Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

“…but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14 NIV)

Picture a large meadow of yellow flowers bowing to a gentle breeze. This golden pond of beauty is densely populated on the outer edges by trees that stand stoic throughout the course of time. The summer sun hangs lazily alone in the afternoon sky against a canvass of aqua blue. The air is punctuated periodically by God’s curious creatures that fly about on cue — assuring the casual observer that life is more than worrying about the next event.

But that’s not all.

The sound of a rushing river nearby captures the essence of energy as it follows its familiar path toward the open sea. All marvel at its ability to remain constant. Nothing stops its flow. Its strength is undeniable. Its will, undeterred. The river beckons those who are thirsty to partake of its power to quench. For the filthy, it calls them to bathe in its capacity to cleanse. For everyone who seeks healing, it invites them to take a leap of faith and jump in.

Similarly, Father thank you for being the ever-present river of life in our lives. May the richness of your presence flow from us to others so that they may see your mercy and grace. May those who feel discouraged or depressed find supernatural strength in your heavenly reservoir of love.

indexIn a documentary mini series called “Against All Odds” am incredible story is told about an Israeli platoon who found themselves in the middle of a minefield along the Syrian border during the Yom Kippur War. When the platoon realized they were in a minefield they pulled out their bayonets and started to dig out mines and to disarm them. All of a sudden, a huge wind started to blow, removing the sand from the minefield. Each and every mine was exposed and the soldiers went through the minefield without a scratch.

John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

If you found yourself in the middle of a minefield, but had someone with you that knew where every mine was and could guide you through, then you’d be sure to stay as close to him as possible! My friend, life is a minefield; and the enemy has planted mines all across your path — the mines of temptation, of fear, of anger! You have Someone with you who knows where they are and how to guide you around them. But how closely are you walking with Him?

God‘s word and His Spirit equip us thoroughly for life and godliness. Obedience to His word and abiding in His Spirit we can avoid every deadly trap of the enemy and even if He calls us to martyrdom, we can go joyfully in His power.

But in the meantime, let’s not ignore the presence and counsel of our Heavenly Guide. It’s too easy to become distracted by fears, entertainments, and even real responsibilities. But all these can pull us away from Him….so that we suddenly find our foot on a mine about to explode under us. The discipline of practicing His presence was never more important than it is now in these last of the last days. The Bible warns that “because iniquity abounds, the love of many shall wax cold!” Let us stay awake, fully conscious of our Helper’s presence. Led of His Spirit we will dodge every one of our enemy’s mines, and navigate both ourselves and others to safety, bearing fruit all along the way!

The other day I heard someone say that when they passed a mirror, all they could think of is, “That can’t be right.” It’s funny in a way, but unfortunately, in today’s world, there’s a lot of emphasis placed on what we look like on the outside rather than what we look like in our hearts.

Psalms 90:17 And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

Charles William Eliot, former president of Harvard University, had a birthmark on his face that bothered him greatly. As a young man, he was told that surgeons could do nothing to remove it. Someone described that moment as “the dark hour of his soul.” Eliot’s mother gave him this helpful advice: “My son, it is not possible for you to get rid of that hardship…But it is possible for you, with God’s help, to grow a mind and soul so big that people will forget to look at your face.”

Yes, it’s true. All of us have things we’d love to change about our bodies. And many of us tend to spend an awful lot of time and money trying to change, fix and cover those things up. But I think there is much truth in Mrs. Eliot’s words. When we are shining boldly for the Lord, I don’t believe anyone sees them!

Do you REALLY want to make a drastic difference in your appearance today? Let’s stop focusing on our outward issues today and start focusing on what really counts — walking uprightly and wholeheartedly with the Lord — a spiritual extreme makeover! We will glow like never before, at a low low price and 100% guaranteed!

Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

When a Michigan man entered the hospital for tests one day, he never would have guessed what the doctors would find. A routine chest x-ray revealed that the man’s heart was on the wrong side of his chest! Because of a rare reversed-organ condition, his heart was in the wrong place. This is a strange story indeed, although I think some of us suffer from this condition in a spiritual way.

Do you ever find yourself thinking you’re in a good place with the Lord? I haven’t done this sin or that sin in a long time. I’m doing much better in this area of my life than so and so is. I am in leadership in my church or ministry and and I think I’m a better Christian than the people I lead. You know what I’m talking about? We get to thinking we’re in a good place — a safe place — home free.

This safe place is a dangerous place! The reality is that Satan wants us to be content in where we are. He wants us to compare ourselves to others and feel we’ve arrived! But we haven’t! God wants us to continually strive to be more like Him! It is only when we come to a place of humility and dependence upon the Lord that we can have a heart that’s truly in the right place.

