RSS

Category Archives: Eternity

I Don’t Know How He Does It!

I’ve been seeing Him do it consistently for over thirty years now! My guess is that He’s been doing it since time began! It’s amazing to me how the Lord can inevitably, flawlessly and decisively, cause good things to happen …right in the midst of what we might think are terrible circumstances. It started for me in 1984 in what I thought was the worst time of my life. At a time when I couldn’t see my way out the Lord miraculously came through. And, I certainly didn’t know it at the time but it has turned out to be, undoubtedly, the best time of my life. It wasn’t the funnest….if you know what I mean….but it was definitely the best. Because it was there, at that point, that the Lord rescued me. It was there that my relationship with Him began. A relationship, by the way, that I didn’t even know you could….or should have.

I really think the Lord just loves to do this kind of thing. He loves His kids, there’s no question about that! And He loves the opportunity to bless us at anytime, really. But, it appears that maybe He loves to bless us when we think and feel that there’s nothing good that can come in our circumstances. I have a dozen or more stories, and have heard at least a hundred others from people I know, of how the Lord did some amazing things in the midst of life’s greatest tragedies. In fact, if you think about it, the very worst thing that has ever happened in the context of time (without question), was when Jesus died on the cross. But for you and me….it turned out to be the very best thing that could’ve possibly ever happened!

Maybe you’re in the middle of one of those crises in your life right now. I can almost guarantee that the Lord has something very good for you in the near future!

It’s just routine for Him!

Tell me your story.

Try these, too:

What If It’s Not to ‘Break’ You,….but to ‘Make’ You?

Making the Best of a Bad Situation

Walkin’ the Floor

2016WordpressSignatureSM2

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Accepted or Valued? There’s a Vast Difference!

One of the hard things in life occurs when we don’t feel accepted. And, I imagine just about everyone of us has experienced it more than a few times. It just doesn’t feel good to be on the outside…especially when the ‘in’ group is our family or friends and people we care about. Because of our insecurities (and most of us have ’em) it’s possible to have that feeling pretty often. But, many times that feeling is just something that’s perceived on our part and not really legitimate,….or even intended on the other party’s part. But we can still experience the blunt pain of it anyway. Being accepted on the other hand has a very positive feel to it. 

There’s plenty of talk around the church these days about acceptance. I hear some people, from time to time, kind of ‘braggingly’, alluding to the fact that they accept everyone, as it’s supposed to be some real badge of nobility. It’s not rare to hear someone say, “Yep, we accept bikers, poor folks, alcoholics, drug addicts, ex-cons, those that are all ‘tatted’ up, gays, lesbians….”, and the list could go on and on. I wanna say, (but I don’t!) “Well, ain’t that what we’re supposed to do anyway?!” I don’t have much tolerance for bragging about something that oughta be commonplace, and a ‘no-brainer’,  for the church!

But, just deciding to accept someone….I don’t think is enough! I mean, from the position of not being accepted to being accepted, that’s a big thing, no question. It’s huge!! But, just accepting someone has the feel that we’re just kinda ‘tolerating’ them ’til they change to be like us. (which in most cases they really don’t care to do….and, seriously,…..who could blame ’em!) 

But, something really supernatural happens when we go beyond just ‘accepting’ them to actually ‘valuing’ them!! Valuing someone is going to the next level. It amounts to seeing someone through the eyes of the Lord. When we can do that and then show it through our attitude….and actions with them….amazing things are apt to happen!

I’m glad the Lord didn’t just accept me! I’m really glad that He’s not just ‘tolerating’ me! I can tell by my interaction with Him, and how good He’s been to me, that He’s gone way beyond that…and that He’s put a huge amount of value on me. (….incredibly undeserving on my part, I might add!) 

Oh, and those people that you ‘accept’…..they can feel whether you actually value them or not. And, if you don’t….enjoy their presence now ’cause more than likely they won’t be there long!

Check these out: (click on the highlighted link to read)

FOMO

“Obviously, I’m God’s Favorite!”

The Thing About Unconditional Love

“It’s Not Your Job to Fix Them!”

