Overcoming Hopelessness

          The Bible emphasizes faith, hope, and love as three essentials. Each is necessary for a vibrant faith, are different from each other but are related. They are like three sisters. Hope says ‘I know things will work out, I just don’t know how or when!’ Her sister Faith says, ‘Things have already worked out’, (even before they do in actual experience). Love says, ‘even if they don’t work out, even if I don’t understand what’s going on, nothing can separate me from the affection God has for me!’

          We should note that Paul states that of the 3 love is the greatest, because it has the capacity to generate the other two attributes. Faith works by love (See Gal 5:6), hope increases as we receive God's love which energizes our faith since faith is the substance of things hoped for! 

            Today let’s look at Hope. Hope securely built upon the ‘better promises’ of God, has fueled the fire of faith that has produced every major spiritual breakthrough down through the ages. It is so essential. Hope is defined as the confident expectation of good and is based on believing the promises of God. There is no consistent strong faith apart from having a living hope in our hearts for faith is the substance of things hoped for (Heb 11:1)!

            All of us have the capacity to be filled with hope and it is much closer to us than we often recognize: When we were born again we were translated into a brand new kingdom …into a ‘sphere of hope’.        

For we were saved in the sphere of hope. But hope that has been seen is not hope, for that which a person sees, why does he hope for it? But if that which we do not see, we hope for, through patience we expectantly wait for it. (Romans 8:24-25 Wuest Trans.)

            Hope is like a spiritual bubble or sphere. Abiding in that sphere creates attitudes of confidence. It becomes the inward spiritual environment that fortifies our patience and sustains the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Because Paul the apostle lived in that hope atmos-sphere he boldly proclaimed, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

            Let me give you an example of the power of hope from contemporary history. Dean Smith coached the University of North Carolina basketball team for 36 years. He

once owned the record for the most victories in NCAA history with 879. He was a highly innovative strategic thinker and had a reputation for being loyal to each of his players. He continued to send regular notes and encouragements to many of them years after they played for him. His positive hope filled attitude permeated every aspect of his life.

            Dean Smith’s hope was contagious and proved to be the deciding factor in great victories on the court. March 2, 1974, his fourth ranked Carolina Tar Heels trailed the Duke University Blue Devils by 8 points with 17 seconds left in the game. Coach Smith called time out, gathered his players around him, looked them in the eye and said, “We’re in great shape. We’ve got them right where we want them. Isn’t this fun!”

            With that kind of confidence Coach Smith sent his players back on the court into a seemingly impossible situation. Carolina picked up two quick points when Bobby Jones hit two foul shots. They scored on a steal and scored again on a turnover of a Duke inbound pass, shortening the gap to two points. After Carolina rebounded on a missed Duke foul shot Walter Davis hit a last second 30-foot bank shot to tie the game sending it into overtime. The Tar Heels claimed a 96-92 overtime victory that day. Carolina’s win is regarded by many as the greatest comeback victory in college basketball history, inspired by Dean Smith’s unshakeable hope. Hope fuels victory in the face of overwhelming odds and is a ‘devil’ conquering force!

Overcoming Hopelessness

            Hopelessness is a delusion, the consequence of an inaccurate belief system. For many in our generation it is an enormous enemy. But it is an imposter that is the result of believing a lie. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Truth is transformational. It has the power to make free! Lies have an opposite detrimental effect. How do you know that your perception of reality is inaccurate? How do you know that what you believe is not true? You are not free! It can be just that simple.

            The apostle Paul identified the relationship between what you believe and how it affects you. He wrote, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). Accurate believing produces joy and peace and an abundance of hope. Acknowledging the truth is not sufficient to bring freedom; the truth you believe is the only truth that liberates you. In some cases you may have your facts straight but still be bound because your understanding is inaccurate. Jesus warned, take heed how you hear (Luke 8:18). If you have drawn inaccurate conclusions, you ‘heard wrong.’ Allow the Holy Spirit to interpret reality for you.

Jeremiah’s dilemma

            Jeremiah, one of the greatest prophets in the Old Testament, walked close to the Lord and was one of His spokesmen in his generation to the nation of Israel. Yet the great prophet was prone to periods of hopelessness and depression. Jeremiah 15:18 details his complaint against the Lord. In dispair he questioned, “Why is my pain perpetual and my wound incurable, which refuses to be healed? Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream, as waters that fail?”

