Eyes to the Future

Sitting in the back seat of the car on our day trip led to an incredible bonding experience with my grandson recently.

Although he is only 11 months old, when I focused on his eyes—deep gray blue marbles speckled with dancing light—he seemed much older. The eyes are the windows to the soul, as they say.

I gazed at him and wondered what kind of world he would end up inheriting from us—his parents and grandparents. 

In 2046, what will the world be like when he’s 27, my son’s age? If the world remains on its present trajectory and God doesn’t step in, I can only imagine the kinds of trials he might have to endure.

I was lost in his beautiful, soulful eyes, and he looked back into mine with a similar intensity. He had the same intense gaze, with an almost quizzical look, so uncharacteristic of a child that age. 

Maybe he was wondering why I was so focused on him. 

To me, he is nearly perfect in every way. He’s a beautiful child, as I’ve referred to him on more than one occasion. 

On this sunny day, his sparkling eyes captured glints from the summer sun and danced in an almost hypnotic way.

I searched his eyes for glimpses of his future. The deeper I gazed into them, the more I thought. What will he encounter in the coming years and decades of his life? 

Part of me shudders just thinking about it. If he follows Christ and lives as a Christian (which I pray he will), he may face intense persecution, the likes of which I’ve only imagined. 

He may have to fight for his rights to worship the way he wants—even right here in the United States, the land where freedom is supposed to ring and citizens are guaranteed the right to worship however they choose.

Each generation tends to think their generation had it the best (or the worst, depending on the context). I believe the 70s and 80s were the ideal time to grow up; however, I’m sure my millennial kids hold the same view of the 90s and 2000s.

What will my grandson say about growing up in the 20s and 30s? Will they be his ideal time or will he wish he had been born in another decade?

My hope is he will live his life to the fullest, no matter what he faces during his time on this earth. 

I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of sorrow as we held each other’s gaze.

Is it irresponsible to raise a child in this day and age, given all the uncertainty in the world? Have previous generations asked themselves the same questions? 

I didn’t feel that way about rearing my own children. On the contrary, I felt it was the responsible thing to raise children and teach them right from wrong. 

At the time, I couldn’t imagine how anyone could feel that the world was too far gone to bring children into it.

How am I able to understand that viewpoint now? Have I changed, or has the world become a more dangerous and volatile place? Both perhaps.

Of course, the decision to bring this tiny creature into the world was not mine. However, there is little doubt I would still choose to have children all over again, even in these difficult times.

Certainly, I want the best for my grandson. I want those beautiful gray blue eyes to see only good in the world, ignoring the evil and the disturbing. 

Alas, I can’t shield him from all that. I’ll have to leave that in God’s hands for Him to manage.

As of now, his eyes have seen only good in the world. They have yet to witness many less savory things that he will no doubt come in contact with. 

I wish those mesmerizing pools of color could maintain their innocence throughout his life. My prayer is that all the negative he will inevitably encounter will somehow mold him for the better.

Follow This Biblical Pathway For Success

What if you believed you truly had the power of God on your side? Would you feel differently about your life than you currently do?

Maybe you already believe that you have God’s power working in your life and you live every day knowing that God is working through you.

I’ve personally struggled with this concept—that is, believing that God’s enormous power is really working on my behalf to help me succeed in whatever I may find myself doing.

In fact, in some of my lowest moments, I’ve found myself doubting God—doubting that He cares and doubting that He is doing anything in my life. 

Logically, I know that those thoughts come from our enemy, because

all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

Why is it so difficult for us to remember and rely on this promise from our loving Heavenly Father?

We should walk through each day in victory, knowing without a doubt that God is doing good things in our lives because we have accepted Christ as our Savior.

It is hard to live this way, however, as we are continually bombarded with negativity.

After all, we live in a fallen world and we’re subject to all the tactics of the devil designed to derail our Christian walk.

It is far too easy to let the enemy keep us focused on all the mundane issues of our lives, rather than walking in strength by the power of the Holy Spirit, who was sent to be a helper and a comforter to Christ followers. 

