Monday, December 19, 2011


Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, Philippians 2:6-9

What a gracious, loving Savior we have. May Jesus be exalted in your Christmas celebration. We hope and pray you have a joyful and blessed Christmas.
          David and Charlyn

Monday, December 12, 2011


Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2 (NLT)

To have been able to find Jesus, to even know about Him and being from a far country, and to be sensitive to the Lord God’s leadership – the wise men must have been very learned and well-read men. They were wise.

God says we should be wise. He wants us to learn and grow. He tells us to add to our learning and be instructed. He says that revering Him is the gateway to knowledge of true knowledge. “Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance, … The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:5, 7.

What are you reading this holiday season that will make you wiser? I know it’s a busy time of the year, but if we’re going to keep our perspective and balance we need to take the time to nurture our souls. It’s wise to become knowledgeable of God’s ways and to follow them.

Monday, December 5, 2011


The Apostle Paul served God with a clear conscience. He said in his letter to Timothy, “I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience”, 2 Timothy 1:3. The conscience is a powerful part of each one of us. According to Romans 2:15 (NLT) our conscience speaks to us, They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. Our conscience is one of the ways God directs our words and actions.

If the conscience is stifled, resisted, or denied, not only will sin increase but emotional health will be sacrificed. Spiritual and emotional health diminish. The world’s ways which are expressed in very influential ways through our current culture push many people to go against their consciences. A self-focused attitude is loudly proclaimed, and would seem to drown out the voice of conscience.

However if the voice of conscience is muzzled enough, it can become deaf, blind, and speechless to truth. We become deluded. Not only do we become sick individuals – spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and relationally – our society becomes sick as well. Or should I say our society IS sick and unhealthy. It’s in desperate need of truth.

Jesus said, "…know the truth, and the truth will set you free", John 8:32. The truth is what sets us free from our delusional selves. The truth is what frees up our conscience so that we can become healthy.

So what’s the key to knowing the truth? In verse 31 Jesus begins by saying “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, …” John 8:31. The key is to live as a disciple of Jesus, a follower of Him and His teaching. It means to believe in Him such that you learn how to live from Him. You learn life from Him. You actually get life from Him. That is the way to truth which sets our consciences free from self-deceit, from delusional thinking, from emotional pain, and from oppressive on-going guilt.

Guess who has been given the responsibility to express the truth? It’s been given to the church. Whether our society realizes it or not, it needs the church. It’s the agent through which Jesus makes more disciples.

As disciples of Jesus, we must serve Him with a clear conscience. Here are some of the ways a clear conscience can make you healthy and strong:

A clear conscience:

• makes you courageous to tell others about the difference Jesus has made in your life (Acts 23:1)

• leads to right conduct toward the world and toward other believers in Christ (2 Cor. 1:12)

• is necessary in order to love others (1 Tim. 1:5)

• is needed to fight the good fight of spiritual warfare (1 Tim. 1:19)

• is needed to serve in the church (1 Tim. 3:9)

• produces a pure character (1 Peter 3:16)

• is provided by the Lord (1 Peter 3:21)

• makes you competent and certain (Heb. 13:18)

A clear conscience must be worked at continually. Paul said in Acts 24:16, “I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” Make it a priority to have and maintain a clear conscience. It is a powerful part of who you are and who you become.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it. You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires. Colossians 2:18-23 (NLT).

We must learn to differentiate between what is of God and what is of man. What is of human origin and what is of Godly origin? Someone may say to you that you must trust God a certain way or live your Christian life a certain way or follow an experience they had or have a certain kind of experience with God. I’m not saying there is no merit in those things, but we should question the source. The danger is for anyone of us to make ourselves feel pious, godly, and “in touch with God – you can’t touch me,” by the actions we take or the words we speak. The question we must always ask is whether we do these things for ourselves or for Christ. Do we do these things because they make us feel good or feel spiritual? Or do we do these things to give praise and glory God?

Devotion, self-denial, and discipline are all necessary to follow Jesus. But they are not the answer to conquering the old flesh, the old you. The answer is in accepting the fact that the old you has died with Christ. You are a “new you” now. And the new you is capable of sincere selfless devotion, self-denial, and discipline in the strength of Christ because He now lives in you and through you.

Colossians 3:3-4, 10 (Ph) says, As far as this world is concerned, you are already dead, and your true life is a hidden one in Christ. One day, Christ, the secret center of our lives, will show himself openly, and you will all share in that magnificent denouement. … You have finished with the old man and all he did and have begun life as the new man, who is out to learn what he ought to be, according to the plan of God.

It’s time now to learn all about who you are as the “new person” in Christ. Learn what God’s plan is for you. Learn the truth and live it. You are new! You are alive! You are connected to Christ and His power forever! Live your new life with your new freedom in the new power you have from Christ living through you. This is your life now.

Monday, November 14, 2011


“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” 1 Cor. 9:24-25.

Last week our son Andrew ran the City of Oaks Marathon in Raleigh, NC. Charlyn and I had the great opportunity to be there and watch him and cheer him on. It was an enriching time. As I think back on his race and the preparation he put into it, I think of some things that would encourage us in our spiritual race of faith in Christ.

Living and growing in the Christian life is a long distance race. The Bible says, Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, Heb. 12:1. The journey of faith is a marathon not a sprint. When people think of a marathon, most simply think that a person runs for several miles and that’s a really cool thing. But a lot goes into the preparation and a lot happens during the race. After all it’s over twenty six miles. To run that far is a huge feat in itself.

We’re all in the race of faith. Paul points to the finish line for us when he says, “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace”. Acts 20:24.

When I think of Andrew completing his marathon I think of several things that apply to each of us in our “life-long race of faith”:

One is self-discipline. To rise early in the mornings, even when it was dark and cold, and run twelve or eighteen or twenty miles – takes self-discipline. To be faithful to the Lord and to what He says to do requires self-discipline. To follow Jesus as a disciple takes discipline. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Tim. 1:7

Setting our minds on what we are going to do is essential too. Andrew made the decision to run the marathon months before the event itself. He set his mind to it and trained for it. Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Col. 3:1-2. Set your mind on the interests of the Lord and you’ll run a worthy race.

Stay in the race even when you’re attacked by the enemy. Early one dark morning as Andrew was running his eighteen mile training run, he was attacked and bitten in the back of the leg by a pit bull. He fell down and began kicking. The dog ran away. Andrew got up and kept running for another eight miles before he felt the pain, and then decided to go back and tend to the wound. I’m thankful to say he required no stitches, only a tetanus shot, and the dog was not rabid. The next morning Andrew was out running again. We will be attacked and even knocked down at times, and momentarily hindered, but we must get up and get back to running the race. Just because you’re knocked off your feet at a point in time doesn’t mean you’re finished. The race is still in front of you. Run it! …finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given…

Hydration is a must when running a long distance. Andrew took advantage of the water stations along the way. He, like the others, paused and quickly gulped down cups of water. Jesus said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life”. Rev. 21:6. Unless we pause regularly along the course of faith to drink of the life-giving water from Jesus, we will lose energy, stumble and fall, and bring unnecessary pain and problems to ourselves.

Encouragement from others injects strength into our weary spirits. We are dependent on the cheering from others to “keep going, don’t stop, you can do it, take the hill,…” Andrew was greatly motivated by someone he didn’t know who ran up along side him and said, “Be strong brother. There’s a hill up ahead.” Paul emphasizes the significance of encouragement when he speaks of Titus – “In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you.” 2 Cor. 7:13. Get around people who are encouraging and be refreshed.

There’s a saying among marathoners – “The real race is the last six miles. That’s when the race really begins.” The first twenty are hard, but the last six are grueling. It becomes a matter of pure endurance. And there is nothing wrong with gritty endurance. It’s everything right. The Bible tells us over and over to endure and persevere. It’s a component of faith. Jesus said, “The one who endures to the end will be saved”. Matt. 24:13.

So be strong brothers and sisters. Hills are up ahead. And by God’s grace and our gritty endurance we will cross those hills and then we’ll cross the last one. And as we come over that last hill we will see the finish line in the distance and we’ll run with renewed vigor because we know the arms of Jesus are opened wide and waiting for us on the other side.

Monday, October 24, 2011


When do we experience God’s protection, provision, power, and the joy of His presence in our lives? When we make Him our “sanctuary.” When we choose to live with God as our protection, provision, power, and ever present Counselor, we live with Him and in Him as our sanctuary, the “Holy Place.” In Psalm 16:11 we’re reminded of the emotional lift God’s presence has in our lives, “In Your presence is fullness of joy.”

Though the first application of Isaiah 8:9-14a refers to the enemy nations of Israel, the secondary application can be applied to our personal lives. Here we find some necessary steps on how to have God as our sanctuary:

1. When is God everything you need? When you are broken and shattered.
Verse 9 begins, “Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered! …be shattered! … be shattered!” The word “shattered” in the NIV is used three times in verse 9. It drives the point home that our arrogance must be shattered. When our self-will is broken, when we’re broken and hurt because of our sin, when we’re bowed before the Lord and our pride is broken – that’s when God becomes our sanctuary.

2. When is God everything you need? When you listen to God’s Word and put it into action in your life.
Verse 9 goes on to say, “Listen, all you distant lands. …” When we “do” what God says in the Scriptures, when we apply it to our lives – that’s when God becomes our sanctuary.

3. When is God everything you need? When you follow His plan for your life.
Verse 10 says, “Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us.” God’s purpose prevails. Discover His plan and go with it. And don’t get ahead of Him. Let Him lead – that’s when God becomes our sanctuary.

4. When is God everything you need? When you respect God as holy in your everyday thinking, talking, relating, and actions.
Verses 12-14a tell us, “… do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread. He will be a holy place;” The Lord is not just a good Friend and Forgiver and Lover of our souls; He is Holy God Who is to be respected and reckoned with. And in so doing we find that He becomes our “holy place”, our “sanctuary” where we are protected, provided for, empowered, and refreshed with His constant presence.

Monday, October 3, 2011


… I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2b-3 (NLT)

Jesus said,
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3

Our goal is to grow in the true knowledge of Christ. A complete confidence in Christ results in spiritual growth. I believe I speak for most of us when I say that we need more confidence in Christ, more understanding, and more wisdom and knowledge.

Where’s the wisdom? To grow in your relationship with Christ is wisdom. That’s where knowledge is. “All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” are hidden in Him. Those treasures of wisdom and knowledge are there waiting to be unlocked as you grow in knowing your Savior and Lord.

The increase of wisdom from the Lord in your life is proportionate to the consistency and depth of your relationship with Him.

We need His wisdom in so many areas of our lives: personal life, marriage, family, career, finances, ministry, and relationships in general. You have a choice to grow in wisdom or not. How much do you desire the wisdom of Christ? I see a great need in my life for His wisdom.

Increase your time with Christ and your wisdom will increase.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Now I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a rich and fertile hill. He plowed the land, cleared its stones, and planted it with the best vines. In the middle he built a watchtower and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks. Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes,… Isaiah 5:1-7 (NLT)

The Lord provides the opportunity for us to live in righteousness, to serve Him, and to be productive according to His purposes. You are a part of the vineyard He has planted. He provides for you to grow and produce good fruit. He provides the fertile ground on a hill which is good for soil drainage and sunshine. He uses what happens in your life to enrich you and mature you. He is at work clearing the stones from your life that keep you from growing and depending on Him. Hebrews 12:1 reminds us to, strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us (NLT).

With all that God has done for us and is doing for us and in us, and the way He watches over us, we begin to get the picture that God expects us to grow and produce good fruit according to His will. A good foundation for a productive life that honors God and adds blessing to our lives is the personal time we spend with Him each day. Jesus said in John 15:5 “I am the vine. You are the branches. Those who live in me while I live in them will produce a lot of fruit. But you can’t produce anything without me” (GWT). You have this opportunity every day.

If you want to produce a lot of good – live, listen, and learn everyday from the One Who is good.

Monday, September 19, 2011


He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. Colossians 1:28-29

As messengers of Christ entrusted with the good news of salvation, every believer has been given a stewardship, a responsibility. That stewardship, that responsibility includes proclaiming Christ. The word “proclaim” in v. 29 literally means “the publication of the gospel for the purpose of converting people to Christ”. Think of the many ways that you can “publicize” the good news of Christ and your personal faith story. Use the tools we have in our current age of technology along with building genuine friendships.

Bringing others to the place of believing in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sin is only the beginning of what we are to be about. It’s not just the proclamation that’s important; nurturing, reproving, and instruction in the ways and wisdom of God are just as important. Jesus didn’t say to go make more Christians. He said to go make more followers of Him. The objective is “full maturity in Christ.”

