1. You know you are growing closer to God’s heart when you are continually aware of the condition of your own heart. You are softer, more grateful, and always repentant before Him, for even the slightest of wrong attitudes or thoughts.

2. You know you are growing closer to God’s heart when you are listening to Him with a quick, willing, and instant response of faith and obedience.

3. You know you are growing closer to God’s heart when you are open, warm, gracious, and loving toward all people; showing no favoritism, not ever.

4. You know you are growing closer to God’s heart when love for other people dominates your thinking and motivates everything you do.

5. You know you are growing closer to God’s heart when you are keenly aware and accountable for your mistakes. This awareness stops you being a critical and harsh judge of others.

6. If you are a leader in God’s House, you know you are growing closer to God’s heart when you don’t have any need to throw around your God-given authority in an effort to show others who is in charge. God-given authority is never used to assert dominance, control, or abuse others.

7. You know you are growing closer to God’s heart when you realize God-given authority is for serving others; never self-serving.

8. You know you are growing closer to God’s heart when you realize there is absolutely no need to self-assert your leadership over, or above, another person.

9. You know you are growing closer to God’s heart when your strength is used for service, not status.

10. You know you are growing closer to God’s heart when you know the gifts and call on your life are for building up and encouraging others; always others.

11. You know you are growing closer to God’s heart when you value people over your own comforts, conveniences, and even your own life.

12. You know you are growing closer to God’s heart when heavens priorities become your priorities.

13. You know you are growing closer to God’s heart when you live obedient to God, no matter what circumstances come your way.

14. You know you are growing closer to God’s heart when you don’t compare yourself with other people, you simply live to please God.

15. You know you are growing closer to God’s heart when the attention, popularity, or promotion that comes from man is so unimportant, unnecessary, and even, an unwanted distraction; because you simply live to please God, not man.

16. You know you are growing closer to God’s heart when you live in the radical pursuit of Jesus, with a willingness to accomplish everything He has tasked you to do in the earth.

17. You know you are growing closer to God’s heart when you work to lovingly get along with all God’s people, in mutual submission and unity, working together, to accomplish God’s plans in the earth.

18. You know you are growing closer to God’s heart when you more courageously speak about God’s love and forgiveness to every person that comes into your world, because you are deathly aware of people’s need to make a decision to follow Jesus.

19. You know you are growing closer to God’s heart when you realize the desperate plight of every human’s heart, and their desperate need of God.

20. You know you are growing closer to God’s heart when you cannot even look at another person, wherever you are, no matter who the person is, and prayerfully wonder about the spiritual condition of their heart; wanting God’s absolute best for them.

Family Phobia

June 24, 2014

It’s ironic that one of the most essential elements to a nations stability, and ability to flourish, the family, is under such attack in our culture.

It’s even more ironic that Christians, Christ-followers, swallow these attacks–not just accepting the blatant attacks, but eating them up, continually asking for more, saying, Won’t someone entertain me, please! 

Our news media, music, and entertainment industries are bent on redefining family. Their agenda is set on destroying traditional family values. They are opposed to it, and vehemently opposed to any person in support of these values. They have in the last few decades, created within our culture, family phobia.

What is family phobia? An extreme and irrational hatred or fear of traditional family.

Traditional family values have become the butt of jokes and are talked about as if they are a destroying force in American society.

Traditional family vales have been portrayed as anti-American in media, and even by a few of our nations top leaders. Why? Because traditional family holds up God’s standard of truth in an age where few people want to believe there is an absolute truth. Much less, believe there is a God who is the originator of that truth. Many just want their version of truth, which is subject to change with any passing whim, so they can go about life without any external source of authority.

In fact, using the word traditional is itself an attempt at derision because anything deemed traditional has a polarizing effect in the context of morals, ethics, and relationships.

Many times through media, I’ve heard a news anchor, a late night TV host, or some celebrity, throw around the term traditional in the context of family values as an attempt at condescension to people with these values; a form of mockery. The anchor pridefully thinks he is intellectually advanced and rationally open-minded; assuming the person with traditional values is a narrow-minded intellectual numskull. This lie has been spread so far and wide that even Christians believe it; or, use it as an excuse for their own sin.

