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Posts tagged ‘Yes (band)’

Your New Year’s Invitation to Say ‘Yes’.

Cheryl Boyd

I was going through the mail that had been addressed to me, yet sent to my parents’ home. This in and of itself brings out weird feelings. The movie title Failure to Launch seems suddenly to be flashing over my head.  I know it’s an over-reaction.

My sister just celebrated her 16th wedding anniversary and an occasional letter intended for her is misdirected to my parents’ house as well. That thought is enough to shoo the ridiculous insult in my imagination away. Am I trying to rationalize dysfunction, or am I really in a healthy place in my life? Like the junk mail in my lap I sort through a few quick comparisons with others I know, careful to choose areas of personal strength rather than competing in a category where I struggle. Those thoughts quickly buoy me up, and I continue sorting my mail.

I flipped the postcard over and saw exactly what I expected to see—an adorable picture of two lovebirds. One of the turtledoves is a dead ringer for my young friend. Another “Save the Date.” If I am completely honest with myself, I have to admit that I had a warmer feeling in my gut when I read the postcard with a photo of my dentist’s two, mournful-eyed mutts reminding me to reschedule an appointment than looking over the beautifully designed correspondence informing me that my friend wants me to join her in celebrating one of the most joyous occasions of her life. No offense to my dentist! He’s great, funny, skilled … and he also happens to be my uncle, but this ironic reaction revealed to me that there is something going on in my heart. In the sorting of my mail, I realize that I just received a different kind of invitation—one to invite my Lord to sit with me as I explore this root in my heart that has a twinge of bitterness mixed with insecurity.

I can’t understand why I tend to avoid these opportunities to till the hardened soil of my sometimes-frozen heart. As always, this provided a rich time of depth and intimacy as I was reminded of the power of giving thanks for God‘s abundant kindness and provision in my life. He reminds me of my true identity as a uniquely crafted masterpiece, his child and heir. Instead of becoming my own preposterous motivational speaker, engaging in ridiculous mind games, comparing my strengths with others’ weaknesses, or conversely taking the role of bully to myself which relegates me to a pile of pathetic shame as I compare my failures and shortcomings to shining accomplishments of others.

Neither of these remedies bear fruit in my heart. One leads to false confidence and reinforces the lie that my strength lies not in my weakness, not as a steward of talents, gifts and the story that God has graciously given me, but in my hard work, personal accomplishments and in the things I have that others admire or wish they had. This is an ugly place. On the other hand, my attempts at self-management, focusing on my flaws, shaming myself into a plan set on self-redemption, self-correction and self-discipline reeks of the same self-absorption as the first and nothing good comes of it, either.

I have come to the conclusion that the popular tradition of making New Year’s resolutions is actually a prescription of my own charlatan-efforts to peddle a self-remedy. The statistics show that a successfully maintained New Year’s resolution has more in common with the stuff of fairytales than real, effective discipline and growth. Evaluation, making adjustments and coming up with a personal development plan are all healthy practices when they are undertaken with a clear understanding of who I am and where the roots of my issues really lie.

If I take a shortcut, skating over the ice encrusting my cold, broken heart, then I will never benefit from any resolution. After a while the pride and the fear of shame cease to motivate. Even if I am still going to the gym or if I decide to follow the advice of well-meaning friends and put myself “out there” more intentionally with the hope of finding a mate, after the first month when I fail to see any sign of the longed-for results, I begin to taste the bitterness of disappointment once again. My efforts to solve my problems apart from honesty, truth and vulnerability are fruitless.

So what can I do to see real, abundant fruit that I long for in my life? It starts with accepting those divine invitations to explore the roots in my heart when prickly reactions pop up in response to everyday events. I have to remember my identity and choose to walk in it—by faith, not by feeling. Any plans for changing habits, developing new skills or achieving desired outcomes have to be motivated by love for Jesus and a surrender to his perfect will for my life. Attempting to take control of circumstances which are beyond my control are a form of idolatry where I become the grotesque, impotent statue sitting on the throne of my heart’s kingdom.

Sound ridiculous? It is.

