Living Outside My Default Settings

Why is it my mind automatically replays over and over offenses I have received? It’s almost as if I don’t even have to be thinking about the thing, it just pops into my mind and before I know it I’m reliving the whole event over and over again. Why does my mind do this? Am I the only one this happens to? If so, does this make me a freak? All valid questions, and ones I really want answered, because it is really difficult to walk as a Christian when these scenes from my life are on replay in my brain.

The Bible teaches we are to forgive those who sin against us, and if we do not, then our Father who is in Heaven will not forgive us our sins. (Matthew 6:12, 14-15) This is a huge deal because it is conditional. This means in order for God to forgive me, I must forgive others. Yeah, but how do I do this when my mind seems to be replaying the sins directed at me?

I love the phrase on the picture I chose for this blog, it says, “There are people who live their whole lives on the default settings, never realizing you can customize.” ~ Robert Brault. This brings hope to me, because it makes me believe there is more to life than just allowing things to happen to me and being forced to live with them. One of the things God has done for mankind is to give us the ability to choose how we are going to respond to things. Just because something bad happens to us, it doesn’t mean we have to allow this thing to change our perspective on life. We have been given the tools to choose how we are going to see any given situation; good or bad. It’s up to us how we respond when something happens to us, not the situation’s. And this is great news!

One thing I’ve learned in fifty-seven years walking this planet, it’s we live according to what we believe and the words we speak. It’s a spiritual principle which works for any human on this planet, saved or unsaved. If you believe something in your heart, and do not doubt, but believe the things you say will come to pass, you will have whatever you say (Mark 11:23-24). And interestingly enough, in verse 25 Jesus went on to say, “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Hmm, interesting, we’re back to forgiving people for sinning against us.

Even as I’m writing this, I’m beginning to see a pattern here. One way to keep these things from replaying themselves in our minds is to immediately forgive the person who sinned against us. And listen when you are forgiving the person, you’re not saying what they did to you wasn’t wrong, it may have been. What you are saying, is that you are releasing them from your mind and heart and refusing to hold their sin against them. We never forgive someone for their benefit, but for our own. Holding onto the offense is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill them.

Won’t you join me in this new year and begin the process of changing the default settings in your life and truly forgive all of those who have sinned against you. Forgive them, and let it go.

For the Kingdom and the King, Shaom!

Let’s Do Better

For the last fifty-seven years my birthday has been on New Year’s Eve, I suppose it will be for the next fifty-seven to now that I think about it. In all of those years, I’ve always been prompted with the idea of making the new year better than the last one. I think we’ve all done it, written down our hopes, dreams and aspirations only to fall back into the routines of life in just a few short weeks. Or at least I hope I’m not the only one this happens to.

Many people have complained, whined and cried about the year 2020, I truthfully have seen some pretty amazing things; haven’t missed a day of work, continued to see the blessings of God in my life and was introduced to the most beautiful baby girl which has earned me the title of Pop Pop. There have been some sad things as well; my dad passing away (not due to Covid), friend’s family members having died (due to Covid) and our family vacation being extremely too short. But with all of this, I guess 2020 wanted to get in one last kick.

So yesterday was the most miserable day I think I have ever had at work. Usually, I’m pretty upbeat and optimistic with whatever is going on, but yesterday I guess I was off of my game, and unwilling to listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings, which is funny, because the day before I did, and did well. Anyhow, yesterday just sucked. For those of you who know me, for me to even use the word “sucked”, it should be obvious how bad a day it was. For starters, I had to fix a situation at the very beginning of my shift (6 am) in order to keep the mill from losing production. And I had to do this, while trying to do the things I already have to do at the start of my shift, so I was behind.

Also with it being the end of the month and year the sales department decided to bombard us with an abundance of shipments going out. Funny how at the end of the month trucks magically appear to take these loads, but are hard pressed to be found during the actual month. And yes, before you say aren’t you being a little whiney? If this was a situation which only happens once in a while, I’d just accept it like a champ and move on, but when it occurs each and every month, there becomes a pattern which makes my life and the lives of the rest of the guys I work with more difficult.

As I ran to meet each and every need requiring my assistance I found myself around 5:00 pm thinking, “Hey, we might get home by 6:00 pm.” That’s about the time we were told we needed to get another load ready for the truck which had been overlooked. The truck arrived two hours earlier than that, and it would have been cool to get the load ready while it was daylight and not raining, but instead we had to tally the load in the dark, holding flashlights, clipboards, and umbrellas trying not to get the paperwork wet, not to mention ourselves. Now I don’t hold this against anyone, I really don’t. Accidents happen, and I’m a big enough man to forgive, especially when I make enough mistakes in my own life daily. I’ve only written about it so you can get a glimpse of yesterday from my perspective.

