My “All-In” Moment

Whining about the troubling season I was in, I quipped, “God, what do you want from me?” He quickly responded, “Only what’s best!” Not clear what that could mean, and nervous at the possibilities, I sheepishly said, “And what would that be?” Hoping His response would bring some of the clarity I needed, His inner voice was immediate. “Out of all possible options for your life, it is the perfect future you’d hope for, if you knew what you really needed.” I loved the thought of a perfect future, and so added, “And how will I know what that is?” Sensing He was about to reveal the secret of life, my heart leaned in with anticipation. One word floated across my mind. “Trust.” Hmm? I was stuck. The only way I could see what was in His hand was to be “All In” myself. 

Fascinated or Captivated

Do you believe that Peter was fully persuaded he would never deny Jesus, when he said, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.” (Matthew 26:23, NLT) It seems obvious, he was. So what was the mistake Peter made that led to his deserting Jesus? Peter began to follow Jesus from a distance. Here in is the great danger of this age. As it becomes more and more offensive to the crowd for anyone to follow Jesus, our tendency can be to get further away from Him. Yet, staying close to Jesus is the only way to live spiritually safe. Peter was fascinated following Jesus, but until he was captivated, he wasn’t fully committed. Being fascinated or captivated may be the determining factor for whether we continue to follow Jesus or fall away. He may be our Savior, but unless He’s our Lord, eventually we will leave Him.  

What Goes “Ouch” In the Night

Do you find it difficult to shake off nagging thoughts in the middle of the night? I know I sometimes do. The patriarch Joseph’s brothers did horrible things to him. They sold him into slavery and told his father Joseph was dead. So, many years later when God supernaturally reconnected Joseph’s brothers with him, even before they realized it was Joseph, when bad things happened to them, they immediately began to reflect on the wrong they had done to their brother. The conviction of God remained in their hearts until they were willing and able to get it right. I’ve called many people over the years to ask forgiveness for a word I have spoken or an action I have done. It’s always hard, but worth it. What convicting thought is troubling you? Make it right and God’s peace will follow. 

Stop and Help

It’s easy for you and I to help those we love and who love us. But, what about those who hate us? Even in the Old Testament, God’s Word was clear as to what our response should be. Exodus 23 says, “If you see that the donkey of someone who hates you has collapsed under its load, do not walk by. Instead, stop and help.” (Exodus 23:5, NLT) Wow! That certainly wouldn’t be the immediate desire of our heart. But it would be the immediate and continual desire of God’s heart. At one point in my life, I hated God because I blamed Him for the pain in my childhood. What was God thinking about me then? Romans 5 says, “while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son…” (Romans 5:10, NIV) He loves each of us with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)

How to Be a Winner

It’s been said, “You are what you eat.” So, what’s the primary entree on your menu? Health food or junk food? This is not just true for natural food, but also for the emotional and spiritual food that feeds our faith or unbelief every day. In Revelation 3, when Jesus said “…to him who overcomes…” He then shares some of the many blessings He will give those who persevere and overcome on Earth: you will sit with Me on My throne; eat from the Tree of Life, and receive supernatural power. Mind-blowing blessings are in store for those who learn to live as overcomers. Jesus is giving us the bottom line for living a healthy life. Live as an overcomer! One “overcoming” challenge on Earth will lead to another, and whoever overcomes the most apparently wins. Want to be a winner? Be an overcomer!

What Gets You Out of Bed

Is success overrated, or does our concept of what is true success in need of continual adjustment? The applause of others without the blessing of God is the primary misrepresentation of true success. Either what gets us out of bed in the morning is birthed in the depthless heart of God or it perishes in the shallow graves of man. The favor of God is infinitely more valuable than the trinkets the crowd considers priceless. The treasures of Earth all melt away. They have no lasting value. Therefore, don’t spend your life chasing after momentary comforts, quick fixes, and the silly affirmation of the mangled masses. Cultivate a daily relationship with the eternal Comforter. Only He knows what is best for each of our lives. Fleeting pleasures last a moment. The promises of God shine forever.   