Instead of making a New Year’s resolution I want you to accept a New Year’s invitation. It is an invitation to say, “Yes!” to the Holy Spirit when your own heart reveals a bitter root. Live out the reality of Jesus’ words: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15). I hope you will say “yes.” This is what it means to abide in Christ. You won’t see the fruit you long for in your life any other way.

As for me, I have decided to respond. I am looking forward to the invitations that are coming my way. The “Save the Date” for my friend’s wedding is hanging prominently on my refrigerator. It serves as more than just a reminder for my calendar. It reminds me to check the soil of my heart for bitterness. If I can look at the lovebirds without a sense of joy and happiness for them, then there is a little more gardening that needs to be done. I am not abiding in my Vine and the fruit I expect to harvest in the days ahead won’t appear. I am reminded that gardening is a never-ending process. Any gardener will tell you that it takes patience, hard work, diligence, and then, the results are awe-inspiring and miraculous.

 My prayer is that we would not let our hearts stay hardened and that we would never forget that we are not our own gardener. There is a Gardener, there is a Vine, and we are the branches that get to see the fruit burst forth from us.

Cheryl Boyd is on staff with Cru where she currently serves in launching a new ministry among young professionals in cities across the country. For 12 years she called Russia home as she helped give national leadership to the campus ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. Follow Cheryl on Twitter @cheryloboyd

The Secret to Intimacy With God.

(Brandon Johnson/

It is not hard to recognize someone who has spent extended time at a newsstand: His conversation overflows with the drama of current affairs. And it is not hard to discern a person who has come from a sporting event, as his face reveals the outcome of the game. Likewise, people can tell when an individual has spent extended time seeking God. An imperturbable calm guards his heart, and his countenance is radiant with light, as with the morning dew of heaven.

Beloved, to seek and find God is everything. It is to our shame that in our era church services do not focus more on actually seeking God. Yes, we do honor God and thank Him for what He has done. We hear a sermon and perhaps enjoy a time of fellowship with others. Yet only rarely do we depart a congregational meeting with the fire of eternity reflecting off our faces. Instead we fill up with information about God without actually drawing near to Him. Most of us are largely unaware of God’s presence.

While we rightly need church programs, fellowship and times for ministry training, we must not assume that religious indoctrination is the same thing as actually seeking God. And while I am often blessed listening to contemporary Christian music, even godly entertainment is no substitute for my own worship encounter with God.

Therefore let us ask ourselves: Is there a place and a time set apart in our spiritual lives where we can give ourselves to seeking God? What is the Spirit of God actually desired to manifest Himself during our worship service? Would the Lord have to wait until we finished our scheduled program? I respect and recognize the need for order; we need the scheduled times for announcements and the defined purposes that currently occupy Sunday mornings, but have we made room for God Himself?

When we first determine to draw near to God, it may seem we have little to show for our efforts. Yet be assured: Even the thought of seeking God is a step toward our transformation. Still, we often do not notice the early signs of our spiritual renewal—for as we grow increasingly more aware of God, we simultaneously grow increasingly less aware of ourselves. Though we may not see that we are changing, others certainly will.

Consider the experience of Moses. The Lord’s servant had ascended Mount Sinai and there stood before the living God. The eyes of Moses were actually filled with God’s sun-like glory; his ears actually heard the audible sound of the Lord’s voice. Yet when Moses returned to the people, the Bible says he “did not know that the skin of his face shone” (Ex. 34:29). When the Israelites saw the fire of God’s glory on the face of Moses, “they were afraid to come near him” (v. 30). They saw he had been with God.

The church needs more people who have, like Moses, climbed closer to the Almighty—people who have stood in the sacred fire of God’s presence. Instead we exhaust ourselves arguing over peripheral doctrines or styles of music in our song services. Perhaps there are benefits to constantly debating the nuances of our doctrines, but are we not more truly thirsting for the reality of God?

What happens when we seek God? The Bible says at the very moment we are drawing near to Him, the living presence of God Himself is drawing near to us (see James 4:8). Help is coming, redemption for our situation is on its way, strength will soon be arriving, and the powers of healing are activated.

