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Showing posts from October, 2008

FIRM and STEADFAST

OK, so we have suffered a while, been restored and strengthened. Now we conclude a great week with a two-fer: He will make us firm and steadfast. Stand firm is a command and we need to learn that when we have difficulty in standing firm He will help us. Stability is hard to come by in this day and age. Our money, our jobs and our relationships appear to be more volatile now than ever. But when we take a firm stand, God keeps us on the path...steadfast. To be steadfast means to be diligent, consistent, trustworthy and dependable. Can God count on you to speak up for Him in a day of adversity? Are you firm and steadfast or do you waver and find that you are indecisive? The bible tells us that a double-minded man is unstable in ALL his ways. It goes so far as to say that this type of man should not expect anything from the Lord!

Life comes at us fast. Life hits hard. The enemy still tries to kill, steal and destroy. But if you will develop the habit of resisting the attacks and the tempta…

He will MAKE YOU STRONG

We are gaining momentum here as we rid ourselves of dark influences and influencers and allow God's grace to be sufficient. Not only does restoration come but another promise from God...strength comes as well. Scripture tells us to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. It's one thing to be strong. It's another to be strong in the Lord. To go even deeper is to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

In order to make it through the challenges of this life we need to learn how to exchange power. We exchange ours for His. Steven Curtis Chapman once wrote a lyric that said," His strength is perfect when our strength is gone. He'll carry us when we can't carry on." I take great comfort in knowing that when I am weak, He becomes strong and handles the gap between what I have available and what is necessary.

Maybe you are facing a battle and your strength is diminishing. It's time for a power shift. Let God be the strength that you need and allo…

He will RESTORE

Humility began this process. Resisting the devil and standing firm followed. Then the suffering hit. But after the suffering comes the blessing of God. The first thing mentioned after the suffering is that He will RESTORE us. To restore means to bring back to the original state. To bring back to its designed function or condition.
Spiritual warfare takes its toll on anyone that chooses to follow Christ. It is challenging. It hurts at times. You wish to quit at times. But somewhere in the process, God shows up and that grace begins to bring you back to the original condition that you were in before you were hurt and wounded. Its as if nothing traumatic had ever happened.
Maybe you have lost someone important to you. God will RESTORE. Maybe your friends have all left and abandoned you. God will bring you back to a place where you are surrounded by more friends than you had when all the suffering began! God is in the restoration business. He founded the extreme makeover. Keep resisting an…

Suffer a "little while"

Yesterday we began to talk about some of the benefits of getting rid of the devil and getting into the good grace of God. You will notice the part of the verse I am highlighting today that says, :after you have suffered a little while". I guess we could assume that resisting the enemy and standing firm is going to be somewhat painful. I prefer to not suffer at all. So in this phrase I ficus on the words "little while". I can handle just about anything if I know pain if I am assured that it will end. And in my life, most of the trauma and most of the pain does indeed pass.
If you are going to pursue your dreams, follow Christ, resist the devil and take a firm stand against the principalities and powers of darkness, you will suffer...for a little while. So you get ready for it. You hang on and stay in the fight and you hold on to that promise that this "suffering" will just be for a little while.
Now that you know it is inevitable, press on and stay strong. Build …

Get Rid of the Devil!

"God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble."Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Many folks are going to open to the supernatural this week. It's Halloween and spiritual sensitivities are peaked. In 1 Peter 5, we are told that the enemy prowls around looking for someone who is not strong in faith: able to be devoured. The devil is not interested in helping you succeed. Perhaps w…

It's Not About You

Philippians 2:13[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while (effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.

This week as we talked a bit about motivation we looked at the scripture above. Take a good look at it again...I have given you the Amplified version this time...God is all the while doing things inside of you that are energizing and creating in you power and desire. But even better than that the power and desire will join forces so that you will be able to actually do things that bring him pleasure and satisfaction. It's not about you!

