This is the day that the Lord has made...

This is the day that the Lord has made...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Seek Him

Miracles, signs and wonders of God are happening around everyday.  Do you see them?  Are your eyes open to the miracles of the Lord?  Just as Jesus laid his hands on the blind man and his vision was restored, our vision for Christ must be restored.

The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.   Psalm 14:2

Am I seeking God or am I waiting for Him?  Is my faith one of inaction or action?  As I look around, I see the fields are white with the harvest, waiting for me to go to work for the Lord.  Will the harvest be brought in by someone else, by itself maybe?  I think not.  If not by me, then who?  And if not now, when?

You and I, as followers of Christ, have been called to action by the Holy Spirit.  He has given each of us a special anointing that allows us to use our talents and gifts to serve the Lord and our fellow brothers and sisters.  When we function within this anointing, blessings abound, miracles happen and wonders are produced.  If, by chance, we decide that we can do something else better without the Lord, or think that the grass is greener in another pasture, surely we will find out just how wrong we are.  Maybe you don't know the feeling of being in the anointing, but I do.  I can remember a time in my life when healings and miracles were an everyday occurrence.  Sick and suffering people would show up at church or in the office for a laying on of hands and miracles would follow.  Why?  Because I knew that I was seeking God with my heart and my spirit, daily, and living in His anointed way for me.

As I look back on my life for understanding, I can see the sin and greed and pursuit of the world that led to my falling away from the anointing in my life.  I can clearly see how my selfish motivations and ideas of grandeur led me further away from my eternal purpose and away from Jesus.  I can see how the desire for the "more, bigger, better" lifestyle corrupted my thought life and my spiritual life.  I became blind and had lost my way because of it.

The Holy Spirit is heavy on me today as I seek a deeper understanding of my relationship with Jesus.  I praise God for the Holy Spirit, for His leadership and guidance, for His unconditional love, and for His desire and mercy.  And I am thankful today for God's saving grace.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you as well.   Matt 6:33

Seek Him.  He tells us to do so, He wants us to do so. Imagine how different this life can be and how wonderful eternity can be, by seeking Him now.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I saw a great quote this morning that said: Experience- it's what you get when you didn't get what you want.  I was struck by the quote because it makes so much sense.  In a world that pushes us to achieve, learn, grow and set goals, we tend to overlook all of the experience we gain along the way.  And, isn't it true that sometimes it takes more experience to finally get what you really want?

I think about my life and the work I do with people everyday.  After 14 years of experience, trying to get what I want for results with people and their health is getting easier because of my experience.  Am I where I want to be? Heck no!  But I am a lot closer because of my experience.  I think about some of the difficult cases that have given me insight into specific conditions that are now somewhat "easy" because of the experience from the difficult case.

I believe the same can be true with life in general.  Whether looking at relationships, parenting, health, managing finances or any of the other thousands of things we humans have to manage, experience makes it "go" better, with fewer mistakes and a more desirable end result.  And over time, with experience, we can keep refining ourselves, our processes, our emotions, our beliefs or values until we get it "perfect."

This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold.  They will call on my name and I will answer them;  I will say, "They are my people", and they will say "The Lord is our God."   Zec 13:7

How many times in life does it feel like we are being put in the fire?  I often ask myself and God, "Again?  Really?  I thought I learned this lesson and gained the experience I needed?"  I, in my humanity, realize that I don't know God's plan for me and my life and that yes, I am not perfect and require a lot of refining.  But, "Come on!", is what I often think.  Part of the experience I have gained over the years is recognizing that the closer I am to the Lord, the less painful the "refining" process is for me.  However, the further away that I am from Him, the more focused on me and my needs I am, the more painful and challenging the trials of life become. 

The silversmith has to go through many steps to refine silver to get it to it's purest form.  When it reaches it's highest purity, it has a reflective quality similar to a mirror in that the silversmith can see his own image in the finished, pure product.  I wonder... at what point will Jesus see himself in me?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Imagine what it was like just before the first day.  Nothing but stillness and darkness. The expansiveness of the nothingness and how it was all consuming.  Then there was light. A light to expose the emptiness of the darkness.  A light brought into the world to save the world from the darkness.   And it was good.  Then God worked for six days creating the heavens and the earth and when He was done, He said it was all very good. It wasn't okay.  It wasn't so-so.  It certainly wasn't average.  It was very good.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  John 1:3

If all things were made through him, and it is all very good, then I am very good.  I was created by God, for good.  The one who brought light into the world, created the Heavens and the earth, set apart the land from the sea, created me.  And since nothing was and is made without Him, I surely am very good.

It is hard to comprehend the power and glory of God in the minutia of our day to day life.  Nearly every moment of every day is filled  with "stuff" that can, and will, take our focus off of what is truly important, what is good.  Take a few quiet moments today to think about all the goodness God has made; how truly good you are because of Him; how good life is because He made it good. Then, remember that He is not done.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Most Holy Place

I am struck this morning by how different life has become in just a few generations.  I can remember as a child, very vivid memories, of certain "firsts" in my life.  For instance, I can remember our families first color TV.  I can also remember our first microwave oven.  I laugh about this because the thing was a tank, nearly as big as the color TV!  And I remember that we had one telephone in the house with a really, really, really long cord.  I can only imagine the amount of change and advancement my parents and grandparents could describe during their lifetimes.

