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A Force to be Reckoned With

H Bomb

Matthew 17:20–Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

Sixty-five years ago, many considered the idea of nuclear power to be mere speculation. Some even dismissed the concept as fantasy or science fiction. My father was in the military during this time, and later divulged that before the first atomic bomb was detonated over White Sands, New Mexico, some scientists expressed concern that the explosion might trigger a chain-reaction that would result in the destruction of all matter in the universe.

All Matter. That’s everything. Wow. Talk about a bad day.

The objecting scientists’ concerns were eventually resolved, so on July 16th, 1945 they detonated the first-ever nuclear device in an event now known as the Trinity Explosion. Thankfully, the universe wasn’t destroyed; in fact everything functioned perfectly, as the researchers had anticipated. But the world did learn that day that nuclear power is no fantasy. It’s very real, and a force to be reckoned with.

Some people think that faith is fantasy as well, although I’ve personally witnessed its power in action many times. And I’m not the only one. There’s a multitude of empirical evidence to support the assertion that faith in God can heal incurable diseases, change immutable circumstances, alter the course of destiny, and supersede natural laws. Yes, faith is definitely real, and it’s a force to be reckoned with.

Hebrews 11:3 tells us that the worlds were framed by the word of God, and everything we see was made by means of the unseen. That unseen force God used to create everything was released by his faith in his own spoken word. Yes, faith-power is literally awesome, and when applied to life’s problems, has sufficient potency to blow those problems away.

So let me encourage you to proclaim God’s promise–his word–over your situation, and not to grow weary in so doing, for in due season you will reap (Gal. 6:9). Yes, faith-power is a force to be reckoned with.

Today’s Prayer: Lord, I believe your promises about my situation. Be it unto me according to your word. I will speak your promise over my life today, and hold fast in believing until my miracle comes to pass.

*The above post is from David’s 90-day devotional “Encouragement Explosion.” You can get it here: http://www.amazon.com/Encouragement-Explosion-90-Days-Uplift-ebook/dp/B00FRHXE68

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Posted by on November 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

God Will Make a Way

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The Children of Israel left Egypt full of hope, but their enthusiasm turned to depression when they learned Pharaoh’s army was on their trail. And then things went from bad to worse when their enemies cornered them by the Red Sea.

Do you feel like one of Moses’ followers, up against it, trapped in a veritable wilderness of problems? If you do, take heart; God is saying to you today what he said to them way back in the day: Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?  I will make a way in the wilderness. (Is 43:19)

Moses’ followers could never have dreamt of how God would save them. No one had ever seen the wide blue sea part before their eyes. And yet that’s exactly what God had planned for them–something no one had ever seen–and the Children of Israel passed over safely to the other side.

You may have no inkling as to how God might turn your situation around. Your circumstances may seem hopeless; the miracle you need, impossible. And yet the things which are impossible with men are still possible with God. So trust the One who promised, “Call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you” (Ps. 50:15), even if you can’t comprehend how he could possibly pull it off. Because believe me, the God of the Universe really can come up with a way to bail you out.

Who knows, maybe he’ll do a new thing, something you’ve never heard of before. Or maybe he’ll fix things in a more conventional way. I don’t know what God’s got planned, but of one thing I’m assured: God can, and will, make a way in the wilderness for you.

David

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Draw a Bigger Circle

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Representatives of a Roman Centurion approached Peter, asking him to come speak with their commanding officer. Peter felt God’s leading to go with them, but still struggled to obey, since religious tradition forbade Jews mingling with Gentiles.

Nevertheless, he at last gave in and traveled to the the centurion’s home, where to his surprise, he found a large number of Romans gathered to learn about Jesus. Upon seeing the crowd he replied, “Now I realize that God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation, whoever fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34)

As a result of Peter’s insight and obedience, the entire Gentile world, (i.e. most of us reading this post), opened wide to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What if Peter had been narrow-minded and prejudiced? You and I would be lost today, that’s what. It’s so important that we keep our hearts open toward those who look, think, and behave differently than we do. Bigotry can assume many forms, including racial prejudice, national arrogance, and religious intolerance. When we find ourselves excluding all but a limited number of like-minded people, we know it’s time to step out of our narrow space into the greater world.