You have probably heard it said that where there is a will, there is a way. Perhaps that is true. If you will ignite desire in you to move forward you are in a better position to actually make your way. As you enjoy this last weekend in October, let God bring your desires to the surface and make a new way for you. Po…

Strengths and Weaknesses

More men fail through ignorance of their strength than fail through knowledge of their weakness.
Think about that for a moment. Strengths and weaknesses. I've spent the majority of my life trying to strengthen my weaknesses. Then suddenly I realized that if I would spend that time strengthening my strengths, my weaknesses would get stronger in the process.
We all know what our weaknesses are. In fact we probably talk about them or think about those things often. But do we know what our strengths are? If not, try asking those closest to you today. Ask someone that knows you pretty well, someone that you spend a great deal of time with to tell you what they think about you! Maybe its your best friend or your parent. Perhaps a brother or sister.
I am always surprised when people tell me what they consider to be my strengths. Many times I would never have said the same things but when I take some time to ponder their thoughts, I realize something more about myself. You can find out much…

Joetry: "Believe"

Believe

Oh Lord I just want to talk to you
these things I’m going through are hard to bear
and Lord, (you know) the way seems so unclear
I wish that you were here to show me now
just what’s been happenin’ to me
Help me to believe

Oh Lord, can I walk another mile
It seems I lost my smile along the way
and Lord, will the road lead back to you
there’s nothin’ I can do but trust this
feelin’ that your Word’s doin’ in me
Help me to believe

Oh Lord, can I go another way
you know I’m so afraid of what I’ll see
and Lord, you know it’s hard in times like these
in my heart I know that it’s your Word
and all your promises are true
I’m going to make it through(for now I see)
Lord, it’s time to just believe

Motivate Me!

There are so many days in my life when I find it hard to get motivated. Once I am in motion its not hard to keep going but those first steps are hard to get going. When we ask to be motivated we are really asking for the "motive" to come alive. Motive is something that incites us to action, it causes motion. Some folks are motivated by power, others by money, some by status or position. Motive is very important.
God not only cares what you do. He is interested in why you do it. God in us should be the compelling factor. Look at what it says in Philippians 2:13,"for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." In other words God not only gives you the want to, He also provides the power to carry it out.
So what's your MO today...your Motive Operandi...your reason to move through the day and impact the world? If you are finding it hard to get motivated go back to His Word and let it fuel your fire and passion to get going. Only with G…

Survivor

Yesterday was supposed to be my 23rd wedding anniversary. As I got up to preach to our congregation and looked at the title of the message I was bringing, I was once again moved by how well the Lord "orchestrate" and "orders" our steps. Though I have "survived" this life that comes after divorce, I still feel the emotions on every anniversary date. And every year I move one step farther away from that season in my life that could have finished the game for me.

You may have some baggage from the past that continues to grab ahold of your thoughts and emotions too. The good news is that God knows where all of us are and how to bring us through what we are going through. We can endure. We can get stronger. We can even experience new growth and new things. We can train ourselves to deal more effectively. Paul gave us some great insight in 2 Timothy that may help you understand and be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. You find it in 2 Timothy 2:1-6:

It's All Good!

I am adopting a new philosophy these days...no matter what the struggle or the trial, I am using this phrase:"it's all good!" You may say that sounds kind of dumb because everything isn't always good. You are correct about that but I have been reading a great deal about the negative effects of worry and anxiety. I am also certain that my blood pressure could be lowered a bit so if I can get out of my head and be controlled by my spirit...it's all good!

Scripture tells us to "count it all joy" when we face various types of trials and difficulties. Now we don't always count it joy because it's good news! We do this because we know that the tough times are making us tougher. In all of the challenges, God is up to something. In the Book of Philippians we are told to rejoice and to give thanks IN everything! Not FOR everything, but IN it.

Maybe you are worried about a certain situation today. Perhaps you have gotten a bit discouraged over all the fina…

Intimacy

One of my favorite moments in life is when I can actually sit at the table and enjoy a meal with my kids. It used to be frequent but as they have grown older and schedules are filled with activity these moments are rare. With one son in Nashville the whole group getting together can only be organized on holidays.Perhaps that is why this time means so much more. It's at the table that I find out what they are thinking. I hear their laughs and stories and there is an intimacy developed that does not show up as vivid any other place.
I have been reading our new 40 Days of Communion Devotional and taking "personal" communion for the last 12 days. It has produced in me some very tender moments with the Lord. As I have come to the table and remembered His life, death and resurrection He has shown me my life in a wonderful new way. But it has been challenging. I have had my time at His table fought for by superfluous things. But as I have pressed through I have always found Him …

Did Thoreau Know?

