Thursday, February 22, 2018
A dear friend of mine, Ron Walker, who passed away years ago, was one of the men of God that the Lord put in my life. I remember he was a vibrant part of my journey, growing up as a young christian. One day we were walking in a forest and there was a tree that had fallen over nearby. Ron paused and looked at me and said, "Andy, what do you see when you look at this fallen tree? What is God showing you about it?"
I looked at it and replied, "It's just a tree that's fallen over." He shook his head and said, "No, I mean, what is God teaching you about it and what do you see beyond the obvious?"
Looking more carefully this time I said, "It appears to have died and fallen over." He smiled and said, "Andy, there was a time when this tree stood upright, tall and proud. Maybe families would come and have a picnic under it's shade. Children would find joy climbing in it's branches. All along though, there was a disease inside it. It was slowly rotting away from within, day by day being consumed until one day it snapped. People probably talked about how the tree they had once enjoyed had fallen. Then as they began to look inside, they could see it had been rotting away for a long time."
As I look back at that talk we had, I can't help but reflect upon the reality of truth in that analogy that I have seen in so many peoples lives. Oftentimes in our journey the danger is in the little things that consume us from within over time. Small compromises with sin and darkness until before we know it, we are being destroyed from within. The destruction that seems to come suddenly in peoples lives had been working in them already for a long time.
If you find yourself in such a place, begin to cry out to the Lord with a simple prayer of repentance. Begin to take thoughts captive and ask the Lord to help you as make better choices for your spiritual well being.
Do all you can to safeguard your life from compromise and to encourage yourself in the Lord and in His word.
As you agree with God and keep coming to the light, God will bless your efforts because He is for you in this journey. Even the simplest prayer and smallest steps in the right direction can keep your feet on the path of a healthy walk with Christ.
Saturday, February 17, 2018
Know thy way in the valley.
The Prophet, the mouthpiece of God was speaking to the children of Israel with a solemn message. “You’ve lost your way,” and he encouraged them to , “Look at your way in the valley!”
The Valley was the place of squeezing, the place of trial and difficulty. The Prophet was asking them to examine their hearts in the midst of their trial. You can take an orange and squeeze it and get fresh, sweet, orange juice. Everyone you give it to will be refreshed and enjoy it. Then you could take a lemon and paint it orange and give it the same look but when you squeeze it, you definitely won’t get any orange juice.
We can say what we want but it’s in the valleys that we get squeezed. You find out quickly what’s inside your heart. I want you to know something it took me twenty years to figure out. When God shows us something in our hearts that is not like him, He is never saying, “Shame on you.”
Sometimes you examine difficult scriptures and it’s hard to receive because you receive them as rejection. When you realize that God already knows what’s in your heart and is not threatened by it, you can agree with God and He can bring about a change in you.
The end result of this journey is becoming convinced of His love for us. Our being conformed to the nature and character of Jesus Christ is accomplished as we journey through those valley places always choosing to, “come to the light.”
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,
2 Corinthians 4:17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
For further study, you can stream my podcast here:
For further study, you can stream my podcast here:
Saturday, February 10, 2018
Today I stopped to visit an old friend who shared with me how a co-worker of his is going through some cancer issues. He had never experienced being close to someone who was going through such a difficult trial.
Having driven this friend to the hospital to get Cancer treatments and watching her go through so much, he admitted that he was feeling depressed.
I sat down beside him and explained that as a minister, I find myself surrounded by the reality of dying and death all the time.
I told him that these things are reminders that we are not here on this earth forever. It’s only depressing to us when we can’t embrace that.
The amazing truth is that as believers in Christ, we are being prepared to step out of this world and into eternity. This is our great hope that one day we will be free of the constraints of this earthen shell. When we leave this world we will be suddenly immersed in the height, width, length and depth of the love of God.
Rejoice today because this is what we were created for before the foundation of the world!
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:14-21 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
For deeper study, consider our podcast, you can stream it here: