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When was the last time?

 

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock… Revelation 3:20

 

When was the last time you had a life-changing encounter with God?

Today? A week ago? A year ago? 30 years? Never?

Let me define my terms. By “life-changing” I don’t mean that you were hyped. TV commercials can get us hyped. Slick motivational speakers can get us hyped. Shallow evangelists who know how to work a crowd can get us hyped. Neither do I mean that you ended up sinlessly perfect. But I do mean that you walked away a different person.

This is not another spiritual chore. It is not: I go to church, I read my Bible, I pray, I share my faith, and, oh, no, now I have to do something else too…

But rather: When was the last time Jesus met with you and you walked away changed?

Dwight

PS. What is spiritual maturity? I pondered over this for a long time, and then I asked the Lord. The answer I got was surprisingly simple, yet it changes everything. That’s our Inner Wealth topic on 7/27/2019.

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Our one power

 

If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in… Revelation 3:20

 

We human beings really have only one power: to say “yes” or “no” to God. If we are righteous, why are we righteous? Not because we did righteous things, but because we said “yes” to God. If we are unrighteous, look around inside. Somewhere we closed the door in God’s face. Somewhere we said “no.”

We like to use Revelation 3:20 as a salvation verse. Open the door of your heart and let Jesus in. But it is also a Christian life verse. Once Jesus comes in the front door, He starts knocking at the other doors inside our hearts. There are many closets in our hearts that Jesus wants to clean out. Either we say “yes” or we say “no.”

It’s very important to understand that we don’t clean out the closet first and then open the door. Many sad and discouraged people are trying to do this. We can’t do this. We don’t have the power to do this. All we have the power to do is to say “yes” or “no” to God.

This is bad news for the self righteous, but it is wonderful news for the desperate among us who realize that we have no hope unless God comes in and cleans us up. And that is exactly what He will do, one “yes” at a time.

Dwight

PS. What is spiritual maturity? I pondered over this for a long time, and then I asked the Lord. The answer I got was surprisingly simple, yet it changes everything. That’s our Inner Wealth topic on 7/27/2019.

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Find the door

 

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.”—Revelation 3:20

 

If you want God to transform your life, find the door where Jesus is knocking.

Nothing of any importance happens until Jesus shows up. We can do religious things but they won’t help anybody—they will just clutter up the space God needs to work in.

What are we trying to do or to be? Are we trying to win someone to the Lord? Invite Jesus in. Are we trying to deal with illness or loss? Invite Jesus in. Not sure what to do? Invite Jesus in.

Now here’s the trick. We need to find the door where Jesus is knocking.

The rich young ruler had trouble with this. He thought Jesus was knocking on the door of his achievements. He thought Jesus wanted to come in and affirm what a wonderful guy he was for doing so many things right. Or perhaps Jesus would give him one more goal he could discipline himself to achieve.

But Jesus was knocking at a different door. He was knocking on the door of his security. “You’ve put your faith in all you’ve achieved and all you possess,” Jesus told him, “but these things will not save you. You need to let them go so you can put your faith in the only One who can save you.”

In the same way, don’t be surprised if Jesus finds a door that turns your world upside down. He is in the business of transforming us. But, behind that door that we may be afraid to open, we find life beyond all that we could ask or imagine.

Dwight

PS. “I’m not gullible, so I’m not deceived, right?” That’s what I thought for many years. Then I discovered how totally wrong I was. Smart, streetwise, good people are routinely deceived—I’m including myself, and I’m including you. On 7/20/2019, I’ll explain to our Inner Wealth subscribers why deception is so dangerous and how all of us have been deceived. I’ll explain how it’s possible to believe a lie even when you know it’s not true. And I’ll show steps you can take to get free from deception.

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A better meal

 

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20

 

Jesus stands at the door and knocks. Why does He knock at the doors of our hearts? The Bible says that He wants to come in and dine with us. Let me suggest something. Jesus is bringing the meal with Him.

One day I drove by a homeless man who was climbing into a dumpster to find a meal. He was hungry and he was scavenging for the best food he could find.

The more we invite Jesus in, the more we feed on what He brings to the table, the more dumpster food looks, smells and tastes like dumpster food.

It makes little sense to criticize a homeless man for eating from the garbage. After all, that’s all he has. Instead, we may offer him something better.