We need to daily examine ourselves to see if our hearts are where they need to be. Are we depending on God in every way? Are we constantly acknowledging that all we have and are is by His hand of mercy and grace? Let’s stop comparing ourselves to others and our pasts and strive for God’s perfection today!

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Have you ever noticed that when people are in love, they tend to forget everything else? Everything becomes secondary — cars, houses, money — nothing matters — it is all secondary to love. Then, when they fall out of love, as in a divorce, all of a sudden those things mean everything! They argue about all the little meaningless things they ever owned together. Each wants it all for himself.

The same is true with the Lord. Before we know Him, all we really have are possessions. But when we come to know God — truly know Him — those things mean very little — we’re in love! We’re willing to give up everything. Those people who are most in love with God and filled with His love are the least possessive and the least materialistic.

If we have been wrapped up in our possessions, we’ve lost sight of our greatest treasure! All that stuff means nothing. Let go of it. Return to your first love. Lighten your heart and fall in love again with the love of God!

fearHe did not take the ark to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. (1 Chronicles 13:13 NIV)

We are only born with two fears – the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. That means, every other fear we have, we learn throughout our lives.

There are some very common fears, like the fear of heights, snakes or spiders. These things may stop us from being a little bit adventurous outside, however, there are more debilitating fears which can have a greater effect.

Often, due to fear, we don’t take risks, we don’t push ourselves out of our comfort zone, and we don’t speak up when we have something to contribute. This can hold us back and limit the gifts God has given us.

Fear can hold us back from standing up for someone who has been treated unjustly. Fear can stop us from reaching our dreams. Fear can put a lid on our potential. But only if we choose to allow it to.

God did not give us a spirit of fear. We are the ones who choose to fear. And we come from a long line of people who choose fear!

Even the great King David, who conquered thousands of his enemies, held back due to fear. He feared bringing the Ark of the Covenant into the city, and missed out on months of blessing from God. When we read this story we can understand why he had the fear, but we can also see how he missed out because of it.

Our lives can be the same. Through our circumstances we can worry about many things and often feel justified to do so. Yes, life can be scary and fears can feel so real, but let’s not forget who we worship.

When we choose fear, we limit ourselves to our own capabilities. When we choose God, we are open to His capabilities.

Prayer: Lord, our fears can seem so real at times. Help us not to focus on that which we’re afraid of, but help us to see what You are capable of. Amen.

  1. God can’t get tired.
    Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.
    Isaiah 40:28
  2. God can’t take on a job he can’t handle.
    Ah, Lord God! Behold, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for you.
    —Jeremiah 32:17
  3. God can’t be unholy.
    And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
    —Isaiah 6:3
  4. God can’t be prejudiced.
    In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears him and works righteousness is accepted by him.
    —Acts 10:34-35
  5. God can’t break a promise.
    My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of my lips.
    —Psalm 89:34
  6. God can’t remember sins he’s chosen to forget.
    I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins.
    —Isaiah 43:25
  7. God can’t make a loser.
    Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ.
    2 Corinthians 2:14
  8. God can’t abandon you.
    Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, he is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.
    —Deuteronomy 31:6
  9. God can’t stop thinking about you.
    How precious also are your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with you.
    —Psalm 139:17-18
  10. God can’t stop loving you.
    Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.

indexWhen it comes to God, all people everywhere have the same basic problem with him.

He’s God and we’re not.

Of course, each of us wishes we were God, because we’re all so much wiser, better informed, and know what’s best for us better than he does. If only he would listen to us, what a smooth-running place our world would be.

Who’s Got the Problem?

Leo Tolstoy said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” The same might be applied to God.

We want to change God. We want to change his mind, change how he treats us, and change his authority over us. We pray our hearts out hoping we can change the only unchangeable being in the universe. Millions of us spend our entire lives trying to get God to do things our way.

We’re convinced the problem is that God just isn’t listening to us, but of course the real problem is that we aren’t listening to God. We don’t want anybody telling us what to do. We want to give the orders.

I gave God orders for much of my life. It never worked. For some reason, he simply refused to follow my plans, no matter how brilliant they were. But to my credit, after only four decades of that, I finally gave up.

In all honesty, I can’t say it was some flash of genius on my part or a spiritual epiphany. I was just plain tired. Worn out. I decided to let God take over, more out of exhaustion and curiosity than love for him. Despite my wrong motives, he stepped in and took up the challenge.

A Problem of Our Own Making

Now, more than ten years later, I can tell you from experience that what seems an impossible problem is actually life’s greatest opportunity.

Think about it for a minute. Here’s a being who’s all-powerful. No force on earth can stop him. Not only that, but he knows the future. He creates the future!

