Unfettered Asking

24 Mar

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(Photo by  Petr Kratochvil)

How great would it be to have a loving Dad who shared our life’s vision and came alongside as we journeyed to supply everything we needed so that it could be fulfilled? Well, news flash, if you are a Christian, we already have that! Christianity has become so watered down in the U.S., the church at large has been satisfied to substitute the glorious power of Almighty God for a worldly church infiltrated by churchgoers who don’t even want to get into the spiritual side of things.

What do you need? If you are walking on God’s path, all you need to do is ask. God can literally do more than we could ever dream or imagine, and He is our heavenly Father. Just as loving parents here on earth will do all they can and should for their children, God does for his own.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout the generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

Nehemiah had been praying and fasting about Jerusalem, because the gates had been torn down. It’s no accident that he worked for the king. When the king asked what he could do to help, Nehemiah breathed a quick prayer and literally asked for everything needed to rebuild the wall and gates and even to travel through various provinces on the way there. The king granted his request in full! This king wasn’t even a believer in Jehovah God. (Nehemiah 1:1-8)

There are many more examples in the Bible of people of faith asking for big things and getting them.

If you’ve been boxed in with worry, I encourage you to build up your faith and believe God for all that concerns you. Go way outside the box and ask big. If all of us Christians individually would do this, the world would sit up and take notice of Jesus with a much greater level of interest. Many more souls would no doubt be saved.

 

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What Will You Do With That Freedom?

23 Mar

braveheart-1313768696-hero-wide-0If you’re a big fan of the movie Braveheart, like I am, you immediately recognize the words, “What will you do with that freedom?” When you say it like Mel Gibson did, you can grasp the passion behind this post. Just like the real battle depicted in that movie, we are all in a battle every single day. There is a battle for our souls, which determines eternal direction. And then there is the constant battle for our minds. If Satan has already lost us through accepting Jesus as our Savior, he fights with all of his experience gained through the ages to at least rob us of our joy and the victory of living in Christ.

(Please continue reading in the growl of a Scottish warrior)

God wooed me to himself many years ago, and I repented of my sins on October 4, 1979. Since that time, I have been clinging to Him and reading the Bible as though my life depended on it. As a result, He delivered me not only from death but from the lies of the enemy that robbed me of my peace day after day.

“O, taste and see that the Lord is good!

Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” – Psalm 34:8

Here I am now, with a mind that is free. Yet the battle for souls rages on. God has called each of his children to be a light in the darkness. We don’t have to go out and become televangelists or Scottish landowners to fulfill our calling. The battle is won on our knees.

We must pray for those who don’t know about God’s all-consuming love. Pray that their eyes will be opened and their souls will be saved. Tell about His faithfulness.

If we will stop lying complacent on our beds, we can fulfill the calling that Jesus gave:

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” Matthew 16:24-27

So that you have marching orders for the day and an understanding of where your battle can begin, here is Psalm 34:12-14:

“What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good?

Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.

Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”

The Lord has set you free from the bondage of sin and the bondage in your minds placed there by lies of the enemy. Take up your cross! Seek peace and pursue it! You have been set free! What will you do with that freedom?

Stevie McHugh, Come on Down!

22 Mar
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The race is on! (Photo by Jean Beaufort)

Joseph’s story in Genesis tells of a man filled with a God-given dream of promotion. Before he became 2nd only to the Pharaoh in all the vast land of Egypt, he was enslaved by jealous brothers who loathed him. Then he acted with incredible integrity and yet was thrown in prison on false accusations. Finally the waiting was over. His number was up. He was called to the front, and he was ready for the fulfillment of the dream. Guess whose name has just been called, folks?

Although I’ve suffered nothing like what Joseph went through and my dreams aren’t nearly as lofty, Jesus has called me into the part of my life I’ve been looking forward to. Thank God for His grace, which is the desire and power to do His will. I’ve been living un-victoriously in the realm of health, and how hard is it to lose weight, especially when you’re no longer a spring chicken?

Here’s how Jesus spoke, which altogether has made me realize the time for action has come:

1-He opened my eyes to the need for Christians to rise up in the midst of a world spiraling downward and shine the light of Truth. In the U.S., political correctness targets Christianity and violently shuts the mouths of Bible-believers. We need to stop cooperating, and I do mean including me. The strategy God instilled in me was to “Be the Love of God” and be part of a movement that changes from complacency and worldliness to reaching out in love to actually help others as opposed to merely sitting on pews. (This revelation happened after reading a sermon by famous preacher Spurgeon, who pointed out how hard the devil works to silence the wonderful Good News. I mean, he has been diligent! Obscuring the most powerful force on earth is quite a feat, like hiding the sun. The love of God is that force.)

2-He whispered to me, “Take up thy bed and walk.”  This is a scripture about a lame man. He was being told to get up, pick up after himself, and walk. Okay. Same message for me. I’ve been hindered by all kinds of physical ailments, but recently God showed me I have more endurance than I’ve realized. I’m good to go. To me this meant: Get up in the mornings, make your bed, walk on the treadmill or take a brisk walk on the street for at least 30 minutes, take a shower, and then get to work, which is at my computer. (Get fit! Lose that extra poundage!)

3-I’ve been invited to participate in ministry with my writing. At the same time, I’ve begun volunteering at Houston Christian radio station KSBJ, where I’m connecting with a lot of amazing people. The message has been clear: Stevie, come on down to KSBJ! We need you whenever you can possibly come for prayer and other types of service.

4-I got a deadline for my God-writing project. Aubrie asked me to write her a devotion book so that she can learn about God. Last night, with no prompting of any kind from me, she mentioned that her goal is to read the Bible every day (but she wants to understand it – this I know). We were reading her challenging spelling words for the week, which prompted her statement. She’s waiting for me to provide her with these devotionals, and how could I possibly disappoint her? (It is currently about 7 a.m. Aubrie heard me proofreading this and said she needs to read her devotion that I write after school. I still need to write the first one, but it’s already outlined.)

There is actually more that I could say, but the point is my time of waiting is over. It’s like when Rocky was tapped for a major fight. I mean, it was really go time, no doubt about it. My life has that same motivating background music right now, angel rendition.

We are all prepared by God, we all wait, and we all have a calling. If you’re in a waiting time, just keep praising the Lord and believing in His faithfulness. If you’re going through a fiery trial, rejoice, God says! It means He has big plans for you, and it will be worth every millisecond of pain.

“Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.” Isaiah 42:19 ESV

The Jackpot Deadline

21 Mar
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Aubrianna in her Winter Princess look – Christmas 2016

Aubrianna aka Aubrie, my 8-year-old granddaughter, asked me to write a book about God for her. The next day, she asked me to read some of it to her. She’s waiting! Little does she know:  I needed this! Deadlines are my juice.

My job is writing, but I’m writing for others. So glad to make a living this way, and it’s a dream come true. I just keep forgetting that my real dream of writing involves pointing to God in a way that can draw people to our wonderful Savior. This is my true heart’s desire.

So Aubrianna agreed that, specifically, I should write a book that helps her and other kids understand about God and know Him better. The ideas I have no shortage of. Over the years, I’ve had literally hundreds of inspired ideas about writings that point people to God.

Here are a few possible chapters for Aubrie’s book:

  • Because of God, we have Breath
  • God has Written You a Letter
  • God Gave Just 10 Rules of Life – Here’s 1 (times 10)
  • God is Right There With You
  • God Fit Himself into a Tiny Package
  • God Gives us Amazing Peace
  • Jesus Loves You the Most

At the same time Aubrie challenges me to write this book, I am also compelled to pick back up on writing Daily Pep Talk.

