When God speaks…

I was reading something from Billy Graham once where he said, “Prayer is a two-way conversation with God.” People tell me all the time, “I never hear from God… how do you do that?”

God speaks to us all through His word. Yet, I know that some say, where do you begin to hear exactly what He is saying to me today ?

I won’t pretend to have all the answers but let me share an experience with you… I was going through a tough time and I prayed and asked God about and for a lot of things. Then I went through my daily devotional and reading that morning and do you know what happened? Everything I had prayed about was answered in order and one thing I didn’t ask (I was thinking I had asked for too much), was answered too! Now, I didn’t go looking for the answers, this was my normal reading. How did that happen? God did that! He wanted to talk to me and He did!

I have started writing my prayers in a journal. When I write… I pause and listen. Sometimes I just get this knowing… it’s like the Holy Spirit is giving me a nudge. Then sometimes it’s a word… like Write, I will, and can be surprising… not what I would expect.

Then there are times when I am outside… often at the beach. Several years back, I began to have my devotional time near the water. The sunrises were often amazing. Then on some days, the weather would be dark and obscured the sunrise. I remember one day, it was one of those bad weather days. I began to leave and I sensed the Lord telling me to wait. So I said, “Really? Well, ok Lord…” So I sat back down and waited. Within 20 minutes the sky went from gloomy and dark to spectacular. Here are the pictures.

I could sense God telling me, “Hang on… I know things don’t look great today but the change is coming and it is going to be awesome!”

I have to tell you… there have been times since that moment that have been really hard. I wanted to give up… walk away but I’m sure glad I didn’t! God has turned the dismal into the amazing!

God spoke to me through His creation! He tells us in His word that He speaks to us in that way, if we are listening. So are you listening?

There’s more to this story but the common thread is consistently seeking Him in His word and prayer and living for Him. When we do… we hear… when we hear, it changes everything!!

Praise Him!

Cliff

2 Timothy 4:2,7

Wait for it… wait…

We want change to happen… NOW!

Like standing in front of a microwave and shouting,

“HURRY!”

Yet, if change happens quickly, does it ever last?

Nope!!!

If it takes time and hard work, the change is likely to stick and flourish. Sweet Cherry trees can take up to seven years to yield fruit. If you till the soil… pull the weeds… plant seeds … water the ground… then wait… and wait some more!

But it’s worth it! So will the change that’s coming in your life if you stay the course and don’t give up.

Great things are coming!

Goodnight y’all!

Cliff

So… you say you want change in your life or you want to change? Are you sure?

I was thinking about this topic today as I was passing a cotton field. One field was beautiful and getting ready to bust loose and produce a bumper crop. How did it get to that point? Hard Work!!

You see, that field didn’t start out as a cotton field… it was a small wooded plain or coastal plains… only salt grass and scrub oak growing there. Lots of work was required to turn it into a cotton producing field.

The Bible teaches us that we, “Reap what we sow!” It also teaches us that the harvest production depends on the preparation of the soil … (parable of the sower and the seeds).

So if we want real change and to have a harvest of good stuff in our lives, maybe we need to begin by taking a hard look in the mirror! Too often, we want to blame our circumstances, or others, when the truth is we are not always doing our part…

For example… do you speak life and optimism over your life and into others? Or are you negative about yourself and others?

Do you have unconfessed sin in your life that you are continuing to live in and not do anything about? Or are you clearing that field?

Are you ruled by fear … being afraid to step out in faith and live the life God has planned for you? Or are you taking that leap of faith?

Do you spend time alone with God… Praying, reading and listening? Or do you expect church to be the sum total of your spiritual life?

If you want real change in your life, you have to be willing to do the things necessary to get there. God opens the door but you have to walk through it… He never says it will be easy, in fact He tells us it will be hard.

So here’s what I want you to do! Pray and ask God to give you a vision for your future. You may say, “But I never get anything back!” Just pray… and trust Him to guide your path. Then examine your life…is there something I need to be done with?…. Ask God to forgive you and then turn from it… aka Repent!

