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Pastor Webster (translator), the snake, and Vicki teaching about the fall of man.

In “God is at Work in Malawi,” I will describe my recent trip to Malawi, Africa, teaching pastors about the Bible. In fact, I returned last Sunday. The Holy Spirit in Africa left me in awe often, in shock sometimes, and speechless more than once. The presentation will be at Alma Temple at the evening service on June 11th. If you have supported this mission with prayers and donations, you won’t want to miss it. The service begins at 6:00 pm. Beginning at 6:30 pm the message will be on live radio broadcast on KPOF, AM910 and audio streaming via the internet. You are cordially invited to join us. Alma Temple is located at 1340 Sherman Street, half a block from the state capitol building, Denver, Colorado.

The Attitude of Christ

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“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5 NIV).

Having the same mindset of Jesus may seem highly unlikely to you. After all, Jesus was 100% man and 100% God. Jesus led a perfect life and we must admit that we are lowly, fallible human beings. But did you know that God actually gave all of us the mind of Christ? “The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment. For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:15-16).

Given that God has graciously blessed us with the mind of Christ and that He revealed it to us in His Word, should we not explore it for just a minute? What was Jesus’ attitude while He was here on earth? If we indeed possess the mind of Christ, then we also possess the attitude of Christ. Wow!

That seems a tall order, but believe this … we can willingly and instantly change our attitude at any time, under any circumstances. Let me give you an example. You are very angry at someone in your house. Let’s say someone broke a priceless vase. You have been emotionally strained because of lack of sleep the past week, worrying about how to pay off your credit card. The vase breaks and adrenalin shoots through your veins. You scream in rage at the offender. Suddenly the doorbell rings.

You swing the door open, ready to plow into some innocent vendor. There on your doorstep stands the President of the United States, complete with secret service and press spread over your front lawn. Your attitude changes instantly from aggression to humility. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the President of the United States. Maybe it was just your local pastor. However, I believe the instant attitude change would occur then as well.

What would the mind of Christ look like? Since we can’t look into His mind, we can look at how He lived to get an idea of how we can emulate the mind of Christ. He came to “save the world, not to judge it” (John 3:17). Aha! Judgments are out. Yes, I say it again, judgments are out. He made it His business to serve and heal the people around Him. Okay, we can do that. He put mere human beings above Himself, the King of the universe. Can you put others above yourself?

Can you think of someone who is truly servant-hearted? Someone who truly enjoys serving others? There are many people like that. Does it seem impossible? Why not trust God to empower you to do it for one person. Putting even one person’s needs above your own is a very good start. If you are married it might be your spouse. Or it may be someone you know who needs some help. There is certainly someone in this world you could humbly serve and love with an attitude of joy.

Philippians 2:5 reminds us that Jesus kept an attitude of humility and love toward the people around Him. He is God of the universe and His attitude was to serve His fellow man. Today your attitude can be the same.

Father, You have given me the mind of Christ. This is overwhelming when I consider how Jesus lived here on earth. Teach me how to live a life of humility and serve others to glorify You. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

Healing Hearts

In my office editing The Lane Trilogy.

On the evening of May 14th I am honored to speak at Alma Temple. My message is titled “Healing Hearts.” The service begins at 6:00 pm. Beginning at 6:30 pm the message will be on live radio broadcast on KPOF, AM910 and audio streaming via the internet. You are cordially invited to join us. Alma Temple is located at 1340 Sherman Street, half a block from the state capitol building, Denver, Colorado.

Feeling Small

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“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14 NIV).

In Psalm 19 David meditates on the fact that God created the universe. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1). It is no surprise to those of us who have read Genesis 1:1. We know that in the beginning God created the heavens and earth. Have you ever had the opportunity to lie under a clear sky at night without any distracting lights around you?

I grew up in Nebraska. On summer nights at Lake McConaughy near Ogallala, I would lie on the beach and marvel at the universe spread out before me. At times it would take my breath away. Those pure, dazzling lights sprinkling the Milky Way, the sight of the constellations, and an occasional shooting star gave me pause. Those were the times that I contemplated the size of the universe, no, not just the universe. But the size of those stars I was observing. Our God breathed out the stars and created the universe all around us.

