Where People Find Jesus…

end of road
I was praying for the viewers of my TV station this morning that they would find Jesus if they don’t know him. I also prayed for people who have known God for a long time that they would continue to deepen their relationship and be open to Him showing them new revelations of his glory, grace and peace.

As I was praying, I thought about a term I have used many times while talking to people about having a relationship with Jesus and “coming to end of themselves.” I considered what that term actually meant to someone finding and deciding to follow Christ. Then I felt impressed by this statement:

People normally don’t find Jesus in the “middle” but at the “end” of themselves.

When people are still in the “middle” they can think of a relationship with Jesus as something else to add to their lives. But when they are at the end of themselves, they are done “doing” things to find peace and they are willing to accept the peace and direction from Jesus, which has fully to do with surrender.

Even the term “surrender” for some people can be difficult because that word can be synonymous with hurt/pain or being taken advantage of. Hurt from the past can be a deterrent from people walking into a relationship with Jesus but I can tell you that trusting in Him is a step towards a freedom you have never experienced before. The difference is that Jesus only wants the best for us when we give him control of our lives.

Following and trusting Jesus is simple but can be difficult at the same time because the “effort” shifts from us trying to FIND peace to ACCEPTING Jesus, who actually IS peace. When we accept Jesus we get peace and don’t have to wait for something additional to fill the voids in life. This is where the power and importance of the Bible comes into play. The Bible is the guidebook for life and not just a book of suggestions to help train our minds to trust in God. For example, the book of John can be a great overview of who Jesus is to humanity and the book of Romans helps illustrate the power and importance of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.

Today, no matter where you are with God, take one step closer. If you have don’t know Jesus and have trouble in life, just cry out to Him and tell him you need help. If you are a follower of Christ and don’t have a good church home, find a church that teaches the Bible and Jesus. If you attend church somewhere and are not currently involved in anything more than Sunday am, find a way to serve.

Praying for you today to find the peace that I found so many years ago as a kid and then with my physical issues, realizing that Jesus NEVER left me through my entire life. Jesus loves YOU that much too!

 

 

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.

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.

 

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!

 

 

 

Godliness STARTS with Kindness

Kindness image
I love it when God shows me something AFTER I am obedient and listen to his promptings in my life. It is like the dessert capping off an amazing meal. They are moments that make me want to not just ASK God to give me an opportunity to step out in faith but to actually follow through with promptings from the Holy Spirit. Sadly, this doesn’t happen as often as it should. Something happened to me last week with an outcome that meant more than what I expected. Let me explain.

I was at a shoe store and by the time I got done looking around, didn’t even realize why I was in there. I knew I was in there looking for shoes, but not sure why I had picked that day to go to that particular store. I had found a pair of shoes that I liked, but decided to put them back. This is SUPER unusual for me, as I love to shop and especially if I find a pair of shoes for the right price.

As I was finishing looking around, I walked by a lady and her son who was probably in his early 20’s. They were walking through the aisles and I had walked by them a few times in the course of walking through the store. As I was passing them I overheard the lady mention to another shopper that it was her son’s birthday the following day. I thought that was nice and continued to walk towards the front door to leave. As I was walking out, I felt the Holy Spirit say to me that I needed to get that kid a gift card and give it to him.

At first I thought it was just me and not something that God was putting on my heart. As I continued to walk out of the store, I got almost sick to my stomach that I knew I needed to be obedient and do as the Holy Spirit directed me. As I was standing in line, the thought came to me that I wanted to do this and not share anything about it (like the blog I am typing right now) or say anything to my wife, which THAT thought turned out being just me and not God.

I purchased the gift card and as I was walking up to the mom and her son, I was thinking of all the amazing things that this interaction could do. Maybe they would start crying or maybe they would say that this was a confirmation of something else that they felt was happening in their lives. The possibilities were endless. I walked up them and said, “I overheard that it was your birthday tomorrow and wanted to bless you with a gift card and say happy birthday.” While the mom grinned ear-to-ear and said thanks, the young man gave me a handshake and said, “Thank you very much!” I told him to enjoy his birthday and to have a great night. The interaction was simple, quick and straight to the point.

