Archive for June, 2020

Your Spiritual Footprint

Some time ago, I was studying the Word and I was distressed over our climate and how we seem to be gradually destroying our environment. In particular, I was thinking about those articles that talk about reducing your carbon footprint to help out the environment. Now, I try to be a good citizen and neighbor and I’m constantly trying out more energy-efficient and earth-preserving things, like fancy light bulbs (and solar power for the house, which we have), recycling, growing food, pesticide-free gardening to help the bees, but it all seems overwhelming. I mean, after all, who am I but just one person? Do I really make a difference?

Then I heard the Lord say, “Okay, I get what you’re thinking about your carbon footprint, but what about your spiritual footprint? What are you sowing for others in our kingdom? What are you doing to spread my love and my word?”

This got me thinking hard about the term “spiritual footprint”? If our actions, in this world, create a physical “carbon footprint,” doesn’t it make sense that our actions, thoughts, behaviors in the world also create a “spiritual footprint?” More importantly, our spiritual footprint affects not only the supernatural aspect of things, it can also definitely affect how you continue to participate in the natural world. Think about it, spirituality is largely invisible and so is the supernatural world, and so, of course, what we do spiritually is going to have some effect there. But we also see the manifestations in our physical world of things we do in and for the spiritual world. In fact, there’s a huge overlap. For instance, prayer is activated in the physical world and the spiritual world at the same time when we pray out loud or silently, but then the answer to prayer, which might be immediate in the supernatural, becomes part of our natural world manifestation of the whole act. Thus, our spiritual footprint is affected in both realms.

We create our spiritual footprint by everything we do in the world, — whom we touch, whom we are kind to, how we act toward all of God’s people (saved and unsaved), how we share the pearls of wisdom given to us by God, whether we act selflessly instead of selfishly. In fact, every seemingly insignificant thing can affect your spiritual footprint. Moreover, each of those things can have enormously good or devastatingly bad consequences. By the way, watch out for the bad stuff – it’s like throwing a tiny cigarette butt out of a car window that can’t even be seen from the road, but that leads to an enormous forest fire. Every tiny, seemingly insignificant action forms at least a part of our spiritual footprint. Because these actions can be positive or negative, it’s up to us to constantly see what we’re doing in the natural world and thinking about ramifications in the spiritual world.

And sometimes it’s not the action itself, but the motivation behind it. I might give to the homeless, but if my motivation is one of glorifying myself, then I’ve messed up my spiritual footprint even though I’ve done something that the world might say or think is good.

Lately I’ve been taking an inventory to write down what I’ve done for others or when I’ve shown or talked about God to others, along with my motivations. Also, I’ve been writing down the instances when I can remember being unbecoming of a follower of Jesus. I try to do it daily, and then I ask, “Which list is bigger?” When I have things on the negative side – the list messing up my spiritual footprint – I ask the Lord to forgive me and to bless anyone on that list whom I have harmed. Then I tear it up. That’s how I remind myself of God’s forgiveness, which is a reminder of God forgetting our sins as an act of grace.

One day we’ll meet the Father and we’ll become instantly aware of the entirety of our spiritual footprints. Let’s work together to make sure they’re the kinds of footprints that reflect our belief in God and our following of Jesus Christ.

What Does Your Lake Look like?

Wow, there’s so much happening in the U.S. and the world these days it is hard not to succumb to the prevalent negative mood and attitude. But this week my Pastor talked about how we need to silence the noise. He said we need to get into a quiet place to detox from the things that are polluting our minds and hearts with the natural world view and to obscure our Christian world view. I was pleased that he reminded me that words themselves have spirits behind them that are either good or evil and that promote life or death, health or illness. Watching the words you allow into your brain is key.

So, as an exercise, think about going to a crystal-clear lake in which you want to take a swim. You can see to the bottom and the water is blue and clear and smells fresh. This embodies an environment of kind, loving, healthy words circulating in our atmosphere. Then think about going to a lake that is polluted, putrid smelling, filthy, with scum floating on the top and dead fish washing up on the shoreline. This is a lake of hatred, unhealthy words. Is this the kind of lake in which you want to swim? Well, if you surround yourself with hate, ugly talk, negative thoughts, misinformation, and an overall lack of love, you may as well be swimming in exactly this sort of scum.

I don’t know about you, but I want the clear, beautiful, fresh smelling lake as my environment, and so I’m making a constant choice to keep my lake (home/environment) clean and clear. I admit, though, that sometimes I have to take a net out and scoop out some leaves or the occasional dead fish, but overall, I want to keep my environment welcoming and loving. I want the kind of environment that glorifies my Lord and makes Him smile and proud of me as His child.

