Tuesday, December 30, 2014

In Spirit and Truth

John 4:23-24 (NLT) But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
As we are facing another new year by the grace of God, let’s be found worshiping in spirit and in truth. That pure and honest worship that pours forth from a devoted heart is what God desires. In that holy place where all flesh burns away, we can commune with God in the presence of Jesus Christ (THE Truth). We must be the worshipers that the Father seeks.
Worship is more than a church service or a song. Worship is living your life every day to the glory of God, following the example of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Worship is a life of service to the Father and to one another in love. Worship is a life of willful obedience to God’s Word. Worship is living in awe of the Most High by breathing His very presence into the depths of our souls.
Worship is not being inaccessible to our neighbors. Worship is not harboring unforgiveness in our hearts. Worship is not holding people to different standards based on our prejudices and stereotypes. Worship is not placing more value on church membership than the love of Christ.
Worship is loving God with all that we are, and allowing Him to love others through us.
Happy New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Ambassadors for Christ

While you are about the hectic business of shopping, baking, cooking, cleaning, wrapping, and planning your perfect Christmas day celebrations, don’t fail to reflect on the original Christmas day. There was a child born in the City of David, whose name was Jesus, who came to save his people from their sins. Although the Savior is the most precious gift we could ever receive, there are people who are nothing but depressed at this time of year.

If you have the opportunity to spread some Christmas cheer to your neighbors, please do. Sometimes all people need is a smile and a kind word. Make a special effort to be patient and friendly in the department stores or grocery stores this week. As you remember that Jesus gave up His heavenly throne to give us hope, extend that grace to someone else today. With the commercialization, financial constraints, and excessive travel of the Christmas holiday, the levels of frustration and weariness can be very high. 

We often worry about getting all the presents, getting them wrapped, and if the people who receive them will like them. Jesus was born in a stable – a nasty, smelly shelter for animals. His first bed was a feeding trough. He was born, not into a royal family, but into a carpenter’s. Take some time this holiday season to imagine the emotions of Mary and Joseph as they had to deliver their child away from home. Put yourself in the sandals of the wise men, who followed a star to the bedside of the Messiah.

Recognize this year that Christmas is not about us. Christmas is about God becoming man and dwelling with us. The best gift that anyone can receive this season is Jesus Christ. We need to make sure that everything we say and do reflects the light of Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:20 (NASB) Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Just Thankful

Sometimes it gets so difficult to write. When so many life-changing things are happening day by day, moment by moment, it is hard to isolate one particular topic to discuss. Today, however, is the day before Thanksgiving Day in America. I choose to be thankful.
The enemy wants to steal, kill, and destroy. If you listen to/watch the news, you will see that he is very successful in that mission. If we aren’t careful, we will believe that he is winning. With so many bad things happening so frequently, sometimes it may seem that God has thrown up His hands and given up on us. Don’t allow the negativity in the world to cause you to lose sight of everything you have for which to give thanks.
As Christ followers, we have a responsibility (a commission, if you will) to show the world that there is a better way. We are required to love each other, while the world is full of hatred, distrust, and abuse. Don’t allow your emotions to keep you from fulfilling your charge as a child of the Most High. Love those who hate you. Love those who abuse and oppress you. Love those who even hate God. If Jesus can request forgiveness for people killing Him, surely we can at the very least pray for those who persecute us.
When it comes down to it, none of us are worthy of salvation. We all may sin differently, but we all sin. Those of us who have been redeemed from the hand of the enemy have plenty to be grateful for. If we would focus more on what God has done for us, rather than what people have done to us, we would be more willing to find solutions, rather than magnify problems. There are people who will never understand your struggle, but can they see the grace of God on your life?
God, I thank you for sending your son, Jesus Christ to save me from my sins. I thank you for my basic needs being met and so much more. Lord, I am grateful for the opportunity to worship you publicly without being executed. I thank you for family and friends with whom to spend the holiday. God, I thank you for your grace and your mercy and for giving me another chance to be your ambassador in the community in which I live. I thank you that I have a mind to be grateful for all that I have without trampling over people to obtain more. Help us all to be more like Jesus Christ, as we live in a world full of inequity and injustice.  I thank you for your Holy Spirit living inside of me to keep me in your will daily. Amen.

