Aerial Skiers and Their Training
Olympic Aerial Ski Jumpers ski off 10-foot ramps and are propelled 20 feet into the air while performing multiple flips before landing. It is amazing to watch and fascinating to study! But, what stunned me as much as their winter competitions was how they trained during the off season. Aerialists train for their jumping maneuvers during summer months by skiing on a specially constructed water ramp and landing in a large swimming pool. When they hit the water, a burst of air is sent up from the bottom of the pool just before landing to break up the surface tension of the water, thus softening the impact of the landing. When I heard this, my immediate thought was how the Word of God, the Breath of Life, softens the hard landings in my life. Oh God, how I love Your Word! (Psalm 119:97)
The Korean Revival
Forty years after Robert Jermain Thomas was martyred in Korea, a meeting took place that is credited as a turning point for revival in that nation. During this historic gathering in 1907, a church elder publicly confessed that he had been misusing church funds. That triggered an outpouring of public repentance, and many confessed their sin until the early morning hours. A policeman admitted he’d come to spy on the church meeting. A woman confessed adultery, and her husband publicly forgave her. Stunning the crowd, an old man then admitted he had killed Robert Jermain Thomas, nearly 40 years before. Then, a Korean elder confessed his hatred for another leader in the room. The two men fell to the floor, wept and prayed. These public confessions brought a spirit of repentance to the service that sparked a revival that continues today.
How You See Yourself
A friend of mine would tell his son as a young boy, “When you walk into a room believe everyone in that room likes you.” What an interesting approach to cultivating confidence in your child. Today, that young man is a mighty leader of many thousands of people in an amazing church. Is it possible that how we see ourselves affects how others see us as well? It happened in the Old Testament. The children of Israel sent 10 spies into the land who with trepidation exclaimed, “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” (Numbers 13:33, NIV) Consequently, they gave into fear instead of faith. So, the question is? Do you see your fruitful inheritance or your feared foe? Is your heart more filled with faith or fear? It will in some way determine your future.
Faithful or Familiar
God has never been attached to anything He’s created…not a moment, a memory or a miracle. They all happen for a reason, but the creation must serve the purpose of the Creator, and not visa-versa. We won’t be faithful if we’re attached to the familiar. We all find comfort in the known, the common. They provide a sense of security. We think we know what will happen next, when in actuality we have no idea. God is not tame. He cannot be domesticated. He won’t listen to reason, because only He knows what reason looks like. Fifteen minutes after Moses went up the mountain they were dreaming of Egypt. Wishing for the good old days, usually indicates we have a bad memory. Be faithful, and don’t let the familiar seduce you with false comforts.
Praying or Grumbling
All of us feel the pressures of life that threaten to overwhelm us. They can drive us to our knees and compel us to pray or drive us crazy and propel us to cry out in fear. Do we start out praying and believing for something from God and end up complaining and grumbling for nothing at all? Do we begin by trusting the God knows best and wind up naively believing we do? The Message says, “These are the ‘grumblers,’ the bellyachers, grabbing for the biggest piece of the pie, talking big, saying anything they think will get them ahead.” (Jude 1:16, The Message) Elijah challenged the people: “How long are you going to sit on the fence? If God is the real God, follow him; if it’s Baal, follow him. Make up your minds!” (1 Kings 18:21, The Message) Pray, in faith, believing!
Being Right is Overrated
One of the greatest illusions of this, or any age, is the assumption that what I believe is almost always right. Especially, that I am usually “more-right” than what someone else believes. If you want to take comfort in rightness, then affirm what God knows is true, not what you think. No one has deceived me more than me. And yet, no one can dig me out of deception if I harden my heart. There is great reassurance in agreeing with God’s Word and Spirit, and only an illusion of peace when I spend my life agreeing with myself. Agreeing with yourself is not a multitude of counsel, and only leads to a multitude of mistakes. Agreeing with God’s Word always leads to rest and reassurance! Never presume you know better and you will live in peace, and not regret.
Peace Through Humility
True peace only comes through humility. Only when we humble ourselves can we connect with the Prince of Peace and “…experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” (Philippians 4:7, NLT) Only when we acknowledge our sin can we meet the Savior. “So, humble yourselves under God’s strong hand, and in his own good time he will lift you up. You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him…” (1 Peter 5:6-7, Phillips) …because no One cares for you more than He does. But peace without pursuing a humble relationship with Jesus will only lead to compromise and deception. Reject the illusions of peace that parade all around us. Promising much but delivering more pain than promise. Jesus said, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.” (John 14:27, NLT)
Why Can’t I?
One of the scariest sentences we could ever say was echoed by Peter right before He denied Jesus. “Lord, why cannot I follow You now? (John 13:37) “Why can’t I?” It’s a sentence we all say a lot! Adam and Eve each said it, “Why can’t I eat that fruit?” Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, said at the end of his life, “Why can’t I worship another god?” Paul, the religious Pharisee said, “Why can’t I do what’s right?” People say, “Why can’t I date that guy?” “Why can’t I watch that movie?” “Why can’t I listen to that music?” “Why can’t I give in to that pleasure?” “Why can’t I flirt? Lie…steal…curse! It’s this attitude in me that scares me most and keeps me on my face before a Holy God. Deception is stalking all of us.
Getting God’s Best
We all wonder at times, is God really giving me His best? It’s a sad and silly thought, but real. The Bible promises each of us, “No good thing will God withhold from those who love Him.” () In the Old Testament, King David stole another man’s wife. When God sent the prophet Nathan to expose David’s sin, God did not say to David, “I’m regret having given you so much!” He said, “If what I gave you was not enough, I would have given you much, much more.” () God is a God of more not less. It’s true, He will give you less at times of what you don’t need, but He loves to give us more of what we really do need. Which is primarily, more of Himself. No One wants to bless your life more than God.
They killed Jesus thinking they were doing God’s will. () I cannot help but think of some of the things I’ve done. Was I doing them following God’s will, or my own? This troubled me for 15 years when I traveled and ministered in the Gifts of the Spirit over thousands of people. Some of whom still contact me in various ways every week, now 25 years later. It always bothered me that I was not 100% accurate. I even spoke to a few national leaders about it and considered stopping altogether. Only as I came to the end of that ministry season did the Holy Spirit speak to me about His reason for not clearly showing me why. He wanted to keep me dependent upon Him, because I knew, what we all should know, at any moment we are capable of missing God.
All of us want more. It’s a universal desire. And there is no One who wants you to have more than God. He is a God of more and not less. The challenge is looking to God alone for His increase. Lucifer wanted more glory, so he rebelled. Adam and Eve wanted more and so they disobeyed. Cain wanted more and so killed his brother Abel. Jacob wanted more and so cheated. Judas wanted more and stole. Everyone wants more, but you don’t have to rebel, disobey, kill, cheat or steal to get it. Abraham wanted more and so believed. David wanted more and so gave himself to worship. Daniel wanted more and so trusted. Paul wanted more and so he learned to be content. Do you want more? That’s great! But let God determine what more looks like.
Look Forward, Not Back
When looking back starts looking good, you know you’re in trouble. We must train our souls to look forward, not back. Remember Lot’s wife! () She was turned into a pillar of salt because she longed for what had been lost more than the possibilities of what could be found. Jesus likewise didn’t mince words about the dangers are looking backward. He commanded, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62, NLT) Christ’s challenge is alive today. The Message says, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.” (Luke 9:62, The Message) Paul the Apostle wrote, “…I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race…” (Philippians 3:13-14, NLT)