The Importance of God NOT Being “Early” in Your Situation!

early-god
I have two friends, Matt and Jill, who moved their family from Colorado to Washington recently. He had been out of work for a very long time and living off of the severance package from his former job. He is a great employee and was looking for jobs everywhere but it was always not the right fit. They were feeling God’s direction to move to Washington without any real firm leads on a job for him and massive transition for them as a family with their three girls.

 I felt impressed to pray for them as a family the other day and texted them that I was doing a “run and pray” for them and believing that God would open doors that no man could close and close doors that no man could open. Jill texted me the following day and said that Matt had gotten a job offer that day and possibly another one by the end of weekend! Jill and I texted back and forth a few times and she said that they had just gotten their last severance check that day. She said, “God thinks he is so funny!” I responded and told her that in my life, “God has NEVER been early but He has never been late.” Jill responded and said that was so true. Then I thought of the countless times I have said that same line to people through the years.

Then it hit me. I responded something that I know came straight from God. I texted “If God was early, we would think it was our talents, connections, whining or complaining that made it happen.” All of which are NOT true!!” Wow. My fingers were typing it as I was thinking about why God is never early in our situations in life. It all made sense at that moment and I texted Jill that I felt a blog comin on!! Haha

Maybe you are in a situation where you are trying to give something to God and trust him for the outcome and wondering why God is not coming in early and making the changes you want to see. You are probably anxious about the situation and curious as to how God is going to “pull this one out” of the fire. Just remember, if God was early in meeting your need in life then you would probably give yourself the credit for “praying hard enough, complaining enough or just crying enough” to make it happen. Trust is essentially believing something is going to happen when nothing in the physical realm seems to be changing.

Today, pray and make your request known to God but then trust HIM to do HIS part in your situation. I am not saying this is going to be easy. In fact, it will probably be some of the hardest prayer/trusting you can do in life but will be the most gratifying when you truly release something to God and then see Him bring the increase. Just ask Matt and Jill and their journey these past couple of years. Good stuff.

Four “E’s” to Help Change Your Life!

NewLife Old Life
I want you to consider four “E’s” this weekend that could change your life.

Equip
Think about what you need to activate in your life to be successful to not only yourself but to the people you come in contact with for the rest of this year. Do you need to ask God for patience or for wisdom in a specific area of your life? Let this be a weekend of taking inventory in your life and areas you need to be equipped.

Engage
There are people you have in your life that you need you to engage. I mention in the Holy Crap book about the power of reaching out to others when you are in your own crap of life. Don’t wait until you have everything figured out in life to engage others and see how you can help them. Even a phone call that says you are thinking about or maybe even praying for them can speak volumes.

Encourage
Let God encourage you where you are in life. Our natural human nature is to see the things that we still need to work on and then try and strive to get to those places. There is nothing wrong with working on yourself and trying to become a better person in all areas of life, but it we don’t have a little encouragement along the way, that path is much harder to navigate. Take some time today and let God speak to your heart and encourage you right where you are and to help you see how far you have come in life instead of how far you have to go.

Empower
Empowerment is such an amazing word. It literally means to give power to (someone) OR to give official authority or legal power to (someone). When you ask Jesus to be the leader of your life, you then have authority given to you by God over the devil and his schemes for your life. You are empowered by Him to pray prayers that you could never pray in your own power and to take authority in all areas of life.
This awesome power if available to you if you would only reach out and ask for it!

I am believing that these four E’s can help you live the full and complete life that you were always intended to live. Have a great weekend and know that I am ALWAYS praying for each of you!

Take Heart and Trust God!

John 16_33 Pic
John 16:33
…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The world will be full of problems and trouble of all kinds. Even in the book of John in the Bible, there is a factual statement Jesus makes about problems and pain life saying that “this world will have trouble.” So it is not a question of IF there will be pain but WHEN and to what degree.

The term “take heart” means to evaluate your heart and where your trust is in difficult situations. This verse was not when Jesus and the disciples were lounging next to a lake eating figs and enjoying the cool fresh breeze. It was before Jesus’ arrest and the beginning of a very difficult time for his followers.

Today, think about where your trust is located. Is it in temporal earthly possessions? Is it in your looks or your personality? Or is it in Jesus who is the one who has overcome the world and all the destruction that will continue to occur around us? Find hope, peace and strength in Jesus and maybe start to give him control of even one area of life. You can do it. I am praying for you and believing for the BEST in your life.

