Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

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BREAKING NEWS: “Spiritually Obese Man Can’t Fit Through Narrow Gate” – Nov. 27th

November 27, 2012

“Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Luke 13:24

I know that many people struggle with their weight. There can be many factors that lead to obesity but the equation remains maddeningly simple. When we consume more calories than we burn, we get fat. The problem for me is that I often don’t even realize how many calories I consume. Usually, the only consequence is tighter pants.

Recently, there were dire consequences for a woman in Hungary. According to the NY Post, an obese woman, on vacation in Hungary, was not able to physically fit into an airplane and return to the US for kidney treatment. Tragically, she died in Hungary.  I wonder if she had known that her weight would prevent her from being able to enter that airplane if she would have gotten that weight off.  We will never know. She waited too long to get prepared for the trip.

There are consequences to being over-weight.  However, most folks never anticipate dire consequences due to their weight. That is why current polling shows that people are happily fat. We get content with being over-weight because it is harder to be fit.

I lost 35 lbs this last year.  It wasn’t because I started exercising. I had completed P90X and Insanity but had gained 3 lbs. It wasn’t until I started tracking my diet that I began losing weight. It is simply amazing how a handful of nuts here, a little sliver of dessert there, and a bit of extra serving on top can add up. I started to log everything that I consumed. That resulted in me being aware and limiting what I was shoving into my mouth. It was then that all of my exercising began to have the effect that I had been hoping for. The weight just came off.

This got me to wonder how many folks are spiritually over-weight. All you have to do is take a quick look through today’s churches to see a lot of spiritually out-of-shape Christians. I wonder how many of them are not even aware of the volume of worldly desires that they are daily consuming. We can follow very rigorous spiritual disciplines but we also have to limit the corrupting delicacies of this world that we consume.  There is a balance between spiritual exercise (doing) and diet (delighting) that every believer must find in order for them to experience spiritual fitness.

To be in shape, you have to strive for it. You have to be earnest for it. That is what Jesus is telling us here in Luke. We need to strive, to be earnest, about salvation. How much earnestness do you see out there? How much earnestness do you see in yourself?  I see a lot of luke-warmness (Rev. 3:15-17) and that scares me.

Many people believe that they have a ticket that allows them passage to heaven. We are warned that many of these people are going to show up at the narrow gate and find that they don’t fit. Just like the majority of Americans who are happily fat, there a many Christians who are happily fat spiritually. They don’t think that there are any consequences. They said a magic incantation and gone on consuming the sweet desires of this world. That is why we are told to examine ourselves. It is when we truly respond to the gospel that we are changed. The result of that new life will be a change in our palette.  We will desire the things of God. We will gain assurance in our own salvation by seeing the Spirit work in our lives; by seeing the fruit of the Spirit growing in us and making us something that we weren’t.  What scares me is that many will wait too long to get prepared (Matt. 25:1-12). The world is full of people who are on the wide and easy escalator that leads to destruction (Matt 7:13-14).  Many of those people think that they are holding a ticket to heaven.

It is time to get in spiritual shape.  Examine yourself (2 Cor. 13:5)– maybe it would be good to start by tracking just how much of this world that you are routinely consuming. What do you desire the most?  Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt 6:21).

PRAYER: Lord, You are the highest treaures there is. Forgive me for desiring lesser things of this world.  Lord, give me eyes to see clearly. Help me to examine myself to discover what in this world I am desiring more than you. Lord – fill me with your Spirit; make me fit in the fruit of your Spirit so that I am  prepared for your return.  Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen

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SUCK IT UP AND JUMP, ALREADY – Nov. 26th

November 26, 2012

“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous…(7) only be strong and courageous…(9) Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever
you go.” Josh. 1:5-9

I have thought that it must have been much easier to live by faith back in the day when they just heard God’s audible voice. If I just audibly heard God speak to me, then I am sure that I would have so much more confidence to step out in faith. They had it so much better.

