Six Spiritual Truths that Guide My Life – Part 1

1. I will live with the daily assurance that God loves me.

Knowing you are loved is one of the greatest needs humans possess. Knowing you are loved by someone, no matter what, is a basic God-given need. God wired us that way, to have an ever longing need to feel loved and accepted. He designed us that way in order that we may be driven to get our need of belongingess and love from Him.

Throughout Scripture we are told how God loves us and constantly cares for us, even more than the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. (Matthew 6). I know His love is constant and absolute because His love is a “vested love” because I am in Christ. God can never “unlove” us. Because we are in Christ, to stop loving us He would have to stop loving Christ.

2. I know God has a path for me.

All my Christian life I have heard the phrase, “God has a plan for your life.” It has become such a common place saying that most people glaze over when they hear it. But I think God’s plan goes deeper than the generic saying. God created us with a purpose in mind and a path to walk. The path includes lots of choices along the way, and it may include several different places we live and things that we do.

I don’t believe that there is a difference in the secular and the sacred. To a follower of Christ, everything is sacred. Your occupation, who you marry, how you train your children, where you live, how you spend your spare time is all sacred. There may be phases of your life you want to forget or do over, but as a committed follower of Christ, God is at work in and through you accomplishing His divine purpose.

Through the sovereignty of God, He opens and closes doors dependent upon His end purpose for you. You may think a certain part of your life was a failure, but God had you there for a divine purpose for a specific time in history. That even means your screw-ups and sin would somehow be woven into His overall purpose.

3. Trust God Completely.

Some prefer to say “put God first” but I think a more accurate phrase would be, “trust God completely.” Learning to trust God is a lifelong learning experience. As we go through the different phases of life, I am convinced that God’s intention for us is to grow in our level of trust.

New levels of trust are reached when we go through a trial or a difficult issue. Those things that cause you to be out of control when you were in the beginning of your trust level, is now just a little bump in the road. The more difficult the trial, the greater the trust level.

Sometimes we misunderstand the passage in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to bear.” Some believers think that nothing we deem unbearable will ever come our way, but that is not true. He will sometimes allow you to go through trials that you know you can’t handle. Matter of fact, you may even feel that you had rather die than go through the trial.

When God allows some seemingly, unbearable circumstance in our life it may seem we can’t bear it. But God is faithful to His Word. The rest of the above passage says, “…but He will provide a way of escape in order that you can bear it.”

God is stretching your trust level. He wants us to go through things that put you out of control. Sometimes those things will shake our faith and cause us to question all that we believe. He wants us to have no place to turn for help but Him. That increases our trust level.

Bottom Line

This does three things for me.
1. When I have an unshakable assurance that God loves me I can run to Him with confidence that He loves and accepts me. That creates a state of rest and peace, even when the storm is howling.

2. Knowing that God has a path for me allows me to approach everyday as a new day. A new day where God can reveal Himself to me in a new and fresh way. Even though sometimes I can’t see it or feel it, I know He is at work in me manifesting Christ’s life to the world.

3. Learning a new level of trust creates a new level of fellowship with the Father. There is an inner circle of fellowship with the Father for those who are willing to have a greater level of trust.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. “ (Proverbs 3:5)

The Believer and Conflict

After his resurrection Jesus appeared to his disciples several times. One of the encounters occurred on a beach, after they had been fishing all night. They were close to shore and noticed Jesus on the beach; he was cooking breakfast for them.

After they had finished eating Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Most of us are familiar with this discourse between Jesus and Peter. Peter responded all three times that he truly loved Jesus. Jesus told Peter to “tend my lambs, take care of my sheep, and feed my sheep.” (John 21)

There is plenty to learn from the three questions Jesus ask, but I think the deeper and more profound words of Jesus is what He said to Peter next.

“I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. (John 21:18-19 NLT)

Jesus’ point to Peter is that his life from this point forward was going to be difficult. Jesus is telling Peter that there will come a time that he will be taken where he doesn’t want to go, and he will be treated like he doesn’t want to be treated, and then he will die.