So Many Losers in the Olympic Games…or…NOT!

Olympic Fireworks

I am fascinated by the coverage of the Olympics and the thirst to promote the winners and pretty much forget about anyone who doesn’t come in first, second or third. We should NEVER forget that ANYONE who made an Olympic team from around the world had a level of dedication and sacrifice that probably most people reading this blog would never even begin to pursue.

Even the slowest time or worst performance in every single category of the Olympics is far greater than a person on the street could do even on their best day. Each person is considered the best in their COUNTRY in each sport, which is something amazing to consider.

Some of the same principles of comparison can cause people to live a defeated life  because they compare themselves to others. Run your own race. Set your own goals. A relationship with God is not called a “personal relationship with Jesus” on accident. You are uniquely and wonderfully made with abilities that no one else has and talents that are only as great as the effort YOU put into them. God created you and as the old saying goes, He doesn’t make JUNK!

Today, stop comparing yourself to others and strive to be the best version of YOU! With God as the director and guide for your life, you can have the best “Olympic life trainer” ever to push you to be the best you can be.

I am trusting that you each see how special you are in God’s eyes. Have a wonderful day!

Empathy is the Finest HOLY in the CRAP

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Chapter 12 – “When Pain Has Value”

“It is interesting for me to look back on the “eyeball years” because I really feel God was working on my empathy for people more than He was working on my belief in Him while I was going through the worst of my eye situation. I want to state it again because I think this concept is so important for a person following Christ: God was working on my empathy for people more than He was working on my belief in Him. Now, to a “career Christian,” this can sound terrible. But I know that if I tell people I love Jesus more than anything in my life, but I can’t have empathy for people, give to the needy, help the poor, take care of widows and orphans, or just simply love people who are making bad decisions in life–as I do sometimes–then my relationship with Jesus is a lie.”

Many times we focus so hard on trying to believe things for our own lives rather than letting Jesus teach us empathy for others while going through crap in life. The empathy we have for others is what changes our relationship with Jesus. We go from just being concerned about ourselves and what WE can get and what WE need, to an outward focus that wants to serve others. It is the perfect and selfless example that Jesus gave us while on this earth. When we are focused on giving to others, Jesus not only meets our needs but meets them with perfect timing to receive it for maximum impact.

Today, think about how you can get involved in someone else’s life in a practical way, especially if you are going through some kind of crap of your own. When we help take care of God’s children, WE are taken care of. It’s the Kingdom way; give yourself away to find your own needs met.

As always, praying for you all to have daily revelations from God and a heart that is pliable to His ways.

The Only REAL Control you Have in Life

Stubborn

Excerpt from Chapter 11 – Physical Sight versus Spiritual Sight

“As I have previously said, I am naturally a very stubborn person who has to learn most things the hard way;, I don’t let someone else help me by telling me how to change an attitude or general focus in my life before I will make the effort to change. Having no control over my health and no ability to change something in order to see a different result was very frustrating. What I didn’t realize in those years was that I could ALWAYS choose to be in control of what I thought or felt in my situation; I just chose not to.

Maybe you are the same way with being stubborn and wanting to have things your way with your health or other painful situations. If you think about it, the real power in life is how you control thoughts and feelings in tough times. This is an important reason to give God control of your life so you can have help that can come from no other source.

Today, I pray that you just take ONE STEP closer to God and his authority in your life. One step is progress. Don’t let anyone tell you anything different.

Let this be YOUR Independence Day!

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Today is the 4th of July and a time that American’s celebrate coming together and deciding to start a new life for themselves from the rule of British government. But today can also be YOUR independence day from fear and things that hold you back from being mentally and emotionally free.

When people are in pain, one of the WORST things that happens is worry. Worry is a very interesting animal in that it can cause a person to stop moving forward in life while causing a fear of the future. I know that with my eye situation I have at times been paralyzed by the fear that comes from the unknown. Today is the day to possibly give God an opportunity to help keep your focus away from the worries of life and on the potential of the GOOD that is around the corner.

