Are you in a tough spot right now? If things aren’t going well, how are you going to push through? If you’re feeling like you’re lost, this idea will keep you going when times are tough.IMG_0934

As hard as this may be, let’s push aside your current state right now so we can look ahead. You need a view from the top that peeks into your future.

That view is called vision.

With vision you can construct a picture of what you want to see in your future. Then you’ll know what to go after. Having a mission, something to pursue, will put some wind back in your sails.

Walt Disney’s vision or picture of the future, for his theme parks was that his guests would have the same smile on their face leaving the park as they had six, eight, or even ten hours ealier when they arrived. His vision was making people happy.

President John F. Kennedy callenged the American people to put a man on the moon and return him home safely by the end of the decade. That mission was accomplished when he accomplished his vision.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a vision that still fuels people today. He passionately described it in his “I have a dream” speech. He painted a picture of a spiritually transformed nation, and more than forty years after his assassination, his vision continues to stir passion and hope.

Ok, great, so these guys had great vision. So what?

Let me ask a question so you see the connection between them and you…

Do you think Walt Disney woke up every morning with a smile on his face?

I’m sure Walt had tough days just like you.

But because he had a vision, he had something to look forward to.

Vision will keep you from looking back.
Vision will keep you from being focused on your present problems.
Vision will keep you hoping for something more.

This is why vision will keep you going when times are tough. 

Jesus spoke of what his vision looked like too. And it’s a good thing he drew that picture for his disciples so they could stay focused during their tough times. He talked about the kingdom of God, its values, teachings, parables, miracles, purpose, and the final outcome.

He gave his followers a clear picture of the future and they joined him in accomplishing his vision.

When the disciples had a tough day, when they felt all alone because their leader had died a criminal’s death, it was the vision that got them out of bed in the morning.

It was the vision that put a bounce in their step.

It was the vision that kept them from being focued on their present problems.

It was the vision – that Jesus would rise again and redeem the earth that kept them hoping for more.

If you don’t already have a vision for what your future could look like, it’s time to paint one.

I’m about to hand you a paint brush.

Pick up the brush and spend some time asking God to help you paint a picture of the vision he wants you to pursue. 

Your vision will keep you going when times are tough.

Striving for perfection so you can get into God’s graces, are ya? Ok. Stupid idea. But I’ve been there. Let me show you why you’re headed for failure and what you can do instead. Let’s just say, you can take the easy way out – without even being penalized – like my son did when he washed my car last week.

I told my son that if he washed my car I’d pay him $20. He had to do outside and inside. Vacume, dust. Spit shine the tires. You know…the works. Well, he didn’t deliver. So, in my mind, I’m thinking, “Fine, he won’t get paid.” That will teach him!

But then my dad arrives on the scene. He starts washing the vehicle. I look out the window and see my 73 year old father out performing my son. Not gonna lie, I’m getting a little upset with my son for this. He could have done it by himself. Put in the labor. Got the money.

That’s fair, right?

But then I started thinking. That makes sense in the parenting world and yes, even in the business world.

You work, you get paid.

But that’s not how it works in the world of God’s grace.

So, for the purpose of teaching my son about God’s grace, I paid him. Yep…paid him for work he didn’t do. And gave him a $10 tip on top.

Why? To show him what God’s grace is like. God’s grace is Jesus, coming along side of us like my dad did for my son. Jesus shows up, does the work and gives us the paycheck (salvation and blessings).

We do nothing to deserve it. We don’t even have to lift a finger. We do less than my son did to wash the car. We do nada.

When you think about all you do trying to acheive perfection in exchange for salvation and blessings, it might look like this…

  • You fast
  • You tithe
  • You help those in need
  • You’re better than most people in your circle

So what does that get ya? Let’s see what Jesus would say… “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled.” (Luke 18:14.)

That’s not exactly what you were going for, huh?

