Work the Problem

Expectations can lead to fewer distractions.
I was reminded of an important truth as I read an article on the Yukon Quest – a 1,600km dogsled race from Whitehorse, Yukon to Fairbanks, Alaska.
The author wrote, “The question is not whether bad things will happen during the Yukon. It’s how the mushers (dogsled drivers) will react to those bad things.”
Mushers must physically and mentally prepare for bad things to happen on the trail. This allows them to stay focused on finishing the race by working the problem and moving forward.
We live in a fallen world. Life happens to every single Jesus follower. Why, then, should we be distracted from loving Jesus when bad things happen?
If we’re mentally prepared, we’ll allow the Spirit to use those “bad things” to transform our lives into more Christlike character qualities.
Bad things come from one of three sources: our bad choices, other’s bad choices or the enemy throws the kitchen sink at us (Job 1).
If the problem is self-inflicted, be prepared to ask the Spirit to expose the lies in your thinking and exchange them with truths from God’s word. Then when similar situations arise, ask the Spirit to empower you to obey the newly inputted truth.
This way, you eliminate the bad thing from happening in the first place as the truth set you free from the bad choice that caused the bad thing to occur.
If the problem arises from without, ask the Spirit to show you something about Jesus you need to know. This way you can make a good choice to love Him in the midst of the bad situation.
In so doing, you become more like Jesus despite what others do, which keeps you free from the negative emotions, thoughts, words and actions that others wanted to create in you.
So, don’t be surprise when bad things happen. Work the problem and keep moving toward becoming more like Jesus in the midst of them!

Complaining to Changing

Oh, cool your jets!
One year my family took a vacation to Arizona…in the summer! Yes, it was hot and muggy and we loved it.
While there, we visited a cavern near Williams. It was fantastic! One minute you’re sweating bullets and the next you’re putting on a sweatshirt.
It was funny, though. One minute we heard people complaining about the weather; and then, a mere few minutes later, we could hear praises coming from their lips.
Yes, they were complaining as it was hot. But, they did something about it! They went to a place that was cool, a savior if you will.
Jesus is The Savior. He is the one who can fix our hot challenges through being our refuge – a cool cavern of escape.
Prayer is not a cliché. It’s diving into the cave to cool off. Meditation on the truths the Spirit gives is not Christianeze. It’s the solution that keeps our minds at peace when we’re hot from losing.
If want to stop losing, don’t complain about it. Do something. Go to the cool cavern of Jesus and the Truths He gives you to make you more like Him.
To complain or to get better – that’s the question. Your Savior is the answer.

You’re Known

Look up and see how much He loves you!
On a recent trip to Mammoth Lakes, CA, my wife and I took advantage of God’s pure source of entertainment – the heavens.
We got comfy under warm blankets while getting almost horizontal in our lounge chairs. Drank hot coffee as a cool breeze kissed the tree tops as well as our faces. Listened to Spirit-filled instrumental music as a nearby creek rushed down stream.
We even held hands as we watched stars falling (okay, okay, burning space debris), planets “shinning” and satellites making their way through the night sky.
It was during this very entertaining movie that my wife made a thought provoking statement, “God knows each one of those stars by name.”
This scriptural truth (Ps. 147:4) hung in the air. Our Father had actually given names to each and every one of those stars.
Biblically, names denote knowledge of the subject or person by someone else. Thus, our Father had intimate knowledge of each and every burning ball of gas when He named them!
If He cares enough to name inanimate objects, guess how much He cares about you, His child? He didn’t send Jesus to die for the stars. He did, however, do so for you.
And if He loved you that much, do you think He’ll ever leave you alone? Nope.
You are not and will never be alone! Ever. Allow that to sink in. He knows more about you than you do – yesterday, today and tomorrow; and yet, He will always walk step for step with you.
So, the next time you start feeling alone. Look up. Smile for the camera. Your Father loves you and He’s not going anywhere!

Not for Wimps 2

It takes gutsy faith to walk with Jesus.
The Lord told the Israelites when they entered the Promised Land they would have both rest and warfare.
Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? As you look deeper, though, you’ll find another reason to trust Jesus and His word. He talks truth about the reality of life: they could be at rest in the midst of war.
Joshua took out the major players when he brought the Israelites into the Land. He left only mop up operations to each tribe. The Lord did this to teach each generation how to be at rest while fighting.
He knew Satan would not relent in his fight to build his kingdom at His people’s expense. They would need a gutsy faith, not a wimpy one, to stay at rest while at war.
He knew that if His people chose to walk with Him, they would defeat their enemies. Their minds, souls and hearts could be at rest because victory was assured.
They had plenty of examples in their history too. King David had peace in the midst of war because he walked with God. Solomon, on the other hand, who didn’t experience war until later, ended up in idolatry!
Galatians 5:1 reveals that Jesus has taken out the major players for us and has set us free!
It’s mop up operations time. And if we to choose to ask the Spirit for a gutsy faith in Jesus, we’ll walk in peace while facing life’s battles.

Not for Wimps

It takes courage and strength to pray, especially when you don’t why!
Here are just a few things that took place on the day my friend left this planet.
One, all his pain and suffering from that deteriorating body was over. Two, he left that shell behind while his true self/person/soul is with Jesus. Three, all sorrow from a broken life with its bad choices is eternally gone. Why? Four, when he saw Jesus, he became just like Jesus, sinless.
Five, though not the last, his eyes were truly open for the first time…ever. He is now seeing spiritual warfare as it really is.
Daniel 10 shows that at this very moment war is going on in heaven between angels loyal to God and those who are not. We discover from Revelation 12 that Satan stands day and night in front of Jesus’ heavenly throne accusing us for all our faults.
Didn’t expect that one did you? This warfare goes on unabated until Satan and his followers are thrown into the Lake of Fire, and God creates a new heaven and a new earth – a place without warfare.
At this very moment, my friend can’t ever lose another fight. But you and I certainly can!
This explains why the Spirit tells believers to “be alert and to always keep on praying for all the saints” right after describing how to win the earthly spiritual battles we all face (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Ever wonder why prayer is described as a wrestling match (Col. 4:12)? Now you do! Prayer is not for wimps!
We MUST be ready to enter the heavenly battle on behalf of each other. Be strong, courageous and ready to pray for each other’s victorious choices!