By the time we were loading the last three trucks for the day, the rain was coming in sheets, with a stiff north wind making the temperature about twenty-eight degrees. It was brutal. As part of my job, I have a vehicle to drive from place to place, but as luck would have it, it was broke down. I was driving another buggy, but one with only a windshield (thank God for that) but no doors, so I was parking it facing the wind to as minimize the amount of cold and wet I would get. Out of the blue, one of my coworkers starts yelling, I didn’t know he was aiming this barrage of words in my direction until he stormed closer to where I was sitting. It was at this point I realized he was mad at me for not loading the truck, or even offering to help. Should I have, probably, but with the day I was having I was just trying to make it until I could go home.

Now in hindsight, I did not handle the situation in the correct way. He shot off a bunch of cuss words at me, and I fired right back. To say I was mad is an understatement. Was this guy justified? In his mind he was. Was I justified in what I said back to him? In my mind, yes. Now a day later, reviewing this in my mind and applying God’s Word to it, obviously the Holy Spirit has been reminding me of the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:38-39 Amplified:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth [punishment that fits the offense].’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person [who insults you or violates your rights]; but whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other toward him also [simply ignore insignificant insults or trivial losses and do not bother to retaliate—maintain your dignity, your self-respect, your poise].”

Yeah, great words to live by, wish I would have done that yesterday. But this is what I am writing about with my blog today, “Let’s do better!” I’m going to work at driving the words of Jesus further and deeper into my heart, by not only giving them mind space, but actually living them out in the real world. It obviously doesn’t happen just because I read it, I must put it into practice. Like Jesus said in James 1:22:

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”

I will be making my part in the way 2020 ended right with my coworker, because regardless of how right I may have felt I was justified in my behavior, I was wrong and need to make it right. How about joining me this year? Let’s do better, and see God work in our lives in a larger way in 2021. For the Kingdom and the King, Shalom and welcome to the new world!


Holy Two Face Batman!

I’m sure if someone didn’t know me personally, but made decisions about what manner of man I am from my social media postings and blogs, then who I am and who you think I am would be painted with two different brushes. While the truth is, who you see before you in this blog and on all of my social media posts is one and the same guy, obviously if you were to sit down with me over a cup of coffee and we discussed the very same things I write and post about, you would probably think I was not the same man who wrote them. Mainly because of the difference between reading what someone says, and actually listening and having a conversation with that person.

As a matter of fact, this very subject came up over a lunch conversation with my bride and a friend today. People are constantly getting upset with things people post online, and usually what the upset person gets aggravated with isn’t even what the author intended. Without being able to hear the inflection in a person’s voice, or see the intent within their eyes, it is hard to actually understand what they are saying.

It’s like why punctuation is so important when you’re writing something for people to read. For example if I write, “Let’s eat grandma.” versus, “Let’s eat, grandma.” even though I use the very same words, without putting that little comma behind the word eat, it turns my words into a heinous act. Hearing how someone says something is like putting the comma in your sentence; it helps to get your point across.

One thing I’ve seen so much of over the past few months is how many people are giving us all a piece of their minds. And while I am all for talking about what you believe, I have to ask myself is this really worth the effort I am going to put in before I post it? Does this mean I get it right every time? No, absolutely not, but this shouldn’t keep me from sharing my thoughts and ideas. Instead, if I end up posting something I should have taken a little more time seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit about instead of plowing ahead, I need to own it and make it right to anyone I’ve offended.

Now this brings up a whole other thing, in today’s society, we have people who get offended at every little thing out there. And as a fifty-six year old man who gets up each and every day and spends my entire day outside doing things I don’t really want to do in order to feed and provide for my family, I don’t have a lot of patience for anyone who gets their feelings hurt and needs a special room for coloring and petting puppies to help them feel better about themselves. (Too much, too harsh?)

Jesus told us in Matthew 5:37, “Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.” So understand when I write, post or say something, it will always be the same. Now you may not like what I have to say, and you know that’s okay. Nobody ever said life was about getting everyone to agree with you. But one thing you will find out about me is these things I believe, I believe because of what I’ve found in the Scriptures. I have a basis for what I talk about, and I would hope you do as well. Again, this is not to say I’ve never made mistakes before, but I do always own them, as I would hope you do as well.