The deeper message behind this foretelling of Peter’s future is not just Jesus telling Peter how he is going to die. The deeper message is Jesus telling Peter how is going to live. In a way, Jesus was telling him that life is not all about “Peter”. His life now is about a bigger story. Peter’s life is now about his mission, his mission of bringing the gospel to the nations. With that task comes a life of “being led about where you don’t want to go.”

Life is not about being the main player, but it’s about being a part of the big picture. In other words, life is not about creating a plan and knowing what is going to happen every season of your life. Life is about conflict, difficult days, disappointment and failure. But God has a purpose in all of that. He wants to lead us to the point of “If you want to keep your life you must be willing to lose it.”

God wants us to get to the point of surrendering every aspect of our life to Him, so we can give our life away. That’s where radical Christianity comes in. When we let go of our life, we will find it.

That’s how a highly trained Physician can leave a financially lucrative career and become a missionary doctor in the bush of a 3rd world country. It’s how a professional school teacher can quit her secure job with a good salary and benefits and go teach at risk, inner city children in the ghetto of a major city.

The issue is not “are you willing to be a missionary.” The issue is are you willing to lay down your life, your dreams and your plans at Jesus’ feet and give him a blank pad, and have him write your story as He sees fit.

The Bottom Line
All good stories and movies have an unpredictable and unseen surprise ending. It’s that conflict and tension that etches the story in your mind. Our life is one big story being written by the God. That means we are going to be led into situations that are uncomfortable, unpredictable, and like Peter, we may be led to places that we don’t want to go.

As a committed follower of Christ we must remember that life is about faith and trust. It’s trusting God in every situation, and even sometimes, being led down a path where we don’t want to go. Be encouraged because God passionately loves you and He always has a purpose for everything He allows in your life.

Be Still and I Will Part the Waters for You

“He your teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you. “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right of the left.” (Isaiah 30)

God still speaks to his children by the voice of the Holy Spirit. God speaks to us through a “still small voice” and most often through the Scriptures. Sometimes a biblical passage will be the key to our deliverance. Whether it’s through the Scriptures or that still small voice, before we can hear His voice of direction, God requires something of us: We are to stand still and wait for Him to act.

Stand still and wait for Him to act. This is one of those principles that make easy preaching but difficult to implement. Somehow we think that our experience qualifies us to go ahead of God. Besides, God needs our help doesn’t He? I don’t think so. If we take the sum total of all our good days, it would not equal one of God’s moments of genius. God’s timing and method is always the best for our life.

Joshua was one of the few Israelites who were able to enter the promise land. As Joshua was leading the Israelites across the Jordan River God was saying to them, ‘When you get to the water, plant your feet in the water and just stand there. Be still, rest. Just wait for me to act and I will part the waters for you.’

The Hebrew word for “stand still” means to,“stop all activity, cease all striving”. I am sure some of the men must have said, “Let’s build a quick bridge. With the amount of workers we have we can have a functional bridge in a few days”. Some of the women must have said, “I can’t let my children stand in the water, they might catch cold. “

But in spite of all of the suggestions, and the grumbling, Joshua led the people to obedience and they waited on God, did just as God told them, and the waters departed and they crossed over on dry land.

The problem isn’t that God is not speaking, but the problem is that we are not being still long enough to hear His voice. In other words, we lack the patience to wait, and lack the faith that God will answer.

What is God saying to us through this passage? Stop all activity, cease all striving. Be still, rest…just wait for me to act and I will part the waters for you!

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen; I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)


Years ago I picked up a saying from my military training in the Air National Guard; “Your attitude determines you altitude.” This is one of those truths that stick with you throughout your life because having the right attitude impacts every stage of your life.

No matter what season of life you are in, your attitude is a key player in your level of contentment. Attitude is more important than wealth, education, good looks, popularity and almost anything else the world may consider important.