But, we may argue, what if we seek Him and He does not come near? Fear not, He will. He may not manifest as we supposed, but He will come.

Our goal is to—day by day—draw nearer to God. He has commanded that we come boldly to His throne of grace. To receive the help we need, we must arrive at His throne. Remember also that our confidence comes from Christ Himself. He promises, “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matt. 7:8).

We are seeking a lifetime of increasing devotion, though it may certainly begin in a season of drawing near. In spite of natural and spiritual obstacles, as we persevere, the Lord assures us, “How much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (v.11).

If we do not cease seeking and knocking, we will discover unfolding degrees of intimacy with God. Even now, He’s drawing near. The Lord promises, “Everyone who … seeks finds.”

I Will Be Found By YouAdapted from I Will Be Found by You by Francis Frangipane, copyright 2013, published by Passio from Charisma House. In forty-three years of seeking after God, the author has learned that it is in seeking God that we actually find Him. This book contains a collection of his best writings on the subject. It will encourage you to pursue the Lord and reap the reward of finding Him. To order your copy click here.


This week make it a priority to seek God’s transforming presence with worship, meditation and prayer. Set a time and put aside all distractions that would divert your attention away from Him. Let Him speak to you from His Word and thank Him for the promise that if you seek Him you will find Him. Once you’ve spent time enjoying His presence and giving Him worship, expand your prayer to include those who need salvation, revival and provision. Ask Him to direct your steps where you can be a blessing to those in need. Continue to pray for global revival and for more laborers for His harvest fields. Lift up our government leaders and pray that they will seek the Lord’s guidance to govern. Remember Israel and the persecuted church. Matt. 7:7-8; Ps. 9:10


Do You ‘Get It’ When It Comes to Being a Father?.

Father and children
Do you have ‘it’ as a father? (Stock Free Images)

Are you actively practicing the habits associated with great fathering?

Here at the National Center, most of our materials are based on research about fathering. And quite often we see that research confirmed when we interview great dads about how they live out Championship Fathering.

Since those real-life guys may not have studied my book, they don’t say, “Well, you see, being a good dad is all about lovingcoaching and modeling.” (You can see more specifics about each of those here.)

But our staff will tell you that when they hear a dad mention certain fathering habits or topics, they know that guy really gets it. He incorporates traits and attitudes that translate into great fathering.

Here are four of those most critical habits:

1. They express love. Some dads will say things like, “Susie knows I love her because she sees me doing things for her and with her.” And that’s a valid perspective. Kids do feel loved when their dads are involved and help care for them. But dads also need to say it: “I love you, and there’s nothing you can do to change that.” They put their own discomfort or ego aside and say it often because kids need to hear it.

2. They ignore the costs. Some dads might be committed to their families, but they’re constantly thinking about what they’ve sacrificed to be a father: things they enjoy, money, job advancement and so on. But devoted dads realize it isn’t sacrifice but an intentional investment in something more important than those other things.

3. They acknowledge the impact of loving their child’s mother. This doesn’t mean there are no great single or divorced dads, but that dad/mom partnership is a big factor. And it speaks volumes when dads recognize the great security kids gain when they see that their dad and mom love each other and work together for the children’s benefit.

4. They see the bigger picture. They recognize that healthy fathering reaches beyond the walls of their own homes and encourage kids who don’t have a dad. They see that engaged fathers and father figures can truly change the culture, because many of society’s issues will be helped when caring, responsible men step up and care for children.

What about you, Dad? Do you get it? I hope these qualities challenge you, like they challenge me, to be more committed to family tomorrow than you are today.

So, what’s on your “dads who get it” list? What would you add? What qualities stand out most for you when you see them in devoted dads? Please leave a comment below.