To wrap this blog up, I hope you understand everything I say will come from the place of letting my yes be yes and my no be no. No wishy-washiness here, no just repeating what other people say without owning it. I’m going to own each and every word or picture I share, you can believe this, and if it turns out I offend you, then don’t hesitate to tell me. Because I can’t make it right if I don’t know I offended you.

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

In Matthew 24:12 Jesus while talking about the signs of the end times before His return makes this statement, “Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.” Well I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but it would appear love is in short supply these days. People just don’t care about their fellow humans as much as they used to.

Social media, which was touted as bringing the world closer together, has in fact driven us all further apart I’m afraid. Something which could in fact impact the Earth in such a spectacular way, has instead become perverted and become a tool used to drive wedges between people. I for one was excited about the internet when it first became popular, and for a time I found a community of believers who understood me and where I was coming from. It was a joy.

I still have a presence in cyberspace, and for the most part I play nice while visiting, but much to the chagrin of my wife, from time to time I have been known to get on my soapbox and share my opinions with the world. One thing I have learned is to not take myself too seriously, and for sure not take the things said to me personally. I feel if you are going to put yourself out there, you have to have thick skin and be able to roll with the punches.

One thing I have noticed however which concerns me greatly is the lack of respect for people which seems to be growing in the world today. This “love of many growing cold” as Jesus said. In one interaction on Facebook a young lady and I were talking about the topic at hand when she posted, “Okay, boomer.” When I read it, I had to look up the definition of what these two words meant so I could understand what she was actually saying to me. Here’s what I found: The phrase “OK Boomer” is a pejorative retort used to dismiss or mock the attitudes of older people, particularly baby boomers.

I try to not be out of touch, or just set in my ways for the sake of being stubborn, but I also think I have a little bit of knowledge just for the sake of having traveled around our sun 56 times. I’m not the smartest fella, but one thing I learned growing up was to respect those men and women who were older than me, not dismiss them out of hand because their ideas weren’t the same as mine. And believe me I thought a lot of older people’s ideas weren’t altogether great when I was younger too.

I get wanting to affect change in society, to want to make the planet better for the next generation. I think anyone who just wants to take and not give something back should be challenged. But the way to challenge the status quo is to talk it out, listening on both sides and coming to a conclusion of what will make things better. Throwing temper tantrums, dismissing out of hand any idea which is different than yours and then just generally disrespecting anyone because of your ideals is just not right. Those who do this need to check the love in their hearts, both young and old.

I know I don’t have all the answers, truthfully no one does. And I commend this younger generation who is trying to make changes to leave the world better than they found it. All I would ask is in the process, see what those who came before you did, and learn the history they lived through. My fear is society will just dismiss out of hand the things we’ve endured in the past, and in so doing will force my grandchildren to live through some of those horrible things because they didn’t learn the lessons.

For the Kingdom and the King, shaom.

God, What Do You Think?

In Matthew 6:33 Jesus says, “But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.” Honestly, this is something I struggle with. What I mean is, most of the time, and for most of my Christian walk, I have gone to God when things get tough, or I find myself in a bind. Rarely do I manage to go to Him first before making the decision to do something.

It’s humbling to actually admit this, mainly because I’ve been a Christian for 30 plus years now. Truthfully, it’s kind of embarrassing really, I mean asking God for direction is like Christianity 101, it’s one of the basic tenets of faith. But if I’ve learned anything in my time here, it’s we can overlook the closest things which are right in front of us if we are not careful.

So what does asking God for direction look like? Are you like me, and sometimes the things in the Bible kind of go over your head? You read something, or hear it taught and instead of it sinking right in, it just sort of flies right past you? Jesus said we were to strive and aim after the God’s way of doing things and being right, but what does this actually mean? Where can we find what that really looks like?

I know for me, I’m more of a visual learner; for instance, if we are going to play a new game, I need someone to show me how. I can read the instructions all day long, but I will still be unable to play it right. I need someone who can understand from reading to show me. Sometimes reading the Bible alone doesn’t help me to understand how to implement the things in it, like reading the instructions for a new game. I need to see some practical application of the principles.

The definition of the word seek is,

  1. attempt to find (something).
  2. attempt or desire to obtain or achieve (something).
  3. ask for (something) from someone.

When Jesus tells us to seek Him, He was saying we should attempt to find, desire to obtain or achieve or ask for something from God. He goes on to say in Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened.”