Even though God is awesome and He is here with us, giving us His peace, most of us could use a pep talk every day. The best kind of pep talk, in my opinion, is one that directs us to focus on God. Nothing is too hard for Him, and He gives us abilities beyond what we think possible. Yes, I can translate my dreams into reality. You can, too! Let’s move in that direction by setting goals. For me, that means spending time every day working on writing that book and this blog.What steps should you take toward your God-given dream?

 

 

What to Do When the Devil Dogs are Nipping at You

19 Dec
Demon Dog

Demon Dog (Photo credit: Sam Cockman)

Anybody besides me feeling increased daily pressure?  For me, it feels like being haunted by regrets, mistakes, missed relationships, and discouraging revelations of my general lifetime cluelessness as a person.  But after giving in to a consistent urging to spend more time praying every day, I realized that a spiritual battle is raging all around me as well as inside of me.

At this point, I can relate my struggle with being chased by pit bulls who are taking bites out of me as I rush on.  Then suddenly I have stopped and knelt to pray.  As I lift my eyes to the heavens, acknowledge the greatness of God, and begin praying for needs of my loved ones, my city, my country, and the world, the noisy barking stops and the dogs are gone.  Turns out they were just shadows.

I may have dropped the ball on writing Daily Pep Talk this year, but I have read the New Testament through, one day at a time.  I’m in Revelation and have been getting a sober reminder that there is an end to the world as we know it, and it is coming.   Rather than getting sucked in to worldly trends and trinkets, there has never been a better time to get hyper-focused on being a person who prays to God and obeys his every prompting.

The world needs Jesus.  I think the real pressure that’s going on is an escalation toward God’s secret timeline when the Truth will be revealed and eternity for heaven or hell begins for everyone.  Knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior is what makes the difference in what our eternal destination will be.

Have you felt increased pressure, too?  What do you think it is?

The Beatitudes Versus the World

4 Jan
Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I read the Sermon on the Mount today.  As always, it’s especially uplifting to read Matthew 5:1-26.  I may not be the most dynamic example of  a Christian, but I do seek the Lord and what He cares about.  These verses remind me that friendship with God is enmity with the world.  Must be fewer people who are friends with God making an impact because not much in the world today points to Jesus.

 

If you read the Beatitudes with worldly success in mind, it seems that nothing in those verses would look good on the resume of someone looking to get to the top of the ladder of success.  God’s ways are certainly not the same as the world’s, which is why “Jesus freaks” like myself who want God to have His way are so often perceived as an oddity.  Not a complaint…just an observation.

“14 You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

Matthew 5:14-16

New Living Translation (NLT)

Snowball Effect

3 Jan

I’ve always noticed that when I make a grand step toward God, He answers my gesture with all kinds of evidence that He noticed.  My commitment to God’s Word for this year produced a growing hunger today — but not for a grilled cheese sandwich or my favorite Doritos.  Instead, I was flooded with a hunger to delve into more of God’s Word.  I really love the Truth.  For instance, when I read a story about the Bible but the story doesn’t get the facts quite right, it bothers me a lot.  The pure Truth is a lot more interesting than altered story details produced by inattention.

Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich

Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For example, I read the story of Noah to Aubrianna out of her new Bible today, and the storyteller missed one of the most interesting things about Noah’s story.  It had never rained before — ever, in the history of the world — when he built the ark in the desert.  (When reading the story in a true translation of the Bible just now, I realized that it was through prior study that I learned this.)  So, anyway, Noah was trusting God for an event that had never taken place while being laughed at by the entire population of the world.  But because Noah was trusting in God and obeying Him explicitly, He was rewarded with life, not to mention that his family repopulated the earth!

I want to be sure and mention that part of the snowball effect I experienced today was better balance and productivity.  It was a full and satisfying day, and I do mean in the non-stomach type of way (which is progress).  Practically counting the hours until the new Bible arrives.  There’s no purchase that usually ever excites me as much as a new Bible, and that’s definitely true this time.

From my reading in Matthew today (virtually the same message Noah preached as he built the ark):

From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.[a]”

Matthew 4:17

New Living Translation (NLT)