Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Have you ever heard the old saying, garbage in garbage out? It's true. Whatever garbage is in your head is going to come out of your life. What are the right thoughts?
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
What are the right thoughts? I'm so glad you asked. Philippians 4:8 gives us eight thought filters. These are the eight things you should allow in your mind only, and everything else you should not. Paul tells us that we can find joy through right thinking. He says, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." What is Paul saying? I don't know that it's exactly limited to these eight things, but these are eight filters. Paul is saying we should only think about these things, and not the opposite of them. Not ignoble things, but noble things. Not impure things, but pure things. Not things that are horrible, but things that are excellent. Not things that are praise-un-worthy, but praise worthy. Think on these things. What's he saying? You have to filter your mind and make sure you're thinking the right thoughts.
If you want to have joy in your life, it starts right here, it's the battle of the mind. You have to filter out the things that are going to tilt your life in a negative direction. Only allow yourself to think about things that tilt it in a positive direction. I'm not talking about the name-it-claim-it stuff, because they take that crazily. What I'm talking about is the right kind of holy, godly thinking through these eight metaphors, and having that shape how you think about God, yourself, and life. Do you do that? Can you do that? For some of you, you may need to write down these eight things. You just need to get an index card and write down, "true, noble right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy." Then, you need to say, "Am I thinking these things?" It's going to take time because guess what? It took you as many years as you're alive to start and keep thinking the way you're thinking. But if you think the way God wants you to think with these eight filters, it will slowly but surely change your life. You'll have more joy in your life. Filter your thinking with these eight great filters.
Let's pray. Father, help us to think along the lines that you want us to think. Help us to think through these eight things in our life so that they become filters. Let them filter out everything that's not that and filter in only what these are. We'll find more joy there. Our world always wants to bring us down. Like crabs in a bucket, people want to bring us down with them into the bucket. We want to crawl out and we can crawl out of the bucket when we practice the right kind of thinking. Biblical thinking. Help us to find joy in that, God. Help us to not give up if it doesn't work in one day, because it takes a long time to change your stinking thinking. And I ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
Friday, August 13, 2021
Until our minds are completely renewed and our minds are completely transformed, which will be on that day when we are with Jesus, our minds will still think that we are in charge of our own show. At least to some degree, we all think that.
Friday, August 13, 2021
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
It can be really easy to fall into the tendency of thinking, "This is my life. This is my body. I do what I want, go where I want, do what I need to do, what I like when I feel like it." Basically, that's sin in a nutshell. No matter how long we've walked with Christ, we still have those tendencies. Until our minds are completely renewed and our minds are completely transformed, which will be on that day when we are with Jesus, our minds will still think that we are in charge of our own show. At least to some degree, we all think that.
But the Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that we are temples, that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in us when we have received him from God. Paul says that we are not our own, we were bought at a price, and therefore, we're to honor God with our bodies. This is incredible to think about. Our bodies have become the temple of the Holy Spirit. If we believe, if we've committed our life to Jesus Christ in faith, if we've asked him to forgive our sins and if we're following Him, then we belong to Him. We are his, and these bodies have become the temple of the Holy Spirit. He actually lives in us.
Another astounding thing to consider in all of this is that God gave us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a gift from God to those who believe and he actually dwells within us. What that gives us is a motivation. This motivation comes from remembering that we were bought at a price. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sin. Jesus died on the cross so that he could give us His Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ paid that price for us. He loved us enough so that, by giving our lives to Him, we would have His Holy Spirit live within us. When we consider that we were bought at a price that is the motivation for living our lives in these bodies for Christ. It is the motivation that we have to honor him with our bodies. So today, because Jesus Christ lives in you, you can rejoice. He's close to you. He's with you, he lives in you. So today, we have the motivation to serve him with our bodies. Why? Because we were bought at a price and therefore, we honor Christ with our bodies and what we do with them.
Friday, July 9, 2021
From the moment of conception, right through to birth, God knit us together in our mother's womb. Think about that.
Friday, July 9, 2021
In verse 13, David writes this about God, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." The God of the universe, the one who knows you so well, so intimately, he is the one that created you. He created you bit by bit, cell by cell. From the moment of conception, right through to birth, he knit us together in our mother's womb. Think about that. When you knit something, it is not a fast process. It requires concentration, it requires specific moves that are calculated to have a certain outcome. God knit you together very patiently in your mother's womb. He knows you that intimately, stitch by stitch. So, when you consider how you're made, when you think about the complexity of your body, the way it works, knowing that that God intimately spent time with us, putting us together, how could you not but worship Him? It is just such an incredible thought to me. When I think about the sanctity of life, this passage for me speaks so much about how important life is, and that God has purpose and a calling on our lives, as we'll see in a moment.
