Monday, September 17, 2018

Don't Water Down Your Will Do

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I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire!  (Luke 24:32)

Don’t water down your will do.

What does that mean?

It’s so easy to shoot someone this email or text, and it’s just two words:  Will do.

Just two words, and yet your reputation, your character, your core integrity hinges on those two words.

If I say, “Turn out all the lights before you leave,” and you say, “Will do,” then you had better do it.

If I say, “Stop and see me the next time you are in Tallahassee,” and you say, “Will do...”  Uh oh.

If I say, “Say hi to your mom for me,” are you going to say, “Will do?”

Don’t water down your will do.

If you say “will do,” then make sure you do it.

Of course it’s not about saying “will do.”  Don’t start legalistically avoiding the phrase “will do.”  It’s about keeping your word.  It’s about doing what you say.  It’s about being trustworthy.  It’s about letting your yes be yes and your no be no, like Jesus said in Matthew 5:37.

I love what the old timers used to say.  Your word is your bond.

If you tell someone, “I’ll pick you up at 8,” then be there at 8.

If your wife tells you to pick up something on your way home from work, and you say you will, how are you going to remember that?  Set an alarm, tape a note to your steering wheel, whatever, just keep your word.

I gave my grandkids a “papa lecture” the other day.  I heard one of them say to the other, “I promise.”

I said, “You should never have to say, ‘I promise.’  If you say it, it’s a promise already.”

You should never have to say, “I guarantee it.”  If you say it, it’s already a guarantee.

Don’t say, “I swear to God,” or “I swear on a stack of Bibles,” or “I swear on my mother’s grave.”

Why would you have to say something stupid like that?

Here’s why:  because you didn’t take this life-changing advice.

Don’t water down your will do.

May God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Love It Anyway

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I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire!  (Luke 24:32)

“I wanted her to live her life.”

“What?”

“My mother.  She had some bad things happen in her life.”

“What did you want her to do?”

“I wanted her to love it anyway.”

That’s a quote from a movie that really stuck with me.  Although his mother’s life was riddled with hard things, he wanted his mother to love her life anyway.

Have you ever met someone who was just a downer?  Either life had given them a beating, or else their life wasn’t so bad, they just thought it was; and they became a downer, a crabby little Eeyore singing woe is me and raining on everyone’s parade.

Well, what can you do if life gives you a beating?

Love it anyway.  You can embrace it and run with it and milk it for all it’s worth.

I think of Jesus’ parable of the talents.  Some were given more than others, but all were expected to take the hand they were dealt and play it for good, for improvement, for growth and expansion and increase.

Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice!

This is the day that the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it!

Giving thanks always, for all things, to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Think on these things, whatever is true and noble and right, whatever is pure and lovely and admirable.  If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things.

Yes, maybe life has dealt you a blow.  Maybe your life is in the dumps, but...love it anyway.

God has given you life.  Love it anyway.

Your children aren’t doing what you want?  Love them anyway.

Your husband isn’t St. Peter?  Love him anyway.

Your wife isn’t the virgin Mary?  Love her anyway.

Your church isn’t the best in the west?  Love it anyway.

Your job is unpleasant?  Love it anyway.

God our Father is lavishing His love on you!  He is giving you everything you need for life and godliness.  All His promises are yes and amen.  Every perfect gift comes from above, and how willing God is to give good things to those who ask Him!

So whatever your life looks like today, whatever trash got dumped on you, whatever blows you’ve taken...your life is still a precious gift from God, so...

Love it anyway.

May God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.



Friday, May 25, 2018

Lord Let This Land Yield Her Increase

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I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire!  (Luke 24:32)

Here’s a prayer I’ve been praying lately, “Lord, let this land yield her increase.”

It’s based on Psalm 85:12 where it says, “The Lord shall give that which is good, and our land shall yield her increase.”

I think your “land” can be whatever God has given you, whatever opportunities you have.  I think your job is your land.  Your family is your land.  Your business is your land.  Your church is your land.

I think we can learn from Jesus’ Parable of the Talents that God gives us raw materials, or land if you will, and He is looking for an increase.

Of course we can work and work and work and work, but like it says in Psalm 127, unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.

Unless the Lord gives the increase, we labor in vain.

And so I pray, “Lord, let this land yield her increase.”

And then I got to thinking, “You know, that word ‘let,’ it’s kind of weak.  It seems passive.  “Lord ‘let’ this happen.”  I don’t want Him to let it happen.  I want Him to MAKE it happen! 

So I was searching the Scriptures, looking for a way to beef up this prayer, to replace the word “let.”