As a follower of Christ, your attitude is an indicator of your level of trust and devotion to God. Having a vast knowledge of Scripture will not necessarily make you a successful believer. Some of the most miserable people I have met are Christians. They weren’t miserable because their faith didn’t work, they were miserable because their attitude was rotten.

If you are a business person, your attitude will determine your success, but it will also see you through a tough business climate. If you think you can’t succeed or make it through the tough times, then your attitude will be your downfall.

As committed followers of Jesus, it is important to maintain an attitude that reflects our dependence and trust in a sovereign God. Knowing that He will guide and direct us is an important element in maintaining inner peace. Many times we can’t control our circumstances, or what others say about us or do to us, but we can control our attitude. Attitude is always a result of your reaction to a given situation. We can choose to trust God, and believe He is in control or we can choose to be fearful and hopeless.

When you live with a Christ-centered worldview, the normal response to any crisis is to let go and trust God to give you wisdom and peace. By trusting God in every situation, we develop an attitude of dependence. We have this inner peace that everything is going to turn out right – even though we can’t see the end result. Why? Because we know God is in control.

The Holy Spirit allowed Paul to use the word “Abba” when referring to God in Galatians. Abba is a term of intimate affection that denotes “Daddy”. Our heavenly Father is not only our God, but He is also our daddy/protector who loves and cares for every area of our life. “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his son into our hearts, crying “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:6

Because we are loved, cared for and watched over in every way by our loving God, we should quickly deal with any attitude of discouragement and despair. Remember, your attitude determines your altitude.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NASB)

The Joy of the Lord

“The Joy of the Lord is my Strength” (Nehemiah 8:10)

As a committed follower of Christ we enjoy a unique position. The moment we placed our faith in Jesus we became someone we have never been before. Our spiritual heritage changed from a helpless sinner doomed to separation from God, to a child of God with a home in heaven that anxiously awaits our arrival. But that’s not all.

Through Christ, we were given a relationship with the God of the universe that allows us to wade through and survive every challenge the world can throw at us. We were given a strength that is not of this world. This strength is not based on knowledge, wisdom, or even a spiritual formula. It’s not earned by religious ritual or good performance. It is a gift from God that is a by-product of our salvation… it is call “Joy”.

Nehemiah had the right idea. The strength to weather any storm or crisis is based on drawing on the “Joy of the Lord.” In this context, Joy is best described as “Inner peace”. God makes available to every believer an inner peace. But we can only draw on it when we choose to surrender our control to Him. The real question is do we believe that God is in control when things are not going well with us? Do we believe that He can and will work out all our circumstances for His glory and our good?

When we are allowed to encounter impossible situations, it leads us to a frustration with our own self effort to fix it. We then have no place to turn but to God. He wants our first reaction to any difficult situation to be to run to Him. Our heavenly Father wants us to need Him.

That’s what the “joy of the Lord” is about. It is not acting super spiritual on the outside and not letting anyone see you sweat. The “joy of the Lord” is a position and a belief system that says, “no matter what is going on around me, I am trusting God. His foreknowledge and wisdom teaches me that He is in control and it will all work out for my good if I will let go and trust Him.”

The Scripture tells us that we are made complete by the person of Christ within us. “In Him you have been made complete.” (Colossians 2:10) Therefore, all we are, and all we need is found in God within us. Our response to this incredible gift is to rest and trust Him.

Christian recording artist Larnelle Harris has a great song that speaks to subject of trusting God entitled “Strength of the Lord”. Here are the lyrics to the chorus:

It’s not in trying but in trusting
It’s not in running but in resting
Not in wondering but in praying
That we find the strength of the Lord

“But what joy for all who take refuge in him!” Psalm 2:12

Waiting on God

I think one of the most difficult areas for Christians to grasp is learning to wait on God. In our world of “instant everything”, waiting on God doesn’t fit into our culture and lifestyle. When we are waiting on God to answer our prayer our attitude is often, “Oh God, give me patience, hurry up, right now.”

