before our Creator. (Philippians 4:8) when we do this, our lives are seen as a grand adventure, and not a burden.

Surrender your heart to Jesus as lord! Let him remove every excuse for not loving the life he’s given you! The kingdom of God is within you. Ask God to reveal it! Either I have the kingdom of God living in me or I don’t have it at all. I will search again!



No Bad News In God

How would you like everything in your life to work for your good? It can happen! It’s actually God’s will!

God promises that all things will work together for our good, if we love Him more than anyone or anything else—if we’re committed to do His will and purpose more than our own. (Romans 8:28)

When we completely love and submit to Jesus as Lord, we can stand on the promise that there’s no bad news in God. But this can only happen if we have faith beyond our lifetime here on earth.

If eternity is in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11), then all of life’s challenges will work for our good. We will be stretched, at times beyond what we think we can handle, but all that happens to us will be for our benefit.



Purpose Of Prayer

Are you waiting for God to answer your prayers? It’s a waste of time! Wait on God, not what He can do for you! The purpose of prayer is not to get answers, but to get to know God! That’s our greatest need! It’s not even that God would heal our mind or body. Even miracles are not our greatest need, if we refuse to turn our attention back to God.

Every temporary desire will be followed by other requests. At some point in life, I must learn to find my contentment in God alone!

Don’t obsess over what you don’t have. Many people battle depression because of what’s not happening in their lives.

God doesn’t want to coddle you, He wants to comfort you.

Don’t live waiting for tomorrow to begin. Learn to live hoping today will never end.



K-LOVE Radio Features – April 2011

Orphans Sleeping

Do you have trouble enjoying the present? Is it because you’re afraid of the future?

After World War II, millions of orphans throughout Europe were gathered into camps to be housed and fed. Though their physical needs were met, the orphans still couldn’t sleep.

Finally, the solution came. Every night, when the children went to bed, a small piece of bread was placed in their hands. So, whenever they woke in the night, they’d know they’d have food the next day. Soon the children were sleeping great. Their past experience had taught them there was no hope for tomorrow. But that was far from the truth.

What worry keeps you from resting? God’s promised us a future and a hope if we will trust Him (Jeremiah 29:11). Throughout your day, hold on to the bread of life, God’s Word. You’ll find the rest you’re looking for.

 

Impossible Helicopters

Are you facing the impossible? When Igor Sikorsky was 12 years old, his parents told him experts had proven human flight was impossible.

Years later, after Igor had invented the helicopter, he put this sign in his assembly plant: “According to recognized aero technical tests, the bumblebee cannot fly because of the shape and weight of his body in relation to the total wing area. The bumblebee, however, doesn’t know this; so he goes ahead and flies anyway.”

Faith LAUGHS at the IMPOSSIBLE! If we look at the storms of life, it’s hard to visualize our dreams taking flight.  But if we look to Jesus, we’ll be able to rise above any obstacle. GOD’S LIMITLESS WORD, The Bible; is FILLED with ENDLESS PROMISES AND POSSIBILITIES! Trust Jesus, for your “TODAY” AND for your FUTURE and GET READY TO FLY…

 

Flying By Instruments

Are you facing a big decision. Don’t be afraid! God will help you!

In my 18 years of globetrotting around the world, I flew in many small private planes, and was able to talk with the pilots about their training. One of the first things pilots are taught is to read their gauges and TRUST THEIR INSTRUMENTS, MORE THAN THEIR FEELINGS OR SENSES. I’ve been flying in thick clouds and dense fog…where we couldn’t see a thing. At those moments of flying blind, I’m glad the pilots trusted their instruments.

Unless you and I TRUST the FLAWLESS INSTRUMENT of God’s Word, we’ll MAKE DECISIONS BASED ON OUR SENSES. Don’t come to eternal conclusions based on WHAT YOU CAN SEE… TRUST WHAT GOD SEES. It’s the only way you will ever be COMPLETELY SAFE.

 

The Value of Enemies

Do you know your enemy? He knows you! I’m not talking about humans…they’re not our enemies! I’m talking in the spirit realm.

Your enemy doesn’t have to beat you…he only has to bluff you. He’s not looking for a fight…he’s looking for a flaw. Don’t feel bad because you have an enemy! Without enemies, we don’t have a future, because we’re only rewarded for the enemy we conquer.

Without Goliath we would never have heard of David. Every time we delay a battle, we POSTPONE A PROMOTION. An enemy can do for us in one day, what our friends could not do for us in a lifetime. So…how do we impress a God who’s seen everything? Show him something that He doesn’t see that often. Trust Him alone, and don’t give in to fear.

Your existence proves God saw a battle ONLY YOU COULD FIGHT.

(Principles extracted from the teachings of Mike Murdock.)

 


Focusing On Mistakes

Are you still focusing on your mistakes? What a waste of time!

Sure, it’s good to learn from them, but DWELLING ON THEM IS POINTLESS. Learn to LOOK PAST YOUR SETBACKS and you’ll discover the PURPOSE IN YOUR PAIN. If you’re FOCUSING ON WHAT YOU’VE DONE WRONG, YOU’RE STILL LIVING IN THE PAST. No good can come from WATERING LAST YEAR’S CROP. An ancient philosopher once wrote, ‘Waste not FRESH TEARS over OLD GRIEFS.’

Water your future with faith! Believe that God can redeem every mistake… every disappointment…every hurt. Don’t let your PAST PAIN DEFINE YOU! Let God’s eternal purpose for your pain INSPIRE YOU! Ask Him to reveal the TRUE VALUE OF ALL YOU’VE BEEN THROUGH. Even Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8)

Allow God to form you into the person He created you to be.

 


Gift of Pain

Are you RESISTING the GIFT OF PAIN? That’s right…the GIFT of PAIN! Why do we second-guess the PERFECT PLANS of an ALL-WISE CREATOR? Many times, it’s our shallow understanding that causes us to miss the POINT and PURPOSE of our challenges. All that happens then is we NEEDLESSLY REPEAT the LEARNING PROCESS that was TAILOR-MADE JUST FOR US. Why experience the SAME PAIN TWICE? EMBRACE the VALUE of your pain the first time!

Sometimes I NAIVELY PRAY, “Lord, if I just didn’t have so much pain, my life would be great.” But looking back over my life, it’s been MY PAIN that’s KEPT ME HUMBLE. It’s MY PAIN that’s INCREASED MY DEPENDENCY on God. I THANK GOD for the PAIN THAT KEPT ME from DESTROYING my life. Pain protects us when we choose to embrace it as a gift!

 


Malcolm Muggeridge and Suffering

What teaches us the most in life?

Malcolm Muggeridge, the famous British journalist and author, wrote near the end of his life, “Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed especially desolating and painful with particular satisfaction. Indeed, I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have learned in my 75 years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my experience, has been through affliction and not through happiness.” (Malcolm Muggeridge, in Homemade, July, 1990)”

What a revealing statement! Our difficulties not only work for my good, if I love God and am committed to do His will, they’ll help shape me into the person I was meant to be. As painful as your suffering might be at this very moment the Master Surgeon Himself can heal those wounds no matter how deep…

 


Looking For Love

Are you looking for love? Wonderful! He’s looking for you too!

