KLOVE Radio Features – October 2021
FEELING UNWORTHY? –
Do you ever feel completely unworthy of God using you because of past sins, even those you committed as a Christ follower? I’ve certainly had to deal with this. Our sins were many and truly ugly. But we’re not alone. Think of the original apostles. One denied Jesus. The rest abandoned Him in His greatest hour of need. Paul the Apostle not only persecuted Christians but stood by as they were killed. Which Bible hero would feel worthy before a holy God, without receiving His forgiveness? So, the next time you believe your past sins disqualify you, let the blood of Jesus wash over your soul. Jesus never called perfect people to follow Him, He only called imperfect ones. If you fit those criteria, then welcome! The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to you.
MINING THE GIFTS GOD’S GIVEN YOU
Comparing yourself to others is a pit! It is a slippery slope that seduces us all. Whether we like it or not, most of us feel we are less than those around us, with no hope of rising to the heights we long to reach. Thank God that’s not how He views us. We are each His “one-of- a-kind originals.” We couldn’t possibly be more special to Him. And that’s how He wants us to view ourselves. Without embracing how God sees us, we’ll never become who He intended us to be. I may not seem to have much compared to some, but I want to spend my life drawing out every drop of grace from the gifts God gave me. Whatever God’s created you to be and do, give yourself fully to it.
BEWARE THE HIGH POINTS
Like climbing a steep cliff, I’ve found the high points in my life are often more dangerous than the low ones. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the multitudes were captivated by Him. Even a few days later, Jesus was thronged by adoring crowds as He rode upon a donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Yet, within a week, the same crowds that lauded Him, that applauded Him, would be shouting “Crucify Him!” His disciples were devastated! But just when they thought all hope was gone, three days later, Jesus would be resurrected. Such is the pattern of life. One day we’re elated, and the next, deflated. I’ve found, if I don’t rest in God’s promises, at some point I’ll stumble over my own preferences. And, frankly, I’ve never known what’s best for me.
“GIVE HER A HUG!”
Years ago, while travelling doing a four-nation tour of music and preaching, I ministered in the city where my mother lived. She was then in her early 80’s and suffering from dementia. As I acknowledged her presence in the room, I was overcome with emotion. Unable to speak, a person in the crowded room yelled, “Give her a hug!” Gaining my composure, I attempted to continue sharing about how much she meant to me, only to break down again. The same man yelled, “Give her a hug!” This time I waded down a long aisle and hugged my dear mother as she whispered in my ear, “It’s OK, sweetheart.” It would be the last coherent sentence my mother was able to say to me. It still makes me cry. In eternity, I look forward to hugging my Mom and the man who yelled those two anointed sentences.
WHAT AM I WATERING?
Every day, we each give our energies to something; from the worthless to the worthwhile. Therefore, whatever we pour our life into will grow, for better or worse. That’s where the expression, “The grass grows where you water it,” comes from. During deceptive seasons of my life, I have empowered thoughts and actions that caused evil to grow in my heart. Eventually, by the grace of God, I realized I needed to become more aware of what I was naively perpetuating. I am not just a seed sower; I am a seed waterer. Jesus said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted…” (Matthew 15:13, NIV) If I am not careful, the weeds will overtake the fruit and flowers, choking out what is eternal and precious, leaving only what is temporary and meaningless.
WHEN THE DEVIL CALLS ON LINE TWO
In the Book of Acts, the first disciples were afraid that Saul, then called “Paul”, a notorious persecutor of Christians, was only pretending to be a Christ follower. As they hesitated to whole-heartedly receive him, the Spirit of God cut through their fear, bluntly telling them, “Go, and do what I say.” I have found this simple sentence most models God’s direction in my own life. Just Obey, Go and Do! Faith always requires passionate action, not passive thinking. No debate; just unquestioning obedience. Oftentimes, it seems that when God calls me on Line One, the devil calls me on Line Two, to undermine what God asked me to do. Elijah challenged the people, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him…” (1 Kings 18:21, NIV)
WHAT AM I READY TO DO?
