Since we are really close to Halloween, that means that Thanksgiving is fast approaching. So let’s get an early jump on being thankful. By starting to practice gratitude now, we’ll be certain to have maximum proficiency by the time Thanksgiving lands. Another benefit to practicing gratitude now is that we increase our chances of creating a lifestyle of thanksgiving rather than the seasonal experience. Finally, the Bible tells us to be thankful, not only for the obvious & good stuff, but also for things that are difficult. Let’s be sure to practice Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God
Planning isn’t one of my natural strengths, so the Holy Spirit has helped me grow in this area over the course of many years. I’ve come to appreciate that if I want to accomplish big dreams, then it’s important to develop some plans and structures for these dreams to become reality. So what happens when the plans don’t seem to work? Then what?
In the Gospel of Mark, I’ve been reading about how Jesus healed people, often not according to the human contrived plans, i.e, the Syrophoenician woman whom Jesus calls a dog, the 4 guys who break through a roof to get a paralytic in front of Jesus & the blind guy whom Jesus spits on for his healing. It seems to me that Jesus almost never follows our human plans, so it begs the question: why plan?
When you have plans to seem to go awry, maybe these ideas could be helpful:
- plans help us think in constructive steps to achieve goals & dreams. No planning = no progress
- planning with prayer is a massively helpful combination
- consider Proverbs 16:9, “The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”
Take a minute to order a copy of my newest book that can help you to stay
Our church building is in the process of moving locations & it’s an interesting experience living in this “half-way between” place. I feel like I’m in limbo a little bit because of the new place not being entirely settled & some of my stuff is still in the old place. Furthermore, I have lots of memories associated with the old building & no memories or notable experiences yet with the new building. We are also still having services in the old building, but the new building now houses all of our offices, so that’s where we do the day to day work during the weekdays.
This reminds me of what Paul says in 2Cor 5:17 about being in Christ & a new creature with the old things having passed away and new things have come. There are times and experiences when I find myself living in my old, flesh nature, even though I know in my heart that I’m a new creation in Christ. Let’s continue to move into and occupy our new nature that Jesus has purchased for us. Here are a few possibly helpful ideas to consider:
- don’t bring the old furnishings to the new creation: stuff that’s broken & dysfunctional doesn’t need to continue in our new nature living.
- celebrate and embrace: be sure to celebrate & honor the past, but wholly & fully embrace the new creation / nature that Jesus has for you now!
- keep moving into the new creation: there were a few weeks when I procrastinated moving stuff out of the old building for various reasons. From this lesson, I’m learning that it’s important to keep looking & moving toward the new creation that Jesus has made me to be.
Feel free to pass this along to your friends / family who are navigating this journey to be more & more like Jesus!
PS – here’s my latest youtube video that’s short, fun & encouraging!
Jesus left a crowd of people where He was appreciated and valued so He could help a raving lunatic. In Mark 5:1-20, we read about a man who was completely undone and thoroughly tormented by loads of demons. He was demon possessed and was living a very tortured, painful and isolated life. When he was described in these verses, I was deeply moved by his tragic existence. He would roam the tombs & mountains with no human contact, gashing himself, screaming and unclothed with no hope of reprieve or help – until Jesus came.
When we come across people in our lives who are broken, hurting, dysfunctional, crazy, hostile, erratic and even barbaric, let’s be willing to see past these descriptions and difficulties to see a human in need of love and redemption. Let’s remember that the enemy of humanity is seeking to torture, deceive and destroy humans in any way possible. On the other side, Jesus wants to work through us to bring love, healing and redemption! Let’s make sure we stay on Jesus’ side 🙂
Do you ever feel like you’re at wits end & life is a jumbled chaotic mess? For some people, chaos is a wonderful adventure & for others, chaos is nothing but torture.
This link could help you with constructive outcomes for chaos:
What’s a yucky appointment? Anything that you don’t look forward to & this can be appointments for car repair, a performance review at work, conversation with your child’s teacher, a medical procedure, etc. Unfortunately, we all have yucky appointments that are unavoidable.
So here are some helpful ideas:
- Pray: remember that the Holy Spirit is with you all the time which includes the yucky appointments
- Wise Choices: yucky appointments can be the feeding frenzy for worry & fear. Decide to chose peace rather than worry & love over fear
- Deep Breath: this is always a good physical reset to release tension
- Trust God: it always helps me to remember that as I stay in love with Jesus & true to His purposes to me, that God causes all things to work together for my good – Rom 8:28-29
I have a pretty consistent morning routine that generally helps to frame each day with sturdy Bible applications & a prayerful mindset, usually. But this morning didn’t pan out that way. I didn’t get to have my normal quiet prayer & Bible time before my family stirs. So I ran out the door to start my day, not having the rich fellowship with God that often sustains me throughout the day. I don’t like it when that happens & I’m grateful that this is a rare occurrence.