What got me started thinking about all the change and newness was Hebrews 8:13:  By calling this covenant "new", he has made the first one obsolete, and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

In the first covenant with God proclaimed by Moses, there were set rules and regulations for living a Holy life.  One of them was how we were to worship God.  According to Hebrews 9, the earthly tabernacle was to have 2 rooms; the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.  Ministry was carried out in the outer room daily, but the High Priests were only allowed to enter the Most Holy Place once a year to cleanse their people of sin with blood and offerings.  In fact, Moses said that "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."

I sit here and think about the Most Holy Place, Christ's sacrifice for me and the shedding of His blood to cover my sins and I realize what an amazing and awe-inspiring God we have.  Things changed with His "new" covenant, yet they remained similar.  We still have the Most Holy Place to turn to for deeper spiritual attainment and that place is within.  Jesus told us that the Kingdom of Heaven is within. It is up to us to go to the Most Holy Place with our deepest hurts, pains, sins and contemplations.

And, with this new covenant, we have been blessed with the blood of Christ so that we do not have sacrifice blood for forgiveness.  He gave His blood, His life, so that I could be free from my sins and receive the "eternal inheritance".  Jesus did bring blood to sacrifice in a man made temple over and over for us for all of our sins.  He shed his own blood once, in Heaven, for us, for eternity.

I pray that you would turn to the Most Holy Place today and thank God for all of His gifts in your life and for the forgiveness of your sins.  And I hope that you might return to this place more than once each year for Christ died so that you might have the privilege to worship there daily.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Return Home

No matter how old you are, or how close you might live, there is nothing like a return home.  I know when I get the chance, it turns into a wonderful event, filled with good food, conversation and a gathering of family.  I think about all that I have put my family through over the years, the hardships, the burdens, the worrying, the separation.  Yet, no matter what, I know that when I go home, I will be met with love and warmth, of which for a long period in my life, I truly did not deserve.

In some ways, it reminds me of the Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son.  The youngest son, in Jesus' story, sets out away from the family to experience what the rest of the world has to offer.  In a sense, I get that he wants to spread his wings, doing his own thing, go make a way on his own. I get that.  He finds, however, like most of us, that the grass isn't greener on the other side.  That life isn't easier away from your family.  And, just like my experience, when he went home he was accepted with arms wide open, was shown how much he was loved and even had a party thrown for him.

Isn't it ironic how upset the older brother, the one that remained at home, got when the lost brother had returned home. I wonder how many times this happens in daily life?  I wonder how many times it happens in church life?  Think about it.  When a person, who knows Jesus, who lives a good Christian life, strays from the path, what happens?  Is his return celebrated, or does he remain an outcast?

I think, because I have been there, that many times it is hard for "the family" to accept that the "lost son" has changed, has returned to his faith.  This, I feel, is a reason so many God-lovng people never make it back to a church family. 

In Matthew 15:31, Jesus says as part of the parable, "My son, the father said, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours." 

I love this text because it reminds me that no matter how far I may stray, God is always there for me. And as the Creator of everything He has set it all there for me when I am ready. Not some, all.  Thank you God for your abundance which is mine, even now.  And thank you for letting a son return home.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Just Be

Is it just me or does life always seem busy?  At no point in my life more than now has my life been run by a schedule and a calendar. It seems as if each day is a blur and blends into the next because of the pace and hectic schedule of life.  I catch myself wondering if my life was meant to be so busy, so loaded with activity and focused on the "doing" of life.

I vote that instead of dedicating our lives to the "doing"-ness of life, let's move forward, spiritually, and dedicate our lives to "being" better.  Remember, I'm not a theologian nor do I have any formal training, but I think a great scriptural reference for "being" better and finding more joy and happiness in life is to look at "the Beatitudes" in Matthew. I find myself breaking down that word, beatitude, into two separate words- "be" and "atitude".  Huh.  The attitude of being?  I like it.  So I looked up the definition of beatitude and it says supreme blessedness and exalted happiness.  Sounds good to me!

The text of Matthew reads as follows:
  • Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Verse 3)
  • Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Verse 4)
  • Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (Verse 5)
  • Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled. (Verse 6)
  • Blessed are the merciful: for they will be shown mercy. (Verse 7)
  • Blessed are the pure of heart: for they shall see God. (Verse 8)
  • Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (Verse 9)
  • Blessed are they that suffer persecution because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Verse 10
Now, I know, there is a lot here.  I've been in a Bible study that spent weeks studying this text. That, however, is not my purpose.  My purpose is to learn and understand how I am supposed to "be" spiritually so that I may experience happiness and blessings. So Jesus lays it out for us, beautifully. If I may paraphrase, I am to be:
  • open to receive from the Holy Spirit
  • able to endure the the misfortunes of this life, keeping my focus on my eternal life
  • calm, patient and submissive to the Holy Spirit
  • desiring to have more of the Holy Spirit in my life
  • loving of my fellow brothers
  • focused on those things that are good, and true, and pure and right in the eyes of the Lord
  • a peaceful inhabitant of earth
  • strong in my faith and stand for what I believe
Hmmm, it all sounds pretty good to me.  Now, it comes down to following what I have been instructed on how to"be".  We've been given our direction, leadership and encouragement from the Lord so it is up to us to "be" that way for Him. Challenging, yes I know, yet, how rewarding of a life could it be if I were able to "be" as He has commanded.

I pray that you all have a blessed weekend and that the Lord may shine upon you and keep you in His glory, from this day forward.  In Jesus' mighty name.  Amen!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pressing On

When Cortes sailed with his men in search of a great Aztec treasure, he spent the many days at sea telling his men about how this great treasure of gold would change their lives.  When he and his men reached the shore of their destination, they set up camp where Cortes continued to share his message.  On the morning of the first day of their expedition, Cortes gave one last order...burn the boats.  By burning the boats, Cortes and his men had no way of backing out of their mission and no way to return to their old lives.  They were committed.