We’re not just helpers. We’re not just encouragers. These things are necessary. But there’s a lot more to it. We are to go beyond just helping people to hear about Christ. We are to go beyond just encouraging people to grow in there spiritual lives. Paul says, “I strenuously contend”. Bringing others to Christ and then bringing them along in their spiritual maturity is hard work. It takes a great amount of energy from you. It takes time, trouble, and tenacity. Give it all you’ve got! We must do all we can, as creatively as we can, as strategically as we can, as much as we can to move one another to maturity in Christ.

Where do we get the energy and power to do this? It’s the energy that Christ so powerfully works in us. It’s a joint effort. You and God. Work hard to make more maturing followers of Christ by depending on His power working in you and through you. That means we must stay plugged in to the power source all the time – God. If we don’t keep our personal time with God consistent, studying His Word, praying from our hearts, and applying His truth to our lives daily – then we lose the charge and must be recharged. Keep the charge flowing. Keep God’s power “on” in your life. Stay surrendered to God's Spirit.  Jesus said, “For just as the branch cannot bear any fruit unless it shares the life of the vine, so you can produce nothing unless you go on growing in me” John 15:4 (Ph). If we’ll put our energy into it, He’ll put His energy into it.

Monday, September 12, 2011


How can you tell the difference between a servant leader and a self-serving leader? Gordon McDonald in his book Ordering Your Private World gives us some clues. He describes two kinds of people in the world: “driven” people and “called” people.

Driven people think they own everything; their relationships, their possessions, their position. Consequently they spend most of their time protecting what they own. Everything they do is controlled by their own self-interest. Therefore when they praise or encourage you, they’re really doing it for their own good.

Called people think everything in life is on loan; their relationships, their possessions, their position. Consequently they are not defensive or protective about their position as a leader. The truth is if a better leader comes along, they will partner with that person and sometimes even step aside and take a different role because the only reason they are leading is to serve people.

Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager, says the key to a servant leader’s heart is humility. People with humility don’t think less of themselves; they just think of themselves less. Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great, says when things go well leaders with humility look out the window and give everyone else the credit. But when things go poorly, they look in the mirror and say, “What could I have done differently that would have helped these people be the best they could be?” Servant leaders are willing to take the hit. They know that all people are human and make mistakes.

On the other hand, when things go well for self-serving leaders they look in the mirror and beat on their chests like King Kong, thinking how great they are. When things go wrong, they look out the window and blame someone else. They’re so self-absorbed that everything is filtered through an “I” orientation instead of a “we” orientation.

So how can you tell the difference between a servant leader and a self-serving leader? Watch how they react to feedback. If you give them feedback on how they’re leading and they “kill the messenger”, they’re self-serving. When you give them feedback you ignite their worst fears. You’ve pointed out a flaw in their character, in their leadership. They interpret that to mean that you don’t want them to be involved in any way anymore. To lose their position is their worst nightmare because it defines who they are. Consequently, they have to dismiss you and your feedback. “Self-serving leaders are only interested in maintaining their position and maintaining control.” – Ken Blanchard.

If you give feedback to servant leaders they consider it a gift. They will say “Thank you. This is helpful. I didn’t intend to do that. Is there anyone else I should talk to? Is there anything else I need to do differently? Tell me more.” Servant leaders love feedback because the only reason they lead is to serve.

The question we must all ask ourselves is, “Am I a servant leader or a self-serving leader?” Jesus was quick to answer that question: "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others", Matthew 20:28 (NLT).

Our journey through life is to move from a self-serving heart to a serving heart. You mature when you realize that life is about what you give rather than what you get.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


We Christians should live with defined objectives in life. To follow Christ means we make choices that will direct us to see God-given objectives become a reality in our lives. Paul lists some of those objectives for us to pursue in his letter to the Colossians.

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. Col. 1:9-11 (NLT)

Six objectives are listed for us:

1. Live in a way that will honor the Lord.
2. Please the Lord in every area of your life.
3. Produce good fruit through your way of life.
4. Get to know God better.
5. Be strengthened with God’s power.
6. Learn to be steadfast and patient.

The “gateway” to get to these objectives is to gain “comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God” (Amplified version). Paul says, “We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will…” In other words we should grow deep in God’s truths and gain more insight into His purposes so that we will be able to act on those objectives.

That’s the gateway to getting to the six objectives, but the gateway needs a “key”. The key to unlocking the gateway is PRAYER. Paul says, “we have not stopped praying for you… We ask God to give you…” Prayer is the key. The place to begin to fulfilling the objectives is prayer. Spend consistent time with the Lord in prayer. Live in a constant state of open communication with Him if you want to experience the results of His power in your life. Through a consistent state of prayer throughout the day God then works in and through your life and becomes your strength. Prayer becomes the conduit through which you experience God’s power to do what He wants you to do. The power of prayer is the power of God.

If you want to know and experience God’s power, patience, steadfastness, and joy, then be consistent and avid in your praying.

Monday, August 29, 2011


God wants us to live humbled under His loving rule. The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:5-6, God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. It’s the way to experiencing God’s best in our lives. It’s the way God blesses us.

How do we learn to live humbly under God’s love and leadership? We make use of opportunities to repent.

God gave opportunities to King Ahaziah to repent and humble himself before the Lord and worship Him as God. But he was stubborn and arrogant.

God allowed political difficulties to trouble Ahaziah.
When Ahaziah became king, the nation of Moab rebelled against Israel. This meant political trouble for Ahaziah. Since the days of David, Moab had been subject to Israel, but when the people of Moab realized that Ahaziah was a weak king they rebelled. The rebellion of Moab caused great political humiliation for King Ahaziah. But who was behind this humiliation? God. This was God’s plan to help Ahaziah humble himself and call upon the name of God to help him. Did political humiliation cause Ahaziah repent and call upon the Lord? No. So God dealt with Ahaziah in a different way.

God then allowed Ahaziah to experience economic trouble.
In 2 Chronicles 20 we find that Ahaziah entered into a shipbuilding venture with King Jehoshaphat. Both kings wanted to trade and make a lot of money with this great business venture that joined Judah with Israel. But Ahaziah was not serving God and so God was against him. God used this occasion to put economic pressure on Ahaziah. Ahaziah and Jehoshaphat had spent a lot of money to build these ships. They were no doubt counting on a great return on their investment. But instead they lost everything. Did this cause Ahaziah to repent? No.

God then dealt with Ahaziah in a personal way, by allowing his health to suffer.
Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself. 2 Kings 1:2. We don’t know how it happened. Did he stumble? Was he drunk? Was this an accident? In any case, God allowed it to happen in an attempt to get his attention. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:11-13 (NLT) No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful. But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.

God brings opportunities into our lives in order for us to give Him our attention once again. He allows things to cause us to turn back to Him, to walk closer with Him, to take our love for Him to the next level.

Monday, August 22, 2011


The Bible teaches God is righteous and just. He judges everyone. He judges the unbeliever and He judges the believer. The Bible also uses the word “judgment” to refer to the discipline the Lord gives his people. Heb. 10:30 “The Lord will judge his people.” That means the Lord “chastens” his people. He doesn’t “condemn” believers; He disciplines them. And it’s called “judgment” many times in the Scripture for the believer.

How are we to live in the presence of a righteous God?


In 1 Kings 21, the Bible tells how King Ahab wanted Naboth’s vineyard. You find story after story in the Bible where people get in trouble for wanting what someone else has. And it’s not just a matter of wanting something “like” what they have but wanting the thing or person that someone else has. On the surface Ahab’s request seemed reasonable. He didn’t conscript the land as other kings of the region might have done. He offered to buy it or swap for some better place. But Naboth would not sell his vineyard, because God forbade it. He refused to sell because in Numbers 36:7 God said that if a family had been given a plot of land; it was to be handed down from father to son from generation to generation. Naboth’s refusal was an act of godliness.

From Naboth we learn that just because you do the right things and live for the Lord, doesn’t mean that you will be accepted and honored by the world. On the contrary don’t be surprised when the world mistreats you, when sinners sin against you, when you’re put down for standing up for what’s true and right. Jesus said in John 15:18-20, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”

From King Ahab we learn what happens when someone gives in to being self-focused and does what his old fleshly tendency wants to do. When we give in to the flesh, the devil paves the way for sin. Under the power of sin we become deceitful and dishonest in order to get our way.

To obtain the vineyard for Ahab, Jezebel his wife devised an extensive and devious plot. She ordered a phony trial in which false witnesses would bring testimony against Naboth and condemn him for blaspheming God and the king. Our sin always causes harm to others. Jezebel’s plot ordered that Naboth should be found guilty and executed. If we choose to live fleshly, in sin, it’s easy to find others who’ll go along with us. What is even more hideous about this plot is that the civil leadership fell right in line with Jezebel’s plan. They seemed to have no scruples about helping to put an innocent man to death. The Bible tells us in Gen. 4:7 (NLT) If you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.


Jezebel’s plan worked, Naboth was killed. It appears that the king and his wife got away with murder. We may say, “Where is God? Doesn’t He know? Doesn’t He care? Where is God when one of His own is put to death? Where is God when the innocent are put to death? Where is God when the wicked rise to power? Where is God when a man like Ahab and a woman like Jezebel can get away with murder? Where is God when evil is let loose in the world?”

God instructs Elijah to intercept the king with a message of judgment. Numbers 32:23 You may be sure that your sin will find you out. No one can break God’s laws and not be hurt by them. When we break God’s laws or violate His rules or disobey His guidelines – we suffer.

There is coming a day of judgment when God will settle all accounts. God’s mercy will come to an end. When an unbeliever dies during this “age of grace” in which we live, and he stands before the Lord, its judgment time. Mercy is ended. When a believer dies and goes to Heaven, and stands before the Lord, his time to make the most of his life for Christ is ended and its judgment time for his actions and words. Did you build your life, your actions, your words on Christ or not? That’s what will be judged for the believer.

During this life on earth, there are moments of God’s judgment. There are times of judgment in people’s lives. There are times of judgment in nations. Because God is righteous and just, He doesn’t let anyone get away with anything. And His judgment comes sooner or later.


Repentance is more than just being sorry for our sin; it’s a change of direction in life. Repentance includes much more than just thinking it or saying it. It includes a change in the way we act, talk, relate, and live.


The Bible teaches that a day of judgment is coming. One day Ahab goes to battle against Ben-Hadad, the king of Syria. Rejecting the godly counsel of Micaiah the prophet, Ahab went into battle against a vastly superior Syrian army. And he was killed.

Be faithful to God with all that He’s entrusted to you. Be faithful in your worship of the Lord. Be faithful in serving others for the sake of Christ. We all need one another to build up one another’s courage and endurance to persevere to the end when our faith will become sight. Take comfort in the truth that God will settle the score one day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Depression is a major problem for many. Experts tell us that one out of every four women will suffer from clinical depression at some point and one out of every ten men. Researchers attribute that difference in numbers to the fact that men are less likely to admit their problems and less likely to seek help. Depression is spread across all segments of society. No one is exempt. It's not a matter of I.Q., age, or social class. Some of the greatest people in history have struggled with feelings of depression. “I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful soul on earth. To remain as I am is impossible. I must die to be better.” Those are the words of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.

Philip Keller writes “Most of us have our ‘desert days’ of despair. There are times when we forget the faithfulness of our Lord. God seems to become remote and far removed from our struggles. Life seems a relentless, remorseless erosion of our stamina and strength in the struggle to carry on. There seems so much more pain than pleasure in the pattern of our days. Forgetting the unremitting faithfulness of God to us in the past, we focus only on the futility and frustrations of the present. We can see no hope or cheering prospect for the future.”

What can you do to restore hope and joy when you’re discouraged?


Heb. 12:5-6, 10-11 (NLT) Have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves,”… But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Sometimes God allows the discouragement in order to “block our pride”, to keep us from becoming arrogant and self-centered, instead of trusting Him.


When Elijah was running for his life from Queen Jezebel, he was afraid, depressed, and exhausted. God gave Elijah time to rest and receive refreshment. This is really basic, but it seems that we find it difficult to do. To overcome stress we need to rest our bodies. Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to not take on another project but instead rest. God did not even begin to deal with Elijah’s depression or wrong thinking until he was rested and refreshed.


God confronted Elijah with truth. Elijah went into the mountains and hid a cave. And there God began to deal him. God asked Elijah a question, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” It was not that the Lord didn’t know. This question was not for God’s benefit, but for Elijah’s. Elijah responded by saying, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty.” But Elijah completely missed the point. God was not asking him what he had DONE. He was asking him what he was DOING. There comes a time when you must get up and get back to what God has given you to do.