In some ways, I feel a great sense of inadequacy writing about waiting on God. Much of my Christian walk has exhibited a life of impatience. There have been times when waiting just wasn’t an option because I needed an answer or solution now. I now realize that most of the situations were not that urgent, it was my impatience that was being exposed.

But as I have grown older, and I hope a bit wiser, I am realizing the advantages of learning to wait on God. I think you will agree that instant gratification is not always the best thing for us. Listed below are 3 things I have learned about the importance of learning to wait on God.

1. Learning to wait on God causes us to reevaluate our prayer. How many times during the process of praying through a matter, have you changed how you’ve prayed? Often, my prayer at the beginning of the process was much different than the prayer when God answered. During my journey of praying and waiting the Holy Spirit refined my request and was able to give me the heart of God in the matter. By waiting on the Lord he had refined my prayer to line up with what he wanted to do. Prayer is not about thinking up something to pray, but prayer is getting to the point where we agree with God about what he wants to do in the matter.

2. Learning to wait allows us to realize God’s timing. One of the basic tenets of our faith is that God’s timing is always the best time. God has the ability to do multiple things just from one answered prayer. By waiting on his timing others could be eternally affected by an answered prayer at the right moment.

A great example of this principle is the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. Lazarus’s sisters wanted Jesus to come immediately and pray for Lazarus so he wouldn’t die. It was an urgent need that meant death if he wasn’t healed.

But Jesus had a far reaching and even greater miracle in mind. By waiting Jesus did something even more sensational. He raised Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus had been dead and in the tomb for several days. The whole town knew Lazarus had died and many had observed and witnessed his burial. Now the town was buzzing about Lazarus being raised from the dead. Jesus had received greater glory because at just the right time his sister‘s prayer were answered. (John 11)

3. Learning to wait strengthens our faith. When doubting Thomas saw the nail prints in Jesus’ hands and the wound in his side, he quickly declared, “I believe.” But then Jesus responded with an important principle. Jesus said to Thomas, “Because you have seen me you have believed? Blessed are those did not see, yet believed.”(John 20:29)

Great faith is measured by believing God even though we see no physical evidence of answered prayer. It’s to believe that God will answer in his time and in his way. When we wait on God and he answers prayer our faith is strengthened and we can now believe him for greater things.

Waiting on God to answer a prayer or “come through for you” is sometimes very difficult. If we don’t have the right attitude toward “waiting” we create an atmosphere of doubt, fear and despair.

I am reminded of the story of Peter denying the Lord. After he had denied Jesus three times and the rooster crowed, Jesus looked over at Peter and looked into his eyes and into his heart. The scripture tells us that “Peter then wept bitterly.” That means that Peter was pierced to the heart with shame and conviction with one look into Jesus’ eyes. I don’t think it was a look of judgment, but it was a look of unconditional love. It was the love in Jesus’ eyes that brought brokenness and conviction to Peter.

I guess because of Peter’s story, I have this image in my mind that the moment I step into the portals of heaven the first thing I will see is the face of Jesus. I will look into his eyes and I will be overwhelmed with his love for me. A peace like I have never experienced will come over me and I will have the confidence that I am now finally home.

To me, learning to wait is taking the opportunity to spiritually look into his eyes, sense his overwhelming love, and then to have the assurance that he is working out all things for our good and his glory as we are learning to wait on Him.

“And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to [his] purpose. For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren; and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:28-31)

It is not about performance

“Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5)

One of the benefits of God’s grace is its ability, through the Cross, to deliver us from a law mentality. The law teaches us that “in order to “be” we must perform.” The law demands performance in order to measure up. The whole purpose of the law was to reveal our unrighteousness and our inability to perform enough good works to obtain any degree of righteousness, other than our own self-righteousness.