Whether this is a true story or just good lore doesn't matter.  What matters is the significance of not being able to look back or turn back from our current path.  When we accept Christ, we become a new creature with a new spirit and we are put on a new path with new goals.  As we take on this new life in Christ, we may find ourselves looking in the rearview mirror at the life once lived.  And I can admit, honestly, missing some aspects of that "old me."

No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God. Lk 9:62

Jesus tells us in Luke not to look back.  Our new life in Him, with God, is our new focus and will provide all that we need, want and desire in life.  How can, by looking backward, we move forward on a path that is straight?  It is not possible.  It is for this same reason that the windshield in our car is larger than the rearview mirror.  All of the glory, the joy in life, as well as the danger, lies before us now and that is where our focus should be.  Jesus also said "let the dead bury their own dead" instructing us to let those who have not found the Holy Spirit live in the past and deal with the ramifications of the past. The past is just that, the past.  Let it go.  Returning to the past, your old life away from Christ, has no value or benefit in pursuit of your new goals and in serving the Lord.

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining for what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.   Phil 3:13-14

Paul has it right.  Runners run the race to win the prize.  We live our new lives in Christ in pursuit of one goal: eternal life with God.  Our eyes must remain fixed on Jesus and our hearts focused on fulfilling his greatest commandments: to love Him with all our heart and to love one another the same way.  Everyday is an opportunity to make a difference, to serve God's people and to bring a little bit of Heaven to Earth.  We can't let the attitudes and behaviors of the lost disrupt our path.  Paul tells us that "their mind is on Earthly things, but our citizenship is heaven."  Stay focused people, our lives depend it.

What is it that you have been called to do?  Isn't it time to burn your boats?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I have the good fortune of spending a lot of time each week around the local hockey arena, listening to players and coaches, and learning about life, in general, viewed from a frozen sheet of ice.  One of the more peculiar phrases I hear from time to time is, "he is soft."

Let me give you some context for better understanding.  If I am talking to coach about one of his players and a minor injury he sustained, he might look at me and say, "well, is he soft?"  Or, in evaluating a player that might be trying out for the team and looking at his skills, his drive and tenacity for competition, the coach might say, "he's too soft."  So in the hockey world, soft is a derogatory word with a loose definition of being weak, not tough enough to withstand the test, not able to compete at this level. 

What made me think about this today was Hebrews 2:1,  We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.  If we are to drift away from our faith, from our relationship with Jesus, well, in some circles, it could be said that we are getting "soft."  Getting soft in our faith, just as in hockey, is a bad thing.

Everyday on earth is a challenge and I thank God daily for His strength in me to stand up to the many challenges that I face.  I believe, in someway, that the Lord was telling me I was getting "soft" in my faith and has used this outreach as a way of building my strength and faith in Him so that I might "compete" on the next level in my faith life. 

For an athlete to compete on the next level, it requires more strength, skill and commitment.  I've been told that building one's faith is much like building a muscle.  The more you use it and the more you challenge it, the stronger it gets.  I would also like to add one caveat to that line of thought and that is that if you push it beyond your current limits, it will give out!  Being strong and bold in your faith is one thing. Being stupid is another!  I've learned the hard way- the painfully hard way- that stretching and pushing your faith can have the opposite effect. 

So for me, what you are reading today is faith workout.  This, along with my daily walk with Jesus and living the principles that I share here, are pushing me to live my faith on a new level and I thank God for that opportunity.  I might ask, what are you doing to build your faith today?  What are you going to do so that you don't get "soft?"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

When In Doubt

I look around my community, I see acquaintances and people I know from church or other social avenues who profess to be Christians and I often find myself wondering, "what kind of messes, turmoils or issues does he deal with?" You know what I mean?  Sometimes I think it's just me.  It's just me that struggles with parenting issues, trying to keep my kids in line, doing well in school and excelling in their activities.  It's just me that suffers with anxiety around my business and the many economic changes that are having a negative effect on it.  I know, for a fact, that I am the only one that struggles with relationships.  And the list can go on.  But I do have my health! :)  And I know I should be thankful for that, and believe me, I am.

I know, it sounds like a pity party today and I wanted it to feel that way because no matter who you are, where you are or how old you are, there will be un-fun, difficult, and even tragic, stuff to deal with nearly every day.  Just because I love the Lord and have committed my life to serving Him doesn't somehow make my life easier, nor will it make anyone's life easier.  In fact, I would suggest it would have just the opposite effect.  For one, we now hold ourselves to a higher standard meaning that even the little things that once didn't matter, you know, like the white lies, the hidden truths, the lustful thoughts, well they all matter now.  And secondly, Satan and his crew now have a new target in a brother in Christ.  So why would we think that life would be any easier with salvation?

Is anyone of you in trouble? He should pray.  Is anyone happy?  Let him sing songs of praise.  Is anyone of you sick?  He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoints him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.   James 5:13-15

We have direct instruction to lean on our faith, at all times, good and bad.  When things are going well, life is good, then praise Jesus for the abundance and joy that is yours.  When life is low, challenges abound and the outlook is bleak, pray.  Pray hard. Pray often.  A message that I heard many years ago from a preacher that has stuck with me since then was this:  When in doubt, pray hard.

Accepting the Holy Spirit into your life gives you a weapon of mass destruction against the forces that want to bring you down. It's up to us to use it and use it often.  We have been instructed that when we pray, we are to believe that that which we are praying for has already been accomplished.  In other words, have faith in our prayers and Gods ability to answer them.  Prayer is our most powerful weapon against pain, fear, loneliness, poverty, illness and anything else that might harm us.

