Thursday, December 20, 2018

He Satisfies the Longing Soul

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

You gotta have the want to.

That’s the title of an old book on my shelf by Pastor Allan Oggs.

You gotta have the want to.

As we square up for a new year, 2019, do you have the want to?

Even if you feel battle weary, even if 2018 wore you out – maybe you don’t have the motivation, maybe you feel depleted, maybe 2018 drained you – but do you WANT to do better?  Do you WANT to rise up and be all that God wants you to be in 2019?

WANTING it is the key.

Look at Matthew 5:6, where Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness...”  It doesn’t say, “Blessed are the righteous” though the righteous are surely blessed, but it says, “Blessed are those who HUNGER AND THIRST for righteousness.” 

In other words, blessed are those who WANT it.

I’ve spent the year 2018 doing a deep dive into the Psalms, and my reading today stopped suddenly at the powerful Psalm 107 verse 9, “For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”

What is my part in that verse?  My part is to have a longing and hungry soul.

I long for the Lord.  I hunger for more of Him in 2019, more of His character in me, more of His will done in me and through me, more of “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” in ME as it is in heaven, in my family as it is in heaven, in my work as it is in heaven, in my church as it is in heaven.  HIS will be done.  I hunger and thirst and long for that.

And the good news is, He satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness!

Do you feel it?  Are you hungry for it?

Psalm 42:1 – as the deer pants for the water, Lord, my soul longs for You.  I need You and want You and desire You.  I want to walk in Your Spirit and live by Your Spirit and bear the eternal fruit of Your Spirit.

I want it, and long for it, and seek it, and pray for it.

And everyone who asks, receives.  And he who seeks, finds.  And to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

And today I plant my flag of hope firmly in Psalm 107:9, for He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with good things.

May God bless you as you long for Him today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

They That Seek the Lord Shall Not Want Any Good Thing

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

“They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.”

That’s what it says in Psalm 34:10.

Now I might need to explain the King James English.  When it says, “shall not want any good thing,” it means you won’t be lacking any good thing.  Of course you WANT good things.  You desire good things, and here’s how you get them.  You seek the Lord.

You seek the Lord by drawing near to Him.  We enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.  We come boldly before His throne of grace.  We draw near to God in our personal prayer time, alone, seeking Him, seeking His truth and His light and His heart.

When we seek the Lord, then His will begins to unfold in our lives.  We obey Him more; and when we walk in His ways, we become more pleasing and more attractive to other people.

When you are living a life that is pleasing to the Lord, it is a life full of love and joy and peace and patience, and people like that!  People will be drawn to you.  They will like you.

And they will be glad to help you get the good things you desire.

So that is one way that, when we seek the Lord, we shall not want for any good thing; because God makes us into a good person, and other people will be glad to bring their blessings into our life.

And when you are a good person, you will always be doing good for other people.  That is a blessing in itself; and then the Bible also says, “give and it shall be given unto you.”

I like the quote from Zig Ziglar, “If you help enough other people get what they want, they will make sure that you get what you want.”

Another blessing from seeking God is that He lavishes His love on us.  When we receive His love, especially during our personal times with Him, that gives us good mental health, and good spiritual health, and good emotional health.  It gives us hope and a positive outlook on life. 

When we seek God, then we stop grieving and quenching His Holy Spirit inside of us, which unleashes the power of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.  And that really opens the flow of every good and perfect gift that comes down from the Father of lights!

So you want good things?  You want a blessed life?  You want God to flow through you and your family, then do this with all diligence:  seek the Lord.

For they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.

May God bless you as you seek Him today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

By the Power Vested in Me

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

I love this little phrase, “by the power vested in me.”

Like they say at weddings.  “By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife.”

It means you didn’t have the power, then someone “vested” the power in you.

That’s the way it is in our Christian life.  There are things God wants us to do, but we can’t do them faithfully in our own power.  We need His power to work in us.

For example, it’s not easy to forgive people like God wants us to forgive, but we can do it…by His power vested in us.

It’s like we’re saying, “I can’t forgive you for that, at least not in my own power; but by the power vested in me...I forgive you.”

God’s power is vested in us through His Holy Spirit inside of us.  God puts His Spirit inside every believer when they are born again, and He begins His good work in us, exercising His power to bring us to maturity.

So when Jesus says, “Love your enemies,” and you really do have an enemy?  In the flesh, in your own carnal power, you just can’t do it.  You can’t really love them like God wants you to love them, except by the power of the Holy Spirit vested in you.

How can you “count it all joy” when you go through trials?  You can’t really do it...except by the power of God vested in you.  But with that power,  you can literally “rejoice in the Lord always.”

