Weakness is the KEY in the Struggles of Life

strength in weakness

It is funny to talk to people and hear them complain about the summer heat we have been having in Colorado. I can remember, not too many months ago, when people were complaining about the COLD temperatures and record snow fall we were seeing in the mountains around Denver. It is almost like people like to complain and find things to be negative about no matter if it is snowing or sunny.

I was looking at some incredible cloud formations around Denver associated with hail storms we had a couple of weeks ago. It amazes me that something so beautiful looking in the sky can contain so much power to damage and destroy property.
The weather that we deal with in our physical life is a perfect example of the spiritual life we also lead each day. It doesn’t matter what weather is happening in life that tries to cover the sun up, it doesn’t make the sun go away. It is only a system that is temporarily blocking the sun and it’s power and doesn’t change the position, axis or location of the sun considering our earth. Storms will come and go in life but we need to ALWAYS remember that those storms are just that…a storm. Not a “new ecosystem” to have to get used to or a permanent cloud that we have to walk under and just learn to live with.
One of the most important things to remember when going through storms of life is the difference of what an unbeliever works towards versus someone who trusts in God.
People who don’t know about or understand who God is have a focus on strengthening the self or MAN to be able to get through the storms mentally/emotionally. True success with Christ is focused on coming into a full knowledge that we are completely and totally weak, flawed and cannot in any stretch of the imagination withstand any true test of life without God at the very epicenter of everything. Once we see that we are actually trying to WEAKEN our flesh so that God can be STRENGTHENED in us, we move from self preservation in struggles and into actual VICTORY over situations through the power of God. It is backwards thinking even in the church to say that we want to strive for weakness versus seeking strength in the struggles of life.
Look at this verse where Paul is talking about Christ’s power at work and how it works in his life:
2 Corithians 12:9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
We confuse the strength of Christ IN us versus the strength that Christ GIVES us. The strength God gives us is a resolve to trust that it is God and only him who can bring us through and that in our weakness HE is strong. Actually, the ability to trust God’s strength while forgoing your own worry is the greatest form of strength this world could know and NEEDS to know.
Today, if you are in the middle of a life struggle, trust that God has the best for you, will see you through and that just because you can’t see the sun in life right now doesn’t mean that it’s not there. Praying for you to recognize DEFEAT in what only your flesh can do and realize VICTORY when you give it all to God.

God Showed Me Lots of Things…That Were Just Not For You!

I had a GREAT hike trip this past weekend and decided to leave my phone at home. It was probably one of the most freeing hiking trips I have ever encountered in my life because it was missing all of the distractions of my technology and people trying to pull on me. I honestly believe it was something that “reset” me with my technology and distractions in life. I didn’t take one picture, video or create any social media post while I was gone. I was just able to enjoy nature, the amazing views and the company of friends.

I also had some GREAT times with God and him sharing things with me about my life and an unhealthy focus on turning things he would share with me (that were only for me and not anyone else) into a blog or instagram image or facebook post. It was a realization that everything God shares with me is not for public consumption, but everything he shares with me will help me when I know I need to share things with others.

Maybe you are like me and cannot stay off of your phone or social media. I have turned off ALL of my notifications on my phone except reminders, calls and texts so that I can have a buffer and my phone is not alerting me constantly. The best advice I can give someone who thinks God showed them a fresh revelation about an area of their life is put ACTION to the words of God. Just because God shows you something doesn’t mean anything has changed. You need to initiate and activate your free will to match what was shown to you.

So…God showed me ALL KINDS of stuff on my hiking trip but unfortunately, none of it was for you. It was all to help make me a better man, son, brother and husband. But think of it this way; they were all things that will help me be a better citizen of earth and develop my listening and obedience skills with God so I can love the people around me in an even greater way. Be encouraged that you can have that same relationship with Jesus and know that he wants to talk to you, no matter what you have done or where you are from. It’s as easy as reaching out to him and just saying, “I’m here, God. Speak to me.” Have a great week!

I had a GREAT weekend of hiking this past weekend and decided to leave my phone at home. It was probably one of the most freeing hiking trips I have ever encountered in my life because it was missing all of the distractions of my technology and people trying to pull on me. I honestly believe it was something that “reset” me with my technology and distractions in life.

I also had some GREAT times with God and him sharing things with me about my life and an unhealthy focus on turning things he would share with me (that were only for me and not anyone else) into a blog or instagram image or facebook post. It was a realization that everything God shares with me is not for public consumption, but everything he shares with me will help me when I know I need to share things with others.