But what about the scripture that says… “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:8)? That’s pretty clear, isn’t it? Makes you want to at least try to be perfect. But consider this…

For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly NOT enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20)

If you know you’ve never acheived the status of a Pharisee… If you know you’ve NEVER been perfect, and you know you’ll never BE perfect, you need Jesus’ words of grace. You need to hear Him speak about an alternate route to his grace. Trading his perfectness for yours.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled”. (Matthew 5:6)

What is righteousness? Christ. So, hunger for Christ and all he is (He’s perfection to the max!) and you’ll be righteous. And when you do, bonus… you’ll desire to behave better. Check this little gem of a scripture out:

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness. (Titus 2:11)

Lookie there! Grace teaches us to live right. So, hey, how about you and I just stop stessing by trying to be perfect. You know it’s not possible. The only option that makes sense is this:

Either you must be perfect, or represented by the one who is. Jesus.

So where does that leave us? Not perfect. But labled perfect because he is. Let Jesus wash your car. You’ll get paid anyway.

 

Are you stuck too? Are you needing some wisdom pushed your way? A couple days ago I was up against a wall. I needed answers fast. Here’s what happened and how I found what I needed. You can use this same idea and get the knowledge you need to tackle what your facing too – watch this!

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Click on the like button and share with your friends. They’ll thank you!

I bet you just wish God would push the like button on your Facebook page! If so, how often would you be glued to your Facebook notifications checking countless times to see if God “liked” your activity?

Yes, you want to please God, but if you’re doing it to score brownie points – you won’t get any. Why? Because you don’t need any! He doesn’t give em. His son did enough for you.

Here’s Why you might have a hard time understanding why you get God’s grace when you don’t deserve it.

It’s because the world is primarily set up to give you things only when you deserve them.

  • You work = you get a paycheck
  • You work hard, harder than the rest = you get a promotion
  • Be good – Santa will be good to you, bring you what’s on your wish list
  • You behave well = you get brownie points with mom and dad
  • Your kids clean their rooms – you let them have a friend over.
  • Your toddler goes potty like a big kid – he gets a sticker.
  • You clean your house = nuff said!

We’re condition by rewards. It’s in our blood. It’s all we know. And that is why you need to trade your blood for Christ’s. He shed his blood so you no longer have to give yours. Trying to please God with your Blood sweet and tears? Drop that idea. It’s no longer needed.

How did we become conditioned by a rewards system? It’s because Bible starts out that way back in the Old Testament. If you lived by the law, you received God’s salvation and blessings…

If you gave a sacrifice = your sins were forgiven.

But all that changed when Jesus paid for our sins by becoming our sacrifice. Since then, our sacrifice in anyway, shape or form is unnecessary to access the grace of God. What does this grace buy you?

Forgiveness. Salvation. Blessings.

It’s hard for you to wrap your head around this, I know. It was hard for me too. Hard to believe that the things I do, don’t count toward my salvation, nor do they count toward my blessings. It’s all free. Free and clear. And that just doesn’t seem right. But it’s right in God’s economy.

It’s right when we accept what Christ did is far superior that what we could ever do on our own to access grace.

Romans 4:5-8 But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it: “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.”

God is not into paying you for what you deserve. Get that in your head…and you’ll have MORE than you deserve!

If you like this post, you’ll love this week’s podcast where I go even deeper with this! Join me in iTunes or click here for the episode: “Soul Fitness Made Easy”

Podcast Soul Fitness Image3

 

Podcast Soul Fitness Image3I’ve got something new for you! I created something to help you get your soul fit – the easy way! It’s a podcast that may just throw you off your holy rocker!

If Christianity sometimes seems hard and complex because of all things you’re expected to do….let’s cut you some slack.

  • If you feel like God isn’t on your side because you’ve made too many mistakes…you’ll feel his favor again.
  • If you’ve grown up feeling like you have to perform for God in order to get God to like you, love you, or listen to you…you’ll learn how to beak free.
  • If you’re confused about what God wants to give you as a believer…you’ll discover what’s rightfully yours.
  • If you want to grow in the Lord but it just seems too hard…you’ll discover an easier God-approved way!
  • If you’re worn out from going to church and serving and it’s just not fun anymore…you’ll get that fire back.
  • If you’re thinking God’s not interested in making your dreams come true or bringing you that miracle you’ve been waiting for…you’ll realize your breakthrough is closer than you think.
  • If you’re tired of feeling condemned…there’s a breath of fresh grace waiting for you.

