What Are You Thinking?

We’re living in some strange times right now aren’t we? Who would’ve ever thought we’d be holed up in our homes, working to reduce an infection caused by a microscopic enemy which is unable to be seen with the naked eye. We are inundated with more information than at any other time in human history, and have access to what is happening around the world with the click of a button. And yet with all of this technology at our fingertips, we are probably worse off than any other time in history.

One of the best things a person can do for themselves and those around them is to stay positive and upbeat. It’s not one of the easiest things to do either, because it seems we have been conditioned to default to negative thoughts instead of positive. In the Bible it says it this way:

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Philippians 4:8

Ask yourself, am I thinking about things in a positive or negative way? When someone gives you a report about what’s happening in the world, what do your thoughts run to; positive or negative? Proverbs 23:7a says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he…” What we think is one of the few things we actually have control over in life too.

I heard a lady say one time, “Don’t confuse me with the facts, I believe what I believe.” It’s sad but true, a lot of people’s lives are destroyed because of what they believe and not what is actually happening to them. If our enemy, the devil, can get you to believe the worst, then the worst is what you will have. But, if you will choose to believe the best, the best is what will happen in your life.

Call it what you like; positive energy, karma, or faith, the truth of God’s Word is whatever you focus on is what you will attract. When you believe something and speak it out of your mouth, this is what controls your destiny. And the coolest thing about this is the fact you are in control of what you think. John Eldredge said it this way in his book The Sacred Romance;

“Power can do everything but the most important thing; it cannot control love…in a concentration camp, the guards possess an almost unlimited power. By applying force, they can make you renounce your God, curse your family, work without pay, eat human excrement, kill and then bury your closest friend or even your own mother. All this is within their power. Only one thing is not; they cannot force you to love them.”

I would say there is a second thing, and that is they cannot make you change what you think. They can apply all kinds of pressure to make you change your mind, but ultimately what you think is yours and yours alone. What do you think the devil was trying to do to Jesus when He went to the wilderness for forty days and nights? He was trying to change what Jesus thought and knew to be true. Look the story up, you’ll find it in Matthew 4:1 -11 / Luke 4:1 – 14.

The thing I love the most about this particular story about Jesus is He didn’t answer the devil’s questions by saying, “Because I’m God dummy.” Every time He said, “It is written.” and then He would quote the passage to answer the temptations. What I love the most about following Jesus, is when we see He do things in the Bible, He did them as a man, and not as God. I like this, because He was showing me how I need to walk this out. Praise God, if I will live by the examples Jesus showed, my life can be victorious on a daily basis, and so can yours.

This is why I preach to anyone who will listen of the importance of knowing the Bible for yourself. You don’t know what is true if you never stick your nose in the Bible. Your victory over life is based directly on what you believe, and what you believe is based directly on what you are thinking. So if your life is not what you would like it to be, change what you are believing, and to do that you have to change what you are thinking. Taking Philippians 4:8 to heart is the best place to start. Also, I would recommend limiting the amount of time you spend watching news reports on what is going on around the world. If you’re going to watch news for thirty minutes, then also read your Bible for the same amount of time. Combat the negative news with the Good News of God’s Word.

For the Kingdom and the King, Shalom!

Has God Abandoned Us?

I heard a person say the other day they were no longer shaking hands with people, not because of the Corona Virus, but because of the shortage of toilet paper. Now I’ll admit, I find this funny, not because of the mass hysteria being perpetrated on us by the media, but the fact someone decided to find a little humor in a serious situation.

As a man of faith in God, I am totally at peace with the chaos trying to reign around us. I’m not making light of what people are going through, I just know Whose I am, and His Word is true, especially when there is crazy going on all around me. I realize the world has called this a pandemic, which the CDC defines as “an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people.” But I have to ask the question, “Has it changed God or His Word?” The answer to this is a resounding NO!

I made this statement the other day, “The warranty for what Jesus did has not run out.” What I mean by this, is whatever He did for us, He is still doing for us. Take a look at Psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

This is a promise from God for His people. It talks about Him taking care of His people, regardless if there is enough toilet paper or bottled water to go around. God has got His children covered. Honestly, the people who should be fearful are those who do not yet know God. They don’t have anything to lay hold to, no firm foundation to bring stability to their lives. And for these people I am truly concerned. Not because they may not be able to wipe their hineys, but that they will end up in complete and total isolation from God for all of eternity in hell with the devil and his angels.