I often share the DVD by Louie Giglio, How Great Is Our God, in which he demonstrates just how small we are in the universe. He teaches that our sun is one of the smaller stars in the universe and then goes on to tell that it would take 960,000 earths to fill our sun. That’s when I begin to feel small, and it is not a bad thing. Because, as Louie says, sin puffs us up and we begin to believe that we are as big as God. Sometimes without even realizing it, I am making assumptions and decisions like I was God. Satan is so subtle. Even when we think we are doing good, it could be a trap.

Seeing the universe and feeling small reminds me that God is in control. It makes me grateful for His love for me. I repent all over again and throw myself on His mercy. In fact I am so grateful for His love and mercy that I want to serve Him forever. He showed me the way to Him, and yet I know that I am not worthy to serve Him. Only because of His sacrifice, the Blood of Jesus, can I come to Him at all. The question is … how can I please Him? It is the desire of my heart. And so I often pray Psalm 19:14 and ask for forgiveness for the times I have failed Him.

My night time prayers often include a time of asking forgiveness for things I have said throughout the day. Words, once spoken, are irretrievable. I can’t grab and stick them back in my mouth. They are out there for all to hear. The same goes for my thoughts. My desire is for a pure heart, but it only takes a second for a critical thought to jump in and destroy a pure moment. God hears every word and He knows every thought. He is generous to forgive and give hope for improvement.

Psalm 19 is so powerful that I memorized it. I often meditate on His greatness as I recite it. I recommend that you take a moment and read the entire Psalm. May you be as blessed by it as I have been. And take heart because this Psalm assures us that it is possible for the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart to please God. So let this be our humble attitude. I can please God. Not only did God and his angels rejoice on the day I was saved – they do it every time a sinner repents.

Most Gracious Heavenly Father, please forgive me for the times I have failed You in word, thought, and deed. May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

Wisdom With Understanding

Haleakala Sunrise

Haleakala Sunrise

“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding” (Proverbs 3:13 NIV).

Wisdom and understanding go hand in hand. In fact, wisdom without understanding can be worse than useless. It is sometimes dangerous. Wisdom and understanding are different. One gains understanding through experience. When you go through trials and tribulation you are gaining understanding and compassion. Finding wisdom could be through some type of formal education. Through formal education the Pharisees learned the letter of the law. They considered themselves wise and loved to impart their wisdom to others. Jesus was not impressed. They lacked understanding.

Wisdom without understanding could be described as truth without tact. I have witnessed times when sharing the stark truth was harmful. People say “the truth hurts,” but if it is presented in love and compassion, it doesn’t have to hurt. Without love and compassion the stark truth can be harmful. It can break a friendship or hurt a loved one. The truth must always be spoken in love and understanding. Applying understanding is what makes truth so powerful.
Truth and wisdom lose power without understanding.

For example, a middle school teacher tells a student, in front of his parents, at a teacher’s conference that he is an average student and that he will always be an average student. The teacher tells the parents that they should expect no more than an average grade from him. This may have been the truth at the time. How do you suppose it affected the boy? Now he has been branded as an average student by the teacher, his parents, and himself. God may have gifted him in an area that has not been touched in middle school – like chemistry or physics. What possible reason would he have to make any effort to do better or try something difficult?

Perhaps you have seen a guy holding a sign that says “Repent ― the end of the world is near.” Think about what that sign says to a non-believer, someone who may not believe in an afterlife. It says grab all the enjoyment you can today because your time is short. With more understanding, the sign maker might have chosen a better message.

Another example is when a committed Christian believer tells a non-believer they are going to hell. Instead of telling them that they can change that situation by simply repenting and following Jesus, the Christian says nothing more. While it is true that non-believers will spend eternity outside of the presence of God, sharing the solution would have shown understanding.

On the night before the great Chicago fire (October 8, 1871) D.L. Moody ended his sermon by asking people to consider what he had preached and be prepared to make a decision for Christ the next week. For the rest of his life their deaths from that fire haunted him. Never again did he preach about sin without also preaching the gospel. Overnight Moody received understanding.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7). This verse has been powerful in my life. The more I learned about the Word of God ― the Bible ― the wiser I became. And with that wisdom came an attitude of humility. I remind myself that Moses – the great lawgiver was the humblest man on earth (Numbers 12:3). I have a long way to go, but I have come far!