2016WordpressSignatureSM2

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An Often Neglected Part of Prayer

Most everyone’s aware of the importance of prayer. And, the Bible is clear, for those of us who believe….it’s not “if” we pray….but “when”. It’s one of those non-negotiables for us. Like the Nike slogan….we “Just Do It”! It’s how we appropriate that which is already ours’ but which we haven’t attained, as of yet. Interesting thing about prayer….faith is ‘built into’  the activity of prayer. In essence you’re asking Someone you can’t see….to do something you can’t do. And, that right there…..that’s faith!

He must love answering our prayers! In fact the Bible says that before we say it….He’s busy about doing it. He’ll take every opportunity He can to grow and nurture our faith. It’s just more evidence of how good a Father He actually is. We’re encouraged in His Word to  ‘let our requests be made known to God’. My experience has taught me that when I pray in generalities…He answers in generalities. But when I pray in specifics…..He answers specifically!

But, there’s a part of prayer that I hardly ever hear anyone talking about. Simply put, prayer is how we communicate with God. And, if you’ll think about it….genuine communication, productive communication is always a two-way street! Good communication involves a balanced mixture of talking and listening. And, while expressing your heart to Him is important….it just might not be as important as what He has to say to you. I’ve learned that the more time I take to ‘listen’ to the Lord…..the less things I need to ask Him for! It’ll work that way for you, too!

With that in mind it makes all kinds of sense to work on perfecting our ability to hear Him. In doing so there’s a few things that’ll help. 1) Understand that He wants to ‘talk’ to you even more than you think you need to hear from Him! 2) Don’t make it difficult! He’s a Father…you’re His chosen kid!  3) He’s not limited to ‘speaking’ in an audible voice. Learn to notice all the ways in which He speaks. (your circumstances, dreams, visions, through other people, through His Word…and the list could go on and on!)

The Father doesn’t waste words. He always speaks the things we need to hear the most. He always knows just the right thing to say at just the right time!

So, the next time you pray…invest a little time in listening. You’ll be glad you did!

Here’s some more that’ll be helpful:

Listen More …….. Learn More!

You’re Better at Hearing the Lord Than You Think!

“What’s The Lord Telling You?” Part 1

“What’s The Lord Telling You?” Part 2

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

He Won’t ‘Put More On Ya’ Than You Can Stand

There’s a common misconception, in my opinion, on a certain passage of scripture that’s used over and over. It’s usually construed this way, “God won’t put more on you than you can stand”, or “more than you can handle”. And, while that’s a nice thing to consider, I submit that the truth of it is not nearly as clear as most would like for it to be. In fact it’s not what the verse is talking about at all. (The verse in question is 1 Cor 10:13)

For starters, just so you won’t get the wrong impression of God, it’s not the nature of a father to put unreasonable, or unbearable things on their children just for the heck of it. That doesn’t make sense at all. And, don’t forget….He’s a lot better Father, by far, than we could ever be. And, the folks that say God puts hard things on you to teach you a lesson……are a ‘long ways off’ from reality! They really need to STOP it!

But here’s something that experience has taught me. He really doesn’t ‘put more on you than you can handle’, but He consistently allows you to go through things that you don’t think you can handle! In fact, and don’t get the wrong idea here, I actually think He kinda likes it! For, it’s in those times of desperation that you’re reminded of how much you really need Him. You’re a lot more prone to trust Him at times like that. THAT’S what He likes!

So, don’t be so quick to blame Him for ‘putting something on you’….and remember, as a Father, He’s a lot more interested in building character in you, than making you comfortable!

Check this one out, too:

Making the Best of a Bad Situation

2016WordpressSignatureSM2

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Making the Best of a Bad Situation

One sure fire thing you can count on in life is the inevitability of problems. It’s universal, in fact, and no one’s immune! These challenges come in a broad variety including, but not limited to, physical challenges, relationship challenges, health challenges, financial challenges and many, many more. Problems come in all shapes, sizes and forms, some are temporary while others may last a lifetime. Some might have simple solutions without a lot of stress, while others can be life altering, and in some remote cases…..even life threatening.

