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          If this color scheme does not appeal, go to Print Version.

          The following allows your eye to quickly slide over quotes. The disadvantage is that there are so many that you will eventually want a break and it will then be difficult when you return to locate where you left off. Inspirationals, however, makes this easy and is also helpful for times when you have only a few seconds to spare. The Inspirationals format is also more conducive to a more relaxed, meditative approach.

          Additionally, you can receive quotes via Facebook or email. See Daily Quotes for details.

          Net-burst.Net is so vast that the following cannot give you even an awareness of the scope of topics covered, but it can at least provide a glimpse of its quality. The quotes (some of which are condensed or adapted) are copyrighted but may be freely used, subject to simple conditions mentioned at the end of this page


    The Quotes

          If spring could tip-toe past nature without stirring it from its winter slumber; if the sun could slip through the sky without dispelling the night; if rain could fall to the ground without bringing life to the desert – only then should you fear dry times, dark times, lean times. Though you feel as useless as a fur coat in a heat wave, the time will come when your warmth is treasured. For everything there is a season.
          For more, see Nothing to Live For

    * * *

          I’m the quiet, intelligent type. When I’m quiet, I’m intelligent. But I limp to the Bible and find comfort. I bump into Isaac, who blessed the wrong twin; and Jacob, the scheming mummy’s boy, who had to marry his sister-in-law to patch up his first mistake. I hear Job clawing for words to recount the tragedy that marred his childhood – he was born alive. I see Saul hiding amongst the baggage; David squabbling with his brothers; Jonah bewailing the death of a weed; Thomas poking holes in Jesus’ side. Whenever they had a brainwave heaven ducked for cover. Hard-boiled? These egg-heads were always in hot water.
          I could put my feet up with folks like that. And what fires me is that these scatterbrains are God’s sort of people – the type through whom he changes the world.
          For more, see I’ve Gotta be Me!

    * * *

          Genuine success – the synthetic varieties don’t last – is achieving what God expects of us. Only God can measure it. Don’t gauge hurdlers by how high they jump, or pole-vaulters by how fast they run. Judge archers by their accuracy but don’t apply this measure to javelin throwers. If that seems obvious it’s because sport lacks the mystery of real life. In the game of life spectators speculate, the Judge judges.
          For more, see God’s Measure Of Success

    * * *

          God is making a smart cookie. If I’m covered with spilt milk, that’s marvelous. If there’s egg on my face, it’s a bonus. If I’m mixed up, I’m delighted. If I’m beaten, I’m making progress. If the heat is on, I’ll warm to my task. If I’m half-baked, something good is cooking. When I feel I could crumble, I’m nearing perfection. Everything is going my way.
          For more, see The Quest For Fulfillment

    * * *

          Faith empowers us to soar beyond human limitations into the realm of the divine.
          For more, see Help When Doubt Knocks

    * * *

          Like Naaman fuming at being told to have a bath, (2 Kings 5:7-14) we might do something heroic for God – terrorize demons, hang by our thumbs in the heart of Islam, rush an injured angel to a vet (who else sets broken wings?) – but when it comes to the mundane – well I stacked the chairs last week. And you had a bath last Christmas.
          Miracles we do immediately. The menial takes longer. If it dulls our pride, it saps our enthusiasm. We want the glory. God can find his own.
          There’s no such thing as an inferior calling; only inferior love. For Simon the Pharisee, washing Jesus’ feet was a chore beneath his dignity. For the woman he despised, this same task was a wondrous privilege. (Luke 7:36-47) For John the Baptist it was an honor so immense it seemed unattainable. (Mark 1:7) It’s our love and adoration, not the task, that’s too small.
          For more, see Why Lord?

    * * *

          If you think praise is hot air, you’re right. It’s the hot air that makes faith balloon, lifting us to new heights in God, while warming the Father’s heart.
          For more, see God’s Anti-Depressant

    * * *

          The mind-boggling intensity of God’s love is as close and as crucial as the oxygen you breathe. Despite this, we tend to drift into regarding the infinite love of God as if it had the practical relevance of the countless grains of sand in a desert we have never seen. Let’s bring our thinking down from the clouds to hard reality. The fact of divine love makes the happiness of Almighty God forever dependent upon your happiness. If you hurt, God hurts.
          For more, see Life’s Mysteries Explained

    * * *

          The enemy of our souls is the master deceiver because that is all he can do. The devil cannot change reality. He cannot change the fact that God loves you with all of this unlimited love and that Christ died for the sins of the entire world, which has to include every sin you have ever committed. So all he can do is mess with your feelings, hoping that you will start to believe them rather than believe in the power of Christ and the love of God.
          For more, see Satan and Evil Spirits: You Can Beat Them

    * * *

          One of the most important things in the Christian life is to focus on God’s great love for us and not let Satan trick us into thinking that God frowns on us when we fall into sin. Yes, God is disappointed, but when a little child falls, what’s the first thing he does? He runs to mommy or daddy for comfort. You, too, can run to Daddy, the instant you fall. The tender, forgiving Lord is devoted you. Satan, however, wants to you to fear, and feel bad about running to God. He knows we instinctively recoil from anyone we fear might be angry or displeased with us and keep that person at arm’s length. He wants us to be standoffish from the only One who can truly deliver us and defeat Satan in our lives. He doesn’t want us to rejoice in God’s forgiveness but to feel miserable.
          For more, see Receiving a Personal Revelation of God’s Love for You

    * * *

          Heroism is not the absence of fear, but plowing on regardless. Likewise, faith – spiritual heroism – is not the absence of doubt. In fact, doubt serves us as our personal spiritual trainer, enabling us to build spiritual muscle, and thus empowering us for eternal greatness.
          For more, see When Doubt Knocks

    * * *

          From tongue-tied Moses (to er is human) to cave-mouth Peter; from down-in-the-mouth Jonah to high-as-a-kite Noah (Genesis 9:21); from Job in his trouble-bath to Mordecai having the last laugh, the Bible bristles with ordinary folk who achieved extraordinary things for God. And you were born to continue this tradition.
          For more, see God’s Radical Views

    * * *

    Encouraging fellow Christians works miracles because God is already working powerfully within them. Encouragement releases God to burst through the drizzle of despair and negativity that dampens the fire of God within a person. It builds the faith that gives God free rein to do the beautiful things he longs to do in the person’s life.
          For more, see How to Comfort Hurting People

    * * *

          From the age of four, I loved helping grandpa lay cement paths. Almost anyone could do a better job than a little child, but that was irrelevant. I was irreplaceable. I had a special place in grandpa’s heart.
          And you have a special place in God’s heart. Physically, the Lord is totally self-sufficient. He needs us no more than a handyman needs the services of a four-year-old. But the Father’s joy could never be complete without your contribution.
          For more, see God Loves You Means You Are God’s Favorite!

    * * *

          Christians wishing they had the abilities of others are nightingales coveting a peacock’s beauty or soaring eagles envying the powerful legs of an ostrich. Don’t despise the unique blend of abilities bestowed on you by the keenest Mind in the universe. Stop envying the ministry of others and start clarifying your own call. If, to your thinking, that call seems insignificant, the thing to be ashamed of is not your calling but your thinking!
          For more, see The Spirit-Led Ministry

    * * *

          The world is filled with God’s undercover agents – ministers of the gospel who have successfully infiltrated enemy territory using all sorts of ingenious covers – housewife, plumber, bus driver . . . Their exploits, unknown on earth, are the talk of heaven. These resolute, Christ-like conquerors cannot be bought. They refuse to trade eternal acclaim for temporal applause. Heaven’s megastars may be so inconspicuous, you’d think they’re in training for the Pew Warmer of the Year Award. No one would guess the shock-waves they send through Satan’s camp when these spiritual gladiators plunder his kingdom. Everyone scrambles to be in the limelight, except these saints: they are light – the light of the world.
          For more, see Not The Failure You Thought

    * * *

         In my mind’s eye I saw myself charging into a burning building to rescue someone I loved more than life itself. Every movement began to slow down. Shielding her body, I suffer horrific burns to carry her to safety, where I collapse, writhing in agony. But it is worth every throb of pain because the love of my life is completely untouched by the fire. All that matters is that she’s unharmed. Seeing my wounds she says, “I don’t deserve such love!” I look on in horror as, overwhelmed by a feeling of unworthiness, she then runs back into the fire and kills herself; breaking my heart by her death and rendering all my suffering an utter waste.

         I had been on the brink of treating my heroic Savior like that. How dare I let Jesus’ agony be wasted! If I beat myself, Jesus was beaten for nothing. He suffered horrifically to give me the right of access to all God’s riches. For his sake, I must refuse to throw aside such a costly sacrifice. For some reason – sheer love I guess – he considered me worth it. I won’t let him down. My feelings are of no consequence. I’ll enjoy life for his sake. “FOR HIS SAKE!” I yelled. At last I found peace. “Yes, for Jesus’ sake!” I shouted in joyous relief, “For the sake of the One who died for me!”
          For more, see Euphoria (Fiction)

    * * *

          God loves playing hide-and-seek with his children. He deliberately hides spiritual truths and then begs us to seek them.
          For more, see Help in Understanding the Bible

    * * *

          No matter how much you cry, beg, and wish, you have not moved from superstition to authentic Christian prayer until you can thank God for the answer, knowing it is yours before you hold it in your hand. Faith is not thinking that God can ; it is knowing that he will (Mark 11:24; James 1:5-8).
          You will see it when you believe it.
          For more, see Boost Your Prayer Life

    * * *

          He became human so that divinity could flow through you. The Eternal died so that you could be more alive than ever before; took on your mortality to give you immortality. He wore your limitations so you could enjoy his infinity. The Almighty crumbled with your weakness to give you supernatural strength. The Pride of the universe agonized with your loneliness so that you would never be alone again; suffered your isolation so that you and he could be inseparable. The King of kings bore your shame and darkness so that you could be radiant with his honor; was humiliated with your depravity to infuse you with his holy majesty; lowered himself to the dust of death so that you could be enthroned with him in highest heaven. God’s noble Son shamed himself with your foolishness to give you his intellect; exchanging your dirty, cloudy thinking for his crystal purity; suffering for your idiotic blunders so that you could be dignified as a superior being, graced with divine wisdom. He let your sorrow crush him to let you beam with his joy; was impoverished by your debts so that you could revel in his riches. He absorbed within himself all your inadequacies so that you could overflow with his abundance.
          For more, see Cure for Self-Hate

    * * *

          No matter how you feel, you are the focus of God’s attention; doted on as though you are the only friend God has. If ever a man wanted to shower his bride with love, or his son with gifts, God longs to lavish you with his extravagance. Expect great things from God. Anything less is an insult to your almighty Savior. With your Lord impossibilities are playthings.
          For more, see You are loved!

    * * *

          Faith is not a non-stop flight above reality; it’s a fight. What distinguishes people of faith is not how rarely they hit the dirt, but how often they get up again. To be perpetually positive is impossible. The mere attempt embroils us in prayer battles and Abrahamic effort. The enemy often flees to his corner, only to prepare for the next round. You might even have climbed out of the ring, but the reward for getting back in exceeds anything anyone could offer.
          For more, see Depressed Saints

    * * *

          The great mystery of Christian life is not unanswered prayer, it’s unfinished prayer. Prayer that quits before the answer arrives is like a mansion carefully constructed, almost furnished, and then abandoned.
          For more, see Prayer Motivation

    * * *

          If you were treating the open wounds of accident victims you would realize that the most gentle, well-meaning touch could send patients reeling. You would not be offended if someone you were seeking to help lashed out in pain with almost involuntary action. You would half expect it. But imagine the confusion if the wounds were invisible and the person looked uninjured. Consider the further complication if in that person’s experience everyone who had tried to help (and how does he know you will be any different?) had in their ignorance done little but inflict pain.
          That’s the norm for someone who is hurting inside.
          Emotionally wounded people cannot help but be highly sensitive. Words hit them like whips. It is vital that they be treated verbally with the careful tenderness you would use if you were dressing gaping physical wounds. Once we understand the seriousness of emotional wounds, it’s surprisingly easy to employ the Christlike graces of turning the other cheek and using the soft answer that turns away wrath. When we realize an outburst is just the pain talking, we no longer take it to heart. Only a fool takes personally the actions of someone drunk with pain.
          For more, see How to comfort the hurting

    * * *

          We will never find the peace of God with a mere piece of God. For the peace of God we need all of God. For God’s peace to rule in your heart, God himself must rule in your heart. Peace is not found in a box of spiritual trinkets we can rummage through and select whatever titillates us. It comes inseparably melded to everything else that together forms God’s heart, such as selfless love, integrity and so very much more. Having peace and joy necessitates not merely acting as if we have the heart of God but, through the miracle of spiritual new birth and daily dying to self, actually having his very heart throbbing within us; driving our thoughts and deeds every moment of every day.
          For more, see Find Peace in the Storm

    * * *

          Earth sees us flattened on the wrestling ring canvas in faith’s fight. Heaven sees us forming on the canvas of the Great Artist.
          Half-completed works of art look ugly. All that matters, however, is the finished masterpiece. Forget appearances. Yield to the Artist. The result will be breath-taking.
          For more, see When Things Get Tough

    * * *

          The Bible is the biggest eye-opener. It shocks us by revealing that reality is spectacularly different to our superficial impressions. It declares that trials, though by their very nature highly unpleasant, are reasons for rejoicing, not sorrow. I used to think the Bible was saying, ‘Rejoice, even though trials are tragedies.’ Finally, I began taking more notice of the context and discovered that it is actually saying something stunningly different. It is not saying, ‘Rejoice, despite the trials,’ but ‘Rejoice, because of the trials.’ It is saying, ‘Trials are a spiritual windfall. Throw a party when hard times come because they are like being given an exciting promotion at work, only exceedingly better.’ They increase your spiritual status, your contribution to the Kingdom, and your spiritual pay packet. By developing your character, tough times increase both your eternal reward and your ability to achieve things of lasting significance.
          The great illusion is that Christians enduring hard times seem to be hard done by. The astounding reality is that these people are actually receiving a priceless bonus. It is as staggering as hacking through someone’s chest, grabbing the flesh of his heart and claiming the victim is being blessed. An ignorant person would never believe it. Only someone who realized that the person is undergoing life-saving heart surgery would understand that the apparent cruelty is indeed a great blessing. Likewise, we are usually too ignorant and too focused on life this side of the grave to understand spiritual blessings.
          For more, see Does God Have Favorites?

