Do you have a burden to pray? If you do, it didn’t start as your burden. It started with God. We don’t pray to get God’s attention, we pray because God had gotten our attention. I’ve never initiated anything of eternal value. If I happened to strike everlasting gold, it’s because God shook me hard enough to awaken me to do His will. The Bible says, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians 5:14, NLT) I want to live fully awake. I want to die fully awake. I want to pray what’s on God’s heart, for only then will my prayers be answered. God’s will is not limiting. It is the invitation we have each been waiting for, to the best of all possible options for our lives.
God’s Plan “A”
Want to know a secret in finding out the will of God? Start by realizing you don’t know it. James wrote, “If any of you lack wisdom…” That would be all of us. “…let him ask God.” (James 1:5) So, asking God for wisdom should be like breathing—a moment-by-moment expression of our need for Him. We think we know what’s best. We don’t! God’s Plan “A” is often our Plan “B” or “C.” But, if we trust God, even every worse-case scenario will have a silver lining! And that silver lining is called grace, accessed by faith, and planted in each of our hearts. “Jesus, give me the faith to always believe that you not only know best, but that You are activating Your best for my life, even now.”
Habits are an interesting thing. They can be either good or bad, but always hard to break. Call them routines or patterns, traditions or addictions. They can be our best friend or our worst enemy. Habits have been defined as “regular tendencies or practices that are hard to give up.” Godly habits can keep us on track, fuel us when we’re empty and encourage us when we’re down. Bad habits can likewise rob us of our peace, break our hearts and make us beg for mercy. But I have found pursuing God is the best habit of all. He is the deep groove I want etched into my life; my best compulsion, my most magnificent obsession and my faithful fixation. “Jesus, You are the one habit I never want to lose!
Why You Were Created
One of the devil’s biggest lies is telling us that what happens here on Earth stays on Earth. In reality, what happens on Earth affects us forever. The truth is—our life on Earth is a mere dress rehearsal for eternity. Unless our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus, we’ll be smothered by the shame of having not received our only hope of being forgiven. Accept the sacrifice of God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says, “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, NLT) If we refuse to accept the gift Heaven has sent, Jesus, one day we’ll realize the sad truth, no One else is coming. Let Jesus be your Savior and Lord today, and you will at last understand why you were created.
Walking Toward Jesus
I want to live a safe life, but I don’t want to live so safe I never rely completely on God. Mark Twain once wrote, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bow lines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” How true! We can stay close to the shore, and never launch out into the depth of God’s great adventure. If we never break a nail, we likewise may never break free from the fear of the unknown, which may just be a lack of willingness to trust God. The Bible says, “Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus” (Matthew 14:19) We’re always safer walking toward Jesus than cowering in the boat.
Someone once said, “the first time something holy in you gets violated, you get angry.” Though this initial anger is justified, it can lead to anger that has no justification. Pay attention to the root of your anger. Are you lashing back at a past injustice, or a present response to what needs to be set right. When the Bible says, “Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry…” (Ephesians 4:26, NLT) it implies there are times when anger is appropriate: when we see injustice, prejudice, evil or cruelty. We feel indignation, an anger provoked by what we perceive is unfair treatment. At that moment, unless we allow God’s Spirit to guide us, we may realize all too late that “human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” (James 1:20, NLT)
Life is a Maze
Life is a maze. We go this way and that, looking for a way up and out— somewhere beyond the pain and disillusionment of the moment. But that’s where what we really want is always tested. Are we searching for that which satisfies for a moment, or that which lasts forever? Never underestimate deception’s ability to embrace a false reality as an absolute truth—to explain away the simplicity of God’s reality. I can’t persuade you to believe the obvious, but it is this: we can see in the beautiful creation that there is a Creator, and we can see in our conscience, that we are not Him. This reality is simple and present if you’d just take a moment to look around. The maze of your life may seem complicated to you, but it’s not complicated to God.
The Blessed Option
Life is filled with an infinite number of options, but only one alternative is best when it comes to living a blessed life. Only one choice leads to the peace that goes beyond my understanding. Just one possibility opens my heart to joy unspeakable and mercies that never end. The way to a blessed life is to fully trust God. Every other option for how to live is an infinitely distant second. The Bible says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.” (Psalm 37:4-5, NLT) I have found that trusting God is the only option that doesn’t disappoint, and my only hope to live the life I’ve always dreamed of.
We all fall and fail! But, our failing and the despair it generates can’t compare with the depth of despair the devil faces every day. He knows deep down, his efforts to destroy us will only end in absolute failure. Our failing is our sad beginning! His failing will be his tragic end! Our failing creates the plot and tension that eventually leads to our rescue, and one of the great joys in life: realizing that all the devil meant for evil has turned out for God’s glory and my good. He who laughs last, laughs best! That Person would be God, and those who belong to Him. Never forget, the God who created laughter, loves to laugh, and if we surrender our lives to Him, we will laugh and rejoice around His throne forever.
Three Basic Life Questions
When my father died, though his picture was placed on the front page of the New York Times, he died empty, having never answered life’s three most basic questions. The same questions each of us ask ourselves everyday: Am I enough? Do I have enough? Have I done enough?
Am I enough? Is fed by our insecurities, and can only be answered when we receive our Creator’s approval. Do I have enough? Is fueled by our fear of tomorrow, and our insatiable appetites. And lastly, have I done enough or not done enough? Is stirred by the guilt of unachievable ambitions. The truth is, when God is enough for me, I realize I am enough for Him, I have enough in Him, and I don’t have to do enough to please Him. He’s already pleased.
God’s Good News
Most Christian’s perspective of who they are begins in Genesis 3, The Fall, and not Genesis 1, The Creation; that we are mostly bad, and not good! But, I believe what was most true about who we were in the beginning, is still true about us. We were made in the image and likeness of God, and that’s still true. In the first chapter of Genesis, the Bible says, “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31, NKJV) Even though we fell from that grace and sinned, we can fall once again into His arms and be forgiven. He never intended to let us merely wallow in the bad, but instead sent His Son to die and rise so that we can live and bask in the good. Don’t turn God’s good news into bad news. Remember who He created you to be, and rejoice in that.
The Best Part of the Story
The greatest failures in my life occurred when I believed lies about what is most true about me. The fact is: we are all living in various stages of repentance. We are either acknowledging or denying when we fail, and then repenting of our sins, or going our merry way as if nothing happened. But, something has happened. We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s best for us. Yet, if that’s all we know, we’re missing the best part of the story, that what is most true about me is not just what God is focusing on, but what He wants me to focus on as well. Don’t fixate on what your not, when God’s centering in on what you are: created to be sons and daughters of the living God.