Thursday, January 27, 2011



As we make our way through this Hall of Faith I want to offer to you a faith-lift by illustrating how several ordinary people were able to live extraordinary lives. We saw the "work of faith" was in Abel-work that emerged from the heart! Next we saw the walk of faith illustrated by the only two men who were ever said to "walk with God"-Enoch and Noah! With Abraham we have the illustration of the "way of faith", because when God called him out of his comfort zone, he obeyed. Then in the life of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob we discovered the "wealth of faith" through being blessed and blessing others. Yesterday we examined the incredible life of Joseph who had all kinds of things go against him. Joseph illustrates the "won't of faith", because he refused to compromise his walk with God no matter the circumstances.

Today we come to the amazing life of Moses: By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king's edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.

By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.

The story of Moses is a phenomenal illustration of the process of maturity. By faith he was hidden as a baby. By faith he refused the lifestyle of Egypt to live with the Jews. By faith he led God's people out of Egypt. By faith he kept the Passover. By faith he crossed the Red Sea. Moses did these things by faith in His God.

The way to maturity is breaking through the impasses of life-the frustrations and blockages. A baby must breathe or die. He must eat, crawl, and walk. But each of these is a break-through. As a child learns to overcome frustration, he grows up. When a child is not given enough frustration or is baled out of it, he is spoiled-emotionally crippled.

Moses was prepared for a great and most memorable mission for God. Even to this day it is celebrated as the Passover. Moses was miraculously spared and placed in the palace of the Pharaoh for 40 years, where he was highly educated in the things of royalty. Then, after killing an Egyptian who was hassling one of his Jewish brothers, Moses fled to the desert, where he learned the principles of herding and caring for sheep and the ways of survival in the wilderness. Then at 80 years of age he was ready-prepared by God-to fulfill his mission to lead the Jewish people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.

Moses illustrates the "will of faith". Moses discovered that the will of faith in the midst of frustration is the way to maturity. The will to do what is necessary in order to do the things you've been called to do, can be found in the life of Moses. There are four observations here that lead to practical application of the will of faith.

#1-FOCUS ON YOUR BURNING BUSH. Moses' burning bush experience is when God spoke to him to give him direction. God is continually speaking to you through His "burning bush" today-His living and written word. Jesus is the living word and He is also the living expression of the written word. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the spoken word of God"-the life and teachings of Jesus. The written word speaks of Jesus and Jesus speaks to you, when you seek Him with all your heart and listen for His direction. Focus on it by listening and learning and living it! The action step is to REPROGRAM YOUR MIND around Jesus!

#2-FACE YOUR BLOCKAGES. When God spoke to Moses and called him through the burning bush, he responded with several excuses-"I can't speak very well!" or "The people of Israel will not follow!" or "What will make the Pharaoh acknowledge what I have to say?" So when God speaks to you and calls you to a certain calling, what's your excuse? What are your blockages? The action step here is to REMOVE THEM the best you can!

#3-FIND YOUR BOOSTERS. Moses' best booster was Aaron. Without his support Moses couldn't have accomplished all that he did or matured to one of the most significant leaders ever. You need your friends and family as your own personal boosters-your support team. They become your inner security system. The action step here is to REACH OUT TO YOUR BOOSTERS!

#4-FOLLOW THE BASICS. Moses followed the Lord simply and basically, step by step, one day at a time. He stayed with the basics. On your way to maturity you must follow the basics. The action step here is to REMIND YOURSELF TO KEEP DOING THE BASICS!

Follow the life of Moses and you will find the will of faith. The will of faith is the willingness to be content with God's preparation in your life no matter how long it takes and then a willingness to do what He calls you to do no matter how impossible it seems. God wants to do great things in this world and He has chosen to do great things through those who have the will of faith to participate.

Are you willing to do great things with God as your partner? God has great things for us. Unfortunately, much of the time we're like the caterpillar that watches a butterfly fly by and says to himself, "You'll never get me up in one of those things", when God had exactly that in mind all along! The will of faith. Think it over!



As we make our way through this Hall of Faith I want to offer to you a faith-lift by illustrating how several ordinary people were able to live extraordinary lives. We saw the "work of faith" was in Abel-work that emerged from the heart! Next we saw the walk of faith illustrated by the only two men who were ever said to "walk with God"-Enoch and Noah! With Abraham we have the illustration of the "way of faith", because when God called him out of his comfort zone, he obeyed. Then in the life of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob we discovered the "wealth of faith" through being blessed and blessing others.

Today, we come to a short verse that sums up a long and faithful life in the character of Joseph. By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones. Although Joseph's life is not rehearsed here, he lived a life of faith that was nearly without equal.

Joseph was a most incredible man. His life is impeccable! He just didn't seem to blow it at all, but was a faithful follower. This exemplary life was primarily due to his strength in saying "I WON'T!" So, I call his life the "won't of faith".

The first dramatic scene in the life of Joseph was when his jealous brothers left him for dead. When his brothers turned against him and threw him in the pit to die, Joseph said, "I WON'T GIVE UP!" Although very few would criticize him for wanting revenge, Joseph refused this natural urge.

The second dramatic scene in the life of Joseph was after he was able to secure a most powerful job in a wealthy man's estate. He was the COO of Potaphar's house. Note what is said about him: Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard, bought him from the Ishmaelites, who had taken him down there. The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the LORD was with him and how the LORD caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge.

When his boss's wife tempted him with her body, Joseph said, "I WON'T GIVE IN!" Very few men would have been able to turn down her repeated and intense advances, but Joseph resisted this natural urge. Although he successfully resisted her advances, she accused him of molesting her. This sets up the third dramatic scene in the life of Joseph.

Potaphar believed his wife's claims and had Joseph put in prison. When he was persecuted for doing right in refusing the temptress, Joseph said, "I WON'T GIVE OUT!" Who could blame him for giving out at this point? He was the focal point of gross injustice.

God was with Joseph in the prison in a special way: But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. The chief jailer committed to Joseph's charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it. The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph's charge because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made to prosper. Again, Joseph was promoted to the top position in the prison.

The fourth dramatic scene in the life of Joseph was that he was able to interpret the dreams of the Pharaoh's cupbearer and baker while they were inmates with him in prison. And for doing this Joseph said: "Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house.

Well, the dreams came true, but the chief cupbearer forgot to say a word to the Pharaoh when he was released from prison. He restored the chief cupbearer to his office, and he put the cup into Pharaoh's hand; but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

Later, when the Pharaoh was being troubled by dreams, the cupbearer referred the Pharaoh to Joseph. Joseph interpreted his dreams and the Pharaoh decided to reward Joseph in a big way: So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are. "You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you." Pharaoh said to Joseph, "See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt." Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph's hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put the gold necklace around his neck. He had him ride in his second chariot; and they proclaimed before him, "Bow the knee!" And he set him over all the land of Egypt.

In all of these amazing scenes Joseph's example is the "won't of faith"! When your family and friends turn against you, when temptation strikes to trip you up and pull you away, when you find yourself persecuted for doing right, there is a "won't of faith"-a refusal to compromise your walk and relationship with the Lord.

Well, it turns out that God just kept rewarding and elevating Joseph to higher positions and responsibilities, because God had a bigger mission for him to do. Joseph was positioned in Egypt by God to preserve his family and the godly line in the nation of Israel during a most devastating famine.

When his brothers, who had left him for dead in a pit, came to Egypt for grain, they had to face their brother, Joseph, in order to save their lives. When they found out that their brother was alive, they were so ashamed. Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, "Behold, we are your servants." But Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place? "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.

When you're in the midst of a great refusal for God's sake, He is setting you up for a strategic mission and you will enjoy His blessings! When you are in the place God has established for you, you are now ready to serve Him best. When you find yourself in a predicament that has brought you so low that you can only look up, remember God is up to something really good just for you.



