Archives For courage

Only God

July 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

Image Credit

sunset

You Lord give longing for the eternal. Only you can satisfy. Forgive me for looking anywhere else for completeness and joy. Soul-satisfaction can only be found in you-the creator of all things.

You walk with me moment by moment. There is never an instant you are not near. Your endless road of Grace amazes me continually. Every hunger of my life leads to you for sustenance.  My soul and heart is restless without you.

I hold fast to your promise spoken long ago,  “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” You are all-sufficient. My soul smiles and I campaign forward.

Whisper

“Anything that God has ever done, He can do now. Anything that God has done anywhere else, He can do here. Anything that God has done for anyone else, He can do for you.” A. W. Tozer

“Anything that God has ever done, He can do now.”

That’s correct. You serve a ‘now’ God.  God can move in your life at this present time or moment. Take a breath and then Whisper to your soul, “God is closer than the air I just breathed.” I challenge you today to be mindful of Gods presence in your life. He doesn’t just drop in for a visit. God lives inside of you if you are a Christ follower. You are submerged in the unconditional perfect love of the God of the ‘now.’ The future can’t be experienced, and the past is consumed in the annuals of time.  You only have this moment and God has you in this moment. Whisper to your soul, The ‘now’ God is completely loving me right now!

“Anything that God has done anywhere else, He can do here.”

The scriptures declare that God is the great “I Am.” You don’t have to  look back at a past event God has performed for His glory and wonder if He can do a great miracle where you are in the present. If God can do a miracle anywhere, He can do it where you are.  He is not the “I was” or the “I might be.”  He is the “I Am.” Whisper to your soul, “God is here.”

“Anything that God has done for anyone else, He can do for you.”

You are His child. He loves and cares for you. Be awake to what he wants to do for you in order to bring Him glory. Be awake to the fact that it’s not about you in the first place. Life is about bringing God glory. You have been chosen to bring Him glory, and therefore, He will do for you in order to make much of Him. You are a branch attached to Jesus, the source of life. He is the vine, and we are just branches that produce fruit for His glory. Whisper to your soul, “He will do for me and through me what best brings Him glory.”

May this day be the great day you have hoped for! Whisper to your soul, “Let it be.”

Leave-The-Past

What is it about the past that holds so many people captive?

When I was growing up I worked in my father’s sheet metal shop, and there were all types of machinery, and tables for working with all things metal. One table had weighted magnets that would swing out over the table and hold a piece of metal down to the table once they were turned on. The metal would then be unmovable as you worked on it.

From time to time,  I would jump up on the table and try and pull a magnet to the point of breaking it free from the table. It was a strength game my bothers, and I use to play to see who was the strongest.  I was never able to break the magnets free, and neither were any of my brothers. It always remained locked in place. The only way to break it free was to cut the power off to the magnet.

Some of you today need to do the same thing and cut the power off to the past that has you in its grips. You have tried to pull your way free from the past. You have struggled really hard to be stronger than your past, but nothing seems to set you free. The only thing that will free you is to cut off the power of the past. You do that by believing God is at work in your life in the present.

We all have a past.  A past filled with memories so powerful and hurtful that to recall them brings nothing but a pain to your soul and a knot to your stomach. When we hang on to our painful past memories, we either become withdrawn and unsociable; or explosive, cranky, critical, judgmental, reactive and mean towards others.

Jan Glidewell once said, “You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms to full to embrace the present.”  I love the story of Joseph in the Bible. His story is one of my favorites. I’ll try and summaries and keep it brief as I give you some background and insight into his life and choices concerning his painful past.

  • Joseph, son of Jacob, overcame a painful past.
  • He was raised in what we would call a “dysfunctional family.”
  • Sibling rivalry filled Jacob’s household.
  • Joseph’s brothers caught him, threw him into a pit, and discussed killing him.
  • One brother intervened and convinced them instead to sell Joseph as a slave In Egypt, where he became the property of Potiphar.
  • Potiphar’s wife had eyes for Joseph and made continual sexual advances.
  • He refused, she falsely charged him with attempted rape and he was imprisoned.
  • While imprisoned, Joseph made friends with a baker and a cupbearer.
  • Both promised to pull their political strings and secure Joseph’s release.
  • In time, the baker was hanged, and the cupbearer was freed, but forgot Joseph.
  • For two more years, Joseph’s remained in prison.
  • One day Pharaoh had a dream that no one, but Joseph could interpret.
  • Egypt would experience 7 years of plenty/7 years of famine.
  • As a reward Pharaoh put Joseph over all of the agricultural activity in Egypt.
  • The years of plenty came, and Joseph stored up. Seven years later the famine hit.
  • This famine was so severe that even people outside of Egypt came to get food.
  • One day, Joseph’s own brothers arrived.
  • Joseph recognized them, but his brothers didn’t recognize him.
  • Joseph sold them grain and tricked them into coming back before revealing himself.

Genesis 45:1-3

1 Then Joseph could not restrain himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Make everyone go out from me!” So no one stood with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept aloud, and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard it. 3 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; does my father still live?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence.

They were terrified. They did not know anything about Potiphar’s wife and the undeserved prison sentence. Neither did they know about the abandonment by the cupbearer. But they remembered the pit and their bartering and selling their own brother. They had every reason to be terrified

Genesis 45:4

And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.

Perhaps they expected a call for the royal guards, and the punishment they deserved for the cruelty they had shown their own brother. But no retaliation comes. These brothers did not know that Joseph had made peace with his painful past. His own words indicate he had let go of any vindictive feelings he held against them. He had cut off the power to the past.

Genesis 45:5

5 But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.

How was Joseph able to put all his painful past behind him? What was Joseph’s secret? He practiced true forgiveness. Joseph could have struck back and felt the exhilaration that comes from getting even. Instead, Joseph chose to forgive. Until you forgive, the pain of your past will continue to be felt in your present.

I chagllege you today to cut of the power to the magnet that is hold you in the past. Forgiveness is how the power switch is cut off. It is hard to forgive but possible.

20121229-evil

I’m starting to understand more and more as I grow older the better question to trouble in the world and evil in the word is “How long?” and not “Why God?”

I’ve arrived at a place where I no longer have to have an answer for trouble; nor do I have an unquenched need to have God give me an explanation for all things wrong and evil.

Instead, I’ve learned to live in the direction of healing and correction of all the wicked and evil in the world. After all, that is what the Christ follower is called to do.

We are called to follow the Price of Peace. My prayers are prayers for God to bring an end to all the evil and turmoil. The message of the Bible is God has promised to end evil, and I just stand, walk and believe. “One day,” will become “The day” all evil ends.”

I trust in the fact that God is perfect love and has a perfect power, and yet things often look out of control and dark. However, I don’t have to look for answers to why evil. I just have to look at the answer for evils final defeat, and that answer is Christ.

I’m not called to understand the evil of this world. I’m called to be a light in it until the light of Christ and His glory floods the earth forever. I don’t have to understand evil, and I don’t have to accept evil. I’ve accepted Christ, and He alone is the undefeated King.

Christopher Wright writes, “Evil has no proper place within creation. It has no validity, no truth, no integrity. It does not intrinsically belong to the creation as God originally made it nor will it belong to creation as God will ultimately redeem it.”

Now my beloved Christ followers…go and live the light and watch as darkness slowly dies. WE WIN!

Revelation 21:1
21 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.

Stage

 

You can only think about one thing at a time. Don’t believe me?

Try spelling aloud, “I love Jesus with all my heart” at the same time as you write down your address on paper. (Go ahead and try it; I’ll wait.)

I’m convinced this is a blessing and a gift of God.  There are times in our lives we need to fully immerse ourselves in Him and nothing else. We need to get our minds and hearts refocused on life giving thoughts and directions.

For instance, let’s say someone has broken your heart or wronged you in a particularly profound way. All you seem to be able to do is fixate on them and it’s driving you crazy. It steals your joy, your smile, your happiness, your forward motion and a host of other good emotions that belong to you.