This is not a one time thing. Ask and keep asking, seek and keep seeking, knock and keep knocking. What is He saying here? It seems to me perhaps God is wanting to see if we are serious or not. It is pretty evident here Jesus is telling us we will get our answers, but not on the first try. Have you ever had a child want something from you? They come to you and ask for whatever, and do you stop what you’re doing and run out to get it for them? No. If so, you are spoiling them, stop that. Ha!

I know in my own life, my kids asked me for things, and sometimes I waited to see if they were serious about what they were asking for, or if it was just a whim on their part. If they kept asking about it, then I would work to see about getting it for them. Yes, I did spoil my kids at times, bringing home gifts and toys for them, just because I wanted to see them smile. Writing this, I think God is showing me this is what He likes to do too, but sometimes He is waiting and watching to see if I’m really serious about what I’m asking, when I’m actually asking.

This may or may not help anyone but me, but this is okay, because I have found a flaw in who I am as a Christian, and realizing you have a problem is the first step in solving the problem. For me, this means a more dedicated time of seeking God daily. Not just reading my Bible and checking it off the list, or praying for the protection of my family daily. But closing my office door, and spending a little extra time each morning talking to God, including Him in my day more. After all, the truth of the matter is, God doesn’t really care as much about what I do every day as He does spending time with me. And if the God who created the whole universe and everything in it wants to spend time with me, shouldn’t I be a little bit excited to spend time with Him?

Yeah, like I said earlier, it’s a little bit embarrassing, but sometimes it takes being embarrass to get you to move, and so today I make the decision to move towards God and begin asking Him what He thinks about my day and what I should be doing. I’ll let you know how it goes.

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

God Doesn’t Need Your $$$

I’ve been writing for a long time now, and a while back I renamed my blog “Stuff My Father Says”. There has obviously been a lot of my opinions in the things I’ve written about, but ultimately those thoughts of mine are rooted and grounded in the Word of God. Often when I write, it’s because of a desire to help others learn the things I have. A few times it’s just because I want to see if I can get a rise out of people. I’ve been somewhat successful on both counts. Today is one of those days I want to see if I can get a rise out of you, while helping at the same time.

This time in history is a weird one to be sure. Never in my fifty-six years have I ever seen anything like it. I find myself at this time in my life experiencing what the writer David said in Psalm 37:25, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” In this time of pandemic craziness, (who knew toilet paper hoarding would ever be a thing?) I can honestly say my bride and I have seen the blessings of God to such a degree it almost seems as if nothing has changed in our lives.

To God be the glory and praise for this, it’s not because Cheryl and I are such financial wizards, actually quite the opposite is true. But thanks to God and His Word of truth in the area of finances and giving. I can honestly say our giving has gone up during this time and not down. Actually last night at drive in church, we were in a race to see who could give towards the Dream Center faster. She won, but ultimately we both did.

When you talk about tithing and giving, it can become a polarizing topic for many. Fewer things can get people worked up faster than talking about asking them to give their hard earned cash to the church. Yet, it is a command of God, and actually the only way for you to enter into His financial plan for your life. Like it or not, it’s the truth. You can believe it or not, the choice is yours, and God will not love you any less if you never give a penny in the offering plate. But I honestly believe (because I’ve lived it) if you give with a willing heart, God will bless you more than you could ever know.

Many people will tell you that tithing is a rule from the law of Moses and with the sacrifice of Jesus we have been redeemed from the law. However this is a thought which is in error in my honest opinion, because tithing was from the very beginning and way before Moses ever received the law from God. Before we get into that however, let’s get on the same page about what tithing actually is and means.

My good friend Pastor David Emigh taught the tithe is three things; it’s 10%, it’s the first fruits and it’s holy. 10% is easy, if you have $100, you give $10. It is ten percent of all the money you get. It’s the first fruits, which simply meant, it is the first thing you give. I don’t pay my bills or put gas into my tank until I’ve given my tithes to my local church. And today, with online giving, and texting to give, it’s never been easier. On the morning my paycheck is deposited into my bank account, I get online and take care of all my tithing and giving before I do anything else. It is also holy, which just means it is not for secular use. Like I use to tell the kids when I taught children’s church, the tithe is not for buying candy bars and sodas, it belongs to God.

Now that we talked about what the tithe is, let’s look at some places in the Bible where tithing are talked about but not in the law. First let’s go to Genesis 2:16-17 “But the Lord God warned Adam, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a type of the tithe.