Continuing in verse 15, "My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." See, God knew you before you were born. While you were being made, he was right there in the womb with you. You were known by God before a single day of your life came to be. Life doesn't begin at birth, life begins at conception. You were known by God every single moment of your life throughout your life. They were written in his book. He is writing the story of your life.
Continuing in verse 17, "How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! If I were to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand - when I awake, I am still with you." When you think about the way that God loves you, when you think about the depth of His love and the magnitude of His love, it is truly awesome. It's like counting grains of sand. It's impossible. If you've ever gone to the beach and tried to count grains of sand, you know it is impossible. That's how many thoughts God has about you. The way God thinks about you is unmatched by anybody else. It is precious, it is priceless, and it is infinite. Infinite are the thoughts of God towards you.
Let's pray. Father, thank you. Thank you that you have known us. You knew all the days that were to be ordained for us before one of them came to be. You knit us together, stitch by stitch, in our mother's womb. And you continue to desire to know us, to be with us, to go before us, and to be a part of our lives. We thank you for that. Father, thank you for the thoughts of love that you have towards us, and thank you that you, the God of the universe, would care enough to work in our lives. Father, that is an encouraging thought. It is a sobering thought. We love you for that, we worship you, and we give you thanks. We ask this in Jesus' name, amen. Hey everyone, until next time, don't just have a great day, but go and make a great day.
Monday, July 5, 2021
Think about that, for a moment: The Creator of the universe, the Giver of all life has a desire to know you firsthand. How can he possibly do this?
Monday, July 5, 2021
This week, I want to talk to you about Psalm 139, one of my favorite Psalms. It was written by King David, and today we're going to take a look at the first six verses of Psalm 139. It says, "You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain."
Let's break it down one or two verses at a time. Starting in verse one, "You have searched me, Lord, and you know me." There's something comfortable right there. In that very first verse when David talks about being known by God, that's comforting, because it's comforting to be known by someone. To be known by people who know you and love you. And David says that the Lord has searched him and knows him. Think about that, for a moment: The Creator of the universe, the Giver of all life has a desire to know you firsthand. How can he possibly do this? How does God know you inside and out? It's because God is omniscient. That's a big word that basically means he is all-knowing. God is omniscient. He knows everything about you and me. He knows everything about everything. The psalmist knew this about God.
And he continues in verses two and three, when he writes, "You know when I sit, and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out, and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways." See, God knows when you do things, he knows not only what you do, he knows when you do them, and he knows your thoughts. He knows where you are going, where you're coming from. You are never out of God's sight. You can try all you want, but you will never be able to be out of God's sight, because his loving eye is always on you, like a parent watching their child. I remember when I was a young dad, and I would take my kids to the playground when they were younger. They would try and hide behind the slide or one of the items on the playground, and then they would peek around the corner to see if I was still watching them. And that's how it is with God. We could try all we want to escape from God, but his eye is always on us, but not in a weird Big Brother kind of way, but in a loving way, in a caring way, because he desires to know us.
David continues. In verse four, he says, "Before a word is on my tongue, Lord, you know it completely." God knows what we're going to say. And he knows the thoughts that go into what we're about to say. He knows it completely and perfectly. He knows our motives. He knows the thoughts behind the words that we're about to speak. Verse five, "You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me." He goes ahead of you, looking out for you, looking out for pitfalls. He's behind you, guarding you, watching you. His loving hand is upon you. When he uses that word hem, think about the hem in your pants. It's the idea that God is both in front of you and behind you, hemming you in, covering you on both sides, from front and back at all times.
Verse six, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain." Not only could you never fully comprehend such knowledge that God has, but it's too profound for us to handle. But here's the thing. It's true, God is madly in love with you. He wants to be a part of your life, every moment of your life every day, and not just in the good times, not just in the bad times. He wants to be in your life during the ugly and during the triumphant times. Why? Because he loves you.
Let's pray. Father, thank you for this Psalm that David wrote for us to help us to understand how you know everything about us, and you desire to know everything about us because you love us deeply and profoundly. We thank you for that encouraging thought and the fact that you're always with us, going before us and behind us, knowing everything about us. May we take comfort in that today, knowing that we are so deeply loved. Thank you, Father. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. Hey, I hope you guys found encouragement in this today. Don't forget: don't just have a great day, but go and make a great day.