Boomerangs of Judgment

Everything we say and do in life is a boomerang. In one way or another, it all returns to us. Either as a blessing or a burden. We live in a world where few people realize that all of the judgments they are hurling at others will come back and bite them. Jesus confirmed this when He said, “…you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” (Matthew 7:2, NLT) I certainly never woke up and thought, “Boy, I hope a lot of people are critical of me today.” I know I will reap whatever I sow. Be it love, joy and peace, or hatred, judgmentalism and confusion. As things we share on the internet have a seemingly endless shelf-life, so too the oil spills that come out of our heart don’t just evaporate. They all have long-term consequences.

Hacking Through a Jungle

How often do you and I really see clearly what’s ahead? One percent of the time? Two percent? Would it surprise you if I said that 98% of the time I don’t see clearly what’s ahead; the impossible things God has asked me to believe for. I’m getting used to feeling like I’m hacking through a jungle by faith. Why would that sound unusual? If the just shall live by faith, and faith is the substance of everything good we are hoping for, and the evidence of things we can’t see yet, then you and I will need to learn to be at peace not knowing the future. That’s the normal Christian life; walking by faith, not by sight. The amount of peace I have hacking through the jungle is perhaps the best indication of how much I am trusting God for my future.   

Surviving the Wild-Life

Is life getting wilder, or is it just me? I think “wilder” is the correct answer. As a result, I’m noticing something in the spirit realm that likewise happens in the natural. When a ride gets wilder we all tend to hold on tighter. When we are shaken, we try to find something secure to hold on to. Therefore, what we hold on to in those “wild” moments will either bring long-term comfort or be a false comfort that will eventually bring greater instability and less peace and protection. The Bible promises in Hebrews 12 that everything you see will be shaken, that the things that cannot be shaken will remain. (Hebrews 12:27) So, if your assessment is like mine, that life on Earth is increasingly more fluid and unstable, then build your life on Jesus Christ, the only foundation worth building on.

The Most Troubling Bible Icon

I’m stuck, thinking about a particular Bible icon who really blew it! So troubled by his life, that if he does get to Heaven, when I see him, I’m going to walk up and punch him. That’s a little overstated, but he was blessed like no one else in history and didn’t appreciate it. God appeared to him twice; called him, “the wisest person who ever lived.” Yet, at the end of his life, his 700 wives turned Solomon’s heart away from God and he ended up worshipping demons. Mystifying! Disgusting! If this Bible giant, blessed beyond belief, couldn’t finish well, what shot do I have? Solomon troubles me even more than Judas. Judas was a tiny pawn. A bitter man with no following. Solomon, on the other hand, was a mega-king, given incomprehensible blessings. Ridiculous! Perhaps I’ll understand it someday. But, so far, not today.

Two Songs Everyone Sings

There are two predominant songs people eventually sing in life. At different times we each sing them, but, the one that prevails will brand you. One will leave you “bitter,” while the other will make you “better.” I call them the “Somebody Done Me Wrong” song, and the “God Did Me Right” song. Both are true. One brings a curse, and the other a blessing. The most wrong done to any Person who ever lived was Jesus. The Bible says, “…his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness…” (Isaiah 52:14, NIV) Yet, beyond the wrong done to Him, His prevailing sentence was, “Father, forgive them…” Though He suffered more, He chose to overcome more; to see Himself as a Scarred Warrior, and not a Wounded Victim. How we see ourselves will determine the song we sing.

Dancing At My Grandkids Weddings

A few years ago, after having lost a number of friends pre-maturely due to unhealthy habits, I watched my son-in-law lose nearly 100 pounds and get healthy. I then followed his example and lost the 30 pounds I needed to. As I reflected on my health and my desire to be there for my family members, it caused me to go one step further and make a verbal commitment to each of my seven grand-children that I will dance at their weddings. Sounds simple enough, except for the fact that the youngest is eight years old and still very much single. So, my commitment to health and doing what I can to stay alive and well is a daily conscious decision. I’m doing what I can, while hoping and praying God will graciously bless my efforts to fulfill my promise to my grandkids. What can YOU do to live your best life?