How Do You See God
How we see God will determine who we become, for it demonstrates how we see ourselves, and how we will ultimately act toward others. Is God loving, kind, critical or judgmental? Since we are made in the image and likeness of God, the Bible says, “…as he is so also are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17) We must have of an accurate view of who God is in order to represent Him well. If we believe what the world says about God, then we will present mere distortion. But if we believe what the Word says about God, our lives will be an epistle known and read by others, representing Jesus as He truly is: the loving God of the Universe who came to Earth to die for our sins, and then rose victoriously so we can live victorious and triumphant lives as well.
How to Get Prayers Answered
Want a sure-fire way to get answers to your prayers? The Bible provides clear guidelines. It says, “And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.” (1 John 5:14, NLT) God wants us to be confident that He hears us when we pray for, as the Bible says, “…anything that pleases him.” The Bible continues, “And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.” (1 John 5:15, NLT) So, let’s sum it up. If you want 100% of your prayers to be answered, do this: fully submit to God, want His will more than your own, discern what’s on His heart, and join Him in praying for just that. Then you will enjoy a relationship with the One who wants your prayers answered more than you do.
Have you ever been really hurt by someone? All of us have! But no one hurts more than God; especially when His heart is broken over the rebellion of His children. Winkie Pratney writes that the word “grieve” in Genesis 6:6 is almost untranslatable: it means to have difficulty breathing, to gasp, to be so deeply hurt and wounded that you cannot breathe. Our sin takes God’s breath away. We may wink at our sin, but God gasps. The Father knows the value of our soul is priceless. That’s why He sent His only begotten Son to die in our place. When we are hurt we want to fight and kill. When God hurts He wants to bleed so others can live. He gives us each a choice. May we receive His new nature and live.
A modern definition of the word “bigot” states that a bigot is “a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions…” That may strike closer to home than we’d like to admit. So, before we start throwing the word “bigot” around, we might consider that our judgment of other people’s seeming bigotry, may qualify us as equally bigoted. We may actually become the biggest bigot we know. Ouch! Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-3, ESV) “Jesus, let us treat others as you did when you were on this Earth.”
Illusion vs. Incarnation
Never lose sight of who God created you to be…a reflection of the Lord Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. Either we are tragically being conformed to a world that the Bible guarantees “will pass away” (1 John 2:17), or we are being gloriously transformed by the Word of God that will last forever. (1 Peter 1:25) Jesus made it clear, “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.” (Matthew 12:30, NLT) We can become “momentary culture clones” and forfeit “God’s eternal character.” Don’t trade your birthright for a hot meal, reflecting man’s illusion and not God’s Incarnation. Jesus died to destroy sin and death. Live a godly life, passionately representing Jesus, and you will die having finished well.
Persecution of Christians
I wake up grateful, every day that I can freely worship Jesus in America. I never want to take that for granted, because it may not always be so. In 2016, Christians continued to be the most persecuted group around the world. The upcoming report from the Italian-based “Center for Studies on New Religions,” determined that 90,000 Christians were killed for their beliefs worldwide last year. So sad! Nearly a third, were at the hands of Islamic extremists like ISIS. Others were killed by state and non-state persecution, in places like North Korea. 600 million Christians were prevented from practicing their faith in 2016. Thank God every day that you can freely worship Jesus, and pray for fellow Christ-followers around the world who are being persecuted and cannot.
Have you ever felt inappropriately judged? One of the most hurtful things in life is when you have a good motive, and you’re judged for having a bad one. That’s how Joseph felt when, for no fault of his own, he was his Dad’s favorite, and his brothers judged and hated him for it. But, he never complained and allowed bitterness to smother his life, even after being sold into slavery, unjustly put in jail, and forgotten by people he helped. In a similar way, David felt judged when he was courageously willing to fight Goliath, but his older brother accused him of pride, saying, “I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!” (1 Samuel 17:28, NLT) Remember what the Bible says, “But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.” (1 Peter 2:20, NLT)
Lightning Bolt Thoughts
How do I know a thought I’m having may be of God? My answer? I would never have thought of it in the first place. Now, that may sound overstated, but, many times, I’ve found it to be true. The Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon described it this way, “Pull up short every now and then, and the passengers on your coach will wake up.” God wakes me up with a lightning bolt thought. And as I soak on it, I realize He has presented me with a solution to a problem, a revelation of insight, or a brilliant opportunity to step out in faith and obedience. One final test. If the new thought produces confusion, forget it, it’s not God. But, if it makes you afraid. Wonderful! It may be time to get out of the boat and walk on water.
God’s Cause vs. Your Cause
What are you most passionate about, God’s cause or your own? When David’s brother accused him of being proud, David’s feelings were hurt, but he was more concerned with how God felt than how he felt. That’s how you know if you have God’s heart. King Saul and everyone else facing Goliath were concerned about their own cause. David was concerned for God’s. He said, “Is there not a cause?” (1 Samuel 17:29, NKJV) Like Jesus, he was being mocked and ridiculed for doing what is right. But, like Jesus, He cared more about what His Heavenly Father thought, than what man thought; God’s cause, more than his own. We have the same test today. Be passionate for God’s cause and you will not just be fulfilled, but you will fulfill your life’s purpose.
Picking Up Pieces of People
We live in a world of imposters. People trying to be something they’re not. Putting on someone else’s identity. Saul tried to put his armor on David. David refused. The only way we can ever fulfill our destiny is to become the person God intended, not others. God will always test you to see if you are following Him, following yourself, or following someone you want to impress. What inner armor is God developing in you? Every test we’ve ever been given will be essential up ahead. Don’t despise the “day of small tests”. I was picking up a piece of paper on the street and God reminded me it was a “habit of obedience” formed in me 40 years ago. What began with “picking up pieces of paper” matured into: “picking up pieces of people”.
Jesus, Our Prophet, Priest and King
Will you let Jesus be your Prophet, your Priest, and your King? A Prophet, to reveal God, to speak for God, and to communicate the truth God wants you to know. (Acts 3:22-23) A Priest, who offered Himself as a sacrifice for your sins (Ephesians 5:2). And as your King, to rule and reign over your life (Matthew 21:5). As God, come to Earth, Jesus embodies all of these intercessory qualities. If you let Christ’s Word speak to you He will guide you into truth that will set you free. If you allow His blood to cleanse you, you will be washed clean from the stain of past and present sins. And if you empower Jesus to lead and guide your every decision, your life will overflow with the peace and joy of God. “Jesus, today, be my Prophet, Priest and King!”
We’re Never Alone
One of the worst things we can ever believe is that we can be whoever we want to be in private. Many have destroyed their lives believing this. If we can’t defeat the enemy when we’re alone, we’ll never defeat him in front of other people. Actually, if we have a relationship with God, we should realize we’re never alone! Jesus said, “Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!” (Luke 12:3, NLT) We must fight to win the battle for our heart and mind. The Bible says, “…let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God…” (Ephesians 4:23-24, NLT) Having the mind of Christ means washing our thoughts with God’s Word.