Monthly Archives: January 2016

Transformations, little by little

There was a popular show on television a few years back. A team of demolition workers, construction workers, decorators, architectural designers would come together and transform a person’s home in a week. The family would be sent on vacation and return to their home, no longer looking like it used to look, totally transformed – in a week! A large bus usually sat in front of the house and people would gather around and the family would yell, “Move that bus!” Emotions ran high as the camera crew would capture the moment of realization when the family saw their new home for the first time.

A friend of mine remodeled his home recently. He laughed because his kids had the idea the home would be finished in a week – like they do it on TV. He told them, “No. It takes much longer than that. We don’t have the ability to do what they do on that television show.” His daughter was discouraged because she had believed it would be like that.

Dave Earley in his book Living in His Presence writes, “There is no such thing as spiritual transformation. It is an ongoing process of ever-increasing glory. Our character is transformed little by little, a bit at a time.”

2 Corinthians 3:17-18, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

When we come to know Christ, the Bible tells us we are “new creations” or that we are “born again.” John 3:3, “Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone,  the new is here.”

Like infants, we have a lot to learn! Your walk with Christ is an ongoing learning experience. It doesn’t happen over-night. The transformation does not happen in a week either. Christianity is about studying the word of God. It’s about making mistakes and learning from them. It’s about repenting and turning in the other directions. New Christians are as vulnerable as an infant would be if left unattended. God is teaching us every day, molding us, and making us into the people He needs us to be.

If you know a person who is a new Christian, make it a point to encourage him in his walk. If you feel stagnant in your relationship with God, join a Bible study and learn His ways. If you feel frustrated that you are not where you need to be in your relationship with God, talk to Him about it. He is always there. He hasn’t gone anywhere – you have!

Remember, God is the Creator. Every second He is shaping you in ways you cannot imagine. He is forming you into the beautiful being He knows you can be. What He needs is your full attention to the project.

Will you be shaken?

Psalm 16:

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.  I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods  or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;  you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;  surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;  even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord.  With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay. 11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

I love this Psalm by David. It says so much about out Father’s love for us. From the very first words, we are assured, like a child, that God will keep us safe from harm. You may be the richest man on the earth, but if you do not have God, you have nothing good. It doesn’t matter what you have or what you do, if God isn’t in your life, it isn’t good.

In today’s society, there are many gods to worship: money, games, material possessions, careers, and so much more. Many of us put our hopes in those fleeting things. Worshipping those things will only cause you to suffer more and more. David tells God, he will not worship other gods, but the Lord alone is his security.

When rough times threaten your peace, it is God who will take you up under His wing and give you the strength to endure. Money isn’t the answer. A new house isn’t the answer. A new car isn’t going to get it for you. Only the name of God should come for your lips.

Our portion (our inheritance) is drawn up by God. Our cup (our destiny) is planned out by God. He assigns them because He is in complete control of both. God makes known our paths for life and if we allow Him, He will see us through to the very end.

Set the Lord before you today. Remember who is your right hand and walk confidently that you will not be shaken.

Could you have a lie free day?

Proverbs 19:5 “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.”

When a hurricane hits the shores, the damage is indescribable. I’ve seen it firsthand. Homes destroyed. Trees broken in half like twigs. Cars turned upside down. People’s lives blown away in an instant. The destruction is real and visible; and everyone around it knows exactly how and when it happened.

But a lie…

Lies are like snakes. They slither around in the tall grass or hide under rocks. You find them unexpectedly in a water can or next to a peaceful brook. When they strike, it is with little warning.

Lies float around in the air like a deadly virus. They grow and spread like cancer. It is hard to control or contain them.

There are several times in the Bible that God mentions lying and the impact it has on our lives.

Psalm 101:7, “No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.”

Luke 8:17, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

Proverbs 12:22, “The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.”

Satan lied to Eve regarding the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and the fall of man began. Talk about destruction – no storm has ever made an impact as great as one lie from the lips of a snake to Eve. Lying is a BIG deal.

We do it on a daily basis. We lie because we don’t want to tell someone the truth. We can’t make an appointment or we’re too tired to spend time with someone. We didn’t get the work done and our excuse couldn’t be as good as a lie. We cheat others; damage property; can’t admit our faults. And so we use the sin that started all sin, and we lie.

Our children see us lie and they lie. Our government lies. We lie at work, at church, in the grocery store. We even lie to God. Lying has been “in” since Adam and Eve. Sometimes, we don’t even remember what the truth is because we’ve lied so much to cover it.

I want to challenge you today to stop the destruction of mankind. Stop lying. It isn’t easy. Commit today not to tell a lie. Be honest with your kids; be honest with your spouse; be honest with your parents, your boss, your teacher, your friends. Honor God today and make it a LIE FREE day. Maybe if today is LIE FREE, tomorrow will be too. Try it.

Want the perfect way?

Awwww…the perfect life. No worries. No decisions. No grief. No pain. No sickness. Where do I sign up?

Psalm 18:30, “As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him.”

Sometimes I read this scripture and that is what I ponder. By perfect, what does God mean? No struggles? No trials? If I just do exactly as God says to do every second of my life, do I get the perfect life? Well, if so, we’d have to remember Christ’s life, it was perfect, but definitely not free of suffering.

