When you want to get in shape, it’s actually through the process of tearing your muscles down that you build them up.
The first day of your workout isn’t so hard. But the next day, you’re in some serious pain. Everything hurts.
The next time, you feel weak, but you work out anyway. A couple of days later, you’re still weak and sore, but you’re also a little stronger. You increase the weights a bit, then you do a little more. Pretty soon, you notice that you’re getting stronger.
It is through the breaking-down process that the building up comes.
Difficulties make us stronger spiritually.
In the same way, we need to build up our spiritual muscles. God allows us to go through difficulties. He increases the weights on us. Pretty soon, we are benching a whole lot more than we ever thought possible. We’re learning more than we ever thought we would learn. We’re doing more than we ever thought we would do. Iron is entering our souls, and we are developing that heroic endurance, perseverance, and strength that only comes through difficulty.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome and said, “This doesn’t mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys—we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles. Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature character, and a character of this sort produces a steady hope, a hope that will never disappoint us. Already we have some experience of the love of God flooding through our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us. “(Romans 5:3-5, Phillips)
The Bible tells us, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4, NKJV). In the original language, the word used here for “patience” means, “perseverance,” “endurance,” “steadfastness,” or simply “staying power.”
If you find yourself going through a time of testing and trial, realize that God has a purpose in it. Most likely, He is preparing you and training you today for what He will do in your life tomorrow.
I’m speaking today from my new Follow Me! series from the Gospel of Matthew.
This message will show that nobody is beyond the reach of Jesus Christ.
It’s called “Satan, Society, and the Savior”.
Service times are 7:45, 9:45 and 11:45 AM and 5:00 PM.
It is also webcast at www.harvest.org.
Whew! What a week
I started by preaching in Seattle on Tuesday, Orange County on Thursday, and then Friday night in Pasadena at the KKLA anniversary event. BTW, that really went well!
KKLA is a first class operation overseen by station manager, Terry Fahy.
Director of programming Chuck Tyler does an outstanding job in selecting some of the top preachers (present company excluded of course) like Chuck Swindoll, John MacArthur, Alistair Begg, Raul Ries, and J.Veron McGee to share God’s Word every day.
At the event, John Tesh did a great job leading in worship (he is really a good piano player) and Kirk Cameron gave a powerful testimony of how he came to know Jesus.
Our own Harvest worship band did a special song and then I spoke. We were thrilled see 125 people respond to the call to accept Jesus Christ.
This Sunday at Harvest
This Sunday at Harvest we continue in our new series Follow Me! that is based on the Gospel of Matthew.
We will look at the story of a man who was demon-possessed and had been written off by everyone. . .except Jesus! It reminds us that nobody is a “hopeless case.”
You can come to one of our services or watch live on the Internet.
Our service times are 7:45/9:45/11:45 AM and 5:00 PM, PST.
You might want to check out my weekend column at Worldnetdaily. The topic this week is “God loves skeptics, too.”
You can also catch my long-form weekend devo on the topic, “Beware of Snakes” right here.
Good Morning, LA!
Tonight I am speaking at the KKLA 25th Anniversary Celebration.
There will also be special guests, John Tesh and Kirk Cameron.
If you are in the LA area, please come and join us.
For more info, go to
When you go to a place like Disneyland with your children, you know where they are.
You don’t leave the park and forget them, because you protect what you love. In the same way, God never forgets those He loves. Writing to first-century believers, Jude addressed his letter “to all who are called to live in the love of God the Father and the care of Jesus Christ (Jude 1, NLT).”
In the original language, the clear implication is, “You are continually kept by Jesus Christ.”
You are continually kept.
Continually kept. What could be more encouraging than that?
Whatever your difficulties may be today, you need to know that you are preserved in Christ, and that He will maintain His investment, which He purchased at such a great cost at the cross. He will protect you, preserve you, watch over you, and keep you.
You have your part as well.
But here’s something interesting: the Bible also tells us to keep ourselves in the love of God (Jude 21). Is this a contradiction? No. It’s merely two sides of the same coin. The Bible is teaching that God will keep us, but at the same time, we must keep ourselves in His love. We don’t keep ourselves saved, but we keep ourselves safe.
There are things we must do on a daily basis to keep ourselves in a place where God can actively bless us, and to keep ourselves away from all that is unlike Him, and those things that would drag us down spiritually.
Put on your body armor.
Attacks will certainly come our way. Were it not for the preserving grace of God, none of us would make it. Clearly, we are preserved, protected, and kept by the power of heaven. Let’s make sure we walk in that generous protection and covering of our God, putting it on like a garment—or body armor—every morning before our feet hit the floor.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, NLT).
Make sure to watch “An Evening of Hope” tonight on TBN.
It will also be available at www.harvest.org.
It’s a two-hour TV special featuring music by Phil Wickham, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Mercy Me.
It also features an interview with Dr. James Dobson.
If you are recording it,it is not listed as such,but will be in the
“Praise the Lord” slot on TBN,from 7:00-9:00 pm,PST.
