The Twenty-First Century’s Top Ten list of endangered species must undoubtedly include, “a sincere thank-you.” Re-discover the power of giving thanks!Keep reading
The Bishop stepped to the podium with a determined stride. It was evident to all in the building that something had stirred him and they were about to hear it. With a scowl on his face, Bishop Wright, in holy indignation, boldly rebuked the College President who had just spoken.
“That is, without a doubt, one of the most ludicrous things I have ever heard,” began the Bishop, and he didn’t stop there. He continued, “How foolish for any man, much less, an educated man to make such statements as One day in the future men may fly through the air like birds.” The Bishop went on to tell the Methodist gathering, “If God had intended for humans to fly, He would have created them with wings!”
When Bishop Wright returned to his home in Ohio, he related the foolishness of the College President to His wife. He also told her how he had set things straight and soundly rebuked him in the hearing of the entire gathering. They smirked over the preposterous idea that men would one day fly through the air. What foolishness! Although they scoffed at this ludicrous idea unable to see it’s potential, two of their sons, Orville and Wilbur, would one day dream the impossible dream.
“What if?” the boys asked. “Could it one day be possible that men could fly through the air? What if? True, God did not create us with wings, but did he give us the power to create wings with which to fly?”
These two young men dared to dream the impossible and through their diligence opened the door for one of the great marvels of the modern era. Flight!
Although I have taken liberties to reconstruct the conversation, the above story is factual. By all I have read, Bishop Wright and his wife were faithful Christians and wonderful parents. They just couldn’t see! This man of God could not see the jet age which we now experience. But, Orville and Wilbur dared to dream an impossible dream and birth it into reality. If we hope to make a difference in our generation, we must also dare to dream the impossible.
I love how little children dream. Have you ever watched a small boy with a toy train? He’ll make train noises as he moves it around the track, complete with whistles and bells. He’ll load the cars then chug around and around, deliver the load and start all over. How about a little girl with a doll? She’ll talk to that toy, wash it, hug it to herself, discipline it, and change its diaper, and want you to help her take care of her baby. This is not mere child’s play; it is preparation for the future.
I don’t believe God wants us to grow up and forget how to use the power of imagination. It is a God-given gift to prepare us for ever better and bigger things. Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible.” [Mark 9:23] Solomon wrote, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” [Proverbs 29:18]
We were created to dream. Or as Walt Disney would say, “Imagineer!”
Here are three keys to dreaming God’s way:
- Dream big! It honors God when we believe HE is big enough for us to imagine big, ask big and act big. As Dwight L. Moody said, “If God be your partner, make your plans big.” The Apostle Paul wrote, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or imagine, according to the power that works in us.” Eph. 3:20
- Dream God’s dreams for your life. We must surrender our thoughts and let Him birth His ideas in us. How do you know it’s God’s vision? “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” [Ps. 37:4]
- Hold on to the dream and don’t give up! If you hold on to the promise, the promise will hold on to you! One way to hold the dream is to write it down. God said, “Write the vision, and make it plain…” [Habakkuk 2:2]
Keep dreaming! What past generations could not even imagine, you may be the catalyst to make it a reality. “For with God nothing will be impossible.” [Luke 1:37] If you stopped dreaming, let God resurrect the Imagineer in you. Let’s become like childlike, and let God train us for the preferred future He sees. It is filled with mind-blowing possibilities! Through Jesus, we can and we will accomplish the impossible!
In the words of an old Gordon Jenson song, “Signs of the time are everywhere. There’s a brand-new feeling in the air.” These words are ever increasing in their veracity. All around us, violence is on the rise. The tensions of inter-racial relationships seem to be increasing rather than growing better. Political differences divide our nation like never before in our history. Internationally wars and the rumor of wars abound. Natural catastrophes are occurring on a record-breaking scale.
Deception is on the rise even within the ranks of the church. Many seem determined to follow after signs blindly even if the source appears questionable. While signs and wonders are still valid for today, Jesus gives us a strong warning about false prophets who would come with great signs and wonders. [See Matthew 24:24] We dare not qualify something as being of the Lord just because it appears to be supernatural. Jesus instructed us to, “Take heed that no one deceives you.” [Matthew 24:4] The followers of Jesus must be discerning so that no one causes us to wander from the path of truth. The Church must avoid both sensationalism and skepticism; living open to the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit but not ignoring affirmations, attitudes, and actions that are contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said that lawlessness would abound in the last days and we see it on every hand. Many, even in the Church, want to cast off anything that brings restraint to their lifestyle choices. Under the guise of being free, they mistakenly act as if freedom equals a life without boundaries. But real freedom isn’t the right to do our own thing but the enabling of grace to do the God thing! Jesus also predicted that with a lawless attitude true love would grow cold. When people live as their own standard, they inevitably chill in their love toward others.But real freedom isn’t the right to do our own thing but the enabling of grace to do the God thing! Click To Tweet
These seven continual signs Jesus gave as indicators of the end [See Matthew 24:6-12] are ever increasing in our generation. He then goes on to talk about what can be called climatic signs. He mentions stars falling; the sun darkened, light-less moon sea and waves roaring, etc. [See Matthew 24:29-35 and Luke 21:26] But it seems to me, His most impacting point is the one most easily skimmed over in the search for the signs of His coming.
