KLOVE Radio Features – January 2022
CHOOSING THE UNSHAKABLE –
It would be hard to find someone today whose life is not being shaken. It seems everything that can be shaken is being shaken. So, how can we make our lives “unshakable?” Two words. Fear and Awe. I know, they sound more like the problem than the solution. So, let me put them in an eternal context. The Bible says, “Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.” (Hebrews 12:28, NLT) If you are a follower of Jesus, then you have received an incredible gift: “an Unshakable Kingdom.” If you really comprehend what that means, the only appropriate response is that instead of succumbing to worldly fear, learn to choose thankfulness, worshipping, and fearing Almighty God with deep reverence, respect and adoration.
TOLERANCE AND PATIENCE –
Whenever I read chapter one of Romans, I’m usually appalled. My mind is filled with horror and dismay at the depravity of the sin described. Looking at the world today is little comfort. By the time I read chapter two of Romans, verse one levels the playing field and lets me see into my own heart. The Bible says, “You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.” Hmm? Apparently, God wasn’t wanting me to think of others when I read the first chapter. So much so, that by verse four in chapter two, I’m completely convicted. It says, “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you?” Well? Yeah, Now I do.
THE DAY I DREAD –
Do you have secrets? We all do, and we all do our best to keep our secrets from certain people who would use them to hurt us. There is, however, one Person who knows all of our secrets and wants to help us. Do we really believe we can hide them from Him without consequence? Romans, chapter two, says that there will come a day when God judges everyone’s secret life. Hmm? Why would I want that? Simple. The thought of our secrets eventually being exposed is intended to put the fear of God in us. And what would be the value of that? Well, God’s Word is clear: so that we may depart from evil and cling to what is good, and then our lives will be blessed. Sounds like me knowing God will judge my secrets is designed to be a really good thing.
HOW TO LIVE LONGER
We all want our lives to be blessed. And there’s no One who wants to bless your life more than God. We say, “God bless me!” He says, “Give Me something bless-able!” Romans two refers to the fact that there will come a day when God judges everyone’s secret life. It is meant to put the fear of God in us (a good thing), so that we may depart from evil and cling to what is good (a really good thing). Only then can our lives be blessed and bless-able. Can you name one “good thing” evil has ever done to you or for you? Sure, it’s a silly question. But infinitely less silly than clinging to what we know is “evil” and departing from what God knows is “good.” The Bible says, “The fear of the Lord prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short.” (Proverbs 10:27)
CREATING BRAND-NEW THOUGHTS
Want to be more like God? Think brand-new thoughts that are consistent with who He is. New “God-thoughts” are the doorway to your destiny and the “abundant life” He promised. (John 10:10) So, here’s the fastest and best way to do this. Wash your mind with God’s Word many times throughout your day. You may have read or heard a particular verse a hundred times, but as you experience it on a new day, perhaps in a different translation of the Bible, it will create new God-thoughts. Suddenly, the mind of Christ will become “fresh,” as He intended. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
GIVING WHEN IT HURTS –
One of the greatest privileges in life is to “give when it hurts.” Jesus affirmed this when He said, “You’re far happier giving than getting.” (Acts 20:35, MSG) In 1 Corinthians 9:6, like Paul the Apostle, Barnabas worked for a living, even though in Acts 4:36 he had given all the proceeds of the land that he owned to the ministry. Freely he had received, and so he freely gave. My wife Suzie and I once sold our home and gave the entire equity, $55,000, to the ministry. We then rented for seven years. It took COURAGE to obey, TRUST to patiently wait, and FAITH to believe it was worth it. But, in the fullness of time, God honored it. The next home we purchased and lived in for 10 years, we sold for a $270,000 profit. You can’t outgive God. His balloon re-payments are infinitely better than whatever we consider a great sacrifice.
TRUST ALWAYS BRINGS DELIVERANCE
Was Paul the Apostle deceived near the end of his life, while in a Roman jail, when he wrote, “For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance”? Was this a “get out of jail free” card? Yes and No. The next two verses say, “For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed . . . whether I live or die . . . For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.” (Philippians 1:19-21, NLT) We are all having a temporary “natural” experience. Here, Paul is embracing a great reality, an eternal “supernatural” experience, an absolutely greater reality. What about us? Are we persuaded that, if we fully trust in Jesus, whether we live or die, our life is a “win-win?” I hope so.
There is no one who wants to reward us more than God, both now and throughout eternity. Therefore, His primary goal is to bring us to the fullness of the person He created us to be. And the only way for that to happen while on Earth is for us to develop faith muscles. Supernatural maturity can only come as we respond to life’s challenges and disappointments, with the faith that pleases God and makes Him smile. Everything in life is designed to grow us into the stature of the fullness of Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 4:13) Prayers getting answered will not produce this majestic effect. Only unquestioning trust, irrespective of what we see and are experiencing, is the secret sauce that transforms our lives. Jesus developed faith muscles (learned obedience) through the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8), and so must we.
SURVIVING EGYPT TO BE SEDUCED BY BABYLON
What is the long-term danger for those of us who have been rescued by Jesus? Have we survived Egypt, and the bondage of being slaves to this world, only to be seduced by Babylon and the confusion of being taken into captivity and brainwashed by a fallen culture’s values? Paul writes, “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3, NIV) Every moment of every day, “…the commander of the powers in the unseen world,” (the devil) contaminates the airwaves with deception. Paul further warns of this, “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)
HOW TO CONQUER EVIL THOUGHTS
Self has never been the cure for sin. Self is the problem, not the solution. The Book of Colossians speaks of three attempts well-meaning faith leaders make to help people get free from sin. It says, they “…may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.” (Colossians 2:23, NLT) All three of these efforts are focused on self, what we can do, not on Jesus, and what He accomplished when He died and rose again, defeating sin and death. Devotion, denial, and disciplines without surrendering our will to Jesus, takes us further away from relying on God alone, and His victorious power over evil temptations. “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)
A PERFECT PLACE TO FAIL
Those of us who have been rescued from sin and know how real the bullet we dodged was, never cease to be grateful for the mercy of God. But is there a fail-proof environment that would keep us from falling? Well, consider this. Lucifer, now known as Satan or the Devil, was one of the three archangels in Heaven. He fell from grace in the most perfect conditions possible. Completely loved by God, brilliant to a fault, the most gifted worship leader of all time, with unprecedented authority, and the brightest future imaginable, he still fell…HARD. So, apparently there is no sure-fire way, no backstage pass to staying eternally safe. Jesus gave us the only way to not fail, “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Have you ever thought: “If I have the armor of God in my life, why do I feel so beat up?” Good question. Though there can be a few reasons for this, I’ve found one to be the most common. You have no armor on your back, only on your front, as you face your battles head on. There is no victory without a battle. There is no protection in merely knowing about the battle, and in knowing about your armor. Victory came to David as he fearlessly ran to meet Goliath, as Daniel boldly prayed with the windows open, as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego courageously stood in defiance of the King’s mandate. God blesses faith, not fear, and courage not cowardice. We are made for war, and called to be victorious, but armor only works going forward, not backward. Face your battle head-on with faith, not fear!