An act of worship

19 139 014 worship
The human body is made up of about 100 trillion cells and contains millions of different kinds of molecules. The blueprint for your entire body is somehow contained in each one of those 100 trillion cells, but nobody fully understands how to read it. You could argue that your body is one enormously complex chemical reaction, but no chemist can predict exactly what your body will do, or tell you how to fix it if something goes seriously wrong. From brain surgeons to cancer specialists, no doctor can claim to have all the answers. Even if you combine the insights of all the doctors in the world, there are many more questions than there are answers about how our bodies are made.

None of this surprises us.

But stop to think about this: Intricate though they are, our bodies are disposable; our inner selves are eternal. Jesus died on the cross not to save chemical reactions, but to save people—eternal people. The time will come when we toss this body aside and claim a far superior model. Meanwhile, God salvages what is of eternal fascination to Him, the part of us that receives His deepest love—our inner selves. All of this seems to say that our souls and spirits are probably far more complex than our bodies.

Letting people be complex is an act of worship. For many years I acted as though people were nothing more than sinners who needed repentance and salvation. While it is true that we need to repent, and while it is true that we need salvation, I was making an enormous mistake: I was turning people created in the image of God into stick figures, cardboard people like the targets we used to shoot at on the police pistol range.

I believe that God wants to engage us as the complex people that we are. Put another way, He wants to validate us. No, He doesn’t approve of everything that we do. But He is here to begin an eternal relationship with you—a relationship so multifaceted that we will never get bored, and only eternity is big enough to contain the wonder of what we discover in Him.

From the Bible:
God, I am in awe of You because of how You created me. When we look at anything You design and craft, it leaves us in wonder. I stand amazed. Psalm 139:14 The Easy Bible

Remember, you are designed to make a difference!

Dwight

Photo credit: Adapted from a photo by Michael Bentley, Flickr, Creative Commons License

We will stand in awe of God

18 21 22 awe of God
You can take almost any topic and divide everything there is to know about that topic into three categories:
1. What God has revealed
2. What humans have discovered on their own
3. What God knows and we don’t

Do you grasp how incredibly important this is?

If we deny what God has revealed, we lose our footing, and every conclusion we come to is corrupted by skewed and unreliable information. We have no way to test our conclusions against rock solid truth.

If we don’t allow humans to explore and discover, to seek out and acquire information about our universe then we become uninformed bigots, oversimplifying God’s enormously complex universe.

If we forget that there is much that we don’t know, we lose our awe of God, and we become our own little god, trapped in a world that is too small for those who are intended to be the children of God.

If we think on this for a while, a whole lot of things that go on in the church, in politics, in the media, in science, in education and everywhere will begin to make sense in a way they never made sense before. But I bring this up so that we can keep a couple of things in mind: God is smarter than we are. God isn’t required to tell us everything there is to know on a topic. The final result of all study, all inquiry, and all discovery is this: We will stand in awe of God.

From the Bible:
“Don’t think you can tutor God. He alone is the Judge of everyone and everything.” Job 21:22 The Easy Bible

Remember, you are designed to make a difference!

Dwight

Photo credit: Adapted from a photo by the_tahoe_guy, Flickr, Creative Commons License

Need a faith lift? I think you’ll enjoy this book

Zander-front-300x446
“Need a faith lift? If you’re inspired by true stories of God showing up in the lives of real men and women, you won’t want to miss His Faithfulness Reaches to the Skies by Forrest Zander. Engine failure at 7,000 feet over South American jungle with no place to land? Cancer? Friends mistaken for drug smugglers and jailed in a foreign country? In these situations and many more, God demonstrates His love for His children. A great read for yourself-a perfect gift for a friend.”
Bernie May, Former President of JAARS, Former President of Wycliffe, Founder of The Seed Company

As you may know, I write books for clients, and this is my favorite kind of book to write: an inspiring life story. Forrest Zander is a warm, personable man with decades of experience following God through all kinds of danger. Some of his stories made me laugh. Some made me cry. But they all left me in awe of our amazing God. Find out more here …

It means peace

43 20 19 peace
“Be at peace! It’s okay.” John 20:19 The Easy Bible

These are the first words of Jesus to His gathered disciples after His resurrection.

