- Living Present, Fully Awake
We are all wired differently. Each of us are given one-of-a-kind temperaments and personalities that are designed by God to connect with Him and others. So, the older I get, the more awake I want to be. Fully present in every conversation. Looking into people’s eyes when they speak. Trying to discern how I can encourage them. More and more, I find myself going from person to person, finding out their need, what’s on their heart, and offering to pray for that need specifically. I’m not perfect at doing it. I realize I never will be, because it’s a moving target. But, every day, I’m going to give it my best shot. Crawling into the hearts of people who are living lives of quiet desperation and offering them the love, care and kindness they so desperately need.
- Temporary Setbacks
There’s no such thing as a permanent setback. Every setback is temporary, if we continue to have faith. Believe that “this too shall pass.” That what Satan meant for evil, God will transform into our good. Beware of permanent setbacks; of being stuck in a time warp of past hurt. Looping broken perspectives that leave us emotionally exhausted. Reboot your heart. Rethink your fixation. Stop reminiscing old hurts. Let the sun set on every setback, because a new day is on the horizon. Long for your fresh start, more than your stale setback. We each become the person we really want to be. Be like Jesus: the Solution, not the problem; the Victor, not the victim; the Answer, not the question. Solve the riddle of life and you’ll enjoy each and every day, no matter what’s happening.
- Can I Pray For You?
One of the best questions I’ve ever asked people, and one that I find myself asking more and more is: “Can I pray for you?” I can preface it with, “This may sound a little strange”, or, “Boy, I’d love to pray about that with you.” But, however you introduce the question, I find people are invariably open. They’re desperate for someone to care about what is most on their heart. Not just people I know, but complete strangers. And because I’m sowing a lot of seed, I see a lot of answers to prayer. Not just in the lives of others, but in my own life. I pray for others and my own prayers get answered, often without me praying about them. Jesus said, “… your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matt. 6:8) One of the secrets to getting your own prayers answered is praying for others.
- Feeling Unworthy
Do you feel completely unworthy to do the amazing things God has asked you to do? Wonderful! That’s how you should feel. In 2Samuel, chapter 7, David basically tells God, “You know the insignificance of who I am. What I am really like. Yet, you have chosen me for this incredible task.“ In David’s case, it was to build God a temple, a place for God to dwell. In our case, it’s the same thing. We each get to build God a place to dwell. To make room in our heart for the God of the Universe. He said this from a place of abject humility and, yet, objective reality. The fact that we each feel unworthy to fulfill the calling on our lives, allows us to depend on God every step of the way. Jesus said, “Without Me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) And He really meant it.
- You Love Everybody!
I was once not fully caring about a need my wife was having. Trying to make her feel valued, I told her I loved her. Instantly, she shrugged her shoulders and shot back with a wry smile, “You love everybody!” Hmm? Her response revealed a lot. My specific love for her had not risen to match the generic love I gave others. I realized, unless love is special, it’s not really love at all. Love is an action word. Find out what makes a person feel valuable and do it. Love isn’t a magic wand I can wave over someone’s need. Either love is tailor-made for someone, or it’s seen as mere words, a shallow sentiment, but not the genuine article…the true love Jesus perfectly modeled and lived that came directly from the Father. “Jesus, teach me to love as You Love!”
- Be Careful What You Jump In To
For many years, I ministered with my family at Youth With a Mission bases on the Hawaiian Islands. One YWAM base, in Paia, located on the north shore of Maui, has perfect waves for their windsurfing championships. I was always a good swimmer, but one day, with my wife and young daughters watching, I jumped off a shallow cliff into the churning surf. For a few minutes it was fun, until I tried to climb back up the cliff and was repeatedly pulled back in. In a short time, it became a terrifying experience, all with my family watching. Each of us have jumped into things we thought we could control, but soon found that, once immersed in them, it was infinitely harder to get out than it was to get in. Their pull was too strong. I learned a hard lesson that what looks like a dream opportunity can quickly turn into a nightmare. Be wise. Live safe.
- Why Are Motorcycles So Loud?