As we make our way through this Hall of Faith I want to offer to you a faith-lift by illustrating how several ordinary people were able to live extraordinary lives. We saw the "work of faith" was in Abel-work that emerged from the heart! Next we saw the walk of faith illustrated by the only two men who were ever said to "walk with God"-Enoch and Noah! Then with Abraham we have the illustration of the "way of faith".

Today we come to the next characters of faith in the eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews-Isaac, Jacob and Esau. There is a profound experience throughout the generations that we need to embrace today. It's the experience of passing on the blessing from one generation to the next.

Abraham obviously blessed his miracle son of promise-Isaac. And now it is time for Isaac and his son, Jacob, to pass on that same blessing: By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

As the blessing is passed on from generation to generation, it came to be the greatest wealth that could be inherited. This blessing was passed on by faith and received by faith with the understanding that one was to carry on the name of the family. Note what was said when Jacob blessed Joseph: He blessed Joseph, and said,
 "The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads; and may my name live on in them, and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and may they grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth." (Genesis 48:15-16)

Passing along a blessing is not just an ancient tradition, but is also for us today. I've come to realize that being blessed and blessing others may be the greatest wealth you can give or receive. This is what I call the "wealth of faith".

Note there are two dimensions to this blessing concept. First-Being blessed. A blessing is when you feel special. It's when you feel honored by others, when people are grateful for you, when someone is praying for God's favor to fall upon you and when you are empowered by others who really care who you are and who you are becoming. It's knowing and feeling that you are loved for being you.

The act of blessing involves meaningful touch! A very common vehicle for giving a blessing is the "laying on of hands." Another dimension of giving a blessing is words. A blessing is communicated with our words whether by mouth or in writing. The communication of a blessing has a message declaring high value of the person being blessed. The expression of appreciation or affirmation of another is a way of giving a blessing. Also, included in giving a blessing is a sense of destiny and purpose for your life. When you point out another's uniqueness or move them toward a special future, you are giving a blessing.

The ultimate blessing you could ever receive is the stamp of approval that you are special and you are OK. Only your Creator can give you a stamp of approval, because he made you. However, there are others God has empowered to uniquely place this stamp of approval on people-parents. God has charged parents to the task of stamping each child: APPROVED and SPECIAL!

Although the most natural place for you to receive the blessing is from your parents, unfortunately very little blessing is passed on from generation to generation. All families have a certain degree of dysfunction about them and therefore are unable to give the blessing their children need.

If you didn't receive the blessing you needed from your parents, you are not at a total loss. You can find a blessing in a personal relationship with Jesus. God's blessing of approval and acceptance can be found in the unconditional and sacrificial love of Jesus for you. You can also get your blessing through your relationship with the community of Jesus-through the dynamic relationship of gathering together in the name of Jesus. Remember, it's when two or three gather together in the name of Jesus that Jesus will show up there in their midst. I've experienced so much healing by the touch of Jesus through walking with others. That is truly the wealthy experience of being blessed.

Once you experience being blessed, then the second dimension of blessing can become a reality-Being a blessing. Now, if you can receive a blessing through others from God, then you can also be a channel to release God's blessing to others! Blessing others is not so much you giving your riches to others, but being able to reveal their riches to them-showing them acceptance and unconditional love. It's being a friend who speaks well of them and asks God's favor to fall upon them.

You see, the real wealth of faith is the blessing of God that flows two ways-being blessed and being a blessing. There are two ways you can make this a reality in your life. First-receive the love and acceptance of Jesus for you right now by faith. Count on it! Second-release the love and acceptance of Jesus into the lives of others. The wealth of blessing occurs in exactly this way and in this order. God is blessing you in order for you to bless others. We are told: The God of all comfort comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. So, seek after your blessing from the Lord Jesus and then seek to be a blessing to all He brings your way. Now, that is true wealth!