So you’re a believer, and you know the Holy Spirit is inside of you, but maybe you aren’t really enjoying the full fruit of the Spirit.  You’re not really feeling His power vested in you.  Now what?

Maybe you need to waste some time with God.  That sounds strange, doesn’t it?  But that’s what a Christian counselor told Pastor Paul Westbrook when he was going through some problems.  He said, “Paul, do you ever waste time with God?”

As a pastor, of course he SPENT time with God, he studied and prayed and whatever; but WASTING time with God, that’s different.  It means hanging out with God, and talking to God, and listening to God and generally just being in the presence of God, or as the counselor said, “Wasting time with God.”

Time with God helps you stop blocking and quenching and grieving the Holy Spirit.  It helps you get tuned in to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd. 

And as we do that, we can feel the power surge, and God can enable to do all those things that He wants us to His power vested in us.

May God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

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.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Three Levels of Forgiveness

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

Here is a teaching that will literally revolutionize your life.

It’s called The Three Levels of Forgiveness.

The first level is Rookie Forgiveness.  Rookie forgiveness is when you get hurt, you suffer for a while, and then you forgive. 

The question is, how long do you wait between the offense and the forgiveness?  How long do you suffer in anger, hatred and bitterness?  A week?  A month?  A year?  Half your life?

What if you do like the movies and just blast your offender and take your revenge.  Would that solve the problem?  No, and here’s why.  The offender will die, but the offense lives on!  It will live on inside of you until…

Until you forgive.

So how long do you wait to forgive?  Why wait at all?  And that brings us to the second level of forgiveness.

After Rookie Forgiveness, the second level is:  Instant Forgiveness.

This is where you forgive your offenders instantly.  As soon as you see the offense coming, you forgive before it even hits you.  You don’t take the hit because you forgive them instantly. 

You hear someone talking behind your back.  Forgive them.  Instantly.

“Well Doug, that means I’m letting them get away with it!”

Ah, and that’s the problem with all of this forgiveness, isn’t it?  We feel like we are letting the offender get away with it.

But you know, you can forgive...AND hold accountable.  The accountability just won’t be in anger, hatred, revenge and bitterness.

For example, when a toddler screams, “Mommy, I hate you!”

The mom doesn’t take offense.  She instantly forgives and goes straight to loving correction. 

So someone steals from you?  Instantly forgive, and hold them love, though, not hatred.

So you don’t want to practice instant forgiveness?  Keep in mind the other option is rookie forgiveness, where you go ahead and take the hit, suffer for a while, and then eventually you are going to have to forgive them anyway. 

So that is level two:  Instant Forgiveness.  We should be tossing out forgivenesses like candy at a parade.  Forgive.  Forgive.  Forgive.  See an offense coming?  Forgive.

Like I said, it will revolutionize your life!  And your marriage and your family and your church and your workplace.

And then comes the third level:  Preemptive Forgiveness.

You know offenses are coming.  Jesus said, “It is impossible that no offenses should come...”  They are coming, so forgive them now, ahead of time!

“But Doug, that’s impossible.”

Think of it like an emergency bank account.  You know something is going to break, so you put money in the account ahead of time.

So go ahead and put some forgiveness in the account ahead of time, knowing the offenses will come.  You don’t know who.  You don’t know when.  You don’t know why.  Maybe it’s next Christmas when Aunt Mable will make a horrible crack about you.  Maybe it’s five years from now when your brother will swindle you out of your dad’s inheritance.  We’re not asking for trouble ahead of time.  We just know that someone is going to do something that hurts us, small or large or even criminal. 

So send out a preemptive strike of forgiveness!  I forgive you now, whoever you are.

And then, when the time comes, and the devil rears his ugly head and goes on the attack...too late. I already forgave that five years ago.

And that sets you free to go on the attack yourself!  Not the attack of anger or hatred or vengeance.  It’s the attack of love, loving everyone, including enemies, through the power of God in me, the Holy Spirit who empowers me to love and to love and to love and to love.

And it all starts with forgiveness.

So think about it.  What level do you want?

There’s Rookie Forgiveness, where you take the hit, suffer for a while, and then finally forgive.

There’s Instant Forgiveness, where you avoid the hit by forgiving instantly, as soon as you see the offense coming.

And there’s Preemptive Forgiveness, where you go ahead and forgive the offender now, before the offense even happens.

Set yourself free from offense and hatred and anger and bitterness and revenge!

Revolutionize your life with the power of forgiveness.

May God bless you, today.

With Apples of Gold...I’m Doug Apple.