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!

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!

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!

The Little Foxes

In the book of Songs 2:15 NLT Solomon says, “Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!” I find it very interesting this is in the book about love and marriage. One thing I’ve learned in almost 30 years of marriage, is it’s not the big things that try to make a shambles of my relationship with my bride, it’s the stupid little things. Just like water dripping on a rock constantly doesn’t appear to be doing anything, but over time it will wear away at the rock until it is destroyed. This one thing would change the course of marriages around the world.

Stop allowing the little things to mess up the relationship you have with your spouse. You know what I’m talking about too, those little irritants which eventually become big things which cause the death of marriages. The pet peeves, which to other people are nothing, but to you cause aggravation. I’ll give you an example from my own life. For some reason my bride never puts her seatbelt on until we’re driving down the road. I mean, how hard is it to buckle up before putting the car into gear? But even though it bugs me that she does this, I’ve learned to just put it out of my mind, looking at it as one of those little idiosyncrasies which make me love her all the more. It’s a matter of perspective, much like everything else in life.

Now looking at this Scripture and using the law of opposites we can see if little things can destroy your marriage, then it’s possible that doing little things can also make your marriage better. For instance, I don’t wait for my bride to say something about taking out the trash, I make sure it is done before she has too. I look for little things I can do to help to make her life a little bit better. I’m amazed at how many men gripe and complain about their wives. Getting all indignant when they’ve been asked to empty the dishwasher or do a load of wash. Really? Is it more important to make this a big thing when in actuality it is just a tiny thing which can help you in the long run? After all we all know if momma ain’t happy, then nobody is happy. Right?

Let me write this where the fellas can understand it just a little bit better. If you want to have sex with your wife, then doing little things to make your marriage better will help with this. What woman  wants to have sex with a guy who gripes about having to do things around the house? Doing things for your bride pays dividends unlike anything else out there in the world. And ladies sex motivates guys, it’s the truth regardless of what you think. Maybe you could use this to your advantage, and I don’t mean as a tool to get what you want, but if your husband is making an effort, then do a little something’ somethin’ for him, you’ll be amazed.

Let’s start doing little things to make our marriages better, and stop doing the things which hinder it. After all, most of those little things are really stupid and we shouldn’t give them any attention any way, right?

Living out God’s Word in everyday life!

 

Life May Not Be Fair, But It Can Be Good

“It’s just not fair!” the boy cried, “Why is this so hard?”
The father stood there in silent anguish wishing he could remove the pain he heard between the sobs. However, he knew the truth and knew no words he could convey to his child would help.

“I do what’s right and good father, and what do I get for it? Nothing!” Balling up his fists, the young man began pounding the pillow under his head. “They’re all out to get me! That’s what this is, they want me to fail!”

Laying his hand gently on the boy’s head, tears forming at the corner of his eyes, he said a silent prayer willing some of his own strength towards his upset child. Tensing up at the touch, he flopped over onto his back and pulling his head away from the hand screamed, “Aren’t you going to say anything? Aren’t you going to do anything? Why are you taking their side? Why do you hate me?”

With compassion in his eyes, the father said, “Son I love you more than anything. I have given everything for you. One day I hope you realize how much I sacrificed in order for you to have the life I want you to have.”

“Whatever! Get out, just leave me alone!”

Looking over his shoulder as he left the boy’s room he said, “Son, I do love you.”
How many times have you been the young boy in this story? Have you ever screamed at God about life not being fair? The truth of the matter is this; life isn’t fair, and it never has been. Since the Garden of Eden and the fall of man, life on this planet has been hard . Yet for some odd reason, Christians feel they are entitled to an easy life once they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. And nothing could be further from the truth.

In John 16:33, Jesus said, “In this life you will have trouble, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Jesus said this to his disciples, not to the sinners of the world. If he tells us we’re going to have trouble, then why do we act so surprised when it shows up? Could it be because in our efforts to add numbers to our churches we fail to tell them the whole truth? Are we guilty of painting this rosy picture of life as a Christian and in the process set up people for failure?

Being a Christian doesn’t mean living a carefree, easy existence. It means bringing the light of the Gospel to people in dark places. People are watching us; they face the same challenges we do, and notice when we overcome them. I’ve been asked numerous times, “How did you do it when things got hard?” And my answer is always the same, through the Word of God. The Bible is the solid foundation upon which I stand. This doesn’t mean I always understand how, but I don’t really have to understand how God works, just that He does.

Having a good working knowledge of God’s Word will help lead, guide and direct you when life gets difficult. It’s like having a bank account; if you want to use your debit card to buy things, then you have to have made some deposits into your account. You wouldn’t whine and complain to the bank about not being able to buy things, if you had never made a deposit at the bank. Then why do you complain to God about how tough things are when you never put anything into your “spiritual” account?

Listen, life is going to be tough, get used to this fact. But no matter how tough it gets, you can overcome everything life throws at you with the Word of God. But you will have to make an investment by reading your Bible every day and doing what you read in it. With the Word of God firmly rooted in your heart, you will be able to face the challenges of life and overcome whatever it throws at you.

I Should’ve Worn My Steel Toe Boots Today

One of the things I love about God’s Word, is how it will let you know when you’ve missed the mark. As I sat listening to my Pastor teaching about the many fruits of the Holy Spirit, it occurred to me how much I was not walking in them. Ouch! God spent most of the morning stepping all over my toes; reminding me of all the times I had missed it with my boss last week.

Now one of the really cool things about God is even when He’s showing you where you’ve missed it, He does so in a way that reveals His desire for you to reach your full potential. He doesn’t do it in a way which makes you feel bad about yourself, but challenges you to do better.

As my pastor listed the nine fruits of the Spirit, it dawned on me I had missed using the first one…badly. Love is the first fruit and honestly if you get this one right, the other eight pretty much fall into place.

What does it actually mean to love however? I know a lot of people think of the mushy, hearts and roses, I love you stuff we are inundated with at Valentine’s Day when this word is used, but really this is more of a by product of love, and not actually love itself.

Scripture gives us the answer in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. It says;

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love never fails.”

First off, in order to be sure I am walking in love, I have to ask myself a few questions; am I being patient and kind? Do I get jealous? Am I boastful, proud or rude? Do I demand my own way, am I irritable? Do I keep a list of who’s done me wrong and go over it again and again? Do I rejoice at injustice, or when truth wins out? Do I give up and lose faith? Am I always hopeful, and endure (without complaining) through every circumstance? Do I fail?

Honestly, I cannot answer these questions in a positive way right now, therefore it is evident I have not been walking in love. It’s a sad reality to face, especially at 53; you’d think I’d have this one figured out by now. The good news is though, I can make changes today and begin learning how to walk in love, changing the trajectory my life has been on. It won’t be too long until I won’t need my steel toe boots in church any more…

Living for Jesus and taking Him at His Word daily…