We are told,

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Acts 1:8

And,

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

So, what is the answer then? On a practical level, how do we tap into this power that is waiting for us?

My belief is that it all begins with prayer—simply acknowledging God as all-powerful and asking Him for His help every day. 

Then, we must simply believe.

Everything you pray and ask for—believe that you have received it and it will be yours.

Mark 11:24

God is waiting to help us. He wants us to be successful doing His work on earth. If we sincerely seek Him and His power, He will honor our request.

Since the devil is always on the lookout for any chance to cause chaos, confusion, and evil, I believe that we should also ask for wisdom. 

We need to be aware of any weaknesses or areas of our lives we leave open for the enemy to use to his advantage. Once again, we are promised,

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him

James 1:5

God wants our success, and He will give us wisdom to help us get His work done.

While prayer and faith are the key ingredients needed to tap into God’s power, asking for His help isn’t a one-time thing. 

We must seek Him daily, reaching out to Him to acknowledge our weaknesses and ask for His help. 

That is the path to accessing the power of God every day. Following it will ensure that we’re successful in whatever He has called us to do to advance His kingdom.

Try This Simple Trick to Free Yourself From the Shackles of Depression

Would you like to feel more alive and in control of your life?

You can do so by separating yourself from your depression.

The first thing to keep in mind is that unwanted, negative emotions— depression, worry, fear, and anxiety—are not you. You don’t have to live under a cloud of these burdensome emotions. 

The key is to mentally compartmentalize your depression so that it’s not a part of you. 

Try this exercise the next time depression, anxiety, or another negative emotion tries to take over your mind. 

Picture yourself from outside your body, looking at yourself as if you were another person. You see yourself and notice that you’re visibly happy with a pleasant smile on your face. 

Then, imagine taking any negative emotions that have been plaguing you and physically pulling them out of your body. 

You then stuff them securely into a neat little box. Make sure in your mind that this box is separate from you.

You are you, and your depression and anxiety are not part of your mind or your body.

You can even personify the depression for more impact. Picture it with a face, but put a quizzical look on the face as if the depression is suddenly stunned it’s no longer part of you. 

Notice we’re not calling it “your” depression, but simply depression.

Depression has been relegated as it were to the peanut gallery of your life. All it can do is just watch—with awe and envy—as you continue happily living your life out from under its control. 

You’re happy now because you’re free from the shackles of depression, worry, anxiety, and fear.

Anytime any of those emotions start to creep their way back into your mind, stop what you’re doing and mentally divorce yourself from them again. 

Firmly place them back into that box, the one that occupies space that is completely outside of your body

Remember—depression and worry are not you. You are you, and you are choosing to live free, not under the control of those emotions. 

Today is All You Have

“The fool, with all his other faults, has this also, he is always getting ready to live.”

– Seneca quoting Epicurus

Today is your life. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Today is the only day that you have.

Many of us fall into the trap of living in a day other than today. We’re either stuck in the past, wallowing in regret over our mistakes (guilty, I’ll admit), or we’re frozen in fear with worry about the future (what if?).

Years ago, there was an Ann Landers article that extolled the virtues of living in the present. While the details are a little fuzzy, I’ll always remember its message.

We’ll never be content so long as we’re waiting for the next big thing in life. “I’ll be happy when I get that promotion,” or “I’ll be happy when I get married,” or “I’ll be happy when I can finally afford a Mercedes.”

No matter what goal you set for yourself as to when you’ll be satisfied in life, there will always be something else on the horizon, waiting to steal your joy.

As the old saying goes, “Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is the present.”

When we devote all our mental energy to the past or the future, we can’t focus on the present. We don’t give our full time and energy to it. And the present (today, right now) is all we have.

By the time you read this sentence, it’s already the past. You can never actually live in the past or the future. Only this very moment.

What can you do right now to further your life? Take a moment to relish the present. Here. Now. Before it’s gone.


Make the Most Important Decision of Your Life

… so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—in heaven and on earth and under the earth—and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:10-11

There’s not much in life that you can count on with certainty, except for death and taxes as they say. 

However, as surely as we’ll die and as surely as we’ll be taxed by the government, there is something else that we can be certain of—and it’s that every single one of us will acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord.

