Thursday, February 27, 2020

God's accounting system

If you want to make the most with what God has given you, you’ll need to adopt an eternal perspective.
Once you come to realize that all material possessions and earthly things will burn away, it changes your perspective. The world thinks that this earthly life is the sum of our existence and that everything within is the sum of our reward. Based on that understanding, everything we do on earth matters in a way that has us pursue as much gain, reward, and satisfaction as we can because one day, it will all come to an end.
But the world is unfamiliar with God’s accounting system. He takes into account what you do in the realm of time and applies it toward your eternal future. If you are a Christian, no investment for heaven should ever be too much (Matthew 6:19-21). In other words, what you do in time will determine what you experience in glory.
In practical terms, that means sacrificing your time for the benefit of others today pays in dividends tomorrow. It also means that there is so much more to life and its value than the days we spend here on earth. Adopt an eternal perspective when you invest all that God has given you and store up treasures for yourself in heaven

Wednesday, February 26, 2020


I long to drink of you, O God, drinking deeply from the streams of pleasure flowing from your presence. My longings overwhelm me for more of you! My soul thirsts, pants, and longs for the living God. I want to come and see the face of God. Psalm 42:1-2

For most of his adult life, my very athletic friend has maintained a regular regimen of physical exercise. He told me the other day, “If I miss an entire week of exercise my body revolts in ways that create a sick feeling. My body reacts since it is used to experiencing a more significant physical engagement”. Danny ignited my imagination with the thought of my soul’s expectation for spiritual exercise. If I miss too often, does my conditioned soul suffer spiritual withdrawals?

David reminds us of our soul’s thirst for God. If our soul has been acclimated to a regular routine of hydrating on the living water of the Lord, any significant disruption can create a sense of soul sickness or nagging spiritual withdrawals. The presence of God is necessary to acquire peace for our everyday life encounters, so we daily seek the face of God. A soul longs for the Lord’s love.

“I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands” (Psalm 119: 131).

What does it mean to drink of God? I like how Henri Nouwen describes this divine exchange: “My hope is that the description of God's love in my life will give you the freedom and the courage to discover . . . God's love in yours”. The Holy Spirit fills up our cup of love in solitude and silence, so we can be a source of refreshing love as we pour into others. We empty our cup of love, only for Christ to fill us back up again with His infinite, faithful love. This ongoing process of filling and emptying restores our soul—being refreshed in silence, beside quiet, “still waters”.

Have a long term goal to seek the face of God each day as you grow your spiritual exercise routine. Don’t be discouraged if you infrequently stretch your spiritual muscles. Start with 2-3 times a week of stillness and solitude to drink in the love of your Lord Jesus Christ, so you can in turn pour love into another. Create an expectation for your soul to be cared for, so if you experience prolonged prayerlessness, you are reminded by inner groans for God. Spiritual withdrawals are meant to draw you back to the divine in loving communion. Stay thirsty for Jesus!

“On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)” (John 7:37-39, NLT).

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Chosen by God

Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord will hear when I call to him. Psalm 4:3

God chooses His children for Himself. Our relationship with our Lord is all about Him. It is all about His desires, His pleasures, His vision, His goals and His will. When we came to God we came empty handed clinging only to the cross of Christ. So in our surrender to our Savior we emptied ourselves and received Jesus. We went from self-sufficient to God dependent. We went from ungodly to godly. We went from an impersonal relationship with a distant God to an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father. God chose us for Himself.

Furthermore, the Lord wants you to know and follow His heart. He owns your life. You may be struggling with traveling overseas for the sake of His cause. But Jesus commands clearly to go into all the world and make disciples. Or you may be too busy to build a relationship with your neighbors. But your sensitive Savior implores you to love your neighbors. You are at His disposal to carry out His desires.

“Love the Lord, all his faithful people! The Lord preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full” (Psalm 31:23).

Moreover God offers a clear channel of communication for His children. He hears when we call to Him. Prayer is not passive for our Heavenly Father. He is interested in our intense circumstances and our heartfelt fears. He listens to and answers our prayers. It is not always an answer as we think it needs to be answered. He defines His will for us with His answers of ‘no’ and His answers of ‘yes’. We have no need to fear for our Heavenly Father is near.

