Showing posts from 2015
How Does God Feel About You?
How do you think God feels about you? When God looks at you, what thoughts run through His mind? This was the question that hit me first thing this morning in prayer. "How do you think I feel about you?" He asked. For me, at least, not an easy question to answer.

I think we can try to answer this question from two perspectives: performance or position. Is the way God feels about me based on my performance - what I do, what I've done, my accomplishments, my behavior; or is the way He feels about me based on who I am? It's an important distinction; it's a difference that can't be overlooked when trying to answer this question.

We can try to better answer this question by asking another question; is my value to God based on what I've done or my good acts, or is my value simply in the fact that I'm part of His creation? Does God like me for who I am; my quirks, talents, failures, and beauty included? Scripture makes this answer p…

Here's a simple experiment you can do at home.

Take a clean, white dress shirt; one that is spotless, preferably just bought. Now take another dress shirt (doesn't have to be white), and pour some grape juice on it. In fact, douse it in the grape juice, and then add a little potting soil. Take this soiled shirt and spread it out on the floor. Now take some pepper, don't put it on the shirt, though. Sniff some of the pepper until  you're ready to sneeze. Then sneeze on the shirt.

The shirt can now be considered sufficiently dirty. You wouldn't wear it to dinner and you certainly wouldn't wear it to church (I don't think, anyway).

Now get the white shirt; the clean white dress shirt. Take that clean white shirt and lay it on top of the dress shirt you just dirtied. Make sure the two shirts are touching, press down on the clean shirt if you so desire.

After a few minutes, lift the clean white dress shirt off of the shirt that has been severely abused. Is th…
You are a diamond in the making.

Did you know ... 

Diamonds are extremely rare and extremely valuable and their value is a function of the depth at which they are formed. The formation of a diamond occurs up to 100 miles below the surface of the earth.

Diamonds are formed under intense pressure and heat. Carbon buildup from dead plants and animals is compressed under the weight of millions of tons of earth over many years under intense heat. Pressure. Heat.

Rare diamonds are tinted by colors; the hope diamond for example. This tinting is a result of imperfections that exist in the diamond during its formation process. You could say, a diamond's flaws give it great value.

What can take hundreds or even thousands of years to achieve is released within hours. The diamond travels to the surface of the earth in tubes called kimberlites within a matter of hours. The formation process is lengthy, but the activation process is fast.

You are a diamond in the making. (Yes, I'm repeating mysel…
Find Your Seat

One of the remnants of my daughter and son-in-law's recent wedding was a sign my daughter created to hold the seating assignments for her guests. It was very country-cool, if you know what I mean. This sign had sentimental value to me, so instead of throwing it away, I put it in a spot in our backyard.

A month later, looking out the bathroom window, I saw that sign and it struck me. Find your seat. God wants us to find our seats. He wants us seated exactly where we belong; in His purpose, grace, and joy. 

I think many of us have seasons where we question our vocation, our calling, what we should be doing with our lives; the short lives we've been given. Some call this a mid-life crisis. I call it a quandary of calling. If we've been called to task, then it's only that task that will bring fulfillment to our lives. The only place of true rest is in the seat assigned to us by God.

But how do we know when we've found that seat? What signals us that we'v…
Under the Influence
Would you be willing to take, say, a few seconds, place your mind in focus mode, and consider this thought, 
"Your life has a strong impact on others."Consider that thought again,

"My life has a strong impact on others."
How you walk, the paths you take, your choices, have a bigger impact on others than you might imagine. It's true to say, people are under the influence of you.

So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong. (The book of Hebrews in the Christian scriptures, chapter 12)

I've heard it said that there is no more than six degrees of separation between every human on this planet. I think we all know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone famous. True or not, as humans, we are all interconnected in one way or another. And that interconnection is the channel that carries the good …

Your name has been tattooed onto the palms of God's hands. That's right; God has a tattoo, and that tattoo bears your likeness.

"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands ..." (Isaiah 49:16)

Engraved, not penciled in. Like a design on a sword's blade. Inscribed, like permanent carvings on a piece of wood. This is not a temporary or seasonal inscription; this is meant to stand the test of storms and time. Bottom line, God fell so in love with you that He "went out" and got a tattoo of you. He's that serious about His relationship with you.

Your name is indelibly written on the palm of His hand. That's God's level of commitment to you! 

Understand this, there is no condemnation for you who is in Christ. It is by His doing that you are safely placed in His hands, and it is by His doing that you remain safely in His care. No one can snatch you from His mighty grip. You would more easily rip the tattoo off of a snarling six foot, five…
The Wedding
Twenty years ago, our soon to be married daughter, Kaity, came into this world. Her life has been quite a story. 

When she was first born, she was having issues breathing; something a new father is never prepared for. I can remember the nights when she would wheeze and cough and the little rubber turkey baster thing the hospital gave us to clear out her throat. It was blue. 