Then I want you to do one thing, each day (at a minimum) that advances you in the direction of your dream/vision. Make a list of things you need to be doing and check them off as you go. This will require extra hours… that’s ok! It’s an investment in yourself…. sowing and one day you will reap a harvest.

So … do you want change in your life?

I think you do! Take the step… then take the next one…. then repeat!

Talk to you tomorrow!

Cliff

Transformation… Today! 7/31/19

Good afternoon everyone!

I had some thoughts on real change in my life and wanted to see if it might help you too.

God’s Word tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds… right? So, how does that work? I have been talking with a number of people recently who have a hard time focusing and getting things done. I have found myself mindlessly wandering through social media and then wondering why I hadn’t gotten anything done.

I read some stuff on motivation and how neurologically if we count down from 5-1 and get up and go, we are tons more likely to get up and go(Robbins, 2017). So I tried it on focus or refocusing my mind on the tasks at hand.

I have to tell you that I have started counting down from three to one anytime I feel my mind wondering and then saying the words – I’m back! It works! I find myself refocused on the task and as I have worked on this through the course of the day, and continued this count down, I find myself wandering less and doing more.

In my estimation, this is an example of renewing the mind by helping it to refocus and on the task at hand.

SO do you want a short mind hack for the day… “3, 2, 1 – I’m back” – it works if you work it!

Have a great day and I’ll have more tomorrow!

Cliff

Robbins, Mel – The 5 Second Rule, 2017 by Audible

Facebook asks…”What’s on your mind?” We’ll, you asked…

Just the other day I was working an insane number of hours. While I was outside, I felt like I was going to be sick… you know, lose my cookies. It hit me then that I needed to make a change. I had known it for a while… my wife had been telling me this fact for a while. I had wanted to stop but I wasn’t sure how… who could I trust to do what needed to be done? I had a number of people work with me over the past year and I felt like I spent more time working for them than they did for me… so what was the point.

Then a friend referred a friend to me and as we walked around the job site, he said to me, “You have the right man for this job. I do this kind of work everyday!” He wasn’t kidding!! He did a great job. So I made a deal with him and it has taken a huge load off of me.

So now I am going to be using that time to write. I recently signed a contract with a publisher but have had no time to write because I have been working on so many other things. I have freed up 8-12 hours per week… and if I were honest it will probably end up being even more than that.

You may be asking… “what is he going to write about?” Very good question. I am going to begin with my story of transformation, called…. drum roll please, TRANSFORMED – The Transformation Project. It is the story of how God intervened in my life and changed everything… I had made a mess of it all and He has turned it around and now I believe it is a message of hope for others. Then I have a companion book/study guide that will help lead those through there own transformation by examining what the Bible says about real change. There are others… my wife and I are going to be starting a daily devotional website. I have several other manuscripts that I have started that I will look at again. The bottom-line is that I believe that God has opened this door and we are walking through it… I hope you will join us… read what God has put on our hearts and share your comments about what God is doing in your life or maybe tell us about what your greatest need. You never know how God will use that.

Praise Him!

Cliff Robertson, Jr.

Why Pastors Need to Stop Preaching What People Want to Hear – Joe McKeever Christian Blog

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Why Pastors Need to Stop Preaching What People Want to Hear – Joe McKeever Christian blog and commentary on Crosswalk.com.
— Read on www.crosswalk.com/blogs/joe-mckeever/why-pastors-need-to-stop-preaching-what-people-want-to-hear.html

Transformed!

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We talk about it…

We quote the verse…

We want it…

So why don’t we experience it?

We don’t experience real change because we are not willing to let go of the old long enough to allow God to do His perfect work. How can we expect change when we won’t stop doing what is killing us?

Here are a few steps to try…

Step 1 – Recognize that God can transform you.

Step 2 – Ask  God to transform you!

Step 3 – Let go of the past and all that holds you back.