I want my life to help people see a different definition of being a follower of Jesus. He has brought a level of freedom to me that I want to share with people and offer it to them. If people don’t feel like a relationship with Jesus is something they want right now that’s ok. Everyone is different and God has a special plan of freedom just for you but you need to be willing and ready to accept it. Don’t let people try and coerce or force your into something you don’t want for yourself. The most powerful changes in life come from discovering the need for change on your own and then deciding to make a change.
The people who created America 240 years ago were only willing to make a change when they saw the need for it. The same is true with each of us and a relationship with Jesus.

Praying for you to see the need for God in your life. He has never let me down and you can have that same assurance in this life that God is in control.

Have a great 4th of July and don’t get meat sweats from all those hamburgers and hotdogs!

Darkness in our World versus the Light of Christ

hope_in_DarknessIf there is anything NOT to do first thing in the morning anymore is watching/reading the news of the darkness rising in our world. With all of the ISIS news, especially about Christian’s being persecuted, it can become sad with a feeling of helplessness. Then today I was looking through and cleaning up notes on my phone and ran across my grandma’s graveside service I did a few years ago. I scrolled down and noticed a line that I felt God gave me while preparing back then and I wanted to share a few thoughts with you.

I was referencing Psalms 23 and the verse that says “…even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear NO evil” and I shared the statement, “don’t STAY in the valley of the shadow of death. Walk THROUGH it.”

Today, maybe you are in a “valley of the shadow of death” that looks familiar and a place you will never be able to leave. Some people feel it’s necessary to “set up shop” in a valley of death in life and leverage that environment while learning to exist IN that valley. Maybe your “valley of death” is the loss of a loved one or maybe it is a plan that you had formulated for your life that just didn’t work out quite the way you had hoped. The verse in Psalms does not say “…even though I LIVE in a valley of the shadow of death….”. The Bible has been given to us to bring encouragement, direction and correction which is all for our good. There is so much truth and wisdom in the Bible if we will only open it up, read it and then APPLY it to our lives. Only then can we see the Word’s full power on display for others to see. The darkness in this world is only increasing and the “light” that followers of Christ are able to bring in valleys of darkness have never been more important than they are right now! We also need to not be so consumed with our own “darkness” personally that we forget to provide prayer cover for those in areas of the world who are dealing with a darkness that many of us will never understand. When we continue to WALK with God’s help THROUGH darkness and pray for others and the darkness they encounter, we have a strategy for success!

Have a great rest of the week and know that I’m praying and believing the best for you.

Free will versus The Devil Made Me Do It

I was thinking and meditating today on what causes people to make bad decisions in life so I thought I would share some of my thoughts. In the church, we often say that “satan stole” a persons vision, direction, ministry, etc. but I don’t really believe that satan steals as much as we give. It’s funny how much we see the power of free will until we mess up and say “the devil MADE me do it.” We have choices throughout life. Opportunities to make good decisions or make bad ones and if you think about it, if you made a string of good decisions today they don’t automatically translate into good decisions tomorrow. Since im a pastor i know i must be especially mindful of my actions good or bad and the desire for the devil to trip me up personally and professionally. I was talking with our Senior Pastor and we are both in agreement that there are really only four things that cause someone to get tripped up in ministry: the Gold, the Glory, the Girls or the Guys. I am not above any of the Indiscretions that men and women of God sometimes get caught in and I have an accountability group around me to help keep me honest and focused in life. I think it’s sad how many times communities as well as the entire world has watched while pastors and evangelists have made extemely poor decisons based on their desire for money, fame or an illicit relationship not considering the consequences of those actions.
The Bible says it all in 1 Peter 5:8-9:
8 Be self- controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Notice that it starts with “Be self-controlled and alert” so it starts with
preparing your mind and heart each day for the attacks of the enemy. The verses end with the fact that there are people everywhere dealing with the same temptations which says to me it’s important for men and women to have accountability in there lives because we all deal with the temptation to do wrong. If it was just the power of the devil to devour it may say something like… “be alert! The devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
One last thought for today; there is one word in those scriptures that I find awesome and it’s the word “like” when it reffers to the devil and being “like” a lion. There is only one Lion of Judah and that’s Jesus and His power is in operation in you if you have a relationship with him. Don’t let the king of fakers, the devil, fool you into giving away something that your free will has the power of keeping with the help of God. And pastors, none of us are above falling and making mistakes so we need to stay humble, alert and not judge when we see other ministers fall and make poor decisions. Let’s all ask God to have our free will line up with His will and stay alert for the days ahead.