God tells Elijah He’s going to pass by, so he stood in the mouth of the cave and looked for signs of the Lord’s passing. First, there came a hurricane force wind so powerful that it splintered rocks. As soon as the wind died down, a mighty earthquake shook the mountain with its force. No sooner had the dust settled from the earthquake than a firestorm descended out of the blue sky consuming everything in its path. In each of this powerful events Elijah had looked for signs that the Lord was in them, yet He was in none of them. And then Elijah heard a gentle whisper – a whisper from God. Sometimes in the busyness of life with its stress and burdens and pressures we lose our focus. What we desperately need is to refocus on God. God tells us in Psa. 46:10 (NLT) “Be still, and know that I am God.” We can learn as Elijah did to look for God in the small things He does. If we pay attention we will begin to see God in our everyday life, in a phone call of encouragement, or an unexpected kindness, or an email, or an answered prayer.

• God always speaks loud enough for those who are willing to hear.


In 1 Kings 19:15, The Lord said to Elijah, “Go back the way you came,” God was saying, “OK, time is up. It’s time to get back to the work I have called you to.” When we turn our attention away from ourselves to serving others, our problems and difficulties will seem less overwhelming. If you want to reduce your stress and increase your fulfillment find someone you can pour your life into.

We need to realize that a lot of times we’re not in a position to estimate our own effectiveness. When you think you’ve won, don’t be so sure. When you think you’ve failed, don’t count God out. Let Him have the last word. It’s not a sin to be discouraged. It’s not a sin to be depressed. It’s what you do when you are discouraged, depressed, and feeling hopeless that matters. Don’t fight the battle alone. Get help. And remember; God is still there.

• There is no pit so deep that the love of God is not deeper still.

Monday, August 1, 2011


The prophet Elijah challenged King Ahab to gather all the prophets of Baal to Mt Carmel to a contest to determine who really is the God of Israel. And it was there that the power of God was expressed in a mighty and convincing way.

We can learn from Elijah how to experience God’s strength and see His power by taking four actions.


So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing. 1 Kings 18: 20-21.

In our postmodernistic day there is the trend to deny “absolute truth”. Postmodernism is all about “being objective.” It’s not just okay; it is good and right to accept all beliefs about God. But the truth is that God desires and demands decision. You must be for Him or against Him. And He will not permit the option of remaining neutral. Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Matthew 12:30.

One of the biggest problems with Christians today is spiritual indecision. To say nothing to God is to say, “No” to God. Years earlier Joshua had issued his famous challenge to the people of Israel: “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15. To experience God’s strength in your life stand up and be counted for Him.


Elijah was outnumbered 450 prophets to 1 but he was unafraid. This was designed to be a fair contest, but 450 prophets are not enough if you don’t have God on your side. And one is always enough if you’re on God’s side.

The misguided actions of the prophets of Baal remind us of a very important truth: Faith and sincerity are not enough. Faith is only as good as its object. It DOES MATTER who or what you place your faith in. All paths are not equally true. Neither is sincerity enough. No one could fault the prophets of the false god Baal as not being sincere but they were sincerely wrong. To experience God’s strength in your life be willing to stand alone, though God is with you.


Sometime in the afternoon Elijah began the process of rebuilding the altar and preparing his sacrifice. The fact that the altar was in a state of disrepair was a powerful symbol of just how far the people were from the Lord.

What in your life have you taken back for yourself that needs to be returned to the Lord in order to worship Him as the one true God so that you are completely surrendered to Him? In what areas of your life, public and private, have you neglected to let God rule? To experience God’s strength in your life give those places in your life back to God to serve Him.


Elijah offered a simple prayer. In his prayer he prayed for three things: 1) that God would be recognized as the one true God, 2) that people would know that he was truly God’s prophet, and 3) that the hearts of the people would be turned back to the Lord. The Bible tells us the result: Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD—he is God! The LORD—he is God!” 1 Kings 18:38-39. To experience God’s strength in your life get to know Him more and you’ll believe Him more.

If three frogs are sitting on a log and two decide to jump off, how many frogs are left sitting on the log? The answer is three. The two haven’t jumped off the log simply because they decided to. Deciding counts for nothing. They’re still on the log until they actually jump off the log.

We can say we have decided to follow Jesus. We can sing about following Jesus. We can shout about following Jesus. But we are not following Jesus until we’re following Him.

It’s not just your decision that matters; it’s your actions that matter. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says… Whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:22,25

Monday, July 25, 2011


Believing in the Lord means believing in what He says and acting on it, even when we feel fear.

·  It takes courage to let God use you as an 
   influence for Him.

God has a purpose in placing you among those you work with and associate with. God placed Joseph second in command under the Pharaoh, in order that he might save his people during a famine. There was Daniel who served in an influential position in both the Babylonian and the Medo-Persian empires. Esther married the king and became queen and was able to save the people of Israel. There was Nehemiah who served as Cupbearer to King Artaxerxes and was able to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem in spite of threats from enemies.

In each of these situations God placed someone in a key position in order to accomplish His divine plan. Mordecai said to Esther, “Who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for just such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 (NLT)

You can live for Christ where you live, work, recreate, shop, go to school, wherever. God places you among those who haven’t committed their lives to Christ yet for the purpose of having an influence on them. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Matthew 5:13. Be salt where you live and work, and influence others towards Christ. Make them thirsty for Him.

God often places individual believers in key positions in a pagan society to accomplish His purposes. Any place where you rub shoulders with those who aren’t followers of Christ is a key place to be used by God. Your influence as a believer in Christ is not just through words but also by what is seen in your life.

·  It takes courage to live a Christ-like life without alienating those who may come to Christ.

You have to live in the culture, but you don’t have to let the culture totally rule you. We’re not of the culture; just living in it.

Jesus in His prayer for all who follow Him said, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world … They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” John 17:15-16. We are in the world, but not of the world. Sometimes Christians can push the “not of the world” so far that they’re not even “in the world”. And they alienate and push away those who aren’t followers of Jesus instead of attracting them to Him.

Yes, there is a dividing line. At some point with the culture, with those who are a part of the culture – you go a different direction than they do.

·  It takes courage to do your part and let God do His.

God gives the commands. He gives us the instructions. Through His Word He tells us what we are to do. Our responsibility is to follow through. He says, “Go and tell”, “Go and do”. We must “act” on His word.