    * * *

          At first thought, God’s will seems so oppressively restrictive that it’s frightening. And we’re scared we’ll be told to go somewhere awful and do something embarrassing. In reality, no one understands you like your Maker. No one knows your future like your God. No one has your best interest at heart like the One who shed his blood for you. No one can bring you happiness like the Inventor of sex and sunsets, sight and sound, touch and taste, life and beauty. He alone offers heaven.
          So for us to fear God’s commands is as unnatural as a much loved baby fearing its mother’s breast; as a shivering child fearing sunshine; as someone sick fearing health. To obey God is to say good-bye to mistakes and regret and open the door to excitement and achievement.
          For more, see Enjoying God’s Will for You

    * * *

          As we draw closer and closer to God we will discover that real living is not about feeling good; it’s about being good. Like champions, our yearning will not for ease or comfort but for victory. Our own happiness will no longer interest us, just as Christ did not come to earth to be happy but to express his love for us and for the Father by being tortured to death. And our high calling is to follow him. We will be so deliriously in love that all we will care about is bringing joy to God, since real love seeks not its own happiness but the happiness of others.
          For more, see Knowing God

    * * *

          Blinding light flashes from the Throne. Creation quakes. On Heaven’s Throne is a shining figure robed in purity. Powerful. Majestic. Holy. Who is this mighty victor, the one deemed worthy to rule forever, the joy of the Father’s heart? You. Yes, you, the butt of jokes, the focus of Satan’s slur campaign.
          Christian, through the miracle of spiritual rebirth, you and Christ are one. That makes his victory, your victory. Before him, every knee in every universe and dimension must bow. That’s your victory. Right now, no matter how defeated you may feel, you are enthroned with Christ as head of the universe.
          A little boy walks tall when his father becomes world champion. Even though the boy contributed nothing to the achievement, his father’s glory exalts him, flooding him with new confidence. Total strangers give him new respect. That’s the faintest shadow of what Jesus’ triumph has done for us. We walk ever so tall because our supernatural union with Christ far exceeds the deepest bond between father and son, and Christ’s incomparable victory utterly outclasses any human achievement.
          For more, see Becoming a Winner!

    * * *

    To be in this world is to be exposed to godless acts and to the inevitable suffering that results. But to be removed from this world is to be torn from the very place that most needs us; the place where we can achieve the greatest good and win for ourselves eternal glory.
          For more, see Hurting? God Cares

    * * *

    In the next life, when we at last see things clearly, we’ll probably look back through the years and praise God far more for unanswered prayer than for almost all the answers to prayer we received.
          For more, see The Joy of Unanswered Prayer

    * * *

          ‘Then will I teach transgressors your ways,’ crooned David. When? After a calamitous moral fall.
          ‘Simon . . . feed my sheep.’ When? After denying his Savior.
          ‘He slew at his death more than he slew in his life.’ When? After Samson’s greatest humiliation.
          Their lapses were inexcusable. Their ministries were desecrated. Yet they refused to dwell in defeat. They were failures, but in God they were overcomers. Grasping God’s hand of forgiveness, they clambered to new heights for the glory of the One who washed them clean.
          Though the righteous – that’s you and me in Christ Jesus – fall seven times, they rise again. That’s a promise (Proverbs 24:16, Psalm 37:23-24).
          For more, see When a Christian Commits Gross Sin

    * * *

          Suppose you are in a leaking boat. You are lounging on deck as the water seeps in a few bucketfuls an hour. No problem. Any fool can bail that out. Hour after hour you continue to snooze until you suddenly find yourself plunging towards the ocean floor. You then bail furiously but it’s too late. The disaster was not the product of some momentary weakness or inexplicable lapse the last five seconds. It was all so avoidable, if only the danger had been taken seriously.
          That’s what it’s like with temptation. Act soon enough, and you’re safe. Take no action as temptation begins to seep in; do nothing to block the temptation, keep open doorways to sin, and the danger slowly mounts until finally not even the strongest saint could survive the onslaught.
          It’s not what happens in a moment of weakness that is critical. What matters is what you do right now to protect yourself from those moments.
          For more, see Supernatural Power to Break Free

    * * *

          We are a fallen race. Spiritually, we each entered this world with hideous birth defects. Trying to overcome our spiritual defects is like someone born with severe physical deformities heroically battling to overcome all the handicaps. Although on one level the attempt might look pathetic, people have won for themselves worldly fame and honor by battling physical handicaps to live close to normal lives. Likewise, we each have the potential to win eternal honor and acclaim by battling our spiritual handicaps.
          None of us need grovel in defeat. Nevertheless, to attempt, with God’s help, to struggle against the tide of worldly pressure and fleshly inadequacies to restore your sexuality to its divinely intended purity is such a noble task that the mere attempt brings you glory. Consider Scott’s Antarctic attempt. He neither achieved his goal of being the first person to the South Pole, nor completed the return journey, nor even survived, and yet his trek has been hailed as one on the greatest ever epics of human exploration and endurance. He failed and yet he persisted with a goal so challenging that the mere attempt made him a hero.
          If ordinary, self-centered people have this attitude towards those who have the tenacity to keep trying despite enormous failures, imagine how much more impressed God is when you keep trying. More than anyone in the universe, the God of infinite knowledge understands just how tough you find it. All of heaven is cheering you on.
          For more, see The Morality of Masturbation

    * * *

          We may seem the object of ridicule, but we’re the focus of infinite love. We’re fruit growing sweeter, wine gaining value; not milk going sour. We’re not cardboard caving, colors fading, under the weight of time; we’re concrete drying stronger, trees growing higher, dawn glowing brighter.
          For more, see Don’t Panic – God At Work

    * * *

      Hounded by defeat,
      Immersed in gloom.
      Confounded by a curse,
      Scorned and spurned.
      Haunted by despair,
      Mocked by words of doom.
      My eyes may fill with tears,
      But not with dread or fear.

      This grub, wings will sprout.
      This down-trodden worm will soar;
      Transformed by redemptive power,
      Set free by the Lord of all.
      No one sees it yet:
      The secret’s heaven-kept.
      They mock and jeer
      They do not know;
      Success is slow, but it is sure;
      Though it tarry, it will come.
      All Father touches turns to gold.
      It matters not what others say,
      The winning’s done;
      Like Father, like son!

      Founded on his Word;
      Embalmed by love.
      Surrounded by his arms;
      Washed and warmed.
      Granted all I need,
      Buoyed by thoughts above:
      From fear I find release,
      Becalmed by heaven’s peace.

          For more, see Nothing to Live For

    * * *

          Basking In Infinite Love
          Embraced by divine love, your life will be tinged with mystery but aglow with glory.
          Tucked in the heart of Scripture sleeps a tiny psalm of precious truth (Psalm 131). The singer confessed that as a mother denies her baby access to her milk when it’s time for her darling to be weaned, so God sometimes denies us things we crave. Yet as a weaned infant lies warm and secure in its mother’s bosom, our soul can nestle into God, not knowing why we have been denied that which we have clambered for, but content to draw love and comfort from the Father’s heart.
          As the heavens soar far above us, high and unreachable, so is God’s wisdom (Isaiah 55:8-9; Psalm 139:6; 147:5; Job 11:7-9; Romans 11:33-34). Our tiny minds may understand the Father’s ways no more than a babe understands its mother, yet still we can rest in Him, bathed in the certainty that when the omnipotent, omniscient Lord lets the inexplicable touch a child of His, it is a manifestation of unfathomable love. In the hands of the One who wouldn’t so much as break a damaged reed or snuff a smoking wick, you are safe (Matthew 12:20).
          For more, see Basking In Infinite Love

    * * *

          Swap Indignity For Indignation
          Fear is an opponent; an enemy wanting to stop us from enjoying what is rightfully ours.
          Fear is a thief; a disgusting con man cheating us out of our rights and duping us into letting him steal from us.
          Fear is a weakling acting like a bully, humiliating us. It is low life asking us to strip ourselves of our Christ-bought freedom and dignity. It holds a toy gun to our head and for no rational reason we let it order us around.
          Fear is a malicious prankster hoping we will be terrorized by a cardboard cutout.
          Fear is a dirty, pesky fly getting in our face, annoying us. It is a filthy liar falsely accusing us, and we not only meekly sit there listening to the slanderous putdowns, we stupidly accept the garbage as truth.
          The appropriate response is to rise up in anger and refuse to let fear rob, cheat and bluff us any longer.
          For more, see Christian Help and Inspiration When Gripped by Fear

    * * *

          Did you know ???

          * Most actors wanting the role of Long John Silver are hopelessly inadequate. They have too many legs.
          * Most people look like ridiculously overdressed, non-Japanese, anorexic sumo wrestlers.
          * When I was younger I could run faster than Carl Lewis. Over the years my superiority gradually waned, especially after baby Carl learned to walk.

          I know what you’re thinking: I’ve finally blown a fuse upstairs. Before you start sending get-well cards, however, let me assure you I’m as sane as anyone else here in the psychiatric ward.
          My point is this: whether you see yourself as gifted or queer, indispensable or inadequate, depends entirely on the frame of reference you choose. From God’s frame of reference – the life’s work he has chosen for you – no one is as perfectly endowed as you.
          If that seems like soppy idealism, you have not thought it through. Do so, and it will become a treasured source of strength and inspiration. You could choose any person and fill volumes with what he or she cannot do or is hopeless at, but that’s of no more concern than the fact that a DVD player cannot fly, quench thirst, tie shoelaces, and prevent tooth decay. Besides the endless list of things a video recorder cannot do, many of the things it can do, it does poorly. It’s an inferior paperweight, straightedge, and bookend. You could use it as a fly-swatter – once. Such lists miss the critical point: anything skillfully designed is ideally equipped – and usually solely equipped – for the specific and commendable purpose for which it was made.
          Of course you cannot do everything. That was never your Designer’s intention. But to imagine that your Creator will not fashion you with perfection for your reason for existence, is to accuse your Maker of impotence and incompetence. Face facts: everything God does is impressive. For the exact role that he created you, you are superbly endowed. All you need do is yield to him.
          For more, see Handling Rejection

    * * *

    None of us have an infallible conscience. In fact, most of us have consciences are at times wildly inaccurate.
          For more, see The Most Tortured Conscience Can Find Peace

    * * *

          The goal of my entire ministry is to help people fall more in love with God. My extensive personal struggles with feeling God’s love have combined with years of counseling people to give me deep compassion for the many of us who find ourselves devastated by God feeling cold or distant or by us simply feeling nothing. “What is wrong with me?” we worry, when friends seem to find it so easy to feel God’s presence and/or love.
          Not content with mere sympathy, I have felt compelled to devote innumerable hours prayerfully seeking divine answers for all of us who are perplexed and/or distressed over being unable to feel God’s love, or his presence or favor.
          Surprisingly, I have discovered that the hindrance is often not even spiritual but deeply psychological and that many of us torment ourselves over feelings when God is longing for us to honor him by ignoring feelings and living by raw faith.
          For more, see Feeling God’s Love for You

    * * *

          If you fear God could have a cruel streak, you are sure to unconsciously keep your emotions in check when relating to him. No normal person would feel secure about giving his or her heart to someone who might possibly be callous, or even sneak some twisted pleasure out of slaughtering innocents, or in tormenting people in hell, or a God who in any other way has less than the highest conceivable morality. It is vital that you keep seeking God for a deeper and deeper revelation of his love and goodness.
          For more, see Wish God Felt Closer?

    * * *

          In Luke 15 Jesus delivers three consecutive parables: the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost (prodigal) son. In them, God is likened to a shepherd and a father. Some of us are shocked to realize, however, that in the middle parable, Jesus likens God to a woman (Luke 15:8). Should this really surprise, since God made both male and female in his own image (Genesis 1:27)?
          For more, see God as Tender as a Mother?

    * * *

          The flawless Son of God took upon himself all of your filth down to the very last speck and placed on you all of his purity, making you like a beacon of pure light, irresistibly attractive to the Holy One. On the cross, Jesus cried out that God had forsaken him. As surely as your imperfections drove the Father in revulsion from the Son, so Jesus’ perfection impels the Father to rush to you like a bee to honey.
          For more, see Wondrous Peace for the Guilt-Ridden Conscience

    * * *

          They were beasts, not men, who violated your innocence. They stripped you of your decency. They invaded your body; shaming you, humiliating you. Terror gripped you by the throat. Stark naked, bleeding, pinned like a bug on display they exposed you to the world. Relentlessly they reviled and defiled you.
          You longed for mercy. No one so much as lifted an eyebrow for you. To them it was a game. They had robbed you not only of every thread of clothing and respectability, but of your very humanity. You were sport, a plaything, a bit of fun before being tossed away. You existed only to be gawked at, jeered at, spat on. With bloodcurdling callousness they continued to desecrate your person with vile, inhuman, despicable acts.
          Where was God in the midst of all this horror? As he looked upon your torment, he was in as much anguish as you were, Jesus.
          For more, see Where Was God? When You Suffered Unspeakable Horrors

    * * *

          As we are a higher life form and more personal than plants, so God is higher and more personal than us. With passion, powers of attention, and concern for every detail that makes a nuclear explosion seem like a popgun, the Almighty is so intensely personal that alongside him we are colorless and superficial. And this magnificent God of perfection is in love with you.
          As a consequence, Almighty God is furious with those who have hurt you. So extreme is God’s passion to execute justice on your behalf that no human could generate such intense yearning. And yet the God who longs for us to be like him, urges us not to take vengeance into our own hands. The Bible insists that even in this life, justice is important, and yet it speaks of turning the other cheek. We must explore these mysteries, plunging deep into the heart of God and gaining new insight into the breathtaking perfection of God’s ways, and in the process discover the path to inner peace.
          For more, see Christian Revenge and the Wrath of God

    * * *

          Lord Jesus, no one comes anywhere near your love. No coach has ever gloried in his athlete’s success, no father has longed to lavish his children with gifts, no lover has delighted in his beloved’s pleasure, like you long to thrill and fulfill your loved ones with endless joys. I want to participate in your miracles, reveling in your supernatural power. Since delighting in the gift, honors the giver – and no one deserves thanks and honor like you – I want to thrill with inexpressible joy over your every gift. Surely this is a vital part of loving you and letting you have your beautiful way with me. And yet is that all there is to life? It sometimes feels as if there is a missing element.
          For years I’ve had the occasional precious moment of intimacy with you in which I’ve felt a peculiar warmth about the possibility of suffering for you. This feeling bewilders me. I’m frustratingly ordinary. I can only stare wide-eyed at those who talk of visions and hearing regularly from you. I long to know you and love you like you deserve, instead of the vague way that I currently do. I’ve grown used to you dropping thoughts into my mind that rocket my understanding heavenwards with thrilling new insights. But this time, by giving me this peculiarly positive feeling towards suffering, you seem to have rather sneakily bypassed my tiny brain by giving me wondrous feelings that have left me mystified.
          Facts, not feelings, usually move me. But as my Lord you have every right to burst my emotional straitjacket and intellectual pride. This is just what seems to happen on these occasions. I bless you for feelings apparently from you that outpace my thinking. These positive feelings towards hardship are delightful but they seem so otherworldly and so out of touch with my normal human reaction to hardship that I feel the need to dissect and analyze the feelings to try to come to grips with them rationally.
          For more, see Insights into Suffering

    * * *

          How come “an eye for an eye” is found in the same Book as “turn the other cheek”? Did we suddenly get a new God when the New Testament was made?
          Actually, this tension exists throughout Scripture. The Old Testament speaks of loving one’s enemy, and the New Testament speaks of God’s wrath and justice. It’s not a case of God changing, but of us oversimplifying his message and reducing to a shadow the most magnificent Person in the universe; stripping him of an entire dimension.
          For more, see Christian Justice or Love Your Enemy?

