How Does God See Us?  

All of us have wondered what God thinks of us. Even after we come to Jesus, we can still wonder. I recently read in the Bible what Paul the Apostle wrote to Christ-followers in Rome. He said, “I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness.” (Romans 15:14, NLT) Wow! How does he know that? Does he personally know the spiritual condition of everyone reading his letter to the Romans? Hardly. If Paul felt all people were evil, he could have said, “I’m fully convinced you’re full of badness.” But, from God’s perspective, that would not have been true. If we have received what Jesus accomplished when He died for our sins and rose again, then our sins have been washed away by the sinless blood of Jesus. He sees us as good. We just need to believe it. 

Turning Yourself In

All of us are given two options when it comes to sin. Wait until we’re caught, and we will be, or turn ourselves in and receive the immediate forgiveness of Jesus. When we run to God and acknowledge our sin before Him, it activates His grace, and gives us power to get victory over sin. In the first chapter of the Book of Jonah, Jonah was running away from the call of God on his life. He told the men on board the ship that the reason they were in peril in a violent storm was because of him. Though Jonah was running away from God, God had not given up on him. Today, are you running from God or to God? Ultimately, we will all stand before God, whether we run to Him or from Him. It is always our choice. 

The Perils of Success

God the Father wants you to be successful more than you do. But, He’s the only One who knows what true success looks like. One of the most un-healthy questions we can focus on is, “Will I be successful?” Many people chase success only to miss the whole point in life, which is to get to know God and surrender to His will for our lives. My father seemed to miss the mark. Though his face was on the front page of the New York Times when he died, I’m not sure his name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life. John the Baptist defined what true success is when he said, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:30, NLT) Exalting self is always unhealthy. We’re created to lift up Jesus. Nothing else can fully satisfy. 

Who Would Never Come to Jesus

Do you ever wonder if any of the lawless anarchists will ever come to Jesus? I do. I think back to my own rebellion against authority. A girl I was living with had a  father who was a New York City firefighter. He wouldn’t allow me in his home until I cut my hair. In a gesture of defiance, I cut my long hair off, put it in a bag, and walked into his home during breakfast, plopping the bag in front of him. I then abruptly walked out and never saw him again. A few years later, after becoming a follower of Jesus, I began to contact people I had hurt. Calling him, I humbly asked his forgiveness. Much to my surprise, He graciously forgave me. Who has God put on your heart that you think would never come to Jesus? Pray for them. 

Attitudes Determine Altitude

The word “humble” literally means, “hugging the ground.” It speaks of going low in order to represent the “Most High.” It’s what Jesus did, and what He asks us to do. “…he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.” (Philippians 2:7, NLT) Many who have wanted to go high in God never arrived because they failed to go low enough to meet Him, to need Him, to cry out to Him. Humility activates the grace of a God who promises to give power to the humble, strength to the weak, and honor to the humiliated. “Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3, NLT) Lack of desperation toward God, always leads to separation from God. Our attitude will determine our altitude.

How Did Jesus Navigate Politics?

Ever notice how wisely Jesus navigated the politics of His day? Everyone around Him wanted Him to step into that arena, but He skillfully maneuvered through these treacherous, partisan waters without undermining His primary mission: “to seek and save that which is lost.” (Luke 19:10) Jesus realized His sovereign role as God of the Universe was to rescue all people. Therefore, attaching the authority of His name and focus to one particular group would have limited His impact. If I told you, like Jesus, our primary mission is to seek and to save the lost, would that alter your behavior and communication with others? As God respects all people equally, so should we. We need God-honoring people in politics. But always remember, every soul is infinitely more important than every vote.

God’s Thoughts . . . Not Mine

Did you ever wonder if God was thinking what you’re thinking and doing what you’re doing? Let me end the suspense. He’s not! God confirms this very plainly when He says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…” (Isaiah 55:8, ESV) Now, the bluntness of His comment can be jarring if you’re trying to take comfort that what you’re thinking and doing is what God is doing at any given moment. But, a little reflection on what kind of mind you’d need in order to simultaneously contemplate every molecule in the Universe, while communicating with everyone on Earth and in eternity, you might realize He’s got a lot more on His plate than we do. So, what’s the point? The next time you feel insignificant, remember this: Almighty God has never, ever, been too busy to care about you.

Drawn to the Light

Recently, I was hiking at about 7,000 feet in a beautiful National Park, walking on the side of a mountain road. Going up the mountain I was amazed at how many beautiful wildflowers were growing along the roadway. More than I’d ever seen alongside any road before. But, it wasn’t until heading back down the mountain that I noticed all of the flowers were facing the Sun. They were stretching with everything they had to receive the light and vitality of the Sun. It affirmed, once again, that the entire creation is drawn to the light. We all naturally want to grow, and only the light and life of Jesus can satisfy us. I believe we are all likewise drawn by the Spirit of God to look to Jesus and be filled to overflowing, every day, with His wonderful life.

When God’s Not Speaking 

Do you ever feel like it’s been a long time since God has spoken to your heart? Recently, I finished reading the last book in the Old Testament and was reflecting on the historical fact that, after God spoke to the prophet Malachi, there was a 450-year gap before God spoke again. 450 years! Wow! That’s almost seven generations without one word from Heaven. So, if you’re feeling a little dry, waiting for something fresh from the ovens of Heaven, remember, that hunger is designed to make you fully appreciate when God does personally speak to you. God is faithful and worth waiting for. The Book of Habakkuk says, “…the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!” (Habakkuk 2:2, TLB)

Why I Don’t Trust the News

I haven’t completely trusted the content of the information communicated in the national news since I received Jesus in1972. The news we see and hear is processed information. It is the world as someone else sees it, and often based upon what they want you to believe. It cannot be taken at face value. The Bible says that the devil is the “…ruler of the kingdom of the air…” (Ephesians 2:1, NLT) Some of the people making news are often mouthpieces for philosophies and ideologies that often don’t represent either reality, or the world as God intended. Never forget the Bible’s warning, “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.” (Colossians 2:8, NLT)    

Who Would You Want to Be? 

If you could pick any person who ever lived, aside from Jesus, who would you want to be? With this one caveat. You couldn’t just siphon off the high points of their lives; the extraordinary giftings and accomplishments, or the many blessings that surround their lives: parents, spouse, children, careers, wealth, lifestyles, etc. You’d have to absorb their struggles and sorrows, trials and testings, pain and sickness as well. Likewise, every revelation or breakthrough God had ever personally given you would evaporate. Frankly, every vestige of God’s specific plan and purpose for your life would cease to exist. As I’ve reflected on this question, I concluded that a loving God had already perfectly tailored every aspect of my life with my best in mind. And that the wisest thing I could ever do is believe there is no life better than the life God designed for me. 

Struggle to Enter God’s Rest

I’m not very good at resting, either in the natural or in the Spirit. The combination of insomnia and an intense personality have made rest at times beyond my reach. But, I suspect I’m not alone. One of the great paradoxes in God’s Word is the exhortation to “…strive to enter into God’s rest.” (Hebrews 4:11) It almost sounds like an oxymoron: to pursue resting in God with all of your might. “But, as the Bible says, “As we enter into God’s faith-rest life, we cease from our own works, just as God celebrates His finished works and rests in them. So then we must give our all and be eager to experience this faith-rest life, so that no one falls short by following the same pattern of doubt and unbelief.” (Hebrews 4:9-11, TPT)