Monday, August 25, 2014


A ripple effect happens when something or someone takes the place of God in our lives.  Our lives get out of line.  It’s like getting the top button on a shirt wrong.  You get that one wrong and then all the others are off.  But if you get the top button right all the others line up.  Call it alignment.  When God is not in His rightful place in our lives, then the rest of the buttons in our lives are not aligned.  Jesus put it this way, “Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well” (Matt. 6:33 NCV). 

When anything takes the place of God in our lives – a venture, a career, ambition, a relationship, our plans – a ripple effect occurs.  When our venture and plans are up we’re up, but when they’re down we’re down.  And in that roller coaster ride a clue can be found about one’s identity.  A person’s entire identity may be founded on that venture or career or relationship.  That’s one of the problems with idolizing.  It leaves a person emotionally spent and insecure. 

The challenge is to die to self.  Here’s an idea to help us keep God first in our lives:  Periodically pause and close our eyes and reflect on the moment of our salvation.  Think about where you were, the prayer you prayed, and how God has changed you.  Then walk through some Bible verses in your mind reminding yourself of who you are in Christ.  You are not who others think you are; you’re who God says you are.  You are His child.  You are loved, secure, and accepted through Christ.  You have God’s Spirit living within you.  You’re a conqueror through whatever you go through because of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross which has provided for your forgiveness and new life which lasts forever.  You are called, set apart, and chosen.  You really can do everything He calls you to do. 

Make this little routine a habit and it will have a huge effect on how you see everything and how you live.  A consistent life of prayer helps us keep our eyes on Christ and off of the approval of people.  And that helps us get the top button right.

Monday, August 18, 2014


To be true to God means to be sincere with our motives and actions.  Integrity means you’re the same person in your private life and you are in your public life.  You’re the same person when you’re alone as you are when you’re at church.  What you have committed to the Lord in your heart you commit to with your actions and words.

Why would you or I not be a person of integrity?  Because of fear in our hearts, and we let it influence our motives and actions.  And so you say one thing and then do another.  And you’re not true to those around you, or to yourself, or to God until you deal with the fear in your heart.

Fear is the root cause of many things:  anger, depression, control issues, worry.  We’re afraid of rejection, abandonment, not being loved, what others think about us, tomorrow, financial loss, not having enough for retirement, of not being accepted, and the list goes on.

And then what do we do?  First we hide.  We wear masks.  We put on a front.  We don’t let others know who we really are.  And who you are when you’re alone doesn’t match who you are when you’re around other people.

Second we look for ways to get love.  We have trouble loving ourselves and loving others and loving God.  Without knowing it you’re trying to heal a “father/child” wound deep down in the center of your being. 

What you really need is the Heavenly Father’s love to heal your heart.  God tells us in His Word that His love “expels all fear” from our hearts.  What happens is that the fear in our hearts can manipulate us and control our motives and actions.

God’s Word gives us the truth:
For the Spirit that God has given you does not make you slaves and cause you to be afraid; instead, the Spirit makes you God's children, and by the Spirit's power we cry out to God, “Father! my Father!” Romans 8:15 (GNT)

There is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God, Romans 8:39 (GNT)

Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. 1 John 3:1 (HCSB)

Here’s what we can do based on God’s truth:
·         Cry out to God as your Father Who loves you perfectly, more so than your earthly father.
·         Choose to thank God that nothing will ever be able to separate you from His love.
·         Think long and deep about God’s great love for you.
·         Practice “resting” in God’s love.  Begin the day, spend the day, and end the day resting in God’s love for you.  Just say, “Father I choose to rest in your great love for me.”

Let God love you and transform your life such that you’re the same person inside and out.

We’ve got to give up trying to fix ourselves, control our own lives, and medicate our pain, so we can give up the ownership of our lives to God.  And when we do, we will live lives of integrity in His love.

Monday, August 11, 2014


You know the difference between whole-hearted commitment and half-hearted commitment.  You see the difference on the football field, in the classroom, at your workplace, in your family, and we know the difference in our personal lives.  We can even be whole-hearted or half-hearted in our commitment to God and His instructions.  Some have a tendency to try to slide by in life, and with God.  But when we are only half-hearted in our commitment to God we lose lasting motivation, focus, purpose, a sense of God’s presence, and we can lose our way.  That’s why it’s so important to be all in for God.

In 2 Chronicles 16:9 we’re told The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him (NLT).  God will strengthen your heart when you’re totally committed to Him.

The word “strengthen” in this verse has several meanings.  It means “to prevail.”  Is there something in your life – maybe a bad habit or pattern or attitude or a worry that you want to prevail over, to conquer?  God will make it happen as you commit to be all in for Him.

The word “strengthen” means “to be courageous.”  Do you need courage – to obey what God says, or to say what you need to say in a particular relationship, or press forward even though it’s tough?  God will give you the courage if you decide to be fully committed to Him.

The word “strengthen” means “to be resolute.”  Do you need greater resolve to stick with that diet or exercise regimen or reading discipline?  God will increase your resoluteness as you step up your commitment to Him and His Word.

The word “strengthen” means “to be secure.”  Do you feel insecure about your future, your job, that relationship?  Are you living with worries and fears?  God will replace your insecurity and fear with His internal fortitude and reassurance when you choose to be whole-heartedly committed to Him.

God will give you these things.  He will work them into your heart and mind – if you’ll give your heart fully to Him.

Monday, August 4, 2014


God wants to take ordinary lives and make them extraordinary.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”  Yet, many people live dull, mundane and stressful lives.  They have no sense of lasting motivation or joy or enthusiasm.

God never intended for us to live depressed, worried, fearful, powerless, and mundane lives.  God wants to take your ordinary way of living life and transform it into a life that is extraordinary.  You were made for more than you think.  Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think (Eph. 3:20 NLT).

When does life become exciting and worth facing each day, even when we go through the day-to-day routine and troubles? 

When we:

·         Make what matters in Heaven matter most.
Peter and John were teaching about the resurrection of those who placed their belief in Jesus, because Jesus Himself had risen from the dead and so would all His followers one day.  They really believed what they were telling others.

When we surrender the control of our lives to the Christ, He then is able to work in us and through us, such that we do extraordinary things for the sake of Christ.

·         Live saved.
“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 NLT).  Find your salvation in Christ.  This is not just eternal salvation but daily salvation from the destructive patterns and habits of sin.  Do not let the grace that you received from God be for nothing. 2 Cor. 6:1

·         Live with Jesus.
So how do we “live with Jesus?”  We live with Him spiritually.  We don’t live with Him physically yet.  One day we will. But for now we live with Him spiritually.  The point is that we must give a lot of attention to the spiritual dimension of our lives.  That’s where we talk and walk with Jesus. 

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).  God wants to take your ordinary way of living life and transform it into a life that is extraordinary.