Tag Archives: inspiration

Don’t despair over problems

4Problems are God’s way of leading you to something better.

If you are in God’s kingdom, He leads you. Sometimes His leading is through painful circumstances. We don’t like it, but we’ll like the place where He brought us. Adversity is a path to bliss.

Job first suffered, then he was blessed. Joseph was a slave and then in jail, then he was blessed. Daniel was exiled from his homeland and forced into the king’s service, then he was blessed. Before he became king, David was a fugitive in the desert.

Don’t be caught off guard (as I have). Feel God’s peace in midst of the turmoil.

Love is patient

love is patient

Extremely contrary to the world’s concept of love, the Bible says that love, first and foremost, is patient.

A centerstage in scripture is Paul’s poetry on love. And the first thing he says is: Love is patient.

Here’s the rest of the passage:

Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. — 1 Cor. 13:4-8 NIV.

It makes a wonderful inscription at a wedding. But DOING IT after the wedding — years after the wedding — is what’s needed. What’s needed is we be patient with each other. I bet there wouldn’t be so many broken homes if we would practice true love (patience).

The most advanced fighter was made by crashing

success through failureWhen my dad was young, he made a model plane. It crashed on its first flight. He went home discouraged.

But he kept tinkering with planes and eventually became and engineer at Lockheed’s secret skunkworks working on the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter. The project was dubbed “hopeless diamond” because fly-ability was made extremely difficult by the separate small faces of its surface that didn’t reflect enough radar to register on a screen.

The non-streamline surface made it so un-fly-able that it crashed on its first flight. I remember my dad couldn’t sleep for like a week from the stress. At the time, I of course had no idea about the ultra-secret project.

On this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for my dad’s example. How is success achieved? Through repeated failures. Failure is a stepping stone.

‘Through’ is the operative word

through failures and disappointmentsWe face innumerable failures and disappointments in life. Youth sometimes can’t see beyond the momentary difficulties and turn to cutting. It’s important to conceptualize a brighter day ahead.

Maybe you’ve been down and out for years and years. Maybe it was not all your fault, or maybe mostly it was. No matter. God has a brighter future for you. Seek Him and wait patiently.

Failure and disappointments are NOT a final destination. They are the waystation towards success. Don’t stay there. Keep moving. Bonanza lies ahead.

Christian identity

Christian Identity

Original image from Google Circle. I don’t own the rights nor am I am making any money on it.

I get hung up too much on me. That is a ghastly confession.

Why? Because I should not be so important. I am a CHRISTian, and Christ is my identity. I must represent Him.

Of course, I want comfort. But Jesus is principally interested in souls, in getting others to Heaven, into relationship with him.

It’s not me that matters. Only Christ matters. Let the light shine.

The way to maturity is to become like kids

Jesus joyJesus says plainly: Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven – Matt. 18:3 NIV.

US researcher Robert Provine has found that kids laugh 300 times a day. It sounds to me like Jesus wants us to have more joy (I confess I myself am overly serious).

What’s surprising is that 1 Peter 2:2 exhorts Christians to “grow up” in their salvation. So it’s clear that Christian maturity involves becoming like children: they don’t harbor grudges, they love freely, they laugh.

With the world at his feet but friendless

alexanderIn Oliver Stone’s biopic Alexander, the Great Greek conqueror rules the world but despairs when his only friend dies and then willingly imbibes poisoned wine.

His mother’s boast that he would rule the world due to her conniving (she arranges the murder of her husband when he gets a second wife — which threatens Alexander’s chances at the throne). But having the world proves hollow for the successful general. He can trust no one.

It’s lonely at the top.

Friends are better than riches and accomplishments, which all remain here on Earth and convert into dust when our immortal souls pass into eternity. Friendships alone remain.

Make the journey home

journey home

Jacob so longed to be in the Promised Land that he order his bones be carried there from Egypt, which was done — incredibly — 400 years later!

It’s time for you to go home. To your spouse and children. Like a bird that strays from its nest is a man who strays from his home — Proverbs 27:8 ESV. Happiness is NOT in the wild life, it’s in the hearth.

It may be difficult to work out lasting relationships. It’s easy to throw it all away and believe the the lie that you’ll find something better elsewhere.

Kids need mom and dad at home. That’s where the greatest joy is, not with the “guys” doing guy things in the world. Don’t think the settled life is boring. God’s design brings the greatest and most lasting happiness for everyone.

This holiday season, don’t just go home in your car. Go home in your heart.

Have an honest moment with Jesus

honest moments with JesusWe affect behavior in front of others and worry too much what others think about us. When have we taken a moment to be honest alone with Jesus? Drop the appearances, be yourself, ask for help.

Do you have time for Jesus in your life? Can you set aside the internet, the news, the funny videos? Read your Bible and pray a bit? Don’t be surprised if He responds.

How much more beautiful will Heaven be?

waterfall

Have nothing but have it all?

Having Jesus is having it all.Must be Jesus.

Friendship is the bomb!

friendsThis side of eternity, the greatest thing is having friends.

Apathy is not the answer

apathy

Turning off your emotions, just because you’ve been disillusioned, solves nothing. We are emotional beings. To try to NOT feel is probably not going to work. There are those who grow bitter, who grow cynical, who numb the pain with drugs, alcohol or another form of hedonism.

Only Jesus will heal your heart.

The devil’s a pawn shop owner

pawn shopAt the price of your life, he gives cheap thrills.

They’re not even the true value.

Then Jesus comes, if you want, and buys your life back at the full price.