God is love! And He knows only His love will satisfy you. Accept no substitutes when it comes to love. There are a lot of frauds out there!

No one has ever loved you more than God. And He knows you the best. Every day, challenge your inner man, moment by moment, to return to the One who loves you the most.

The psalmist captured the essence of soul therapy. “Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.” (Psalms 116:7, NIV) Have you seen how good God’s been to you? Most people don’t see it…because it takes eyes of faith. Are you committed to seeing God’s love today?

Look for it! It’s right in front of you!

 


Happiness is a Decision

Everyone wants to be happy. But happiness is more about a state of mind than having things work out.

A man in his 90’s lost his wife of 60 years. Checking into a nursing home, an attendant described his new room to him. The old man replied, “I love it.” The attendant laughed and said, “But you haven’t even seen it yet.” Without missing a beat the old man shot back, “That doesn’t have anything to do with it. Happiness is something you decide ahead of time.”

What an extraordinary response! The Bible challenged us “…BE EXCEEDINGLY JOYFUL in ALL…TRIBULATION…” (2Corinthians 7:4)

I’ve found that happiness is NOT HAVING WHAT YOU WANT, it’s WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE. That’s why HAPPINESS IS AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE.  It’s JUST A NEW perspective AWAY. Today, be grateful for what you have.

 


Things Getting Better

Would it surprise you if I said: the part of each of us THAT WISHES things would get better is NOT our friend.

Actually, it could be our ENEMY! I have NO IDEA what “BETTER” looks like, and God has NO INTENTION of fulfilling MY EXPECTATIONS. But, if I’ll let Him, He DOES INTEND to FULFILL HIS EXPECTATIONS through me.

The only way that can happen is: I MUST DECREASE, and HE MUST INCREASE. The WORST thing I can do is be IMPRESSED by what I think, or even what happens to me!

How we RESPOND to life is far more important than WHAT HAPPENS TO US. Oswald Sanders described it in a slightly different way, “Maturity is moving from a thin skin and a hard heart to a thick skin and a soft heart.”

Sounds like a GREAT GOAL to me!

 

 


Peace With Holiness

Are you at peace with your life? True peace only comes from one Person: God Himself…the Prince of Peace.

Scripture says, “While people are saying, ‘There is peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them…” (1Thessalonians 5:3, ESV)

In fact, PEACE, WITHOUT the HOLINESS of Christ, will lead to APPEASEMENT WITHOUT PRINCIPLE. The Bible tells us to, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14) We won’t see God move, or understand His intent, unless we follow His road to peace through Jesus Christ. If we COMPROMISE on GENUINE HOLINESS, all we’ll get is counterfeit peace. TRUE PEACE will NEVER conflict with the truth of God’s Word, and ALWAYS brings us to a place of INNER REST and safety, NO MATTER WHAT’S HAPPENING AROUND US.

 


Wishing Things Work Out

I don’t know what’s best for me—never have and never will. I don’t even know enough to have a STRONG PERSONAL PREFERENCE. So, spending my life WISHING things would work out is an ENORMOUS waste of my time.

The SMARTEST THING I can do… is to remain neutral: no bias, fully flexible, and yielding ONLY to the will of God. Have PASSIONATE FAITH, and let GOD’S WILL BE DONE IN YOUR LIFE, but DON’T BE ATTACHED to how HIS WILL PLAYS OUT.

I need the SAME AMOUNT OF FAITH to welcome the LIFE GOD GIVES ME, as I needed when I first embraced the God who saved me. We KNOW we’re trusting God when we STOP WISHING our lives would change. LOVE the life you have and joyfully receive everything placed before you. GOD HASN’T LOST TRACK OF YOU!

Listen To Radio Feature

 

Heavy Winters Bring Bountiful Summers

One of the most knowledgeable men I know once told me, “Heavy winters bring more bountiful summers.” Hmm? The harder the winter–the more fruitful the summer!

We all appreciate Spring flowers and Summer fruit, but it’s the dying of Fall and the storms of Winter that create the most abundant harvests. Our inability to fully APPRECIATE the storms of life merely demonstrates how SHORTSIGHTED we really are. An over-dependence upon temporary satisfaction usually leads to FUTURE DISAPPOINTMENT. God has NO DESIRE to give you peace FROM the storms of life. His plan is to give you peace IN the storm. Peace that comes when the storm STOPS is temporary. Learning to have peace DURING the storms of life, that’s the goal.

So, the next time you encounter a storm, RESPOND WELL…a wonderful harvest is just around the bend.

 


The Value of Storms

Are you in the middle of a storm? Do you feel overwhelmed?

Meteorologists say that, on the ground, every storm feels the same coming in—whether it brings two inches of snow or two feet. So, we never really know which storm will bring the most CHALLENGE or the MOST BENEFIT to our lives.

EMBRACE your storms as they come; there are NO ACCIDENTAL STORMS. An ALL-KNOWING God, who always has OUR BEST INTEREST in mind, HANDCRAFTS EVERY ONE. We were created to MEET JESUS in the middle of our storms. Frankly, few of us have time for Him outside of them. It often takes HURRICANES and TORNADOES to GET OUR ATTENTION. We should bless God for the storms in our lives, because they help us to become FULLY conscious, and more INTIMATELY CONNECTED with our EVER-CARING CREATOR.

 


Accept God-Allowed Pain

When does our suffering produce a positive change in us?

We only change when our willingness to ACCEPT GOD-ALLOWED PAIN exceeds our fear of pain. At times in our lives, we will ALL SUFFER a SHARP PAINFUL DISILLUSIONMENT before we FULLY SURRENDER to reality. Even Jesus had to endure a PAINFUL CRUCIFIXION before He could say, “IT IS FINISHED!” (John 19:30) As we keep our eyes on the prize, we’ll eventually see that ALL of the PRESSURE and PAIN in life PALES IN COMPARISON to the GLORY that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)

My prayer is that the Lord will HELP EACH OF US to see Him WORKING in every moment of our lives: That He will LEAD US TO TRUST that THE PLAN WE CANNOT SEE IS GREATER THAN the CIRCUMSTANCES WE CAN.

 


Pleasure In Your Pain

Are you overwhelmed? Can you even imagine finding PLEASURE IN YOUR PAIN? Paul the Apostle did! He ENDORSED THIS SEEMINGLY CRAZY way OF THINKING when he wrote; “I am EXCEEDINGLY JOYFUL in all our tribulation [our pressures, afflictions, burdens and troubles].” (2Corinthians 7:4)

Hmm? If the joy that Paul expresses is an example of how GOD RESPONDS TO LIFE, and if GOD IS TRULY LIVING IN US, then JOY SHOULD BE HOW WE RESPOND TO LIFE AS WELL.

