Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Beginnings

"'I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters,
making a dry path through the sea.

But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.'" Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 NLT

As the new year is approaching, are you thinking of all the "new" yous that you are promising yourself? "This year I'm going to..." "This year I'm committed to change...about myself." "This year, I am NOT going to..."

New Year's resolutions are nice I guess, but are they realistic? Are you wanting to change the right things? Are they being done for the right reason? Is it what the Lord is telling you to do?

To me, the above verse is perfect for the New Year. During this soon-to-be past year you have hopefully allowed the Lord to do great works in you. But it nothing compared to what He is planning for you and your life this new year. He's already begun. Can you believe it? There will be new paths and new rivers created in you and your spirit. Wonderful changes that will change you forever.

Do you find that the resolutions that you make for yourself are hard to keep? Do you feel like a failure when you fall short on your promise to yourself? That is what a resolution basically is--a promise.

When you allow the Lord to guide and choose your changes--you have the added assurance and strength in the Lord to help you succeed. Not all path changes and river planting will be joyful and easy. Some may be disheartening and hard. But with the word of the Lord and His presence in your life, you will become the diamond in the rough--a treasure to your God that is more precious than gold.

Do you want to start the year with 'new beginnings'? Do you want to succeed this time? Invite the Lord. He will see you through.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Take Heart!

"'I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.'” John 16:33 NLT

Isn't this a great promise?! As we walk down this road we call life, it's a given that we will not always have days full of sunshine and rainbows--but we don't walk alone.

When we get overwhelmed, we know that we should just empty ourselves of those feelings and claim the awesome peace that we can have only through Him. But it's not always easy to do. We get wrapped up in the emotions, of actions, the fears--but He can unwrap us. We get bogged down in the moment--He can unbog us.

Anything that the world can throw at us--He can overcome. He is such a loving and gentle Father, yet, if something or someone was to attack us, He's there in a heartbeat, protecting us to the fullest.

So please, the next time that you are attacked, remember this verse. Remember to take heart--you are not alone. Among the trials and sorrows, you will see days of sunshine and rainbows. So claim it!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Come and Rest

"Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 NLT

Yesterday, when I was at church, my friend pulled me aside and said she just needed to unload. She is one of those women that you look at and admire so much for her strength and insight. She has gone through many trials--cancer, bad doctors, surgeries to fix what the doctors messed up on, many treatments of chemo--always with a gracious spirit and a sweet smile.

Yesterday was different. Yes, her resistance was down because she had been in pain and she was having to start this week with another form of chemo treatment that would be putting blisters on the soles of her feet, the palms of her hands and her tongue. But that wasn't it. Yes, her 95 year old mother was nearing the end of her life--nearly blind & deaf, dementia and now her digestive system was closing down--living next door--not really ready to make the decisions that would soon have to be made. But that wasn't it.

Yesterday, she was weary. She was heavily burdened with the cares of life and the responsibilities of. Have you been there? Are you there now?

Are you-- as they say--ready to pull down the shades and turn out the lights? You are emotionally, physically, spiritually burdened and weary? It's OK to hold up your hand and say,"Yes!" Go ahead. If that is where you are at, go ahead and shout a big, "YES! Yes I am!"

So many of us feel that we can't be true to our feelings. That if we admit that we are spiritually weary or feel burdened beyond our capacity, that we are admitting failure in our spiritual walk or a weakness in our journey with our God. But it doesn't mean any of those things.

God knows you so well. He knows you better than you even know yourself. He allows us to go through these times of weariness and heavy burdens to fine tune us. To make us better than we already are through Him. To prepare us for the path in life that He has made for us. To help us to realize that we need Him so much more than life itself.

As I read this passage today, I thought of my friend. I thought that this verse was written especially for her in this very moment she is in. Was it written for you too? Claim it! Go to your Father and lay all of the weariness, cares, burdens and tears down and crawl upon His lap. Curl up like a baby and feel Him wrap His strong and gentle arms around you--rocking you and singing sweet songs in your ear that are for you only.

Your Heavenly Father is just waiting for you to make the first move--will you? Can you? I know you can.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gift of Freedom

"When you find me, you find life, real life,
to say nothing of God's good pleasure." Proverbs 8:35 The Message

Do you notice that now-a-days, so many people are searching for the meaning of life? Why am I here? What should I be doing? What should I believe in?

We tend to make a simple thing so complicated. But God makes a complicated thing so simple. We have to question everything and everything needs to make sense and have a logical reason. But with God, all we have to do is believe and accept.

Believe and accept!? No way, there has to be more than that! I have to earn my way to get what I want out of life. I need to sacrifice. I need to plan and be in control. Then life will be what I want it to be. But is it?

With God, all we have to do to have a life--a true life--is believe. To have a life that is full and spontaneous and joyful, all we have to do is accept. Accept the unconditional love and graciousness that God has planned for your life since before you were born and thank Him for it.

This CHRISTmas, give yourself the gift of freedom. Freedom from all the pressures of trying find life, true life, through your own acts, control and emotions--and let God give you life, true life. A life that passes all understanding. A life that is so complete that you can't take credit for it--you just know it is a gift from your Heavenly Father.

Do you want life, true life? Don't look towards earth for the answers--look upwards towards the heavens and pray. Pray for the gift of true life that only the Father can give to an open, willing heart. He will give it to you. All you need to do is humbly ask. Go ahead--ask!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Value of a Crown

"I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown." Revelation 3:11 NLT

What is it that so precious to you that you hold on to it for dear life? Is it your mate, your family, your children, your pet? Is it your wallet, your 501K, your prestigious job? Is it your faith, your Bible, your Sunday mornings at church?

We humans put value on everything. Whether it is subconscious or intentional--we have a value system. The more valuable something is to us, the more we want to protect it, cherish it, keep it in a safe place, at times even to guard it with our very life.

The above verse can be taken a couple of ways. How my spirit spoke to me, was this--the reference of crown was my faith, my salvation. The help notes at the bottom of the page said that the "I am coming soon," could also say, "I am coming suddenly, or quickly."

So, Jesus has already came once--almost 2009 years ago. And He is coming again. When--we do not know--but when He does, it will be suddenly, quickly. And we need to be ready. I need to be ready. I need to be guarding my faith and salvation as if is was a crown made of solid gold. It's worth that you know. Your faith and salvation can't be measured by man's estimate of value. It's beyond our comprehension.

Sometimes the things of this world look pretty good--even it they're not. It may make someone look at the crown in their hands and think that it would be fun to trade it in for something exciting, different or new. But is it?

Is it worth losing your heavenly crown for some earthly trinket? Keep the crown--the price that Jesus paid for it so that you could have it wasn't cheap. It was His sacrifice that He graciously made for you that purchased that crown you hold in your hands.

Cherish it always. Cherish Him always. This CHRISTmas season, give Him the gift of value.

"And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor." 1 Peter 5:4 NLT

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Gift of Trust

"The person who trusts the Lord,
will be blessed." Jeremiah 17:7 GN

At this very moment, do you feel blessed? Do you know what "blessed" means? In Noah's Webster's dictionary, one of the meanings is: (a.) Imparting happiness or bliss; fraught with happiness; blissful; joyful.

"The person who trusts the Lord will be blessed." The verse doesn't say that the person who trusts the Lord will be on easy street. It doesn't say that the person who trusts the Lord will be living by smooth sailing. It doesn't say that the person who trusts the Lord will never know hunger, financial crunch or sadness.

What it does say is that the person who trusts the Lord will be BLESSED--that if YOU trust the Lord, YOU will be BLESSED--And what does "blessed" mean again? Blissful, joyful, fraught with happiness. During good times or bad.

As with all relationships, trust shouldn't be a reflection of only good times. A true trust relationship is built and strengthened by good and troubled times.

Because of our human experiences and relationships--it can be hard for us to trust--to even trust our own heavenly Father. But we can. Of all the relationships we will ever invest in and encounter, our trust in our Father will never go into default. He canNOT be untrue, untrustworthy to you--He just loves you too much!

Can you trust Him? The bigger question is can He trust you? When you trust Him with ALL of you, with ALL your life, with ALL your good & bad--your spirit is so BLESSED. You are fill with a joy--a sparkling joy--that just glows through all of you.

This CHRISTmas season, give yourself the gift of trust--wholehearted trust, that no walls can keep out--with your heavenly Father. He desires this kind of relationship with you--can you give it to Him?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


"Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
Psalm 90:12 NIV

I have had to rethink what and how I'm doing life. I found that I was waking up exhausted. While I like what I am doing, I have come to the conclusion that there is an element of truth to the old saying, "Too much of a good thing can be bad for you."

The Bible says to do all things in moderation. This is good advise, but not always easy to follow. I love being a pastor. I love working on my friend's cattle ranch. I've even enjoy the projects around my house. I'm having to learn to pull back and slow down. I can't do it all, even if I want to. It's not all up to me. It's not all about me. I put standards and deadlines upon myself that lead to failure and disappointment. I get exhausted.

One night my son said to me, "Dad, I feel sorry for you." "Why?", I replied. He said, "Your job makes you so tired." That got me thinking.

I got away last week with a fellow pastor for a short time of prayer and ministry planning. My family said that maybe I could use the time away for some rest. I thought, "No way, I have work to do." God spoke to me during that time away. He didn't call me, or any of us to burn out. We do it to ourselves. We allow the demands of life, the approval of others, and self-gratification, to keep us busy to the point of exhaustion.

God rested from the work of creation. He calls us to enter His rest. We have His approval through Jesus. He gives rest to the weary. Are you weary?

It is easy to get on overload, especially with "good things." Christmas time is when many of us tend to get maxed out. I am having to rethink. I have to prioritize and reshuffle my schedule. I have to say "no" to some requests and opportunities. It's hard to do that. But it is necessary. We are in a marathon, not a sprint.

Take this time to focus on the gift of Jesus. Take time to receive and find, the joy in His rest.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pass It On!

"And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is." Ephesians 3:18NLT

There's an old camp song that goes something like this, "deep and wide, deep and wide, God's love for you is deep and wide...." OK, I'm not going to make a living singing old camp songs, but it was a fun way to remind children how much their Father loved them.

It's a great time to remind you too. During stressful times, busy times or times that maybe you are not living the life that you know that God wants for you--you may feel that He has forgotten you or turned His back on you. He hasn't. He can't. It's only you that can turn your back on Him. He is forever faithful in His love, grace and friendship towards you.

There's another song that I've been hearing lately on a Country station. It's a song about a dad that leaves a message on the message machine saying "That no matter what you have done, or where you may be, you can always come home, my daughter, to me. Just come back home."

When I first heard it, it made me spiritually weep. I can see God leaving that message for so many of us daughters (& sons). I know that there has been times in my past when--if I had called Him--that same message would be on His machine for me. How many times I must have hurt Him and He continues to love, & desires to have a relationship with me. And He continues to feel the same way about you. Our Father loves us so much that it doesn't matter what we've done or where we've been, as long as we ask for forgiveness, He will graciously take us back.

Could we? Could you? If someone turned their back on you--if someone injured your feelings--rejected you--would you be able to just take them back? Even if they did ask for forgiveness? It's a hard question to answer. At least truthfully. Spiritually you want to say 'yes' but realistically and honestly, the answer could be 'no'.

During this CHRISTmas season, do you think it would be a great time to give the gift of true forgiveness and complete love? A gift with no strings attached? A gift that isn't wrapped in guilt or tied with ribbons of half-hearted forgiveness or love? Is there someone in your life that needs such a gift from you? Is there someone in your life that--in order for you to be in your Father's will--that you should give that gift to?

God's gift to you is to graciously love & forgive you completely. It's a gift that He wants you to pass on. So...what's keeping you? Pass it on!

Friday, December 4, 2009


"But Jesus replied, 'Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.'” Matthew 8:20 NLT

This verse has always fascinated me for some reason. I think that some of it is that the mental picture of what Jesus' words conjure up. To a lot of us--having a structure to call home, a place to make our very own, a place that we feel safe to 'lay our heads'--is very important. To some, it is their security. Foxes have it, birds have it, but Jesus didn't.

And until I read this verse, I forget to even wonder about Jesus' home. If you read the verse before, verse 19, the reason that Jesus even made this statement is because a teacher of the law, who apparently had hung out with the crowd that Jesus was with that day, came to Him and stated, in the passion of the moment, that he would follow Him wherever He went.

But, while I think Jesus was flattered at the teacher's words, He knew that we humans need our personal place--a home--a safe place to lay our head. And you hear no more of this teacher. Can you imagine him, in his passion of being with the Son of Man all day, witnessing the wonderful healing that Jesus did that day, wanting to follow but because he needed his 'home', turning away and head down, slowly walking into the sunset?

Why didn't God give His Son a place to lay His head--a home? You probably already know the answer. Having a home is not a sin, it is not a bad thing. In fact it is wonderful--it's one of God's blessings to us. On the other hand, having a home is also a responsibility. If you have a home, a place to lay your head, you need to keep it up. Having a home takes up your time. Your focus.

Jesus' time on this earth was to keep His eyes pointed towards home and to do His Father's will. And God's will was for Him to be totally focused on saving us from ourselves. If He had a home, He would be torn between the upkeep and maintence and going to Galilee--of needing the wash the windows or raising Barnabas from the dead. He didn't need it, but He understood our need. Besides His home really wasn't here on earth anyways was it? He came down to earth as a honored guest for around 30 years. His 'safe place to lay His head' was Heaven.

I don't know about you, but I like to think that today, He does have a safe place to lay His head here on earth--our hearts. If you have invited Him to live in your heart, in your spirit--then He does have a safe place, doesn't He?

If you haven't done that yet--won't you during this Christmas season? What a wonderful present to Him and yourself! Everlasting life--to be with Jesus forever and ever. The thought of it may be scary--you may have a thousand excuses why not--but Jesus doesn't care about excuses. He wants you, wherever you are at. With all of your muck and goo and ickiness--He wants you. But you have to ask Him. He will not come uninvited. It's simple really. There's no magic words. Just from the depths of your heart and spirit, talk to Him. Simply confess you are a sinner and that you need and want Him in your life. God will do the rest.

An important step--tell someone that you trust. Share the wonderful news with someone you trust and that will hold you accountable. Someone that has a strong faith so that when you go through trails, they can council you, support you and keep you on the right path.

Foxes have dens, birds have nests, we have the Promise of Jesus--Heaven!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Gift of Less

"Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything." 2 Corinthians 6:10 NLT

As the month of December starts, so does the "I want" and the "You deserve". The day after Thanksgiving, we are bombarded with commercials and ads that state that "you need this", "you're worth it." Children start making comments such as, "I want", or "I need".

It's all so disheartening isn't it? We--a society that has SO much more than any society since the beginning of time--think we still need MORE!

Does MORE fill your broken heart? Does MORE fix your empty spirit? Does MORE make you have a better marriage, raise your children to be better people, build deeper friendships? Does MORE take away your loneliness? Does MORE bind you and your God together? No!

What MORE does is exactly the opposite. LESS can do MORE. Does that make sense?

The verse above states that with heartache, they have MORE joy. With LESS money, they have MORE spiritually. With LESS material possessions, they have MORE of everything. Do you understand why?

The reason why is because all these 'things' are just that--'things'. If God came down today and took all the 'things' of this world, and just left Himself here, what would you do? Would you throw a tantrum? Would you fall apart? Would you be at a lost? Would you feel cheated?

Or would He be enough? Would you embrace Him? Would you hang-out and talk with Him? Would you just sit and soak up the wonder of Him? Would you release yourself into His capable hands and allow Him to control your day? Would you feel blessed?

God has blessed us with so much. But all we really need is Him. All you really need is Him. As you enter into this Christmas season, please try to remember what this extra special time is all about. Oh, you will be getting a gift alright--God's greatest gift--His Son, your Savior. The most unique gift that one could ever hope to get.

Remember, no matter what the world says--it is called CHRISTmas for a reason.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Needless Worry

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

Peace and unworried go hand-in-hand. Worry and lost peace also go hand-in-hand. Have you noticed that? You feel it in your spirit, your mind, your heart. It may seem silly, but there are times when I don't even realize that I am worried until I clue in on my stomach. When I am worried, my stomach gets this, what I call, a nervous feeling. It feels agitated. and when I feel that, I realize my peace it gone also. I just don't like it.

This verse is so awesome. I wish I could remember it during those times. The Lord gave us our solution for those times when we are worried--don't and pray. Sounds so simple doesn't it? For us humans, it's not always so easy, is it?

I went through this last night. I don't know why I've been worrying on and off so much lately--but I have. I finally went to a quiet place and just cried out to my God that I didn't understand why I was in this state of spirit. Why I think that I have given Him my worries, my confusion and prayed for Him to take them go away. And then,when I least expect it--poof!--there they are again, stealing my peace and my joy.

When I left my quiet place, I did feel at peace. I was peaceful and joyful all day until a small incident happened right before I left work. Poof! Back came the worry that a friend was irritated at me. Poof! Back came the insecurity, the worry that they misunderstood me and I wasn't given the chance to make it right. Poof, Poof, Poof!

