Thursday, March 23, 2017

Power Through

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

What might you have been excellent at if you had powered through?

Let me say it again.

What might you have been excellent at – if you had powered through?

See, we’re all made in the image of God.  He created us, and He packed us with individual gifts and talents. 

But it’s raw material.

It’s like the planet.  God created it, and He packed it full of astounding raw materials.  And I think we have only just begun to discover all the amazing things He put here.

The same is true with us.  Every one of us.  He packed us full of raw materials, but they are hidden.  They are under the surface.  It’s not obvious.  We have to dig, excavate, plow, work it.

I hate to see young people squandering so much time.  I hate to see anyone wasting time, but especially young people, who are still so much like an undiscovered land.  What might they be able to do if they just worked at it?

That’s the problem with raw materials.  They require a lot of work.

Phil Collins became known as one of the best drummers in the world.  But as a child it was just bare, raw materials.  He liked to hit things in a rhythm.

But he worked it, hard.  In his new autobiography he writes, “I must have put in my 10,000 hours before I’m even a teenager...when I’m home, I drum, to the exclusion of pretty much all else.”

You are a wonderland of raw materials, just waiting for you to discover!  What are you good at?  What can you be great at? 

Whatever it is, greatness never comes easy.  You start with the raw materials, and then you work.  You work, man!

You work now, so you don’t end up older with someone like me saying, “Just think - what might you have been excellent at if you had just powered through?

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

But You Don't Want to Go to Church


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

We lay down our lives for the brethren.

But you don’t want to go to church.

First John 3:16 says, “...we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

That’s our Christian brothers and sisters...the brethren.

It’s our fellow Christians and our fellow church members, and we’re supposed to LAY DOWN OUR LIVES for them.

But you don’t want to go to church.

“This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (NIV)

When you lay down your life, you give up your own wants and desires.  You say, “What I want?  I give that up. I give it up to be with you, to love you, to help you, to serve you, my brothers and sisters.”

Man, what would the church look like if we did this? 

God has placed every believer in the body of Christ, and we all are assigned a particular part in the body.  We all have gifts and talents and resources to be spent in the service of the body.  The body will thrive and grow (be edified) as we each fulfill our part.

The church would look like a wonderland of love and service!  And the fulfillment and satisfaction level would be out of this world!

But you don’t want to go to church.

Or you’re a church consumer, shopping around like a little Me Monster for the Me Me Me.

Man, that’s the OPPOSITE.

Going to church is about finding your brothers and sisters, connecting with them in the body of Christ, serving with them, working together along side in the mission of Jesus Christ!

We serve one another humbly in love.  (Galatians 5:13)

Because He laid down His life for us, we ought to LAY DOWN OUR LIVES for each other.

But you don’t want to go to church.

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

A Just Man



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

I want to be a just man, like Noah.

Genesis says Noah was a just man, and he walked with God.

I want to be a just man, like John the Baptist.

Mark 6:20 says that Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man...and holy.

I want to be a just man, like Joseph of Arimethea. 

Luke says, “Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man.”

I want to be like that:  a good and just man.

I want to be a just man like Cornelius.

Acts 10:22 says Cornelius the centurion was a just man, one who feared God and had a good reputation.

Hardly anyone in the Bible is called “just,” but I want to be like them, a just man.

Proverbs 9:9 says, “Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”

“Lord, I want that.  I don’t want to be a fool who can’t learn his lessons.  Lord, I want to be a just man who increases in learning.”

Proverbs 20:7 says the just man walks in his integrity.  His children are blessed.

“Lord, I want to be that man, the just man, with integrity, whose children are blessed!”

Proverbs 24:16 says a just man falls seven times...and rises up again!

“Thank You, Lord, that even if I stumble I will rise up again!  By Your Spirit I will keep the faith.  I will run the race.  I will live for You and love You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.”

“Lord Jesus, I am clay on the wheel.  Mold me into the man You want me to be.”

A good man.

A holy man.

A just man.

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.



Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Selfish Little Baby Wah Wah Wahs


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

Selfishness is like a pac-man.

It just keeps eating and eating and is never satisfied.

If you live to please yourself, you will never be satisfied.

I want this. I want that. I want her. I want him.

You can consume all the dots, gobble them up, every dot you see, and you won’t be satisfied.

Selfishness is sin, and you don’t gobble up sin. It gobbles up you!


Selfishness wrecks marriages and families. It wrecks businesses and churches. And it will wreck your life.


To the degree that you are selfish, to that degree you will be hollow.

But there is a glorious alternative!

Jesus died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him. (2 Corinthians 5:15)

As Christians, the key is that we no longer live for ourselves, but for God.

We take our eyes off of ourselves, off our desires, our wants, our selfish little baby wah-wah-wahs.

 
And we fix our eyes on Jesus!  We focus on Him and we run towards Him!

We want what He wants! We desire what He desires.