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you .  And when you pray, do not keep babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their man words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.   Matt 6:6-8

Pray harder.  Believe deeper.  Hold tight to Jesus for He is the Truth, the Way and the Light.  Just pray.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Enemy's Playground

Everyday there is a power struggle going on in my head. A struggle to see who gets to control my thoughts.  There are not many things in this world that I can choose to have complete control over, however, my thought life is one of those things I can control.  I've learned, over the years, that to gain control over my thoughts takes discipline and commitment, daily.

In the morning O Lord you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.   Psalm 5:3

Some have asked when I find time to write, study and pray and my response is always the same; it's the first thing I do when I get up in the morning.  My mind is fresh, my spirit is renewed and life is still quiet in the early morning hours.  If I don't find the time early in the morning, it becomes more difficult to focus my thoughts as my mind becomes the enemy's playground.

As I venture out into the world, I am bombarded with images, sounds and experiences that are not holy, that will try to take my focus off of what is good and righteous.  Everywhere I turn my mind is given the opportunity to stray, to betray me, to lead me further from God and the manifestation of His plan for my life. By starting my day with scripture, pray and gratitude I get to lay the foundation for my thoughts for the day.  The good stuff that I put in becomes background noise that covers up the enemy's attempts to distract me and lead me astray.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.   Romans 8:5-6

Being spiritually inclined means, to me, that my focus is on the Spirit and that my life revolves around that focus.  It is not enough to be focused on the Spirit on Sunday mornings or occasionally during the week because Satan and his crew are at work 24/7/365.  After studying Job and hearing a Pastor's message this weekend it has become painfully clear to me that my faith, my focus on God and my commitment to Him have to be strong to keep the enemy out of my playground.  Satan is at work to make me fail everyday and it is up to me to stay strong in my faith, courageous in my efforts and to be bold in my actions for the Lord.  With the Holy Spirit as my wing man, I have the power to defeat Satan as long as I use all of the tools that have been given to me to do so.  It is my duty as a follower of Christ to do so.  I encourage you to read and study Ephesians 6:10-20 to learn about the tools He has given us to defeat the enemy.

Jesus doesn't care what you look like, where you live or how much money you have in the bank.  He doesn't need you to have the perfect life.  He certainly doesn't want you to act as though you are the most holy. What he does care about is our heart and our mind.  He wants our attention, our focus. He wants us to love Him. If we are to continue to defeat Satan in our daily life then we have to prepare our mind, daily, to win the battle for our thought life.  Take time today to read, pray and be thankful that Jesus went to the cross for us so that, no matter what, in the end, we can remain standing!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Why me?

Know this my friends, that God has a plan for your life.  Whether you are in the best days of your life or are in a percieved "pit" of life, God has a plan and a purpose for you, and for me.  Sometimes I feel as though what God is trying to do in my life is too difficult, too challenging, too big for someone like me. I often find myself thinking that I am not worthy of the visions and passions that He has given me.  Right now I feel as if I don't have the knowledge or education or skill set to be able to do what He is asking me to do as I step forward with my faith in an effort to reach just one lost soul. 

Who am I, I ask everyday, to be able to write and share my thoughts and inspirations from my time with the Lord?  I am not a special man with any special gifts or talents.  I have failed in many areas of my life many times, miserably in some cases.  So why me, Lord?

I have battled with these thoughts for some time and I still don't have all the answers, however, I do have some strong clues. 

..let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.    Heb 12:1

The Lord has put it on my heart and in my mind that I have something to share with His people and the lost.  I made a commitment to Him to follow Him and the lead that He has offered.  I have complete faith that this is the race that he has marked out for me, even though I do not know where I it leads or where am going to end up. I have chosen to walk by faith, not by sight.

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.   Heb 12:7

I now know that the "mistakes" I've made, the losses I've endured, the pain that I've suffered and, I'm sure, the suffering that is to come, is all part of His plan for my life; to give me something to share, to give others hope and to give me a reason to lean on Jesus. 

What are you waiting for?  What excuses are you using that are preventing you from following God's will for your life? 

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scornng its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  Heb 12:2

I love and appreciate all of you for following me on this journey and am so grateful that God has given me a voice.  I pray that each of you would have an amazing encounter with the Holy Spirit this weekend, in some unique way, that can only be a God Inspired moment.  Until next week, keep the faith.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Don't Ride That Wave

Emotions are a funny thing in that they can control us or we can control them.  Most people don't fully realize how emotions can dictate their entire life.  I know people who live a roller coaster life because they are continually riding waves of emotions.  Just like a wave, emotions have peaks and troughs.  Think about the top of the wave as positive emotions, things like joy, love, harmony, happiness, peace, bliss.  The trough of the wave is the negative emotional characteristics like resentment, abandonment, cynicism and rejection. 

Understanding that a wave doesn't just go from flat, to a peak, to a trough, but instead takes time to build up and transition down helps us to understand how emotions fit into our life.  If we are continually letting the wave build in either direction, we are setting ourselves up for massive swings emotionally.  It is not healthy for anyone to try to live continuously on a peak, nor is it healthy to live in the troughs.  Emotional health comes from living in the middle, managing the waves, being able to recognize when we are going too high or too low, for that matter. 

