Some time ago, when our children were younger and still at home, Shirley and I decided to have our entire family “take a break” from TV. Shirley put a note on front of the television that read, “The view gets better when you look up.” One day, a pre-teen nephew was visiting. He read the sign that could not be missed and looked up with a curious and puzzled expression, seeing nothing but a ceiling. It was a humorous yet a great teaching moment.
As Christians, we are encouraged, admonished, and warned by God to “Set your mind (affection) on things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:2-3)
Paul also speaks of the miraculous change in his life and how he viewed life after his conversion. He said, “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ.”. (Philippians 3:8)
How about you? Are you willing and desirous to look up to Jesus and enjoy the view He has for you?
NOW, GO LIVE IT!
It’s such an assurance to know that what God promises He will always bring to pass. (See Romans 4:16-22.) The Lord also appeared to Paul and, standing by his side, told him that as he had been a faithful witness in Jerusalem, so he must also witness at Rome. (Acts 23:11)
Sure enough, and directed by the Holy Spirit, Paul sailed from Jerusalem to Rome in very violent and stormy seas. It was dark with no sunshine for two weeks. It was cold and rainy, and the ship was battered and fragile. The 276 men aboard grew hopeless and in great fear of losing their lives.
However, Paul was encouraged and confident upon receiving a message from an angel of God that he would stand before Caesar and that all on board would live. Paul announced to all on board, “Keep up your courage men, for I believe God, that it will turn out exactly as I have been told.” (Acts 27:24-25)
Yes, there is an assurance in knowing Jesus; an assurance that proclaims that I know where I came from, I know what I am doing here on earth, and I am confident to know where I am going – no matter the storms and trials I encounter.
NOW GO LIVE IT!
We learn from Exodus 34 that Moses descended from Mt. Sinai, having met with God, and holding two stone tablets engraved with the Ten Commandments. Because Moses’ face was aglow with the glory of God, he would put a veil over his face when speaking with the Hebrew people and remove it when meeting with God in the tabernacle’s Holy of Holies.
Today, however, the veil is removed through Jesus Christ and, in His name, we have access to God’s throne where we can receive an abundance of mercy and grace. (Hebrews 4:16) This access into the presence of God with unveiled face has given us the ability to commune with God and to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).
When Jesus was crucified, the veil (curtain) in the temple was torn from top to bottom symbolizing the opening of a new and living way directly into the presence of God (Matthew 27:51).
With hope in your heart, and no matter the hardships and trials you will continue to face, go forward trusting God to transform you into the glorious image of His Son.
NOW GO LIVE IT!
Perhaps many of us have heard this expression before and understand its meaning. Good intentions alone will never accomplish the reality of getting something done. Jesus said, “Why call me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not what I say?” (Luke 6:46-49) He also declared, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)
Yes, preparation (cutting bait) is important if you intend on catching fish, but there comes a time when you must go fishin’, cast off and venture out to sea to receive and harvest your prize.
When God gave the command to move out and conquer Canaan, He expected obedience. With very few exceptions, Joshua and Caleb, they were rebellious and never “budged an inch.”
By refusing to obey God, the people were sent into the wilderness to “cut bait” for another 40 years before the next generation could enter the Promised Land.
Go fishin’ – put your faith into action and prove yourself to be a doer of the word, not merely a hearer who deceives himself. (See James 1:22)
NOW GO LIVE IT!
In 2011, an 8.9 earthquake and tsunami in Japan were an ominous reminder of the power and force of nature. Similarly, there are spiritual tsunamis that can and do take place in our lives today. The key to surviving these storms is preparation through faith in Jesus Christ.
In Luke 6:46-49, Jesus spoke of the parable of the two foundations. He said, “Everyone who comes to Me, and hears My words, and acts upon them, I will show you whom he is like.” Jesus goes on to explain that one man dug a foundation deep to the rock and when the flood came and burst against his house, the storm did not destroy it because it had been well built.
There was another man who also heard His words but did not act on them. This man was like a man who built a house on ground without any foundation and this man’s house collapsed with great ruin when the storm burst against it.
The only way to tsunami-proof your life today is to ACT on God’s Word and build your life on the solid rock of Jesus Christ who will never be destroyed.
NOW GO LIVE IT!
As we continue to reflect on Numbers 13 and 14, we see that Joshua and Caleb had just returned from Canaan and couldn’t believe what they were hearing from the other 10 fearful, doubting, and disobedient spies.
These men incited the crowd and blindsided them to believe that the giants and fortified cities were too great for God to conquer. Even though they had evidence of the bounty of the land and God’s promise to succeed, the people chose to believe a lie and basically said, “This conquest God has planned ain’t gonna happen.”
