Take a Drive with Your Dad

“Anything of spiritual significance that happens in your life will be a result of God’s activity in you.” Henry T. Blackaby
I had a long drive ahead of me. I put the destination into my app and it spit back the fastest route. As I was making the decision, something happened. God showed up.
I sensed my Father wanted me to take another route, less direct, but a little more enjoyable than the one presented by my app.
I said, “Okay Lord.” And off I went. Little did I know that by going the route He picked out allowed me to connect with some friends that I didn’t know would be there!
God’s fingerprints were all over that decision and conversation. You should have seen the smile on my face.
I wouldn’t have had that pleasurable encounter but for two things. First, I needed to believe that my God wanted to be involved in such a decision as to which route I would take.
And because He does, it merges into the second point. I needed to listen and be willing to follow if He so chose to speak. And, in this case, He did.
This is your God. He wants to be involved in the everyday things that you do, like eating and drinking (1 Cor. 10:31).
How much of your God you experience is up to you. Put another way, how bad do you need God in your life? If you don’t, you won’t be open to Him getting involved.
Yes, I could have made the decision to get where I was going without His input and would have arrived at my destination in a timely manner.
But…, I would have missed out on that wonderful connection with my friends and that smile put on my face from an awesome God who cares about me enough to put it there.
Today, let your Dad be involved in your life. Who knows, He just may put a smile on your face as well.

Let’s Blow Some Stuff Up!

“Make the most of every opportunity to grow.”
I don’t know if you know this or not, but God loves to blow stuff up – mainly our boxes of who He is and what He can do.
We only know what we know when we know it. And in some cases, until what we know is blown up, we can’t make loving choices to follow Jesus.
We make decisions every day – good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. And we make them based on information already stored in our brains.
Biblically, bad decisions are based on one of two things. Either it’s choosing to act on the lies stored in our head (Jn. 8:32-33); or it’s our lack of faith in Jesus once the truth enters our brains (Matt. 14:27-31).
To get us off either starting point, God has to explode our way of thinking and/or our tiny faith. What’s His usual methodology? Suffering or challenges.
Romans 5:1-5 states that we are to rejoice in sufferings because it brings about character change. Hebrews 12:4-11 shows that we are to endure hardship as discipline because it produces righteousness and peace.
Many believers, maybe even you, are going stir crazy or are having a difficult time because of or with the CoVid-19 situation.
Maybe God is using it to blow up your boxes about Who He is – the source of truths you need to flush out the lies in your thinking.
Maybe He is using this situation to blow up your boxes about what He can do – be trusted to give you strength to act on the truths you already know.
You can stay rigid in your thinking or let the Spirit change it. You can keep repeating the same bad decisions or let the Spirit increase your faith.
Don’t let this momentous opportunity go to waste. Maybe God is blowing up some of your boxes!

Take a Risk – Go Find Some Joy

“Lord, help my thoughts get beyond the struggles of life; and focus on You.”
Spoiler alert. The next few sentences may make you feel unsafe. Please stop reading if you’re having a bad day; but quite frankly, you’d only prove the point.
Jesus said, watch it, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” Ouch. Sounds like bubble wrap popping!
He wasn’t done. He went on to say, “Rejoice and be glad” in the midst of the character attacks because you follow Him. He said do this because your reward is in heaven. (Read Matthew 5:11-12.)
Oh no! I’m actually to have the kind of faith that finds joy in the midst of suffering, even unjust suffering? Yup, and it involves taking a risk, which has become a dirty word in the Christian, let alone the secular world.
Risk means going to the store to pick up items for those who need them, hoping not to get hit by another driver, which happened to me. Risk means going to work as a pastor hoping to get paid, only to lose your house because you didn’t, which also happened to me.
Scripture doesn’t promise a risk-free safe zone type of existence. In fact, Hebrews 11:6 states that if we choose to please God we must take the risk that He actually rewards those who earnestly seek Him, which can cause unjust suffering.
Our walks with Jesus are not wrapped in plastic bubbles filled with air. Jesus said His followers would listen to and follow Him. There is simply no way of doing that without getting out of the “safe offensive-free zones.”
In the midst of life’s struggles, let’s do what a good friend of mine told to her grandchildren, “Go dig up some joy!”
People will want the Jesus we love and serve when despite the struggles, despite what others say or do to us, we have a smile on our faces put there by faith.
Be a risk taker. Go find some joy today. You will when you look to Jesus – the author and perfecter of risk takers like you.

The New Normal – Fair or Not

“Faith isn’t the ability to believe long and far into the misty future. It’s simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step.” Joni Erickson Tada
Condoleezza Rice said, “The sooner you learn that life is not fair, the better off you’ll be, because you’ll spend less time railing against life’s unfairness and feeling aggrieved and entitled, and more time figuring out how to maximize your assets, and your talents and how to deal with things that you’re not very good at.”
Some believers are facing a new normal while others have been living it their entire lives…even here in America.
Our current situation begs the question, “Is our God big enough to make all things, including CoVid19, turn out for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28)?”
He does not say that everything we face in life will be good. Sometimes, life on this planet is simply not fair!
What the Spirit is saying, however, is that we have a God who is outside time and space, and who can turn life’s unfairness – thrown at us by seen and unseen forces – into opportunities for faith steps that will change our lives today with eternal dividends.
The new normal, fair or not, will need a faith that is seen not simply stated.
In case you doubt, view a painting made by Joni Erickson Tada using only her teeth!