The list of root causes of these trials we experience in life is not a long one:

  1. We may be experiencing hardship because of our own decisions/actions
  2. It could be the result of someone else’s actions
  3. Happenstance (Stuff just happens!)
  4. Demonic activity
  5. The sovereignty of God

Nobody likes problems; I’m no exception. But what if these trials of life afford us an extreme opportunity to grow spiritually, …and as a human being?? If that’s true, and I believe it is, maybe our problems are not as bad for us a they ‘feel’. Here’s a few ways to look at your dilemma, to help you ‘make the best of a bad situation’.

Your trials:

  1. Tests your faith; God wants you to ‘know’ the quality of the faith you have!
  2. Helps build character; Few things are more valuable! It’s simple; trials build character!
  3. Help to ‘mature’ us; It helps immensely to bring us into our true identity!
  4. It may feel like it’ll ‘break’ you…..but it has the potential to ‘make’ you!
  5. Reveals impurities. It helps to reveal our ‘blind spots’.
  6. Have great potential to uncover ‘good things’ in you that are waiting to be exposed
  7. Some of the Father’s best work in us occurs during these times!
  8. In times of ‘desperation’ we’re likely to consider God. The Lord is ‘there’ in the midst of your trials!!
  9. Conforming Value; It’s all part of us ‘being conformed into the image of Jesus’!
  10. Experience is a great ‘teacher’! Gives you experience to help others with similar problems.

So, you see, our problems hold some great opportunities if we can make the ‘stretch’ to look at them from a little bit different perspective. How you react/respond to your problems could very well determine the duration of them. They have the potential to bring out the best in us. And, …..your perception of how bad your situation is…..may actually be miles away from reality!

 

What If It’s Not to ‘Break’ You,….but to ‘Make’ You?

2016WordpressSignatureSM2

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Shift Happens!

 Well, I bet that got your attention….for all the wrong reasons, too, no doubt! Lol. I’m not talking about the bumper sticker that you’re so familiar with, although there is some common ground between that and what I’m writing about today.

I was having a conversation with a young guy about a week ago. He’s a very sharp young guy…and one that I’d consider a ‘son’ in the Lord. He has tons of potential, and for his age displays a lot of character and maturity. I often think about how far ahead of the ‘curve’ he and a bunch of other young ones, are….compared to where I was, spiritually, in my mid to late ’20’s. It’s truly a blessing to see…and to know that I at least have had a little bit of influence with them is extremely rewarding.

He’s at a ‘juncture’ in his life; not a bad place at all but a place where he really doesn’t know exactly what to do. It’s the Lord that has brought him to this place….and it’ll be the Lord that’ll direct him from here. I do appreciate these young guys ‘leaning’ on me at times like this but I’m determined to never take the place of the Lord in their lives. And, while, many times I know exactly what decision they should make….I nearly always think it’s best to let them…and the Lord flesh it out. It seems to work and I really think the Lord likes that scenario a bunch better. But the most important thing that happens is the person learns to put his dependency on the Lord…..and not on me. That’s very, very healthy!

Times like these form and shape young believers (old ones too!) into their true identity. That’s where the title of this blog comes into play. When we’re faced with an issue, a problem or a dilemma and we arrive at the point of decision….there’s a ‘shift’ that takes place. The new understanding brings us into a ‘new’ place, a new point of perspective; we automatically begin to see things different. And in more ways than one….everything changes!

So, roll with it! And, keep in mind that anyone who’s serious about following the Lord is going to face a lot of times like that. It’s just a normal part of ‘the journey’. So the next time you see the ‘other bumper sticker’, let it be a reminder that ‘Shift Really Does Happen’!!

If you’re interested in one of my very favorite topics, “Hearing the Lord”, you really should read these:

“What’s The Lord Telling You?” Part 1

“What’s The Lord Telling You?” Part 2

If God Has Your Heart, He Can Get Your Feet Where They Belong!

You’re Better at Hearing the Lord Than You Think You Are!

2016WordpressSignatureSM2

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s Either a Blessing or a Curse!

