Monday, March 30, 2009


"Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement" Philippians 4:2 NIV

We don't know what the dispute was between Euodia and Syntyche. We just know that they were friends of the apostle Paul. We know that they were two women, and they were not getting along. Their harmony was disturbed. Not only was their harmony disturbed, their dispute was having an adverse effect on those around them.

There are probably many reasons we have disputes. We get abused, offended and hurt. We have differences of opinions. I think sometimes we are just plain looking for a fight. We lay in wait for someone to look at us the wrong way or say the wrong thing and then we move in for the kill. We have to prove our right to be right. That our way is the only way. And so on and so on...

We need to stop the madness! It's not about you and me. It's about the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Jesus is our example. He lived a life of love, putting others before Himself. He laid down His life for us. He offers us everlasting life. It's time for us to lay down our bias and pride. Let let the Holy Spirit have his way in our lives, and bring glory to God!

"How wonderful and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in harmony!
For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil
that was poured over Aaron’s head,
that ran down his beard
and onto the border of his robe.
Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon
that falls on the mountains of Zion.
And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing,
even life everlasting."
Psalm 133 NLT

Friday, March 27, 2009

What Are You Standing On?

"And now I entrust you to God and the message of His grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those He has set apart for Himself." Acts 20:32 NLT

What are you standing on? I mean, what are you believing is your source of strength and salvation? Is it your abilities, bank account, the people in your life, or your circumstances? Is it your religion? Is it how much time you spend serving in the church?

I think we can, if we are not careful, forget what our true source of strength and salvation is. It is grace. Grace is defined as, God's unmerited favor, His blessings toward us, and a gift from Him to us. God's grace is for everyone. His grace was demonstrated to us by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. He paid for our sins. All of them. His Spirit works in us to give us strength for today and hope for eternity.

Grace is a relationship with Jesus. Not a religion. Accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior is the way we receive God's grace.

If we are standing on anything other than the love, forgiveness and acceptance that God has for us in Christ, we are standing on very shaky ground.

So, what are you standing on?

"For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God." Romans 5:10,11 NLT

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Keeping It Simple

"I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus." Acts 20:21 NLT

I think we have complicated the good news of Jesus Christ.

As a pastor, I feel that at times we have diluted the gospel so that people can swallow it without feeling bad about themselves or changing much. Is that fair? No, the truth is the truth and sometimes it hurts but we need to hear it as the Lord intended us to.

And then there is those times when we make it difficult for people to have a saving relationship with Jesus, not by hearing the true word but by making people jump through various hoops such as attending numerous classes, some with a very strong denominational bent. We make up church rules, protocol...Let's stop the madness!

The apostle Paul said he had one message for salvation; turn away from sin and turn to God, and put your faith in Jesus. I think if we could just focus on those three things, we would see God move in our lives and our world in a dramatic way.

Let's keep it simple.

"'I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life.'" John 6:47 NLT

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Press On

"I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." Philippians 3:12-14 NLT

I was golfing the other day with my friend Dwayne. I'm a lousy golfer. I mean really bad. I drove the ball off the tee. It wasn't great. In fact it was barely good. I said, "I can live with that." Dwayne said that statement would make a good sermon. I know what he meant. He saw that I had become content with good, or sort of good.

We settle in life. When you start a diet and are midway through, you start to see some progress. That's when many people fall back into weight gain. They take what little success they have had, and act as though they have arrived. We settle in relationships, habits, goals, and on and on. We forsake the best, for the good. Or barely good.

The apostle Paul knew the challenge of settling. That's why he said that in his relationship with Christ, he had to press on. Paul knew that God's strength, combined with his will, made an invincible combination. And the result would be worth the effort.

What have you settled for in life? Where have you thrown in the towel? What have you arrived at, only to find your still a long way off?

Press on toward Jesus!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Our Strength and Shield

"The Lord is my strength and shield.
I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving."
Psalm 28:7 NLT

I read this the other day and was encouraged. There are so many challenges in life. Just when we think that we have victory in one area of our life, we find a challenge in another.