God will do His responsibility. Be assured and reassured from His Word, from what He says – that He will show up. He will do His part. The more we grow in believing the Lord, the more obedient we become and the more certain we become of His faithfulness.

·  It takes courage to do what God commands.

When we leave off doing what God commands and teaches us through His Word, we will falter. We will become apprehensive and afraid. We will begin to rationalize our unfaithful behavior. We will live in sin.

The barricade we have available to us that can stand up against disobedience is the application of God’s Word to our lives. Take God’s Word and put it into practice and ask the Holy Spirit to be in control. Then we find we can take steps of obedience to the Lord and stay out of sin. Then we find that we have the strength to obey and trust God even when we feel fear.

Monday, July 18, 2011


It was a Wednesday in June. My two sons, Josh and Andrew, and I went to Rainbow Falls and jumped. It was a thrill shared with my sons I would not have missed for the world. It was also an experience that in many ways reminded me of a believer’s journey of faith.

We were vacationing in the mountains in Sapphire, NC. We drove to Gorges State Park and hiked to the falls. At the trailhead, the sign read, “strenuous hike”, and so it was, a three mile round trip strenuous hike up and down, over roots and rocks. Once we got to the falls our adventure became more challenging, dangerous, fun, and thrilling. Just getting down to the river from the trail was a steep slippery journey. Once at the bottom it was a matter of calculated stepping and hopping from boulder to boulder to get to where we could get in the water. The rocky ledge from which we wanted to jump was on the other side of the river. We left our shoes and shirts on a rock and then slowly entered the cold water. The huge rocks beneath the water were so slick we couldn’t stand on them, and we had to crawl over them into deeper water where we could swim.

Once across the river the challenge was climbing up to the ledge. It was not a direct approach. Just pulling ourselves out of the water, trying to get a grip on the rocks was difficult in itself. Once out of the water we began the steep climb up the wooded side next to the huge rock wall from which we would jump.

It was a climb that consisted of fingers gripping small indentions in the rocks, hands holding on to roots, and feet placed strategically for a foothold. It took total concentration. Pulling up, pushing off, using all of our strength, calculating every move, we made it to the place just above and to the side of the ledge.

From there we had to climb down fifteen feet of rock wall holding to the roots that draped over the rock. At this point one slip of the foot, one missed grip of a root could easily mean a fall to our death. As I watched both my sons make the tedious climb down that rock wall, I silently prayed intensely for each of them. Once we got over to the ledge we made our way to the wider part where we could at least take a couple of steps to jump.

Standing on the ledge and looking out and around, the world seemed huge. The power and the noise of the massive falls to the left, the height of the surrounding mountains, the sky with passing clouds and the blue with no ceiling, the huge rocks scattered in the water in no certain pattern as if God had tossed a bucket of boulders into the river, and the water that had pooled below us from the falls – all gave me a sense of wonder, smallness, and mortality.

As each of us stood on the ledge and looked down we felt apprehension… well, I’ll go ahead and say it… we felt fear. It was about thirty feet from the ledge to the river below. We also knew we had to jump out and away from the ledge because the bottom of the rock wall sloped outward under the water. We needed to clear it as we jumped.

The longer we stood on the ledge and thought about jumping the more nervous we became. Not that any of us thought that it would be easier to just walk out onto the ledge and jump. A few moments were necessary to collect one’s thoughts, make some calculations, and then commit to the jump.

And then the moment comes to choose to stop thinking and to take your gathered thoughts and with all your strength spring forward, outward, and off the edge of the ledge, leaving the familiar to enter what you only know from a distance, and to splash into the cool water, exhilarated that you made it.

The Bible says, Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12b).

The lifelong journey of faith for the believer in Christ is much like a strenuous hike and a climb of spiritual maturity. It’s not easy to follow Jesus. We must depend on His strength and wisdom. Even if we slip, we’re still His, for His grace is sufficient and His salvation is sure. One day we’ll stand on the ledge and we’ll make our last jump, leaving the familiar that was not so comforting after all, and enter into that which we’ve known from a distance and have longed for all our lives – our home in Heaven. What an exhilarating moment that will be!

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? … Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. … He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. … Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? … 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 40:12-31).

Monday, June 6, 2011


When God told Elijah to stay with the widow and her son, God provided the food they needed during the famine. God was performing daily miracles with the jar of flour and the jug of oil. But just when everything seemed to be going the widow’s way, tragedy strikes. Her son dies, the boy whom God was keeping alive with the miracle of food everyday dies.

You place your trust in God who provides for you, but then somewhere along the way you’re blindsided by tragedy, some unexpected loss. How do we trust God through the tragedy and come to know His power, even during those difficult times? We must make some choices.


Do you ever think that because you’ve served God that He owes you? Maybe you think that if you live right you’ll be exempt from problems. The truth is that the obedient are not exempt from troubles and tests. Accepting this truth will keep us from making wrong decisions that would cause us injury. It also guards us from the erroneous thinking that it doesn’t pay to do right, or that troubles always indicate sin in our lives. We can be enjoying God’s miracles everyday and still not have our heart right with Him. In tragedy we have the opportunity to confront who we are and where we are in relation to God.


When we see tragedy from a temporary humanistic standpoint it’s easy to get bitter.
Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. Psa. 73:21 (NLT)

Bitterness will only eat away at you. It does nothing good for you. Instead it tears you down and tears your insides into pieces. The good news is that we don’t have to let bitterness have its way.


“Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 1 Kings 17:19

The widow chose to give her son to Elijah. In doing so she took a step of faith because she was really taking a step to place her faith in God. She took a step to grow in faith. God prepared the widow to give up her son by first giving up her food. She learned from giving up her food first to Elijah that God could provide when she trusts Him. Now she must trust Him with the thing she cares more about than anything else in her whole world.

Before David faced Goliath, God prepared him by defeating the lion and the bear that attacked his flock.

Take the small steps of faith because God is growing your faith. We all face loss and tragedy, but when we’ve been prepared by the Lord because we’ve taken steps of faith to grow – then we will be prepared. When we see through the eyes of faith we know our God is bigger than our problems, even bigger than something as devastating and as final as death.


“Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. Job 2:10

Job recognized that God also allows pain into our lives. And it’s the opportunity to choose to pray to Him and learn to trust He knows what He’s doing, even though we don’t like it or we don’t understand it or we’re upset about it. This is our journey of spiritual growth, step by step, gradually growing our faith in the Infinitely Wise, All-Knowing, Almighty, Merciful, Loving God.