But wait, there’s more, look at Genesis 14:18-20 “And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine. Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered.”

Great Dave, but those are Old Testament passages, did Jesus say anything about tithing? Well I’m glad you asked, look at Luke 11:42, “What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.” Also this is found in Matthew 23:23, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.”

But if God doesn’t need my money, then why do I need to tithe and give? Two reasons; first, it is a command and we are told to do this, and second, because it is the way God chooses to bless His children. It also is a barometer for your heart, in other words it will reveal where your heart is with God. Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Ultimately I cannot nor would I tell you what you need to do with your life. I can encourage you with the things my Father says, but ultimately you have to decide for yourself. But one thing I can say, as a Christian for over 30 years now, I have seen God come through for Cheryl and me on so many different things where it concerns our giving and financial life, you will never be able to tell me God doesn’t want us to get into His financial plan by giving. We’ve tried out giving God, but He constantly is blessing us more than we can ever hope or think.

One last thought, in the book of Malachi, God says, “Test me in this (the tithe) and see if I will not open the windows of Heaven and pour you our a blessing you will not be able to contain.” Malachi 3:10. What do you have to lose? He is basically placing a stick on His shoulder and saying, “I dare you to knock it off.” Give it a shot, I can honestly say if you give your tithe to the local church you are attending, then God will open the windows and pour you out a blessing just like He said he would. Go ahead, try it, you’ll be glad you did!

For the Kingdom and the King, Shalom!

Destined To Win, Choosing To Fail

I’m amazed during this pandemic, quarantined time in history how many people are choosing to live in fear instead of trusting the Word of God and all of His promises. I’ve been binge watching the show Designated Survivor, (spoiler ahead) and in it the deputy director of the FBI is forced to decide between duty and family. In season 1, episode 13, after having chosen his family over duty and still losing his son, he says, “Twenty plus years on the job, and all it took was for her to show me that she had my son. And all of my training just goes out the window.” When I saw this scene I couldn’t help but think about what’s going on now with the Covid-19 hysteria.

I have watched, as I’m sure you have, all the hype and endless news reporting about how this particular strain of the flu is going to be the end of civilization as we know it. It’s crazy out there, but I’m not writing today to discuss the pros and cons of how the media and leaders have handled this crisis. I want to bring it home as I always do, into your backyard and discuss how you and I are dealing with this crazy time. After all, we are not going to be judged by what the media did, or even what our leaders did, we are going to be judged by our own actions.

Let me just put this out there for everyone to see. One of the craziest things I have noticed in the past couple of months is the reactions of Christians. As a born again believer myself, I think we should be living the way Jesus told us. I mean after all, wasn’t it Jesus who told us we would have trouble in this life (John 16:3)? If this is the case, why do so many Christians act as if they are doomed now? Why is it that many of the Christians I see are touting medical data more than the data which can really help us, the Bible?

You’ve seen them in check out lines with baskets full of toilet paper and other supposed necessities they are afraid will run out, wearing masks and latex gloves. The people with “Jesus is the Answer” bumper stickers on their cars, the ones with the Hope of humanity living in their hearts, but you couldn’t tell it because they are acting just like the rest of the world. Jesus admonished us in Romans 12:2 “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

As a Christian, we should be the light of hope in this crazy time. We are the ones who have the answers, not the medical community. And don’t get me wrong I appreciate all the medical community does, but science isn’t the answer, Jesus is. I’m reminded of the woman in the Bible who is referred to as the woman with the issue of blood. I can’t wait to meet her and find out her name, I’m sure every time someone says, “The woman with the issue of blood.” she probably wants to scream, “My name is Abigail!” Okay, I digress, back to what I was saying, she went to the doctors and all she did was spend all her money, but never got better. It wasn’t until she touched the hem of Jesus’s garment that she was healed of her disease. As a Christian, when I meet someone who is freaking out about this flu, I need to be a calming agent of change for them, not someone who jumps on the bandwagon calling for the end of the world as we know it.

If we are Christians, which means followers of Christ, we should be believing God’s Word in and out of the storms of life. God’s Word works, in the good times and the bad, but if you watch some Christians, you would think it only works when times are good. This sends a mixed message to the world, who my friends do not have the answer, they need the answer. And Jesus is the answer, and we are called to bring the answer to a world in stress.