Here they are—gathered together in secret for fear that the authorities will find them and crucify them, bewildered and overcome with sorrow that their Messiah had been killed, alarmed at reports that His body was no longer in the grave. They had given their lives to Jesus, and now Jesus was gone and they had no idea how to pick up the threads of a life that no longer existed.

And now, the last thing they expected: Jesus Himself was standing among them. The laws of the universe had been turned upside down. The inconceivable had happened. Jesus was alive. How do you take this in? What does it mean?

Jesus interprets this startling event for us: It means peace.

It means that Jesus is greater and stronger than those who put men to death. He is the Author of Life. No weapon forged against us can prosper. It means the life Jesus gives is much greater than the life we lost. It means that all our bad news now has a happy ending. God’s wrath is turned away. It means peace.

Remember, you are designed to make a difference!
Dwight

Photo credit: Adapted from a photo by Kevin Cole, Flickr, Creative Commons License

Ready

Scott Wilcoxson
Now the earth found itself in a state of chaos. Darkness covered the waters. There was neither shape nor form; all was empty. But God’s Spirit was there, ready for what came next. Genesis 1:2 The Easy Bible

I come back to this passage because here we are.

God gives form to those things that have not yet taken shape. When our lives don’t make sense, God is here, giving shape to our dreams and our experience. The day will come when our eyes are opened and we will see what has always been there, but is now hidden from our sight.

God fills what is empty. Sometimes we don’t have what we should have. In the place where we should find love and assurance we find only desolation. Jesus still welcomes the little children to Himself. He still puts His hands on them, prays for them and blesses them. Though it may seem strange for the grown up you and the grown up me, Jesus still has room on His lap for the little child within.

God’s light overcomes the darkness. Light dispels darkness effortlessly. No incantations are needed. When Jesus enters the darkened room, it will never be the same.

The Spirit of God is hovering—waiting—ready to do the impossible.

Remember, you are designed to make a difference!

Dwight

Photo credit: Adapted from an image by Scott Wilcoxson, Flickr, Creative Commons License

The cure for double-mindedness

59 01 08 Broken made whole
There is a side to us—that is happy to go to church, to feed the hungry, to help the homeless, to speak words of kindness to family, to read the Bible, to sing hymns, to hang out with God and His people. Then there is another side—or sides—that would rather be doing something different—something very different.

The Bible calls this being “double minded.” (See James 1:8.)

So what is the cure for double-mindedness?

Years ago, I would have said that we should feed our spiritual selves (substitute the word “religious” for “spiritual”), and starve everything else.

I no longer believe that. It is the parts of our hearts that are most antagonistic toward God, most apathetic about following God that need God the most. Those parts of us don’t go away because we become more religious. This was the mistake of the Pharisees. They focused on their religious persona and ignored the monster within. Well, folks, we can’t ignore the monster within. Lofty sounding prayers seem very spiritual, but God would rather have our whole heart.

The cure for double-mindedness is straightforward: Keep bringing the junk in our hearts to God so that He can bring renewal to all parts of our minds. Sometimes that means getting raw and real with God about where we are really at. But if we have two minds—or ten—they all need to be connected to Jesus, because He alone can make the broken pieces whole.

Remember, you are designed to make a difference!

Dwight

Photo credit: Adapted from an image by Blume Fou, Flickr, Creative Commons License

Discover God’s love for you

09 15 22 discover God
Adam and Eve sinned. They hid. They sewed fig leaves. But the fig leaves and the Garden could not cover their folly and their sin. Only God Himself could clothe them and take away their nakedness.

When we bring ourselves, naked and bankrupt, to God, we discover a God we didn’t know was there. Adam and Eve didn’t know that the Lord would clothe them. The leper didn’t know that Jesus would touch him. The woman caught in adultery didn’t know that Jesus would free her. Even Peter didn’t know that Jesus would restore him.

Whatever God has for us will be found when we throw away the show, and choose the path of honesty. We must face who we truly are. There is no shortcut for this. Until we are honest with ourselves, we cannot move forward in the Christian life. And we must get real with God. That means we bring it all to Him—our hate, our shame, our apathy, our pride, our fear, our desires—whatever we find inside. This is where transformation takes place.