Our heart is turned toward Him. We surrender to Him. We love Him and desire Him, and we soak up His Spirit and are filled with the Holy Spirit and fire!

He sets us on fire for Him, for God, for eternity. Our eyes are fixed on heavenly things! And like the old song says, the things of this earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

And selfishness? It melts and disappears, like cotton candy dropped in the ocean.

“He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Think of the Crown of Thorns

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

Think of the crown of thorns, brother.

When you think you’re going to sin a little, and it’s okay, because Jesus forgave you, or will forgive you, or whatever….think of the crown of thorns, brother.

Of all the things He suffered, man, He suffered for our SINS.

Those sins that separated us from God, He suffered for those.

He suffered so we could be forgiven and made right with God.

And then we’ll so easily return to the hog slop...after a meal with the King has been prepared?

“But I’m saved, Doug, I’m free! I have the righteousness of Christ so I’m free from the bondage of the law. I live under grace, so I can pretty much do whatever I want.”

I’m saying take a good, hard look, under the bright light. Then answer the question, “Is it sin?”

If it is, drop it. Drop it immediately and walk away.

And if you need a little motivation, remember that our forgiveness came at a price, and a transaction was made, and if you are a saved, born again Christian, you are not your own. You belong to God and you were bought at a price, therefore glorify God in your body and your spirit, which belong to God. (First Corinthians 6)

We. Belong. To God.

He saved us so we could be with Him, be close to Him, be His.

We are His. We are to be like Him. And He is holy.

And our sin, even as His children, will block up the works, quench and grieve His Spirit, and make us stink.

So the next time you are willing to throw caution to the wind and step your big boot right into that steamy, stenchy cow pie of sin...think of the crown of thorns, brother.

Think of the crown of thorns.

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Look a Fright

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

So there you are, looking in the mirror again.

Every morning, looking in the mirror, and making adjustments.

How much of our life is spent looking in the mirror and making adjustments?

But thank goodness we do!

I’m not sure I want to live in a world where y’all aren’t making those daily adjustments. 

But what if you didn’t have a mirror?  I mean literally, what if you went day after day without being able to look in the mirror, see what you look like, and make those daily adjustments?

You’d be a mess.  As we say here in the South, “You’d look a fright!”

Well the same thing happens spiritually. 

Every day we need to look in the mirror of the Word, the Bible, see what we look like, and make adjustments (James 1:25)

If we don’t make those daily adjustments based on the mirror of the Word, we look a fright...spiritually, that is.

One good thing is that the Word of God stays the same, like a mirror that gives a true reflection every time.

Imagine a crazy mirror that gives different reflections every time you look at it.  That’s what the world is like.  Just think if social media was your mirror, and you tried to groom your soul on that ever-changing fickleness.

Or the world’s idea of beauty or strength or success.  It’s a shifting mirror! 

But the Word of God is a good mirror, never changing, ever true.

James 1:17 – in God there is “no variation or shadow of turning.”

Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.”

So to be our best, morally and spiritually, we must continue to look daily into the mirror of  the Word, and make those adjustments that take away the wretchedness and help us become the beautiful creations that God has created us to be.

 
God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Squeeze It Into the Glove


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

When I was helping little leaguers stop dropping the ball, I would tell them, “Squeeze it into the glove!”

I know it seems obvious, but really, they didn’t all know to do that, to just squeeze the glove and hold it once they had the ball.

Now if you’re laughing at the poor kid who didn’t know about squeezing the ball into the glove, let me ask you...have you ever dropped your phone? Is your phone screen cracked right now, even as we speak?

You gotta squeeze it into the glove!

I mean, there you are, your phone is in your hand...and then you drop it. It just falls out of the glove, so to speak.

You gotta take more care. You gotta get a handle on it, get a firm grip on it. Otherwise it’s going to slip and you’re going to drop it.

And the same is true with God’s Word. And it’s far more important than catching a baseball and more valuable than your phone.

You gotta squeeze it into the glove!

So the preacher preaches a great word, and there was especially that one point that really hit home, really hit you where you live. Write it down, man! Meditate on it. Let it sink in, sink deep, take root. Learn it. Live it. Love it. Share it. Shine it!

You read the Bible, and something hits you solid. It makes your heart burn within you. Now what? Underline it, man! Highlight it! Put it on a post it note. Memorize it. Let that thing set your heart on fire!

I should be able to ask you right now, “What Bible verse really has you lit up these days?”

Jesus said, “The sower went out to his seed.” The seed is the Word, and it’s hitting soil...and you and I are the soil.

Here comes the seed of the Word! It’s coming at you. What do you do? Does it bounce off? Or maybe you catch it, for like a minute, and then you inexplicably let it fall to the ground.

Come on, man! You gotta squeeze it into the glove.

Squeeze it into the glove, man.

Squeeze it into the glove.

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.