Maybe you are like me and cannot stay off of your phone or social media. I have turned off ALL of my notifications on my phone except reminders, calls and texts so that I can have a buffer and my phone is not alerting me constantly. The best advice I can give someone who thinks God showed them a fresh revelation about an area of their life is put ACTION to the words of God. Just because God shows you something doesn’t mean anything has changed. You need to initiate and activate your free will to match what was shown to you.

So…God showed me ALL KINDS of stuff on my hiking trip but unfortunately, none of it was for you. It was all to help make me a better man, son, brother and husband. But think of it this way; they were all things that will help me be a better citizen of earth and develop my listening and obedience skills with God so I can love the people around me in an even greater way. Be encouraged that you can have that same relationship with Jesus and know that he wants to talk to you, no matter what you have done or where you are from. It’s as easy as reaching out to him and just saying, “I’m here, God. Speak to me.” Have a great week!

The Promises and Plans of God

A Sunset on a Texas Farm

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

This is probably one of my favorite verses in the Bible because it is like a promise and a plan all rolled up into one. That God will take care of us and has the plan all worked out.
When trouble hits your life, it can seem like the plan God has for you is off track and that He has stepped away from a promise of care and provision. It is interesting that we judge whether something is good or not based on how we feel and the circumstances around us observing everything through human thought and reasoning. A key to remember when going through a struggle in life is that if we knew what God was doing in the situation then WE would BE God…and we are not.
Pain is no respecter of persons and can hit in life for no apparent reason with crippling force. So if we know that trouble can and will happen in life, the question should not be IF pain hits but what are we going to do with that pain? If you are a follower of Christ, will you trust that God has the plan all worked out? You have the ability to rest in the fact that He has plans to give you a “hope and a future” instead of actually blaming him for the problems. If you don’t know Jesus, there is a place to take the hurt and pain you may feel right now. The Bible talks about God giving us a “peace that passes ALL understanding.” Basically, it is a peace that seems crazy to the rest of the world and it is there for us if we would throw ourselves into the arms of God.
It is amazing when problems are eliminated by prayers and God instantly moves on someone’s behalf but there are also times of walking THRU the valley of the shadow of death and God sustaining someone which can also be an answer to prayer. No one really knows why prayers are answered differently for people but one thing is true; there has never been a case of a follower of Christ complaining and being mad at God that has changed a situation for the better. And actually, those attitudes have made situations worse.
Today, maybe you are in a place to just thank God for all the blessings in your life and are doing pretty well. Maybe you are in a place of deep challenge and feel like giving up. I have been in both places and made good and bad decisions in both cases. It is important that you are praying and asking God for his will in your life even when things are going wrong. True faith in Christ is built when we trust God in the process instead of turning to complaints and questioning his ways. It doesn’t make things easier to have faith but what have you ever gained in life that meant something to you and didn’t take effort?
Have a great day and know that you have prayer and will make it if you just don’t quit!!

Billy Graham: Lessons from a Life Well Lived

This morning I woke to news that Billy Graham had died at the age of 99. I have always been fascinated with the fact that most people were not turned off by his message of the gospel and would actually embrace him and his teachings. He was not watering down what he believed whenever he would speak or make special allowances for people who disagreed with the Bible. He even carried the title “America’s Pastor” from not just people in the church.

Then I thought of his lifestyle and how he was known around the world: as a man of integrity. Never can I remember a headline that mentioned him embezzling money or being inappropriate with funds from his ministry or a news story about how he was caught in some illicit affair with a woman or that he was seen stumbling out of a party doing or saying/quoting something that he didn’t remember and that was offensive. Of course, I am not saying that Reverend Graham was perfect and I am sure he had his faults, but it seemed like he was concerned about his “non-religious” actions and how people saw him because it would affect the Gospel he represented.

So I think the answer in how to minister the Gospel, which is FULL of opposition to the current culture we live in but carries all of the answers to life, is to not just think about our religion but our personal relationship with Jesus. When we recognize that people will not care about what we say about God until they see how we VALUE that relationship, we will have a much greater influence on culture and infusing the love and purposeful direction of Christ in people’s lives.

Today, every single believer in Jesus needs to take an inventory as to how we are viewed and if we are living a life that is concerned with how Jesus is seen through us as much as the words we speak about Him. If we are using social media platforms to try and belittle people we disagree with and make sure they know that we are right and they are wrong instead of pausing before reacting to everything. That we are leading with LOVE for people and not just trying to shove the truth of the Gospel down people’s throats. (By the way, leading with love doesn’t reduce the truth of the Bible and actually amplifies it to people because it doesn’t happen as much as it needs to). Maybe we need to reach out to someone we possibly offended and make it right to bring alignment in life. It may be a great time to get a couple of accountability partners in an area of personal weakness to make sure you are actually living the life you think you are in your mind.

With the passing of a man like Reverend Graham, we need to evaluate our actions and tighten up areas of our life that we may think are irrelevant to the words we speak about Jesus. If we want to be operating at maximum capacity in our Christianity we need to even consider our life as a whole and not compartmentalize our relationship to Jesus and our relationship to people.

 

The Day My Eye Flared Back Up

Thunderstorm_over_Corfu

Not many people know what happened to me the day after Halloween last year.. I had a total flare up again with the front part of my eye. I didn’t even notice that it was getting worse but Yolanda asked me about my eye in a meeting and noticed that it was getting more red. We went to the eye doctor and the most horrifying thing we could hear was said; “Your eye has relapsed and there is inflammation in the front of the eye.” Yolanda started crying, not because she was scared (although we were both nervous at the prospect of going through “eye time” again in life) but because she was so mad at the devil. She said to me , “This won’t last long and is just a distraction.” I heard what she said, but I was too busy sighing and starting to let me mind wander to a very bad place.

 I was placed on topical prednisone eye drops and sent home with a regimen trying to stabilize my eye and body again. As soon as I got home, I had a decision. I could take the same path as before and cuss God out and ask WHY LORD WHY or…I could just get a few scriptures to claim and speak over my life and eye. I decided to take the offensive instead of letting the devil push me around like last time. When I started treating my eye again someone asked me if I was depressed and mad at God again. I said “I tried that last time I got sick and it didn’t go too well for me.” So I decided to try something different this time around.
Below are the scriptures I would speak EVERY TIME I took my eye drops and speak over my life even now.
Isaiah 54 17
no weapon forged against me will prevail,
and i will refute every tongue that accuses me.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.
 
Isaiah 53 5
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
 
Psalm 91
I dwell in the shelter of the Most High
I will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
 
Surely he will save me
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover me with his feathers,
and under his wings I will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be my shield and rampart.
 
I will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at my side,
ten thousand at my right hand,
but it will not come near me.
 
I will only observe with my eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
If I say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and I make the Most High my dwelling,
no harm will overtake me,
no disaster will come near my tent.
 
For he will command his angels concerning me
to guard me in all my ways;
they will lift me up in their hands,
so that I will not strike my foot against a stone.
I will tread on the lion and the cobra;
I will trample the great lion and the serpent.
 
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation. ”
In my mind I was like, “Ok devil. If you want to mess with me, then it’s high time that you pay for it so enjoy the scriptures coming out of my mouth every time I take these stupid drops. This is not my future but you trying to remind me of my past.”
I started my regular eye drop schedule and the day before Christmas I took my last drop. I have been off all my medication for 18 days as I type this blog and doing well. In the process of taking the drops I also stopped eating ALL processed sugar and cleaning up my food habits which I needed to do anyway. I also have changed my prayer life. I am expecting to see some amazing things change in 2018 and I want to do my part to not get in the way of God bringing those things to pass.
I share my little story for a few reasons. One is to simply encourage you if you are in a place where you are believing for a miracle OR you had a healing happen and the devil is trying to mess with you again. As I say in my book, the Bible is not a magical book of incantations, but it is certainly the authority you and I need to live a life focused on God and not our problems. It is a living text that has the answers for everything we go through in life. I want to encourage you to find some verses that you can stand on and speak over your life no matter how you feel or it looks in life. Speaking the Word is a powerful setting of your mind on higher things and also telling the devil what you are expecting to happen in your life. Again, I can not guarantee an outcome in your situation but I can guarantee that when you seek God that you will find him and that includes his peace that passes all understanding.
Think about your life especially your prayer life. For example, are you praying that God gives you total health in your body but you are eating triple cheeseburgers and milkshakes at midnight all the time? Or are you asking God to bring in finances for something in your family but you spend money like it is going out of style? We can ask God anything we want but I believe that we need to also think practically about habits in life and adjust accordingly. This is not about doing something to MAKE God do anything, but it is cleaning up your life in the physical to make way for blessing in the spiritual.
Lastly, I want to really encourage you to get a copy of my book if you haven’t already done so. This is not a sales pitch (and I don’t even care if people think it is) because I really gained some AMAZING gold from what I went through and feel like it can help people in all walks of life. It is on Amazon.com or you can go to the Buy The Book tab and order a signed copy.
Praying for provision, healing, direction and blessing for your 2018. I am also praying that you take a hard look at your life to make more than a resolution but to make confident changes to prepare the way for blessings in all areas of your life.

The Kids In Our Nepal Children’s Home Are Growing Up!

Yolanda and I love coming to Nepal to see the kids at our children’s home in Kathmandu. We are currently here celebrating Christmas a little early and having a big party.

We had a pizza party last night with all of the kids and the people that work here at both the homes. I made a startling yet pleasing discovery while watching the contrast of our older and younger kids. Something that gave me hope in the process here of not just saving kids from the street but helping to properly educate and cause them to become productive members of society.

We have a group of younger kids that are recent compared to all of the others who have been with us since the beginning of starting the home. I can remember the first time we came over to Nepal and watched the kids react to mealtime. It was something I will never forget. ALL of the kids would eat so fast and go back for seconds as many times as they could almost like a subconscious result of being an orphan and not knowing where their next meal would come from. I saw a complete contrast of those older kids, now almost ten years later, and their reaction to our pizza party. They sat with their friends and ate at a normal pace, not shoving in their food and not pushing and shoving to get back in line for seconds. In fact, we had three pizzas left over from our party when in the past, every single crumb would be devoured by our kids. I mention this because I saw a contentment and security in the older kids that they knew they were taken care of and not worried about getting enough to eat. It was like they had a kind of peace on them that they were not in an orphanage but in a home where they felt safe, secure and knew that their basic needs were being met.

When I saw this, I had a full “aha” moment and realized that the team here and the work CTN has been doing is not only worth it in making us feel better about helping those less fortunate but that the kids were feeling the support and sustainability of the people and system here to help guide and direct their lives.

Now compare this story to your own life. How do you react to God and the system he has for taking care of you? Do you live in fear that what you are receiving from him today will run out tomorrow and you will be left in the cold and not supported anymore? Or have you “grown up” and are now trusting that the same care that God gives you today is enough for your tomorrow and especially for your eternal future? I believe this is moving from the “milk to the meat” of the word in trust with God. I can think of many times where I was in a situation and thought that God may have forgotten about me, but then he ends up meeting every need in a perfect way.

As we begin to wrap up our trip here in Nepal, I know that I needed to see the growth of our kids and the trust they have in us and the system that is set in place. It has once again helped me consider my own life and how I can continue to trust that God will take care of my EVERY need according to HIS riches in glory!

Take Feeling Overwhelmed as a Compliment from God

Today, I want to encourage people who have tried to make a commitment to God expecting everything to get better and for a special exemption from pain but ended up feeling overwhelmed in life. Maybe you felt or feel like God is actually against you and not for you. Like the universe is playing some cruel and twisted joke each day of your life. Well, you are not alone.

There is a verse in Matthew 5:45 that talks about the sun rising and the rain falling on both the just and unjust. Pain is no respecter of persons and the only difference between a person who follows Christ and gives him first priority in life and someone trying to go it alone, is knowing God will not let one of his followers be crushed beyond what they can handle. Now, if you are in the middle of some kind of test, you may have already rolled your eyes at that statement before I even got done typing this sentence. There are a few things to consider when we think about the term being “overwhelmed” in life.

First of all, we can actually TAKE ON more than we can handle. An example would be carrying the pain or despair of people we know. Not even anything happening to us personally but hearing of someone else in despair and thinking that by worrying for him or her that we can help his or her situation, which will never happen.

This is not saying that things will only ever happen to you one at a time. When you feel overwhelmed and are a follower of Christ, think of this truth; at that moment of despair, God probably trusts you more than you trust yourself. Want proof?
Check out 1 Corinthians 10:13. (NLT)
“But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.”

Listen to this thought from the Believer’s Bible Commentary:
“Paul adds a marvelous word of encouragement for those who are tempted. He teaches that the testings, trials, and temptations which face us are common to all. However, God is faithful, who will not allow us to be tested beyond what we are able. He does not promise to deliver us from temptation or testing, but He does promise to limit its intensity. He further promises to provide the way of escape, that we may be able to bear it. Reading this verse, one cannot help but be struck by the tremendous comfort it has afforded to tested saints of God through the centuries.”

So basically, when you feel overwhelmed ALWAYS remember that God is for you and not against you and trusts that you can stand up under the pain you are enduring. You can say that you will not make it but guess what…God believes in you and your ability to TRUST IN HIM for the outcome.

Today, be encouraged that God is for you and not against you and that He trusts in your strength. Maybe it is time for you to start believing the same thing God does about you instead of what the devil may be whispering in your ear.

Have a great day and praying for you!