I know exactly which of the two it is….but, seriously, there are times that I wonder. As a kid there were a couple of my classmates that were killed in accidents, another one or two that died from vicious diseases. Joe Wingo, a ranch kid, was flying his kite when it got tangled up in some electric wires. He climbed up on a tank with a metal rod to try to untangle it when he was electrocuted. Joe Glenn Crane, just about the sweetest kid you’ve ever seen, was healthy as could be in the first grade….but by the third grade he’d contracted Muscular Dystrophy and was confined to a wheelchair. Both died before they were in junior high.

I was broken hearted both times; didn’t understand. Their funeral services were devastating for me. So, early on in my life, I subconsciously developed an attitude that would cause me to avoid funerals at any cost, no matter whose they were. It worked for me for a long time, or at least I thought so. It wasn’t long after I began doing ministry that I was asked to do my first funeral. I immediately thought, “No Way”! But the deceased person was the Granddad of a close personal friend so I felt like I couldn’t say no. I was serious in prayer with the Lord because I knew that I couldn’t do it without His help. I made it through the service just fine but didn’t really care if I ever did another one or not.

Well that was about 28 years ago and since that very first funeral I’ve done in the neighborhood of 360 more. Here’s my struggle; I can’t separate myself from the feelings that the family members of the deceased have. You’d think that after that many funeral services it’d get to be pretty routine. Not so for me. In fact it might be a funeral for someone that I don’t even know. I’ll get emotional just about every single time. When little grandkids come by the casket after the service is over and they’re breaking down with tears…..it’s about all I can do to contain myself. In some strange way it’s as if I’m feeling exactly what they feel. In fact about ten ears ago I did a service for a daddy and his little boy whose vehicle was t-boned by semi truck. It was hard and I remember driving from the church to the cemetery (about 15 miles) and telling the Lord, “I don’t want to do this anymore”. It was if the Lord spoke immediately my spirit, “Andy, you don’t have to do it anymore….but if you do I’ll give you a greater anointing to do it.” Well, here I am today…..still doin’ ’em!

I think Jesus was like this. It appears that He so identified with the feelings and the emotional state of people that he literally felt what they were feeling. There hasn’t been a funeral yet that has felt ‘routine’. Every single one is somebody’s grandmother, somebody’s dad, or somebody’s little girl. My next one….a little 16 year old boy, only child, a good kid that suffocated in a grain trailer. I’m already feeling what the family is feeling. I think I’ll be able to comfort and console them because of it.

It’s not a curse…..I know it’s a blessing. It just doesn’t feel like it a lot of the time!

Here’s a similar blog:

“Known”

2016WordpressSignatureSM2

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hell Fire, and Brimstone!

Hell fire and brimstone; that’s the term some use for preaching, or ministry, that threatens the listeners with the dangers of hell if they don’t turn from their wicked ways. It’s a style of ministry that, sadly, still finds its way in churches today. I’m not sure what the proponents of that kind of preaching think its merits might be. Personally, I don’t think much good comes from it. But you know, some people will make a decision based on their fear of hell, I guess, and I’m sure that decision is as valid as any other. It’s certainly not my style, and it’s not in any direction I’m headin’ towards.

I had a conversation a few years back with someone who commented about how much he liked that kind of preaching. He went on to say that people out there that are living in sin need to hear it in that ‘turn or burn’ terminology so they’ll, out of fear, run to God! I kinda got the feeling from this guy that he fancied himself to be pretty holy, and righteous, and that his own personal approach with his friends not walking with the Lord was the “hell fire and brimstone” method. I really wanted to ask, “Well, how’s that workin’ out for ‘ya?”, but I didn’t! But, I can make a pretty calculated guess…...It ain’t workin’! It also makes me wonder if the guy ever spends much time with the Lord at all.

The worst thing about that kind of ministry is that it conjures up a totally inaccurate image of Who God is, in the first place. That’s a pretty serious mistake, if you ask me. Here’s the thing; You and I will ‘portray’ to the world the “God we know. That’s just another good reason that each of us should connect relationally with Him as Father. If He’s been portrayed to you by one of these HF & B preachers you’ll believe He’s mean,‘unappeasable’ and out to get you. That would be a gross misrepresentation, to put it mildly!

