Do you battle with anger? Proverbs 16:32, says, “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” In every area of life, our response to the unexpected is infinitely more important than what others do to us. If the thief ALWAYS comes to steal, kill and destroy, then responding like the world, the flesh and the devil will always lead to death. Jesus counters the devil’s lies with the truth. He said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly!” (John 10:10, ESV) Perhaps, the fruit of God’s Spirit we ignore the most, self-control, is the one that will set us free. Do what Jesus said, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for”…even if it’s self-control. (Matthew 7:7, NLT)
As society continues to drift further away from reality, only God’s Word is the truth that can set someone free. Everywhere, people are creating their own version of good and evil, truth and lies, but the “new” morality is merely repackaged, “old” immorality. Sadly, far from being profound or liberating, it is the perfect recipe for deception. It is: “man playing God.” From Rebellious Anarchists to Pleasure-Seeking Hedonists…Selfish Capitalists to Naïve Socialists, lack of discernment will always lead to deception and destruction. Jesus prayed in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” Where are you and I playing God in our lives?
Jesus Still Weeps
When you invite God into your pain, you will see His compassionate heart. The Bible says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15, ESV) Jesus knows your pain…your heartache! On Earth, “Jesus wept,” (John 11:35) and He still weeps with us even now. He models the good news that there is a God who cares. At times, we think we need to come to God with our “Sunday-Best,” when He is actually just as happy to see us in our “Monday-Worst.” What we really want to know is: “God, do You know what You’re doing with my life?” Believe that! God knows what to do with the broken pieces of your life.
God Is Speaking To You
Do you believe God is speaking to you? He is, I believe, every day! God speaks when He is about to accomplish His purposes. For, what God initiates, He always completes. He reveals Himself to increase our faith and trust in Him. When God speaks, you will recognize His inner voice, which will always seem unique to you. It is so divinely personal; you are convinced you have His complete attention. That’s because you do! God wants to communicate so clearly you will always know it is Him speaking. And never forget, God’s revelations are always designed to bring you into a love relationship with Him. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice.” God is speaking to you today. You’ll be blessed as you hear and obey.
Why We Need Faith
When God speaks, I will need faith to respond. Faith is the confidence that what God has promised or said will come to pass. Before I call my family, others, or even myself to exercise faith, I must be sure I have heard a word from God. When God lets me know what He wants to do through me, it will be something only He can do. The God who calls me is also the One who will enable me to do His will. Waiting on Him is always worth the wait. Fervent prayer will be one of the most demanding things I ever do. Obedience is my moment of truth. But only He should get the glory. God will never give me an assignment He will not enable me to complete.
The Real American Dream
You would think from listening to some people’s view of America, the Founding Father’s primary concern was to keep religion, and specifically Christianity, as far away as possible from projecting its views on society. But, if you spend any time examining what the founding leaders of America really said, you will have to conclude the exact opposite. As our Declaration of Independence so eloquently proclaims, “…all men are created equal…” and “…they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…” The fact is…America is not great because we think we’re great. America is only great because of God! May we follow the advice of Scripture, “Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34, NLT)
A hero has been defined as “somebody who commits an act of remarkable bravery or who has shown great courage and strength of character.” (World English Dictionary) The Christian worldview has always been distained by the world. Most people are tossed back & forth by the world’s values. They succumb to the peer pressure of the culture. In the first century, when Paul arrived as a prisoner in Rome, he met with Jewish leaders who promptly said, concerning his being a Christ-follower, “…we know that it is spoken against everywhere.” (Acts 28:22) More and more, this seems to be the case today. But, know this for certain, as “darkness gets darker it only makes the light that much brighter.” As D. L. Moody once said, “You can’t talk cream and live skim milk.”
Choosing the Difficult
God will never force you to do anything. Love necessitates freedom to choose. Every decision Jesus made was His choice. He said, “No one takes My life from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (John 10:18) Jesus could have called down 12 legions of angels to rescue Him in His greatest hour of need. In ancient Rome, a legion was an army division of three to six thousand soldiers. So, 72,000 mighty angels could have rescued Jesus, but He chose what was most inconvenient and most difficult. Don’t be surprised if He asks you to do the same. I’ve found this to be true. But, what is also true is that I have never regretted taking the hard, obedient road.
Jesus, the Greatest Hero
All of us celebrate heroes, whether they are real or imagined. From mythological or comic book heroes, to actual heroes who put themselves in harms way to protect our families or nation. But, who is the greatest hero of all time? It would have to be Jesus, and for the following reasons: though He was God come to Earth, Jesus didn’t defend Himself, but instead gave His life defending others. Because of Christ’s selfless love, He was willing to call us “friends” when we were His enemies. And lastly, Jesus was willing to suffer a death others deserved; suffering, the Bible says, more than any man for our sake. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Yet, as brutal as Christ’s physical suffering was, it was nothing compared to becoming sin for us, and dying to pay the penalty that we deserved.
Jesus said, you must, “…love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” But what would that look like? I believe one of the amazing experiences Jesus had, perfectly describes true worship. The Bible tells the story in the Luke 7. “When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.” (Luke 7:37-38) Her actions sublimely demonstrated what total, complete, abandoned worship looks like! How grateful I am for what Jesus has done for me is best seen in how I worship Him.
My Great Dane Story
I used to go for walks at night, to walk and pray. One night, around midnight, I was walking in my neighborhood, and all of a sudden, a man opened his front door to let his dog, a massive Great Dane, out. Immediately, this dog, as big as a horse, ran out, leapt over a hedge and made a beeline for me. It happened so quickly, all I could do was freeze. He then jumped up, put his giant paws on my shoulders and without missing a beat licked my face, from chin to forehead. Then, just as quickly, he turned around, did his thing on the ground and went back into his house. It was unbelievable! But, as I reflect on it now, there’s probably no better example of the Bible verse that says, “Stand still and see the salvation of God.” (Exodus 14:13)
A True Lover
The world glamorizes love, and even extols those they think are great lovers. But, what does a true lover look like? Wouldn’t it be someone who loved unconditionally, who forgave others unequivocally, and who refused to consider anyone un-loveable? The key quality of true love is that it’s not primarily designed to benefit you. True love thinks of others first. Therefore, we can never represent the God who is love if we think we’re better than other people. None of us are better than anyone else. If we say, we’re not that big of a sinner, it only means we’re comparing ourselves to other people on this Earth, when the significance of our sin only comes to light when we compare ourselves to our Creator. In which case, we have all sinned and are in need of God, our Savior.