            Jeremiah accused the Lord of being unreliable, like waters that fail, meaning ‘waters that cannot be trusted’. God’s response is illuminated in The Amplified Translation:

Therefore thus says the Lord to Jeremiah: “If you return and give up this mistaken tone of distrust and despair, then I will give you again a settled place of quiet and safety, and you will be My minister; and if you separate the precious from the vile cleansing your own heart from unworthy and unwarranted suspicions concerning God’s faithfulness, you shall be My mouthpiece. . . for I am with you to save and deliver you, says the Lord. And I will deliver you out of the hands of the wicked, and I will redeem you out of the palms of the terrible and ruthless tyrants.” (Jeremiah 15:19-21)

            Jeremiah was affected by a common delusion that the Lord identified as a mistaken tone of distrust and despair. His solution was simple and profound: give it up! . . stop believing the lie, reconsider your conclusions and change your mind.

            David the Psalmist declared: “I would have despaired, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Ps 27:13, NASU). David knew what destroys despair: having an accurate understanding that God is good, and a deep conviction that he would experience that goodness while he lived. Our human tendency is to allow how we feel to affect what we believe. True humility refuses to believe what we think or feel when it contradicts the truth and the revealed nature of God. Having a renewed mind is the key that brings this breakthrough.

            Circumstantial deliverance is often preceded by an internal heart attitude deliverance based on changing our beliefs. Jeremiah’s circumstantial freedom was contingent on first walking in an inner freedom. The Lord promised him a new settled place of quiet and safety on the other side of rejecting his mistaken tone. The term ‘mistaken tone’ reveals how easy it is to misinterpret reality. The prophet’s inaccurate thought process caused him to feel depressed and it distorted his understanding of the nature of God. The Lord also instructed Jeremiah to cleanse himself from suspicions of God’s motives. If Jeremiah made those two internal adjustments God promised to make him His mouthpiece and would not allow Jeremiah’s ever present enemies to prevail against him. God would deliver and redeem him.  

            This generation desperately needs to ‘give up’ our mistaken tones of distrust and despair and suspicions concerning God’s faithfulness.” Don’t let hopelessness steal your joy! Identify the lies that you believe. Replace them with the truth and send despair running for its life.

            Eventually Jeremiah changed his mind about what the Lord thinks. 15 chapters later Jeremiah discovered the redemptive thoughts of the Lord revealed in this prophetic statement: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jer 29:10-11).

            What does God think of us? His thoughts toward us are thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give us a future and a hope. Hope is built into the DNA of the gospel. Though human hope may have died the day Jesus was crucified transcendent unconquerable hope emerged from the tomb in the person of the resurrected man, Christ Jesus. The empty tomb of the risen Jesus makes this bold proclamation: there is no hopeless situation. Let that hope arise in your hearts right now. It is already there ready to spring into living faith!

 

 

Delivered From Deserved Consequences

Until the good news of the grace of God seems too good to be true, we have not yet seen it in all its fullness. I once had an encounter with the Lord who showed me five wagons of spiritual blessing He wanted to release to the world. One wagon contained  “deliverance from deserved consequences” and truly seemed too good to be true. Will God deliver us from what we deserve? Yes. God forgives and restores. If He didn’t, no one would be redeemed and no one would make it to heaven.

            The Bible is clear: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), and “the soul who sins shall die” (Ezek. 18:20). Jesus said, “I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” (Luke 12:5). These sobering words testify that we all need deliverance from what we deserve. The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus provided the only way of deliverance from ultimate deserved consequences.

            True repentance is the key to experiencing this forgiveness. We must turn not only from whatever deserves His condemnation but also toward God and renew our minds completely. Without both aspects of repentance we will never fully experience both the depth of God’s mercy and the breadth of His redemption.

The Apostle Paul: Grace Enlarged

            Acts 7 introduces Saul of Tarsus as he approved the death of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Stephen, an original deacon, was full of the Holy Spirit and faith. He did great signs and wonders and incurred the wrath of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Acts 6:9). They could neither refute his wisdom nor withstand the Spirit by which he spoke, so they framed him, accused him of blasphemy, and brought him before the Jewish high council.

            Stephen defended himself before the high priest. He outlined God’s plan through a discourse of the history of His dealings with Israel, beginning with Abraham and ending with the promise of the Messiah. Stephen rebuked them for having rejected the prophets of old and for killing the Messiah Himself. The council ground their teeth in anger as they cast him out and stoned him to death. Saul of Tarsus stood by, consenting to Stephen’s death.