The gospel needs to be presented in the ‘right’ way! It is, after all, “The Good News”! As we connect personally, and relationally, with the Father we’ll find the Truth that the Bible talks about.

It’s the goodness of God that leads people to repentance.

Check these out:

You Got to Me Too Late!

It Ain’t Just “Good News” …… It’s “Great News”!

2016WordpressSignatureSM2

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Here’s Our Chance!

“I came here looking for something I couldn’t find anywhere else.” It seems to be the heart cry of a lot of people these days who are willing take a chance on the Lord…..or maybe even willing to take a chance on the  church. We’re living in, what seems to be, very uncertain times. But there is a growing undercurrent of people looking for some ‘real’ answers to their real problems. They don’t want the ‘religious’, churchy, ‘holier than thou’ thing….and who could blame ’em? That never actually worked for anybody,anyway! No, they’re looking for something genuine, authentic, real. They don’t know what it looks like, or feels like……but they know what it doesn’t feel like. The church in America really needs to adjust to be relevant for the times we’re in. Our message is timeless…..but the methods of reaching the world are stale…..and everyone knows it except the people in the church. For some reason they’re the last to get the news. We won’t get many chances with these ‘searchers’; we better get it right!

Many of these people are desperate, desperate enough, in fact, to gamble and see if this God they hear us talking about exists or not. They’ll try, and try hard. At least that’s what I’m seeing of late. But when we make them feel like they can’t make it or make them feel like they’re not good enough…..they’ll believe that’s how God sees them, too. They think, “Hey, you don’t know me, but you don’t like me…..and you say you care less how I feel.” If we don’t act like we care and make them feel important ….they’ll, in turn, believe that they’re not important to Him. They won’t hang around for that! ….and again, who could blame ’em? Tragic!

Deep down, they all wonder if the Lord could really love somebody like them. They have an inner sense of destiny (that’s a God-given thing!) but they haven’t found anyone who can give them the key to help unlock those secrets. They’d say, “I ain’t tryin’ to be nobody, I just want a chance to be myself.”.

Here’s our chance! Let’s get it right!

*Oh, and by the way…..“I came here looking for something I couldn’t find anywhere else. I ain’t trying to be nobody, I just want a chance to be myself.” That’s the first two lines of the #1 country song by Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakum, “Streets of Bakersfield”! click here to watch.

Share these blogs if you find them helpful! Thanks….AT

2016WordpressSignatureSM

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“It’s Complicated!”

I hear that a lot these days. It’s a common admission on FaceBook and other social media sites, and it’s usually used to describe one’s relationship status. It may just be me….but I think I’d steer away from any relationship that’s ‘complicated’. If I were to give advice to any of those claiming to be in a complicated relationship, it’d be to simplify. I think that’d make it easier on everyone involved. I’d love to see just one person on FaceBook describe their relationship by posting….”It’s Simple”!

I imagine a lot of people might also classify their relationship with the Lord as complicated. I mean, He’s a pretty profound Entity to say the least. In fact, in His infiniteness, He could decide to make Himself totally un-understandable if He wanted to. But, it’s just not in His makeup to do so. He could reveal Himself to be so complex that it would totally boggle the human mind. He definitely has that capability, too. But, again, it’s not anything He’s interested in doing in the least.

He has never wanted His relationship with us to be complicated. That’s one reason He reveals Himself as, Father. And, He doesn’t just reveal Himself as Father only because it’s a relationship that we can understand, and relate to….although it does go a long ways in helping. Nope, He reveals Himself as Father…..’cause that’s Who He really is!! It’s the clearest description of Him and of His nature.

Religion has a way of complicating our relationship with the Father…..but don’t let it! When you’re feeling like it’s getting complicated….just revert to the simplicity of that Father/son, Father/daughter relationship that He deeply desires to have with you. Enjoy! 

And when anyone asks you about that relationship you’ll never, ever have to say, “It’s Complicated’!

Check these out:

Simplicity! It’s All I Have to Offer

If You See God “Wrongly”…….You’ll Never See Yourself “Rightly”!

2016WordpressSignatureSM

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: