2% Daily Improvement

A long journey is a series of short steps.

My wife and I recently spent time in El Salvador, the home of my bonus son, Americo. While there, he took us on a hike up a volcano. This hike would gain 1,400 feet in elevation over 1.9 miles. Some hike, right?!

We were told, though, about this beautiful view when we arrived. We could either be intimidated to not take the hike by viewing it as a whole (1400’); or, we could be encouraged to go and simply take it one step at a time.

We choose the later. And oh, this beautiful view was more than worth the effort it took to get there!

Our walks with Jesus are much the same. We can’t always see the top or end of a particular hike; but, we can take it one step at time until get where He wants us to be.

Note: Life transformation is not for wimps! Our journey to become like Christ must be viewed as one small step by another small step relying on the Father’s grace and mercy along the way.

This is why the author of Hebrews tells us to encourage each other as long as it is called today (Heb. 3:13). Right now. This moment. Pray, text, call, do something to help a fellow Jesus traveler along their hike.

Life transformation is possible! Someone once told me that he strives to improve 2% each day. He could take small steps of obedience today to eventually arrive where Christ wanted him to be tomorrow.

The cliché, “the journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step,” is true. 2% is doable my friends, especially when you have others walking with you one step at a time.

Perspective Filters Perception

“Not all storms come to disrupt your life; some come to clear your path.”

What time is it? Depending upon which direction you are looking at the puddle, it could either be almost 9:00 or 3:30. Your perspective, walking toward or away from the tower, filters your perceptions, which become the basis for your decision as to what time it is.

Yet, with the perspective that you were looking at the tower’s reflection, it wouldn’t matter. You would know it’s almost 9.

Perspective filters perceptions, which affects the decisions you make each day. Question: Where is your life perspective coming from?

We know the Judeo-Christian/biblical perspective is fading fast in the Western Church. The perspective that there is an objective truth is giving way to the subjective “my truth, your truth” or a new way of saying an old theme, “It’s all relative.”

Those who hold this “new” perspective will be ripe for the man of lawlessness. He will do “miracles, signs and wonders” (2 Thess. 2:3-12) that will deceive them because they will perceive what he does to be a miracle, when it is not. It’s 9 not 3:30.

I am concerned for Western Christians. The latest data shows that 97% of those who call themselves born-again believers do not live or make decisions using a biblical perspective or filter.

Instead, they choose to make decisions with the “new” perspective, which makes them vulnerable to being deceived by our arch enemy. Their decisions, then, based on false perceptions (3:30), can lead to a lot of personal pain.

Jesus said the truth, a biblical perspective, will set you free. From what? Heartache, stress related illnesses, financial troubles, ulcers, disappointment, etc., which can come from making decisions based on a perception that doesn’t line up with Jesus’.

Save yourself some pain. Put in the work to seek Jesus through the perspective of the Scriptures. As you do, you will get to know what His voice sounds like, so you can follow Him to the abundant, though not easy, life that He promised.

The more you do, the healthier, better and more peaceful life you’ll live.

More not Less

“When life speeds up, slow down.”

Busy or fulfilling? Ask Moses. Israel went into Egypt as a family of 70 and came out a nation under his leadership.

Talk about a time when Moses’ life sped up faster than a tornado! He went from leading a flock of sheep/goats in the desert to instantaneously leading a flock of millions out of Egypt into the desert.

Yet, when his life sped up, Moses repeatedly went up a mountain to spend precious time with the Lord, despite being in contact with Him between visits. It was absolutely necessary to slow life down when it wanted to speed up.

Think about it. Does God really need our help to carry out His plans? He is unencumbered by time. He is, was and will be all at once (Rev. 1:4). All three time descriptors show us that God isn’t caught up in time. Furthermore, God will accomplish His plans on His own timetable.

As we surrender our time to Him, we can play a role in that plan. BUT, life is not about being busy for God. It’s about being with Him in the midst of doing time.

We see this in Moses’ life. When life sped up, God slowed it down by calling Moses up for a meeting.

When our lives get busy, we need more time with the Father, not less. He will get done what He wants done when He wants it done. So, you can either be busy about your stuff or be fulfilled being with and watching Him do what only He can do.

Sometimes more time with Him means less doing for Him. Guess what? He loves it.

Keep Going

“Remember what God has done to keep doing what He wants done.”

The moment we put our faith in what Jesus did (lived, died, buried and rose again), we became a new creation with a God given purpose to keep going.

We see this in the book of Joshua. The LORD freed the Israelites from slavery, just like He did for us through the cross.

He then gave the Israelites a purpose to turn the land of Canaan into Israel, based on His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He has a purpose for our lives as well – the “good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph 2:10).

Joshua took the land, but it was up to each individual tribe to take out the remaining inhabitants. It’s the same with us. Jesus bought us, but now wants to take the junk out of our lives so we can experience life today while being a better witness. Age doesn’t matter, living by faith does.

Caleb believed this. He was forty years old when he told Moses the Israelites could conquer their objective – Canaan – based on what he saw God do the Egyptians. At eighty, he was part of the leadership that followed Joshua in fulfilling that objective. It took five years, but he saw it through.

Yet at eight five, his biggest challenge still laid ahead of him. The land where he was going to live, Hebron, was a hilly region, which made fighting harder. Its cities were fortified, which meant battles could take longer. And if that were not enough, the biggest baddest Anakites (think of Goliath) lived there – the sons of Arba.

Caleb kept going, however, based on what God had already done. He believed that “with the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as the He said.” Caleb saw what God had already done, so he kept doing what God wanted him to do.

Will you let your faith in what the LORD has already done grow to keep doing what He wants done in and through you? Age is a number, but faith has its levels.

May both grow larger!

Failure to Listen Leads to Failure

“Listening comes before doing.”

Joshua heard from the LORD that He would give Joshua victory literally every place Joshua put his foot.

All Joshua had to do was listen and follow. Notice, though, what came first – listen. You have to know what to obey before you can obey it. It’s not coming up with a to-do list; and then, asking God to bless those action steps, no matter how spiritual that process might be.

Our God not only knows the road map, but the steps needed to go down that road as well…every place Joshua was to put his foot.

God told Joshua to get the people ready to cross the Jordan. Joshua followed. God told Joshua how He wanted them to cross the Jordan. Joshua followed. He told Joshua to have the men circumcised. Joshua followed. Joshua received a very unique military strategy to defeat Jericho (Joshua 6). Joshua followed.

What comes next shows Joshua’s failure to listen led to his first failure as a leader – the city of Ai (Joshua 7).

The key point here was that Joshua listened to his military advisors and not the LORD. This failure to listen to God lead to the failure of Israel’s army and the deaths of 36 Israelis.

If Joshua had first listened, he would have heard from the LORD that there was sin the camp, Achan and his family’s sin, which unless rooted out, would lead to Israel’s defeat.

Joshua failed. After a little whining, he owned it. Sought the Lord. Got the information needed to correct it; and then, went back to victory…again and again and again.

Slow down. Listen to the Lord in His Word, in meditation, and in being still to get your daily marching orders before you head into the day’s battles.

Victory comes when we do.