And then I stumbled across Genesis chapter one, and what an eye opener.  It really puts a new spin on this word “let.”  I mean, when God says “let,” it’s not weak or passive.

Let there be light!

Let the dry land appear!

Let the earth bring forth plants!

Let lights appear in the sky!

Let the waters abound with living creatures and the skies be filled with birds!

Let the earth bring forth every sort of animal!

Check out this Hebrew word, Hayah.  You find it in Genesis 1:3 translated “Let there be.”  Hayah.

So this word “let” is pretty powerful after all, and well fitting for this prayer, which I encourage you to pray over all the “land” the Lord has given you:  your business, your home, your marriage, your family, your career, your church, all your opportunities; over all of it you can pray this simple but powerful prayer.

“Lord, please let this land yield her increase.”

Amen.

May God bless you, today.

With Apples of Gold...I’m Doug Apple.



Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Three Levels of Forgiveness

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I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire!  (Luke 24:32)

Here is a teaching that will literally revolutionize your life.

It’s called The Three Levels of Forgiveness.

The first level is Rookie Forgiveness.  Rookie forgiveness is when you get hurt, you suffer for a while, and then you forgive. 

The question is, how long do you wait between the offense and the forgiveness?  How long do you suffer in anger, hatred and bitterness?  A week?  A month?  A year?  Half your life?

What if you do like the movies and just blast your offender and take your revenge.  Would that solve the problem?  No, and here’s why.  The offender will die, but the offense lives on!  It will live on inside of you until…

Until you forgive.

So how long do you wait to forgive?  Why wait at all?  And that brings us to the second level of forgiveness.

After Rookie Forgiveness, the second level is:  Instant Forgiveness.

This is where you forgive your offenders instantly.  As soon as you see the offense coming, you forgive before it even hits you.  You don’t take the hit because you forgive them instantly. 

You hear someone talking behind your back.  Forgive them.  Instantly.

“Well Doug, that means I’m letting them get away with it!”

Ah, and that’s the problem with all of this forgiveness, isn’t it?  We feel like we are letting the offender get away with it.

But you know, you can forgive...AND hold accountable.  The accountability just won’t be in anger, hatred, revenge and bitterness.

For example, when a toddler screams, “Mommy, I hate you!”

The mom doesn’t take offense.  She instantly forgives and goes straight to loving correction. 

So someone steals from you?  Instantly forgive, and hold them accountable...in love, though, not hatred.

So you don’t want to practice instant forgiveness?  Keep in mind the other option is rookie forgiveness, where you go ahead and take the hit, suffer for a while, and then eventually you are going to have to forgive them anyway. 

So that is level two:  Instant Forgiveness.  We should be tossing out forgivenesses like candy at a parade.  Forgive.  Forgive.  Forgive.  See an offense coming?  Forgive.

Like I said, it will revolutionize your life!  And your marriage and your family and your church and your workplace.

And then comes the third level:  Preemptive Forgiveness.

You know offenses are coming.  Jesus said, “It is impossible that no offenses should come...”  They are coming, so forgive them now, ahead of time!

“But Doug, that’s impossible.”

Think of it like an emergency bank account.  You know something is going to break, so you put money in the account ahead of time.

So go ahead and put some forgiveness in the account ahead of time, knowing the offenses will come.  You don’t know who.  You don’t know when.  You don’t know why.  Maybe it’s next Christmas when Aunt Mable will make a horrible crack about you.  Maybe it’s five years from now when your brother will swindle you out of your dad’s inheritance.  We’re not asking for trouble ahead of time.  We just know that someone is going to do something that hurts us, small or large or even criminal. 

So send out a preemptive strike of forgiveness!  I forgive you now, whoever you are.

And then, when the time comes, and the devil rears his ugly head and goes on the attack...too late. I already forgave that five years ago.

And that sets you free to go on the attack yourself!  Not the attack of anger or hatred or vengeance.  It’s the attack of love, loving everyone, including enemies, through the power of God in me, the Holy Spirit who empowers me to love and to love and to love and to love.

And it all starts with forgiveness.

So think about it.  What level do you want?

There’s Rookie Forgiveness, where you take the hit, suffer for a while, and then finally forgive.

There’s Instant Forgiveness, where you avoid the hit by forgiving instantly, as soon as you see the offense coming.

And there’s Preemptive Forgiveness, where you go ahead and forgive the offender now, before the offense even happens.

Set yourself free from offense and hatred and anger and bitterness and revenge!

Revolutionize your life with the power of forgiveness.

