What to Ask God When Things Go Wrong

When Things Go Wrong

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!

Expensive Broken Glass is Just…Broken Glass

Bellagio Lobby

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.

Stop Fighting TO Victory and Start Fighting FROM Victory!

spring sunset
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!

Prayer and Harry Potter Don’t Mix

prayer Harry Potter

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.

My Prediction for Virtual Reality…An Even DEEPER Sense of Emptiness

VR image

There was a huge push around Virtual Reality at NAB this year and lots of questions about what the future holds for the technology and its implications in media. It seems like the general consensus is that it will be used in some way to enhance the current viewing audience’s experience with traditional media and not only be a one off experience as it is now. There is no clear path to how those two will work together but people sure are trying hard to make it work. I think more technology is not always a bad thing and can really help people in life on so many levels, but I have something else to consider with VR’s use and our culture.

I believe that the use and implementation of VR in media could possibly lead to an even GREATER sense of emptiness and separation in people’s lives. They will begin to possibly crave the technology more and more to the point of it become their main “fix” for feeling like they are experiencing something that is not actually there. There will be promises of “you don’t need to actually be there to experience ______________________.” Even if people are not willing to admit it, we are a connected people who need interaction with each other and “virtual” reality will never fill that void.

How many times does the devil lie to people and make promises of doing things that will bring happiness and contentment in life only to have it end up being an illusion? The devil will ALWAYS encourage us to be discontent with what we have, who we are or what we do. Discontentment only leads to emptiness because it is focused on what is NOT there instead of what IS there in your life.

This is not only a trap concerning things like cars, houses, technology, etc. It is also a trap in skills, talents and abilities, even in a spiritual sense. We can look at someone else and say, “Man, I wish I could pray like that person. They always know exactly what to say with such meaning. I cant barely put three words together to form a sentence.” The problem with that thinking is that God looks at your HEART and not just the words you share in a prayer. Also, statements like that could possibly have another uncovered hurt associated with it that goes much deeper than just comparing prayers.

The point is that God wants us to be satisfied in who we are and whom he created us to be BUT not just be satisfied in the development of our relationship with him. He wants us to be hungry to know him in a deeper way each day of our lives. Don’t settle for discontentment in who you are and what you have and contentment with knowing God “enough.” Let those things be the opposite today! It is EXACTLY what the devil DOES NOT want for you, so it must be a good thing.

True Contentment In Life…Is Not More Things

I am in Las Vegas this week for NAB and learning about media trends from the people who work around the world to create media and connection for the masses. My focus and heart this week is to hear what is being done and what people see on the horizon for media. I then want to combine those principles with prayer and see what God comes up with to help me move Christian Television along and into the future.  
I am struck with the speed of changing technology and the insatiable desire for humankind to want things faster and more customized to their life even when the newest technology is already out. I firmly believe that this is a result of unhappiness in the human condition without God. Let me explain.  

I love and enjoy technology as much as anyone but I know that I can fall into the trap of needing to have the latest or greatest of whatever gadget, game or app that I currently own. Technology in itself is not a bad thing and can make our lives more productive as well as help us stay connected to family and friends. The issue comes when we are consumed in our minds with dissatisfaction and the technology we own and use. It used to be where technology would change about once a year but now there are not really even any estimates as to how fast things change. That means that even if I have the newest technology right now that it could potentially be out of date by the end of the first week or month that I own it! When my mind is not set on the things I own but the people that I can touch with the love of Jesus around me, then those technological pieces of equipment are only a means to an end and not a destination. I cannot talk for others but can only say for myself that I have fallen into the trap of wanting what I don’t have more times that I can count.  

The problem with wanting what you don’t have is that you make your thoughts about YOU and not about reaching others. We were not created to only serve ourselves and it is interesting to hear comments at NAB about companies that are standing out from the crowd because they are helping people feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. For example, a company called Warbly Parker competes with Lens Crafters in the world of eye glasses. An important but overlooked sales technique is that they donate money to developing countries for every pair of glasses purchased.. Because people feel like they are giving to something bigger than themselves they decide to spend their money with that company. What people don’t know is that their giving towards developing countries in that way is only a reflection of their creator.  