Action Points for Dads on the Fathering Journey

  • Write a short note to each of your children that simply communicates your love. (If your child is too young to read, write the note, put the date on it, and save it for when he/she is older.)
  • Are your children getting enough of your focused time and attention? Maybe there’s room for more adjustments as you live out your priorities. What could you put on hold to free yourself up so you can give more of yourself to your children?
  • Get together with your children’s mom to discuss each child’s development and challenges and how the two of you can work together to encourage and guide them more effectively. If you’re divorced and don’t get along with their mom, meet at a neutral place and make it clear you simply want to do better at helping the kids thrive; don’t get into past hurts or mistakes.
  • Next time you’re doing a one-on-one activity with your child, include one of his/her friends who doesn’t have a dad or doesn’t see him often.
  • If you read today’s blog and were convicted of ways you need to improve as a dad, use this as a wake-up call, an opportunity to make lasting, positive changes on behalf of your children.



Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make theChampionship Fathering Commitment. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “YesI want tips on how to be a great dad who loves, coaches, mentors and inspires my children.”

Giving Up Is Not an Option.

Tiffany Samuels
Tiffany Samuels

At age 17, my life was full, and my dreams were coming true. I had been selected to sing in the Florida All-State Chorus conference in January 2009, and I was going to China for spring break!

Inexplicably, I started getting awkward nosebleeds. They began that January with a weird, random cold and then subsided for the rest of the month. But throughout the entire month of February, they never stopped, even in my sleep.

I had to stuff something inside my nose to stop the bleeding. I began falling asleep during class. Finally, my math teacher, Ms. Walters, one of my favorites, called my mom. Ms. Walters wondered if my sleepiness was because of my losing so much blood.

Then I noticed the lymph nodes under my chin were swollen. We were supposed to leave for China on April 4, and I wanted to know what was going on. I had been saving for my trip for two years.

Toward the end of March, we saw an ear, nose and throat doctor, who scheduled a CT scan. We received the results the first week in April, and they were not good.

The day before we were supposed to leave for China, the emergency doctor said, “I cannot let you go.”

It really hurt. I spent the next week in the hospital doing biopsy after scan after biopsy. On April 8, my dad, my mom, Ms. Walters and my best friend were with me when I received the test results: “What you have is a malignant tumor, polyps in your nose … ”

I stopped the doctor. “Do I have cancer?”

Yes, you do,” she answered.

Everything after that is a blur.

My uncle bought me a pink teddy bear. I strongly dislike pink, but immediately after my diagnosis I clung to that teddy bear and drifted into a daze. As we walked through the cancer wing I saw kids of all ages—some playing, some smiling, some crying, some numb. I was numb. I don’t remember anything except clinging to that pink bear.

Interestingly, it never crossed my mind that I could die. In fact, it stunned me when someone asked, “How long do you have?”

Shocked by the question, I replied, “Why would you ask me that? Ma’am, I am not going to die,” and walked away.

I knew I was going to face the toughest time of my life, but I never doubted I would live.

And tough it was. The very next day, I woke to a finger prick and a “Good morning!”—in that order.

Though only in my junior year of high school, I had to withdraw. Hospital staff ran every scan and test they could think of. My cancer was labeled rhabdomyosarcoma.

It was exciting to start fighting the disease, but also scary and unreal. I felt like a test subject. I didn’t start treatment right away because there was a national shortage of chemotherapy.

The staff taught me how to help my family and taught my family how they could help me. My sister, a cosmetologist, came to cut my hair. That was exciting, too, because I didn’t like my hair. I had always used a relaxer and was more than ready to go au natural.

Then came the day I started chemo. I thought, “This isn’t so bad,” but the next day it hit me. I couldn’t get to the toilet bowl. I couldn’t even move. My mother had to hold me and walk me to the bathroom. Chemo drains you of everything: good cells, bad cells, and even your appetite.

My doctors wouldn’t let me leave the hospital until I ate, so even though I had no desire to eat, I finally did. I had already been there about two weeks and didn’t want to be there any longer. A cup of applesauce was my ticket out, so I forced it down and held it down until someone walked in with the discharge papers.

Finally I could go home. Fourteen days before, I had walked into the hospital feeling totally healthy, but I walked out of the hospital with cancer. We may feel like we are invincible, but each of us is as susceptible as the next person.

When I got home, I was delighted to see my family had redone my room. (The doctors said I shouldn’t have carpet because chemo shuts down your immune system, and carpet can hide things.) My walls had been painted two shades of my favorite color: purple. I would spend many days in my “purple palace,” as I called it. In fact, within those four walls, I finished my schooling online so I could graduate with my friends. I refused to let them graduate without me!

About a month later, I started radiation. They tried to prepare me by saying it wasn’t as bad as chemo, but it was the worst. Because the cancer was in my sinuses, I smelled everything. The beam caused mouth sores. I didn’t talk for two weeks. I couldn’t eat or brush my teeth. I didn’t even want to talk to the doctors. One really nice doctor brought in a dry erase board, and they learned I had a lot to say! (This same doctor later took me out with her family for ice cream.)

My last day of radiation, which lasted about a month and a half, was June 20. After my last dose under the beam, it only felt fitting to give the radiation machine a piece of my mind, so I did.

I forgot the nurses could see me through a window, and one of the nurses, who called me Cookie, said, “Cookie, did you just kick the machine?” and I said, “Yes, I did.”

She said, “Don’t try to break our machine.”

“It tried to break me first,” I replied. (There was no damage done. I was far from a lethal weapon. I didn’t have the strength to kick it hard enough.)

By August, I was borderline anorexic. I lost 50 pounds in three months. At 5 feet, 8 inches tall, I weighed only 126 pounds and looked like a walking stick. The doctors said, “You are way too small.”

I was determined I wouldn’t let another condition add to my problems, so I drank a lot of protein drinks and ate pudding. I couldn’t eat anything spicy. Even now, I cannot eat spicy foods. My pastors, Karl and Dyrie Francis, brought me Gatorade. I love Gatorade—and I’m a [Florida] “Gator”! When Pastor Dyrie noticed I wasn’t eating, she pureed food for me. It wasn’t bad at all—it was my first steps toward eating again.

My church was amazing. People who didn’t even know me talked to me. Members called and prayed for me. One member, Grace Brown, was there with me the entire time. She was like my own personal nurse. A lot of other church sisters helped me as well. They raised funds to help me get started in college and never stopped praying. Even to this day, some still pray for me.


Be Careful Little Bird, What You Tweet.

Brett Wilson

The On-Again-Off-Again Record

“Um…this is all off the record…right?”  The woman I’m interviewing looks up at me, eyes wide and white with split-second distrust.

Sigh, the life of a reporter. I click off my recorder, place my pen neatly down from its poised position and clasp my hands together tightly. As usual, we’re twenty minutes into an interview, and my interviewee is experiencing what I like to call “spoke-too-soon-remorse.”

Yes, we’re off the record now, if that’s what you want,” I said to her with an upmost, polite-as-I-can smile. Sometimes I wish I could enter all of my interviews explaining that you can only take something “off the record” before you say it.

Perhaps then, my darling interviewees would think before they spoke. They would choose their words a little more carefully. They wouldn’t cast them so generously and recklessly before me and my reporter’s notepad like they were strands of Mardis Gras beads.

Luckily for my interviewees, I’m not a particularly vindictive writer. As many times as I have had the opportunity to “Woodward and Bernstein” someone because of a careless answer they’ve given me during an interview, I haven’t.

Because I’ve totally been there, too.

I’ve experienced the same wide-eyed, “I can’t believe I just said that,” shallow-breathy panic before. When words that I’ve spoken that can’t ever be taken back. And if you are immersed in any sort of social media site, chances are you have too.

Tweet for Tat: 140 Characters that Fired Back

“Brett, could you step into my office for a minute?” my old boss, the restaurant manager, said to me one evening.

“Sure!” I replied, as I cheerfully unlaced my server’s apron and followed my boss to the back of the house, and past the kitchen to his dingy, windowless office. Our restaurant’s fiscal quarter was coming to a close, and his special attention to me could only mean one thing: I was being promoted.

He motioned for me to sit, and I plopped in the chair in front of his desk, fidgety with excitement. I had been working twelve to sixteen hour shifts regularly. Covering for my coworkers when they were sick, coming in to work shifts on my days off. I had earned this.

“I have a few things I’d like to go over with you,” he said to me as he looked over his eyeglasses. He was shuffling through a few sheets of paper on his desk.