    * * *

          If we give up judging people,
          We’ll end up judging angels (1 Corinthians 6:3-7).
          For more, see Turn the Other Cheek or Get Even With the Beast

    * * *

      Why are you anxious about ministry?
      Consider the vines of the vineyard,
      How they grow;
      They neither toil nor strive,
      Yet, I tell you,
      Even man with all his technology
      Cannot produce fruit like one of these.
      If God so fruits the vine,
      Which today is alive
      And tomorrow is cast into the fire,
      Will he not more surely
      Produce fruit in your life,
      O you of little faith?
      So do not fret, saying:
      ‘How shall I achieve something worthwhile?’
      Or, ‘How shall I leave my mark on this world?’
      For after such fulfillment the heathen crave,
      And your heavenly Father knows your need of it.

      Who among you,
      When your son asks if he can help,
      Would always spurn his offers?
      Or, if he wants to achieve something worthwhile,
      Would you let him waste his life,
      Rather than help him succeed?
      If you then, being evil,
      Know how to love your children,
      How much more shall your Father in heaven
      Give a ministry to those who seek it.
      ‘Abide in Me ...
      And you shall bear much fruit ...
      And My Father shall be glorified.’ (John 15:5,8)


          For more, see Waiting for Your Ministry, Chapter 3

    * * *

          I guess you’ve heard of the needless deaths of young men in fast cars driving at speed straight at each other, trying not to be the one who chickens out by changing course. When they both ‘win,’ they both lose – with horrific consequences. That’s the deadly game we play in relating to people when, instead of taking the responsibility upon ourselves, we wait for the other person to change. Leaving it to the other person ensures we end up losers, no matter how self-righteously we hold our ground.
          For more, see Resolving Marital Conflict

    * * *

          Young David was out minding Dad’s sheep when he spied a lion ready to pounce on a lamb. David loved that lamb but this was a terrifying situation. If he let the lion have its way, he would lose a sheep, but David would be safe. If he tried to rescue the lamb, however, the lion would want to turn on David and tear him apart. No doubt, David quickly prayed for the lion to go away. Almighty God did nothing. Heart pounding, David refused to be intimidated by this ferocious beast. He faced that terrifying creature and slew it.
          Later, David spied a bear. Bears were even more feared than lions because they are stronger and more erratic. David prayed. Again God did nothing. Instead of retreating, David, inspired by his former experience, again refused to give into his fears and suffer loss.
          Why had God not intervened? Why did he leave it to David to face that fearsome beast?
          Later, Goliath was making a mockery of God and of all the people of God. All Israel was praying that Goliath would go away. God did nothing. Israel’s entire army were willing to surrender to their fears and let Goliath intimidate them. But suddenly David discovered why God had allowed that lion and bear in his life. Inspired by his previous efforts, he faced that giant and delivered Israel.
          Not even that was the end. David continued to find himself in frightening situations where it would have been so easy to act like Israel’s army hiding in holes hoping for a miracle. Each time, Almighty God could have slain the enemy, but instead he waited for David to do it. Why? Because each time that David refused to surrender to his fears, he become stronger. The Lord had exciting plans for David. He wanted David to progress from rescuing a lamb, to rescuing the entire nation, to ruling that nation. It took many hard, seemingly endless years, and many apparent setbacks, but every distressing, fearful experience was preparing him for greater and greater exploits for God.
          David ended up not just ruling God’s people, but blessing every subsequent generation of God’s people through his psalms. His songs touch us because they tell of his fears and his depression and agonizing questions that speak powerfully to us in our own trials, and he inspires us because he faced those emotions and overcame.
          Likewise, God could instantly deliver you of things that threaten you. But, like David, you are divinely destined for great things.
          For more, see Inspiration from the Giant Killer

    * * *

          Scripture implies that Christians seasoned by heartache are the heroes most likely to be entrusted with the divine grace to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
          For more, see Is My Baby in Heaven?

    * * *

          Someone who claims to be an expert on dream interpretation insists that every single dream – no exceptions – is from God. Until I heard him say that, I had highly regarded this man’s spiritual discernment. Shocked by his emphatic claim, I thought much about it, but I cannot agree with his assessment. However, there was a time when I took a position on the opposite extreme. And I was wrong.
          I once used to naively assume that no dream that is upsetting, disturbing or frightening could be from God. I now confess that this presumption is so thoroughly unbiblical that I am staggered that I ever fell for it. (Consider Genesis 15:12-13; 41:8; Judges 7:13-15; Job 33:14-16 and Daniel 2:1; 4:5; 7:1,7,15, for example.)
          A search for biblical dreams that disturbed the dreamer, however, takes us far beyond such obvious instances. In fact, it is hard to find in the Bible any divinely-given dream that did not have an upsetting element. For example, Mary’s husband was told in a dream that they had to completely disrupt their lives and move to Egypt. Moreover, he was told in the dream that people were seeking to kill his son. That revelation would hardly fill him with joy.
          If ever there were a positive dream, it was Joseph’s in the Old Testament in which he was told that his entire family would bow down to him, but even then the results were exceedingly disturbing. His dreams provoked a rebuke from his father and hatred in his brothers. As a direct result of those dreams he ended up kidnapped and sold into slavery (Genesis 37:5-28).
          For more, see How to Cope with Nightmares and Unwanted Dreams

    * * *

          If someone has broken your heart, your pain is your chance to enter into a deeper understanding of the most beautiful thing in the universe: God’s heart. The heart of God is so immense that even in the face of unfathomable pain he still has unbounded joy and peace because, despite his unfulfilled yearning for the love of individuals who break his heart, he is never self-obsessed. He keeps on loving and delights in the happiness of others.
          To love is to live and to love immensely is to revel in all life’s richness. True love knows no bounds. It embraces everyone, including the unlovable and those who despise us. It is not sexual. It does not seek its own comfort. Unbridled love brings pain, but it also brings joy of divine proportions.
          For more, see How to Recover From a Break Up

    * * *

          When Jesus said we must deny ourselves and take up our cross daily, he was referring to a choice that causes pain and shame and yet is voluntarily embraced for the Lord’s sake.
          For more, see Called to be Single?

    * * *

          The only way we can truly understand our sexuality is to learn from the Creator of sex. If you believe you have greater access to the mind of the Creator than Jesus, I’m intrigued as to why someone of your infinite knowledge bothers to surf the Internet.
          Jesus, the authority on spiritual matters, regarded the Bible in a way that staggers even many Christians. For a glimpse at this, consider how in Matthew 19:4 Jesus quoted Genesis 2:24. This is actually a key Scripture for a true understanding of sex, but for now note the original context of the verse Jesus cited. Genesis doesn’t introduce this verse with anything remotely like, “God said.” It reads like a comment from the human author. And yet in quoting this passage, Jesus said these were the very words of the Creator. This is typical of how Jesus revered Scripture. He constantly treated the Bible as the very word of God. That boggles the mind, but to reject this attitude to Scripture is to claim to know God better than the world’s greatest Teacher and to pronounce Jesus Christ a deluded fool.
          For more, see When is Sex Outside of Marriage Acceptable?

    * * *

          Suppose a person is trying his hardest to shoot someone dead. He takes careful aim but to his great disappointment he misses and the person escapes unharmed. Does that make him more righteous than if he were a better shot and the bullet killed the man? The consequences for the victim would be vastly different but in both scenarios the sinfulness of the offender would be identical.
          Let’s take this a step further. Suppose Phil and Sam hate Barry with equal venom. They both wish he were dead. If Phil could push a button, terminating Barry’s existence and be certain that no one would ever know, who did it, he’d do it. The one thing keeping Phil from murder is that he is too scared about the possible personal consequences (public humiliation and imprisonment) if he were caught. But Sam is braver and so kills Barry. Should we regard Phil as more moral, simply because he is the bigger coward? Obviously, Barry would be exceedingly better off if both men were cowards. Morally, however, both haters are equally corrupt, since both wanted him dead.
          Deliberately cultivating yearnings for anything that, if acted out, would be immoral, is as depraved as physically committing that act.
          For more, see The Thought Versus the Deed

    * * *

          Although you have not suffered to the point of death like Jesus, perhaps in your agony you think that would almost be preferable to your daily torment. Perhaps you would rather it were you who had been hurt than your loved one. God, too, knows that pain. No one loves humanity like its Maker. No one is as aware of injustice as the Judge of all the world. Yet still he reaches out in love to those who crush him by hurting his loved ones.
          Your loving Lord is calling you to rise to the challenge of Christlikeness. It’s a high calling; a path strewn with glory. The wonderful thing is that the Almighty not only asks you to do the impossible, he empowers you to achieve it. If you are truly born again, you already live in the realm of the impossible. It was impossible for you to be made fit for heaven. But it’s happened.
          For more, see Lord, Make Him Regret What He Did To Me!

    * * *

          To restrain a baby elephant, circus trainers must chain it to a huge stake driven into the ground. When the baby grows into an adult, however, it is many times smarter and stronger. What trainers must then drive into the ground is just a tiny tent peg.
          The baby had tried everything to break free. It had strained with all its might, pulling in every conceivable way, hour after hour, day after day. The huge stake refused to budge. So, rather than mindlessly keep trying to do the impossible, it did what at the time was the intelligent thing: it gave up trying.
          The baby grew into a powerful beast. Convinced by bitter experience that whenever it is tethered there is no point trying to resist, it never bothered to determine whether anything had changed. So it suffers indignities, even though, if only it could grasp the fact, it could easily rip up the peg and trample those who sought to dominate it.
          Past defeats do not lock us into lifelong defeat. With Almighty God, we can always break through. Like elephants that grow to have superhuman strength, Christians are born again with superhuman strength. Resident within them is not only divine power, but God himself. But as with the ‘trained’ elephant, great power will not help us unless we exert our most determined effort to resist whatever seeks to dominate us. If we don’t bother to try our hardest because we believe that within us is little more than human frailty, we’ll remain humiliated, languishing under the misconception that we are still as powerless as we were in our pre-Christian days.
          For more, see Why Bad Things Keep Happening to Some People

    * * *

          Throughout the universe the truth screams that God loves variety. Consider all the different means besides laying hands on people that Jesus used to transmit miraculous healing. Or think of the extensive range of literary forms that make up the Bible – history, poems, parables, proverbs, prophecies, letters, songs, visions, and so on. Wherever we look, be it snowflakes or fingerprints, flowers or sunsets, stars or molecules, scriptural revelation or God’s dealing with individuals in our own era, God’s love of variety is undeniable.
          I do not believe God gets bored. For humans, however, sameness lowers our desires, whereas variety stokes our fire. At a display, variety makes us want to linger longer. At a banquet, variety stimulates our appetite. At an art gallery, variety boosts creativity and pushes one to new frontiers. Likewise, variety adds new dimensions to prayer, increases one’s longing for more, and kills blandness and boredom. So consider expanding your repertoire of prayer methods.
          For more, see Prayer Secrets

    * * *

          Anthropologists reported on a tribe in Irian Jaya in which, beyond the necessity of procreation, there seems astoundingly little interest in sex. We, in contrast, live in a self-indulgent society infatuated with sex. If this comparison is accurate, it raises the question as to why a pagan tribe could be more in control of its lusts than our society in which not even the threat of AIDS restrains people’s suicidal commitment to depravity.
          The first chapter of Romans emphasizes that bondage to sexual depravity falls on people who have deliberately rejected what they knew to be true about God. One would expect our ‘post-Christian’ society to be in a greater mess than some pagan societies, because it has rejected a greater revelation of God. Historically, our society was once without the light of the gospel and now it has deliberately plunged back into the darkness it had been delivered from, acting like an immaculately scrubbed-up pig plunging back into filth. Scripture warns that people acting this way end up worse than before they were cleaned (2 Peter 2:19-22).
          Ezekiel highlights another factor in sexual degradation when he lists the sins of Sodom as being “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the needy . . .” (Ezekiel 16:49). As a society we, like Sodom, have abused our God-given affluence, turning it into an opportunity for arrogance, laziness and self-indulgent pleasure-seeking, which in turn has led to shameful sexual excesses. Even the mere act of working hard and keeping busy usually makes a person less vulnerable to sexual shame.
          Like Lot living in Sodom, who “day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard,” (2 Peter 2:6-9) we find ourselves living and suffering in a godless, sex-crazed society.
          For more, see Handling the Pressures of Being Single

    * * *

          Jesus was on the land praying. The disciples were in the boat on the lake. Jesus saw them straining at the oars because the wind was against them, so he went out to them, walking on the water. What baffles Bible commentators is that the text seems to say Jesus acted as if he were going to walk on past the boat until the disciples called out to him.
          We, too, know what it is like to feel that Jesus is going to by-pass us.
          We see something similar when the resurrected Lord walked with the two to Emmaus, “Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them” (Luke 24:28-29).
          Urgent word was sent to Jesus that Lazarus was dying. Jesus stayed put. Eventually he turned up days late. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” sobbed Mary (John 11:32). It felt like Jesus was uncaring. The feeling was wrong. “God is love” means God always cares. No exceptions.
          The God who longs to pour out his blessings upon us keeps making it seem as if he has no intention of blessing us. He is forever trying to coax faith out of us, and faith can only grow where there seems good reason for doubt. Just as muscles will not only not grow but will waste away unless they repeatedly come against resistance, so faith can grow only when it meets resistance.
          For more, see God’s Mysterious Ways

    * * *

          Many Christians are like me in having wrongly supposed that if God prophesies something, it is final. The startling truth is that Scripture emphatically and repeatedly declares that whether God’s prophecies come true depends on the response of the people the prophecy is aimed at.
          You can plunge into some of the blackest parts of Scripture and yet even there keep finding enormous hope for any condemned person or nation that repents (e.g. Jeremiah 18:7-8).
          The Bible was written not as an historical curiosity; it was written by God for you (Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 9:10; 10:6,11). So if ever you feel damned and utterly rejected by God, take seriously Scripture’s words of hope to people who likewise seemed doomed.
          For more, see The Mysterious Nature of Prophecy

    * * *

          The loving necessity of punishment when one’s eternity is in danger is something we need to understand, not just when we ourselves are being punished, but also when reading in Scripture of God punishing people. For God to strike someone dead means that person did wrong and a strong warning needs to be sent to that person’s contemporaries and perhaps even subsequent generations but it might say little about that person’s eternity.
          In Scripture we see people losing a ministry, or even dying prematurely, through God’s judgment, but this does not necessarily mean those people were sent to hell. What might send thunderous shockwaves on earth – God striking a Christian dead – might hardly rate as a ripple in that person’s eternity. In stark contrast, the peaceful passing of an elderly person destined for hell is a cataclysmic event for that person and can lull observers into a dangerous spiritual complacency.
          For more, see When you Feel God is Angry at You

    * * *

          The Bible was not even originally written in English, so – as any Bible scholar will insist – to understand what the Bible means by blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, it is pointless consulting an English dictionary for the definition of “blasphemy”. Instead of jumping to our own presumptions in panic-stricken horror, we need to calmly and prayerfully delve deep into God’s Word. Mark 3:22-30 states that Jesus said what he did about blaspheming the Holy Spirit because the teachers of the law were saying that Jesus has an evil spirit.
          These people were not cursing or swearing, nor knowingly insulting the Holy Spirit. In fact, they were devout theologians who would rather face a thousand deaths than be disrespectful to the Spirit of God. They felt certain that they deeply revered the Holy Spirit.
          Whatever Jesus meant by the unpardonable sin, he was not referring to the use of foul language against the Holy Spirit when he warned these people. They were not even seeking to target the Holy Spirit. Jesus was the focus of their attack. Jesus, the Holy Spirit, was the one they sought to insult and discredit. It just turned out that, as would be expected, insulting one member of the Trinity insults all three. The doctrine of the Trinity renders ridiculous any notion that the Holy Spirit might be more holy or more sensitive or less forgiving than the Son of God.
          For more, see Unforgivable?

    * * *

          The benefits flowing from painful memories are very deep things. They hurt, but they go to the very heart and nature of God because God himself hurts. You have been hurt by someone else’s sins. God is hurt by everyone’s sins. Through your painful experiences God is able to share his secrets with you. It is something deeply spiritual and intimate and precious. Through the evil you suffered you have been granted unique insight into the heart of God. By it you will move from mere head knowledge to deep heart knowledge of God and his love and his ways. The most precious experiences cost, but they are more than worth all the pain.
          For more, see When You Can’t Forget: Haunted by Ugly Memories

    * * *

          God cares passionately about every trace of injustice you have ever suffered. The greatest torment you, in fit of fury, have ever wished to be savaged upon those who cruelly hurt you was rained upon Jesus to secure the justice you craved. By the abuse meted out to the innocent Son of God, the Almighty Lord, the Judge of all the earth, has proclaimed that the offense against you was so grave, and your honor so precious to him, that nothing less than the horrors Jesus suffered could put it right. For you, the holy Son of God let himself become the devil’s plaything; physically violated, emotionally broken, spiritually raped by evil. Will you let the magnitude of his sacrifice soothe your anger and give you peace? Bitterness is like barbed wire in your insides. Will you let his love dissolve it?
          For more, see Sweet Revenge! Turning Hate into Healing

    * * *

          Never forget the power of Romans 8:28 – that God works all things together for good in the lives of those who love him. The Master Restorer treasures what lesser persons discard. He lovingly and tenderly collects the ugly incidents in people’s lives that even the owners want to trash. He works on events that people think of as junk and builds on them. He keeps polishing them until they gleam with divine glory and builds on them until they become astonishing works of beauty that all of heaven will admire for all eternity.
          For more, see Finding Hope When There is No Hope: How to Rise from Hopeless to Hopeful Without Mindless Optimism

    * * *

          We feel too pressured to come up with answers and too lazy to provide practical help; too keen to flap our gums and too reluctant to offer a hug, a meal and genuine companionship. We are too fast at pointing the finger and too slow at lending a hand; too quick to quote the Bible at others and too slow to live it ourselves; too eager to act superior and too proud to weep with those who weep.
          For more, see What is Spiritual Abuse?

    * * *

          There is salvation through no one but Jesus (Acts 4:12) and no one who dies willfully rejecting him can be saved. Nevertheless, this does not imply that everyone must know about Jesus before Jesus can save them. Scripture teaches that Jesus died as much for those who died before his sacrifice, as he died for those who were born after his sacrifice (see Hebrews 9:25-28). Pre-Christian saints like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and so on, will be in heaven even though they never sought forgiveness through Jesus. As indicated in Hebrews 11, (note especially verse 7; Romans 4:1-24; Galatians 3:6-9) they were saved through faith, not by their animal sacrifices or good living. They trusted that God would somehow forgive them, without knowing the details as to how salvation was possible. At least in these instances, Jesus’ salvation clearly extended to those who had never heard of him. Abel, Enoch and Noah were outside God’s covenant mediated by Moses, and even outside the Abrahamic covenant.
          For more, see What about those who have never heard the Gospel?

    * * *

          Like a drowning man too scared to let go of a twig to grab his rescuer’s hand, we can fear anger so much that we cannot release the tight grip on our emotions long enough to get a decent grip on reality. Despite our best intentions to forgive, the mistaken fear that anger is unchristian can cause us to back off so far, so quickly after first sensing the slightest anger bubbling within us that we deny ourselves the opportunity to truly acknowledge the extent of the injury we have suffered. Sadly, this highly commendable desire to do the right thing could end up causing us to unknowingly short-circuit the entire forgiving process. You cannot forgive someone for stealing a million dollars when you believe he has only stolen five dollars. Forgiveness necessitates fully acknowledging the extent of the offence. We can think we have forgiven because we do not let ourselves feel anger, when deep within – so deep that most of the time we presume it isn’t there – unresolved pain and anger torment us year after year after year.
          For more, see Why to Truly Forgive Hinges on Getting in Touch with Your Anger

    * * *

         When surfing the sea, times of clumsy human effort (paddling) are interspersed by exhilarating times of being moved by a wave of power far beyond anything human. The same is true of prayer.
          Most of us have heard of, or even had a taste of, the exhilaration that prayer can produce. There are times when prayer is effortless and thrilling and you are moved by a power beyond your own. Nevertheless, many of us end up drifting in the shallows because we have not understood the necessity of the prayer equivalent of paddling in order to catch a spiritual wave.       For more, see How to Make Prayer Exciting"

    * * *

          If owning a brand new Ferrari causes a toy peddle car to lose some of its appeal, heavenly pleasures outclass the best that earthly romance offers. What we now think is the ultimate in red-blooded passion, thrilling adventure and heart-thumping excitement will be seen as boring child-play, once we taste the wonders of heaven.
          One of the wonders of heaven is that we will have an increased capacity for love. Couples will be many times more in love with each other than they ever were on earth. In comparison, their earthly love will seem as tame as a ‘romance’ between five-year-olds. And yet the astounding thing is that everyone else in heaven will thrill this former couple as utterly as they thrill each other. Everyone will be so head-over-heels in love with everyone else as to render unthinkable an exclusive relationship such as marriage.
          For more, see No Marriage In Heaven? Encouragement for Singles

    * * *

          To continually expose yourself to the possibility of rejection is to be Godlike. He is perfect, and yet most people reject him. And because he truly loves, that rejection truly hurts him. No one knows the pain of a broken heart like him. Yet he is continually reaching out to people who despise him. And some eventually respond.
          Be courageous. Take risks. To shrink from the possibility of pain is to shrink from life. That would be a tragic waste; not only for you, but for those you would have blessed.
          For more, see Overcoming Loneliness

    * * *

          In a world crammed with people who seek ease and pleasure, we are called not called merely to admire achievers who sacrifice ease and pleasure to become champions; we are called to become those champions. We are called to greatness and never-ending fulfillment that pleasure junkies can only wistfully dream about.
          For more, see Should Christians Masturbate?

    * * *

          Part of what makes us human is having a compelling need to apportion blame but Jesus took upon himself full blame for every sin ever committed. Suppose a woman let doctors treat some of her ailments but refused to let them examine the lump that will kill her if left untreated. That is like letting Jesus treat some of our problems, but insisting on dealing with the critical blame issue ourselves. Forgiving someone who has hurt us does not mean shifting blame from the other party to ourselves or trying to minimize the horrific gravity of the offense. That would not facilitate healing. Christian forgiving transfers all blame to the cross, where Jesus bore the horrific punishment it deserved.
          For more, see Serious, Do-It-Yourself Healing

    * * *

          Satan is a sore loser. Once he finds something that shakes us up he keeps trying it over and over relentlessly until he is absolutely convinced that his tactics will never again work with you. When, finally, he seems to leave, it is only to bide his time for a surprise attack. His persistence is most unpleasant. The positive side, however, is that this will make you stronger and stronger as you keep resisting his lies.
          For more, see Nightmare Help

    * * *

          Because it describes an aspect of the enormity of what God has done for us, the Bible sometimes speaks of God adopting us as his very own children. Adoption by the King of kings opens to us wonders that will keep us dancing for all eternity. Through it we can enjoy God’s intimacy and inheritance and royal status. The full story, however, is even more astounding. When we were born of God we were not merely adopted into God’s family, we were BORN into his family. By this staggering act of God we received God’s genes, as it were. At that instant a fundamental change in our entire nature occurred. As effortlessly as a child’s nose begins to take on the shape of its father’s nose, so we will grow more and more like Father God, not merely because we try to model ourselves upon him but because God has transformed who we are by seeding his very own nature into our genetic blueprint.
          For more, see Jesus our Brother

    * * *

          Arrogantly assuming we know the end of the story when we’re still on the first page, we blindly jump to conclusions when we only know a fraction of the facts and get things so wrong that we end up blaming God, the one Person who is utterly innocent; treating as a sadistic torturer the only Person who cares enough to tend our wounds; instigating a hate campaign against the sweetest person in the universe; accusing of callousness the only one so moved by our plight that he weeps in secret; and despising the Person who on the cross has given us both his kidneys.
          For more, see Is it Mad to be Mad at God?

    * * *

          You could walk down church aisles all your life without ever marrying. Everyone knows that. Yet, tragically, countless thousands have walked down a church aisle and falsely assumed that made them born again. Like marriage, it is a relationship, not a ritual that counts. Spiritual rebirth results from a life-changing union between two persons. You can mumble the sinner’s prayer, the saints’ prayer, any prayer you like; you can join the best church, get wet, slurp communion, look more godly than an archangel, and have not a throb of spiritual life. Your act can be so convincing that you even fool yourself, and remain unaware that your life has missed an entire dimension.
          For more, see Keys to Spiritual Growth

    * * *

          If you agree with something a preacher says, make sure that it is because the Spirit of God agrees with it. Likewise, if you disagree with anything, ensure it is because the Spirit disagrees.
          There might be a powerful anointing of God upon a sentence of mine. It could have come as a direct revelation from the throne of God. But that does not make it impossible for the next sentence to be straight from Satan. Remember Simon Peter: one moment commended for receiving a revelation from God, and soon after rebuked by Jesus with the stinging words, ‘Get behind me Satan’ (Matthew 16:17-23).
          For more, see Truth: An Awesome Responsibility

    * * *

          Nothing stirs divine compassion more than people overwhelmed by their own depravity. As air rushes to fill a vacuum, God rushes to cleanse and exalt such people. Conversely, nothing saddens, disgusts and infuriates God more than the arrogant self-righteousness of someone who thinks himself morally superior to the most despised sinner. The same Jesus who was ever so tender towards those acutely aware of their sin, tore strips of the self-righteous.
          Our Judge is eager to credit each of us with the humanly unattainable moral purity and exquisite perfection of the Holy Lord himself. Tragically, however, there are those who forfeit this stupendous gift. They remain polluted by their sins because they refuse to abandon the delusion that they are morally superior to such obvious sinners as rapists, serial killers and Satanists.
          The wages of sin is death. Once you are dead, you cannot get any deader, whether the sin be considered “respectable” or one society thinks is despicable.
          For more, see How to be Righteous and Win God’s Approval

    * * *

          Relax. Know that you are in God’s strong, capable hands. There is no need to fear or fret about a thing. The Lord is in control and he is eager to sort out all your problems.
          For more, see Developing Your Love Affair With God

    * * *

          Christianity is no crutch; it’s a whole new set of legs. A living relationship with Jesus – and not everyone claiming to be a Christian has one – makes everything else look like a crutch. It’s power to face problems head on. The transformation is like a machine with nearly dead batteries being plugged into a new power source. Jesus fills the unfillable hole within us. He makes us whole. He meets our deepest needs. As pianos were made to be played, we were made for Jesus. He alone releases our full potential.
          For more, see Don’t need God?

