KLOVE Radio Features – June 2020
The “I Don’t Know-ness of God”
All of us, at times, struggle to admit when we are wrong. But, admit it or not, being wrong is a universal human condition. There is, however, one area we can admit to. Either we’ll realize that our assumption was wrong, or, frankly, that we just don’t know the answer to the questions we have. I call it, acknowledging the “I Don’t Know-ness of God.” Whether trying to figure out the exact meaning of an obscure scripture in the Bible, or being stumped over an enigmatic circumstance of life, sometimes admitting we just don’t know is a breath of fresh honesty. I’ve seen this humble acknowledgment bring more clarity than trying to share an answer that when others hear it, they realize it’s a flawed insight and unreliable. Embrace the “I Don’t Know-ness of God,” and this truth will set you free.
When You Feel Lost In Life
Do you feel like your life is a maze: a seemingly endless journey trying to find your way, with little hope of doing so? The best-known rule for getting out of physical mazes is also known as either the left or right-hand rule. If the maze is simply connected, that is, all its walls are connected together or to the maze’s outer boundary, then by keeping one hand in contact with one wall of the maze, the solver is guaranteed not to get lost and will reach a different exit if there is one. Otherwise, the person will return to the entrance having traversed every corridor next to that connected section of walls at least once. This reminds us that even when we feel lost, hold on to what the Bible says is true, and God will guide us safely through every predicament.
Tears of Joy and Sadness
In the Old Testament, Book of Ezra, at the end of Chapter three, the foundation of the Temple in Jerusalem is being restored. Those who were still alive to have seen King Solomon’s original Temple wept with sadness for how much smaller the new temple was. Having a completely different reaction, younger Jews who had never seen the previous Temple wept for joy. Every day, it seems I weep both for joy and sadness. It makes me know I am fully alive and embracing all the emotions God intended. God meets us whether we’re on Mount Everest or in Death Valley. Sure, emotionalism is an overreaction, but a genuine, un-hyped, response to the twists and turns of life allows us to weep for joy or sadness. At times, I believe, God is even weeping with us.
Reigning In Negative Thoughts
Do you struggle with negative thinking? I do! Frankly, every day, and much more than I’d like to. According to the National Science Foundation, an average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive thoughts. Cognitive Behavioral Therapists have a term for it. They call it ANT’s (Automatic Negative Thoughts). These ANT’s are the mental noise that can drive us crazy. I love how one translation of the Bible provides insight, “We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One.” (2 Corinthians 10:5, TPT)
The Proof Behind the Resurrection
The Christian faith hinges on one event being true: the Resurrection of Jesus. How ironic, that the beginning of our faith is dependent upon the end of our faith. The resurrection proves or disproves everything Jesus said. Everything Jesus claimed about Himself. That He was God. That He was dying for the sins of the world. That He could give people eternal life. All of it hung on the Resurrection. Those closest to Jesus insisted they had seen Him when He was resurrected. It’s one thing to claim that, but would you be willing to be brutally killed, if you knew it wasn’t true…that the whole thing was totally false? For a scam? For a hoax? No chance! That would have been the end of it! Because they knew it was true, they were willing to die proclaiming it.
What Have I Become
You’re not what you think you are. You’re not what others think you are. But, if you refuse to believe who God knows you are, then you’ll become someone He never intended you to be. So, what have I become? What I think I am? What others think I am? Or, who God knows I am? One of the most challenging thoughts I can focus on is imagining that this is my last day on Earth. What would I be doing? Thinking? What would I have become? I was created to be like Jesus. That was God’s original intention. Have I pursued and fulfilled that best of all options, that very best version of myself? Only God knows, but I don’t want to lose sight of that prize…the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
What Are We Reflecting?
We become reflections of what’s inside us. So, we must be meticulously mindful about what we feed on. Don’t fund poverty. Don’t marinate in the mirage. More and more people lose their grasp on reality by fixating on the unreal. Whether it’s video games, romance novels, unhealthy friendships or empty imaginations. One translation provides fresh insight, “We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One. Since we are armed with such dynamic weaponry, we stand ready to punish any trace of rebellion, as soon as you choose complete obedience.” (2 Corinthians 10:5-7, TPT)
Being Helpless and Useful
What if I said you will feel most fruitful in God when you are simultaneously helpless and, yet, being useful. That’s right! When God is asking us to do something so impossible, so beyond our ability, that if any good comes from our efforts it will be a miracle. Only then are we completely dependent upon Him, and will our efforts accomplish the best He intended. Over nearly a half-century of following Jesus, I’ve found this pattern repeat itself over and over again. Helpless and useful are an unlikely friendship, and yet a divine partnership. More often than not, it’s how you’ll feel when you are trying to comfort those who are experiencing devastating, inconsolable loss. Helpless but useful. Get used to these twin responses and you’ll see the grace of God go before you into the impossible.
The Flight To Nowhere
Imagine if you were flying on a plane. After reaching 30,000 feet, the pilot came on and said, “Welcome on board, folks. I know we were scheduled to go to Dallas, but we’ve decided to just fly around looking at mountains and lakes.” To say the least, that idea wouldn’t go over well. Yet, lots of people spend their whole lives flying around, looking at the scenery, not going anywhere in particular. Seeming to say, “Wherever I end up, that’s fine with me!” That kind of endless pursuit of nothing in particular becomes your life. No vision…no direction…no destiny. The Bible warns each of us, “Without a vision people live carelessly…(uncreatively, aimlessly.)” (Proverbs 29:18) The end result? They “perish.” Ask God for His vision for your life. If you do, over time, you’ll see it clearly. And that will make all the difference.
God’s Ultimate Motive
Do you ever wonder why God would allow certain things? I do. Yet, unless we understand God’s motive, we might accuse Him of hurtful intentions. Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17, NKJV) One Translation says it this way, “…I have come to…bring to perfection all that has been written.” (Matthew 5:17, TPT) Jesus came to fulfill us, to perfect us, not to destroy us. You can tell a lot when you consider a person’s end goal: to fulfilled or destroy, to heal or hurt. Do they want to heal me or destroy me? Jesus isn’t coming to destroy your life. He’s coming to fulfill you…to heal you…to perfect you. When we really believe this, that God’s motive for us is good, then we can thank Him in advance of whatever is happening in our lives.
Our New Normal
It’s hard to not feel that the world is in a season of such extraordinary change, it will never get back to normal. It’s true, the world will never go back to the way it was, because that was never God’s intention. At times, God making all things new brings change that initially looks like a giant step backward. Like an archer pulling back an arrow on a bow, going in a seemingly opposite direction may eventually provide the thrust needed to propel us forward into a whole new dimension. And for God, His new normal is a constant. He has never duplicated a molecule or a moment. The Bible says, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad…” (1 Peter 4:12-13, NLT)
Liberating Captive Thoughts
Would you like to know how to take every thought captive? How to send your bad thoughts to prison, without parole? If God really intends our thoughts to be our prisoners, then why do we often feel like we’re their captive, even chained to them? It’s been said that feelings are great servants, but horrible masters. The Passion Translation provides a life-giving equation to guide us out of our self-inflicted captivity. “So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always.” (Philippians 4:8, TPT) We can liberate captive thoughts by allowing the truth of God’s Word and the liberty of His Spirit to continually wash over our spirit, mind and emotions.