No matter how far I have come, I am still simple when compared to the Word of God. The most I can really ever do is listen to a person with compassion and encourage them with the Word.

Father God, help me to share all wisdom with which You empower me, cocooned in understanding. Speaking the truth in love, and loving the truth, are ways to glorify You. Give me an attitude of humility as I share wisdom and understanding. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

God’s Gift of Maturity

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“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way” (James 1:2-4 MSG).

In the midst of trials and tribulations we may feel anything but grateful for the gift. Most often trials are accompanied by fear, anger, and gnashing of teeth ― perhaps along with some regrets. But we never think of joy. The world says “That reaction indicates someone who obviously does not understand the gravity of the situation.” And yet, James recommends an attitude of joy in the face of circumstances beyond our control. Why are we told to try not to get out of trials prematurely? Because trials make our faith mature. Remember what Paul told the believers in Corinth. “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready” (1 Corinthians 3:2).

Why do some people remain babes in Christ for many years? By God’s grace some may not have had any trials, I am convinced that others have used worldly methods to get out of trials. In doing so, they have lost an opportunity to mature their faith. Perhaps this is why the letter to the Hebrews indicates that time alone is not enough to mature your faith (Hebrews 5:11-14).

Suppose we adopted the attitude of joy during trials. What would that look like and what would it say to the world around us? If we were outwardly (and inwardly) joyous when everything around is falling apart, people around us might question our mental state. But if they know us, they will wonder at our faith. They might wonder what kind of faith we have that gives us the assurance that everything is going to be all right. This could work into an opportunity for us to tell them what a mighty God we serve.

In any case, God knew that we would have trials here on earth. Don’t you find it interesting that the verse doesn’t say that you may have a trial in your future. It says when you have trials, consider it a gift.
Perhaps you can think of a time when a trial actually became a gift. In her last few months of life, my mother needed someone to come and live with her because she didn’t want to go to a nursing home. As the only child not employed, it seemed I would have to go. I left my husband in Colorado and stayed with her in Nebraska. My husband fully supported me from a distance while I learned how to become a nurse.

Since I had always hated needles and the sight of blood, I cringed when the doctor told me I would be testing her blood sugar at least four times a day and giving her the necessary injections. I dreaded what was ahead and also feared that I couldn’t do it. Also, the idea of being in Nebraska in the dead of winter did not thrill me. I reminded myself that I can ‘endure’ all things through Christ who strengthens me.

With practice, I became quite adept at giving injections and performing other services required to care for her and keep her comfortable. And although it seemed like a lot of effort at first, in time it became routine. Our time together became a sweet blessing. My mother was a strong woman with a wonderful sense of humor. Her positive attitude soon changed my attitude. We enjoyed our days together and now I wouldn’t trade the time I shared with her for a million dollars ― it was priceless!

Everything we go through has purpose. I have counseled people going through challenges that I, too, have experienced and for that reason I was able to identify with and guide them. That is a joyous moment for me.
As believers, we know that God is control. Trials and tribulations are allowed in our lives to serve us. They give us opportunity to respond instead of react, to grow in maturity, and to learn compassion for others. These are some of the greatest lessons in life. God is forming us into the individuals He created us to be. So rejoice!

Adopt an attitude of joyousness in all areas of your life. Doing this will confuse your enemies and glorify the Lord. The beauty of this is that the Lord has given us the ability to be joyous in spite of what goes around us. Our joy comes from within and we can call on it to come forth at any time. Jesus is that joy that lives in us. He is in us! Let our attitude be joyous. Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Dear Lord, You are the Giver of joy. When darkness tries to invade my very soul, I ask that You shine Your light of joy throughout my body. May it be so bright that others want it, too. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

The Coming Tribulation

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On the evening of February 12th I am honored to speak at Alma Temple. My message is titled “The Tribulation”. The service begins at 6:00 pm. Beginning at 6:30 pm the message will be on live radio broadcast on KPOF, AM910 and audio streaming via the internet. You are cordially invited to join us. Alma Temple is located at 1340 Sherman Street, half a block from the state capitol building, Denver, Colorado.

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