When you have been wronged it brings pain. Pain is a part of life and often the hammer that drives the nail of suffering into your heart. When suffering takes over my emotions I have a choice to make. I can continue to think about it or think about the things Jesus told me to think about.

1 Peter 5:7, instructs us, “7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

You can take your pain and emotional distress and cast them on Him. You can cast them into the sea of His mercy and love and watch them sink away.

Often, we turn to God for help, but we don’t take Him the problem. We manage the problem under lock and key. We open it over and over again and complain about it. Instead, you must take it to Him and cast it upon Him. After all, that’s what He said to do. You want to be obedient, correct? I thought so.

It’s been said, “The human mind is like a stage. Only one performance can play at a time.” Now, let Jesus have the stage by thinking on the things He said to think on. He has given you the power to choose who will play on your stage. It can be the thought of a person that hurt you, or  Jesus who can heal you. It’s your move. God bless you.

Philippians 4:8-9
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

another-purpose1

Revelation 4:11   Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.

God did not need to create you; He chose to create you.

You were created by God’s choice for the work of His purpose.

One of the most disconcerting things in this world is to believe you don’t matter, that your life has no reason or rhyme.

Inside your heart,  you believe and say things like:

  • I’m useless
  • I’m a waste of space
  • I’m not good enough
  • I have no worth.

We all know what that kind of emptiness feels like. Adam and Eve were created for a purpose but lost their way when they tried to go their own way. God found them in their brokenness and called them to follow him to healing.

God did not create you to be insignificant.

However, don’t misunderstand; life is not ultimately about you.

It’s about God and His glory.

Your significance comes through showing Christ significant to a lost and dying world.

To go deeper and find out more, view the video message of Identity Check Part 4- Created For The Work Of His Purpose.

trusting

Life is beautiful because it’s a gift of God, but at times life seems to run completely out of control. We run into things and things run into us. We can’t fix it; we can’t get out of it, or even around it. We can’t get over it or under it. As desperate as we might try…we can’t even heal it. The refuge of our humanity reveals just how thin and useless it really is.

It’s in those times that you come to understand that God is the only true refuge that you can trust. You know deep in your heart that you must immerse yourself completely in His presence. It’s in those times that you must embrace His lordship in your life like never before. You must remind yourself that goodness and mercy surrounds you because He has promised it.

A.W. Tozer once said, “What we need very badly these days is a company of Christians who are prepared to trust God as completely as they know they must at the last day.”

In the last day,  we will stand in completely trust of His judgment and final rescuing of our whole lives. However, we can stand that strong and confident right now! We don’t have to wait until the last day. We can trust Him right now…today.

Trusting in God doesn’t come naturally. Learning to trust in God is as I heard one pastor put it, “a spiritual crisis of the will.” It’s in times of spiritual crisis we must allow our faith to truly wake-up and live in spite of all the war of doubt that is raging in our hearts.

Allow me to close with a couple of Psalms, and an unknown quote for you to meditate on.

Psalm 91:2, “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.”

Psalm 37:5 “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.”

“God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”

mute button
You were called to be more than just aware of God’s presence in your life. You were called to be awakened to the presence of God in your life.

There was a time in my life when I was just aware of God. I was religious. I attended the church. I knew the praise songs by heart. I liked the preacher. I liked the people I went to church with. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. I was good at checking the God box in order to feel like my life had balance.

What I really needed was a relationship that was fully awake to God speaking into my life. I had just enough religion to smell Christian. I was aware of God but not awakened to God.

Allow me to Illustrate it for you.

There are times I’ll be watching T.V. and my wife begins to talk with me. I can hear her talking…I’m aware of her presence, but I’m not awakened to her. The T.V. has my full attention, and I can just kind of hear her in the background. It’s not until I mute the T.V, turn and look her in the eyes that she has my full attention. When I mute the T.V., I move from awareness to an awakening.

The bible tells us; we are able to hear God’s voice and we will not follow another. We can only hear Him and follow Him, when we mute the other voices that are competing for our attention.

When you mute the other voices, you move from awareness to an awakening. If you find yourself just being aware of God in your life…then hit the mute button. You would be amazed at how fast you wake up.