Friday, November 14, 2014


Repent: to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one's life for the better; be penitent.
Details aside, I had to repent today. God brought it to my attention that although I recognized what I did wrong, I never told Him that I was sorry nor asked His forgiveness. So, I had to repent for not repenting! I heard a wonderful message on Sunday about pursuing God, and how that involves a repentant heart. I hadn’t even realized that I wasn’t truly repenting sometimes.
Doing something different because it produces better results is not repenting. It’s logical, and it’s smart, but that isn’t repentance. Repentance is being sorry enough about it that you change for the better. Repentance is going to God, saying, “I messed up. I know that now. Please forgive me.” We have to fess up to the error, so that we can be forgiven. Then we can go forward in peace.

Pretending that you just changed for the better on your own totally defeats the purpose of pursuing God. We need God, His Son, and His precious Spirit to be able to enjoy His presence in blameless holiness. Admitting our shortcomings to Him, and asking Him to help us overcome them is a part of this process of pursuing God.
I John 1:9 (NASB) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

'Nuff Said

Proverbs 19:1 (NLT) Better to be poor and honest than to be dishonest and a fool.

This is one of those ‘nuff said moments.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Defining Marriage

Holy Matrimony (by the authority of God) vs. MARRIAGE (by the authority of the State)

We have a whole lot of believers getting very bent out of shape about the same-gender marriage issue. Yes, it is disturbing to the body of Christ; however, we need to understand that the world is not going to adhere to God’s Law. It is not our job to enforce God’s commands on anyone. Our job is to love God and love people. When we get that right, maybe we can talk about somebody else.

We share the truth in love, but we are not God’s enforcement squad. We can see what happens when we try to force the nation to follow the Bible. Defining marriage on a federal level caused that definition to be invalid on a federal level. Just STOP and PRAY! We don’t have to like it, but we must love everyone. There is far too much hatred being spewed from the mouths of so-called believers with regard to this topic.

Why are we so upset about marriage in the world, when we have so much divorce in the church? We are held to a much higher standard in holy matrimony than the world is in marriage. Our vows are taken before a holy, sovereign God whom we profess to love and obey. Our responsibility is to make sure that we are doing what is pleasing in the sight of God. We cannot control what everyone else is doing, saying, supporting or celebrating. I do NOT have to agree with you to love you. I do NOT have to celebrate your choices to love you. I do NOT have to bow down to your god to love you.

Since when did love ever have all these conditions? If Jesus Christ would have loved us only if this or only if that, we’d be lost. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Secret to Contentment

Philippians 4:11-12(NASB) Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

I used to think that I was content with my life until I really felt content with my life. I don’t think I have ever been happier than I am now, and it isn’t because things are so much better than they ever were. It’s because I’ve truly learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I finally have peace with who I am and where I am. What changed?

Earlier this year I had a major surgery to deal with some medical issues that I had been having for a while. There were so many unknowns going into that surgery that I had an emotional meltdown about every week. There were so many tests, scopes, scans, scrapes, consultations and referrals that I didn’t think I would ever be well again. But God! He put me in the right place at the right time to have the right surgeon with the right set of experience and expertise for my unusual case.

Recovery was a long road, but I can testify that right now I feel better than I’ve felt in years! Anytime I feel like complaining about anything, all I have to do is think about what I was going through earlier this year, and I immediately thank God for life, health and strength. The secret to contentment is gratefulness!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

True Worship of the True God

“True worship is to be so personally and hopelessly in love with God, that the idea of a transfer of affection never even remotely exists.” – A. W. Tozer

Idolatry is common and rampant in our society. To spend all of our days worshiping the unseen God is dismissed as foolish and short-sighted. To stand amazed before the omnipotent God is considered ignorant and unenlightened. Some in our culture cannot worship God because they are too busy trying to explain away the notion of the one true God.

Some want to believe (and do believe) that there is god in all of us, so that we are justified in worshiping ourselves. Others believe that everyone who believes in a god is worshiping the same god in different ways. Still others believe that there is no god at all and worship science, reason, and logic. It has been said that everyone will worship something. Even agnostics worship their complacency.

