1. Saying, “I Believe!”

The other day I heard myself pray, “God, I want to believe.”      It got my attention. My prayer was weak and unconvincing. Upon further reflection, I realized this type of unbelieving prayer had become a pattern in my life. I was begging God, rather than agreeing with His Word and promises. God convicted me to change my prayer from “I want to believe,” to “I believe!” Much better! There’s no ambiguity with God. He is who He says He is, and He always does what He says He’ll do. Jesus said, “…let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37, NKJV) The first person who initiated unbelief into the Universe was the Devil. And he continues to try and put unbelieving thoughts into our minds. The Bible promises us, “…submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7, NKJV)

  1. Headwinds and Tailwinds

Which would benefit you more in the long run: headwinds, resisting your efforts to go forward, or tailwinds, hitting your back and pushing you onward? If getting to our destination quicker is the goal, then tailwinds would be better for us, but if being refined during the process of going forward is the best of all options, then headwinds win, hands down. At some point in life, as we’re maturing, we realize that being first is overrated, while becoming who God created us to be is the best of all goals. We’ve all seen people who have won something with an attitude they’d be better off losing. Likewise, we’ve marveled at seeming losers who respond with such winsome, overcoming attitudes, our estimation of who they are soars. In the end, be as grateful for your headwinds as you are for your tailwinds.

  1. Negative Self-Talk

If you ever see me driving down the road alone and having an animated conversation, I might not be on the phone. I may just be thinking out loud and talking to myself. It’s called self-talk. And most of us do it. But, a word of caution. Research finds that 80% of these thoughts and/or words are typically negative in nature. Happily, there’s a solution to our negative self-talk. The answer is changing what we’re thinking about. Studies show that training the mind to think in a more positive light greatly influences the way we respond to our everyday life experiences. Personally, that’s why I listen to the Word of God every day. It washes my mind and directs my thoughts. The Bible says, “…we have the living Word of God, which is full of energy…It interprets and reveals the true thoughts and secret motives of our hearts.” (Hebrews 4:12, TPT)

  1. Getting What We Don’t Deserve

God wants to give us love for people who don’t deserve it. People just like… us. I’m always amazed at how quickly I want mercy for myself and judgment for others. The words of Jesus challenge this twisted thinking best. “For you’ll be judged by the same standard that you’ve used to judge others. The measurement you use on them will be used on you.” (Matthew 7:2, TPT) Whenever you feel judgment more than mercy for someone else, remember the biblical paradox Jesus spoke, “…loving others as I have loved you,” is far greater than “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” “God, melt my heart to love others the way You love me. I don’t deserve it any more than they do, but You’ve asked me to give it just the same.”

  1. Junk Drawer Gems

If I could recommend one act of obedience the Lord asked me to do that has opened endless opportunities for helping others, it would be this. Early on in my faith walk, I realized I didn’t have a gift of wisdom, but I did have a gift of asking questions: both of God and others. I then made it a point to write down the revelations God and others shared with me. I considered them gems from Heaven. Rather than discard them, I cherished them. You would never put gems in a junk drawer. They would be placed in a treasured place. So,too, with the revelations God gives us. We put them in a place of remembrance, so they will be remembered at strategic moments and not forgotten. After many decades, I now have a treasure chest full of thousands of gems. What has God recently showed you? Remember it!

  1. Old Dry Logs

Is it possible to burn hot for God in every season of our life? I believe it is, and that it’s God’s will for each of us. But, it will take the fire of God, along with having a tender, responsive heart in order for that miracle to happen. Years ago, we may have been mightily saved and had a burning hot relationship with Jesus for a season. As we’ve grown older, do our hearts still burn within us? I can either be an old wet log creating more smoke than heat, or resolve to be a dry, thirsty, seasoned log bringing warmth and light for everyone around me. I’ve had desert seasons that I thought would never end, but I’ve tried to keep the smoldering embers of God’s Spirit burning within my heart . . . waiting for the breeze and fire of God to once again consume me.

  1. Hearing God say, “Follow Me” –

When was the last time you heard Jesus say, “Follow Me”? Not with an audible voice, but with an inner confidence that God was indeed challenging you to follow Him. If you haven’t sensed His leading in your life for a while, it might be a clear indication that you’re actually NOT following Him. And that would be tragic. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.” (John 10:27) There is no one who wants to  bless your life more than Jesus. And He alone knows what would bless your life the most. So, the next time you sense God is putting something on your heart, it would be wise for you to pay attention. I’ve found that God doesn’t say something twice. It was the wakeup call I needed. Now, I spend my days eager to hear the breakthrough insights my Creator wants to share with me.

  1. Find Your Own Calcutta

Mother Teresa is universally respected. This Nobel-prize winning, godly woman left the amenities of the western world to lay her life down caring for not just the sick, but the dying. Those thrown out on streets to die. She raised up an army of like-minded Sisters of Mercy who saw the value of these discarded souls, and followed her selfless example. The words of Mother Teresa are etched in my heart, “Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering, and the lonely right there where you are — in your own homes and in your own families, in your work places and in your schools. You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society — completely forgotten, completely left alone.”

  1. William Booth and “Others”

When William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, was 82 years old, he sent out a Christmas telegram to all of the “Salvation Army” officers around the world. It would be his last Christmas. His officers were experiencing severe persecution for their faith. One thousand had been beaten; 600 were in jail. This message would be crucial. Money was tight, and he didn’t want to waste it with too many words. He had narrowed his message down to three words, but that was still too many. So, he asked God to give him one word that would most inspire his officers and yet affirm the true meaning of Christmas. Around the world, thousands of Salvation Army soldiers received this one word . . . “Others!” Does any word sum up the heart of God better? I don’t think so. “Others!”

  1. You’re Just Getting Started”

The other day I was wondering if my best days were behind me. Right in the middle of fighting off negative and fatalistic thoughts, God spoke a clear word that awakened my heart, “You’re just getting started!” WOW! I’m in the middle of playing taps over my life, and God starts playing reveille. If you are a born-again believer and yet doubt the essence of the words God said to me, perhaps you’ve lost focus on what eternity really means. Whatever age you are. However discouraged you may be. Never, ever, forget this fact, you are an eternal spirit being, having a very temporary natural experience. You’re just getting started! Believe it! Enjoy it! Live it! The smartest thing you should believe about the future God has envisioned for you is that it’s going to be truly magnificent.

  1. Microwavable God

Each of us have by now been programmed to expect to get things quickly: fast food, movies on demand, high-speed internet. Frankly, we’re ADDICTED to getting things quickly. And the faster the better. Sure, we can expect this with our food, drinks, cars and computers, but when we superimpose speed on God, we’ll always be disappointed. God is never in a rush. There’s no such thing as a microwavable relationship with God. His suddenlies can happen in a nanosecond, but the Bible challenges our need for speed, “…you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake.” (2 Peter 3:8-9, NLT)

  1. The Power of Encouraging Words

Don’t minimize the power of the encouragements God gives you for others. Years ago, while ministering in a pastor friend’s church, I spoke an encouraging word to a 16 year old girl who had grown up in that church. I told her, “God really loves you!” That was the essence of the word. Later, during a time of testimony, she got up with tears and said, “I heard something today I’ve never heard before.” The whole room was captivated. She continued, “God told me He loves me!” Later, I kidded with the pastor, “How come you don’t tell your folks that God loves them? ” We laughed together, and I said, “Isn’t it amazing that we can be told a simple truth over and over, but it takes the right moment for us to hear it?” Don’t dismiss the simple words of encouragement God gives you for others.