Tuesday, October 22, 2019

You Do Not Know What You Are Asking

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

You do not know what you are asking.

That’s what Jesus said.

He said, “You do not know what you are asking.”

He said it to the mother of His disciples James and John.

In Matthew 20, she comes up to Jesus with her sons, kneels down, and Jesus says, “What do you wish?”

What she wishes is that Jesus would make her sons his top officials when He becomes king.

But she clearly doesn’t understand the situation.  She doesn’t know what’s going on.

And I don’t, either.  Do you?

Do we really know what is going on?

I mean, do we know like God knows?  He REALLY knows what’s going on, and by comparison, what do we know?

We don’t.  His ways are far above our ways.  Like Mark Batterson said in his book, “The Circle Maker,” His ways are 15.5 billion light years above our ways.

So when we bring our feeble prayers to God, it is highly likely that we don’t know what we are asking.

I like what it says in James 4:3, we ask and do not receive because we “ask amiss.” 

Is that prayer a hit?  No, that’s “amiss,” ha ha ha.

So how can we pray and not ask amiss?  How can we pray with knowledge and wisdom, and pray according to God’s will?

One way is praying the Scriptures.  For example, I often pray “Show my Thy ways, O Lord, teach me Thy paths,” which is Psalms 25:4.

There are tons of Bible verses that can be converted straight into prayers.

Another way we can pray and not ask amiss is by praying in humility and surrender.

One example of this from my life is when I decided to get into Christian radio back in 1986.  I sent a letter to all the Christian radio stations in the state and prayed, in fact I basically begged God, “Please, just open one door, the exact door You want me to step through; because if I have to choose, I won’t know which one to choose or how to choose it.  Either I will base it on worldly standards and career opportunities, or I will do the opposite of that on purpose, and I don’t want to do either of those in my own wisdom.  God, I want Your perfect will, and I don’t know what that is, so please, just open one door.”  And, one door opened.

The point of that story was praying a prayer of humility and submission.  “Not my will, but Thy will be done.  God, I don’t know what is best.  I’m not that smart.  And Your ways are 15.5 billion light years above my ways, so I trust You.  I put my complete trust in You.  I’m the sheep, and You are The Good Shepherd.  I love You and want to follow You wherever You lead.”

In Jesus’ name I pray.


May God bless you today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Is It a Young Man's Game?

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

I was talking to an older ministry leader.

He was sharing some of his frustrations, like the challenges of working with young people, understanding the current culture, the seeming shift away from Godly morals, even the ever-changing digital world. How can an older ministry leader keep up?

I was just listening and soaking it in, and then he said, “Maybe it’s a young man’s game.”

A young man’s game?

It CAN’T be a young man’s game. Leading a ministry cannot be a young man’s game. It can’t be an old man’s game. It has to be a SPIRIT-LED game.

Of course it’s not a game. That’s a figure of speech.

The question is, do you get to the place where you are just too old to be truly effective in ministry? What if you can’t keep up with the trends? What about your digital marketing? Your social media? What about motivating a new generation you don’t even understand?

Listen. I hope your ministry never was about how hip you were or how current you were or how well you understood the youth. I hope your ministry was ALWAYS based on spending time with God, rightly dividing the Word, and following the leading of His Holy Spirit every step of the way.

That is the key to ministry no matter how old you are. Look. Burn all your “How to Grow Your Church” books if you have to. I’m all for knowledge and education and learning and training, but that can’t be the foundation of your ministry. You’re not smart enough. You’re not quick enough. You’re not young enough. You can’t keep up with it all.

But you don’t have to. Listen. You don’t have to keep up with the trends. Forget the trends.

Lock yourself in with God. Dive into that daily time of prayer and seeking Him and running to Him and listening to Him.

He will empower you. He will strengthen you. He will open your eyes to exactly what you need to know and how you need to operate.

THAT is how you run a ministry, and age has nothing to do with it, and it never did.

Think of John the Baptist. No marketing studies. No trends. No memberships in the hip clubs. He wasn’t a chief priest. He wasn’t in the Sanhedrin. He didn’t poll the people to see what they wanted.

He just heard from God and did it. He stood out in the wilderness preaching repentance, and lo and behold, the people came...and they kept coming, and repenting, and turning their lives over to God.

So is it a young man’s game? No, it’s everyone’s game; everyone who will run to Jesus, be filled with His Spirit, and seek Him while He may be found. Throw yourself on His altar as a living sacrifice and become all that God has intended you to be from the foundation of the world.

You are NOT too old to dive in and be that blazing fire that God wants you to be, right now, and right up until the day you step into heaven and see Jesus face to face.

