Monday, August 14, 2017

Reporting for Duty, Sir

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

In the morning my alarm goes off.  I roll out of bed, get down on a knee, point a finger to heaven and say, “Reporting for duty, Sir.”

I want to hit the ground running for Jesus.  I want to be the guy in 2 Timothy 2:3, “...a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

Being a soldier in a huge army simplifies some things.

A soldier doesn’t have to make up things to do each day.  He is TOLD what to do.  He has orders, and his agenda is to obey those orders.

You don’t do whatever you feel like.  You don’t do what everyone else is doing.  You don’t go with the flow or look out for number one.  You do what you are TOLD to do by your commanding officer.

So being a good soldier of Jesus Christ simplifies your schedule.

It also simplifies your education.  So many people today are trying to figure out what they want to do to and what education they need.

But a soldier submits himself to the commander, and the commander orders the training that prepares the soldier for the mission.

And being a soldier means being provided for.  A soldier doesn’t worry about his provisions.  That’s the army’s job.  Food.  Clothing.  Shelter.  Weapons.  All provided for the soldier.

Now I know that being a good soldier of Jesus Christ is not the same as being a soldier in an army.

And yet that is how I approach each day.  I say to Jesus my Commander, “Show me Thy ways, O Lord.  Teach me Thy paths.  What do You want me to do?  How do You want me to do it?  When do You want me to do it?  Lord, I want to do YOUR will every day.  I want to follow You as my Good Shepherd, as my Provider and Leader and Commander.”

So my alarm goes off.  I roll out of bed, get down on a knee, bow my head, point a finger to heaven and say, “Reporting for duty, Sir.”

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Friday, June 30, 2017

My Eyes Are Ever Toward the Lord

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

My eyes are ever toward the Lord, to behold the beauty of the Lord.

That’s my own personal mix of Psalm 25:15 and Psalm 27:4.

Add to that the message of Psalm 101:3, I will set before my eyes no vile thing.

What a contrast! 

We can ever turn our eyes toward the Lord to behold the beauty of the Lord, or we can set before our eyes vile things.

And when we set before our eyes vile things, it BLINDS us to the beauty of the Lord.

You say, “Man, I’m TRYING to see the beauty of the Lord, but I’m not seeing it.”

Maybe it’s because you are setting before your eyes vile things, and it’s blinding you to the beauty of the Lord.

You say, “What is the beauty of the Lord, anyway?  It’s not like we can look into heaven and see it.”

You can look into your HEART and see it...if Jesus is there.

If God is in your heart, you can easily see His beauty in the work He is doing sovereignly in your life.

You can see His beauty in His creation.  You can see His beauty in His concepts like love and peace and joy, righteousness and justice and holiness.

Imagine going to a theater and watching a vile movie.  It’s vile, but it’s exciting and bold and loud.  You’re on the edge of your seat, captivated.

Then you walk out of the theater, and there’s a little flower springing up through the cracks of the sidewalk.  It’s beautiful and amazing.  Miraculous!  Uncreatable by any mere mortal. 

But we are blinded to it by the vile, bold and brassy.  We wonder where the beauty of the Lord is while we walk right over it.

Make a vow today.  I will set before my eyes no vile thing.

Instead, my eyes are ever toward the Lord, to behold the beauty of the Lord.

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

What Then?

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

Second Corinthians 2:11 says we are not unaware of the devil’s devices.

Whenever I read that I think, “Oh yes we are.”

Jesus called Satan “the father of lies,” so if you ever fell for the lies of a man, how quickly will you fall for the schemes of the master deceiver?

He’s as smooth as a snake, but here is one way to smoke him out. 

Ask the question, “What then?”

For example, you had a terrible week and you just need some relief.  Then someone invites you to a place where the alcohol is flowing.  There’s your relief!

But what then?  You get drunk and forget your problems, but what then?  Get drunk again and forget again?  But what then?

See?  Asking “what then” pokes holes in Satan’s stupid, gassy temptations.  They cannot hold up to the What Then line of questioning.

So you’re having problems in your marriage.  Meanwhile, this other person really understands  you.  They get you.  They even like you!  You’d rather go spend time with them than go home to your unhappy mate.  The game is afoot.

But what then?  So you spend time with them.  What then?  Are you going to bust up your family, break your vows, squander friendships and shipwreck your integrity?  And for what?

But when God leads you, and you follow His ways, the What Then question brings fulfilling answers!

If you are having marriage problems, maybe you get some marital counseling.  What then?  Then you learn and grow together and solve some problems.  What then?  Then you are building a home and family on deeper love and respect.  When then?  Then you grow old together, fully respected by family and friends, with a deep and lasting family legacy which can be replicated by generations to come!

So yes, the devil has his devices, but we do not need to be unaware.

And one way to unmask him is to ask this simple question.

What then?

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Wisdom Preserves You

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

Wisdom preserves you.

If you want to save yourself, if you want to preserve yourself, get some wisdom!

Proverbs 4 says, “Get wisdom...she will preserve you.”  (NKJV)

One great example is your teeth.

What are three obvious things that wisdom says will preserve your teeth?

Well, it’s wise to brush your teeth.