The place for those of us who call ourselves Christians is at the front lines of what is going on. Having patience with the unbelievers and calling out those in our family who are trying to run the other way. I saw a quote from Mr. Rogers which makes me think of how we as Christians should be acting now.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Fred Rogers

This is who we as the church of Jesus Christ should be, the helpers. Let’s use our resources to help other people in need; whether this be with our finances or actually physically getting out there and taking care of those in need. This is our hour to shine, not cower back and wait for Jesus to come and take us away from all of this. Rise up and be who God has called you to be; a helper!

Strength and honor, for the Kingdom and the King!

What Are You Afraid Of?

One of the things that our Heavenly Father says in His Word is healing belongs to His children. With all the news outlets focused so hard on the Corona virus, I can’t stress this enough today.

I do know this one thing, God is always true to His Word, ALWAYS! This is the time to ask yourself, “What am I focused on?” It’s a valid question to ask, because whatever you’re focused on is what you allow into your heart, and as Jesus said, it’s what comes out of our hearts which bring the world we live in. (Luke 6:45)

I’m not making light of the situation the world is seeing, but I think we do need to watch what we are focused on. We need to be cautious of knee jerk reactions to situations, case in point, the run on toilet paper around the country. Be aware, but not afraid. As it says in Isaiah 41:10 “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.”
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This is a promise from God we can hold onto in trying times. Remember, focus on God’s Word more than on what the news media is saying, believe God and watch how He rescues you once again.

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

Are You Compassionate or Just Feeling Sorry?

Other than the weather being absolutely beautiful, today was like any other Sunday for me; get up, make the coffee, read my Bible and then head off to the 9:00 AM church service with my bride. I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember, and truthfully it is one of my favorite weekly routines. Today after church we decided to make our weekly pilgrimage to the Cracker Barrel with our friend Rosie for a little breakfast. The food and fellowship is always great and it too is another thing I look forward to each week.

As we were enjoying our breakfast today, I noticed the hostess seat an elderly man at the table next to ours. He was there dining alone, and as we were almost finished with our meal I thought it would be odd to ask him to join us. But as I watched him, the Holy Spirit on the inside of me began stirring my heart and I felt as if God was telling me to buy the man’s lunch. When our waiter came back to freshen my coffee, I asked him if he would add the man’s meal to my ticket, which he did.

We went about our morning, talking a little longer than usual when I noticed the man asking our server about his check. They talked for a few minutes, and then I saw him stand up, pull out his wallet and place a few bills on the table. I thought he might have said thank you or something (even though I wasn’t looking for that from him), but he stepped away from the table and left the room.

Our waiter came up to me a few minutes later with another check in his hand for me, apologizing as he explained when he told the gentleman someone had paid for his meal, he adamantly demanded the young man bring him his check, that he was quite capable of paying for his own meal, thank you very much.

Now he didn’t make a scene, but it got me to thinking, why wouldn’t someone receive the blessing for what it was, an anonymous person just wanting to do something nice? The way I figure it, God is going to bless me regardless because I was obedient to do what He spoke to my heart. But did the gentleman look at it as pity? Because as I think about it, it was compassion which made me reach into my wallet to pay for his lunch.

There’s a difference between compassion and just feeling sorry for someone. The way I like to look at it is this, feeling sorry for someone is realizing they are in need but not doing anything about it. Compassion sees someone in need and then moves to effect change in the situation. I felt compassion for the man sitting alone, and decided to do something about it. I mean I could have just sat there and thought, “Poor man.” and never did anything to effect change in his life. The fact he didn’t want to accept the change is on him I guess.

I always want to move in the area of compassion more than just feeling sorry for things I see. This doesn’t mean I’m great at it, believe me there have been plenty of times where I have overlooked opportunities because of the inconvenience or cost of them, but I do strive to do better every day. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all did this? I’m going to try and do better, how about you?

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

Stuff My Father Says About Healing

Let’s talk before we get into this topic today. First off, this subject is a touchy one. In the past, it has cost me friendships, made many people angry and made me reevaluate what I truly believe. Yet through all of it, I still believe what God’s Word says about healing, and I always will.

I will say right at the gitgo here, if you disagree with me, it is perfectly fine. The only thing I would ask of you, is to keep an open mind and search out these truths in the Bible for yourself. Don’t just believe something because dear Aunt Polly or your daddy said it. Study and search for yourself. And not only this, ask God to show you, His Holy Spirit is the Great Teacher standing by ready, willing and able to help you to understand everything.

