Category Archives: personal growth

What Difference Does Jesus Make?

I occupy a lot of different roles. When I was born, I became the son of David and Martha Jo Harvell. Eventually I became know as Michael Joe to most folks, that is until I got married and then I became Joy’s Husband. I have been known as the chubby blond headed guy with blue eyes, a pretty good cook, a decent teacher, a not bad writer and a host of others things. When I went to Pastor my first church, I became known as Pastor, Preacher or Rev. After Joy and I were married for several years, we had our daughters Gracie and eventually Hope and I became Gracie & Hope’s Dad. To some folks I am a friend, to some an encourager and to some, just a goofy guy that loves Jesus. I’ve actually have more roles and titles than I have time to write about. I remember when I was younger hearing a Preacher preach a message and he asked the question: “Do you want a title or a testimony?” As a young kid, I thought: “Why not both???”

I hear people all the time say: “I love Jesus” or “I know Jesus as my Lord and Savior.” And that sounds really good, but I can’t help but wonder: “DO WE REALLY KNOW WHO JESUS IS AND IF WE DO, SHOULDN’T THAT MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE?”

What Do You Think Of When You Think of Jesus?

There Are Many Different Pictures of Jesus! A lot of different beliefs, many of them in conflict with one another. For us to be so sure that we know Jesus and have a relationship with him, we should be able to articulate from personal experience who he is and what he has done in our lives, but often, we just repeat what we have heard or been taught, because the truth is: We know about Jesus, but we don’t really know Jesus.

Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” -I John 4:15

Some people don’t see Jesus at all. Out of all the ones that do see Jesus, many only see him as a good man or an interesting teacher. When we see Jesus, we need to see him as he really is, in all of his glory and splendor. We need to see him as the humble, loving and faithful teacher that taught and teaches us a better way to do this thing called life. We need to not just say we believe, but prove we believe with the way we live our life, in the things we say and do. When we accept Jesus as God’s son and the perfect sacrifice for our sin, the evidence that it (he) is real is that our relationship with Jesus begins to change, develop and grow us into something more magnificent than we could ever dream or imagine.

We Know That We Know Jesus When:

We see Jesus as God’s Son! Jesus is not just a man. Jesus is the God/Man. Jesus is God come to earth, to live in the flesh, to show us through a living, breathing, physical example how to live, grow and be blessed in this life and for all eternity. And Jesus gives us the way and will to reclaim our rightful place as God’s special creation, made in God’s image and all that comes with that amazing truth. We know that Jesus is God’s son, but we have to do more than know it, we have to believe it and believe it in such a way that it changes our life from the inside-out.

We see Jesus as our Savior! The realization that I can open up my life to God and know Him in a real and personal way is amazing. The belief that I can have my very own personal connection with the supernatural power of the Almighty is incredible. And to think that all of this blessing is found in and through God’s Son Jesus, who made a way for us where there was no way is the icing on the cake. There is nothing we can do to make our messed up selves right with our God, but if we will accept and believe in the gift of His son, Jesus will become our Savior, cleanse us from all unrighteousness and restore us to a real and right relationship with Him that allows His blessing of forgiveness and power to flow to and through our lives.

We see Jesus as… Who or what do you need to see Jesus as today? Stop playing pretend games, get dissatisfied with just barely getting by and get to know Jesus and all the roles He can fulfill in your life by helping you to fulfill all the roles you were created for. Jesus is everything we need him to be and so much more, we just simply have to receive and believe…

Running On Empty!

One of the things I began to notice in my life as I got older was how often I allowed myself to get to the place where I was “running on empty”. I started to understand that I wasn’t trying to run on empty, in fact, I was trying to fill myself up, but was using the wrong fuel. Often while we are busy filling our ego, we are emptying our spirit and this is no way to live, not if you want to live the life of blessing you were created for.