When Kaity was about seven or eight, she walked out onto our front porch; the porch I was rebuilding. She stepped out and down she went between the support beams. She said she saw an angel. I don't doubt it; someone was holding her. Someone walking into a hole tends to fall face first. She didn't. She landed straight up and was fine.

It was around that time that Kaity met Paul, her fiance. They were in pre-school. He was born on valentines day; and that was appropriate, because that was when he proposed to her (at least that's how I think it went down.) He said he was going to marry her. (Paul,…
They can remain silent for years; inactive for decades. They meld into our society and live undetected. Just like most others, they have every day jobs and occupy themselves with ordinary activity. Blending, learning, being a part. Highly unnoticed. Until that day comes; the day of activation. And then everything changes.

Mr. or Mrs. mild-mannered loses their milk-toast personality and trades it in for purpose and boldness. The ordinary is no longer ordinary and the daily grind becomes a daily mission. Around every corner is a hidden opportunity waiting. Every chance encounter holds the possibility of becoming a brush with destiny.

And who are these mysterious sleeper cells, these quiet ones who hide in our midst until their obscure calling and activation is alerted?

Well, it's you.

Know it or not, like it or not; you're not ordinary. You weren't made with average in mind and your purpose holds nothing less than spectacular. How do I know that? Because the One who mad…
Charles Darwin may have thought he had a clue when formulating his now famous Theory Of Evolution, but he knew little of the human cell and its incredible complexity. In fact, the more recent scientific discoveries of the intricacy of the human cell have caused some modern scientists to question and even discard Darwin's writings on evolution by natural selection and trade them in for "Intelligent Design". 

In April of 1953, Watson and Crick published their findings, a molecular structure of DNA; the double helix. This was something not grasped by Darwin when he wrote Origin of Species in 1859.

DNA is a highly structured, complex molecule that carries our genetic information. The wonder of how DNA is constructed, how it allows itself to be copied in reproduction, and the specificity of its instructions may lead us to think that this is not the result of an accident or chance. Perhaps, there is even intelligence in its design? On the contrary, given the sheer volume o…
The Heart of Prayer
I saw the movie War Room last night. It was a moving film about the power of prayer. Prayer has the power to transform lives and to impact people. I've seen it played out in my own life and others' lives as well. But not only does prayer affect others, it also directly affects our relationship with God.

On a recent trip to Haiti, during a question and answer time, I asked one of the Haitian pastors what made him feel close to God; what does he do to feel God near. His answer was simple - he said he prayed. He prayed often. His church prayed often. In the morning, at night, during the week. Prayer was a staple of this man's life and prayer was one of the defining factors of his relationship with God. It's how he felt close to God.

Praying for others brings us close to God because God cares about the people we are praying for. When we pray for the poor, we are close to God's heart because his heart is close to the poor. We're connected to God, be…
He came in at the last minute seated in his fine-tuned Maserati GranTurismo with the speed and agility of leopard in the heat of the hunt. His name was Turner, and he was the only one to handle this delicate situation. As his convertible pulled a sideways screech onto the tarmac, he jumped out and rushed to the family being held at gunpoint. The villain, Dark Shine, stood ready to pull the trigger on his captives. But he'd never get the chance. Ryan Turner had arrived.

One kick to the gun and the family was saved. Another kick to the rib cage of Dark Shine and the villain was down. He'd done it again; come through when desperation and death were the only options in site. But then, before the grateful father could even thank Turner, he was gone - but not before calling the police to collect the garbage he had just disposed of. 

And that's the way Turner preferred to live; a man of action, glamour, and never ending adventure. He was a true hero.

But I'd beg to differ. (…
The Hurting Jesus
We walk this earth with those that hurt. Whether we realize it or not, the world is filled with the lonely; with those who suffer depression and carry rejected hearts. Pain in this world is unavoidable.

But there is a heart that is greater. There is One who looks on the suffering, but doesn't just stare or consider. He goes. He stoops. He reaches down. That's what God does. That's what Jesus did. He reached down to the hurting. He held the heart of the lonely one. He raised the dying. That's what He still does. 

We are never closer to Jesus than when we are with the least of these; when we are with those in need. When we speak words of comfort, hold a hand, or lend a listening ear, or look on with eyes of compassion and understanding, we are comforting Jesus; we hold His hand and hear His heart and see Him with empathy. We know the hurting Jesus.