Hallelujah. Let’s do this. Come on.

May God bless you today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

We End Up With What We Stir Up

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

Don’t stir up trouble.

You’ve heard that before.  It usually comes right before you say something you shouldn’t, and your mom says, “Don’t stir up trouble.”

That applies to so many areas of life.  We end up with what we stir up.

Take fear, anxiety and stress.  You watch scary movies, crime programs, doom and gloom news, shows that are negative and divisive, and you wonder why you’re fearful, anxious and stressed?  That’s what you’re stirring up!  Turn it off.  And listen, don’t worry about missing the news.  The State Department is not on the verge of calling you to ask for your advice.

If you’ve watched so many zombie and vampire and alien shows that you’re thinking, “It could happen...”  It can’t happen!  You just keep stirring it up in your brain.

What about the unfairness of life?  Don’t ever stir up that line of thinking.  Don’t think about it for one second.  Are you pouting because you didn’t win the genetic lottery?  Someone is prettier than you?  More handsome than you?  Faster than you?  Taller than you?  Stronger than you?  Don’t stir up those thoughts!  Instead, enter into His gates with thanksgiving.  Be thankful unto Him and give Him praise.  Find out what God has given you and work it.  Maximize it.  Grow it.  Look at what you DO have, and turn that raw material into something great!

We end up with what we stir up, so be careful what you stir up.

Let’s say you like to steal.  You’re a kleptomaniac.  You get a thrill out of shoplifting.  How can you stop?  Don’t stir it up.  Those desires will die if you don’t give them oxygen.  Let him who stole steal no longer.  How?  Don’t stir it up!

What if you love food.  You love to eat.  You’re a problem eater.  How can you stop?  Proverbs 23:2 says put a knife to your throat.  Not literally.  It’s figurative.  It means cut off those desires.  It means “Don’t think about it.”  Don’t allow yourself to stir up those thoughts about food all time.

Thinking about it.  Dwelling on it.  Tossing it around in your mind.  That is how you stir it up, and we end up with what we stir up.

What about old offenses, what those people did to you?  For goodness’ sake, don’t ever stir up that wicked mess.  Let it go!  Don’t think about it.  If you’re going to stir up anything, stir up forgiveness! 

Our brains can get stuck in a loop, in a cycle, but we can break the cycle by not stirring up the wrong things, the wrong thoughts.

Don’t stir up worry.  That’s a dead end.  Stir up faith instead, and hope and trust in God.  Meditate on God’s word and just watch how that stirs up all the right things in your life.

What about adultery, or lust?  That is something that never gets anywhere unless you just keep stirring it up.  It’s evil and has no life of its own unless you keep stirring it up and try to fake some life into it, and still it's going to drag you into the dead pool in the end.  So please, don’t be the next idiot that destroys your family over a cheap momentary low grade B-movie thrill. 

We end up with what we stir up, so let’s stir up good things!  Like Philippians 4:8, “...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy...” think on these things.

The things we think on are the things we stir up, and the things we stir up shape our life.

So beware what you stir up in your mind, knowing that we end up with what we stir up.

May God bless you today!

I’m Doug Apple.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Start With the Box

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

Start with the box.

That’s what I heard a famous composer say.

He was writing music for a new movie, and he said you start with the box.

You have to set up a framework, the boundaries you are going to work within in the creative process.  Otherwise you get sloppy, there is no consistency, and you end up with a mess.

So start with the box, then unleash your creativity within the box.

Believe it or not, creativity actually thrives within the boundaries of a box.

Yes, some people say, “I want to be free!  I want to do whatever I want, whenever I want, however I want.  I want to be completely free to follow whatever whim hits me with no limits."

Yes, and that’s a good formula for ending up with a sloppy mess.

Studies show that kids thrive in a home with appropriate boundaries.  Children who are left to themselves, free to do whatever they please, end up in a sloppy mess.

Marriages with appropriate boundaries thrive.  Marriages without boundaries end up in a sloppy mess.

In a way, God gave us a box to live in, and we are free to wildly express our creativity within the box.  Our lives will thrive when they are lived within God’s boundaries, His rules, His statues and precepts, His righteousness. 

But something within us rejects the idea of living within a box, of living within boundaries.  Something tells us that it’s awful, it is terrible, it is restricting.  We can almost feel the noose.  We want no boundaries!

The problem is, if we don’t live within God’s boundaries, we end up with a sloppy mess.

When we don’t limit our physical intimacy to the boundaries of God’s marriage covenant, we end up with a sloppy mess.

When we don’t limit our speech to God’s boundaries of truth and love and grace, we end up with a sloppy mess.