May God bless you, today.

With Apples of Gold...I’m Doug Apple.



Monday, November 06, 2017

How to Overcome the Flesh

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I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire!  (Luke 24:32)

“Yeah, but how can I overcome the flesh?

That’s what someone asked me, and it’s a good question.

Different sins can get hold of different people – Christian people – and sometimes they even battle those sins, and lose.

So what’s the answer?  How can you overcome the flesh, and the sin and temptation that go with it?

My advice is don’t try to tackle it head on, but turn your attention elsewhere.

Dealing with the flesh can be like dealing with a toddler.  You can fight all day with a toddler about that thing they are fixated on, but sometimes it’s just better to say, “Hey, how about a popsicle?”  Then they squeal with delight, run to the kitchen, and forget all about that other thing.

In the same way you can battle your flesh all day long.  “Drop that sin.  Drop that sin.  Drop that sin.”  But the flesh wants to hold onto it.

So what do you replace it with?

Instead of fighting the flesh head on, you present yourself to the Lord, and keep presenting yourself to the Lord.  “Lord, here I am.  I’m all Yours.”

Romans 6:13 tells us to present ourselves to God.

Romans 12:1 tells us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God.

I like the words of the new song “Broken Things” by Matthew West.  It says, “But if it’s true You use broken things, then here I am, Lord, I’m all Yours.”

I recommend doing it everyday.  Lift your hands in surrender to heaven and present yourself as a living sacrifice to God.  “Lord, here I am.  I’m all Yours.  I want to do want You want me to do, say what You want me to say, be what You want me to be.  I want to bear good eternal fruit and I can only do that in You.”

So how do we overcome the flesh?  We keep presenting ourselves to the Lord each and every day, and when our hearts and minds are fixated on Him, it just doesn’t leave any room for the flesh.

May God bless you, today.




Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Spiritual Growth: Outwardly Inward and Inwardly Outward

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I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire!  (Luke 24:32)

I asked a young man how his spiritual growth was going.

He said, “I’m reading the Bible a lot, and several devotionals.”

I said, “And how is that impacting you?”

He said, “I’m always looking for personal applications – how I can apply what I learn.”

And that, my friend, is one half of spiritual growth, what I call outwardly inward.

You read the Bible, you hear a sermon, you read your daily devotion, you listen to a teacher, you talk to Christian friends and hold one another accountable.  That is outwardly inward.  It starts outside of you, you receive it, and you allow it inside of you to change your heart and mind.

And then there is inwardly outward.  What is that?

That is when the Holy Spirit inside of you is teaching you and leading you, convicting you and encouraging you and cheering you on...from the inside of you.

In John 7, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be inside of us, and would be like rivers of living water, flowing from the inside out.

Hebrews 10:16 says, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them.”

This is what the Holy Spirit does.  He brings us spiritual growth from the inside out.  It begins inwardly and works outward.

So when you are looking at your spiritual growth, look for two things.

Are you reading and listening and learning from the Bible and teachers and preachers, and applying what you’ve heard?

AND...is the Holy Spirit speaking inside of you, leading and guiding and teaching you, and raising up the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit inside of you?

Because that is how spiritual growth takes place:  outwardly inward and inwardly outward.

May God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.




Thursday, October 19, 2017

I Am One of the Triumphs of His Grace

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I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire!  (Luke 24:32)

Maybe you’ve sung it a thousand times.



O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King, the triumphs of His grace!

The triumphs of His grace.

When I sing that line, my heart cries out with joy:  I am one!

I am one of the triumphs of His grace.

He set me free!  He delivered me from the net of the fowler.

Have you ever heard that illustration?

Psalm 91:3 says, “Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler...”

A fowler catches birds, so imagine the tricks.

Maybe he throws down bird seed and all the birds come out and eat.  Then he drops the net and they are caught!

That’s what the world does, and our sin and our flesh and our selfishness and our pride.  Out goes the tempting seed, and in we rush, right into the stupid place, where the fowler is waiting.

Have you ever been caught in that trap?  A lot of birds die in that trap, and yet here I am, a trophy of His grace.

How many times has the fowler wanted to spring the trap on me...but God.

But God, my Redeemer, saved me from the snares of the fowler.

The fowler sprung the trap, dropped the net, and many birds were caught.  I can see the net coming down.  I can see it starting to snare my feet, and just in time God snatches me out.

He spared my feet from the net of the fowler.

And that’s why I sing the triumphs of His grace, because I am one!

I am one of the triumphs of His grace...all glory and praise and thanks be to God.

May God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.