Pastor Paul Daugherty of Victory Christian Center Tulsa put it this way: “Draw a bigger circle.” I challenge all who read this blog to begin to associate with folks who are different than themselves. Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” But you don’t have to visit the ends of the earth to grow in love. Just travel outside the confines of the narrow circle you currently inhabit and meet all those other beautiful folks Jesus died to save.

David

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Pharisees

Pharisee

Pharisees. Bad Guys of the Bible. Whether we’re reading the Word or watching Easter movies, we love to sneer as they diss Jesus. We shake our heads in disgust when they criticize him, twisting his words, and putting him down.

Yeah, the Pharisees were bad dudes, but they’re not extinct; you can still find them in churches today. Churches? Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t. You see, Pharisees are and always were religious people. They’re the folks who pick at the Pastor’s sermons. They cut down sincere, influential ministries, dismissing them false prophets and editing their words until they say things they never meant to say.

The Pharisee spirit is encapsulated a “holier-than-thou attitude.” It’s the elevation of judgment over mercy, the imposition of the Letter of the Law over its spirit. Instead of reveling in the diversity of the members of Christ’s Body, Pharisees condemn all who disagree with them, calling them heretics and cultivating the “us-four-and-no-more” attitude that’s responsible for the array of denominations we see today.

I’ve noticed some negative posts on Facebook lately. They pick at a ministry that touches some 40 million people monthly, through television and other media, which is led by a self-effacing pastor whose books have impacted over 30 million, and include five New York Times best-sellers. Amazingly, this minister is responsible for leading over one million people to the Lord. And yet folks disparage him, talk about him as if he were the devil, and act as if they knew more about the Gospel and how to present it to a lost world than he does.

If there was ever anyone who had a right to criticize others’ ministries, it would have to be the Apostle Paul, who alone wrote the majority of the New Testament. And yet Paul himself says, “Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” (Rms. 14:4)

Yes, Jesus himself said, “Judge not, that be not judged.” (Mat. 7:1) Which makes me wonder: how much nicer a place might the Church of Jesus Christ be if we simply obeyed its Founder and cut each other a little slack?

David

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Shine…

 

morning-star

Jesus spoke to several different crowds. Sometimes he taught the masses, other times his disciples, and in yet others he addressed the Scribes and Pharisees. His words to the Pharisees were sometimes harsh, because they were hateful people who kept others in bondage for their own gain. But his words to his disciples, and the masses, were invariably encouraging, and instructive.

Some people criticize positive preachers, calling them shallow and accusing them of pandering to itching ears, when in reality, they’re merely preaching the way Jesus would in a similar setting. “You’re the light of the world,” he told the unwashed masses.

Can you believe it? The first time I saw that I had to read it over, just to be sure. But that’s what he’d said, along with “You’re the salt of the earth,” and other such positive assertions. He told them they were valuable, that God was their father, and that he loved them so much he’d sent his only Son to save them. Yes, Jesus was affirming to both his followers and the lost, because no matter their current condition, he loved, valued, and believed in them.

And he loves, values, and believes in you, too. Yes, your past may be checkered. You may have failed him many times. You may not be all that you’d like to be, but in Jesus’ eyes, you still glow with potential.

So forget about your past mistakes and sins. Put your shoulders back and stand up tall. Believe in the one who said, “You’re the light of the world” and shine like a city on a hill.

David

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Wicked Tuna

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I recently watched a TV show called “Wicked Tuna.” (“Wicked,” as you may already know, is New England slang for “awesome.”) It’s a reality show is about fishermen who pursue schools of these six-to-ten-foot monsters along the Massachusetts coast. Tuna fishing is an exciting and lucrative trade, since a single bluefin can sell for upwards of ten thousand dollars. But catching one of these thousand-pound behemoths constitutes no easy task.

One particular boat, called the Lily, employs an airplane it its efforts. The plane soars high above, scanning for schools of fish swimming just below the water’s surface. Upon spotting a group, the plane radios directions to the boat below: “Turn left. They’re about twenty boat-lengths out, now. Turn left. Hard left,” etc.

