High Mountain Lakes
While hiking around a high mountain lake, a knowledgeable friend told me that high mountain lake water levels remain the same, whether in drought or during elevated water seasons. Wow! That got my attention, as one of my prayers is to walk in the fullness of Christ. He then explained why this happens. First, these lakes must have sufficient outflow, and secondly, the springs and snow above the lakes supply a steady inflow of water. What a wonderful principle! When we, as followers of Jesus, can climb above the challenges in our lowest valleys, we can experience a continually abundant flow of God’s Spirit. Yet, in order for our lives to remain full, they must overflow to others. Trust God in your winters, receive His springs of living water, and let your life overflow to help others.
Starring in Your Own Movie
Clint Eastwood has asked the three young American heroes who stopped a terrorist attack on a French train in 2016 to play themselves in his upcoming movie, “The 15:17 to Paris.” Their heroic courage, at a crucial moment, saved countless lives. It made me think about each of us. We each get to star in our own movies, viewed by the great cloud of heavenly witnesses mentioned in Hebrews 12. We’re not the lead, but we are supporting actors. It’s also our call if we want to make our movie a horror or love story, a nightmare or an adventure. The script God’s written for us is perfectly type cast for who we are, and makes our lives an adventurous love story for the ages. Follow the lead Actor, Jesus, and your life will have a happy ending.
What Are We Passing On?
In each of our lives, we all pass on something; whether good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. Someone may have to fight the battles I refuse to. Someone must be courageous where I cowered. What will my children, grandchildren, and future descendants inherit? In this sense, healing is always multi-generational. It took a previous generation sacrificing their fathers and brothers, mothers and sisters in order to stop the Nazis. Someone relentlessly persisted to end the epidemic of polio. Jesus defeated the plague of sin that would forever destroy each of our lives, by dying on a Cross in our place. May God embed this truth in our hearts: whatever isn’t healed, we pass on! Healing has a voice. It says, “Do whatever it takes to receive God’s healing.”
Exploring God’s Love and Mercy
We can never know God’s love until we fail, and then see that He is still madly in love with us. The plan of God we cannot see is greater than the circumstances we can. God’s grace is more than sufficient, if we allow His strength to rise up above our weakness. We all appreciate spring flowers and summer fruit. But, it’s the dying in fall, and storms of winter that bring the most bountiful harvest. The greatest value of our worst sins and God’s forgiveness is that they most clearly demonstrate the extent Jesus went through, to cover our most foolish mistakes. Don’t spend your time fixating on what you’ve done wrong, explore the vast reality of God’s love and mercy, seen most vividly in His death on the Cross.
Happiness is What You Bring
Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. It’s what you bring to the day, not what the day brings to you. Your overdependence on temporary satisfaction, will invariably lead you to future disappointment. Happiness is not having what you want, it’s training your soul to want what you have. Love the life you have and joyfully receive every meal placed before you. The value of your most challenging circumstances is always hidden. Masses of humanity, gorge themselves on the crumbs of Earth . . . not realizing their true hunger is for the feasts of Heaven. Accept God’s promise to His followers, “…God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28, NLT)
Bless Your Storms
There are no accidental storms. Bless the storms that come to your life, and stop chasing fleeting, unfulfilling pleasures. We never know which storm will bring the most challenge, or the greatest benefit, to our lives. Therefore, embrace storms as they come, remembering God has no desire to give you peace from the storms of life. His perfect plan is to give you peace in the storms. The storms in our lives challenge our identity; who we are and what we really believe. Peace that comes when the storm stops is temporary. Learning to have peace during the storm is infinitely better, and has eternal benefits. We were created to meet Jesus in the storms of life. And frankly, few of us have time for Him outside of them.
Hope Will Never Disappoint
If hope came to your life, would you recognize it? Hope is often hidden in a mystery. We can’t blame God for our lack of hope, because each of us are given equal amounts of hope. Yet, hope without diligence is mere “wishful thinking.” In what area is God asking you to have hope? It will take faith to receive God’s hope, because it always works in tandem with faith. I can’t become more than I hope to be! Frankly, hoping for better days will get me off track. Hoping for a better understanding of God’s love will dial me in. God promises that hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:5) A hopeful attitude has no expiration date.
Ask “What?”, not “Why?”
We know we are walking in the resurrection life Jesus died to give us, when we are more interested in trusting God than asking life’s most asked question, “Why is this happening to me?” “Why, God?” should never be the question. It’s a waste of time! “God, I trust You! What are You trying to show me?” in infinitely better. It shows we believe God’s Word more than what we see or feel. Frankly, the more I know me, the less I trust me. And the more I know God, the more I trust Him. Love never fails, and God is love. So, trust Him no matter what! As the Psalmist wrote, “…Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned…” (Psalm 37:25, NLT) Never!
How do you connect with an invisible God? It must be by faith! Unless you walk by faith, one day you will find out you are not following Him at all. That’s why the Bible says, “…it is impossible to please God without faith.” (Hebrews 11;6, NLT) Never let your feelings dictate your faith. Put your faith in the facts, God’s Word, the Holy Bible, because feelings will come and go. As, Jesus was the perpetual Overcomer, if your life is hidden with Christ in God, you are called to be a perpetual overcomer as well. Jesus, “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings…” (Psalm 17:8, NIV) “I trust in You, more than what I feel or see. For it is Your eternal promises that guide my life.”
Changing or Exchanging
Are you struggling to change, and feel you’re not making much headway? Here’s a helpful hint: life is more about exchanging than changing. If we will surrender our lives to the Lordship of Jesus, God promises, as the Message Bible says, to give us “…bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. (To) Rename (us) “Oaks of Righteousness” planted by God to display his glory.” (Isaiah 61:3, The Message) God will replace fear with faith, but it will take resignation and commitment to see this change. A divine discontent–convinced, that there must be something more! Nothing goes from “before” to “after” without something in-between. And that in-between is always, and forever, Jesus.
We’ve All Seen Too Much
Perhaps, like me, you’ve wondered what standing at the judgement seat of Christ, mentioned in 2 Corinthians 5:10, will be like? Is it something to dread, or a privilege to look forward to? Is Jesus going to be our accuser or advocate? The choice is always ours. The Bible says, because of the sacrifice of Jesus, we can “…with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16, ESV) Frankly, there is no excuse for unbelief. We’ve all seen way too much. I can either turn myself in, or wait to be caught. One will lead to a relationship of love, trust and forgiveness. The other to misunderstanding God’s heart so staggeringly, I will have died believing a lie.
Fuels for Forest Fires
One of the most destructive dangers during hot summer months in many states are wild fires. Millions of acres and hundreds of homes are destroyed every year. This natural danger has a direct application for our spiritual lives. There are preventive measures that can keep our lives safe. Dead vegetation that allows a fire to climb up from the landscape or forest floors into the tree canopy should be eliminated. Ground fuel consisting of pine needles, dry leaves, twigs and other dead brush should be trimmed within 50 feet of homes. Each of these natural precautions are consistent with what Jesus can do in our lives if we allow Him, “He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” (John 15:2, NLT)