From the Lord comes deliverance.   Psalm 3:8

One of the amazing gifts of the Holy Spirit is the settling of the emotional roller coaster.  For many, the highs and lows that we experience are a result of our perceptions of our life, someone in our life or an event that occurred in our life.  That perception in turn creates an emotional response, followed by another, and another and so on.  Before long, we are living in a cycle of elation, then depression, then elation, then depression.  If we allow the cycle to continue, we can even move deeper into dysfunction by needing someone or something to provide events, actions or words to elicit the emotional "high" we are craving.  This behavior in turn leads to a dependency on something outside of ourselves for our emotional well being.  What an incredibly unstable and traumatic way to lead your life!

One of the blessings of the Holy Spirit is that He changes our perspective from living a life focused on me to living one focused on God.  When that perspective is changed and we move to a position of living to serve the needs of the Lord rather than serving our own selfish needs, we put an end to the emotional roller coaster as He delivers us from that affliction and heals our minds.  When we accept the Holy Spirit we become new, leaving the old behind, delivered from our sins and washed clean with a new start. 

If you need a new start, a fresh perspective, let the Holy Spirit into your life and into your heart.  Maybe just a new commitment to live for Jesus as Lord of your life.  I pray that one life maybe changed today through the blessing of the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fear and Refuge

How many great stories do you have about your Dad?  Since my Dad passed away in 2007, I have been reminded routinely about experiences I had with him, cliches he would use and different life lessons he helped me to understand.  One story that I was reminded of this morning was when I was young, oh about 12 or so I would guess.  Some of the local high school athletes got into trouble for drinking and were suspended from sports.  Dad was a big sports fan and a former athlete himself, as was I, so this prompted one of his "speeches."  I remember like it was yesterday, Dad saying to me, "Son, I want you to know that if you're ever caught drinking when your in school you'll have hell to pay at home.  I brought you into this world and I can take you out!"  WOW!  What I remember most at the time of him telling me that were two things: first, what is drinking and why is it bad? And second, the fear that I had of letting him down and that I would never want to do that.  I know my Dad loved me and wanted only what was best for me, but man did he scare me!

This memory was conjured up today after reading Psalm 2 wherein it says, Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.  I have often struggled with that word, fear, in scripture.  I have many negative connotations of that word and different emotional attachments to it.  But the Lord gave me the story from my Dad today to help me gain a deeper appreciation of this concept.  Was the fear that I had a good fear or a bad fear?  What I mean is did that emotion motivate me in a positive direction or a negative one?  I would suggest that the fear I had moved me so that I was more obedient, so that I listened more and created a deeper respect for him.

What I see know, especially in this verse, is just that: to fear the Lord is to be obedient of His ways, to listen to His guidance and to be reverent of His power.  The Lord is mighty and can do many things in me and through me if I am open and committed to His ways.  He wants that relationship with me.  He earned it. He died for it.

Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.  Psalm 2:12

So in our reverence for Him and our obedient service to Him and in Him, He gives us security.  Security is something we all long for in life, yet rarely find it here. Security will not be found in another person, in an abundance of wealth or even in alarms and padlocks.  Security is found when I build a relationship with my Heavenly Father who offers me peace and protection and a love that is unending, unconditional and unwaivering.  I know that my Dad would have done anything to protect me, just as I would for my children.  Imagine how far our Heavenly Father will go to protect and provide for His?

We serve and love an amazing God!  Wherever you are in life, He is there to meet you, to lift you up, to protect you.  He doesn't demand that you are perfect or blameless.  He just wants you to love Him. Come to Him today and rest.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I Should Pray For Who? Really?

Today is a new day, an exciting day, a day of rejoicing for I made it through the book of Job!  What an amazing book of one man's enduring faith in the midst of incredible torment and suffering at the hands of Satan.  How marvelous an example we have in Job!

Haven't we all been through a time or two in our life where we felt like Job?  Asking God why?  Questioning our faith?  Wondering why he can't or won't step in to resolve our crisis or to fix this problem? 

I have often thought, and I now truly believe, that some things have to be experienced for us to gain the deepest understanding and knowledge of God's power, His might and His glory.  If only to teach us how small we are in comparison to Him, or that the power we feel we have is truly a figment of our imagination. 

One of the greatest insights I've gained from the book of Job is that I, alone, no matter how strong I may feel, how mighty I may think I am, how many friends and influential acquaintances I have or how much wealth I have accumulated, am nothing but dust without God.  He is what brings meaning and life to me.   He, alone, is where my strength and fortitude are found.  All of the other things that I have given power to or gleaned power from are inconsequential. 

In the end of the book of Job it is revealed that Job is asked to pray for his friends in. I wonder, how willing would I be to pray for my friends, especially after they spent a great deal of time chastizing and criticizing me during my suffering?  Oh what a man of God that Job was!  God then reveals an amazing blessing to Job and restores his life to one of abundance, greater than his previous life. 

What is God waiting to do in your life?  Can you feel Him tugging at your heart, moving you in an uncomfortable direction?  Is the pain and suffering you are going through a means to getting closer to God and recieving a blessing from Him?  What do you have to be willing to give up in order to recieve more of God and His blessing in your life?

I pray that your day is blessed and over flowing with God's love and abundance and that the Holy Spirit would guide you and lead you in the direction of your God-given purpose, and I pray that you would listen.

Monday, October 11, 2010

He Lives

As life moves forward at a pace that is nearly unsustainable, it is far too easy to get caught up "in" the world and it's ideas of bigger, better, more.  Pop culture is consistently pressing us to want; to want the latest fashions, to want the new advanced technologies, to want granite countertops and a hundred other things.  Take a moment, as I have lately, to think about all the things of this world that are on your want list.  How many of the items on the list are the result of the influence of the world, pop culture?  I would dare to say all of them as I know that's what my list looked like as well.