Is it possible to be grieved and joyful simultaneously? Absolutely! You might be brokenhearted someone’s died yet joyful they’re in Heaven. You may be saddened your job’s ending, but joyfully confident God has something better. Here’s a GREAT RECIPE for living: ASK GOD TO GIVE YOU HIS JOY, in the middle of your pain.

 


Joy is a Choice

Want to ADD MORE JOY to your life? Sprinkle in…a LITTLE FAITH!

Faith is the MIRACULOUS INGREDIENT that activates TRUE JOY in each of our lives. Whereas HAPPINESS waits to see what’s going to happen, JOY blissfully opens its arms to every moment, CHOOSING IN ADVANCE to see life from God’s point of view.

Joy comes in the MORNING, before anything has happened to make us happy! We can opt to let FEAR or WORRY come in the morning, or perhaps even DEPRESSION and DISAPPOINTMENT. It’s ALWAYS our choice! If we so desire, we can invite DISCOURAGEMENT for breakfast, take HOPELESSNESS out to lunch, and join DESPAIR for a candlelight dinner.

It’s always our call. Will you CHOOSE joy today?

 


Accepting Your Past

Are you struggling accepting some part of your past?

When we spend our lives DWELLING ON YESTERDAY, we shouldn’t be surprised if TOMORROW seems to never come. If we EMBRACE what IS happening in our lives, our feelings from the past won’t seem as important as they once were. Because TOMORROW’S promised to NONE OF US, I’m committed to EMBRACING my life today!

Frankly, FIRM EXPECTATIONS often lead to BITTER DISAPPOINTMENTS. At some point we must accept that ON MANY LEVELS God’s given each of us the life HE KNOWS WE NEED, not the one WE WISHED WE HAD. Embrace it! At the end of the day, RESISTING what God is doing in your life will ONLY bring confusion. ACCEPTING God’s will, and TRUSTING Him to LEAD you, will give you the PEACE OF MIND you’ve ALWAYS WANTED.

 


Shattered

Do you feel like your life has been shattered?

If so, there’s only one cure. It’s a three-letter word: JOY! You could describe joy as “a deep sense of INNER SATISFACTION that comes from SEEING OUR LIVES FROM GOD’S PERSPECTIVE, and RESPONDING PROPERLY to the CHALLENGES and SUFFERING of life.”

The Bible says our lives can be “perfect, complete, and lack nothing” if we COUNT IT ALL JOY when we fall into various trials, knowing that the TESTING OF OUR FAITH PRODUCES PATIENCE. (James 1:2–4)

Things COMING UP ROSES WON’T make us perfect, complete, and lacking nothing; we must allow situations to, at times, COME UP THORNS. If we then RESPOND PROPERLY to life’s trials, it will produce the FAITH and PATIENCE that pleases God and ultimately—an eternal JOY.

Trust God in the middle of your trials. He WON’T FAIL YOU!

 

Abundant Life

Are you LIVING the ABUNDANT LIFE Jesus promised? (John 10:10)

We as Christians are called to live VICTORIOUS, RESURRECTED lives, but how will we know this is taking place?

You know you’re walking in RESURRECTION LIFE when you’re MORE CONCERNED about HEAVEN’S IMPRESSION of you than EARTH’S. When you’re MORE INTERESTED in TRUSTING GOD than UNDERSTANDING WHY things are happening.

Dead men have NO preferences. They bask in TOTAL ACCEPTANCE and COMPLETE RESIGNATION. It IS God’s will for each of us to have NO PREFERENCE other than to obey and be at peace with what He provides.

If we DIE DAILY to our own desires, we will experience the ABUNDANT LIFE Jesus promised. For it is IN DYING we live. And it is IN LIVING A FULLY SURRENDERED LIFE we experience ALL God intended.

 

K-LOVE Radio Features – March 2011

Jesus Is The Only Way

In 1972, I was an artist selling my wares in Lahaina, Maui, and a young “Jesus Freak” said something that infuriated me.

He said, “Jesus was the ONLY way!”

At the time I believed there were many paths to God. Jesus was “ONE” way, but certainly not “THE” way. He finally read these words of Jesus: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me.”

THAT WAS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE TO ME THEN!

But now I see these words as they really are: ABSOLUTE TRUTH!

Jesus wasn’t just another option: a bright spot in this dark world. He WAS God come to Earth . . . the SAVIOR of the world.

And, if you can believe it . . . He can save you too.



Short-changed or Over-paid

Do you feel like you’ve been short-changed by God, or over-paid?

The answer to this question will not just affect HOW YOU PROCESS YOUR PAST, but HOW YOU VIEW YOUR FUTURE. Has God given any of us a RAW DEAL? Or have we merely MISINTERPRETED the OPPORTUNITIES He’s SENT OUR WAY.

God’s Word says He’s given each of us, “…everything we need to live a godly, fulfilled life.” (2Peter 1:3)

None of us have been SHORT-CHANGED. At times, we’re just SHORT-SIGHTED! We’ve missed seeing what God was really doing. Ask God to open your eyes to His plan. Ask Him to reveal the thoughts and intents of His heart. The God who sent His only Son to die in our place has ALWAYS given us His best.



Are We There Yet?

When I was growing up my family went on long car trips. I’d ask my parents, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” It’s a valid question, though when repeated every other minute, it’s a little annoying.

But, I never asked my parents “Do you know where we are going?” I ASSUMED they knew . . . I TRUSTED they knew . . . I RESTED in their knowing.

Trust is BELIEVING God has ALL the CLARITY I NEED. I DON’T NEED TO KNOW what’s going on, as long as I know HE KNOWS.

A lot of my ASSUMPTIONS about life have REALLY BEEN PRESUMPTIONS.

I’m not WALLOWING IN IGNORANCE, I’m RESTING IN A CONFIDENT TRUST that God’s guiding my life.

At times, God let’s us know where we’re going.

MOST OF THE TIME, we need to TRUST: HE KNOWS.



Shoeless And Homeless

A friend was driving on a cold, rainy day, when he saw a barefoot man walking a puppy. He said to himself, “He’s crazy!”

The he thought: “Maybe he’s not barefoot by choice?”

God encouraged my friend to go back. He responded, “OK Lord, if this is really You, his shoe size will be MY SIZE … 11.”

Finding him rummaging through garbage cans, the homeless man shared how his pup chewed his sandals, and he was looking for bottles to buy more.

My friend asked, “What size do you wear?” You guessed it, “11.”

When my friend gave him his socks and shoes, the barefoot man’s eyes welled with tears. He then reached through the window and gave him a big hug.

That moment made both their days.

Hmm? I wonder what God has in store for YOU today?



Flying High In A Lawn Chair

On a hot July day, a 33-year-old truck driver decided a change was needed in his life. He’d been sitting around for months doing nothing.

So, he attached 42 helium balloons to a lawn chair and lifted off.

Just in case he flew too high, he took along a pellet gun to shoot out some of the balloons.