The Lily cannot see the fish, but their Eye in the Sky sees them clearly from its lofty perspective. So when the boat finally gets on the course, the pilot calls, “There. Hold steady. Just like that. Steady like that.” And once they’re on track, no extra communication is needed. Soon enough, they’ll meet up with the fish. It’s only a matter of time.

As a Christian, you’ve got your own Eye in the Sky. You may have goals, but not know how to reach them. That’s OK; your Pilot knows the way. Sometimes you’ll sense His promptings, urging, “Do this. Go that way.” Other times, you’ll hear, “Go steady. Just like that. Steady like that.” Or you may hear nothing at all, and that’s because you’re already on course.

You may think you’ll never reach your goals. But God has already promised to fulfill your dreams (Ps. 37:4.) He can see your victory ahead, and if you’re hearing nothing from Him about it at the moment, it’s because you’re already on course. So hold steady. Steady like that. God will fulfill your heart’s desires. It’s only matter of time. Just hold steady. Steady like that.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The White Stone

The White Stone

White Stone

Revelation 2:17–He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give…a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.

Ever been tagged with an unwanted label? When you were young, did your friends, or even your parents, ever say negative things about you or call you insulting names? “Hey there Klutzy, Fatso, Bean-pole, Bird-brain,” and so forth. Do these names still influence your self-image today? I’ll bet they do. But God’s word can change your inner-identity.

God’s been into changing peoples’ names from the start, you know. He changed Abram’s name to Abraham, (“Father,” to “Father of a Multitude,”) Jacob’s to Israel, (“Cheater,” to “Prince,” and others.

My favorite example relates to the apostle Simon. He was impetuous, hot-headed, and unstable. He once told Jesus he was willing to die for him. Later, he denied Christ to save face with a cute girl.

Jesus renamed Simon “Peter,” which means “Rock,” (we’d probably call him “Rocky” today,) and that name-change transformed not only his self-image, but his character. Jesus told him, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church…” (Matt. 6:18) And sure enough, when the Church was born on the Day of Pentecost, it was by way of Peter’s preaching. His strength and stability of character changed so radically that he became a foundation pillar for the early church, serving as its chief apostle for some fifteen years. Afterward, he pastored the Church of Rome. He became so solid in his faith that he eventually laid down his life on a Roman cross rather than betray the Christ he once denied.

See yourself the way God sees you. Change your identity from “Weakling” to “Lion,” from “Sickly” to “Healthy,” or from “Insignificant” to “Important.” Receive the White Stone, the identity Jesus has offered you through the promises in his word. Let Christ rename you. Agree with him that you are who he says you are. Others may not see you that way right now. They’re not privy to the name on that white stone. But Jesus sees it, and so can you. And as with Peter, one day everyone else will see it too.

Today’s prayer: God of Truth, I believe your word. I am what it says I am. I have what it says I have. I can do what it says I can do. Amen.

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*The post above is from David’s 90-day devotional Encouragement Explosion, available here: Encouragement Explosion

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The Windshield and the Rearview

The Windshield and the Rearview

Ever wonder why your car’s rearview mirror is so small, while your windshield is so large? It’s because what’s in front of you is much more important that what’s behind you.

The Apostle Paul approached life this way: One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:13-14) 

Forgetting those things which are behind…

We all have questions and regrets. Why did she leave me? Where did I fail? Why isn’t my life, career, marriage, etc. doing better? Have I made the wrong choices? Was I lacking in faith?

We can’t answer these questions because we don’t have all the information required to do so. If we were God, we’d understand everything. But we’re not, so we don’t, and we can’t.

So my advice to you is the same as Paul’s: just forget about it. Don’t keep going over old history. The past is done. Even now it’s growing smaller and smaller, fading in the rearview… 

Reaching forward to those things which are ahead…

Your future will be brighter than your past. The Bible promises it. Prov. 4:18 says, the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn that grows brighter and brighter to the perfect day. So lift up your eyes (Gen. 13:14). This is a new day. Looks out that wide windshield and expect the best times of your life, because they’re coming.

I press toward the goal for the prize…

 Don’t give up on your dream. Reach for it. Press toward it. Because there’s a prize. (Yes, a prize!) And the prize is that one day soon you’ll get to see your dream come true.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Nothing Is Impossible

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Luke 1:37–For nothing is impossible with God.