“I have here a few salacious tweets that came from a username, “thebrbb.” Is that you?” he asked.

Wuh oh.

I slowly nodded my head. My boss turned back to the pile of papers on his desk, and read off the top sheet.

“‘Pasta Night,’” he read. “‘The night that our restaurant tries to be the Olive Garden. Prayers please…’ did you write this?”

“Um, yes,” I stammered, feeling my face grow fifty shades of pink. Pasta night was the night each of the servers disdained working. Every Thursday night the restaurant would fill to the brim with swarms of children under the age of five–all of whom ate for free, wrecked the restaurant and spilled their juice or countless soda-refills, in-spite of their spill-free cups (yes, impressive, but annoying)–and the ever-low-tipping adults who belonged to them.

On Pasta Night, patrons could walk through the buffet line in our open kitchen and choose the pasta, sauce, protein and vegetables they wanted mixed together for their enjoyment. Like I said, made-to-order-Olive-Garden.

We all hated it. And each of us usually rebelled to the evening by posting some sort of cheeky, disdainful comment on our Facebook statuses or Twitter accounts. I had somehow overlooked the fact that my Twitter account was no longer set to “private.”

Totally busted. Suffice it to say, I was not promoted that day in my boss’ office as he shuffled pages full of snarky remarks I made about my employer. He reminded me that my positive attitude at work was immediately canceled out if I was guilty of tweeting my “true colors.”

Those 140 characters taught me a lesson. My words lowered the morale of my coworkers, and gave a bad reputation to our establishment. And I, the girl who never had her name written on the board in grade-school, was given my first disciplinary write-up. Two more of these, and I’d be subject to a blush-pink slip.

Though, I can’t say it was a total loss. Pasta Night ended a few weeks later. If our patrons wanted fettuccine, they’d have to go to Olive Garden, after all.

Do Four-Letter Words Make a Sound if No One’s There to Hear Them?

When I’m safe within the silo of my vehicle, my mouth runs wild. When a car pulls out in front of me, tailgates me or passes me on the right without a turn signal (I hate that), there are some words and attitudes that naturally bubble out of me; the soil and rocks that clog the geyser quake and Old Faithful springs up.

The same thing has the potential to happen online.

Don’t believe me? Read any string of comments on any one of the billions of videos on YouTube. Nasty, heated commenters are given the nickname “trolls.” They’ll have you asking, “How did we even get here?” when you find very opinionated commentaries on gay marriage and abortion on videos of kittens riding Roombas.

Or even babies laughing, for crying out loud.

The fact is that we are becoming absorbed in a culture that has simply forgotten to think before speaking. It happens when we flick our fingers over our keyboards, it happens when we ask to be taken “off the record,” and it happens (at least with me) behind the wheel of a car.

“Word vomit” was a problem in the Biblical era. Otherwise, whole chapters about “taming the tongue” wouldn’t exist. But now, nearly every one of us has the privilege of push-button broadcasting at the tips of our texting fingers. Now it’s all-too easy for our tongues to cause rip-roaring fires (James 3:6).

But, what happens when we treat our statuses like they’re only words that we say out loud in our cars? These words spark and flare over the soft white glow of our illuminated social devices. According to James, the tongue is like a rudder of a ship (3:4), it’s a small part of us, but it guides our lives and thoughts.

Let’s call the tongue–or our flip, unthinking Facebook and Twitter posts, the needle on the record player. The thing that scratches over the 45s and ignites the music nestled within its grooves. Likewise, the words we choose. But, unlike interviews for news stories, these records will never be “off.” If we’re not careful, these fires will never subside.

So, be careful little bird, what you tweet!

Brett Wilson HeadshotBrett Wilson is a Christ-loving, single, curly-haired, left-handed coffee-addict. She is a public relations writer in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Brett lives with her best friend and a Boston Terrier named Regis. You can read more from Brett at her site,, or on Twitter

House of cards….

By Bobby Schuller, Hour of Power Pastor

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.”
-Proverbs 11:3

In a recent study by the University of California, Santa Barbara, it was revealed that in a typical ten-minute conversation, the average person lies three times and six times each day. They do it through exaggerations, bending the truth, or pretending as if everything is okay when it isn’t.