Dealing With Adversity

November 7, 2012 — 2 Comments

adversity

Life has a way of blowing adverse winds across your journey. There will be days that the winds are in your favor, and there will be days the winds are against you. Your forward advancement in life will always have much to contend with.

In times of adversity, you must prepare yourself with a purpose that is steadfast. In fact, adversity is not a terrible thing when navigated properly. When you encounter a loss, or you have suffered a massive defeat, or a serious setback, look deep inside your heart, where God lives, and prompt yourself of His presence in the storm.

When I think back on the trouble I’ve had in my life, I’m reminded how adversity ended up making me stronger. In fact, pain in my life has taught me much about myself. Adversity has shown me my weaknesses and taught me to give them over to God.

The goal of life is not to avoid adversity. Life is discovered more deeply to those who have suffered and then went on to endure their hurts and pain. The strong winds of adversity will blow away what needs to be blown away, and that which should remain, will remain.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 tells us, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; …

 

Miracles Happen

What an incredible moment in Luke 18! The God of the universe, the creator of everything, asked Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?”

What a miracle! What a God opportunity! Bartimaeus was a blind man that saw his opportunity (no pun intended) MIRACLES HAPPEN…sometimes they are housed in an opportunity.

Bartimaeus is a model to imitate, and no, I’m not promoting NAME IT and CLAIM IT. God is not Burger King, where you can have it your way. I’m speaking of imitating the way he acts on his God given moment of opportunity, in spite of everyone around him telling him to keep quiet. He simply keeps calling for Jesus to have mercy and that opportunity leads to the miracle  that he needed.

Bartimaeus would have remained blind, had he not seized the opportunity of His God moment. Most often, miracles are found in obeying the opportunity God has placed right in front of you.

I like to say it this way: Miracles Are Often Wearing The Clothing Of Opportunity

My wife and I moved to San Francisco many years ago to start a new church.(We were there for 13 plus years) She and I appeared before the state council for our denomination and shared our calling. After pouring out our hearts, we were expecting 100% of the men to give us the green light and their blessing. It was just the opposite. They turned us down and thanked us for our time, and we walked out the door.

As we were walking down the hallway to leave, my wife was visibly upset. I asked her, “What’s wrong?” She responded, “What are we going to do?” My reply was simply, “Start a church.”

Seeing she was not satisfied with my answer, we returned to the board room. I knocked, and then pushed the door open. I apologized for the interruption, but shared with them that I had a few more things I would like  to say. I proceeded to tell them that we meant no disrespect, but we would be starting a church for our denomination, or an independent work because we had to obey God.

After a few moments of silence, a man at the end of the table (who is a dear friend of mine) began to clap and stand up. It was one a man standing ovation. I believe that is the way God does us. He gives us a standing ovation, when we obey the opportunity He has called us to obey, even when  everyone else is telling us, we can’t.

Allow me to share a passage with you with some comments.

Luke 18:35-43

35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.

  • Miracle Opportunities shows up often in everyday life if you have faith to see it.
  • The text say Jesus was drawing near Jericho, but in the case of Bartimaeus, Jesus was drawing near him.

36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him,  “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

  • He was listening to what was going on around him.
  • He was listening for his opportunity.
  •  Open your ears! You might just be surprised at what God is trying to set up for you.

38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

  • Psalm 23 tells us that goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life.
  • God has your life surrounded with goodness and mercy.

39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

  • He had a desire to move passed the one’s that were just curious about Jesus
  • “You may delay, but time will not.” –Benjamin Franklin
  • He opened every widow of his heart to the opportunity

40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41  “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.”

  • Isn’t that really the miracle we all need, to recover our sight?
  • To see what God see’s; to see how God see’s things?
  • If we did, and acted on it more often, we would change our lives and those around us.

42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

  • The miricle for Bartimaeus was found in the opportunity of Jesus passing by. Once he was rescued, he followed and glorified God and everyone saw. I just love that. His life became a witness. You life can also.

Today, many will open their eyes to the miracle opportunities that surround them. Why not you?