The old saying: “What you feed will grow!” is more true than ever and if we are honest, a lot of us have been feeding the wrong animal, while neglecting what really matters. This is why the Scriptures are so important to our figuring out this thing called life and why we need to read them and seek to put them into practice everyday. Even baby steps in the right direction produce progress.

5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:5-7

We’ve already learned that God does not promise us happiness, but He does promise us joy and if we will allow the joy of the Lord to be our strength, it will help us to live blessed lives that produce happiness. So the goal then, is to fill up your “JOY TANK!”

Filling Up Your Joy Tank!

The first strip to filling up your Joy Tank: Become Known As A “Take It Easy” Person! A take it easy person is gentle, reasonable, wise and able to handle whatever life throws their way! It is important to remember that gentleness is not the absence of strength, but strength that is disciplined and under control. This is the goal for this life and is a work in progress until when Christ returns!

The second step to filling up your Joy Tank: Don’t Worry About Anything & Pray About Everything! It is very important to remind ourselves that worry is present when faith is absent! Let me say that again, because we usually miss it. WORRY IS PRESENT WHEN FAITH IS ABSENT! If you have worry in your life, then you are not exercising belief/faith/trust in God and His promises. The key to your success lies in you being able to replace your worry with faith and the best way I know to do this is by taking time to have conversation with our Creator. Remember: Prayer is conversation and conversation involves speaking and listening! So, talk to God and tell God what is on your heart and mind and then make sure that you are listening for His instruction, guidance and wisdom.

The Third Step To Filling Your Joy Tank: Let God’s Peace Guard Your Heart And Mind! It is very important to remember one of the major life truths that we often forget: “You are in charge of you!” Whatever you are – you have made the choice! Wherever you find yourself, chances are it is because of decisions you have made. We can waste our time blaming everyone and everything else, but that will not change who or what we are. What will change the who and where is our making the choice and decision to do something about it! Here’s a simple question that can help to clear things up: Are you what you want to be and are you who God created you to be??? If not, join God in creating a better, new and improved version of yourself. It will be an amazing journey and you will find that it is amazing where you can go on a full tank!

SURPRISE, SURPRISE!!!

Just when you think you have everything lined up exactly the way you want it, life has a way of blowing in and rearranging everything. It is true that we never know what’s just around the corner, but that is okay, because we don’t have to know. We just need to make sure that we know the ONE, who does know what is just around the corner and the ONE is God our Creator.

Good News: God Is Not Surprised By Anything!

There are good surprises and then there are bad surprises. Not knowing which we are going to get makes most of us just want to roll through life with as few as possible, but good or bad, surprises always have a way of making life better in the long run. If it’s good then it’s good and if it’s bad, then it’s usually a lesson and has the opportunity to grow into something good.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:4-7

Below are a few truths to keep in mind as we face the good and bad surprises of life:

1.) God Is Not Surprised By Anything, Because God knows everything! God created us, the world we live in and so much more that we don’t even have any idea it even exists. God created it all and therefore He knows it all intimately from the inside-out and from the outside-in. While you and I are surprised by a lot of things, nothing catches God by surprise, which means He is ready, willing and able…

2.) God Is Not Surprised By Anything, Because God is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent! That’s some great big theological words that describe God and give us a better understanding of just how amazing our Creator really is and why He is worthy of our trust. Omnipotent means that God is “All Powerful”, which means there is nothing God ever faces that is bigger or better than Him. God’s got the power, because God is the power. Omniscient means that God is “All Knowing”, which means that God knows everything and there is nothing that God does not know. Omnipresent means that God is “Everywhere At All Times!, which means there is never a place or space where God does not exist. God is – period.

3.) God Is Not Surprised By Anything, Because God is for you and with you! And He has promised to never leave you or forsake you as you love Him and live your life according to His calling. God is on your side and He wants better for you than you want for yourself, because He knows better than you, so trust God one moment at a time, one day at a time and allow Him to direct your steps. As you follow the path that He has marked out for you, it will take you into and through His greatest blessings and you will be grateful for the journey…