KLOVE Features May 2017
At many points in life, each of us wish we could get a do-over. And no one does do-over’s better than God. God gives each of us 2nd chances, every day; just in case we were blind yesterday, and missed an opportunity to do what was right and receive His blessing. At times, do-overs require our repentance, a commitment to turn away from sin, embracing God’s forgiveness and a change in behavior. At the end of the day, receiving the do-overs of God is worth whatever obedience He requires. We’ve all had lots of blind yesterdays! But although we see our failures, God sees our faith. We remember falling down and God remembers us getting up. To God, our sins are forgettable! Our faith is memorable! I thank God every day for the many do-overs in my life.
Do you believe God is directing your life? If Jesus is your Lord, then He is. As the Bible says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord…”? (Psalm 37:23, NKJV) But, our goodness is not primarily connected to our behavior, but to God’s. The Father sent His Son to die for our sins. As the Bible says, “For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.” (Isaiah 61:10, NLT) If we allow Jesus to lead our lives, then we won’t have to give in to disappointment, because God will always have another appointment for us, even if we miss some. So many people wallow in disappointment, but if we really believe God is ordering our steps, then ultimately we’ll never miss the divine appointments He’s prepared for us. Defeat your disappointments by believing God is setting your appointments.
Boredom is a Decision
Do you ever wonder if God cares about the mundane, seemingly futile, dimensions of your life? Mundane is defined as “lacking interest or excitement; dull; of this earthly world rather than a heavenly or spiritual one.” My conviction is, “If my life is boring, I can’t blame God!” Boredom has nothing to do with my circumstances, and everything to do with my perspective. For nearly 40-years, one of my life maxims has been, “If it’s boring, it’s not of God!” From the tiniest atom, to the largest galaxy, it’s impossible for God to be boring, or do boring. As a young Christian, I decided to never allow my life to be boring. Yes, boredom is a decision! Make your decision today; look for God in every situation of your life. Refuse to be bored, because God isn’t.
Here’s to Great Moms!
Here’s to great moms, who cherish their children more than their sleep, more than their dreams, even more than their own lives. My beautiful wife, Suzie, a pastor’s wife who never had a desire for public ministry. She was called to keep her emotionally-challenged husband healthy, and raise godly children. She didn’t follow what other people were doing, she did what God asked her to do. She didn’t have a boring life. She had a blessed life. She didn’t want to be a great martyr. She just wanted to be a great mother! Here’s to great mothers, who wake up and go to sleep thinking of their children, only to get out of bed to do it all over again. Happy Mother’s Day to all our great Moms! We wouldn’t be here without you.
Part of the Problem or Solution?
After a Mother’s Day dinner, a Mom was washing the dishes when her teen-age daughter wandered into the kitchen. Horrified to see her mother at the sink, she said, “Mom, you shouldn’t be doing dishes on Mother’s Day!” The mom was touched by her daughter’s thoughtfulness. She was about to take off her apron and give it to her daughter, when the daughter added, “You can do them tomorrow!” HA! Anyone can point out problems in this world. But, only when we are willing to be part of the solution do we truly represent God’s forgiving, healing, delivering heart. Jesus sent His disciples out, saying, “…the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!” (Matthew 10:7-8, NLT)
Mommy’s Eating Kids
A little boy had been watching his mother’s stomach get bigger and bigger. It was becoming harder and harder to sit on her lap. “Mommy, why is your stomach getting so big?” She told him that his little sister was inside her stomach. “Mommy, why is my little sister inside your stomach?” He was told that he used to be in her stomach too. When the boy’s father got home, the boy asked his father if he could talk to him in private. “Daddy, I need answers to two questions: First, why does Mommy keep eating little kids? And second, how did I escape?” A funny story, but it reminds us of the unique roles Moms and Dads play. A Mom tells you that, “You belong!” And a Dad tells you, “Why you are here!” Be a Dad or Mom in someone’s life!
God’s Tribe is a Family
There are many communities and tribes on the planet: from clubs to gangs, cliques to caucuses, companies to congregations, fraternities to societies, but we must never forget, God’s primary community and tribe is a family. He is first and foremost a Father. And our relationship with Him is based on love, because that’s who He is, and that’s why He does what He does. It’s His nature! God’s motive is love, His desire and will for us is based on love, and therefore the glue that keeps us connected to Him and one another must be love. Have you found your place in God’s loving family? Our answer should never be, “No, because nobody loves me,” but “Yes, because I have decided to love God and others.”
Work for God, Not Man
One of the biggest dead-ends in life is believing you’re working for man. You’re not! If you’re a follower of Jesus, the Bible says, “…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV) As a young Christian, I had a job cleaning the gourmet kitchen of a large casino. From day one, I decided, “I’m working for God, not man!” And so, I worked alone, seven and a half hours every day without a break. One day, I looked up at the grease-filled ceiling, and God spoke to my heart to clean it. It was a hard, dirty task that no one had asked me to do, but the head of food services heard about it and offered me a much better job. But he was not the only Person watching. God simultaneously offered me a much bigger promotion, and His benefits are infinitely better.
My Best Day are Behind Me
Recently, I realized I was believing a lie that would diminish, if not destroy, my future. God showed me I was believing the lie that my best days were behind me. WOW! If that’s not exactly what the Devil realized about himself, and is trying to impart to us, I don’t know what is. Why would I believe this? Because of past discouragements? Present struggles? Thinking youthfulness brings greater potential? Every one of these perspectives can be vanquished by believing the truth that, God saves the best wine for last! (John 3) He only does wondrous things! (Psalm 72:18) And His marvelous promise to each of us, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)
Reaping in Abundance
Do you want to reap in abundance? Then, walk in obedience! God is the ultimate result maker. Only He can give us the abundant life we long for. But, if we refuse to follow His leading, then we are left with the fruit of our disobedience and not the harvest of happiness He intended. That’s not to say we won’t experience pain and heart-ache, and at times fight disappointment and even despair. But the permanent, will eventually replace the temporary. Hope will come riding over the hill to win the day, and the bright future God designed for us will prevail. If everything we are hoping for came easily, we would never embrace the strong, victorious perspective Jesus died to impart to us. Obey God! It’s the only doorway to the abundant life Jesus promised.
I sought out an old friend for coffee, to see how he was doing. He shared with me about the incredibly difficult season he had gone through over the past year. I asked him why he hadn’t let anyone know what he was going through so we could encourage him. He said, he was a private person, and didn’t feel comfortable inviting others in. Consequently, the way he processed the difficult experience was frankly, not healthy. I then realized his “private” perspective was really a “pride-vate” perspective. Pride had kept him from reaching out to other parts of the Body of Christ that could have helped him. How about you? Have you isolated yourself from reaching out to others for help; and is the root reason, pride? God’s grace is only given to those who are willing to humble themselves.
Of Tests and Temptations
Do you know the difference between a test and a temptation? Simply stated, everything God does is a test for our “good.” Everything the devil does is a temptation for our “bad.” The tests of God are designed to bring out the fruit of His Spirit in us. His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23, ESV) The devil, on the other hand, tempts us to sin. The Bible says, “…the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy and drunkenness…” (Galatians 5:19-21, ESV) “God gives us what we need for the season we’re in.”