            Afterward, Saul began a focused attack on the believers in Jerusalem:

Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. (Acts 8:1, 3)

            Saul gained letters of authority from the high priest and with demonic ferocity continued his vicious attacks. Then, miraculously, Jesus intervened on the road to Damascus. “As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads’” (Acts 9:3–5).

            Jesus’ intervention in Saul’s life reveals the marvelous depth of the mercy and kindness of God. Saul had done so much harm, not just to the disciples of the Lord but to the Lord Jesus Himself, who took Saul’s actions personally: “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. Isn’t It Hard for You?”

            I am shocked that Jesus appealed to Saul based on how difficult his life became as he persecuted the church. Jesus asked him, “Isn’t it hard for you to kick against the goads?” Isn’t it hard for you? How amazing is the heart of God for every person!

            Jesus had a profound destiny for this enemy of the gospel. He conscripted Ananias, a man of real faith, to rescue Saul. Ananias knew well Saul’s reputation. But he overcame his apprehension, obeyed the Lord, found Saul, and restored his sight:

And Ananias . . . laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus. Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. (Acts 9:17–20)

            Who more than Paul is the prototype of one delivered from deserved consequences? He was not just a sinner. He sought the destruction of believers in Jesus and the very faith Jesus suffered and died to establish. The apostle Paul constantly proclaimed this marvelous grace. He wrote: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life” (1 Tim. 1:15–16).

            The salvation of Saul of Tarsus is a primary example of how far the mercy of God is willing to reach. His mercy still reaches at least that far for anyone today.

The Importance of Grace

            Grace has many manifestations but is most simply defined as “undeserved favor.” To qualify for it you cannot deserve it. Grace is the only basis of deliverance available to us. It only comes as a gift. We must trust God to experience the fullness of His grace. Jeremiah wrote about the significance of trusting God:

Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes [kjv: see good when it comes], but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. (Jer. 17:5–8)

            Jeremiah concluded that to trust ourselves is to put ourselves under a curse. The effects of the curse is not that God stops helping us, but that when we trust anything other than the Lord we lose the capacity to receive the help He continues to freely provide for us! Trust the Lord for He will truly deliver us from deserved consequences!

 

Reconstructing Hope

Reconstructing Hope

Robinbuilding.jpg

The Lord wants to deliver people from what they deserve. That idea is central to the purpose of the gospel and embedded in the definition of grace. He wants to deliver people from deserved consequences. Who more than Paul is the prototype of one delivered from deserved consequences? He was not just a sinner. He sought the destruction of believers in Jesus and the very faith Jesus suffered and died to establish. The apostle Paul constantly proclaimed this marvelous grace. He wrote: "This is a faithful saying and worth of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life" (1 Tim. 1:15-16).

The salvation of Saul of Tarsus is a primary example of how far the mercy of God is willing to reach. His mercy still reaches at least that far for anyone today. Grace has many manifestations but is most simply defined as "undeserved favor". To qualify for it you cannot deserve it. Grace is the only basis of deliverance available to us. It only comes as a gift. We must trust God to experience the fullness of His grace. Jeremiah wrote about the significance of trusting God:

"Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strengtth, whose heart departs from   the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes [KJV: see good when it comes], but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit." (Jer. 17;5-8)

Jeremiah concluded that to trust ourselves is to put ourselves under a curse. The result is that we won't recognize good even when it comes. I have met people who first encountered Jesus and believed the gospel to the saving of their souls, but they turned from the grace of God to rely on their ability to keep the law for their justification. How tragic! It is a great deception to rely on obeying the Old Testament law to remain in fellowship with God. Paul the apostle confronted this heresy head-on:

"You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace... This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you." (Gal. 5:3-4, 8)

We must not let anything frustrate the Lord's prescribed way to deliver us from what we deserve. God is the God of grace and wants to reconstruct our hope in Him and the power of the gospel to deliver us from deserved consequences. He is a good God!

 

 

 

 

God Wants to Know You!

The Lord isn’t satisfied with knowing about us. He wants to really know us. The following verses have captured my attention in a new way:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’

“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

The Lord makes a distinction between those who know Him and move in His power and those He knows personally. We need to be in both categories. It is important that we move in the power of the Holy Spirit so people can be set free and know the Lord. But, we can’t let that expression of knowing Him substitute for Him knowing us.

