The Bride of God’s Dreams
The Declaration of Independence states unequivocally, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…” The impact of this reality must be explored in order to be fully appreciated. Why God created us reveals not just His magnificent heart, but our marvelous value to Him. The Bible tells us clearly why Jesus gave His life, “…to present (His Bride) to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.” (Ephesians 5:27, NLT) Never forget, God created you to be the Bride of His dreams, not the embodiment of His disappointment. No matter what we have done, or will ever do, He will always delight in forgiving us and welcoming us back with open arms.
Crushed Ice or Cubes
I love how God can speak to us through even the most mundane dimensions of life. I like ice cubes from my refrigerator more than crushed ice. I think it’s probably a speed thing. I can get the cubes faster than the crushed ice. But the cubes sometimes get stuck, so I have to open the refrigerator door and bang the cubes to let them loose. It’s frustrating. My wife, on the other hand, likes crushed ice. Recently, I filled my glass with crushed ice and found there was no problem getting it. I said to my wife, “Do you ever have a problem getting crushed ice out of the refrigerator?” She said, “No!” I then had a God-thought, “If I’m willing to be crushed, I’ll have less frustration.” It’s a thought I continue to have every time I fill my glass with crushed ice.
BIG God or BIG Mac
I want to bring up a sensitive subject that most of us face. It’s our weight, and it may not be a little problem. For the first time in history, there are more people overweight on the planet than hungry. 40% of American women are obese, and 38% of men. Because of increased obesity, unhealthy eating habits, and physical inactivity, we may be the first generation that is less healthy and has a shorter life span than our parents. So, does God even care if we live longer? Of course He does. What parent wouldn’t? The Bible says, living a long life is a blessing…not a curse. (Ephesians 6:3) Perhaps it’s time, as the Bible says, to “…glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (I Corinthians 6:20, NKJV) I want to pursue a BIG God, more than a BIG Mac.
Making Room For the New
My life is full; even, at times, crowded. There is too much to do and too many options. I’m realizing more and more, that in order to make room for the new, I have to say goodbye to the old. And sometimes that’s heart breaking. Because, I like the old. I’m attached to it. But, more and more, I hear God saying, “Francis, move on. I have something new for you; something better.” If the old was better, then God would model this. But He doesn’t. Not only is every day new, but every molecule and moment. He’s cloned and duplicated nothing. So, I’ve not just come to the conclusion, but the conviction, “I want to embrace God’s new for my life, rather than cling to my old. He’s not watching reruns or eating left overs, so why should I?”
Everything is Going Exactly As Planned
There are times when each of us thinks, “The devil is so smart, and evil is so powerful. It looks like darkness is winning.” But this is a complete lie! God is the smartest Person in any room. He’s always been and will be the most powerful Person in any world. Light repels darkness without breaking a sweat. Don’t ever be concerned that somehow it looks like the devil, evil, and darkness are going to win. They are mere throwbacks from a doomed rebellion. Has-beens from a lost age. I love that somewhere in Heaven there’s a giant banner that reads, “Everything is going exactly as planned!” I want to be as concerned about the future as God is. And He’s not concerned at all. The Bible says, “By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.” (2 Peter 1:3, NLT)
The Main Event is Still Ahead
Recently, I had another setback. Once again, something didn’t work out. I lost something I valued. It was disappointing. Realizing I couldn’t get it back, God quickened my mind to come to the best conclusion possible. “Francis, if all you have left is a good response to a bad situation, then get over it. The main event is still up ahead.” Wow! That’s good! The main event is still up ahead. Have a good response to a bad situation! Nothing of lasting value has been lost; just something temporary. Get over it! Move on! Something better is ahead. Trust God and you won’t be DISappointed, because the main appointment is still on the schedule, around a few more turns. Love never fails, and God is love. Believe it, and the truth will set you free!
The Biggest Liar I’ve Ever Known
Reality is the biggest pill we’ll ever swallow. In the short term, it’s easier to give in to illusion and deception. But, we all realize the long term consequences far outweigh the temporary benefits. If we are honest with ourselves, though the devil is called the father of lies (John 8:44), no one has lied to me more than me. Frankly, I’m the biggest liar I’ve ever known. So, the question is, why do I deceive myself so often? The simplest answer is, I’m also the most selfish person I’ve ever known. Self is never the solution; it’s always the heart of the problem. Jesus showed us the cure for selfishness. The Bible says, “(Jesus emptied Himself. He) made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.” Obsession with self is the disease, and allowing God to fill us with His servant nature is the cure.
Getting and Never Forgetting
All of us have heard the expression, “She gets it.” It implies that someone has connected some important dots and had a life-altering revelation. It may be of such a magnitude that a person is never the same again. They have had a B.C. and A.D. moment. But, there’s always the challenge that what we “get” we may eventually “for-get.” It literally means we will “fail to remember.” Sure, there are many things in life worth forgetting. But, there are some “gets” that we should never “for-get.” I never want to forget who Jesus is and what He has done for me by dying on a Cross that I deserved. I never want to forget who He created me to be, and what He created me to do. With all of my heart, “I get it!” and I never want to…forget it.
Ten Reasons the Nine Lepers Were Ungrateful
Though history is silent, I’ve always wondered why nine of the ten lepers Jesus healed in Luke 17 didn’t return to glorify God for their miraculous healings. You could say the nine lepers were loud in their request but quiet in their thanksgiving. Here are ten possible reasons for their ingratitude, and ours as well. 1 They got distracted. 2 They were selfish. 3 They succumbed to peer pressure. 4 Once healed, they followed the crowd. 5 They didn’t want to be associated with other lepers anymore. 6 Once the stigma was gone, so was their compassion. 7 They thought they were better than other lepers. 8 They embraced their resurrection, but refused to carry their cross. 9 They loved little. 10 And they were happy to receive God’s healing, but didn’t believe they needed His forgiveness.
Jiu-Jitsu is an ancient fighting style invented by Indian monks traveling from monastery to monastery who were being attacked by pirates and robbed. They needed a way to protect themselves, and so developed a technique that used leverage and not strength to defeat their opponents. You could say that the results of Jiu-Jitsu are counterintuitive. Contrary to what you would expect, it allows the fighter to finish the fight without hurting the other person. The technique is so effective that the opponent will either give up or be incapacitated. It teaches the athlete how to get solutions without causing unnecessary damage. What a marvelous principle! In this world, where too many times people hurt others thinking they have won, how much better off we would be if we didn’t crush others, but instead, crowned them with love?
A catalyst has been defined as “a substance that promotes a reaction while using less energy, yet with a greater result.” One of the most valuable attributes of true catalysts is that the essence of who they are is not altered in the process. They speed up change, without compromising their true value. They don’t alter the genuineness of who they are while simultaneously motivating and inspiring others to change for the better. Jesus was the ultimate Catalyst for good. He didn’t change the essence of who He was: His charisma didn’t alter His character. He motivated others to change without diminishing His magnificence. I don’t have to become someone different than who God created me to be. As long as I’m pursuing that purpose, I can encourage others to follow my example and be themselves as well.
Excited About Who Jesus Is
Are you ever disappointed with the things you say and do? I know I am, and often. The Message Bible, in Romans 7, puts it this way. “I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway.” (Romans 7:18-19, MSG) Thankfully, in the next chapter, it resolves the problem. The Bible says, “A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing (me) from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2, MSG) When I embrace the reality of who Jesus is, and what He’s done for me and in me, I want to be more excited about Him, than disappointed with who I’m not, and what I’ve not done.