Then came this verse tonight. I NEED to claim it. If you are in a similar boat, you NEED to claim it. Our Father is SO awesome that He has a way out for us--prayer. Constant prayer is the only way that we get through these growing times of worry. Claim His promise--His peace guarding our hearts when we pray--share ourselves with Him--and thank Him for what He has done.

I know that this worry phase will be over soon--in the meantime, I will continue to praise my holy Father--thanking Him for this learning experience. The same can be for you. You know that you will get through this. Praise Him for what you are learning, for Him being there to keep you focus on what all of this is for--refinement. Our God is an AWESOME God--don't you agree!

Friday, November 27, 2009


"Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts." Colossians 3:16 NLT

Yesterday was the official day of Thanksgiving. And it is good that we have a day on the calendar that reminds us that we do have so much to be thankful for. No matter where we are in life, we need to be thankful--don't you think?

I don't know if you have ever heard the saying, "God is good, all time. All the time, God is good,"--we say it in our church almost, if not every, Sunday. During this Thanksgiving season, driving the many miles that I did, I've been thinking of a new verse--"Be thankful, all the time. All the time, be thankful."

When do you feel thankful? Do you feel thankful just when things are going good and life is going that way you want? There are no challenges, no problems, no unwanted situations. It is so easy then. But what happens when there are challenges, problems and unwanted situations? Do you feel thankful then? Honestly, what do you feel?

It's not easy to be thankful all the time. Look at the beginning of our linage. Adam and Eve had a whole garden to be thankful for--all but one tree. But what happened? Were they thankful? Maybe at one time. But in the end, they didn't want anything but the one thing that they weren't suppose to have.

Being thankful all the time is not easy. It takes work. Especially when things are going wrong. But have you thought about how many miracles have come out of hard, trying times? How you have grown spiritually, emotionally, enduring hard times? How, hopefully, your relationship with your God has been strengthen and you've grown closer?

I do not like hard times, but without the hard times, I would not be the person I am. What about you? Be thankful, all the time. All the time, be thankful.

Have you thanked Him lately? If not, why not do it today?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Boldly Hope

"We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)" Romans 8:24-25 NLT

Have you ever wondered what the word 'hope' means? In Noah Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language is states that hope: (n.) A desire of some good, accompanied with an expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable; an expectation of something which is thought to be desirable; confidence; pleasing expectancy. In Easton's Bible Dictionary it states that in Romans 8:24, the word 'hope' means: It is joined to faith and love, and is opposed to seeing or possessing.

I was talking to a Christian friend the other day and she made the comment that she 'hoped' that her and her husband can pull through this tough time they are experiencing right now. And that got me thinking. I wonder if hope is like faith--you know it's there even if you don't see anything tangible--but just as with faith, it seems that you should claim it, doesn't it?

Hope is wonderful and it is there and we need it. But just to sit and say, "I hope this happens or that happens....." seems a little wrong. It seems like we should treat it like faith--state it and boldly claim it. "If it is the Lord's will, I know what I hope for will come to be." Don't you think?

Have you ever needed to have something to hope for or in? You know that you can always turn to your Father in Heaven and boldly place your hope (& faith) in Him. Just place yourself into His loving hands and He will take care of all your hopes.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Our Gentle Fortress

"But as for me, I will sing about your power.
Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love.
For you have been my refuge,
a place of safety when I am in distress." Psalm 59:16 NLT

We live in a scary world right now. As you turn on the TV or the radio, you hear about some sad person going on a shooting rampage, the unemployment rate is sky high, people are losing their homes, children are doing things that we wouldn't even think about doing--the list goes on.

That is what is so amazing about this verse. Oh, I know, the Bible is full of such amazing verses, but this is the one the Lord showed to me this morning. It's such an amazement to me that God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that we would need a verse that reminds us that even in all the craziness--whether in the old testament times or now--we have His unfailing love, His strong, gentle arms to wrap around us and keep us safe.

You know, craziness and uncertainty isn't always a worldly thing. It could be just a private, spiritual, personal thing that you are going through.

I don't always do well when there is a change in my life. It doesn't matter whether it is a good change or a bad change, I get very insecure. Don't ask me why, it just is. I eventually adapt to it but in the meantime, I'm in turmoil--and that's what I'm going through that right now. I fight the feeling of uncertainty, of not quite knowing how my place in life or the friendships developed are going to be affected by this change. I've been laying this insecurity, unsure feelings, at His feet for a week now, but it's still there nagging at me. And then the Lord brings a verse like this to me, I am so humbly grateful. What an AWESOME God that loves us so much that He meets us where we need Him.

I share this with you only so that you hopefully will see that nothing is too little or too great for our Lord to want to take care of it for us. He desires and is delighted when we give to Him all the things that we fear, our insecurities, our uncertainties, feelings that we may not even understand--and allow Him to do with them as He sees fit. But be warned--when we give them to Him, you MUST leave them with Him. It's so hard for us to let go, even of our garbage. But we must. Fight the urge to 'help' Him. He doesn't need it.

Our God is the strongest, gentlest and most gracious fortress you will ever need. Just praise Him and love Him and have faith in Him. He will do the rest.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


"John said to Jesus, 'Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group.”
But Jesus said, 'Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you.”

John was a part of the inner circle that ministered with Jesus. But he didn't get it. He saw a guy doing a miraculous act of kindness in the name of Jesus and he told him to knock it off. Why? Because the man wasn't a part of the gang.

Segregation,in the Church goes way back. I wonder how often why draw a line in the sand with our brothers and sisters? How often do we compare, judge, criticize, and destroy another person or churches ministry because they are not a part of our merry little band? Conservative and charismatics, traditional and non-traditional, we just seem to be unsupportive of each other.

When you consider the mighty moves of God, it is most often when churches are in unity. Where are you at on the issue of unity?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


"You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross."
Philippians 2:5-8 NLT

This is a classic passage describing God's love for us and the good news of Jesus Christ. God left the glory of heaven, put on our skin, paid the penalty due us, and gave us access to heaven as children of God. He knows what it is like to be us.

This passage also speaks to a profound relationship principle. The principle of incarnation. It's about putting on the other person's skin and looking at life through their eyes. Not viewing life as you think the other person should, or how you view their situation, but through their eyes. It takes humility, understanding, relationship, and willingness.

I use this principle in counseling, especially marriages. I try to get spouse to view issues through the eyes of their spouse. I ask them not to assign malice or make assumptions. Based on an objective perspective, how does their spouse view the issue? How might that make them feel? What does the spouse value?

This principle can be used in all relationships. Once when I was going on a job interview, I made a study of my perspective boss. It helped me to communicate more effectively. When I got the job, it helped me to serve him better, and lead to a promotion for me. I try to practice this principle with my wife Peggy. I've learned through failures and communication what is important to her. For example, I might like affirming words and gifts. But Peggy likes quality time and acts of service. When I spend time with her, listen to her, it tells her I love her. My completing a project around the house tells her I love her more than buying her a gift.

Practice the art of incarnation. It will enhance a good relationship. It may save a relationship in crisis.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


"Then his disciples began arguing about which of them was the greatest. But Jesus knew their thoughts, so he brought a little child to his side. Then he said to them, 'Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.” Luke 9:46-48 NLT

Jesus had just told his followers that he was going to be betrayed, rejected, and killed. Yet, they didn't get it. They had selective hearing. They were consumed with selfish ambition. Who among them was the greatest? Jesus answered them in a strange way. He picked up a child.

In Jesus' day, children were the lowest in the social order. They had no rights. They were considered the property of their parents. Jesus said that in accepting the lowliest, the humble, and the vulnerable we welcome him. This is counter cultural. It is kingdom culture.

Followers of Jesus are called to follow their master. Jesus welcomes and loves everyone. Status in the eyes of the world is irrelevant. Jesus says to be great, don't climb the ladder of success. Go low in the attitude of a servant.

Jesus came to us as a servant. He gave his life for us. He calls us to be humble. To love "the least of these."

How do you measure greatness?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Struggling with Fear?

"I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

He won't let you stumble,
your Guardian God won't fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel's
Guardian will never doze or sleep.

God's your Guardian,
right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke,
sheltering you from moonstroke.

God guards you from every evil,
he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
he guards you now, he guards you always." Psalm 121 (The Message)

Are there times when you are scared? Times when you feel anxious? I do.

I used to think that I couldn't admit to having fear/anxiety because it might be seen by other Christians that I didn't have enough faith--that my walk wasn't as close as it should be.

But as I read more and more in the Bible, God showed me that everyone experiences those feelings at one time or another. It really has nothing to do with your walk, necessarily--it's just called being human. The apostles, King David, even Jesus, experienced fear at one time or another. It's what you do with it that is important.

Our God, our Father, is so very gracious. He sustains us in the midst of any fearfulness, anxiety, sadness we may be feeling--just as He is with us for every joy, praise and happiness feeling we feel.

So when we have those moments of fearfulness, of anxiety, please remember this psalm. Pray and give those feeling to Jesus. He, "guards your very life. He guards you now, He guards you always"--trust Him with all of you!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Are You a Dog or a Cat?

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27 NLT

We have three dogs and three cats. Bobby, Curly and Biscuit are our dogs and Harry, Fluffy and Daisy are our cats. Whether our dogs are on their run or loose, when we call their names, they come flying from where they were not suppose to be. They could be over visiting neighbors (which they know is against the rules) or laying on the front porch, but they know their names and our voices and come wholeheartedly.

Now our cats, on the other hand, are totally opposite. Oh, they know their names and our voices, but they may or may not decide to respond. They can be looking right at you and just stretch, and stare deep into your eyes, as if to say, "Hello. Are you possibly talking to me?"

Now, I have a question for you. Are you a dog or a cat? When you hear the Lord calling, do you come at any expense? Do you eagerly say, "Yes, Lord, I'm all yours." Do you stop everything you are doing and give God your undivided attention? Or do you say to Him, "You know, I'm a little busy now, could you check back with me in 10 minutes or so?" Do you say to yourself, "Oh, doughnuts, I'm really not in the mood right now. I'll get to Him when I get a chance."

Or do you hear Him at all?

In this busy, noisy world, there are many excuses for not listening to that "small still voice". There are so many things that we allow to drown out any conversation between our Lord and ourselves. But have you noticed, as I have, that the more we don't take time to answer the Spirit phone, the more persistent He becomes?

I don't know about you, but I want to respond as a Bobby, Curly or Biscuit when the Lord calls. I want to drop everything and come running into His arms and drink in His precious words. How about you?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Power of a Name

"For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,

'The stone that you builders rejected

has now become the cornerstone.’

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:11-12NLT

Have you noticed that these days, parents name their children names that are not commonly used as names for humans. For example--Hunter, Forrest, Apple, Sierra--the list could go on. Why? What's wrong with Mary, Fred, David, John, Susan? Nothing. It's just that the trend is to name your child a name that is unique, memorable. A name that will get them far in life. That is strong and solid.

Do you ever wonder what the name "Jesus" means? This is what Easton's Bible Dictionary says, "Jesus the Christ is Jesus the Great Deliverer, the Anointed One, the Saviour of men. This name denotes that Jesus was divinely appointed, commissioned, and accredited as the Saviour of men."

Wow! Then you read this scripture--"God has given no other name under heaven by which we are saved." Talk about a name that is unique. That is strong and solid. That will get you far in life.

The part that I keep coming back to is this: "There is salvation in no one else!" No one else. Salvation isn't necessarily in what we do or don't do. It's not in our acts. It's in HIM. It's in the holy name of Jesus. Isn't that freeing? Does it help release you from the yoke of: "I'm just no good. I will never be the 100% perfect person I need to be to be saved. So why even try?"

Please accept this. Please know that all you need to do to have Jesus Christ in your life is to call His Name. Cry out and confess you need HIM. That you are sorry for your past and you want Him in your future. Jesus Christ will gently, graciously wrap His loving arms around you and pull you into Him.

The power of a Name. You can stop searching, you're home!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


"But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world." 1 John 4:4 NLT

A wonderful occurrence happened this past Sunday. We were holding a Baptism class. There was a man and a couple of women. Well, the husband of one of the women came in with their 9 year old son. He and the son sat down and started listening to what the teacher was saying. The teacher had just gotten to the part where he was asking those present if they wanted to say the sinner's prayer. All of a sudden the husband got a little irate and stated that he knew "all this stuff" and his 9 year old son was too young to understand it. He got up and took himself and the son out of the room.

Service started. When the service was over, one of the core leaders felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned around and who do you suppose was there? That's right--the 9 year old boy. As the the man leaned over to the boy, the boy whispered that he wanted to accept Jesus into his life. Isn't that awesome!

I don't know about you, but I think that at times, we are like that father. We want to protect those we love, protect ourselves. We get scared of something new, some new concept or maybe we aren't really sure of our own salvation--so we react. And the reaction isn't always to our benefit or to those around us.

But Jesus didn't let it happen that day. He wanted that child to be in His kingdom and he is. God is such an awesome Father. He loves and wants all of us to be His personal child. Not just a number or a body--but a true child. He wants to know every thought in your head, every fear in your spirit, every joy or hurt, in your heart. He is a Father that knows every hair on your head. Can anyone love you as deeply and completely as that?

Just as the boy on Sunday, if you are feeling that tug on your heart and spirit to have a relationship with Jesus or if you already have one--a deeper one--please, please, don't let anyone or anything keep you from pursuing and fulfilling that desire.

It is the one decision in your life that you will NEVER regret making!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Irritation Release 101

"The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:7-8 NLT

Lately something has been happening inside of me. I have felt this irritation for a couple of people that the Lord has in my life. They haven't hurt me so much, but their words and actions have been hurtful to my friend. I'm not perfect, but I don't usually get irritated at people. If I do, it comes and goes. But this has been just sitting there--do you know what I mean? Have you ever been here? It just irritates me (joke, hee, hee).

Anyway, I've been wanting to say something profound that would change these people's mind set and attitude. I want to protect my friend by saying something that was so God ordained that they couldn't help but cry for forgiveness and have an instant life change. I've even prayed and ask God for that very thing. If He wanted me to do or say something, then to please give me His words, His timing and His courage--but nothing has come of it--until this verse.

This verse hits right to my heart. It's not my words--but my actions--behind closed doors, "Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers." and in the open, "Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins," that will make the difference in these people lives. Do you understand?

Jesus changed more lives--not by running around, thumping a Bible and yelling, "REPENT", "CHANGE YOUR WAYS," "SAY YOUR SORRY!"--but by being a quiet, gentle, gracious presence in people's lives. That's all I need to do. I just need to pray a hedge of protection around my friend, pray for the others that are doing the offending and love them unconditionally. If I do all that, then if the Lord wants me to, He will give me the right words at the right time to do His work. If He doesn't, it's O.K. He's in control. And you know, this will work for you too.

Feel the urge to scream--pray and love. Feel the need change someone--pray and love. In the process, you may be changed too.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


"Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to talk him out of it. 'I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,' he said, 'so why are you coming to me?'

But Jesus said, 'It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.' So John agreed to baptize Him."
Matthew 3:13-15 NLT

John was faced with what appeared to be a contradiction. John knew that he was the one to precede Jesus' ministry. He spent his life preparing the way for Jesus. He recognized that Jesus was the judge and savior of the world.

But Jesus asked John to do something that seemed weird. The greater asked the lesser to baptize him. John tried to get out of it. But Jesus knew that His baptism had to happen at the hands of John. Jesus knew the scriptures and what needed to take place for them to be fulfilled.

John had to take a step of faith and obedience. He may not have fully understood what Jesus meant. But, he understood who Jesus was, and that was enough.

We don't always fully understand the Lord. In fact, the apostle Paul said that we live in the "partial." We need to be like John. We don't have to fully understand the "what" or "why." Knowing "who" Jesus is enough. He loves us fully. He knows fully. He can be trusted to care for us fully.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Job Connection

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'" Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

I have a question for you. When things are not going exactly great for you, do you think that God is punishing you? That you must be doing something wrong--otherwise, it would be smooth sailing for you. But here you are, going through muck--yuck!

Well, you know, you may be right. Maybe the Lord is trying to make you examine your life and wants you to see something that might need confessing or put aside or brought out and dealt with. But there is also another train of thought. One is that sometimes, we go through stuff, not because we have been "bad", but because God may want to have you help someone else by your example. Do you know what I mean? I like to call it the "Job Connection."

Do you remember Job in the old testament? He had such bad times that he was able to write a whole book in the Bible about it. But was Job being punished because he had done something bad? No. Job was going through trails because the Devil was testing his faith. The Devil was telling God that it was easy for Job to be faithful when all was going so well for him. Just wait if God would remove His favor on him and he started going through trials. Oh, boy! That's when the fur would fly. Satan staked his life on the fact that Job would no longer be acknowledging God as his father but cursing Him.

Is that what happened? No. Job sang the praises of his Father even louder. What a witness he was to those who were watching his life trials! He came through the other side, stronger and more faithful than ever.

So, I would like to encourage you. If you are one of those that are going through hard times right now, please don't assume that it is because your Father is punishing you. This may be cold comfort, but you may be just experiencing a "Job Connection."

How can you know what the Lord is trying to do? Pray. Honestly and openly, pray and ask for wisdom. Ask your Father is there is something in your life that He wants changed, if so, to please show it to you. If it is a "Job Connection" then please give you strength, grace and discernment to know this. This way you can have peace. And please, whichever one it is, and whatever you do, don't let the Devil steal your joy and faith in the Lord during this time.

And whichever one it is, know with all your heart and spirit, that your Father is loving you completely through it.

Friday, October 9, 2009


"Then Jesus wept." John 11:35 NLT

Our Emmaus group was having a bible study the other morning. I went in for coffee and overheard one of the men saying that to him, the above verse was the most powerful and yet the shortest.

That got me thinking. If you know the chapter, it's the chapter of when Jesus' very close friend, Lazarus, died. He was told of His friend's bad health a few days before, but Jesus didn't drop everything and go rushing to Lazarus's side. No, He waited a couple of days and then started walking back to Judea, where Lazarus, Mary and Martha lived.

The chapter is a beautiful chapter of faithfulness faith--Mary & Martha's. And miracles--Lazarus's being brought back from the dead. But I could see what Dick might have been seeing when he said this was one of the most powerful verses in the Bible--and yet it's only three words.

"Then Jesus wept." Jesus knew what was going to happen. He knew that Lazarus was only gone for four days--that He was going to bring him back to life. What this shows, at least to me, is the power of compassion. Jesus was surrounded by people wailing and grieving for the sisters and the brother they had lost. He got "lost" in the moment, as we like to say these days. He felt the pain, the sadness, the loss of a loved one--and He wept.

Now a-days, it seems that we are not allowed to feel our true feelings. We get ourselves so busy, that we don't allow ourselves the luxury. We don't want to deal with feelings, so we bury them with business and such. Do you find yourself doing that? Thinking, if I ignore it, it will go away? If I pretend everything is OK, then it will be, right? If I show any feelings, I will be considered weak.

Emotions are good. God created us to be emotional creatures. Jesus laughed, cried, got angry and frustrated, felt compassion, joy. As long as you use your emotions appropriately, it's part of God's design.

So, give yourself permission. The gift of Emotions is that--a gift. If God has laid upon your heart to feel sadness, compassion, joy, love, anger--feel it. Just pray and lay the emotion on Jesus' lap and ask Him to help you deal with it the way He would want you to. You will be blessed with a freedom that you have never felt before.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Something That Pleases God

"Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.
Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants.
Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship,
for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation.
They exult in your righteousness.
You are their glorious strength.
It pleases you to make us strong."
Psalm 89:14-17 NLT

Most of us want to please the Lord. We desire to show him we love him. One of the things that pleases the Lord, is when we depend upon him for our strength.

There are so many demands that zap our strength. We try to put ourselves in position to be strong. But the greatest thing we can do to be strong is admit our weakness, and depend on Jesus. Not only does he give us the strength we need, but he delights in strengthening us.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Angels Among Us

"'Let these children alone. Don't get between them and me. These children are the kingdom's pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in.'" Luke 18:17 (The Message)

A friend was sharing with me this afternoon. She was in one of our pastors office, praying for our church service. This office was right across from the Nursery. This particular Sunday, the Nursery was wonderfully full to the brim and you could hear it.

Well, she said that she felt the spirit pulling her out of her solitude prayer mode and pushing her into the Nursery. She went in and sat on the couch when this little 3 year old boy brought her this book to read. She took the book and the little guy crawled onto her lap and was contently listening to her read to him. It was a story about angels.

When the story was over, she asked him if he had ever seen any angels. To her amazement, he told her yes. "Oh! Well, then, what did the angels do?" The little guy looked her straight in the eyes and said, "They told me that someday they were going to come down and take me back up to heaven with them." So matter-of-fact. No big deal.

My friend said she just got goosebumps! What an amazing example of pure faith! No pretense. No false build-up. No fear. Just acceptance.

Isn't that how we should be? Wouldn't that be great if we were? Some of us tend to get hung up on performance and getting everything lined-up and working out the kinks, acting "all grown-up"--when we should just be excited about the trip.

God has such great plans for us! All we need to do is to believe and accept what He has for us. Can you do that? Please give it a try--you will be SO blessed!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


"When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil,
I am the one who keeps its foundations firm."
Psalm 75:3 NLT

I get great comfort from this scripture. Our world is shaking. We just experienced a huge earthquake in the Samoan Islands. Floods, fires, crime, wars, the economy, and more, effect us collectively. On top of that, health issues, hurts, habits and hang ups effect us individually and with those around us.

Our world, our very lives are shaking. But, in the midst of the shaking we can find strength for today and hope for tomorrow.

There are over 7,000 promises in the Bible. God promises to protect, provide, lead and care for us during these difficult days.

What are you building on today?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Who's Will?

"Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'" James 4:13-15 NIV

I come from a background where goals and strategies dominated my way of doing business. I created a business plan, executed it and was rewarded for doing so. There is nothing wrong with makings plans or having goals; just don't make them God.

The apostle Paul had a goal; to preach the good news about Jesus. His strategy was to travel to every place he could and tell everyone who would listen. He even spread the good news in prison, while being a prisoner. I don't know if that was a part of his original ministry plan. But he submitted his plan to the will of God, resulting in the spread of the good news through the Roman prison system.

Here are some of the dangers of being so focused on plans and strategies. Your focus can drift away from God. Your plan takes the place of God. Your strategies take the place of faith. You can become self-reliant and overwhelmed. You can fall into pride.

I was the pastor of a single's ministry at a church in Colorado. I spent a lot of time preparing a complete ministry plan for the single's ministry. I even prayed. But God had other plans. The ministry died, only to be resurrected about a year later in a new way.

Remember, planning isn't a bad thing. In fact it is very good. The Bible writer James didn't say not to plan. He just said to submit yourself and your plan to God's perfect plan. In fact, God will prosper His plan for your life--when He's first in your life.

Like Jesus said; "Not my will, but your will."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Who Are You Following

"He quoted a proverb: 'Can a blind man guide a blind man?' Wouldn't they both end up in the ditch? An apprentice doesn't lecture the master. The point is to be careful who you follow as your teacher.'" Luke 6:39-40 (The Message)

I love the way that The Message Bible puts this out. Bang! It's too the point--no gray area there.

It is SO important to be careful whose company you keep or whose advice you seek. It's one of the many warnings those of us who have kids, give our kids isn't it? And here is our own heavenly Father giving us the same warning.

Pray for discernment. Pray that the Lord brings the right people into your life. If you are in a bad place, hanging with the wrong people, taking wrong advice, and in your spirit, you know it is wrong--pray for strength to stand up and leave. It's never too late!

You are worth fighting for. Jesus died for you didn't He?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Invisible Lines

"Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.

Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you."
Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)

I was at my Wednesday night Bible study and the issue about conforming to what the world thinks is acceptable and what we as Christians should think is acceptable came up. It's so different than it use to be. I don't know about you, but at times, the lines seem almost invisible.

We as Christians should take a stand and not conform to the standards of this world. We are such a society of must have, must watch, must do--that simple Christianity has gotten lost.

The above verse is a great reminder that this is all God wants--for us to take our everyday occurrences and offer them up to Him. I think if we did that, wouldn't that keep us from doing something that we know our Father wouldn't approve of? Don't you agree? If we knew that at the end of the day, we would be putting all of our thoughts, actions, feelings--upon the lap of our Gracious Father--would we take a second thought about what we were doing, saying & thinking? I would hope I would.

So, please don't be conformed to this world. Don't be afraid to be different--at times society tries to make us feel bad about being different. For not blending into the crowd. Be a light that brings God's sunshine to your relationships, your workplace, your home--wherever the Lord has placed you. Be something that people will wonder, "What is different about you?" And not be ashamed of it.

God has such plans for you! Honor Him with yours.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Come On Up!

"Then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in heaven, and the same voice I had heard before spoke to me like a trumpet blast. The voice said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.” Revelation 4:1 NLT

This verse really spoke to me the other day. It speaks of two things. Perspective and revelation. The voice from heaven told the apostle John to come up. Come up to heaven. Have you ever heard the saying; "You can't see the forest for the trees?" Sometimes we get so caught up in our situation, that we can't see the forest for the trees. We cannot see clearly. We need another perspective. We need to see clearly.

Sometimes our knowledge and understanding is limited at best. We don't have the answers. We need help.

As a pastor I face these challenges. But I'm also a husband, dad, brother, son, uncle, and friend. I need help. We all do. The wonderful news is Jesus offers us the help we need to gain His perspective and revelation.

But when He says "Come up here and I will show you," I have to leave where I'm at to come up to Him. Not geographically, but spiritually. In humility and faith. I have to leave my way of doing things and let Him do things His way in my life. I even have to obey. I have to let go of my paradigms, traditions, and experiences, and receive His revelation. I have a choice. Jesus invites, "Come up here." Not "Get up here!"

What about you? What do you need a fresh perspective and revelation for? Will you choose the invitation to "Come up?"

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Gift of Tongues

"Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." Ephesians 4:29 NLT

As you read this, you may be saying to yourself, "You know, this doesn't apply to me. I never curse." Well, I beg to differ.

I don't know about you, but when I first read this, I felt the same thing. But then a thought came. What really does the words foul or abusive mean? I went searching. In the International Bible Dictionary, foul means: The verb "foul" (defile) occurs as the translation of raphas, "to trample" or "muddle". In Noah Webster's Dictionary, "abusive" means: Practicing abuse; prone to ill treat by coarse, insulting words or by other ill usage.

So, if you understand the two main words that we are being warned about in the beginning of the scripture--foul and abusive--aren't necessarily the normal four-letter words that we would get our mouths washed out with soap. It changes, at least for me, the whole concept.

I think that it is saying that anytime that you use a word or tone that it is hurtful, degrading and unkind it is foul and abusive. If a person feels trampled upon, or insulted after you have spoken to them, you have used foul and abusive language. In that light, we are all guilty.

And you know, it isn't always words. A tone can impart a message that you may not even be aware of. You can be using normal words, but the tone in which that message was spoken in, may crush a spirit faster than anything.

The gift of speech is that--a gift. We should use it wisely. The Lord knew the temptation to speak without thinking. The Bible is full of warnings. Read Proverbs. There are many references to the power of the tongue and it's affect on the human spirit. At one point, He even warns that; "Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit." Proverbs 15:4 NLT.

Are you guilty of this? Do you speak and after think about the affect? Do you feel that it doesn't matter what you say, people understand you and know that you didn't mean it? Stop it! Stop and pray. A good practice to get into is to begin your day with a prayer that includes praying about your speech and tone--to help you to use this gift to encourage, uplift and spread the love of Jesus to everyone that comes into your path that day.

Oh, and one last thought--how's your words and tone when you direct them towards your Savior? Do you talk to your dog in a tone that is kinder than when you speak to Him? Do you care how they come across to Him? He deserves the best you can give and that includes your gift of speech. Don't you agree?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Road Trip--Part Two

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them." Romans 8:28 NLT

Hello! Thank you for coming back today. I just wanted to share a couple of the things that I learned on my road trip.

One is that you know, it is easy to get where you are going when you know the road. It takes faith, sometimes leaps of faith, to travel on a road where you have never traveled before. But isn't that what faith is all about? I wasn't necessarily proud of my spiritual behavior yesterday. No, no one else knew the turmoil I was in, except maybe Joey at that one point. But whether the whole world knew or just I, I knew I was spiritually, at first, not trusting the Lord.

I wanted to easy way out. I wanted to go home. I didn't want to be tested. That is my second lesson learned. The importance of surrounding yourself with Godly friends that will not be afraid to push you out of your comfort zone. And you the same. You be that friend that when someone calls you and asks you to help support them to take the easy way out of a growing situation, be gently, godly strong and say, "No, my friend. You need to go forward. I will pray you along."

When I saw Laurie, later that afternoon, I did thank her. I thanked her for not only pushing me, but for also having faith in me, knowing that I could make it. Because of her encouragement, of her thinking I could make it, gave me courage to think so too.

What a feeling of elation when I got to the other side of the detour! I had made it and was back into familiar territory. And I came to the conclusion that detours can be fun when you look at them as adventures. Joey and I saw little towns that we had never seen before--Walnutgrove, Istleton, Twin Cities. We admired different scenery--on one side of the road was the Sacramento River, since we were driving on the top of the dike. We saw houseboats and fishing boats, ski boats. On the other, open fields of alfalfa, corn and wheat. Isn't God's creations beautiful!

You can feel the same type of elation. No, your detours may not be as simple as a road block on Hwy 12, but it is the same outcome. You give it to Jesus, you give Him the control and as they say, leave the driving to Him. He will get you to the other side.

And then, one important last step--thank Him. We don't always remember to thank Jesus for detours, but we should. Because if He didn't take us through them sometimes, I think life would have the tendency to become a big old pothole.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Road Trip

"As pressure and stress bear down on me,
I find joy in your commands." Psalm 119:143 NLT

Yesterday Joey and I was driving up to Santa Rosa to our monthly homeschool meeting. I always go Hwy 99N to Lodi and hit Hwy 12W, with a short stint on Hwy 80, where we catch Hwy 12W again. I can do that with my eyes close practically. Well, we get to Lodi,we're on Hwy 12W, we go under the I-5 overpass and BAM! Road block. We are informed by a nice CALTRANS lady that the road is blocked from there to Rio Vista. Here's the map for the detour.

Well, as you can imagine, I was not a happy lady. I was a nervous lady. I don't like detours. I like my regular routine. I know what to expect. I know how long it should take, I know where I am going. Detours mean strange places, unknown situations and heaven knows about timing.

So, I call George, he says come home. Yeah! I totally agree. I don't have to take the detour. I call Laurie, my homeschool coordinator, and explained the situation, expecting her to understand my dilemma, release me from my obligation and send my home. But no, she didn't.

Oh, she understood and she was very sympathetic, but she said, "Come along. You can do it. You have a map, don't you? Let's pray and I'll see you this afternoon." So, we prayed and I called George, told him the new plan, with the promise of if anything weird happened, I was to come home.

Long story short, I got lost. I had got it in my head that I needed to get onto I-5S to get the detour to Walnutgrove. So here I am on I-5S, crying and talking to the Lord about being TOTALLY out of my comfort zone, and I am not very happy and please make all of this go away.

All the while, Joey is in the backseat. Of course, I am not letting him see me crying or upset because it upsets him to see me cry, so he is totally unaware of my crisis in the front seat. As we are driving through Stockton--again--I hear him say, "Mom, are we almost there yet?" Well, that did it. All my adult, mother composure went out the window. I wailed," Nooooo, Joey, we are not. We are lost and we need to pray for insight." So we did.

I know I said long story short, but there is so much God in this. So I apologize ahead. As we got off the interstate and headed back towards Lodi, hoping to find the detour before we came upon the Hwy 12W exit, which we didn't. I was at my wits end. I had to take the Hwy 12W exit--again. I just said "Jesus, what should I do?" I realize I needed gas. He had me pull into the Shell station. It was huge, about 15 pumps. I spotted this lady and the one on the other side of her wasn't being used and I felt I needed to go there. I just had the feeling to show her the map and ask her if she lived there. She said she didn't. She said that she got trapped in the road block also but on the Rio Vista side. She told me that I needed to go I-5N and then everything is well marked. I could have squeezed her with joy. I did hug her, but just ever so gently.

We got back onto the interstate and sure enough, a couple miles UP the road, there was the sign and we made it. What a flood of relief and joy and peace!

I need to finish this for today, but please check in tomorrow for the lessons learned.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's a Trust Thing

"The Lord is good,
a strong refuge when trouble comes.
He is close to those who trust in Him." Nahum 1:7 NLT

He is close to those who trust in Him. When you hear the word "trust", do you know what it means? Noah's Webster Dictionary has many definitions because the word "trust" is used in many different ways. In this instance, I believe it means: To place confidence in; to rely on, to confide, or repose faith in.

When you are going through a trial, a valley, a growing period--this is a great verse to have memorized in your heart and spirit. Because, as we go through those times, it is easy to feel that God has forgotten us, abandoned us, turned His face away from us. But He hasn't.

Our Lord is a wonderful Father, and He--just as our earthly fathers--need to stand aside sometimes and allow us to live out our choices. If our choices cause us to go through times of trouble, we need to experience them so that it is a lesson learned. But God is still there. We can still turn to Him in those times and gather strength, encouragement and wisdom. He will be there to be our Refuge. He may not take us out of our trouble until the lesson is learned but He will NEVER abandon us.

With this in mind, just please remember, that He is your strength and your refuge and all you need to do is to put your TRUST in Him and His sovereignty. He will get you through.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Where is Your Hope?

"As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before Him? Day and night I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying,'Where is this God of yours?'

My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration!

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again— my Savior and my God!

Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you— even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar. I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. But each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing His songs, praying to God who gives me life.

'O God my rock,' I cry,'Why have you forgotten me? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies'” Their taunts break my bones. They scoff, 'Where is this God of yours?'

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!"
Psalm 42 NLT

Troubles surround us. Sin buries us in guilt and remorse. Pain wears at our spirit, soul, and body. The human condition. It's not always easy or fun. Our pain and conflict can take our focus off our strength and hope in Jesus Christ. It is so easy to become self-focused and lose sight of God. Sometimes we can even feel that God has lost sight of us.

The psalmist felt this way. He was overwhelmed with grief and pain. What did he do during this time? He admitted his feelings to God, others, and himself. He was honest. No minimizing the situation. No pretense. He made a conscientious decision to remember God's love and grace. No matter the circumstance, he knew that God's love was greater and he would be restored.

In the days we live in, it is crucial that we renew ourselves with confidence in the Lord. Not only is it important to be able to focus our own thoughts on God, but to be encourager's for one another.

Jesus promises to be with us in the trials of life. He gives us strength. Will we receive it? He offers us strength for today and a living hope for tomorrow.

What's your focus? What or who are you putting your hope in?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Equal Faithfulness

"Then the Master said, 'Do you hear what that judge, corrupt as he is, is saying? So what makes you think God won't step in and work justice for His chosen people, who continue to cry out for help? Won't He stick up for them? I assure you, He will. He will not drag His feet. But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when He returns?'" Luke 18:8 (The Message)

The verse before this was about a widow who kept coming before this judge pleading for him to help her get justice from her adversary. This judge was neither a lover of God or of the people under his jurisdiction. She kept coming and coming until the judge finally said to himself, "I will grant this woman what she wants only to keep her from wearing me down." So it was done.

This is a parable that Jesus was telling his disciples. The passage you see here is the one where Jesus is telling us that God sees and knows and hears us when we come to Him in prayer. And He will come and save us from whatever our 'adversary' is.

But the last question. That stopped me in my tracks and I had to reread it a couple of times. Do you see what it is asking? Do you get the grasp of the deep, spiritual meaning of it?

This is how I interpret it. It is saying, at least to me, that we come to God, asking all these things--protection, salvation, wisdom, whatever--and He gladly comes and takes our needs and requests because He is our loving Father. And in a way, don't we expect Him to take care of them for us? After all, isn't that what He does? Isn't that what He says He wants us to do?

But what about us? Do we do the same for Him? Do we defend Him when others curse Him or use His name to curse something they don't like? Do we come and build Him up when others are trying to tear Him, His kingdom, His power, down? Do we assure Him of our love and faithfulness to Him in spite of our circumstances?

I just find it sad that, even before He knew us, He had to question our faithfulness. The sadder truth is that He did know us and already knew the answer.

In this case, let's prove Him wrong. I am asking this with total respectfulness. Let's prove to Him that He can trust us and that He will find us faithful to Him when He comes back to this earth. It's the least we can do, don't you think?

Thursday, September 10, 2009


"As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, 'Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?'

'Why do you call me good?' Jesus asked. 'Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’

'Teacher,' the man replied, 'I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.'

Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. 'There is still one thing you haven’t done,' he told him. 'Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'

At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, 'How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!'” Mark 10:17-23 NLT

When I read this passage it got me thinking. I've been on the same road as this man--have you? You try so hard to follow all the rules. Not only because you have to, but because of your love for Jesus, you want to.

So, here you are, thinking that you are on the squeaky street to heaven, when you run into Jesus. There He is, standing right by the side of the road, as if He is waiting for you. You're feeling pretty assured of your heaven bound position--so you ask Him--is there anything else I have to do?

Do you ever do this? Do you ever ask a question, thinking you know that answer? Do you think that the young man asked the question, thinking that maybe Jesus would say, "Oh, you are already so saved that there is nothing that you need to do", or something like it?

I think the young man was caught off guard. But what catches my heart was the part of the verse that I bold--Jesus felt genuine love for him. I picture Jesus standing there, knowing the young man's eager heart and true wishes, but also knowing the one thing that would hang him up--his love of riches. Jesus loved him for desiring to be with Him in heaven--but was saddened knowing that there was one thing stronger than the young man's love for Him.

Are you like that? I know I am. We try so hard and then there is this one last thing that just keeps hanging onto us like lint on a pair of black jeans or foxtails in your socks. You can shake and pull and even buy special gadgets to get rid of stuff we don't want on us and they are still there. Keeping us from our heart's desire--Eternity with Jesus.

There is only one gadget that you need in your life to get or keep the sticky stuff that we don't want in our lives away from us and I think you know what it're right...Jesus.

Jesus just needs your open, willing spirit and heart to enter in and the rest, as they say, is history. Invite Him in. Give Him all your sticky stuff and don't take it back. Can you do that? Will you do that? Even if you have done it before, and for some reason, it's come back and stuck on you, give it to Jesus again. He will release you again and look at you with genuine love.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Something To Hold On To

" For the word of the Lord holds true,
and we can trust everything He does."
Psalm 33:4 NLT

I love this passage. It gives me encouragement and hope. I can trust God's word. In a world that accepts lying and truth as subjective, God is a constant. If He promises to never leave me, I can trust him. If He promises living hope, I have hope. If He promises to give me strength, I have strength. I can trust what He does in my life, even if I don't understand it. I know that He is love, that is enough.

To know His word, I must spend time in His word. I can trust Him, because He is faithful. I know He is faithful not only because He says He is, but I have a relationship with Him. He has proven Himself to be loving and faithful.

What truth are you holding on to? How trustworthy is your truth?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Unconditional Love

"Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, 'For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.' No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:35-39 NLT

I don't know about you, but these two paragraphs give me great comfort. Have you, like me, experience that love can be conditional? That people in your life can give or take away their love to you. You don't do what they want, and so they take away their love for you.

Our God is so gracious. He loves us no matter what. If anyone should show us conditional love, shouldn't it be Him? But He doesn't. Do you find that hard to accept? Have you been so conditioned that you are only lovable when you are a certain way?

I have. I find it very hard to believe, especially in the beginning. Now, I accept it, but I find that I have to fight the feeling of having to "earn" His love or to keep His love. He loves me NO MATTER WHAT. I don't need to be perfect or beautiful or do anything. There is nothing that I can do that will change His love for me. Even if I deny Him, He still loves ME.

Please know the same is for you. You are loved no matter what. Don't let Satan talk you into believing anything less. You can claim your inheritance in the Lord's love and care and graciousness for you.

Be A Peter

"This is what the Lord says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:

I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you what is good for you
and leads you along the paths you should follow.

Oh, that you had listened to my commands!
Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river
and righteousness rolling over you like waves in the sea."
Isaiah 48:17-18 NLT

When I read this, I get the picture of a Father that is bemoaning the fact that a child of His hadn't followed His instruction and now that precious child is reaping the consequences.

Is that what you are picturing? Are you that child? Have you been feeling your heart and soul being tugged at but you turned away and did what you wanted instead? Have you allowed fear and uncertainty to stop you from doing what you know your Father wants you to do?

Be a Peter! Stop allowing your humanity from keeping you from the peace and righteousness that your Father has planned for you and wants to give you so badly. Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on the waves--as long as he was focused on Jesus and had faith in Jesus and himself, he stayed on top of the water. It's when he took his focus off of Jesus and starting doubting his purpose that Jesus had for him and gave into his fears, that he starting sinking.

If your Father in Heaven has faith in you, so should you have faith in you. God doesn't make mistakes! So give Him your fears and insecurities and watch what amazing things He will do through and in you.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Attitude

"Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though He was God,
He did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, He gave up His divine privileges;
He took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When He appeared in human form,
He humbled Himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor
and gave Him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."
Philippians 3:3-11 NLT

There's a lot to chew on in this passage. I'd like to focus on two points that have me "pondering" today.

Point 1. We are called to be humble, as Jesus is humble. He was humble to the point of death on the cross. Humility is not popular today. We have our pride. We live in a self-sufficent and self-serving culture. That in itself breeds pride. When pride is out of control, we go from confident to arrogant. We become judgmental, predjudice and self-absorbed. We dethrone God, and put ourselves in His place.

The Bible says that God actually opposes the proud and gives favor to the humble. The Bible tells us that if we humble ourselves under God's mighty hand, He will lift us up. Imagine God honoring you! God will defend, provide and bless you. The key? Humility. It is a decision of humilty to accept Jesus into your life. To admit you need someone or something greater than yourself. His name is Jesus. It takes humilty to humble yourself every day. To express your need and gratitude for His blessings in your life.

Point 2. Every tongue will confess Jesus as Lord. On the great day of judgement, we will all have to bow before Christ as Lord. But will we all bow before Him as our Lord and our Savior?

Jesus is offering you a life giving relationship. He loves you and gave Himself up for you. Will you invite Him into your life and circumstances today? Right now?

Will you be humble?