He says, “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating, drinking, marrying, and were given in marriage until the day when Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built.” [Luke 17:26-28] Jesus plainly describes the days of the end as being similar to the time of the flood and the destruction of Sodom and the surrounding cities.
What is amazing is that He doesn’t reference the wickedness of Noah’s time nor the perversion of Lot’s time. What He does reference is the preoccupation of the people with living their lives to the max! Nothing Jesus mentions is inherently sinful. Good food, engaging in commerce, planting, building, and celebrating marriage are all activities that are meant to be enjoyed. But Jesus says the people were so engrossed in the attempt to carve out the best life for themselves and their children that they missed the signs of impending doom and the door of their deliverance.Jesus says the people were so engrossed in the attempt to carve out the best life for themselves and their children that they missed the signs of impending doom. Click To Tweet
Jesus warns us, “Take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts become burdened by excessiveness and drunkenness and anxieties of life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.” [Luke 21:34] Deception is not just something we guard against from false prophets. We must guard our hearts against self-deception. James says that we can hear the word, even get excited about it and “Amen” it, but if we don’t put it into practice in our personal lives – we deceive ourselves! [See James 1:22]
Today, our challenge is to learn how to be awake and stay awake to the things of eternity while living here and now. Jesus promised abundant living to His followers and gives “who richly gives us all things to enjoy.” [John 10:10, I Timothy 6:17] It is evident that Abba delights in blessing His children in this life! But He calls us to live with our heart set on His glorious return! The hope of the Church isn’t prosperity, healing, comfortable lives or success. Our blessed hope is the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ! [Titus 2:13]
So we must hold loosely the things you enjoy along the journey! Live. But live with your heart burning with a passion for laying your eyes on the One who loves you completely! Even so, come Lord Jesus!The hope of the Church isn’t prosperity, healing, comfortable lives or success. Our blessed hope is the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ! Click To Tweet
Recently a precious believer asked me to pray with her for peace, and thankfully His peace came upon her as we prayed together. After prayer, I told her I would prepare some Scripture references on the subject and get them to her so she could read them, study them, and hopefully memorize many of them. I know that the word of God is key to our living the abundant life Jesus came to give us.
As I prepared these for her, I thought about you, and I hope this will be a help to your life. Regardless of your experience level with Jesus, I believe it will do you good to read and mediate these promises concerning the peace of God.
Most think that peace just means freedom from disturbance, the absence of strife or a place of quiet. To live with just these qualities is great but the Biblical concept of peace is far more significant. The Old Testament word for peace is Shalom which means: to be whole, safe, sound, secure, complete, finished, to prosper. Wow! I have heard that the most literal meaning of Shalom is – nothing missing, nothing broken. This is how God wants His children to live life, and He makes it possible through Jesus Christ!
1. The foundation of lasting peace is a right relationship with God through Jesus:
Romans 5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
When you know that you are in right relationship with Almighty God, you need not sweat over the small things. And everything else is tiny compared to being in right relationship with the Lord.
2. God desires that each of His children live life in the peace. Almost every letter inspired by the Holy Spirit in the Bible begins with this expression:
Galatians 1:3 “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
3. Notice that by faith we have peace with God, and we receive peace from God. But then read:
John 14:27 where Jesus says to us, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Did you catch it? Jesus promised to give us HIS peace! The very same peace He had while He lived on earth and overcame temptation, self, sickness, sin, and satan – He gives to us! He doesn’t provide us with a different peace but the same peace.
4. So we have peace with God, peace from God and it is the peace of God! So the Holy Spirit instructs us to: “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.” Colossians 3:15
5. How do we let the peace that Jesus gives us rule (take the lead place) in our life?
Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplications, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God: 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Peace is a gift from God to His children. And He doesn’t give a run of the mill kind of cheapened peace. No! He gives us His peace. But we must choose to follow the lead of God’s peace by praying believing prayers instead of worrying.