Make no mistake; there is one true God. If you love anything or anyone more than Him, you are practicing idolatry. When you come to know God for yourself, you can’t ever go back to the emptiness of your soul without Him. Chasing whatever this world has to offer cannot fill the void of being incomplete. No amount of money, friends, or possessions can give you the kind of peace and eternal security that loving the Great I Am provides.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

False Teaching and Your Responsibility

Jude 1:4 (NLT) I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Just look around. A lot of churches have adopted these all-inclusive, universal philosophies. Although I agree that we must love everyone, I don’t agree that we must accept whatever anyone wants to do. God’s grace does not give us permission to live however we want to. God’s grace keeps us from being destroyed by our mistakes.

Contrary to popular belief, all roads do NOT lead to God, God is NOT in all of us, and we are NOT all saved (and some of us just haven’t acknowledged it yet). Those are false teachings that have crept into the church. We need to get back to studying the Word of God for ourselves, so we can know the Truth. You cannot be swayed with the lies if you have hidden the Truth in your heart.

We need to know God’s Word and apply it to our daily lives. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to give us understanding as we read and study, so that we can “rightly divide the Word of Truth” (ref. II Timothy 2:15). There are many false doctrines that incorporate enough truth in them to trip up the best of us. We cannot solely rely on the pastor, Sunday school teacher, or our parents to spoon-feed us with the Word of God. We have a responsibility to be diligent in our own studies, pray for God’s guidance and protection over our minds, and seek the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to teach us what we don’t know and remind us of what we do know. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

It Is Time to Break Camp

Deuteronomy 1:6-8 (NLT)“When we were at Mount Sinai, the Lord our God said to us, ‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It is time to break camp and move on. Go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all the neighboring regions—the Jordan Valley, the hill country, the western foothills, the Negev, and the coastal plain. Go to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, and all the way to the great Euphrates River. Look, I am giving all this land to you! Go in and occupy it, for it is the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to all their descendants.’”

You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It is time to break camp and move on. God is saying these words to us today. We have stayed in sin long enough, we have stayed in mediocrity long enough, we have stayed in laziness long enough, we have stayed in foolishness long enough, we have stayed stagnant long enough! The Promised Land awaits us, but we are stuck in the comfort of our traditions. It is time to do something radically different.

As I was reading through some news headlines this morning, I knew that God was speaking to me. He told me that the world is lost without Him, but the people don’t know how to find Him. People are searching everywhere but Jesus Christ to find God. I must break camp (from my comfort, from my selfishness, from my traditions), and spread the Gospel. I can live my Christian life a lot louder than I have been. The world needs to know that there is a Savior, and His name is Jesus.

You don’t have to accept the world’s standard of citizenship. We are citizens of a different kingdom, and we have a higher calling than “live and let live.” We have been called to love the people of this world, and love them all the way to Jesus’ feet. The world may be falling apart, but there is a better place for us. It is God’s will that none should perish, so it should be our will that none should perish. Time is running out; we must preach the Gospel to any and everyone who will listen (no matter their race, ethnicity, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.). Sometimes we may even have to use words.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Who Are You?

Philippians 4:12-13 (NLT) I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

With Christ, there is nothing we can’t handle. Whatever life happens to throw our way, we are able to overcome and succeed. For those of us who live in Jesus Christ, we can actually prosper with nothing. Even at our lowest, brokest, and worst, we belong to a royal priesthood! Our riches are not found in our possessions but in our identity.

We are joint heirs with Jesus Christ, and our Father owns EVERYTHING! Whatever suffering we may have to go through here on earth is temporary. Just knowing that my circumstances cannot control me helps me to press through, up, and over any obstacle in my way. Through Christ, I am stronger than hunger, poverty, sickness, oppression, betrayal, hatred, lies, etc. I am an overcomer, and I win!

When we stop looking at our weakness and look to God’s strength, we find everything that we need to persevere through our battles. The secret to contentment is understanding who we are in Christ Jesus. “If you listen to these commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom.” Deuteronomy 28:13 NLT

Friday, July 11, 2014

Rejoicing for People We Don't Like

I am studying the book of Jonah again, but this time God has me focused on a different principle. Rejoicing for my enemies. Jonah 4 is about God rebuking Jonah for not wanting Nineveh to be saved. If you’ve got a little time right now, grab your Bible (physical, electronic, memorized). Read Jonah 4.

It’s easy to empathize with Jonah because we don’t want our enemies to enjoy the goodness of God either. I am not judging you, but I am telling the truth about myself. The blessings of the Lord, His compassion, His mercy and His grace are all mine. The people who reject God, reject me, reject my beliefs, and reject the statutes of God are my enemies. Why should those people benefit from the benevolent character of MY God?