When we don’t limit what we put into our mouths, WE end up a sloppy mess!

I remember playing a type of basketball game on the playground where there was no out-of-bounds.  I don’t know what kid made that up, but with no out-of-bounds you could run behind the goal or out onto the grass or behind the whole school.  It was dumb, and yet some kid thought it was a good idea.

Our world is full of dumb things, and yet someone thinks they are a good idea.  The problem is, if it is outside God’s boundaries, it will leave you in a sloppy mess.

That’s how people end up on these reality TV shows, arguing and bickering and even fist fighting, right there on the set.  It always comes down to someone who is trying to live outside of God’s boundaries and thinks it’s okay.

It’s not okay.  That’s how your life turns into a big dumpster fire.

So whatever feeling it is that makes you think God’s boundaries are stifling, that feeling is a deception.

Start with the box.  Live within God’s box, His boundaries of good and righteous and holy, for it’s within that box where we are truly free to live our life to it’s very highest and most exciting potential.

May God bless you today!

I’m Doug Apple.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Divine Ignition

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

Here is something I pray for.

I pray for ignition.

I pray for God’s divine ignition.

Ignition is to ignite, to start the fire, to set the blaze.

We usually know what we OUGHT to do.  We know what we SHOULD do, so why don’t we do it?

We’re lacking ignition.

I want God to reach inside me and turn the key that fires the spark that sets the blaze.  I want to be on fire from the inside out, fully motivated, fully alive, fully woke.

Awake, o sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will give you light!*

I want my heart to burn within me like the men who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus.

I want to say like Jeremiah, “God, Your Word burns like a fire, like a fire in my bones, and I cannot keep silent.”

We pray for wisdom, and that’s great.  We need to pray for wisdom.

And then we get it.

And then what?

And then we’ve got to put it into practice, and that takes motivation.  It’s takes ignition.

Toby Mac has a song called ‘Til the Day I Die and listen to the message.

Do it for the King?  What do you know about that?
Say you goin' harder?  Mmm I doubt that.
You say you’re doing work but you're asking where’s the couch at.
How you doing work when you’re asking where’s the couch at?

And then it says, “I don't understand that life...'cause I'm all in...’til the day I die.”

Are you all in?  Are you all in for Jesus?

Just say, “God, I’m in.  I’m all in!  I want to do what You want me to do, say what You want me to say, go where You want me to go, be who You want me be.”

And if He’s already told you and you haven’t done it yet, then pray for this.

Pray for Divine Ignition.

May God bless you...with His divine ignition today!

I’m Doug Apple.

* Ephesians 5:14
** Jeremiah 20:9

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

A Time and a Place

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

I’m a firm believer that you should have a time and a place to pray.

A time...and a place.

Does God seem distant?  Does your relationship with Him seem shallow, or wispy, or vague?

Well let me ask you.  Do you have a set time and a set place to draw near to God in prayer?

James 4:8 says that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us.

If it doesn’t seem like God is drawing near, are you drawing near to Him, consistently, with a set time and a set place?

Let’s open up our Bibles to the famous Sermon on the Mount.  In Matthew 6:6, Jesus begins by saying, “when.”  WHEN you pray. 

So let me ask you.  When do you pray?  Do you have an appointed time to pray? 

Or listen, are you just tossing up “Jesus Take the Wheel” prayers, catch as catch can?

If you want to keep your relationship with God at lukewarm, that’ll do it.

But if you want to set it on fire, set yourself a time and a place to pray, to draw near to God in prayer, and worship, and thanksgiving.

Jesus said, “...when you pray, go into your room...”  That’s a set place.  You gotta have a place to pray. 

He said, “...go into your room, and when you have shut your door...”

He’s telling us to get alone with God.  That’s what Jesus Himself did, and He WAS GOD.  But the Bible says He often withdrew to be alone with the Father.  He went up on a mountain by Himself.  Maybe He went into a garden.  Maybe He went into the wilderness.

The point is, be like Jesus.  Get alone with the Father, and a great way to get your privacy is to go into a room, shut the door...and then what?

Jesus said, “...go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place...”

That is the time and place to go pour out your heart to Almighty God.  Cast your cares upon Him.  Intercede for your family and friends, your church and your country, for “Thy will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

What are you going to do with your life?  How are you going to fulfill your part in the body of Christ?  How can you possibly be the best child, the best parent, the best sibling, the best aunt or uncle or niece or nephew, the best student, the best worker, the best church member that you can possibly be?

You can’t!  You can’t do alone.  You can only do it in the power of God. 

We must have God’s Spirit fully alive within us.