Did you ever wonder why motorcycles are so loud? At times, I find it really annoying. Then the other day, I was about to pull into another lane until I heard the sound of a motorcycle. It alerted me that someone was there. I connected the dots as to why motorcycles are so loud. Because people don’t see motorcycles, they have to be loud enough to be heard. I then thought that sometimes God has to raise his voice with me as well. At times, He uses the alarm clock of challenging circumstances in order to get my full attention. Often, God is trying to spare me from experiencing unnecessary pain or significant failure. So, the next time you hear a loud motorcycle, let it remind you that each of us are deaf at times to hearing or knowing what’s really important. When was the last time God’s alarm got your attention?
- Monuments to Kings Long Forgotten
The other day, as I was listening to the Bible, I heard the statement referring to an ancient king of Israel, “…his monument is still there today.” It made me wonder how many monuments of these ancient leaders are still there. After researching, I found out the answer is few to none. It highlighted the reality, once again, that all of the applause and accolades of Earth are, in the end, completely worthless when compared to the slightest acknowledgment by God Himself in eternity. I then thought of the verse, “Set your affection (your minds) on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2) What matters most, when it comes to honors received on Earth, is whether they’ll be affirmed and continued in eternity. The Bible says, “…humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.” (1 Peter 5:6, NLT)
- All The Gold That’s Ever Been Mined
We all know pure gold is incredibly valuable. Presently, it’s nearly $1,400 an ounce. But, how much gold has ever been mined? It’s estimated that amount would be ten billion ounces. How much is that? Ten billion ounces of gold would fit into a cube roughly 82 feet on each side. The Washington Monument measures 55 feet by 55 feet at its base and is 555 feet tall. That means that if you were to collect all of the gold that’s ever been mined and place it inside the Washington monument, it would only fill about 1/3 of the inside. If that’s too hard to imagine, it’s enough gold to fill six Olympic size swimming pools. But, what does the Bible say is more precious than all of the gold in the world? Psalm 119:72 says, “God’s Word is more precious than gold.” WOW! God’s Word!
- Building Ships That Never Sail
The last chapter the Old Testament book of 1 Kings says that King Jehoshaphat of Judah built a fleet of ships designed to look for gold, but they never sailed. That got my attention. Hmmm…He built ships to look for gold, but they never sailed. It made me reflect, what ships do I have sitting in my harbor that have never sailed? The metaphor of ships can touch many dimensions of my life. What actions or dreams is God asking me to do that I haven’t yet done? It is a question that should remain on the front burner all the days of my life. While there is still time, will I step out in faith and leave the comforts of the familiar, in order to find the spiritual gold God destined me to inherit? Don’t look for your ship to come in if you haven’t first sent it out to sail. We’ll only reap the good seeds we sow.
- Dreaming of Yesterday
In second Kings chapter 2, Elijah the prophet was taken up into Heaven. Even though he was gone and could not return, some men begged Elisha, his successor, to send scouts out to find him. Elisha knew it was a waste of time, but after being repeatedly pestered, he let 50 scouts go out for three days to look for Elijah. They, of course, found nothing. It reminded me of things I have chased after that God had told me to let go of. Pipe dreams that I had created and God could not bless. Every moment we have spent wishing yesterday would return has been a waste of time. Yesterday is over. Gone forever. Today is before me. I need to awaken to what God has for me today, for I may not see it again. Today, if you hear God’s voice, don’t harden your heart.” (Hebrew 3:15)
- People Who Never Get Sea Sick
A seasoned Commander of a Navy ship told me there are two types of people who never get sea sick: people who have never been to sea and liars. It made me laugh, but reminded me of the fact that if we are honest with one another, we all battle the same basic issues. The Bible says, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NLT) and “Elijah was a man with human frailties, just like all of us…” (James 5:17, TPT) We can either hide the universal reality that we all struggle in comparable ways, or we can acknowledge that the ground is level at the Cross. We all equally need Jesus to help us, and one of the best ways to receive that assistance and, simultaneously, help others is to acknowledge our struggles and not deny them.