    * * *

          Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
          Condensed, but without distortion, this divinely inspired Scripture is saying “ . . .  God created man . . .  male and female . . .” If that sounds odd, it is because the English language has changed over recent years. Nevertheless, the point is so important that to ensure that no-one is left in any doubt, here in the very beginning of the first book of the Bible, this verse defines precisely what God’s Word means when it uses the word man. It means humanity. Whenever the Bible speaks of “man” or “men” in a general sense, it is referring equally to both genders. From the very beginning, the Bible makes it clear that is God’s express desire for women and girls to be included just as much as men.
          For more, see Gender in the Bible

    * * *

          Like a computer that has lost its connection to its server and the outside world, we had lost our connection with God. Like that computer, we could still function a little, but so much has been lost. For all eternity Jesus has been uniquely connected to God as a pure conductor of holy power. He offered himself so that through his own person you could be connected with God. While remaining united with God, he reached out to you and took upon himself humanity’s impurity. As usual, the infinitely high-voltage power of Almighty God surged through him, but this time, because he was no longer a pure conductor of such power, it killed him. Yet by his sacrificial act he become a safe connector for anyone willing to let go of their ineffective ways of coping with pain and, spiritually speaking, reach out and touch Jesus. The moment you do, you are suddenly connected to unlimited supernatural power. You spiritually light up. Because it is spiritual, not mental or emotional or physical, you may not feel it, but something of profound significance takes place in the deepest and most important part of you.
          For more, see The Key to Supernatural Healing

    * * *

          A man and a woman in love long for a union, the natural result of which is offspring that are neither entirely the man’s, nor the woman’s, but bear the unmistakable marks of both. That union, Scripture boldly declares, has a spiritual parallel (Ephesians 5:31-32). The inexhaustible creativity of God longs, through our union with him, to birth within us unique and wondrous things, bearing the image, not just of one partner, but of both him and us.
          A musician and an instrument unite to produce sounds which neither would produce without the other. We are living instruments fashioned by the divine Instrument Maker with greater sophistication than any man-made instrument, having our own creativity. Like an instrument maker with his cherished instrument, our Maker longs to blend his ability with ours to produce unique sights and sounds to bless the world.
          For more, see In Tune with God: The Quest for Music Miracles

    * * *

          In the dark, things seem more frightening that they really are. It is when they are brought into the light that they lose their power to terrify. It is then that they cease to haunt us. Living in denial can never change reality. Nothing can change the past. But taking Christ’s head and embracing the truth of our past empowers us to change our future reality and find true healing.`
          For more, see Positive Confession or Living in Denial?

    * * *

          God tells us to forgive seventy times seven and yet some of us keep worrying that he will tire of forgiving us, as if perhaps God were a hypocrite. Driven by infinite love, he passionately longs to keep on forgiving you and to lavish his mercy upon you for all eternity. Since this is God’s burning desire, propelling him to the extreme of the cross, we are wrong to ever beg him to forgive us, as if there were any reluctance within him to cleanse us. His is eager to forgive; his only reluctance is in giving signs and feelings to confirm our forgiveness. Doing so makes us spiritually vulnerable by fostering a dependence upon something that the Deceiver can easily replicate and manipulate. The devil cannot touch spiritual truth but he can toy with signs and feelings. Faith is our only shield; our sole protection against his trickery.
          For more see Scrupulosity

    * * *

          Pause for a moment to imagine what it would be like to have had a heart transplant. Consider how you would cherish that precious new part of you. What was once a vital part of another person is now a vital part of you. Your body keeps your new heart alive and that heart keeps your body alive. Your welfare and destinies are one.
          The consequences of a man and woman becoming one flesh are as profound as this life-transforming surgery.
          The tragic possibility of a heart transplant is that the body might turn against its new organ, attacking it as if it were a disease rather than the essential part of itself that it has become. This is what it is like when a wife and husband fight. Regardless of whether they use lips, fists, threats, silent treatment, finances, withholding sex, trashing treasured objects, or whatever, it is as foolish as attacking your heart with a knife.
          For more, see Insights into Both God’s Heart & Marriage

    * * *

          Our highest ideal is to be like Jesus – like the One accused of being in league with Satan.
          I think it literally impossible for any famous Christian leader in our times to avoid being virtually idolized by some Christians and maliciously condemned by at least some Christian leaders. I say it with tears: I’m reluctant to mention the names of any famous Christians because no matter what famous Christian I name, there will be some devout Christians who will read no further because they regard whoever it is as a traitor to the cause of Christ.
          I don’t think many Christians have condemned me. I take that as proof of how small time I am.
          For more, see Coping with Rejection & Cruel Criticism

    * * *

          To be in love is a fluke: by a freak of nature someone just happens to stimulate chemical reactions within you that, according to experts, might last thirty months if you are exceptionally lucky. To be loving, however, is another world. It is to be Christlike. It is not a fluke; it is a virtue, an achievement, a deliberate, praiseworthy act. Being in love is fleeting; being loving is eternal.
          For more, see Never Too Early to Prepare for Marriage

    * * *

          We all know what a thrilling, fulfilling experience being in love is. It’s not perfect – there is usually a hint of selfishness in being in love – but it is a giant leap in the direction of what the Bible calls dying to self. When in love we hardly think about ourselves other than wanting to make ourselves more desirable for the one we love. Our thoughts and dreams revolve around the other person. There is a huge shift away from ourselves. The one we love becomes the center of our universe. Does this make us feel half dead? Is this losing of our pre-occupation with ourselves a painful, miserable experience? Of course not. Anyone in love has never felt more excited or more alive. So it is with falling in love with the King of kings.
          At the death of infatuation with myself, my spiritual senses become alive to the thrilling reality of God. I behold the most wonderful, exciting and beautiful Person in existence. The combined splendor of the entire universe; the pooled intellectual power of every intelligence in that universe; the greatest thing that the greatest minds could ever imagine – nothing compares with the One I am then empowered to fellowship with. To deny myself is get my eyes off myself – to stop distracting myself from focusing on the King of Glory. It is then that I truly live.
          For more, see Mysteries in Jesus’ Teaching

    * * *

          God is both our role model and the Fount of true love. The God who loves even his enemies keeps on loving, regardless of whether the objects of his love are deserving of it. He finds them lovable because he is loving; not because others find them desirable. He loves not because of who people are, but because of who he is. His love is driven not by what is in them but by what is in him – boundless love. This is how we must love.
          In contrast to the world’s delusions, the Inventor of sex reveals that the extent to which people are is attracted to someone other than their marriage partner is a measure of how sexually dysfunctional they are. People’s masculinity or femininity and sexual wholeness should be measured by how much more their marriage partner excites them than any other person. If they think they needs a wealthier, sexier, or more articulate partner, it’s because they are sexually inadequate. They are like someone pathetically drawn to loud, gaudy objects because their foolishly abused senses have grown too dim to appreciate real beauty. Chances are they are prematurely becoming a spent force (sexually and romantically) because they have squandered their sexuality on immorality. Their decadent stupidity need not be blatant, physical unfaithfulness. Mental sex outside marriage – stealing pleasure from thoughts and sights one has no right to indulge – is enough to ruin one’s sexuality. The devastation of this sinful folly could well be irreversible. These people’s only hope is that God is merciful to the repentant and that God loves the slighted marriage partner.
          For more, see Putting Holy Fire In Your Marriage

    * * *

          God is resolutely and unselfishly devoted to our long term good, but this must not be confused with short term ease that ultimately turns us soft and robs us of eternal glory. Perhaps you are presently in so much pain that even that statement makes you angry. The Bible calls trials birth pangs. Many a woman immediately after childbirth is convinced she will never allow herself to have another baby. She’s certain nothing could be worth that much agony. And yet the time comes when she is happily planning another child. Why? Because the pain is lavishly compensated by the rewards.
          For more, see If anyone has reason to hate God, it’s Sue

    * * *

          Life is full of injustices, and the ultimate injustice was when the Son of God – in the absolute sense, humanity’s only Innocent – was crucified. He bore in his entire being the full consequences of every injustice this planet has ever seen. He did this to make it legal for him to reverse – by force if necessary – every injustice. That is what the second coming is all about. His delay is none other than his mercy in giving us opportunity to repent before crunch time. Those who respond before it is too late will spend eternity marveling at God’s justice. The rest will spend eternity suffering God’s justice.
          For more, see God Isn’t fair?

    * * *

          Real love is not a whim that spurts and splutters at the fickle mercy of hormones and circumstances. It does not fizzle when hot-blooded leaps of imagination hit cold reality. It is unfazed by sagging beauty, declining abilities and changes of fortune. This unstoppable force powers on regardless. It is fueled not by the beloved but by daily dying to self and coming alive to the God of gods who sacrificed everything and became the highest by becoming the lowest. Yes, for love that never dies you must die daily. To find such love you must lose self.
          This love is noble, making you worthy of never-ending honor. Like an exquisite garden, it does not magically arrive; it is carefully nurtured. It is a virtue; a perpetual choice; a way of life for which you will literally be eternally grateful.
          For more, see God’s View of Marriage

    * * *

          Most of us suffer deeply from the Christian superstar mentality. A few burn in the limelight while the rest of us shiver in the shadows. The exaltation of a few and the hiding of their flaws makes us ordinary Christians feel inferior; hindering us from achieving the greatness we were born for.
          For more, see Who is Grantley Morris?

    * * *

          Biblical thinking is so different to current thinking as to seem bizarre. This difference is not because Scripture was written by primitive people who did not know any better than to attribute natural events to God. It is because today’s society is plagued by spiritually primitive people who do not know any better than to attribute natural events to chance.
          Over and over, Scripture attributes to God, what we attribute to natural or human causes. When it says that God sends wind, rain, sunshine, locust plagues, and so on, it is not because people in the Bible era had not discovered the laws of nature. Do you think Jesus, who said God feeds the birds of the air, did not know all the effort a sparrow goes to in order to find food? God’s prophet said that even a farmer’s most rudimentary agricultural knowledge is the result of God instructing him (Isaiah 28:24-29). Do you think Isaiah was unaware that farmers teach their sons and learn off each other, and experiment and gain experience for themselves? Do you imagine he thought those who deny God are unable to farm?
          No one imagines that an all-powerful God would be incapable of using processes or unable to control vast numbers of intricate, seemingly insignificant events. And yet somehow most of us begin to act as if the discovery of some of those processes removes God from the equation.
          For more, see The Thrilling Mystery of Hearing from God

    * * *

          Imagine the President of the United States bestowing on you the authority to use the nation’s nuclear arsenal. You may never have a legitimate opportunity to use America’s nuclear capability, and enormous harm would result if you misused it, but by entrusting you with this huge responsibility, you have been greatly honored. Likewise, regardless of whether you ever get to use it, by making you a sexual being, God has honored you with a responsibility that not even angels are granted.
          For more, see SINGLES: Celebrate your sexuality!

    * * *

          The Bible opens by affirming that God created humanity to rule. From the onset, the Lord of hosts delegated authority to man and woman (Genesis 1:26-28). Humanity lost much when it lost its innocence, but with the breaking of sin’s curse by the shed blood of the innocent Son of God, we are again expected to rule, acting like Jesus in ousting evil hordes.
          If you were granted police powers, would you tolerate a law breaker vandalizing a sacred place, or assaulting someone, or molesting a child? Well aren’t you the Spirit’s holy sanctuary, part of Christ’s body and God’s own child? Is it proper for you to passively endure an evil assault upon your person? Shouldn’t you be incensed that cowering low-life, whose defeat cost the very life of the Son of God, would have the audacity to trespass onto God’s turf, insult a work of God and violate a part of Christ’s very body? When opposed by vile spirits, rise with indignation and enforce your Christ-won authority by ousting those frauds.
          For more, see Turning Spiritual Attack into Victory

    * * *

          Anyone can parrot words; what both God and humanity seeks is living proof of the power of the Gospel. You are called to be that proof.
          For more, see Effective Evangelism

    * * *

          “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst,” Jesus told the woman who had five husbands and was now living with yet another man (John 4:13-14). The woman at the well was driven by a craving that was clearly not being satisfied. At an exorbitant emotional cost, her restless searching had taken her from man to man to man to man to man to man, with her heart being repeatedly shattered into smaller and smaller pieces.
          Sadly, this is disconcertingly close to what most modern Christians, even those with high morals, suffer today. They call it dating and vainly hope the habit they have concreted into their lives will somehow magically disappear after signing a marriage license. The mentally dangerous habit commonly nurtured by modern Christian singles is that of going from heartbreak to heartbreak in a blind search for a drug-like euphoria known as being “in love”. Those who seem to succeed in this quest usually find themselves hooked on romantic highs that scientists insist can only last with one partner for a probable maximum of thirty months. Like the woman at the well, hoping for lasting happiness through romantic highs just keeps its victims aching for more.
          Jesus claimed to be able to do what years and years of frantic searching and countless men had failed to do – to totally satisfy this desperately needy woman.
          I must hit you between the eyes with something so obvious that most of us miss it: Jesus did not offer her a divine matchmaking service. The frightening thing about most Christians is that we hope to use God as our Fairy Godmother who will grant us what we think we need. Don’t ever expect to find the Lord of creation in drag, waving a magic wand. Expect a God-sized solution that is so radically different to what you thought you needed that you probably won’t even recognize it as the answer.
          For more, see The Christianity that Most Christians have Missed

