I get messages every day that promise to rectify problems in my computer or phone. Ironically, they are just hackers trying to do the very thing they claim they want to fix. Like Satan, they offer a broad way that only leads to destruction. They “roam about like lions seeking whom they can devour.” Wells without water, and clouds without rain, they remind me of  . . . me. I am the greatest fool I’ve ever known. No one has deceived me more than me. But for the grace of God, I would still be a deceiver, manipulating others. It was only because of the mercy of God that my deceit didn’t completely consume me. So, whenever I think critically of someone else because of an obvious flaw in their lives, may I pray that, like me, they could be spared and rescued out of their deception. 


Do you find yourself stuck in an evil environment? Perhaps it’s a job, a neighborhood, or a relationship. But it’s something you feel you can’t get out of, and you need God’s help. I don’t know about you, but I’ve often looked at Lot, Abraham‘s nephew in the Book of Genesis, with great disdain. I’ve thought, what a weak man. What a fool to buy a house in Sodom and raise children there. But, when I hear the Bible refer to Lot as a righteous man, who was grieved, day and night by the depravity all around him, I’m immediately concerned about the environments surrounding me. What entertains me? What fascinates me? What attachments do I have that cause me to wallow in the muck and mire of worthless imaginations? May we all choose wisely on what we allow to captivate our hearts.


Do you ever feel like you’ve heard a message on every conceivable sin? Many of us, who have been Christ-followers for years, have probably heard messages on six of what are called the “Seven Deadly Sins”: pride, greed, lust, envy, wrath and sloth. But I’d bet most of us have never heard one on the seventh: gluttony, the habit of excessive eating or drinking. The vice that has probably ended the physical lives of more people than the other six combined. Yet, few, if any, pastors preach on what is plaguing so many in their congregations. I get it. Gluttony is the most visible of the seven, and consequently the most embarrassing. No one wears pride, greed, lust, envy, wrath or sloth on their sleeves. Tactfully sharing about gluttony though would save lives and honor the body God gave you.


Do you feel weak? At times, we all do. Our strength is finite. God’s strength is infinite. Only Jesus was able to carry the sins of the world, overcoming sin and death. But, if we depend on God for His increase, He will give us the strength we need for any situation. This will require a divine exchange: our spinelessness for His steadfastness. The fact is: we can’t carry the burden of the Lord  if we’re overwhelmed by the weight of the world. That’s why the Bible says, “…casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7, ESV) Only then can our yoke be easy, and our burden be light. (Matthew 11:30) With every temptation, God provides a way of escape. (1 Corinthian 10:13) With every discouragement, God’s courage is available if we will reach out and fight for it.


How many people lauded and applauded Jesus when, like a king, He rode into Jerusalem to cheering multitudes? Yet, when He was crucified a week later, they refused to stand up in His defense? Likewise, how many in the crowd who saw Jesus be crucified, would later become disciples? How many miraculous moments have been missed because you and I have bowed to fear and unbelief? Yet, like Peter and the original apostles, the God of infinite chances showed up to reconnect our hearts to Him. Today, if you are becoming increasingly tender and responsive toward Jesus, don’t let this moment slip by. Tomorrow is promised to no one. Today, if we can hear His voice, embrace it and allow Jesus to transform your life.


In Exodus, when Moses faced a seemingly untenable situation, God challenged him, saying, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.” (Exodus 14:15, ESV) In the natural, there was a slight obstacle in front of them, called the Red Sea. The impossible was blinding Moses, as it does us. But God challenged him to keep going forward. And so, when Moses took what he had in his hand, his staff, and lifted it up, God parted the sea, and a path appeared for the Israelites to walk through. In what way is God challenging you and I to keep going forward, and we are hesitating? Perhaps, like Moses, what’s in our hand is all that we need to see the miracles of God. “With God, all things are possible!” (Matthew 19:26, ESV)


The most cherished memories in life are reserved for those who intimately connect with their Creator. At these unforgettable moments, God reveals a glimpse of who He is and how He wants us to see Him. They are defining impartations and the ones He wants us to remember. So much so, in Exodus 20:24,  it says, He commands us in His Word “to build altars in places where I revealed to you who I am.” Altars of remembrance. First-love memorials where our lives were touched by the “Great I Am.” Holy places etched in our hearts . . . forever. It is there we begin to realize we have been created for God, and God alone. That revelation will never diminish, only increase. Build your altars. For it is there you will not only meet God but find out who you are as well. 


You may feel this next sentence is overstated, but I’m persuaded it’s not. Every day, I’m focusing on stopping doing things to impress people on Earth. I realize more and more, it’s an incredible waste of my time. Now, I wake up fixated on wanting to impress only the God of Heaven. Sure, I know I’m still on Earth, and I don’t want to be so heavenly minded I’m no earthly good. But I’m more and more persuaded that the value of what I’m doing is found in what impresses Heaven. Unless my thoughts, words and deeds have an eternal shelf life, I don’t want to think them, say them, or do them. I’ve wasted too much time already. “Jesus, may the shallow seductions of Earth be overwhelmed by the endless value of what’s on Your heart, and what You willingly share with me.”  


Have you given up on trying to have constructive conversations with people you know you disagree with? I can understand why you might. They’re exhausting and many times make the divisions worse. But the Bible still challenges each of us, “Come, let us reason together…” (Isaiah 1:) At times, this command is a heavenly invitation to take us to a new level of mutual understanding. Only then can we find a peaceful Equator, rather than consign a potentially worthwhile relationship to permanent North and South Poles. When the Spirit of God is allowed to rule in the hearts of both parties, differences of opinion can become healthy sandpaper: conflicting and even abrasive, but potentially, as you rub the sandpaper together, the rough edges are smoothed out. 


Recently, I was reflecting on the reality that God seems to be talking to my heart a great deal, and even more than usual. My heart was very grateful as He was ministering to me and sharing insight into a certain area that was really impacting me. Right then, I was distracted by something online that was entertaining and fun. I thought I would break away for 15 seconds just to take a peek at it, but by the time I returned only a few seconds later the revelation was gone. I chose to tickle my ears when God was touching my heart. It made me sad that my actions were so immature. It was as rude as taking a phone call when someone was pouring out their heart to me. I still can’t remember the revelation He was giving me. Sad. I know better.


Hoping for earthly leaders to bring heavenly results is a waste of time. That’s what the Israelites wanted from King Saul in the Old Testament: an earthly King to rule over them. Likewise, it’s really what many of the first New Testament Christ-followers hoped Jesus would do as well: bring His Heavenly Kingdom to rule on Earth. But that wasn’t His intention then or now. God wants a relationship with us, not to rule over us. The Oval Office God longs to rule from is in our chest. It’s the relational Kingdom of God within that is His intended difference maker. Christ in you is our only hope of glorifying God in our lives. It’s why the Bible says, “…it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God…” (Romans 10:10, NLT)