You don’t have to agree with that statement; however, you’ll still be wrong. Even if you don’t believe in what the Bible says, it doesn’t make it any less true. 

As I pointed out in a recent post about salvation, if the Christian is wrong and you’re right about what happens after we die, then you’ve lost nothing. 

However if the Christian is correct about the afterlife and you’re wrong, you’ve lost a whole lot. So, just using plain old logic and nothing else, it’s better to err on the side with the least possible loss.

Therefore, with the thought in mind that every human being who has ever lived will someday confess that Jesus is Lord and came in the flesh as God’s Son—what do you choose to believe today?

The real question is this: Will you choose to accept Christ as Lord now while you can of your own free will?

Or will you do it when Jesus comes back to earth—though not by choice but by submission and fearful respect paid to the almighty God?

The choice is yours as to when you acknowledge that Jesus came as God in the flesh, was crucified for your sins, and was resurrected by the Father.

I hope that you’ll make that choice now, willingly. 

Because, if not, when you do recognize Christ as Lord, it will be too late for you. The time will have expired and your eternal destiny will already have been sealed—a destiny forever cut off from God and His everlasting love.

Today—right now—it’s not too late. Accept Jesus into your heart as Lord. Acknowledge your sin and brokenness, and ask Him for forgiveness.

Repent and make a change in your life to live in service to Jesus—loving God and doing good to others.

Don’t wait to make a decision as important as eternity. 

You don’t have to be perfect to become a Christian. That’s what Jesus is for. He wants you right now, just as you are. He’ll work on you later on, forming you into the person He wants you to become. 

Pray and ask him into your life, acknowledging him as your Savior and the only true path to God the Father. Works won’t get you into Heaven; only faith in Jesus will. 

And today, you still have that choice. Tomorrow may be too late.

Wait For God’s Timing

Has God ever come through for you? 

Has there ever been a situation in your life when you needed Him to do something that only He could do—so you prayed and God did exactly what you asked him for?

If so, then you know from this past experience that He cares for you and hears your prayers.

It was a faith-building experience. Through it, you gained just a little more faith that God is good and does only good things. 

Now you have that much more faith to carry you through the rough times. If God came through for you once, then He’ll do it again.

The thing you have to keep in mind is that the next time God shows up, it may not be in exactly the way you think He should. 

God has a particular way of doing things. It’s His way, and that may or may not line up with what you have pictured. 

You probably have an answer all laid out in your mind about your situation. You know how it should work out. Or, at least you think you do.

God may have a whole different idea about it, and you have to be flexible and patient. 

When it comes to waiting on God and His timing, patience is important. He usually doesn’t work in the same timeframe we do. 

We want an answer yesterday when we’re faced with a problem. God’s timing may not give you an answer for quite some time. 

And when He does answer, it may look totally different from what you expect.

But one thing is for certain—it will work out for the best. We’re assured of that in Romans 8:28.

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

We just have to wait on God to do His thing. And we must remain prayerful during this time, because we don’t want to miss anything He may be telling us about His plan. 

If there’s something we need to do, He’ll let us know. That’s why we need to stay connected to Him in the meantime. We have to keep the lines of communication open so we can hear Him.

He wants to come through for us—never forget that. But we need to wait patiently in faith for Him and His timing.

Without faith it is impossible to please God.

Hebrews 11:6

Faith and patience are the keys. 

He WILL come through, because He said He would in the verse from Romans. 

Just don’t get ahead of God and try to work things out on your own. Doing this can often make a tough situation even worse.

Wait on God and you’ll eventually see what He has in store for you.

You’ll be glad you did.

Can You Lose Your Salvation?

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Do you believe in “Once saved, always saved?”

Most people probably come down firmly on one side or the other of this age-old debate.

Either you believe that once you’ve accepted Christ and His salvation, you can never be lost again—and consequently never end up in Hell after you die; or you believe that it’s possible for a Christian to lose their salvation if they fall away from God.

I’ll say up front that this is a complex issue and not one that I’m going to resolve in just a few words here.

