Iny vs. Outy

Inward godliness…a changed life.
A Jamaican friend recently told the story of sharing Jesus in a taxi cab with a fellow passenger. This person’s conversation was, let’s just say, very unChristlike. After a few moments, the passenger surprised her by saying that she too was a Christian and then proceeded to commend my friend’s strong faith.
This “Christian” passenger then asked where my friend went to church. Her response was that she didn’t go to church. Without batting an eye, the passenger said, “Oh, you’re not a Christian then!” This only made her smile and think about our many conversations about being church verses going to church.
My friend is not currently attending a church service, but is moving toward Jesus with other believers (the biblical definition of church by the way). In the Jamaican culture, however, attending a church service was the litmus test of a Christian, not one’s changed life.
One looked at outward signs godliness, while the other looked to inward life transformation. Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3 that “Christians” in the end days will be counting on outward signs, rather than the power of the Spirit to change a life.
Let the world see your faith in Christ by letting them actually see Jesus in you. This is far more important than where you show up on Sunday morning.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration results in a healthy faith.
This is a picture of the men who recently went out into the desert to get hydrated by Jesus. It’s blurred because of my sunscreen. We were at the Colorado River in the midst of 100+ degree temps! It’s funny to think about being dehydrated with all this water around.
Yet, we had to tell the guys to keep drinking water throughout the day. Even if they were used to the heat they needed to keep drinking water. The downside of not drinking was the very real possibility of fainting, dizziness, and a rapid heartbeat.
Millions of gallons of water came from a rock, which isn’t a natural source of water, in the desert to satisfy the thirst of an entire nation. Jesus, the Word of God, was and is that rock that satisfies a thirst. This hydration also keeps us going about our daily lives instead of having to stop due to the consequences of its absence.
Meditation is that continual hydration process. We take a truth revealed in our daily gulps in God’s word. Then we keep sipping on it throughout our day. This continually intake of Jesus water keeps our faith healthy, which leads to God praising victory.
Drink up and keep enjoying His presence as you walk with Him all day long.

Renewable Energy

Jesus – the true source of renewable energy.
I recently went to the Colorado River for a men’s retreat. On the first day, the guys were up and going by 6:30am. But come the next morning, after a day in the hot sun, it would have taken a bomb to get them up! Why? Summer heat drains physical energy.
In Psalm 32, David writes that when he kept silent about his sin (i.e. never acknowledged it let alone confessed it to receive forgiveness) his strength was zapped just like these men.
Tired of being tired? There could be a physical cause, but it also could be spiritual. When the Spirit wants to draw you closer to Jesus through removing a sinful thought/attitude/action, there will be consequences if you ignore Him. Psalm 32:4 states, “Night and day Your hand was heavy upon me.” This heaviness can lead to physical and emotional (depression) exhaustion.
The solution is to acknowledge your sin, confess it to Jesus, get forgiveness and then start the FREEdom process to see your life changed. As you do, you’ll find energy you never thought you had.
So if you are tired of being tired, by all means seek medical help, but don’t forget to take care of the obvious first: Slow down and listen to Jesus. It just might be His hand on your shoulder!

Time to Act

Playing it SAFE ignores Jesus.
A good friend wrote, “We often approach church and ministry (dare I say life) with a theology of SAFE: Self-preservation, Avoidance of the world and risk, Financial security, and Education.”
We act like having the most Bible knowledge is maturity, when Scripture says it’s the one whose life has been changed the most by that knowledge. We store up material goods like the ants; and yet, ignore the truth that those same goods belong to Jesus and are His for the asking. We say, “That’s not a very wise thing to do,” which often masks our lack of taking steps of faith outside our comfort zones. Why? To protect self.
We are tired of pain, so we avoid risk, though we can’t please God without it. We are tired of being burned, so we hold back resources, only to miss experiencing God’s continued provision. We feel we weren’t fed if we didn’t learn something, though healthy sheep feed themselves.
Faith by its mere definition means risk (“the conviction of things not seen”). You can’t play it SAFE if you want a healthy faith. It only ignores Jesus, leaving self in control. How’s that working?
If you want more out of life, it’s time to step away from playing it SAFE and move toward trusting what Jesus is telling you by actually following Him!

A Time to Fight

Peace is maintained, at times, through war.
What do you do when you want peace, but your sworn enemy goes to war against you? Sometimes you have to go to war to keep the peace.
As believers, Scripture tells us there is a time for war and a time for peace. Our enemy, Satan, wishes to drive us off the planet. He wants to keep us from knowing, loving and becoming like Jesus. His goal? For us to stop sharing Jesus, which only does drives his gates back.
The Bible never tells us to actively seek war with our adversary, but we don’t shrink from him either. In fact, we are told to resist him by submitting to Jesus and His authority, standing firm in the truths He gives and then walking in those truths empowered by the Spirit (James 4:7-8; 1 Pet. 5:6-9). We were given scriptural armor to wear and use at minimum to hold our ground and at best to keep going forward.
Neither happens by putting down your scriptural armor or weapon! There are times you must fight, which can be rough (Mk. 9:28-29). Know this, though, victory is assured and peace will be maintained when do.