The whole religious system has always been based on a performance based mentality. The religious hierarchy, the ceremonial formality, and sometimes even the educational system feed the perpetuation of a system that teaches or implies that we must perform in order to measure up to some sort of religious standard. Religious rules are always about control and bondage.

This is not a new thing. Jesus encountered a religious system that fought his message of grace and it eventually put him to death. The disciples lost their lives preaching this same message of salvation by God’s grace.

Even though the religious system is still alive and thriving today, I am grateful for a few solid Bible preaching churches that exists to teach the message of God’s grace and Jesus’ provision for man’s salvation.

However, in spite of the good churches there are many believers who still live in bondage to the law. Even though they will quickly tell you they are saved by grace, they live as though they are still under the law. It’s the tendency of the flesh to mix law with grace. Ever since Cain’s attempt to appease God by his offering of vegetables from his garden, man has sought to add to what God has already provided through a blood sacrifice.

Paul gives a great example of this in Galatians 3. Some of the new believers were stumbling in their new found freedom by mixing law with grace. We read about some well-meaning men from Jerusalem who were attempting to persuade new believers that they must add Jewish ceremonial law to God’s grace. Paul says, “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you…I want to find out from you, did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”(Galatians 3:1-3 NAS)

Paul wanted to make it clear that salvation and God’s righteousness came by faith and God’s grace. They were made righteous by God’s gift not by any amount of works or law keeping. In other words, man is saved and kept by God’s grace and goodness, apart from any effort of works or law keeping.

Why is this important to know? The Christian life is not about working for God to gain His favor. It’s not about performance, but it’s about living your life in complete dependence on Him. Your Christian life began by putting your faith and trust in God’s provision for your salvation, and it is to be lived by placing your faith and trust in God’s provision to lead you every step of the way and in every season of your life.

The life of faith is about surrendering every aspect of your life to his control. As we abandon every area of our life to Him, the Holy Spirit will lead us in how to give our money, and how He wants us to serve Him. This same grace will also lead you through every major decision and crisis.

If you are trying to measure up to a set of religious rules or standards for God’s acceptance, then remember, you don’t have to “do things for God” to get his acceptance. Because you are in Christ, you are already accepted.

Then fully surrender every aspect of your life to His control and then listen for the Holy Spirit’s voice to lead you. It’s not about performance, but it’s about trusting and resting in His grace. Then, “HE -WILL- DO- IT –ALL- FOR -YOU.”

    “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him…for in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.” (Colossians 2 NAS)

Everything has a purpose

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NAS)

I believe one of the biggest mistakes the typical believer makes is failing to accept that “everything has a purpose.” When we encounter difficult situations, more often than not, our reaction is “why is this happening to me?”

The life of a follower of Christ is filled with God’s “whisper moments”. The Holy Spirit whispers to us God’s deepest and most profound lessons when we are in our deepest despair. The problem is we miss or delay hearing God’s voice because we are asking the wrong question.Instead of asking “why is this happening”, we should be asking “what do you want to show or teach in this moment?”

I am convinced that a major part of life is about properly fielding life’s problems. Problems and seemingly impossible situations is God’s way of making us more effective servants. If it’s true that God has a purpose for every believer, then His purpose is most often realized through the crucible of trouble.

Life is not nearly as much about multiple successes as we think. It is more about how we respond to failure, conflict and impasses. God is more concerned about how we respond to problems than He is about how many success stories we can tell.

No matter which way we spin it, the Christian life is a paradox. It is filled with life contradictions. It’s almost always opposite to how the world thinks and acts. Paul speaks to this issue when he reminds us in 2 Corinthians 4 that life is filled with contradictions, affliction, confusion and despair.

Then, in this same passage, Paul reminds us that all this difficulty has a divine purpose. When we properly respond to life’s troubles then the result is a personal death process that yields a Christ-likeness that profoundly touches other people.

Through all my years as a counselor I often said that God kept me constantly at the point of brokenness so that I could effectively reveal Christ to the hurting and wounded. Any time we act outside the realm of brokenness we are in danger of performing in the flesh.