Many books have been written on this subject, and yet the issue is still debated fiercely. Nothing I write is going to resolve that.

However, I do believe that there’s a workaround to the question.

The issue in the debate is whether it’s possible for a person who has genuinely accepted Christ to fall away from God.

Since I don’t have an answer to that question, the smart thing seems to be to never fall away.

Accept Christ and His grace every day. Acknowledge you’re a sinner, but do all you can to stay away from sin. Ask God for help overcoming besetting sins, or sins that you continually struggle with.

Renew your commitment to Jesus every day. Walk in the guidance of the Holy Spirit. After all, He is the one who convicts us of our need for Christ. Never give God a reason that He might be inclined to cut you off.

I’m not saying He would or He wouldn’t rescind your salvation if you are a professing Christian, but since the question has been so hotly debated for so long, why take any chances?

Stay far away from anything that might put your eternal security in jeopardy.

This argument is no different than the one evangelists have used with non-believers for over 2000 years. 

It’s like a believer saying, “If I’m right and you’re wrong, you’re in big trouble when you die. However, if you’re right and I’m wrong, then you’ve lost nothing. Therefore, it makes sense to believe in Christ’s saving power while you still can.”

So, following this logic, the best thing would be to assume that there’s a chance you could lose your salvation.

Therefore, keep your hands out of the tiger cage as it were by staying far away from sin.

You’ll be just fine if you do and you’ll have nothing to worry about. While the rest of Christendom argues over this question, you can rest easy, knowing your salvation is intact.

What could be better than that?

Is the Bible Still Valid?

Can the Bible be trusted as a reliable source of wisdom for today’s modern world? 

Society and culture are vastly different from the way they were when the Bible was written. 

People from biblical times could not have imagined the world we live in, with all our modern conveniences and technology—no more than we can imagine with any accuracy what life on this planet will resemble 1000 or 2000 years from now. 

The question is a valid one because the whole Christian faith hinges on an accurate rendering of the Bible and a solid belief in this accuracy. If we don’t have the Bible to rely on, then we really don’t know what truth is. 

We have to be able to answer the question to our satisfaction so we can continue to lean on the Bible as our anchor and truth.

The problem is, if we start to question any part of the Bible as far as its accuracy and truth, then we have to call into question the entire Bible. 

Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

Simply put, either the Bible is true or it isn’t. It can’t be partially true; we can’t accept sections of the Bible as fact and conclude that other parts of it are false.

Some people will probably say that I’m over simplifying a very complex question. I disagree, however. 

On the contrary, I believe that God intentionally makes some aspects of His kingdom very simple. 

After all, we’re told in the Bible that we must have the faith of a child if we expect to make sense of it all. Jesus says in Matthew 18:3 (CSB),

Unless you turn and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

To me, this means that we simply must believe. 

Believe what God tells us. Believe that He created us in His image. Believe that Jesus is His Son and that He was crucified for our sins.

No, none of this makes any logical sense. After all, if God created us, who created God? 

At some point, however, we have to stop with the questions and simply rest in faith. God is God and we aren’t. 

He gave us the Scriptures to guide us through life, which as we know can be treacherous. The Bible is meant to give us hope, strength, and wisdom. 

If we can’t trust the Bible in its entirety, we can’t trust God in His entirety, because the Bible is

breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 

2 Timothy 3:16 ESV

I chose the English Standard Version for this verse because it renders God’s role in the formation of the scriptures as “breathed,” rather than merely “inspired,” which other versions use. 

The Bible comes literally from the mouth of God and was given to us to help us become the strong, solid Christ-followers He wants us to be. 

We can’t pick and choose what we believe is true in God’s word. Either it’s all true, or it’s all a fallacy. 

I side with the former conclusion, which means I believe that the Bible is as valid today as it was 2000 years ago. 

We can still turn to it to find wisdom and truth, just as our ancestors have for generations. Unlike fashion, the Bible never goes out of style.

What about you? Do you believe the Bible is still valid?

Photo by Wendy van Zyl from Pexels

You Have a Choice Every Moment of Every Day

Every day you have a choice of how you want to approach life. In fact, every moment of every day, you hold within yourself the power to decide whether to be happy or not.