If that were the case, then why did God have to encourage Joshua to be strong and courageous? Joshua was no coward. He was a soldier, a warrior, who had been fighting for over forty years. God needed to encourage Joshua because he knew that Joshua was going to have to take the promise land based on faith, the same kind of faith that we interact with God on today.

Faith requires a leap and it always has.  We so often think of faith as a noun; “If you have faith…”. That is a noun. However, we cannot see what we have until it becomes an action.

Joshua was going to come up against powerful people in walled cities. It was going to be faith – faith in God’s promise – that would allow the word, “Charge”, to escape his mouth.  The action of moving forward was a demonstration of Joshua’s faith and that takes strength and courage. Strength and courage is always needed when we decide to leap based on faith.

We have a chance to experience faith every day.  James tells us in James 2:18, “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” Leaping (faith) is shown in our works, which shows our faith.  It is wonderfully circular. When we leap, we move from observer to participant.  Do not be fooled. That requires courage. The Bible takes that for granted; just look at all of the passage in the Bible telling us not to fear. Faith takes strength and courage.

There are many folks who live their every days lives without much need of courage…could it be that they are mere observers?  When was the last time that you needed courage? So often, we seek the safe, we want guarantees; the result is that we never see true faith.  It is no wonder that we can feel distant from God.

Faith is just theory when it is not in action.  The reality is that you will never truly experience God on a personal level until you participate.  There are a lot of God observers but God has a relationship only with those who are willing to participate and that takes courage to leap. Therefore, be strong and courageous, do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go…now, jump!

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PRAYER: Lord, I need the strength and courage that only can come from you.  I know that I am a man of little faith.  That is not what I want to remain as. Father, thank you for the gift of my faith.  I am ready to participate; I am ready to leap.  I am ready to experience all that you have for me and have prepared for me to do.    Amen

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FAITH LIKE A RUSSIAN TRACTOR – Nov. 25th

November 25, 2012

“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9

According to Steve Cochrane in an article for Tech Republic, you should avoid Russian tractors if you’re in the tractor market. At least you should strike soviet-era tractors from your list. That is unless you enjoy doing mechanic work on tractors, then this might be the tractor for you.

The soviet tractor was the product of a mindset that did not value continual improvement and quality. There was no competition, only quotas, so design rarely changed and flaws persisted. They just kept doing what they did to meet the expectation of the state. The result was a product that did not fail to disappoint. Russian farmers had to continually invest their limited income into repairs of an inferior product.

The contrast is a vehicle manufactured by Toyota. Toyota is a company with stringent quality control. They are continually seeking to improve their product and maintain a high level of quality. Toyota has even developed their own production method called “lean production” and the result is a vehicle that rarely disappoints. It is why a Toyota is… well, a Toyota.

I was wondering how you would describe your faith; would you describe it like a Russian tractor or a Toyota?

There are folks who just continually struggle in their faith; it seems like their spiritual lives consistently fall apart on them. They seem to spend all of their time working on themselves and can never be used. They practice their faith in a manner to simply please the expectations of others. They seem like a Russian tractor.

That may be due to a fundamental flaw in their mindset.  Many folks “get saved”, mark it off their bucket list and just keep doing what they have always done. “Getting saved” is only the start of the Christian life. It is the start of a life of continual improvement and an obsession on quality control that in Christian talk we call sanctification. However, sanctification, like quality, doesn’t just happen. Toyota has invested billions into their production process to get the results that they now enjoy. The soviets never did and now they are gone.

We need to be willing to invest in our own sanctification. That means we need to be willing to put the time in. Sanctification is a work of the Holy Spirit but that does not free us of responsibility. We can’t just keep doing what we do. We need to knock, seek, and ask.  All of those words are verbs; action words. When we do all of those actions with our Father in heaven and He will never fail us. We will never be let down by our Father when we invest in our own sanctification.

There may be some folks that go – how? I have been there and have been discouraged by trite answers. I have wondered how this all works because I am tired of being…me.  Maybe, the tools of Toyota’s lean production process can lend us truths in the pursuit of quality in our faith.

  1. Sort through items keeping only what’s needed: Let’s face it; our lives are full of things that we don’t need. There are some things that simply have got to go. They are keeping you bound to this world. They are sources of unholy desires that simply have to be removed because they will continually bring you down.  All things are free to you but all things are not beneficial. You know what those things are. It is time to deal with them.
  2. Straighten – a place for everything and everything in it’s place: Organize your life. As an example, if you find it difficult to have a consistent time in prayer and Bible reading, then organize it. Set aside the same time every day. Don’t try and fit it in; you will never find the time. Get all your Bible stuff in the same place. We can find all sorts of excuses to get up and waste the precious little time that we have. Do this sort of organizing throughout your life and you will be amazed at the consistency that will come from it.
  3. Shine – cleanliness:  Be passionate about purity. It can be so discouraging to fall into that same old sin. Be quick to go to our Father and confess that sin, once again, and be reminded that your sins are forgiven (cleansed), and turn to him (setting your mind on the Spirit) ; become a spiritual neat freak. We can become comfortable with filth in our lives. We need to check our desires and continually clean. We live in a corrupting world that can cling to us like dirt. We need to continually be cleaning the desires of our heart and setting our minds on the things of the Spirit.
  4. Standardize – develop systems and procedures to maintain and monitor the first three: We need to create an examination process in our lives that helps us evaluation how we are doing. This takes humility. We need to remember that we have never “made it”. We are all works in progress. I think that it is healthy to daily evaluate: do I need to sort through things, standardize, clean. A heart that desires Christ more than anything else should always be humbly seeking the Father to make sure we are still moving; constantly desiring more and wanting to go deeper.
  5. Sustain the new level of performance:  Many Christians have this idea that the Christian life is a rollercoaster.  That is a defeatist trap. Sanctification is a work of the Holy Spirit; it is a gift of our Father that he gives us when we seek him. Why would that go up and down? That doesn’t mean that we will not experience disappointment and suffer. However, circumstance should not affect our maturity. It should enhance it. We need to have an expectation that this new level of fellowship with our Father is the norm. If it even begins to wane, we need to fight to sustain the new normal for our lives. Dig in and fight for it; don’t be content with the way it has always been.

When we get serious about our own faith, we will find that we can have a faith like a Toyota. A faith that will never fail us. All we need to do is start by asking, seeking, and knocking and our Father will give it to us.  Our Father is the best Father ever. He knows how to give good gifts. “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)  Do you believe that?  Claim it! Do it! Prove it!  Take God at his word and you will never be disappointed in his faithfulness.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for begin such a good Father to me; thank you for giving me every good thing that I need.  Lord – I desire more of you. I desire to know you more. I desire to know you deeper. Lord – I ask that you will fill me with your Holy Spirit; overflow in me. Lord – show me those areas of my life that I need to sort through; show me where the filth in  my life is hidden; give me strength to organize my life with you as the priority. I can’t do this without out you. Thank you for not expecting me to; Lord make me into what you desire – I am willing.   Amen

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BIBLICAL DIPLOMACY- Nov. 24th

November 24, 2012

“For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over to the Jordan to possess.” Deut. 32:47

Diplomacy fascinates me. I am amazed by the volume of words that can be used to say nothing. At least, it appears that they are saying nothing. Diplomats speak in a language all their own. I realized, after reading Henry Kissinger’s book Diplomacy, that diplomats usually don’t “wing-it”. They have committees that agonize over the use of precise words in the crafting of every diplomatic statement. Problems tend to arise in international politics when a diplomats carefully selected words are viewed as empty. There have been dire consequences for mistaking real intent as empty words. Hilter laid out exactly his intentions in Mein Kampf. The whole world suffered from thinking that he didn’t really mean it. Stalin and Kim Il Sung interpreted a speech by then Sec. of State Acheson as American intentions to defend the Korean peninsula as empty words. The Korean peninsula is still paying the price of that miscalculation.