Friday, May 21, 2021
It's important that you remind yourself of appointments, dates, holidays, etc. But even more importantly, you need to find a plan to remind yourself of the greatness of God.
Friday, May 21, 2021
So I want to talk to you about a brief reminder of God's greatness from Psalm 63:2-3, Listen to it, take it in, and think about how great God is. The Psalmist says, "I have seen you, God, in the sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better to me than life itself, how I praise you." He talks about God's power, glory, and love. Think about the power of God - he's omnipotent. Think about the glory of God and the unfailing love of God. God is great. He loves us when we don't deserve it. He glorifies himself through us, and we get some of the credit sometimes. He's all powerful. He's over your life, over this world, and over everything that happens, even if it doesn't make sense. For that, we need to be reminded of God's greatness. Maybe you need to put that verse on your phone every day when you wake up. God is great. Maybe you need to write yourself a note and put it on your mirror for when you shave, or put on makeup, or whatever you do in the mirror. You need to remind yourself of God's greatness.
When you do look at what the psalmist says, when you remind yourself of God's greatness, he says, "Your unfailing love is better to me than life itself." In other words, the Psalmist says he would rather have God's love than be alive. In fact, God's love is what gives us life. Are you in love with God? Have you remembered his greatness? Have you forgotten? Have you let the distractions of this world pull you away? I think of the great hymn, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full into his wonderful face. And the things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace." I would even add greatness there.
Maybe you need to have a little heart-to-heart with God, spend a little time with God. A little reflection about God's greatness. Because I know this, when you acknowledge God's greatness, God will bring greatness into your life. Think about how good he's been to you. Think about all the things he's done for you. If you're a Christian and if he did nothing more than forgive your sins, put you in right relationship with Him, and promise that you don't need to do anything more, that would be enough. And yet, he does so much more. So, let's thank God for his greatness.
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
We live in a day in which people do not have firm values and convictions. We have people that just want what they want. It doesn't matter their beliefs, it doesn't matter their convictions, they just want what they want.
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
We live in a day in which people do not have firm values and convictions. We have people that just want what they want. It doesn't matter their beliefs, it doesn't matter their convictions, they just want what they want. They will say whatever they need to say, believe whatever they need to believe, do whatever they need to do, to get there. We live in a day in which people lack convictions. So today, I want to talk to you about convictions.
What is a conviction? It is a concrete, immovable belief on a certain issue that you believe either this is the right way or this is the wrong way. It has the idea that you are absolutely determined and clear in your views on certain areas of life. In some areas of life that we talked about in our previous Life Lifter, you can have a personal conviction, but it's not an absolute conviction for everybody. Instead, here I'm talking about the convictions you have for your life. Do you have convictions in your life? Things that you will absolutely never do? Things that you will find acceptable to do? The Bible says having convictions will keep you from sinning.
I want to look at James 4:17. It says, "anyone that who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." Anyone who knows the good he ought to do—that is, convictions—and doesn't do it, sins. By the way, that tells us that there are sins of commission, sins that you commit, and sins of omission, sins of something you should do but didn't do. So sin isn't only something bad that you do, but it can also be something good that you withhold or don't do. Here's the point. It says when you know what to do, and you don't do it, it's sin. And here's the thing, we should all have convictions, and then our convictions should lead to actions.
So, do you have convictions? Do you live by them? Is there a line you will not cross? Or, is there a line that you write in pencil so that you can use an eraser to move it when it's convenient? It's really tough, isn't it? It's tough to maintain your convictions all the time. Perhaps its convictions like "I will not lie." That's hard. Or, "I will not steal". Or, "I will not talk behind somebody's back." We have to have convictions and we have to live those convictions. So what convictions do you have? Are you living them? I will tell you this: sometimes living with convictions is difficult in the heat of the moment, at least in the short term, but in the long term, it's the only way to live. So I hope you'll live with convictions and I hope you'll have good convictions to guide you.
With that, let's pray. Father in heaven, I pray that you'll help all of us have convictions, convictions based on the truth of the Bible, and that you'll help us live them out every day of our lives. Help us to have lines we will never cross. Help us to have convictions on the truth that we will only try to live by the truth and that we will not live in lies. And when we violate those convictions that we'd have very short accounts with them. And I pray that we'll have well-drawn lines, clear lines that we don't even flirt with. We don't even get close. We don't even tippy-toe over the line just to see what it's like over there, but that we will stay far away from them. I pray that you'll help us do that because we will live a more satisfying life in the long run even if in the short run, sin is pleasurable. We thank you for this in Jesus' name. Amen.