Thank God for Joshua and Caleb who stood against the unbelieving crowd and confidently declared that God was able to perform what he had promised. Today, we also who believe can stand against the crowd of doubters and declare that God is able!
Someone has said, “Any dead fish can float downstream – it takes a live one to swim upstream.”
NOW GO LIVE IT!
In preparation for the conquest of Canaan, 12 spies went forth at God’s command for 40 days and approximately 500 miles of fact finding and surveillance. (Numbers 13 and 14)
All the spies acknowledged that the land was indeed plentiful and flowed with milk and honey. However, only (17%), Joshua and Caleb, brought back a good report to Moses and exclaimed to all that, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it.”
In contrast, 10 (83%) reported negatively that Canaan was inhabited with giants who devoured its people and cried, “We became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” (Numbers 13:33)
So! What giants in your life today are keeping you from possessing God’s promises – fear, doubt or unbelief? Other giants could be broken hearts, financial woes, employment problems, people issues, health concerns and so on. This is not a time to consider yourself an impotent grasshopper without hope. These giants can and will be destroyed as you trust God alone Who goes before you and gives you the victory in Christ Jesus. The “Promised Land” is for YOU! Go take it!
NOW GO LIVE IT!
What do we think of when we say the word "leader"? CEO? Management Consultant? Someone with a PhD? How about YOU? Do you know that God has called every believer to be a leader? Genesis 1:26: "Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
The impact of leadership is seen throughout the Bible. A good king = all is well with the nation; a bad king = things go poorly for everyone. Are you a good king or a bad king in your leadership?
Leader doesn't just mean being "boss." Jesus said that it means SERVING OTHERS. Matthew 20:26-28, "...whoever wishes to become great among you, and...wishes to become first...shall become your slave. Just as the Son of man did not come to be served but to serve..."
WOW! Leadership means servant mind, servant heart and servant action.
NOW GO LIVE IT!
God has given to each man the freedom to choose whom he will serve. Throughout history until this present day, multitudes have rejected God's counsel. They have closed their ears to hearing His life-imparting words, have chosen to run from Him, and have relied on their own strength and wisdom to save them. To their own detriment, they have run their course in vain. However, in times past and even today, God is patient with us and even longs to be gracious – He waits on high to have compassion on us (like he did with Israel in Isaiah 30:18).
In Isaiah 30:15-16, a merciful and loving God declares to His rebellious children how to be saved: "For this is what the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said: 'In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.' But you were not willing, And you said, 'No, for we will flee on horses!' Therefore you shall flee! 'And we will ride on swift horses!' Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift."
No one can outrun God. Yet, we need to be reminded that time is running out for man to run to Him.
Jesus said, "Come unto me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
NOW GO LIVE IT!
Those Pesky Calls
The Lord said to the servant, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” See Luke 14;23.
Recently, I had a fresh stirring to engage phone-call solicitors in conversations that would go way beyond the products or services they would be marketing. In times past, I would have viewed those telemarketers as someone who wasted my time. In other words, “Get lost!”
With God’s love and compassion, I now see these calls as opportunities (and believe me, I get plenty of these calls!)—opportunities to go “…out into the highways and hedges…” and inviting these people to come and experience what Jesus has in store for them, such as forgiveness, life, joy, hope and eternal life!
A young man recently called me to discuss a mortgage product he was selling. I instantly called upon the Holy Spirit to help me, as His ambassador, to speak to his heart what he needed to hear.
So, I said, “What’s your name?” and from that moment on it was God’s script that was in control, not this solicitor’s pre-planned dialogue. In this case, I discovered he was a born-again Christian who had been baptized. Before we finished sharing with each other, he said with such great fervency, “You have me crying!” Later he said, “This talk has really made my day!” Well, you can guess, it most certainly made my day as well!
This individual needed to hear and feel the compassion and love of God—not a reply of disgust and disdain from me. He was simply striving to make a “buck” and was doing just what he was trained to do.
Slow Down and Listen
Let us slow down and listen before we speak. This way, we can ask and hear what Jesus is saying—before we speak! Then we can know what God sees in a person and then continue a conversation with spiritual insight and discernment.
Ambassadors in Christ
After all, “From now on we recognize no one by the flesh; even though we have known Christ by the flesh, yet now we know him in this way no longer.” (2 Cor. 5:16). We can no longer regard these callers from a worldly point of view. Dare we, as children of God, take courage and practice this principle? We are ambassadors, who know God is a Spirit and we walk in liberty in His Spirit. We know God makes His appeal through us.
What Are You Waiting For?
So, the next time you see an unknown number on your phone, check first with the Holy Spirit to see if this is an opportunity to speak life and light to a soul in need of Kingdom counsel—One who may be dry and thirsty, ready to hear, and ready to drink some Living Water!
Go and engage with Love & compassion.