I don’t know of any other words that have been more misinterpreted than the Bible. There is a significant amount of theology out there that is based on the premise that God couldn’t have meant that – they must be empty words or they must mean something different.  That is a dangerous mindset.

I have a tendency of approaching my Bible reading seeking the parts that are “for me”.  That implies that there are parts that are not “for me”. That is a dangerous mindset.

God’s word is more carefully crafted and designed than any diplomatic policy. I need to remember that all of God’s word is a gift. There are no empty words within it. All of the Word of God has been given for my very life. It is not a self-help tool – it a self-preservation tool. God is not engaging us in diplomacy. He is not negotiating with us. God warned the Israelites what would happen to them if they mistook his warnings as empty words. It did not work out for them – God did what he said he would do.

The Bible continues to have plenty of warnings for our current time. They are not empty words. Empty words do not exist in the Bible. God says what he means and means what he says. How we respond to God’s warnings reveals whether we think his words are empty or not. Do not expect a de’tente with God. It is your very life that you are playing with.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for reminding me that I am a servant – that I am not a sovereign equal. Thank you for being a God that does not play games with me – a God that I have to figure out in order to appease. Lord, forgive me for treating your words as empty and without meaning and give me the understanding to apply all of your word to my life, for your glory.   Amen

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ETERNITY CONFIDENCE INDICATOR – Nov. 23th

November 23, 2012

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Heb. 11:1

I am very content to be missing all of the excitement of Black Friday – endurance shopping and large crowds. That seems more like an enhanced interrogation technique that needs to be banned. However, I am interested in the results of Black Friday. I am anxiously awaiting the final tallies like they are the scoreboard of my favorite team. I am very concerned about the condition of the US economy and Black Friday is a good indicator of what is going on out there. The amount of cash that will be shelled out on this day is a good indicator of how consumers are doing.

I have not talked with anyone who is very “bullish” on the US economy. It is possible that I am in the middle of a bunch of eeyores. I tend to live on the cynical side of the fence, which is fine if the world really is falling apart. However, if it is not falling apart, I would like to inoculate myself (maybe it will work). The Black Friday turnout will be a good indicator as to whether we “eeyores” are in the minority.

I hope to be in the minority because our attitudes matter more than most of us are willing to admit. We all can accomplish great things and endure hardship if we have confidence in the future. This fact is why consumer confidence is tracked. The fundamentals of an economy can all be sound but if consumers are not confident in the future then it is bound to languish.

Confidence directly influences attitude and attitude matters. Atttiude matters because of its influence in every aspect of our lives, including our spiritual lives. The optimism that we feel in our spiritual lives is linked to our confidence in the future. Eternity confidence is called hope. Hope is such a big deal that it is mentioned over 120 times in the Bible. Every believer should aptly be called hopeful.  We are to be people of faith. Hope is in the definition of faith. Therefore, we are to be people of hope. Our confidence in eternity should overflow into every aspect of our daily lives.

Have you been languishing in your faith? Maybe you should try tracking your hope. The bars on this graph show the confidence of consumers in the US over last several years.

Your hope shouldn’t look like that. Our hope is not tied to our economy or anything else from this world.  If your eternal confidence is all over the place than your faith is probably languishing. Our hope should look like the line on this graph. It should be ever increasing as the assurance of our salvation grows through sanctification.

It is always good to periodically get back to the fundamentals.

  • What are you hoping in?
  • What are you day-dreaming about? Is God in it at all?
  • Do you have conviction in God?
  • Do you have conviction in the things of the Spirit that can’t be seen?
  • Do feel your faith crumbling due to a lack of conviction?

Every follower of Christ needs to be reminded that our hope is not in this world. There is nothing in this world worth hoping for since it will all be gone one day. We aren’t taking it with us. What have you really achieved if you gain all that you’ve hoped for in this world and lose your soul?