King David, the writer of Psalm 28, had his share of challenges. Throughout his life he faced enemy nations, internal conspiracies, a broken family, the loss of children, and a broken marriage. He found his strength and protection in the Lord.

Today as we face our challenges we, like David of old, have the same strength and protection available to us. Reliance on the Lord Jesus Christ. Let's face it, sometimes we just can't take on our challenges and have success on our own strength.

The key to victory in Jesus is faith. David trusted God with his whole heart. That takes faith. Not faith in faith, but faith in Jesus. Faith is where the rubber hits the asphalt. I'm like the man in the Bible who told Jesus he believed. But he needed God's help with his unbelief. We can trust God. The key is to trust Him with our WHOLE heart.

Once we realize that we can trust God and give Him the innermost places of our hearts, something else happens. We get the victory in areas of our lives that were overwhelming us. Our response should be to break out in thanksgiving to God.

So, where do you find your source of strength and protection? Is it working? What about Jesus?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Whose Fault?

"'The person who sins is the one who will die. The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behavior, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness.'" Ezekiel 18:20 NLT

Have you ever wondered if you were being punished or cursed for something your parents did wrong? We complain that certain sins run in our family. We even settle into accepting moral sins, addictions, bad habits and godlessness as our lot in life.

But do we have to?

The Bible is clear that each person has a choice. The choice to turn from a life of sin, and follow Jesus or continue on a self destructive course. The choice is personal. It's your's and mine. Christ offers forgiveness, healing and salvation to everyone that turns to Him. It doesn't matter what your past has been like.

It's easy to blame our family of origin for the problems in our lives. It's easy to settle into accepting a self destructive lifestyle. It's easy to do a lot of things. But Jesus did the hardest thing. He willingly laid down His life to pay the penalty of our sins, yes your's, and mine. He loves us, and offers us everlasting life.

So, what will you do?

“'Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says the Sovereign Lord. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live. Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O people of Israel? I don’t want you to die, says the Sovereign Lord. Turn back and live!'" Ezekiel 18:23,31-32 NLT

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Everlasting Joy

"The poor will eat and be satisfied.
All who seek the Lord will praise Him.
Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy."
Psalm 22:26 NLT

What are you seeking? What keeps eluding you? What do you hunger for?

Think about this. Everything that you desire, need, and are longing for can be found in a relationship with God. Jesus loves us more than we can fathom. He looks out for our good. In fact He looks out for our best. He describes His love for us as a husband passionately in love with his wife. Like a father who loves his child.

My challenge is that I start looking to this fallen world and myself to fill my greatest needs and desires. I'm always disappointed when I follow that course of action. When we start with God, we find that He gives us the desires of our hearts. When we pursue God, He moves in our lives with His Spirit. He gives us the gift of joy.

We live in a world that isn't full of much joy. Our joy is found in Christ. His joy is our strength. He pours out His love into our hearts. The wonderful part is that the bottom won't fall out. There is no time limit on God's joy for us. His joy in our lives is everlasting.

So, where are you seeking?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In the Night

"The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, 'Don't harm yourself! We are all here!'

The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'

They replied, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.' Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family."
Acts 16:22-34 NLT

This passage of scripture amazes me, because it speaks about the power of God's grace in our darkest hour. Paul and Silas were imprisoned. Not because of any crime they had committed. They were imprisoned because they, through the power of the Holy Spirit, released a slave girl from demonic possession. Her owners were mad at the two men and had them imprisoned.

Unjustly imprisoned, beaten, and in pain, Paul and Silas do something amazing. In the midnight hour, when all hope seems to be lost, they praised God! Can you picture it? Open wounds, dirty prison cell, taunts from fellow prisoners, and a bleak future. Yet, the two men sing songs of praise. The result was a mighty witness to the power of God. Not only were Paul and Silas released from prison, the prison guard and his family were released from the prison of sin and death.

How do we respond when life seems to be going from bad to worse? Do we complain? Are we filled with fear, anger and hopelessness? Remember, God is not bound by our circumstances. He is the God who does miracles in our darkest hour.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Give it Up

"He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
He drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
but the Lord supported me.
He led me to a place of safety;
He rescued me because He delights in me."
Psalm 18:16-19 NLT

Peggy and I hosted a youth event several years ago. It was a variety show fundraiser. When the kids had performed, Peggy would say, "Let's give it up!" Our kids teased her about using that phrase a lot. She was talking about giving up applause for the performers. Today the phrase, Give it Up, has a different context for me.

I am challenged to live a higher standard for Christ. So are you. There are areas of our lives that we must surrender. Perhaps it's our agendas. It could be an addiction, bad habit, hurt, memory, offense, or something else.

When we surrender the negative areas of our lives to Jesus, we make room for more of His life to live in us. As we clear the closets of our soul, the Holy Spirit has more of us to dwell in. God will reveal to you what needs to be given up. But it is an act of our will and obedience that allows Him to cleanse us.

As I've stated, I'm being convicted of some areas of my life that I've been holding on to. I want more of Christ in my life. So, I have decided to surrender. I'm giving up.

What area of your life do you need to surrender to God? Do you want more of Jesus and less of you? Do you want to live a life that pleases God? Then give it up. You can do it through His strength working in you.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Greatest Commandment

"But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees with His reply, they met together to question Him again. One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 'Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?'

Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.'”
Matthew 22:34-40 NLT

When I meet with couples to help their marriages, I teach this concept; to really love your spouse you must first love God and yourself. This concept is not only for married persons, but everyone.

Jesus said the most important commandments were to love the Lord with your entire being, to love yourself and your neighbor. How can you truly love yourself and those around you if you haven't received and live in the love, forgiveness and grace that Jesus offers us? The love that we have to give without Jesus in our lives is conditional and shallow, compared to the great depth of love that God has for us.

Once we have received and lived in the love of God, we can then learn to love ourselves. You see, many of us have one of two problems. First, we have an unhealthy love for ourselves. We are self-centered, demanding and blind to our weaknesses. Or, we treat ourselves with hatred. We are self-condemning, critical, our worse enemy. We treat our bodies and minds with contempt through addictions, unhealthy habits and relationships. When we understand the love that Jesus has for us, we can work through our issues and learn to love ourselves in a healthy way.

So now that we love God and love ourselves, we can truly love those around us. The Bible says to love our neighbor. That really is everyone. But who are your closest neighbors? Are you loving them with the love of God? What are the obstacles to love?

To really love well, start by loving God.

"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT

Friday, March 13, 2009

Please Pray

"Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike."
Ephesians 6:18,19 NLT

One of the greatest gifts we have is prayer. Through the gift of prayer we can communicate with God. We can listen and discover His will for us. We can bring our concerns to Him and know that we are in great hands. We can pray for the needs of one another, and thank God for each other.

Often we can get consumed with the business of life and not pray. We can find ourselves frustrated, discouraged and worn out. There is strength in prayer. Sometimes we can be so self-focused that we forget to pray for each other.

This weekend Peggy and I are serving on a women's retreat. Please pray for us. As I write this post, our world is in crisis. People are losing their jobs, homes and lives. Please pray for the sick and the poor. Please pray for marriage--it seems that it's becoming a casuality of the times. Please pray for the Kingdom of God to come into the lives of the lost and struggling. Please thank God for every blessing He has given you.

"Pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this you will experience God's peace...His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest." Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Good Word

"Worry weighs a person down;
an encouraging word cheers a person up."
Proverbs 12:25 NLT

I can't stand to watch the nightly news. In fact the other night I had to turn it off. It was so depressing. The economy, crime, violence and you name it, can weigh me down.

The Bible says that worry will weigh us down. So how do we live in a world that is falling apart at the seams, and not get discouraged? We have to remember that as bad as it seems, God is still in control. We live in a fallen world. Jesus came to save mankind from the fall. We must be intentional in putting our thoughts and hopes in Christ,and not what we see going on around us. This doesn't mean that we have our heads in the sand. In fact, it makes us realists.

Jesus said that the world would fall apart. He said that tribulations would come. But He also promised that He overcame the power of sin and death at the cross. He said that when things looked to be at their worse, to look up, and trust in Him for salvation.