I’m not a science guy, I don’t understand what makes us sick or allows diseases to run rampant in some parts of the world more than others. What I do know is faith, and if God said something in the Bible, then it is true. It may not be operating fully in my life to the degree I want it to at the moment, but it is true regardless. The law of electricity is still true, regardless of whether or not I believe it. If I grab a bare wire which is connected to a power source, even if I don’t believe it will hurt me, it will. The same is true with the things in God’s Kingdom as well. What you do and do not know will have an impact on your life.

Before we hop into the healing Scriptures, I’d be remiss if I didn’t first off talk about how we receive things in God’s Kingdom. The Scriptures are pretty cut and dry about this, let’s look at Mark 11:23-24; “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea’, and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Yeah, but Dave you don’t know my situation! Hey, save your buts for the Lord. This is Jesus talking in this passage of Scripture. It’s pretty cut and dry. Whatever you believe and say will be yours. This is how you get everything in the Kingdom of God; you believe it and say it, then it shows up. It doesn’t matter who you are either, if you believe something in your heart and say it with your mouth and do not doubt, but believe you will receive, you will eventually get the thing you are talking about.

So let’s look at what the Bible says about healing. Is it for you, or was it just for people in the Bible? Proverbs 4:20-22 says, “My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them, let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body.” Cool! God’s Word brings healing to your whole body! The Amplified versions says it this way, “My son, pay attention to my words and be willing to learn; open your ears to my sayings. Do not let them escape from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing and health to all their flesh.”

Notice the phrases, “healing to your whole body” and “health to all their flesh“. The words “whole” and “all” pretty much cover whatever ails you. Something which jumps out at me in this Scripture is where it says “for they bring life to those who find them“. I don’t know about you, but this pretty much says to me those who are walking in healing are the ones who are paying close attention to God’s Word and actually looking for them. They’ve opened their ears to the Scriptures and kept them in front of their eyes, regardless of what their five senses are trying to tell them.

This then begs the question, am I actually looking for God’s Word concerning healing? Now here’s what I think, a lot of Christians are running to the doctor in search of the easy fix; you know, a pill or shot to take to fix what ails me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the guy who will tell you to throw away your medicine and just believe God. We have to use a little bit of common sense too. But I will be the guy to ask you if you are running to the doctor first and seeking God second?

I’m afraid in this scientific age we live in, Christians have gotten away from actually believing in God’s ability to heal us, thinking this was needed back in the day before all the medical stuff we’ve figured out in the past 100 years. A prevalent thought is God gave us science, and they in turn have given us a plethora of medicines which tout the ability to fix all of our problems. Have you ever looked into all the side effects of the pills we have nowadays? I mean, sometimes I’d rather have the sickness than deal with all the side effects.

Let’s look at some healing Scriptures or God’s medicine:

Psalm 107:20 “He sent His Word, and healed them.”

Psalm 30:2 “O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me.”

Psalm 103:3 “He who forgives all your iniquities, and heals all your diseases.”

1 Peter 2:24 “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.”

Look at that last passage, especially the two words “have been“, this is in the past tense meaning it has already happened. When Jesus was beaten with the whip before He was nailed to the cross, each of the lashes He received purchased your healing. This means healing is yours, you just have to reach out and take it. And as we learned earlier, if we believe it in our heart, say it with our mouth and don’t doubt, then we will have what we say.

If you are not believing God for your healing, then my question must be, why? I don’t know exactly how many Scriptures there are concerning healing, but I know if there were just one it would be enough. I did come across this website which has 102 such verses. Click here to read them. What I know is as you read the Word of God, faith comes. And when faith comes, you believe. Couple that with your speaking what you believe and not doubting, and you will see the miracle of healing operate in your life.

I know it sounds almost too easy to be real, but if there is one thing I’ve learned about my Father in these past 30+ years of following Him, it’s He doesn’t make anything too difficult to do. Jesus wants the best for you, and one of these things is for you to be in health and whole. And besides, what do you have to lose by believing God? Nothing really. As Nike has said for years, “Just Do It!”

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

Stuff My Father Says About Money

I remember as a kid, I used to watch the television show, The Monkees. It was always fun, and the music catchy. One thing I vividly remember however, was in their apartment, there was an embroidered wall hanging with the stitched phrase, “Money is the root of all evil.” It was a funny way of explaining how they were struggling musicians who didn’t need money to be successful and happy. Or in other words, money is evil, and they were not because they didn’t have any.