But the best part is that he loves you even more than you love yourself. I had a hard time accepting that, but it’s true. On those days when you hate yourself for being stupid and bumbling and incompetent, he still loves you. When you feel like a loser, he knows better. He knows his child is a winner, a prince or princess in his royal family.

God proved his love for you by sacrificing his son, Jesus Christ, so you may live with him forever in heaven. That act alone shows there is no question about God’s love for you.

Jesus tried to show you how safe you are in God’s hands by calling him Abba, an Aramaic word which roughly translates to “Daddy” or a toddler’s “Papa.” Until Jesus used that term, nobody fully understood what our relationship with God is like.

How to Overcome Your Instincts

Your spiritual maturity begins the moment you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, but that’s not the end of the story. As a Christian, you continue to grow in faith over the course of your lifetime.

If you’re wrestling with God like I did for so many years, I urge you to flip this problem around and turn it into an opportunity. It may go against all your instincts, but it’s the right thing to do.

Jesus understands your reluctance to let God take control. That’s what he was talking about when he said, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:24 NIV)

Losing your life for Christ—giving God control—assures you of being a winner. The Holy Spirit, your infallible Guide, stands ready to help you make this life-changing choice. He can show you how to overcome your human stubbornness and see things from God’s perspective.

Our culture worships independence, but independence is highly overrated. Being dependent on God is the smartest way to live. After having lived both ways, I can tell you that letting the One Who Never Makes Mistakes take control is the stress-free way to live.

Miraculously, things work out. Sure, you’ll still go through rough spots and disappointments, but your final destination is never in doubt. Whether you’re rich and famous or poor and unknown, this life is like a wisp of smoke compared to the eternity of joy you’ll spend with Jesus.

Do you see God’s authority over you as a problem or an opportunity? If you’ll acknowledge that he’s in charge, I think you’ll find, as I did, that that’s when your life truly starts to turn around.

Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsem-ane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”—Matthew 26:36

Before Jesus began his earthly ministry, he spent forty days alone in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). On the night of his arrest he also spent time in solitude. In the Garden of Gethsemane he withdrew from most of his disciples to pray, taking only three of them with him. Then he withdrew from those three to be completely alone in silence with his Father.

The beginning and end of Jesus’ ministry were characteristic of everything in between. Seeking silence and solitude was Jesus’ lifelong pattern.

Before he chose his disciples, Jesus spent an entire night alone in the hills (Luke 6:12). After Jesus heard the news that John the Baptist had been killed, “he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place” (Matthew 14:13). Then, a bit later, after feeding more than five thousand people through a miracle, Jesus dismissed the crowd and “went up on a mountainside by himself to pray” (Matthew 14:23).

If the Son of God regularly withdrew to meet with his Father, then surely we may (and ought to) do the same. If Jesus needed silence and solitude, then how much more do we need to develop that same discipline!


Father, you long to meet us in the stillness. Help each of us, like Jesus, to seek solitude with you. Thank you for desiring to share your love and grace with us. Amen.

From the standpoint of material wealth, many people have a hard time realizing how rich they are. Going through a little mental exercise suggested by Robert Heilbroner can help us to count our blessings, however. Imagine doing the following, and you will see how daily life is for as many as a billion people in the world.

1. Take out all the furniture in your home except for one table and a couple of chairs. Use blanket and pads for beds.

2. Take away all of your clothing except for your oldest dress or suit, shirt or blouse. Leave only one pair of shoes.

3. Empty the pantry and the refrigerator except for a small bag of flour, some sugar and salt, a few potatoes, some onions, and a dish of dried beans.

4. Dismantle the bathroom, shut off the running water, and remove all the electrical wiring in your house.

5. Take away the house itself and move the family into the tool shed.

6. Place your “house’ in a shantytown.

7. Cancel all subscriptions to newspapers, magazines, and book clubs. This is no great loss because now none of you can read anyway.

8. Leave only one radio for the whole shantytown.

9. Move the nearest hospital or clinic ten miles away and put a midwife in charge instead of a doctor.

10. Throw away your bankbooks, stock certificates, pension plans, and insurance policies. Leave the family a cash hoard of ten dollars.

11. Give the head of the family a few acres to cultivate on which he can raise a few hundred dollars of cash crops, of which one third will go to the landlord and one tenth to the money lenders.

12. Lop off twenty-five or more years in life expectancy.

By comparison how rich we are! And with our wealth comes responsibility to use it wisely, not to be wasteful, and to help others. Think on these things.

Some verses on wealth

Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Proverbs 13:22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.

Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Proverbs 22:7 The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:31-33 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Proverbs 28:22 A stingy man hastens after wealth and does not know that poverty will come upon him.