6. We decide to set our thoughts on the promises of God and the God who promised.
Isaiah 26:3“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” NLT
7. Learning to train our thought life means we choose to think God’s words and promises instead of our own words or the words of family and friends. This is key to living in real peace. The Bible means when it says:
Romans 8:6 “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
Thinking God’s way results in God’s life and peace releasing in our lives.
8. The Apostle Peter tells us that peace exponentially increases in our life as we grow in our knowledge of Jesus:
2 Peter 1:2 “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”
Therefore, we must choose to pursue more understanding of the truth found in the word of God and the presence of Jesus if we want to live a life filled with the “nothing missing, nothing broken” peace of God.
9. The word of God must become the first priority and final authority of our lives.
Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
10. Look what happens when you live in greater faith:
Romans 15:13 “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
You can be filled with “all peace” in believing! So choose to let God’s word give you a new way of thinking and bring you to a new dimension of faith where you learn to live in the power of His peace! And don’t forget that peace is also a fruit of the Spirit. [See Galatians 5:22] The spirit of Jesus in you is working to produce His peace inside you – all you need to do is learn to let His peace take the rule, and you can rest in confidence that He has you! I pray this helps you. You can be a blessing to us all if you will take time to comment other verses and other practical practices that strengthen you in His peace.
Thousands appear to be losing Jesus in the very place they should find Him. A high percentage of churched young people leave the church after the age of 18, with only a fraction of those leaving ever returning. Sadly, older ones are also dropping out at the very time they should be more and more in!
It is ironic that the first people to lose Jesus in Church were Joseph and Mary. When He was twelve years old, they went to Jerusalem for the feast. This was a yearly trip for them, and the Bible says when the feast was over, they traveled back to Nazareth, assuming Jesus was with them in the crowd of family and fellow travelers. They went a full day’s journey before realizing that He wasn’t. They had left him behind in Jerusalem.It is ironic that the first people to lose Jesus in Church were Joseph and Mary. Click To Tweet
They immediately turned back and began the search. Although the caravan had only traveled one day away from Him, it took them twice as long to find Him. They found Him in the temple, the recognized house of worship. When they questioned Jesus with concern and perhaps a bit of aggravation (as parents are apt to do when anxious about their children,) His answer is one of gentle rebuke, “How is it that you searched for Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” [See Luke 2:41-50] In essence, He was saying to them that they should have known where to find Him. He would be in His Father’s house and doing His Father’s work.
If Joseph and Mary can lose Jesus in church, isn’t it possible that we can also? The sad truth is that multiplied thousands have indeed lost Jesus in the very place they should find Him. Some, like Joseph and Mary, journey through life, supposing that He is with them—when they are in reality, they choose their path and walk away from Him. Others, like the religious leaders and learned people, stay in the Temple and marvel at His wisdom. They are curious about His ideas, but never come to know Him truly and experience His transforming grace.
We must not fall into either of these traps. Without Jesus, our gatherings produce nothing more than the comradery of inmates on death row. Without the King, this kingdom has no power to affect the needed change and release the excellent plan of the Lord.
Here are seven keys to help avoid losing Jesus in Church:
Key 1: We must be careful that formulas and tradition never replace the reality of His
powerful presence. [ 2 Timothy 3:5]
Key 2: We must love truth! Even when it makes us miserable, it will still make us free!
[2 Thessalonians 2:10, John 8:31-32]
Key 3: We must seek His way of doing things and right standing with Him as the
highest priority of our lives. [Matthew 6:33]
Key 4: We must keep His final words before ascending into Heaven the primary focus
of all we do in ministry. [Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-18, Acts 1:4-8]
Key 5: We must know and believe the love He has for us. [I John 4:16]
Key 6: We must keep the flame of His Spirit gifts blazing in our hearts.
[2 Timothy 1:6]
Key 7: We must love God with all that we are and love others as we love
ourselves. [Matthew 22:36-40]
Key 8: We must trust enough to surrender completely to Him! Laying down our lives,
taking up our cross and following where He leads. [Mark 8:34-38]
Our generation desperately needs to see Jesus: the living, loving Savior-King. We must help people of every age distinguish between pseudo-Christian religious activity and the truth of the real Jesus. He is still busy doing His Father’s work, in all who believe and yield to Him. Let’s do all we can to make Jesus famous in this generation! Let’s continue to lift Him high and do our best to get preachers, singers, musicians, organizations and ourselves out of the way so people can see Jesus and get to know Him. When they do, they will never be same!We must help people of every age distinguish between pseudo-Christian religious activity and the truth of the real Jesus. Click To Tweet