As praise goes up, grace flows down

waterfall

from Godinterest

Worship contains a paradox: When you lift up God, He lifts you up. If you’re down in the dumps, rise to praise, and God will raise you up.

Half throttle was to blame

dad and don

Dad and my brother, Don

My dad didn’t like football. He liked experimenting in Grandpa’s shop. He once tested if water conducted electricity and got a huge shock because he touched the metal water basin. There was no longer any need to put the second wire in the water to see if the light bulb lit up. Not only did the water conduct electricity, the basin did too.

One time he made model plane to fly. This was before the days of remote controls. You sent it up, it flew, and when it ran out of gas, it glided down. After days of laboring, he enthusiastically took his plane to an empty field in Glendale. He timidly set it at half throttle.

It took off and promptly crashed and broke. A plane, like the Christian, cannot get enough lift out of its wings without enough velocity. If you’re going to soar, you’re going to have to go all in.

Keep it simple

simplicity
Sometimes we want to make the gospel complicated because we have worked so hard. We don’t want it to be easy for newcomers. We have fasted. We have fought the flesh. We have prayed all night. I did it, so you must do it.

But Paul (who did more than any of us) exhorts us to keep it simple. The gospel is simple: Believe in Jesus and be saved. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ. – 2 Cor. 11:3 KJV (caps mine).

Romans 10:9 similarly makes it simple: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (NIV).

It was the Pharisees and Jewish leaders who added rule upon rule, making it harder to get into Heaven. Considering they ultimately rejected Christ, I don’t think it’s a good idea to be like them. Some of us are going to be very surprised to see lots of people in Heaven, people we thought wouldn’t make it because they didn’t follow all our rules.

Simplicity is beautiful. Let’s not deprive the gospel of its beauty.

We felt your prayers pushing us forward

prayer powerFour guys from LA, young guys, rebels who have turned to God, went to Guatemala believing they could possibly be used. What happened at the Door Church in Guatemala was extraordinary: people were healed, faith was restored, forgiveness came back between brethren.

And I’m happy. That was the church God used me to raise up. I was troubled by some negative trends happening there now in my absence. God used Arti Cedillo, a former Satanist, to preach. Pastor Steven Fernandez, a former street thug, was their guide and body guard. Junior Cervantez, a former graffiti artist, and Johnny Huerta, a former partier, went along for the fun of it and wound up making a great spiritual impact also.

Junior was skate-boarding the the marijuana-smokers who frequent the church’s street in front. Johnny bought McDonald’s for all the kids one night, a treat so rare because of poverty it’s usually reserved for only for a kid’s birthday.

Arti said when he got back: We felt your prayers literally pushing us forward. And that’s how I was reminded of the power of prayer.

Coach again

Lighthouse Church School soccer team

Umm, no. cupcakes are not part of the training regimen. It was somebody’s birthday, and they passed these out before I could say “no.”

I don’t know which is bigger — my passion for publishing the Word or my passion for people. So I’m undertaking the Lighthouse Church School middle school soccer team again this year. Being around people makes my heart tick, especially these delightful youngsters who are all smiles and want to learn.

I don’t think we’ll win trophies because, despite all the enthusiasm, the team is thin on experience. But no matter, human contact can bring divine contact. And that’s what courses through my veins: bringing people to Jesus, helping them make right decisions. Soccer is much more than just kicking a ball around a 100-yard-by-60-yard patch of grass. Through soccer, youngsters can learn life lessons.

Pray for us!

No DIY (for salvation)

DIYYou can’t “do it yourself” when it  comes to earning Heaven. Only what Jesus did suffices to earn your entrance. He lived perfectly according to the law. After he passed sinless on the earth, He took our punishment upon Himself. If you have received Jesus, believing in Him, you possess salvation.

Many have tried to earn salvation. Some whip themselves. Some make huge charitable donations. Others become suicide bombers. It’s all pointless.

It’s good to do good things and bad to do bad things, but all are irrelevant is you are trying to “do it yourself,” to impress God enough that He lets you in. We are saved by grace, not by works.

Giving is good for you

give bloodI always knew that giving blood was good — for others. Frankly, I’m surprised to learn of the health benefits of giving a pint of your 10-11 pints once every two months or so:

  • It reduces risk for heart disease by keep iron levels in check.
  • It lowers cancer risk (again, the iron content).
  • It burns 650 Kcal.
  • You get a free check-up!
  • Do-gooder feeling does a body good.

In eight weeks, your red blood cell count is automatically replenished! Why dont’ more people give?

The truth about giving blood also applies to donating, whether to a charitable organization or a church. Whether you want to save abandoned dogs or abandoned souls (my choice!), giving is good for you.

Jesus’ coffee controversy

Jesus coffee

Barista Mike Breach of NY turns lattes into portraits. Photo per mail.co.uk. I don’t own rights to this photo, and I’m not making any money on it.

To me, the great controversy is NOT why did Jesus turn the water into wine. It’s why didn’t He turn it into coffee?

The world is too much with us

The world is too much with us
William Wordsworth complains that consumerism distracts us from enjoying the simple beauties of nature. Basically, he says he’d rather go to hell than miss drinking in the intoxicating beauty surrounding him on a lea and on the shore. While there is a certain idolatry in nature, I concur that we wears ourselves out getting. Today people eschew our national parks but “like” and comment on photoshopped  instagram pictures from them. Personally, I see in nature the glories of God, the manifestation of His artistic genius. When I get the chance to get away, I commune with God. I go to church, but I also feel a natural temple is God’s sanctuary.

Here is his sonnet:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.