As we make our way through this Hall of Faith I want to offer to you a faith-lift by illustrating how several ordinary people were able to live extraordinary lives. We saw the "work of faith" was in Abel-work that emerged from the heart! Next we saw the walk of faith illustrated by the only two men who were ever said to "walk with God"-Enoch and Noah!

Today we will examine the "way of faith". The "way of faith" answers the question, "Which way is up?" and is demonstrated by the life of Abraham. Abraham has the distinction of being called "the friend of God" three times. He is mentioned over 300 times in 20 books of the Bible. Abe experienced three major encounters with God-(1) when he was called (2) when he was out of options and (3) when he was tested.

FIRST-WHEN HE WAS CALLED. Let's look at it: By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Abe lived in a place called Ur-an ancient city of Mesopotamia along the Euphrates River. That would be in modern-day Iraq. God calls him to change his lifestyle. He was called into the desert! God promised him a country, generations of descendants, and a purpose-that he and his people would be a blessing to the world! No doubt he was comfortable there in the city. Any resistance that was there must have been the fear of being lost in the grand scheme of things! Are you serious, God, the desert??? But Abraham obeyed and went out of the comforts of the city into the stressors and difficulties of the desert. He said YES to a Higher Calling! This calling was God's eternal purpose for him. There's no better place to be on earth-nothing more satisfying, more fulfilling, or more safe-than to be following the call of God on your life! Note this is true, even if you are called out of the comfortable city to the desolated desert.

SECOND-WHEN HE WAS OUT OF OPTIONS. Think of the situation here. God has promised him that he will bless the world through him and through his descendants. Well, in order to have descendants, you must have a child and Abraham and Sarah did not. They were childless and were too old to have any children-probably in their 80's. But by faith Sarah and Abraham hung in there, still holding on to the promises of God. This was the primary reason why God called them out of the city of Ur to the desert. In Hebrews 11 it is recorded: And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

THIRD-WHEN HE WAS TESTED. Note what happens here: By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

For you today your calling and testing is the way of faith! It's the only way up! Your calling gives you purpose for going through your testing; your testing gives you proof for your calling! But note that between your calling and testing, it is necessary to practice your faith by waiting on God's next move and for Him to come through. Waiting!

Waiting is so tough! Do you know why? Waiting is actually trusting-believing and expecting God to come through. In waiting there are some things we are NOT waiting on Jesus to do? 1. To do His will. 2. To relate. 3. To be responsible. 4. To do what He would do.

So, what are we waiting on Jesus to do? 1. To show up in my life. 2. To give me an answer-impression, a peace, a desire, a thought. 3. To bring people into my life for restoration. 4. To bring people into my life for walking-fellowship & support.

One of my favorite passages is from the prophet Isaiah. It says: He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. (Isaiah 40:1-31)

When you are called, walk toward Him! When you are tested, watch for Him to come through! When you are out of options, wait on Him!

In Psalm 40:1-3 it says something that kind of sums up the practice of waiting: "I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD." Now, that's the way of faith!



As we make our way through this Hall of Faith I want to offer to you a faith-lift by illustrating how several ordinary people were able to live extraordinary lives. We saw the work of faith was in Abel-work that emerged from the heart! Now we come to the walk of faith! "Walk" is a very common word in the Bible. We are urged to walk wisely, uprightly, with integrity, according to His commandments, humbly, worthy, in the light, in the truth, and in Him! To walk is a continuous journey with a destination in mind. Paul used the term "walk" and John used the term "abide" to describe the very same action.

There are only two characters who are said to have walked with God-Enoch and Noah. Enoch was transferred out of this earth to be with the Lord, because he was "pleasing to God." Noah was transported out of the flood, because he "found favor with God."

First check out Enoch: By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: "He could not be found, because God had taken him away." For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

The story of Enoch is a brief one. In Genesis 6 it says: Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. Even though the biographical sketch is brief, it is powerful. To be only one of two biblical characters that was ever recorded, as one who walked with God is quite remarkable. And then to have the result be to not face death at all, but to be supernaturally taken to be with God is amazing!

