Monday, May 13, 2019

FOMO: The Fear of Missing Out

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

I guess you’ve heard of FOMO:  the Fear Of Missing Out.

Sometimes it motivates teenagers to do stupid things.  And adults.

When you hear people spout this trendy phrase “no regrets,” it’s often coming from the same source.  They say things like, “My only regrets would be the things I didn’t do.”

See it?  It’s the fear of missing out.  And some people have the attitude, “I would rather sin and live with the consequences than risk missing out on something.”

Wow.  That’s almost crazy.  It’s probably a thought from the pits of hell, one of the wiles of the devil, a deception to blind the eyes and get people to do things that God says are wrong.

But look closely.  It plays right into a true human fear – the fear of missing out on something good, on something great, on the opportunity of a lifetime.  Truly, none of us wants to miss out on something so good.

So could there be a positive side to this fear of missing out?

I think so, and it’s rooted in this phrase found so often in the Bible:  the fear of the Lord.

One way I fear the Lord is that I fear missing out on what He has for me, His plans, His desires, His goals.  I don’t want to miss out by not following His ways, His rules, His precepts and statutes, His laws and commandments.

Yes, I’m saved by grace, and yes I live in His grace, but I also want to walk in His Spirit, not in the flesh.  I want to build on rock and not on sand.  I must not grieve or quench His Holy Spirit, or I risk missing out on what God has for me today and everyday.

So when it comes to FOMO, the fear of missing out, that is what I fear missing out on.  I fear missing God and His good, pleasing and perfect will.  I fear missing His leading as my Good Shepherd.  I fear missing His voice, His direction, His, “This is the way, walk ye in it.”  I fear sinning and putting myself in a place apart from the dead center bullseye of His will. 

I fear that, because I know that His ways are good.  His ways are awesome.  His ways are the best, both for eternity and for now.

So FOMO?  Yes, it steers my life each and every day.  I must live and walk by the Holy Spirit of God, because I truly have the fear of missing out:  the fear of missing out on all that God has for me.

May God bless you today!

I’m Doug Apple.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Are You Reading the Bible by Rote?

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

Are you reading the Bible by rote?

I just heard someone say that, that they were just reading the Bible by rote.

In other words, they were just being mechanical, doing it because they knew they should, sticking to their schedule...through the Bible in a year, baby!

Of course scheduled Bible reading is a beautiful thing, unless you aren’t getting anything out of it.

Maybe you are reading the Bible because you know you should, but it’s rote, it’s mechanical, it’s lifeless.  The Spirit’s not in it, and by that I mean the Holy Spirit.

So what can you do?

Here is a sure fire Bible reading plan:  read until your heart burns within you. 

That’s what happens when God opens the Scriptures to you.  His Holy Spirit will suddenly leap inside you, basically saying, “There it is!  Look at that.  Focus on it.  Ponder it.  Meditate on it.  Learn it and let it sink into your heart.”

 It’s His Spirit testifying with your spirit about God’s truth.

That’s what happened to the men on the road to Emmaus.  They were walking along, and suddenly a stranger joined them.  The stranger began to open up the Scriptures to them with power and authority.  Finally their eyes were opened to see that it was actually the newly resurrected Jesus...and then Jesus disappeared.

And what was their exclamation?  What excited them so?  Here is what they said in Luke 24:32, “Did not our heart burn within us...while He opened the Scriptures to us?”

And I think God does the same thing today.  We read the Bible, and suddenly our heart burns within us, suddenly His Holy Spirit leaps within us as certain words jump out at us, or as the men on the road to Emmaus put it, He opens the Scriptures to us.

The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth, and Jesus said the Holy Spirit will teach us all things and guide us into all truth.

How does He do that?  One way is by opening the Scriptures to us by making certain verses at certain times spring to life!

So watch for it.  Try reading the Bible, not until you meet your quota, or not until you finish the chapter, but simply read until God opens the Scripture to you, making your heart burn within you.

May God bless you read His Word today!

I’m Doug Apple.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

The Super Six

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

Okay, here’s my Super Six:  six simple things that will radically change your life, and they come in pairs.  Here’s the first pair.