Let’s get our confidence on what really matters and lasts, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is the hope that will never disappoint. Set your mind and your hope on the Spirit and the things of the Spirit and you will be amazed at the growth in your confidence (your faith) and your eternal optimism.

PRAYER: Lord, Thank you for giving me a future that I have confidence in. Lord, you know that I have such a tendency to hope in all of the wrong things. You are surpassingly more valuable than anything this world has to offer me. Father, I set my hope in you this day; I place all of my confidence in you.  I know that I am a child of God and there is nothing that this world can to do me except disappoint if that is where my hope is.  My hope is in you and I know that you will never disappoint me. Praise be to your name.    Amen

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GOD IS (NOT) MY BUDDY – Nov. 22th

November 22, 2012

“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! Psalm 33:4

It seems like most people have a very similar tendency.  If we are shown an image enough times we begin to accept it as real even when we know it is a caricature. Caricatures are used all the time to help communicate a point. I have seen characteristics exaggerated to highlight what can be overlooked. I have also seen caricatures used to simplify that which is hard to fathom.  The problem is when the caricature becomes so engrained that we begin to believe the distortion.

Most of us are familiar with maps of the United States like this one:

What is the largest US state?  Most of us know that Alaska is the largest state, followed by Texas. However, I think many people fail to grasp the true size of Alaska. We become so familiar with this common map of the United States that our perception of Alaska is that it is just a little bit bigger than Texas. The reason Alaska has to be shown at the scale it is on the map is in order to get it to fit. This map puts Alaska into scale for us.

Alaska is big. It is really, really big.  I mean no offence to my friends in Texas but y’all need to come up with a new slogan.

Our God is like this. God is so big that we have to use caricatures to simplify Him, so that we can explain and understand Him. The scale of God is indescribable. Louie Giglio does a great job in this video, giving us a perspective of the indescribable-ness of God.  It is so important to occasionally take our eyes off of our God caricatures and behold the true scale of the Almighty.

This is the Milky Way. Just consider that God made this with the breath of his mouth; our small, little, insignificant, backwater of the Universe that still contains billions of stars just like our own.  God not only created that but the entire Universe, with a word.  Let that sink in – with a word!

We get so familiar with the caricatures of Jesus holding us, carrying us, comforting us, defending us; all of which are very true and demonstrate wonderful characteristics of our God. However, there is a gigantic scale distortion in those images. We may begin to think that we are on God’s scale if those images are all that we behold. We can default into thinking that our glory is almost as important as God’s glory. It is so very important to take our eyes off our caricature aids and behold the grandeur of our God.  Behold the scale of the universe…that is just a word of God Almighty.

How does your glory stack up against that?

PRAYER: Lord, … wow … you truly are awesome. You know that I have a hard time even understanding your grandeur. Thank you for helping me grasp just a small portion of it. Thank you for showing me how absurd it is to worship myself or anything else on this small little planet that you have given us. Lord, give me perspective to live my in awe of you. You are great beyond my understanding. I give you all the praise and glory that I am capable of giving.   Amen

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BUT I DON’T WANNA BE SLAPPED – Nov. 21th

November 21, 2012

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.” Luke 6:27-29

My goal in writing these devotions is to honestly reflect my own daily Bible reading. Honestly, I am not feeling it this morning. I awoke in a rather sour mood. The reality of my bad attitude just adds a spice of irritation to my emotional cocktail.

I know the source of my discontent. My attitude is directly linked to the sour task scheduled for my day. I have to spend half of my day meeting with lawyer types preparing a defense for an anticipated lawsuit. My company, which means me since we are a small business S corp, is going to be sued and I don’t even know specifically why. It is bewildering and it just goes on and on. Yet, the damage to our reputation continues unabated. One look at my personal finances will tell the story of their impact. It feels very unjust when the law is used as a hammer and you the nail.