So how can we do that? 

We must draw near to God in prayer, and I firmly believe that the best way to do that is by having a set time and set place to pray.

May God bless you today!

I’m Doug Apple.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

His Spirit Bears Witness With Our Spirit

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

How does God speak to us?

Does God even speak to people these days, or was that just for people in the Bible?

Some debate that, but here is one verse that most people agree on:  Romans 8:16.

It says, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

That’s one way that you can know that you are a saved, born again child of God.  He will let you know.  His Spirit will bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God.

That is one way that God speaks to people today, His Spirit bearing witness with our spirit. 

I like how it is Spirit to spirit communication, the Holy Spirit inside of the believer communicating to the spirit of the believer.  His Spirit bearing witness with our spirit.

I have heard from thousands of Christians and the testimonies are overwhelming.  So many of them talk about the ways that God has led them, or spoken to them, or communicated to them.  And I’ll say, “Give us the nuts and bolts of exactly how that happened in the real world.” 

And they say things like, “I was reading the Bible, and suddenly a verse leaped off the page.”  Or, “I was in worship, and suddenly a powerful phrase jumped into my mind, and I just knew it was God.”  Or even, “I was walking down the street, minding my own business, and I heard a voice telling me what to do.  I’m pretty sure it was God.”

I realize that some people say they heard from God when they didn’t, but today let’s focus on how God speaks to us, and I think many of these things happened in this way:  His Spirit bore witness with their spirit.  The Holy Spirit passed a message along directly to that person’s spirit.  It wasn’t verbal.  It wasn’t mental.  It was Spirit to spirit communication.

I like how The Passion Translation words Romans 8:16, “...He whispers into our innermost being...”

At our church we’re going through The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson and he refers to what he calls “Spirit-whispers.”  I love that!

I think that is when His Spirit bears witness with our spirit.  The Holy Spirit communicates directly to our spirit, our inner man if you will, in Spirit-whispers.

In John 14:26, Jesus said that the Father would send the Holy Spirit and He would be a teacher.

In Luke 12:12 Jesus again refers to the Holy Spirit as a teacher.

First Corinthians 2:10 talks about God revealing things to people through His Spirit.

When God teaches and reveals things through His Spirit, that is the Holy Spirit of God, communicating the things of God to the people of God, and what is one way He does it?

In Spirit-whispers.

It is Spirit to spirit communication.

It is His Spirit bearing witness with our spirit.

Of course you should always make sure this balances with Scripture, and you should bounce it off other mature believers, but watch for it.  Listen for it, not with your physical eyes and ears, but with your spirit.  Jesus said, “He has ears to hear, let him hear.”  That means spiritual hearing.

It is our spirit tuning in and listening closely to the voice of the Holy Spirit as He teaches and convicts and reveals and inspires us to draw near to God and become the on-fire Kingdom people He is calling us to be, as we listen and are taught and mentored and led by the Holy Spirit of God.

May God bless you today!

I’m Doug Apple.

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...as 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 world...so 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 today...as 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...as 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, so...love 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...as 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)

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Pray for Extra to Give Him Who Has Need

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

Give us this day our daily bread...and extra to give him who has need.

That’s how I pray it, as I pray the Lord’s Prayer each day.

Lord, give us this day our daily bread...and extra to give him who has need.

I get that from Ephesians 4:28 which says, “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.”

Now let’s break that verse down.  I love the progression.

“Let him who stole...”  That means you’ve got a guy who is currently stealing.  He is taking what rightfully belongs to someone else, and taking it for his own selfish desires.  It’s all about you, man.  It’s all about you.

Now follow the progression.  “Let him who stole steal no longer...”  That’s obvious, right.  Thou shalt not steal, so stop stealing.

So you stop stealing, but now what?  You suffer a loss because, wow, you were stealing, and now you’re not.  How can you make up that loss?

It says, “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor...”  Ah, there it is.  Get a job, man.  Get a job. 

Then it says, “Working with his hands what is good...”  I love that.  There’s so much packed into it!  I see a man getting a job, and then growing.  He discovers his God-given giftings and callings, what he’s good at, what God blesses!  It’s like the parable of the talents, he takes what he has been given and multiplies it.  He is faithful, like Joseph, even when it’s hard.  He grows and advances.  He rises up due to his faithfulness, “working with his hands what is good.”  Isn’t that great?

And then Ephesians 4:28 completes the progression.  The guy goes from stealing from others to giving to others!  Working with his hands what is good that he may have something to give him who has need.

I love it!

And that’s what I pray for nearly every day.

“Lord, give us this day our daily bread...and extra to give him who has need.”

