321 – Stop Everything and Befriend God Just as You Are

Wherever you are in your life, God love you just as you are. You will always have things to learn and sin to repent of. Learn what you need, repent of sin you know about, but even before those things, know that God does love you. Repenting of sin and learning more opens up more room for friendship with God. Growing your friendship with God comes both before, during, and after learning and repentance.

Friendship with God is part of every step of the Christian life because God stays with us through everything, all the way.

Put the business of life on pause and think about your friendship with God. Think about how much you love Him because of how much He loves you and how much you enjoy thinking about enjoying thinking about Him as your friend. Take a moment, right now while reading and think about it.

Every day, all day long, steal any time you can to fix your thoughts on the God above who love you just as you are.

Growing up is one of God’s expressions to us, explaining His own love for us. Children are adorable, yet dirty, immature, yet lovable, and naughty, yet full of potential. The tender understanding and wise patience that a grandparent has toward grandchildren—having seen the growing process all the way through its cycle—shows us a glimpse of how and why God looks at us at any stage of our growth and loves us just the same.

Never outgrow your childlike ability to need God’s love through the patient eyes of parenting. You will always have things to learn, improve, and outgrow. Even the greatest theologians over a hundred years old understand that God looks at them like snot-faced children just starting out. The more we grow, the more we can work along side God in bringing beauty and justice to the universe. Learning about God always includes knowing that He is the best friend you can ever and will ever have.

Even after the first ten thousand years of Eternity in the next life, friendship with God will be just as relevant. So, think about God as your best friend today.

323 – Stop Everything and Ask God for Breakthrough

Facing challenges drives us to test our priorities and rearrange them when they are out of order. This relates to the adage, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

When hard times come, some people “self-medicate” as a means of escape from having to face reality, either through substance abuse, immorality, or recreation. Other people start working hard and diligently. Hard work is less irresponsible than escapism. The mature response must prioritize prayer above diligence.

We know that God must watch the city for the watchmen to be able to keep it safe. God must establish a building for the construction crew to complete it successfully. Your own work needs God’s breath, as well as your hard work to solve whatever situation you are in.

Your challenge of the day may be that you don’t have enough challenges or that you feel dry and need to grasp hold of some sense of direction and vision for your life. You may need to learn something, you might even have the luxury of knowing what you need to learn. Or, you may have the usual financial, professional, and social conflicts. Whatever challenges you face, pray for God to break through.

Never fret and worry—never! Every situation has elements beyond our control, sometimes we even know what those things are. You will always need to trust God, sometimes you even know it. If you struggle to find the property to build a house, then finally buy the property, you will struggle to build the house. Once the house is built, you will struggle to maintain it. Once you are comfortable maintaining it you will struggle with the relationships that develop under its roof. Once your relationships are in order, your business will bring challenges that risk financial loss, take time from your family, and often both.

We never get past the place of needing God to enter into our circumstances and turn them all the way around. He loves to delay His deliverance for the end, so don’t be surprised if He adds a little suspense like so. Just keep praying for breakthrough. If you don’t think you need breakthrough today, then pray for tomorrow’s.

326 – God Upholds the Righteous

God upholds “righteous” people, who practice fairness and justice, because He likes them for it—because He likes justice and fairness. God wants justice and He won’t let someone who does rightly by others to easily slip between the cracks.

It’s hard at times to believe that God cares or works justice. But, watching how God upholds the people who uphold justice can be proof enough that God is real and God is near.

Everyone dies and hardship makes us stronger; God denies neither to the righteous. “Upholding” means that when times get too hard or the wind blows strong, God interrupts the natural order just enough to make sure that the righteous aren’t swept away. Being “upheld” may mean nothing more than surviving what is unsurvivable.

There are generally three main ways God upholds the righteous, but one could always count more than these three.

1. Because righteous people do what is right and fair, their lives are naturally stronger. Friends will help the righteous in need because people who are fair and honest and do good work naturally have more friends than greedy people who take shortcuts on quality. That was how Job’s fortune was restored. Friends gave him just enough money to start again; Job doubled his original wealth from that.

2. God also brings miracles and coincidence to the righteous. It could be that righteous people, being “godly” are “looking for God” in the small things, so they notice coincidences God already sends to everyone. But, miraculous things happen to people who are honest and fair.

3. Also, by praying, angels will always have the prayer they need to bring aid to the righteous. We each need a cloud of prayer around us for protection. Angels need prayer to wage war against evil. People who pray will supply angels with help everywhere they go, even to help the praying people.

Doing what is right and honest and fair to others is the best way to court favor in the High Court of Heaven. Prayerlessness is an injustice to the angels and to the world they want to help, including ourselves. Thus, prayerlessness is a form of self-mutilation while prayer is an act of justice.

327 – Demonic Invitation

Satan and his fallen angels believe that our words and actions give them supernatural permission to make trouble in our lives. Demons have much more power over people who do not believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God who forgave our sin at the Cross. But, even as a Christian, a person can do things that invite demons to make trouble.

The term “satan” means “accuser” or “prosecuting attorney”. In many ways, demons think of themselves as lawyers making constant accusation, looking for endless loopholes, complaining about microscopic differences to find any excuse to say, “Well look here, that human just said that I can go and make a mess. He said so himself,” or, “He may not have said it, but when I tempted him he went along with it. So, he invited me in.”

Christian bookstores are filled with “deliverance” guides on the topic. Some of these books provide lists of things that a person might say to unintentionally invite a demon. Whether you learn from those lists or not, the important lesson is the principle: Demons use anything to argue before God that you want them to have some level of activity in your life. These can include recommending a dark movie to a friend without great disclaimers. It can include watching a bad movie many times for enjoyment, the same with songs, jokes, fowl language, sarcasm that would be evil if taken literally.

