Friday, November 16, 2018

Lean on a Broken Reed and Pierce Your Hand

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

It’s one of the most powerful illustrations in the Bible, if you just think about it.

If you lean on a broken reed, it will pierce your hand.

Ow!  I don’t even like stubbing my toe or stepping on a Lego.  I can’t imagine using a reed like a cane or a walking stick, leaning on it, and having it give way and pierce right through my hand.

But that’s what happens when we trust in things that aren’t of God.

You’ll find the illustration in 2 Kings and Isaiah and Ezekiel.  It’s when the Israelites want to trust the Egyptians instead of trusting the Lord their God.

Just imagine leaning on a reed, and it breaks, and it pierces right through your hand.

That is when you put your trust in something other than God and His principles.

When you lean on lying, but God says be truthful.

When you lean on anger, but God says His joy is your strength.

When you lean on revenge, but God’s way is forgiveness.

When you lean on alcohol to help you make it through the day.

When you lean on a little pot to ease your mind.

When you lean on mother’s little helper, you’re leaning on a broken reed, and it will pierce your hand.

Karen Wheaton’s daughter has written a book called The Way Home, by Lindsey Wheaton Doss.  For reasons described in the book, Lindsey began to lean on broken reeds.  She leaned on the broken reed of the attentions of another man, not her husband.  She ended up leaning on alcohol and parties and other men, and that reed broke and splintered into her hand and her mind and her soul and nearly destroyed her.

When we lean on anything but God and His ways, we are leaning on a broken reed, and it will pierce our hand.

So what are you leaning on today?  What are you putting your trust in, for your hope, for your pleasure, for your satisfaction?  For your provision?  For your mental needs and spiritual needs?  For the sanity of your soul?

Lean on Jesus!  Lean on the Lord and His Word!  Put your trust fully in Him!  He is the rock we can trust in and lean on and build our lives on.  It’s Him and only Him and all Him all the time.

But if we lean on the world’s very poor substitutes, they will all turn out to be a broken reed and pierce our hand.

May God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Three Ways That Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

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

First John 4:18 says that “perfect love casts out fear.”

Here are three ways that happens.

One is, when you really love someone, then it drives out your fear of them.

Jesus said, “Love your enemies.”  The problem with enemies is that they stir up so much emotion, you can’t even think straight.  And one thing they make you feel is fear.  They are out to get you.  That is a fearful thing. 

But when we obey Jesus and love our enemies, which we can only do in the power of God’s Spirit inside of us, then that love drives out our fear of them. 

It’s the same for people who give you anxiety or make you nervous.  When you love them with God’s love inside of you, then all fear is driven out.  You are free to truly love them as God wants you to!

Another way perfect love casts out fear is when other people fear you.  Who knows why they fear you.  Maybe you have power over them, or hold an important part of their life in your hands; but when they know that you love them with the love of God inside of you, then their fear of you is cast out!

“But maybe I want them to fear me,” you say.  “I need to keep them in their place.”

Well that’s not God’s way.  God’s way is that you amp yourself up full of His Holy Spirit, and then you love and you love and you love.  That’s God’s way.  Read all about it in First John chapter 4.  That chapter is brimming with God’s love for us, and the love we are to have for one another.  Check it out.

And another way perfect love casts out fear is when other people want you to fear them – like the old bumper sticker, “Fear this.”  They want to hold power over you through fear, but if you love them with the love of God inside of you, then once again, perfect love casts out fear.  It casts out fear in all equations!

It’s like a multiplication problem where perfect love is the number zero.  You know, it doesn’t matter what numbers you are multiplying.  Make it 10 times 10.  Make it 10 times 100.  Make it a thousand times a thousand!  Those are all the fears, thousands of fears. 

Then bring in the number zero.  Make it a thousand times a thousand, times a thousand…..times zero.  What’s the answer?  How much of the fear is left?  Zero.

Because perfect love casts out fear.

May God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

The Trees of the Lord Are Full of Sap

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

The trees of the Lord are full of sap.
The trees of the Lord are full of sap.
The trees of the Lord are full of sap.
And I am one.

I want to be that mighty tree in Psalm 1, planted by the water, delighting in the Word of God, full of the water of the Word, dense with it, heavy with it.  Strong with it.

The trees of the Lord are full of sap.
The trees of the Lord are full of sap.
The trees of the Lord are full of sap.
And I am one.

I want to be dense with the Spirit of God, full of the Living Water of John 7, filling me, like a mighty tree, dense and mighty and every branch and leaf and twig and sprout...full, and growing, in the Spirit of the living God.

The trees of the Lord are full of sap.
The trees of the Lord are full of sap.
The trees of the Lord are full of sap.
And I am one.

Mighty in Christ Jesus.  He is the Vine.  He gives the life.  He gives the strength.  He gives the power.  He gives the wisdom and the knowledge from His limitless treasures, abounding and abounding and abounding with life, the ever expanding, growing, filling, abundant life in Christ. 

I hunger for it.  I thirst for it.  I long for it.  I desire it.  I need it.  Nothing else matters if I am not that tree, planted by the water, soaking up the Word in rivers, and letting it flow in me, from the roots to the tips.  No bad spots, no blemishes, no part unreached by the sap of God as His Spirit flows up and up and up, filling me and stretching me and growing me as the Kingdom of Heaven becomes in me that mighty, life giving, life nurturing, life sustaining tree, filled to the absolute most dense fullness that is possible.

The trees of the Lord are full of sap.
The trees of the Lord are full of sap.
The trees of the Lord are full of sap.
And I am one.

May God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

(Psalm 104:16)

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Tiny Drops of Life

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

How does a tree get its water?

If you as a person want to get water, you take a drink.  You pour it into your mouth.

But how does a tree get water?

You might think, “Well, water falls on it, and it soaks it up, like a sponge.”

So if you take a bath, it’s a like taking a drink?

No.  People take in water through their mouth.  And trees take in water through their roots.

The life-giving water starts at the roots and it flows to the rest of the tree, one tiny little drop of life at a time.

Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” 

Life flows from the vine to the branch.

So what does that look like in real time?  How does that spiritual life, that living water, flow from Jesus to us?

I think we’re usually looking for big things, the thunderstorm, the flood, the spiritual tsunami that sweeps us into God’s plan.

But I think it’s more like how water flows from the vine to the branch:  one tiny drop of life at a time.

For example, here’s a tiny drop that I believe God dropped into my life.

At the time my wife and I had four small children, and I was working each day until about 6 p.m.  I would come home and the kids would have already eaten.  It was a bit scattered, but I don’t think we even thought about it. 

Then I went to a Promise Keepers event.  There were thousands of men, singing and praising God and it was powerful.  So there I was, standing and singing with the rest of them, my hands in the air, and all of a sudden a phrase popped into my mind, “Start having family dinners.”

It was so out of the blue, I stopped singing, sort of stunned.  I finally just sat down to let it sink in for a minute.  And while the rest of the men stood around me, singing, I wrote down this little note.  “Start having family dinners.”

And we did!  We started having family dinners.  There was bonding and conversation, and it really brought a good, new dynamic to our family.

It was a tiny drop of life that I believe flowed from Jesus, the vine, into me, the branch.

And I think that’s how our spiritual lives usually work.  Yes, sometimes God speaks to us in the thunder and the flood, but I think most of His work in our lives probably comes in these daily little ways, where His Spirit talks to our spirit, and He pours Himself into tiny drop of life at a time.

May God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

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.”


“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, 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.”


May God bless you, today.

With Apples of Gold...I’m Doug Apple.