Today, take an inventory of what you are pursuing in life. Maybe it is a new car, house or some temporary thing on this earth and in proper perspective, that is fine. But when we desire or value the newest/best and not people we realize there are no amount of “things” that can fill our lives to make us feel content. A life with Jesus is a life looking at how we can be a blessing to others and using the technology/things we have to accomplish that task. 

Aaron Hernandez and Broken Reasoning

tebow-hernandez1
Reading about Aaron Hernandez’s death today made me think of where he had come from, his rise and eventual fall in the sports world and his personal life. I found this picture of Tim Tebow and Aaron Hernandez when they played together at the University of Florida. I am not sure that many people remember the two winning a national championship together for the Gators and the talent that they both showed on the field in front of millions. Two men, who had everything to live for but because of personal decisions, had lives that went in very different directions.

Whether it is said or not, I believe people see the actions of others and label them as “good” or a “trouble maker” immediately which helps to encourage those people to live in that box created by the world around them. I am not saying that good or bad decisions don’t have consequences, but that God sees us ALL as equal. Each of us make mistakes at times in life but the key is what we do to correct patterns that are destructive versus things that lead to a fulfilled life. We all have the ability to reach out to God and seek direction. There is not a SINGLE person on this earth that is predisposed to make decisions like Aaron made in life. People have potential to make a turn around in life from negative decisions keeping in mind that the decisions people make will define the kind of life they make for themselves. That is why we need God’s help making those good decisions that not only benefit us but those around us.

When you think about it, our lives are just a series of decisions each moment we are alive. The question is not if we are going to make poor decisions in this life but what will we do the moment after that poor decision is made. Or, when something bad happens to us what do we do with that opportunity? Will we continue down a path of bad decisions as Aaron did, or will we reach out to God and begin to make investments in our relationship with Jesus? I can remember all the times of despair when I was sick and the mind games the devil would play with me causing me to sometimes give in and get discouraged and hate God because of my situation. I created a pattern of losses in my life because I reasoned that God was not honoring my holy and righteous actions in life and that I didn’t deserve the pain I was in. The fact is, pain in life is a fact whether it is something that happens to us or something we bring on ourselves.

Poor decisions in life are a result of broken reasoning. This is not something religious or non-religious but from a place of what makes sense to us personally. Aaron Hernandez being accused of shooting someone because he spilled a drink on him at a nightclub was a poor decision but that decision was based on broken reasoning. So his reasoning was that if someone does something to make him angry that they need to be shot. This is a textbook example of broken reasoning leading to poor decisions and his eventual hopelessness that lead to suicide. Asking God to take control of our lives is an exercise is asking God to help us make good decisions. That is why the Bible is such an instrumental tool of wise decision-making. Forgive your neighbor. Turn the other cheek. Love one another even as you are loved. Basically, to love and know God with all your heart and love the people put in your path.

Consider the love of God today. Think about the power you have to turn your life over to him and ask him to help you start to make good decisions instead of bad ones. It is NEVER too late to start making good decisions. Such an amazing thought that God doesn’t label us based on what we do. God has NEVER been mad at us a day in our lives. He is certainly disappointed when we make poor decisions but not mad at what we do.

I pray for Aaron Hernandez’s family and his young daughter. I pray for the family who was affected by Aaron’s actions and maybe feel like Aaron killing himself robbed them of justice. I pray for those people who will post things on social media and make light of or think it is a joke that he killed himself. I pray for those people who have developed a reputation that they want to change but feel like they can’t. We have time on this earth to make good decisions and that includes maybe giving Jesus a chance to help guide and direct us from a place of victory and not defeat. It is time to allow God to fix your reasoning so you can begin to make good decisions in life.