It doesn’t matter if you believe it invites a demon; the demons will argue it anyway. Speaking a demon’s name does not necessarily “summon” the demon, but he may be curious and drop in to examine why someone is talking about him. Listening to a song and giving an honest critique does not invite demons, but recommending the song or regularly enjoying it can. Never let any entertainment fascinate you more than Jesus and the Bible.

This topic could be studied more extensively, just as Christian bookstores have entire sections dedicated to it. But, one of the greatest ways to invite evil is to believe lies about God’s truth. Even endorsing “territorial boundaries” for Christian fellowship invites petty squalling; consider the worldviews of those who squabble.

Acts 19:11-20

329 – Don’t Push Wet Noodles, Especially if They Bite

Few things are as demotivating to an already motivated motivator as someone who has no motivation. Affluenza is a common cause of demotivation. The Christians at Laodikeia in the Book of Revelation had this problem. Life was so comfortable for them that they didn’t care about the things that mattered to their Savior who died for them.

But, affluenza is not the only cause of demotivation. Sometimes poverty causes despair, which is wearisome in itself. It’s hard to get out of bed after being in a hospital for a year. When someone hasn’t had work for a long time, going out the door seems tiring and, frankly, embarrassing. When you give someone a first job in a long while, that worker might turn out to be one of your best, but only after a few laps around the track. If you’re the one getting off the couch, be prepared for others to need to be prepared to be patient with you.

Some wet noodles can’t come to life, some can, but they can never be pushed.

Jesus warned against giving pearls to pigs. Pigs don’t appreciate pearls for their beauty or the work it takes to find them. So, if you give them to a pig, it might think you’re throwing stones at it and attack you in turn.

Only work with people as much as they are motivated to work with you. Never chase after people who aren’t excited about your reason for getting up in the morning. We don’t need the same reasons to get out of bed in the morning, but people who work together should at least be excited about other people’s reasons. Those who aren’t excited about other people’s good pursuits aren’t excited about other people pursuing good things. Don’t confide in them.

When someone shows no motivation, if you share your joys, worries, dangers, and victories with that person, you just might get bitten. What do you mean you had “difficulty”? Someone with affluenza will think you must have done something wrong. What do you mean you “want money”? Someone who has little money may not know that “making money” is about others. It’s better to keep your peace.

331 – Spirit & Worship

Biblically worshiping God involves spirit and truth. At the beginning of the 21st Century, most Christians worshiped God in one or the other, but rarely both. God offers such wonder to our spirits and truth to our minds that we easily become satisfied with only one of the two. This creates an imbalanced heart since the heart is a junction of the thinking mind and the emotional spirit.

Mostly peer-motivated, few Christians of the last two thousand years tapped into the immense, intrinsic, self-motivated power of the human will to pursue worshiping God in both spirit and truth. This captivating energy is only discovered when one has a deep, burning fascination with God Himself. Once this is discovered, “encouragement” from other Christians fades to static because God is that fascinating.

Gathering to study and learn, encouraging each other, talking through our challenges together, checking our moral compasses—these are good and necessary. But, they have been oversold by leaders in the Church—both professional and volunteer, both lay and trained—to such a point that they unintentionally invalidated the value of individual motivation. To be fully healthy as humans, each of us must chase after both spiritual and truthful things that can only be found in a relationship between God and one, single human.

While we must interact with each other on the level of truth and spoken ideas, we also require awareness of each other’s spirits. Christianity often describes the Christian life as having horizontal and vertical “growth”, with God and with our fellow Man. Both of those involve spirit and truth. Emphasizing the horizontal relationship to the exclusion of the individual-vertical also imbalances the spirit-truth element. When that happens, the condition of the human heart becomes akin to a body builder who exercises only upper or lower body, or only right or left.

Balance is for all people. Spiritually, that means getting comfortable with the discomfort of emotions, whether in repentance or worship. Balance strengthens one’s genuine connection to God while entertainment-driven excitement is a poor substitute for the real thing. “Spiritual” growth requires that we diligently pursue spirit-inclusive truth—neither trying to contrive one’s own truth nor dismissing academic diligence as “unspiritual”.

333 – Happiness Is Contagious

It should be no secret that happiness are a sheer choice. The reason that so few people know this is because so few families teach this at the dinner table and in the car. If you understand that happiness is a choice, you must teach everyone around you actively and often. Even at work and among peers, encourage and counsel everyone with the undeniable truth of life that happiness is a choice. If you don’t teach an idea to others, then you will forget it yourself.

Uncontrolled anger is easy to recognize in children, while adults mask their emotions by “acting mature”, but the untame emotions remain the same. For the child, hold him and let him cry on your shoulder; after a few minutes, poke his cheek and provoke a smile. Help him see that happiness is still a choice. For the adults around you, even yourself, find whatever way this truth applies to the situation. Proactively seek out opportunities to inject the small, subtle presupposition that happiness is a choice. Do it everywhere you can.

This does not mean silencing people with “negative energy”. Happiness being a choice means being happy when other people are not. “Getting rid of the negative people” may be necessary for family and organizations. But, in brief times like staff meetings and dinner out, the ability to choose happiness means overcoming negativity with your own joy. If you can’t, then you are the one who needs to learn.

One example was Brad Pitt’s character in “Fury” when he wouldn’t let his fellow soldiers ruin his dinner. People who reject the truth that happiness is a choice label it “propaganda”. Whether they doubt the choice or they try to be happy by “negating all the negative people”, such people did not grow up knowing about the choice. At one time, they wanted to be happy too, but it’s not easy. When we try and fail, we want to give up.

Happiness must be contagious. Once you stop sharing your happiness with others, you’ll stop being happy. There are plenty of sad people who need cheering up. But, happy people can become happier still. Choose happiness by spreading it everywhere.