We must understand that sin is the best food that most people can find. Most don’t know that Jesus offers something better. Even many Christians secretly want to sin because they are still feeding on leftover scraps from yesterday’s Jesus or somebody else’s Jesus, instead of hosting Him at the table right now, today.

All of this is wonderful news because we don’t need to wait. This moment was created for you and Jesus.

Dwight

PS. “I’m not gullible, so I’m not deceived, right?” That’s what I thought for many years. Then I discovered how totally wrong I was. Smart, streetwise, good people are routinely deceived—I’m including myself, and I’m including you. On 7/20/2019, I’ll explain to our Inner Wealth subscribers why deception is so dangerous and how all of us have been deceived. I’ll explain how it’s possible to believe a lie even when you know it’s not true. And I’ll show steps you can take to get free from deception.

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What’s in a name?

 

He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. Revelation 3:5

 

My name is Dwight Alan Clough. Like most of you, I had no say in what my name would be—it was given to me at birth. A few years ago, I decided to do some research and discover the meanings of the names of each of our family members.

My full name, if you put it all together, means “a handsome light in the valley.”

It’s funny how things work out. I never would have imagined as a young man that God would call me to be a winsome light to people going through valleys of sin, sorrow and discouragement. I wanted to write novels. I wanted to be a college professor. I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to be a successful entrepreneur. I wanted to make movies. And I didn’t want to go through valleys of pain and discouragement. I don’t especially like pain.

But I didn’t learn anything worth sharing on the mountaintops of my own talent, skills and intelligence. It was in the valleys of failure, sorrow, tragedy and loss that I found the Man of Sorrows walking beside me. It was in the darkness of my own humiliation and distress that the Light from above came into my life.

I didn’t choose my name or my calling. They were chosen for me. But, as life unfolds, I see the wisdom in those choices. And there is wisdom guiding your life also, though it may now seem senseless and unfair; give God time, He will make it right.

Dwight

PS. “I’m not gullible, so I’m not deceived, right?” That’s what I thought for many years. Then I discovered how totally wrong I was. Smart, streetwise, good people are routinely deceived—I’m including myself, and I’m including you. On 7/20/2019, I’ll explain to our Inner Wealth subscribers why deception is so dangerous and how all of us have been deceived. I’ll explain how it’s possible to believe a lie even when you know it’s not true. And I’ll show steps you can take to get free from deception.

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The measure of a life

 

“I know your deeds…” Revelation 2:2

 

Jesus knows our deeds. They are measured and they have value.

If you look at the great heroes of the Bible, they all had seasons in their lives where they lived in obscurity and were occupied with the tedious, the mundane, the monotonous. Joseph supervised prisoners, Moses and David watched sheep, Paul lived in the desert. Even Jesus worked a trade far from the public eye.

Why these seasons? Is it possible that the measure of a life is more than wealth and fame? The measure of a life is found in the smile of God.

Jesus knows your deeds.

Dwight

PS. “I’m not gullible, so I’m not deceived, right?” That’s what I thought for many years. Then I discovered how totally wrong I was. Smart, streetwise, good people are routinely deceived—I’m including myself, and I’m including you. On 7/20/2019, I’ll explain to our Inner Wealth subscribers why deception is so dangerous and how all of us have been deceived. I’ll explain how it’s possible to believe a lie even when you know it’s not true. And I’ll show steps you can take to get free from deception.

 


PPS. For those of you who are interested, my latest book, Rethinking Our War On Poverty is now available here.

 

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Jesus knows

 

“I know your deeds…” Revelation 2:2

 

Here is where we start. Jesus knows our deeds.

This is a great comfort. Because Jesus knows our deeds, we don’t need to hide. The One who knows our deeds knows how helpless we are to do anything good apart from Him. So we always rush to Him, whether our deeds are good or bad. On one level, it makes little difference. Have we sinned? We cling to Jesus. Have we done well? We cling to Jesus. That becomes our instinct, our reflex, our automatic response to everything. “Jesus, here I am, helpless without You. Give me, please, what I need for this moment.”

There is no secret formula for the Christian life. There is only living our lives in the plain sight of our Savior, and rushing to Him because we know He sees us.

Dwight

PS. Sooner or later, it’s going to happen. A Christian leader you respect, trust, even depend on will disappoint you. How do you handle it when a Christian leader falls? That’s our topic 7/13/2019 in Inner Wealth.