It’s wise to floss your teeth.

And it’s wise to go to the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups.

Follow this wisdom and your teeth will be preserved.

And yet I know so many people who chuck this wisdom out the window.  And what is going to happen?  Their teeth are not going to be preserved.

Think of tobacco products.  Wisdom says, “Don’t use tobacco products and you will be preserved.”

Now I’m thinking of the woman my age who has been smoking, I guess, since high school, and when I saw her Facebook picture I was aghast!  She almost looked old enough to be my mother, because all that smoking was sucking the life out of her.

Wisdom, though, would have preserved her.

My dad had a bad motorcycle accident when I was in high school.  His wisdom in wearing a helmet preserved his life.  But his wisdom in not riding motorcycles since then preserved him from all such accidents.

Wisdom in wearing a helmet will obviously preserve you if you have an accident, and wisdom in choosing a car over a motorcycle means you will never, ever be harmed on your motorcycle.

Wisdom preserves you, so get wisdom! 

You ate that questionable food and ended up writhing in the bathroom.

Wisdom preserves you!

In your health.  In your marriage.  In your family.  In your career.  In your business.  In your church.  In all things, keep working to grow in wisdom, because one thing is clear.

Wisdom preserves you.

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Turn Thee Unto Me

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

Here is a simple prayer you can pray anytime, for anyone, starting with yourself.

Four simple words:  turn Thee unto me.

Turn Thee unto me.

Yes, that’s the old King James English, and it’s pretty simple.  It’s a simple prayer saying, “Lord, please turn towards me.”

And when the Lord turns toward us...well imagine a shepherd surrounded by sheep.  Then imagine the shepherd turning his attention specifically to one particular sheep.  He kneels down.  He cares for the sheep.  He loves on the sheep.  He checks on the sheep.

A sheep never feels more loved and secure and KNOWN than when the shepherd turns toward that particular sheep.

And that’s what this prayer encapsulates.  “Lord, turn Thee unto me.”

It’s asking for God’s specific attention, for His specific favor and care and love and mercy.  It’s asking for His guidance and wisdom and light.

It all comes when the Shepherd turns Thee unto me.

So you can pray this for yourself, just like David did in Psalm 25:16.

Or you can pray it for others, anyone and everyone!

“Lord, turn Thee unto my brother.”  “Lord, turn Thee unto my sister.”  Lord, turn Thee unto my boss and my coworkers and my pastor and my church.”  “Lord, turn Thee unto our president and our senators and congressmen.”

It’s a powerful prayer, and it doesn’t require a bunch of words, because there is an eternity full of power in this one simple prayer.

“Turn Thee unto me.”

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Friday, May 05, 2017

A Robe of Light

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

He covers Himself with light, as with a garment.

He’s wearing a robe of...not white...but LIGHT.

A robe of light.

Psalm 104 says it, and let that sink in for a minute.

The Lord our God wraps Himself in light.

I don’t know if you’ve ever studied the properties of light, but they are amazing.

And if you think God created light when He created the sun, moon and stars, think again.

In Genesis 1:3, on Day One, God said, “Let there be light.”

Then He didn’t create the traditional sources of light until DAY FOUR.

It’s impossible to imagine this, because when it comes to light, all we know is light that comes from a light source.

But when God wraps Himself with light as with a garment, it’s not because a spotlight is on Him.  It’s not because He is wearing a garment full of light bulbs like some crazy Vegas show.

He is wrapped in pure, total, original light.  The kind of light that came before the sun, moon and stars!

And it’s like nothing we’ve ever seen, or even can see!

First Timothy 6:16 says that God dwells in unapproachable light.

And remember that light includes gamma rays and X-rays and radio waves and microwaves.  It’s shooting out photons of energy, and no wonder “no man can approach!”

So when Psalm 104:1 says God is clothed in majesty, don’t think of purple robes and shiny baubles, but think of this.

God robes Himself in light.

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Start at the End and Work Backwards

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

The ink is going to run.

If you don’t think of that, you’re going to make a bad newspaper ad like the one I’m looking at.

The words are white, surrounded by color.  I’m sure it looked good on the computer screen, but they didn’t think about the end result, so the ink bled into the small, white letters making them impossible to read.

When you design a sign, don’t start on your computer screen.  Go out and stand where the sign will be posted.  Start at the end and work backwards.

One local church spent the money and posted a beautiful billboard; but I guess they didn’t go look at the site.  The billboard was surrounded by trees, but what did they do?  They made the billboard green, too! 

This is great advice in so many areas of life:  start at the end and work backwards.

I want to grow old and live out my days with the wife of my youth.  I knew that the day we married, so looking at that end helps me make wise decisions today.

Parenting – wow.  My end was that I wanted my children to grow up and be self-sustaining adults, contributing to society, and having their own relationship with Jesus; so I made my parenting decisions with those end results in mind.

And our own lives.  How do we decide what to do each day?  What do we value?  What gets our time and attention and resources?

Start at the end and work backwards, and the end I’m thinking of is the judgment seat of Christ.

Romans 14:10 says, “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”

So how are you planning your life?

Start at the end and work backwards.

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.