Henry David Thoreau said "if one advances confidently in the direction of their dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." Did Thoreau know a formula for success?
Moving confidently in the direction that YOU desire is how things happen. There are far too many dreams out there that have fallen asleep and been abandoned because of a lack of confidence. Confidence is built buy living the life that you imagined. Where do you see yourself? What do you see yourself doing? Get that image in your head and walk in that direction. Sure it may be little steps right now. One foot after the other. But what Mr. Thoreau was saying to us is a very spiritual principle. The atmosphere you permit determines the product you create. You get out what you put in. Living the life that you have "imaged in your mind" will put you in a position to be surprised by unexpected success. At least it may seem that way. But …

The Tide Always Comes Back

Every once in a while I get to go to the beach and reflect and write. Most of the time as I sit on the shore gazing at the deep blue ocean a life lesson is right there in front of me. The tide was out and many of the shallow water creatures were just laying there on the dry shoreline. It appeared that life was over and that this morbid scene would be forever etched in my mind. In a matter of hours, the tide rolled back in and it looked as if nothing had happened before.

Often life has a way of washing away all that we work for and all that is important to us. Spiritually and emotionally we might find ourselves in a dry place, discarded and abandoned. The good news is that the tide always comes back. Life's ebb and flow go in rhythm with God's creative life purpose. There will be times when shallow waters will expose us and times when the waves of refreshing come and saturate us. Getting to know the signs of the tide will help us adjust to all that is happening around us. Are yo…

Falling Forward

In Proverbs 24 it says,"for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity." A righteous man falls? Seven times? Solomon was not numbering how many times you fall. The point was that no matter who you are, you will fall. The righteous folks get back up.
Think abou the Babe...Babe Ruth. We remember him for the home runs but dod you know that he set the resord for strike outs too! What is Babe had not kept swinging? And because he did we remember his greatness not his missing at the plate-ness!

My word to you today is fall forward. You may have already fallen. Learn the lesson and move on. You are destined for greatness. Dale Carnegie said once, “most of the important things in the world are accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” A mistake is just that…a miss-take…take it over again!

Run into this week and run forward and don't look back. And when you fall, fall forward!

Slanglish

I am not a young man anymore. I am about to leave my 49th year on the planet and as I get older, it's getting harder and harder to understand our language. It used to be plain English and now there is so much slang. You might call it slanglish! Let me give you some easy examples.
The other day I heard a discussion on music where one of the young people called it phat. Of course I was thinking "fat" was an interesting way to describe it! Then someone else was talking about a movie that they just saw and they said that movie was "sick". Did they not like it? Oh, they did like it, in fact they really like it! One of the others said "yea, that film was "bad"! So let me break it down for you. "Bad" is good, "phat" is in and "sick" is...well, not sick at all! It's awesome! Kind of makes you want to go "buck" doesn't it?

We have to keep up with the lingo. I remember in the bible when Daniel decided to apply …

Good and Angry

Have you ever thought about what makes God angry? When we talk about anger issues and anger management we usually look at this emotion in a negative light. I wonder if it is possible to get good and angry? In fact the bible does say, "be angry and sin not".
When Jesus walked into the house of prayer and saw that it had been turned into a Target Store he was angry. He flipped over tables and everyone there knew exactly how he felt about what was happening. He was good...and angry!
Are you angry when you see people not using the gifts that God gave them? Do it bother you when people make excuses for doing what God is asking of them because of human weaknesses or low self-esteem? What are you doing with that anger?
Today, let the goodness and grace of God rise within you and help those that are missing the mark. Let anger compel you to get involved...to do something. Release it! Be angry, just don't be disobedient. Why don't you try getting good and angry today!
And remembe…

Character...Faithfulness

In 2 Timothy 1-2 it says "You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."
I have always believed that God was more interested in character than he was in talent. In this scripture we are told to commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Notice that it does not say to commit to the talent and you can teach others faithfulness. I believe so often we think we will not be effective in ministry because our talent level is not what we desire. In God's eyes our willingness to step out in faith...to be loyal and filled with integrity, is the most crucial part of walking in our destiny. Faithful people will become even more talented. But talented people may not become more faithful.