Then Noah is the other man that is noted to have walked with God: By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

In the historical record of Noah's life it says: Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.

There are two primary choices you have with respect to your walk. You can't serve God and the material world at the same time. It must be one or the other. It's either walk with God or walk out of step with God. Two choices!

There are two challenges as you reflect upon how to walk with God! 1. See Him-Consider Him. God is there! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is faithful. See Him through Jesus. It's in Jesus that you find all the fullness of God.

2. Seek Him out-Count on Him. Draw close to Him through personal faith in Him and practical fellowship with other followers.

Remember, there are only two kinds of pain-discipline or regret. Walking with God does require the pain of discipline, so do what you can do to start walking. Walking with God is simply watching what Jesus says and does and say and do the same.

You walk with God; He'll work with you in the midst of your troubles. Or, you don't walk with God; you're totally on your own and going nowhere. You choose!

One more thing here: A faith-walk doesn't require that you have it all together. In fact, you may be experiencing great pain and brokenness right now and wonder how a life of faith might make a difference. Faith is taking all that you know that you are (including your brokenness) and placing it into all that you know that Jesus is. And as you do this, you must leave the results to Him.



We began this series with this sentence: When your life is out of control and your back's against the wall, you need a faith-lift. Well as we continue working on giving you a personal faith-lift, we come to what many have called the Hall of Faith. It's found in one of the earliest writings in the New Testament in the book of Hebrews. In the eleventh chapter the writer of this book illustrates extraordinary faith exercised by simple, ordinary people with unusual results. Each of these illustrations is helpful in lifting your faith. It's ordinary people living extraordinary lives!

Hebrews 11 begins with a definition of faith: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

So, what is faith? Faith is the promise of God! Faith gives confidence of "things hoped for." Faith gives "conviction of things not seen." It makes things concrete and gives substance to the invisible! Faith gives us a connection with God, because by it we gain approval from God and by it we understand the miracle of creation-"that the universe was formed at God's command." Faith makes the promises of God a reality!

I like how The Message expresses it: The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. By faith, we see the world called into existence by God's word, what we see created by what we don't see.

In essence you can say that faith is taking God at His word!

Faith is not only the promise of God; faith is personal! The writer of the Hebrews goes on to speak about Adam and Eve's two sons, Cain and Abel: By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

Again, The Message renders it this way: By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God than Cain. It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference. That's what God noticed and approved as righteous. After all these centuries, that belief continues to catch our notice.

These two brothers lived their lives before God differently. Cain was a gardener and Abel was a herdsman. Cain offered sacrifice to God as a ritual-something he was supposed to do. Abel offered sacrifice to God by faith with his first-fruits-something he wanted to do. So, Cain did what he did to get by while Abel's heart priority was for God. Therefore, Cain's offering to God was disapproved and Cain became mad at God and the world, ending in being silenced. Abel's offering was approved and still speaks today. Cain, because of his anger, killed his brother, Abel. And, even though Abel was put to death, he continues to speak today with this principle of heart-generated faith.

There is something else about faith. Faith is powerful! What makes ordinary people live extraordinary lives? I have found three basic ingredients: FIRST-People of faith keep changing their perspective; they see the God who is there! This is a decision of the will-your choice!

SECOND-They keep committing to personal programming-to hear what God says. This is a discipline of the mind.

THIRD-They keep centering the priority of their hearts on God-to know what God wants! This is a desire of the heart! With this decision of your will, the discipline of your mind, and the desire of your heart, your ordinary faith becomes powerful!

You've got two choices and the first one doesn't count! Either, like Cain, you lose God as priority of your heart and leave the presence of God. Then you've got a real problem!