Well, friends, it just isn’t about what we think. Every human being on this planet is a child of the Most High God, whether they choose to acknowledge Him or not. God is sovereign over all of His creation, He makes the sun to shine on the good and the evil, and He sends the rain on the just and unjust (Matthew 5:45). Every time God spares the life of one of His enemies, He has given them another chance to get right with Him. We should rejoice in the opportunity He has provided for them.

He does not want anyone to perish, so why do we? Before you get all self-righteous on me, think about the people groups you believe are going straight to hell. Now, thank God that He spared you because you should be going straight to hell, too.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Freedom to Obey

Romans 8:2 (NASB) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

For those of us who are in Christ Jesus, we no longer have to abide by (or try to abide by) the letter of the Old Testament law. This does not mean that we are free to sin, but that we are free from being condemned to death because of our sin. We can now go boldly before God’s throne, covered in the blood of Jesus Christ, and ask for forgiveness.

We also are not exempt from the consequences of our sins. Forgiven or not, if we murder someone, we have to go to prison. The principles of sowing and reaping carry from the Old Testament into the New Covenant. If you sow foolishness, that’s what you’ve got coming. Salvation is not some magic license to do whatever you want. For those who love God, obedience is a natural byproduct of that love.

I am so grateful for the freedom that Christ has purchased for me with His perfect sacrifice. I want to please Him with my every breath. Of course, I make mistakes (and some of those are more intentional than others), and I need the Holy Spirit’s help every moment. The beauty of salvation is that we are continually growing, developing, and becoming more like Jesus Christ every day, if we choose to.

Monday, June 23, 2014

O What Love!

John 3:16 (NASB) For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Sometimes we just need a reminder of what God sacrificed to reconcile us to Himself. He gave EVERYTHING He had to redeem us from eternal death. He gave His son; the son gave his life. There is no greater love than this. At our very best, we deserve eternal damnation. Mercy pitied us, and grace overlooked our many faults.

All of our past, present, and future transgressions were whipped into Jesus’ flesh when He was beaten and crucified. When I think about it, I can’t help but ask why. Why would He give Himself up for people who hated Him? He knew that we (humans) were going to mock, reject, and kill Him, and yet He came anyway! There was no other way for us to be redeemed. Blood had to be shed, but animal blood only offered temporary pardon. There was only one way to have permanent remission of sins.

Jesus Christ had to die. His blood had to be shed. He was the perfect, blameless Lamb of God, and the only sacrifice acceptable to God forever. FOREVER. FOREVER. FOREVER. It’s done, finished, complete. It will never have to be done again. It was the perfect plan for the perfect sacrifice made by a perfect God for very imperfect people. I am amazed that He would think so highly of someone as messed up as me. I am beyond grateful for His unfailing love, aren’t you?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Love Each Other Together

1 John 4:20 (NASB) If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

It seems so simple, yet we have a problem loving our brothers and sisters in Christ. Anyone who doesn’t agree with us or doesn’t do things the way we do is shunned, ridiculed, and ostracized. Denominational barriers have us confused on the true purpose of our lives. We are to be the salt of the earth, beacons of light in the darkness. Jesus Christ died for the whole world, and we need to be on a mission for the whole world.

The body of Christ (Christians) could be so much more effective if we weren’t fighting among ourselves over doctrine and traditions. I’m pretty sure that we agree that Jesus Christ gave us the commission to go into the entire world, teaching and baptizing. We need to step back from our traditions long enough to see the dying world and evangelize it. The plan of salvation is not as complicated as some of our faith groups would have people believe. Romans 10:9 says to confess and believe.

I am not advocating throwing in with religions that don’t believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. I am advocating throwing away barriers that don’t have a basis in obedience to God. Men have created a bunch of rules that God has not, and then hold people to those standards that they have created. We have too much work to do to get hung up on human traditions. Let’s go into the entire world TOGETHER, and show them God’s love.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Jesus Paid It All

Jesus paid it all; all to him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain;
He washed it white as snow.

Jesus Christ finished it on the cross. There is nothing else that we can do to earn our salvation. There is no laundry list of requirements for Christ to receive you. You just have to believe in Him, and make Him Lord of your life. His sacrifice allows you the privilege to come before a Holy God. If not for the blood of Christ, we would be banished from the presence of God forever.