You need this!

But I want to warn you: This is NOT your Mama’s religion! No rules. Just righteousness. How you say? It’s powered by grace. Grace TRAINS us to live right.

If you’re tired of Christianity’s so-called rules and regulations, if religion makes you want to gag, tune in to the “Soul Fitness – Made Easy” Podcast. It’s available in iTunes or you can listen now by clicking here.

Each week I’ll offer you little nuggets, I call em Podbites. They’re a little something to savor as you go about your day. They will fuel you, encourage you, and help you pick up the curve balls that life has thrown at you.

Listen to them as you’re getting ready in the morning, listen in the car, or as you’re buzzing around the house in your sweats and slippers. They’re short, they’re fun, and they’re geared to inspire you and give you hope.

Here are some of the podcast episodes I’ve created that you can listen to right now:

  • Why We Need More Hypocrites in The Church (It’s not what you think!)
  • If You’re Feeling Far Away From God, Here’s How to Get Back
  • Don’t Be Fooled By Your Scars – Here’s What They Reveal About You
  • Does God Think You’re Good Enough to Get Into Heaven & Receive His Blessings

And here are some upcoming podcasts you can look forward to:

  • The Sweetest 5 minute Daily Bible Reading Plan You’ll Ever Use
  • How to Keep Fighting When You’re a Bloody Mess
  • 7 Steps to Dealing With the Jerks in Your Life & How to Get Revenge Too
  • Surprising Fact: Christians Don’t Need to Confess – What They Ought to Do Instead
  • The Key to Knowing if It’s God’s Will to Heal
  • The No Fail Guide to Making Your Dreams Come True

Join me! Tune into the Soul Fitness Made Easy Podcast. Munch on them, and share. You’ll be pushing toward a faith that’s freeing beyond belief!

Click here to listen in iTunes. Or click here to listen right now: Soul Fitness Made Easy. And if you’re over there in iTunes land, please leave a review, it would be mighty helpful to me…I want to know what you think.

Talk to you inside!

If You Lost Your Toes Like This Guy Did, What Would You Think of God’s Grace?

Warning: This is a bit graphic, but it’s a true story…

I visited a guy in the hospital who had the toes on his right foot sawed off. Amputated to be exact. Same thing really. They’re gone. And according to him, they were just hacked off. What’s worse is that by this time next week the surgeon will be loping off his entire foot and leg right up to his knee. Not a happy day.

He’s wondering what he did to deserve this. He’s wondering why God didn’t value the fact that he’s a good man and does good things for others. He’s wondering why God doesn’t see how hard he’s worked all of his life to be a good dad and husband.

He gave to those in need. He helped with his hands. He has been a good man. But apparently it wasn’t enough for God.

Is it ever? 

Why do we get sucked into believing it comes down to what we’ve done? How is it we have been brainwashed into thinking that if we live right and holy lives God will be good to us and bless our socks off?

Tell that to the man who will only wear one sock. Yeah, this guy who will only have one foot. He’ll only wear one shoe. And he’ll either walk with a prosthetic or not at all.

Where does his deeds come into play? Shouldn’t that be enough insurance in God’s eyes to save his toes, foot, and his fingers too?

That’s were you have it wrong.

It’s not about what you do. It’s about what Christ did for you.

As I sat beside this man’s hospital bed, he shared he was petrified that the doctors and nurses were out to kill him. He began to wonder if God was too.

He said to me, “God brought you here. Now, you can help me. You can give me peace.” I hated to argue with him. But he thought I was the one who was going to make it right for him.

You Can’t Borrow Someone Else’s “Good”

See, since he couldn’t rely on his own good deeds to rescue him, he was trying to rely on mine. No can do. That still won’t work. We can’t borrow anyone’s good and apply it to our situation.

The only good we can borrow is Christ’s. Again and again the NT tells us that it’s not by our works that save us. It’s not our good intentions that bring us God’s grace. It’s through Christ.

I had a tough time trying to help this man understand this. The grace and healing he needed was there for the taking. It was free but he insisted on paying for it. And when he couldn’t produce what he thought were enough works to pay for what he needed, he tried to access mine.