Reaching high altitude very quickly, a shocked airplane pilot reported seeing “some guy in a lawn chair floating in the sky at 16,000 feet!”

Finally, he began to shoot out a few balloons and was able to land safely 45 minutes later.

Ha! Life can get pretty boring. That’s why the Bible says “without a vision, people live careless lives.” (Proverbs 29:18)

We don’t need just a change of scenery, we just need God’s perspective for our lives.



Living In A Shed Or A Mansion

Incredible as it sounds, a man lived in a wooden shed with a metal roof, 3 feet wide, by 4 feet long, and 5 feet high for decades.

He lived in this shed until he died at age 80.

Though he could afford to move, he chose to spend his life in that little space.

Are you limiting your growth in God? How big do you want your relationship to be? A shed?  A shack?  Or a mansion?

Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions . . . I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2)

Sure, this relates to our eternal future, but it also applies to the Kingdom of God within us. May your relationship with God be as BIG as His heart for you.



Getting New Vision

Do you need vision for your life?

We all need a reason to get out of bed in the morning. A purpose to work hard! A reason to step out in faith! A fresh start, in order to experience what we’ve never experienced before.

Initiative is the ability to take the lead; to introduce change and act first.

But you can’t just try harder and expect different results. To do what you’ve never done . . . you’ll have to think what you’ve never thought.

When you’re born again, GOD gives you new thoughts; a new reason to live; NEW HOPES, and NEW DREAMS. But you have to keep asking Him for them.

It’s an “ask and it will be given to you” relationship.

Don’t be afraid to ask God. He’s got all the vision you need.



Hide And Seek With God

At the entrance of a manufacturing plant, a sign read: “If you’re like a wheelbarrow, going no further than you’re pushed, you need not apply for work here!”

God has hidden the precious things on Earth in such a way that finding them is a REWARD to the DILIGENT . . . a PRIZE to the INDUSTRIOUS . . . but a DISAPPOINTMENT to the LAZY.

The nut is hidden in its shell. The pearl is buried at the bottom of the ocean. Gold is imprisoned in the mountain. Gems are only found when you crush rock, and oil and gas are deep within the earth. Even the ground only gives its harvest to the hard-working farmer.

God says, “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13) Seek God, and you’ll find what’s priceless!



Love Compels Us

A missionary in Africa was asked if he really liked what he was doing.

His response was shocking. “Do I like this work? No. My wife and I don’t like dirt.  We don’t like crawling into vile huts through goat refuse. We don’t like the heat, and the disease. And we don’t like being away from our loved ones, and all of the conveniences of home. But . . . are WE TO DO only those things for Jesus that we like to do? Liking or disliking has nothing to do with it. We’re called to ‘Go’ . . . and we go. Love compels us.”

God is love. That’s who He is. And whatever He asks us to do will be motivated by His nature . . . His love.

What’s God asking you to do today?



The Devoted Terrier

In Edinburgh, Scotland there’s a statue of a small Scottish Terrier.

The master of the dog had died when it was two-years-old. But the dog followed the funeral procession to the gravesite. After everyone had gone and the grave was covered, the little dog crawled to the foot of the grave, as if to wait for his master’s return.

The dog waited and waited through all kinds of weather and unbelievable ordeals. People would capture the dog and take him home, but he always escaped and returned to the foot of the grave of his master to continue the vigil.  The dog waited until death—for 14 years.

(SLOW) I wonder . . . how much more you and I should be devoted to Jesus?



Fearless Fighters

The Gurkhas of Nepal are renowned as fearless fighters.

One day, during a war, they were asked if they would be willing to jump from airplanes into combat.

The Gurkhas didn’t understand what was involved, but they bravely said they would do it, asking only that the planes fly slowly over a swampy area and no higher than 100 feet.

When they were told that their parachutes wouldn’t have time to open at that height, the Gurkhas replied, “Oh, you didn’t mention that we’d have parachutes!”

That’s commitment!

It makes us brave, and willing to give everything, even our lives.

Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

He was committed. The QUESTION IS . . . are we?



I Hate Imperfection

I hate imperfection!  Don’t you?  Especially in others.

But when it’s my imperfection, I ask everyone around me for grace, patience and understanding.

The funny thing is, in life, we generally don’t receive any more grace than we’ve given. That’s why Jesus challenged us, “…whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them…” (Matthew 7:12) It’s a boomerang!

Paul writes, “What a person plants, he will harvest.” (Galatians 6:7, The Message) And…“A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7, NIV)

Proverbs says it this way, “…a man who has friends must himself be friendly…” (Proverbs 18:24a, NKJV) And finally Jesus added an even greater warning, “If you forgive others, you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37b, NLT)

Sounds, like, if I want to be loved, then I better start loving others.



Attached To God’s Preference

Being attached to MY preference can be REALLY dangerous.

Why? Because I’ve NEVER KNOWN what’s best for me. Only God does.

SURE, I’ve been ATTACHED TO LOTS OF THINGS, and EVEN PEOPLE I thought I DESPERATELY NEEDED, but they weren’t what I was really looking for. What I REALLY WANTED was God!

Now . . . my OVERWHELMING PREFERENCE in life is to FULLY EMBRACE God’s preference.

Every day, I choose to wake up excited to see what MY HEAVENLY FATHER has picked out for me. And God doesn’t make junk! His best for me is the script He’s already written. His perfect will.

The Bible says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1Corinthians 2:9–10, NLT)



I’m Perfect

I’m perfect…have NO problems…and am ALWAYS like Jesus.

Do these comments give you confidence in me? OF COURSE NOT!  I need a Savior!

Unless people SEE MY STRUGGLES . . . NOT JUST MY VICTORIES, they’ll never UNDERSTAND what it means to be a GENUINE CHRIST FOLLOWER…in an INCREDIBLY DISINGENUOUS AGE.

Everything good in my life is not because of me. It’s because of God’s grace.  Jesus loves me…warts and all! And He was the most authentic, genuine person who ever walked the face of the earth.

If we have ANY HOPE of REPRESENTING GOD WELL on this Earth, our lives must IN SOME WAY model that SAME LEVEL of HUMBLE INTEGRITY Jesus modeled.

CHRIST IN YOU…it’s YOUR ONLY HOPE of glorifying God. (Colossians 1:27)



Hot Meals Or Whole-hearted

Are you more attached to knowing God…or receiving His blessing?

When Jesus walked the Earth, many people loved to be around him for the HOT MEALS…for the loaves and the fishes.  But when it came down to being WHOLE-HEARTED FOLLOWERS…DISCIPLES…they were gone.

Our MOTIVE will always determine the outcome of whatever we’re hoping for. We rarely call someone a “friend” who only sticks around to see what we’ll give them.

If our motive is to glorify God, and not merely to benefit ourselves, then God’s blessing and favor can rest upon us.

Ask God to give you His heart to do HIS WILL, and NOT your own. God has good things to give you but the best thing is a friendship with Him.



Perfectly Positioned

The reason we DON’T TRUST GOD is because we don’t know Him . . . the reverse is also true; you can’t KNOW SOMEONE unless you first trust him.

