No Doubt

Common sense requires a common sense.
Our country’s current predicament started back in the 60’s when God was removed from our nation’s schools – a location where every American passes through.
I’m not talking about Jesus, but the general term for God. I’m not talking about prayer either. I’m talking about a higher power, an ultimate authority with a set of absolute values.
Once God was removed, a common set of shared values slowly eroded, leading to a fractured society where everyone is their own God making their own rules; thereby a common sense disappeared as well.
I lay the fault for this squarely at the feet of Christianity. Notice I didn’t say Jesus. The word Christian means to be a follower of Jesus, which takes listening to Him, not a church’s dogma, not a pastor’s beliefs, not a denomination’s distinctives, and certainly not a “Christian” culture.
Christianity has never been about adding Jesus to us or adding Christian behaviors to our current list of to-do’s. No, scripturally it’s about removing and replacing us with Jesus. As this happens, those around us will see Him in us. In fact, this is what glorifying God means – to reflect His character in us.
I failed the other day to the point I asked a bank teller’s forgiveness. Chris leaked out instead of Jesus. A friend of mine experienced just the opposite. He was walking downtown when a group of people he didn’t know, but knew of him, climbed all over his case because Jesus pours out of his life.
Jesus said to rejoice when the latter happens! Why? It shows that you truly belong to and are being a Christian – a follower of Jesus. This should remove all doubts as to whether or not Jesus knows you and will one day take you home.
People need Jesus, not “Christianity.” You follow Jesus and let Him transform their lives. You let His love pour out of you and hopefully they will see Jesus. I know next time they will at the bank.

Get it Out!

Get it out so healing can come in.
Our enemy loves it when we hide. He encourages us to keep our challenges to ourselves. He does this through the lies, “No one will understand.” Or, “If they knew the real you, they would reject you.” And when we believe that lie, he buries us in guilt and shame.
Do you know how much energy is expended in keeping a secret a secret? It wears you down; thus, leaving you with little energy to do anything else but keep that secret hidden.
Yet, Scripture tells us to get it out! In fact, Philippians 4:6-7 reveals that as we talk with our Father about those hurts done to us or the hurts we have caused, His peace will take over the job of protecting our hearts and minds.
Furthermore, James 5:16 states that as we talk about anything and everything with at least one trustworthy person, their prayers can bring about our healing or wholeness.
Our hearts need protecting. Talking about our“stuff” with the Father and a loved brother or sister in Christ can go a long ways to experiencing the peace and security you long for in life. As someone else guards your heart, you can experience energy you never thought existed.

Reverse Engineer Such and Such

Positive believing not positive thinking.
I bet you do what I do all the time, “Stop doing…!” You fill in the blank. You feel the Spirit’s conviction. You know what you’re doing is sin/self-destructive. So now you try to stop making that sinful choice.
Sounds spiritual doesn’t? It kind of is. Yet, the problem is that saying what you’re not going to do actually reinforces that very choice in your brain; and, it makes it harder to stop making that destructive choice the next time.
So if we say to ourselves, “I’m going to stop doing such and such.” Guess what neurons/thoughts we’ve just reinforced in our brains? Such and such!
What we need to start staying is, “I’m going to do….” Tell your brain the truth the Spirit wants you to do. By doing so, you’re reinforcing the truth thought/neuron that will eventually grow and completely set you free from the old programming/flesh.
Scripture calls this “renewing your mind. Put another way, it’s reverse engineering. We reverse the order of our thoughts and words. We tell ourselves, “I’m going to do such and such (the truth);” rather than, “I’m going to stop doing such and such (lie).”
This is positive believing not positive thinking. You’re telling yourself the Spirit-given truth and then acting by faith on that truth believing it will set you free as Jesus says it will.
Start your own reverse engineering process. Focus on the truth that brings freedom tomorrow today.

New Day Old Fight

God doesn’t say, “Be spiritual;” but, “Walk with Me.”
This past weekend, the Spirit shone brightly into my life – through a friend who was afraid to say something and a speaker who I had no previous plans to hear.
Yet, the Lord brought together a timely combination of events that gave me a life-changing insight into a certain struggle of mine.
Why did He wait until now for this breakthrough? I don’t know. But it sure gave me a greater insight into Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Each day is a new day with new choices. But, in certain areas of our lives, the same old fight is waged. This can cause such tremendous discouragement that we want to quit fighting.
Paul encourages us, though, to keep making contrary faith choices empowered by the Spirit. Eventually if we keep fighting the flesh/the old programming, we’ll harvest Christlike character.
As we are already in Christ, in reality all God wants from us is to keep walking with Him, even though it seems like we’re fighting the same old battle with each new day.
Be encouraged. Trust in the promise of this Scripture – in God’s timing, whether here on earth or when we see Jesus, victory indeed comes!

Ashes Before Beauty!

Pain, something for everyone.
Scripture likens believers to soldiers. Soldiers take orders and fulfill them, regardless of what is going on in their personal lives. The following is a great example of being a soldier of Christ Jesus.
This woman lost her husband, who was her high school sweetheart, to heart failure a little over a year ago. Now, her home was recently burned to the ground in the Carr fire. I share her response with permission.
“Ashes for thousands of years have been attributed to pain, loss, and suffering. After the death of a family member, natural disasters, or trying times, they were used to symbolize grief.
“This world can be wicked and we all go through periods of time where everything hurts. One blow after another, pain feels relentless and breaks down every part of the human heart and soul.
“As we sit with our ashes, there is a light shining towards us to release our pain. Our heavenly Father has seen all our deep sorrow and gives us hope that the mourning we feel will be gone. He will trade “beauty for ashes” when grief is replaced with pure joy (Isaiah 61:3).
“After everything I still believe there is so much good waiting in the world. I believe every day can bring joy through the deepest pain. To love hard and smile so bright it penetrates through the dense smoke.
“This life has brought so many ashes. I can’t wait to see the beauty that rises from these ashes.”
Pain is a known reality to soldiers. And yet, they must still focus on the commands of their commander. I hope you’re both challenged and encouraged by such an amazing example of someone striving to please “the one who enlisted” her despite what life brought her way.