    * * *

          Succeeding in situations where others would succumb, necessitates defiant faith in either yourself or in God – and which of the two you spend your faith on determines whether your achievement will be temporal or eternal. You might build an empire by believing in yourself. In time, however, every empire falls. Only by abandoning faith in self can you build for eternity.
          The secret of an earth-shaking ministry is to by-pass our limitations and tap directly into the power of the One who holds the stars. We’re in union with the Creator of sapphires and seraphim, molecules and galaxies. In him is all power, all wisdom, all love. Why, then, do we act like those who have no God? Empowered by him, our accomplishments should excel anything godless humanity could contemplate. Yet the more content we are to draw solely upon human resources, the more ‘God’s work’ is riddled with human frailty.
          For more, see False Humility Exposed

    * * *

          Some modern Bible versions translate “blessed” as happy. It is a far richer concept than implied by “happy” but let’s use it for a moment. Jesus said, happy are the poor, the grieving, the meek, the persecuted . . .  In other words: the secret of happiness is vastly different to what almost everyone thinks.
          For Jesus, the pursuit of earthly happiness is itself an alien concept. For him, you haven’t found anything to live for until you have found something to die for. “ For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it,”(Matthew 16:25).
          The pursuit of happiness is as hollow and pathetic as making drug-induced highs your reason for living.
          So many of us think “the good life” consists of ease, pleasure and affluence, whereas for God, the good life is all about being good.
          For more, see The Shocking Secret of Happiness

    * * *

          Our Lord purposely makes spiritual truth and even salvation an offense to people who pride themselves in their intellect or piety. He does this because he longs for us to be genuine – as manifested by our sincerity and humility – and he craves intimacy with us. It is faith, sincerity and humility, not native intelligence or prideful self-sufficiency, that he honors.
          I do not imagine that all Christian academic institutions have fallen for it, but the temptation hovers over them to focus on training the mind and underplay the fact that correct Bible interpretation is an activity as spiritual as prayer or receiving divine guidance. Any attempt to reduce Bible interpretation to an academic exercise is destined to fail.
          It is vital to read the Bible with a view to living it, but not out of legalism or dreary duty but out of a passionate longing to better know God, the Love of your life, and to delight him. We should read God’s Word with the relish of a little boy eager to grow up and be like Daddy; like a love-crazed teen opening her first love letter; like a mother pouring over a letter from her P.O.W. son, wondering if he is trying to get a deeper message past censors; like a student not content to presume the meaning of a book but constantly asking questions of the teacher he has a crush on.
          The Lord keeps much of its meaning a closely guarded secret from casual readers because he aches for your love.
          The Bible is a book with supernatural origins divinely intended to be understood only by people who can tap into the supernatural. Since it is God’s Word, not ours, it is his prerogative to use it however he wishes. It would be typical of our Lord – you could almost call it his sense of humor – to reveal to a simple person a precious truth that a theologian has utterly missed, and to flabbergast – perhaps even deliberately offend – the scholar by letting that simple person discover the truth by taking a Scripture out of context (Matthew 11:25).
          For more, see The Spiritual Essentials for Accurate Bible Interpretation

    * * *

          It takes no more than average ignorance to look at a painting close up and complain about what seem to be imperfections. You need a great intellect, however, to truly appreciate great art.
          Ironically, we live too close to life to be able to see the really big things. Squandering our lives chasing after popularity or money or pleasure are just a few of the possibilities. Only faith in God empowers us to see things from the eternal perspective – to sufficiently distance ourselves from the small stuff to see the big picture.
          Heroes are ordinary people lucky enough to be thrown into situations where almost everything goes wrong and then they refuse to let that stop them. Within every Christian is the power of an eagle to face contrary winds and soar higher the fiercer they blow. The imperfections of life are our opportunity for glory.
          For more, see Feel Ugly?

    * * *

          Royal blood flows in your veins. Dam-busting, mountain-blasting, Satan-crushing power resides in you. You are in Christ, incandescent with God’s glory; one spirit with the almighty Lord of heaven and earth. Jettison the dead-weights of doubt and defeatism and wing to the heights you were born for.
          For more, see Know The Time

    * * *

          Consider the sun. A lesser god would have stopped at making it an essential power-house. Our Lord even went far beyond making it an exquisite time-piece. His love and ingenuity soared as he fashioned a warm bath of pleasure, delighting and inspiring all humanity. It forms weather patterns, sculpts clouds, sends leaves twisting and twirling like a ballerina. Its rays don’t just illuminate, they sparkle and dance, they paint rainbows and the ever-changing splendor of endless sunsets, splashing color through all the earth with unrestrained exuberance.
          Everything God does displays the inexhaustible creativity and extravagant generosity of the One who invites and empowers us to imitate him.
          Our Lord is Creator as well as Savior, and the Maker of rainbows and nightingales didn’t suddenly lose his creative urge at the close of Day Six. God’s creativity is inexhaustible. And you were made for him. He longs to express his creativity through you. As an instrument and musician together make beautiful music, you and your Lord can unite to create exquisite beauty. What you can do together defies imagination.
          For more, see Breakthrough in Creativity

    * * *

          Stealing a look is robbing a woman of her modesty. It is violating her person; stripping her of her decency; invading her private parts. It is denying her the right to appear in public without someone using her for his sexual pleasure or having her physical attributes critically compared with a hundred images of airbrushed sluts distorted beyond what any woman can compete with. Stealing a look is to use her up, spit her out, and move on to the next victim; treating her with less respect than a blow-up plastic dummy. With intrusive eyes boring through her, she is allowed no more right of refusal than if she were taken prisoner, and forced to star in the sordid home-made video playing in someone’s mind. Her consent is not sought, nor is payment offered. A whore is treated with more dignity. The victim has no more control over her degradation than if she were abducted and reduced to a sex slave.
          It’s worse than robbery. Steal $10,000 and when you come to your senses you can work until you repay it in full, plus interest. Steal a look and you can never repay the woman you have demeaned and defiled, nor the husband (or future husband) you have offended. Through the lens of your eyes photos have developed in your mind and you can never hand over the negatives. Like robbing a woman of her virginity, it can never be returned. It is accurate to call leering visual rape.
          For more, see An Innocent Look?

    * * *

          Can someone explain to me why dating couples go to movies? Honestly, I can’t understand it. To have someone special is so rare for me that I would want us to spend every second focused on each other, not squander the opportunity on a movie. Nevertheless, the existence of movie dates is of immense spiritual significance to me. It demonstrates that ordinary people can be absorbed in something else and yet simultaneously draw comfort and even excitement over someone’s presence. That charges me with hope. Living, as we do, in an era in which most relatively mindless tasks have been replaced by machines, the majority of us are left with days crammed with activities that demand full concentration. Can we, like moviegoers, be intensely involved in a task and yet retain such an awareness of God’s presence as to be able to draw strength and comfort from that awareness?
          For more, see Practicing the Presence of God in Modern Times

    * * *

          A thankful person is a happy person. An envious person torments himself with needless misery.
          Our fallen nature is such that we find it easier to be grumpy about what we don’t have than to be grateful for what we have. To rise above this degradation is a continual challenge. The more we praise God, however, the more he will praise us.
          Christians looking for a soft life in this age are like firefighters partying while houses go up in flames. Like want-to-be athletes who think they can avoid the rigor and austerity of training, they will make a laughing stock of themselves on the Big Day.
          Those who live as if earthly comfort is their reward are to be pitied. Like couch potatoes squandering their lives, those living the soft life miss the excitement and achievement and fulfillment of extending themselves to the max. They are two-time losers: despite their ease they get so little out of life on earth and in addition they miss their heavenly reward.
          For more, see Forgotten Christian Secrets of Prosperity

    * * *

          Your pain matters – so astoundingly so that, rather than luxuriate in ease, the most important Person in the entire cosmos would willingly suffer every trace of your pain for you. The stupendous Lord of the Galaxies, the Source of all beauty, feels for you so immensely that it would actually relieve his distress for him to fully bear your torment himself.
          You are not alone: even though you are rarely even conscious of it, from the moment of your conception and for the rest of eternity you have the ultimate companion who is infinitely concerned about the tiniest aspects of your life.
          For more, see Cure for Self-Harm

    * * *

          Imagine growing up in a jungle tribe of headhunters in which you and everyone you have ever met firmly believe that one’s masculinity is affirmed by murdering innocents. The more human heads in your collection of personal kills, the bigger the man you are. Only weak, effeminate, no-hopers would pass up an opportunity to murder a vulnerable person. With this background, if a man became a Christian, he would face nothing short of an identity crisis. To stop headhunting would be as devastating to this manhood and self-image as for a normal man in our society to start wearing high heels and dresses in public. Even though after his encounter with God he realizes that it is morally right not to murder, he would be repeatedly assaulted by self-accusations of being weak and effeminate if he stops murdering innocents.
          Each man’s conception of masculinity is a very deep part of his identity, built into him by his upbringing. To tamper with it could make breaking and re-setting one’s bones seem like fun.
          Our dilemma is that our own society is as far from God’s ways as a tribe of headhunters. Because it is the society we have grown up in, however, we have absorbed its values into our personalities as surely as food becomes a part of our bodies. Much of our society has indoctrinated us to equate masculinity with stubborn selfishness and inflicting emotional pressure upon those we love. So strong and unconscious is the worldly indoctrination we have suffered, that we are usually unaware when we are twisting the Bible to force it to conform with modern society’s godless presumptions.
          For more, see Husband, Head of a Submissive Wife?

    * * *

          Bible-believing Christians, are rightly horrified about the corrupting power of sin upon society, and yet adultery and rebellion against one’s parents are two sins that corrupt society just as much as homosexuality. Under the Old Testament each of these sins, attracted the death penalty. This does not excuse sin, but it renders us without excuse if we find ourselves hypocritically being more tolerant of some sins than others. We must remove the log from our own eyes, repenting of our own sins and hypocrisies and lack of love before we have a hope of being remotely Christlike in our attitude towards gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals.
          For more, see Lesbianism & Homosexuality

    * * *

          I’m delighted for us to abandon any aspect of Victorian churchianity or of any era, including the first century, that is not an inseparable part of Christianity. By all means, let’s strip Christianity of all human traditions. Non-essential trappings weigh it down. We need to keep the Gospel message sleek and lean. To maximize its power-to-weight ratio is not just exciting and highly glorifying to God, it is essential for making Christianity the explosive force for good that it is divinely fashioned to be.
          If we are humanity’s salt, ridding Christianity of non-essentials is like extracting impurities from salt, intensifying its taste. It is like focusing candlelight until it is transformed into a laser beam. Jargon, superstitions and weirdness build up like rust in every expression of Christianity. Many of these attitudes and paraphernalia were always encumbrances, some are relevant to a particular group of people but have been transferred too far afield, and some had a valid function years ago but have passed their expiry date.
          For more, see Worldliness: The Forgotten Factor in Spiritual Warfare

    * * *

          If you have so far achieved little, it says nothing of God’s plans for you, nor of his evaluation of your worth. Prized silverware is reserved for special occasions. The fact that it is rarely used hardly means it is of little value. A craftsman will use some tools more than others, simply because they have different functions. Frequency of use in no way indicates quality, nor the craftsman’s pride in the tool. No one in a right relationship with God has a sane reason for feeling inferior to people who are used often.
          If we seem to be achieving nothing, it is usual to feel like second-hand chewing gum. No matter how real the feeling, however, to give credence to the illusion is to throw one’s brains away. It is human to suffer irrational feelings but only the hopelessly insane are compelled to believe those feelings. Only people living in a land of fairies and goblins have the right to surrender to feelings of inferiority. Though you feel as cherished as a lump of soap at a boys’ camp, to God you are priceless. You may seem as useful as an inflatable anchor, but with God, no one is useless.
          Christian, you are the focus of divine love; filled with the majesty of Almighty God; spiritually enthroned with Christ in his heavenly palace; granted the highest level of access to the greatest Person and the holiest place. You are the work of divine hands, made perfect in Christ Jesus. And enshrined within your being resides the infinite power of the sovereign Lord. How dare you think you’re useless!
          For more, see A Ministry Guaranteed

    * * *

          Our self-image is of extreme importance to God because it has serious spiritual implications. For example, an entire generation of Israelites missed out on the promised land and ended up dying in the wilderness because they saw themselves as “grasshoppers” rather than as people who are empowered by Almighty God (Numbers 13:33).
          They based their self-image not on what God said about them but on their past (slaves in Egypt) and their guess as to how others saw them.
          Most of us have for so long presumed that we are of little value that we have cemented this lie into our self-image, worshipping it as truth. The implications of retaining this false self-image are terrifying, but do we have the courage and sense of adventure to engage in the mega shift of a radically new self-image that lines up with who God declares us to be, or will we remain in the security of the familiar, even though it keeps us languishing in the mud of mediocrity and despair?
          For more, see How to Change Your Self-Image

    * * *

          Being the all-powerful One in whom we all – even anti-Christians – ‘live and move and have our being,’ God can speak through anyone. Our magnificent Lord is so intellectually superior – so able to outwit every other intelligence in the universe – that he repeatedly uses as his own instruments, humans and spiritual beings who passionately hate him and are doing everything they can to destroy his purposes. We see this throughout Scripture. Consider Joseph’s brothers who sold him into slavery. God used evil intentions as instruments of his love. “…you thought evil against me; but God meant it for good,” declared Joseph (Genesis 50:20).
          God’s power to use his enemies is stunningly displayed at the opposite end of the Bible, where it speaks of the ten horns who serve the beast that emerges from the abyss. They are so violently anti-God that they ‘make war against’ the Son of God. Scripture declares that the Almighty will put into the very hearts of these evil, God-hating beings the desire to do something that serves God’s purposes (Revelation 17:12-17). Such is the genius of the Almighty Lord that, in the blind fury of their venomous hate for Jesus, God’s enemies ultimately end up furthering God’s plans.
          For more, see When Guidance is Confusing

    * * *

          God’s will is always the best we could possibly experience and to settle for anything else is as smart as shaving with a chainsaw. But our long-term happiness and our short-term pleasure and ease are usually oceans apart. Our wonderful Lord wants our permanent happiness, not some sweet fizz that turns sour. We are so often like children wanting to sentence ourselves to a lifetime of gorging ourselves on no other food but chocolate and ice cream; having no idea that their conception of heaven on earth would slowly transmute into the opposite.
          As God’s ability to see the future soars high above our own, so his knowledge of what will make us eternally happy is far above our guesses. Consequently, we need to look to God to guide us, and avoid presumptions.
          Few Christians – maybe none – have walked with God for long without sometimes mishearing him because what the Lord was seeking to tell them was contrary to their expectations. Scripture insists that as the sky soars way beyond our reach, so are God’s ways far beyond our own (Isaiah 55:8). Yet still we unconsciously develop presumptions about God’s ways that seriously distort what he is seeking to tell us.
          For more, see How to Avoid Deception

    * * *

          We can wither inside; worrying that no one could truly love us if our darkest secrets were exposed. But each of us can burst out of that shriveled existence and enjoy life like never before. What it takes is a deeper revelation of how God’s love soars incomprehensibly beyond fickle human love and how he washes clean our past, removing our every cause of shame, the moment we trust him to do so. It is because God passionately wants you to be happy and enjoy life that the Bible keeps urging you to rejoice.
          In Nehemiah 8:9-10 we see people, gripped by an awareness of their wickedness, wanting to agonize over their sin. They felt like being miserable, and to us this seems highly appropriate and even holy, but God saw things entirely differently. He wanted these grief-stricken sinners to throw a party, celebrating and enjoying themselves! This is the God of the Bible, even though we find it so hard to grasp because it seems the opposite of how most of us think of God.
          You might be certain that you deserve to miss out on happiness and be punished, but, like it or not, Scripture insists that God wants you to party. No matter how hard it might be for you to get your head around it, the mind-boggling reality is that since Jesus bore every trace of punishment you deserve, you now deserve bliss. Everything within you might scream in protest against this, but as much as you might recoil, you must embrace this truth to honor the one who gave his all to give us all. Don’t let the indescribable horrors Jesus suffered be in vain. Enjoy life to the max. You owe it to God.
          For more, see All Christians Deserve Happiness & Health?