From the Bible:
Do you think all GOD wants are sacrifices—empty rituals just for show? — 1 Samuel 15:22 The Message

Remember, you are designed to make a difference!

Dwight

Photo credit: Adapted from a photo by Vijay Sonar, Flickr, Creative Commons License

Keep watch

40 24 42 Keep Watch
In Matthew 24:42, Jesus tells us to “keep watch.” What exactly does He mean? Are we supposed to keep an eye on the sky? Do we climb up on the roof, dressed in sheets, ready for the resurrection?

If we keep reading, we find out what He means. The remainder of chapters 24 and 25 make it clear that Jesus expects us to look for Him, not in the clouds, but in “the least of these brothers of Mine” (25:40). When we are delighted to serve the humble and weak, then we are ready to meet the Risen Lord in all His glory. And who are the “least of these brothers of Mine”? The needy. The undesirable. Those we don’t understand.

Again and again, God identifies Himself with the poor, with the despised, with the downtrodden and the misunderstood. This is what makes Christianity grand. This is why so many hospitals and orphanages and schools around the world have been founded by Christians. Christianity is not a religion of bullies.

Our God cares for the least of these. And isn’t that good news for us when we feel misunderstood and insignificant—God is watching out for us, and inviting us to join Him in caring for others.

Remember, you are designed to make a difference!

Dwight

Photo credit: Adapted from a photo by Darinka Maja, Flickr, Creative Commons License

The inevitable triumph of Jesus

23 42 04 inevitable
We live in a time of great conflict between good and evil, where deception is foundational to the enemy’s strategy, and the battle lines are drawn, not along the borders of nations, but inside each person’s soul.

Jesus long ago envisioned the day when the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Jesus walks with gentleness, but that must never be mistaken for weakness.

And what about God’s unlikely army? We are each unique and fragile, like a snowflake. But sometimes snowflakes shut down a big chunk of the United States.

This is one of the reasons I am a Christian. We are on the winning side. Deception will be stripped away. The violent will be dragged away. True freedom and true justice will remain. Nothing can discourage Jesus Christ, and no one can stop the triumph of His plans.

From the Bible:
He won’t quit. He won’t get discouraged. He won’t stumble. He will set up God’s justice throughout the earth. Isaiah 42:4 The Easy Bible

Remember, you are designed to make a difference!

Dwight

Photo credit: Adapted from a photo by Emilian Robert Vicol, Flickr, Creative Commons License

Steps to forgiving others

49 04 26 d image
The Bible makes it very clear that we are not to hang on to our anger (Ephesians 4:26), and that we are to forgive (Matthew 6:14-15). How do we make the transition from anger to forgiveness?

Here are the steps. Sometimes we can do this on your own. Sometimes we need help from a godly friend.

1. Focus on the anger. It won’t go away simply because you deny it or will it away. If you do, it will just get buried and come out some other way—ulcers, a fit of uncontrollable rage, consuming bitterness.

2. Figure out why you are angry. Take your time with this. Sometimes the reason will surprise you. Sometimes there are many reasons.

3. Discover why you need to hang on to your anger. Anger always serves a purpose. If you no longer had the anger, where would that leave you? Again, take your time with this. The answer will probably surprise you.

4. Bring the answer(s) from step 3 to Jesus. Own your feelings and beliefs. Hold them up to the Lord and see what He does with them. On this step, most of us need help.

5. When you’re ready, release the anger to Jesus. Let Him carry it for you. This is where forgiveness takes place.

Keep in mind that forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. Forgiveness is about canceling a debt. It is about not needing to exact “payment” for the offense that took place. Reconciliation is about re-establishing a relationship based on (re)earned trust.

Forgiveness is not about minimizing the offense. The offense was all that it was. It isn’t about trying to explain it away. It’s about honestly facing what was done wrong, and finding from God the grace to cancel the debt.

From the Bible:
Sure, you will get angry. Everybody does. But don’t let your anger turn into sin. Release it to God before the day ends. Ephesians 4:26 The Easy Bible

 

Photo credit: Adapted from a photo by YuJeen, Flickr, Creative Commons License

  • Check out Dwight's books: