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.




Monday, April 17, 2017

How to Read Medieval Art

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

How to Read Medieval Art.

That’s the name of the new book I picked up at the library.

How to Read Medieval Art.

So you mean there are hidden messages and clues in the art, like a mystery?  I’m in!  Give me that book.

Then I read something very interesting in the foreword, which was written by Thomas P. Campbell, the director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It’s also known as The Met in New York City, it’s the largest art museum in the United States, and it’s among the most visited art museums in the world.

In the foreword he points out that much of medieval art is based on biblical themes.  Now listen to this.  He wrote, “To modern readers and museum visitors, the narratives of the Judeo-Christian tradition may be as unfamiliar as those of Egyptian gods.”

Wow.

So here we are, with more Christian publishing, more Bibles, more books, more media, more websites, more preaching, and probably more churches and evangelism than ever.

And yet medieval art with biblical themes requires special explanation, similar to what we need to understand long-defunct, ancient Egyptian gods.

Can that be true?

It may be – partly because a chunk of the people hanging around at The Met are probably not prone to be in church this Sunday.

But even among church-going Christians, studies show a plunge in biblical literacy, especially among younger people.

Well, we can’t change the world, but we can make sure that in our homes and families, and in our churches, we are providing the education and teaching and biblical training that’s needed.

If we don’t, the truths of God are going to seem as mysterious to coming generations as some ancient Egyptian god.

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

How is Your Family Dynasty?

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

Have you heard of the dynasty of King Jeroboam?

No, because it never happened.

Oh, it should have happened.  The dynasty of Jeroboam was foretold by the prophet.

In First Kings 11:38, it was Ahijah, the prophet of Shiloh, who told Jeroboam that God was going to make him king, and that God would give him a family dynasty...IF he would listen to the Lord’s commands and do what was right in God’s eyes.

And you know what?  That’s what I want to do!  It’s my heart’s desire and my prayer.  “Lord, I want to listen to Your commands.  I want to walk in Your ways.  I want to follow You, Good Shepherd, every day!”

And that, my friend, is how you build your family dynasty.

You establish your family dynasty on the foundation of God and His ways. 

Look around and see.  Families that put God in the center and walk in His ways – those are strong families.  They aren’t riddled and pockmarked with divorce, adultery, abuse and neglect. 

So how are you doing with your family dynasty? 

The good news is that, even if your family is a garbage heap up until now, you can change that starting today.  Start following God, walk in His ways and you will immediately begin to see the foundation start to firm up beneath you.

But poor Jeroboam.  He decided to ignore the prophet.

Some of the saddest words in the Bible are found in 1 Kings 12:28.  After seeking advice, Jeroboam made two golden calves.

He took the promise of the prophet and chucked it. 

No dynasty for Jeroboam.

But we can build a rich family dynasty!...when we seek the Lord with all of our heart and desire to walk in His ways.

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.