I prefer obedience when it is theoretical.  It is much easier to follow Christ when my enemies aren’t real; when they aren’t trying to take my money; when they aren’t striking me; when they aren’t abusing my reputation. The fact is that I really don’t want to offer up my other cheek. The only cheeks that I want to offer up are to be kissed and they’re not on my face. I think that we can all agree that I probably don’t have a “Christ-like” attitude at the moment.

I thought I had forgiven these people but I realize that I have more work to do. It is painfully evident that may sanctification is not complete. I need God to continue His work on my heart because I am not reflecting Him well. Jesus, in Luke 6:32, makes it very clear that there is no benefit in loving those who are nice to us. The statement is made when we show mercy and kindness to those people who have been jerks and worse to us. God’s mercy is on full display when we are willing to do good, bless, and pray for those who sue us. The fact is that God was kind to me when I was ungrateful and evil; He showed me mercy when I was his enemy. (Luke 6:35-36) What am I if I don’t do the same? It is not about my enemies. It is not about me. It is about the glory of God.

I am going to confess the sin of my disobedient attitude and I am going to love these people who are coming after me. Not because they deserve it but because of Christ and the mercy that he showed me. My prayer is that somehow, in my doing good, blessing and praying for my adversaries, God will be glorified.  That will be worth a few slaps up-side the head.

OK – I am much better now; bring on the lawyers.

PRAYER: Lord, Forgive me for my unloving attitude. Forgive me for acting just like every other sinner in this world. Forgive me for not reflecting your mercy and goodness.  Lord, you can may these struggles that I am facing go away. Please do that; take my adversaries away but if that is not your will then give me strength. Show me how to do good to them; show me how I can bless them.  Father, I pray for them. They need you more than anything else. Please draw them to yourself that they may become your children.   Amen

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A MERE SPIN MASTER OF THE RIGHT – Nov. 20th

November 20, 2012

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life…” Deut. 30:19

The US presidential election is over but that has not stopped the political pundits from continuing the “spinning” of their party. I realize that intelligent people can mine data for salient facts. However, the simple answer can be pushed aside in all the analysis. My analysis of the election – people voted for the candidate that they feel will provide the best future for themselves and their families. We will find out if it was a good choice. The only other arena with as much advocate “spinning” is religion. 

There is an on-going battle raging between secularists & religion; atheists and God-believers. I am typically cast on one side of the debate. However, is it a debate that I should be having? Christians often get caught up in debating issues that we are convinced will affect our lives and the lives of our family.  We forget our purpose. We cast as foes the very people that we are sent to reach. We alienate, through the pursuit of our own self interest, the people who need the clear choice of the gospel presented to them.

I don’t want to be a mere spin-master of the right. I want to cut through all the spin and distraction of religious issues to clearly speak what I believe about the choice before every person. I want to be like Moses and be able to say that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse.  I want my “foes” to know that they are not my foe. I want them to know that I desperately want them to choose life. That is my message, spin free.

PRAYER: Father, Thank you for giving us a clear choice. Thank you for providing a way of escape from death and curses.  Lord, give me wisdom to know what debates I should engage in. Give me the strength to be willing to sacrafice my own self-interests for the purpose of your gospel. Open my eyes to those who feel like foes and love them as you do.   Amen

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ACHIEVING THE IMPOSSIBLE – Nov. 19th

November 19, 2012

“For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you , neither is it far off.” Deut. 30:11

I am a triathlete. I feel a little silly about claiming that title but this year I completed my first sprint triathlon.  I have been surprised by the consistency of the responses. They always seem to have some variation of “I could never do that”.  That makes me laugh. Now that I have experienced one, I realize that most people can finish a sprint triathlon with a little training.  The reason they don’t even try is due to what they are telling themselves, “I can’t”. My goal is to do an Ironman. That does not seem possible at this present time but I have a plan. I know that after I have done an Olympic distance and a 70.3 distance that I will then have the confidence to achieve an Ironman. I am going to break the “impossible” into achievable tasks until the “impossible” is ordinary.