Apply this verse and a few more.

Transformed-slide-title

We will talk more later!

Love ya’ll!

Cliff

 

Tis The Season – Part 3 “Peace On Earth”

How many times have you heard a beauty contestant say, “I want to work for world peace!” ? There have been songs written about peace. There have been peace conferences – peace accords throughout history. Yet, has this world ever had peace throughout the earth? NOPE – with the exception of a few moments in the Garden of Eden, this world has been a chaotic and often dangerous place to be.

On December 24, 1914, a German messenger came across the field called “no mans land” in St. Yves, Belgium – also known as the Western Front of World War I. The message asked for a Christmas Day truce – a cease of aggressive hostilities for the day. As the sun arose on Christmas Day some German soldiers began to sing some Christmas Carols and light candles. Then the British Soldiers began to sing their carols. A few soldiers began to step out of their trenches into “no mans land”.

Then more men began to come out. They shared cigarettes and other gifts with each other. A “football game” (aka Soccer) broke out among them.

It was a good day – a day not orchestrated by governments, but by men who had a heart for Christmas…. and they had peace that day in the midst of a bloody war.

When the Angels announced the birth of Christ, it wasn’t to the important government leaders, it was to shepherds tending their flocks in the fields. The message was simple and clear – “An angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to the shepherds in the field. The glory of the Lord filled the area with light, and they were terrified. The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord…. Then suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on Earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:9-11, 13-14

The Bible goes on to say that this message moved the shepherds to go and see the baby Jesus that very night. There was great peace in their hearts as they traveled and then shared the message.

Today, we have a choice, like the men in St. Yves, Belgium in WWI – to choose peace, or to accept the chaos that only wants to overwhelm us. Jesus told us in His word that He came to give us His peace. Yet, along with depression, anxiety is the most prevalent mental health challenge. Why is that? I believe it’s because we take our eyes off of God! When Jesus called Peter out of the boat to walk on the water, he was fine until he took his eyes of off the One who called him. As he grew worried and anxious, the waves and the sea overwhelmed him. He began to sink. Isn’t that what happens with anxiety today?

In the book of Isaiah, he gives us a prescription for peace –

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is fixed on You, because he trusts You!” Isaiah 26:3

In the midst of your day today, as you begin to feel anxiety overwhelm you, look to Jesus. Speak His word back to Him – “Lord, I am placing my mind on You. Help me to be in perfect peace that Your word tells me is mine. I choose the peace of Christ today!” He will bring all the peace of Heaven to your heart.

Merry Christmas!

Cliff

 

‘Tis The Season… 2

When we think about traveling during the holidays, many things may cross our minds. The joy of seeing family and friends, the beauty of the journey… long lines at the airport, horrible traffic… Travel can be both a joy and a nightmare. Regardless, we do it out of love, wanting to be with those we care about during this blessed time.

But what if the government made you travel to the place you were born, where everyone was a stranger? What if you were required to go to the place of your ancestors, a destination that felt foreign? Imagine that upon arrival, your place of rest was unknown. What if you were pregnant and about to give birth, but the only means of transportation was on the rugged back of a donkey? Not exactly something you would be looking forward to.

So why would Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Joseph, her husband, travel close to 100 miles, across inhospitable terrain, in the last month of her pregnancy? One simple reason – the Roman government made them. According to the Book of Luke, which is also substantiated by historical and archeological records, Caesar Augustus called for a Roman/world census. It was the first census the world had ever seen. Since Mary and Joseph were in the lineage of David, their ancestral home for taxing purposes was Bethlehem.

In the Old Testament, Micah, one of the minor prophet books, says the following:

“And you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, you being least among the thousands of Judah, out of you He (Jesus) shall come forth (be born) to Me, that is to become the Ruler in Israel” Micah 5:2

God had foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Yet, on their own, Mary and Joseph would never have gone to Bethlehem. Joseph was a carpenter, and in Nazareth, where they lived, there were plenty of trees for building. Bethlehem had only rocks and shrubs. Neither were of any use to a carpenter. Mary, being with child, would never have traveled by choice.

