Spiritual Thought Of The Day

2/6/2023Psalm 105:19 “Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of the Lord tested him.”

When Joseph was a teenager, God gave him a vision that one day he was going to rule. But Psalm 105 tells us that God sent Joseph into Egypt fettered with irons and shackled with chains from his teenage years well into his thirties. The word of the Lord tested him as he was thrown into a pit, then taken from a pit to a prison, and from a prison to the palace. Joseph was made to be a world changer, but first he had to go through the work of character development.

I believe that God wants to use you to change the world where He’s planted you. It starts with the people you know the best. Today you’re going to encounter family members, friends and coworkers that you know don’t know Jesus. You can help bring change to them by loving them with the love that God gave to you. What kind of love is that? He loved you unconditionally when you were dead in your sins, and it was only through His love that you found grace for salvation. 

When you’re willing to work on loving somebody like that, God will use you to bring change to your world…Ask Him today, “Lord, what work do You have for me to do for Your glory?”
2/5/2023Genesis 37:19–20 “Look, this dreamer is coming! Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, ‘Some wild beast has devoured him.’ We shall see what will become of his dreams!”

Joseph was rejected by his brothers because their father favored him, and there will be people in your life that will not be able to accept God’s favor upon you. There may be a season when they’re willing to walk with you. But when God begins to promote you because you trust Him, they’ll try to pull you down because God is taking you places, as He did Joseph, and they can’t stand it. If you’re wearing a burden of rejection that’s been placed upon you by those who should have accepted you but didn’t, whom you reached out to and have been shunned, whom you attempted to embrace and were denied, Joseph has a message for you.

It’s in those moments of rejection that you, like Joseph, have to stand firm in the faith that you are blessed and highly favored…Never hang your head because God is blessing you…Square your shoulders and declare, “God’s promise is my portion.His goodness and mercy follow me. He will never leave me nor forsake me”…The world may not like it, but the world didn’t give it, and the world can’t take it away…God has been faithful, good, loving and kind…If that bothers someone, they can take it up with Him!!!
2/4/2023Hebrews 11:24–25 “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.”

Everyone whom God uses must go through the process of work in order to become the person God wants them to be. Moses was born with all the raw ingredients of a deliverer and leader of God’s people. But if you follow his story, including his forty years of shepherding in the wilderness, it wasn’t until he was eighty that God began to use him to the fullness of his potential and purpose. It took a long time to prepare Moses to be the man that God wanted him to be.

As was true of Moses, who you are right now has all the raw ingredients for what God wants you to become so you can accomplish His purpose for your life. But there are still some things that need to be refined, some things that need to be added, and some things that need to be taken out. There are some tweaks and some changes that must be made if you are going to accomplish what God wants you to achieve in your life.

The question is, are you willing to do the work that is required to improve and become the best you can be for Him?
2/3/2023Psalm 22:3 “But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.”

You don’t have to be in a church service in order for God’s presence to inhabit your praises. You can be at home and turn your living room into a cathedral if you’ll start talking to God about who He is. Why? Because when you talk to God about who He is, you are praising Him.

Start saying, “Lord, You are the Ancient of Days. You met my needs in the past, You’re meeting my needs now, and You’ll meet my needs tomorrow. You’re the One who created the heavens and earth. That means that everything in my life that needs to be made new, You can do it because You’ve already done it before. You’re the Shepherd of the stars, and You’ve numbered and called them by name. You measure the mountains in a scale, and the hills You hold in a balance. You’re the God who has made the lame to leap and the blind to see. You are the King above all kings and Lord above all lords. Today I am speaking to God Almighty, and I declare that You are great and greatly to be praised!”

If you start talking to God you will have an audience with the Father!!!
2/2/2023Philippians 4:19 “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Today’s Scripture doesn’t say, “My God shall give me what I want.” It says that He’ll supply all my needs. I need a Savior. I need someone to wash sin out of my life. I need a scapegoat who can bear the guilt of my transgressions and iniquity and die in substitution of what I deserve. I don’t get what I want. But thank God, He loves me so much that He gives me the supplies I need.

I don’t know what you want in your life today, but I know that if you need something, Jesus Christ is all-sufficient. Jesus Christ is El Shaddai. He is a way maker. He is a yoke and bondage breaker. He is the Prince of Peace who can soothe your tormented mind. He is the Provider who can open up the windows of heaven and shower you with blessings that you cannot contain. He is the Healer who can touch a sick body and make it strong again. He is the Banner in battle who will give you victory when defeat looks imminent.

Stop begging God for what you want and start praising God that He has supplied your every need according to His riches in glory!
2/1/2023Psalm 100:4 “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.”

An invitation to be with someone is a wonderful thing. When we receive an invitation, we suddenly recognize that someone has requested our presence; therefore, they must value us as important to them. Amazingly, our God has cordially invited us to enter into His presence to worship Him. Indeed,Jesus tells us that “the Father is seeking such to worship Him” (John 4:23), meaning those who worship Him “in spirit and truth.” And because Jesus has conquered and is now our High Priest before the throne of God, we have the opportunity to enter into the King’s presence and worship anytime and anywhere!

But we must remember that this is our privilege…We have become such a self-serving society that we sometimes forget that it is our privilege to enter into the presence of the King…Whenever we come into His presence, our purpose should be to magnify Him, not gratify us…When it comes to worship, it doesn’t matter if you’ve had a bad week, a bad month, or even a terrible decade—you’re not coming for you; you’re coming for Him…Remember, you have been cordially invited to enter His courts…Don’t ever take worship for granted!!!
1/31/2023Mark 7:28 “And she answered and said to Him, Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.”

This woman’s statement is a cultural statement. She was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and because she was not of the children of Israel, she was an idol worshipper and considered to be a dog. In her desperation for her demon-possessed daughter, she recognized her great need for Jesus, and she would not let the cultural barrier stop her from establishing a relationship with Him. But Jesus tests her faith in Him by stating that it’s not good to give the children’s bread to the dogs.

Her response, “Yes, Lord” was a remarkable declaration of faith. Do you know that those are the two most powerful words you’ll ever learn to say? “Yes, Lord” is the response of a disciple who in following Jesus must deny himself and take up his cross when it’s hard. She agrees to His terms, and in that moment, Jesus felt her faith in agreement with His, and He knew that she was ready to receive the power of God in her life. She said, “If I can get a crumb from You, it is enough to bring deliverance.” 

Whatever you need, you have it in Jesus…You will receive that mountain-moving miracle when you believe that He is the only One who can make that miracle move!!!
1/30/2023Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Do you believe that your words are so powerful that they have the power of death and life in them? Notice how extreme those two positions are. God didn’t say that there’s a little bit of good and a little bit of bad in your speech. He didn’t say there’s a little sweet, sour, sassy or sincere. He said you have one of two things coming out of your mouth. One is life, and the other is extremely different, and that’s death.

How many dreams have been birthed by words of inspiration and hope? Words such as, “I believe in you” and “You can do it,” reminders that “all things are possible through Christ,” and statements such as, “God is able to give you exceedingly abundantly above all you could ask, think or imagine.” These are words that give life to your dreams. And how many dreams have been abandoned because of statements that have destroyed the thing that you desire in your heart? We can assassinate a dream and destroy a destiny with statements such as, “I don’t think so,” “You’ll never…” and “I doubt it.”

Today choose words of life from God’s Word that will change your life and others’ lives!!!
1/29/2023Mark 9:23 “Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

What would you do today if you knew you couldn’t fail? What would you attempt to achieve if you knew you were going to succeed at it? The Bible says very clearly, “All things are possible to him who believes.” If you’ll go to work and trust in God, whatever you pursue for His purpose and plan for your life will come to pass.

What would be different in your life, in your marriage, in your family, with your children, in your finances, in your career, and in your physical body if you took the responsibility and made the commitment to work toward what you know God wants for you? That’s how God designed us—to believe what He has said and work for it. You have to consistently pursue your goals so you can accomplish what you set out to do. You cannot talk about what you want and not be willing to go to work for it. 

The difference between a wish and reality is work…The world is filled with those who talk about it…Don’t say, “Maybe tomorrow”…Make up your mind that right now is the moment that you’re going to begin walking toward the greatness that God designed for you in this life!!!
1/28/20231 Samuel 30:4 “Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep.”

David and his six hundred warriors returned to their city only to find that their wives and children had been taken captive, their homes burned, and all their possessions had been taken. It was an unimaginable loss that broke every man’s heart, and they didn’t know what to do. The Bible says the first thing they did was to lift up their voices and weep until they could weep no more.

The world we live in is a heartbreaking place. Some heartbreaks and grief come without warning, and others come as the end result of rejection, betrayal or poor choices made over time. When your heart breaks, it’s right and good to cry. There is nothing strong about stoicism. David was brave enough to fight a giant. His men were so mighty that stories are still told about them today. Yet, these warriors wept.

But it’s what you do when the weeping is over that determines whether or not you’re going to be a victor or victim. In his great distress, David “strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” He refused to give up, and instead, rose up to be his best, defeating the enemy. You can do the same as David by tapping into the only true source of strength—our God!
1/27/20231 John 3:8 “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”

Why did God send His only begotten Son into the world to go to Calvary, conquer death, hell and the grave, and rise on the third day? So that He might break the chains of sin from our shackled and tattered lives, mend our ruined lives, and give us the opportunity to see our lives changed, thus destroying the works of the devil. Every time you encounter Jesus’ presence, He has the ability to meet your every need according to His riches in glory. He can heal sickness in your body, lift the burdens and yokes off of you, and set you free from bondage and addiction. For whom the Son sets free is free indeed!

When you see what Jesus came to do, the first thing you have to ask yourself is whether you are willing to allow Him to do His work in your life. Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23). 

You have to believe He can destroy the works of the devil in your life before He will…Today, recognize that you need to see Him as your only source and put Him first…Let Him in and let Him do His work!!!
1/26/2023Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.”

If there was ever a time in our modern society when we needed to hear from heaven, it is now. We need God to move on our behalf each and every day to keep watch over us and protect us, to lead us and guide us.

We need favor and blessing of God upon our lives and the lives of our family members. We need an infusion of the Holy Spirit in our households so that we may dwell in peace even when it seems that all hell is breaking loose.

Remember, our God is a strong tower! We can run to Him in the day of adversity and be saved. He is all-knowing and all-powerful. You have never faced an enemy that could not be defeated by the almighty God. When things appear grim and you are surrounded by adversity, look to the One who holds the world in the palm of His hand—who knows your every thought and counts your every tear—and rest assured that everything is going to be alright.

You may feel like the only one on the planet who is trying to live a righteous life, but stand firm, persuaded that the fight belongs to the Lord…He will protect and sustain you when you put your life in the His capable hands…Our God is an awesome God!!!
1/25/2023Psalm 34:4 “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.”

We all have fears. People fear failure, the unknown and change. People fear rejection, which is why they’re willing to morph into what other people believe they should be. People fear conflict, which is why they’ll do anything to avoid it. People fear death because they’re afraid that the promises of everlasting life might not be true.

Whenever I look for a profile of courage to encourage me, the shepherd boy named David, who faced a giant with a slingshot, tops my list. But for all his acts of courage, he said he didn’t just have a fear; he had many fears. And when he considered his fears, no matter what they were, he had one solution—to seek the Lord. When he sought the Lord, he was “delivered” from them, which means the fears were taken off of him, but he was not delivered from the situation. Suddenly in the midst of conflict, he had the courage to do what he needed to do to solve the problem, whether it was a giant or to rule and build the kingdom. 

Courage for David, and for all of us, is the strength to control our fears and to do what God calls us to do!!!
1/24/2023Psalm 25:2 “O my God, I trust in You; let me not be ashamed; let not my enemies triumph over me.”

Today, I’m asking you to turn loose of the things that have held you back. Stop drowning in desperation and despair. Rise up! This year is going to be God’s year in your life. It is the year where doors will be opened in your favor while others will be closed that would cause you harm. Trust Him to handle things without trying to micromanage the details of your life. Turn loose of the reins and allow God to have His way in you!

This year, with the help of Almighty God, you can get over your heartaches, the rejection you’ve faced, and any controlling relationships! Get over what Satan has done to you, too! Turn loose of the resentment and bitterness…those who have abused you and lied about you. Turn it all over to the Lord and watch as your life becomes filled with joy once again.

Let the misery melt away…Let the Son shine in!!!
1/23/2023Psalm 23:5 “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.”

Our God is the God of yesterday, today and tomorrow. He’s the God who can go into your past and erase the pain. He’s the God who can make a way for you today. And He’s the God who’s already working out details in your future long before you arrive in your next conflict. God is the One who is there whenever and wherever You need Him.

You and I have a common enemy. Jesus called him a thief who comes to rob, kill and destroy. And whenever the devil comes against you, your family, your physical health or your finances, because God has already gone into your tomorrows, He pulls out a chair at a table of provision. He says, “Sit down and be blessed while I defeat your enemies, build your business, open the windows of heaven, and pour out blessings that you cannot contain.”

If you are going through a difficult time, recognize that God has already charted the course…He is not hemmed in by your wristwatch…He knew where you’d be today and was already working out the answer to your problem long before you knew the problem…So rather than worry about it, sit down at His table, be thankful and bless His name!!!
1/22/20231 Samuel 30:6 “Now David was greatly distressed … but David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”

Did you know that sometimes the most powerful motivational speech you’ll ever hear is the one you give yourself? That’s what David did. At the moment when he had suffered the greatest military defeat of his life and his own army was threatening to stone him, David found a way to strengthen himself in the Lord. There wasn’t anyone else to encourage him, so he made up his mind to encourage himself. He rose to his best when everyone thought he should be at his worst. He said to himself, “I might be knocked down, but I’m not staying down. I may be surrounded by bitterness, but I’m not letting bitterness get inside me. I’m not giving in to fear or worry. This did not come to stay; it came to pass.”

Today, decide that you’re not going to let anything get the best of you…Look yourself in the mirror and remember that people don’t see what God sees in you…When He looks at you, He sees a king or a queen…He calls you a joint heir with Jesus to His kingdom…He says you’re My child…You are the most priceless of all My possessions…I am the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and I’m on your side…Nothing is impossible with Me!!!
1/21/20232 Corinthians 10:4 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.”

What would happen if you decided right now that you were going to do everything in your power to make today count for something? What if you decided that when you prayed, it wasn’t just going to be another prayer, but it was going to be a prayer that makes a difference? Prayer is your privilege. Prayer is where you get the chance to reach heaven from down here on earth. So when you take the opportunity to come before God, make sure you come boldly and make it a prayer of power.

Use your prayer as a moment to pull down spiritual strongholds and powers and principalities that are set against you…Use it to bind what is coming against you and loose the power of God within you…Use it to shape the destinies of your children…Use it to conquer sickness in your body…Use it to defeat the giants that are standing against you…Use it to move heaven and earth…But whatever you do, when you open your mouth to pray, make it count!!!
1/20/2023Mark 7:2 “Now when the Pharisees and Scribes saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault.”

The Pharisees were of the right people and the right lineage; they just had the wrong approach. Rather than relate to Jesus Christ and what He wanted to do in their lives, they argued and found fault with Him based on their flawed religious knowledge. Jesus had already turned water to wine, fed the five thousand, healed lepers, walked on water, and raised the dead. Now the Pharisees come and just sit and watch to see what they can find Him doing wrong. Religious people always want to point out what’s wrong before they will talk about what’s right.

What did they find wrong to disqualify Jesus? His disciples ate bread with unwashed hands! The Pharisees had taken a law stated in Leviticus 16:28 that regarded the high priest washing before going into the tabernacle, and they built it into a long list of constant hand washings. That’s what religion does. You’re going to meet some religious people like that. Don’t become like them and start making a religion out of rules and regulations, building lists of do’s and don’ts. 

When you have a relationship with the Son of God who died for you and set you free, never let religion get in the way of loving and obeying Him!!!
1/19/20231 John 4:4 “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

If we’re going to be overcoming, triumphant believers, it’s time we rediscover our true identity. The way we triumph is not through force but with the power of God’s love through Jesus Christ. That kind of triumph comes from the God who is greater, and He placed that greatness in you. For greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world!

Our God is greater than every enemy because He took your enemies to a place called Calvary and conquered them there. He is greater than every sickness because He bore your sickness upon His back, and by His stripes you are healed. He is greater than every need because He will supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory. He is greater than every bondage and addiction for He is the Anointed One who breaks the yoke of bondage and sets captives free, and whom the Son sets free is free indeed. He is the God who is greater than every mountain that you’re climbing because He can take that mountain and cast it into the sea. He’s greater than every sorrow because in His presence is the fullness of joy.

Don’t let the world weigh you down today…Our God is greater!
1/18/2023Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

For Joshua to become great, the first ingredient God told him he needed is courage. The second ingredient is to stay connected to His Word. In order for Joshua to be successful and prosper, he couldn’t just think about the Word, he had to live in the Word. God was saying “Keep this Word before your eyes in the morning and evening, in your mind during the day, and out of your mouth when you speak. Do whatever it says. If you’ll do this, no matter where you go or what you do, no matter the problems you face or the needs you have, no matter the giants that come against you or the cities that need to be defeated, no matter the land that needs to be conquered or the hour in which you’re living, you will be a success!”

God said it…observe it…speak it…keep it…don’t turn from it…and you’ll be successful wherever you go!!!
1/17/2023Isaiah 43:19 “Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Our God is a God of new beginnings. Every twenty-four hours, He gives us a brand-new day; every seven days, a new week; every thirty days, a new month; every twelve months, a new year. And it is our prerogative to make sure that we maximize what God gives us every time He gives us the opportunity to do things new. I want to challenge you to unleash the power of God in your life and make a difference in other people’s lives more than ever before. Why every day? Because it’s not your day. Every day is the day that the Lord has made, and we, His children, should rejoice in it.

If you’re going to make a difference today, you have to decide what you will choose to do and not do, what you will choose to say and not say. If you’re going to see God’s greatness poured out in your life, you have to make up your mind that no matter what it takes, no matter what you have to go through, no matter what you have to do, no matter what you have to learn or become, you are going to make a difference.
1/16/2023Isaiah 62:1 “For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, And her salvation as a lamp that burns.”

In March of 1965, Martin Luther King, Jr. led many civil rights activists in a nonviolent demonstration from Selma to the capitol steps in Montgomery, Alabama. After a 5-day, 54-mile march campaigning for voting rights, King told the crowd, “There never was a moment in American history more honorable and more inspiring than the pilgrimage of clergymen and laymen of every race and faith pouring into Selma to face danger at the side of its embattled [African Americans].”

Linked arm-in-arm with the leaders of this march, front row and center with Dr. King, was a rabbi by the name of Abraham Joshua Heschel. This Hasidic rabbi was born in Warsaw, but ready to take action to support his friend, Martin Luther King, Jr., who was a staunch supporter of Israel and a very outspoken Zionist.

“Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality. Israel’s right to exist as a state in security is incontestable.”

Today, we honor the memory of a man who stood up for so many…until the day he sacrificed everything for his beliefs. May his memory be a blessing!
1/15/2023Matthew 4: “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

If you are a child of God, you are engaged in the same spiritual warfare that Jesus Christ faced in the wilderness temptation after His baptism (Matthew 4:1–11). The devil tried to get Jesus to question the Word of God, and that’s exactly what he’ll do with you. Jesus did not enter into a debate with Satan, but to each accusation, He answered, “It is written…” He spoke the Word of God, and finally He declared, “Away with you, Satan!” That being the weapon Jesus used, you need to do the same.

You drive the enemy out of your life by speaking the Word. When he tries to come into your finances, you drive him out by saying, “My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory.” When he comes against your household, you say, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” When he comes against your marriage, you declare, “What God has brought together, let no man put asunder.” When he comes against your physical body, you say, “By His stripes, I am healed.” When he comes against your children, you declare, “No weapon formed against them will prosper.” You have power to drive the enemy out of your life in Jesus’ name!!!
1/14/2023Isaiah 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Have you ever compared the difference between the power of God’s words and the emptiness of men’s wisdom? Men want us to live by their supposed wisdom, but the apostle Paul warns “that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:5). Why? Because men’s statements may sound good, but they don’t work.

Here’s one example: “Just follow your heart.” Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” If you follow your heart but your heart is not filled with the Word of God, you’ll destroy yourself. David said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). He was saying,“God, if I don’t stay in close contact with Your truth, I won’t know the right way to go. And if I don’t follow Your light, I’ll go in the wrong direction. If I make it my way and just go by what I feel, I’ll destroy myself. I dare not follow my heart unless Your Word is in my heart, lighting the path of righteousness.”

Build your life on the only wisdom that is certain at all times— God’s Word!!!
1/13/2023Jonah 2:1-2 “I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, And He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice.”

Many people say that Jonah was the wayward prophet, but he wasn’t wayward; he was stubborn. God spoke to him specifically that he was to go to Nineveh and tell the people to repent. But Jonah was so prejudiced against the people of Nineveh that he said, “God, I’d rather die than do that,” and so he bought a ticket to a boat going the opposite direction. Some people would say that the ensuing storm that God sent was His judgment on Jonah, but the storm was actually God’s grace. Sometimes difficult times are God’s way of getting our attention, and Jonah knew why it was happening. But even then Jonah did not fall on his knees and say, “Lord, forgive me. Make the weather better, and we’ll turn the boat around.” He was so stubborn that he preferred being thrown overboard. Now that’s hardheaded!

Some people also mistakenly say that Jonah’s being swallowed by a big fish was God’s judgment rather than His grace. But in His mercy, God waited three days for Jonah to finally say, “I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed.” That was all of grace and miracle-working power. Don’t mistake trouble for judgment when it’s really God’s grace.
1/12/2023John 4:24 “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

If you read John 4, you know that the Samaritan woman whom Jesus had just met began to debate with Him about which mountain they should worship on. Jesus responded that worship doesn’t have anything to do with a place; it’s about how you worship. It has to do with what’s inside you. It has to do with the heart of worship—it must be in spirit and in truth.

That debate is not unlike what we sometimes hear today. Should we sing this way or that way, clap or not, lift our hands or not? Should we use a band like we’re at a concert? Or, should we sit in silent reflection? Do we really think that God prefers one over the other? I think what He said to Samuel still rings true today: “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Regardless of the style or quality of the music, regardless of the enthusiasm, regardless of the appearance, you might not have God’s presence. It’s only when you have the heart of worship that you have the privilege of being in His presence.

God is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.
1/11/2023Joshua 1:5 “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.”

For at least 40 years, Joshua looked to Moses as the great problem solver for the people of Israel. He had seen the miracles performed and heard God’s Word spoken through Moses. But Moses was dead, and now Joshua needed the same power to solve problems. Joshua’s time had come, and sooner or later, your time will come as well. God will direct you to lead something for His purpose. When that time comes, the only way you’ll succeed is if you engage with God and hear what He has to say to you. God will move you out of every comfort zone and into what I call “the God Zone” where you hear His voice.

Joshua is in the God Zone, and the Lord opens the conversation with this promise:

 “As I was with Moses, so shall I be with you.” God was telling Joshua the same thing He told Moses from the burning bush: “I AM the source of your power. I AM the One who parts the waters. I AM the One who rained manna on you in the wilderness. And I AM the same yesterday, today and forever.” He had been with Moses. He was with Joshua. And the same God is with you now!
1/10/2023Numbers 13:33 “There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

The twelve spies whom Moses sent in to report on the Promised Land saw the same things. Two of them declared in faith, “We are well able to overcome it.” The other ten said, “We are not able” because the people were “of great stature.” Giants were there who made them feel like “grasshoppers.” Now I’m a native-born Texan, and I know Texas tall tales when I hear them. Just do the math. If a grasshopper is an inch tall, and a man is five-feet tall, that man would have to be three hundred feet high by comparison. Those giants may have been big, but they weren’t that big. And while they were bigger than what the men of Israel could handle, they weren’t bigger than what God could handle.

We’ve all let our imaginations take over at times and made our problems too big for even God to solve…But when you keep your imagination submitted to God’s Word, suddenly, there is no problem that’s too big for God to solve…Suddenly, He will make a way where there seems to be no way…You might not know where your answer is coming from, but He’ll show you great and mighty things…Suddenly, you’ll be saying, “We are well able to overcome it.” That’s the God whom we serve!!!
1/9/2023Psalm 147:4-5 “He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.”

It is easy to forget how great our God is. Everything He has done is great. When He created the stars in the heavens, He made so many that we can’t begin to count them all. The deeper that scientists look into space, the more galaxies and countless stars they discover. And yet the Bible says God numbers the stars and calls them by name. God doesn’t look and say, “That’s star number fourteen trillion.” No, He calls it “Charlie.” How great is that!

That is amazing, but even more amazing is the fact that He created you…He knows you by name, He’s numbered your days, and He’s charted your course…Before He formed you in the womb, He knew what you would need in this life, so He equipped you with gifts and talents to use while you’re here so you can bring glory and honor to His name…He didn’t send you to the world to just exist or survive…He sent you here so that you would be more than a conqueror through Christ…Let the greatness of God arise in you, and let His enemies be scattered!!!
1/8/2023Isaiah 55:11 “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

On Wall Street they say, “Money never sleeps.” They want it to be constantly earning money, and to do that after the market closes, they invest their money in another market in the world so that it keeps producing. They want value to be constantly added.

The same principle applies to God’s Word: It never sleeps. It is constantly working in your life. God wants to invest in you so much that He bought you with the great price of His only begotten Son’s life. He is investing His Word in you, and it’s not going to return void. It’s going to accomplish its purpose in changing your life and causing you to prosper and grow. Whatever He has said He will do in your life, He will do it and nothing can stop it. No one can void God’s promises from working in your life. That promise that He’s given you may not show up for a month or a year, but it will come to pass. The apostle Paul said it this way: “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Be encouraged today: God’s Word is always working.
1/7/20231 Chronicles 29:11-12 “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, And You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all.”

Henry Taylor wrote, “The world knows nothing of its greatest men.” We as a world have deceived ourselves as to what greatness really is. We’ve taken the character qualities that make for true greatness, and we’ve substituted superficial things that really aren’t great.

Fame may get people to notice you for a while, but it will not bring you character, and character is what’s required for greatness. Money may enable you to buy and fill your life with a lot of stuff, but what good is that if you’re too tormented to enjoy what money has bought you. Money will not buy you peace of mind because peace was bought with the price that Jesus paid as the Prince of peace. Power may cause people to respect or even fear you, but you’ll constantly struggle to gain and maintain it.

In our culture, we think fame is great…money is great…power is great…But in reality, those things are anything but great…If anything in your life is ever going to be considered great, it must be in touch with the only source of greatness, the Almighty God…He alone is the greatness, and He alone makes great!!!
1/6/2023Psalm 100:4 “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.”

My children know that whatever they need, I’ll give everything I have to supply it, but they can’t whine. I think God’s the same way in heaven. He doesn’t have a customer service department where you get to record your complaint calls. I don’t think He listens. Rather, He commands us to come before Him with thanksgiving and praise to bless His name! He says to give thanks “in all things,” and not just when everything seems right and you feel thankful. You have to be thankful “always.”

Did you know that the “gates” David wrote about were where the judges sat, and that the “courts” were where the judges ruled? What the Bible is saying is that if you want God to rule on your behalf, don’t go into the heavenly places complaining about what’s wrong. Rather, lift up your hands and say,“God, thank You that You’ve brought me through storms before, and You’re going to bring me through this one. Thank You that You’re going to give me strength to overcome, victory in this battle, and hope for tomorrow. Bring glory to Your great name!”
1/4/2023James 5:17 “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.”

James says there was nothing special about the prophet Elijah. He wasn’t an Old Testament Jedi. He was just a human being. But when you read how he faced 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, called down fire from heaven, and brought Israel back to worshipping the Lord, here’s what made him stand out.When God needed someone to take a stand for righteousness, he was willing to be used. He refused to spend his life complaining about what was wrong. He had the boldness to do what needed to be done when others were afraid to speak up.

In today’s world, God needs you to be willing to speak up for Him…He might send you to the boardroom to speak to people who are only concerned about the bottom line and tell them,“What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?”…He might send you to your living room to declare that your family needs to be a household of faith…He might send you to the hallways of your high school to unashamedly tell your friends that you are a child of the living God…Whatever God wants you to do, have the courage to leave a mark!!!
1/3/2023Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

What is it that you want God to do for you, for your family, for your finances, in your physical body today? Whatever it is, no matter how impossible others declare it to be, regardless of whether or not you think it can be done, ask Him to do exactly what you’re looking for. In Jesus’ name, ask that whatever mountain needs to be moved will be moved. Ask that whatever door needs to be opened will be opened. Ask that whatever crooked way needs to be straight will be made straight.

Read Jesus’ words in today’s Scripture out loud and believe His promise. 

Every hindrance can be broken, and every chain of bondage can be destroyed by Him who sets us free…Those who are without hope can be filled with hope by the God of all hope…Families that are broken can be restored by our great Redeemer…Weak bodies can be strengthened and diseases healed by His healing touch…New business opportunities can be opened and favor rest upon you…You can be blessed in your going out and in your coming in from this day forward…So ask Him now and receive!!!
1/2/20232 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

When I was a kid, on one particular evening after dinner, I was headed to the back door to play when my dad called out, “Matt, where are you going?” I said, “Outside to play.” He responded, “No, you don’t go outside in the dark. Bad people come out when the sun goes down.” Whoa! That didn’t just stop me in my tracks, but I got so afraid of the dark that if you put me in a dark room, I’d light it up like a SWAT team rolled in! That sounds funny, but it became a very real problem for me. Finally, my dad told me that when I was lying in bed afraid, I needed to say today’s Scripture over and over until I fell asleep, and eventually, that living promise from God’s Word prevailed.

My fears have changed over the years, but this promise from God that I’ve taken as my own has not changed. As I look at the world my children are being raised in and the culture that the world is changing to, I continue to declare, “God, You haven’t given me a spirit of fear, but of power.” When you speak His Word, it is alive, powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword to bring you victory.
1/1/2023Deuteronomy 28:7 “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.”

Happy New Year! Today I want you to see the walls of resistance crumbling before you. I want you to see God taking on your enemies and handcuffing them—they are powerless when you hand them over to the Lord. I want you to see the mountains of impossibility that you are facing being cast into the sea.

Start telling God the desires of your heart and watch as He begins to make your paths straight. Watch as He begins to bring things to pass in your life that you never thought possible.

Focus your faith on the outcome. Right now the circumstances may look grim, but these are just mere stepping stones in the overall story of your life. Keep marching forward. God sees your end from the beginning! Stay focused on Him!

I have read the book of Revelation, and we win! Great things are in store for you when you turn your life over to the King of kings!!!
12/31/20222 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Many of us launch into a new year with a handful of resolutions to make the coming months better than those we left behind. Jesus is the one path to true transformation.

When we welcome Christ into our ordinary lives, He transforms common clay into royalty. Everyday water becomes extraordinary wine. Unremarkable lives become trophies of His grace.

If you despair of a do-over, just look at the parade of people that Jesus granted new beginnings. A blustering, impulsive fisherman named Peter became a rock of the early church. From Christ-denying coward into a conqueror who was crucified upside down because of his radical faith!

John had such a hot temper that he was nicknamed “son of thunder,” but Jesus transformed him into an apostle of love. From the cross, he commissioned John to care for His own mother for the rest of her life.

Jesus transformed a Christian-killing, intellectual monster named Paul into a great evangelist and father of the New Testament church. And if He did it for them, He will do it for you!

When we plant ourselves in Christ Jesus – and He comes to abide in us – we have no need to fear the future…The old gives way to the new, and we are transformed to be like Him!!!
12/30/2022John 2:10 “And he said to him, ‘Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”

By all accounts, this year has seen its share of tragedy and trials. If you are exhausted and disheartened, invite Jesus into the situation. His presence changes everything – even when our circumstances do not.

When He was born, humble shepherds came to pay homage. Wise men traveled from the East with camels loaded down with priceless treasures for the tiny King. When He was twelve, He stole away to dazzle the most brilliant theological minds in Israel with His unusual understanding of the scriptures.

When a wedding disaster threatened the reputation and dignity of His friends, He turned water into wine and gladdened the celebration. In fact, He saved the best for last! His presence makes things better.

When He shows up, dead things come to life. Fear yields to hope. Disease yields to health. Poverty yields to prosperity. Depression yields to joy. Gloom gives way to glory. As the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, when He roars, victory comes.

As we prepare to turn the calendars to a new year, cast all your cares and anxieties on Jesus…Walk fearlessly into a new year filled with His hope and promises…Perhaps, He has saved the best ‘til now!!!
12/29/2022John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

At the border of the cross, God sent His One and Only Son to draw all people – whoever believes – back into relationship with Himself.

“Whoever believes” is more than an intellectual acknowledgment because even demons know about Jesus. This type of belief involves commitment, confidence, and identification with Jesus that leads to trust and obedience.

When the Light of the world came, He shone a light on our sin – not to shame or humiliate us – but to bring us to repentance. God goes out of His way to interrupt our lives to save us with limitless, unconditional love. Like all gifts, we have to reach out to receive it.

“Whoever believes” means that He allows us the choice. He is not a master puppeteer pulling our strings and forcing us to comply to His will. At the Cross, He lovingly provided a way home. He held nothing back; He gave all He could give. Now, it is up to you.

If you will choose to believe, He will give you a brand-new life…If you will choose to believe, He will lift the weight of your burdens…If you will choose to believe, He will break the chains that hold you down…If you will choose to believe, He will heal your broken heart…If you will choose to believe, He will give you a home and a hope. Will you choose to believe?
12/28/2022Mark 1:41 “Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, I am willing; be cleansed.”

The Son of God – sent by love, motivated by love, and reaching in love. We often see Jesus with His hands extended, reaching out to touch a wounded world.

He demonstrates His love with actions – reaching beyond racial, cultural, and gender barriers, beyond sin, shameful pasts, and societal condemnation, beyond time and space to heal and restore.

Standing at a well in the midday sun, Jesus reached out to the Samaritan woman. Rejected by Jews and Samaritans alike, Jesus gave her living water so that she never need thirst again.

The scribes and Pharisees caught a woman in the very act of adultery. Instead of pointing an accusing finger, Jesus challenged the man who was without sin to throw the first stone. When they retreated, He sent her home to “sin no more” with no weight of condemnation.

When the disciples shooed away the children, Jesus took them in His arms and blessed them. When the blind man came seeking sight, Jesus took Him by the hand. When the leper begged to be made clean, Jesus reached out and touched his diseased body.

At the border of the cross Jesus still stands with hands extended…He longs to gather every person under the shadow and safety of His wings…May He teach us to reach with the same love that drove Him to the ultimate sacrifice…He is right beside you…All you need to do right now is drop to your knees in humble submission and He will show you the way…
12/27/2022John 14:12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”

Jesus’ claim that we would do greater works than He did seems quite preposterous when we consider all the works that He did!

Greater things than turning water into wine, healing incurable diseases, and raising the dead? Fueled by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, He assured us that we will do greater than these!

Every miracle consists of two parts: God’s part and our part. Jesus commanded the man who had been sick for 38 years to get up, pick up his bed, and walk. He was healed immediately (John 5:8)! Jesus urged the man with the withered hand to stretch out the useless limb. When he obeyed, it was fully restored (Matthew 12:13).

Jesus told the blind man to go wash in the pool of Siloam. When he splashed the water on his eyes, he came back seeing (John 9:7). When the wine ran out at the wedding where Jesus was a guest, His mother instructed the servants to do what Jesus said. She trusted Him to help His friends.

When we demonstrate our faith by our actions, we will do greater works…When we listen and obey, the best is yet to be!!!
12/26/20221 Peter 2:7 “Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious”

To us, a Child was born, a Son was given. However, a gift must be accepted before it can be received. If we refuse the proffered gift, it does not belong to us.

The most important question you will ever answer is this one: Have you accepted the gift of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ? Have you received Him as Savior and Lord? If you have not opened your heart to invite Him in, this gift of salvation is not yours.

Attending church services, singing songs, giving generous gifts or doing good deeds does not make us His. Only through confessing Him with our mouths and believing in our hearts do we gladly accept the gift of salvation to become His children.

Without Him, we are still dead in sin…We have no claim to His joy or peace, no authority to bind the powers and principalities of darkness…Our names are not recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life…No mansion awaits us in heaven…For those who do believe and accept Him, He is precious…He is Wonderful, a Counselor Who holds the answers to all of life’s issues…He is our Mighty God, our powerful Defender…As our Everlasting Father, He loves, accepts, and adopts us…We rest securely in the Prince of Peace…Accept the gift Jesus Christ has to offer…Hold out your hands and your heart to receive this incomparable Gift!!!
12/25/2022Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

When we are children, Christmas Day possesses a special kind of magic all its own. As adults, we still experience that sense of awe as we consider the reason that we celebrate. Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be known as Wonderful – full of wonder – and oh, how we know it to be true.

Come, stand under a night sky with poor, work-worn shepherds as the stars are eclipsed by a multitude of angels singing God’s glory. Hurry along with them to gaze in awe at the holy Child that inspired a heavenly choir.

Come, travel with a caravan of kings in search of an even greater King. Follow a path lit by His blazing star to fall to your knees in adoration and worship. Bring out the greatest gifts – gold, frankincense, and myrrh – and know that even these are too little to honor Him.

Come, linger inside a stable filled with mellow lamplight, the snuffles of farm animals, and the cries of a newborn Child. Stretch to get a glimpse of the reverence on the faces of the young parents as they carefully swaddle this promised Babe.

Today, may your home be filled with the light and the love of that first Christmas night…May you draw near to worship and adore our King…May you reflect and rejoice in Immanuel – God come down to us…His name truly is Wonderful!!!
12/24/2022Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

The prophet Isaiah spoke of the coming Messiah – from the cradle to the cross, His mission and majesty. He looked ahead to a time when the government would rest on His shoulders, when He would rule from Jerusalem, and exercise dominion over the whole world.

God has established Jesus as King over an empire that will never be destroyed and will stand forever (Daniel 2:44). The Lord’s Prayer makes it clear that His is “the kingdom and the power and the glory forever” (Matthew 6:13).

When Christ returns to earth the next time, He will set up His kingdom on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem…Kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers from all corners of the earth will come to pay Him homage…Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…Peace will settle over all people as His glory floods the earth…Weapons will be destroyed…Armies will be dismantled…Jails will close down…Hospitals will sit empty…The lion will lie down with the lamb…Jesus, the Word of God, will have the final say as He sits on the eternal throne of King David…Of that government, there shall be no end!!!
12/23/2022Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

During this Christmas season, we celebrate the Child that was born, and we rejoice that God’s Son was given to us. The word “given” speaks of the preexistence of Jesus. He existed long before He was born here on earth.

Jesus was there – with the Father and the Holy Spirit – when this universe was only a brilliant idea. He was there at the dawn of creation when God spoke light into being, set the boundaries of the oceans, and flung the starry host against a velvet sky. Jesus was there when the serpent tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Jesus was there when Abraham climbed Mount Moriah with Isaac, the son of covenant. He was there when Moses stretched the rod over the Red Sea. He was in the fiery furnace with the three Hebrew children who did not bow, bend, or burn.

He is Jehovah Shammah – the Lord Who is there…He is there to catch our tears when our hearts are broken…He walks beside us to the grave of a loved one…His hand is on our shoulder when the doctor pronounces a dire diagnosis…He will never leave…To us, God gave His Son now and forever!!!
12/22/2022Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Jesus’ earthly journey began like any other infant’s life. He was born of a woman, naked and helpless like every baby. This speaks to us of Christ’s humanity.

As He grew, He wept like we weep. He experienced the same sorts of impulses we do. He endured scandal and heartbreak. His birth was questioned. He was persecuted for His religious beliefs. He was acquainted with racial hatred as a Jew living in a Roman Gentile world. He suffered betrayal at the hands of His friends.

He knew injustice. When Pontius Pilate exclaimed, “I find no fault in this Man,” the trial should have ended according to Roman law. Pilate was not seeking the truth; he was attempting to appease people. The judicial system failed Jesus.

Hebrews 4:15 assures us that Jesus sympathizes with our weaknesses, because He was tempted in every way that we are, but He did not sin. Now, as the resurrected Son of God, He has given us the power to be victorious in every crisis. He has given us the ability to prevail.

Satan is a roaring lion seeking to devour, but the Child born to us was the Lion of the Tribe of Judah that crushed him completely!!!
12/21/2022Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Christmas is the celebration of a Child, God’s indescribable gift of love to us. He is the Light of the world, our Hope of glory.

When God planned to conquer Pharaoh and destroy Egypt, He sent the baby, Moses, to smash the oppression of slavery that held Israel captive. When God decided to expose the sins of Israel, He sent the prophet, Samuel, as a baby who went on to judge Israel all the days of his life (I Samuel 7:15).

When God set His plan in motion to vanquish Satan and his evil empire, He sent another Baby – His only Son – to be born of a virgin in Bethlehem’s manger. Jesus did not come to earth to establish the commercial chaos that we call Christmas.

He came to fulfill the promise that God made in Genesis 3:15 – Jesus, the Seed of the woman (Mary), would crush the head of the serpent, Satan, once and for all! His arrival marked the beginning of the battle for our souls. He came to redeem and set us free.

God came near…He wrapped Himself in flesh and came as a Baby to live among us…He is not a far-off God, unaffected by our plight and untouched by our dilemma…He is Immanuel, God with us!!!
12/20/20221 John 5:11 “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”

Our words have weight. Our stories have significance. Proclaiming them holds power.

Romans 10:9 tells us that we must believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, AND we must openly acknowledge Him with our mouths. Believing in our hearts makes us righteous before God; confessing it with our mouths confirms our salvation. Saying it out loud makes it so!

Overcoming power is found in sharing our testimony – the story of God at work in our lives. And that overcoming power is not just for us; it is for the people who hear our stories and are captivated by the ways that Jesus Christ has taken up residence in our hearts and has enriched every aspect of our lives.

When we say it out loud, we welcome others into hurts that we have experienced…More importantly, we point to a Healer that made us whole…We were dead in sin…but He has given us abundant life…We were lost and alone…but He adopted us into His family…He broke the chains of habits that diminished our lives…When we say it out loud, others are drawn to this lovely Light…They find reason to hope again…They find strength to fight another day…They find tools to try once more…They find a Savior Whose love changes everything…Say it out loud…Testify!!!
12/19/20222 Corinthians 3:18 “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

God often asks us to let go of a good thing before He will place the better thing into our hands. If He is out in front, pulling us into deeper waters, we cannot stay in place. We must close our eyes, suck in a great gulp of air, and make the leap of faith.

Better waits in the upcoming year! God is weaving all the pieces of our lives together for the good. We are not stuck in a forgotten place. We are divinely positioned, so that we are being changed from one degree of glory to the next, in ever-increasing brightness and beauty, to look more like our Father.

When we act like a child clinging to the edge of the pool, He urges us to let go of that comfortable spot – from the only life we know – to take a leap of faith. Even as He backs up a bit, He encourages us to keep breathing, to keep kicking. He promises to always be there, alert and ready to scoop us up.

Let go of whatever holds you back…Take that leap into His waiting arms…Every breath makes us bolder…Every kick grows our confidence…The risk is worth the reward!!!
12/18/2022Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

As we look forward to a new year, many of us can honestly say that we really do not know where we are going. As long as we are focused on the One Who does, we can trust that we are headed in the right direction.

Scripture reminds us to trust in the Lord with all of our hearts. Our feelings reside in our hearts, but our faith must take precedence over our feelings. To put our hope and confidence in God, we must hand our hearts over to Him.

Proverbs goes on to warn us not to lean on our own understanding. We process and store an overwhelming amount of information in our minds. And it is here that the Enemy aims his fiery darts!

He attempts to persuade us of lies that are contrary to God’s truth. Our understanding becomes our crutch. Instead of focusing on the Lord’s reliability, we trust in our own instincts which lead us astray.

Therefore we must acknowledge God…We must remember and rely on His guidance in every path we take…We must listen for His words to direct the choices that we make…We must take His hand like a child and follow where He leads – into a new year bright with hope and promise!!!
12/17/2022Hebrews 11:11 “By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.”

By faith, many of us received the promises of God and have believed for the fulfillment of His word to us. We have held on until we are exhausted and disheartened – with no answers in sight.

Sarah must have stood in that same place. After years of suffering the devastation of infertility, she laughed when God promised her a son. Then, He waited 25 years to fulfill that promise! She was well past childbearing age, and Abraham also was “as good as dead” (Hebrews 11:12).

But something in her refused to lay down hope. She judged God faithful. She considered Him reliable; she trusted that He would be true to His word. In spite of what others said, in spite of the evidence in her own body, in spite of God’s delay…she believed.

And God not only kept His promise, but He gave her the strength that she needed to conceive, carry, and deliver the long-awaited son. True to God’s word, their descendants were as numerous as the starry host and the sand along the seashore.

If God promised a baby, paint the nursery…If He said that wayward child would come home, save a seat for her on Sunday…Like Sarah, judge Him reliable…He is the Faithful and True!!!
12/16/2022Hebrews 11:1-2 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.”

We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, those who have gone on before us in the Lord (Hebrews 12:1). Their stories testify of the faith that made them right with God.

One of those elders is Abel. By faith, he offered an acceptable sacrifice. If he were called as a witness, he would testify that God honors faith. Even though his life was cut short when his brother murdered him, Abel’s impact has lived beyond the grave. God did not allow him to be forgotten; He rewards those who diligently seek Him.

Another one of those witnesses would tell us that if God says it, He will do it. By faith, Noah built an ark. Faith made him look foolish! He chopped down trees, hammered boards, built scaffolding, and planned for the storm. He was the talk of the town! Decades later, he was just the crazy old man who believed God would still keep His word. And 120 years after the promise, God closed the door of the ark and opened the skies.

Keep holding on for an answer…People may be calling you foolish for believing in a miracle that has not come…Do not be discouraged…God honors faith…If He made a promise, He will keep it!!!
12/15/2022Hebrews 12:1-2a “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”

The author of Hebrews urged us to hone in on the one thing that helps us run well and cross the finish line victoriously: look to Jesus!

Do not get distracted by doubts and debates, feelings and facts that slow our progress. Shake off the sin that traps and trips us up! We cannot run well when our shoulders bow under the weight and our feet are held fast in the vice of sin. Strip them off, and run for the prize!

When the road gets long, the Spirit comes alongside to comfort and guide…When the scorching sun parches our throats, the Living Water quenches our thirst…When our feet drag through the valley of the shadow of death, He lights up the dark and bolsters our courage…Focus on Jesus…Let’s fix our hearts on Him and set our faces like flint towards the Author and Finisher of our faith…The One Who began this good work in us will faithfully complete it…He sets us free to run in the path of His commands!!!
12/14/20222 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

To take that proverbial leap of faith and place our trust firmly in God, we often must overcome two very significant adversaries: feelings and facts.

Our feelings fluctuate depending on what is happening around us. One moment, we are brave; the next, we are shaking in our boots. One moment, we are quiet and content; the next, we are spewing rage and dissatisfaction.

We cannot rely on feelings, because they lead us astray. Jeremiah declared that our hearts are deceitful, that no one can truly comprehend how wicked we are (17:9). We must live according to the truth found in God’s Word, not by what we see or feel.

Facts can fool us too. Statistics are not stacked in our favor. The diagnosis is dire. The future appears futile. However, faith says we can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us.

Faith tells us that, with God, all things are possible…Our faith often does not align with our feelings…It will lock horns with the facts…But we can fix our faith on a God Who never fails…God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity…He empowers us to be bold, loving, and sound in mind…No need to be overwhelmed with negative feelings…No need to be dragged down by opposition to God’s truth…We walk by faith in an unfailing God!!!
12/13/2022Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

If we are going to receive the unexpected, overwhelming, beyond-what-we-can-imagine goodness of God, we must willingly make a leap of faith into the hand of a God Who will never fail us.

God has already proven that He will do whatever it takes to rescue us – even to the extreme of sending His cherished Son to save us from our sins. He has already demonstrated that He is a generous provider – opening the windows of heaven to pour out overflowing blessings.

He has shown us that He will deliver His own – from a worldwide flood to a fiery furnace to midnight chains in a prison cell. He did it in the past, so we know He will do the same in the here and now.

As we prepare to turn our calendars, we expect that the goodness of God is already waiting for us in the coming twelve months…We have no need to be anxious, no need to fear what the future may bring…He has already proven His unfailing faithfulness…When our faith is firmly fixed in Christ Jesus, all things are possible…No matter what lies ahead, He has made us more than conquerors!!!
12/12/2022John 4:23 “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.”

God created the heavens and the earth from nothing. He formed the man and woman and spoke all life into existence. Yet, our all-powerful Father, Who needed no outside assistance or resources, is looking for something.

He is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and truth. He is not concerned with outward appearances or obsolete traditions. He is looking for those who will bow in His presence and lift up hearts filled with genuine adoration.

In 2 Chronicles 16:9, we learn that the eyes of the Lord are running to and fro throughout the whole earth looking for those whose hearts are loyal to Him; He wants to strengthen and support His children who are wholly and completely devoted to Him.

Too often, we have behaved like disgruntled children, unhappy with our lot and ungrateful for the gifts we have received, demanding more and better…When the wise men followed the star to Bethlehem, they must have been surprised to discover a child, but they fell on their faces and worshiped Him wholeheartedly…We now know how that Child turned the world upside down…Our lives will never be the same because of Him…As the Father’s eyes roam the earth, may His search stop here as He finds us worshiping in spirit and truth!!!
12/11/20222 John 1:3 “Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.”

God is the Master of unexpected gifts! Grace and mercy are two of His best. We can extend those same gifts to others.

While we were still sinners, God demonstrated His love by sending Jesus to die for us. His grace gave us what we did not deserve and could never earn. He accepts us just as we are, because He knows what we can become in Him.

God has the divine right to judge us for all of our offenses. He offers us mercy instead. Every morning, His mercy and loving kindness are fresh and new for us. He does not give us the judgment we rightfully deserve.

What unexpected gifts grace and mercy are in this cruel and critical world! Instead of allowing imperfections and irritations to build up walls, could we bridge the gap with His grace and mercy?

Because God accepted us in the state we were in, we should accept people just as they are with grace and faith in a God Who has a better future for them…We should choose not to judge and condemn, because God has given us mercy and compassion instead…Let us choose to be grace-givers and mercy-mongers…Here lies the secret to peace on earth and good will to all people!!!
12/10/2022Matthew 6:12 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

What if, this Christmas, we determined to give our neighbors the same gifts God so freely gives to us? Rather than the person who lives across the street, maybe the neighbor we need to forgive is our parent, sibling or child.

Many families play the game of pretense at the holidays, sitting together but seething with resentment and unexpressed anger. We place a gift card in an envelope or wrap a present in pretty paper when what we really need to give is the gift of forgiveness.

Could we love our neighbor – or friend or family member – enough to give what Christ has generously provided for us? Jesus taught us to pray that God would forgive our trespasses as we forgive the ones who trespass against us. We plead, “Forgive me, God, for what I owe You, as I forgive others for what they owe me.”

Unforgiveness is a you-owe-me. You owe me an apology for what you said, what you did, what you did not do. And that may be absolutely true! But God presses us to give the unexpected. In fact, He tells us that if we cannot extend pardon to our offenders, He cannot forgive us for what we owe Him.

With His strength and love to empower and guide, give the unexpected gift of forgiveness this holiday season…The freedom it brings is cause for celebration!!!
12/9/2022Luke 10:27 “So Jesus answered and said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself’.”

One of the greatest gifts we can bring to Jesus Christ is the act of fully surrendering our lives to Him. He surrendered His life for us.
Do you love Him with all of your heart? Have you turned over your relationships, career, possessions, and dreams for the future? Wherever your treasure is, that is where your heart can be found.
Do you love Him with all of your soul? When we come to the end of our logic, we can relinquish our control and trust Him with the outcome – even when our faith seems unreasonable.
Do you love Him with all of your strength? He gave us natural abilities to utilize for the kingdom of God. All of those gifts are for use in His purposes and for His glory.
Do you love Him with all of your mind? The greatest wars we wage occur right between our ears. We must cast down anything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.
Do you love your neighbor as yourself? Jesus came to us, reached out to us first. Are you extending a hand to your neighbor, preferring them, lifting them up, and meeting their needs? Surrender your life to the One Who laid down His.
12/8/2022Matthew 2:11b “And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

When Jesus wrapped Himself in flesh and was born to a virgin, wise men from the East came searching for Him. They did not come empty-handed; they brought gifts for the tiny King.

When they found Him, they fell down to worship before they opened up their treasures and presented offerings to Him.

The gold they gave provided for Mary and Joseph’s flight to Egypt after Herod’s evil decree to murder all the boys who were two years old and under. Before the need arose, God knew that the poor carpenter would need travel funds to make their getaway.

The frankincense and myrrh hinted at Jesus’ ministry. He was anointed to heal and set free, to break the yokes and lift the burdens. These gifts also pointed to His death. He was born to die, so that we might live.

As Christmas approaches, bring your gifts to the King…Celebrate His advent with exceedingly great joy…Come into His presence and bow to worship…Like the wise men of old, bring the gift of your attitude – a humble adoration that celebrates His arrival…Like they did, focus all of your attention on the One Who came for you…Determine to seek Him until you find Him – no matter how far you must travel or how difficult the journey…Bring your gifts to Him!!!
12/7/2022Matthew 2:11 “And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him.”

During this joyous season, we reflect on Jesus, the greatest gift God ever gave. And if He freely sent us His precious Son, we know that He will not withhold any good thing.

The wise men followed the star to Bethlehem with “exceedingly great joy” (Matthew 2:10). They had pursued its light until it led them to Jesus. They were drawn irresistibly to worship this King of the Jews.

When they entered the house, they did not introduce themselves, proclaim themselves ambassadors from a foreign land or dispute the validity of His claim to be King. They simply wanted to thank Him for coming. He was the beautiful fulfillment of a long-ago promise.

In humility, they fell down and worshiped this young Child. These were men with power, position, and prosperity. They had traveled by caravan from afar, their camels loaded down with expensive gifts for the tiny King. Before anything else, they fell to their knees and poured out their adoration and gratitude.

The journey to this Christmas holiday may have been an arduous one this year…As we enter this season of light and love, let us do so with exceedingly great joy…Like the wise men, let us welcome Him into our world…Let us bow in humble adoration to our King…May the Lord bless you and keep you…May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace…Emmanuel – God with us – has come to stay…He will never leave you…Come into His presence with rejoicing and adoration!!!
12/6/2022Matthew 2:1-2 “…behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him’.”

One star blazing in the night sky was so compelling that the wise men of the East loaded their camels with expensive gifts and followed its light to Jerusalem.

King Herod was the highest official in the land, but they were intent on finding another king. “Where is He?” they fervently asked. And their next declaration was most interesting!

“For we have seen His star….” They had not been captivated by a peculiar or particularly bright star. The adjective they used was quite specific; they had seen His star. Of the millions of lights in the sky that night, only one announced, “Jesus is here.”

In this life, we are enticed by many distractions…Our eyes are drawn to look, and our ears are lured to listen…Many paths promise to be the proper one; many roads seem the right one…People look to money or relationships to find wholeness…They believe that their good works or intellect can save them…Only one Star leads to heaven, and His name is Jesus…He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life…His is the only Name under heaven by which we can be saved…Let us come to worship Him!!!
12/5/2022Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’.”

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We were prisoners because of the crimes we had committed – slaves to sin, estranged from God.

We sat on death row, awaiting the punishment for our wrongdoing. We were guilty, and the death sentence was just. But the Father did the unexpected when He sent His Son into the penitentiary.

He took our place and allowed us to walk out free and clear. He covered our debt, so justice was paid. He wiped away our record to give us a clean slate, a new beginning.

Even more unexpected than our redemption is the fact that He wants to adopt us. Often, when prisoners are released, they have no place to call home, no family to receive them, no purpose to inspire them.

God adopts us as His own children…He welcomes us into His family…He calls and commissions us…His Spirit in us causes us to cry out, “Abba, Father,” the most intimate, tender exchange between a Father and a child…If we only accept redemption, we merely receive a portion of what God intended…When we accept the grace of His adoption, we look like the sons and daughters He created us to be – the spitting image of our Father!!!
12/4/2022II Corinthians 3:18 “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

As believers in Jesus Christ, we can count on our tomorrows being better than our yesterdays. The Spirit of God works in us, with ever-increasing splendor, so that we become more and more like Him.

Too many children of God believe that their best is behind them. They look back at the mountaintop experiences, the miracles that God did, or the way He moved back then, and they are not convinced that He still does the impossible.

God has more for us tomorrow than He has today. The triumphs of yesterday are wonderful reminders of what the Lord did in a past season, but they should not be where we hang our hopes and expectations. We should carry those memories into the future, believing that He can do it all again.

God healed the blind eyes, the deaf ears, and the lame legs in the past, and He still heals today…God provided for the destitute widow, and He still meets our needs today…God saved the jailer and his whole family, and our children are not beyond His reach…His performance in the past builds our expectations for the future…He takes us from glory to glory!!!
12/3/2022Job 36:22-24 “Behold, God is exalted by His power; who teaches like Him? Who has assigned Him His way, or who has said, ‘You have done wrong?’ Remember to magnify His work, of which men have sung.”

When we consider only the things that we know, our expertise limits our expectations. We fail to account for a sovereign God Who knows all things.

He understands things that we have not even considered. Not only does He know about our current needs, He was aware of them before we even knew they existed. When we bring our request to Him, He already knows how He will solve it.

Yet, we often argue His answer. We tell Him how to figure out what He has already solved. If His response does not look like we expected, we accuse Him of doing wrong. Wouldn’t it be wiser to trust in a God Who can accomplish much more than our expertise leads us to expect?

If we had relied on our expertise, Mary would not have experienced a virgin birth…Jesus would have never fed 5000 with a few fish and loaves…Lazarus would have remained in a tomb…The way of the Cross would not have led to redemption…Death would not have given way to victorious, overcoming life.

In our expert opinion, none of that makes sense! None of that should have happened. But God specializes in the unexpected, and we can trust in His right way!!!
12/2/2022Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!”

We can expect the unexpected when we have put our faith in the Lord. But do not expect His reply on our timetable!

We often bring our petitions to the Lord and expect Him to answer by the close of business today. We place time restrictions on God and grow impatient with Him when He does not respond to our demands.

As we expect the unexpected, we must remember that His thoughts and ways are much higher than ours – beyond our understanding and explanation. Abraham waited 25 years for the son that God promised him. Sarah was 90 years old when she gave birth to Isaac – that was unexpected!

Moses was 80 years old when God sent him back to Egypt to lead the children of Israel out of slavery. He considered himself a failure, but God had the unexpected in mind!

When we trust God’s timing, He will part the waters, move the mountains, and make a way through the wilderness of impossibility…In the fullness of His time – when we are led by His Word and His Spirit – He will orchestrate every detail for the right-on-time arrival of our blessing…Our responsibility is to trust His timing and wisdom in the waiting…He will keep us in perfect peace when we focus on Him…In His good time, we can expect the unexpected!!!
12/1/2022Psalm 145:7 “They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, and shall sing of Your righteousness.”

Our expectations are not just built on faith. The things for which we hope and believe are influenced by how people have acted in the past.

Our expectations are determined by what others have done. People may have failed to fulfill our hopes, discouraged us, and let us down. There is One, though, Who never disappoints those who put their trust in Him.

Consider the powerful gift God gave us through His Son. God clothed Jesus in our unrighteousness, so we might wear robes of royalty. Christ went to the grave where we were supposed to lie to give us everlasting life instead.

He rose again – victorious over death, hell, and the grave – so we could be more than conquerors. He emptied Himself, so we might be filled with His splendor.

He made amends with God and paid the price, so we could boldly approach the throne of our Father. When we raise our voices, God no longer hears the sinners of old; He hears the children of God who have been set free by the blood of Jesus Christ!

The same God Who loved us so much that He sent His cherished Son is the same One Who watches over us today. His past goodness proves that we can still expect the unexpected – above what we can even ask or imagine!
11/30/2022Galatians 4:4 “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son…”

Our expectations can be hampered by the depth of the relationship that we share with a person. The less we know, the fewer our expectations.

When we meet a stranger, we have little to no expectations since we have no shared history on which to build. When we know someone well, though, we develop expectations based on our familiarity with his character and behavior. If he meets our expectations, we are pleased. If not, we are disappointed.

God wants to know us so well that He sent His own Son to us. No greater gift could ever be given to forge a relationship! He did not extend a mere token; He sent us the most precious thing He had.

No matter what presents we have received in our lifetimes, none compare to the gift of God’s only begotten Son. If He is the only gift that ever comes our way, He is more than we asked for, more than we deserve, and more than we will ever need.

He gave His Best to know us more…Once we profess Jesus as Savior, we get to know Him as a Person…The more we study His Word and pursue Him in prayer and fellowship, the more familiar we become with His promises…As our familiarity and faith grow – the more we know – we begin to expect the unexpected!!!
11/29/2022Isaiah 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Have you ever considered how influential our expectations are in our outcomes? If we do not expect good things to happen, they usually will not.

Often our expectations serve as limitations on what God can accomplish in our lives. We pray for the things that we desire in the ways that we determine they should happen under a deadline that we establish. But God’s Word tells us that He has greater things in mind than we can even imagine, that His plans are much better than ours, and that His timing is impeccable.

We often expect our blessing to look a certain way and be delivered on a certain date. If we stubbornly refuse to let go of our too-small expectations, we will limit the God Who wants to do exceedingly, abundantly above what we could think or ask (Ephesians 3:20-21).

We sell ourselves short! God has promised that our eyes have never seen, our ears have never heard, our minds cannot even imagine the wonderful things that He has in store for us (I Corinthians 2:9). Why would we settle for less?

Let’s make up our minds to expect the unexpected…Let’s wait for His answers with excited anticipation…Believe for the impossible…Hang on for a miracle…Let go of the limitations…God never disappoints!!!
11/28/2022Psalm 35:9 “And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD; it shall rejoice in His salvation.”

One memorial stone stands above all others in the Christian faith, and that is the mount of Golgotha called the Place of the Skull.

There, the spotless Lamb of God hung and bled and died so that He might bring us into right relationship with our Father. On that hill, He paid the price that we have no means to pay. If He had not taken our place, God would not receive our thanksgiving. We would forever be separated from Him.

But because Jesus chose Calvary, the voiceless can now magnify His name and enter boldly into His throne room. No longer are we orphans and alone, wandering this earth without haven or home.]

Give thanks that we have been redeemed…Through the shed blood of Christ, every crimson stain has been washed whiter than snow…We now live and move and find our very existence in Him…Praise Him for the skills and strength to do the work that He has given us each day…Rejoice that He has blessed us with divine wisdom when we did not know what to do…For joy in place of sorrow, for peace instead of anxiety, for strength instead of weakness raise a hallelujah…

Heavenly Father, You are the giver of every good gift! We thank You for the perfect gift of Your Son, and we rejoice in our salvation!
11/27/2022Psalm 106:1 “Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”

When we choose thankfulness in the middle of the trial, the power and presence of God breaks through to bring us victory.

Every week, Hagee Ministries receives messages from individuals who partner with us or who need prayer for difficult situations. One particular letter came from a mother to ask for prayer for her daughter, Jesse.

Jesse was a healthy, happy teenager who joined her youth group for a much-anticipated ski trip. While hurtling down a hill, she had a terrible accident that broke her neck and several vertebrae and left her with a life-threatening head injury.

The first letter begged, “Please pray that my daughter doesn’t die.” And we did.

For several weeks, Jesse teetered between life and death, bedridden and without much hope.

Every week, Jesse’s mom sent an update: “I’m thankful that my daughter is still alive. I’m thankful that doctors are still giving me hope.”

Six weeks later, she reported: “I’m thankful that my daughter has blinked her eyes.”

Five months later, she revealed: “I’m thankful that she moved her hand.”

Ten months later, she rejoiced: “I’m thankful that she has wiggled her toes.”

After fourteen months in the hospital, Jesse’s mother sent a jubilant note: “I am thankful that my daughter is walking out of the hospital!”

Give God glory…Every day is a gift from our Father…Our praise will break through to victory!!!
11/26/2022Psalm 143:5 “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands.”

One hundred and fifty years before the Constitution was signed, our forefathers landed on Plymouth Rock – a memorial stone for America.

Before they disembarked, the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact, a document whose fundamental principles of self-government and common consent laid the groundwork for democratic government in America.

Under the leadership of William Bradford, about one hundred Pilgrims came ashore hoping to establish a settlement “for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.” On Christmas morning, they assembled their first work crew and began to construct their colony.

The winter of 1620 proved extremely harsh, and 47 members of the original group perished due to sickness and starvation. In March 1621, when a Native American named Squanto visited the village, he found the Pilgrims desperate for help.

Squanto taught the colonists how to build homes to survive the North Atlantic weather. He instructed them on when to plant, how to fertilize with fish, and the prime months to harvest. He also brokered a peace treaty with the Wampanoags, a local Indian tribe, that stood firm for five decades.

The Pilgrims experienced such abundance under Squanto’s tutelage that, in one journal entry, Bradford described him as “a special instrument of God for their good beyond their expectation.” God’s gifts often come in unexpected packages!
11/25/2022Deuteronomy 31:8 “And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

Squanto, whose proper name was Tisquantum, was a member of the Patuxet tribe that lived near Plymouth, Massachusetts at the time the Pilgrims began to build a colony there.

Much of Squanto’s life is cloaked in mystery, but we do know that he traded with trappers and spent considerable time in England, making several transatlantic expeditions with Captains John Smith and Thomas Hunt. He was educated abroad and spoke English fluently. Some scholars believe that he developed a deep faith in God when Spanish friars took him under their care.

The Lord orchestrated the events of his life that led him to the small struggling village the Pilgrims called home in 1621. Squanto’s many experiences and skills caused William Bradford, the leader of the Pilgrims, to call him “a special instrument of God.”

He became their interpreter, translator, educator, and guide. Squanto taught them the tools that they needed to escape certain death the following winter.

For all of us, the Lord is the God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow…He knew the needs of today…His grace has brought us this far…Right now, He is going ahead into tomorrow to move the mountains and make the crooked ways straight!!!
11/24/2022Deuteronomy 31:8 “And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

On that first Thanksgiving in 1621, William Bradford gathered with about 50 Pilgrims and almost 100 Native American friends to celebrate a bountiful harvest with a three-day feast, games of skill, and military exercises.

Only about half of the colony had survived the preceding winter – many succumbing to sickness and starvation. Legend tells us that on some days, the Pilgrims were rationed only five kernels of corn. Their survival relied on those small morsels of food.

As they gathered around the tables laden with venison and vegetables, Bradford shucked an ear of corn and meted out five kernels of corn to each guest. He wanted them to remember where they had started and what they had survived. Together, they gave God humble thanks.

On this special day of gratitude, look back and remember where you began and how God brought you here – the just-in-time job offer, the joy of your salvation, the word of confirmation, the check in the mail, His sustaining grace, the miraculous medical turn-around, the faces of your loved ones…He was faithful to you in the past, and He is not finished…If He brought you from there to where you are today, He will take you the rest of the way!!!
11/23/2022Genesis 28:22 “And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house…”

God knew that we have a tendency to forget, so He encouraged some simple habits to help us remember His wonders. He instructed the Israelites to tie His words on their hands and foreheads, to inscribe them on their doorposts, to speak them to their children, to build altars, celebrate annual feasts, and pile up memorial stones!

On his way to Haran one night, Jacob used a stone for a pillow. He dreamed of a ladder with angels descending to earth and ascending to heaven. When he awoke, he set up the stone and poured oil over it – a reminder of the covenant God had made with him (Genesis 28).

When God rolled back the waters of the Jordan to allow the Israelites into the Promised Land, He commanded them to choose twelve stones from the dry riverbed and carry them across on their shoulders.

Joshua piled up those stones – one for each tribe of Israel – as a future memorial. When their children asked about that mysterious heap, their parents could tell the miraculous stories of the mighty God they served (Joshua 4).

In this week of Thanksgiving, take time to remember the memorial stones in your own life – the ways that God met you…For the place He brought you from and every promise He has kept – give thanks for those stones of remembrance!!!
11/22/2022Psalm 86:12 “I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name forevermore.”

In just a few days, families will gather around a table with those that we love. As we slice the turkey, dive into the dressing, and savor the pumpkin pie, we will offer thanks for the blessings that we often take for granted.

More than an annual tradition, our gratitude should spill over into every day. We must cultivate an ongoing attitude of appreciation – a spirit of thanksgiving – that permeates our every waking moment.

King David vowed to glorify the name of the Lord forever. And in Psalm 34, he declared that God’s praises would continually be in his mouth. And we know that the mouth can only proclaim what is generated in the abundance of the heart! (Luke 6:45)

We need only look around us to find reasons for praise…The heavens declare God’s handiwork…He made the sun to rule the day, and each night, he brings out the starry host one by one and calls them by name…When we look into the faces of our loved ones, we recognize that He has fearfully and wonderfully made each one…They are His gifts to us…When we look inside, we are overwhelmed at a Savior Who abides in us…How can we not pour forth His praises…With all of our hearts, may we glorify Him forever!!!
11/21/2022John 11:41 “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You have heard Me’.”

Jesus exhibited a thankful attitude as He fulfilled His ministry here on earth. He demonstrated the way to the Father’s heart, the means to walk in the miraculous.

When the disciples despaired of feeding a crowd of five thousand with seven loaves of bread and a few fish, Jesus stopped to give thanks before sharing it among the multitude. Everyone ate, and seven baskets of leftovers were collected!

We often meet our lack with complaints and comparison: “Why do they have so much when we have so little?” Perhaps, if we offer up genuine gratitude for what He has given us, an all-sufficient God will bless us with more than enough!

When Jesus wept before the grave of His friend, Lazarus, He paused to thank God for listening. Immediately afterwards, a dead man walked out of the tomb into the joyful arms of his sisters.

When we stand in front of an impossible situation, we can say with deep hope and trust: “Father, I thank You”…In spite of what the bystanders believe or the doubters do or the scorners say, we offer praise to the One Who has shown us great grace and glorious mercy in the hardest days of our lives!!!
11/20/2022Jonah 2:9 “But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.”

Praise and thanksgiving open the door to the demonstration of God’s power in our lives. Never is this truth more evident than in the life of Jonah, that headstrong prophet from Jaffa.

When God instructed Jonah to head north and deliver a warning to the city of Nineveh, he sailed straight south instead. Because he hated the Ninevites so much, Jonah took control into his own hands.

When a terrible tempest blew up, Jonah demonstrated his relentless stubbornness. He opted to take a swim rather than submit to the Lord. The sailors threw him overboard, the storm ceased, and Jonah was swallowed by a huge fish.

From the belly of the whale, he cried out to God. Jonah’s sacrifice of thanksgiving won him the opportunity to go do what God had instructed him to do in the beginning. Upon his admission of gratitude, God caused the whale to spit Jonah on the beach.

Jonah quit complaining about the assignment God delegated to him. He stopped trying to comprehend why God would show mercy to a nation that he detested. He determined to trust the One Who gave him the mission.

When Jonah voiced an offering of thanksgiving instead of opposition, revival swept through an entire city. His praise released God’s power!
11/19/2022I Chronicles 29:11 “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head over all.”

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

With this one realization comes amazing liberation – we are not in control. When we lay hold of this fact and relinquish our rights to the One Who is, we open ourselves to miraculous possibilities.

Many of us believe that we are in control, convinced that everything rises and falls on our endeavors and efforts. We plot and plan, maneuver and manipulate. Scripture tells us that we might make many plans, but only God’s purposes will stand (Proverbs 19:21). He will have His way.

All the time and in every situation, God alone has complete control. When we finally lay down our illusions, it frees us from the overwhelming burden of attempting to control every outcome and believing that everything is our fault.

That liberation allows us the opportunity to get to know the One Who is in control. Like a beloved child, we learn to trust our Father Who rules over all. Because we belong to Him, we are favored.

In His house, everything He owns belongs to us…We recognize His voice, and He recognizes ours…He is our Rock and Refuge…We find provision and protection under His care and control!!!
11/18/20221 Chronicles 29:13 “Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name.”

True thanksgiving puts the key to miracles in our hands. A lack of genuine gratitude can cause our prayers to bounce off the ceiling and disqualify us from receiving a miracle.

Thanksgiving is not a spiritual suggestion; it is a biblical command. Over and over in Scripture, we see Jesus’ example and God’s admonishment to be thankful, to bless His name.

Paul encouraged the church in Colossae to allow the peace of God to rule in their hearts and to always remember to be thankful for all God had done for them (Colossians 3:15).

He echoed that same direction to the church in Thessalonica when he urged them to be thankful and to give thanks in every circumstance; this was the will of God for them (I Thessalonians 5:18).

Again, to the church at Ephesus, he instructed them to be continually filled with the Spirit, to encourage one another with hymns and spiritual songs, and to give “thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:18-20).

How astonishing this command becomes when we consider the persecution that the early church suffered! In spite of stonings, beatings, imprisonment, and even death – Paul directed them to continue to thank God and to serve from hearts filled with gratitude.

Paul comprehended what we need to grasp: thankfulness opens doors.
11/17/20221 Chronicles 29:13 “Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name.”

True thanksgiving puts the key to miracles in our hands. A lack of genuine gratitude can cause our prayers to bounce off the ceiling and disqualify us from receiving a miracle.

Thanksgiving is not a spiritual suggestion; it is a biblical command. Over and over in Scripture, we see Jesus’ example and God’s admonishment to be thankful, to bless His name.

Paul encouraged the church in Colossae to allow the peace of God to rule in their hearts and to always remember to be thankful for all God had done for them (Colossians 3:15).

He echoed that same direction to the church in Thessalonica when he urged them to be thankful and to give thanks in every circumstance; this was the will of God for them (I Thessalonians 5:18).

Again, to the church at Ephesus, he instructed them to be continually filled with the Spirit, to encourage one another with hymns and spiritual songs, and to give “thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:18-20).

How astonishing this command becomes when we consider the persecution that the early church suffered! In spite of stonings, beatings, imprisonment, and even death – Paul directed them to continue to thank God and to serve from hearts filled with gratitude.

Paul comprehended what we need to grasp…Thankfulness opens doors!!!
11/16/2022Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”

Every person who has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is a supernatural manifestation of God’s power! We have experienced the unexplainable; the impossible has become our reality. Jesus broke into our ordinary lives to bring us the extraordinary gift of salvation.

How miraculous that a sinner can whisper a prayer to trade a lifetime of sin for an eternity of everlasting life. Jesus’ crimson blood paid for our pardon and washed us whiter than snow. Forgiven and set free!

Sorrowful souls are set to dancing. Heartbreak and regret are swallowed in joy. Greed is replaced with giving hearts. Hate is swept away in a baptism of love.

The greatest miracle we will ever experience is salvation through Jesus…When we gaze in the mirror or gather with our brothers and sisters in the family of Christ, we are looking at the mighty miracles of God…When one lost soul confesses and professes Jesus as Lord, all of heaven pauses as the angels rejoice…A praise party breaks out, because they have witnessed a miracle…The unworthy has been made worthy…The one who stood far off, outside the promises of God, has been brought near…Highest praise to God the Father and Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son, for this miracle of miracles…All honor and glory and thanksgiving belong to Him!!!
11/15/2022John 14:12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”

A mysterious connection ties our thankfulness to God’s miracle-working power. But before we can receive, we must believe in miracles.

Some declare that the signs and wonders that marked Jesus’ ministry were only for the early New Testament church. However, Hebrews 13:8 assures us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever – the unchanging, miracle-working God!

A miracle is the supernatural manifestation of God’s power, so that we recognize Him for Who He is. When the unexplainable occurs, when the impossible becomes a reality, we are forced to acknowledge the One Who breaks into the ordinary with His extraordinary.

Trapped! The children of Israel gazed helplessly at the Red Sea before them and the Egyptian army in hot pursuit. No way out…until a strong wind piled up water on the left and right, and two million people crossed on dry ground.

A humble virgin gave birth to a Son. Wise men came from afar, shepherds worshiped, and the heavenly host sang, “Glory to God in the highest!”

Jesus performed many miracles…He promised that we will accomplish even greater works than those…If you believe in miracles you will receive…First we must believe!!!
11/14/2022Nehemiah 8:10 “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

When we face various hardships, it does not mean that the Lord no longer loves us. In this life, troubles just mean that we are breathing!

Anything in this world that is worth possessing requires a struggle to lay hold of it. Behind every prosperous business, someone strived to succeed. Every great church has overcome obstacles of all sorts. Every loving couple has contended for their marriage. Every believer has fought the good fight of faith.

While we prefer the easier route – the road most traveled – God understands that the struggle is where we get the strength to grasp the blessing. Building spiritual muscle helps us gain the power to hold onto the things that God has promised us. And this is not a stress-free workout!

In the middle of the circumstances where we find ourselves, when we offer up praise and thanksgiving, the Lord makes that place His address. And when He arrives, He brings joy with Him. He gives us beauty for ashes and dancing for mourning.

When we lift up our thanks before the victory is won, we are not denying the reality of our situation…We are telling the situation about the reality of our great, big God…So, go ahead…Sing to Him in the middle of the storm…His joy becomes our strength even as the struggle is making us stronger!!!
11/13/2022Job 1:21 “And Job said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD’.”

Human nature struggles to believe that joy can exist alongside trials. Our senses and emotions live in the temporal right now, but Jesus asks us to stretch to an eternal perspective.

All that He said and did was in light of eternity. When we recognize that “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” we can count it all joy (II Corinthians 4:17)!

We can lift our eyes above the natural to start seeing it God’s way. And if we cannot fully grasp it yet, we can trust in a God Who is unfailingly faithful.

That is how Job survived his season of devastation. Everything that he had – his children, fortune, and health – were snatched away. His friends were no comfort, and his wife urged him to curse God and die.

In his greatest tragedy, he still responded with praise. He could not comprehend God’s generosity. He did not understand why He mysteriously took away everything He had given. But he blessed His name anyway.

When we face our darkest day, we can take joy in the fact that God blessed our yesterdays, He blesses this moment, and the blessings of tomorrow are beyond our comprehension!!!
11/12/2022John 16:33 “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Immediately before His crucifixion, Jesus warned His disciples of coming trials. After promising that troubles would befall them, He gave a strange command: Cheer up!

Trials take different forms. Satan recognizes the power and favor in our lives. God has given each of us a divine destiny filled with abundance and promise. Satan schemes to kill those dreams, steal our blessings, and ultimately destroy us – anything to hold us back and push us down.

Trials occur simply because we live in a fallen world. Since Genesis, earth has lived under the curse of sin, a fractured relationship with God and with one another. Sin opened the door to every kind of disease and disaster. We suffer its repercussions daily.

Maybe a trial comes for our greater good. God is setting us up for more! We have all asked God for more strength, more power, more resources. Remember the prayer of Jabez: “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory…” (I Chronicles 4:10)? Expanding our territory means pulling up tent pegs and painfully stretching to enlarge our capacity for His gifts. And, oh the joy that follows!

Whether Satan is setting you back or God is setting you up, take heart…Jesus gave us good reason for joy…His is the final victory!!!
11/11/2022Ephesians 1:22-23 “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

For every person who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ, the cross is not just a border of salvation. It is a border of triumph!

When God raised Christ from the dead, He sat Him down in heavenly places and placed everything under His feet. Everything includes every ruler, every power, every authority, every name that is named, in the present age and in the ages to come…everything!

From His throne, Christ directs galaxies and governments, planets and politicians, countries and kings. Nothing is exempt from His rulership. From now and through forever, He is over all.

Today’s verse informs us that God set up Jesus as the head over everything for the church. We are His body. Christ – the One Who fills the whole, wide universe – fills us up in every way. He speaks to us and acts through us so that we are His love and message to the world around us.

When we are full of Christ, His power and authority have rulership in our lives…He crushes Satan under our feet…We no longer are slaves to sin in a lifetime of bondage…The cross opened the door to salvation and liberty…Thanks be to God Who always causes us to triumph in Christ…
11/10/2022Psalm 16:11 “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

David was out warding off lions and bears when Samuel came looking to anoint a king. His own father did not recognize David’s potential until the old prophet poured the oil over his head.

From the shepherd’s field, David traveled to the battlefield. His brother angrily ordered him to go home, but David went out to confront a giant instead. The women of Israel rattled their tambourines and danced for joy in the parade that formed in his honor, and King Saul welcomed him home to the palace.

Only a short time later, David escaped with his life when King Saul tried to kill him in a jealous rage. For years, he and his mighty men hid out in caves and enemy territory to elude the murderous king. Only after Saul’s death did David take his rightful place as king of Israel.

As David pondered all the places he had been and all he had accomplished, he put pen to parchment in Psalm 16. Joy did not come from power or position, the victory of battle or the luxury of the palace. David had discovered the fullness of joy in the presence of the Lord.

Joy resides in the Jesus in our hearts…In seasons of success or times of trouble, exquisite pleasures abound in the presence of the Almighty!!!
11/9/2022James 1:2 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials…”

James, the brother of Jesus, asks us to do the math! When we balance the books in our lives – the burdens against the blessings – we find that it all adds up to joy.

Where would we be if God had not been for us? If He had not redeemed us, we would still be lost and wandering outside of His provision and promises. If Jesus had not paved the way to heaven with His blood, we would be facing eternal suffering and separation from our Father.

Consider how He has opened the windows of heaven to pour out innumerable blessings. Remember how He healed the disease the doctor diagnosed. Count up the prayers He has answered.

Even when we face all sorts of trouble, we can consider it nothing but joy. These tests of faith lead to endurance, maturity, and wisdom – all vital to this Christian journey.

When we consider the doors that He has opened, His protection when we were unaware, the profound peace that fills us in darkest times – we can celebrate…Joy is not in what surrounds us; it is in the One Who watches over us…When we accurately do the math, we discover that the depth of His riches is too much for us to comprehend…We can only respond with deepest gratitude and praise!!!
11/8/2022John 16:22 “Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.”

At this very moment, we are as joyful as we want to be. If we are not filled with the joy of the Lord, we cannot blame our bosses, our spouses, or our mothers-in-law. Joy has nothing to do with them, but everything to do with the attitude we choose.

Our joy is determined by our willingness to give God the glory He is due. This is how Daniel found joy in a den of hungry lions while King Darius paced the palace floor.

This is the joy that prompted Paul and Silas to burst into song in their prison cell at midnight. Inside Paul and Silas was the key that sets every captive free.

Circumstances do not manufacture joy…The joy of the Lord is a fact on which we can depend – not a fickle feeling…Happiness is not to be confused with joy…Happiness is an unstable emotion blown about by changing situations; if all is not right in our world, we cannot be happy…Joy comes to stay…It is not found in our position – it is found in a Person…Jesus gives us joy that no one can take away…If we are not experiencing joy, it is because we relinquished it…We choose our attitude – make it joy!!!
11/7/2022Psalm 34:1 “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

This day offers the opportunity to be grateful. No matter how difficult this season has been, we can lift hands and hearts to bless the Lord.

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for Your eternal Word. Your hand is mighty to save; Your arm is able to deliver! Thank You for Your faithfulness, for making a way when it seemed impossible.

In lonely hours, thank You for being a friend that sticks closer than a brother. In times of sickness, thank You for the stripes that Jesus took for our healing. In times of oppression, thank You for the authority to overcome.

In times of need, thank You for providing blessings that cannot be contained. In times of anxiety, thank You for the peace that passes understanding. In times of death, thank You for the promise of resurrection and everlasting life.

Thank You that every sunrise brings renewed mercies. For the air that fills my lungs, thank You. For the home that shelters me and my family, thank You. For the food on the table before me, thank You. For breaking generational curses and lifting heavy burdens, thank You.

For the soaring sky and the shimmering sea, thank You. For beloved family and friends, thank You. 

For Your marvelous gifts to me, I am grateful…I bless You for Your goodness to me!!!
11/6/2022James 4:6 “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’.”

God does not mince words – He hates pride and arrogance (Proverbs 8:13). He sets Himself against the haughty, but He gives grace to those who are humble enough to receive it.

We can choose His offer of grace or His opposition. If God resists us, we face a fight we will never win. When we puff up with pride, take credit for His work, or refuse to give the thanks He deserves, He sets Himself against us. He will not share His glory (Isaiah 42:8).

If we crave God’s grace, we must humbly acknowledge His generosity. Like the one leper, we must turn back to fall at His feet, pour out our soul-deep appreciation, and glorify Him (Luke 17:15).

Every good and perfect gift in our lives comes from the Father of lights…From the prime parking spot to a perfect sunset to a prosperous career – all of it comes from Him…If our business experienced record growth, that was God’s doing – not our efforts…He gives us health to work…He gives us wisdom and creative ideas…While we sleep, He aligns the pieces that give the increase…To Him be all glory, honor, and praise…Let us humble ourselves to recognize His handiwork and thank Him for His grace to us!!!
11/5/2022Psalm 71:23 “My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You, and my soul, which You have redeemed.”

God deserves our joyous thanks for the indescribable gift of salvation through the sacrifice of His Son. All of the glory goes to the One Who conquered death, hell, and the grave for us!

Not one of us is worthy of the saving grace of God, of the price He paid to redeem us. Yet, no matter who we are or what we have done, He has a divine destiny for each of us filled with glorious things.

From the moment Eve’s teeth sunk into the forbidden fruit, God has been miraculously redeeming humankind. The blood of Jesus flowed at Calvary for the remission of our sins. One generation after another has rejected and attempted to replace Him, but He continues to reach for us.

And because He lives, we live! His resurrection ensures our victory over the world, our flesh, and Satan. The same Spirit that quickened Jesus now makes us more than conquerors through Him Who loves us without reservation.

How incomprehensible that He would come to our rescue…But because He did, we are no longer the sinners we once were…Because He looked past our sinful state to see our desperate need for a Savior, we have been washed white as snow…He became our bridge back to the Father, and we rejoice…We are thankful!!!
11/4/2022I Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

When we live rejoicing and praying without ceasing, these life-changing practices shift the dynamic of our lives. The third powerful principle in God’s will for us lies in learning to give thanks in everything.

Rejoicing encompasses praising God, but giving thanks is attributing to God the credit He deserves. We show appreciation for Who He is and what He has accomplished in and through our lives.

Every piece of creation comprises the magnificent display of His glory. For every bird that sings, He wrote the song. For every rustling leaf, He breathed the breeze that causes it to flutter. The rising sun reminds us of His renewed mercies. He holds every towering mountain in His hand. He scooped out every valley in the earth.

He deserves the glory for everything that He has created and sustained by His mighty right hand…He deserves the glory for saving and redeeming us, for conquering powers and principalities, for every blessing that He has afforded us…The use of the word “give” indicates intentionality and a determination to be thankful…We make up our minds to give God the glory that He is due…For every heartbeat, every breath, and in every moment, resolve to give thanks…God is great and greatly to be praised!
11/3/2022I Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing…for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

A second practice in God’s will for us is to pray without ceasing. That sounds complicated, doesn’t it? How can we pray 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with all of the obligations and demands every day holds?
In his directive, Paul is not suggesting one long, never-ending prayer. He is encouraging us to make prayer such a consistent part of our lives that it becomes a habit we cannot live without. Habits become such a part of our daily routine that we often do not remember when they began and cannot imagine a day lacking them.
Too many believers regard prayer as heaven’s emergency hotline – only to be used in the event of crisis as a last resort. But that perception denies the very purpose and power of prayer.
God’s will for us to be in a constant prayerful state brings us into uninterrupted communication with Him…Prayer is living in an unbroken awareness of our Savior and His work around us…As we practice the discipline of praying without ceasing, it becomes as natural as breathing in and out…Even in the middle of a business meeting or lunch with a friend, prayer can be the ever-flowing undercurrent – silent and undetected to the observer, but always heard and answered by our omnipresent Father!!!
11/2/2022I Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always…for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Rejoice always – this powerful principle possesses the ability to change our lives. The simple statement slips off the tongue so easily, but walking it out often trips us up!

In today’s verse, Paul shares the first of three principles that are God’s will for each of us. God understands something we may not grasp. God is all-complete; He does not rely on our praise. But when we are always joyfully praising Him – focusing on the beauty of His holiness – His overcoming power shows up in our circumstances. His joy becomes our strength.

David demonstrates this truth repeatedly in the Psalms. He often began his songs with pitiful pleas for God’s deliverance from sickness, enemies or sadness. However, as he turned his eyes from the overwhelming situation and began to focus on the faithfulness and goodness of God, a strange thing occurred. His weariness turned to wonder; his despondency turned to delight. He realized that praise was the purpose for which he was created.

The apostle Paul learned to be content in whatever state he found himself. Whether he was abounding or abased, hurting or hungry, needy or not – he knew that he could accomplish anything through the power he had in Christ (Philippians 4).

Paul understood how difficult it is to always choose joy, but he also experienced how Jesus can make the implausible possible…Like him, let us determine to live always rejoicing!!!
11/1/2022Psalm 150:6 “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!”

This first day of November marks the beginning of the annual season of thanksgiving. For Christian believers, though, our gratitude is not limited to a season, stage or second.

Constantly and continuously, our praises flow from hearts that have been transformed by our loving Father. No matter where we find ourselves, today is a good time to be grateful.

Our thanksgiving is not rooted in the dilemmas where we may be mired; it is wholly focused on God Who is an ever-present help in the day of trouble. When we pour out worship – even sacrificially from our lowest place – God inhabits our praise; He takes up residence right in the middle of whatever we are facing.

Our thanksgiving ushers us into His presence; our songs of praise carry us into His courtyards. There, in intimate communion with Him, He heals us and makes us whole.

If we are young, we can thank God for the dreams that lie before us, for His plans to prosper us and give us a beautiful future…If we are advanced in years, we can be grateful for the proof of His unwavering faithfulness…If we are experiencing a season of abundance, we can praise the Father of lights Who blesses us with every good thing…As long as He affords us the opportunity to inhale and exhale, let us praise the Lord!!!
10/31/2022Psalm 121:7-8 “The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.”

Over and over in Psalm 121, God reassures us that He is our Keeper, that He will watch over us in every circumstance. He will keep our feet from slipping. He will be our shade, protecting us from the sun. He will keep us warm under the moon. He will not sleep, so we can rest while He stands sentinel.

Now, He sums it up in today’s verses: He will preserve our souls from all evil forever. The word preserve (shamar) indicates the most tender care and protection. And in addition to all of the verses before, He covers every eventuality when He tells us that He will preserve us from all evil.

Why does this short psalm repeatedly tell us that God is keeping us? 

He understands that our trust is slow to gain and easy to lose…We live in a world that readily breaks the most solemn of vows…He emphasizes His promise to let us know that He will honor our faith…In all of our public affairs (going out) and our private ones (coming in), from now until forever, we can count on God’s promise to keep us, to watch over and protect us from all evil!!!
10/30/2022Psalm 121:3-4 “He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.”

God never sleeps nor slumbers. We can rest, because He will not. How comforting is that promise!

In this harried and hurried world, we often believe that everything is up to us. We must keep going no matter how tired we feel. To succeed, we cannot quit. If we slow down, we will fall behind.

At times, our fortitude and endurance are a measure of our faithfulness in the battles we face. However, when we push ourselves to physical exhaustion, our faithfulness turns to foolishness.

God deems rest so important that He commanded us to work for six days, but on the seventh day, to rest (Exodus 23:12). Our rest signifies our confidence in Him. If we obey His mandate to take one day off, we are trusting Him to help us accomplish all our work in the next six days.

Jesus often stole away to rest and pray alone…When the disciples were stretched so thin, ministering to all the people coming and going, that they did not have an opportunity to eat, Jesus urged them to come away to a deserted place and rest…You may rest today…The One Who keeps you never slumbers…He watches over you and the things that concern you with constant care…You can lie down in peace and sleep…He will keep you safe!!!
10/29/2022Psalm 121:3 “He will not allow your foot to be moved.”

When we take a stand and place our foot on God’s Word, He keeps us from slipping. When we stay put on His promises, He will not fail us. Others may doubt, intimidate, or accuse, but we stand immovable.

Paul urged believers to put on the whole armor of God to withstand the fight with the powers and rulers of this dark age (Ephesians 6:13). Having done that, we will stand. However the enemy comes against us, our feet remain firm in the power of His might.

The young David shows us what uncompromising confidence in God looks like. While war-hardened soldiers trembled in the face of Goliath, David stood on the battlefield and proclaimed, “I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied…” (I Samuel 17:45). Then, he ran at the giant on sure feet!

Once you make a bold decision to stand for Jesus, do not succumb to second-guessing…The Israelites gladly followed Moses out of Egypt, but their doubt in God shut the door to the Promised Land for forty long years…Take a stand today…Contend with the enemy for the souls of your children…Speak Truth to a society steeped in lies…No matter how treacherous the path or shaky the ground, God will not allow our feet to be moved!!!
10/28/2022Psalm 121:1-2 “I will lift up my eyes to the hills— from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.”

Perspective makes all the difference! The way that we see something determines how we feel about it which determines what we do with it.

The difference between a sculptor and a stonemason is profound. The stonemason deals in absolutes. He mortars each brick into place with precision and care. A sculptor steps back and allows the block of stone to speak to her. She chips and chisels away the excess to set free a masterpiece.

God wants to change our perspective. We can easily be overwhelmed by the pressing issues of our day. With sagging shoulders, drooping heads, and downcast eyes, we wonder where we can turn for help. Who will come riding over the hill to save the day?

The psalmist encourages us to lift our eyes above the hills to the one Who created them…and us. Here is where we find the relief and the rescue for which we yearn.

God holds the oceans in the palm of His hand…He sized the heavens between His thumb and pinky…He poured out the dust of the earth in a measuring bowl…He weighed each mountain and hill…Lift up your eyes to consider our majestic Creator…Nothing is too hard for Him…Perspective makes all the difference!!!
10/27/2022Psalm 121:5-6 “The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.”

The Lord is our Keeper. We belong to Him, and no one will ever be able to pluck us out of our Father’s hand. His fingers are closed around us – safe and secure.

He is our Protector. In the valley of the shadow of death, His rod and staff comfort and make us feel secure. We have no reason to fear, because He is with us – now and forever.

He is our Provider. In times of drought and famine, He leads us into green pastures and allows us to rest by quiet waters. Even when enemies threaten, we sit down right in front of them to eat the meal that He gives to us.

He is our Guardian and Giver of every good thing. He pours the oil of gladness over our drooping heads until our cups run over with joy. His goodness and His mercy will chase after us every day of our lives until we finally reach our forever home with Him.

We can entrust our hearts to Him…Into His loving hands, we can commit our families and our futures with confidence…He will never let us go, relentlessly pursuing us until He is at the center of our lives, our eyes are fixed on Him, and our hearts are set on Him…He plays for keeps!!!
10/26/2022Isaiah 36:4 “…Say now to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: ‘What confidence is this in which you trust?’”

Hezekiah was a righteous king living in troubled times. When he came to power in Jerusalem, he tore down all the pagan altars to false gods, reinstated the reading of the Torah, and reestablished the Sabbath. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.

The leader of the Assyrian army, King Sennacherib, and his massive army set their sights on Jerusalem. Their military campaigns had wreaked havoc – burning, pillaging, and murdering across the countryside. The people of Jerusalem trembled at the sound of Sennacherib’s name as he mocked the God they served and vowed certain destruction.

Beyond the walls of Jerusalem, the beloved hills were alight with the campfires of the soldiers plotting the day that they would breach her walls and do their worst. King Hezekiah tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and ashes.

Into his panic and fear, the prophet Isaiah spoke a word that changed Hezekiah’s perspective. This watchman did not point to the danger; he pointed to the Savior and Jerusalem’s sure deliverance.

No matter what trouble surrounds you today, no matter the dread that pierces your soul, know that the war has been won before the battle even begins…We serve a God Who delivers us from the hands of every enemy…He is our confidence!!!
10/25/2022Ezekiel 33:6 “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.”

In the ancient world, the watchman on the city wall was essential to its protection and well-being. The citizens counted on his vigilance and responsiveness to keep them safe within the walls.

The watchman was responsible to look out for enemies, to spot danger before it arrived, and to sound the alarm to the townspeople. Watchmen needed a “get to” mindset – not a “have to” perspective.

On blistering desert days or frigid winter nights atop the wall, they chose the “get to” attitude of service that no one would be harmed on their watch.

In our modern world, God has appointed us as the watchmen on the walls who carry on this tradition…Sober and vigilant, we watch out for others and alert them to coming perils…We stand for truth in the day of deception…We fly the banner of hope in the day of despair…Parents, we have the privilege of watching over our families…Principals and teachers stand watch in our schools…Corporate employees oversee our businesses…Delivery people keep an eye over their routes…We all have our places on the wall!!!
10/24/20222 Chronicles 7:15-16 “Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.”

After Solomon completed the majestic Temple, he consecrated it to God. The glory of the Lord filled the building, and the children of Israel fell on their faces and rejoiced.

Later, the Lord appeared to Solomon and assured Him that He had chosen the Temple as a house of sacrifice. When He shut up the heavens and held back the rain, or commanded locusts to devour the land, or sent disease among the people, He made this promise to Solomon (2 Chronicles 7:14).

If My people – not the Congress or Supreme Court – who are called by My name – not Republican or Democrat, but the God of heaven and earth Who created us in His image – humble themselves and pray – no flashy pretensions but repentant hearts seeking forgiveness – then, I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.

We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the dwelling place of the awe-inspiring Most High God…We are chosen, sanctified, and sealed with His name..His eyes are open, and His ears are attentive to our prayers…His gaze is upon us, and His heart is perpetually within us!!!
10/23/2022Romans 15:13 “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

As long as we have breath in our lungs, we have a reason to hope. Our God is able! We do not possess the ability to control, contain or explain how He moves and works on our behalf, but we can be confident that He will never fail.

When we call on Him, He will deliver us. He may sail a baby in a basket down the Nile River to crush a mighty pharaoh. He may guide a shepherd with a smooth stone in his hand to take down the giant in front of us.

He may lead a ram up the side of a mountain to tangle his horns in a thicket. He has already provided the most precious gift of all in the form of a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger of hay. We can be assured that Jehovah Jireh will deliver us!

We once had no hope and lived without God in the world…We were strangers to the covenants of promise…But the shed blood of Jesus Christ brought us into that glorious circle, that marvelous kingdom of light…The Lord takes pleasure in those who hope in His mercy…Every person who places their hope in Him will never, ever be disappointed…Hallelujah!!!
10/22/2022Romans 13:11 “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.”

A significant and essential change needs to occur in this nation to combat the deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons that have hypnotized us!

We do not need a shift in our governmental system, for a certain party to come to power, or a dynamic voice to come to the forefront. The most vital and necessary change that needs to happen in this country is for apathetic, sleeping Christians to wake up!

Current circumstances are shaking us awake from our deadly slumber. The world is sleeping in the dark, but we have fallen asleep in the light. If we do not begin to use our freedom to defend our freedom, we will lose our freedom!

We are at a tipping point. The scales of justice and Truth are not just out of balance, they are in danger of toppling over. The scales of political correctness will not set us aright. The social scales will not reinstitute balance and order and peace.

The time is now to shake ourselves from sleep, to rekindle the flame in our hearts, and to stir up our passion for Jesus and His kingdom once again…Rise from your couch of complacency, and go into all the world…Wake up!!!
10/21/20222 Thessalonians 2:11-12 “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

What happens when a society is constantly bombarded by methodical lies? Its people fall under their spell and believe them. They become apathetic and are intimidated into submission.

Otto Adolf Eichmann was one of the major organizers of the Holocaust. At the Nuremburg trials, he outlined the many lies used to trap their victims. They strung razor wire to isolate Jewish neighborhoods and told them it was a necessity in the fight against Russia.

They forced the Jews to wear yellow stars on their sleeves and told them it was to signify they were under German protection. They took Jewish bribes and promised to buy better lands, nicer homes, and safer environments for their children.

A fellow officer testified that Eichmann vowed to “leap laughing into the grave because the feeling that he had five million people on his conscience would be for him a source of extraordinary satisfaction.”

The Bible tells of a son of perdition – the antichrist – who will come to power in the last days…For those who refuse the Truth and take pleasure in unrighteousness, they will fall for his lies and be condemned…Those who embrace God’s Truth will escape this delusion and rejoice at the brightness of Jesus’ coming!!!
10/20/2022John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Adolf Hitler once said, “What good fortune for governments that people do not think.” He also said, “Make the lie big, keep it simple, keep saying it, and eventually, they will believe it.”

How did Hitler come to power? He told people what they wanted to hear. Through lies and manipulation, he hypnotized a nation. Under Nazism, 11,283,000 were murdered – six million Jews and five million more Christians, Gypsies, and others who did not fit into his master race.

These “undesirables” lined up peaceably, loaded themselves onto trains, and were shipped to their death. German citizens turned a blind eye as eleven million people were starved, crowded into gas chambers, and incinerated in furnaces. They fell under the spell of Hitler’s lies.

We are buried under an avalanche of lies today…It is difficult to distinguish the truth amid all the deceptions…Jesus declared that we shall know the truth, and it shall make us free…In order to be liberated and set free, though, we must know the Truth…God’s Word is Truth, and Jesus prayed that the Truth would sanctify us…He is the Word made flesh, the Way, the Truth, and the Life…The foundation of freedom, life, and abundance is built on one thing only: the big and simple Truth!!!
10/19/2022Acts 28:26-27 “Go to this people and say: Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you will see, and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull…”

A mystical character draws a timepiece on a gold chain from his pocket. He swings it slowly back and forth in front of his subject. With low, methodical words, he lures him into a trance, “You are getting very sleepy.”
As the conscious is subverted, and the subconscious comes into play, the subject easily succumbs to the master’s directives. If the master tells him he is cold, he shivers. If he tells him he is a chicken, he scratches and squawks across a stage.
He believes a lie, and his subconscious reacts with no inhibition. Reality has been suppressed, and he accepts fiction as fact.
We have been persuaded from political platforms to give up increasing control in our lives. The media undermines and mocks the value of faith and the traditional family. Things once labeled theories are now taught as absolute truth in our educational system. Society has believed the lies and fallen under the spell.
Jesus warned His disciples of coming persecution…He sent them out as sheep among wolves and urged them to be as wise and wary as snakes and as innocent and inoffensive as doves…We must do no less today – spiritually discerning, awake and aware of Satan’s lies!!!
10/18/20221 Timothy 4:1-2 “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.”

We are a nation in need of Truth. If we reject that Truth, we will live under a lie.

Paul warned that in the last days, men would love themselves and their money above all else. They would be braggarts and blasphemers, disobedient to their parents and despisers of good.

He foretold a generation more knowledgeable than any other before that would drift ever farther from the Truth. Making a show of godliness, their lives will deny its power and validity (II Timothy 3).

In today’s verse, the Spirit expressly directed Paul to share that in the last days, even believers will fall for lies of deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. Their consciences will become so seared, they will not be able to comprehend Truth.

Our culture has accepted false narratives and succumbed to deception until we are numb to the lies. We have fallen prey to Satan’s lies until our national conscience has been seared.

The best way to identify a counterfeit is to be so acquainted with the Truth that we cannot be fooled by any worthless imposter…May God’s Word grow such deep roots in our lives that we will never be lured away to depart from the faith!!!
10/17/20222 Chronicles 7:14 “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

If America is being destroyed from the inside out, we cannot expect change to come from the outside in. No political party, candidate, or program will save the day.

The only thing that can make a difference is the life-changing power of Jesus Christ in the heart of every individual. God is waiting for us to fall on our knees, to humble ourselves, to turn from our wicked ways, and cry out to Him to heal this country.

The time for dressing up and playing church is over. May the church of the Living God rise up to shine a light in this nation until the darkness is dispelled!

With every sunrise, His mercies to us are renewed…Where our sin abounded, His grace abounded more…The goodness and mercy of God will follow us all the days of our lives…He will faithfully complete the good work that He began in us…We have a choice to make about the Truth that we know…We have a responsibility to that Truth – to speak it out and act on its principles…It will change us – and our nation – from the inside out!!!
10/16/2022Psalm 25:5 “Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.”

When God leads us to Truth, we cannot ignore it. Two pagan pharaohs demonstrate the different outcomes of either embracing or rejecting the Truth.

The first pharaoh had two dreams, and he was desperate for their interpretation. He called Joseph out of prison to explain them.

Joseph was a righteous man filled with Truth. The pharaoh had a decision to make: what would he do with the Truth he knew? He accepted the God-given Truth and acknowledged the Spirit of God in Joseph. It set Egypt free from famine and financial ruin to become the most powerful nation on earth.

After his death, another pharaoh came into power that did not know Joseph. Even though he had served as the highly-esteemed prime minister of Egypt, the new pharaoh chose to ignore the Truth.

He knew that Joseph and his God were responsible for Egypt’s prosperity, but he enslaved the Israelites anyway. God remembered His promise to curse anyone who cursed Abraham’s descendants, and pharaoh’s body ended up floating in the Red Sea.

The Truth has made us one nation under God and poured out every blessing that we possess…The Truth has anchored our society and carried us through national crises…When we turn back to God’s Truth, we will see Him do great things in this country again!!!
10/15/2022Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Knowledge of the Truth brings a burden or a blessing to our lives. Truth that is applied brings blessing. Truth that is not applied burdens us.

In today’s verse, Jesus encourages everyone who labors under a heavy burden to come to Him for rest; He promises that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. In this verse, the Greek word zygόs is used to denote a yoke or a set of scales. For either of them to work properly, they must be balanced.

When a farmer places a yoke on a team of oxen, he is telling them that there are fields to be plowed. When we shoulder the yoke of Jesus, we understand that we have work to accomplish. It is not a matter of if we will work; it is a matter of for whom we work.

We do not escape a yoke…The one who is in charge places the yoke across our necks…For those who live outside of Christ, the ruler of this world, Satan, places a yoke on their necks…For those who submit to Jesus, He becomes our Master and Lord…Know whose yoke are you wearing…Satan’s yoke is one of burden and bondage…Jesus’ yoke is light and easy and filled with blessing!!!
10/14/2022Matthew 12:25 “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”

In one of his most famous speeches, Abraham Lincoln uttered this oft-quoted line: “A house divided against itself will not stand.” He took the verse directly from Scripture, and the point he made is just as relevant today.

He emphasized that, if America was going to fall, it would collapse from the inside out. Through the pride and arrogance of self-deception and self-reliance, this country is destroying itself at so many levels.

We believe that we can address all these issues on our own. We can rectify the economy, correct our failing education system, resolve the race issues, and right all wrongs. We can make America great. None of that is true!

Jesus declared that apart from Him, we could do nothing…It is time to place Jesus back where He belongs – not in a book collecting dust on the coffee table…We need to welcome His transformative power into our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies…We do not need truth that makes us comfortable; we need the Truth of God’s Word that alone makes the difference…We do not need a denominational takeover…We do not need a particular political party in power…We do not need one more opinion…We need to submit to Him as one nation under God until freedom rings from sea to shining sea!!!
10/13/20222 Corinthians 11:3 “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

It is impossible for God to lie. He only deals in Truth. Satan, on the other hand, has nothing to do with Truth. He is a liar and the father of lies.

A wicked combination of pride, arrogance, and deception causes us to deny the Truth. Satan himself is our warning. In Isaiah 14:14, in a moment of self-deception, he said, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.” He went toe-to-toe with Truth, and God ejected him from heaven.

He deceived one-third of the angels who fell with him. He manipulated Eve with the exact lie he told himself. He operates the same today, prowling about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour the unsuspecting.

He distorts God’s Word to make us doubt. He leads us to create a different truth that convinces us of our rightness and the error of scripture. When we think we know better or that alternative truths will lead us to God, we are deceived.

The God Who lives in us is greater than that serpent of old…He has given us the Truth of His Word and equipped us with the armor of God that we may stand against the wiles of Satan!!!
10/12/20221 John 3:7 “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.”

We are a nation in need of truth. We treat symptoms in our society, but we seldom search for the actual cure.

We are so quick to treat the surface symptoms, we rarely get to the root cause of the problem. We take a handful of pills for a quick fix rather than search for and treat the source. The root cause of the problems in our nation is sin – not lack of gun control, a struggling economy, a lack of tolerance, or any other reason.

Jesus warned us that deceptive days would come (Matthew 24), and John urged us not to be deceived. We are surrounded by fraud, slander, manipulation, and pretense. It is difficult to distinguish the truth from the lies. How can we be certain?

If the articles we read do not align with God’s Word, they are false…If the reports we hear do not line up with what He says, they are untrue…If the actions we witness are not supported by the principles of the Lord, those individuals lack integrity…The righteous will act righteously…Let’s call sin exactly what it is – a transgression against the divine laws of God and a reproach to our people and nation…With unflagging resolve, let’s point to the only cure for the problem: the shed blood of Jesus Christ our Redeemer!!!
10/11/2022John 8:31-32 “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

We can ignore the Truth, debate the Truth, argue the Truth, and refuse to apply the Truth. No matter what we do with it, though, Truth does not change.

Many people are discussing the national issues that need to be addressed. Politicians expound from their various platforms. Commentators present their views on the nightly news. In casual conversations between friends, topics are dissected and discussed.

We debate who should be voted in or unseated. We argue who deserves to be defunded, who needs to be refunded, and who is overfunded.

Amid the noisy clamor, we have overlooked this central truth: we are hacking at branches instead of striking the root. Until we realize that we are a nation in need of God’s Truth, the chaos and confusion will continue to worsen.

God’s children will recognize the Truth, and it will make us free…Once we discover it we cannot dilute or disregard it…We must submit to it and speak it…Our blessings do not come from a political party, a savvy economic program or a charismatic leader…Our blessings flow from the Father above…When America remembers, we will return to our legacy as one nation under God!!!
10/10/20221 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God…”

The beauty of the scales of God’s Word is that nothing in heaven nor the world beneath has the power to knock them out of balance.

Truth tells us that two types of people exist in this world – the just and the unjust. No matter the diversities of our cultures and creeds, God simply sees the just and the unjust.

The just never committed a sin. The unjust – no matter who we are or where we are from – were born in sin. The just was the Darling of Heaven in need of nothing. The unjust deserved nothing. The just was the only begotten Son of the Father. The unjust were imprisoned in death, enslaved by iniquity, and sentenced to hell.

God placed the unjust on the scales and considered our transgression and unrighteousness…Into those scales, He placed justice…All things being equal, without Jesus, God knew we would live an eternity without Him…So, there in the balance, He hung His Son…Oh, what God did at Calvary when He stretched the Truth between heaven and earth, when He twisted the Truth on a rugged cross, when He bent the Truth with stripes across His back, and He buried the Truth in a grave…Truth arose – the just for the unjust – to bring us close forever!!!
10/9/2022Proverbs 16:11 “Honest weights and scales are the LORD’s; all the weights in the bag are His work.”

The experts and influencers and brightest minds of our day can gather up all their predictions and projections, but their opinions will never outweigh God’s promises.

In biblical times, the weights for the scales were held in a bag, because once they were true, they needed to be protected. If a shekel was chipped, it no longer weighed an accurate amount and would lead to dishonest outcomes. The person who owned the scales kept the honest weights in the bag to be certain nothing changed.

God holds all the weights in His bag. He watches over the scales of truth and righteousness. He ensures that the weights do not change. His scales are accurate.

He measures everything justly – large or small…He weighs the movement of galaxies, the affairs of nations, and the financial transactions of corporations…He also weighs our motives, thoughts, deeds, and words…What no one else can see or comprehend, He places on the scales and measures…Worldly scales will tilt in the favor of some and not in the favor of others…Earthly judges sometimes do not rule equitably…But there has never been a time when God was unjust…He holds the weights in His bag…His work is perfect, and all of His ways are just!!!
10/8/2022Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”

The only set of scales big enough to balance the chaos of our day and to overcome the deceptions of this generation are the words of our Living God Who never falters or fails.

The only scales accurate enough to treat every person with justice are the words of God bound in the pages of the Bible. They equally value every life, fairly and squarely weigh every motive, and grant every individual their full worth.

This Word is the firm foundation that undergirds our lives. It heals our hearts and mends our minds. It delivers from addiction and releases every person that has been restrained. It restores every single thing that the enemy has stolen. When we pray its promises over our family, it erects a hedge of protection that Satan cannot penetrate. When preached to a nation, it brings repentance and revival.

The weight of the world may bow our shoulders, but God sees it as a small thing…He invites us to place it on the scales…We are not big enough to carry it, but His promises outweigh the problems we face…When we place the issues of our lives on the scales of God’s righteousness, His love, grace, mercy, and justice guarantee that we are treated fairly…Our needs will never overwhelm Him…His promises stand forever!!!
10/7/2022Isaiah 43:19 “Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

When the scales of political correctness fail to bring balance to our society, social scales come into play. Social scales attempt to create our future with facts from the past.

Social scales collect data to determine our destinies. Pie charts and graphs predict that everyone who looks like us, grew up like us, went to school with us, or suffered the same setbacks will only rise so high or do so much. They attempt to standardize and force people into narrow roles, because history repeats itself.

These social scales are an abomination to the Lord, because they lie; they are dishonest. They attempt to hinder and restrain what God has called blessed, privileged, and favored.

As children of God, no demographic or statistic can limit our destinies! God says that all things are possible to those who believe. The pain of our past cannot overturn the promise of our futures. Statistics cannot unbalance the promise of our potential because of God’s power inside us!

What social scales call barren, God calls blessed…What they call broken, God heals completely…What they reject, God accepts…He does not look at us and see high risk; He sees great reward…He is our portion, and we are His prize!!!
10/6/2022Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

Our society often uses the scales of political correctness to weigh the value of a person. Can we rely on their fairness, balance, and accuracy?

Political correctness is marked by words like “sensitivity” and “tolerance,” but when we place questions such as “Who am I?” and “Does my life have value?” on the scales, balance is impossible to achieve.

In spite of the fact that God created man and woman and declared them to be “very good,” political correctness refuses to identify or define gender.

The politically-correct term is “pro-choice,” but it equates to millions of babies annihilated each year in the name of a woman’s prerogative. Their blood is on the hands of those that abort the innocent.

Political correctness has tipped the scales precariously out of balance…The effort to create order for every cause has resulted in chaos…Under the guise of equality, everything is unequal…In search of tolerance, Truth has been ousted and will not be recognized…Though it promises inclusion, those who refuse to conform to its agenda are slandered and vilified…The scales of political correctness are not fair or faultless enough to measure the value of a human life…They rob us of our highest potential and bankrupt our future…This way that seems right to a man will surely lead to death!!!
10/5/2022Proverbs 11:1 “Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight.”

God detests dishonest scales; they cause rage and disgust to burn within Him. Why?

Dishonest scales give privilege to some and abuse others when “the Lord is the Maker of us all” (Proverbs 22:2). They appear balanced, but someone has manipulated the dial to give them the appearance of a truth they do not possess.

We must use scales of truth, but whose truth? Whose scales will give every person a fair assessment? God’s truth is not on a sliding scale; His values never change. What He considered sin in the Garden of Eden is still sin today.

The weight required to balance the scales of unrighteousness has not changed…The measure of its cost has not changed; the wages of sin is still death…Sin and death hang in the balance, and the weight remains the same: without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin…The scales that bring balance to our lives must be large enough to manage the weight of the issues of our day…The scales must be accurate enough to ensure that every person, tribe, tongue, culture, and nation are treated and valued equally…They must be true enough to withstand the deception and corruption of our society – of a culture that bends, stretches, and buries the truth…A just weight is the delight of the Lord!!!
10/4/2022Job 31:6 “Let me be weighed on honest scales, that God may know my integrity.”

Scales measure true value. When an object is placed on one side of a scale, an equal amount of weight must be put on the other to strike a precise balance between the two. We want the scales we use to be fair, balanced, and accurate.

In Genesis 23, Abraham meted out 400 shekels of silver to purchase a burial cave for his wife, Sarah. A shekel was not a coin; it was a unit of measure. Abraham piled silver on one side of the scale, and the owner placed 400 shekels – weights – on the other side. Only when the two sides came into balance was the deal struck. A balanced scale ensured every person was treated fairly and given equal consideration.

When perfect balance was achieved, the individual doing the weighing would say, “All things created equal, this scale is balanced.” As long as all aspects of the exchange remained exactly the same and nothing unexpected happened, the deal was equitable for all involved.

In a world that changes from minute to minute, we still long to know justice and the value that we carry…While the world weighs and finds us wanting, we trust in the accurate and honest measure in the hands of our loving Creator!!!
10/3/2022Mark 16:16 “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

Our human goodness and morality can only carry us so far. We try our best, but every one of us falls short of God’s glorious ideal. We are incapable of living up to His holy standards (Romans 3:23).

So, God sent His beloved Son, Jesus, to die on the Cross for us. When we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that God sent Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins, that He died, and that God raised Him again, our confession becomes our salvation. New life begins with this simple prayer:

“Heavenly Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I ask You to cleanse me from all of my sin. May the blood of the Cross wash me whiter than snow. From this day forward, I will serve Jesus as my Savior and Lord. I will read and follow God’s Word found in the Bible. Because of Jesus’ blood, I am saved, my sins are forgiven, and I am on my way to heaven. Amen.”

We lay down our old lives and take up our new Christ-centered lives through baptism…He makes us brand-new creations and gives us a fresh start…And when the King appears in all of His glory, we will leave this world in the twinkling of an eye to live with Him in heaven forever!!!
10/2/2022Revelation 21:2 “Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

As unexpectedly as a thief in the night, the Day of the Lord will come. The heavens will disappear with a terrible roar. The heavenly bodies will be engulfed by fire, and the earth and everything on it will be burnt to nothing (II Peter 3:10).

After this great conflagration, John saw the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven, as beautiful as a bride adorned for her groom. God declared that His home would now be among His people; He will live with us and will wipe every tear of mourning from our eyes. Death will be no more, and we will no longer experience crying, sorrow or pain.

The New Jerusalem will be a perfect square – 1500 miles on each side. The city’s foundations are adorned with stunning gemstones. Its walls are composed of jasper, its gates of pearl. The gates will never close, and the nobles of the earth will stream through to bring the glory and honor of the nations.

From the throne will flow a crystal-clear river of water of life. On either side of the river grows a tree of life, and their leaves are for the healing of the nations. The whole city will glow like pure gold. Finally, we shall see the face of our Beloved and reign with Him forever.
10/1/2022Revelation 6:9 “When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.”

Ignatius, the pastor of the church at Antioch, called himself Theophorus or God Bearer. For confessing that Christ lived in his heart, he was escorted to Rome in chains by a company of soldiers. There in the Colosseum, before thousands of cheering spectators, he was devoured by lions for his unshakable faith in God.

Perpetua was a 22-year-old mother and young believer preparing for baptism when she was arrested for refusing to worship the Roman empire’s deities. She cared for her infant son in prison until conditions forced her to entrust him to her mother and brother.

Her father, a pagan, visited her in prison and begged her to denounce her faith and live, but she refused. She calmly faced a raging bull in the amphitheater, straightening her tunic and her hair, to die with dignity for the faith that took her home.

The souls of those who were slain for holding fast to their witness of the Word of God now reside under the altar of heaven…They cry out to the Lord, wondering when He will avenge their blood…They are given white robes and encouraged to rest quietly for a while longer until their fellow servants on earth are martyred and join them in heaven…
9/30/2022Revelation 2:4 “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”

Jesus – the First and the Last, the One Who was dead but now lives forevermore, the One Who holds the keys to death and hell – had a message for each of the churches of Asia, represented by seven golden lampstands.

For the church at Ephesus, he had many compliments. He commended them for their hard work, their refusal to quit, and how they would not tolerate evil pretenders. They had been patient and persistent for His name’s sake.

In spite of these admirable traits, Jesus had one thing against them: the Ephesian church had left their first love – their passion and evangelistic zeal. Jesus urged them to remember the height from which they had fallen, to repent, to turn back to that first precious love, to do the early works they had once performed. Otherwise, Jesus was on His way to remove the lampstand from its place.

Do you burn with the same fervor as when you first came to Jesus? Is His Word like fire shut up in your bones that you cannot hold back? If you are not eager to accomplish the first works that you once did, repent and turn back to Him.

Listen to what the Spirit said to the church of Ephesus and what He still speaks today: for the one who overcomes, He will give fruit from the Tree of Life in God’s paradise.
9/29/2022Revelation 1:12-13 “Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man…”

As God unfolded the revelation to John, He showed him seven golden lampstands. In the midst of them was a person so overwhelming that John fell prostrate before Him.

The seven lampstands represent seven churches of Asia located in seven different cities. The One like the Son of Man wore a long robe with a gold sash across His chest. His eyes flamed like fire under wool-white hair, and His face blazed like the sun.

Just as Jesus stood among the lampstands, the Tabernacle of the Old Testament was situated in the center of the camp in the midst of all the tribes of Israel. When God’s Shekinah glory fell, it radiated to all of His people.

The Lord longs to be at the center of our lives…He is to be our wellspring, the bountiful and beautiful source of all the good that flows in and out of our lives…He aims to be in the middle of our marriages, the hub of our families, and at the center of our churches…When we set our love on Him – make Him the focal point – He promises to rescue us from every trouble, to answer when we call, and to honor us…Make sure He at the center of your life!!!
9/28/2022Revelation 1:3 “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.”