When we pray according to God’s will, it results in God’s action.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15


Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!” Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth.” 1 Kings 17:23-24

How is it that the very same God who provides enough oil and flour everyday to keep the widow and her son alive, one day allows her son to die? The upside is that her son’s death provided the opportunity for her to experience the power of God to a greater degree. It brought her to salvation in the Lord. And that’s the life to celebrate.

When tragedy strikes, it’s not the end. It’s part of the journey to trusting God more. God wants you to know He can be trusted through the tough times. It’s our chance to grow a little more in our faith in Him. The beauty of it is that He gives us “real life” through it and “lasting life” through death into an eternity spent in Heaven that will cause all of our troubles and tragedies to pale in comparison.

Monday, May 23, 2011


We tend to take matters into our own hands and try to manipulate circumstances to meet our own desires. The problem is that many times it backfires on us. Before we can enjoy the fulfilled life God has for us, we must learn to rely on Him.



Often, the life of faith will lead down difficult paths. God never promised that the way of faith would be an easy way. In fact, just the opposite is true. God has promised us that life will be filled with trials and troubles, (Job 14:1; Job 5:7; John 16:33). Yet, that is the path of faith. But God also promises that He will take you through it.


God does a lot of things we may not expect. We think He would supply our needs and reward our faith the way we think He should. But He does the unexpected. Why? Because He is teaching us what it means to really trust in Him.


Don’t buy into the false teaching that God always wants you to have lots of money and material things and wealth. The Bible doesn’t teach that. Elijah, the “man of God”, someone at the center of God’s will wasn’t led to a place of plenty.

The Apostle Paul teaches us the principle in Philippians 4:12-13, I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

The issue is not whether you have much or little; the issue is trusting God. And He will supply everything you need. Learn to trust in the “Gift-Giver”, not the “gifts.” Put your trust in the “Provider”, not the “provision.”

How long can you go without going to the grocery store before starving? Most of us could probably go for a long time. That’s because we live in America and we have a surplus. We have pantries and refrigerators and freezers to store our food. We have drive thru restaurants, so the family can eat in the car on the way to wherever we’re going.

We consider “storing up” to be a blessing, but the only danger with storing up is we may not learn to depend on God. We just simply depend on our selves and our surplus and hardly consider God to be our Provider and Guide in life.

The Bible does teach us to prepare for the future and to plan ahead, but there is a danger of depending on ourselves more than on God. We may take our eyes off of God and look more at what we can do to supply for ourselves, and then when things don’t go our way and circumstances upset our plans, we become frustrated, worried, and angry. But that’s because we weren’t trusting God. We were trusting in ourselves instead.


The prophet Elijah said to the widow who only had one meal left for her son and herself, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.'" She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah. 1 Kings 17:13-16

When Elijah hears the widow’s sob story, he makes what appears to be the coldest demand in the Bible. He tells her to go ahead and fix her last supper, but to feed him first. On the surface this appears harsh and cruel, but it was really an appeal for faith and surrender to the will of God. When this widow heard the word of God, she went and did as Elijah had commanded her. It must have taken great faith to use the last little bit of meal she had to prepare bread for a total stranger. Yet she did it by faith. And because she took God at His Word and prepared bread for Elijah, God blessed. For years, until it rained again and the famine ended, every mealtime was a miracle. God worked a miracle in that jug and in that jar every single day.

We serve a God Who specializes in doing the impossible. It may look hopeless to us, but we must never count God out. He can take the little that is dedicated to Him by faith and multiply it to enormous proportions.

Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China in the nineteenth century said, “God’s work, done God’s way, will receive God’s supply.”

God is able to turn hopeless situations around and give hope. He’s able to take death and give you life. He’s able to turn impossible into possible. He is able to take your faithlessness and give you faith – if we’ll really rely on Him. We should make our plans but trust God to lead us and provide for us. God wants us to look to him for strength to get through today, and not to worry about tomorrow. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33-34 (NCV) “Seek first God's kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well. So don't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” He’ll take care of today, today, and He’ll take care of tomorrow, tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


The Bible says of faith, Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. … And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:1, 6

What kind of faith does it take to trust what God says with confidence and assurance?

It takes:


To be able to trust God and what He says through His Word, you must go through times of preparation. And many times that preparation requires a time of solitude and isolation for preparation of the heart.

Moses is an example. In forty years in Egypt Moses had learned the skills of worldly leadership, how to be a leader of men. In “God’s School of the Desert” he was taught for forty years the qualities of spiritual leadership: patience, maturity, and sensitivity in listening to the voice of God.

Years later Joseph spent a number of years in an Egyptian prison because he was unjustly accused. But those years of obscurity prepared him for promotion to Prime Minister of the Egypt.

The Apostle Paul, following his conversion spent 3 years in obscurity in Arabia. While he was there God was preparing him to be the great missionary to the Gentiles.

Abraham’s “faith training” gave him confidence in God. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God. Romans 4:20

It takes:


Don’t expect God to give you further direction in life until you follow the directions He’s already given you. If you’re confused over the will of God for your life today, it may be the result of not obeying what He’s already told you to do. Do what God has already told you to do and He will direct you life.

The road the righteous travel is like the sunrise, getting brighter and brighter until daylight has come. Proverbs 4:18 (GNB)

It takes:


God told Elijah to go to the Kerith Ravine and stay there. God caused the ravens to bring him bread and meat twice a day, and he drank from the brook. Then in 1 Kings 17:7 it says, Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.

What do you do when your brook dries up? What do you do when your supply starts to run out? When this happens to us sometimes we cry out, “Lord what happened?” Where did I go wrong? Didn’t you tell me to come here and wait and you would provide for me? How can I be in the center of your will and my brook is drying up?”

The reason we think that is because we tend to think that we are in the center of God’s will as long as everything is going great. Have you ever thought that maybe you’re still in the center of His will when the brook dries up? When our brook dries up we’re tempted to think that God’s power has stopped. But “drying brooks” are not an indication of God forsaking us. It’s only an indication that God is changing the source of His supply. God always knows what He’s doing and you’re always in His care. When you’re serving the Lord, you are often called to sit by “drying brooks.”

