Distortion

Posted in Criticism, Perspective, Victorious Living by PCraig on June 1, 2017

Ever go through a Fun House with those distorted, curved mirrors? I used to love looking in them when I was a kid. Something about seeing my head look elongated by several feet or my body looking like it had been squished was really amusing. All of that is imaginary fun, but some of us carry distorted images of ourselves on the inside. “I’m stupid,” “I’m ugly,” or “I’m unlovable.” Perhaps it started with comments from others, past bad choices, or current tough conditions. Whatever the case, distorted messages inside can lead us to false conclusions outside. Therefore, we might tailor our lives around the distortion. We can live our lives based upon what others have said over us or about us.

Jesus said, “When you know the truth, the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Nowhere is this more important than when it comes to our self-image. We each want to be accepted. We work hard at it by buying things, wearing certain things, and joining or doing things. Our desire can be for acceptance at any cost.

I want to help you be free of the distortions of past mistakes, words of others, and your own opinions. Here’s some good news: God has accepted you, according to Romans 15:7. Nowhere in Scripture does Jesus say that it’s based upon you. Instead, He emphatically declares that we are accepted unconditionally. You are not accepted because you’re worthy; you’re worthy because you’re accepted.

God accepts you, so begin a process today of accepting yourself. Your Heavenly Father loves you right where you are and just as you are. That gives me a lot of confidence, how about you?

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The Best Counselor

Posted in Counsel, Decisions, Holy Spirit, Victorious Living, Wisdom by PCraig on May 25, 2017

I don’t think anything is more important in life than from whom you receive your guidance. Proverbs talks about if we want to be wise, then we should hang with the wise. If we take up company with foolish people, it’s no wonder we make foolish decisions. In today’s reading of the One Year Bible in John 14, Jesus talks about “another Counselor” that will be with us. He identifies this “Counselor” as the Holy Spirit. He then goes on to say a couple of things that the Holy Spirit will do.

One benefit the Holy Spirit brings is He will teach us things. I don’t know if you’ve had this happen, but many times when I’m reading the Bible, it’s like it jumps off the page and reads my mail. I mean it is like God is literally talking to me face to face through His Word. Sometimes I learn how to be a better man, husband, father, leader, while other times I understand more of God’s love for me. Powerful things happen as I allow the Spirit to teach me.

He also comes to remind us of Jesus’ words and teaching. Maybe you’re going through your day and feeling discouraged, then the words of Jesus saying, “I will never leave you or forsake you,” come back to you and your built up in faith. You decide that if He is with you, what can be against you? Amen! When this takes place, we are no longer operating in our natural abilities; instead we are plugged into the supernatural abilities of the Spirit.

These are just two of the many ways the Holy Spirit can enable us to live life to the full in Christ. We’ll be exploring these and more during the Breath, Wind & Fire series that begins this weekend. I hope you can join us in person or online via podcast, for what I believe will be a powerful three weeks focus on the Holy Spirit.  He’s the best counselor I know!

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When Chased By A Killer

Posted in Attitude, Character, Choice, Dreams, Victorious Living by PCraig on May 18, 2017

I love the story of David and his rise from shepherd boy to king of the nation of Israel. In today’s reading of the One Year Bible, I was reading about David’s escape from King Saul (1 Sa. 22&23), who wanted to kill him. It made me think, just because you’re anointed and chosen by God (he would be King Saul’s successor), doesn’t mean you won’t have challenges.

Too many people think that life’s supposed to be easy and if you’re doing the right thing, then it should be smooth sailing. Not sure where that idea originated, but nothing could be further from the truth. Gallup did a study and asked people to identify the worst and best event of their life. They found that there was an 80% correlation between the two events.

Many people find that some of the worst events of their lives have led to some of the best days. Why? Because they knew they couldn’t control what came to them, but they could control what came out of them. Over and over again, David displayed honor, respect and love for the person trying to hurt him. He couldn’t change Saul’s actions, but he could choose his. People may want to kill your dream, but it doesn’t mean you let them.

You may not like how things are going at work, your marriage, or other areas, but what’s happening to you is not as important as what’s happening in you. We can live as a victim or a victor and much of it is by choice. Trust that your best days are yet ahead, walk in faith, expecting good things, and just like David; it will lead to better days ahead.

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Tapping Into God’s Power

Posted in Change, Deliverance, Holy Spirit, Victorious Living by PCraig on May 11, 2017

In today’s reading of the One Year Bible, I was reflecting upon the anointing of Saul to be the first king of Israel. The story is chronicled in 1 Samuel 10 where the prophet Samuel tells Saul that the Spirit of the Lord is going to come upon him in power. Indeed, just as the prophet declared, the Spirit of the Lord does come upon Saul with so much power that he is transformed.

This is a specialty of the Spirit of the Lord, a life that is transformed. I can relay so many stories of addictions, hurts, losses, physical illnesses, emotional scars and countless other issues, that have been changed by the power of the Spirit.

Like Saul, we just need to be open, receptive and expecting the Spirit’s power to come upon us as we walk out our journey each day. In the New Testament, we find every believer in a position to receive the Spirit’s power. Read the book of Acts in the Bible and you’ll find ordinary people moving in extraordinary power because of the Spirit.

Whatever stronghold, addiction, hurt, pain or habit you may be fighting, know that by tapping into the Spirit of the Lord, you can be changed. I don’t know about you, but in a culture like ours, I need all the power I can get.

