The Power of Words
Think about how important words were over the course of your life—words that built you up, or words that tore you down. The Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Proverbs 18:21, ESV)
How many indispensable, life-affirming words have not been said? How many brave sentences were never spoken? Words like, “I never told you how much I love you! I’m so sorry!” How many life-giving words have gone to the grave because a father or mother bowed to fear, pride, or selfishness?
It makes me sick to think that on my own deathbed I might look back with regret that I lacked boldness to say or do something.
Today, don’t let the sun go down without telling those you love what you really feel.
What Makes Someone Beautiful?
I have the privilege of ministering each month to forty young women with emotional scars. From within a wonderful restorative community, they were asked to describe someone beautiful and tell what makes him or her beautiful.
They each agreed that true beauty is seen in someone willing to be authentic. One young lady said, “What makes people beautiful is that they’re always real. They’re not afraid to be who they are—sharing their real emotions, feelings, thoughts, and ideas. They are confident and uncomplicated. They never play mind games and are always honest and candid. When I see a person living her life in this way, it makes me yearn to live my life that way also, and gives me the confidence to believe I can do so.”
“Jesus, make me that kind of person!”
We once conducted a survey asking people who had church wounds what hurt them the most. Hypocrisy was at the very top of the list. In my own life I became an atheist for seven years because of the blatant hypocrisy of those who claimed to know God.
The Bible says, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.” (Romans 12:9) None of us want to be “Pretend Christians,” attempting to impress others by pretending to be something we’re not.
If I can’t be honest with myself, I’ll never be honest with others. The truth is, I’m a sinner in need of a Savior—my sin problem was so great the God of the Universe had to comet o Earth to die in my place. That’s a truth I can live with.
A True Friend
When does a parent cease to be responsible to care about their children? When does a friend stop sharing the truth with a friend? Never!
One of the great lies being spread by friends about friends, and even by parents about their children, is: “It’s their life! Who am I to tell them how to live?” You’re their friend! You’re their parent, their brother, their sister—you’re the person who’s supposed to protect them from destroying themselves.
There’s a big difference between meddling and protecting. Faithful are the challenges of a friend, but the person who applauds everything you do is not your true friend. (Proverbs 27:6) It takes courage to speak the truth in love. A friend will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
Who in your life is waiting for you to be their true friend?
The Bible describes Christians as “believers” four times in the New Testament, but it refers to them as “disciples” 262 times. It mentions God as “Savior” 24 times in the New Testament, but it refers to Him as “Lord” a whopping 711 times. Many believers claim Jesus as Savior, but fewer are disciples who know Him as the Lord of their lives. Is it possible that the primary reason for lack of abundant life for many Christians is due to what’s known as “easy believism”—claiming Jesus as Savior, but not knowing Him as Lord? We confess belief in Him but don’t follow Him. Jesus said, “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?” (Luke 6:46) Today, be a doer of God’s Word. It will make all the difference.
All of us are called to be builders. We’re all building something. If we build on what’s eternal, we’ll look back without regret. If we build on the shallow sand of this world’s values, when the floods come, and they will, what’s precious to us will be washed away.
Jesus said, “…when someone comes to Me, listens to My teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.” (Luke 6:47-49)
Floods are coming! Build wisely! Everything that can be shaken will be shaken!
Your future, and perhaps even the future of those around you, depends on it!
Viewing the Next Generation
How we view the next generation is so important.
When my wife and I were raising our twin daughters, I had a bad tendency to challenge them by focusing on what they were not doing right. My wife, on the other hand, would speak vision concerning who they were created to be. She was right!
Like you and me, the next generation is flawed but needs to be loved and affirmed. Only then can we build bridges of faith, not walls of failure. If we embrace the role of encourager, not discourager, it will fill their hearts, and not kill their spirits.
If we speak what a person is not, they will view themselves negatively. If we share who God has created them to be, they will rise with vision in their hearts.
Created To Be Exceptional
The fact that many of us have grown up with an inner longing to be exceptional, to even do the extraordinary, is not just because a parent, teacher, or motivational speaker inspired us one day. It exists in all of us because our One-of-a-kind Creator hardwired us with this desire. God has placed this seed of unique calling and destiny inside each of us.
From God’s perspective, every person He created is totally unique, and capable of doing and being what He considers remarkable. But unless our goals match God’s unparalleled plan, they are ultimately misguided and not worth pursuing.
We cannot add one measure of genuine excitement to the script God’s already written. Who could improve on perfect? But we can and must yield to God’s sublime plan and allow Him to take His rightful place as the Lord of our lives.
Reality is Our Friend
One of the expressions I say over and over again to people I feel are heading in the wrong direction is, “Reality is our friend.”
Yet, unless our God-given reality is seen as superior to any man created fantasy, we will spend our lives chasing our tail. “Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth,” (2Timothy 3:7, NKJV) the very truth Jesus promised would set us free. (John 8:32)
Instead of creating alternate stories impossible to enjoy, we can discover the very life God intended. Only a daily dependency on God can keep our eye single and filled with light that leads to life. (Luke 11:34) While it’s great to dream, it’s even more critical that our hopes and dreams are based on God’s reality and not wishful thinking.
From Shaky Start to Amazing Finish
Do you feel like your life had a shaky start? Many of us do.
The only cure for this shaky foundation is a healed and transformed relationship with the God who is eager to rescue, willing to revive, and able to reaffirm our true identity and destiny. For only He knows the true person I’m created to be.
Sure, it’ll take a whole-hearted commitment to be retooled in order to experience the abundant life Jesus promised, but far more than our lone desire, this hope is God’s will and plan for our lives. (John 10:10)
If we can trust Him, He will not fail us! Our lives will be fully healed and restored! Accept no substitutes! Only Jesus is worth following, for He not only knows the way, He is the Way.
Afraid To Lead
Are you afraid to lead? The fear of leading isn’t new. Everyone fights its insidious grip, while few overcome it. From feeble Lot who lost his family’s respect, refusing to lead them out of a city that was being destroyed, to outspoken Peter who warmed himself by the fires of the world, denied Jesus, and later wept bitterly.
At times we have to hate what we have become in order to embrace what we are meant to be. It will take courage to lead others toward what is eternally good in an age where most people are willing follow what they’ll eventually realize was eternally bad for them. It will take even more courage to first reject compromise.
If you let God be first in your life, you’ll become a person worth following.
Throughout the history of the Church, prior to a mighty move of God, the Church and culture were invariably at a low-tide moment. Without exception, a seismic shift in spiritual temperature was desperately needed! So too in our day!
Champions are needed to awaken God’s people to their true identity and purpose. We need David’s to lead God’s people into battle; Esther’s who’ll intercede before the King for the life of others; and Daniels to fearlessly face deception and intimidation.
Where are the men and women of conviction, who will stand alone in the gap by faith, and refuse to bow to the fear of man?
God, revive Your Church! Awaken the lost! Shake us out of our complacency!
We want more! We were made for more!