So God moved heaven and earth to make all the pieces leading to Christ’s birth come together. He did this at just the right time for the promised Savior of the world to be born… in the exact place that was prophesied over 700 years prior.

Could God have whispered in the ear of Mary and said, “Jesus needs to be born in Nazareth, so you need to go…”? Of course – He had spoken to her before and He could do it again. Yet, He chose to move her in another way… by a decree from the most powerful government in the world. Why do you think that is?

I believe that God was showing us something here that we often miss. God was willing to move a government, with great precision, to make His word happen! He made it all transpire in the exact place He foretold. He put it on the mind of Caesar, and the other rulers of the time, to make the people of Israel go to their patriarchal home, for Mary and Joseph, that was Bethlehem. Imagine this being done at the exact time of Christ’s birth!

The reason that is so important to us today, is that God speaks into our hearts. He speaks to us through His word and the Holy Spirit. His promises are real and His power is beyond our comprehension. So I believe that God is telling us through this story, that even when everything seems impossible and the odds are against you – trust Him. When you see no way to accomplish the task – seek Him. When the dream is too big and the call on your life is beyond your capacity to realistically consider – talk to Him. If He ordered it, we can trust Him to help us carry it out to completion. He has the power and will put things in motion just for your good.

You may be in a dark place today, and are not sure how you are going to be able to go on. You may have lost everything you hold dear. I want you to hear me… God has His arms open to you. He wants to walk you out of this valley of darkness or death but you have to seek Him. You may think that you are too far gone, and I will tell you that’s not true. God can reach into the deepest darkest pits of hell and move mountains, governments, and people just for you…. Will you trust Him today? Just try it… He is waiting!

Praise Him!

Cliff

P.S. I can speak these words because I have seen Him do it for me. There have been times in my life where I wanted to die – literally asked God to take me. I have been in some dark places that I could not get out of on my own. God took me by the hand, and led me through those valleys I thought were meant to destroy me. Little did I know, in those dark valleys, He was actually working to restore me. He can do the same for you.

Tis’ The Season!

This time of year can be magical. Holiday cheer is in the air. People are smiling and planning meals, family reunions and gifts for everyone. Christmas cards are going out and homes are being decorated inside and out. The stores are full and the registers are ringing. The weather has gotten a bit cool here in Texas and the leaves are turning and dropping. It is certainly beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Yet, behind closed doors holiday cheer can be absent. The pain of the loss of a loved one can bring tears… for years. The stress and strain of the season can bring people to depression/anxiety and there is always an uptick in the use of psychotropic medications.

How can these different scenarios exist inside of a season where there is supposed to be great cheer? The truth is that they are both wrong because neither set of people are looking to the real reason for the season – the birth of Jesus Christ. As we look to the greatest event in human history, that is what should make us joyful. Yet, the sad truth is most people today can’t even tell you why and what Christmas is about.

Thousands of years before Christ was born of virgin in a manger in the city of Bethlehem, it was foretold that He would be born in that exact place and in that exact way. Wise men from Babylon came to celebrate His birth following a star that was foretold to announce His birth, the birth of the King and Savior of the World.

So why have things changed so much? Why are we not celebrating the King that has come to save us? The sad truth is that we, as a society, have become so caught up in the holiday scene that Madison Avenue has portrayed for us or the Hallmark Channel has scripted for us, that we forget about Jesus. We become despondent when the reality of the Madison Avenue Christmas is interrupted by real life tragedy, loss and pain.

I want to challenge you to do something with me – each day till Christmas, I am going to write about the real Christmas Story and some interesting historical and scientific facts about it all, along with a couple of Christmas miracles. I want to ask you to respond each day with a favorite memory of yours from Christmas past or your hopes for this Christmas – maybe your plans at your church etc. Let’s do this!

Merry Christmas!

Cliff