Consumer or Contributor

It’s hard to be church without contributing to it.

I can’t count how many times (unless I take my shoes off, of course) when being with the church grew my faith because we gathered together.

It’s either been someone being hospitable, singing or playing a song, sharing a scripture or something they learned from the Word, giving praise, telling how the Lord worked in their life, passing on a word from the Lord, praying, confessing a sin, asking for prayer, or in a multiple of other ways.

The Spirit has used them all to deepen my love for and steepen my faith in Jesus.

Sure, we can be blessed by listening to music, watching a service or listening to a podcast. This makes us a healthy consumer, but not necessarily a healthy believer.

Think about this for a moment. There is no armor of God for your back. So, who has yours? You simply can’t know or see everything. Yes, we have the Spirit; but it is the Spirit who gives gifts that can only be used in another person’s life.

Times are coming when healthy consumerism will fail you. There will be days when meeting face to face will be the main or maybe the only way to maintain a healthy growing faith.

You have something others need and they have something you need to grow in Jesus. The persecuted/contributing church knows this truth. Do you? Be a contributor, not a consumer.

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Entertainment or Transformation

Prepare for change when miracles come.

God prooved over and over again to the people of Israel that He is God. It took ten miraculous signs and wonders to humble the world’s super, Egypt, to get that message across. Yet, they were not ready for change as they consistently wanted to go back to their old lifestyle. Are we the same?

After leaving Egypt, they set up camp next to a water source. Wonderful, right? Nope. They had the Egyptian army on one side and water on the other. What did they do? Complained. Do we?

The LORD got them through that one, only to let them run out of water to see what they would do. Instead of being changed, they grumbled. Do we?

God got them through that one, only to let them run out of food – bread and meat. Instead of growing in their faith in the LORD, they whined. Do we?

Joshua and Caleb were changed. Are you and I? Jesus died and rose from the grave (miracle) not to be celebrated once a year with great spectacles (entertainment), but to transform our lives with every choice we make today.

God is not in the entertainment business! He doesn’t do miracles for our oohs and aahhs. He does them in order to change our lives through greater faith in Him. Need a miracle? First ask yourself, “Am I ready to be changed?” If not, don’t expect one.

God can get water from a rock and bread from dew. Yet, it’s not about the water or the bread, but about the God who provided them and changing your life because of them.

We live in very “interesting” times. Those around you need to see your changed life, not entertainment. They need to see real hope, not hear oohs and aahhs. Pray for the miracles and the changed lives that will come because of them, starting with you and me.

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Praise Before Victory

“Praise is the beauty of a Christian. What wings are to a bird, what fruit is to the tree, what the rose is to the thorn, praise is to the child of God.” Spurgeon

When do you praise the Lord, before or after He’s changed your life? Yes.

Yes? Praise is not just about when victories come. It’s also about praising Him in the midst of the struggles that lead to those victories.

Last week was particularly hellacious for me, literally. The attacks were almost comical when I stopped to think about them. I had a project that needed to be done by a certain date, which meant I needed to access a certain program. I couldn’t access it on my laptop but I could with a mobile device even though I used the same login and password! Seriously?!

It was stressing me out. Yet, His word says to praise Him in order to get my focus straight. He will bring victory in the present just as He had in the past. Thus, praising not only takes place after a victory comes, but in the midst of the struggle leading to the victory as well.

The Father is God. Period. The Father’s plans always come about. Period. He is the same today as He was yesterday. Period.

Therefore, I stressed out because my focused was messed up. I was in the midst of the struggle when my wife pointed this out. Ouch! She was right, though.

I needed to praise Him because His plans are always accomplished. And sometimes, His plan is to simply get me to praise Him in the midst of the struggle so I can also praise Him after it comes.

Take a step of faith. Remember what He has done in the past and praise Him for it in the present. It’s the best time to start if you want peace rather than stress.

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The Cross, the Empty Tomb or Life Focused – Pt. 4

You become what you focus on and what you focus on only gets bigger.

Peter was upset, big time. Jesus had just asked him for the third time in a few short moments, “Do you really love Me?”

Peter was the same old Peter, at that point. Instead of believing an empty tomb, he doubted what Jesus said would happen. Instead of going to Galilee, he hunkered down in a Jerusalem room out of fear.

Peter focused on his past mistakes, rather than the power Jesus offered in the present through the resurrection. As Peter experienced that power, though, instead of putting his feet in his mouth, he stood on them and up for Jesus.

The Father changed Peter. His words, his stance and life were changed. And, just as the Father changed Peter’s life, He can change your and my life as well. It’s time to believe it!

Stay focused on the truth the Spirit gives you, not the cross (forgiveness for failures) or the empty grave (disbelief). Your focus and focused choices in the Spirit’s life changing power are crucial. You do become Who and what you focus on.

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The Cross, Empty Tomb or Life Focused – Pt. 3

You become what you focus on and what you focus on only gets bigger.

Can Jesus do what He promised? Our words and actions reveal whether or not we believe He can.

Once Peter proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah, the King of Israel, Jesus started talking about His own future. He would suffer, be killed and then rise from the grave after three days.

Peter actually rebuked Jesus for saying such a thing! He didn’t or couldn’t believe what Jesus said was even remotely true. Peter’s current thinking as to what the Messiah should do was being challenged by Jesus, which was be king in Jerusalem then.

And yet, no matter how many times Jesus said this to His disciples, men and women alike, they simply didn’t believe Him even after seeing an empty tomb! Their old way of thinking/focus was getting in the way of the bright future He promised them.

Is that you and me? Has the Spirit been asking to transform an area of our life; and yet, we are stuck looking at an empty tomb in disbelief, “It can’t happen to me, can it?”

Yes it can. Jesus promised not only to give us eternal life, but life today as well. He wants to take our worn out and useless character and replace it with an eternal and victorious one, His.

Where is your focus – your past mistakes (the cross), your disbelief (the empty tomb) or on the life giving words of truth about His outcome for your life? Whatever you choose will sink deeper into your brain, which only makes change come that much sooner or take that much longer.

Choose to focus/meditate on the life giving truths the Spirit gives, the ones that will set you free/change your life. And then, take a leap of faith by putting that truth into action when it’s decision time.

Change will come one focused choice at a time. And oh yeah, Jesus is alive!!

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