    * * *

          To the delight of demons – and sometimes with their help – slanderous lies about ourselves attack us all. Thoughts come to us, such as, “I’m useless. God doesn’t love me as much as Pastor Bigwig or Sister Starchpants. I’ll never amount to anything.” Letting such untruths scurry like a rat plague unchallenged through our head quickly becomes a degrading mental habit as enslaving as any addition. You can definitely break free but, especially at first, it’s a formidably hard slog, requiring persistent determination.
          The highest we can ever hope for is to be like Jesus. It was prophesied that he delighted (King James Version of Psalm 40:8, but not Hebrews 10:7) to do God’s will. That sounds like the spiritual euphoria we hope for – until we face the reality that the one we worship sweat profusely while wrestling over submitting to God (Mark 14:33-34; Luke 22:42-44).
          Don’t imagine you have failed if you find life as hard as our Lord did.
          For more, see Fear: Help & Cure

    * * *

          Without ever intending to, vast numbers of caring, Bible-loving Christians have slipped from the Bible’s view of grief. They suppose they should be more lion-hearted than David the giant-killer, the man after God’s own heart who, upon finding Ziklag burnt and his family taken captive, wept aloud until there was no strength left in him, before heroically seizing back from the enemy everything that had been stolen (1 Samuel 30:3-19). There are Christians who think they should be less human than Jesus, and more spiritual than the Spirit-filled early church. See how the power-packed early church reacted to the death of its first martyr: “Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him” (Acts 8:2).
          To suppress grief is suppressing not just part of our humanity but a part of us that is in the image of God. Rocks and robots don’t cry. Jesus did. The one in whom “all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9) wept – often.
          For more, see Real Christians Grieve

    * * *

          Justice demands “an eye for an eye.” When we don’t forgive we become so obsessed with the payment that we condemn ourselves to misery, effectively telling ourselves, “I refuse to be happy until that person pay in full.” In effect, we keep endlessly tormenting ourselves with the thought, “He/she owes me . . .  He/she owes me . . .  He/she owes me . . .” And what buries us even deeper into infuriating hopelessness and despondency is the nagging awareness that it is like demanding blood from a stone. Even if the offender desperately wanted to put things right, there is usually nothing he/she can do to adequately compensate us for what we have suffered. Our fixation on what we are owed, keeps us feeling miserably deprived and dependent upon the offender – feeling that unless he/she does something or something happens to him/her, we can never be happy.
          Forgiveness, on the other hand, is escaping this degrading cycle of despair and dependency. Forgiveness is to be free at last; victoriously declaring, “My happiness is no longer chained to what the offender does or suffers. He/she owes me nothing. To the last drop of sweat and blood, the horrendous penalty that atrocious sin deserves has already been paid in full by Jesus’ agonizing death. Moreover, I look in breathless anticipation to the mind-bogglingly supernatural way the Almighty will turn this evil around for my good and will spend eternity lavishing me with never-ending compensations.” Instead of languishing over our relentless sense of loss, we are able to lift high our heads and celebrate the victory. Feeling enriched, this new attitude transforms us, empowering us with all that it takes to truly move on with life and become the spiritual high achievers we are divinely destined to be.
          For more, see When Forgiving Others does Not Bring Healing

    * * *

          Fear spreads beyond whatever originally caused it. Years ago, experimental psychologists proved this by first startling babies with a loud noise as soon as a white rat appeared. Thereafter, the babies would cry whenever they saw a white rat. No surprises there. You might also expect the babies to react the same way when they see other white rats that look similar to the original one. What the psychologists found, however, is that the babies would now cry if they saw a cute white bunny.
          This is why intense fear generated by one man (through sex abuse, for example) can spread not only to a fear of being alone with any man but to feeling uneasy about getting close to God, especially if he is regarded as being male.
          If spiders scare you, becoming intellectually convinced that a certain spider is harmless can help, but theory is not enough. Refusing to cave in to the fear, you must draw close to the spider. Only then will the fear slowly dissipate. Even so, you must keep this up for days or even weeks before every trace of fear leaves. There is no point waiting until all fear disappears before approaching a spider. Overcoming fear simply does not work that way.
          Likewise, in our relationship with God, theology is not enough to remove all fear. Knowing that God is safe can reduce fear but we must still courageously push through the remaining fear and draw close to God and experience him. Only then will the remaining fear gradually fade. Faith is like Peter courageously getting out of the boat and stepping on the water; not sitting around waiting until the water evaporates!
          For more, see Afraid of God

    * * *

          Feelings are fickle and easily manipulated by spiritual enemies or by life experiences that distort our perception of reality.
          A pilot is a danger to himself and to everyone near him until he learns to totally disregard his own feelings as to his orientation and puts his faith solely in the plane’s instruments. Likewise, we are in grave danger until we come to disregard our feelings and place all our faith in God’s instrument panel – his Word. That’s because the Deceiver can mess with our feelings, but he can never change God’s truth. God’s Word always lines up with reality, allowing us to navigate our spiritual life with precision, whereas our feelings are invariably all over the place. So whether we crash or soar heavenwards hinges on whether we rely on God’s Word or on our emotions to determine whether we are right with God.
          We keep hearing such testimonies as, “I asked Jesus into my heart and was flooded with love and peace,” “A voice spoke from nowhere, telling me God loves me,” “I just knew I was forgiven.” Anyone relying on such experiences is a spiritual babe and highly vulnerable to spiritual ruin until he or she rises to the point of saying, “I am holy in God’s sight because in the Bible the God who cannot lie has put it in writing and I will cling to this fact no matter what supernatural experiences suggest otherwise. I will remain immovable in my conviction, no matter how strong the circumstantial evidence that God has made me an exception to his universal promise to cleanse everyone who puts his/her faith in Jesus.”
          For more, see How to be Free From Spiritual Deception

    * * *

          Many sexual stereotypes are troublesome strait jackets that are not from God.
          For more, see Help for Christians who Wish they Were the Opposite Sex

    * * *

          It is sheer hypocrisy to ask God to take away the sins we hate if we plan to keep the sins we love. Our pet sins are just as deadly as the sins we loathe. Adam’s sin, with its cataclysmic results, was not mass murder, hideous perversion or demon worship. In fact, by human standards, it was two saints who were forever banished from Eden. It is blissfully easy to define sin a manner that makes us feel good.
          We can never fool God. Tragically, we often fool ourselves.
          For more, see Musical Excellence Through Christ

    * * *

          God does not use synthetic saints petrified in stained glass or mummified in strained biographies. If the paper people squashed between book covers or exhibited in special Sunday services seem real to you, you’ll love the Easter Bunny. If you were thinking of cornering the market on your brand of inadequacy, forget it; heaven’s databanks bulge with the triumphs of people with quirks like yours. Heaven’s heroes are people with pimples and stringy hair; people with wrinkles and pug noses. If you’d like to see a real saint-in-training, a cheeky Master’s apprentice poised to gelignite Hell’s gates, someone on the brink of eternal acclaim, go to your mirror.
          For more, see You: More Powerful & Capable Than You Thought

    * * *

          Even if God abandoned his commitment to making everything unique, and chose to craft someone with an absolutely identical body and intellect to yours, no one in the universe has ever had exactly the same combination of thoughts that you had in the last hour, and the same applies for every single hour of your entire life.
          You might be ho-hum about that, but it fires God. If you don’t think much of yourself, your uniqueness might mean little to you, but to someone passionately in love with you, your distinctiveness makes you utterly irreplaceable.
          If a child in a large family died, no sane person would dare try consoling the grieving parents by saying, “Don’t worry, you can easily adopt another child.” Not one, not a hundred, not a thousand children could ever replace that child, and neither could a trillion dollars. If imperfect human love perceives the uniqueness of a loved one and delights in that uniqueness to the point of making that person irreplaceable, this is magnified stupendously in the way God feels about you.
          For more, see To God, You Are Special!

    * * *

          You are right to reject a religion that’s a list of dos and don’ts, or a gathering of dour-faced, self-righteous Bible thumpers. Jesus would reject it too. Anything Jesus is involved in is vibrant, liberating, compassionate, powerful and supernatural.
          For more, see Issues that Make Christians Squirm

    * * *

          People keep telling us not to live in the past, to “get over it,” and so on. There is a time when such advice is applicable but only after one is well on the way to full healing. For example, there is point in healing from a broken leg when one must discard crutches but to expect anyone to run on a broken leg too early in the healing process is both foolish and cruel. It will only worsen the injury. So it is with inner healing, but those who insist people should act as if they have never been wounded typically have the audacity to blame others when their foolish advice does not work.
          For more, see Why Minor Sex Abuse Hurts So Much

    * * *

          Without knowing it, you have probably met someone with multiple personalities. You might even know the person quite well and not realize this about him/her. As Christians it would seem a good guess that multiple personalities is demonic but it turns out to be not just a bad guess but as dangerous as a surgeon blissfully supposing he is doing wonders by amputating the leg of the wrong patient.
          For more, see Multiple Personalities & Demons

    * * *

          To take up our cross and follow Christ sounds horrific, until we discover that following Jesus takes us not only to crucifixion but to resurrection; not only to the death of self but to a gloriously new and superior life. It is only the spiritually corrupt part of us that we are asked to let die. Once that goes, we find ourselves tingling with life like never before. It’s the death of the grub so that butterfly wings might be stretched and soar heavenwards. It’s the death of the sin-addict, the groveling sin-slave, the despicable weakling, and the rising of the glorious conqueror. It’s the death of pollution and the emergence of purity; the death of lonesome self-infatuation and the release of true love.
          For more, see Spiritual Secrets

    * * *

          Taken in context, Romans 8:28-29 seems to be saying that the good that God works towards by manipulating all things that beset us, is not that we get our selfish pleasure but that we end up conformed to the image of Christ. If that disappoints you a little; you haven’t thought it through. To be like Christ is something far more wondrous that any cheap thrills you might originally have had in mind.
          To be like Christ is to be filled with the fruit of the Spirit – love, peace, goodness, self-control, and so on. That’s thrilling, but there’s more. To be like Christ is to be not just dignified but regal, not just powerful but ruling from heaven’s throne, not just smart but having access to divine wisdom, not just attractive but radiant with unsurpassable inner beauty, not just morally upright but perfect in the piercing eyes of humanity’s holy Judge, not just happy but overflowing with inexpressible joy, not just youthful but eternal, not just sympathetic but empowered to transform lives.
          For more, see Turning Wasted Years into Blessing

    * * *

          Godly humility flows not from thinking lowly of oneself but from seeing things through God’s eyes. Pride is having the audacity to disagree with God. It is saying I know more than the God of the universe; my puny intellect knows better than the Almighty; the God of truth is wrong and I am right.
          Since the God of love sees you as lovable, and true humility involves taking God’s assessment of everything as gospel, humility requires you to see yourself as lovable. If God sees you through eyes of love, how dare you see yourself in a different light, as if your perspective is right and your Creator and Savior is wrong? If God forgives you, to refuse to forgive yourself is to have the audacity to imply that you have higher moral standards than the Judge of all the earth; that you are holier than the Holy Lord. Isn’t that the very pinnacle of pride? Please avoid this deadly trap.
          For more, see Help, Comfort and Healing for Everyone Who Says, ‘I Can’t Forgive Myself’

    * * *

          When encountering gays, prostitutes, child molesters, abortionists, liberal preachers or fallen pastors we might be exceedingly zealous in upholding God’s standard of righteousness, but do we uphold God’s standard of love and grace? How tender our heart is towards those who have failed morally is at least one measure of the hardness of our heart. How much our eyes are filled with God’s compassion is an indication of how likely we are to interpret God’s Word as he intended.
          For more, see The Heart of Bible Interpretation

    * * *

          We don’t need more self-proclaimed experts who trample on other people’s feelings; arrogant theorizers exposing themselves to the wrath of God by ignorantly thinking they are helping when they are devastating people who are already writhing in inner agony. The world is filled with – in fact has had its fill of – such people. What are as rare as diamonds, however, are people who truly understand; people whose advice does not come from a book or vain imagination but from genuine experience; leaders who, like Jesus, can say, “I’ve been there – follow me.” The more you have suffered, the more you have qualified as one of those rare and valued people who truly know.
          For more, see Healing of Memories

    * * *

          Pain and resentment are hideous parasites that feed not only off me but off each other. My pain increased my resentment of God and/or those who mistreated me, which increased my pain, which increased my resentment, which increased my pain . . .  I found myself on a frighteningly out of control merry-go-round that was anything but merry.
          Now that I am free, I sense that what fired my resentment were ugly and needless insecurities. Lurking below my consciousness was the fear that, at most, Jesus could only forgive minor sins. I did not realize that what drove my addiction to thinking evil of certain people was that the more I focused on their evil, the more my own sins seemed sufficiently minor to warrant God’s forgiveness. But even then, guilt drove me to fear that the supposed smallness of my sins was not enough and that God would not forgive and forget my past. So half of me wanted to get my revenge on God and reject him before he rejected me and to despise him so as to convince myself that losing him was not such a devastating loss.
          Now I see it was all needless pain. God really does forgive the worst sins. So I had no need to keep forcing myself to believe my sins were minor by seeing other people as worse than me.
          For more, see The Path to Healing

    * * *

          The clean-living servant who buried his gift is typical of too many of us. He did not blow his talent on an orgy of self-indulgence. He simply neglected what was loaned to him. (In most modern versions, Luke 19:20 tells us he kept it in his handkerchief, of all places.) His implied excuse of fear of failure merely incurred the master’s wrath. Moral: if you hide your gift in a hanky, you’re sure to blow it.
          For more, see Waiting For Your Ministry: Chapter 16

    * * *

          Islam is not founded upon sacrificial love. So I can understand a few hate-filled people claiming to be true Muslims. I can find no such excuse, however, for anyone responding with hate to Muslim radicals, while claiming to be loyal to Christianity’s Founder who so loved his enemies that he shed his blood for them.
          For more, see Love Your Enemies?