So the challenge I face, and that I extend to you, is to make a new list but this time, a list of wants that will last beyond your time "in" this world.  A list that will be impactful on lives other than your own.  My new list includes: I want my children to know Jesus, I want to serve the Lord in every aspect of my life including at work, I want time each day to spend worshiping God, I want a circle of friends that live according to God's will, I want the Holy Spirit to lead me and guide me, I want my gifts to be used make other peoples lives better.  I think you get the drift. 

Am I saying that the "stuff" of this world is bad, or wrong for that matter?  No way.  What I am saying is that all of the things that were on my list like, a red Corvette Z06, Alumacraft Tournament Series fishing boat,  iPad, 50" LG LCD w/ integrated internet, etc. were in no way, shape or form intended to serve anything or anyone but me.  I have spent the last 15 years of my life in pursuit of the stuff that I believed to be missing in my life that would somehow bring joy, happiness and fulfillment to my life, for ME.  What I gave learned is that this pursuit lead to emptiness, frustration and the feeling of struggle to continue to have more, more and more.  I often thought to myself, is this really what it's all about?  Working my tail off everyday to pay for "stuff"?  Chasing the stuff of the world is so temporary, much like when you are really, really hungry and you decide to have Chinese food.  Sure you can eat and eat and eat and get stuffed to the gills, but you know that in the next couple of hours you will be hungry again, never really satisfied. Is that how we are supposed to live everyday in our life, consuming but never satisfied?  In the past I'd had brief glimpses of understanding and insight into managing my priorities but the enemy would always win out and I'd get right back on that treadmill of desires!  I could never make the commitment because I wasn't willing to "sacrifice" not having the "stuff."

I know that my Redeemer lives.  Job 19:25

Because we have a faithful and loving God, my life has been changed.  My Redeemer has come to show me that having the desire to own and have nice things isn't wrong, it's just not a priority.  Don't get me wrong, I think it would be awesome to have all the things on my "worldly want list", but it's not the list that motivates me and moves me forward everyday.  The Lord has shown me, quite distinctively, that those things are the byproducts of a life of service to God and His people.  When we are willing to lay down our life for Him, we are blessed beyond our knowledge. First we must love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and soul!

To love, serve and give out of the goodness of your heart and for the sake of experiencing God, for me, has been the key to the most incredible feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment in life.  I was told many years ago that if I wanted to feel better about my life and myself, go help someone else.  Jesus came to teach us all how to love and serve one another.  He left us the Holy Spirit to give us comfort and direction in our service to Him.  My Redeemer me!

Take time today to re-prioritize your life; make time for the Lord daily; and open your heart to Jesus so that He may be Lord of your life today. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Making The Most of Them

It's Friday, end of the first week of the rest of my life.  Thank you to all of you who have been following and reading this first week of my attempt to get my thoughts in writing.  And thanks to those who have emailed me, texted and commented.  I appreciate all of the feedback and input as it is my true intention of my writing to be a positive influence in the world, to make a difference to someone, anyone, each day. So, thanks again.

If I had a theme song for my new passion and desire in life it would be "Hold Us Together" by Matt Maher.  The lyrics begin with, "it don't have a job, it won't pay the bills, it won't buy you a home in Beverly Hills, if won't fix your life, in five easy steps...but it's all you need."  The song is about Christ's love for you and that it is the glue of your life, my life.  That when we focus on Him and His presence in our life then nothing else matters, no other thing has importance because all of my needs will be met through His love and faith.  How many of us can say that we are dependent on the Lord to meet our needs?  Not many, including me. Yet, oh how I long to be in that position, to have that depth of faith and the knowingness that it brings to your life, that all of my needs are covered.  Go download the song and share it with someone you love.

When you accept Christ into your life and are filled with the Holy Spirit, a new being, a new life begins.  A life in which you will never be alone again.  A life in which there will always be hope and light, no matter how dark the world may seem.  Never and always are BIG words that I don't use lightly and when speaking of the Creator and the promises of Jesus, I feel comfortable doing so because I know they are universal constants, forever unchanged.  I've learned there are not many things in THIS world that we can count on which is why we need Jesus.  When that stone was rolled away, the entire game changed including the venue in which it is played.  In one moment in time, your life and my life, and every other mortal life was changed.  There is more...this isn't it.

Man's days are determined, you have decreed the number of his month's and have set limits he cannot exceed.   Job 14:5

So what are you going to do with the rest of your days here on earth?  Is life going to be as Mark Twain said, "One darn thing after another", or will it be different?  I vote that, together, we all decide that we are going to be different, peculiar, in that we start thinking and living and taking action in preparation for our eternal life.  I think about how differently I make decisions now, how I look at circumstances and opportunities, seeking counsel from God through the Holy Spirit, and what a profound impact it has had on my life. How different is my life being humbled, losing the ego (which by the way means Edging God Out) and focusing on serving the Lord in every aspect of my life in the time that I have left here.

I've been to that place of darkness.  I've been in that pit all by myself, looking up, scared, alone.  Everyone that has ever been in that place knows that the only way you get there is by having complete focus on yourself and your needs, wants and desires.  In that self-absorbed wasteland there is no room for God because the "I" is so big and so mighty.  I thank God every day that He loved me enough to show me the way out, even though I cursed Him and shut Him out.  The people He brought into my life, the ways they impacted me could never have been scripted, ever.  I now know, as a result of His love and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, that my pursuit of the perfect life was my path of self-destruction so that I could find Him. And now, He has given me a voice, a tool, and a new vision of how to make the most of the rest of my days being in this world, but not of it, and I intend to use it serving Him.