The book of Revelation, anointed by the Holy Spirit and delivered by an angel to John on the isle of Patmos, serves as our roadmap from today to eternity.

God promised a double blessing to the one who reads the revelation and to the one who hears it. He guarantees that blessing will flow from this book.

While many choose to focus on the antichrist, the book of Revelation actually is a victorious declaration of Jesus – the Alpha and Omega, the Faithful Witness, the Bright and Morning Star, and the Amen. Why did God reveal Him to the Church in these final chapters?

When Jesus came to us before, He came as the Lamb slain from the creation of the world…He was mocked, despised, spat on, and betrayed by His closest friends…He hung on a Roman cross, bleeding for the remission of our sins…His cruel, humiliating death purchased our redemption…In Revelation, God pulls back the curtain to present the King of kings and Lord of lords…He is the Root of David Who will rule the world from Jerusalem with a rod of iron…Nobles will come to pay Him homage…He came as the Lamb before, but He will return as the Lion of the tribe of Judah!!!
0/27/2022Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, was exiled to the island of Patmos by Roman Emperor Domitian in 95 A.D. John was over 80-years-old and the last living disciple from the original group of twelve.

Domitian’s reign was marred by fear and suspicion. Subjects of the empire were required to throw a pinch of incense into a fire which burned in front of the emperor’s statue to acknowledge the leader as their true lord – a test of loyalty. When Christians refused, they were thrown to the lions.

John opposed all emperor worship and fervently preached a “new religion” that continued to grow in spite of persecution. His devotion was to Christ alone. Domitian sentenced this “enemy of the state” to the small, rocky island.

John was surrounded by many other criminals who were forced to work in the mines and suffered harsh conditions. The church that John had pastored in Ephesus was only 36 miles away, beyond the pounding waves and the screeching seagulls.

But it was there, in that barren place, that God sent an angel with a revelation that still captivates us. John tenaciously clung to his faith and claimed Jesus as His one, true Lord. Would you pass the test of loyalty?
9/26/2022James 5:11 “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.”

If the Church aims to re-establish itself in America, we must be willing to endure. We cannot falter under the measure of the day. We must rise to become the shining city on a hill.
If we are persecuted, we must endure suffering as a good soldier of Christ (II Timothy 2:3). We do not pass out, we press on. We lean our shoulders into the plow and do not look back.
God is greater than any financial storm; He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. God is greater than any emotional storm; He remains our Prince of Peace. God is greater than any physical storm; He is Jehovah Rapha, our Healer. He is greater than any enemy we will ever face, an ever-present help in the time of trouble. He gives us strength to endure every hardship!
As long as we live and breathe, the best is yet to be…The Lord of Hosts promised that the final glory of this house will be greater than anything that came before…He will pour out His peace and prosperity there…Press on and persevere for the prize…For those who endure to the end shall be saved!!!
9/25/20221 John 3:18 “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

When the Church was born in the upper room, the power of the Holy Spirit breathed into us the ability to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth.

We have the power to lay hands on the sick and see them recover. We have the power to cast out demons. We possess the power of the Name above every other name!

Until we put our faith to work through obedience to God’s Word, we will not tap into this power. Many churches read the holy Scriptures as part of their tradition, but they do not believe that they are His God-breathed words to us. They claim the Bible as an historical document. They do not believe in a God Who is the same yesterday, today, and forever – Who still heals and deals in signs and wonders.

It is time for us to be saturated in the power of the Holy Spirit and be obedient to His Word…The Church of the Living God must behave like we believe…That Church will experience signs and wonders…That Church will see the lost forsake their sin and come to the Cross of Christ…That Church will witness captives set free, marriages mended, and addictions broken…That Church will welcome prodigals home and see broken hearts filled with hope…May that Church arise!!!
9/24/2022Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

To our faith, we must add power! The power of the Holy Spirit fuels our faith.

The Lamb of God came to take away the sins of the world. Jesus told the disciples that He would be crucified, rise again, and ascend to the Father. He wouldn’t leave them alone; He would send another, and they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them.

Power to do what? Jesus inspired them with these words in John 14:12: “In solemn truth I tell you, anyone believing in me shall do the same miracles I have done, and even greater ones, because I am going to be with the Father.” (TLB)

The disciples saw Jesus take a sack lunch and feed 5,000. He walked on water in the midnight storm. With a few words, He subdued the wind and waves. He halted a funeral procession to bring the dead back to life. And through the power of the Holy Spirit, we will do greater things than these!

On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit filled the upper room, and the Church was born when that power came upon it…The gates of hell will not prevail against us…We are the Church triumphant!!!
9/23/2022Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

We are people of action! We are people of conviction who refuse to cower under current societal pressures.

Jesus prompts us to have faith in God! Have faith that the life-giving blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed us from all sin, that we have been saved by grace. Our hope is in Him Who gave His life for us.

Faith is the means by which our spiritual forefathers subdued kingdoms and worked righteousness…Faith is how they received their dead back to life…Faith is the key that unlocks the door to every precious promise found in God’s Word…Faith opens the windows of heaven so that provision is poured out to us…Faith claims the shield of protection in the day of battle…Faith allows us to smile at the grave, because Jesus has robbed its sting and power over us…Faith believes that God will provide for all of our needs according to His great riches…Faith empowers us to trust the Great Physician Who heals all of our diseases…We have faith in the King Who rules over all…We trust in Jehovah Jireh…We have no fear of tomorrow, because we rest in the hands of the One Who holds our future!!!
9/22/2022Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

The 55 delegates who gathered at the Constitutional Convention argued fiercely. Some contended that the only means for national survival would be to appoint a king. Others debated that this country would only thrive if individuals governed themselves.

The group finally decided that, as long as the citizens of the United States willfully bowed to a Heavenly King and submitted to His Kingdom, they could govern themselves.

John Adams, a founding father who went on to become our second president, said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” In order for a country to survive, we must remain closely connected to our faith. In order for a society to remain moral, we must retain our religious convictions.

The wisdom of these 55 patriots ensured over 200 years of prosperity in which this nation has been exalted above all other nations. Not just because of the self-evident truths they wrote down, but because of how we chose to live – we put God first.

How can we preserve freedom for our next generation? When will a righteous revolution sweep this nation? When we love the Lord with all of our hearts and acknowledge Him in all of our ways…
9/21/2022Deuteronomy 28:1 “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.”

During a heated moment at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, many delegates reluctantly believed that they would not be able to come to a consensus and that they should each return to their own colony.

At that moment, the convention’s oldest delegate, 81-year-old Benjamin Franklin, spoke up: “We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings, that except the Lord build the house they labor in vain who build it. I firmly believe this – and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel: we shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves a reproach and bye word down to future ages.” The impasse was broken by prayer, and the Constitution was completed.

Franklin understood that, unless this fledgling government was built on the foundation of the Creator, it would fail. The colonies could remain free only through His ongoing benevolence. America has wandered from these early truths, and his words have become reality.

He knew then what we must remember now: if this republic is going to survive – if we can keep it – we must bow our knee before the King of heaven and kneel before His throne of grace and mercy. Unless the Lord rebuilds this house, we labor in vain.
9/20/2022Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage”

With freedom comes responsibility. Until we confront our issues, nothing can change. If we do not confront them, we will suffer the consequences of ignoring them.

For too long, we have disregarded the rising tide of sin in our nation, but we cannot do so anymore. In our churches, we have abandoned declaring the power of God’s Word for debating doctrine. We have replaced Holy Spirit conviction with the condemnation of judgment. We have traded a zeal for reaching the lost for the indifference of apathy.

Declaring separation of church and state, America finds God offensive. We have removed prayer from our schools and eradicated the Ten Commandments from public places. We are now called a post-Christian nation.

If Jesus is our true source of freedom, and we are intent on eliminating His name from our culture, the only other alternative is bondage. When the Prince of Peace is no longer welcome, we can expect conflict and confusion. Rather than living in the fear of God, we now live in fear of one another.

We are the called and commissioned…We must devote ourselves to prayer…We must study and stand upon God’s Word…We must speak out in the voting booths and the streets…The faith-filled, Bible-believing Christian has a charge to keep!!!
9/19/2022Revelation 19:10 “…Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”

The essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus. Where do we find Jesus in prophecy?

The first prophecy of the Bible is Genesis 3:15 which promises that Jesus, the seed of the woman, will crush the head of the serpent, Satan. He is called the Passover Lamb from Exodus 12. In Numbers 24, He is the Star of Jacob.

He is the Great High Priest of Psalm 110. He is the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18 and the King referred to in II Samuel 7.

He is the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace in Isaiah 9. He is the Righteous Judge of Isaiah 32 and the Man of Sorrows Who carries our burdens away (Isaiah 53).

He is the Son of Man (Daniel 7), the Anointed and Holy One (Daniel 9), and the One Who will rule the world with a rod of iron (Psalm 2). He is the Lord of the Temple in Malachi 3.

He is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11), the First and the Last (Revelation 1), and the Lamb of God in Revelation 5. He is the miracle-born Child of Israel (Revelation 12) and our coming King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19)!

Every prophecy testifies of Him and points to the day when, together with Him, we will reign in His eternal kingdom!!!
9/18/2022Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and theologian who spent his life in service to the Lord and in active resistance to Hitler and his Nazi regime.

He was executed in a German concentration camp, and his fervor still calls us to a deeper faith decades later. Bonhoeffer urged Christians to act on their faith: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

In a society wracked by moral depravity, we must speak and act out of our relationship with Jesus. In Isaiah 58:6-7, God’s heart is revealed. Here is what He longs for His children to do: to break the chains of injustice, to eliminate exploitation, to free the oppressed, and to cancel debts. He longs to see us share our food with the hungry, invite the homeless into our homes, to clothe those with no garments, and to minister to our families.

When we do the things that He desires, He promises that our light will break out like the dawn, our healing and restoration will come quickly, our righteousness will escort us to the peace and prosperity of God, and His glory will bring up the rear guard. When we pray, He will answer with, “Here I am”! (Isaiah 58:8-9).

We cannot delay…Begin to overcome evil with the goodness of God today!!!
9/17/2022Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know”

As Daniel studied the ancient Scriptures, he realized that Israel’s time of captivity was drawing to a close. Prophecy foretold that, after seventy years, the captives would be allowed to return to their land.

Daniel began to pray and fast in sackcloth and ashes. Hebrew scholars have timed how long it took him to utter the heartfelt words recorded in Daniel 9. They estimate his prayer lasted a maximum of three minutes.

While he was still speaking, Gabriel came to him in swift flight. The angel informed him that, at the very beginning of his prayer, a command went out, and he was sent to talk to Daniel, because he was “greatly beloved” (Daniel 9:23).

Heaven lies somewhere far beyond the North Star which hangs 2.4 quadrillion miles from earth. Light travels 186,000 miles per second, so the light from that star takes 680 years to reach earth.

In three short minutes, God heard Daniel’s prayer and sent Gabriel to respond! Isaiah 65:24 assures us that: “…before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.”

If you are discouraged in your prayer life today, take heart…Like Daniel, you are greatly beloved…Continue to draw near to the throne of grace…From the edges of our universe, He will hear and answer!!!
9/16/2022Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

King Nebuchadnezzar had another dream, and Daniel was terrified to share this interpretation: Nebuchadnezzar would be driven away from society to live among the wild animals; he would eat grass and be drenched by heaven’s dew. Daniel pled with the king to renounce his sin and do what was right (Daniel 4).

Twelve months later, the king surveyed his domain from his palace roof. He said, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30). Immediately, a voice from heaven informed the king that he would lose his mind until he truly admitted that God was sovereign over all.

For seven years, Nebuchadnezzar roamed among the animals until his hair grew wild and his nails were like a bird’s claws. Finally, he lifted his eyes to acknowledge God. In Daniel 4:37, he abjectly confessed, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.”

Pride and arrogance lead to strife and shame, but wisdom and honor reside in the humble…God will not share His glory with another…Let us give all honor and praise to the only One Who is worthy!!!
9/15/2022Psalm 119:160 “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever”

People are fascinated by the future. What will happen to planet earth? Are we facing a nuclear holocaust? How accurate is biblical prophecy? Can we trust it?

When King Nebuchadnezzar experienced a troubling dream, Daniel asked the king for time to perceive the dream and its interpretation. Through prayer, Daniel received his answer in a night vision.

He described the dream to King Nebuchadnezzar – a statue with a head of gold, arms and a chest of silver, loins and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and toes of iron and clay.

The head of gold represented Nebuchadnezzar whose Babylonian empire held power for almost 50 years. Afterwards, the inferior Medo-Persian empire, represented by the two arms and chest of silver, ruled for almost 200 years.

The bronze midsection represents Alexander the Great’s Greek Empire that endured for over 250 years. The two legs of iron signified the Roman Empire that ruled for over 350 years.

Finally, Daniel predicted an unstable kingdom represented by toes made of iron and clay, a strange mix of strength and weakness, interconnection and division. Compare it to our current culture – globally connected but deeply discordant.

Every word was fulfilled as Daniel predicted – and verified in our history books…We can trust the prophecies inspired by the Holy Spirit thousands of years ago…We know how this story ends!!!
9/14/2022Proverbs 31:8-9 “Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy”

Isn’t it time for believers everywhere to stand up, speak out, and push back against moral corruption?

Proverbs urges us to speak up for those who have no voice, for the desolate and defenseless. We are to speak out for justice and stand up for the poor and needy. I John 3:17 challenges us: if we have adequate means, we must share sacrificially with others. If we see another in need, and we shut our eyes – and our hearts – how can we say that God’s love is alive in us?

The Bible presents beautiful examples of God’s care for the outcasts on the margins of society. Boaz ordered his workers to deliberately drop grain so Ruth could gather enough food. The widow of Zarephath used the last of her flour and oil to make a cake for Elijah, and God provided for her family until the drought ended in Israel. Jesus healed ten lepers.

James, the brother of Jesus, declared that true, pure religion before God was to visit the orphans and the widows, to reach out to the homeless and unloved in their distress (James 1:27)…We have been blessed to bless others…Where is the Lord asking you to stand up and speak up???
9/13/2022Psalm 33:12 “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance”

The America that we once knew is disappearing before our eyes. Our foundational freedoms are being eroded. Many agendas that our society promotes as progress equate to moral insanity.

Why should we be concerned about the future? The good life that we hoped to extend to our children and grandchildren is consistently crumbling, because we have abandoned the principles of righteousness.

Now more than ever before, believers must humble ourselves, pray, and seek God’s face…We must turn from our wicked ways so that God will heal our land…Change begins in our prayer closets and in our own hearts…Repentance and prayer lead to revival…As the righteous of the Lord, we must impact this world as His salt and light…We must speak His truth into the darkness…We must counteract corruption, extend mercy, and stand for justice…Our faith must propel us to action…We must demonstrate our faith by the works of our hands…Corporately, we must not squander the right to make ourselves heard…We must seek God’s direction as we enter the voting booth to decide the candidates who will represent us in the coming years, who have demonstrated the attitudes and actions that align with the truth of the Lord…Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!!!
9/12/2022Acts 3:19 “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord”

The message of Jesus is not one of tolerance for sin, but the confession and forsaking of sin to pursue Him and His path. His message is repentance and restoration.

Repentance involves not only a deep sorrow for the sin that we have committed, but a changing of our hearts and minds and actions. It requires a turning back to God, a realigning to His purposes.

We choose right over wrong, ethics over convenience, truth over popularity, and Christ over all. He is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.

And, oh the joy that we experience when He completely erases and blots out our sins! They are washed away in the blood of Jesus, and we savor the peace of being in right relationship with the Father. We are clean and renewed!

After knowing the fierce heat of conviction and the barrenness of our souls outside of the Father’s will, we now can experience His presence like a cool breeze and a refreshing drink of water.

Submit every piece of your life to Him…When we repent and choose to conform to God’s Word and His pattern of thinking, He transforms our minds and keeps us in perfect peace as we stay focused on Him…Make Him Lord of all your life!!!
9/11/2022Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.”

Recent headlines have pointed to a looming financial collapse, a reported coin shortage, and an emerging cashless society. Are we witnessing the rise of a one-world economic system (Revelation 13)?

God gives us His financial statement in one line: “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine” (Haggai 2:8). The ultimate control of our finances rests in His hands, and He has charged us to be good stewards over the blessings that He has entrusted to us.

Money can easily become an idol – controlling us instead of our managing it. The love of money can replace our love for God. Many squander their health in pursuit of wealth only to spend it to recapture their well-being.

In Exodus 20:3, God warns us to place no other gods before Him. In Matthew 6:20, instead of stockpiling treasures here, Jesus instructs us to store treasures in heaven. Wherever our treasure is, we will eventually find ourselves there.

Honoring the Lord in our finances begins with recognizing that every gift we receive comes from our Heavenly Father…Even when we work hard to earn a paycheck, our jobs and the health and abilities to perform them are blessings from above…Be faithful to tithe, always remember the less fortunate, and ask the Lord to lead you in managing the rest…It all belongs to Him!!!
9/10/2022Psalm 139:1 “O LORD, You have searched me and known me.”

More than a fuzzy image in a large group photo, God sees each one of us as individuals. He created us in His likeness, and His heart is bent towards us.

He was there when we were formed in the secret places and knew every page of our stories before we lived one. He knows if we rise early or stay up late. No matter where we roam on this great, big planet, He sees us there. He numbers every hair on our heads and knows the words we will speak before we open our mouths.

When we accept Him as Savior, He makes each of us a “lively stone” in this huge spiritual house that He is building…He gifts us with unique talents and abilities that we can put to work to help others and advance His kingdom…He instructs and teaches us in the paths that we should take, and He always has an eye on us…We can rest under His protective gaze…When life breaks our hearts, He promises to draw near…When we go through the fire or the flood, He vows to be with us…He will not allow us to be overwhelmed…He will hear our cries and deliver us from every trouble…How reassuring to know that He holds our hands and holds us in His hand!!!
9/9/2022John 8:12 “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life’”

At the end of a 40-day fast, when Jesus was weak and hungry, Satan whisked Him to the top of a high mountain where the kingdoms of the world were spread before Him in their glory. “All these things I will give you,” he promised, “if you will fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9).

Satan possessed that ability. When the former angel of light was cast from heaven, he became the prince of darkness, the ruler of this world. Where spiritual darkness exists, Satan has authority. Jesus, the Light of the world, withstood the temptation and sent him away with the Word of God ringing in his ears.

For those who trust in Him, He fills us with that same light of life. He charges us to shine this light before others, so they may see our good works and glorify our heavenly Father. We are like a city set on a hill ablaze with light; we cannot hide this glorious treasure inside.

Let’s stop complaining about the darkness, and turn on the light! Speak the Word of God to break down barriers and snap shackles…The prince of darkness must flee when the light of life explodes from the mouth of the believer…That is the power we possess!!!
9/8/2022John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’”

Jesus Himself made it clear. There is only one way to reach the Father, and that is through Him. He is the way, the truth, and the life. No alternatives exist.

The cross of Jesus built a bridge back to the Father for us. We were lost in sin, wandering in darkness, alone and unloved. Sin severed our relationship with God, but it is renewed through the sacrifice of His Son. The blood of Jesus washed away our sins. He transferred us from darkness into His marvelous kingdom of light. He adopted us as His own children. Jesus opened the way back to our Father.

In stark contrast to Satan – the father of lies – Jesus is the truth. All of the promises of God in Christ are YES and AMEN to the glory of God (II Corinthians 1:20). If every man is a liar, God alone is truth (Romans 3:4).

In opposition to Satan who comes to steal, kill, and destroy, Jesus comes to give us life. And not just a barely-getting-by kind of life. He comes to give us abundant, pressed-down, shaken-together, overflowing-with-His-goodness kind of life!

There is no getting around it…Jesus is the one way to a genuine eternal life…What a beautiful choice the Father has given us through His Son!!!
9/7/2022Hebrews 12:26 “…but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven’”

At the end of the age, God has warned that He will shake the earth and the heavens, that everything will change as a great shaking occurs.

Every offensive thing that has not been established by God will be shaken loose and removed from its place. Every nation will be shaken – not one will escape this momentous sifting.

When Nehemiah discovered that the wealthy children of Israel were taking advantage of their poorer brothers, he called them to account. They admitted their treachery and took an oath to stop oppressing them and to return the fields, houses, olive groves, and taxes they had taken from them. Nehemiah shook out the folds of his robe to demonstrate how God would shake out and empty the house and possessions of every man who did not keep his promise (Nehemiah 5).

Before the Day of the Lord, governments will fall, currencies will fail, and Christianity will suffer a tremendous falling away. Judgment will begin in the house of God. If it begins here, what will happen to those who have refused to obey the gospel (I Peter 4:17)? Even now, the tremors have begun.

Establish your heart in God…Be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord…When the shaking comes, you will stand fast in Him…
9/6/20221 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour”

One of the most crucial tactics in military science is to know the enemy. In order to defeat an enemy, one must know that enemy.

Today, many scoff at the idea of a spiritual realm of darkness where Satan rules, where his fiendish agents carry out missions to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). But Ephesians 6:12 warns believers that we do not fight against flesh and blood. We battle against satanic beings, evil princes of darkness, and spiritual envoys from the headquarters of wickedness.

While we may not perceive them with natural eyes, we need not look far to see the damage that they have perpetrated: a global pandemic, a world thrown into confusion, seething racial tensions, economic collapse, soaring unemployment, and broken families. Satan is on the prowl!

Now is the time to be sober and vigilant and aware of the father of lies…Now is the time to suit up; put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, and the helmet of salvation…Now is the time to wield the flaming sword of the Word of God, to heft the shield of faith to dodge every burning missile the enemy hurls at us…In this life-and-death fight to the finish, now is the time to pray!!!
9/5/2022Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

If we are alive and breathing, God is not finished with us yet. He has a plan for good for each of us.

However, His “good” and our “good” sometimes look like two very different things. When we picture “good,” our minds conjure up sunny skies, carefree days, cars that never break down, jobs without difficult co-workers, children that never go astray, health, wealth, puppies, and rainbows.

When Paul spoke those words, “good” in that statement means God-like. To rephrase it: God is working in the life of the believer to make us more like Him. And sometimes, that takes strong medicine!

He will break our pride…He will strip away our arrogance…He will send people along to sandpaper us, to rub us the wrong way, to knock off rough edges…He loves us too much to leave us in a sinful state and to leave a sinful state in us…In Hebrews 13:5 (Amplified Bible), God tells us: “I will never, under any circumstances, desert you nor give you up nor leave you without support; nor will I in any degree leave you helpless; nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you…He will complete the project He began…Embrace the “good” work He is doing in you!!!
9/4/2022Psalm 84:12 “O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You!”

Jesus is worthy of our trust. We can trust Him when He answers in the way we desire or when He chooses another outcome. If He said it, He will do it. If He promised, He will make good on it. If things do not go our way, we can trust in a way that is higher than ours.

Trust is highly personal and individual. We can describe trust to one another. We can read about it in His Word. We can sing about it corporately with a body of believers. But in the middle of the night, when circumstances are bleak, when we are alone and afraid and tired of the fight, will we trust Him?

Trust is born, nurtured, and solidified inside of a relationship. When we commit to Jesus for the long haul, when we are faithful to Him exclusively, when we cling to Him, trust grows. When we obey the things He asks, He goes ahead of us. He stands ready to meet us with His power and presence.

He provides everything that we need…and even things we did not know we needed…He holds our hands…He shares His secrets…He ministers side by side with us…He holds our hearts, and His love never ends…Take a risk, take a step, and watch Him reward your trust!!!
9/3/2022Joshua 23:8 “…but you shall hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day.”

Our relationship with Jesus should be marked by single-minded stick-to-it-iveness! We need to cling to Him, to hold fast to Him.

We have discovered that Christians do not enjoy issue-free lives. Quite the opposite, in fact! We do not possess the ability to pray away every bad thing. One of the biggest temptations we face is to believe that, when difficulties or tragedies occur in our lives, God has turned His back on us.

The inclination in the middle of a health crisis or when the bills outweigh the paycheck or when our prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling is to believe that God no longer sees us, that He does not care enough to intervene.

In those moments, there is a deciding, a choosing, and a clinging to Him. We determine that we are not going anywhere, that He is our choice no matter the circumstances. We set our hearts on things above.

Even though He absolutely can deliver us from every trouble, He often chooses not to pull us out…Instead, He walks with us through the fire to refine us and deepen our trust in His faithfulness…If we let go or turn away with accusations and anger, we will miss the victory of coming through to the other side with an overcoming testimony and an unshakeable faith!!!
9/2/2022Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe”

When troubles come, when doubts assail, to whom do you turn? Where is the first place you run?

Instead of our last resort, the Lord should always be our first resource. In unstable times – like those we currently face – His name is a strong tower. When we feel threatened, frightened, abandoned or alone, He offers His defense.

He promises to pull us close under the shadow of His wings and to cover us with His feathers (Psalm 91:4). What a beautiful picture of His fierce protection and faithful love. He alone is our refuge!

He encourages us to bring all of our burdens to Him. With His own strength, He will sustain and establish us so that we will be immovable and unshakeable (Psalm 55:22). We need not fear the uncertainty of the future.

Run to the Lord…Beat a direct path, a straight line, to His door…Do not stop to read a self-help book or hash it out with a couple of friends…Do not wait until the situation is so dire that sheer desperation drives you to Him…At the first sign of trouble, sprint for safety…The door is open…His arms are wide…When you rush to Him, He will lift you up and hold you securely…He will protect and carry you through every calamity!!!
9/1/2022Philippians 3:12 “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me”

How many of us smile on Sunday while hanging on to faith by our fingernails the rest of the week? Externally, we go through the motions while, internally, our faith grows cold.

Somewhere along the way, we have fallen for the enemy’s lie that if we cannot get it right, we might as well give up and stop embarrassing ourselves and the Lord. The byproduct of this belief that we must be perfect is that many will lose hope and desert their faith or put on a façade at church while living lives of quiet desperation every other day of the week.

Sometimes, we forget that we are in a long-term, committed relationship with Jesus. It is safe here. Grace gives us breathing room so that when we fall, we can get back up and try again.

We are not perfect…Better than anyone else, we know just how much we need a Savior…The good news is that He does not require – or expect – perfection…He simply wants every piece of our hearts…Even when we fall short, keep pressing on in faith…Jesus has grabbed hold of us for His purposes, and He will not let go!!!
8/31/2022Deuteronomy 32:11-12 “As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so the LORD alone led him.”

What a year we have experienced! Our comfortable, predictable lives have been disrupted and, in many cases, may never look the same.

Perhaps, God is stirring His church like the mother eagle stirs her nest. Mating eagle pairs return to the same nest year after year. They repair it with branches and twigs until some nests will weigh over a ton. Inside, they carefully line the nest with moss, feathers, and fur—a soft, warm home for their babies.

The parents care for the newly-hatched eaglets until, eventually, the mother begins to pull out the fur and feathers so that the babies become uncomfortable, unwilling to remain in their prickly home. They perch on the edge of the nest and pluck up the courage to take their fledgling flight.

As the eaglet attempts its wobbly flight, the mother hovers protectively over it. If it falls, she swoops it up on her wings to return it to the nest. Repeatedly, she rescues her child until his wings are strong enough to take to the skies.

As we venture out to discover our new normal, we can trust in a Father Who hides us under the shadow of His wings and Who faithfully leads us in the lessons that teach us to soar!!!
8/30/20221 John 5:4 “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

No matter how got-it-together someone appears on the outside, every person is walking through, climbing over or tunneling under some sort of adversity. We’ve all got something!

Can we dare to believe that the something we all have is absolutely no match for the Someone we know? What if the greatness of Him inside of us is mightier than everything happening around us?

We have Someone! And when we get our heads, hearts, and lives wrapped around that truth, we walk on a whole other plane. When the world watches us navigate our way through the difficult days, trying our best to honor God, to worship Jesus through the struggle…our faith draws people to Jesus.

What we do with the circumstances we are given – how we talk about them, act because of them, trust or distrust God through them – influences others. Let others see Jesus at work in our trials. When they catch a glimpse of Him in us, they know that they are not alone either.

He has given us Himself for the forgiveness of our sins, for freedom…He has made us His family to encourage, motivate, and make a difference for one another…He has given us a commission and the power to reach others who have all got something…We have Someone!!!
8/29/2022Psalm 91:1 “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

What does it mean to abide in Christ? The dictionary defines abiding as “continuing without fading or being lost, living or dwelling.”

Abiding conjures up images of surveying the perfect spot in the shadow of the Almighty, bringing in an excavator to dig a deep foundation, pouring some solid concrete, putting up some brick walls and a sturdy roof, and moving in for keeps. There’s a rocking chair on the wide front porch where we can while away the hours, just enjoying the company of the Lord.

There is a deciding, a choosing, and a clinging to Him. In the beginning, it comes as a one-time yes to Jesus. As we walk with Him, we make many choices a day that draw us closer or pull us farther from Him. Abiding takes putting down roots and sticking to Him like glue.

We can give our hearts without fear. His promises to us are “Yes and Amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20). If He said it, He will do it. If He promised it, He will make good on it. If things do not appear to be going our way, we can trust in a way that is higher than ours.

Abide in Him…Make Him your permanent address…Determine to stay put, to choose Him no matter the circumstances…Make Him your forever home!!!
8/28/2022Genesis 32:26 “But he said, I will not let You go unless You bless me!”

Jacob was alone in the camp, dreading the confrontation with his brother, Esau. Thirty years before, Esau had vowed to kill him for stealing the blessing that belonged to him.

A Man appeared in the camp, and they wrestled throughout the night. This Man was God Himself! As the sun rose, He was not prevailing and demanded that Jacob release Him.

How could God not prevail? Even when God demanded that he stop, Jacob’s stubbornness and desperation would not relent! He would not let go until the Man blessed him.

From conception, that blessing is all Jacob desired. He fought for it in his mother’s womb. He grappled with his twin as they were born. He took advantage of his brother and deceived his own father to lay claim to it. He grabbed hold of Esau’s heel at birth, and he took hold of God, contending for the lifelong desire of his heart.

Every struggle endures for a season…Every wrestling match comes to a conclusion…God will not wrestle with us indefinitely…Jacob would not turn loose…He held on for what only God could give…Hurting and exhausted, he refused to give up until God relented…And the Lord responded in that moment of desperation…Do not let go until His blessing breaks through to you!!!
8/27/2022Matthew 17:20 “So Jesus said to them, …if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Jacob ran for his life. After he swindled his brother out of his birthright, Esau issued a death threat. Thirty years later, that grudge still stood.

As Jacob made his way home, Esau marched out to meet him with 400 men. Greatly distressed, Jacob pled with God: “For You said, ‘I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea…’” (Genesis 32:12).

In the face of impending death, Jacob reminded God of the promise that He had made. If God did not address this problem, Jacob’s promise would be wiped out.

In moments of desperation, we have all reminded God of what He said. We have pointed to a Scripture and echoed Jacob’s words, “You said!!”

We have it backwards! God has not forgotten; He needs no reminders. Instead, we must proclaim to the problem what our Promise Keeper has to say!

In the storm, remind the wind and the waves of the One Who quiets them with a word…Declare to the diagnosis that His stripes make you whole…Walking through the valley of death, tell the shadows that He restores your soul…Speak to the mountain!!!
8/26/2022Job 12:16 “Yes, strength and wisdom are His; deceivers and deceived are both in His power.”

Jacob deceived his brother, father, and uncle. He plotted and pilfered his way through life. What he did not realize is that he was deceiving himself.

He believed that it was all up to him and all because of him. As he camped out one night, he had a vision of a ladder with angels descending and ascending to the Father. God promised to bless Jacob and all his descendants.

Jacob was certain that his craftiness and deception were required to get the blessings he desired. He was convinced that he needed to manipulate people and predicaments to turn in his favor. He was wrong.

Jacob did not receive those blessings because of his own strength, brilliance or strategy for every situation. He received them because God was faithful to the promise He made to him.

God is faithful to us…because of Who He is…When we deserve less, He gives us much more…When we are disobedient, He is merciful…When we are sinful, He still loves us…When we are stubborn, He does not give up on us…Angels ascend with our prayers and petitions…In His strength and wisdom, God sends down exactly what we need…It is not up to us, and He deserves all the glory…We are blessed, because He made a promise!!!
8/25/2022Psalm 27:14 “Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.”

Jacob was a fighter from conception. Even in the womb, he and his twin brother struggled against one another.

Esau was born first, but Jacob followed closely behind with his hand grasped tightly onto Esau’s heel. His mother named him Jacob which sounds much like the Hebrew word for “heel” but also for “deceiver.”

All his life, Jacob wanted to be first. He wanted the double portion blessing reserved for the first-born son. He fought for it in the womb and on the day of his birth. He slyly tricked Esau out of his birthright and even deceived his own father to grasp the blessing that rightfully belonged to Esau. Later, when an angel wrestled through the night with him, Jacob would not let go until God blessed him.

Jacob’s desire for the blessing was a noble one, but he was willing to scheme and steal to achieve his ends. He took matters into his own hands and eventually found himself fighting for his life.

When tempted to manipulate or deceive to obtain the blessings of God, we must wait on Him to bring about the promises He has given…When we allow God to mold us, we are prepared to carry the responsibility of the blessing…We must wait for the Lord, practicing patience as He works His will in us!!!
8/24/2022Genesis 32:24 “Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day.”

Wrestling conjures up images of cages, tights, referees, and atomic drops. While most of us may not literally enter the ring, we do understand the conflict.

Each one of us faces the inescapable struggle to choose what we need to do over what we want to do, what we should say over what we should not. Like a wrestler in the ring, we are pushed, pulled, tugged, turned, spun, and slammed.

In the space between what we prefer and what God requires, we engage in a wrestling match. Our natural inclination – our flesh – pulls against the divine direction. In that gap, God is refining us to be the people He created us to be. Here is where character is forged.

God will grapple and struggle, pull and tug…He will turn our heads, twist our arms, and even break our legs to develop the character that He desires in us…He has a destiny for us to fulfill, a purpose beyond our imagination…He will engage us in the wrestling match of our lives until we become the people that He created us to be…We have His full support…Until the final bell rings, He will go to the mat for us…He will fight for us to the very end!!!
8/23/2022John 15:7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

God gave Noah a promise before he ever got into the watery predicament! In spite of the coming flood, He vowed to establish His covenant with Noah and his family. That promise helped Noah persevere!

Even though most of us have not heard the audible voice of God like Noah, He has spoken His word to us too. Every promise recorded in the Bible belongs to every believer who reads it for himself or who hears it spoken by a pastor, teacher or evangelist.

Every Scripture is God’s message, opened up to share His heart with you. He longs to meet you in the moment of need and demonstrate His love and provision. He instructs you in paths of righteousness, so abundance will fill every corner of your life.

He remembers His word. It will not return to Him empty, but it will accomplish every purpose for which He sends it (Isaiah 55:11). Everywhere it is voiced, it prospers.

Silence the noise of the outside world…Cease listening to the opinions of people with limited understanding…Stop staring at the circumstances in which you are mired…Abide in His Word…Allow His promises to take up residence in your heart…He remembers His Word…When you remember it, He will fulfill it for you!!!
8/22/2022Psalm 135:13 “Your name, O LORD, endures forever, your fame, O LORD, throughout all generations.”

Still today, some orthodox Jewish rabbis use their fingers to mark the Hebrew letters for the name of Jehovah God on the foreheads of the children that they bless.

God has placed His mark on us. We belong to Him. We are a people called by His name, and that precious name is filled with the characteristics of His power, personhood, purpose, and prophetic blessing.

He is Jehovah Jireh – our Provider. He plants us beside rivers of living water and causes us to flourish and prosper.

He is Jehovah Nissi – our banner and point of unity. At the place where we live together in harmony, God commands a blessing.

He is our Shepherd – the One Who guides. He leads us beside calm waters and causes us to rest in green pastures. He protects His own.

He is Jehovah Rophe – our Healer. Whatever our ailments or sicknesses, God promises to heal all of our diseases.

He is Jehovah M’kaddesh – pure and holy. The blood of Jesus cleanses and sanctifies to make us holy like Him. Without holiness, no one will see God.

He is Jehovah Shalom – the God of peace and wholeness. That name signifies the cornucopia of heaven – blessings in our families, health, relationships, and prosperity.

We are a people called by His name and marked by the characteristics of that name…We are born to be blessed!!!
8/21/2022Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”

Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, and every word that he spoke over his two boys became their reality. On his deathbed, Jacob called in his twelve sons to prophetically bless each one. Everything he said came true. His words shaped world history!

Jesus declared to His disciples: “You are the light of the world. You are the salt of the earth.” Here is a wonderful illustration of a prophetic blessing that sculpted the world! When Jesus uttered those words, the disciples were not salt and light. They were selfish and immature.

James and John enlisted their mother to ask Jesus if they both could sit in positions of prominence in His coming kingdom. Peter denied and cursed Jesus three times on the day of His death. Thomas refused to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead until he could place his fingers in the scars in His hands and side. The disciples were a million miles from salt and light on the day Jesus spoke that blessing over them. But after His ascension, they turned the world upside down for Him.

When we speak a prophetic, anointed-by-the-Holy-Spirit blessing over the lives of our children, they will rise to the level of that blessing. The power of the supernatural will sculpt their tomorrows.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, and every word that he spoke over his two boys became their reality. On his deathbed, Jacob called in his twelve sons to prophetically bless each one. Everything he said came true. His words shaped world history!

Jesus declared to His disciples: “You are the light of the world. You are the salt of the earth.” Here is a wonderful illustration of a prophetic blessing that sculpted the world! When Jesus uttered those words, the disciples were not salt and light. They were selfish and immature.

James and John enlisted their mother to ask Jesus if they both could sit in positions of prominence in His coming kingdom. Peter denied and cursed Jesus three times on the day of His death. Thomas refused to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead until he could place his fingers in the scars in His hands and side. The disciples were a million miles from salt and light on the day Jesus spoke that blessing over them. But after His ascension, they turned the world upside down for Him.

When we speak a prophetic, anointed-by-the-Holy-Spirit blessing over the lives of our children, they will rise to the level of that blessing…The power of the supernatural will sculpt their tomorrows!!!
8/20/2022Luke 24:51 “Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.”

Jewish families have practiced the power of the blessing since the days of Moses. Jewish fathers and mothers bless their children at Sabbath meals and bar or bat mitzvahs.

They place their hands on their heads, and they speak aloud a blessing in the name of God. Their children live under the anointing of that blessing spoken over them by a spiritual authority.

Jesus of Nazareth began His public ministry with eight blessings in the Sermon on the Mount. Over and over, He pronounced believers to be blessed. He made it clear that God intends for us to be blessed.

Traditionally, Jewish rabbis delivered their messages from beginning to end without stopping. However, Jesus paused in the middle of His teaching to bless the little children. The disciples desperately tried to prevent the children from getting to Him, because that is what tradition dictated. However, Jesus welcomed the interruption, gathered them up in His arms, and blessed them. Throughout His time on earth, He imparted blessings to those He taught and touched.

Jesus began His earthly ministry with blessings, and He completed it with a blessing…The final thing that He did for His disciples was to bestow a blessing as He ascended into heaven…Jesus recognized and demonstrated the power of the blessing and we should too!!!
8/19/2022Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

A miracle in your mouth is waiting to be spoken into existence! The power of the prophetic blessing is released through your supernatural proclamation based upon the Word of God.

When Aaron, the high priest and spiritual authority over Israel, spoke God’s words, His miraculous blessings flooded the lives of His children. God has ordained fathers as the spiritual authorities of our homes. The most powerful gift we can give our children is to lay our hands upon them and speak God’s blessings over them.

We have the ability to release God’s supernatural power into their lives – power that protects, that controls their destinies, that shapes their self-esteem, that bolsters their self-confidence, that speaks levels of success over them for the rest of their lives.

Too many children live under a curse spoken inadvertently by their parents…Toxic words have destroyed their self-image, eroded their hope, and diminished their futures…Parents have the Godly mandate and spiritual authority to direct our children in the way that they should go…Call your children by name, and speak blessings over their relationship with Jesus, their health, their friendships, their academic studies, and every endeavor…Send them out with the angels of God before and behind them and the promise of a victorious day ringing in their ears…Speak life!!!!
8/18/2022Matthew 12:36 “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.”

When God created Adam, He breathed the breath of life – the spirit of God – into him. We are two elements: the dust from which we were created and will return, and the spiritual man which will live forever.

It is impossible to speak without inhaling and exhaling. Somehow, God has connected the breath of the supernatural to our speech. One day, we will give an account for every word that we utter. We will be condemned – or justified – by the things we say.

There is a miracle in our mouths just waiting to be spoken into existence! In Matthew 17, Jesus declared that, if we had faith as tiny as a mustard seed, we could speak to a mountain and command it to move. Nothing would be impossible!

By the power of His spoken word, our God creates something out of nothing…When we dare to believe in the promises that He has made, and we speak them aloud, the supernatural becomes reality…Instead of saying that you “can’t,” affirm, “I will, by the grace of God!”…Don’t say “impossible;” declare that “nothing is impossible with God.”…In the middle of the trial, boldly proclaim that “the afflictions of the righteous may be many, but the Lord delivers us from them all.”…There is a miracle in your mouth!!!
8/17/2022Deuteronomy 28:2 “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God.”

The Lord listed the blessings that would overtake the children of Israel if they would only obey His commands. Everything that He promised to His chosen people has now come to us through the Cross of Christ.

The word “overtake” means to flood our lives – much like a tidal wave sweeping away a child’s sandcastle. We will be helpless against the overwhelming outpouring of His blessings!

Deuteronomy 28 spells out the many blessings He promises. We will be blessed in the city and the country. Wherever we go, He will pour out His favor.

We will be blessed in the fruit of our body – our children who are gifts from the Lord…We will be blessed in our basket and store; we will have more than enough in our finances…We will loan to others but have no need to borrow ourselves…If enemies come against us from one direction, they will flee in seven directions – scattered like straw in the wind…Whatever we put our hand to, He will bless…Whether we are a salesman or a scientist, God will prosper the work we do…We will be the head and not the tail – always coming out on top…Others will see that we belong to the Lord and will stand in awe of our generous Father!!!
8/16/2022Numbers 6:24-26 “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

The blessing is an impartation of the supernatural power of God into a human life by the spoken word of God’s delegated spiritual authority.

In ancient Israel, God commanded the high priest, Aaron, to speak His blessing over the whole nation. When Aaron obeyed, God instantly began to pour out miraculous riches on His chosen people.

Today, we are His chosen people, and we were born to be blessed (1 Peter 2:9)! Not because we deserve it, but because we have a generous Heavenly Father Who wants to give us the best in this life and the one to come.

His grace knows no limits…His love has no measure…His compassion has no boundaries…His mercies are renewed every morning…He is the Glory and the Lifter of our heads…Through the sacrifice of His own Son, He provided the Way, the Truth, and the Life…He is the wonderful Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace…He is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother…He is our Savior, Deliverer, Shield, Fortress, and High Tower…This is the God Who blesses us exceedingly abundantly, above all that we can ask or imagine!!!
8/15/20222 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.”

As the signs of the last days rage around us, our sovereign God is still in control. As He delays His coming, we need to heed the wake-up call and warn others that the time to choose Jesus is now.

Today’s verse encourages every person to examine himself. Are you truly in the faith? Is Christ really at work in your heart? Are His power and wisdom growing in you every day? Are you looking more and more like your Father?

The Bible warns us of a broad way that leads to destruction; multitudes will take that easy path to eternal loss…The gate is small, and the path is narrow that leads to true, eternal life, and few will find it…To find that path and to stay on that path takes discipline and focus…Test yourself and see where are you in life…Be sure you are walking the narrow, blood-stained path that leads to the Cross and not strolling hand in hand with the world…Be certain that you are ready when that final trumpet blast rents the air…Tell others about a Savior Who loves us so much that He does not want to live without us!!!
8/14/2022Deuteronomy 7:6 “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.”

The country of Israel and the Jewish people are holy, chosen, and treasured above all other nations on earth.

Israel’s story began in Genesis 12 when God told Abraham to leave his father’s house and to set out for an unknown land. He vowed to make Abraham a great nation. He promised to bless anyone who blessed him and curse anyone who cursed him. That word still stands today.

Israel was created by a sovereign act of God. The country was given to the Jewish people exclusively and eternally (Exodus 15:13). Israel does not just occupy the land – they own it! Zechariah 2:8 declares that He will go out against nations who oppress Israel, because anyone who does so sticks their finger in the eye of God.

His love abounds for the holy city of Jerusalem. As the mountains surround the city, God encircles His people forever (Psalm 125:2). He has established intercessors to cry out day and night until He makes Jerusalem a respected and admired city of praise.

Jerusalem is the shoreline of eternity, the capital city of the final Kingdom, where Jesus Christ will sit on the throne of David…Of that Kingdom there shall be no end, and you and I will reign with Him eternally!!!
8/13/2022Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

The book of Hebrews likens our faith journey to a race that we are to run with the single-minded passion of a champion.

Too many times, we run like t-ball players. We get distracted, lie down in the outfield, and chase butterflies. We fill up our hats with dirt and run to third base instead of first. But God calls us to discipline and focus.

We must align with the Lion of Judah to understand the roar of Him inside of us…We need to get lean and mean so that when we step up to the starting block, Satan and his minions tremble…It will be a fight to the finish, and they are on the losing team…We may experience loneliness, the weariness of putting one foot in front of another, the struggle to keep going, the frustration of a road not headed where we expected…In those laps, God refines us until we grow bold and strong in Him…We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses – all the pioneers who blazed the trail before us – and they are cheering us on to victory…Jesus began a good work in us and will see it through to the finish line!!!
8/12/2022Romans 8:11 “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

When the Spirit of the Living God dwells in a believer, He will raise us up and fill us with strength and vitality to fulfill the purposes of our Father.

When faced with increasingly challenging times, we can easily be overwhelmed. Our hearts can faint within us. Our perseverance can fall short. Our faith can cool. But when His Spirit is alive and abiding in us, He will fill us with can-do belief in our ability to overcome.

In fact, Ephesians 3:20-21 assures us that God will do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” according to the power that is already working away deep inside us. It is not something beyond our grasp, nothing for which we need to wait. His Spirit is ALREADY at work in us and through us.

The requests that we dare not speak aloud? The dreams that we can scarcely conceive? The plans that we once thought dead? His generosity, His purposes, and His answers exceed our wildest imaginations!

He will strengthen our spirits mightily through His Spirit…He will ground us in His love and fill us to the richest measure with God Himself…That same Spirit will give life and power to us!!!
8/11/20221 Corinthians 2:9 “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Rapture! People talk of it as a never-seen-before happening, but the Bible tells us of several mysterious incidents when believers were snatched up and carried from one place to another.

Enoch was a man who walked with God and pleased Him. He did not die; God simply took him (Genesis 5:24).

A fiery, horse-drawn chariot whisked Elijah away to heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11).

When King Uzziah died, Isaiah was “carried away” in a vision where he saw God seated on His throne, surrounded by angels declaring His holiness (Isaiah 6:1).

As Jesus’ disciples looked on in Acts 1:9-11, He ascended from the earth and disappeared into the clouds. Two angels declared that, in the same way He left, He will one day return.

On the way to Gaza, Philip baptized an Ethiopian eunuch alongside the road. As the eunuch came out of the water, Philip was transported to Azotus, a city over 30 miles away (Acts 8)!

In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul shared how he was caught up to tour the third heaven before returning to earth.

The seventh rapture will occur when Jesus catches away the victorious Church…We can exhaust our imaginations but still not grasp how indescribably wonderful it will be when we all go home!!!
8/10/20221 Thessalonians 4:18 “Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

If ever there was a time in our nation and the nations of the world where we are experiencing unprecedented division and chaos, it is right now. Current headlines come straight from the pages of Scripture.

On the other side of this chaos shines a promise that causes us to live above the fray, a comfort that floods our hearts with the profound peace of God. Jesus’ foot is poised to step onto the clouds of glory.

Paul says that the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout – a symbol of victory over death, hell, and the grave.

He will descend with the voice of the archangel – an announcement of the appearance of royalty – the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Prince of peace.

He will come with the trump of God – the clarion call that precedes the arrival of a king.

All of that noise is going to wake up the dead, and they will emerge from their graves to rise first. Then, those believers who are alive and remain will be caught up in the clouds to finally meet our Savior in the air. What will only take moments here will result in our forever family reunion in heaven!

In the face of the tumult around us, comfort one another with these reminders…Stand up straight, raise your head, and rejoice…Our redemption is oh so close!!!
8/9/2022Revelation 3:15-16 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”

Jesus challenged the church of Laodicea in the book of Revelation, and that message still rings true in these last days.

He accused the church of being lukewarm – indifferent and lacking passion. In a wealthy city known for its banking industry, thriving wool trade, and a medical school that produced a healing eye salve, the church had become proud and idle.

They smugly declared that they were rich, that they needed nothing from no one. But Jesus proclaimed them “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17). They were so distasteful that they made Him want to vomit.

He counseled them to find their treasure in Him – not their great wealth. He urged them to don His robes of righteousness – not the clothing for which their town was famous. Instead of their celebrated salve, they needed Jesus to open their eyes to His truth.

Because He loved them, He urged them to repent for their halfhearted service, to stir up their cooling faith, to burn with zeal once again.

Has your relationship with Jesus grown cold???Have you traded the temporary for the eternal???Today, He stands at the door of your heart and knocks…Fling it wide, and ask Him in to set you ablaze again!!!
8/8/2022Revelation 21:2 “Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Every believer is longing for a place which we have never seen nor visited. Like Abraham, we are looking for a city that was designed and built by God, whose foundations are real and eternal (Hebrews 11:10).

One day, we will hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” and we will walk through gates of pearl on streets of pure gold as transparent as glass. A mansion of splendor prepared by the Architect of the Ages awaits our arrival. The sun and moon have no need to shine, because the glory of God will illuminate the city. The Lamb is its light.

Unlike any city we have ever known, the word “goodbye” has never been spoken there. No tears of sadness have ever been shed. It knows no sorrow, no sickness, and no separation. No hospitals, cancer wards or nursing homes exist there. No suffering or death have darkened its atmosphere.

The redeemed will wear dazzling robes of righteousness and majestic crowns of life, and it will be our deepest honor and greatest joy to cast our crowns at the feet of our Redeemer when we finally see Him face to face. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Bright and Morning Star, worthy of blessing, honor, glory, and power forever and ever!
8/7/20222 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

God holds the stopwatch in His hand. From the first morning of creation – before sin ever entered the equation – God knew the day, the hour, the very second that Christ will return to catch away His church.

Peter warned that doubters would have plenty to say before His return. Where is this Jesus? What happened to His promised return? From the beginning of time until this very day, everything continues the same (2 Peter 3:4).

Those scoffers do not know the God Who spoke, and galaxies spun into existence. He hung the moon and named the stars. He caused the oceans to teem with life and the dry land to rise from the waters. He prompted the grass to spring from the soil and created the cattle to graze. He spoke, and it was good.

His Word remains good today…He is not slow about keeping His promise…His loving patience actually has led to His restraint, to hold off the end so that every person can come to repentance…He does not want anyone to be forever lost…At the appointed time – like a thief in the night – He will keep His promise…The eastern sky will split, and the trumpet will blast!!!
8/6/20222 Thessalonians 2:7 “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.”

In a letter written to the Thessalonian believers around AD 51, Paul indicated that the mystery of lawlessness – the spirit of the antichrist – was already at work in their midst.

Paul also indicated that there was an opposite and opposing force Who was restraining that antichrist spirit and would continue to do so until He was taken out of the way. The Holy Spirit is the one Who hinders the work of Satan.

As believers in Christ, that same dynamite power – the infilling of the Holy Spirit – dwells in us…He convinces us of God’s truth and righteousness…He convicts us of sin…He comforts us in a world that is unkind and unaccepting…He enables us to be salt and light in this world…He fills us with holy boldness and empowers us to be His witnesses…He speaks God’s Word through us…He appoints us to ministry and gives us gifts to fulfill our calling…While the Holy Spirit restrains, we must be energetically completing the Father’s work…Now, while it is still day, we have the freedom to work, but Jesus warned that the night would fall when no one would be able to do so…Let us work while we can!!!
8/5/2022Matthew 24:13 “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”

As the signs of Jesus’ return increase, we have a choice to make. We can be blown about by the calamitous winds or we can choose to anchor our lives in Christ and His Word.

God did not leave us ignorant concerning the dark days to come. Daniel prophesied of an antichrist who will become so powerful that he will dare to challenge the very Prince of princes (Daniel 8:25). He will have complete authority over a one-world government with a one-world economy, and a one-world religion, executing anyone who opposes him.

Jesus foretold a time of tribulation that has never been witnessed since the world began. Unless those days are shortened, no human will survive (Matthew 24:21-22).

As we perceive the signs of His appearing, our world grows increasingly fearful, running to and fro, accumulating knowledge in hopes of curing the ills of this current age.

Instead of being overwhelmed by confusion and dread, we must make a decision to abide in Jesus…We must hide our lives in Him, so that we are not shaken…We must study to have discerning eyes and ears…We must not only be people who hear His Word, but those who perform it – even in a culture that refuses to recognize Him…Sticking with Jesus to the end will save us!!!
8/4/2022Matthew 24:3 “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

As Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to ask Him about the signs of His coming. He proceeded to tell them, and straight from the Son of God came a very comprehensive outline of the end of this age and the beginning of eternity.

Jesus spoke of wars, famines, earthquakes, and pestilences. He predicted that many would be offended, would betray and hate one another. Today’s headlines are a fulfillment of prophecies spoken over 2000 years ago.

In record time, the coronavirus changed the world. Rumors of biochemical warfare and nuclear capability are rampant. Racial tensions, once simmering, have erupted. The economic implications loom large. Freedoms we once took for granted disappeared. Fear and uncertainty grip many across the globe.

Even while the signs rage around us, we can rest assuredly in His promises…Jesus holds us safely in His hand, and no one can snatch us away from Him…He promised that He would never abandon us…He is present to help us navigate these current woes…He enjoins us to take heart, to not be afraid…In the middle of it all, He promises to fill us with His profound peace…These signs of the end are also signs of a new and better beginning!!!
8/3/2022Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”

Christ set us free so that we could live free! At Calvary, He destroyed the shackles of slavery and the chains of darkness.

In today’s verse, Paul strongly urged the Galatian believers to stand up for liberty. False teachers had infiltrated the early church and were luring susceptible believers back under the letter of the Law, heaping on requirements for salvation that Jesus never intended. Paul warned that if they attempted to be justified by the Law, they had fallen from grace. Christ had profited them nothing.

Those strong words should be a warning – and a comfort – to us. Only faith in Jesus and His sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary are sufficient for our salvation. 

The only way to the Father is through Jesus Whom He sent to be the sacrifice for our sins…No one can even approach God unless they come through the blood of His Son…His grace is more than enough…We can do nothing to cause Him to love us any less, and we can do nothing to cause Him to love us more than He already does…Salvation does not rest in us; it is a free gift that He offers to whomever will accept and receive Him…The world did not give it to us, and the world cannot take it away!!!
8/2/2022Ecclesiastes 7:8 “The end of a thing is better than its beginning; the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”

Every ending signals a beginning, and a new beginning brings a former matter to a close.

The diploma signifies a farewell to academia and ushers in a new reality of full-time employment. A wedding marks the end of singlehood and opens up a future of mutual, loving submission.

When we place our trust in Jesus, an ending occurs. Our old man – with his sinful attitudes and actions – passes away. We are mysteriously made a brand-new creation as we embark on this faith adventure full of hope and promise (2 Corinthians 5:17).

If we pay attention, we see that every one of these situations involves the process. A graduation, a marriage ceremony, and a salvation experience are captured in one moment in time, but living out these new beginnings is a journey. And like every journey, it carries its disappointments and delights, triumphs and tragedies, healing and heartaches.

If the new beginning looks different than you expected, be encouraged…Don’t be so focused on the somewhere-out-there that you lose sight of the here-and-now blessings…When we invite Jesus into every moment, He becomes a Friend Who walks through the fire beside us…Who heals our hurts…Who shares our joys…Who teaches us the lessons that lead to life everlasting!!!
8/1/20221 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”

Am I my brother’s keeper? We are, and may the Lord help us to be true to His holy word.  

Romans 10:13-15 tells us that whomever calls on the Lord will be saved. How will a person call on Jesus if they have never heard of Him unless someone speaks up? We are God’s messengers of grace.

Soul winning is not a gift; it is a commission from Christ…He commands every single believer to be His witness, to tell His story…When someone shares a problem with you, listen, show compassion, and offer intellectual solutions, but more importantly, point them to the One Who holds the power to help…As simplistic as it sounds, Jesus is the Answer…When you take their hands and begin to pray, heaven comes down…Remedies that you did not see will suddenly become apparent…The knowledge that you do not possess will pour from your mouth…When you stand up and step up, God will do things through you that you thought impossible…Ask Him to alert you to every opportunity to share His glorious message…Oh, the treasure that you have to give!!!
7/31/20222 Corinthians 5:20 “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”

Believers bear the responsibility of carrying the message of redemption to the lost. We are saved to save others.

In Acts 10, we meet Cornelius, a devout man who honored God and prayed continually. An angel appeared to him one day and instructed him to send for Simon Peter who would tell Cornelius what to do.

By the time Cornelius’ men arrived, God had already prepared Peter’s heart. He went along and shared the Gospel, and Cornelius’ family became the first Gentile converts. Why didn’t the angel tell Cornelius how to be saved himself?

On the road to Damascus, Jesus knocked Saul off of his donkey as he went to persecute Christians. Struck blind, Saul was led to Judas’ house where the Lord told him that a man named Ananias would come to lay hands on him so he would receive his sight.

In another Damascus home, God spoke to Ananias and instructed him to go and minister to Saul. When he prayed for him, the scales fell from his eyes, he was filled with the Holy Spirit and baptized. Jesus certainly had his attention on the Damascus Road. Why didn’t He deal directly with Saul?

Not angels…Not Jesus…We are the elected instruments of salvation for the lost everywhere…We are ambassadors for our Savior!!!
7/30/2022Daniel 12:3 “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”

We are the instruments of salvation – not God or angels, but humans. We are the ambassadors that God has chosen to carry the treasure of the Gospel to the lost.

Jesus commissioned us to go into all the world and preach His Gospel, to teach unbelievers to observe all the things that He commanded. It is our responsibility, but He did not abandon us to the task. He will be with us to the end of time.

Proverbs 11:30 tells us that a person who wins souls is wise, and Daniel assures us that the wise shall shine as brightly as the sun’s brilliance. Those who turn the sinner to righteousness will glitter like stars forever.

James, the brother of Jesus, caught His vision. He encouraged believers to go after those who strayed from the faith, to refuse to let them go! For every person that we bring to God, we save a wandering soul from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins (James 5:20).

We are to do our absolute utmost to introduce those outside of the Kingdom to the love of Christ…We are the ones to whom He entrusted this task…When we win souls, we will shine like the stars!!!
7/29/2022Acts 20:26-27 “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.”

When Cain killed his brother and lied to cover up the murder, God told him that Abel’s blood cried out to Him from the ground; it demanded justice.

God clearly answered Cain’s question; we are our brother’s keeper. Centuries later, He emphasized this point to Ezekiel when He sent the prophet to the wayward nation of Israel. The Lord cautioned Ezekiel that if he failed to sound the warning to save the life of the wicked, and they died in their sin, their blood would be required at Ezekiel’s hand (Ezekiel 3:18).

The righteous carry the responsibility to witness to the lost…If we fail to do so and souls are banished to hell, God will hold us responsible…Their blood will be on our hands…When Paul spoke to the elders at Ephesus for the final time, he declared that he was innocent of the blood of all men…He had preached the Gospel fully, fervently, and without apology…The unsaved could not lay it to his charge…We have a high calling, a holy accountability…Our hands are not free from the blood of the lost until we have done everything we can to win those souls to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ!!!
7/28/2022Proverbs 29:23 “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.”

Cain’s pride brought him low and left him to wander the earth separated from all that he loved. Instead of humbly responding when God gently rebuked him, he chose a path that led to his downfall.

The story of Cain and Abel is one of the inward soul. When they brought their offerings before the Lord, Genesis tells us that God not only accepted Abel’s sacrifice, He respected him too. For Cain, though, God had no respect, and He rejected his offering. No matter how much you bring to God, He will not be impressed by the gift until He has your heart. What He wants is you!

Cain’s pride was evident in his actions – his jealousy, anger, refusal to repent, the murder of his brother, and his lie to hide it from God. Pride pits people against one another. Like a boa constrictor, it squeezes life from the relationships that it infects.

Pride never tires of broadcasting its own accomplishments…It never fails to exert its superiority…Pride flexes its muscle at the expense of another…Arrogance and self-importance lock arms with pride…It finds its roots deep in self-idolatry…Unlike Cain, don’t let pride lurk in your heart…Don’t let it live in your speech…Don’t let it choke out your relationships and alienate the people you love…Humble yourself before the Lord before pride brings you low!!!
7/27/2022Matthew 25:40 “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”

One simple Bible principle provides a 100% guarantee of success for now and eternity: find out what God desires from you and do that! Jesus, Who only said and did the things that God directed, is our guiding example.

In Matthew 25, Jesus made it clear that we are our brother’s keeper, that we have a responsibility towards others. He said that He would return with the angels one day to separate the nations. He will commend those “sheep” who fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and visited the sick and imprisoned. He will welcome them into His eternal joy.

His warning was much more somber for the “goats.” He will curse those who failed to minister to the hungry, thirsty, sick, and bound and will send them into everlasting fire. When they refused to do those things for the least, they refused to do them for Jesus Himself.

Jesus places a high priority on caring for others if He will send us into everlasting punishment for failing to do so…Let us feed the hungry and clothe the needy…Let us visit the sick and those in jail…Let us begin today and try diligently to reach out to “the least” in our society!!!
7/26/2022Genesis 4:9 “Then the LORD said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother? He said, I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

“Am I my brother’s keeper?” That was Cain’s sulky, defiant question flung at God immediately after he lied regarding Abel’s whereabouts.

Cain, a farmer, and his younger brother, Abel, a shepherd, both brought their offerings, but God did not respect Cain and rejected his fruit offering. He respected Abel and accepted the animal that he sacrificed. Overwhelmed by rage, Cain killed Abel. When God asked where his brother was, Cain replied that he did not know. Was it his job to take care of his brother?

That simple question reverberates today. Are our brothers and sisters any concern of ours? Like a thread woven into the tapestry of Scripture, we find a resounding “yes.” In the Old Testament, we see God’s provision for the poor and foreigners living among the Israelites (Leviticus 23:22). In the New Testament, we discover that caring for orphans and widows constitutes “pure, undefiled religion” (James 1:27).

America is a country applauded for its rugged individualism and fierce independence, but God still calls us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, to unselfishly seek the best for others, to take on the responsibility of leading in love…When we care for others, it changes us and them…It changes our community and our country…How do you answer this timely question???
7/25/2022Revelation 22:12-13 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”

At the end of the Great Tribulation, the antichrist will wage the war to end all wars in the Valley of Armageddon. In the midst of that battle, he will make a major mistake when he challenges the God of Angel Armies.

After that, John the Revelator saw the Faithful and True seated on a white horse with eyes like fire and many crowns upon His head. His robe was dipped in blood, and He was called The Word of God. The armies of heaven – clad in white linen – followed behind Him. On His thigh was written a name: King of kings and Lord of lords!

Jesus Christ is coming back…He will split the eastern sky…From His mouth, a sharp sword will strike down the nations Who oppose Him…He will cast the antichrist and the serpent of old into the lake of fire…The Lamb of God will bring peace to all the world…The Lion of the Tribe of Judah will rule from His throne in Jerusalem…And of His kingdom, there will never be an end!!!
7/24/20221 Thessalonians 4:17 “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

We do not know when the antichrist will rise to power, but we do know that he will seize control quickly and at a time of great chaos.

Imagine how our disappearance will contribute to the confusion! The world will be thrown into pandemonium when millions of Christ-followers suddenly vanish from the face of the earth.

In Revelation 4:1-4, John the Revelator saw a door open in heaven. Transported in the Spirit, He saw the throne of God surrounded by twenty-four elders clothed in white, wearing crowns, and seated on thrones themselves.

Many scholars agree that these elders represent the Old Testament saints, as well as the New Testament church. They are all present and seated in heavenly places with the Father. Several chapters later, the antichrist takes his place on the world stage.

In the first three chapters of the book of Revelation, the church is mentioned twenty times…After Revelation 4 when John slips through the door, the church is not mentioned again until the final chapters of the Bible…Why? Because we will not be here…We will be with the Lamb Who was slain, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the only One worthy to open the scroll!!!
7/23/2022Revelation 3:16 “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”

An unlikely visitor has shown up in the church today – the spirit of antichrist. It has infiltrated the body of Christ and influenced us in subtle ways.

Many believers choose comfort over a righteous stand of conviction…Many make excuses for corruption rather than speak against it…We have softened the Gospel to bow to political correctness instead of proclaiming it unashamedly…If we stand for God’s truth, we will be labeled and called radical…We will be painted with the same brush as the religious right and be controversial…We have become more concerned about public opinion than honoring our Savior…When Jesus commands us to shine a light, but we hide in fear, it is antichrist…When He tells us to boldly proclaim the Gospel, but we distort His message to prevent offense, it is antichrist…When He tells us to stand in the day of evil, but we refuse to engage, it is antichrist…Now is the time to continually be filled with His Spirit, to burn hot with the zeal of God, to speak His truth without compromise, to stand against injustice, to defend the helpless, to shine a light into the darkness, and to wage war from our knees…Our Father demands no less!!!
7/22/2022Joel 1:3 “Tell your children about it, let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.”

In our nation, we are suffering under the curse of division and discord. In the house of God, though, may we be the city on a hill that blazes forth the light of unity and love.

We believe that Jesus is returning soon for His bride. Until that day, we have a responsibility to work until He comes. While we remain, we must never stop telling our children about our Heavenly Father and the priceless gift of His Son.

We must show them how to love Him with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength. We must teach them the unshakable truth of God’s Word and the unsurpassed power of the Holy Spirit.

The next generation was created to worship Him. If we do not protect them, they could fall victim to the enemy. If we do not provide for them, they might seek out what they need in other places. If we do not prioritize them, who will?

May we give the best of ourselves to the kingdom of Christ…From father to son…from mother to daughter…from generation to generation…let our hearts be turned towards one another as we embrace the wisdom of one generation and the energy of another…Let us instruct our children to live for Jesus and teach the same to those who come after them…Let all of God’s children say, “Amen!”…
7/21/2022Philippians 2:14-15 “…become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…”

In the end times, Paul warned that humankind would be lovers of self, lovers of money, and lovers of pleasure – not lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

We live in an all-about-me, get-rich-quick, have-it-all culture. Sacrifice for the benefit of another person has fallen by the wayside. Self-absorption leaves no room for responsibility or consideration of others.

This preoccupation with self runs exactly contrary to how Jesus’ followers will behave. He insisted that the greatest among us is actually the servant of all (Mark 9:35), that we are our brother’s keeper (1 Corinthians 8:12), that we should contribute generously and cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7), and that we should love goodness, justice, and common sense (Titus 1:8).

Jesus once wrapped a towel around His waist and washed the disciples’ feet…A King behaved like a common servant…He taught them to extend His mission here on earth, to follow His example of humble service…Like us, these men were commissioned to move into the world serving God, serving one another, and serving all people to whom they took the message of salvation…When we follow the blueprint that He designed, we will shine like stars in the middle of this dark and evil last-days generation!!!
7/20/20222 Timothy 3:1 “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come”

God loves us too much to leave us without warning or time to prepare. In another apocalyptic passage, Paul pulls back the curtain to reveal why believers need to be vigilant in the last days.

Paul minced no words as he spoke of a culture in which people would love themselves and money, be proud, boastful, blasphemous, disobedient to their parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, and have a form of godliness while denying its power. He warns us to turn away from such people (II Timothy:2-5).

Signs of the times abound – a culture consumed with money and materialism; people steeped in self-absorption with no self-control; and a lukewarm church that appears presentable but has no power or purity…The news is not all bad though…The prophet, Joel, unveiled a promise that God would pour out His Spirit on every kind of people in the last days, that our sons and daughters will prophesy, our old men will experience divine dreams, and our young men will have Godly visions…For every person who calls on His name, He will come to their rescue…Deliverance and salvation will be evident among His people…Even in perilous times, God is on the move!
7/19/2022Revelation 13:18 “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”

As we focus our attention on the end of days, an apocalyptic figure emerges that strikes dread in the hearts of many.

Theologians call him the antichrist. The book of Revelation specifically refers to him as the beast, a man to whom the number 666 is mysteriously associated.

In Hebrew gematria, every number and letter possesses a correlating value. The number 666 signifies that this man will be completely given over to Satan and sin. At that time, one-third of the world’s population will be destroyed, seven years of destruction will be unleashed on the earth, and he will execute anyone who dares to resist him.

While we do not know his identity, the Bible clearly indicates the purpose of his advent. The question begs to be asked: what kind of people – knowing before he comes into power how it all will end – would follow and worship this guy?

Paul, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, described exactly the type of culture that would follow the beast in II Timothy 3:1-5…Since His Word is truth, may it quicken our spirits to recognize that we live in just such a day…The dominoes are set to fall!!!
7/18/20221 Thessalonians 2:19 “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?”

The dominos are lined up, ancient prophecies all fulfilled. One decisive nudge of God’s finger will set the final chain in motion. One event has forever impacted the outcome of the end of times.

This one event has affected every nation, tribe, tongue, kindred, and people. This one event has influenced every socialist economy, free-market economy, and a communist nation. One Man, one Cross, and three nails has made all the difference for all eternity.

One choice, on our part, absolutely changes everything instantaneously – our “YES!” to Jesus saves us from the judgment to come.

The angels of God stand at attention before His throne…King Jesus is about to exit the gates and step onto the clouds of glory…The trumpet blast will rent the air, and in the twinkling of an eye, the dead in Christ will rise first, and those who are alive and remain will be caught up in the air to meet Him…Those who call Him Savior will forever remain with Him…Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…Make Him your choice…Say “YES” to Jesus…Your choice today impacts every tomorrow!!!
7/17/2022Matthew 24:4 “And Jesus answered and said to them: Take heed that no one deceives you.”

Jesus warned His followers to be on alert, because this world would be saturated in deception. Rumors, offenses, betrayals, lies – the end of days would see such mass duplicity that people will not be able to tell the truth from a lie.

Satan, the father of lies, has so infiltrated our culture that he has infected the way that we receive our information, as well as the motivations for our decisions. The media has neglected objectivity to create stories that fit their own narrative.

From the government to education, deception has crept in to distort and deceive. Truths that once seemed so evident have been discarded. Even in our churches, pastors are more interested in comfort than the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus declared that God’s Word is truth…It is still the truth of God that brings the sinner from the far country, that sets the addict free…It is the truth of God that breaks the chains of bondage, that reaches into the past to redeem what the enemy tried to destroy and gives hope for a brighter tomorrow…It is this truth that brings joy to the hopeless, strength to the weary, water to the thirsty…The agnostic may deny it…The world may reject it…The atheist may hate it…But His truth still stands!!!
7/16/2022Matthew 24:3 “Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

Even before His death on the Cross, Jesus’ followers have looked for the signs that He would return. Jesus described a series of events that would occur – some immediately following His crucifixion, others that would take centuries to develop.

Jesus declared that the Second Temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed, that not one stone would remain atop another. In AD 70, Titus besieged Jerusalem and decimated the Temple and the city, carrying off the holy implements – previously viewed only by the High Priest – to parade them through the streets of Rome.

Jesus assured His disciples that Jerusalem would be trampled by the Gentiles until the Day of the Gentiles was fulfilled. While Israel became a nation in 1948, it did not come into the hands of the Jews until 1967 when Israeli paratroopers stormed the Old City and seized what was taken from them almost two thousand years before.

Here, at the unquestionable end of the age, our eyes are still trained on the sky as we sense His impending return…We are experiencing signs in the skies, the distress of nations, and widespread fear for what the future will bring…The dominoes are stacked…His kingdom is near!!!
7/15/2022Isaiah 66:8 “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once?”

One of the most significant prophecies to be fulfilled in these last days is the birth of the nation of Israel in 1948. The questions that Isaiah asked centuries before were answered in the affirmative on that fateful day.

Pastor John Hagee, an eight-year-old boy living in East Texas, remembers sitting at the table, listening to the radio when a newscaster announced that the United Nations had decided to recognize the sovereign state of Israel. The news was met with jubilation! Across America, Jews gathered in synagogues to give thanks.

For over 2000 years, Israel only existed as a promise held fast by Jews around the world. In 1948, they streamed back to the Promised Land from the nations where they had suffered unspeakable persecution.

President Harry Truman faced intense opposition in recognizing Israel as a state, resisted by several powerful leaders in American politics. However, he remembered the Baptist teachings of his youth and the Bible passages that referred to Israel as God’s chosen people. He believed that they were entitled to that land.

The nation of Israel triumphantly emerged as a huge prophecy fulfilled – one more domino set in the intricate last-days plan. Though many generations had passed, God remembered His covenant with Abraham and Isaac.
7/14/2022Daniel 12:4 “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

When God shared the signs in today’s verse, He instructed Daniel to seal the record, because no one would be able to comprehend their conversation until the last days. These mysteries have now been unveiled.

One of those signs is that “many shall run to and fro.” As never before, humankind is on the move! We cram our calendars and stuff our schedules. Busyness has become a status symbol in our culture, exhaustion, a token of our success.

Travel that once took months is now accomplished in hours, journeying easily from one continent to another. Reserving our seat on a shuttle bound for another planet is on the horizon.

Daniel also predicted that “knowledge shall increase.” In 1900, human knowledge doubled almost every 100 years. In 1950, it doubled every 25 years. In 2000, it doubled every 12 months. Today, human knowledge doubles in one day!

We are overwhelmed with the complexities and chaos that this avalanche of data creates…Technology is not evil, but the church – those with a trust in God and a desire to do right – should be at the forefront of advancement…The signs of Jesus’ return are evident…Let our endless pursuit and thirst for knowledge bring us closer to Him!!!
7/13/20222 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

Pastor Matt Hagee grew up in a church that preached the Word of God and believed wholeheartedly in its truths. All of his life, he has heard that we are living in the last days and that Jesus Christ is coming soon.

Elder church members have pointed to various events and declared them to be signs of the times. A long drought, a stock market crash, wars, the fall of prominent leaders – all proof that Jesus’ second coming was imminent.

Simultaneously, scoffers also existed to question His return. Ironically enough, scoffers themselves are actually a sign of the times. In 2 Peter 3:3-4, he tells us that scoffers will appear in the last days questioning Jesus’ return and pointing out how everything continues just as it did from creation’s beginning.

Pastor Matt is a sixth-generation pastor. When his great-great-great-grandfather stood in the pulpit, many end-time prophesies had not been fulfilled. Things were unclear when his great-great-grandfather pastored. A generation later, we still had unanswered questions.

Today, though, Pastor Matt can tell us things that they never could – not because of greater intellect, but because every major Biblical prophecy has been fulfilled. We are poised on the brink of His promise, that much closer to the time of Jesus’ return!
7/12/2022Luke 21:28 “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

Signs of the times abound around us! As we learned from the book of Daniel, we are living in the final days of the last earthly kingdom.

Like dominoes arranged in an intricate pattern, the whole world holds its breath in anticipation of the moment when God tips the first block to set in motion the chain of events that will dot every “i” and cross every “t” to fulfill every prophecy contained in His Word. Every component is in place, and how quickly the tiles will fall when He precipitates the day and hour.

For followers of Jesus, we do not look to the future with dread…Our God sits upon the throne of an eternal kingdom…We are not waiting for Him to get started; we are waiting for God to complete His plan…Soon, the struggles of this life will conclude…Those who have endured to the end shall be saved…He will wipe every tear from our eyes…We will slip the confines of this earth to finally go home…The trump of God is pressed against an angel’s lips, and we anticipate the blast that will cause us to be changed…In the blink of an eye, this corruptible will put on incorruptibility, and the mortal will put on immortality…When will God tip the first domino???
7/11/20222 Corinthians 3:14 “But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.”

Standing before King Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel declared that the dream God had revealed to him was “certain,” that the interpretation he gave was “sure.” This was no tentative shot in the dark.

He had experienced an apocalypse – a revelation of the last days – that is still being fulfilled today. Soon, God will send His Son from heaven to crush every earthly principality and establish an eternal kingdom that will fill the whole earth with the peace for which we long.

The question is not whether Daniel’s words – uttered thousands of years ago – were accurate. History books – even in godless institutions – prove that Babylon was succeeded by the Medo-Persian empire that was succeeded by the Greek and Roman Empires. The question is not whether Daniel was on target.

The question is: Have you placed your faith in the Chief Cornerstone? When He comes to earth to crush the kingdoms of this world, will your feet be planted on the Rock of Salvation? God, in His great mercy, has pulled back the curtain to unveil what is to come so we can be prepared and watching.

The Stone that was rejected will return as the King of kings…On that day, no one will stand in His presence…Prepare yourself and be ready!!!
7/10/2022Daniel 2:45 “Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this.”

When Daniel interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he saw an unstable kingdom represented by toes made of iron and clay – a strange mix of strength and weakness, interconnection, and division. Today, we are a culture that is globally connected but wracked with conflict.

How can we overcome the dissension that plagues our world? Will the correct candidate help us overcome our issues? Will the right legislation finally unite us in peace and justice?

Daniel said that no assistance would rise from one party or nation. Instead, help will come from heaven above. Our great God sees the affairs of earth, and He carved a Stone from His holy mountain. That Stone that the builders rejected is now the Chief Cornerstone – Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:6).

That Cornerstone was the seed of the woman that God spoke of in Genesis…He was the rock in the wilderness from which living water flowed…David called Him a rock of refuge, a strong tower, and an always-present help in times of trouble…That same Stone will grow into a great mountain that fills the whole earth and will crush all previous empires…His will be an indestructible kingdom that will stand forever!!!
7/9/2022Daniel 2:45 “The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”

When King Nebuchadnezzar experienced a troubling dream, Daniel assured him that there is a God in heaven Who reveals secrets, and He was pulling back the curtain to reveal events in the last days (Daniel 2:28).

Daniel used the words “splendor,” “excellent,” and “awesome” to describe the image in the dream – a statue with a head of gold, arms and a chest of silver, loins, and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and toes of iron and clay.

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream speaks to us today. The head of gold represented the Babylonian king whose global empire held power for almost 50 years. Afterward, an inferior kingdom seized power. The Persians and Medes, represented by the two arms and chest of silver, ruled for almost 200 years. Silver is a harder metal than gold, and each kingdom became harsher and more vicious than the one before.

The bronze midsection represents the Greek Empire that began under Alexander the Great and endured for over 250 years. We transition to the two legs of iron that signify the Roman Empire that came to power 63 years before Jesus was born and ruled for over 300 years after His death.

Finally, Daniel predicts an unstable kingdom represented by toes made of iron and clay. This kingdom displays a strange mix of strength and weakness, interconnection, and division. Compare it to our current culture – globally connected and yet, so at odds. Every word was fulfilled as Daniel predicted – certain and sure. And now… we await a kingdom with no end.
7/8/2022Daniel 2:23 “I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of You.”

Nebuchadnezzar, the temperamental king of Babylon, had conquered and proceeded to rule Israel. Not only had he carried her leaders into captivity, but he had also audaciously marched into the Temple and stolen all its gold, silver, and artifacts of worship.

One night, a troubling dream prompted him to call for all of his magicians, sorcerers, and astrologers. He issued a shockingly impossible challenge – not only should they interpret his dream, but they must tell him what he had dreamed! If they failed to accomplish this feat, he would kill them and reduce their homes to ash heaps.

Hearing the ultimatum, the prophet Daniel went to Nebuchadnezzar and asked for time to perceive the dream and its interpretation. He enlisted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to pray with him. In a night vision, Daniel received his answer. He awoke and worshipped God before he hurried off to talk with Nebuchadnezzar.

If you are facing an impossible situation today and need to hear from our omniscient Father, take the time to seek His face…Take the time to ask other believers to join you in fervent prayer…And when He hears your petition and responds from heaven, take the time to bless His name!!!
7/7/2022Mark 13:32 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

For two millennia, we have been living in the Last Days, waiting and watching for Jesus Christ to return. Time is ticking. Over two thousand years ago, the prophetic clock moved into the delivery room.

The young couple who discovers that they are expecting a baby are not certain of the exact moment that they will meet their precious newborn. They understand that they have nine months to prepare for the birth. They visit the doctor, enjoy baby showers, choose a name, and prepare a nursery. They celebrate the signs of impending arrival. At the appointed time, they welcome their long-awaited child.

Many around us choose to ignore the signs of Jesus’ impending arrival. They cling to the truth that no one knows the day or the hour of His coming. With every hour that passes, though, we draw closer and closer to that moment when the trumpet of God shall sound, the dead in Christ shall rise, and we who are alive and remain will be caught up to meet Him in the air. Hallelujah!

Do not get distracted…He has delayed only because of His great desire for all to know Him…Pay attention and prepare for His impending arrival…God has unveiled a mystery…Everything is in place for our long-awaited King’s return!!!
7/6/2022Joel 2:28 “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.”

Two monumental things occurred on the Day of Pentecost: the New Testament church was birthed, and the beginning of the Last Days commenced.

On that day, 120 believers gathered in an upper room. As they prayed in one place and in one accord, a mighty wind rushed in, and tongues of fire rested on each of their heads. They received power to be witnesses to the ends of the earth. The church was born.

People from all over the world – of all languages – were in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Weeks. To their astonishment, these 120 disciples – most of them unlearned fishermen – began to declare, in languages previously unknown to them, the story of the virgin-born Son of God Who was crucified but rose again on the third day.

While many presumed them drunk, Peter corrected them when he quoted the prophet, Joel. God fulfilled His Word and ushered in the Last Days when He began to pour out His Spirit at Pentecost.

As the New Testament church, we still change the world not through buildings or budgets or programs, but by the truth of the glorious Gospel delivered through the power of the Holy Spirit that God continues to pour out on all flesh!!!
7/5/2022Daniel 2:22 “He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.”

When the word “apocalypse” is mentioned, visions of doomsday scenarios, mushroom clouds over cities, and end-of-days disasters come immediately to mind.

The apocalypse is not the end of the world, a nuclear war or a horrific, last-days judgment. “Apocalypse” is derived from a Greek word that means “to pull back, unveil or the holy disclosure of information or knowledge.”

In the book of Daniel, the hand of God pulled back the curtain of time to show Daniel what waited on the other side. This unveiling revealed Himself as the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Sometimes, we become so focused on the notes on the page that we forget to enjoy the music…The apocalypse is not intended to create confusion or bog us down in frightening details…For those of us who belong to Jesus, we can be filled with confidence and hope…God is still on His throne in absolute control…When the final word is uttered by the last leader on earth, God will still be in power…No government can unseat Him…No scientist can disprove Him…No judge can overrule Him…He has unveiled His plans so we can be prepared and look forward to the promised salvation through Jesus Christ, His Son!!!
7/4/2022Psalm 33:12 “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.”

Today, in America, we celebrate the many freedoms of this great nation of ours! Few nations on the globe enjoy the liberties we do.

Take a moment to reflect on where we have come from and to where we are progressing. As we picnic with our families, participate in Fourth of July parades, and stare up at a night sky spangled with explosions of light, let us remember those who fought to establish and maintain our liberty.

The first guarantee in the Bill of Rights is the freedom of religion. Across this land, we have the right to assemble in churches, pray freely, worship extravagantly, and boldly teach the Gospel of Christ. We can publish books, broadcast television shows, and stream services on the internet to lift up the name of Jesus – even in countries that are denied those rights.

We have the right to an education, to speak opinions freely, and to vote for the people and policies that govern our nation. We can join a political party, march on Washington, or lobby our representatives.

With these freedoms come responsibility…We must be stewarding these liberties for the cause of Christ…We are to be praying…We are to be exercising our right to vote…We are to be proclaiming God’s truth…May we always stand one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all!!!
7/3/2022Hebrews 13:5 “For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

In the thick of battle, we are often tempted to believe that God has turned His back, walked away, and left us defenseless.

It’s one of Satan’s greatest tactics – to convince us that the Lord has abandoned us and forsaken His love for us. In the face of the father of lies, God’s Word stands forever true and unchanging. He will never leave or forsake us.

Salvation brings us the promise of a Forever Friend. Like a nursing mother could never forget her precious infant, God created us, and He will never forget us (Isaiah 49:15). He has inscribed our names on the palm of His hand, a constant reminder of our relationship.

Do not be dismayed by His silence when you no longer hear His voice in the noisy confusion of the conflict…Press ever closer to Him…Attune your ears to His direction…Persevere in obedience to the instructions that He last gave…Do not be discouraged when you cannot see Him at work…He has not deserted you…Behind the scenes and beyond your sight, He is fighting for you…In His time, He will reveal how His hand has orchestrated your deliverance…Do not fall prey to the lies of the enemy…To the ends of the earth, to the ends of this age, He is with you!!!
7/2/2022Psalm 18:39 “For You have armed me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.”

Have you ever found yourself in a heated battle, baffled and bewildered? Am I not supposed to be victorious, more than a conqueror through Jesus?

The Christian journey is not for the faint of heart! We contend with the everyday skirmishes of a fallen world, as well as the spiritual powers and principalities of this evil age. We must engage in battle before we can be crowned victors and overcomers.

Take heart! Peter encourages us to not find it strange when we go through the fiery trials (1 Peter 4:12). To one day participate in Christ’s glory, we will share in His suffering.

Paul inspired his young charge, Timothy, to endure suffering like a good soldier (2 Timothy 2:3-4). He instructed him to disentangle himself from worldly cares, submit to the rules of engagement, and persevere for the prize that awaits.

He assures Timothy that if we die with Christ, we will certainly live with Him. If we endure with Him, we will also reign with Him. Even when we are faithless, He remains faithful (2 Timothy 2:11-13).

God subdues those who rise against us…He scatters every enemy that comes for us…He increases our faith, powers up our courage, and bolsters our perseverance…He arms us with strength for the inevitable battle…We never fight alone!!!
7/1/2022Psalm 92:13 “Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.”

Many today have rejected assembling together with the body of Christ (Hebrews 10:25). They have been wounded by this imperfect collection of people that are the family of God.

Throughout His Word, though, God encourages us to plant ourselves in His house. In the Old Testament, His glory rested atop the mercy seat, and He met with His people in the unsurpassed beauty of Solomon’s Temple.

In the New Testament, the bodies of His believers became His temple. The newly-formed church in Acts met together every day – sharing all their resources, encouraging one another with songs and Scriptures, and building up one another in their fledgling faith.

Today, God continues to work in and through His church…Only arrogance presumes to say that we do not need one another…No one person can comprehend all God’s truth…No one person possesses the ability or gifts to reach everyone in this wide world…Each one of us is a lively stone in the house He is building…We must take our place in His body so that together, we can accomplish all of His purposes…Plant yourself in His house…Put down deep roots…Intertwine your heart with those who fervently love Him…Planted together, we will bear fruit!!!
6/30/2022Matthew 25:21 “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”

Many of us hesitate and wait for circumstances to be perfect before we will commit to serve. To delay is to disobey.

When we undertake what God asks us to do, He makes it count. No matter how difficult it might be to accomplish the task He has assigned, no matter how few stand beside us, no matter where He sends, no matter how long it might take – be faithful to respond to His prompting.

Do not despise the small beginnings or neglect the details others never see…Even when we labor in obscurity, our Heavenly Father notices and honors our obedience…When we offer our best – even if only a few fish and loaves – He magnifies and makes it much…If He calls you to the nursery, nurture the upcoming generation of Jesus lovers…If He sends you to the boardroom, lead with integrity…If He calls you to mop floors, clean with care…When you answer the higher call, your obedience blesses others…We are responsible to respond and invest the talents that He gives us…When we do little things well – faithful over the few – He will reward us by promoting us to the greater things…It all counts in His kingdom!!!
6/29/2022Psalm 90:2 “…even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”

God remains ever faithful. The One Who moved in generations past still reigns from His throne today.

Elijah and Elisha, the prophets of God, served shoulder to shoulder in the midst of a corrupt generation. Ahab, the Israelite king, did more to anger God than all the others before him (1 Kings 16:33). As an ardent devotee to Baal, Queen Jezebel ruled over the pagan worship in the kingdom – false gods, ritual prostitution, and child sacrifice. She habitually executed priests and prophets of the true God.

Elijah and Elisha boldly proclaimed the word of the Lord and condemned the worship of Baal before Ahab and Jezebel. Because of the evil they perpetrated in Israel, God finally eliminated their family line.

We also serve in a generation that has rejected God to turn aside to lesser idols…Instead of being overwhelmed by despair and fear as events unfold, we are called to be beacons of truth to a world that has lost its way…We stand on a foundation that cannot be destroyed…Heaven and earth will one day pass away, but every “i” will be dotted, and every “t” will be crossed in the Word of God; every promise will be fulfilled…When we are faithful to do what God asks of us, He will make it count for His kingdom…He is faithful!!!
6/28/2022Psalm 139:16 “And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”

“Time flies” is a universal adage. How fleeting are the childhood days of summer. How swiftly our newborns mature into graduates. How quickly the years slip away.

Unnoticed, clocks and calendars can rule our days. The cares and concerns of life – the obligations and the things that we desire — can choke out the truth that we have heard. Stress strangles our devotion to the Lord and leaves us with nothing of genuine value for all of our efforts.

The recent pandemic ground the world to a halt and issued a global invitation to return to the important over the imperative. We reawakened to the wonder of meaningful time with loved ones, the beauty of caring for one another, and the elemental bonds that we share – powerful and basic truths that Jesus expounded.

Time does fly, but we choose how to spend it…We can be its puppet – caught up in the blur of ambitions and activities…Or we can be its master – carefully deciding how to make the moments matter…God penned the chapters and verses of our lives before we took one breath…Let’s pause at the beginning of each day to ask where He would lead…Our lives are open books before Him…He will show us how to make them count for Him!!!
6/27/20221 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

Any athlete knows that training requires persistence and consistency. Lifting weights for one day does not produce a muscular physique. Jogging once around the track does not precipitate a call from the Olympics.

Training requires discipline – for the parents and the children! Parents, we must be steadfast in setting and enforcing the guidelines. What applies today must be upheld next week. When we are careful to mean what we say, our children learn to trust our word.

We must be immovable when it comes to the Word and work of the Lord…When we persevere in spite of tempers and tantrums, children find safety in our consistency…When we persist through the sass and stubbornness, they learn that obedience brings the best outcome…When we model hearts completely devoted to our Savior, children can safely surrender their hearts too…When our lives exemplify the order and peace that flows from obedience to His Word, they will prioritize its truth too…We must consistently demonstrate trust and obedience to God’s voice and train them to do likewise…Even when this work is difficult, exhausting, and frustrating, we rest assured that our labor is not in vain in the Lord!!!
6/26/2022Ephesians 6:4 “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”

Just as we provide for our children’s physical well-being, God instructs us to help them develop their God-given attributes.

From the manger to the time of His appointed ministry, Joseph and Mary created a home where Jesus was enabled to become what God had designed Him to be. Even though He sometimes baffled them, they trained and loved Him. Mary treasured what she did not fully understand.

As parents, we might observe frustrating character traits in our children that lead to worry for their future. But just like a bit in the mouth of a runaway horse, we can bridle and guide those characteristics to be used in great ways.

We can teach them to harness and focus those traits, so they become tools in the hands of God. An impetuous Peter can become a fiery preacher. A persecuting Paul can become a mighty missionary.

God entrusted Jesus to Mary and Joseph…Their home was the safe space where He had the opportunity to grow into God’s plan…God has entrusted our children to us for the same purpose…It is a sacred charge…Our children are proof of His confidence in our ability to help them grow in wisdom and stature and favor!!!
6/25/2022Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Our words carry weight. One careless remark can open a wound that lasts a lifetime. One sincere compliment can restore hope.

We impact the direction of our children’s lives when we speak life and blessing over them. When we tell them of the good that they can do – instead of constantly focusing on the negative – they wake up to the possibilities of God in their lives.

Throughout the Bible, we see the power of blessing. Abraham blessed Isaac who blessed his son, Jacob. When he blessed his twelve sons, his words shaped their destinies and the future of Israel.

When Jacob laid his hand upon each son, those young men were not yet mighty or distinct in any way. However, the words that Jacob spoke in heavenly places were brought into their lives for the unfolding of God’s plan.

We have the power and the privilege to speak words like “I see great potential in you,” “I see a great leader in you,” “You are a difference maker,” “You are a world changer,” or “I see someone who is going to do amazing things.”…Those blessings breathe affirmation and hope into our children’s hearts…It makes them stand taller and walk straighter…No matter their ages, never underestimate the power of speaking a blessing over your children!!!
6/24/2022Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

If we point our children in the direction of the cross, when they grow up, they will not be lost. Parents, we have a part to play in this principle!

We must prioritize our children and practice Godly balance in our homes. They are gifts, not inconveniences. No matter what life throws their way, our children need to live with the assurance that we will be there for them.

We must encourage our children and celebrate the uniqueness God placed in each of them. We must help them identify their strengths, develop their abilities, and work through their shortcomings. Remind them that, in God’s hands, they are masterpieces-in-the-making!

We must value our children equally – no playing favorites. God has a plan for each young life in our homes. Our own natural aversions or appreciation towards certain traits should never taint our attitudes or actions towards these impressionable ones.

We must nurture our children. In the same way, we ascertain that they eat healthy foods, get plenty of exercise and sleep, we must nurture their growth in the Lord. Feed them a steady diet of His Word. Teach them to exercise their faith. Surround them with the security of His love.

How we train today will determine how they live tomorrow!!!
6/23/2022Psalm 34:11 “Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.”

To invest our lives in something great, we need to look no farther than the children and grandchildren that God has given to us. With the same conviction as Joshua, we must determine: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

We are accountable to God for the way in which we raise the children with whom He gifted us. God instructed the Jewish fathers to make Him their first priority and then teach His principles to their children.

Many parents hope that their children will simply learn by proximity – that by being near the principles of God, they will adopt them as their own. Faith is not something we learn by proximity; it is learned through practice. Our children follow our example – not our advice.

We must be intentional about our children’s spiritual instruction…We must practice the presence of God and live out His Word ourselves, and we must be diligent to teach our children how to take those reins in their own lives…This is not a task to be left to Sunday School teachers or professors…God has charged parents with taking their children by the hands and leading them in the steps of the Master…They are our heritage and reward!!!
6/22/20221 Corinthians 9:25 “And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.”

A story is told of John, a Montana rancher, who spent his days working alongside his father and grandfather. He anticipated how his own sons would follow in their footsteps.

Finally, eight-year-old Jess was ready to ride along. John chose his most reliable horse for Jess. Side by side, they worked in the pastures throughout the day. As evening approached, they turned for the long ride home.

Jess challenged John to a race, and before he could caution him, Jess took off. What began as a trot turned into a lope until the horse was at a dead run. The small boy had no strength to stop the large animal. In terror, he cried frantically, “Daddy, help me!”

John tried desperately to grab the reins, but the horse quickly outran his slower steed. When he arrived at the trailer, he found Jess sobbing hysterically – but physically unharmed. That night, as the house slept, John awoke from a nightmare. Why was he so upset when his son was safe?

Then, he heard the voice of the Lord: “Teach him to take the reins. This will not be the last runaway he is ever on.” 

Life is full of runaways, situations that we have no ability to control…We need someone wiser and stronger to teach us how to diligently follow the Lord and to take the reins…How can you do this for the children in your life???
6/21/2022Luke 11:23 “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.”

The cross of Christ demands a decision. Neutrality does not lead to triumph. To not deliberately choose is to make the choice.

When the Pharisees leveled their accusations at Jesus, He spelled it out very simply. There is no neutral ground. If we are not on His side, we are His enemy. If we are not helping do His work, we are actually harming His cause.

Many come to the cross as a source of salvation. They embrace the convenience of redemption but reject the commitment that comes with it. They view their relationship with Jesus as a complementary aside – not the one priority of primary and utmost importance.

True commitment is not convenient…When our comfort is challenged, and we still choose the way of the cross, it is in that place that our commitment is demonstrated…If anyone wants to follow Jesus, he must lay down his own life and ambitions…That person must take up his cross and sacrifice his personal desires…He must follow Jesus and choose His plan…If we are committed to the cross, we are committed to the Savior Who died on that tree…We are committed to follow His Word that commissions us to do the work of our Father…There is no neutral ground!!!
6/20/20222 Corinthians 2:14 “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”

If Satan had fully realized what nailing Jesus to the cross would do, he would have turned the world upside down to prevent His death. Only a Sovereign God could take a tool of torture and turn it into a tree of triumph!

When Satan watched the religious leaders arrest Jesus, he must have thought, “Finally! We have him right where we want Him!” When the accusations were leveled against Him, the Father of Lies must have laughed with glee.

When the soldiers pounded the nails and dropped the cross into the dirt, he surely rubbed his hands excitedly. As he heard Jesus breathe his last, he thought the end was in sight, that his victory was certain, that he would have the supremacy he coveted.

“It is finished.” Those words of Jesus were not a pitiful admission of defeat, they were a roar of triumph! The cross was the pinnacle of a plan that God laid with the foundations of the world. His only Son would become salvation to all those who choose to believe.

What Satan intended for evil, destruction, and death, God redeemed for good, abundance, and life…God is still leading us in triumph – will always lead us in triumph – in Christ!!!
6/19/2022Proverbs 20:7 “The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him.”

Today, we honor the fathers in our lives! Before Batman ever made an appearance, many of us believed that our dads possessed super powers.

In the spirit of giving due honor, here’s to the dads who are passionate about pursuing Jesus and have made Him the priority of their lives. They embrace their position as spiritual head of their home and earnestly seek the will of their heavenly Father.

Here’s to the dads who realize that honoring their wives – second only to the Lord – is the best gift that they can give their children. They work diligently to provide for their families and intentionally create a safe space where their wives and children are liberated to become who God created them to be.

Here’s to the dads who are present and positive participants in their children’s lives. They train their children to love and obey Jesus, take them to church, and speak blessings into their futures. They chase down fly balls, dress up for daddy-daughter dances, and tell all the corny jokes.

Great dads can be found roughhousing in the backyard, cheering from the bleachers, tutoring at the kitchen table, helping a neighbor change a tire, holding his wife while she cries, raising his hands in worship – and a thousand other places. They may not be our last heroes, but they were certainly our first. Here’s to all the dads!
6/18/2022Luke 8:40 “So it was, when Jesus returned, that the multitude welcomed Him, for they were all waiting for Him.”

Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus was met with mobs and meals, palm branches and parades, accusations and accolades, pointing fingers, and perfume. His presence prompted a response.

Even today, Jesus demands a decision….and action. What we choose to do with Jesus and His cross is the primary and most pressing decision any person ever makes.

Instead of His death ringing with finality, it trumpeted a new beginning for all of us. His anguished cry, “It is finished,” actually means “paid in full.” He wiped away the enormous, insurmountable debt – the penalty for our sins – completely.

What looked to be a fatal and final tragedy became a tree of triumph to every believer. How can we properly express our gratitude and devotion? In today’s verse, the crowd waited for Him with anticipation. They came out to meet Him with happiness and expectation.

Let’s do the same! Wait and watch for Him. Welcome Him with worship and adoration. Greet Him with gratitude and great joy! Work for His coming! What is the one thing that you can begin to do now? How will you usher Him into your day?
6/17/2022John 10:28 “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”

How comforting to know that God holds us securely in His hand, cradling us with great care and compassion. If you find yourself exhausted in the middle of a difficult season, be assured of several things.
Every detail of your life is filtered through the loving fingers of our Father. Nothing and no one can tear you away from Him. He is not shocked or alarmed by the drama or tragedy in your life.
Whatever you perceive as your greatest weakness, whatever is lacking in you, in the place that you feel the ugliest and the least lovable…you are His. Now and forever. He will not disown or throw you away. You are precious in His sight.

He cannot wait to swoop you up and pull you in close…He delights in you as He sings with joy…Imagine His lips on your forehead as He hums a lullaby…You belong to Him…Run to Him as fast as your tired legs can carry you…Throw out your arms in complete trust…He will swing you up, pull you close, and call you His own…He won’t give you up, and He won’t give up on you…You are accepted in the Beloved…He’s got you…Better things are on the way!!!
6/16/2022Philippians 3:13-14 “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

After you experience a trial, as things settle back into normalcy, you may look back at months marred by loss and disappointment.  

Jesus understands the longing and necessity for new beginnings. For every person that comes to Him in brokenness, He washes away the old and makes a brand-new creation. He continues to mold us into vessels He can use.  

Consider the man lying by the Pool of Bethesda who had been ill for 38 years. When Jesus asked if he wanted to be healed, his despair was evident. 

Jesus gave three commands: Rise, take up your bed, and walk!  If the man had remained on the mat, it could have tied him to his pessimistic state. He needed to get up and get moving forward.

Perhaps, this year’s events have left you hurting and longing for relief…Hope, help, and healing are found in Jesus alone…His mercies flow anew every morning…Leave your burdens at the cross of Calvary, the tree of triumph…Let go of the things that weigh you down and prevent you from running your race well…Forget those things behind, and walk into the coming months with head held high!!!
6/15/2022Romans 10:13 “For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

Equality and inclusion are two catchwords prevalent in today’s culture. Different people groups clamor for acknowledgment and justice, for the rights they believe they are due.  

At the foot of the cross, the ground is level. Every one of us brings our sinfulness, our brokenness, and our desperate need for a Savior. All of us are undeserving with nothing and no one to recommend us. We stand as equals.  

No one has ever been rejected at the cross. Peter declared that God did not show partiality towards certain types of people (Acts 10:34), and Jesus demonstrated that truth in His earthly ministry.  

He healed the leprous outcast as compassionately as he spoke to Nicodemus – a wealthy man in a powerful position. Doctors and business people were counted among His followers – as were unlearned fishermen, tax collectors, and political zealots.  

He included children, women, Samaritans, the poor, and the diseased. The cross of Calvary is all access to all people, off-limits to no one. “Whoever” calls on Jesus will be saved.  

If you have ever felt unseen, unheard, discounted and discarded, know that you are welcome at the cross…Jesus waits with open arms to embrace you, to call you His very own child, and to make you a vital member of His great big family…You are accepted in the Beloved!!!
6/14/20221 Corinthians 1:18 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

More than a mere symbol, the cross is a source of triumph for every person who bows under its shadow to accept Jesus as Savior.  

When Jesus hung on Calvary’s tree, He defeated sin once and for all (Romans 6:10). He broke its power over all humankind. We no longer live in slavery to its demands, at its beck and call. His death and resurrection make us free indeed!  

When we responded to the clarion call of Calvary and accepted Jesus’ invitation, His blood washed away our sins to reconcile us to the Father. As we take up our cross to follow Him daily, He perfects and matures – sanctifies – us (Luke 9:23).  

For those who are being saved, Jesus keeps calling us back to the cross. Here lies the power of God! Bring your discouragement, your broken heart, your shattered dream, your rebellious children, and your messed-up marriage. Lay it down. Here – more than any other place – we know that what seems dead and broken beyond repair can be raised and made brand new!  

Jesus still calls today…What do you need to lay down at the foot of the cross???Come, cast all your cares on Him, because He loves you so…Find power in the triumphant tree of Calvary!!!
6/13/2022Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”

When Naaman, the leper, immersed himself in the Jordan River seven times per Elisha’s instructions, he must have held onto his breath when he came up out of the muddy waters that final time. He must have been clutching hope tightly but still afraid to look.  

Naaman was a war-hardened soldier who had stared death in the face, but he feared a horrifying demise at the hands of a terrible skin disease. Would the God of Israel care enough to heal him?  

He had his answer when he came up the seventh time to run his hands over his limbs and to peer with incredulous eyes at skin no longer white with leprosy. He joyfully declared that there was no god in all of the earth except the God of Israel (2 Kings 5:15)!  

On the brink of a breakthrough, we are often tempted to fall back into doubt, to lose hope that the Lord has heard our cry and will come to our aid…Like Naaman, we are afraid to look…However, the One Who promised is able to perform it…You may be going under for the final time, but Jesus will never abandon us in the middle of the story…When you come up gasping for air – no need to fear – you can expect cleansing, healing, and restoration!!!
6/12/2022James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

Elisha offered a simple solution when Naaman, the leper, visited him seeking a cure. If he would go dip seven times in the Jordan River, he would be healed (2 Kings 5).  

Naaman was furious but eventually decided to comply. We can imagine his thoughts because ours would be similar today. Down he went, and up he came seven times.  

After the first time, he might have thought, “How embarrassing! Why are all of these people gawking at me?”  

After the second time: “This water is cold and filthy! Is this some alternative therapy?”  

After the third time: “What will become of my family if this does not work?”  

After the fourth time: “Who will lead the king’s troops into battle?”  

After the fifth time: “Does the God of Israel care enough to heal me?”  

After the sixth time: “The leprosy is not shrinking at all!”  

After the seventh time: “Nothing has changed! God, please!”  Naaman must have been tempted to haul himself out of the water. If he would have immersed himself only six times, he would have died, because partial obedience is disobedience in the Lord’s eyes.  

Down he went into the muddy waters for the seventh time, and up he came with clean, baby-soft skin! When God gives a command, hurry to obey it to the last detail. Restoration waits on the other side!
6/11/2022Psalm 37:23 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way.”

When Naaman, the leper, arrived at the prophet’s house seeking healing, Elisha did not even come to the door. Instead, he sent his servant with a message for Naaman: if he would go dip seven times in the Jordan River, his skin would be healed and restored.  

Naaman was outraged! Elisha did not even speak to him, did not even wave his hand over the leprosy to heal it. He merely suggested that Naaman go jump in the dirty river. He could have saved himself the long journey.  

What a simple solution, and yet, Naaman hesitated, resisted, and even scorned Elisha’s advice. Perhaps, he expected something more dramatic in keeping with his important stature. Maybe he believed that he needed to perform a more difficult feat to prove he was worthy.  

How many times do we find ourselves in this same situation? God gives us a gentle nudge. A friend shares some wise words of counsel. The Holy Spirit whispers from the pages of scripture. Yet, we drag our feet and question every simple instruction. Our hesitation limits the blessings He can give to us.  

What simple steps has God asked you to take? Where is He leading? Your steps are arranged by God. He goes ahead of you to make the path sure, and He delights in your obedience when He looks back to find you following in His footsteps.
6/10/2022John 14:13-14 “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

When the king discovered that Naaman had come to Israel to be cured of leprosy, he was terrified. He had no ability to heal, and failure to do so meant war with Syria (II Kings 5). He had position but no power.  

The prophet, Elisha, calmly invited Naaman to his home. Elisha had power that did not arise from wealth, might, or office. When he hit his knees, all of heaven moved on his behalf. Like Elisha, we hold the position and the power to change the world.  

Each one of us faces impossible situations, unsolvable problems, and unanswerable questions…Without God’s intervention, we have no hope for change…But when we ask in Jesus’ name, all of the capability and authority of our Father come to bear on our circumstances…In His mighty name, we can tear down every barrier that the enemy has built against God’s truth…With the Lord on our side, Satan may come at us in one way, but he will be scattered in seven different directions…When we cry out from the position of humbled hearts and bended knees, there is nothing that God will not do for us…That is the power of prayer!!!
6/9/2022Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”

The Gospel message – the Good News about Jesus Christ – is the truth that we possess! We carry around this unspeakably precious treasure in our jars-of-clay bodies (2 Corinthians 4:7).  

Naaman, the leper, was desperate for a cure. One small voice of hope spoke into his despair. A captive slave girl shared a message that changed his world (2 Kings 5:3). She walked in and out of one verse unnamed, but the truth she possessed delivered Naaman from certain death.  

Why do we shrink from sharing the truth that we possess? We cringe at the thought of rejection. We worry that we can’t quote chapter and verse. We think someone stronger and smarter will be better for the job. But the treasure inside speaks otherwise.  

We mingle with people every day who are desperate for a cure for the sin that has ravaged their lives. They strain for a glimmer of hope. They seek a truth that will change their world and deliver them from certain death.  

Open up the treasure box! Bring the good news! Proclaim peace! Bring glad testimony of the good things that God has done for you! Proclaim His salvation! The truth that you possess is the truth that changes the world!
6/8/2022Proverbs 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

When Naaman could not hide his leprosy anymore, he confided directly in his boss, the king of Syria (2 Kings 5).  

The king was anxious at how Naaman’s revelation impacted himself. What if his enemies discovered that his star general was in a weakened condition and set out to attack them? When Naaman told his wife, she must have been frightened for the future. What would become of the comfortable life to which she was accustomed?  

Sometimes, we believe that concealing our sin is the best plan for ourselves and those that our confession might impact, but those who hide their sins never prosper…Unconfessed sin eats away at our souls and infects the very ones we hope to protect…Only those who confess do obtain mercy…Gladly embrace the wise counsel of a trusted friend over the acquaintance who comforts with what-we-want-to-hear platitudes…A true friend will correct out of love; it may wound us in the short term but works for our greater good…The one who kisses and compliments may be motivated by a hidden agenda and has no concern for our welfare…Seek out a trustworthy envoy who will pray and speak the truth of God – even if it stings – to bring about the healing that leads to forgiveness and life!!!
6/7/2022James 1:15 “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

In 2 Kings 5, we meet Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army. He was a powerful and popular soldier, but he had a problem. He was a leper.  

What began as a small spot on his skin bloomed into a full-scale onslaught that threatened everything he valued – his family, health, military career, and prosperity. As their health deteriorated, so did their ability to make a living. At that time, lepers became societal outcasts who were forced to live in colonies away from their families. Death was the inevitable outcome.  

Without the saving grace of Christ, we are like Naaman. No matter how successful or strong we appear, we have a sin condition. If left unchecked, this condition infects every area of our lives and leads to our demise.  

Our loving God has planned a hope-filled future for each one, but Satan has an alternate plan to kill, steal, and destroy us…He aims to steal the abundant life found in Jesus, to kill our potential, and to bring us down to utter ruin…Sin always diminishes us; it always makes our lives less than God intended…Only one person holds the cure for our condition, and His name is Jesus…Through Him, we reclaim our divine destiny and the lavish life He promises!!!
6/6/2022Psalm 23:5 “You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.”

When God pours out the anointing oil and fills up the vessels of our lives, our cups run over. The blessings refuse to be contained. His generosity knows no limits. His blessings to us are pressed down and shaken together until they overflow into our laps (Luke 6:38).  

The anointing of God gives us strength when we are weak. In place of sorrow, unspeakable joy will spring up instead. When those around us quake with fear, we will abound with faith and courage.  

Under the anointing, every burden will be lifted and every yoke will be destroyed. Mountains will be tossed into the sea, and every crooked path will be rolled out like a red carpet before us.  

These overflowing blessings ripple out to our homes and children too. They bubble up in our places of business. They spring up in our churches and the course into our communities. Even in the presence of our enemies or in the frightening shadows of the very valley of death, He continues to fill our cups. God’s goodness and mercy chase us down and overtake us every day of our lives.  

Take a moment to stare deeply into the cup of your life…Tip it up to sip slowly and savor the overflowing blessings the Lord has poured out just for you!!!
6/5/2022Isaiah 10:27 “It shall come to pass in that day that his burden will be taken away from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil.”

A “yoke” is a wooden bar that is lashed to the neck of an animal that enables it to bear heavy burdens and pull large loads. The farmer binds the yoke to the animal’s neck, so it cannot shake it off. Yokes often signify slavery and oppression.  

In today’s verse, the prophet, Isaiah, brought good news to King Hezekiah. The Assyrian king had captured Judah’s cities, demanded exorbitant tributes, and mocked the God they served. But God promised that He would lift the burden and break the yoke!  

And why would God deliver Judah? Was it for His great love? Because Hezekiah was such a deserving king? Because Judah had done all the right things in the right ways? No, the anointing oil bought their freedom!  

As His children, we are His anointed…Whatever yoke Satan has bound to your neck to lead you astray and bow you under its weight, God will lift it from your shoulders…He will not just remove it – He will destroy it…You will no longer have to carry that burden…It will no longer be a source of struggle that will affect you or your children…The anointing breaks the yoke to set you free!!!
6/4/2022Exodus 40:9 “And you shall take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it; and you shall hallow it and all its utensils, and it shall be holy.”

As Moses and the children of Israel completed the Tabernacle of God, He commanded Moses to anoint the tabernacle and everything that was in it.  

Every curtain, piece of furniture, article of clothing, and the priest was anointed with the oil of God. Without that anointing, nothing could be used for God’s purposes, could be close to God’s presence, or experience God’s power.  His anointing sanctified the common and made it holy.  

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day relinquished the anointing for man-made rules and empty traditions. Jesus called them white-washed tombs full of dead men’s bones. Outwardly, they had an appearance of religion, but their very lives denied the validity of its power (II Timothy 3:5). They preferred the prestige and comfort of their position over the true presence of God in their lives.  

Have we exchanged our pride for His power? What separates our church services from mere social gatherings? The anointing! Without it, there is no power to see the prodigals come home, to break the chains of addiction, or for the impossible to become reality.  

There is no substitute for the anointing of God…It is not optional…The anointing brings power and life and an explosion of abundance!!!
6/3/2022John 20:22 “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”

Jesus Christ anointed the disciples. They were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and they turned the world upside down with the Good News entrusted to them (Acts 17:6).  

Under that anointing, thousands repented when they preached. Under that anointing, the lame went walking, leaping, and praising God. The demon-possessed were set free, and the dead were raised back to life. When Peter’s mere shadow fell on the sick, they were healed.  

Under that same anointing, they were arrested, imprisoned, beaten, crucified, burned, beheaded, and stoned. Through that persecution, the message of the cross spread like wildfire. No religious leader could shut it down. No emperor could put a stop to it. No power on earth could stand against it.

Under the anointing, we may face persecution…Struggle does not mean that we are not spiritual…Struggle means that we are flesh and blood fighting against spiritual powers of darkness that are rampant in the world…The weapons of our warfare are mighty…When the battle rages, the anointing enables us to fight through to the victory that is ours through Jesus…When the fire blazes the hottest, the anointing emboldens us to stand our tallest as children of Almighty God…In good times, in bad times, in all times, the anointing of God empowers us to fulfill His purposes!!!
6/2/20221 Samuel 16:13 “Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward.”

The anointing of God does not guarantee a trouble-free life, but it is the power that pulls us through the trouble.  

When the prophet, Samuel, anointed David as Israel’s next king, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him from that day forward. Samuel departed for home, and David returned to his father’s flocks.  

Later, when an evil spirit troubled King Saul, he sent for David to play the music that soothed him. Finally, he was in the palace where he belonged! But when his father called for help, David left for home.  

When Israel warred against the Philistines, David went to check on his brothers. There, the anointing rose up to defeat the arrogant Goliath with one stone. David’s fame grew, and so did Saul’s jealousy. Threatened with his murderous rage, David was forced to flee.  

For years, David ran from Saul – hiding, pondering Samuel’s words, questioning his anointing. But at the appointed time, God fulfilled His promise and exalted David to king.  

You are anointed for God’s purposes…Seeming setbacks do not diminish His calling for your life…In the waiting, He will strengthen and prepare you for promotion…His plan may be years in the making, but your perseverance will be rewarded!!!
6/1/2022Luke 10:34 “So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine…”

David knew the voice of the Good Shepherd because his young life was spent in the pastures tending his father’s flocks. Strumming his harp, he wrote songs to the Mighty One of Israel.

He understood the power of the anointing. When springtime pastures grew green and lush, he led the sheep to the fields. As they grazed, sharp blades of new grass and thorny bushes cut their tender muzzles. Flies then laid eggs in the open wounds, and the infected cuts tormented the sheep.  

As a caring shepherd, David took oil from his bag to anoint the lambs. As the fragrant oil flowed over the head of the animal, the flies would take their leave; the curative properties of the oil would trickle into the wounds to alleviate the pain and bring healing.  

Jesus, our Good Shepherd, knows that we need the anointing to heal the wounds that the enemy has inflicted on our souls…He understands that we need emotional relief from guilt and shame, spiritual relief from the oppression that weighs us down, and physical relief from sickness and weariness…He longs to gather us into His arms, to pour out the healing oil and the wine of gladness until the grace, peace, joy, and love of God saturate our lives!!!
5/31/20221 Samuel 16:13 “Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward.”

The anointing of God is a mark of distinction that separates every believer from the world. It activates the power of God in our lives to accomplish His will in this world.

In I Samuel 16, God commanded Samuel to anoint the next leader of Israel. He sent him to Bethlehem to find Jesse, a man with eight sons; one of them would be king!

Jesse presented his sons to Samuel, but the Lord rejected each one. God admonished Samuel, saying that He was interested in the man’s heart – not his outward appearance.

Samuel asked Jesse if there were more sons. David, the youngest, was out in the fields tending the sheep. He was something of a dreamer, musician, and poet. Samuel sent for him, and when he appeared, the Lord directed Samuel to anoint him. As the oil flowed, the Spirit of the Lord changed David forever.

Perhaps, you are feeling isolated and forgotten…Maybe you have labored unnoticed for a long time…If Jesus has found you far afield and brought you home, be encouraged that you are chosen and anointed…He sees your willing heart, and He has set you apart for His purposes!!!
5/30/2022Isaiah 53:4-5 “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows … but He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”

In the contents of the Communion cup, we are reminded of our three-fold healing.

Jesus died to heal us emotionally. He bore our grief and sorrow; He carried them away. His sacrifice gave us victory over bitterness, unforgiveness, fear, grief, and depression. No regret for the past nor fear of the future has the power to diminish our lives. He fills us with a peace beyond our comprehension.

Jesus died to heal us physically. He took the stripes on His back to relieve us of sickness and disease. He was wounded so we could be completely whole, bruised so we could be healed. James encourages us to pray for one another because tremendous power is released through the heartfelt prayers of the Godly believer (James 5:16).

Jesus died to heal us spiritually. God laid on Him the sins of humankind, our wrong rolled onto Him so that we could be made right with God. Though our sins were scarlet, He washed them white as snow. He nailed the record of our debts to the cross, canceling our IOU. Through Him, we are set free.
5/29/2022John 6:56 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me, and I in him.”

Communion promises the presence of Christ. As we share the bread and wine, we receive His body and blood, His promises and provision.

If we have heard His call and opened the door, He will come right in and sit down to eat with us (Revelation 3:20). If we bring a hearty appetite to the table, He will reward us with the fullness that can only be found in Him. Fully partaking of His body and His blood bring the abundant life that we all crave (John 6:55-59).

When we “make a meal of Him,” taking in the Bread of Heaven, we will live forever. The person whom Christ abides in and who abides in Christ will never die – ever.

Jesus also promises to never leave or abandon us (Hebrews 13:5). He promises to be with us, moment by moment, to the very ends of the earth to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

When we participate in Communion, we experience His presence…His touch comforts the brokenhearted and reassures us that He will stand beside us, turning the darkness into glorious light…He will lift the heaviest burden and transform our fear into faith…He comes near to bring hope and healing, to enliven and inspire, to touch and transform, to anoint and abide!!!
5/28/20221 Corinthians 12:12 “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.”

The Holy Communion unites all members in one body. This table makes no room for sexism, racism, materialism or denominationalism. We are one.

In Christ’s family, we are equal. He does not play favorites between males and females. All of us were created by Him with unique gifts, each designed with a specific role and an assignment to accomplish.

In God’s house, everybody is somebody! He died for every color, every tongue, and every people group. Around the world, every person is valued and accepted in the Beloved. Racism has no place at the table of God.

In America, materialism has become a god…People with lesser means are often considered “lesser than”…James 2 warns against showing partiality to the rich or prominent; he says that God has actually chosen the poor to be rich in faith…We all stand equally needy at the foot of the cross…God did not send His Son to the cross so that denominations would spring up to squabble over doctrines and differences…He created us to dwell together in unity, to demonstrate His love, and to preach the saving grace of Jesus…Male or female, black or white, prince or pauper, Presbyterian or Pentecostal – we are one!!!
5/27/20221 Corinthians 11:28 “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”

Communion is a time of reflection, a time to examine our hearts and to be honest with ourselves before the Lord.

Picture the Passover table as Jesus held the common cup – a large goblet. As we sit together, and He extends the cup to each of us, what do we see in its reflection?

First, we see His beloved face, the Lamb Who became our perfect sacrifice. His body broken, His bloodshed became the answer for our sin-sick souls, the remedy for our shame, and the cure for our disease.

As we take the cup, we catch our own reflection. Without looking, we know our desperate state and how lost we would be without Him. We recognize our need for a righteous Savior. And as we take the cup, we remember that He paid the price and our hearts overflow.

Sitting around us at the table are our brothers and sisters, their faces reflected beside our own. The single cup reminds us that we are united in one body. As we lift the cup to our lips, let us reflect that we are bound by His blood to every person who sits at the table, and around the world, who calls on the name of Jesus.
5/26/20221 Corinthians 11:25 “In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My Blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

As we participate in Communion, Jesus reminds us to remember – to look back at the darkest night on which all of history hinges and to anticipate His promise that we will sit around a table again with Him one day.

Remembrance holds an important place in Jewish culture. The Israelites insisted on remembering God’s enduring compassion and undying faithfulness. They established memorials to remind themselves and their children. They sang songs, designed dances, and penned poetry. They assembled altars, designated days of celebration, wrote in their record books, and offered oblations to God.

For them and the following generations, those memorials pointed to how the Lord delivered them from enemies, brought them through deep waters, and provided for every need.

Remembrance is an act of righteousness…Remember Jesus’ desperate prayer in Gethsemane…Remember Judas’ act of betrayal…Remember the Roman whip that laid open His back…Remember the blood that poured out for the remission of our sins…Remember the final words that He uttered from the cross…Remember the promises of God, because the provision of the Lord is found in them…In Communion, we remember our Savior, Healer, Provider, Defender, Hope, and Soon-coming King!!!
5/25/20221 Corinthians 11:24 “and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you”

Communion is a memorial meal that looks back to celebrate Christ’s victory on the cross and looks forward to the day when we drink anew with Him in His kingdom (Matthew 26:29).

Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples the night before Calvary. In the same way that He broke the bread, His body would be cruelly shattered for us.

For us! He was bloodied and wounded, battered and pierced, bruised and crushed. Those 39 lashes that lacerated His back bought our healing, for “…by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). He took our suffering, weaknesses, sicknesses, and disease, and He carried them all away.

Christ gave us victory over sickness and disease. We can now lay hold of divine healing through His work on the cross. He is the Lord that heals us (Exodus 15:26).

Jesus gave sight to the blind, caused the lame to leap, opened up deaf ears, loosened mute tongues, healed long-term diseases, and even raised the dead…Our Savior is the same yesterday, today, and forever…He will do for us what He did for those long-ago seekers…As you take the communion wafer, remember and accept the healing that His sacrifice won…His body was broken for you!!!
5/24/20221 Corinthians 11:23-24 “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke”

On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus shared the Passover meal with His disciples. There, He instituted the beautiful practice of communion which we still share thousands of years later.

That evening, as He stood in the very shadow of the cross, as He tore the bread that would forever symbolize His broken body, He gave thanks. Knowing that He was destined for the cross, He gave thanks.

He often expressed thanks throughout His earthly voyage. When he held up a boy’s meager lunch, He gave thanks as He broke the bread and divided the fish to feed more than 5000 people before collecting the leftovers.

As He wept outside the tomb of His dear friend, Lazarus, He paused to pray, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me” (John 11:41). Moments later, He called His dead friend back to the land of the living and into the arms of his grateful sisters.

The spirit of gratitude releases the miracle-working power of God in every situation….When you are navigating a storm or trudging through a dark valley, find a place of prayer and offer thanks to God…Your gratitude will invite His presence, provision, and power into every area of brokenness!!!
5/23/2022Hebrews 9:14 “how much more shall the Blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Some purport that we are all on the same road headed for the same destination, that there are many ways to God.

But His Word tells a different – and true – story! Jesus decisively proclaimed that He is the only way, truth, and life. No one can approach the Father without Jesus taking us there (John 14:6).

Is God’s heart so hard that He will not show mercy if someone weeps remorsefully at the day of judgment? Can we prevail upon God for forgiveness then? Not if we reject the sacrifice of Jesus and His cleansing blood now.

What if we donate all of our money to feed and shelter the poor? 

Our church membership, good standing in the community, and sterling reputations cannot earn us places in heaven…Without faith in Jesus and the work of the cross, our most shining deeds are like filthy rags…We are decaying leaves whose wickedness, like the wind, carries us far away from God’s favor…The tomb of Jesus is empty…Angels rolled away the stone – not to let Jesus out, but to let us enter – so we could see that God has accepted His sacrifice…The only way to meet the Father is through the blood of Jesus!!!
5/22/2022Colossians 1:19-20 “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself … whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the Blood of His Cross.”

Only the blood of Jesus – only the blood of His cross – reconciles us to the Father. Only His blood makes peace between us and God.

When the Nile River turned into blood in the first plague of Egypt, every stream ran red and the water in every vessel in every home turned to blood. That blood did not save us.

When Solomon dedicated the Temple, he sacrificed 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. So much blood – but those offerings could not wash away their sins.

The Roman army surrounded Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The city was decimated, the Temple was destroyed, and over one million people, mostly Jews, were killed. Their blood could not bring us into right relationship with God.

The only blood that can remove the stain of sin from our souls is the blood of the Lamb of God slain for the redemption of many…With heaven and earth watching, Emmanuel bled His life away…From His head, His hands, His feet, His brow, and His side, His blood poured out for each one of us…Only His blood bought our forgiveness, our hope, our future, and everlasting life!!!
5/21/2022Hebrews 9:12 “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own Blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”

A scarlet stream flows through Scripture. It begins at the gates of Genesis and courses through to the end of Revelation.

The stream was set in motion when Adam and Eve sinned at the beginning, and God shed the blood of innocent animals to provide covering for them (Genesis 3:21). Later, God accepted Abel’s blood sacrifice, but Cain’s offering was rejected (Genesis 4:5).

Six centuries passed, and the stream resurfaced when Noah’s first act following the flood was to worship God with the offering of sacrificial animals (Genesis 8:20). Years later, God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son. Even as Abraham lifted the knife, God spared Isaac and provided a ram for the altar instead.

Four centuries passed, and the stream rolled on in the story of Moses. On the night that the Israelites escaped Egypt, the blood over the doorpost of their homes spared their firstborn sons.

To usher in the new covenant, Jesus shed His blood once and for all…Destined to die from the foundations of the world, He became the scapegoat for our sin, the ultimate and final sacrifice…Today, we remember that crimson, cleansing tide every time we participate in communion…This we will do until He comes again…Only then will the scarlet stream reach its final destination!!!
5/20/2022Matthew 26:27-28 “Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is My Blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’”

When Adam took of the forbidden fruit in the beginning, his bloodline was tainted with sin. He died from blood poisoning. Thousands of years later, the virus of sin still thrives in the blood of every person who has not come to Christ.

The only solution for eternal death is a Blood transfusion from the Savior of all humankind. When we participate in communion, we remember the sacrifice given to wash away our sins and initiate a new covenant and new way of living. We symbolically take in the supernatural, life-changing Blood of Jesus that drives out the virus.

When we participate in holy communion, Satan must hang his head…He knows that he has lost us to the Lamb…In the same way that the lamb’s blood over the Israelites’ doorposts forced the death angel to pass over those homes, the Blood of the Lamb over the doorpost of our souls makes us untouchable to the prince of darkness…When we come to the table with our brothers and sisters, the Blood of Christ unites His body…He mediated a new covenant so that we might receive the promise of eternal inheritance!!!
5/19/2022Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”

God instituted animal sacrifice to make atonement for the sinful souls of humanity in the Old Testament, but a river of blood from bulls, rams, goats, and turtledoves could not save us.

Christ alone redeemed us from the curse of the Law through the shedding of His Blood (Galatians 3:13)! Only His Blood could atone for us. We are not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold or the dead-end traditions of the past. No! We were bought with the priceless Blood of the perfect Lamb (1 Peter 1:18-19). The Innocent died so the guilty could go free!

In our physical bodies, bones, muscles, organs, tendons, and nerves are set in place…The blood, though, is ever moving…It circulates through the body about every 20 seconds carrying oxygen, nutrients, and cleansing power…Life is in our blood…When a nurse touches our wrists, she is looking for the pulse created by moving blood…No pulse indicates death…In the body of Christ, His Blood circulates to give us life, to connect and empower us individually and corporately…Without His Blood, we can expect deprivation and death…True life is found only in the Blood of Jesus!!!
5/18/2022Ephesians 1:7 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”

We have been redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ. Our sins have been forgiven, and we are accepted in the Beloved. Oh, the riches of God’s grace!

Colossians 2:14 says that He “wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us.” The impossible-to-uphold Law is the handwriting that stands against us. One broken statute meant we were fully guilty.

“Handwriting” was the term used for the signature on an IOU, a document that acknowledged a debt we could not pay. But Jesus signed our IOU at the Cross.

An ancient method existed for indicating a paid-in-full debt. A person could cross out the writing on the IOU or strike through it with a nail. Jesus’ nail-pierced hands crossed out the judgment against us.

Picture your long list of sins written down for all to see…See the nail pounded through Jesus’ hand to your list of sins…See the stream of His Blood washing away the record that stood against you…Your sins never to be remembered again…Your name recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life…Your filthy rags traded for spotless robes of righteousness…Destined to live in a mansion prepared for you by the Architect of the Ages…Redeemed by His precious Blood!!!
5/17/2022Hebrews 9:22 “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.”

Our generation thrives on power. We pay professional athletes exorbitant salaries to vanquish their competitors. The automobile industry builds stronger, sleeker vehicles. The military develops mightier rockets and weapons of destruction.

At Calvary, God unleashed the most extraordinary power the world ever had – or ever will – experience. There, Jesus poured out His Blood for the remission of all humanity’s sins, to cancel the debt against us. His atonement bought our redemption and reconciliation to the Father.

The power, purity, purpose, and protection of the Blood encompass the mystery of God’s salvation plan. The scarlet thread of blood runs through the Bible. When Adam and Eve sinned, they were naked and ashamed. In His mercy, God provided animal skins to cover them. The principle was established that blood must be shed to cancel out sin, that the innocent would suffer so the guilty could be set free.

Without the Blood of Jesus, Christianity is a powerless fraud…The church is merely a religious fraternity living in absolute deception…Our preaching is in vain, our worship a farce…We have ritual without righteousness, ceremony without conversion, and deception without discipleship…Because of His Blood, we have been forgiven, saved, and filled with the hope of a future with our Redeemer…It will never lose its power!!!
5/16/2022Psalm 78:4 “We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.”

Many profess the promises of God, but they fail to possess them because they do not walk in agreement with the Lord.

If Joshua had proclaimed, “…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15), but his children had rejected that mandate, he would have been left with an empty profession – no possession.

God blesses unity…Our families must place Him at the center, take courage, and walk in agreement with His Word…As parents, we must be present to watch over our children, guide and teach, walk hand in hand with them…Talk to them about the wonderful works of the Lord, His faithfulness in the past, His promises for the future, His amazing gift of salvation, and the destiny He has designed for each one of them…From the time they rise in the morning until they drift off to sleep at night, teach them to love and walk in obedience to His statutes…Home is truly where our hearts are…Invest your love, time, and energies into the children whom God has gifted to us!!!
5/15/2022Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?”

Before the Israelite leaders, Joshua made this bold declaration, “…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua’s “me” was personal, but his “we” meant that he and his family were walking in agreement.

Agreement does not mean that we are all cookie-cutter versions of one another with no original thoughts. Agreement means that, in spite of our diversity, we understand the roles we are called to fulfill, and we sacrifice our individual plans to God’s greater plan.

Jesus did not pursue His own desires. He only spoke what the Father said (John 12:49). He only did what His Father showed Him (John 5:19). Dreading death on the cross, Jesus prayed for another way, but He ultimately relented, “…nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).

Families must come into alignment with God’s plan…The husband submits himself to God’s plan and to his wife in the same way that Christ gave Himself for the church…The wife, in turn, surrenders to the Lord and submits to her husband…When the two walk in agreement, their children learn how mutual submission accomplishes the mission…Choose to walk in agreement with God…Submit to one another for the greater good of His plan and for the fulfillment of His mission!!!
5/14/2022John 16:33 “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

This world can discourage and dissuade us from being the people that God created us to be. In our key verse, Jesus encourages us to “be of good cheer” – to take courage, to be undaunted, even filled with joy!

We have all compared our lives to those picture-perfect social media families and realized that we do not measure up. Our families are imperfect, fractured, and dysfunctional. Well, take courage! We stand in good company.

God does not discount imperfect families. In fact, He has a long history of using very imperfect fathers, mothers, and children to bring about His ultimate plans for good.

He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah. Abraham fathered a child with the “other woman” – flawed. Isaac and Rebekah played favorites and created a family rift that lasted for decades – flawed. Jacob’s eleven sons ganged up on their young brother and sold him into slavery – flawed. Judah slept with his daughter-in-law because he thought she was a prostitute – flawed.

All broken down and messed up, but through the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah comes the very Son of God…Be encouraged…A perfect God will take what the enemy intended for evil in your family and turn it to great good when you submit your all to Him!!!
5/13/2022Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Jesus summoned us to lay hold of the eternal, to pour our lives into things that carry everlasting weight and will endure forever.

We choose how to live today. Distractions and detractors may attempt to pull us off course. Obligations and appointments crowd our calendars. Good things can deter us from the “God things” – the plans that He has purposed for us.

With the power of the Holy Spirit, we can make choices that redirect us to Him, that guide us into truth. Let’s pour our lives into the divine purposes of God and our relationship with Him, into being about our Father’s business.

Let’s discipline ourselves to not just read His Word – but obey it. Let’s quiet ourselves to pray. Let’s practice the presence of God and living in the fullness of joy.

Individuals who prioritize the kingdom of God grow into Godly spouses who raise children in the nurture and instruction of the Lord. Those families build a church that welcomes the presence of God. Churches filled with the power and presence of the Lord build a strong nation. Those efforts do not begin at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. They begin at our own addresses, under our own roofs.

Determine to seek His kingdom and His purposes first and foremost…When we do, He will provide for every other need!!!
5//12/2022Joshua 24:15 “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve … but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Joshua threw down the gauntlet to the children of Israel. “Serve the Lord!” he challenged (Joshua 24:14). But he made it clear… the choice was theirs to make.

Before they weighed in with their decision, Joshua reminded them of the God he served. He was the One Who parted the Red Sea so they could cross on dry ground – then swallowed the Egyptians in the briny deep. He protected and guided them in a column of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. When they were hungry, manna fell from heaven. When they were thirsty, water gushed from a rock. He caused the walls of Jericho to crumble before their victory cry.

How could it seem evil to elect that kind of Lord? But He gave them the privilege of choice.

The choice of who you will serve stands today…A reminder is in order…This is the God Who loved you so much that He sent His only Son to die in your place…The lashes that He took across His back set you free from the shackles of sickness…When you need provision, He opens up the windows of heaven to pour out a blessing that cannot be contained…Choose whom you will serve…Make Him your choice!!!
5/11/2022Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”

Jesus encouraged us to stockpile treasures in heaven where moths couldn’t eat them, rust couldn’t corrode them, and thieves couldn’t break in and steal them. He knew that where our treasures are located is the place where our hearts are invested.

Over the last generation, a shift has occurred in our nation. Parents often are more interested in climbing the corporate ladder than building a Godly home. Fathers have abandoned their roles as spiritual leaders who train their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Mothers spend more time at the office than nurturing home and family.

In the Old Testament, Joshua issued an ultimatum to the children of Israel: “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…” (Joshua 24:15). The Israelites had been ensnared by foreign gods in the nations around them, but Joshua called them to choose the Lord.

Joshua’s challenge still resonates today. Will we find our treasures in earthly pursuits or will we prioritize our eternal purposes? Large salaries and success amass material things and the semblance of significance, but those things are fleeting.

Instead of focusing on the bottom line, pour all of your heart and energy into influencing future generations with the truth of Jesus Christ…Lay up eternal treasures in heaven!!!
5/10/20221 John 4:11 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

The global crises we’ve faced over the past several years have given us the opportunity to rediscover what we truly love.

While countless immigrants are risking their lives and futures to come to America, unruly mobs are burning our flag in the streets, professional athletes are kneeling during the anthem, and Hollywood elites mock patriotism.

America has found itself in the greatest moral and political crisis since the American revolution. The media is more propaganda than truth. Socialism runs rampant, and one of its key goals is to shut down the churches in America! Our children are being taught “critical race theory,” which tells them that America’s laws, institutions, values, and traditions are racist and must be destroyed.

This is the time for the body of Christ to dwell together in unity…This is the time to come together under His banner of love…We need to demonstrate that we are united in one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one body, and one Spirit in one hope with faith in action…Our purpose is to love the Lord and to care for one another…Let’s be about the Father’s business!!!
5/9/2022Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”

Throughout the Bible, names are often linked with the purposes of God. Abraham means father of multitudes. Eve was the mother of all who were living. God renamed Jacob, the deceiver, to become Israel, he who prevails with God.

When Moses asked God Whom he should tell the Israelites had sent him to deliver them, God responded, “I AM.” Day after day, He revealed more of Himself through miraculous exploits.

The current situation has driven us into our homes and to our knees. He is revealing Himself as Jehovah Shammah, the Lord Who is there.

When difficult circumstances drive us to our knees, He reveals Himself as Jehovah Shammah, the Lord Who is there.

When anxiety threatens to overwhelm, He is Jehovah Shalom, our Peace. He calms every fear and fills us with a peace that guards our hearts and minds.

Greater than any virus, sickness or disease, He is Jehovah Rophe, the God Who heals us. The stripes on Jesus’ back purchased our healing.

He is Jehovah Nissi, the Banner over us. When we align ourselves with God, we fight under His banner and with His help. The battle already belongs to Him!

There is a name above every other name…That name is Jesus…Call on Him in the day of trouble…He will answer and deliver!!!
5/8/2022Proverbs 31:25 “Strength and honor are her clothing…”

On Mother’s Day, let us honor the ladies in our lives! Whether a mother or daughter, a wife or single, a stay-at-home mom or a career woman, you are precious in the sight of God and a marvelous part of His plan.

Throughout the Bible, God uses women to accomplish His purposes. Graceful Abigail saved her foolish husband with her intelligence and hospitality. Risking her own life, courageous Esther rescued her fellow Jews from certain death. Deborah – a prophetess, poet, and warrior – served as a judge in Israel.

In the New Testament, Anna, the prophetess, served the Lord ceaselessly in the Temple. Successful businesswoman, Lydia, was the first recorded Christian convert in Europe. Paul entrusted Pheobe, a deaconess in the church at Cenchrea, to carry his letter to the Romans.

Jesus emphasized the worth of women. He healed them–the woman with the issue of blood and Jairus’ daughter who was presumed dead. He defended them when He rebuked those who criticized Mary for anointing His feet with expensive perfume. He delivered them; Mary Magdalene’s life changed forever when He cast out seven demons. He provided for them; from the Cross, He charged John to care for His mother.

On this Mother’s Day we celebrate the dignity, intelligence, virtue, and Godly influence of the women in our lives…We rise up to call them blessed…In the immortal words of Solomon, “You are altogether beautiful…”!!!
5/7/2022Romans 8:37 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

Paul assured the Romans that “…we know that all things work together for good to those who love God…” (Romans 8:28). Even as he penned those words, Paul understood the pressures and pains of this life.

He had been whipped, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, hungry, naked, and cold – all for the sake of the Gospel (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). He was not suggesting those things were good.

He was declaring that when we look at adversity through the lens of God’s goodness, it shapes and molds us. We see struggles as a season to gain strength. Rock-solid confidence pours into our souls that God is on His throne, and everything will work out for the best. We make the determination to rejoice in the day that God has made, to be glad right now (Psalm 118:24).

We are living in an unpredictable world…There are constant disruptions to our “normal” including sickness, relational discord, and financial hardship…However, we have a God Who is greater than these things and the chaos they create…Even in situations that Satan intends for evil, God will redeem them to bring about His good purposes…He has caused us to be more than conquerors…As the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write these words, his heart must have been singing as he smiled ear to ear…Determine to rejoice alongside him today!!!
5/6/2022Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

What hope resides in today’s key verse! When it seems that everything is working against us – a deadly virus, enforced isolation, supply shortages, loss of income – God is right beside us.

Not one ounce of defeat can be found in this verse or the ones before and after it. Paul agrees that yes, we will suffer in this world, but it is nothing compared to the glory that awaits. We look with eager anticipation for what God will do on our behalf (Romans 8:18-25).

Paul says that yes, we will experience weaknesses, but the Spirit will help us (Romans 8:26). His power shines through most brightly at those points (II Corinthians 12:9).

The Psalmist declared that it was good that he had been afflicted because he learned to trust in God’s Word (Psalm 119:71), to run to the secret place of the Most High, and to dwell under the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1).

The sun came up and we are breathing…God has a purpose for us…When you are feeling overwhelmed or defeated, turn to the Lord for His provision and peace…God is for us…God is in our corner…God is championing us…God has created us to be more than conquerors!!!
5/5/2022Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Our key verse for today is an outlook indicator! How you read this verse determines your outlook. Your outlook determines your outcome in life.

In our current climate, we face unprecedented struggles. We are dealing with the unknown, with an uncertain future. Each of us has the opportunity to choose our outlook and to determine our ultimate outcome.

Some people will deny the power of this verse. In the crisis, they will argue that God has not worked things for their good. They will fix their eyes on a faltering business or an illness or a deficiency, and they will lose sight of a benevolent God orchestrating His plan for their lives.

Others stand on a weak theology that the Christian life is absent of struggle. That doctrine is not weathering the current storm well.

His Word says that we will experience difficulties in this life, that needs will arise, that struggles will come…It also assures us that, in the middle of the struggle, He is our Strength, our Provider, and our Healer…In the swirling uncertainty, we have a firm foundation, and Jesus is His name…Choose to believe, to know, that God is working for you…Allow this faith-filled outlook to determine your good outcome!!!
5/4/2022Psalm 119:89 “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.”

Where do we turn in uncertain times? When life as we once knew it is no more, where do we look for stability and truth?

For the child of God, the Word of God has always been the place to turn. In its pages, we find God’s promises. It steadies our anxious hearts. It replaces fear with faith. It reminds us of the One Who swore to never leave us, that He would be our Defender.

In spite of how shaky the world may seem today, we can be certain that God Almighty still presides from His throne. Even though people may plot and plan and scheme, God will have His way (Proverbs 19:21).

We can be certain that He will provide for our every need…He will do exceedingly abundantly above what we can ask or imagine…The all-sufficient One is more than able…We can be certain that He will protect us…He has given His angels charge over us…No evil can come near us, and no plague can get through our door when God is our refuge…His goodness and mercy will follow us – chase us down – all the days of our lives, and we will dwell safely in His arms forever…Allow His Word to settle your heart once and for all!!!
5/3/2022Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

“Doing good” seems effortless when life carries on as usual, but it becomes difficult when a challenge throws your whole world into tumult. Simple tasks become a challenge, and normal routines are hindered at every turn.

Challenging seasons are a time to lean into the Lord and not into our own understanding. It is not a time to lose heart but to trust Him with our whole hearts. When we welcome Him into our situation, He will keep us on the right track (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Rampant uncertainty floods our planet as we continually face unprecedented obstacles. We have learned how quickly our world can change and how tenuous is our stability over the last several years.

The good news is that we serve a God Who is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in the time of trouble…Under His sheltering wings, we find protection…In the pages of His Word, we find the truth upon which to stand…In the family of God, we find the support we need…Don’t lose heart…Continue to do good…Even in times of uncertainty, He will cause us to reap a bountiful harvest!!!
5/2/2022Joel 2:13 “Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.”

A story is told of a rebellious young man who broke the law and was sent to prison for several long years. He knew his father was greatly displeased and angry with him.

As he served his time, he believed that his father would never allow him to come home. He wrote to his mother to tell of his impending release.

He would take the train whose tracks wound around their farm. If she and his father would welcome his return, he asked them to tie a ribbon in the oak tree beside the tracks. If he saw that scrap of cloth, he would get off the train. If not, he would pass through and never contact them again.

On his release day, he boarded the train. With every turn of the wheels, tension mounted. Rounding the final bend, he could not bear to look. He asked the gentleman seated beside him to look for a ribbon in the tree.

Peering out the window, the man said, “I don’t see one ribbon. I see hundreds of ribbons tied to every branch, the fence, the clothesline, and the back porch. There are so many ribbons, it looks like it snowed. What does it mean?”

With tears on his face, the young man responded, “It means I’m forgiven. I’m going home.”
5/1/20222 Corinthians 5:18 “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation…”

Many of us have been abandoned, betrayed or abused. Actions taken against us left scars on our souls, continual anger or deep bitterness. Those offenses destroyed our peace of mind.
We have a Savior that we abandoned. We deserted our faith to chase after lesser things. We wounded Him and heaped up injustices against Him. Still, He emptied Himself of all heavenly royalty and humbled Himself to the point of death on the Cross…even while we were still sinners.
When we approached Him to plead for forgiveness, He opened up His arms and poured out grace…He reconciled us to God…He chose forgiveness, washed away the sins of the past, and refused to remember them anymore…He gave us the ministry of reconciliation…He healed our vertical relationship with the Father, so we can show others the way back to Him…Through Christ, our horizontal relationships with others can be healed too…He gives us the ability to forgive, the power to rise up and walk away free…He breaks the strangleholds of anger and bitterness…He alone brings the hope and healing, the reconciliation and restoration, the freedom and a future…He ministered reconciliation and charges us to do the same!!!
4/30/2022Luke 12:48 “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”

Romans 3:23 reminds us that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s expectations. We have compiled a long list of transgressions, proven ourselves incapable of living up to the glorious plans He has for us.

In His mercy, God sent Jesus to save us. His blood washed away our sins, and He adopted us as His own children.

Jesus told of a master who wished to settle his accounts. He summoned a slave who owed billions of dollars. His master commanded that his family and everything he owned be sold to pay the debt. When the servant fell down and begged for mercy, he released him and forgave the debt.

Afterwards, the servant found a fellow servant who owed him a small sum of money. He grabbed him by the throat, demanded payment, and threw him into debtors’ prison. When this news reached his master, he turned the ungrateful servant over to the tormentors until his debt was repaid.

Mercy and forgiveness are wonderful to receive but can be difficult to extend to another…Remember the great debt of sin that Jesus has forgiven you…Be quick to extend mercy to the one who offends…Much has been given…Much will be required!!!
4/29/2022Psalm 126:5 “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.”

Peter Hulme left his village for the university, going on to become a famous architect. After gaining great wealth, he lost it all because of alcoholism.

He returned to his village with his wife and only child, a daughter on whom he doted. Their new neighbor owned a large, vicious dog. Although the townspeople had asked the man to restrain the dangerous dog, he arrogantly refused.

As Hulme returned home one day, he heard his daughter’s frantic screams. He raced to find her in the jaws of the neighbor’s dog. He managed to tear her from the dog’s teeth, but she died in his arms.

The town was outraged and shunned the owner of the deadly dog. He was a farmer, and no one would sell him seed for the next season. No seed, no harvest, no crop to sell, and he was broken. The act of unified revenge would drive him into bankruptcy.

But when spring arrived, the neighbors were shocked to see Hulme’s field was only half planted, and his neighbor’s field was also half planted. The evidence was obvious. Hulme had crossed the fence at night to sow seeds in his neighbor’s field.

We have not practiced forgiveness until we sow seeds in the garden of our enemies…In whose garden do you need to sow seeds of forgiveness today???
4/28/2022Luke 6:32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.”

Most churches would have welcomed the Pharisees. After all, they tithed up to 30% of their income, knew the Scriptures backwards and forwards, fasted twice a week, and were very religious.

They were also mean-spirited, stingy, and self-righteous. They twisted the Scriptures – tested and questioned Jesus. They prayed loudly in the streets, so others would be impressed with their piety. They moped pitifully when they fasted, so people would admire their self-deprivation and discipline.

Jesus saw through their religious façade, and they hated Him for it. However, Jesus said that even the Pharisees – deceptive hypocrites that they were – loved those who loved them. And He challenges us today: if we only love those who are kindly disposed towards us, what credit is that to us?

The true test of love is when we are the first to forgive…when we seek to be reconciled to an enemy…when we do good to those that deceive and use us…when we lend to the needy with no expectation of return…when we treat others the way we wish to be treated…Jesus promises a wonderful reward when we act like our generous Father Who shows us how to be kind to the ungrateful and wicked!!!
4/27/2022Colossians 3:13 “…even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

Unforgiveness and bitterness harbored in our hearts can bring us to an impasse in our faith. They are toxic to our souls. Consider the true story of Adolph Coors IV.

On February 9, 1960, Adolph Coors III, heir to the Coors Brewing Company fortune, was kidnapped and held for ransom. His wife and four children hoped for his safe return, but seven months later, his body was found on a remote mountainside, shot in the back. Joseph Corbett, Jr., an escaped fugitive, was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison.

At the age of 15, Adolph Coors IV lost his father and best friend. He spent years hating Corbett. In 1975, he gave his heart to Jesus and divested himself of his interest in the family business, but he could not divest himself of the hatred.

Resentment and rage seethed within him and blighted his growth in faith, affecting every area of his life. His bitterness alienated him from God, and he began to seek His help to forgive Corbett.

His pastor later related: “Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Adolph Coors IV visited the maximum-security unit of Colorado’s Cañon City Penitentiary and tried to talk to Mr. Corbett, the man who murdered his father.”

Corbett refused to meet him, so Coors left a Bible with the following inscription: “I’m here to see you today and I’m sorry that we could not meet. As a Christian, I am summoned by the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to forgive you. I do forgive you, and I ask you to forgive me for the hatred that I have held in my heart for you.” In the same way that Christ forgave him, Adolph Coors forgave the man that murdered his father.
4/26/2022Mark 16:7 “But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”

Who would roll away the large stone to allow them access into the grave? Very early in the morning, a group of women made their way to Jesus’ tomb. Shocked, they found the stone rolled away. An angel instructed them to tell the disciples – and Peter – that Jesus would meet them in Galilee just as He had promised (Mark 16).

Why did the angel specifically mention Peter’s name? Impetuous Peter – always running off at the mouth and making grandiose promises. After all, didn’t he fervently avow that, even if everyone else rejected Jesus, he would never disown Him? (Matthew 26:35).

Yet, a few short hours later, he denied even knowing the One he had promised to defend to the death – three times. Big promises, little performance.

But the angel mentioned Peter by name. Be certain that the one whose confidence was crushed, whose shame ran deep, whose self-recrimination threatened to overwhelm – be sure to let him know that Jesus wants to see him again.

No matter how you might have denied Jesus, His love will restore your shattered heart, His forgiveness will wash away all shame, and He longs to meet with you again…His arms are open, and He calls you by name…His forgiveness promises a new beginning!!!
4/25/20222 Kings 2:9 “And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?’”

Knowing that his time was limited, the old prophet, Elijah, looked at his soon-to-be successor, Elisha, and demanded, “Ask!”

Elijah had urged Elisha to stay behind at Gilgal, Bethel, and Jericho, but he would not be shaken. He refused to leave him. Now, Elijah asked what he could do for Elisha before he was taken away. This was their final conversation, and Elijah challenged Elisha. He had come this far … make it count!

Elisha did not hesitate. He did not ask for a strategic plan, the ministry manual or keys to the building. He wanted that same God that was at work in Elijah to work in him. In fact, He wanted a double portion of that blessing! God had empowered Elijah, and Elisha knew God would do it for him too.

Suddenly, a chariot of fire whirled Elijah into the heavens. As Elisha stared after him, he saw Elijah’s mantle drift to the ground. He picked up that symbol of prophetic authority, of connection between God and man. He returned to the Jordan, struck the water, and watched in wonder as the river parted.

What will you ask Jesus today…What needs to be imparted to your life…What river needs to part…Where do you need provision, power, healing, and victory…Ask!!!
4/24/20222 Kings 2:2 “But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!’”

Elijah and Elisha – the old prophet and his young successor – labored together in Israel. As Elijah’s life neared its end, he visited four significant places.

He traveled to Gilgal, the place where Joshua circumcised the Israelite men before crossing into the Promised Land. The covenant required the shedding of blood and the rolling away of transgressions. Our Gilgal occurred on Golgotha where Jesus’ flesh was pierced, His Blood was shed, and our sins were rolled away. Elijah urged Elisha to stay, but he refused.

They traveled on to Bethel, the house of God – where all newborns are nurtured and the saints are strengthened. When we plant ourselves in His house, we will flourish (Psalm 92:13). Even though Elijah insisted he remain, Elisha persevered.

They reached Jericho, a place of battle. As God’s children, we also engage in spiritual warfare. We endure hardships, knowing that no weapon formed against us will prosper.

Leaving Jericho, they encountered the Jordan River, the symbol of death’s rising tide. Elijah struck the water with his mantle. The river parted, and they crossed on dry land.

When we accept Jesus, He refuses to leave our sides…He walks us through every trial and every triumph…When we reach Jordan’s banks, He will usher us into everlasting joy…He will never leave us!!!
4/23/20222 Corinthians 1:21-22 “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee”

Elisha was Elijah’s successor – a man of God, handpicked by God, to do the work of God.

God commanded Elijah to anoint Elisha to be the prophet in his place (1 Kings 19:16). Elijah had no vote. Why is that important? If a man had chosen Elisha, he would have felt compelled to meet his expectations. When God picks and places someone, He anoints him to fulfill his divine destiny.

God sent Moses to anoint Joshua. God sent Samuel to anoint David. God, through Jesus Christ, chose Saul on the road to Damascus. If they would have been appointed and anointed by a mere man, they would have lived up to their human opinions and expectations.

However, they were empowered by God to do what no one else could do.  When you are anointed by God, the walls of Jericho fall. You stand fearlessly in front of giants. You put pen to parchment in a prison cell to write, “In all of these things, we are more than conquerors through Christ…!”

You are appointed and anointed by God…His is the only opinion that matters…The only expectations you must meet belong to Him, and He has graciously equipped you for every good work…He has picked and positioned and prepared you!!!
4/22/20222 Kings 2:14 “Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, ‘Where is the LORD God of Elijah?’”

Like Israel, under the corrupt rule of Ahab and Jezebel, our nation has forgotten our foundation of faith. We tolerate anything but Truth, floundering in a sea of political correctness.

The prophet, Amos, envisioned a famine in the last days – not of bread or water, but of the words of the Lord (Amos 8:11). That famine does not mean that no access to the Word will exist, but that no appetite for the Word will exist. We echo the words of Elisha: “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?”

Where is that bold voice unashamed to declare the truth…Who is the person willing to announce to a lost generation that there is one true God…Jesus is not one prophet among many, a mere teacher of morality…He is our Redeemer Who now intercedes for us at the right hand of the Father…Our Sovereign God is on His throne…He needs no political party or slick candidate with proper speaking points to shift a generation back to Him…He needs an Elijah or Elisha to blaze brightly in a dark generation, to stand against the rising tide of evil, to speak life-giving words to change the world…We know where God is. Where are you???
4/21/2022Isaiah 6:8 “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’”

God sent Elijah to stand before the evil Israelite king, Ahab. At God’s prompting, Elijah boldly declared that no rain or dew would fall in the land of Israel until he said the word.

He threw down the gauntlet to a nation that served Baal, a god who purportedly brought down the rain and made the crops grow. Elijah challenged Baal and demonstrated the power of the one true God. Three and a half years later, drought had devastated Israel.

Elijah stood on God’s Word…He did what God asked him to do, and he made it count…No matter how difficult the task that God has given you, make it count…No matter how many or how few stand with you, make it count…If He sends you into political office, speak the declarative words of truth…He may send you to the PTA, your workplace or the community center…He may ask you to usher or sing in the choir…Whatever you do, make it count…Elijah stood in a generation where no one else was willing to speak the truth…When he did, a nation fell to its knees…Be willing to go…Be willing to stand…Be willing to speak…Make it count!!!
4/20/2022James 5:17 “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months”

Elijah and Elisha were two men who served God and made every day count. When the whole world opposed them, they believed in the One Who called them. They shaped the world for the glory of God.

One day, as they walked along shoulder to shoulder, a chariot of fire drawn by horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah was caught up to heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11). Elisha was left staring forlornly into the sky.

He must have thought, “Without this great prophet, what will become of us now?” We easily succumb to similar thoughts. When God moves powerfully in the life of one individual, we begin to believe that, as long as that person breathes, God can work.

God is no respecter of persons…He displays no partiality…He has purposes for each one of us…Elijah was a human being with the same kind of nature that we possess…When he prayed earnestly, God answered…Elijah was just like you and me…Like him, we can make every moment count…Like him, our prayers are powerful and effective…Like him, we can impact this world with the glory of God!!!
4/19/2022Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”

El Shaddai, the Hebrew word for God Almighty, signifies that He is the God Who is all-sufficient. He is more than enough.

Jesus Christ nailed your sin to the Cross. He nailed your past to the Cross. You are not a patched-up, somewhat-improved version of your old self. All the old things passed away, and He made all things brand new. You are a new creation!

He made a public spectacle of rejection at the Cross. The enemy attempts to use the past to bring guilt and condemnation. He sticks his finger in old wounds to resurrect the pain and shame. But El Shaddai is more than enough! The Cross represents our total triumph!

Satan believed that the Cross was the end, but Jesus was just getting started…When He declared, “It is finished,” Satan soon discovered that those words of finality ushered in a new beginning for us…Shackles fell powerless…Addictions were broken…Ruined lives were redeemed…Shattered hearts were restored…Broken dreams were revived…Every promise that He made, He has kept…Through every trial, He has been a Friend Who sticks close…He has never abandoned us in the difficult hours…He has met every deficiency…No need to ever wonder…He is more than enough!!!
4/18/2022Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

Jesus didn’t die on the Cross so He could condemn us. He came to save us and grant us the peace that surpasses understanding as we navigate life’s roads to the inexplicable splendors of heaven. The half of what we will see upon our much-anticipated arrival has not even entered our minds. But until that day when we meet our Savior face-to-face, we must continue to stay the course.

We were never promised a primrose path on this earth…We were promised that in Him we could find peace…If we will seek Him, Jesus will carry our burdens no matter how great our load and make a way where none seems to be…He knows our end from the beginning…Take it to the foot of the Cross and leave it there…Don’t carry part of the problem back home with you…Leave the entire burden with God, knowing that He will not only meet your need but give you sweet rest in the valley!!!
4/17/2022Romans 8:37 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

The day Jesus died on the Cross looked like a day of total defeat, when in fact it was a day of total victory! From a human perspective, it looked as if the enemy had won. The soldiers were mocking Him. His robe was torn and sold. The sky was gray and dismal. All hope seemed lost.

What appeared to be utter defeat was actually the portrait of sheer victory on a grand scale that the world had never before seen. That was the day you and I were set free from death, hell, and the grave, from sickness and disease. It was the day we were liberated from the chains of the past, from addiction, from every kind of hindrance that would defeat us in our daily lives.

On this day, Jesus descended from the Cross into the bowels of the earth and shook His finger in the face of the prince of darkness. He gave us all authority, on earth and in heaven. No matter what we ask for in His name, we can now have it because of the complete victory that was won on the darkest day the earth has ever known.

Think of the chains that bind you today…Look in the mirror…You are now face-to-face with your worst enemy…The person you see in the reflection has been completely liberated, set free to live a life of abundance…Calvary made that possible…Whatever chains have shackled you to the past, whatever controls you and manipulates your life, keeping you from enjoying the goodness of the Lord needs to be let it go in Jesus’ name…You are more than a conqueror…Live like it…Act like it…Think like it…That is what Calvary did for you!!!
4/16/2022Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it”

To make it count, we must choose this moment that will never come back to us. Too often, we are tangled up in regret for the past or riddled with anxiety about the future, and we miss the opportunity of the here and now.

This day is not like any other. This is the day that the Lord has made. Before our eyes opened this morning, He went ahead of us to fill up every space. He saw – start to finish – and planned His purposes for us. Because we are His children, we can trust Him and rejoice and be glad right in the middle of it.

Bathe this day in prayer…More than a command to us, prayer is a conversation with the God Who holds the world in the palm of His hand…When we pray, we reach into heavenly places and pull down strongholds…We approach the throne to move mountains…Our pleas help shape the destinies of those we love…We bring down giants of fear…Prayer in Jesus’ name stirs up the gifts of God in our lives…It saturates our souls with the peace that passes understanding…It fills us with faith to face every moment…It kindles our hope…Live in this moment…Experience the wonder…Rejoice in it…Breathe in its gladness…Make it count!!!
4/15/2022Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

The Word of God is such a powerful weapon that, when spoken out loud, it makes demons run for cover. If you are looking for victory in any area of your life, I encourage you to start reading the Bible out loud. Read the promises of God, believe that He can and will deliver you in your day of trouble. No mountain is so high and no valley is so deep that the hand of God cannot reach down and snatch you out of harm’s way!