F.B. Meyer says, “Many of us have had to sit by drying brooks; perhaps some are sitting by them now –the drying brook of popularity, ebbing away as it did from John the Baptist. The drying brook of health, sinking under a creeping paralysis or a slow decline. The drying brook of money, slowly dwindling before the demands of sickness, bad debts or other people’s extravagance. The drying brook of friendship, which for long has been diminishing, and threatens soon to cease. Ah, it is hard to sit beside a drying brook…. Why does God let them dry? He wants to teach us not to trust in his gifts but in Himself. Let us learn these lessons, and turn from our failing Keriths to our unfailing Savior. All sufficiency resides in Him!”

Put your dependence, not in the gifts, but in the Gift Giver. Be willing to trust God even when your daily provisions fail. Our trust is not in the “daily provisions.” Instead our trust is in the Lord, The Provider. He’s going to provide for you, but He may change the source of His supply for you.

Monday, May 9, 2011


When the prophet Elijah appeared on the scene there had been sixty years of bloodshed, intrigue, immorality and idolatry in the nation of Israel. When Ahab came to the throne the Bible says that he was worse than the kings who came before him. How bad where things? The altars of the Lord God had been dismantled. His prophets were in hiding. His worshippers were a mere handful, scattered and intimidated into silence by the scope of the evil all around them. The believers in God had been so silenced that their existence was known only to God. And behind all of this evil was a diabolical duo – King Ahab and his Queen, Jezebel.

In America today we are living in what has been described as a post-Christian era. It is post-Christian not because there are no longer any Christians living in this country. There are probably more Christians than there ever has been, but it’s post-Christian in the sense that the Christian faith no longer plays a major role in shaping the values and morals of our society or in how we relate to one another.

The reality of this forces us to face some tough questions: Who or what is my God? Do I claim faith in the God of the Bible, but then live my life like I don’t really believe Him?

Is God really God in my life from the standpoint of what I treasure, what my attitudes are, what my priorities are, and what determines my behavior? What is really important to me? How committed am I to my relationship with God?

If you’re a believer in the Lord God here are some things we can do to live out a genuine faith:

Decide to let God be God of everything in your life.
Rom.6:13 (NLT) Do not let any part of your body become a tool of wickedness, to be used for sinning. Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life. And use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God.

Ask God to use you for His great purpose through your life.
Jer. 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Study the Bible thoroughly and be strengthened in the truth of one God.
2 Tim. 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Be courageous enough to identify with Jesus always.
Prov. 28:1 The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Have you ever witnessed a child throwing a temper-tantrum in the middle of a department store (hopefully it was not your own). The child may do any number of things. They may pound on the floor with their hands and feet. They may lie on the floor and scream at the top of their lungs. They may throw things or swing their arms about. Or they may be very creative and do all of these things at the same time. But in all of this the child has a purpose - he is demanding that he get his own way.

Jonah became angry with God because he didn’t get his own way. He had obeyed God (finally). He was doing what God wanted done, but God had not done what Jonah wanted done. The Bible says in Jonah 4:1, Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry.

If we obey God with an attitude of unwillingness and anger then on our account it’s no better than disobedience. To act obedient while in your heart you resent it, doesn’t count as obedience. We may go through the actions, apparently obeying God. We are doing what we think we should be doing, living the kind of life we think a Christian should live. But secretly we are unhappy and angry with God for telling us to do it. We need to recognize that resentment does a lot of damage to us.


1. Resentment destroys your peace.
Then everything in life is seen through the lenses of our anger and resentment.

2. Resentment distracts you from your purpose.
Some people, deep inside their hearts, hold a grudge against God. They carry around resentment towards God. Why? They think He’s not interested in their lives or problems.

They’re convinced he doesn’t care because He hasn’t answered a particular prayer or acted on their behalf.

3. Resentment diminishes your productiveness.
It is hard to be productive when we keep our abilities to ourselves and use them for our own advantage instead of using them to benefit others and serve God.

4. Resentment distorts your perspective.
God may send us a blessing and we in our resentment may think to ourselves, “After all the things God has done for other people He is at last doing something for me.” And we act selfishly. An angry and resentful person loses his or her sense of perspective. And they begin to pick at little things.


Confess it and release it.
  Take your hands off of it. Let it go. Give it to the Lord.

Surrender the control of your life to the Lord.

You don’t have to understand all that God does in order to obey Him.
Job 38:1-5 And now, finally, GOD answered Job from the eye of a violent storm. He said: "Why do you confuse the issue? Why do you talk without knowing what you're talking about? … I have some questions for you, and I want some straight answers. Where were you when I created the earth? Tell me, since you know so much! Who decided on its size? Certainly you'll know that! Who came up with the blueprints and measurements?”

Choose to serve God joyfully right where you are.
Psa. 100:2 Serve the LORD with gladness.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Abraham Lincoln wrote: “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”

Lincoln proclaimed a “National Day of Fasting and Prayer” on March 30, 1863.

Spiritual renewal is always accompanied by repentance. To understand what repentance is we need to first know what it’s not.

What repentance is not:

• Remorse is not repentance.
Being sorry for our sin is only the beginning of repentance. You feel remorse. It leads us to really repent. The rich young ruler who came to Jesus went away sorrowful but he did not repent.

• Regret is not repentance.
Regret is wishing that our sin had never happened. We can regret it but never repent of it. Pontius Pilate regretted his decision concerning Jesus. But did he ever repent?

• Resolve is not repentance.
We can decide that we’re going to do better in the future, and that may lead to reform but it’s not repentance.

What repentance is:

• Repentance is a change of mind which leads to a change of heart which leads to a change of action.

This is what happened with the people of Nineveh. In Jonah 3:8 the king plainly stated…
“Let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence”. 

Verse 10 gives the results: When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.

Dr. A W. Tozer suggested the following for personal spiritual renewal:

1. Get thoroughly dissatisfied with yourself.
Complacency is the deadly enemy of spiritual progress. The contented soul is a stagnant soul.

2. Decide on transformation of all areas of your life.
Timid experiments are tagged for failure before they start. We must throw our whole soul into our desire for God.

3. Put yourself in the way of blessing.
It’s a mistake to expect God’s help to come as a windfall apart from conditions known and met. To desire spiritual transformation, and at the same time to neglect prayer and devotion, is to wish one way and walk another.

4. Have faith in God.  Begin to expect.
Look towards God. All heaven is on your side. God will not disappoint you. Spiritual renewal and a changed life are possible if the conditions are met.

In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing. 2 Timothy 2:20-21 (Mes)