Or, like Abel, you center on God as the priority of your heart and gain God's approval. Then you've got the real power to go through anything. Abel is a supreme illustration of the work of faith. No matter what you offer to God, you must bring it to Him with all of your heart.

So, it's not a ritualistic, religious act of the mind and body, but totally and wholly a relational matter of the heart. Remember, God looks on the heart and man looks on the outward appearance. So, how's your heart?



Most of my adult life I have been practicing therapy-counseling people caught in every problem imaginable. When I first began speaking, it was on the university campus. I was the main speaker for many weekend retreats over a period of 6 or 7 years. The routine was always the same. I usually spoke 5 times during that retreat. On Friday night I always gave the same introductory message that set up the weekend for the other four messages I was slotted to present. Before delivering this message I asked the students and staff to take a 3x5 card and write out the three most important problems they wanted solved this weekend. They wrote them on the card, folded it and turned them in. I then read through the cards that night and prepared the next four messages to meet the needs they had expressed on the cards.

This introductory evening set up a constant stream of students and staff coming up to me to find counsel for whatever issues they were struggling with. Many retreats I was able to get only 4-5 hours sleep each night, because the need seemed so great. I realized through this early experience how people were desperately in need of help. What they were craving was to be able to talk with someone who was safe and who cared.

What I learned was that my counsel primarily consisted of listening to their problems and bringing a different perspective to the predicament. I was basically helping them discover more options to deal with what they thought was an impossible situation.

To be healthy, psychologically and spiritually, it's so important to have options. Those who are unhealthy find themselves running out of options. And, those who choose the route of suicide have run out of options altogether-ending it all seems like the only logical thing to do. Depression lingers in your life, when you feel you are out of hope and out of options-no light at the end of the tunnel!

When you're out of options, you will find yourself scrambling for security and inner satisfaction. When you run out of options, there is one option that is always available and that's what I want to share with you. Just thinking through a few people who ran out of options in biblical history, there are some interesting insights available to us.

In the Old Testament, Daniel certainly found himself out of options, when he was thrown into the lion's den. Jonah was a man faced with two distinct options-obey God's call to fulfill a mission or to disobey-to run alongside God or to run away from God. Well, as you know he made the wrong choice and ran away from God. Then he found himself in the belly of a great fish, marinating in its digestive juices. Now, that was a situation where Jonah was clearly out of options. Both Daniel and Jonah had one option open to them-turn to God. Daniel was persuaded to do this by the lions and Jonah was dramatically motivated into running back to God after running away by his experience in the fish.

In the New Testament, I think of the nobleman who came to Jesus to seek healing for his son. John records the story of the royal official, the nobleman, who had run out of options and believed Jesus possessed the only way for his son to live. Matthew and Mark share the story of the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years, living in a ceremonially unclean state for all that time. She had run out of options and fought the crowd, where she was not allowed to be due to her uncleanness, and was determined to get to Jesus, believing He was her only option to be healed.

The story of Jesus apprehending Paul with the bright light on his way to Damascus is an interesting scene. In this case, it isn't that Paul had run out of options. He thought he was on God's mission, persecuting the followers of Jesus. But Jesus in a spectacular encounter put Paul in a position that he had no other option than to respond in humility.

Here's the principle: When you're out of options, there is always one last option available to you. It's not a belief system. It's not the counsel of a good therapist. It's not some secret you need to know. It's a person-Jesus. Jesus is always available as your last option and would like to be your first option. I've noticed over the years that most people come to Jesus by the process of elimination-nothing else works!

When you're out of options, remember to turn to Jesus. He is the way, the truth and the life available to you.

There's one more thing here. When you're out of options, it's too easy for you to be overcome with worry, hopelessness and depression. Remember this: WHEN YOU'RE DOWN TO NOTHING, IT MEANS THAT GOD IS UP TO SOMETHING. SEEK HIM WITH ALL YOU'VE GOT! WHEN YOU'RE OUT OF OPTIONS, MAKE JESUS YOUR NEXT BEST OPTION!