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 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.

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!

 

 

 

The MOST Overlooked Element of A Walk With God

ASking
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!

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!

The Devil’s Greatest and Worst Moment…All in 72 Hours

Crying Satan 2
All the assumed wins that ended in failures through the years setting him up for the “big one”. All the times in the Old Testament where he had been on the path to victory but God stepped in and took control. He started in the garden tempting Eve and continued through the Old Testament time after time. There was the time on Mt. Carmel where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal and had a showdown that ended in a loss. There was the time the Philistines had captured the Ark and thought they were going to start a winning streak against God’s people. Only to have it cause terror and tumors with the Philistines who came in contact with it only to be returned WITH OFFERINGS. So many apparent victories that ended up in utter defeat from Moses, to David to Saul. The list goes on and on.

Then Jesus came on the scene. The stage was set for the “biggie” of failures for the Devil and a crippling loss of power he had in the lives of humans. Jesus was on the earth for thirty years before his official ministry began but he was already known as a young man who spoke with authority in the synagogue. When John the Baptist baptized Jesus and he was sent in to the desert to be tempted that was where it all started to unravel for the devil. Temptations of hunger, protection and fame were all thwarted and so began the frustration. This weekend is Easter, which formally started with Good Friday, the best night of the devil’s existence. He was finally going to get his revenge. For being kicked out of heaven, the humiliations through the years of God coming through for his people and it was all coming down to this one moment. Jesus’ final breath on the cross and the words “It is finished” brought a sigh of relief to the devil. I am sure the smile that came over his face could not be contained and the celebration ringing through hell was boisterous and arrogant.

Then came Sunday. I can only imagine how defeated the devil felt when his master plan of trying to eliminate Jesus on earth ultimately and completely failed. When the stone was rolled away and Jesus was resurrected back to life like after what was like a three-day nap. And to add insult to injury, it says in 1 Corinthians 15 that over 500 people saw Jesus before his return to heaven! Not only did Jesus overcome death but he took a victory lap to encourage those people who were going to stay on earth to carry the message of not only his power but his love and compassion for people that needed to know him.

I share all of these words to help you understand the authority you have when you accept Jesus into your heart and make him the leader of your life. You have that same power over death and hell and access to God to share your heart and take authority over any earthly situation. This is not a guarantee of everything happening in life the way you want it to but when you understand that God has it all under control then your worry can subside and you can rest in his power and ability. It is also a reminder of how brief our life on this earth is and that we can have a hope of heaven when we die in addition to guidance, direction and purpose for life now.

Have a great Easter weekend and always remember; the devil lost, Jesus won and you have access to that very same power. I have mentioned this before, but it says in Matthew 7:7 that if you seek God you will find him. It can start with a simple prayer that says, “Jesus, I need you “ and maybe a trip to your local Bible-based church to see what this Jesus thing is all about. Or maybe it is time for you to come home, and even when you read this you know exactly what I mean. Have a great weekend and Happy Easter!! JESUS IS ALIVE!!