But, I couldn’t pay for what he needed either. 

Over and over again I kept explaining, I can’t believe for you. You have to believe. That’s all it takes. Believe in what Christ has done for you. That is the only thing you need to grab the gift of grace is faith. It’s free if you will believe.

Galatians 3:3-6 NLT

How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vein, was it?

I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.

In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.

No one pays for it but Christ.

The problem is that if we try to pay for it, we will be stuck in that system of payment. Sadly we will never have enough to pay for what we need. That’s why we don’t get the blessings of God IF we’re still trying to pay for it ourselves.

So stop working to buy your miracle.

You can’t do enough to pay for the grace you need.

If you keep trying to buy it yourself, you’ll never get it.

You can’t afford it, that’s why Christ had to buy it for you.

When you finally realize salvation and miracles are free, you’ll get the grace and mercy you need.

 

The idea that you have to be right with God in order to worship him is bogus! You don’t have to search your heart for every trace of sin before you worship Jesus. Relax, and come to God just as you are.

Did the woman caught in adultery ask forgiveness before she gained an audience with Jesus?

Nope.

Did Zacchaeus, the sinful tax collector and thief get his life cleaned up before he and Jesus talked about their dinner plans?

Nope.

Did the sin-entrenched woman with the alabaster jar get her life straight and ask forgiveness before Jesus allowed her in his presence?

Again, Nope.

I love what Joseph Prince said:

“You don’t have to worry about your sin because you are worshiping your forgiver.”

Approaching the Communion Table Dirty

People are even afraid to come to the communion table without first searching their hearts. The following scripture is so misunderstood:

1 Corinthians 11: 28 – 32 NLT:

So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died. But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way. Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

This passage is not about repenting and trying to find every little sin that we have forgotten. It’s about searching our hearts to believe that Christ paid for our sin. It’s about believing we’ve been forgiven. If we haven’t accepted Christ’s forgiveness through his sacrifice on the cross, then what’s the point of taking communion?

Communion is to remember what Christ did on the cross. That’s what we are examining at the communion table. You examine the cross. If we believe that he died on the cross to forgive us our sins, we won’t be judged. There is no reason to judge someone who’s sin has already been wiped away.

Examine What You Think About the Cross

If you examine your heart and find belief that Christ paid for your sins, you will not be condemned. You’re dirt free! His death paid not only for your sins, but also for your healing. So again, by examining what he did on the cross, you will find no reason for your body to be sick or weak.

The idea that you have to be “right with God” to worship puts the whole deal on you. 

It nullifies the work of the cross. Newsflash: you’ll never be perfect. That’s why you need a savior. You are “right with God” because Christ made you right. His death paid for your cleanliness. So anytime you come to him, he sees you clean. He sees you righteous. He paid for your past sin, your present sin, and yes, your future sins. It was ALL taken care of ONCE.

Look at the “continuous” cleansing we are promised as believers:

1 John 1:9 AMP:

If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].

Believers Are on “Continual Wash-Cycle”

See that word, “continuously”? It’s like God throws us in a washing machine the minute we believe and we are on a “continual wash cycle”! Awesome! That’s why Jesus on the cross, said, “It is finished.” He forgave you once. That’s all it took.

So if anyone tries to make you feel guilty over your lifestyle, remind them that there is no condemnation in Christ. If they try to tell you that God won’t let you in his presence to worship if you’re messed up and still trying to get your act together, don’t believe them. Just quit behaving that way and enjoy the continuous cleansing. The more and more you believe that God has made you righteous, the more and more you’ll start behaving “right”.

Don’t let your imperfection keep you from worshiping God. He loves you unconditionally. (I Cor. 13) Nothing can separate you from his love (Romans 8:39). He even saved you while you were still a sinner (Romans 5:8).

Believe in his saving power and you will always be allowed in his presence. It’s not about you being right, it’s about his righteousness. That’s the key to worship! Remember that, and you will always have an audience with the king!

If you’ve enjoyed this post, “You Don’t Have to Get Right with God to Worship”, give this one a read: “If You’re Feeling Far Away From God Here’s How to Get Back.”