Sunday Inspiration: Out of the Desert

12 May

Last weekend I went to the annual convention for the Christian Medical and Dental Associations at the Ridgecrest Convention Center, near Asheville NC. That was wonderful. The theme was “Rest and Renew.” It was great to be among passionate Christian doctors again. Probably at least half of them had been on mission trips sometime.

So many extraordinary connections happened for me. But perhaps my favorite was having dinner with Luis Palau, one of the most respected evangelists in the world. I’ve heard Luis referred to as the “Billy Graham of Latin America.”

Out of the DesertLuis delivered the messages for the three devotional times in the mornings on May 3, 4, and 5. The theme of his messages was JOY. And he started the first day by asking the question, “How do you maintain your joy, your freshness in your Christian walk throughout your lifetime?” His answer – “Christ in me.”

After hearing Luis’ second message on May 4, I rushed down to the bookstore to buy “Out of the Desert: Into the Life God Fully Intended” before all the books had been sold. I felt a strong prompting to read the book myself and then gift it to a family member.

Endorsements for that book were written by Billy Graham, Rick Warren, Eric Metaxas, President Bill Clinton, President George Bush, Charles Colson, and TIME Magazine among others.

In his Preface, Luis writes:

Without God, life has no meaning. Education has no purpose. Economics has no direction. Relationships have no foundation.

At least that’s what we’re told. But is it true? Is life really all the different as a follower of Jesus Christ?

When we’re honest with ourselves, do we really believe Jesus brings any last change to our lives? Or, as many are convinced, is faith in Jesus just some religious drug, resulting in a spiritual high for some time yet eventually leaving us confused, frustrated, and down-right despondent – stuck in the muck of habitual sin, working overtime to please God, and struggling to make sense of our dirty lives?

After all, that’s the life most of us know … and we know it too well.

Things get tough. Obstacles come. And too often, the voice from above seems all too silent in the midst of our pain, our struggles, and our questions. You know the feeling.

Your prayers seem to hit the ceiling and bounce back at you with an ominous echo. Your situation at home or work goes from bad to worse, leaving you questioning your past bad decisions. Your relationships become strained, as if no one fully understands what you are going through. Your walk with God seems forced, distant, and anything but fruitful, causing you to wonder if you will ever know what this life is really all about.

As you sit with your Bible in hand, not knowing where to turn or what to read or how it relates to your life, you’re left with serious, profound questions.

Where is God in the midst of your struggle?

Why doesn’t he bring you lasting victory over sin?

Why are you fighting the same demons over and over again?

Why don’t you have any joy?

You would never admit it, but in the back of your mind – in the quiet of night – you can’t deny the feelings. Your joy is gone. Peace is foreign. And hope is fleeting away.

Does that sound at all familiar?

Deep down, you believe a successful, fruitful, God-centered life is possible. You wouldn’t be on this journey if you didn’t.

If this message resonates with you or if you have a family member or close friend that it would, I encourage you to purchase “Out of the Desert“.

Blessings to come out of the desert into the life God fully intended!

Joseph

More blessings

1) Photos from the CMDA annual convention

Photo collage from CMDA annual convention in 2013

2) Invitation to jvAlertLive event in Arlington, VA

I’ll be attending the jvAlertLive event in Arlington, VA on May 16-19, hosted by Ken McArthur. Ken is the author of IMPACT and offered me the opportunity to speak about Empowering Dreams at this event with some of the top internet marketing experts. My good friend Gary Beaton, an award-winning television and film producer from Tennessee, will be there. If you live nearby and want to learn how to reach more people with your message and grow your business with Joint Ventures, I invite you to come.

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