However what my Father says about this is totally different. The actual Scripture is found in 1 Timothy 6:10 and says, “For the “love of money” is the root of all evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” Man alive is this ever a true statement. You don’t have to be rich either to have the love of money operating in your life. A person with $5.00 can be affected by the love of money just as easily as someone with five million dollars. It’s not a money issue, it’s an attitude of the heart.

In Matthew 15:19 Jesus is addressing the root cause of this with His disciples when He says, “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying and slander.” (To see this in context read the full story in Matthew 15:1-20.) It’s what is in your heart that is important and this is where the love of money resides.

Now I understand money is important. We have to have it to survive in life. With it, we pay for a place to live, stuff to eat, clothes to wear, entertainment, etc. It’s not wrong to have things, it’s wrong for things to have us. Money in and of itself is not evil, it cannot force you to do wrong. But when you are dealing with this attitude in your heart, nothing but evil can come of it.

If you want to see where a person is spiritually, watch how they spend their time and money. Say what they will, this will pinpoint just where a person is. I know for myself, I have a love of all things Star Wars (except for that lesbian kiss in the last movie, but that’s a topic for another blog). And it is so easy for people to buy gifts for me. But in the end, it’s all just stuff. I mean, I give away a lot of the stuff I buy, in fact if I find things on sale (which is a rarity) I purchase multiples of them in order to bless people who also love Star Wars.

God is not asking us to take a vow of poverty, not at all. In fact, while the Roman soldiers were crucifying Jesus, they were gambling with each other for His clothing. Now I don’t know about you, but if Jesus were wearing rags, they probably would not have been trying to win his clothing. His garments must have been nice ones, even a little bit on the expensive side don’t you think?

For years, well meaning Christians who didn’t have much, have attributed poverty with piety. Some of the most spiritual and giving people I know have a lot of money. The difference is the money does not have them. It’s a tool they use to promote the Gospel across the world, and consequently because they do this, God has seen fit to bless them with more and more money. The old saying, “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” is a very true statement. Why do you think this is? I believe it’s because they understand wealth and what it can do. The question we need to ask ourselves is, do we understand this?

Whenever I’m in a church service and the question comes up about what I can do to help with whatever outreach or building program is going on, I always ask myself if this is something I feel I should support, and then I move on that. It may just be with a $25 offering, but if I feel the leading of God to do something sacrificially, then I do it. God has never let me down yet, and by donating to various causes, my bride and I have never had to go without a meal or miss a house payment.

I heard a man say once, “You can’t out give God.” and I’ve spent my entire Christian life since then trying to. I don’t want to be one of those stingy people who never pays for another person’s coffee or meal. To have to hold onto my money so tightly, my hand starts cramping. I want to be known as a generous man, who loved people more than money. How about you? Do you love money more than anything else? If so, this might be something you would want to work on.

Until next time, for the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

It’s Up To You

One of the greatest misunderstandings in the Christian community I believe is learning what God says for yourself. The world we live in today has countless resources from which to choose how you hear the Word of God. Whether it’s podcasts, video series, books, blogs or even attending a weekly church service, no one can say the information is not out there.

Yet for all the information we have at the tips of our fingers, there are more people ignorant of what God has for them than I believe ever has been. Have you ever gotten one of those “forward this” things in order to get God’s blessings? Or been coerced into giving to something because of the smoothness of a speaker’s convincing words? How can you tell what’s real and what’s not?

It takes a firm understanding of what God’s Word says. But not just what it says, but knowing for yourself what God is saying through those words. In the banking world, when they teach tellers how to spot counterfeit bills, they don’t show them any counterfeit money at all. Instead, they show them real bills and what to look for. Knowing the genuine and authentic bills means you will know a fake when you see one.

It’s the same thing with God’s Word. You have to learn the real unadulterated Word of God for yourself, so that when the counterfeits show up you will recognize them.

Ultimately this falls on you and me personally. I mean if someone is teaching the Word of God incorrectly, you need to be able to determine this for yourself. The great news is, we have the Holy Spirit inside of us and He will lead, guide and direct our steps, but we have to give Him something to work with. If you aren’t reading the Bible, (looking at the real thing) what does He have to work with.

In the next series of blogs, I’m going to talk about what God’s Word says. And don’t just believe me because I say I’m right, check out what I’m saying against the Word of God and the Holy Spirit on the inside of you, and see if He won’t take your someplace you’ve never been before.

For the Kingdom and the King! Shalom!