The more we constantly converse with Christ, surely we will speak all the more boldly to men. Prayer is a purging and a preparation. It is God’s platform to launch us into fields that are ripe for harvest. It is a preparation for engagement in the lives of people. Prayer fills us with love so we can be emptied of love. We are chosen by God. What He chooses He makes holy. Without holiness we cannot see our Savior. Because He was poured out we are sold out. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Peace of mind

I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. Psalm 3:5-6

Peace of mind comes from Jesus. He is the master at putting our mind at ease with providing us with His eternal perspective. It is trust in Him that gives us peaceful thoughts. Without His peace we worry and fret. A peace-less mind is paralyzed by the thought of everything going awry. What can go wrong will go wrong because the odds are stacked against us. Without the peace of Christ we find ourselves with an overwhelming sense of dread, even despair. In Christ we have peace.

Jesus is not stingy with His peace. He gives it liberally and lovingly. Beware of the fleeting peace the world offers. It is a very cheap substitute. The world’s peace is circumstantial. His peace transcends circumstances. The world’s peace is temporal. His peace is eternal. The world’s peace leads you to escape from God and reality. His peace leads you to engage with both. The world’s peace produces a limited perspective. His peace results in a robust and real view of life. The world’s peace cannot remove fear. His peace overcomes fear with faith.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you” (John 14:27).

Once you apply the peace of Christ you have peace of mind. Peace of mind gives you a platform for living purposefully. Because you live purposely and peacefully you garner influence with others. People are attracted to the peaceful. They want to learn how to find and apply peace to their life circumstances. Your friends or family may not acknowledge it, but your peace is proof of God’s existence. Peace is a powerful apologetic for the Almighty. Your calmness during crisis can only be explained by Christ. Because you lean on Him others want to lean on you.

Lastly use your peace of mind as a gauge for God’s will. If you have peace, proceed, but heed if you lack peace. God’s peace is a green light to go forward. The absence of His peace is a red light to refrain. Be sensitive to the Spirit’s peaceful prodding to go or stay. Either way you are ok as long as the Lord’s peace is preeminent. Peace gives you a state of mind that is able to think clearly and wisely. Peace positions you for wise thinking.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Joy over resent

The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him! Luke 15:28-30

Being joyful and being resentful cannot coexist. A friend of mine was recently overlooked for a promotion at work. At first stunned at the initial feeling of rejection, they processed their pain in prayer and was able to not just tolerate, but celebrate with their colleague who was chosen instead of them. Resentment looks for reasons to complain, while joyful gratitude is able to embrace the mature perspective of Christ’s love at work in the bigger scheme of things. Resentment is relationally draining, but joy energizes.

The elder son in Jesus’ famous parable of the prodigal cannot get beyond his feelings of neglect. He is not honored for being a compliant child all his days, but instead his father throws a feast for his wayward brother. His lack of attention from his “insensitive dad” boiled into anger, seeing his lascivious brother enjoy the unconditional love of their father. A motivation of loving and joyful obedience had been replaced by a drivenness of rigid rule-keeping rooted in pride. Where fear of being left out comes true, resentment rushes in to protest and squash everyone’s joy.

“When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened. But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry” (Jonah 3:10-4:1).

Has resentment robbed your joy? Are you able to celebrate another’s fortune in the face of your misfortune? One way to better understand your heart is to ask others if you are a complainer and blamer or are you grateful? Do you take responsibility for your actions? The immature obsess over the splinter in a colleague’s eye, and seek to deny or dismiss the plank of pride skewing their own perspective. Mature followers of Jesus on the other hand, rejoice when a friend’s foolish choices lead him back home to the Father’s love. Joy celebrates a heart conversion.

My life is an ongoing struggle between being the younger selfish brother, the judgmental older brother and the generous loving father. By God’s grace I am able to resist youthful greed by being grateful for what the Lord has given me, and to look for ways to share with others my abundance of time, money and experience. My quick to judge attitude of those who have yet to travel far on faith’s rough road is tempered by the severe mercy I have enjoyed from Christ’s compassion and from an accepting community. I long to receive and give the Father’s love. Joy, not resentment, is love’s fruit. Spectacular! A surrendered life full of joy is cause for celebration!

“Forgive my failures as a young man, and overlook the sins of my immaturity. Give me grace, Lord! Always look at me through your eyes of love— your forgiving eyes of mercy and compassion. When you think of me, see me as one you love and care for. How good you are to me” (Psalm 25:6-7,