So what is the lesson for each of us? Practice being a faithful, loyal and honest person and watch how God helps develop your…

Breaking Through

As a writer there are times when I feel like I have written everything that is in me. They call it writers block. It comes suddenly and when you least expect it. One of the ways they say to get through it is to write about it. So, my keyboard begins to type.
I wonder if anyone of you has ever felt empty? How do you refuel when you feel miles away from the filling station? Pray? Yes, I have been doing that. Read the Word? Yes, I've done that too. So what's left? Waiting. Wait...then wait some more...then a little longer. Tomorrow I will go to a book store and put myself in the middle of a literature storehouse. I could stay home and worry about how I am going to get unstuck. I could run around frantically and feel overwhelmed. But I feel like staying in the game. I feel like getting around books...people reading...journaling.

Sometimes life sticks and you need to re-oil the gears to get it going again. For every person it is different. For me, I will mix up my routine. I will can…

40 Days of Communion

I never really thought about the benefits of the Lord's Supper before. It was always somewhat of a ritual that I did in whatever church I was going to at the time. There are two brothers in our church that have a dream. They bottle their own Communion juice straight from the vine and are using it along with a 40 Days of Communion devotional to take people back to the table. The mission: take Communion for 40 days in a row as your read the devotional and watch God transform your life. Families are never going to be the same again!

The last thing Jesus did before He went to the cross was break bread with his disciples. It was about communication, community and communion. The art of learning how to communicate with the Lord is crucial for success in todays world. When financial woes hit, when disaster strikes, talking to God and listening to His reply will be the most important thing you can do. As you develop communication, there will be a renewed sense of community. Appreciating the…

Glorious Living

Ephesians 1:11-12 says, "It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone."

People look for meaning in a variety of ways. They search for purpose in other people, in jobs, in books and in churches. The fact is that we can only find out who we are and what we are living for in Christ. You were created in the image of God. Notice what the scripture says that even before you knew Him, He knew you. He had his eye on you. He was and is watching over you. He even has designs for a glorious life already drawn up for you to enjoy. It's part of his overall purpose. Cup of Joe, that sounds good but that is for other people, it's not for me. Yes it is! Verse 12 tells us that this design, this purpose for a glorious life is being worked out in EVERYthing and for EV…

FEAR

Most of us are afraid of something. Yet in scripture we are told to "fear not" more than 300 times! Do you think God had to keep repeating it because we keep allowing it to rise up in us? In Psalm 27 its says that the Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? There is no weapon that is raised up against me that can prosper. In fact if God is on my side, it really does not matter what is on the other side.

Perfect love casts off fear. So, dispense love, dispel fear. The more we love the less fear is allowed to paralyze and cripple our progress. Whether God hides me in the shelter of His tabernacle or places me up on a high rock above the enemy, it really does not matter. The end result is safety and preservation.

Lift up your heads and your eyes...your help, your hope is coming! Fear not!

DREAM BIG!

Two years ago today I preached the opening message in our new 38,000 square foot facility in Glenpool, Ok. We had surrendered our leased space of 6600 sq. feet and taken a huge step of faith. We had spent several weeks and hours in getting the facility cleaned up and putting our signature on it. As I think about that time I remember the awesome strength that I felt as God empowered us to take this step. I also remember the incredible fear that came upon me as thoughts of failing and biting off more than we could chew chased me.

Two years can do alot for a persons faith and for their maturity. The challenges have been many and the victorious stories have been even more. God has shown up in ways that I always hoped and if truth be told, probably never anticipated. Like an infant to a toddler, we have gone from formula to solid food and from relying on others to hold us to beginning to walk on our own a bit!

Maybe today you are believing for something HUGE! The step may look way to big fo…