If we knew God, we’d certainly love and trust Him; and that means trusting Him to reveal His understanding to us, in His timing, not ours.

The trusting person is the one who’s no more attached to GOD GIVING HIM CLARITY than GOD STAYING SILENT. It MAKES NO DIFFERENCE!

He KNOWS the main event is not ‘ME knowing what’s going on.’ But, “GOD KNOWING what’s going on.

The more I know God the more I trust Him. The more I depend upon MY OWN UNDERSTANDING, the LESS PEACE I HAVE. (Proverbs 3:5–6)

Trust God and enjoy your life! It’s the only life you have.



God’s Withholding Nothing

Does the God of the Universe fit inside your brain? If you think you’ve got God figured out, your God isn’t big enough. So why do we think we can fully understand what He’s doing or even what’s best for us?

Until we esteem God’s Word more than OUR OWN THOUGHTS, we’ll squirm every time something goes contrary to OUR EXPECTATIONS.

I don’t need to figure out WHAT’S GOING ON as long as I TRUST the God who already knows. If I lack wisdom I can ask God for His help…but I must ask without doubting Him.

The next time you think GOD’S WITHHOLDING INSIGHT FROM YOU, believe that it would be WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION. God will withhold nothing from us, if it’s truly for our good.

But, never forget, only He knows what’s best.



Have You Lost Heart?

Have you lost heart? God knows where it is. He will help you find it.

Earth is brief! Heaven is long! Though our time here is the shortest chapter of our endless lives, it will set the tone for eternity.

While it’s appropriate to rejoice in its brevity, it’s wise to be concerned with its finality. Let the Apostle Paul’s words lift your spirits, “Therefore WE DO NOT lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the INWARD MAN is being renewed day by day. For our LIGHT AFFLICTION which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…” (2Corinthians 4:16–17)

Don’t lose heart!

The eternal glory will be worth every pressure and trouble we’ll ever go through.



The Purpose Of Pressure

Have the pressures of life gotten to you?

The challenge comes, not in that we have pressures, but in how we view them.

If they are anchors around our necks weighing us down in despair, then we are MISSING THEIR POINT ENTIRELY.

Instead of sinking us, the pressures in our lives ACTUALLY ANCHOR US to the One who loves us most.

In eternity, we’ll thank God for each trial He so wisely designed with us in mind.

There are no accidental struggles in life; just MARVELOUSLY CRAFTED STRETCHING’S that not only bring out the best in us, but, once ours eyes are opened, reveal the BEST OF GOD’S ALL-WISE INTENTIONS FOR US.

Let life’s pressures MAKE YOU into the person God intended.

It’s gonna be worth it! It’s gonna be worth it all!



Miraculous Opportunities

Just as BEAUTY is in the eyes of the beholder, so is BONDAGE.

I always have a choice in how I SEE MY LIFE.

NO ONE, and NO SITUATION can force me to be DEPRESSED or DISCOURAGED . . . angry or bitter.

These DEFORMED responses to life are ALL in my court. I can welcome them as FRIENDS, or dismiss them as the DISTRACTING ENEMIES they really are.

EVERY situation in my life is an OPPORTUNITY to see the MIRACULOUS, saving hand of God. I can live with EXCITED anticipation of how God is going to DELIVER ME out of my SEEMING predicaments, or I can wait FRETTING for the other shoe to fall.

This is ONE SITUATION where I CHOOSE to see my life from God’s point of view.



K-LOVE Radio Features – February 2011

Enjoying Life with Jesus

Jesus doesn’t want to shut down your party. He wants to invite you to His. When was the last time you had a drink with Jesus? He’s promised each of us, “Let the one who believes in Me drink. Just as the scripture says, ‘From within him will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:38, NET) Even in the final verses of the Bible, God calls us to drink in His abundant life, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ Let each one who hears them say, ‘Come.’ Let the thirsty ones come—anyone who wants to. Let them come and drink the water of life without charge.” (Revelation 22:17) We all need to be filled with God’s Spirit. Ask Him to fill you. Only Jesus can quench the thirst He created in you.

Doctor On a Cruise Ship

A doctor was on a cruise with his family. Early one morning, while walking the deck of the ship, he saw a crowd gathered. He was told a passenger had been rescued after falling overboard and was being resuscitated. The doctor thought about lending a hand, but decided to stay in vacation mode. But as he passed by, he glanced over and saw that it was his own son who was fighting for his life. Frantically, he pushed his way through the crowd. A father’s interest had risen to match the need. I am so grateful for those, with father hearts, who came to my aid. Having once been a suicidal atheist, the love and prayers of others aided in my rescue. Someone is praying for you today. You will not drown.

Disappointments and Destiny

When a young married couple failed a medical exam, their dream of going to a foreign nation as missionaries was crushed. Heartbroken, they returned home and asked God for understanding. After much prayer, they resolved that if they couldn’t go overseas themselves, they would make as much money as possible in America to help spread the gospel around the world. With missionary hearts, the couple took over a small side business from the husband’s father, making unfermented wine for communion services, turning it into a tremendous success.During their lifetime they gave vast sums of money to mission fields around the world. Their last name . . . was Welch, of Welch’s Grape Juice. What response to a great disappointment will set you on the path of God’s choosing? Expect the unexpected!

Paralyzed By Fear

Many Christians, leaders included, are paralyzed by fear of failure. They’d rather debate and analyze than begin to do something—anything. It can be overwhelming to look at all of the failures in our lives. But as Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China, once said, “I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God. First it is impossible. Then it is difficult. Then it is done. ”In my own life, I’ve been amazed over the years, as I’ve seen how faithful God has been to bring calm to chaos, and understanding to the devastations of my past. Our Heavenly Father wants our lives to be fulfilled more than we do, but only He knows what true fulfillment looks like. Trust Him!

Lost at Sea

Do you see God at work in your life? A fishing fleet was caught in a terrible storm. When night came, none of the ships returned home. All families of those missing prayed God would bring them back safely. Things seemed to get worse when, that night, one of the homes in the village caught fire and burned to the ground. But in the morning all of the ships sailed back into the harbor. Everyone rejoiced when they saw their men safely home—except the woman whose home had burned down. Seeing her husband she cried out, “We’re ruined! Our home and everything we had was destroyed by the fire.” Her husband responded. “Thank God for the fire! It was the light of our burning home that guided us. ”Perhaps the tragedy you’re feeling right now is the fire God will use to guide you to Himself.

Chippewa Indian Saying

Have you been feeling sorry for yourself lately? I’m reminded of an old Chippewa Indian saying that my twin brother Joseph once told me that greatly inspired him: “Sometimes I go about feeling sorry for myself, and all the time I’m being carried by great winds across the sky.” Many times, our perspective is skewed. We fail to remember that it’s been the grace of God carrying us through each of life’s tragedies. We fail to see the hand of a gracious God. Our fixation on self, limits our awareness of all God is doing behind the scenes in each of our lives. None of us have been short-changed. We are each blessed beyondmeasure. “Jesus, open my eyes to see how You are carrying me . . . even now!”

