Ever have a “Bad Boss”? When I was a young Christian, I worked for six months in a casino as a dishwasher. Though I had a college degree, it was what God directed me to do. My boss was this six-foot-four, 240-pound, ex-Highway Patrolman, with a foul mouth and a mean heart. Once he found out I was a Christian, he’d harass and mock me in front the other workers. But, over time, I was the only guy he could trust, so he had me clean the gourmet kitchen, by myself. Periodically he’d come in and I’d share Jesus and, when I left the job, he called me and said, with emotion, “You’re a real friend of mine.” It reminded me of the words of Jesus: “love your enemies,” because you never know how God will use you to affect them.
Unlocking Your Destiny
I’ve found that there’s usually a hurt behind a head of steam. I am most passionate about what has specifically hurt, healed, or inspired me. Trace the reason you have raised your voice, emphasized a point, or told someone what you really think. If the fruit of your words are life to those who hear it, then it probably comes from a healed place. If the fruit of your words lead to an angry confrontation, ask God to show you where you need to be healed. If the acceleration of your voice inspires others to positive action, you have, in some way, tapped into your true identity and destiny. Stake a claim and mine it; there is life there. Your pain has led to a passion that will, however, unlock your destiny and help others.
If the Lights Are On…Someone’s Home!
It’s the simplest scientific question that anyone, even a child, should be able to answer. And yet some of our planet’s most brilliant scientists fail the test every time. Scientists freely admit, there are more stars than the grains of sand on all of the beaches in the world; that every galaxy has billions of stars. Even the deep fields of space have thousands of galaxies, with astrophysicists estimating there are actually more than two trillion. Typical galaxies, like our Milky Way, have 100 billion stars. That means the total number of stars or suns out there is two, followed by 23 zeroes, that’s 200 sextillion. People say, “If God would only do something BIG and beautiful in my life, I’d believe!” Look to the stars — if the lights are on…Someone’s home!
A good response has an infinitely longer shelf life than a great victory. You can have a great victory with a bad attitude, and impress no one. Whereas, win or lose, responding well can give others a glimpse into the heart of God. Frankly, there are so many poor responses to the challenges of life, that when a good response occurs, it turns heads, and even opens hearts. Bible luminaries, Joseph, Moses, and Esther, each responded well to their adversity and subsequently rescued the nation of Israel. Christ’s good response saved the entire world, and though the Apostle Paul was at one time filled with prejudice toward Christ-followers, he eventually responded well and opened the gospel to the Gentiles. Jesus said, “God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.” (Matthew 5:5, NLT)
Extra-Terrestrial Life & Imaginary Gods
I always laugh when I hear about man’s efforts to find extra-terrestrial life. With that said, before I received Jesus, I was travelling with a woman I thought was from Venus (as in the planet.) HA! But that’s a story for another time. Yet, all of our attempts to find the origin of life, outside of God, have failed. When we refuse to accept and honor the God who IS, sadly we spend our lives looking for an imaginary god, thinking we will have to be less responsible to him. Created to be worshippers, we will worship the temporary if we refuse to acknowledge the fact that our magnificent universe had to be created by Someone. Unwilling to accept a relationship with the God of love, we will vainly attempt to find love in all the wrong places.
Mercy and Grace
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want God to be fair to me. Him being fair would raise the bar so high, I’d never pass the test. What I really need is mercy. Someone said, “Mercy is the bad you deserve…and don’t get. Grace is the good you don’t deserve…and yet get.” (Creflo Dollar) I’m glad the Bible says, “God’s mercies are new every morning,” (Lamentations 3:23) and not His judgments are new every morning. If you thought God was harsh yesterday, wait till today. I love the Bible’s promise, “if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.” (James 2:13, NLT) Because I’m grateful for having received mercy, I want to offer others the mercy I have freely received. “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”
(Ephesians 2:8, NLT)
Burly Biker and a Big Knife
When I was a young Evangelist, one evening I was witnessing to a young girl on a motorcycle. She was open. But when her burly biker boyfriend returned, he was less than interested and, so, told me to get lost. Since I had already been really lost in my life, I wasn’t drawn to his recommendation, and commented that his girlfriend was interested in talking about Jesus. At that point, he was the one who lost it. Picking me up by my collar, I noticed a foot-long knife on his side. It wasn’t encouraging. When he got my face a couple of inches from his, much to my surprise, he covertly whispered empathetically, “I don’t want to have to do this to you.” And then he pushed me aside. His response reminds me of what I have seen on many occasions since: don’t judge someone’s inside by their outside.
Have you noticed that more and more people are attached to having their own way, getting angry when it doesn’t happen? From road rage to extreme politics, our fuses are getting shorter and shorter. I remember when I was six years old, playing a game of softball. A big kid on the opposing team hit a ground ball that turned into a home run, winning the game. As his teammates hoisted him on their shoulders, parading him around the field, I lost it! Running toward him I sank my teeth into his exposed thigh, and bit him as hard as I could. It drew blood, and caused him to have to get a tetanus shot. Not my best day, and a scary memory to say the least, but close-up evidence as to what is potentially in the heart of every one of us.
What offends us will reveal the condition of our heart. Seeing so many people getting offended these days about so many things, has made me search my own heart. What offends me? And, yes, I do get offended. I’ve found that it’s always something I haven’t fully surrendered to God: a word, an attitude, or a response by someone else can offend me. Brandon Naramore says, “The world can’t steal what you’ve already surrendered.” Likewise, your life is unprotected unless it’s fully surrendered to God. Jesus challenged all of us to search our own heart in order to weed out offenses when He said, “First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5, NLT)
The Hero of Your Story
Do you want to be the hero of your story? It’s a waste of time. First, because it’s not real. If you know Jesus, He will always be the hero of your story. If, on the other hand, you don’t know Jesus, you haven’t met the only Person who could rescue you from your sins. Unless God is the hero at the end of our lives, we have missed the primary point of our existence. We all know the story of David and Goliath. In America, we want to be David, the hero of the story. But, in many nations, they see David as a type of Jesus, rescuing us from our unbelief. Don’t live your life thinking you’re the hero. It will only lead to a false sense of confidence in self. Let Jesus be the Hero of your story, because He really is.
Cleaning a Greasy Ceiling
God is going to ask you to do things that only He knows will shape your character. When I was a young Christian, I cleaned the gourmet kitchen of a casino. I cleaned it six days a week, 7 ½ hours a day, without breaking for lunch. I wasn’t working for man, but for God. One day, I looked up at the greasy ceiling that hadn’t been cleaned in decades. God spoke to my heart to clean it. I did it at the beginning of my shift, with grease flying everywhere, including my hair and eyes. After about a month, 1/3 of the ceiling was spotless, and that’s when God transferred me. Never forget, promotion comes from God alone. The Bible says, “…work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…” (Colossians 3:23, ESV)
In 2016, a lawyer wrote and said, “…when you spoke at my church in 1992, you quoted I Samuel 30:19, ‘But nothing of theirs was missing … David brought it all back.’ Then you said… ‘I don’t know what situation you are facing, but this verse will help guide you to the right answer.’ …your word provided guidance on what do to, and we had a fantastic outcome.” The lawyer then provided a detailed description of how they had been overcharged by a school district…five times the regular rental rate because they were a church. He wrote, “Your word brought unity and…the lawsuit (we filed) has borne amazing fruit… Churches across America have saved countless amounts of money in higher rent they never had to pay because of what you said to us that morning.” Though we may not see it at first, obedient seeds always bear fruit.