Back in the ’70s I led a Christian rock band called The Awakening, a name, cheesy though it may seem, that would ultimately prove prophetic for a boy named Paul. Greenfield*. It happened on an Easter Sunday evening at the band’s last-ever concert. Everything was going as planned until the middle of the last song, when I saw a man entering the auditorium carrying a child prone in his arms. The pastor who’d sponsored the event noticed them too, and arose and walked back to the rear of the auditorium to meet them.

After a short conversation, the pastor led the man, still carrying his child, forward to the front row, where they stood until we’d finished that last tune.

The pastor then stepped forward to address his congregation: “We need a healing miracle here tonight, folks. The situation is serious. Please stretch out your hands toward five-year-old Paul.”

He turned around to face the band. “David, would you and your band members please step off of the stage and join me in praying for this boy?”

I drew closer. The child was inert, as limp as a towel.

The pastor then led a simple prayer that was short on words but long on faith. Suddenly the child’s eyes snapped open and he swallowed. Five minutes later, young Paul was walking around that auditorium as if nothing had ever been wrong with him.

I didn’t learn the rest of this story until fourteen years later, when a woman, the child’s mother, approached me at a convention we were both attending. She introduced herself, since I’d never officially met her, offering a hand. “My name’s Joanne Greenfield,” she said. “My son was raised from the dead at one of your concerts.”

“Um, what?” I stumbled. “I sure don’t remember anything like that.”

She went on to remind me of that Easter Evening years ago, and explained how Paul had fallen off of a fence, hit his head on a concrete surface, and later passed away at the church. She and her husband had brought him to the pastor for prayer because they believed nothing was impossible with God.

I saw Paul again about fifteen years ago. He’s in his forties as of this writing, and is now a loving husband and father. He was too young at the time to remember these events in detail. But I remember, and now stand assured, as Joanne did that night, that nothing is impossible with God.

Today’s Prayer: Heavenly Father, my problems seem small in light of your omnipotence. I trust you to meet my needs by means of your miraculous power. You are well able and do it, for nothing is impossible with you.

*The names have been changed to protect the family’s privacy.

Image**The above post is from David’s devotional Encouragement Explosion, available from Amazon.com by clicking here: http://www.amazon.com/Encouragement-Explosion-90-Days-Uplift-ebook/dp/B00FRHXE68

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Moses and Me

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Psalm 37:23-24–The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and He delights in his way. Though he fall he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.

Moses was a loser with a capital L. God’s people were being held in cruel bondage, but God devised a way to get them out: He orchestrated Moses to be brought up as the son of the Pharaoh, the heir evident to Egypt’s throne. Once Moses was in power, Israel’s liberation would be a shoe-in. Leave it to God to come devise an ingenious plan.

And leave it to a human to blow it. Moses murdered a man, making himself a criminal and fugitive of the State. Forced into hiding on the backside of the desert, he worked as a shepherd for the next forty years.

Way to go, Mo. Not only do you get yourself banished from the palace, you wind up walking in sheep poo for the rest of your life.

But it’s never too late with God…  

Just when Moses was at his lowest ebb, God appeared and offered him an assignment. Ultimately, Moses wound up as the Deliverer of Israel, a virtual king, and one of the greatest men of history. 

No matter how pitifully Moses fumbled God’s plan for his life, he couldn’t keep it from coming to fulfillment in the end. Yes, Moses turned out to be everything God originally planned for him to be.

Like Moses, you may have made some poor choices. But good news: it’s never too late with God. Keep trying. Keep believing. Keep serving him, because it’s not over yet. The Forger of Destinies can still make you all you were meant to be. 

Today’s prayer: I’ve messed up God, but I know you can restore all I’ve lost. I give myself anew to you today. Help me become all you intended me to be from the start. I trust you to do it, Lord; because I know from reading my Bible that you do things like this for folks like Moses and me.*

*From David’s daily devotional Encouragement Explosion. Check out his books on Amazon.com here: http://www.amazon.com/David-Stearman/e/B008EKIOZG

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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