I pray that your weekend is blessed with rest, recovery and a time to reflect on your blessings and to continue to build your relationship with Christ.  I'll be back on Monday with more reflections from the life of a guy that has become Spiritually Inclined.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lift Up Your Face

A wise man once told me "The pain of regret is far worse and longer lasting than the pain of failing knowing you gave it your all."  How many times in the past month have you said to yourself, "I sure wish I would have..." or "if only I would have..."  One of my personal favorite quotes that I think I can take credit for (if not, I'm sure someone will let me know ;) is "If you wish in one hand and should in the other you get the same thing, nothing." What I mean by that is wishing and wanting are worth nothing.  The key ingredient to achievement in life is action.  In this life, we are either growing or dying; moving forward or moving backwards; nothing stays the same.  And the direction of your life is based on your intentions and your actions.  The more closely aligned your intentions are with your actions, the more joy and fulfillment you bring to your life. On the other hand, if your intentions are not aligned with your actions, the result is disappointment.  A great example to highlight this is in the area of community service.  If you have a true servants heart, you intend on serving your community to make it better and to change the lives of those around you, then the actions you take in serving your community will bear fruit for you by providing joy, fulfillment and a feeling of accomplishment for yourself.  If, on the other hand, your intention is to gain recognition or notoriety for your service, you may serve and give of your time and never be recognized to the degree that you feel you should which then leads to frustration and disappointment.  Where is your intention?  A great exercise in faith and commitment to the Lord is to check your intentions daily.  Why am I doing this?  When the WHY is big enough, the HOW will take care of itself!

It has been my observation and personal experience that many of us, including myself, are become more and more cautious about reaching out, about sharing our faith and living it and really going for it because of an underlying fear of failure or not being "perfect."  For some reason there is a stigma in our Christian culture that because you love Jesus you have to be perfect and any deviation from perfection, then, oh my gosh!  Well, as far as I know, there has only been one man who was created perfect and He has given us the ideal to look up to and work towards, but it is just that, an ideal.  I've come to the realization, or maybe revelation through the Holy Spirit, that as long as my heart is in the right place, my intentions are in line with my faith and beliefs and I am living my faith then if I fail, praise God...and if I succeed, praise God!  I have failed plenty in my 40 years, and I have succeeded plenty and the end result is that Jesus still loves me!  And I know that he always will, whether I am abundant or in lack, whether I am single or married, whether I am beautiful or not, whether I am weak or strong, He loves me where I am and for who I am. The fact that I know He loves me because of me, not in spite of me, makes me smile and gives me the confidence to lift my head high knowing that I am walking in the light of His love!

Yet if you devote your heart to Him and stretch out your hands to Him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, they you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear.  Job 11: 13-16

Where is your heart today? What are your intentions?  Are you committed to serving God as He has called you serve Him...or are you serving you?  Life takes on new meaning when these simple questions are answered in truth. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

We Are Being Watched

Each day, as my awareness grows, I have moments when I know that I feel His presence.  I pray that these moments would continue and the feelings would grow stronger as each of these moments is amazing in it's own right.

One example I can share comes from a patient encounter at my clinic.  I was beginning an office visit with a long time patient, checking her leg length, palpating her spine and getting prepared to deliver an adjustment to her lower back when I was overcome with great despair, an agony I had only felt after my Dad had passed away.  I began to pray, in my mind, quietly, for her.  I finished my adjustments and had her sit up.  In doing so I could see that she was tearful and had been for a while.  When she stood up, she hugged me and wept.  No words were exchanged, only tears.  I told her things would be better now and she should come see me in a week.

I had forgotten about the experience until that next week when I saw her name on the schedule book again.  When she arrived for her appointment, instead of lying down and waiting for me she was sitting up, smiling.  I could see her face as I moved from one table to the next.  When I got over to her she stood up and gave me another hug and said, "thank you Dr. Mike."  It turns out her mother had been ill and in the hospital last week.  She said that after she was here to see me, she felt as if her sorrow had been lifted and she just couldn't explain how much better she felt, deep inside.  I told her she felt the healing touch of the Holy Spirit and she agreed whole heartedly as we shed some more tears. 

Encounters such as this don't happen unless we open our lives, our minds and our hearts to the potential of the Holy Spirit.  We, as finite humans, put so many limitations on ourselves and, in many ways, on God.  It helps to remember that we are never alone as Christians.  Job 10:12 says "You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my Spirit."  He gives us life and in His divine guardianship watches over, protects, nurtures and strengthens our spirit.  Thank God that He is watching over me!

For many, it is difficult to accept that someone could have such unconditional love for them.  We tend to be very hard on ourselves for the mistakes we have made, the poor choices and consequences of such that we have to deal with and if you are like me, you may even battle with the thought of not being "worthy" of God's love.  The fact of the matter is that none of that is relevant to God.  What does matter is, do we love Him?  His love is free, unconditional, overflowing, all powerful and comes with a special gift, the Holy Spirit.  Someone to watch over me, comfort me and guide me.

The Holy Spirit is alive and well.  Open your heart to feel His presence and open your eyes to see His work in your life.  I thank the Lord for His amazing love for me and for you, and I pray that the Holy Spirit would make manifest the glory of the Lord in your life today.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

We May Not Have Chosen This Path

As part of my daily commitment to the Lord, I, like most Christians, make time to study and read His word.  I find it amazing how each day I can be inspired by the teachings and wisdom from the Bible.  Even on the mornings when I struggle to find the time, or maybe my heart is cold or my mind is truly closed, the Holy Spirit finds a way to soften me up and speak to me, personally.

In studying in Romans, chapter 9, Paul writes about why it appears that bad things happen to good people.  It is not hard for us to contemplate having a loving God.  We are taught that from the very beginning of our emergence in faith. What is difficult is knowing we have a creator that could make us in such way that we must suffer to show the glory of God.  I do believe whole-heartedly that what Paul writes here is the truth.  If God almighty has the power to create us each with a purpose to fulfill for his Kingdom, why then would some of us not be created to have a more difficult path? Do we not many times need to be shown and reminded how good we have it?  If it were not for such people as Moses and Jacob who had to suffer great lengths we would not have these wonderful stories of faith and perseverance to hold on to during our times of trials and struggles.  And does it not make sense that in present times, we are witness to many a Jacob and Job who are here to strengthen our faith? 

I know that our God is not a punishing God, but a loving God, and a forgiving God.  I also know that he knew me before I was born and had a life path chosen for me.  Therefore, as Paul has written, I must celebrate His Glory in my suffering AND my victory because I recognize that both are a manifestation of His presence in my life.  I also pray that you and I, no matter where we are on our walk with Christ and in our journey through life, would have the courage to lean on Him and worship Him in the good times and bad because we have a faith that may not always understand His ways, but knows that He is Lord of our lives.

I choose to live my life in His blessing, recognizing that all things are from Him and trust that He has the good and glory of His kingdom in mind when my life plays out no matter how much or little understanding I have of the events. I love to know that the Holy Spirit is my gift, as a result of His ultimate sacrifice, to be with me, to guide me, to comfort me through all of the peaks and valleys of this life.   I pray that my life may be a blessing to those around me and that I may be a shining example of His glory. 

If you haven't taken time in your walk to pray for the Holy Spirit, I would encourage you to do it today.  "Oh Heavenly father, Jesus, you are Lord of my life and I thank you for going to the cross for me and for forgiving me of my sins.  I pray today, oh Lord, that the presence of your Holy Spirit would fill me and cleanse me and make me whole.  Come into my life to guide me, protect me and comfort me and allow me to worship you in Spirit oh God. Amen."

Monday, October 4, 2010


During an incredible vacation in Door County, WI with a dear friend this summer, I had the opportunity to spend time exploring the Western shoreline of Lake Michigan and the Mink River in a one-man kayak.  What an exhilerating experience and a heck of good upper body workout!  Because of my novice kayaking skills, I decided to venture out in a "group tour" in case I had difficulties mastering the art of kayaking.  It turns out not only could I navigate the boat, but I could do so in a very enjoyable manner!

Our fearless leader of the "group tour", we'll call him "Andy", was a handsome, hung over college boy with an endless supply of little-known- facts and tidbits about the history of the region, especially pertaining to the wildlife.  In fact, the Mink River, according to Andy, got it's name because of a mink farm that was located on it's river banks.  When asked about the farm, Andy said that it had been shut down many, many years ago but if we were to look carefully along the shoreline, we may be lucky enough to spot a mink as some had escaped from the farm and have inhabited the region.  It turns out, according to Andy again, that mink are "actually quite acquatically inclined and have evolved well with their environment."  It was at this moment that I realized that Andy had lost a few too many brain cells during his libations and was feeding us a serious line of B.S.  Yet, little did I know that, Andy, being the sage he is, would be a point of inspiration in my life.

Since returning from vacation I have had many good laughs about the acquatically inclined mink of Door County and the evolution of their species.  I have also continued my journey of spiritual re-awakening which has led to many new thoughts and ideas about my life, the lessons I've learned and the blessings I've recieved.  Recently, I found myself wondering if I, or everyone for that matter, have become more or less Spiritually Inclined- to use Andy's term?  As a believer, have I relied on the Holy Spirit for guidance, for compassion, for healing, for counseling and comforting? Honestly, no, not even close to the extent that I should.  I believe I am like the rest of you, and if I mistakenly categorized you with the wrong crowd let me apologize now, in that the monotony and stress of day to day life have been moving us further and further from dependence on the Holy Spirit.  How much do we depend on our iPhone or computer?  How often do we seek answers to our problems from sources outside of God?

Our incredibly fast paced, techonologically advanced lives that are becoming more interconnected to one another yet disconnected from God are leaving a trail of spiritually empty lives.  Yes, many people plant their butts in a seat in church on Sunday. In fact, I was just at a service in the Twin Cities where thousands of people were in attendance to watch the show, the production.  I sat in my theatre-style seat and was in awe of the great production with the light show, the cool band, the incredible video displays and the hip backdrops on the stage.  While everything seemed all right, looked great and people were singing, I couldn't help feeling an emptiness.  My thoughts turned to, "why the big production?"  Is it for the Holy Spirit?  Is it for Jesus?  Is it necessary to get people to church by the thousands to have all of "this"?  I would contend that if one man of faith, a man with the faith of Job, prayed in the Spirit for lives to be touched he could fill the metrodome with people.  So why have we, in part not in whole, become dependant on the entertainment of Jesus rather than the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?

It is my true hope and intention to use this blog as my way of ministering to those who are in need of a personal spiritual revival, a return to the Holy Spirit.  Now, I am not a pastor or a clergy of any kind.  What I am is a man that has committed his life to Christ and has been led by the Holy Spirit to share my observations and insights.  I hope that I can both challenge and support you through my writing, to help you grow in faith, to build a stronger relationship with Jesus, to accept the presence of the Holy Spirit in your day to day life, and to show a life that is... Spiritually Inclinced.

May the light, and peace, and joy of the Lord shine upon you today so that you may be a blessing to the world around you.