I went to a store going out of business in my area last week and thought I would share my experience for humor and an important lesson I learned. First, when I pulled up, there were two signs on the side of the building. One said “Going Out of Business Sale – Everything Must Go!” and the other one said “Now Hiring!”. After chuckling and doing a double take, I thought I should take a picture and send it in to one of the late night talk shows so that others could get a laugh out of it. It was so weird to see those signs hanging next to one another knowing that only one of them were true. When I walked into the store, it looked like ants disassembling a Sunday picnic with people walking all over the store assessing the best deals and making their purchases. Plus, in the entire time I have lived in my area, that store has never had that many people in it to my memory.
As I walked up to pay for the discounted treasures I found, the check out aisle had a completely FULL kiosk of gift cards for the store. Again, I chuckled and then was instantly struck with a truth that applied to that store and to life; no one buys a gift card for a company going out of business. Our world puts an incredible focus on the temporary things causing people to strive to get things that, when they die, will not matter anyway. I remember taking my youth kids from church to a graveyard and asking them how many garages they saw by tombstones. The answer was obvious as I shared that there are no garages in graveyards. There are no U-Haul trucks in a funeral procession full of possessions to leave with the deceased person at their gravesite.
There is an incredible responsibility on all true followers of Christ to share with others about the relationship that they have with Jesus and help people shift the focus off of “gift cards that won’t have any value” when the “store” of life closes. Even greater, is if you call yourself a follower of Christ and have a passion to acquire things in this world that is out of balance with your pursuit of Christ, then you need to reevaluate your relationship with Jesus and what HIS value is in your life. I am only saying this because God has done some “housecleaning” in me including an evaluation of my focuses and things that I value.
Today, you have an incredible opportunity to show people around you the power of a focus that is on eternal things and not just the temporal. Just remember that not everyone you come in contact with will understand this principle and needs to not here your WORDS about what you believe with well crafted social media posts but see your ACTIONS that have a magnetic power to draw people to Christ through you.
I am firmly convinced that as human beings, we don’t like things to go wrong. It’s not like we think relationships, finances, family and just life in general will always end up the way we planned it but we stay away from mistakes and things going wrong (or we should) at all costs.
As a person who gives Jesus number one priority in my life the perception can be that when you ask Jesus into your heart and life everything you do or that happens to you has two things; an out or an explanation but sometimes, neither are true. When I got sick with my eye condition one the hardest things to deal with was the fact of not knowing why I was going through such hell. I evaluated my life (as most good highly religious people do) and immediately started to compare what I was going through with my perceived level of religious goodness. (Like that one? It took me a while to come up with that last sentence) The balance of what was happening to me did not fit all the “good” things I thought I had done my whole life. Sadly, I had to learn the hard way that if I knew what God knew in my situation then I would be God…and I’m not.
Even after everything I went through, and still dealing with damage to my retina and vision in my left eye, It is still very difficult for me to deal with things that don’t go my way. I am still learning a very important principle that I think God is trying to teach me.
So here is my story. I had some custom work done on my car headlights recently but needed to add a part to make the LED halos blink on each side. It took me about an hour to get everything wired up and working the way I wanted. It had started to rain and I was trying to hurry and get everything finished. I put all the wires where they needed to be, shut the hood, put all my tools away then tested my headlights. My fix didn’t work and I was NOT happy. I got out of my car, in the rain this time, to get my tools and continue to fix on my STUPID lights.
I had been working an additional 15 minutes on my problem lights when my neighbor who lives around the corner walked up and stood behind my car. She and her family have always been on my heart and I have prayed for and helped them previously just trying to show the love of Jesus. She proceeded to ask me if I go to a church that she could come with Yolanda and me on a Sunday. She told me that she had wanted to ask me for a while but there was never an opportunity for her to ask. I told her yes and scheduled a Sunday to bring her with us.
The point I am making is that if the fix for my lights would have worked before I had to redo them, then I would not have been there in my driveway and able to connect with my neighbor. So because my life had a “detour” thrown in it for a few minutes I was able to reap the investment of prayer and kindness for the years previous. She walked away from our quick conversation and I felt like an idiot for getting mad at, first of all, something so stupid and then not stopping when my wiring went wrong and asking God, “What is the opportunity you are presenting to me?” Sometimes we can have something go wrong and nothing happens as far as our interaction with anyone but IF WE DON’T ASK WE WILL NEVER SEE THE NEED.
So I am programming myself to ask first to take the place of getting angry. The only thing that keeps us from God’s WILL is our WILLingness to ask and then do.
Have a great week and praying that God helps you with the things that may be keeping you from experiencing him in his fullness!
There is an important principle that many people forget when wanting to be used by God. Countless people have started a relationship with Jesus to only think that it is boring and lifeless but they forget one simple principle. It is the one defining point that takes someone from an observer in his or her walk with God to a vibrant active follower of Jesus. It is so simple that many people overlook it when trying to read and follow what the Word of God says.
This simple and mind blowing principle is simply ASKING God to use you. There is a simple but powerful principle in asking. In Mark 10:51 Jesus asks a BLIND man a question – “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
Now, if this were me who was blind, I would have probably said, “DUH! What do you THINK I need?” This is the KEY: It wasn’t that Jesus didn’t see his need it was that he was waiting for the man to ask Jesus for help.
I think that same principle applies to our walk with God and asking to be used by him.
I am just like any other person who has given their life to Jesus and living each day here on earth with the same emotional, physical and sometimes financial struggles. I have started simply asking God each morning, “God, use me in an extraordinary way today” instead of thinking “I am sure that God will use me if he wants to.”
It is very important to realize that God is not holding back his desire for us to be used in the world we live in. EVERY DAY God is speaking to us and wants us to interact with people and for them to see the love of God in the lives we live. I believe that we sometimes use a form of procrastination in our walk with God by saying, “If I feel like God wants me to say or do something for him today then I will do it” instead of saying, “God, I know it is always your will to reach your creation through people who follow you and let me be a simple part of that interaction.” This may not be necessarily saying something to someone but it could be just praying over where you walk, sit, drink coffee (chai for me) or work. Being used in an extraordinary way is not always just being seen or heard for Jesus. It can be that you are laying the groundwork for someone else to step in and interact with people who don’t know how awesome Jesus is yet. But it can also be a time for you to step outside your comfort zone do something for Jesus that you will never regret.
So today, if you are a follower of Christ, start to ask God to use you in an extraordinary way and then just listen. It can be the most simple and wonderful decision you will make today. It is time to take your walk with God from boring and just asking for things for yourself to being a world changer that is involved in altering destinies! Have a great week!
I wanted to give a few pointers on how to make sure to turn an offense of some kind into full-blown sin when someone offends you. Of course, I am typing this tongue in cheek, but how many times do we follow the rules below to make a situation even worse?
- Find 3 people that agree with you and disagree with the other person.
It is VERY important to only tell your side of the story and not take responsibility for your side of the situation. Pulling people to your side is critical to insulating yourself from correction and making sure to discredit the other person.
- Concentrate on the offense as long as humanly possible.
Make sure to let an offense fester in your mind and interfere with your prayer life and even let it change your personality. Making sure that others know you are mad at someone secures them feeling bad for you and hating the person in the altercation.
- ALERT: Stay FAR away from people will be honest with you and help you let go of what offended you.
This is a KEY because others can help bring a sense of calm and levelheadedness that you DO NOT need when you are trying to stay mad at someone.
- Forget how many times Jesus forgave you when you did something to Him that would be considered an offense.
Forgetting about your own shortcomings can definitely help to strengthen the length of time you can stay hateful and really feel like you are “getting them back” because of your anger.
The sad thing is that there is truth folded into the four points above when we get offended. I have a news flash for all of us; as long as we are breathing and walking on this earth we will be offended in life. So the question is not IF we will be offended but WHEN and how we will deal with those situations.
When someone offends us the FIRST thing we need to do is guard/watch our tongue and the people we try and pull into our painful situations. There is nothing good that can come from talking bad about someone else, no matter what the situation.
Our mind is where the devil wants to play and keep us distracted from working through painful situations and releasing them to God. A true sign of spiritual growth is turning over a destructive thought more quickly than before.
There is a power in the verse in Proverbs 27:17 about iron sharpening iron. When we put ourselves around people who we trust to be honest and give us Godly perspective in life we put ourselves in a place of growth in life and not destruction.
Remembering what we have been forgiven of with Jesus can be the very best way to release forgiveness to others. There is nothing worse than accepting forgiveness from Jesus and not releasing that same forgiveness to others that offend us. I am not saying there will be no process of releasing things to God, but when we keep our perspective on life and interaction with each other, we can work through pain and not let it keep us from growth in many areas of life.
Praying for you today!
I remember a few years ago taking a trip to Las Vegas. We don’t gamble but there are so many other things to do there that are awesome like seeing the lobby of a few select high-end hotels like the Bellagio. When we walked into the lobby for the first time I about lost me breath. They have a glass exhibit called “Fiori di Como,” that is located in the ceiling of the lobby and it is astounding. It is the creation of famous artist Dale Chihuly. Between 15,000 and 20,000 people see the art piece EVERY DAY. A blog I found mentioned this about the construction and maintenance of the piece.
“The sculpture consists of 2,000 hand-blown glass blossoms that weigh about 40,000 pounds. They are supported by a 10,000-pound steel armature. Every morning between 2 and 5 a.m., a team of eight to 10 engineers cleans and maintains the sculpture.”
I was super excited when one of his exhibits came to the Denver Botanical Garden. It was a sprawling exhibit with multiple pieces located in about every part of the grounds but his creation at the Bellagio is just absolutely mind bending.
About 3 weeks after Yolanda and I walked through the Botanical garden we heard that they had a massive hailstorm and a few of amazing and irreplaceable pieces we had seen in the Botanical Garden had BROKE during the storm! Knowing the level of intricacy that goes into a craft like glasswork my mind immediately made an observation about fine glass like the Chihuly exhibit; expensive glass that cracks or breaks just becomes broken glass and has no value. When it goes from a finely constructed and perfectly formed piece of art, one crack or broken appendage renders it of no value. Not able to be “glued” back together because of the micro level of construction of each piece. I suppose the only way to fix something like that is to redo it.
Then I thought of people who have made mistakes in life and felt like their life was shattered and broken into a bunch of unfixable pieces. They look at everything that THEY have built and think of the time it took to put those things together. Some slip into depression and even go so far as to take their life because of the insurmountable thought of starting over.
I can assure you, that is where Jesus does his best work. When we come to him with brokenness, no other options and even depressed where our life has digressed he gives us a chance to exchange our mess for his perfection. People that have options when they come to Jesus normally end up making him “just another thing they try and fit into their lives” instead of seeing him as a supernatural friend that takes our brokenness and makes something brand new!
Today, you may be broken in life but you can be a new creation by asking Jesus to remake the life you thought you had with even more beauty than you could ever imagine. It is as simple as exchanging your brokenness for his beauty AND it doesn’t matter how broken things are in life. You have a second chance to have happiness that you could never find on this earth. Praying for you today.
When we speak about “fighting the good fight” in Christian circles we have been misled in a huge way. We have been led to believe it is something that we are fighting TO instead of fighting FROM. Let me explain.
When we think of the term fighting in our earthly minds, we consider where we are and where we need to end up after we have “fought the good fight”. We consider the struggle and mentally prep ourselves for the long journey ahead planning on a celebration at the end of the sacrifices it took to get to victory. We consider the importance of Ephesians 6:10-12
“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
The problem with that thinking when it comes to spiritual struggles and our fight against the devil is that we have ALREADY won. Jesus already completed the victory over the devil and his perceived power on this earth. We are not fighting TO a victory over the devil but fighting FROM the place of victory. God is not waiting for us to be strong enough or powerful enough to overcome the devil and his schemes in the lives we live. His hope for us is that we would have a full revelation of the victory we have when we ask Jesus to guide and direct our lives.
So the struggle is still real because our natural inclination in life is to allow our flesh to be glorified and win or to take the easy road. The fight is not against the devil as much as it is against our flesh and reminding ourselves each day that we have already won!
When we get a full revelation of victory in our lives we won’t let the devil push us around, tempt us and make us think we are less than the loved creation that God created us to be.
Walk in your authority today over the devil and his schemes. Put on your spiritual armor with the mindset of TAKING ground and not just barely getting by. You have EVERYTHING you need in your right now to be successful in this life. The key is to ask God to give you a revelation of that power because when you do, the world around you will never be the same again!
I hope you liked the pic of Harry Potter and the Bible. It helps me illustrate something very important when it comes to prayer in the life of a believer. Some people believe that if you pray the right “incantations” in scripture then you can get what you want as long it was the right length, said with the right tone and said by the right person. Others don’t understand why people even pray because they think that God knows everything anyways so why tell him things he already knows. And still some believe that if you only pray enough then life will go right for you and nothing bad will happen to you. I think all of these definitions are incorrect.
To me prayer is more about reminding us and God of his promises and that we are basing our life off of the truths found in scripture and speaking those things over our lives. Just because a prayer has the right tone to someone and words to make sure that it is fighting the demonic realm at that perfect moment to have the maximum impact is saying that the FORM we use in prayer does something in the Spiritual realm. First of all, that is not Biblical. The Bible teaches the power of prayer is not in US but in Christ who is in us. Our part is to be obedient in praying and trust the results to God. Even though we say believe it is about God’s power we still pray as though we are the ones doing the work and that can get us into real trouble causing unmet expectations in our relationship with God. When we see prayer as a reminder to us, God and even the authority we have over the devil, we use it in a different way.
I am a person that needs reminders for everything. I want to let you in on a secret. Some people who know me say that I have an uncanny knack for remembering names. Although I do think I am natural at remembering people’s names, this doesn’t come without help. In my notes on my phone, I have a note called “names” where I type people’s names I just meet with some interesting piece of information or something that will help me remember them the next time I see them. It has saved me so many times with remembering people’s names that it is not even funny. Prayer is the same way! When I pray I am reminding myself of all the promises that God made to me in scripture and setting my day in a way that says, “God, I want your mind today and let me remember that even though I am trying to become more like you every day, that I ALREADY have all the things I need to be successful today because I follow and trust you.” That takes prayer from a laundry list of “what I need” to “I can do these things” as a reminder of the power of Christ in me.
I am blessed and highly favored in life not because of what I do BUT what I do is a reflection of Christ’s perfection in me. And when that reflection is not as “shinny” as it should be it is probably a reflection of my prayer life and time not spent with God. When I chose to pray I set my mind, heart and gaze for the day on higher things and not just on my earthly situation. Prayers that are REMINDER focused help me put my faith in Christ and his ability to do what he needs to do in me and through me. It also sets precedence with the devil and reminds him of his place in my world and my life. This is also important in when I get in a situation that seems overwhelming I use prayer as a reminder as to how BIG my God is and how little my problem is.
The other important thing to remember with prayer is that we need to not only speak and be obedient but also take time to listen! Prayer needs to be a two way street with God and not us just doing all the talking in the relationship. I truly believe that when we are obedient and spend time in prayer that God will share things with us. For me, as an example, God will just put people on my heart/mind to say a prayer for them. Sometimes I will text them or put it on Facebook to let them know they are getting prayer but sometimes I just pray and don’t say anything. This comes from just taking the time to slow down my day and listen.
When we stop thinking of prayer as a magic incantation and more of an act of obedience that sets our minds on higher things we will be less concerned about the outcome of our prayers and more focused on God’s perfect will in our life. And when we think of prayer as a time to listen as much as we talk then we begin to REALLY build the relationship that God wants us to ultimately have with him.