God loved us just that much. He gave up His only son to reconcile us to Himself. Who does that? And furthermore, what kind of ingrate refuses that kind of love? We owe Him everything. He chose the nails; He chose the cross. He chose US. Even though we disappoint Him over and over again, He keeps choosing us. He keeps redeeming us. He keeps interceding for us. He insists on making us clean before the Father.

We have nothing to offer Him in return except ourselves. We can surrender our lives in allegiance to Him, but we have no way to repay the debt we owe. In the contemporary version of “Jesus Paid It All,” there is a refrain that goes: “Oh, praise the One who paid my debt, and raised this life up from the dead.” We were deader than dead, and yet Jesus Christ raised us to life in Him. There are no words that we can use to describe our deliverance from the grave. We were stained, and He cleansed us completely. There isn’t even the slightest residue of the stain remaining. He washed it white as snow. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Trust in His Word!

Isaiah 55:11 (NASB)
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

If God said it, then it has to happen. Whatever God has spoken over me is never a maybe, but always a SHALL. How often do we forfeit the peace that should be ours by not trusting that what God says is true? There are so many promises in the Word of God for us to hold on to. There is something in the Bible for every situation and for every circumstance. God Himself has declared that His Word will accomplish what He sent it to do. God cannot lie; we can rely on His Word.

What God knows about me is more certain than what anyone else thinks about me. What God has spoken concerning me is as sure as the sun rising in the east. Even if I don’t see it today, I can trust that it’s on the way. I am confident that God will complete the work He has begun in me. I may not have the time, skill, or resources to do it on my own, but that’s just how the Father works. If you could do it on your own, you might not want to give Him the glory for it.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s Word is eternal. Speaking to your mountain in faith will move it. Imagine how much more you can do if you speak to your mountain in faith with God’s own words! Consider how much more powerful your prayers can be if you pray God’s words back to Him. He told us that they can’t return to Him empty. We can also honor God with our obedience to His Word. If He can but speak creation into existence, surely His Word is enough to sustain us throughout this life.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. ~Psalm 119:105

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Be Better and Do Better

Luke 12:2-3 (NASB) But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.

Don’t worry; God sees it all. Be very careful that who you are in public is who you are in private. When the cloak of darkness starts to lift, you don’t want to be caught with your proverbial pants down. Hypocrisy is distasteful and will hinder your witness for the Lord.

Over the years I have seen “popular” people come and go. Scandals have dethroned many figures in authority. Dark deeds coming to light have ousted people from coveted leadership roles. The principle of reaping what you have sown is tried and it’s true. In the book of Esther, Haman has gallows constructed that he ends up hanging from. Plotting and scheming against people in closed and private meetings will not protect you. God is omnipresent, and some of the very people you are plotting with already have plans to get rid of you.

You can also rest assured that all the garbage being said about you in the shadows will be revealed, right along with the deceitful acts against you. Psalm 37 tells us not to worry about wicked people for they will be cut off and wither. We can’t focus on what other people are doing to us, or what we can do in retaliation. We have to live according to what we know is right according to God’s Word. Do all you can to clean up whatever needs cleaning, so that you can proclaim that you aren’t what or who you USED to be. Let your dirt be in the past, not in your present. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, you can be better and do better.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Price Tag of Integrity

The definition of integrity, according to dictionary.com is the “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.  There shouldn’t be any amount of fame, fortune, or status that would cause you to compromise your integrity.  Almost daily we are bombarded with headlines of someone’s dishonesty and subsequent fall from grace.

In our culture, it is perfectly acceptable to cheat, and in some cases it’s even encouraged. Things range from pilfering supplies at work to claiming other people’s children on tax returns. Cheating has been so integrated into our society that it seldom surprises anyone that a child lied about his/her age to get a social media account or free meal at a restaurant. Athletes are encouraged to enhance their performance through whatever means necessary, but then are ostracized and rebuked when they get caught.

The understanding is that everyone does it, so it’s okay as long as you don’t get caught. My friends, it simply is not true. The little fibs, the omissions, the hidden truths are just Satan’s way of leveraging your deliverance from sin. Don’t believe for a moment that he won’t slap you in the face with it when you least expect. Integrity is PRICELESS! Don’t sell your character short by lying, cheating, or stealing, no matter how insignificant it may seem. You answer to a higher authority than this world.

Ephesians 5:3 (NASB) But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Obedience First

1 Corinthians 13:11 (NASB) When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.

There were things that I could tolerate in my youth that I can no longer handle. The same is true of spiritual maturity. As you grow in grace, you realize that some stuff has nothing to do with living the abundant life that Christ offers.

For example, why do we place so much emphasis on how people dress for church? Beyond decent, does it really matter? Of course, there are appropriate things to wear to be on a stage or platform, but we spend way too much energy on our clothing. Some of us treat church like some kind of exclusive country club. You have to fit a certain stereotype, or you will be treated as an outsider.

We do the same thing with denomination. Every single one of them is man-made, so they are flawed. We should worry less about denomination and focus more on the Word of God. If the church you’re in believes the Bible, abides by the Bible, and teaches the Bible, that should be sufficient. As long as the church isn’t adding to or taking away from the Scriptures or misusing the Scriptures, there shouldn’t be a problem fellowshipping with it. That means we have to study to know whether a church is ‘rightly dividing the Word of Truth.’

Unfortunately, there are enough unchurched and unsaved people for all the churches to be full. The harvest is indeed plentiful, but we are too busy with differences in tradition, doctrine, and theology to just love the people in the communities that God has placed us in. It’s great to know why you believe what you believe, but it’s even more important to be obedient to what God has told us to do. Obedience doesn’t require understanding.

Jesus Christ didn’t come to establish dress code or denomination. He told us why He came, and He told us what to do. Here are just a few examples. There are plenty more in the Scriptures.

Luke 19:10 (NASB) For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

John 10:10 (NASB) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Matthew 22:37-39 (NASB) 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB) 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Value People Over Stuff

Job 42:10 (NASB) The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold.
The story of Job contains an amazing example of how a righteous person handles adversity. I strongly recommend reading and studying the entire book; however, for this blog post I would like to focus on this one verse (chapter 42, verse 10). God honors selflessness over and over again.  All throughout the Bible, God encourages us to care for others more than ourselves.
God restored Job when he prayed for his friends, not when he prayed for himself. Not only did the Lord restore what Job had, He doubled it. The saying “you can’t beat God giving” has been tried and proven to be true. There is no amount of money, time, or energy that you can give to others that God cannot return to you. Job took the time to pray for his friends, and God gave everything back to him PLUS some.
We tend to focus on what we’ve lost, what we’re lacking, and what we need. The lesson here is to stop concentrating on ourselves and start praying for the needs of others. Rather than trying to tightly hold on to what few possessions we really have, we should spend more on the needs of others. There is an example in the New Testament where Jesus tells a rich man to sell all he has and follow the Lord. Your stuff should never be more important than the work of God’s Kingdom. Job taught us that he didn’t value possessions over God Himself.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Motives Lead to Actions

Mark 15:9-15 (NASB) Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he was aware that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to ask him to release Barabbas for them instead. 12 Answering again, Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?” 13 They shouted back, “Crucify Him!” 14 But Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify Him!” 15 Wishing to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them, and after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.
Mark’s gospel states that Pilate was aware that the chief priests were just jealous of Jesus, which is why they handed Him over for execution. He was obviously uncomfortable with the situation, so he asked the crowd if they wanted to release Jesus. He wanted to be able to blame someone else for an innocent man’s death. The chief priests encouraged the crowd to release a known murderer, so that Jesus Christ would be crucified.
Pilate’s motive was to please the crowd, although he knew Jesus did not deserve crucifixion. The chief priests’ motive was to get rid of Jesus, who threatened the status quo of religion, where they had all the authority and power. The actions that they performed lined up with their motives. Pilate let a murderer go free after the priests convinced the crowd to ask for it.
Both Pilate and the priests knew Jesus had done nothing worthy of death, but they were too concerned with their own positions in society to do the right thing. There is a lesson to take from this story. We cannot care more about our titles than our scruples. Injustice should not be tolerated, let alone perpetuated. We have a responsibility to the world to live by Christ’s example. He loved us more than He loved His position. He willingly left His throne to give us a chance at abundant life. His actions lined up with His motive, as well. His only motive for becoming sin for us was LOVE.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Failed Plans

Proverbs 16:9 (NLT) We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

At some point along your walk with the Lord, you realize that God is sovereign. We don’t decide what we want Him to control or not. He was, is, and always will be LORD of all. We either acknowledge that fact, or live miserably trying to control things we can’t. We must yield to God’s plan to enjoy our most abundant lives.

As human beings, we tend to get bent out of shape when something doesn’t go according to our plans, but we should thank God for intervening to make us better. We don’t always see the big picture, but our heavenly Father does. He is never surprised when our plans fall apart. Sometimes we are totally distraught by unforeseen circumstances, but we need to remind ourselves of God’s sovereignty.

We are incapable of controlling everything (or anything for that matter), and sometimes life just messes up our plans. If we just surrender to God’s perfect plan, allow Him to order our steps, and rest in Him, we will be able to adjust more quickly as our plans change to line up with His will. We may still have our moments of despair, distress, and depression, but they won’t consume us. We will shake ourselves awake to the reality that God is in control, hold our heads up, and we will walk in the path that God has chosen for us.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Just Live It

2 Corinthians 3:2-3 (NLT)
The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.

What are you writing on the hearts of people with whom you interact? Is the way you live your life representative of Jesus Christ? Will anyone meet Him through you? These are questions that we should ask ourselves before we speak, before we act, and before we react. We must remember that we aren’t living just for ourselves.

There is a dying world out there that needs hope, love, and grace. We don’t always have to yell scriptures over the din of the world. We can demonstrate the characteristics of Christ instead (the fruit of the Spirit, see Galatians 5). Our walk will ultimately be far louder than our talk could ever be. I have often heard it said that we are the only Bible some people will ever read, and it is true.

It is important to know the Scriptures; don’t think I mean otherwise. We must still be ready to explain our faith to anyone who asks (I Peter 3:15). We should be living in such a way that makes people want to ask. There is a lot of pain inflicted in the body of Christ for the sake of “keeping it real,” but we can’t possibly be more real that Jesus Christ was with the people He encountered while He walked this earth. He didn’t sugar coat the truth, but He likewise didn’t condemn anyone for his/her shortcomings.

Jesus was the perfect example for everything. By imitating our LORD, we can make sure that we are representing Him well, and causing others to see Him through us. He does the saving, not us. He does the changing, not us. He will do the judging, not us.


Monday, March 24, 2014


Psalm 63:1 (NLT)
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.
Sometimes we find ourselves in a parched and weary land. In this life there will be trials, there will be difficulties, and there will be challenges. All the adversity that we face merely lets us know that we are still living. We live, we learn, and we grow through our tough times. There is, however, a perspective that will ensure that we are not consumed by our trials.

When we focus on the almighty God, we can endure the storms in peace. We know that all things are working out for our benefit, if we love God and are called according to His purpose. Like David, we must throw our entire beings into the pursuit of God. Pain is real, the struggle is real, disappointments are real, and no one has a right to tell you otherwise; however, God is MORE real. He has the power to bring you through whatever you may have to suffer.

Make up in your mind that you will chase God above all else, and you will find that the anxiety, worry, and stress lessen almost immediately. I know that God is greater than everything else, so I can rest calmly in Him. Although I am in this parched and weary land, I know that God will provide the water I need to survive. I relentlessly pursue my God; I can’t let up, and I can’t give up. In His presence is the fullness of joy, and that is where I want to be.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Don't Discount My Struggle

As I learn and grow, I find that I have been guilty of dismissing experiences to which I can't relate. We all have our own path to travel. We all have different lessons to learn at different stages of life. What it took for you to know Christ may not be what it took for me to know Christ. Does that make either of our experiences less valuable?

My struggle may not look like much compared to yours, but it was still a struggle for me. Maybe I could have overcome your trouble in 15 seconds, but it wasn't mine to overcome. It was yours, and God had a lesson in it specifically for you. We need to stop allowing people with "bigger testimonies" to intimidate us into silence. Your testimony is just as important to the Kingdom as the next person's. Being cured of cancer is no greater than being cured of acid reflux, if that's what you're suffering with. A miracle is still miraculous.

Someone needs to know that God can be trusted with everything we may face. God cares that it's picture day, and you have Mt. Vesuvius on your forehead. Nothing is too small, nothing is too great. People will roll their eyes when Sister Nobody testifies of being late to work and missing an 8-car accident on her route. They will clap a little and dismiss that as mere coincidence, but the church will go bananas over Deacon Somebody receiving an all-clear from the doctor. Both testimonies are about God's grace and mercy. Both testimonies point to God's faithfulness. Both testimonies should be told.