And here’s the really magnificent thing today: I’m sensing the Holy Spirit very clearly throughout this day, despite not having my morning tuning & calibrating fellowship. Of course my absence of quiet & solitary fellowship with the Holy Spirit this morning won’t become a daily habit. Nevertheless, sensing the rich presence of the Holy Spirit throughout this day encourages me that the Holy Spirit enjoys my company & interaction, not withholding that intimacy when I fall short on my end.
Be very certain in your heart that you’re deeply valued, highly treasured & greatly celebrated by the Holy Spirit!
Usually when I watch a sports program, if I let myself get engrossed, I think about what it would be like to play that sport. So when I watch soccer, I often walk away wishing I could play soccer and the same is true for lots of other sports (except football – I don’t want to play football).
Let’s also consider that the Holy Spirit probably has a similar mindset with your life. Rather than watching from the sidelines and being a spectator, I’m thoroughly convinced that the Holy Spirit wants to be a realtime participant in your life. And I can’t think of any good reason why we wouldn’t want the Holy Spirit’s participation in our daily living. Indeed, when we walk with the Holy Spirit, everything gets better, is more exciting and has a greater chance to experience supernatural power! So let’s be committed to letting the Holy Spirit be an active participant in our lives rather than a passive spectator!
To help you walk in this reality, feel free to grab a copy of my latest book for some helpful ideas and practical insights!
I’ve come to realize that the stuff God asks me to do requires God’s help. Whenever I try to do God’s assignments without God’s help, I fall short. In this learning adventure, I’m also realizing that when I say, “I can’t”, it’s usually rooted in, “I won’t”. The difference between can’t & won’t relates to both ability & willingness.
So when God asks us to do something that we lack the ability to accomplish, let’s be careful not to be unwilling. The right answer to God is, “With Your help, I’m willing & I’ll try!” Let’s have a willing heart to walk in the Spirit!
I’ve been seeing some interesting stuff about fake news. It’s not surprising to me that there’s an increase in fake news since the regular news seems to have some questionable assumptions & untrustworthy conclusions.
What we want is true news – stuff that’s objective & accountable. We want to listen / see news that has been researched & proven to be reliable. We want news that’s proven to be balanced & accurate over long amounts of time.
But let’s never forget or ignore that Good News is ground zero. And here’s the Good News:
- Jesus loves you
- Jesus doesn’t change
- Jesus is sovereign
Regardless of the fake-ness or truth of the news that’s reported, the Good News is reliable, immutable & eternal!
I’m really excited about the recent release of my newest book on the Holy Spirit,
I’ve had lots of really good feedback & people expressing how much this book is helping them to walk with he Spirit! This is massively encouraging & I LOVE IT!!
At the same time, I find myself going through some soul searching related to my walk with the Spirit. Just because I write books about the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean that I’ve learned everything about this journey & I’m an expert. That’s a dangerous pitfall & I sense the Holy Spirit alerting me to this trap while beckoning me to nestle into the Spirit’s presence more & deepen my roots into our intimacy like never before. To this end, I’m wholly committed to walking in daily integration with he Holy Spirit, deeply rooted & abundantly fruitful! I hope you’ll agree to this adventure with the Holy Spirit in your life, taking your own steps with the Holy Spirit!
We spend our days in limited & concrete terms. We live by schedules, deadlines, physical boundaries & financial constraints to say nothing of the limits in our thoughts & emotions.
But I keep sensing the Holy Spirit challenging my thoughts & limits – most of all in my perspective. I am coming to see that lots of my thinking reflects stuff from my past that I’ve perceived through faulty & flawed filters. What I keep experiencing is open doors in ways that I never anticipated & they’re wonderfully surprising! Let’s keep these verses in the front of our thoughts & emotions:
1 Cor 2:9-10, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.”
Do you ever say things & then you have to do them? This morning, I posted on FB something about being quick to forgive & slow to judge. Sure enough, I had an opportunity to practice those words not too long after I posted that. Blech.
I wonder if the Holy Spirit doesn’t tell us stuff that’s going to happen before hand, so that when it happens our attitudes and thoughts are ready to have the Fruit of the Spirit operational, rather than the works of the flesh. Let’s make it our goal to stay
so that we don’t fulfill the works of the flesh, like Paul says in Gal 5:16 🙂
Sometimes I meet people & they’re not who I thought they were. We tend to see or hear people & then create these expectations or stereotypes that are often, almost always, inaccurate. So I’m hoping to learn not to frame people in constrictive expectations nor suffocating stereotypes.
In the same way, let’s be aware that we might also make this mistake with God. It’s been my experience that just when I thought I had God all figured out, something happens that totally obliterates my nice & tidy theology / mindset. Rather than living in a predictable & safe human controlled relationship w God, let go of the reins & let God do more & far beyond what you expect!
I hate to fall but moreso I hate the possible injuries that come from falling. We can all remember those times as kids when we scrapped up our hands & knees from falling. And as adults, it’s even less fun to fall.