Simply put, the downfall of this world is just an opportunity to bear and bring comfort. The depression, the l…
Two Rich Men

At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. 
    - Mark 10:22

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.     - Luke 19:6
Two men. Both wealthy. Both wanting to see this Jesus. But that's where the similarities seem to end. 
A rich young ruler. Likely, well liked. Accepted. Admired and looked up to. Who wouldn't want to be young, rich, and in charge? And this young man seemed to know it. Confident, bold, a man with a purpose. He had no problem walking right up to Jesus and asking what he needed to know.
What must I do? What must I do? 
Zacchaeus. Likely world-wise. Certainly hated. Some called him, "notorious sinner." Few would have given him a kind look, never mind even considering dining with him. Short, rejected, an outsider. And he knew it well. Staying on the outside of the crowd, he didn't push himself through the crowd to meet this Jesus. He hung out in a tree; at a safe …
Never give up
One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. - Luke 18:1
Jesus never wasted his words. When he spoke, it was for a purpose. The lessons he gave, he gave to us because he knew that one day, like that money put aside for a rainy day, we would need them.
Let his words settle in your heart right now. "Never give up." Tuck that coin safely away into the pockets of your heart. Save that thought into the memory banks of your mind for future withdrawal on the day you need it. Keep praying. Never give up.
You see, God has a plan for you. Always has, still does. But calling it quits, throwing in the towel, giving up, will guarantee the thievery of your future. Without a doubt.  
"But I don't have the strength," you say. "Do you have any idea how long I've been battling this?" I understand. Let me bring you back to a time when hope was a vapor in my life and discouragement a close friend. Call it a…
Perfectly Sure
God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. - Hebrews 6:17

Have you ever purchased a product or service that doesn't quite deliver; that comes up short? When the advertisement or salesman promises one thing, but the product delivers quite another, we find ourselves veering down the road of failed expectations and disappointment. It's happened to most of us. 

What about broken promises; oaths made by someone you would expect to be true to their word? A parent who is too tired or distracted to deliver on the promise of a game of catch. A pastor who simply ran out of time. A spouse who decided they no longer love or need you. It happens every day, everywhere. Broken promises are hard to stomach.

What if I was to tell you that there is someone who never breaks oath, who never fails to deliver on His word and whose promise you can trust? Would you find that hard to believe? I wou…
Who I Am

Paul, the apostle, wrote passionately about his calling. 

"But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God." - Acts 20:24

In the face of Paul's passion, I find myself being tempted to feel inadequate; to view myself as one who falls short. Maybe you've felt that way too. Maybe you've walked down the rocky hill of comparison to others; stumbled down its demanding slopes. But Paul didn't write this to make any of us feel "less than". He wasn't calling all of us to be world evangelists or apostles. I believe Paul's words were intended to inspire, not to discourage or dispirit.

Paul's calling was so important to him, that he considered his life worthless if he didn't answer that calling. He had a hunger for purpose buried deep in his heart. Don't we all? So, what is your calling? What has God called y…

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight - Eph 1:7,8

In God's eyes there are no poor investments. What we might consider a waste of time, He considers a project worth undertaking. The lost causes of society are found by Him. He travels too far to find the too far gone. God's idea of what is worthwhile goes far beyond our understanding and perspective.

What God lavishes His grace on sometimes shocks us. And I think that is on purpose; God's in it for the shock-and-awe. In our minds, pouring out precious blood for a repeat offender seems foolish. "Why," our minds question, "would God shower love, grace, and forgiveness on that person knowing they will soon be back in the muck of their stubbornness, addiction, and self-destructive behavior?" It causes our frugal and return on investment mentalities to balk at the idea.

Thinking about Heaven
The thought of Heaven can be a pretty scary thought for many people. What shall we do for all eternity; forever and then forever and then again forever, forever? Will we miss the wonder of a new born baby, or the sweet smell of the first warm spring day? Will we be bored? Will there ever come a day, maybe 48,000 years down the golden road when we think to ourselves, "OK, this is a bit much, I need a change"?

These very real questions may have entered your thoughts as scary considerations. You're not alone if the thought of forever is daunting to you.

But would you try, for just a minute, to ask God to fill your thoughts with the wildness of what heaven may look like? And then let your mind run uninhibited. Like this for example, a thought I had while thinking about heaven recently.

As I was thinking about the importance of our lives here on earth, (and yes, your life is more important than you know), I thought about heaven being a place where the positi…
Today I'm very happy to have a guest blogger, my wife. This is a word that God dropped into her heart last Sunday. I believe it will encourage, comfort, and even inspire you. Here is what God spoke to her heart:

I recieved a vision of a flower, and of God's love pouring out like rain. And all that we need to do is to face the rain; to let it soak into the dry places - the places that need moisture and nutrients. All we need to do face into the sun and into the rain.

The flower cannot cause itself to grow or bloom. It doesn't choose where it is planted, it doesn't choose the seasons, when it rains or what is around it. It simply does what it was made to do: grow without worry or work.

We are like the flower, except that at times we try to "help" the process along. Sometimes we think we need the sun when there hasn't been any sun. So we create a "sun lamp". Sometimes we think we need rain when there hasn't been any rain. So we look to other…