The book, Transformed is about to come out… finally. I have to admit, that I am a bit nervous. The book tells my story in about as direct a way as possible. It is brutal at times, heart-wrenching in other moments and generally a punch in the gut… but there is hope. Stay tuned – the story turns out pretty good because God is good – all the time. Here is a copy of the cover
So stay tuned – the official launch is in the first week of January – 2021.
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!!
Like standing in front of a microwave and shouting,
Yet, if change happens quickly, does it ever last?
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.