There is a difference in God knowing everything about us and God knowing us personally.  Hebrews 4:13 says that “…there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” God knows everything about us, but does He experientially know us?. He obviously distinguishes between knowing facts about us, even the secrets we have, from actually knowing us in an intimate way.  The word intimacy has been loosely translated ‘into me see’. He wants to have personal experiences and communications with us. We need to let Him see into us in that we communicate to Him who we are on ever increasing levels.

Consider the account of the Lord visiting Abraham and His concern about Sodom and Gomorrah.

“And the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave,

 “I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” (Genesis 18:20-21)

Even though the Lord knew the condition of Sodom and Gomorrah He wanted to know in a more personal way, so He went to experience it Himself.  It is not enough for our God to know about things. He wants to have relationships with people in every area of life so that He can know them personally.

Jesus is our access point into the Kingdom of God. Could it be that we are the personal access points, the doors if you will, of God’s access points into the world. He is our door up and we are His door down into the very affairs of life! A property owner may rent a house to someone. By so doing he limits his access to the property by virtue of the terms of the lease.  Though he owns the property He can’t barge in at will. I know that God owns everything by virtue of creation, but He has chosen to limit His access to all things human by the authority He gave humans.

Verses in Song of Solomon 2:14 reveal the Lord’s profound desire to know His people intimately:

   “… Let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.”

We are most clearly identified by our voice and our face. Your face speaks of letting the Lord really ‘see’ who you are. Your voice has the ability to tell the Lord who you are. He says that your face is lovely. Let Him see it. He says your voice is sweet. Let Him hear it. Tell Him who you are.

Have You Told Him

 What if the Lord only knew you to the degree you intentionally and audibly told him about yourself. How well would He know you? Have you ever intentionally told Him who you are? One reason we don’t is that we allow the truth that ‘He knows everything’ keep us from letting Him know us in a deep way.

I have known the Lord over 45 years. Recently my personal relationship has blossomed in a way I have always wanted. It is happening as I have chosen to tell Him who I am as though He knows nothing about me. The remarkable result is that He has begun to speak into my life in ways I didn’t expect. I realize that as I open up to Him in that way I am giving Him a more specific context to communicate with me.

I have said things like, “I was born on January 10th, 1951 in Anderson, SC. while my dad was the football coach at Erskine College…”. At one point in this new relational process I began to tell the Lord about parts of my past that I had been ashamed of. Then I said, “But then you’ve never felt ashamed because you’ve never done anything to be ashamed of!” He responded to me, “That’s not true Robin. I felt ashamed on the cross!” His response startled me but then I remembered the verse in Hebrews Heb 12:2:

 “…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I understood the concept from my years of reading these verses and could quote it verbatim but it never really struck me that Jesus truly felt ashamed. Then the Lord told me that He needed to feel ashamed so that He could profoundly sympathize with those who felt ashamed. Who could not love this Jesus! Then He told me that in the cross He did something so wonderful that if a person fully understood what He had done for them they would never need to feel ashamed again. He put everyone’s shame to death in Himself as He died on the cross. He paid that price too.

Now It’s Your Turn

I know so many people who have suffered terribly destructive things in this life. Perhaps you are one of them. Many have asked Him for help and deliverance, but how many have actually toldHim what happened? Tell Him your story. Open up your heart and your mouth and tell Him who you are. If you do He may very well comfort you in ways you never expected. Let Him see your face. Let Him hear your voice. For He says, “Your face is lovely and your voice is sweet.”

Favor: Having It, Keeping It, Increasing It.

activating-gods-favor
activating-gods-favor

The favor of the Lord enables us to accomplish His purposes and live supernaturally blessed lives. Over the years I have seen favor ebb and flow in my life, in lives of others, and in different ministries. How do you get it, how do you keep it, and how do you increase it? Inquiring minds want to know. Ask

How do you get favor? Every good thing comes from God: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning" (James 1:17). To have favor, we must ask: "Yet, you do not have because you do not ask" (James 4:2b). 

My Favor is for You

In the context of asking James also said, "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures" (James 4:2b-3).  When we don't understand that God gives us favor primarily for others, we are in danger of losing or diminishing that favor. Motives matter. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 14:1&12, "Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy." And, "Even so you, since you are eager for spiritual gifts, let it be for the building up of the church that you seek to excel". In the context of the use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit Paul wrote the love chapter, I Corinthians 13. The 'more excellent way' Paul spoke of in I Corinthians 12:31 is using the gifts of the Spirit in expressions of love for the benefit of others.  My favor is for you, and your favor is for them.