    * * *

          God is warm, passionate, highly personal and yet consistent and utterly dependable. His intelligence soars far too high above us for his ways to be predictable by mere humans, but his loving heart never changes. Everything God does – even his anger and judgments – is driven by love. Behind his every action beats a tender heart that longs to forgive and bless.
          My certainty that God is like this is not book knowledge – though Bible knowledge was the critical starting point – it is something I know in every cell of my body. This unshakable conviction became mine only by enduring years and years of tough times. I cannot give you your certainty about God’s nature. I could hand you spiritual maturity no more than I could hand you physical maturity. It only comes through prolonged experience with God. It slowly forms after years of feeling you are forever hanging on by your fingernails to what seem almost unbelievable Bible truths. There are no shortcuts. What I can do in a webpage, however, is share some of those Bible truths and urge you to hold on in the exciting, hair-raising, and sometimes lonely, roller coaster ride to joy and fulfillment.
          For more, see Rejected by God?

    * * *

          What would it be like to experience the sensations a lizard feels when it detects a sexually desirable lizard or a delicious cockroach? No matter how much ingenious research we did, trying to figure out what it feels like to be a lizard would remain mostly guesswork and we’ll never know how off the mark our presumptions are. The only way to perceive things as a lizard does, is if, for a while at least, we had the mind of a lizard. And even if offered that opportunity, some of us would find the offer too scary to accept.
          This is like the impossibility we face in trying to understand spiritual truth. It is something so foreign to human experience that no matter how great our intelligence and how deeply we ponder and analyze it, we cannot perceive things as God perceives them without undergoing a transformation of mind-boggling proportions.
          Learning facts will never do. We cannot understand as God understands without a supernatural transference of God’s mind/nature to our mind. This life-changing experience does not come in a one-off explosive burst, wrecking every neural connection in our brain. It comes one staggering revelation a time throughout the life of everyone who is in intimate union with the divine. It is because it is an on-going process that we can stop or hinder at any moment that Peter urges Christians to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
          For more, see The Neglected Spiritual Dimension to Bible Interpretation

    * * *

          When God saw you, it was love at first sight.
          For more, see Ideal for posters, billboards, street pulpits…

    * * *

          Few people have discovered just how powerful and life-transforming thanking and praising God is. Our failure to fully appropriate this power is because, although most of us imagine we have tried it, we typically engage in thanking and praising God with the half-heartedness of couch potatoes, rather than anything remotely approaching the steely resolve and daily discipline of Olympic champions.
          Like desperately needed medication, taking Scriptures such as “pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances . . . (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18) as prescribed will have a profound effect, but taking them only when you feel like it will achieve little.
          Many Scriptures make it as obvious as knocking on your door with a sledge hammer that the divine Psychiatrist – the one who made our brains – prescribes huge daily dosages of praise and thanks.
          Grasp the fact that this is not the command of an ego-centric maniac but the best friend anyone could hope to have; the all-knowing Lord whose only Son sacrificed everything for your well-being. It is for your sake – for your mental and spiritual health – that he asks you to love and praise him.
          For more, see Help for Insomnia

    * * *

          If you had blood gushing out of massive wounds, you would have almost everyone’s sympathy but if there were no obvious injury – such as chronic back pain – the extent to which people believe you and sympathize will be much more variable.
          With no one but God able to get inside you and literally feel your feelings, you are left wide open to being misunderstood and feeling devastatingly alone. And this is precisely what the enemy of our souls lusts for.
          Our spiritual enemy is like a hungry lion that does not attack an entire flock but strives to isolate one sheep from the flock before attacking it. But the enemy we face employs this tactic with more intelligence than any lion. He is the master of psychological warfare, seeking to weaken us by telling us over and over and over that we are pathetic, useless, and so on. His most potent weapon, however, is condemnation. What makes condemnation so dangerous is that it deceives us into feeling cut off, not just from other Christians, but from God, our protector.
          Since we all tend to shrink from anyone we suspect thinks negatively of us, if we slip into the satanic snare of supposing that our fear causes Christians and God himself to think poorly of us, we will begin to see little point in staying close to the flock and to the Shepherd and so tend to drift from them, thus making ourselves highly vulnerable to spiritual attack.
          For more, see Fear: Help & Cure

    * * *

          You’re a leader, not a loner. It might be frustrating to have to go slow for the sake of the others, but a general who charges off at his own pace is in for a rude shock when he encounters the enemy and looks behind to find himself alone because his army was unable to keep up with him.
          For more, see Healing from Dissociative Identity Disorder

    * * *

          In Jesus’ day, devout Jews poured enormous effort into knowing the Word of God, but little into knowing the heart of God. They ended up knowing Scripture so well and understanding it so little that they could “prove” emphatically that the Son of God was guilty of blasphemy and that it was their holy duty to murder their Messiah.
          The frightening thing is that most of us imagine we could never make the same mistake as the clean-living, Bible-revering, Christ-killing First Century theologians. Tragically, those devout murderers were equally certain they would never make the same mistake of their forefathers who murdered the prophets.
          Every day, we walk through a spiritual minefield, foolishly unaware that at any moment just one false step could be disastrous. The entire Christian life must be lived in total dependence upon our Lord. We either cling to Christ, trusting him alone – not our intellect, knowledge and experience – or the consequences are unthinkable.
          For more, see How to Receive Spiritual Revelation

    * * *

          Let’s rise to the challenge of being Spirit-led. God’s will for us last week, might be different to his will for us this week. Often the Lord deliberately takes us by surprise in his leading because he seeks intimacy with us. He wants us to be constantly trusting and seeking him, not to imagine we have God figured out and end up settling for our own presumptions about his will for us, rather than clinging to God himself.
          For more, see Medicine and Doctors: A Christian Perspective

    * * *

          To hate those who hate you is to copy their behavior and exalt them as your role model. Hate your enemies (be they Muslims, Satanists, abortionists, or whatever) and you will become increasingly like those you hate. Love your enemies and you will become like God.
          For more, see The Christian Dilemma

    * * *

          Every part of the Spirit’s fruit (love, joy, peace and so on) is not only from the same source – our intimacy with God. Each is a facet of the one jewel or, looked at another way, a vital organ of the same divinely-conceived baby growing within us.
          For more, see The Fruit of the Spirit

    * * *

          As wonderful as miracles are, the God of the Bible does not beg us to seek miracles but to seek wisdom. His yearning is not to use us as lab rats to work miracles on and show off his power. On the contrary, he longs to dignify us for all eternity by imparting his wisdom to us.
          For more, see The Surprising Joy of Trials

    * * *


    Still More Quotes of the Above Length


    Short Quotes

    Without God, nothing is significant. With Him, nothing is insignificant.

    Kill time, and eternity bleeds.

    Incompetence melts in the presence of omnipotence.

    Your name is on God’s calendar.

    It’s exciting to see ahead, but faith grows best in the dark.

    Life’s too short to skimp on prayer.

    Criticism is spitting into the wind. Kindness is a homing pigeon. Anonymous gifts bear a return address.

    Success is failure that tried one more time.

    Frustrated???
    If your life is on ‘hold’, the hands holding you bear love-prints and they’re nestling you close to the Father’s heart.

    God’s timing:
    Better to be on ice now, than in hot water later.

    Like Abraham, many of us are allergic to waiting. We get itchy feet and come out rash.

    Faith in God is not escapism, it’s the power to face problems head-on.

    We are surrounded by serious problems. For Christians, problems have to be serious – if they smiled we’d see they have no teeth.

    You start from the top to dig a grave. You don’t commence a life-giving ministry that way.

    Train or you’ll miss the bus.

    Every problem will break under the weight of stubborn, faith-filled prayer.

    We either pray or are preyed upon.

    If opposition brings you to your knees, remember what Christians do best in that position and victory won’t be far away.

    Ministry that impresses heaven and ministry that impresses earth are popularity polls apart.

    We’re grounded on the Word, or grounded.

    Yield to Christ like a brush to the artist and from your life will flow unearthly beauty.

    Can you be ripe for ministry if you’re green with envy? Can you make a sweet offering to God with bitterness in your heart? Can you enter holy service with unclean habits?

    God made you a star, not the movie; an essential instrument, not the orchestra. We need each other.

    Committed to God, a string of failures are but a rainbow, at the end of which lies golden success.

    In the game of life, how long you stay on the bench often depends on how you pray in the trials.

    Too often we speak piously of ‘closed doors’ as if Christ had never uttered those powerful words, ‘Knock and it shall be opened.’

    A delay either quickens your faith to rise to the challenge, or it’s a dead wait.

    As an eagle is created to soar, and a yacht to sail, you were made for God.

    Remember the cripple at the temple gate: he hoped for alms and ended up with legs. God loves surprises. And He loves you.

    Heaven is a bit old-fashioned. The ‘buy now, pray later’ philosophy has never caught on up there.

    Without Scripture’s unique insights, life’s a protein bar – all mixed up and nutty.

    The Bible is full of contradictions. Here’s one: God knows everything and He loves you.

    Heaven is as moved by Miss Nameless cleaning vomit from a drunk as by Dr. Bigstar preaching the greatest sermon ever heard.

    As a piano and a pianist together make beautiful music, you and your Lord can unite to create things of exquisite beauty. What you can do together defies imagination. You make an awesome team.

    Praise magnifies God. The alternative magnifies the problem. The last thing we need is a small God and large problems!

    Defeatists say, “Yesterday.” Winners say, “Yes” today.

    When you’re in love with God, even tragedies become ministering angels, helping you to ever-increasing Christ-likeness. If your blossom is dying, it’s so that the fruit can grow.

    Winds that kill candles make coals glow brighter. We’re a new creation, nothing like the wimps we used to be. Opposition will merely toughen us.

    Would you attempt pushing a jumbo jet to help it fly from England to Australia? That would be wiser than trying to do your bit to help Christ secure your salvation. Anyone foolish enough to keep trying will be left on the runway when departure time arrives.

    If oppression brings you to your knees, remember what Christians do best in that position, and victory won’t be far away.

    No matter how much we cry, beg and wish, we have not moved from superstition to authentic Christian prayer until we can thank God for the answer, knowing it is ours before we hold it in our hand. Faith is not thinking that God can; it’s knowing that He will.

    Ministry is the height of intimacy. It is God and you in exquisite harmony bringing heaven to earth. It is your spirit mingled with God’s Spirit flowing out to a needy world. After refreshing the land, bringing life to desert sands, it ascends in clouds of adoration to heaven’s throne.

    By empowering us to glimpse the enormity of God, praise pricks bloated problems.

    All service should be an act of worship; the overflowing of a heart brimming with love; a cascade of joyous thanksgiving to your wonderful Savior.

    It’s too late to lament the past. It’s lost forever. But it’s never too late to move into overdrive. The present is ours to charge with defiant faith and tenacity.

    Even when the cause seems beyond human influence, all heartache can be traced not to God’s will, but to rebellion against God’s will.

    Opportunity knocks. It doesn’t gatecrash.

    It is usually the lowly tasks, not the great ones, that best reveal the heart. Like a stone in a slingshot, the lower you sink, the higher you will soar.

    Tired of waiting for God? It’s better to stew for a while than end up in the soup.

    God made you a star, not the movie; an essential instrument, not the orchestra. We need each other.

    Bowed by the weight of time or buoyed by the wait of faith: it’s up to you.

    God made you a star, not the movie; an essential instrument, not the orchestra. We need each other.

    We are not called us to be know-alls but to know the One who knows all.

    If people never disappointed me, life would be unbearable. What a miserable freak I’d feel, living on a planet where I’m the only one who makes mistakes!

    Winds that kill candles make coals glow brighter. We’re a new creation, nothing like the insipid weaklings we used to be. Opposition will merely toughen us. Rise up and assert your Christ-bought authority.

    It is usually the lowly tasks, not the great ones, that best reveal the heart. Like a stone in a slingshot, the lower you sink, the higher you will soar.

    Feeling impatient? It’s better to stew for a while than end up in the soup.

    In this world, success is often relative – the closer the relative, the higher you go. Don’t decry the system: remember who you call Father.

    As every father worthy of the name has a dream for his children, God has a dream for you.

    If we give up judging people,
    We’ll end up judging angels (1 Corinthians 6:3-7).

    An easy life is no more a measure of spiritual success than being fat and lazy is a measure of athletic prowess.

    Creator God, Almighty Ruler of the galaxies, sees in you things he sees in no one else – and it thrills him. And he truly wants you to be you; not some copy of a Christian you admire.

    To act like the rest
    Makes you part of the mess.

    Take nothing for granted. Continually seek divine guidance. Life is too short, too important and too complicated to leave anything to chance.

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