Because of the fall of man, we are faced with many issues and obstacles. Trials, struggling, pain, grief are all inevitable because of Adam and Eve. The secret is following God’s way in dealing with them all. He has all the answers – every last one. His directions will NEVER lead us astray. We may run into trouble; but He knows the way out. We may suffer for a period of time; but He knows the perfect remedy. We may fall down and get hurt; but He will pull us to our feet every time. If we let Him…

I know life is not about luxury. Life is about learning. Life is about building our character and giving us the integrity we need to fight the spiritual battles daily. God’s way is the perfect plan, if we will just obey it.

My dad was big on making us follow instructions, from how to mow the lawn to cleaning up the church, there was a certain way to do everything. As I entered my teenage years, it bothered me tremendously. I knew a better, faster, more efficient way to do it! Woe be unto me if I should alter his directions. Now that I am a grown man and a father myself, I am grateful to my dad. It wasn’t about doing it “his” way, it was about following directions.

God is the same way and He gave us an instructional manual and sent His Son to reiterate it. It is up to us to actually do what He says. Believe me, He isn’t looking for someone to tell Him a better way to do it either. His way is PERFECT…period.

If you are struggling, maybe you need to step back and look at how you are dealing with a particular issue in your life. Is it the way God would have you to deal with it?  If not, read the Word and find out “how to deal with it.” If you are handling it in a Godly way, then be assured, you will be “out-of-it” soon. He will never forsake His beloved children.

Are you contagious?

Connie and I had dinner recently at an incredible restaurant. From the moment we entered the building, we knew we were going to have an experience. The service was like nothing I have ever had. The food tasted delicious. The atmosphere was friendly. When we left, we both felt so fantastic and determined it was the people and their willingness to make our night special through service that made it what it was.

Have you ever thought what it would be like if everyone got motivated and chose to serve others? What would life be like if we all decided to stop looking at ourselves first and turn toward others.

In Hebrews 13:16, “Do not forget to do good and to share with others; for with such sacrifices, God is pleased.”

The idea of this scripture tells us to do good, to give to others; because, when we sacrifice for others, we please our Heavenly Father. The challenge comes in trying to implement the process. How do we serve others? What does God expect from us in order that we please Him.

If you really want to do good and bless others, it starts when you say Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” When we acknowledge God in all our ways, we become His servant and a servant to others. It may take a directional change; it may take the loss of a dream; it may take destruction of your plans to focus on His.

And it starts with the people in your home. Your spouse. Your parents. Your children. Your friends. Your co-workers. Try it. Servanthood can be contagious. Set the example.

I want to challenge you to fill your day with random acts of kindness. Think first of the person next to you before you think of yourself. Allow the mighty power of God to flow through you to impact His kingdom and help His people.

Who Are You?

Exodus 3:11-12, “But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

As a parent when asked a question such as the one Moses brought before God, I would probably respond, “You are a bright, intelligent person who can do anything! I’ve seen you go after goals and fight through struggles with the determination of a lion. You not only have the ability but the know-how to do it.”  I would have told him or her, “You’ve made great grades in school or you are so kind to other people or you have such a great personality” – whatever fits – whatever works to give them the courage to do what he or she needs to do. Not so with God. He didn’t even address Moses’ question.

Has anyone ever asked you something that you didn’t even feel it valid to justify with a response; you just skipped over it and went on? That’s what God did to Moses. He doesn’t pump him up, flatter him, tell him why he chose him; instead, God tells him who He is.

14″God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

Some of us spend a great deal of time trying to “find” ourselves. I know people who hike all over Europe searching for who they are. I know people who look for themselves in alcohol, drugs, friendships, marriages, extra-marital affairs, careers, sports, movies, and a litany of other avenues. I often hear, “If he can just find himself…or when I find who I am…or I just don’t know who I am.” Do you realize that if you are looking for yourself; if you are wondering who you are; if you are uncertain of why God created you, look to God! He is your Creator. Why not go to the source of who made you to determine who you are!

God didn’t have to answer Moses with anything other than, “I will be with you. I am the Great I am.”

Because when God is with us, it doesn’t matter who we are, we are with the Great I Am! When we know who He is, we know who we are!

Calling Angels

Psalm 103:20-23, “Praise the Lord, you his angels,  you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. 21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.”

Do you realize, when you speak God’s Word, when you do His will, when you declare His Name over your situation, angels will respond? It is a very important part to know. What comes from our mouths is pretty significant. It can change the outcome of our situations.

If you will, consider that words are secondary to our thoughts. We think and then respond. Sometimes, it may appear as if we put no thought into what we are saying, but words come from the thoughts we have. It is important to meditate on the Word of God; to fill our thoughts with God’s Word so that when we respond, it will reflect Him. How we filled our minds shows in our words.

Psalm 91:10-12, “No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone.…”

There is a great deal the Lord is telling us in these two scriptures. When we praise Him and when we declare His word over our lives, He instructs His angels to protect us. That in and of itself gives me reason to sit up and take note. The times we need to praise Him the most are the times we don’t feel like praising Him. I’ve learned over the years in ministry, when people are in trouble or hurting or confused, they tend to run away from God. They tend to shake their fists at God. Those are the times His people need to shout out His name in praise because His angels will come to their defense.

One of the greatest weapons of warfare we have is praise. Psalm 34:1, “I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” Not sometimes on my lips or just when things are good and I feel happy, we are to declare I will praise the Lord ALL the time and His praise will ALWAYS be on our lips.

Today, thank God for the blessings of your life. Thank Him for the discipline He has given you. Thank Him for the trials and struggles that you will overcome because of Him. Thank Him for His ability to heal you. Praise Him that He is the ultimate victor and glorify His name because Satan can’t have you. You are God’s child.