Being Thankful

John the Baptist said,  "A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven" (John 3:27). We thank God to acknowledge that what we have, what we can do, and what we are, He has given us as a free gift.Being thankful also has the potential to increase our favor. "...God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble" (I Peter 5:5). Honest heart felt thanksgiving is manifest humility and attracts the grace of God.

Loving People Period

People know if we really love them. Peter wrote: "Honor all people..." (I Peter 2:17). Intentionally showing people honor is a very simple way to practically show them love. Then they are open to what we can bring them. Often we reserve our love for those we approve of or those who love us. Of that Jesus said, "...love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?...(Matthew 5:44-46). We will ultimately only influence people we truly love.

Bitterness Free Authenticity

The proliferation of social media has tainted this current generation like no other, either by hype or hypocrisy. Many long for authenticity and authentic believers. Becoming authentic is often a painful and expensive process, and many who have suffered have become bitter. God isn't interested in promoting people whose favor is soured by bitterness. Be real, but don't be critical. That will certainly diminish your favor level.

Imparting Hope

The level of our influence will rise to the level of our ability to impart legitimate hope, the joyful confident expectation of good. Hope is one of the primary missing ingredients in not just the world but the church as well. If we don't have hope we must realize we have bought into an inaccurate theoligical/cultural belief system. Hopelessness is its 'witness' that that belief system is false.

Hope is the atmosphere where favor thrives. We are serving the 'God of all hope' and living inside us is Christ 'the hope of glory'. Divine hope is part of our spiritual DNA. Let that hope arise in your heart now and may your favor increase.

Creativity

God by nature is the Creator. Every man woman and child is unique, created in God's image and yet different than anyone else. Even identical twins are different in ways too numerous to mention. Just as every snowflake is uniquely different, so are you and I. So is the creative ability He has given each of us. God gifted each of us with our own kind of creativity and the use of it is essential for our well being. A friend of mine once suffered with ongoing bouts of depression. He came to me for counseling about it. The Lord showed me that his particular brand of depression was attached to the lack of using his creative expression. He had become too busy to use his creative ability to write songs and draw, two things he enjoyed immensely. When he began to do those things again his depression lifted and a sense of joy returned to him.

Not having a creative gift prominent enough to be financially lucrative is no reason not to create things. Making money at it is not the point. No one needs to appreciate your creative expression for it to be important for you to do it.  Expressing yourself and enjoying the process is payment enough. You will experience the presence of the Lord when you create things. Let me explain.

Eric Liddell was a Scottish athlete, rugby player, and missionary. The movie Chariots of Fire depicted his life experience as a runner in the 1924 Paris Olympics. He was called the Flying Dutchman. His devotion to the Lord was tested when he decided not to run one race that was held on Sunday. As shown in the movie he was asked about his love for running track. He simply yet profoundly responded, "I feel God's pleasure when I run!" That was his realm of creativity and he felt the kindness of God when he did it. Others did as well when he ran. You too can feel the presence of the Creator when you use the creativity He has given you.

Donna and I watched the movie Jersey Boys, the story of the singer Frankie Valli and his group The Four Seasons. As the movie concluded and after the music ended I watched in surprise as a number of 70+ year olds literally danced down the aisles and out of the theatre. The movie reminded them of a joyful time in their lives and touched them so deeply that they danced in public when there was no music to dance to. And yet they were dancing to music, the music that resided in that creative part of their hearts. That is the power of creativity. It can even touch and release the joyful expression of youth, a force that laid dormant over fifty years. The creative expression they saw on the silver screen re-ignited something profound in their 70 year old hearts.

It did the same thing for me. I went home wondering how I could capture eras of joy that might bless me and touch other people's lives. I got an idea from watching them dance to begin creating photo collages of things from my youth that have the potential to touch that same joy. Now I make art that includes photos of the athletes I loved and enjoyed from my youth. The very act of creating those collages has given me a number of ideas for other creative things too. That is the power of creativity. Doing one thing like that will release ideas for others.

Go create something. Roll up your sleeves, get dirty, and get with it. You are created in the image of the One who created you. At the very least it will make you feel good.