Many folks are caught in the same “I can’t” mindset in their spiritual life. They have struggled for years with obedience and consistency in spiritual disciplines. We can get so focused on our defeats that “I can’t” is all we hear.

I am here to tell you that you can! Whatever you are struggling with may seem impossible at this moment but it is not. The impossible is achievable when you break it down. I fail all the time but I focus on the victories, achieved through the Spirit, that are taking me down the slow road of sanctification.  My task, every morning, is to set my mind on the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:3-8). I do this through reading my Bible and prayer. This focuses my mind on what I love the most, which strenghtens me to kill sin before it’s sin. John Owen in “Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers” gets it right:

“Rise mightily against the first actings of your distemper, its first conceptions; suffer it not to get the least ground. Do not say, “Thus far it shall go, and no farther.” If it have allowance for one step, it will take another. It is impossible to fix bounds to sin. It is like water in a channel – if it once break out, it will have its course. Its not acting is easier to be compassed than its bounding.”

Too often, we play with sinful thoughts and give them a small place in our life, where we can affectionately caress them. We cannot control sinful desires. It is just  a matter of time before those sinful desires break out. Killing sin is much more achievable when it is a thought, before it has made a channel through our life. We need to take a stand like the Lord of the Rings, Gandalf and tell sin, “You shall not pass”.  

You can do this. It is not too hard. It is not impossible. Jesus tells us in Mark 9:23 that “all things are possible for one who believes.” Believe and break it down: Set your mind on the Spirit; remind yourself of what you love most and what you want the most; then FIGHT – fight for the control of your mind; kill every one of those sinful desires as they spring up; refuse to let them pass, but take them one at a time. Don’t worry about the whole day, just deal with the one thought before you at this moment. Kill it, praise God for it and soon you will be through a whole day. You can do this, it is not too hard, neither is it far off.

PRAYER: Father, I believe; Help me in my unbelief.  I believe that through the power of your Spirit that I can have victory this very day. Lord, I need your strength; help me to achieve what is impossible in my life without you.   Amen

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SCARED BY GENGHIS KHAN – Nov. 18th

November 18, 2012

“This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56:9b-11  

I have been listening to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast series, “Wrath of the Khans”. I cannot grasp the horror associated with the subjucation of so many great societies by those Eurasian nomads lead by Genghis Khan. I can only imagine the emotions of terror that would rise up in my mind out of concern for my family and friends if a Mongol like army were sweeping in from Montana to destroy my way of life. Yet, the inhumanity of man is nothing new. It is seen throughout history. It can be seen every day in the news. Strip the news of the inhumanity of war, terrorism, oppression, murder, rape, abuse, deception and thief and there will be little left. We are masters at doing bad things to each other. When the Pslamist asks, “What can man do to me?”, I answer with, “A lot – that is why I have a concealed weapons permit and guns”. The question is can they can do anything to us that matters eternally? Jesus tells us in Matt. 10:28, “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” We should not miss the point that man can do bad things to us, even kill us. God did not save us to make our physical life better. Sometimes he does, but that is not his purpose. He saved our souls for eternity. We get all messed up when we confuse our situation with our relationship with God. Faith draws upon the Spirit to bear witness that we are God’s children – a Father is always for His own child. When God is our Father, that can never be taken away. That would be something worth fearing but we don’t have to fear our Father losing his grasp on our souls. The gain or loss of lesser things, even our own life, is not crushing when we know that God our Father is for us and nothing can take that away. Our souls are secured when threats are challenged by crying out to an exalted God, who is our Father.

PRAYER: Father, you are great and greatly to be praise. There is no one like you. It is you who hold me in the palm of your hand. It is you who knows all about me, even the number of hairs on my head. You know me better than I know myself. You know all my needs. You know the secrets of my heart.  You are my Father, the keeper of my soul. It is in you who I trust. You are may all in all.  It is to you that I give all of my praise.  You are worthy of nothing less than my all.   Amen

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