Looking Back Through Healing Eyes

Whether we like it or not, we each need to look back long enough and deep enough into our past to allow God to heal us. If we refuse, then the abused will become the abuser, and the neglected will become the neglecter. I work with people every day whose childhoods were so painful from abuse and neglect they’ve spent years blocking it out. But we still must look back through the healing eyes of a Creator who was with us during every horrific moment. Only He can heal the years of turmoil and brokenness. He will transform our tortured memories into bridges of healing and hope; not just for ourselves, but also for those He will send our way. And the best news is: this is His will for you.

Past Hurts Hide Hidden Worth

Past hurts often keep us from seeing our hidden worth. Our true value isn’t found in the high points of our life, but rather hidden under the rubble of our greatest pain. Only time, heat, and pressure can produce the most beautiful diamond. So too, the Master Surgeon promises to

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make all things new, while letting old things pass away. “…if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Though our struggles will at times seem pointless, the fruit of seeing life from God’s perspective will last forever. Heaven will not miss even an ounce of our true value. If we allow God to heal our hearts, the character produced in us will far outweigh the pain suffered.

Character Comes From Receiving God’s Love

If you hear nothing else today, hear this: character only comes fromreceiving the love of God. All attempts to change without first knowing how much God loves you will consign you to a life based on performance—what you can do—and not accepting what He’s already done on your behalf. Without knowing God’s love, our lives eventually become a lie, devoid of the fulfillment found only in knowing our Creator. If we reject God’s infinite love, we will try in vain to remake ourselves into the image of this fallen world; realizing only too late it was all for nothing. “This is real love…not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent HisSon as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1John 4:10)

Swapping Soldiers For Diamonds

A young boy in South Africa once swapped a costly diamond for a few toy soldiers because he was ignorant of what he had. Satan, the enemy of our soul, trifled away his own value, and now attempts to devalue as many other eternal beings as possible. Once known as Lucifer, the anointed worship leader of Heaven traded the priceless for the meaningless, when the love of God was all he would ever need. In the beginning, charisma might get you going, but it’ll take character to keep you going. The real limitations in our lives are only in us and in ourcharacter, never in the heart of a loving God. He will gladly fulfill our heart’s desire once we fully embrace what’s on His heart for us.

Georgia Tech’s Football Team

Years ago, Georgia Tech’s football team was leading, seven points to six, near the end of a game. Though his coach told him NOT to pass the ball, when Georgia Tech was within ten yards of scoring, their quarterback threw a pass that was intercepted by the fastest runner on the opposing team. It seemed nothing could stop him from scoring a touchdown. But, from out of nowhere the quarterback who had thrown the interception tackled him. After the game, the losing coach said, “I’ll never understand how your boy over took my fastest back.” The winning coach responded, “Well, I’ll tell you. Your back was running fora touchdown. My boy was running for his life. ”Never forget, when it comes to eternity, it’s not a game. You and I are running for our lives.

Eternal Hope

Three things are eternal: faith, hope and love. An empty heart leads to hopelessness. But only God, and those who trusting Him, have an eternal hope. The rest of the planet will scavenge for hope until at last they realize God owns the rights to all of the hope that’s ever existed. It is however being freely offered, but on God’s terms. I was empty-hearted, completely hopeless, and even suicidal, without God. For a season I was half-hearted due to a lapse of relationship with God, and thankfully, now for many years, whole-hearted. Only now do I have an eternal hope bubbling up from the well of God’s living water. Draw close to this well and open your heart. There’s plenty of hope for everyone.

Increasing Your Value

Avoiding pressure will only decrease your value. It’s the difference between coal and diamonds. Did you know that every diamond starts out as coal? And the world’s loaded with coal! But diamonds are rare. We can become God’s priceless diamonds when we respond properly to the pressures of life. But if we refuse, and give in to discouragement and fear, we’ll remain “just coal”. Yesterday’s tests prepare us for the greater trials of tomorrow. They help make us the person we’ve always wanted to be. When it seems nothing’s working out; when it appears your hopes and dreams are going up in flames, will you still trust the God who promises togive you a future and a hope? Will you allow Him to make you His treasure?

One Final Surge

Do you feel like you’re losing the battle for life? Civil War General Stonewall Jackson once said that in battle both sides,at one point, feel defeated. But the one who rises for a final surge wins theday. Such is true in war and even the Christian life. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego prepared their hearts for one final surgeof trusting God. They fearlessly told King Nebuchadnezzar that even if God didn’t deliver them, they weren’t going to worship him. “Put that in your fiery furnace!”Don’t ever say, “But God would never deliver me like that.” If it’s in the Book, one way or another, if it’s in the script, it’s on the schedule. King David trusted God and wrote, “This I know God is for me.”

Francis Testimony

Dead religion drove me to atheism! By the time I was 15 years old I hated God. It wasn’t His fault, but I blamedhim for the hypocrisy I saw in those who claimed to know Him. I was so angry, I spent the next 7 years as an adamant, in your face, atheist. In the years to come, I was responsible for two abortions, got lost in drugs,Eastern Religions, and wound up being suicidal for six months. One day, when I was invited to church, I prayed, ‘Jesus, I don’t know if You are Who that man says You are, but if You are–do for me what You did for Him.’ From that magnificent day, He set me free and made me alive. He heals my heart, and renews my mind. Let Him do the same for you.

”To Be Changed,” signed Jesus

How do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? God the Father, Creator of the Universe, wants to spend eternity with you! When I was in my early 20’s I prayed and invited Jesus to become #1 in my life. He came in and put a tag on each area of my life saying, ‘To be changed!’ signed ‘Jesus’. As I’ve surrendered to His Spirit, He’s done a transforming work in every part of my life. Today, you can begin a personal relationship with Jesus. In your own words, pray and invite Him to come and live inside of your spirit. Pick up a Bible and begin reading the Gospel of Mark. If you’re sincere, and allow Jesus to be the Lord of your life, He’ll set you free.

“Amazing Grace” Author

The captain of a slave ship, responsible for 20,000 deaths, asked God to forgive him. He then wrote these words to Amazing Grace: ‘I once was lost, but now I’m found.’ All of us have messed up. We’ve all come far short of God’s best. Though a perfect God always knew my sins would separate me from Him, He had a plan: Jesus, God’s Son came to Earth to live a sinless life, and then died taking the punishment for each of my sins. I owed a debt I couldn’t pay. Jesus paid a debt He didn’t owe. I’m eternally grateful. Since allowing Him to be the Lord and God of my life, He’s continued to heal and transform every part of me. If you let Him, He’ll do the same for you.