The world may be falling apart, but we don't have to. I think that's a good word!

"The way of the godly leads to life;
that path does not lead to death."
Proverbs 12:28 NLT

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Waiting Expectantly

"O Lord, hear me as I pray;
pay attention to my groaning.
Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God,
for I pray to no one but you.
Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.
Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly."
Psalm 5:1-3 NLT

David was a man who had a successful prayer life. He recognized his weaknesses. He came to God as his source of strength. He didn't hide what he was struggling with, but gave his weaknesses to God. Then he waited. Not only did he wait, but he waited expectantly.

My problem is, I didn't always acknowledge my weaknesses. I get self sufficient. I look to sources other than God for help. When I finally do wake up and pray, I want the answer right now. I live in a fast pace world. Waiting is not part of my plan. But it is God's will. Notice how David waited for God to answer his prayers; expectantly.

David didn't pray with a wait and see attitude. He knew that he was praying to the Almighty God. He waited with hope.

Do you acknowledge your weaknesses? Do you bring them to God? Are you in the waiting period?

Trust Jesus and wait expectantly.

"Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house;
I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe.
Lead me in the right path, O Lord,
or my enemies will conquer me.
Make your way plain for me to follow."
Psalm 5:7-8 NLT

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Foundation of Wisdom

"Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.
Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.

Wisdom will multiply your days
and add years to your life."
Proverb 9:10,11 NLT

Yesterday we talked about living life to it's fullest by applying the wisdom of God to our lives. A relationship with Jesus is the source of getting true wisdom. The closer we are to Christ, the more we are able to receive the wisdom He imparts to us. He gives us wisdom through His word, the witness of His Spirit, prayer and the wise counsel of others.

But how do we start down the path of following the wisdom of God? The Bible says, that the fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. The term--fear of the Lord-- means to honor, respect, be in awe and reverence of God. It means to obey the Lord. Not a popular concept in our culture today. If we do not respect and honor Jesus as our Lord and Savior, how can we trust and apply His wisdom to our lives?

There are many things that cause fear. Health, job loss, housing, relationships, safety and a huge list of fear factors. Many people do not understand what it means to fear the Lord. Instead of giving honor and respect to our loving Creator, they fear the things of this fallen world.

What are you afraid of?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Start Living!

"Wisdom has built her house;
she has carved its seven columns.
She has prepared a great banquet,
mixed the wines, and set the table.
She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come.
She calls out from the heights overlooking the city.
'Come in with me,' she urges the simple.
To those who lack good judgment, she says,
'Come, eat my food,
and drink the wine I have mixed.'
Leave your simple ways behind,and begin to live;
learn to use good judgment.”
Proverbs 9:1-6 NLT

Have you ever wondered why you can get stuck in a rut? You know what I mean. You keep struggling with the same old problems. There are a variety of issues that keep coming at us, and get the better of us. For example, addictions to food, drugs, sex, spending, alcohol and a variety of temptations can get the better of us. Health, finances and relational challenges can wear us down. The condition of the world we live in may keep us from living life to it's fullest.

We live in a world that offers a lot of advice. All you have to do is turn on your television, radio, computer or walk through the checkout aisle of your supermarket, and you are bombarded with advice. Some of the advice is good. Much is not. You see, the very people offering the advice, are creating the problem.

We were created by God. The Bible says that Jesus created everything. Therefore, He knows what's best for our lives. He offers us the wisdom and the power to live lives that overcome the obstacles of our fallen world. His wisdom offers us meaning, strength, and hope.

So, who's advice are you listening to?

"Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live;
learn to use good judgment.”
Proverbs 9:6 NLT

Friday, March 6, 2009


"The Lord’s delight is in those who fear Him,
those who put their hope in His unfailing love."
Psalm 147:11 NLT

How do you think God feels about you?

I used to think He was angry with me. I felt I could never please God. I felt at times that God simply tolerated me. That He only cared about me when I was a good person, and did good things.

The Bible tells us something different. The Bible says that God delights in His people. (Psalm 149:4 NLT) Think about it. God delights in us. The word delight means to have a high degree pleasure or satisfaction. That's how God feels to those that respect Him and trust in His love.

He loves us so much that He made it possible for us to have a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. Anyone can come to God through Jesus!

Let your mind and your soul absorb the fact that God not only loves us, but He delights in us.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


"A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm."
Ephesians 6:10-13 NLT

One night my family was in the middle of a battle. We were fighting each other. We were angry, offended, and in self pity. You name it, we had it. Dinner had started out well. Nice talk, good food. Then one thing lead to another and "Wham"--we were at each other's throats. It seemed no matter what we said, we would continue to hurt each other. That's when I realized we had been sabotaged.

God had been using us in a mighty way. Peggy and I were serving on a women's retreat. We had just launched a wonderful marriage enrichment ministry. Our church was growing. My writing was taking off. The kids were good. We were a target for the enemy. The problem was, we were treating each other like we were the enemy.

That night as I sat outside praying for our family, the Lord spoke to me. He reminded me through His word that we were in a battle. Our real enemy Satan, was trying to pit us against each other. Why? Because a house divided against itself cannot stand. Satan may not be able to take away our salvation, but he was trying to take us out as a family.

I so grateful that the Holy Spirit revealed the truth of our situation. I called a friend and asked him to pray for us. Then I went back into the house and we prayed together as a family. Eventually the peace of God returned to our home.

Who or what are you fighting? Why?

"Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Ephesians 6:1-18 NLT

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Encourage Yourself in the Lord

"Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God." Samuel 30:6 NKJV

Have you ever been down in the dumps? Maybe it was a bad medical report. Or perhaps a relational situation, or finances. I remember hearing from our accountant that we owed the government a large sum of money. We didn't have the money needed. We had cashed out our retirement funds to pay our debt. The debt was gone, but the penalties and higher taxes were not. Now we were facing debt again in the form of monthly payments to the government.

Peggy and I prayed and then I went for a walk. It would have been so easy to fall into discouragement. I started praying and reminding myself of the scriptures that spoke of God's care and promises to His children. I remembered when Peter needed to pay taxes and Jesus provided the money for him in a most unusual way. I reminded myself the we are in God's hands.

The peace of God began filling me and worry washed away. I had the same feeling when Peggy was diagnosed with cancer. I began finding strength and encouragement in the Lord.

David was alone. His men had lost their families and now were ready to kill David. The Bible says that David strengthened himself in the Lord. How do you find strength in the Lord? For me it's through prayer, the Bible and worship. I remember a friend who lost a child at birth. He immediately began worshipping God. Sounds nuts. But when we move in the opposite spirit and fix our eyes on Jesus, we find strength.

This life will bring many challenges. Each challenge could be enough to take us out. It is imperative that we learn and practice finding strength and encouragement in the Lord!

So where do you find the strength to carry on? Give Jesus a try. He's strong enough for all your cares.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Drifting Into Weariness

"Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40:28-31

I was driving down the highway early one morning. I was very weary. I had had a pretty full schedule and it was starting to catch up with me. I was really worn out. My assistant Debbie, called me on my cell phone. I asked her to lighten my appointments so I could catch up on some rest.

I went to my appointment that day. When it was over, I was still tired. I checked my phone and saw that I had a message. It was from Debbie. She read to me Isaiah 40:28-31. It is one of my favorite passages. I've taught, preached and used it in counseling sessions. But I had forgotten it. When Debbie started reading the passage, I felt encouraged. But when she came to the part; "but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength", I felt conviction.

I was convicted that even though I write a blog called "Living Hope" I had drifted from God. I was putting my hope in my accomplishments, the accomplishments of others, and even in what God was doing. The problem was, I was not putting my hope in "Him". Therefore, I was carrying a load that was too heavy for me to bear. It was effecting me spiritually, emotionally and physically.

When Debbie read the passage to me not only did I feel convicted, but encouraged, even strengthened. I prayed--acknowledging my drift from God--received His grace and mercy and felt renewed. Jesus is awesome!

So what are you hoping in and for? Put your hope in Christ. He is our Living Hope!