May God bless you...with extra to give him who has need today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Every Plant Which My Heavenly Father Has Not Planted Will Be Uprooted

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

“Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.”

That’s what Jesus said in Matthew 15:13, and wow, those are sobering words.

“Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.”

I really don’t like wasting time.  And I REALLY don’t like wasting money.  Waste of all kinds irks me, because it means loss.  If you wasted time, you lost the time.  If you wasted money, you lost the money.  You lost the potential.  You lost what COULD have been.

Now imagine you take time to plant beautiful flowers all along the street in front of your house.  You test the soil and treat it.  You cultivate and plant.  You water and weed, and as the months of effort go by, you finally see some beautiful flowers.  Eureka!

Uh oh.  One day the city comes along, and guess what?  Your beautiful flowers are actually on city property.  They need to do some work, and they think nothing about completely uprooting all your flowers.

Oh the humanity.  All the time and money and effort.  All gone.  All wasted.  All because you made a slight miscalculation by planting on city property instead of your own, and you didn’t even know it.

My friend, that is what we are in danger of as we go about our lives.

“Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.”

If we go about making life’s decisions without consulting our Father in heaven, we are in danger of planting our own plants instead of His plants, and every plant which our heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.

Think of Jesus’ story about building on rock or building on sand.  In Matthew 7 Jesus said, “Whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock, and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.  But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

If you build your life’s house on sand, it will fall.  It will be uprooted.

I don’t want that.

I fear that. 

You’ve heard of the man who spent his life climbing the corporate ladder, got to the top, and realized the ladder was leaning against the wrong building.

I fear wasting my life like that, climbing the wrong ladder, building on sand, planting the wrong plant.

So I run to the Lord.  I walk with Him.  I submit to Him.  “Show me Thy ways, O Lord, teach me Thy paths.  Not my will, but Thy will be done.”

Only then can I move forward in faith, working to plant all my plants according to my Father’s will, knowing that every plant which He has not planted will be uprooted.

May God bless you today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Friday, February 01, 2019

How I Pray the Lord's Prayer

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

I pray the Lord’s Prayer nearly every day, and here’s how I pray it.

Our Father, who art in heaven...in the secret place, (Matthew 6:6)
Lord, I’m in my secret place of prayer right now, (Matthew 6:6)
and I’m drawing near to You, and I know that You’re drawing near to me.  (James 4:8)

Hallowed be Thy name, Lord.  Holy is Your name.  Righteous is Your name.

Thy kingdom come, Lord, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
In my life, Lord...as it is in heaven.
In my mind...as it is in heaven.
In my heart...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.
In this city...as it is in heaven.
In this country...as it is in heaven.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Lord, give us this day our daily bread, please, and extra to give him who has need. (Ephesians 4:28)

And forgive us our trespasses...Lord, I repent of everything right now, of every sin of omission and commission, Lord, of everything I’ve done or said or thought that was sinful...I repent of it.  And the good I haven’t done, Lord, not loving, not obeying, not taking action when I should, Lord, I repent of it all, I lay it all at Your feet right now, and through the blood of Jesus I just receive Your grace and mercy and forgiveness, fresh and new, clean before You in every way.

As we forgive those who trespass against us.  Lord, right now I forgive everyone for everything; any sin against me, any hurt, any offense, any crime...whether they did it on purpose or on accident or by neglect or just not caring...whatever anyone has done, Lord, I forgive it all, right now.  Their debt is canceled in my mind.  And Lord, whatever anyone WILL do to me, I forgive them now, in advance, PREEMPTIVELY.  God, I forgive them now for whatever offense or crime or hurt or pain...all of it.  I forgive them now so that I am set free to love them with all the power and the force of Your love, loving them through me, with no offense getting in the way because I have already forgiven them.  (Luke 17:1)

And lead us not into temptation...Lord, no temptation.  God, please keep all temptations away from me.  Lord, I want to walk so much in the power of Your Spirit that any temptations will be worthless and powerless, just falling away to the wayside, not pulling my eyes away from You for one second.

But deliver us from evil...Lord, save us and spare us from all evil and harm and sickness and disease and crime and natural disaster and poverty, Lord, all the things that would hurt us and harm us and cause us pain and grief and despair.  Lord, anything that turns our eyes away from You for even one second, God, please keep it far away from us.

For Thine is the kingdom...I love You, Lord.
And the power...I love You, Lord.
And the glory...I love You, Lord.

For ever and ever,

May God bless you...as you pray the Lord’s prayer today.

I’m Doug Apple.

(close with the finale of The Lord's Prayer by The Collingsworth Family)