The catch is that that’s easier said than done. It’s quite easy to say you have all the power in your hands, but it’s something else to actually live that way. 

There are many reasons why this is so. Each day, there are a myriad of forces that come against us and make our decision to rest in joy and happiness more difficult. 

These forces can come in the form of unexpected car repairs, challenges at work, relationships that become strained and nearly unbearable, troubles with your kids, physical ailments, and the list could go on and on. 

While we might have every intention of maintaining a positive mental attitude, when we end up on the side of the road with a flat tire in rush hour traffic, that intention is easy to fly right out the window. 

No amount of positive confession is going to make the tire patch and inflate itself without your lifting a finger. 

So, what is the answer when we’re faced with unforeseen challenges? 

I’m not going to pretend to have all the answers. All I can pass along are techniques that I’ve come across and have put to use in my own life. And certainly I haven’t always been successful at doing this. 

I believe that one of the keys to success in maintaining a positive outlook during even the most trying of times is to JUST DO IT.

You may be saying to yourself right now that that “advice” is not very helpful at all. And I certainly couldn’t blame you for thinking that. 

You see, however, that your approach to your day, your week, and your life actually begins with your mindset. You have to have a burning desire, a deep-seated need to realize joy in your life no matter what. 

When you truly want to live a positive-minded life, a life that recognizes and takes in joy from the world around it, then you’ll transform your existence. 

A deep longing to see joy and hope in your life will take you far along your journey of actually realizing that joy. 

In fact, this desire forms the platform for all other efforts needed to live a joy-filled life. Without this passionate desire to see joy, you’ll fall flat in your efforts at the first sign of trouble. 

When you get a phone call about a bill you forgot to pay, your mood will go sour and your whole demeanor will change. You’ll say to yourself, “I knew it wouldn’t last. I knew something bad would happen sooner or later.”

You may even take a little satisfaction in the fact that you “knew” it all along. However, this is exactly what you don’t want to do. 

Don’t give yourself the satisfaction of saying, “I told you so,” to yourself. Your demeanor and state-of-mind will only snowball downhill from there. 

Instead, maintain your resolve to find some kind of joy in the situation, no matter how small it might be. Determine that this situation will work out for the best no matter what. 

You have a choice, every moment of every day, which way you want to take your attitude—either in a positive direction or in a negative one. It’s totally up to you.

No one else can make this decision for you, as it totally rests in your hands. What you decide to do will determine how the next minute, the next hour, and even the next day will go for you. 

Make the most of every opportunity—whether it seems at first negative or positive. Determine to find joy in the moment. 

It will take some practice to follow through with this habit, but the long-term results will be well worth it. You’ll slowly but surely experience more true joy in your life.

What Is the Meaning of Life?

We’ve all asked the meaning of life; we’ve all wondered what our purpose is for being placed on this big ol’ ball of mud to live for a few decades. 

There are many ways you could try to explain the meaning of life, but I think the best one is to simply go to the Bible and read what God has to say about it. 

Rather than everything happening by happenstance, there is a method to the supposed madness. God planned everything out way before any of us were ever here. 

He knew exactly who was going to be on this planet and when. He knew everything that was going to take place with each of us. Some good, some bad, but He knew it all beforehand. 

Why, you ask? Now I certainly don’t know the full answer to that, but I believe I can answer it in part. 

Simply put, we were put here to worship God. We are an outpouring of His love. 

God IS love, so He created human beings so He could bestow His love on them and we could, in turn, love Him back. 

Of course, this is all in preparation for the eternity that He wants each of us to spend with him. He wants us all to spend forever with him in Heaven/The New Jerusalem. 

The meaning of life on this planet is to prepare us for that, at least in part I think. 

However, our lives in eternity will be so vastly different from anything we can fathom now that there won’t be any real comparison. 

Personally, I can’t wait to get to eternity. Many days I’m so done with this life that all I can think about is how much better life in eternity will be. This life here is just a trial run after all. 

THAT is what the meaning of life is, as far as I can tell anyway.