Eat Right and Exercise

Why don’t we eat right?  Why do we shovel some of that junk into our mouth when we KNOW it’s not good for us?  And why do we turn up our nose at some of the delicious, natural food that God designed to perfectly operate our bodies?  It makes no sense.  So let’s come to our senses and start eating right, and it’s not that hard.  People whine about change, but change can be so simple.  Just change one little thing and you’re on your way.  For example, stop drinking soda pop.  Or stop eating candy.  Or French fries.  And start eating fresh fruit and vegetables.  Pick one thing and start eating more, and you’re on your way!

And then exercise.  We all know we should exercise, so just do it.  Move!  Get your heart rate up.  Do something you enjoy, or do something you don’t enjoy and make it more enjoyable.  For example, if you don’t like going to the gym, but you love listening to music, then load up on your favorite music, get some enjoyable earphones and go work out.

Just these two tips alone, eat right and exercise, could solve so much of the stress and anxiety and depression, and even much of the illness in the do it!

My next pair is:

Read the Bible and Pray

There’s never been a time in the history of the world when God’s Word was so easy to read, at least for us pampered Americans.  We should be soaking up the Scriptures daily, so do it.  Just read, and watch for the Holy Spirit to make God’s Word jump off the pages at you. 

And pray.  We know we need to pray, and we probably do pray, in little spurts, in a hurry, here and there.  My advice is to set aside a time and place where you can be alone and regularly and consistently spend time talking with God.

Just two little disciplines, but they will radically change your life for the better, read your Bible and pray.

And the final pair in the Super Six is:

Love God and Love People.

Yes, these are the two greatest commandments, so we should focus on them.  As for loving God, here is one little tip for you.  Just start telling Him that you love Him.  Make a point to say it throughout the day.  “I love You, Lord.”  Incorporate it into your prayers.  “Our Father, who art in heaven...I love You.”  As you tell Him you love Him, just watch and see how it will turn your heart towards Him.

And finally, love people, and here’s a simple tip for loving people.  When someone shows you how to love them, and you can easily do it, just do it.  If you pay attention, people will show you how to love them.  Things will pop into your awareness and you will think, “Yeah, I could do that.”  Well, instead of talking yourself out of it, just think, “This is someone I love (because we are supposed to love everyone)” and then do that thing you can easily do for someone you love.

And there it is, The Super Six that will radically and wildly change your life for the better.

Eat Right and Exercise

Read the Bible and Pray

Love God and Love People

May God bless you today!

I’m Doug Apple.

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Righteous Lord Loves Righteousness

I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire! (Luke 24:32)
The righteous Lord loves righteousness.

That’s what it says in Psalm 11 verse 7.

God loves righteousness, so I want to love righteousness, and live a righteous life.

You know those laws in the Old Testament, like the ten commandments?  Those come from God’s righteousness.

If you want to write off the Old Testament, don’t forget 2 Timothy 3:16.  All Scripture is profitable for instruction in righteousness.

Psalm 119:172 says that all God’s commandments are righteousness.

So read your Bible, Old and New Testament, and learn about God’s righteousness.

We should hunger and thirst for righteousness. 1

We should seek first the kingdom of God...and His righteousness. 2

His righteousness is like the great mountains! 3 It endures forever! 4

In Isaiah 45:19 the Lord said, “I, the Lord, speak righteousness.”

So we don’t toss out all those righteous laws in the Bible.  They come from the heart and mind of the righteous Lord who loves righteousness!

Of course the problem is that we have a sin nature and can’t live up to God’s high and holy standard of righteousness.  Isaiah 64:6 says, “...all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags...”  And Romans 1:18 says that the wrath of God comes against all the unrighteousness of humanity.

The good news is...that’s where Jesus comes in.  He took our unrighteousness upon Himself on the cross, shedding His blood and paying the price for us to be made righteous before God.

Now, through faith in Jesus, we can receive the righteousness of God apart from keeping the law.  In Romans 3 and 4 we see that God’s righteousness is imputed to us by our faith in Jesus.  We receive the free gift of righteousness.

But don’t stop there.  God still wants us to LIVE righteously...not in order to be saved, but since we are saved!

1 Peter 2:24 says Jesus bore our sins in His own body...that we might live for righteousness!

Romans 6:13 tells us to present ourselves to God as instruments of righteousness.

Romans 6:19 goes so far as to tell us to present ourselves to Him as “slaves of righteousness.”

And what if we don’t?  First John 3:10 says, “Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God...”

So how do we do it?  How can we live a righteous life?

Romans 8:4 tells us to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.  On our own we won’t live a righteous life, but as we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will.

The righteous Lord loves righteousness.  He gave us the law, spoken out of His righteousness.  We sinned, so He sent Jesus to pay the price for our righteousness.  Then to all who receive Him, He gives the Holy Spirit to empower us to, once and for all, live the righteous life He intended for us from the beginning.

Yes, we are saved by the grace of God...AND...Titus 2 says that the grace of God teaches us to live righteously.

The gospel of grace and living a righteous life go hand in hand, one follows the other.  We are saved by grace, and then we live a righteous life, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

The Good Shepherd leads us in paths of righteousness. 5

Lord, I want to follow You in Your paths of righteousness.  I hunger and thirst for Your righteousness.  I seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness.  I want to love righteousness!

Because You are the righteous Lord, and You love righteousness.

May God bless you you seek to live a righteous life in the power of the Spirit.

I’m Doug Apple.

1 Matthew 5:6

2 Matthew 6:33

3 Psalm 36:6

4 Psalm 111:3

5 Psalm 23

Other verses:

Psalm 145:17, “The Lord is righteous in all His ways...”

Zephaniah 2:3 says, “Seek righteousness...”

Proverbs 2:20 says, “...keep to the paths of righteousness.”

Proverbs 11:8 says, “...he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward.”

Isaiah 32:17 says that righteousness brings peace and quietness and assurance.

1 Corinthians 15:34, “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.”

1 Timothy 6:11, “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.”

Ephesians 5:9, “...for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth...”

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

This Is the Way, Walk Ye in It

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

We talk about being led by God, but what does that look like in real life?

Dr. Gary Chapman shared one powerful example from his own life this week on Focus on the Family.

Here it is, Gary Chapman talking to Focus on the Family host Jim Daly.

“You know, Jim, when my marriage turned around, it was when I finally said to God, ‘I don’t know what else to do. This is not getting any better, and I don’t know what to do.’  And as soon as I said that, there came to my mind that visual image of Jesus on His knees, washing the feet of His disciples.  And I heard God say to me, ‘That’s the problem in your marriage. You don’t have that attitude towards your wife.’ Hit me like a ton of bricks.”

So there’s the great Dr. Gary Chapman, best selling author of The Five Love Languages and renowned marriage expert, sharing the powerful moment that changed his own marriage.  And what was it?

It was a powerful experience with God as he cried out to Him for help, and God gave him a sudden revelation.

That is one example of what being led by God looks like in real life.  In this case, he indicated that, as he prayed, God brought to his mind the image of Jesus on His knees, washing the feet of His disciples.  And then he says that God delivered these words to him, “That’s the problem in your marriage.  You don’t have that attitude towards your wife.”

And it hit him like a ton of bricks.

And that’s how God often does it.  As we seek Him, even cry out to Him, at some point He gives the direction we need.  And it can happen in a variety of ways.

Of course not every whim that pops into our head is from God.  It needs to be balanced with Scripture, and with the wisdom of other believers.

But our goal is to seek God, and learn to hear Him when He leads, whatever form that takes.

I’ve experienced it in different ways.  I won’t say it’s 100% for sure from God, but I believe it is, and it balances with Scripture and other believers.

Of course I guess thousands of times I’ve received God’s direction from Scripture, and from godly teachers and preachers and authors and friends.

Other times it has come from what I call “guiding words,” where certain words just hit me, as Dr. Chapman said, like a ton of bricks as they popped into my head.  Often that has happened during prayer, but often it has happened seemingly randomly.  I’m doing something else, then bang...guiding words come powerfully into me.

And other times I think God has led me simply by raising up a conviction inside me, “I must do this.”

I love what it says in Isaiah 30:21, in the good old King James, “...thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it...”

That is one of the great benefits of being a Christian, of being saved, of being in a right relationship with our Creator.  We can seek Him.  We can come boldly before His throne.  We have His Holy Spirit inside of us, and He will lead us in the way we should go, a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.

It comes in different ways, but as believers we can bank on this fact.  One way or another, God is going to lead us.  He’s going to say, “This is the way, walk ye in it.”

May God bless you today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Dusty Layers of Disobedience

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

Maybe that’s why it’s hard to hear the Lord these days.

Maybe our ears are covered with dusty layers of disobedience.

There are some things He’s told us to do, but we haven’t done them.  Oh, maybe we intend to, someday, but like my wife tells the children, “Slow obedience is no obedience.”

So when we know what God wants us to do, and we don’t do it, another dusty layer of disobedience covers our ears.  We grieve and quench the Holy Spirit, and His voice becomes muffled.

Have you ever heard voices through a wall, like in a hotel or a dorm?  It’s so aggravating if you want to know what they’re saying but all you hear is wah-wah, wah-wah, wah-wah.  They could be celebrating a birthday or plotting your murder, you just can’t tell.

That’s how God’s voice can sound when our ears become covered with dusty layers of disobedience.

Jesus is the light of the world.  He said, “Whoever follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

His light is shining!  His Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.  Do we see it? 

If the light seems dim, maybe it’s dusty layers of disobedience covering our eyes.

Dust gathers little by little, layer by layer.  You don’t even really notice until the bright and clear and brilliant becomes dull and gray and lifeless.

Is that your walk with God today?

First John 1:7 says, “...if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another...”  Is your fellowship with other Christians strained right now? 

Could it be the dusty layers of disobedience?  We stray from the Lord, His light becomes clouded, and the less light we have, the more strained our relationships become.

The good news is that repentance is the great dust remover.  “Lord, forgive us our trespasses.  Lord, I repent of all disobedience.  Lord, forgive me and clear away all the dust from my eyes and ears.  I want to see You.  I want to hear You.  Lord, give me eyes to see and ears to hear, and a heart that is wide open to obey You every day, in every circumstance.  Lord, I want nothing to come between You and me...not even the tiniest little layer of disobedience.  Amen.”

May God bless you seek to obey Him today.

I’m Doug Apple.

(Close with Trust & Obey by Chelsea Moon with The Franz Brothers)

Friday, March 01, 2019

Husband Love Your Wife

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

Husband love your wife.

That’s what it says in Ephesians 5:25. 

The husband is to love his wife.

That’s been God’s plan from the very beginning.

Adam was to love Eve.

Abraham was to love Sarah, even when she was a hundred years old.

All those husbands in their Old Testament robes, living the hard life – they were to love their wife.

If she got a little older, a little sun worn, a little chunkier under that robe, he was to love her.

Husband, love your wife.

When she’s pregnant and big and maybe a little cranky.

Love her.

When her hair turns a little gray, it’s probably because of you anyway, your wife.

If, God forbid, she’s going through something and her hair falls out.  Love your wife.

Husbands were to love their wife in the dark ages, when some lived in castles but most lived in poverty.  Either way, in the castle, or in the hut...the husband was to look at his wife and love her. 

You, newlywed husband, maybe it’s dawned on you that marriage isn’t quite the playground you thought it was.  Well, love your wife.  I mean love her.  Give it all you’ve got.

And when you’re 3 or 4 or 5 babies in, love her!  Love her with the big God kind of love that He puts inside of you.

If you want to please God, if you want to be in His will, if you want His blessings to shower and shower and keep showering on you, here’s a key.  Love your wife.

And as you get older, and you’re not what you once were, and she’s not what she once was, love her.  Look at her and love her.  And I promise you, God will be there, showering His love and grace and mercy and tenderness all through your life and relationships and family, because You have been obedient.  Because you’ve trusted Him and believed and stepped out on faith in this one little but gigantic area.

You loved your wife.

May God bless you love your wife today.

I’m Doug Apple.

(Close with I Will Be Here by Steven Curtis Chapman from his album All About Love)