Take a look at your individual lake – the environment in which you swim each day. Close your eyes and try to notice how you feel when you envision your lake. Do you feel anger? Do you have vengeful, ugly thoughts or feelings about a person or topic? Do you feel depressed and hopeless? If yes, your lake might need a good scrubbing.

If so, take a break from social media and the news and pick up your Bible. Look up the words “blessing” or “hope” in the back and read the scriptures it references. Then remember who you are (a child of God, a saint) and how much our Lord loves you. I pray that all of us who follow Christ as our example will have clear, clean lakes. If enough of us do, then others will want to be around us and use us as an example. Together, we can make a real difference.

You already know that love conquers everything. As Philippians 4:8, encourages us, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” That passage is especially relevant today, and if you think about and focus on those more positive things, your lake in life – the place where you do all your spiritual swimming – will be a clear one.

What’s Up? Week of 6/9/2020

During this time of being “quarantined,” I have absolutely LOVED having extra time not commuting to work and, instead, using that time to really press into our Lord, to ask Him to show me His ways and revelations in his word and the supernatural Kingdom. I’ve found tons of resources, by the way – from YouTube videos, to scholarly writings, to television and radio shows – that you can also find to help you with your own walk.

I personally see this time in my life not as a burden or restriction for me; instead, I see it as a way to work with our Lord to cleanse and heal my soul, open my spiritual eyes/ears and senses to see/understand what is really going on in the natural and supernatural realms. Between you and me, I’ve actually been praying that my office will allow me to keep working at home for a while longer. I counted it up, and I have a total of three extra hours each day by not driving to and from work. That’s three hours to spend working on the most important relationship in my life (don’t worry, Tim knows he’s second banana in this sense, and he’s working on his relationship with God, too!).

Tim and I tend to go different directions with our time – he spends a lot of time reading about philosophy of religion and I’m more attuned to the softer, “walking in the spirit” types of teachings. But it’s always amazing how often those paths cross. The other day, I found out he was deep into the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and I was, too! He was dutifully reconciling some seemingly contradictory statements from R.C. Sproul and William Lane Craig had (he managed to do it) and I was doing exercises designed to learn about the supernatural action/interaction of the Holy Spirit in our lives and how to get to know Him and free Him to work more and reveal more to us.

When I wrote my book, I said something like, “God will talk to you in the way that you listen.” I might have even used the example of a billboard, saying that if you’re likely to seek messages from God by looking at billboards, don’t be surprised when one of His messages pops up on a billboard. If you’re thinking about how better to hear from God, remember that He’s already trying to speak to you in the ways in which you are comfortable. If that’s through videos, then watch more videos. If it’s through reading scripture, then do more reading. But my point is that I encourage you to try to find the same silver lining to this quarantine that I have found. If you suddenly have more time due to skipping other odds and ends, like driving, consider pressing in and seeing what all God would like to say to you today.

Keep pressing in, Saints!

What’s Up — Your Library

Over the weekend, Tim read an obituary in which the writer said, “Every time a person dies, it’s like a library burns down.” The gist of that statement was that each person, at any particular time in their life, has a huge amount of knowledge, skills, talents, gifts, and revelations – provided to them by God – that don’t necessarily get experienced by anyone in this world after the person’s death. Think about yourself. You have this huge amount of knowledge – true gifts that nobody else has – that we would lose if you were to die tomorrow. This struck me as an even bigger tragedy based on the high cost of our losing over 100,000 people to Covid-19, seeing innocent persons murdered by police, and noticing the unnecessary loss of life for any other reason on any particular day.

The good news is that as followers of Christ, this information – these skills, talents, gifts, and revelations – are not lost when we die, but continue on as we get to live in eternity with Christ. Nevertheless, I’m interested in seeing the things in your library in this life. And to make sure I walk the walk, I’m going to start putting more information on this blog (like shorter pieces) just to let you see a bit of what’s in my library. I’ll probably just title these things “What’s Up,” like I did above.

So, over the weekend, I started watching free online classes from Dallas Theological Seminary, which you can find here. There are about 16 of them so far, but I’m going through the one on Revelation while I also press into a bunch of my more, shall I say, “spirit filled” materials. One thing this pandemic has done is open my eyes to all the resources out there from which you can press into God. Lots of seminaries are doing lots of great things, so check it out. I asked Tim what he watched yesterday, and he said he “went off on a tangent” by watching one of his favorite apologists – William Lane Craig – in a fascinating interview about all manner of things by a guy named Matt Frad on a show called “Pints With Aquinas,” which you can find here.

What was interesting about the two things was that we had a short discussion on miracles, modern-day prophets, and healings, and realized that we came up with the same answers on various theological issues despite our different paths.

Keep pressing into God, Saints!


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