Faith Beyond Feelings

What do you do when God feels far away? When I first received Jesus, I was so elated I thought I’d never come down.But within a month, the feelings began to fade. God knew I needed to sense His presence in a significant way. But that wasn’t His end goal. When the feelings subsided, He wanted me todevelop spiritual muscles . . . to learn to walk by faith and trust Him. If we put our FAITH in the TRUTH of God’s Word, then FEELINGS will come… and they will go. But we can never let FEELINGS lead us. As I’ve grown in my relationship with Jesus, I’ve learned to trust Him, evenwhen I feel nothing. God’s never failed me. Learn to trust Him no matterhow you feel.

Strengthening Your Spiritual Life

How do you strengthen your relationship with Jesus? God is a Spirit. In order for us to get to know Him, our “eternal” SPIRITUAL life has to become stronger than our “temporary” NATURAL life. The real question is, ‘How do I strengthen my spiritual life?’ Here five ways:

  • Study God’s Word, the Bible.
  • Open up your heart to God in worship and prayer.
  • Develop friendships with people who have a strong relationship with Jesus.
  • Find a good local church where Jesus is worshipped and the Bible’s preached.
  • Tell others about what Jesus has done in your life.

If you cultivate your relationship with Jesus, it will grow. Don’t get distracted by what you see . . . the TEMPORARY. Be transformed by what you believe . . . the ETERNAL.

Changing My Desires Into God’s Desires

How do you know your relationship with Jesus is real? I know I’m a fully surrendered Christian when my desires have changed into God’s desires. If I haven’t had a DRAMATIC change of heart, I must accept the obvious: I need to be born again. Jesus said, “…a tree is known by its fruit.” (Matthew 12:33) If I’ve been born again in the past, but my life demonstrates little fruit, then the ball is still in my court. Apparently, I need to be born again . . . again. More and more people are claiming to be born again but fewer are living differently. When I’m in charge, all I’m able to become is religious—going through the motions of performing for God, but not knowing Him. Only when Jesus isLord of my life, can I yield good fruit.

K-LOVE Radio Features – January 2011

Life Is An Adventure

Instead of praying for things to work out, what if you prayed to be content? None of us know what “things working out” looks like. Only God does.

Pray to be satisfied with whatever Jesus provides for you. That satisfaction will demonstrate more than anything else that you trust God. It’s called FAITH!

Faith alone pleases God and activates His best for your life.

I’ve NEVER known what’s best for me, but I’m learning to trust that God ALWAYS does. Nothing outside of God’s promises and desires for me will bring about the satisfaction I long for.

Don’t think of your life as a DISASTER, when God wants to make it an ADVENTURE.  Once you see your life in this way, you’ll look forward to it, each and every day.

 

You Make God Smile

God’s madly in love with you! No matter who you are. No matter what you’ve done! He loves you with an everlasting love.

Because He already knows everything you’ll ever do, either God’s always loved you, or He’s never loved you. He doesn’t just see a few random moments of your life. He sees its entirety!

God doesn’t love us more when we’re good, nor does He love us any less when we’re bad. Why? Because even in our lowest moments God still likes us and fully differentiates between who we are and what we’ve done.

He not only loves us unconditionally and forgives us eternally, but God likes us so completely His heart smiles every time He thinks of us—and He thinks of us constantly.

 

Heart Enhancement

If you were really sick, no doctor would prescribe cosmetic surgery. That would merely change the SURFACE, but wouldn’t touch the ROOT of your problem.

Religion has little to offer, other than a system of conscience-soothing routines, leading to boredom and spiritual numbness.

We don’t need a facelift, we need a heart transplant; and only the power of Jesus can perform that operation.

A relationship with God changes our heart, from the inside out. Only the Creator of all things can establish our purpose in life, and that’s all about getting to know Him.

Religion drove me to atheism, but a personal relationship with Jesus transformed my life. Why don’t you pray and invite Jesus into your heart today? Allow Him to be the Lord of your life. You’ll never be the same.

 

Time Doesn’t Heal, Jesus Does

How much of our lives are spent avoiding pain and things we’re afraid of?

In every situation God can help you mature and grow.

If we face our fears, they’ll dissolve. If we bow down to them, they’ll become bondages, strongholds, and even generational curses.

Are you in any way hiding, either from God or His people? If you want to be healed, you’ll need to walk in the light of God’s love, forgiveness, comfort, and power.

God’s love covers. His grace forgives; and His Spirit comforts and empowers us to be fully healed: spirit, soul and body.

Time doesn’t heal. Jesus does. Look to Him first in the challenges of life. He’ll never disappoint you.

 

Are You At A Low Point?

Are you at a low point in your life?

Paul the Apostle was in so much pain he begged God to take it away. But God told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”

What was Paul’s response? He got it! He said, “Then I’ll just boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2Corinthians 12:9, NIV)

The word “weakness” refers to a feebleness of mind or body, even a physical or psychological disorder, disease or sickness.

Paul understood that God’s all-sufficient grace was being poured out upon him, even at his lowest point. God’s grace was all he needed to fight discouragement. Frankly, it’s all we need today.

 

Being Completely Thankful

When will you and I be completely thankful for what God has done in our lives? We don’t need God to do one more thing for us. What He’s already done, and is presently doing, is more than sufficient. He doesn’t have to demonstrate even one more time His love and care for my life. I just need to ask Him to open my eyes.

If we can just remember—if we can keep spiritual amnesia from overtaking our thoughts, we’ll be SET for life. In our right minds, we’ll overflow with gratitude: praising God for Who He is, and thanking Him for what He’s done.

With a clear view of what has really gone on in our lives, the only appropriate response to a loving God is “thank you”—a million times over.

 

Life Has Not Cheated Us

Life has not cheated us! And none of our regrets are worth dwelling on!

The greatest lessons in life come from learning to respond properly to what we think is a “FAILURE OR LOSS”. God alone is able to use our seeming setbacks for good—as we trust Him.

Instead of sinking me, the pressures in my life actually anchor me to the One who loves me most.

EVERY IRRITATION is a DIVINE INVITATION to go to the next level.

Whether my life’s an adventure or a disaster is in my court. I choose “adventure,” not because it’s easy or because I know what’s ahead, but because I’ve seen the faithfulness of the One who holds my future in His safe and loving hands.

 

Contentment Means Trusting

Blaming God is one of the greatest misconceptions in life.

Contentment means trusting Him no matter what’s happening. It’s more of a decision than a consequence. It’s the opposite of the victim mindset and  makes me responsible for my responses to life.

Paul wrote, “I’ve learned in whatever state I am, there I’ll be content.” (Philippians 4:11) He had the breakthrough of a lifetime because he was willing to accept God’s will.

When a thought comes into my mind that disagrees with God’s assessment of Himself, others, or myself I reject it, and replace it with His Word.

This requires two choices: me knowing the Word of God, and me trusting God’s Word more than my own feelings, & circumstances.

The good news is: we get a lifetime to learn this.

 

The Purpose of Prayer

Don’t wait for God to answer your prayers. The purpose of prayer is not to get answers, but to get to know God!

Every answer to prayer will be followed by other requests.

We think: “If this or that would just happen, then I’d be fulfilled.”