Also, don’t miss the launch of our next series, Breath, Wind & Fire starting May 28, as we talk about the Holy Spirit.

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Dreamweaver

Posted in Dreams, Encouragement, Events, Perspective, Victorious Living by PCraig on April 20, 2017

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God Is With Us

Posted in Dreams, Encouragement, Perspective, Victorious Living by PCraig on January 19, 2017

Some of us think that if God is with us, then life will go smooth, when the Bible actually paints a different picture. For instance, over and over in Genesis 39 we find this phrase concerning Joseph, “the Lord was with him.” Yet, in that same chapter Joseph is falsely accused and thrown into prison. I guess the good news is that the Lord was still with him in jail.

Remember this today as you may be going through a struggle, just because your going through something doesn’t mean God’s not with you. Also, just because God is with you, doesn’t mean you won’t go through some stuff.

The main thing to focus on is God’s promise for your life. Joseph hung onto the dream that God had given him that would one day be fulfilled. Don’t let your current detour or distract you from the dream God has yet to deliver.

Joseph’s life is a witness to a God who will bring you through! Never lose hope or give up, for God is with you.

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Help For Interpreting Life

Have you noticed that if you get around negative people that you can be tempted to start talking negative also? Same thing happens when you get around positive people, by the way (thank God for that). Or, if you watch movies with vulgar language, those words might come to your head next time you hit your shin on the end table leg. And, if you read romance novels constantly, you might think your husband is a total bore.

It struck me the other day that by reading the Bible, my view of the world gets impacted. Like when I read about the value of life, how God formed me in the womb, had purpose for me before I knew it, then it makes the thought of abortion (especially late term) almost intolerable. I want to cry out against the injustice of the unborn that have no voice, but should.

I find that I need this clear, wise, voice in my head to combat all the competing unwise, and often hypocritical voices all around me. I’m thinking the same thing applies to you. If left unchecked, we can begin to be influenced by the loudest, strongest, and closest voices to us, that may not necessarily be right, wise or good.

Paul writes in 2 Tim 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”

What in your life needs corrected? Do you still have an awareness of right or wrong? How might God’s Word help you be able to identify what is true?

Don’t just get into the Bible; let the Bible get into you.

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A Daily Word

Posted in Change, Hearing God, Personal Growth, Victorious Living by PCraig on October 20, 2016

Like a caterpillar waking up from its slumber in a cocoon, many of us are hoping for our lives to change overnight. It doesn’t work for dieting, bodybuilding, educational degrees, or athletics, so why would we believe it in other areas? Some seem to think that by attending church two or three times per month, they will be spiritually equipped to be more than conquerors. Nothing could be further from the truth.

One of the main things God uses to help us move up into spiritual strength and maturity is the Bible. There’s just something about the reading of God’s Word that helps us to grow in our faith. Our goal is not just to get into the words of the Bible; it’s to let the words of the Bible get into us. When that happens, it produces change.

We learned this past Sunday from 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that God’s Word helps us discover who God is. It’s here we learn about His character, passion, plans, and purpose. Don’t just go through the Bible, let the Bible go through you and you will discover God.

Another discovery is who we really are, not just what others have said. You may have had people beat you down with words, saying things like, “You’re stupid, dumb, ugly, unwanted, fat, skinny, or ignorant.” But, you don’t have to live life based upon what they said. God’s opinion is what matters most. When you let what He says about you to influence how you see yourself, it changes everything.

So, the big question is how do we make it happen? I’d like to offer a few suggestions or tips:

  • Free up some time. Daily is best. Trade the pointless for what is priceless.
  • Get going. Start today! The New Living Translation is a good one to use.
  • Let the words soak into you. This is where change begins.
  • When you put it into practice, then the power flows. Don’t just be a hearer of the Word.

My prayer is that you would start today, and experience a growth toward full life in Christ like you maybe never have before.

 

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Keep On Keeping On

Posted in Attitude, Choice, Expectations, Hope, Perspective, Victorious Living by PCraig on October 13, 2016

What do you do when you don’t feel like doing anything? You do what you need to be doing anyway. I know it’s hard to keep on keeping on when you don’t feel like your marriage, finances, or career is changing, but you do it anyway. Why? Because nothing much good happens by quitting, or throwing in the towel.

Galatians 6:9 encourages us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” That doesn’t mean it will come in our timing, or that we won’t be tempted to think it’s never going to happen. But, in those times we remember that God can do anything, anytime, anyplace, so we can keep on keeping on.

Instead of dwelling on how awful things are, how difficult it is, or all the other reasons for why you should give up, dare to believe for victory. It’s scientifically proven that people who expect to win are much more likely to do so. Therefore, dare to believe that you will win in your marriage, finances, scholastics, career or wherever you need a miracle. I’ve found that when I do all I can do and I trust God for what only He can do, that it is often where God shows up the most.

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Shrink Your Challenges

I can spend way too much time, energy and effort on the problems in front of me. This consists of conversations with others and myself, Google about it, reading concerning it and such. How about you? Human nature is to focus on the problem and many of us are wired to fix things, so we attempt to do it on our own.

And while I want to be careful not appear to be minimizing your problem, because I know it can be enormous. But, think about what it would look like if we put that same time, energy and thought toward God? Would the size of God outsize your problem? Would the radiance of God outshine your problem? Would the power of God overpower your problem?

Are you ready to focus more on God and less on your problem? When you do, if you’re like me, your vision of God will increase and your view of your problem will shrink.

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