We need to celebrate each other's victories, no matter how different they are. We must rejoice with those who rejoice, supporting and caring for one another. It doesn't matter that our experiences differ; we are on the Lord's side, and that makes us family. We should not be placing levels of importance on each other's struggles because we are all imperfect people. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

But Now My Eye Sees You!

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6 ESV)

At some point in your walk with the Lord, you will have to see Him for yourself. Knowing who He is by faith is great, but experiencing who He is in your life is inescapable. If your desire is to truly know Him, you will have to go through something. You can't just keep hearing the testimony of others, but you need to have a testimony to share with others.

No matter how much you try to empathize with someone, until you've been there, you just can't know. As Job is saying here, we have heard of God and trusted in Him, but when we actually see Him for ourselves, we see how ridiculously inadequate our measurement was. To say you know God to be a healer when a doctor has never scratched his head over your case isn't quite right. You know God CAN heal, but do you personally know Him as a healer? 

We will all have our faith tested in one area or another. It doesn't mean your faith is weak; it means God wants to develop His relationship with you. Will you be willing to repent of what you thought you knew, and accept what God shows you with your own eyes? When God Himself challenges your finite wisdom, will you humbly submit and learn what He is teaching you? When bad things happen, are you looking for the cause, or are you looking for God?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Honor Him for Honoring You!

Psalm 8 (NLT)
O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
    Your glory is higher than the heavens.
2 You have taught children and infants
    to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies
    and all who oppose you.
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
    the moon and the stars you set in place—
4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
    human beings that you should care for them?
5 Yet you made them only a little lower than God
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You gave them charge of everything you made,
    putting all things under their authority—
7 the flocks and the herds
    and all the wild animals,
8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
    and everything that swims the ocean currents.

O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

Just take some time to meditate on this song. God has given us a place of honor in His creation, and we have squandered it. What can we do to bring honor to Him with our lives?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Such Were Some of You

1 Corinthians 6:11(NASB) Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Don’t forget where you came from. The same grace that found you in the pit can lift someone else up out of their pit. All the self-righteous, religious babble in the world won’t change the fact that you didn’t save yourself.  As a matter of fact, the Bible speaks of our righteousness being as filthy rags in God’s presence (Isaiah 64:6). In and of ourselves we are less than worthless, so what gives us the right to turn our noses up and look down them at someone still in his struggle?
We sometimes need to remind ourselves that we are in need of God’s grace everyday just like the next person. What separates us from the sinner is solely our acceptance of the everlasting life that Jesus Christ offers. We cannot earn salvation, nor will we ever be worthy of it on our own. Maybe you aren’t a drug addict, but you’re a liar. Maybe you aren’t a prostitute, but you like pornography. Truth be told, we all struggle with something at some point in our lives – even when we are saved.
If you think about the grace it took for God to look past your faults, you would be more willing to offer grace to the people with whom you come into contact every day. I often say that it isn’t so much about what Jesus would do, but it’s about what He DID do. His gift is available to everyone who will receive it. That means you, me, and the world. We were no better than what we would consider the worst sinner when Christ’s love found us. We owe the Lord praise for rescuing us, and we owe our fellow man grace because we’ve been rescued.

Monday, January 13, 2014

I Will Not Be Shaken

Psalm 16:8 (NASB) I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

I tend to worry about things over which I have absolutely no control. What does my worry accomplish? Nothing. There are situations in life that we are helpless to change, but if we keep our eyes on the Lord, we can get through them. There is nothing that catches God by surprise. He is using all of my experiences, good and bad, to shape me into the woman He wants to use.
When I am facing my Goliath, I can stand sure-footed and courageous because God is with me. I don’t have to tremble before my circumstances because I have set the Lord before me. He stands in between me and everything that would destroy me. I get weak, I admit. Sometimes I may have a melt-down or two, but then I remember that mountains melt like wax before my God! The same God who stilled the sun in the sky for Joshua will never forsake me.
No matter what comes my way, God is already there. His plan for me is perfect, although some of the pieces might baffle me. He makes use of every disappointment, every hurt, every obstacle, and every tear to draw me closer to my destiny in Christ. Nothing I experience is worthless. If I change my perspective to see God working (set the Lord continually before me), I will not be shaken.