Now, as I tell that story some in the “church” community would wonder why I didn’t take advantage of the situation because I was giving him something as a stranger and try and share the plan of salvation that God offered as a free gift as this gift card was being given to him. Nope. None of those things came out of my mouth and I think there was a great reason.

I am going to say something, not as a blanket statement about all followers of Christ, but as many who do not have a fundamental truth operating in their life that needs to be addressed. Godliness starts with KINDNESS. Kindness and being a loving and giving member of this earth is not automatically given to people who have maybe the best intentions for introducing people to Jesus without seeing how they can meet a basic need and just be kind.

I had a conversation with an older lady who is a viewer of our programming on CTN here in Denver and she said that someone came up to her and said something derogatory about her love of animals and it offended her so bad that she never went back to church. This statement broke my heart for her because she based the ENTIRE church congregation on the idiotic statement from a member of her church. Also, this church member forgot the first principle of Godliness: KINDNESS.

I think the reason why God impressed on me to be kind to that mom and her son was so that I WOULD be able to share my experience and have each of us take inventory on how we treat our fellow man. If every person who called Jesus the Lord of their lives, would put kindness first and focus on being a part of people’s journey to find God then I think we could actually make a difference in this world we live in. Never forget that even though heaven is the ultimate goal that we have a RESPONSIBILITY to represent God in everything we do and say and that starts with nothing religious.

The Short But MIGHTY Phrase

Short and Mighty Phrase
I felt the full gravity today of thanking the person that helps manage the property for our television station. I could tell when I first met her that she deals with more than her fair share of negative words and attitudes with tenants and people telling her that crap is broken and for her to drop everything and assist them.

We had some leaks that have existed in our portion of the building even before we moved in. The church that used to own the building we lease in had done everything in their power to try and help get the leaks fixed but it always ended up with water pouring in everywhere. When the new company took over our lease, we contacted the lady who was the asset manager and asked them to fix the leaks in our area. After a few phone calls back a forth, they brought out a roofing specialist and they made the appropriate repairs that have been working great for probably two weeks.

I decided to give our property manager a call and thank her for their company fully fixing our leaks and preserving the electrical equipment that we have stored all over our office. It was funny because when I called her she didn’t really know how to respond at first. I told her I was sure that 99% of the phone calls she receives are negative in nature and can be wearing on her. I told her I wanted to encourage her and thanked her for her help. I could hear her voice loosen and she said that I made her day. I am not sure if she is a follower of Jesus but from my simple thank you I have gained entrance into her life just from being grateful.

Then I thought of the verses in Luke 17:11-19 where it says that Jesus healed 10 lepers and only ONE came back to thank him.

Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Verse 17 gives such an interesting response from Jesus before he tells the man to rise and go. He mentions the nine other lepers that had the same condition of this man but did not come back to find Jesus and thank him. I wonder if this portion of scripture is here to remind us of the importance of a thank you? Or is it an example of being obedient to the urging of God when thanking people in your life and not looking for an equally generous response? I think it was a bit of both.

You can NEVER underestimate the power of a simple thank you. Thinking of all the things that Jesus endured while here on the earth and the countless stories of his power moving in people’s lives, there are very few examples of people actually saying thank you.

Think today about your life and if people around you would consider you a grateful person. Is there someone in your life that you need to thank for something they did or they do on a consistent basis? I have heard many people say, “That person knows I appreciate them. Why do I have to say anything?” Verbalizing a thank you is not only for encouraging a person, but it is also for you to hear yourself appreciating those around you.

Your words have power to speak life or death and a simple thank you is the best example of life-giving power in someone else’s AND your own life.