This is as they say “Must watch TV” for anyone who is hurting,or has recently suffered a loss of a loved one.
It will also be live at the same time at www.harvest.org.
This weekend at Harvest, I will be speaking on the topic “Following Jesus through the Storms of Life” at all of our services.
7:45/9:45/11:45 am and 5:00 pm.
In the 5:00 service there will also be special music by The Daylights!
Also, check out my column at Worldnetdaily.com
“The Barrenness of Busyness”
I don’t know about you, but there are two places I don’t really like to go:
To the dentist’s office and the doctor’s office.
It seems even if it’s a teeth cleaning they will always find some other issue, which usually means that dental drill is coming out.
Don’t get me wrong. I have a great dentist and I know he is looking out for me. I am just not a fan of the strange torture-like devices dentists use. You know you are in trouble if, while doing work on you, your dentist asks you, “Is it safe?” (Obscure reference to a film there. Hint: The Marathon Man.)
The same goes for doctors. I suppose I am afraid they will find something wrong, and no one wants to hear that.
Jesus, the Good Doctor
Jesus compares Himself to a doctor in Mark’s Gospel. He said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Mark 2:17).
I also had a physical recently. I ran the treadmill, had my heart and blood pressure checked, blood tests…you name it, I got it. They will review everything and I will return for another appointment. He will then tell me what, if any, changes I need to make in my diet, activities, etc.
A good doctor does not give the same prescription to every patient. The thing is, you need to do what the doctor tells you!
You want to avoid this exchange:
Patient: It’s been one month since my last visit and I still feel miserable.
Doctor: Did you follow the instructions on the medicine I gave you?
Patient: I sure did – the bottle said “keep tightly closed.”
It’s important to note Jesus never dealt with any two people in exactly the same way.
God will come to us in a way we can understand. For instance, to Peter He said, “Follow me and I’ll make you a fisher of men.” For Peter, a fisherman who had caught nothing, this was a unique statement.
To the military man Joshua, He came as a general. To the conniving Jacob, as a wrestler.
Here is the point: God always meets us where we are.
Scripture says of the Lord, ”To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless,to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd’(Psalm 18:25-26 NIV).
A.W. Tozer, in his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, wrote:
“To the self-condemned, He is generous and kind,
To the frightened, He is friendly,
To the poor in spirit, He is forgiving.
To the ignorant, He is considerate,
To the weak, gentle,
To the stranger, hospitable.”
God will meet you where you are. Here’s the good news:
Jesus, the Great Physician, makes house calls!
They come blowing through every life.
Just yesterday, I heard four people tell me about the very real and intense hardships they are facing.
I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you are either in a storm of some kind or headed into another. Maybe you are facing a storm right now.
But here’s the good news: you are not alone in your crisis. Jesus Christ is there with you.
Three Kinds of Storms
There are three kinds of storms we will face in life:
#1 Correcting storms.
#2 Protecting storms.
#3 Perfecting storms.
I am going to talk about that TONIGHT at Harvest Orange County. This coming weekend I will speak on the same topic at HarvestRiverside and it will also be webcast.
So hold the course and remember: Jesus is with you in your storm!
For more info about Harvest Orange County go to oc.harvest.org.
As a child, I always wanted to go to Disneyland on my birthday.
I still remember making a vow in the backseat of the car, saying to myself that one day, when I became an adult, made my own money, and had my own wheels, I would go to Disneyland every single day.
And if I couldn’t do that, then at least I would go twice a week.
Some years ago, someone gave me an annual pass to Disneyland, which meant that I could go any time I wanted. But do you know how many times I actually went? Let’s just say that it wasn’t every day. It wasn’t even twice a week. There was always some reason for not going.
Twice a year is more like it.
We have access to God.
We can be that way with our access to the presence of God. We can go into His presence 24/7, anytime we want. Yet how often do we actually do that?
This was a radical concept for the people of Jesus’ day, specifically the Jews. The Gentiles had no hope whatsoever of entering the temple of the living God. Any attempt to do so was punishable by death. The Jews couldn’t go much further. A veil separated the rest of the temple from the Holy of Holies, where only the high priest could enter once a year to meet with God.
The wall between God and man is broken down.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “For Christ himself is our way of peace. He has made peace between us Jews and you Gentiles by making us all one family, breaking down the wall of contempt that used to separate us” (Ephesians 2:14, TLB).
Now through Jesus Christ, we have access into that most holy place. For the Jews, the veil has been ripped in two. For the Gentiles, the wall has been knocked down. We can all go into God’s presence because of the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed.
It’s a marvelous, incredible truth. But how do we benefit from this unspeakable privilege if we never take advantage of it? In fact, we don’t get to enjoy this wonderful reality simply by talking about it (or writing about it) or pondering about how amazing it is. The benefit comes when we actually enter His presence through the way made for us, bow low before His throne, and find the pleasure of His companionship.
In that moment, we enter into the great reality.