Ask yourself, why do you believe God’s Word? Is it because you’ve seen Him answer and perform His Word time and again, or are you just parroting what you’ve heard the preacher say? Remember the sons of Sceva in the Bible (Acts 19:11-20). These seven brothers tried to cast a demon out of a man saying, “In the Name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches…” and the demon responded by saying, “Paul I know, and Jesus I know, but who are you?” Then proceeded to strip those seven men and send them streaking down the road. In order to have and use any authority given to you by Jesus, you have to know Him personally.

If this time has shown us anything, it has weeded out those part time Christians who went to church because it was the thing to do, and not because of their personal relationship with Jesus. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not blasting anyone who is struggling, this thing is real and needs to be addressed, but we’ve got to do it as true, born again Christians who bring the light of the Gospel to a hurting and scared world, not by adding to the fear by acting as if the Word of God cannot handle things.

It is time to start to act on what you believe. If you believe the Bible, then get it into your heart, quote it and share it with all of those around you. You can watch the news, but counter all the negative stuff with the positive things you find in the Bible. Oh, here’s a thought, stop just listening to your Pastor and start reading the Bible for yourself. My friend Pastor David Emigh used to say, (and I’m paraphrasing here) “It’s the amount of thought and study you put into the Word of God which will bring the amount of virtue and power in your life.”

Folks, it all comes down to this, it is up to each and every one of us to live in victory in our lives. God has done all He is going to do for us to achieve this victory, but it ultimately falls to us whether or not we have it. The work is done on God’s part, now it’s up to you. And it doesn’t happen just because you say a prayer and ask Jesus into your heart. That’s the first step, but there are thousands of more steps after that first one on the path towards victory. You can do this, just get into God’s Word, don’t wait, now is the time!

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

Who Do I Look Like?

Every day I look into the mirror, and what do I see? Well first off a very handsome galoot, who only gets better looking with age. Ha! No, every day as I gaze into the mirror to make sure my hair is in place and there are no major anomalies with my face, I also see the man no one else does; the inside man, the part of me which God sees, my heart. This is what God looks at and is most impressed with. I’m reminded in the Bible where David the shepherd boy is called a man after God’s own heart. Oh to hear those words spoken over me by my Heavenly Father.

One thing I’ve thought for several years now, but haven’t really addressed is the current state of the body of Christ as we know it. For years it seemed the church (and me included) was so legalistic. Follow the rules, do what’s right, never let anyone see you have any flaws or mistakes. In other words, be perfect, because Jesus is perfect. Out of this grew the resurgence of the message of grace, and we left the one ditch and ended up in another.

Now everything is okay, we don’t call sin sin anymore for fear of offending someone. It’s as if we’re afraid to speak up because it might hurt someone’s feelings. It’s as if we didn’t learn anything from Jesus, I mean He addressed the sin in people’s lives, but did so in a way they didn’t feel condemned or worthless. He went around helping those who needed the help without becoming like them.

The church I feel has in effect become the world we live in, instead of being different. Truthfully when you watch a lot of ministers lately, can you really tell any difference between them and any one of thousands of motivational speakers out there today? It seems we are quick to try and be relevant to this generation; adopting their style, speech, and mannerisms yet in the process failing to speak the truth of God’s Word for fear the people we’re speaking to might leave to go somewhere else.

Not to dismiss the Covid-19 pandemic and a world in fear, but I have begun to wonder about the people who call themselves born again believers. I’ve heard a lot of them say things which prove they are in just as much fear as the rest of the world. Jesus said in John 16:33, “In this world you will have problems, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” It should not catch any believer off guard when things like this happen, Jesus told us it would.

Matthew 24:3-14 says,

Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world? ” Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come. “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.

This doesn’t mean things are bad at all, it means we are closer to the return of Jesus than ever before! These are exciting times we live in. I heard a testimony last night from the director of the Tulsa Dream Center, an organization which, has been feeding thousands of people who have been laid off and are in need. He said at the start of the week, their food supplies were gone. Friday was coming and they had no food left to help. Then they got a phone call from company after company wanting to help by donating food. And yesterday when the time came they were able to help feed over 10,000 people. Talk about loaves and fishes.

I believe what Covid-19 has done for many believers is start to shake them awake. They are starting to open their eyes and look into the mirror to see just exactly who is looking back at them. It’s like the I Love Lucy episode with Harpo Marx, click here to watch it. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, but maybe we’re just a cheap imitation, mimicking Him to fool the masses, but really missing the point about being Jesus to those around us? Are we the real deal or just a copy cat trying to live our best life instead of bringing the best life to those around us?

For the Kingdom and the King, Shalom!

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!