That is the reason that the Scriptural principle of “all things work together” (Romans 8: 28-29) should be in the forefront of every believer’s mind. God is able to take every situation, no matter how desperate and hopeless it seems, and turn it into something eternally useful. But in order for that to happen, we must see that God has a purpose for everything that occurs in our life. No brush stroke on the canvas of your life is wasted; it is all used to complete God’s portrait of your life journey.

No matter what stage of life you are in, God is still speaking into your life, are you listening for God’s whisper?

“So we have no reason to despair. Despite the fact that our outer humanity is falling apart and decaying, our inner humanity is breathing in new life every day. You see, the short-lived pains of this life are creating for us an eternal glory that does not compare to anything we know here. So we do not set our sights on the things we can see with our eyes. All of that is fleeting: it will eventually fade away. Instead, we focus on the things we cannot see, which live on and on. “ (2 Corinthians 4:16-17 The Voice)

Trusting in the sufficiency of Christ

“In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge…For in Him dwells all the fullness of the godhead bodily and you are complete in Him who is head of all principality and power…Christ who is our life.” (Colossians 2&3 – Paul speaking of Christ)

I believe the greatest truth that I have learned in my walk with God is the Biblical concept of the sufficiency of Christ. To learn of and walk in Christ’s sufficiency means that I acknowledge two key truths.

1. Christ’s is all I need to have and maintain a successful fellowship with my Heavenly Father. Christ is my sin bearer, my redeemer, my advocate, and my only connection to the throne of God. No amount of religious ritual, Christian service, religious/spiritual experience or denominational connection can improve or enhance my relationship with the Father. Only by being “In Christ” can I have assurance that God accepts me.

2. I am fully sufficient/equipped in Christ. Christ’s life in me gives me a sense of acceptance – so I don’t need the world’s acceptance. Christ gives me belongingness – therefore I don’t need to conform to the culture’s pressure of political correctness to fit in. I have a sense of safeness – because my security is in Christ’s ability to keep me safe, no matter what storm surrounds my life.

Because Christ is head of all principalities and powers, His life in me is greater than any tragedy, sickness, economic storm or major setback. There is no situation that we find ourselves in that God cannot deliver us from or through.

Living in and depending upon Christ’s sufficiency allows us to “rest”, because we know Jesus knows our situation and He is fully involved in every aspect our life.

So let go, trust in the sufficiency of Christ, and rest in Him as enough, regardless of your feelings. If you will trust the sufficiency of Christ for this moment, He will see you through.

Overcoming Fear

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but a Spirit of power, love and good judgment. 2 Timothy 1:7”

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can cause us to make drastic decisions or cause us to shrink into indecision. It can cause us to lose sleep, lose reason, lose our appetite and lose our hope. Like any powerful emotion, fear can control us to the point of becoming something we do not want to become.

Are you gripped by fear of what will happen in the near future? Are you at a major crossroad in your life that causes you to doubt yourself and your ability to make good decisions? As fear begins to slowly encompass you, remember that this fear is not from God, it’s from the enemy. The enemy desires for you to abandon your hope and cease trusting God.

The reality of trusting God only comes into play when you are faced with overwhelming circumstances and fear. Then you have to choose and take control. Will you acknowledge that this fear is from the enemy and cast it aside and trust God? Or will you let the enemy get into your head and render you useless?

Paul told Timothy (paraphrased) “The fear that you are feeling right now is not from God, it is from the devil. Instead of believing the lies that fear produces, believe God. He has given you a spirit of power, love and a sound mind”. That means that Christ has given you the power to overcome the fear, the love of God to assure you that He is in control, and a sound mind to make good decisions, even in the midst of doubt.

The key to overcoming doubt and fear is to have more confidence in the Lord’s ability to lead you than you have in the devil’s ability to deceive you. Trust the inner peace and cast aside the doubt and fear.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20)