I hope you are a person of convictions and that people around you see it in your life. Thanks and have a great day.
Friday, March 5, 2021
As some of you know, I lost both of my parents back in November to COVID-19. I just think back to that time; there was so much communication going on when my parents were sick between my sisters and I and between the doctors and other family members.
Friday, March 5, 2021
As some of you know, I lost both of my parents back in November to COVID-19. I just think back to that time; there was so much communication going on when my parents were sick between my sisters and I and between the doctors and other family members. Then, when they passed, it was just a barrage of texts and phone calls, making funeral arrangements, and all of this is going on in the middle of a pandemic. But you know it became, at least for me, overwhelming (and in some ways, a good overwhelming) because people really loved on us and were checking in and caring for us. However, in another sense, it was a very busy time. Life was still going on. I was managing tensions at work, making sure that the kids were getting to where they needed to go, and there was a period of time from when they passed until we were able to actually have the funeral.
If I can be honest with you, I became very overwhelmed through all of this and I don't know about you and how you feel when you get overwhelmed, but it's in those moments that God really wants us to draw close to Him. We see this in scripture with Jesus and His disciples. In Mark 6:31 , they were in a very overwhelming situation. There were people that needed to be fed, people that needed to be healed of sickness, and people were coming and going. There were false teachers that needed to be rebuked, there were demons that needed to be cast out, and there were lives that needed changing. This is what Jesus came for, and all of this was happening in the shadow of the cross that Jesus was to face. So in Mark 6:31, we're given a glimpse of this. It says this: "Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'”
You know, this is an invitation by Jesus for you to go with Him. To be with him, the Son of God, the Creator of the universe, the lover of your soul. He is inviting you in those times when you're overwhelmed to go away with Him. He wants you to be alone with Him. He doesn't want others around; it's time to forget about the kids for a moment, forget about your spouse, and maybe your parents that you're taking care of. He wants you to spend time with Him by yourself in a quiet place. Put the phone away. Don't worry about the office for a moment. I'm not saying that you totally neglect all of these things, but Jesus wants us to spend a part of our day with Him. May I suggest the first part of our day, and not a place where there's a lot of traffic, like a coffee shop or maybe your house at 8:30 when people are running here and there. Instead, go to a quiet place where you can listen for the voice of God. God can hear clearly from you what's on your heart. Why does God want us to do this? So you can get some rest and some peace, and so you don't feel so overwhelmed with the burdens of life. This is what Jesus has in mind for us to give us that rest. This is my go-to verse when life becomes stressful, when I'm overwhelmed, and when I can't focus. That happens often, but I have to remind myself to spend time with God. As I mentioned, for me, it's in the morning. Maybe for you, it's in the evening, you know, before the kids get up and people are showering and they have to get on a bus and go here and there. That's when I have to focus. That's when I can focus with God. That's my appointment with God.
When is your appointment with God? How do you get away and spend time with God? I'll tell you, my days tend to go more smoothly when I put first God and I listen to Him. When I have my Bible, I pray and I ask God to speak to me from what I'm reading so I can apply that to my day. When I do that, my day tends to go a little bit better. My days are still crazy, but the way I handle the craziness is markedly different than the days that I don't spend time in my Bible with God, by myself in a quiet place. How do you handle that craziness? How do you get away and spend time with God? Thanks for following along with Life Lifters this week. Don't just have a great day. Go and make a great day!
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
If you don't know your identity in Jesus Christ, you're never going to live a full and complete life. You're forgiven, you're going to heaven, but you want to live a full and abundant life. And you'll do that, when you appreciate your new identity. The seventh thing is that your new identity in Christ means that you are
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
We're continuing to talk about 10 new things that come into your life that form your new identity when you become a Christian, your identity in Jesus Christ. And so far, we've talked about six of them. And today, I want to talk to you about a seventh amazing thing that changes your identity and gives you a new identity in Jesus Christ.
Life will not make sense if you're living out your own will. Life only makes sense when you live out God's will. "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven", according to Jesus Christ, and the Lord's Prayer, you're enlightened. You can figure things out through Christ. The Bible even says, you have the mind of Christ. Does that mean you're omniscient, and you know everything? No. It just means that you can begin to think like Jesus does. You can begin to think like God does and know his perfect will. You're enlightened. And when you're enlightened, you can figure out what God wants you to figure out. It's a great feeling.