"But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior." Philippians 3:20 NLT

Monday, August 31, 2009

Claim It!

"I have heard all about you, Lord.
I am filled with awe by your amazing works.
In this time of our deep need,
help us again as you did in years gone by." Habakkuk 3:2 NLT

When I awoke this morning, I didn't feel like praising God for my new day. I wasn't mad at Him or anything, I just felt stressed, I felt troubled. I don't like waking up that way. I usually wake up ready to face whatever the Lord has planned for me--but not today.

It started yesterday. Emotionally I just wasn't on top of my game. I think what was happening was that Satan was using my insecurities to drain me. If that makes any sense. When you are on the right path, doing His work, Satan will attack you. He's sneaky about it but he will do it. He'll use your weak spots so that you'll never notice until it's too late. Have you ever experienced that?

Well, mine is my self-esteem. I don't have any naturally. It's only through Jesus that I have what I have and it can be rocked so easily. Anyway, I was just being attacked and just needed to give it to God. So, there I was this morning, sitting on the bed talking out loud to God, feeling sad and a loser in the Christian walk arena, when something caught my eye. I turn to look out our bedroom window, and there was our dog, Bobby, looking in the window with a smile on his face and his big old tail just a wagging.

I had to laugh. God has such a sense of humor. He can use anything and anyone to do His will. You see, in the morning, when I first get up, I will go out and talk to Bobby and give him a treat biscuit. So, I think, in my process of talking out loud to God, Bobby heard my voice and what was he wanting? His treat.

Aren't we all a little bit like that? We hear our Master's voice and come to the window to see what we'll get? My Master used Bobby and an everyday occurrence to get me out of my funk and to help me see the beauty of the day. It made me laugh and the joy of the day filled my soul.

So today, this verse has special meaning for me because I do stand in awe of my Jesus' awesome works and some of those works are the wondrous changes He's making in me and my life. The faith that He has in me should overshadow any unfaith that I have in me. The same goes for you. God has faith IN you. Grasp it and claim it!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Light is Sweet!

"Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning."
Ecclesiastes 11:7 NLT

I have a brother who is going through a very sad divorce. He is torn up and angry at the man his soon to be ex-wife is having an affair with and he is angry at God. How could God let this happen to him? He sees no reason for living.

I told Scott that he needed to remember that God has given us free will. And in this case, his ex-wife has used her free will to make a bad thing happen--NOT God.

Do you find yourself doing that? Do you find that when things are going great and wonderful, we have a tendency to not even think of God. He's not in our forethought. We don't even remember to thank Him for His goodness. But boy, the moment something bad is happening, we are all over God, blaming Him for the bad stuff that is happening. It's not right!

God deserves all of our respect and thankfulness. Good times and bad. His love to us is agape and ours to Him should be the same.

God has given us a light at the end of our dark tunnels--it's Him. He will comfort us, love us, support us. All we have to do is turn our life, our hurt, our tunnel over to Him. He will turn it into a light that is sweet. Isn't that a awesome phrase--"light is sweet"?

Life is worth living--dawns are worth waking up to! Give yours to Jesus!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Trustworthy Saying

"This is a trustworthy saying:
If we die with Him,

we will also live with Him.
If we endure hardship,
we will reign with Him.
If we deny Him,
He will deny us.
If we are unfaithful,
He remains faithful,
for He cannot deny who He is."
2 Timothy 2:11-13 NLT

As you read this, do you feel, like I do, that this is a good one to have memorized? When you are faced with a trail or you are faced with a joy, this little "hymn", which the notes at the bottom of the page says is where this probably originated as, says it all.

It's so short and to the point that it doesn't take much to explain it--but what a world of hope, truth and faithfulness does it hold!

Basically it says that if you have given yourself, your life, your soul, to the Lord--in other words, "died" to self, you are to live with Him eternally.

And if you endure--bear His suffering and suffer for Him with your own life, bear witness through trials, and do this faithfully, as He did for you--you will be rewarded when Jesus returns.

One of the humbling thoughts is this--even if we are NOT faithful, He WILL always be, for He cannot be what He is not. Doesn't just the thought of that make you want to be faithful? And then of course, if we deny Him, He will have to deny us because of the fact that He does not go where He isn't invited.

The main idea is this, through thick and thin, God loves you and wants to have a relationship with you. But it needs to be a true give and take relationship. He is willing to give love unconditionally and be unconditionally faithful but you need to stop denying Him and start embracing Him. Can you do that? Have you done that? Please do that! For yourself--for Him.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

We Also

"We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters." 1 John 3:16 NLT

What does it mean to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters? In some parts of the world Christians are actually dying. I think in our culture it means dying to your right to be right. It may mean dying to your agenda, your time, your money, or expectations. It means dying to a lot things. If you know a brother or sister struggles with an alcohol addiction, it means dying to your right to drink around them. It means dying to vengeance and forgiving someone who harmed you or someone you love. It means dying to your desire to run out of the church and get lunch after service, and making time to listen to a brother in need.

I think we believe that if push came to shove, we would give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If persecution hits us, we would boldly die for them. But really we are called to die to the little things every day.

The way to give up our lives for each other, is to let the life of Christ Jesus live in us. Have you asked Jesus into your life?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

You Have

"O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.

But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the Lord
because he is good to me."
Psalm 13 NLT

This passage of scripture speaks of living hope in the midst of despair. David describes his pain and sorrow. He even presents a picture of God not caring or being aware of the tribulations facing David. Have you ever felt this way? God where are you? God don't you care? God I'm sinking. I think we all have felt this way.

But David does something remarkable. In the midst of his suffering he claims God's hand of deliverance and help in the present tense. While all hell is breaking loose around him, David sees himself as delivered and secure in the Lord. Now that is faith. I believe that is one of the reasons David was called a man after god's own heart.

Like David, we too can trust in Jesus' love, protection and provision, even before we realize the results.

I pray for you and I today. My prayer for us is that when we face trials and tribulations we will see our fate securely placed in God's hands, even before we are rescued. Maybe we already have been rescued.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Don't be Afraid

"But when Jesus heard what had happened, He said to Jairus, 'Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.'” Luke 8:50 NLT

Good morning! I was searching for a verse today and the Lord brought me to this one. The reason I stopped was six words of this passage--"Don't be afraid. Just have faith...".

I love it! Those six awesome words are so black & white. There is no gray area here. We don't have to be afraid of our Father. We just have to have faith and be faithful. So many of us feel--and I fall into this trap myself--that we have to appease, up-the-annie, be perfect, whatever it takes, so that our Father will be happy with us. It's what some of us have had to do in order to have our earthly father want to have a relationship with us. Am I right? Is that what you feel? Do you fear God? Fear His disapproval?

But our heavenly Father is so agape that we can't accept it at times. All He wants is to have a honest, healthy relationship with you and all you have to "do" is have faith. But I want to take you a step farther--I feel that in order to have faith, you need to also be faithful. Do you understand what I'm trying to get at? A healthy relationship with anyone is a give and take relationship. God gives us His faith in us as His children, we need to give faith in Him as our Father back to Him.

This is deep and don't be disheartened if it takes you some time to come to grips with the enormity of the concept. Especially if you are one of those who has had to work so hard to have a relationship with your own father. But don't give up. If you have to, find yourself a person you trust and share with them your feeling and ask them to help you work through this. I know you can do this!

Friday, August 21, 2009

You ARE My God!

"O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!
I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy.
I lie awake thinking of you,
meditating on you through the night.
Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your strong right hand holds me securely.

But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin.
They will go down into the depths of the earth.
They will die by the sword
and become the food of jackals.
But the king will rejoice in God.
All who trust in him will praise him,
while liars will be silenced."
Psalm 63 NLT

In case you have been noticing, I've trying to end Friday with a thought provoking chapter that you can ponder and mediate upon for the next couple of days. I hope this is working for you.

I love this chapter because if you read it closely and take verse by verse, it reminds me of life. Life that is full of the Lord. He is there for the good times and, as any Father would, protects us and keeps us safe. And we praise Him.

David wrote this to God while he was in the Desert of Judah. He was praising his Father for protecting him from his enemies. We still have our enemies that we are fighting now don't we? And doesn't God protect us today, just as He protected David all those years ago? And don't we have our 'Desert of Judah' from time to time? I don't know about you, but I know I surely do, and those are the times that I feel the hunger and thirst for my Lord, my Father, ever so strong. I relate to David's words. Can you?

And just like a Father, if someone was to come and hurt us or treat us unfairly, our Father would protect us and 'take care' of the offender.

I ask you, read this chapter, at least once a day this weekend and see what is revealed to you and your spirit. And share it with me or someone else you can trust. You will be blessed!