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Thankfulness Is A Choice

Is it possible to always be thankful? I think it is because the Bible commands us to. So how do we do it? How do we cultivate a thankful heart and attitude despite what’s going on? I don’t know. But I want to find out. I do know one thing though… thankfulness isn’t dependent on circumstances or things going our way. At least that’s true for me. For example, I’m a goal oriented person. I enjoy starting new projects, getting things done and taking steps towards my goals. I guess you could call me Type-A. And I realized there’s a danger to constantly living this way if I’m not careful to pause to be thankful. The danger is that I could always be living in the future and never take time to enjoy the present. This hit me hard this morning, let me explain… We have three kids, ages 3, 1 and 2 months. Needless to say we don’t usually get a full uninterrupted night’s sleep. But last night was harder than normal. Our Lily (1-year-old) is teething has a rash. So she woke up multiple times. And our 3-year-old, Emma Grace, loves life so much she bolts out of bed as soon as she can… which is usually before 7:00 am. So anyway, after a rough night I get up and immediately I’m in a grumpy mood. The thoughts going through my head include: I have to talk to Lacie about our whole “traveling in a motorhome idea” and let her know it’s not going to work if it’s going to be like this… I need rest to work....

What Do You Believe About Your Nature?

The “sin nature” is a subject that is taught, preached and studied extensively in the church today. Conversely there isn’t much focus on what it means to be a “new creation” in Christ.Think about it for a moment. How often do you hear the sin/human nature mentioned in a sermon compared to the “inward man” or the “new creation”? If you’re like most Christians you’ve been taught about the sinful, fallen and corrupt nature of man far more than you have about being a new creation. It’s as if what Adam and Eve did was more important (or powerful) than what Christ did. And it’s a tragedy. When we neglect to teach Christians the truth about what it means to be a new creation we do a terrible disservice. We end up with Christians and churches who are completely ignorant of the abundant spiritual life available and who continue to strive against sin. Plus, it makes having a real relationship with God almost impossible. Here’s why… Forgetting What Manner Of Man You Are If you believe you’re just a sinner who must continue to battle your sinful/human nature then your life will be marked by struggle, defeat and despair. And you’ll become introspective with sin consciousness plaguing your mind. But if you’re taught, and believe, that when you were born again you received a new nature (God’s nature) and sin no longer has control over you then a whole new life opens up to you. A life of full of freedom, power and love. A spiritual life governed by your recreated spirit. Your spirit that’s in communion with God’s Spirit. This is the life...

What if Joshua Accepted His Circumstances or Was a DIY Type?

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com I was reading Joshua this morning and something really stood out to me. It was the truth that it’s God who prospers us and the truth that we play a significant role in this. I saw a beautiful example of God and man co-laboring together to accomplish His purposes in the earth. God speaks to Joshua in chapter 1 verse 3, Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. Did you see God’s part and man’s part right? God who said He would give the land to Joshua but Joshua still had to tread upon the enemy. And then I noticed it again in verse 8, This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. The key to Joshua’s prosperity was found in meditating in the Word and then acting upon what he learned. God then said Joshua would make his way prosperous and that he would have good success. Then in verse 9 God tells him not to be afraid because He would be with him wherever he went. So again we see man’s part (meditating and obeying the Word) and God’s part (His presence going with him). I think this is important because it’s tempting to fall in one of two ditches along the path. One side says that anything that...

Help Us Be Better Stewards or Give Us More?

Many times I’ve prayed and asked God for more. More love, more power, more of His presence, more, more, more…But tonight I was reminded of a simple truth as I was reading a book by Neil Anderson. Anderson talked about being good stewards of what God has already revealed to us. He was talking about counseling someone and walking them through the Steps to Freedom but what he said sparked a whole stream of ideas in me. It got me thinking about every area of my life and I began asking myself, am I stewarding that well? It could be ministry, relationships, money, clients, my marriage, revelations, health and even the gospel. It’s easy to give attention to the big things in our lives but I believe God wants us to pay especially close attention to the small things. If you were the pastor of a 10,000 member church you would probably make sure you prepared to preach on Sunday. But what if God has you share something with just one person? Would you, or would I for that matter, devote the same time and energy into that one person? I would like to say yes but to be honest I don’t think I would. And I have to ask myself, why? What’s so important about the size of the audience? If I’m really doing all things unto the Lord then numbers should not even register on my radar. But they do. So how do I get from point A to point B? How do I invest just as much time and energy into the one as I would...

Are You a Possessor or a Searcher of the Truth?

This last week I heard an author, Dan Milam, speak and something clicked. Dan shared about the time he was imprisoned in Mozambique for 300 days back in 1975. He said he went from being a “possessor of the truth” to a “searcher of the truth”. I know the term “searcher of the truth” can sound like someone is flaky about convictions and beliefs but I do not believe that’s what Dan was talking about. He said after he spent four years at Bible College he felt like he was God’s gift to the church and he prided himself on being able to win any theological argument. This is when he was a “possessor of the truth”. Transformation He went through a time of transformation when he spent those ten months in prison. He started asking God lots of questions from his heart. The intellectual beliefs were no longer able to sustain him, he needed real answers from God. This is what kick started his search for truth. After he was released he shared about his experience with grace. He said he experienced God’s ridiculous, scandalous love and was never the same. Dan’s exhortation was that we would be searchers of the truth. He said we could either be the know-it-all’s who preach to all those unfortunate souls who are without truth. Or we could take a posture of wonder and live our lives searching and learning truth. This reminds me of Jesus’s statement that unless we are like children we will not see the kingdom of God. Experience Gives Passion to Our Words Now I do believe that...

The Fear of Being Called a Crazy Christian

A few days ago a co-worker who sits next to me was telling a story to another co-worker about a wedding she went to over the weekend. She said that the groom’s family were “crazy Christians” because they would shout things like, “praise Jesus!” She also said they are weird because they “have church in a garage.” Later I thought, I wonder what she will think when she finds out that we used to have church in a barn and that our services were filled with divine healings, demon possessed people being delivered, words of knowledge being spoke, people rolling on the ground laughing and oh yeah, that one time gold appeared out of thin air and covered the floor and the preacher? That last miracle, the gold appearing, was pretty crazy. Sometimes God does things that don’t make sense to the natural man and they can seem strange and weird. And when you talk about them to others you run the risk of being labeled a crazy Christian. Should I Stop Being Crazy So People Like Me? You can choose to stop all the crazy talk in order to be accepted by others or you can push the envelope. Remember when Jesus said that the bread of heaven was His flesh? People thought He was crazy. But how did He respond? Did he clarify to his audience and tell them He was only metaphorically speaking? No, He pushed the envelope and said in John 6:53 “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” Guess what…people walked...