In Acts 20, Paul believed he was being irresistibly drawn to preach the Word of God in Jerusalem. Even after it was repeatedly prophesied that “chains and afflictions were waiting for him there,” (Acts 20:23) he refused to disobey the call to go. Time and again, well-meaning believers tried to dissuade him from going, and Paul knew their prophecies were true, but He refused to bow to fear, eventually saying, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart. For I am not only ready to be jailed at Jerusalem, but also to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21:13, NLT) His courageous response provokes me to ask myself, What difficult, even dangerous, act of obedience am I ready to do for Jesus? Not initiated by me but written in my script by Him.
“TAKE WHAT YOU WANT!”
A pastor friend shared with me about a homeless outreach they had. After many homeless folks received food, they were down to only one bag. A homeless man approached and mentioned that he hadn’t had a meal in three days. While he was sharing, a second homeless man approached. The first man, seeing the second coming, realized if he took the final bag of groceries the second man would get nothing. So, without any coaching, he took all of the food out of the bag, and turning to the 2nd homeless man said, “Take what you want!” It was a stunning moment! After dividing up the food evenly, the two men walked away with their arms around each other to share a meal. It was a little bit of Heaven on Earth.
BATTLING MY DDT’s
The insecticide DDT was originally developed as an effective pesticide to kill unwanted bugs. Over time, it became most remembered for its devastating environmental impact. There were three primary DDT’s that nearly destroyed me. Collectively, they had the most devastating environmental impact on my mind, emotions, and spirit. My former DDT’s were Deception, Discouragement, and Toxic relationships. There were so many Deceptions in my life, it’s a miracle I’m in my right mind today. They became the breeding ground for Discouragements that caused me to consider killing myself, every day, for six months. Lastly, having been involved in Toxic relationships prior to surrendering my life to Jesus, I’m continually aware of my need to let Jesus be the love of my life.
WHEN MIRACLES REFUSE TO DIE
For all five years of university, I was an in-your-face atheist who didn’t believe in either God or miracles. I wasn’t alone. Doubting in miracles seems to be more common today than miracles themselves. They’re considered far-fetched, beyond belief, unscientific. Science is god. Religion’s outdated and superstitious; for the weak and simple-minded. But the Bible says, “Someone living on an entirely human level rejects the revelations of God’s Spirit, for they make no sense to him . . . they are only discovered by the illumination of the Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:14, TPT) Openness to miracles happens when we experience something we’re convinced wasn’t possible unless intervention came from something beyond our understanding. Then, not only are we unable to explain miracles away, but we can’t get them out of our head.
I believe in Climate Change, and genuinely try to change the atmosphere wherever I go. If it’s hopeless, I want to bring hope. If it’s angry, I’m trying to model peace. If it’s discouraged, I need to be courageous. All around us, many are drowning in hopelessness, anger and discouragement. And we just might be surprised that God could use us to bring climate change to someone whose life has been upended by an earthquake of a broken relationship, a tornado of fear and unbelief, or a hurricane of depression and despair. By the grace of God, I want to be a room lifter, an altitude shifter, and an atmosphere changer, taking the chill off of frozen rooms by warming up cold hearts. Only God can make this happen, and only genuine followers of Jesus can be His heart, hands and feet.
“YOU’RE JUST GETTING STARTED!”
I’ve been a Christ-follower for 50 years. So, when God recently spoke to my heart, “You’re just getting started,” it was not what I was expecting, and it made me laugh. Probably like Sarah laughed when, as an old woman, God told her she was going to have her first child. (Genesis 18:12) Ironically, they named him Isaac, which means, “one who laughs.” When I considered what God’s words to me meant, it made complete sense. The Bible says our lives on Earth are “…a wind that passes away…” (Psalm 78:39) So, in reality, all of us who are born-again by the Spirit of God are eternal spirit beings having a very temporary journey on Earth. It is the shortest season of our endless life, and yet preparing us for an eternity of marvelous future adventures with God.