Yet, even miracles will leave you dissatisfied if you don’t turn your attention back to God. It’s a great seduction! I fell into it for years.

Only one out of the ten lepers Jesus healed came back to thank Him. (Luke 17:17–18) Nine out of ten never looked back.

Don’t obsess over what you don’t have; rejoice in every morsel God provides, and more will come. He’s a loving Father who promises to give us everything we need.

Jesus saves the best wine for last.

 

Seeing Needs Not Offenses

When people hurt us, we always have a choice. Either we seek the healing God alone can give, or we find ourselves wallowing in the pain of past offenses.

No one escapes the planet unhurt. It’s the price of admission to the human race: a marathon not for the faint-hearted or faultfinding, but for the faithful few who are more humbled by their own shortcomings than the faults of others.

Ask God to show you people’s needs, not their offenses.

Be a pathfinder, not a faultfinder!

Learn to forgive, not just be forgiven.

God’s perfect plan is designed to heal my past, establish my present, and inspire me to run toward a future beyond my wildest dreams.

Do you see it? It’s right in front of you.

 

Dying To Live

How often should we die to our ambitions, our self-will, and even ourselves?

Resurrection life is only available to dead people.

If Jesus had to die to get it, so do we.

So, how can you tell if you’re dead to yourself? When you’re asleep in a boat in the middle of a violent storm. When someone slaps you on one cheek and you turn the other. When all Hell’s breaking loose outside of you and yet you keep allowing the peace of God to rise up inside you.

Resurrection life is only available through Jesus Christ—for He alone conquered sin and death for each of us.

Trust in Jesus and you’ll never taste of death . . . only everlasting life.

Not just in Heaven, but right here on Earth.

 

What’s On God’s Heart?

A friend of mine went into the wilderness to spend time with God and, frankly, get away from people. One night in the middle of nowhere looking up at the stars, he prayed a tender, humble prayer, “God, I’m always sharing what’s on my heart. What’s on Yours?”

Breaking the complete silence, the sound of a small plane flying high overhead caught his attention.

Immediately, God’s Spirit shot back, “The world—the world’s on My heart!”

Jesus described the Father’s heart so clearly when He said, “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)

The question is: do we love what God loves—the people in this broken world?

 

Losing Something to Gain Everything

A missionary I once met had spent years ministering to a remote tribe without seeing any converts.

One day, a member of the tribe accidentally electrocuted the missionary’s nine-year-old son. The tribe had a custom that when someone was killed, the victim’s relatives had the right to take revenge. They expected the missionary to take the life of the one who took his son’s life. But instead of exacting retribution, the missionary forgave him. This response sent a shockwave through the tribe. They’d never heard of anyone forgiving such a deed.

Eventually, because of he and his wife’s selfless attitude, the entire tribe came to know Jesus. His family had experienced an incomprehensible loss, but their willingness to forgive changed everything.

Forgive those who have hurt you. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.

 

Being A Doctor Or A Patient

How do you recover when someone hurts you? If your goal is to understand—with a humble heart, eventually you’ll be healed.

But, if you refuse to budge, and merely nurse the hurt caused by others, then your pain will only grow deeper.

At times, our attitude is the clearest indication of what we’re most committed to: stewing or healing, remembering or reconciling.

Am I on a journey to become a doctor, or destined to remain a patient?

The only person who can make that decision is me. I may be hurt, but I must be more committed to being healed, than rehashing my pain.

Jesus suffered and died so we could become completely whole inside.

Receiving that healing is a life-long process, but worth every minute.

 

Forgetting God

Have you forgotten Who God is?

He doesn’t just act loving—God is love! And if we seek Him with all our heart, we’ll become like Him: a loving person.

Jesus commanded us to love ALL people at ALL times, no matter what they may say or do to harm us. Only this response accurately models the heart of a God who’s called us to live as He lived, and even be willing to die as He died.

If we’re leaning on Jesus, no one can ever do anything to make us not love them.

I must never lose sight of this reality: all of the grace I’ll ever need to obey God is continually available to me.

All God asks us to do is reach out and receive it.

 

We Are As Loved As Jesus

Learning to trust God accesses the peace of mind that seems impossible to attain. Yet, it’s always within reach—with arms of faith.

Believe God for the impossible. Not with presumption, based on the desires of your own heart, but with real faith. Faith that’s grounded upon the sublime plan of the God who knows all things, loves us infinitely, and always uses His wisdom for our good.

Jesus said, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” (John 15:9)

It may be hard to believe, but we are as loved by the Father as Jesus was. And He longs for us to remain in a constant connection with His unconditional love for us.

Only then can we process life as God intended.

 

Freedom’s Ahead When Self’s Behind

The self-centeredness of others may have hurt you, but it will be your own self-obsession that will keep the pain alive. The greatest enemy to your being as free as God intended is not sin, but self!

Jesus already took care of your sins when He died on the Cross. Now you must learn to die to yourself, in order to be truly free.

Freedom’s ahead, when self’s behind!

Learn to rest so completely in God’s perfection that you’re not overwhelmed by your own lack.

If we refuse to accept God’s plan for our lives, we consign ourselves to a brave new world of perpetual un-fulfillment.

Waiting for a better life is like staring at your dinner, hoping to improve its taste.

The magnificent life God created for you…it’s what’s for dinner.

 

God Takes Pleasure In You

If we believe Jesus died and rose again, and have allowed Him to be our Lord and Savior, then the Bible says we are now God’s sons and daughters.

Though we may firmly believe this, we can still at times feel God’s ashamed of us. We wonder if He is glad or sad; grateful or disappointed in whom we have become?

How we answer this question will shape our thinking in every dimension of our lives and could not possibly be over-estimated. Jesus said to His Heavenly Father, “You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” (John 17:23b)

Ever see doting parents smile at their child? That’s how God feels about you. God takes pleasure in the very thought of you. You make God smile! Believe it. It’s a truth that will set you free.

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God Likes You

For the first 30 years of my Christian life I didn’t think God liked me.

Now, if God was an imperfect human, that would make sense. But He’s not! Each of us make decisions to like or dislike people based upon their past or present actions.

But imagine being completely aware of everything a person will ever do. No longer would your estimation be based upon individual events. Your picture of them would be complete. At that moment, if you like them, it would be because you see the entirety of their lives. That’s exactly how God sees us.

If you’ve ever believed God loved you, or liked you, He still does. Why? Because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) God enjoys you! “How precious…are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17)

 

The Right Question

Whenever you find yourself wondering why something’s happening, realize it’s never a coincidence. It’s invariably God working in you, giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him.

Actually, WHY is typically the wrong question; WHAT is the word we should be asking. “God, WHAT are you trying to show me?” The situation, no matter how bleak, is not a mere accident; it’s God at work, even using what Satan meant for evil.

If we love God and are committed to doing His will, He promises us in Romans 8: 28, that all things, no matter how much they hurt, that happen to us will work for our good, either on Earth or in Heaven.

That’s a PROMISE God will keep.

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