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The door to eternity

 

“Do not be afraid…” Revelation 1:17

 

I don’t know about you, but I can think of plenty of reasons to be afraid when I read the book of Revelation. If ever there was a book that takes you out of your comfort zone, this is it. On one hand, when God shows up in all His glory, we forget all our theology and join John face down on the earth, pale and trembling. On the other hand, we live in a world gone mad, a world populated with those who hate God, and, since they can’t take a swing at God personally, they do the next best thing (in their minds) and take it out on us. In between all of this, we have plagues falling left and right.

(I will probably get some emails informing me that the rapture will leave me high and dry, and maybe it will. I don’t know. I’m not as smart about those things as I used to be. But even if I’m whisked away, I fear for those left behind. I pray for them or us.)

Yet Jesus says, “Do not be afraid.” As we stand here on the threshold of eternity, those are His words to us.

The Bible says that God is shaking everything that can be shaken, so what cannot be shaken will remain (Hebrews 12:27). It seems that everything in us that can be shaken will be shaken also, and only what cannot be shaken will remain.

I was terrified of going to Junior High School. There’s a long story behind that, but I’ll shorten it up: The moment came; I boarded the bus; and I survived. I’m not sure what the door to eternity will look like for you and for me. But I know this: Jesus put His hand on John. And His hand will be on you and me. He will bring us through.

Dwight

PS. Sooner or later, it’s going to happen. A Christian leader you respect, trust, even depend on will disappoint you. How do you handle it when a Christian leader falls? That’s our topic 7/13/2019 in Inner Wealth.

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When God shows up…

 

I saw…someone “like a son of man” Revelation 1:12-13

 

Wait a second! Isn’t this the apostle John writing this? Couldn’t you argue that he was the closest friend Jesus had on earth, the most intimate apostle, the “disciple whom Jesus loved”? Now Jesus shows up, and John doesn’t even greet Him by name? In a way, John hardly seems to recognize Him. He just spends five verses describing what He looked like and then, in verse 17, he “fell at His feet as though dead.”

What’s going on?

When God shows up, He blows apart all our preconceived ideas about who He should be. In the First Century, the Jews were expecting a military messiah to throw off the Roman yoke and establish a sovereign Jewish state. Jesus came along and showed no inclination to pick a fight with the Romans. He told His followers to help the Roman soldiers carry their bags. And when He finally met with the Roman authorities, He simply said, “My kingdom is from another place.”

Now we live in a world where most people have Jesus pegged to be a wimp, a feminine creature with a soft and glowing face who hides in his churches and whines, “Why can’t we all get along?”

Most people are in for a major surprise.

God seems different today than He seemed yesterday not because He changed—He didn’t—but rather because our minds and hearts and situations weren’t big enough to contain all of Him yesterday, and they won’t be big enough today. That’s why we get the gift of eternal life, because only eternal life is big enough to contain the full discovery of God.

Dwight

PS. Sooner or later, it’s going to happen. A Christian leader you respect, trust, even depend on will disappoint you. How do you handle it when a Christian leader falls? That’s our topic 7/13/2019 in Inner Wealth.

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What God shows us

 

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants what must soon take place. Revelation 1:1

 

It’s a big world out there. And things get bigger, much bigger, when God steps in to bring history to a screeching halt. Like a great wave, humanity’s hatred of God rushes in, but, like any other wave, it breaks on the shore of eternity and it is no more.

The day of evil is coming to an end.

How do we wrap our minds around the enormity of God’s plan? How do we find room in our hearts to contain the majesty, the wrath, the holiness of God? I’m not sure that we can.

Yet God chooses to share His plans with us.

I remember sitting in my brother-in-law’s hot tub on a cold December night looking up into a clear starry sky trying to comprehend the magnitude of what I saw.

The book of Revelation is a gift to God’s servants. It is a gift to know that God has seen everything, and now He responds. It is a gift to know that that the full power of evil has no more ability to stop God’s plans than a blade of grass has the power to stop my lawn mower. It is a gift to know that our prayers matter, that our suffering counts, that our deeds are measured. And it is a gift to know that we are—all of us—children before the One who towers over the earth like the stars on a clear December night.

Dwight

PS. Sooner or later, it’s going to happen. A Christian leader you respect, trust, even depend on will disappoint you. How do you handle it when a Christian leader falls? That’s our topic 7/13/2019 in Inner Wealth.

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