In the study, they asked this question at the beginning: Are you a liar? Only three percent of the people said, “Yes, I am a liar,” and ninety-seven percent said, “No, I am not a liar.” As the study continued, the three percent who checked “I am a liar” were proven thirty percent more honest than the ninety-seven percent who checked “I’m not a liar.”

This is something that we all deal with, and the worst thing about any form of lying or dishonesty is it never stands alone. One lie always requires more lies. And you have to keep on building lies and remembering all the lies to keep everything pieced together to hold up your shaky house of cards.

A person’s character should make lying completely unnecessary. That’s why Jesus offers the easy yoke of a life in which yes is yes and no is no, and you can be truly yourself. That’s how we need to live. We need to walk in that easy yolk of honesty – to smile and simply say, “This is who I am – without masks, without lying. Dishonesty is a very heavy burden that I need not carry with Jesus by my side.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for showing me how to live a life of strong character. It’s a simpler and better life as I live honestly in your truth. Amen.

Reflection: Have you ever been caught in a lie? In retrospect, how could you have better handled that situation?

An audience of one…

By Bobby Schuller, Hour of Power Pastor

“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes‘ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
Matthew 5:37

To become an honest person, we need to have God‘s love. We need to be living for an audience of one. To say, “I’m not what I have, I’m not what I do, and I’m not what people say about me. I’m a child of God and for me that’s the only thing that matters. My decisions in life are going to come out of honoring him.” And with God’s love embedded in your heart, it’s easier to live in the easy yoke of honesty.

God encourages us through his word that telling the truth is always better in the long run. It’s a difficult undertaking that requires grace, courage, and humility. Living in constant honesty is a skill. You’re going to be bad at it at first. Then, you’ll get better at being honest, at telling people the truth with love, respect, and gentleness. You’ll grow in that skill.

The most difficult skill is the art of saying no and the art of deciding you’re not going to wear masks or pretend anymore. Take the mask off and learn the skill of silence. You don’t always have to say something. You don’t always have to explain why. You can simply let your yes be yes, and your no be no, and sometimes you don’t have to talk at all.

Do you want to succeed, to thrive, to be happy? Do the right thing and walk in the easy yoke of honesty with God by your side.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I want my yes to be yes and my no to be no. Help me to get past my fear of hurting others with my honesty. I know that you are the one I ultimately want to please, and by being honest with others, I can actually bless them and live the flourishing life with you. Amen.

Devotion: What is your greatest fear in being honest with others?


Love the Gay Community as Jesus Would.

How should Christians treat gay people? The love of God makes it clear.

There is no hierarchy on sin, as some in the Christian community seem to express by their extreme condemnation of gay people. The church is failing to demonstrate love partly because we think loving a gay person is an endorsement of their lifestyle. Somehow Jesus was able to separate a person’s sin and their value as an individual in how He related to them. This is something we in the church struggle to do.

My Experience at Harvard With the Gay Community

In the spring of 2011, I was part of a group of 10 speakers at a conference at Harvard University. Within two weeks of the announcement of our conference, the gay community came against us in full force. They did not want Christians on the campus. Their reason was that they believed we would bring bigotry and hate to their campus. Our conference was on the topic of social transformation and had nothing to do with the gay agenda. I was personally slandered across the Internet, as they tried to connect me to some legislation in Uganda that involved anti-gay legislation. They did this because I had visited Uganda, and the pastor who hosted me had been involved in the legislation. Because of this, they concluded I was supportive of that legislation. I was not.

At the conclusion of our conference, we invited several of the gay activists to meet with us and tell us why they were so against us. We calmly listened to their accusations, which had no basis in truth. I explained my position about the Uganda legislation.

The man who spread lies about me said, “I wrongfully judged you. Would you like me to publish a retraction in the Harvard paper?”

Yes, that would be great,” I said. “Thank you.”

During our two-day conference, one Harvard professor attended all of our meetings. At the conclusion of our time, we all shook hands, and we were very respectful to one another. We didn’t agree on certain issues, but we respected the right of each to have an opinion.