What are traditional family values? Believing in the sanctity of marriage, and the sanctity of human life. One husband, one wife, committed to each other in marriage for the course of their whole life. Raising their children to love and honor God, with healthy boundaries, and values based on the Truth of God’s Word. This includes, teaching children to cherish and highly value virginity, highly value sexual purity, and highly value life when it begins within the milliseconds of conception, in the womb–God is there in those milliseconds as a life is formed.

A quick read of history shows when family is attacked, devalued, or redefined, as currently in our culture, the nations foundations crumble. Interestingly, we don’t teach this ugly part of history in our schools anymore.

Any serious reader of history will say with great conviction, the back bone to any society is strong and healthy family. There is no denying the proof is in our history, not in cultural opinion polls, strong family equals a strong nation.

It’s time for Christians to stop being fearfully hushed and boxed into the politically correct corners of society.

More than that, it’s time for Christians to live up to God’s Word, no longer patterning after the world, and no more using the worlds changing standards to justify our lack of conviction about God’s Truth.

Family is God’s design. It was his design from the beginning. He gets to define it. God blesses our families when we do family His way.

Living in the grey

June 5, 2014

I used to be criticized for being too black and white. It used to bother me. So much so, I internalized it and started to think, what is wrong with me? Tried to work out what people meant by, too black and white. I don’t get it. Why the criticism?

Criticism can be very good, very helpful. Sometimes it’s the only way we find out about blind spots, or grow. This was different…

It takes a 1st grader only a few seconds to realize blending black and white makes grey. This is OK if you are mixing paint colors for an artwork. This is never OK for the Christian life. Grey makes for a very dull, uninteresting, powerless and conviction-less Christian life. I realized the critics were themselves just plain boring grey and didn’t want their boats rocked.

Grey is drab.
Grey is boring.
Grey is just playing it safe.
Grey is complacent.
Grey is apathetic.
Grey numbs us to sin.
Grey becomes OK with sin.
Grey becomes self-absorbed and self-serving.
Grey’s end is coldheartedness toward God and His people.
Grey does very little about the people headed for a Christ-less eternity.
Grey doesn’t see God working amazing miracles.
Grey is more concerned with status quo
Grey’s faith is small.
Grey is like a very dull ax head–no good to be used for the purpose it was created.
Grey makes for a powerless Christian life.
Grey rarely prays.
Grey is little changed by God’s Word.

BUT grey feels good, looks good, doesn’t require much work. Grey makes for a politically correct Christian–fitting in with society. Grey is loved by the world (James 4:4). Grey can even have an outward look of success. Grey doesn’t rock many boats–doesn’t cause waves.

Jesus rocked boats. Actually, He turned them fully upside down. Jesus didn’t live grey. He lived white-hot.

God says grey is lukewarm. God doesn’t like grey, it makes Him gag. I know your deeds, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth, Revelation 3:15,16.

God wants us to be living white-hot for Him. White hot, full of zeal, passionately pursuing Him, and passionately pursuing people with His message of love and grace.

The longer I live, the more I know, God wants us to rightly divide Truth and bring God’s life-changing grace to a world that desperately needs.

Rightly dividing truth requires extreme black and white. This is not gracelessness. Grey will condescend and try to call this gracelessness. But the condescension is to throw attention off their own conviction-less life.

Rightly dividing truth is required so every person understands their vital need of God’s grace. Without truth, there is no recognition of sin, and people have no awareness of their need of grace.

Truth and grace go hand in hand. One should never be given without the other. All grace and no truth equals a weak, grey Christian. All truth and no grace equals a legalistic, Christ-less religion, void of life.

The bible is extreme black and white. It pulls no punches. The message of Jesus is extreme and absolute. It requires a choice: choose Jesus, or don’t. There is no room in the gospel message for grey, choose Jesus, or don’t.

There’s no middle ground with God. No mixing colors. No blending or watering down convictions. It’s all, or it’s nothing at all.

Live white-hot for Jesus.