Where – But falling happens. We fall physically & maybe injure our wrists. We also fall in other ways – like having a mishap / fall in a hostile interaction with a co-worker. Or maybe we fall from an emotional struggle & go back to some bad habits. We can fall when there’s an area of pride, possibly our work performance, achievements, intelligence, beauty, etc.
Why – We fall because we aren’t paying attention to where we’re going. We fall because we didn’t see an obstacle. We fall because we might be in pride. We fall because we’re going faster than our abilities allow.
Help – So when we fall, what are some do’s & dont’s?
- Do clean out any wounds to prevent infection – don’t tolerate unforgiveness
- Do get up & keep going – don’t quit
- Do learn the lessons that come from falling – don’t repeat the exact same fall or mistake
- Do keep trying – don’t find excuses for getting rigid & moribund
- Do lean into the Holy Spirit to teach you how to walk together & prevent some mishaps & falls 🙂
As technology improves, I find myself becoming increasingly impatient. It I think about using a modem to connect to the web, it brings back the memories of that static sound before the connection tone. And then I think about the phones we used & how I’d stretch the cord too far & rip it off the wall. And rotary phones, well, that’s like the ultimate triceratops dinosaur!
So maybe your walk with the Holy Spirit could use some renovation & even upgrades! Please pop over to Amazon & buy new new book,
just launching today! Let’s be sure our walk with the Holy Spirit isn’t stuck in the glorious past nor overlooked in perfunctory acknowledgment!
“A rut is a grave with the ends kicked out.”
I’ve heard this saying more than once & I like it. It’s helpful to try new things because we humans can gravitate to what’s familiar & comfortable, at the expense of adventures, obeying God & new joys!
There are lots of Bible examples of people who tried new things & I’m listing a few below. As you consider these examples, take a minute to think about what might have happened, if they hadn’t tried something new:
- Peter – tried fishing in the morning at Jesus command, despite an entire night of fruitless fishing
- Moses – checking out the burning hush was a novelty to be sure
- David- killing a giant was something new
Esther – initiating a conversation with the king was both new & highly risky
- Ananais – laying hands on & praying for blind Saul was something new for Ananais.
These people took risks & tried new things because they obeyed God, even when it was uncomfortable, illogical, inconvenient & uncertain. Let’s be willing to try new things, at God’s leading!
Do you have any bad things in your life? Of course that’s a stupid question. Everybody has bad stuff, little, big, occasionally & hopefully not continuous. As much as I want to avoid the bad stuff, it’s still there. So what to do?
Here are some ideas about what to do with bad stuff:
- Pray – let’s not assume that prayer with bad stuff is a given. Praying is a resource that strengthens us, can change the bad stuff & even change us
- Focal Point – what gains our attention usually gets magnified in our lives. So keeping Jesus scoped as our focal point helps us to keep perspective
- Outcome possibilities – in Paul’s epistles & various places in the NT, we frequently read that hardship & bad stuff is often the pathway to really great things like lasting glory, perseverance / endurance, maturity, fruitfulness, (2Cor 4:17, James 1:4, Gal 6:9, Rom 8:17-18)
Bad may come & even linger but it will pass. Let’s chose to celebrate the faithfulness, provision, strength & presence of Jesus, even when we’re in a bad stuff season 🙂
I think we all have friends that fit into one of these categories. The “poof friends” seem to vanish when there’s work, adversity or discomfort. When everything is smoothy groovy, these poof friends are easily found, but they go “poof” when things get shaky. The “puff friends” are the ones that talk a lot, but lack substance, don’t follow through & neglect to keep their word. They huff & puff, but there’s little, of anything tangible to their puff.
The best friends are the proof friends. These are the ones who prove, with regularity, that they’re in the trenches with you, even in the muck & they don’t evaporate.
We all have people in our lives who are poof, puff & proof friends. But the real issue is what kind of friend are you? When I was growing up, the friend advice my parents always gave me was to be the kind of friend whom I wanted. So let’s endeavor to be the proof friend & not the puff. Or poof friend 🙂
And let’s keep Proverbs 18:24 front & center in our thinking: “There are “friends” who destroy each other,
but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”
Over the last several weeks, I’ve been purposely working out to improve my fitness, mental clarity & stamina. It’s been nice this go around for lots of reasons & I’ve experienced some wonderful spiritual lessons:
- Beginning is harder than maintaining: starting a spiritual discipline (daily prayer, consistent church attendance, Bible reading, fasting, etc) requires more effort than maintaining the discipline
- Social fun: I’ve allowed people to be involved with my exercise & it’s been very enjoyable; the parallel holds true with spiritual growth as well – we need people in our lives on this spiritual maturity journey
- Too rigorous: last week, I got a migraine largely because I was too hard on my body; in a similar way, let’s be careful to have a balanced spiritual walk in our daily living
With these suggestions, I pray that you grow spiritually & that your inner man is strengthened with the presence of the Holy Spirit – Eph 3:16 🙂