These activists experienced a different type of Christian—one who was willing to dialogue about the issues. The gay community concluded we were not like the rest of the Christian community that was closed-minded and judgmental. We still held our beliefs about what the Bible says about being gay, but we could have a healthy discussion about it and love them as people made in the image of God and deserving respect.

At the conclusion of our time, the professor who moderated our discussion turned to the gay activists and said, “Gentlemen, I have just gone through the entire conference and never heard one negative comment about gays. I found nothing offensive about anything they said all weekend. We would welcome this group anytime on the Harvard campus.”

I find that the gay community and the Christian community hold certain biases against one another that are based on the past behaviors of each with extreme judgmental attitudes. I believe many gays believe their lifestyle is a lifestyle they were born with by God. And I believe they must justify their behavior in order to explain it in a way that they can accept themselves as well as gain acceptance from others. To classify their behavior as sinful is very different than classifying it as the way they were made.

Jesus Hung Out With Sinners—Even Homosexuals

“While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many gays and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples (Matt. 9:10, NIV).

No, that is not what the Scripture said. It was tax collectors Jesus hung out with.

“‘Which of the two did what his father wanted?’

“‘The first,’ they answered.

Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you’” (Matt. 21:31).

Let’s face it: Jesus got a lot angrier at Pharisees than He did at those living a sinful lifestyle. When Jesus saved the prostitute from being stoned, He didn’t discount her sin; He just told her to “go and sin no more.” My guess is that if Jesus were living today, He would befriend gays to let them experience His love personally in hopes they might embrace God’s love instead of Satan’s counterfeit love.

The Christian community has failed to embrace Jesus’ model of helping and loving those who, in many cases, don’t think they need Christ or a different lifestyle than the one they live. We all believed that before we embraced Christ. Unfortunately, when we embrace a life of sin, no matter what sin it is, we fall into deception. Moral compromise always leads to deceit.

The gay community has adopted the position, “You will accept us whether you want to or not!” The community seeks acceptance from the straight community, politicians and God. The problem is, they want endorsement of a lifestyle versus acceptance of them as people deserving of mutual respect. There is a big difference between these two concepts.

Christianity cannot, nor should it, condone sin in whatever form it is expressed. However, no sin is worse than another in the eyes of God. God hates pride, religion, pornography, divorce and homosexuality. But He never hates individuals. He does hate sin.

Editor’s NoteThis is Part 2 of a five-part series. Be sure to check back to Charisma News for the remainder of the series. Click here to read part 1.


Os Hillman is president of Marketplace Leaders and author of Change Agent and TGIF Today God Is First.

{ Day 116 }.

Put me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, jealousy is as severe as Sheol; its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LordSong of Solomon 8:6, NAS

God‘s holy flame is relentless and consuming. It will eventually ignite one focused on Jesus with emotions of love for Him. However, if we are too busy to ask Him for this and to wait before Him for it, then this flame will be diminished. Even though our careless living causes this flame of the Spirit to die down, this does not mean God’s love has decreased toward us. The flame we are referring to here does not represent God’s love and affection for us; rather, it represents the passion and zeal that He imparts in us for His Son. We can lose our passion for Jesus without losing God’s love for us.


Yes, Father, the fire of Your love has caused a flame to arise within me that seeks to love You more and to know You more.

We must refuse to believe the subtle lie of the
enemy that says God’s love for us goes up and down
with our own vacillating spiritual feelings
and attainments.


{ Day 92 }.

Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders. —Deuteronomy 33:12

Every time Satan comes to weight down your heart with his lies, speak what the Word says back to him. The next time your own heart points a merciless, judgmental finger at your own failings, listen to the loving voice of Jesus as declared in His Word that says, “We are pleasing and beautiful to Him. Yes, we have ravished His heart!”


I hear Your loving voice, my Father, and it drowns out the depressing, lying voice of the enemy. I will not hear his voice; I will not believe his lies. You are my hope, my sustenance, and my joy.

When you hear the affirming words of your Beloved,
do not open your mouth to protest.
Accept them. Believe them. They’re really true.


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