The Bible is God’s blueprint for our lives…You can have what this book says you can have…You can do what it says you can do…You have no limits as a child of God…Whatever you are looking for to fill that gaping hole in your life, child of God, pray and ask Him to bring it to pass…Call upon the Lord and you shall have whatever you ask in His name…His Word promises that we can achieve the impossible when we are holding God’s hand and He is walking us down the path toward our divine destiny…With Him, nothing is impossible!!!
4/14/2022Romans 6:18 “Having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”

Are you saved but not free? Many people are controlled by the people around them or by religious rules—false doctrine that they’ve been taught their entire lives. I’m going to make it very simple for you: if it’s not found in the Word of God, toss it out! You have no use for it in your life.

If man made rules could pave the way to heaven, then Jesus died in vain. Look to the Cross!

The Cross delivers you from arbitrary rules for obtaining righteousness with God…It erases your past and give you a future full of promise…You don’t need anything but the Cross—the Blood of Jesus Christ—to be made whole and totally set free from any form of bondage…You might fear what the future holds or still harbor guilt from the past…Today, in Jesus’ name, and by His sovereign grace, you can be supernaturally set free…Let your past be gone…Leave behind every failure…The Cross has set you free!!!
4/13/2022Galatians 6:14 “God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

The Cross is the central theme of the Bible. Without it you have nothing. But the beauty of the Cross is that it is an open invitation for “whosoever will.” Jesus died on this Cross as a scapegoat, to redeem us of our sins. He took on our filthy rags so that we could be afforded opportunities that only the grace of God can provide. All we have to do is accept this gift, accept His love, accept Him as our Savior.

Once we meet Jesus at the foot of the Cross, our sins are washed away and our name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life…There is no symbol or theme more powerful in the life of a Believer than Calvary’s Cross…God loved you so very, very much that He sent His only Son to die in your place…You are a designer original; don’t live like a cheap knockoff…Make today your best day…Give it your all in everything you say and do…Live a life full of confidence, knowing that the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world is rooting for you every second of every day…Don’t listen to the negative things the world has to offer; keep your eyes focused on the Cross!!!
4/12/20222 Corinthians 1:20 “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”

There are more than 3,000 promises found within the Word of God. Your daily provision comes directly from these promises, which hold the golden key to open the gates of heaven and close the gates of hell.

When you are needing a spiritual breakthrough in your life, call on the mighty name of Jesus Christ…He will give you a promise within the Scripture that will bring you out to rich fulfillment…When God gives you a promise, hold onto it…Rest on it, knowing that in due season this prophetic word for life will be fulfilled…It will probably not be done on your schedule, but when God deems the time is right, your promise will be completed…It isn’t difficult to have faith in a God who never fails…Faith is reaching out in the darkness and knowing that you will feel the hand of God reaching back on the other side!!!
4/11/2022Isaiah 45:2 “I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron.”

Prayer doesn’t need proof, it needs practice. God is as close as your next breath. He has promised to never leave you nor forsake you. This means that when the dearest on earth have turned their backs on you, God sees. He knows your pain. And He wants to set things straight.

If you want to make a difference in your day, begin each morning with prayer. As soon as you start to pray, God releases His angels to meet your every need. Then get ready! Great and mighty things are about to happen!

Prayer is the weapon that God has given His children to wage war in the heavenlies…Put on the full armor of God and make it a great day…Satan is a defeated foe who has no power over you as a child of God…He cannot stop you when God is on your side…Run to the One who calmed the raging seas with three simple words: “Peace, be still”…If you feel like you’ve hit more bumps than usual on the road of life, look to the face of God…He has promised to lead you down a path that will grant you the greatest possible success…You need Him to make crooked places straight…Call on His name, then leave the driving to Him!!!
4/10/2022James 5:16 “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

The tragedy of our modern-day society is not unanswered prayer but unoffered prayer. God knows your every thought, need, and desire, but He is waiting for you to ask for great things. When you call on His name, do you ask God to help you find an umbrella for the storm ahead, or to help you build an ark? When you pray in faith believing, expect mighty things to happen.

The Word says all we need is faith the size of a mustard seed to move a mountain…Maybe the circumstance you are currently in looks like a mountain of impossibility…Pray in Jesus’ name…Have faith that what you are asking God for, He can and will do…Speak to the mountain with total authority and watch as the things in your life begin to line up with the Word of God…You will start to gain favor among God and men…This doesn’t mean that you will have sunshine every day, but it means that the Son will shine in your life and light your pathway…You will have the best of things in the worst of times as you trust the Savior to lead you in paths of righteousness…God is ready to remove the mountain of impossibility in your life if you will only ask!!!
4/9/2022Colossians 2:14 “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the Cross.”

Jesus Christ nailed them to the Cross – every charge that was stacked against you. Every sin, He covered with His Blood. He became the propitiation for you.

Jesus’ action at Calvary made peace between humankind and a holy God…He took our place and became the payment for a debt He did not owe…His act of obedience repaired the breach between us…He broke down the wall that separated us…When you accepted His invitation and welcomed Him into your heart, every accusation against you was covered in His Blood…Satan is the accuser of all believers…Satan points his finger at us day and night, attempting to bring up all those old allegations…Satan wants to drown us in shame and condemnation…But when you enter the throne room of His grace and approach the Righteous Judge, and He demands the charges against you, an Advocate will defend you…He will announce that all of your sins are covered with His Blood, plunged into the depths of the ocean to never be remembered again…Though your sins were as scarlet, He washed them white as snow…There are no longer any charges…He nailed them to the Cross!!!
4/8/2022Colossians 2:15 “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”

When a Roman general marched an army off to war, he was bent on triumph. He was determined to decimate the enemy.

Only when his adversaries were soundly defeated did he return to Rome. On that day, cheering citizens lined the streets as the conquering general, astride a white horse, rode into the city through the Arch of Triumph.

The city celebrated wildly as the general was preceded by wagonloads of treasure plundered from the enemy. Following the wagons, the prisoners of war paraded in shame as the citizens looked on their defeated foes – the captured soldiers who dared to defy the Roman Empire.

Behind this sad procession came the king of the vanquished land. All of Rome looked on this defeated royal, bound in chains, destined for slavery in the emperor’s palace. What a public spectacle!

For those of us whose citizenship is in heaven, we have a conquering King…He marched out to battle against Satan at Calvary…He disarmed every principality and power, stripped away their ability to steal, kill, and destroy…He publicly exposed them as powerless…Like those long-ago citizens of Rome, let us lift up our voices to wildly celebrate our conquering Lord of lords and King of kings!!!
4/7/2022John 12:32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

Horses straining towards the fight, soldiers bravely brandishing their swords, and banners flying proudly in the wind – we can picture the battle scenes of old.

While the conflict raged and the ground was in question, no army hoisted its victory banner. But when one army vanquished another, when the enemy fell back in defeat, the conquering army planted its flag firmly in the dirt. No longer in question, the ground now belonged to the victor.

Before we come to the Cross, the ground of our soul is in question…Our eternal destiny is uncertain…Satan fights ferociously to capture and carry us to hell…Jesus was lifted up on the Cross, hoisted above the battle…His death means certain victory for all who accept His invitation for life everlasting…At the Cross, Jesus draws all people to Himself…No one has ever been rejected or turned away…Every single soul can find its home in Him…Satan may attempt to torment, but he cannot overpower us…He may attack, but he will not destroy us…He may come at us from one direction, but he will flee from us on seven different routes (Deuteronomy 28:7)…Let His banner fly over the soil of your soul…Let His victory flag be planted in the battleground of your heart…Let there be no question Who reigns over your life!!!
4/6/20221 Corinthians 1:18 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God”

How peculiar that the place where Jesus was brutally crucified has become a tree of triumph for those who believe! The Cross has become a beautiful symbol used in art, jewelry, and decorations.

To the first-century church, a cross was recognized as a tool of torture, a death sentence. Rome preferred this method of execution. Anyone who witnessed the gruesomeness of crucifixion realized that Rome was not to be resisted. Yet, Jesus’ followers took the Cross as their symbol of worship – foolishness to the unbelievers!

Graphic portrayals of Jesus’ journey to Calvary abound. He was arrested, taken, and crucified. However, Jesus made it clear in John 10:18 that no one took His life from Him. He chose to lay it down!

He was not arrested; He submitted…He was not taken; He gave Himself…He hung on a tree, but it was not nails that held Him there; it was His love for you and me…He could have called ten thousand angels to come to His rescue…More than a symbol, the Cross is our source of triumph…the Cross is our place of victory…The message of the Cross is the power of God to those of us who are being saved!!!
4/5/2022Galatians 6:14 “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world”

At the top of Mount Moriah, God used a tree as a tool of redemption for Isaac. At the final instant, as Abraham raised his knife in obedience to the Lord, God provided a sacrifice instead of Isaac – a ram caught in the thicket.

Centuries later, Jesus became the substitute for us all on the tree at Mount Calvary…The only begotten Son of God was nailed to the cross…This tree is why He knows us, why we are united in the family of God, that we can create a habitation of praise for our Father, that we can go boldly before the throne of grace to receive mercy…Jesus Christ paid the price on that cursed tree…His blood reached us in our faraway, desperate state and pulled us near…Without the Cross, no grace or mercy is extended, no salvation is available…Without the Cross, we cannot be called sons and daughters of the Most High…Without the Cross, we have no reason to rejoice…Because of that cruel tree, we are grafted into every promise and covenant, sins washed away, lives made whole…We have a glorious future with the One Who loved us to the death…That cruel Cross became our tree of triumph!!!
4/4/2022Psalm 56:8 “You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?”

How amazing to think of God bending low to collect the tears that slide down our cheeks!

In biblical times, mourners often caught their tears in small, glass bottles before placing them in burial tombs as a sign of their grief. In Civil War times, women collected their tears in bottles until their men returned from battle.

Not only does God collect our tears in His bottle, He also records them in His book. Think about the tears that you have cried: when failure disappointed, death shattered your heart, loss uprooted your life, your child deserted his faith, malicious words wounded. All those tears of grief, frustration, and distress trickled into God’s bottle, and He recorded each shimmering droplet.

Why is God so interested in our tears? In Revelation 21:4, He makes a promise He intends to keep. When we are united in the New Jerusalem, God Himself will wipe every sorrowful tear from our eyes. Because He has kept count, every tear will be wiped away.

In the darkest hour, when no one else sees, your Creator draws near to gently collect and count each tear…One day, He will remember and wipe away every one…Those who sow in tears will reap in joy!!!
4/3/2022Psalm 143:10 “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness”

As believers, we are enrolled in a continuing education program. We become lifelong learners as God opens His Word and speaks His truth.

We keep learning, growing, and maturing – making ourselves ready for the work that God has for us to do. The Lord will enroll us in classes that challenge and stretch us.

He will teach us to pray. Through problems that we are unable to solve, burdens that we are unable to bear, He will instruct us how to call upon Him so He can show us great and mighty things that we did not know before (Jeremiah 33:3).

He will teach us to give. Every perfect gift that we have in our lives comes from the Father of Lights above (James 1:17). Giving is not extraordinary; it is expected. When we recognize the abundance of His blessings, it will prompt us to give cheerfully and generously.

He will teach us to praise. He will take us to school about the power in praise – how it brings heaven down into the circumstances of earth. When God invades the atmosphere, mountains move, yokes break, and chains fall.

When we choose to listen and learn, He will teach us to do His will…Because He is good, the Spirit will lead us into all righteousness and truth!!!
4/2/2022Proverbs 18:9 “He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer”

If we believe in something, we will bleed for it. We will sweat to succeed. Sweat demonstrates effort and hard work. Only in the dictionary does success precede work!

In Luke 22:44, Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, and His sweat poured out like huge drops of blood. Why? He believed in us, and He was working for us. Jesus bore the burden of our humanity, and in that moment, He struggled mightily.
He accepted a weight with which we are too familiar. Jesus, Who had never known sin, became sin, so that we could be made right with God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Our sin and shame rolled onto His shoulders, and He was separated from the Father – an agony that He had never experienced.
Hours before, He prayed of the beautiful unity that He and the Father shared. Hours later, He cried from the Cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34). He poured out His blood and sweat. He completed the work to pay a debt that He did not owe.
Invest your sweat…Be about the Father’s business…Faithfully and energetically undertake the work that Jesus commanded…Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature…Sweat comes before success!!!
4/1/20222 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?”

Paul encouraged the Corinthian Believers to test themselves. Then, he gave them a one-question examination: “Do you not know that Jesus Christ is in you?”

It was not a matter of faith; it was a matter of acknowledging that Jesus was alive in them. Today, many of us struggle with the same dilemma! We easily believe in the free gift of salvation, but we disregard the power of a Risen Savior that takes up residence in our lives.

Christ is in us! The One Who walked out of the grave with the keys of victory in His hand lives in us. The One Who quiets the wind and waves with a simple command lives in us. Along with John, we can say, “…He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world!” (1 John 4:4).

If the Mountain Mover is in us, those obstacles will be removed…If the Commander of Angel Armies is in us, no weapon formed against us will prosper…If our Rock and Defense is in us, we will not be moved…Know that Jesus is alive in you…Square your shoulders…Lift your chin…You are a child of the King!!!
3/31/2022Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Christ bled for you, because He believes in you. He planted great potential in you, and He believes in the person that He created you to be.

In spite of the wrong turns or poor choices you might have made, He died for you while you were still a sinner. He no longer considers your past sins; He hurled them into the depths of the ocean.

Jesus puts no stock in expert opinions, statistics, and analyses of how impossible your situation might appear. He already knows that you can do all things when He gives you the strength (Philippians 4:13).

When every door closes in your face, just keep asking and seeking and knocking…He promises that if you ask, you will receive…If you seek, you will find…If you keep knocking, He will open a door that no one can ever close…When you were at your very worst, He gave His very best…Jesus believes in your healing, because He took the lashes on His back to buy it…He believes in your redemption, because He won it at Calvary…He believes in your royalty, because He wore a crown of thorns to make you a child of the King…You will bleed for what you believe in, and He believes in you!!!
3/30/2022Luke 22:44 “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

In the Garden of Gethsemane, hours before His death, Jesus knelt to have a conversation with His Father.

For 33 years, Jesus walked this earth. The Father’s mission was His exclusive aim. He only spoke and acted as His Father directed Him. As He anticipated the Cross, He pled with God that, if it was possible, if there was another way, to please let this cup pass from Him. If not, God’s will be done.

His agony was so great as He prayed that His sweat became like huge drops of blood dripping from His face. He bled for you because He believes in you.

At His Word, everything was fashioned…The sun rises in the east and sets in the west because Jesus instructs it to do so…The moon glows at His insistence…He has numbered and named the stars, commanding them to shine for His purpose…He formed every mountain with His hand…He carved every valley with His finger…He planted every flower…He designed every creature…Yet, He bled for none of them…He did not bleed for the trees or the birds…He did not bleed for the multitudes of angels…He bled for you because He believes in what He created you to be!!!
3/29/2022Colossians 1:29 “To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.”

Sir Winston Churchill, the former prime minister of the United Kingdom, popularized the phrase “blood, sweat, and tears” in a rousing speech that he delivered three days after his election in 1940.

The first use of the phrase occurred in print in 1837 when Welsh preacher, Christmas Evans, expounded the extraordinary sacrifice of the Author and Finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ.

Our blood represents life. It contributes to all that we do. As long as it flows, our lives are sustained. If it ceases to flow, we experience a quick death. Leviticus 17:11 tells us the “life of the flesh is in the blood…”

Our sweat reflects the price that we are willing to pay to accomplish a goal. Nothing great is achieved without great effort. Sweat represents long days, hard hours, struggle, and strain.

Our tears water the passion that pushes us to persevere when giving up is the easier choice. God has promised us that weeping may endure for the night, but joy will come with the rising sun (Psalm 30:5).

The blood, sweat, and tears that we invest determine the quality of our families, careers, and our lives in Christ…If we lose our lives for His sake, we will save them (Luke 9:24)…Where are you investing your blood, sweat, and tears???
3/28/2022Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.”

The leper, Naaman, took great offense when the prophet, Elisha, sent a lowly servant to speak with him. He was insulted at the humble cure that Elisha suggested.

He left his house in a rage. His servant wondered why he did not take the steps that the prophet recommended for healing.

His servants had traveled the long distance with Naaman, had suffered with him, dealt with his disease and his desperation. Most likely, they had helped him hide it and aided in the frantic search for a cure. They longed for Naaman’s healing too.

We often choose to deny that our sin is an issue. If we want the truth, we should talk with the people that live with it every day. Don’t have a temper problem? We should talk to the people we wound when we lash out. Don’t have a lying problem? Talk to the people who cannot trust a word we speak.

Naaman heard what his servant had to say, and it changed his perspective. He recognized that his disease impacted more than himself. Why not wade into the Jordan?

Our sin-sickness is a matter of life and death…Its lethal impact can infect those around us…Wade into the water to wash away its deadly damage…Come up clean and free!!!
3/27/2022Psalm 149:4 “For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.”

When Naaman, the leper, arrived at the prophet’s house seeking healing, he stepped out of his chariot looking for the red carpet. After all, he was a celebrated war hero in his home country of Syria!

Elisha did not even come to the door. Instead, he sent his servant with a message for Naaman: if he would go dip seven times in the Jordan River, his skin would be healed, and health would be restored.

Naaman was livid! The prophet did not even deign to speak with him, important man that he was! He did not come out and wave his hand over the leprosy to heal it. He merely suggested that Naaman go jump in the dirty river.

In the middle of his rantings, Naaman’s servant dared to ask: “…if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it?” (II Kings 5:13). Naaman’s great, big pride was preventing him from taking a simple, small step that would make him whole.

We all have the leprosy of sin in our souls…One prayer can wash us clean…One step of obedience can set us free…Don’t let pride stand between you and the healing you seek…Run to the river and jump in with both feet to be made whole!!!
3/26/20221 Peter 3:12 “For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers.”

Naaman, the leper, received a message of hope – an Israelite prophet could heal him! He hurried off to Israel with a letter from his Syrian king.

When Naaman arrived, the king read the short note: “Now be advised, when this letter comes to you, that I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy” (II Kings 5:6). The king tore his robes in distress. He had no power to heal Naaman of leprosy, and his resulting death would result in all-out war with Israel!

When Elisha, the man of God, heard the king’s dilemma, he sent a message: “Why have you torn your clothes? Please let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel” (II Kings 5:8).

The king had position, but no power…When faced with a cure-or-be-conquered situation, his royalty, army, and treasury were of no use…Elisha had power that did not arise from wealth, might or office…It was the power of the Most High…All of the capability and authority of His Father came to bear on the situation…When he hit his knees, all of heaven moved on his behalf…Just like Elisha, as God’s dearly loved children, we hold the position and the power to change the world!!!
3/25/2022Psalm 119:141 “I am small and despised, yet I do not forget Your precepts.”

Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army, was a leper. He was desperate for a cure for his deadly condition.

Help came from an unlikely source. Syrian soldiers raided Israel and captured a young girl whom they brought back to become a maidservant to Naaman’s wife. Living in such close quarters, she must have seen Naaman’s dreadful disease and overheard the distressed and fearful conversations.

One day, she found the courage to say to her mistress: “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy” (II Kings 5:3). One small voice of hope spoke into Naaman’s misery and despair.

She is only ever mentioned in this one verse. She speaks her truth and leaves the scene. She walks in and out unnamed, but her message of hope changed Naaman’s world.

This maiden had every reason to stay silent. She was a young, foreign girl – small and despised in many eyes. For all of the reasons why she could not have said anything, she had some truth. When she shared the truth, it began to deliver Naaman.

What have you done with the truth you possess about Jesus Christ and His salvation…Your voice can offer the message of hope to change someone’s world forever!!!
3/24/2022Proverbs 28:13 “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”

We do not talk about sin in America; we talk about the problems that it creates. We do not talk about the origin; we focus on the symptoms. Until we get to the root of the cause, we will never discover the cure for our condition.

Issues that we face around the world are not merely behavioral symptoms that can be treated with better education, new legislation or citizen organization. Humans have a sin problem!

Mass shootings are not a gun control issue; they are a sin problem. Four thousand abortions per day is not a political issue; it is a sin problem.

Adultery is not a momentary lapse of judgment; it is a sin problem. Lying is not a matter of perspective; it is a sin problem. Battering a spouse is not an anger management issue; it is a sin problem.

Until we have the courage to acknowledge that we have a sin problem, we will never address it…Until we confess our trespasses, we will never be cured…If we freely admit our sin, our faithful and fair God will forgive us, cleanse us from all evil, and give us brand new lives…We will look different, and our society will look different…First, we must get to the root…We have a sin problem!!!
3/23/2022Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

In 2 Kings 5, we meet Naaman, commander of the Syrian army, a great and honorable man. He led his country to victory against the Assyrians and was a national hero.

Though he was a mighty man of valor, Naaman had leprosy. One of the most feared diseases in that day, leprosy was almost always incurable and led to death. What began as a small spot would spread to cover the skin and deaden the nerves. Often, lepers were quarantined to live in colonies outside of the cities.

This sickness was so consuming that it did not matter how much influence Naaman wielded, the important people with whom he associated, or the wealth that he had accumulated. Naaman knew it was a matter of life and death.

No matter how well things are going for us, we all have a spiritual leprosy called sin…No natural cure exists, and it always leads to death…If left unchecked, it will consume us until our consciences are deadened, and we are alienated from those we love…The price for this sin-sickness is death, but God sent us the extraordinary gift of His Son to cover the debt that we owe…He washes us clean and gives us a new life with Him that will last forever!!!
3/22/20222 Corinthians 3:18 “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Our potential is determined by the characteristics of God that we develop and exhibit in our lives. If we truly belong to Him, and He abides in us, His characteristics will be our characteristics.

As long as we remain in contact with our Source, our life will explode in an avalanche of good things. When we are rooted and grounded in the Word of God, we have the same power that Jesus demonstrated.

God is faithful to keep His promises; His word is His bond. He always does what He says. Do you? God surrounds us with mercy. Do you do the same for others? God lavishes unconditional love on people who do not deserve it – like He did for you. Do you love in the same way?

God completely forgives a person’s trespasses and does not remember those sins anymore. Do you forgive those who trespass against you? Do you resurrect their shortcomings in moments of anger? He teaches with gentleness and humility. Do you?

Paul encouraged us to grow up in every aspect, to become mature, to be transformed into God’s image by the Spirit of the Lord…Little by little, look more like Jesus…Develop His character…Reach your God-given potential!!!
3/21/2022Psalm 78:41 “Yes, again and again they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.”

We can hinder the potential of God in our lives. We can actually limit the work that He desires to accomplish through us.

Two groups of people exist: those who make good and those who make excuses. When we blame someone else for our failure, we empower that person to control us. If we do not take control of our lives, someone else will.

Do you think you are too young? Jesus taught the rabbis when he was nine years old. Too old? Abraham fathered a child at 100. Not educated? A handful of unlearned fishermen changed the world. Not well-connected? You do know the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!

Another way to destroy our potential is to demand instant gratification…We must submit to the plans of the Master Potter and allow Him to shape us into His image…It is a painstaking, time-consuming process, but He promises to be with us through the very end…We can also forfeit our God-given potential by expecting His benefits without assuming responsibility…When we fail to pick up our crosses and follow Him, we limit His work in us…We forget that if we lose our lives for His sake, we can reach the fullness of our potential…He will make us beautiful in His time!!!
3/20/2022Mark 11:24 “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

Our potential is activated by faith. It is not an option; it is a requirement for the child of God. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world (I John 5:4).

In Genesis, God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). The Hebrew word for likeness means “to operate like” – not to look like. How does God operate? He operates with faith. If we are not functioning like God in faith, we are malfunctioning.

For the believer, hope is based on the evidence found in the Word of God. Hope is based on the substance of what God has done in the past – knowing that if He has done it before, He can do it again in our lives.

Faith is not mystical; it is rock solid…It does not demand miracles; it creates miracles…Faith takes the first step before we know the outcome…It is not a leap in the dark; it is a walk in the light…Faith believes because of the proof in God’s Word…Because Jesus healed, the potential to heal is inside of us…Because Jesus worked miracles, the potential to work miracles is inside of us…Faith is fact – not fiction…As children of God, we have the potential to receive whatever we ask!!!
3/19/20221 Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people.”

Let’s face it. As Bible-believing Christians, we are a little strange by the standards of this world. We live by another set of rules.

We feel supreme love for One we have never seen and talk to someone that we have not touched. We empty ourselves to become full, decreasing so that Christ might increase. We lower ourselves to become servants of all so that we will rise up as the first. When we are at our absolute weakest, He makes us strong.

When we are poor, we are very rich. We give our things away so that we may keep them forever. We deposit treasures in a heavenly bank that we have yet to visit.

We die daily, little by little, to lay down our lives so that we can live forever…Death is not a tragedy for us believers; it is a reward for the righteous…We perceive the invisible…He has given us eyes to see…We discern the inaudible…He has given us ears to hear…Because we are rooted and grounded in Him, He has opened our understanding to the Truth that this world cannot comprehend…In His upside-down, inside-out economy, the impossible is made possible for those who are odd for God!!!
3/18/2022Isaiah 40:29 “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.”

The fact that we were born is proof that God knew that this earth needed our potential. He has ordained a special purpose for each one of us.

We all have potential! We can make no room for excuses – limited resources, lack of education, lies from the past. God will take the little bit that we offer to Him, and He will make it a whole lot!

In every seed, there is the potential of a great harvest. In every fish, there is potential for a school. In every bird, there is potential for a flock. In every man, there is potential for a nation.

Bethlehem’s manger was not a five-star hotel, but it changed the course of the world. One small stone killed Goliath and changed the destiny of Israel. Through one obedient maiden, a King was born Who has blessed the nations. Faith that is the size of one small mustard seed – as small as a BB – can move a mountain of impossibility.

God has given us the power to reach our potential…We must seize every opportunity to put the talents that He has given us to work…We must act upon the dreams that He has dropped into our hearts…Nothing is impossible to those that believe they can!!!
3/17/2022Philippians 3:13 “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.”

Our potential does not lie in our yesterdays. It cannot be found in what we have already accomplished – that’s ancient history.

Many of us allow the past to sabotage our potential. We replay old regrets, are paralyzed at the scene of personal tragedy, and waste away our days on what-might-have-beens. We fail to move forward because we have not dealt with the wounds of the past.

Conversely, some of us destroy our potential by resting on the laurels of one shining moment in the past. Did your company break all sales records last year? Keep working hard or you could be looking for a job. Did you make honor roll last semester? Do your homework; the challenge is still in front of you.

Paul encourages us to stretch into the future, reaching for the things that are ahead…Our potential lies in the grades that we have not made, the promotions that we have not earned, and the souls that we have not won…The greatest tragedy is a life that fails to fulfill its God-given purpose and potential…Let’s forget about the things that lie behind us in the past to get moving towards all the potential God has packed into our future!!!
3/16/20222 Timothy 2:15 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see your true potential? Or do you lack confidence for the future?

According to the Brain Research Institute at UCLA, our brains have the potential to create, store, and learn virtually without limit. Most of us could learn 40 languages, memorize a set of encyclopedias from A to Z, and complete the required coursework for 12 universities – in one lifetime!

The English language contains about 450,000 words, but linguistic experts estimate that we only use a mere 400 words in our daily conversations.

Why do most of us fall short of these amazing feats? Because the only way to attain these goals is to study. Paul encouraged us to work at laying out and living out the truth of God’s Word plain and simple.

David said that he hid the Word in his heart to keep from sinning against God (Psalm 119:11)…One translation of that verse is to read the Scriptures until they are memorized…His Word transforms our minds…It reveals who we truly are and Who God really is…As we are changed into His image, we begin to realize the power of the potential that we have in Christ!!!
3/15/2022Jeremiah 31:34 “For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

Jesus taught us to love and forgive one another, and He taught us the pattern for doing both.

He instructs us to forgive immediately. If we are standing at the altar, and we remember that someone has an offense against us, we are to leave immediately to seek out that person. Stop praying! Do not sing another chorus! Do not conceal unforgiveness with religious ritual. Get forgiveness. Go, offer forgiveness.

He instructs us to be reconciled to the one from whom we are estranged. We must take the first step to reach out and set things right. With all humility and gentleness, with patience and love, we must strive to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2-3). We are united as one.

He instructs us to forgive absolutely and completely…In the same way that Jesus is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9), we are to openhandedly forgive the one who offends, betrays or lies about us…When we take the step of faith to offer forgiveness and to seek reconciliation, we never go alone…The Prince of Peace walks beside us and gives us the strength to do all things!!!
3/14/2022Jeremiah 31:34 “For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

Jesus taught us to love and forgive one another, and He taught us the pattern for doing both.

He instructs us to forgive immediately. If we are standing at the altar, and we remember that someone has an offense against us, we are to leave immediately to seek out that person. Stop praying! Do not sing another chorus! Do not conceal unforgiveness with religious ritual. Get forgiveness. Go, offer forgiveness.

He instructs us to be reconciled to the one from whom we are estranged. We must take the first step to reach out and set things right. With all humility and gentleness, with patience and love, we must strive to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2-3). We are united as one.

He instructs us to forgive absolutely and completely. In the same way that Jesus is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9), we are to openhandedly forgive the one who offends, betrays or lies about us.

When we take the step of faith to offer forgiveness and to seek reconciliation, we never go alone…The Prince of Peace walks beside us and gives us the strength to do all things!!!
3/13/2022Matthew 6:12 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker in World War II. Her family helped many Jews escape the Holocaust by hiding them in a secret room in their home. Eventually, they were arrested and sent to a concentration camp.

Under the atrocious conditions, her aged father died. She and her sister, Betsie, were starved and endured dehumanizing abuse. Her sister died, but in a miraculous clerical error, Corrie was released.

Years later, while speaking at a church, a man approached her after the service. It was one of the cruel, vicious guards who had tortured her! He stood before her, hand outstretched, asking for forgiveness.

Coldness clutched her heart, but she later wrote: “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” Out loud, she asked, “Jesus, help me.”

Woodenly, she grasped his hand. She recounted that the “current of heaven” raced from her shoulder, down her arm, and into their clutched hands. Flooded with a feeling of warm reconciliation, she heard herself say, “I forgive you, brother.” With clasped hands, the former guard and the former prisoner wept together.

She later said that she had never felt the love of God as intensely as she did in that moment: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and to discover that the prisoner is you.”
3/12/2022Proverbs 28:13 “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”

When Jesus forgives our sin, it is a full pardon, a fresh start, and a new beginning. It is the lifting of a heavy burden and the canceling of an enormous debt.

Make no mistake though: forgiveness demands change. God’s forgiveness is filled with compassion, but it demands a change in our conduct. To forgive us without demanding a change in our conduct would make the grace of God an accomplice to evil.

When the Pharisees flung the adulterous woman at Jesus’ feet, they demanded a decision. They knew the Law of Moses called for her death by stoning. But Jesus knew what was in their hearts. After kneeling to write in the dust, He challenged: “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:7).

One by one, they dropped their stones and slunk away. They knew what was in their hearts too. Turning to the relieved woman, Jesus instructed, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). The point is clear. Jesus expected her to change.

Absolute grace that allows people to sin indefinitely and to still be in the favor of God is not a doctrine found in the Bible…When we confess and forsake our sins, we obtain mercy…Christ makes us new creatures…He expects to see the change!!!
3/11/2022Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

The story is told that, as Leonardo da Vinci was deeply engrossed in painting “The Lord’s Supper,” he also was deeply embroiled in a feud with a fellow painter.

Da Vinci was so enraged that, when he began to paint Judas, he added his enemy’s face to the figure, so all of history would see that man as a traitor. When he moved on to paint the face of Jesus, he could not paint Him satisfactorily. Finally, he realized that his animosity towards his colleague was preventing him from painting Jesus’ face.

After seeking out his friend to ask his forgiveness, da Vinci went back to the work and changed Judas’ face. Only then was he able to paint Jesus – the Prince of Peace – and finish the now-famous masterpiece.

Forgiveness is an act of the will, a decision to extend grace and mercy in spite of our emotions…In the last moments of His life, as He hung despised on the Cross, Jesus breathed out the words, “Father, forgive them”…Who is it that you need to forgive???How is the refusal to forgive that person keeping you from the good works that God has ordained for you to complete???Forgive that person so you can get back to work and Christ can complete the good work He began in you!!!
3/10/2022Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you … first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

Jesus practiced a principle that few of us wish to embrace. While we were still sinners, He laid down His life for our forgiveness. He went first.

When it comes to forgiveness, we need to make the first move. When an impasse occurs, we must take the first step to be reconciled to the person with whom we have a point of contention.

Jesus said that, if we come to His altar to offer up our prayers and gifts, and we remember that someone has something against us, we should stop. We should leave our gift lying on the altar and first make every effort to be reconciled to that person. Only then is God’s ear bent towards us.

Whatever grudge, resentment or anger lies between you and another person lies between you and God too…Your feet should rush to be first in forgiveness…Even if that person is not ready for resolution, you will be able to return to the altar with a clear conscience and a clean heart…Knock on a door, make a phone call or write a letter today…Apologize, shake a hand or shed some tears in the fight for reconciliation…You go first!
3/9/2022Ephesians 6:12 “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”.

There is no adequate explanation for what is happening throughout the world except that there is a moving of gigantic spiritual forces of evil that are gaining momentum and strength, and that behind these activities are the person and power of Satan.

Those who do not study the Bible cannot possibly see beyond human affairs. They see only the human actors in the drama of history. Wicked rulers, ruthless dictators, tyrants, oppressors, kings, governors and presidents are to them the only real characters in the drama of political life. They have no conception of the unseen realm of evil personalities that energize and motivate these human agents.

Nevertheless, the Bible is clear that the unseen personalities of the evil, supernatural sphere are just as real–and even more active–than their visible human agents. Any true interpretation of history must take into account this invisible demon activity and warfare that has been waged for centuries.

The Bible teaches that demonic activity has always been prominent in history, but as the age draws to a close, it will be intensified. God is permitting, under certain restrictions, Satan and his myriad demon helpers to work at his unholy ambition.

However, Scripture promises that Satan’s program is doomed to failure and destruction. This doom and destruction began at the cross, where Christ died for our sins. It continued with the triumph of the resurrection, and it is going to be culminated at the coming again of Jesus Christ. Satan’s destruction will demonstrate to the entire universe the folly of a creature acting in independence of and in opposition to God.

Though Satan’s powers are curbed by God, he nevertheless exercises tremendous authority and power today. Paul referred to Satan as the “prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). Jesus referred to him as the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31). The Bible teaches that those outside of Christ can be organized and directed by Satan in a great evil federation. Because the world system has rejected Christ, it furnishes an ideal sphere for the operation of Satan and his demons.

In order to oppose this violence, revolution and chaos throughout the world, spiritual forces must be employed. Some politicians say that the answer to our problems is to spend more money and build a bigger military machine. I warn you that this is a deception.

The world battle is being fought on a spiritual level. Our desperate need is for a spiritual counterrevolution that will throw back the forces of evil. I am convinced that on the spiritual battlefield, Christ has taken up His position and is summoning His followers to stand with Him.

God said in the Book of Ezekiel, “I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one” (Ezekiel 22:30). But we have such a One–Jesus Christ.
The people for whom God is waiting are men and women who have caught the vision of the battlefield with all its possibilities and perils, who are awake to the devices of the enemy, and who have set themselves in union with the living Christ to attack every position Satan occupies and give deliverance from his oppression.

There can be no victory while we depend on military power alone. There can be no victory as long as we depend on our wealth to buy more friends around the world. We will only be postponing the day of reckoning. Our only hope is that the remnant of God’s people will pay the price of intercession, prayer and obedience.

A few years after King Jehoshaphat came to the throne, a great multitude from beyond the sea came against him. There seemed no possibility of victory. There was only one way out of the difficulty, and he took it. Desperately he called upon the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all of Judah. A swordless victory was won because the Israelites first repented of their sins and sought the Lord.

On the spiritual battlefield today, the Lord is calling for volunteers who will pay the price to throw back the enemy. It is in prayer and obedience that we fight the battle. Because of the authority that belongs to the crucified and risen Son of God, situations on the earth can be controlled, forces in the unseen realms moved, changes effected, powers of evil dislodged and routed, and the purposes of God pressed forward to final triumph.

World leaders have asked me, “What is wrong with the world? Why can we not solve our problems?” Each time I have replied, “It is impossible for you to understand what is happening in the world until you understand that this is spiritual warfare.”

The Bible teaches that the whole human race has a spiritual disease, a disease called sin. It has gripped the human heart. Until we understand that man is sinful before God and that he has the possibility of being controlled by evil forces under the direction of Satan, we never will understand what is wrong with our world.

In this hour of the plight of the nation, we should not ignore the hand of God, which has worked miracles of deliverance when God’s people have understood that the problem is sin, repented of their sin and turned to God. The tragedy is that we have so few statesmen who understand what is actually happening in our world.

Let us stand together in prayer, making possible a release of divine power in this nation. The call to each of us who loves Christ is to pray for His intervening mercies.

Mere eloquence in prayer is without value. Moses stammered, but his prayer was answered. Hannah muttered words that men misunderstood, but she triumphed in her intercession. Her problem was physical barrenness; our problem today is that we are spiritually barren.

Oh, that Christians would cry with passion for the lost and unconverted, that they might be born from above. Oh, that the thousands of pastors might be heartbroken about the barrenness of their people.

Spiritual revival comes as a result of the broken and contrite church, bowed in supplication and intercession, distressed at the sight of perishing millions. They may wait for days, weeks and even months until the Spirit of God moves upon and through them, until Heaven opens in revival blessing and a nation is stirred and blessed and even saved. In our barrenness today, let us call upon God and believe He will give us fruit in this hour of world crisis.

Hell’s legions can be stopped and turned back…The invading heathen darkness can be hurled back…It is not too much to believe that the Lord can endow people with a baptism of the Holy Spirit for this end-time ministry as He did at Pentecost…Jerusalem trembled under the God-intoxicated men from the Upper Room…God can shake this nation in a matter of months but we must repent of our unbelief, weep over our unfruitfulness and take time to be holy!!!
3/8/2022Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

The quality of our lives, of our relationships with family and friends – even with God Himself – is captured in this one word: forgiveness.

Forgiveness allows the past to die and forges a new beginning. It is the key that unlocks the door of hatred and resentment and allows the fresh wind of love and acceptance to blow through our hearts. Forgiveness is the power that breaks the chains of bitterness and anger and allows us to walk away free. It brings restoration in our marriages, healing to our families, and unity in the body of Christ.

Forgiveness was one of the major themes of Jesus’ ministry. He showed us the lavish love and extravagant forgiveness of our Father, and He admonished us to be just as generous in our forgiveness of others. If we do not practice forgiveness, that refusal has the power to destroy the quality of our lives on earth and forfeit our invitation to enter through the gates of heaven.

Forgiveness begins as an act of our will whether we feel like extending grace or not…Following obedience to the Word of God, inner healing will come so completely that peace will be restored to you…Whom do you need to forgive today???
3/7/2022Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Hope is rooted in substance and evidence – not wishful thinking. For the believer, hope is based on the evidence found in the Word of God. Hope is based on the substance of what God has done in the past – knowing that if He has done it before, He can do it again in our lives.

Our hope is anchored in the never-failing promises of God because His provision is in the promise. His Word is lassoed lightning when prayed out of our mouths under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

We do not hope that God answers prayer; we know that He does. When Moses prayed, the Red Sea parted. When Daniel prayed, God muzzled the mouths of hungry lions. Prayer is not preparing God to do our will; prayer is preparing us to do God’s will.

We do not hope God heals; we know that He does. He is the Great Physician – yesterday, today, and forever. We do not hope that God delivers; we know that He does. Three Hebrew children walked through the fiery furnace without a whiff of smoke on them.

Hope in God…Be fully confident of the things for which you hope…Be completely convinced of the reality of the things that you cannot see in substance and evidence!!!
3/6/2022Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

God’s Word – spoken by the mouth of a believer – is not a wish. It is a divine command of spiritual authority.

Before that command, demons tremble, angels bow, the waves obey, diseases are healed, poverty is crushed, darkness is defeated, and victory comes.

When we pray the Scriptures aloud, we come into agreement with His will. We do not need to wonder what to ask when we align our hearts to His purposes.

When we speak God’s Word, we acknowledge His wisdom for the issue that we face. 1 John 5:14-15 gives us confidence that if we ask anything according to the will of God, He will hear us and answer our petitions.

What role does the Word of God play in your life? 

Satan is not intimidated by the believer whose Bible is covered in a layer of dust…The person whose Bible is falling apart has a life that is not falling apart…Newspaper editor and publisher, Horace Greeley said It is impossible to enslave, mentally or socially, a Bible-reading people…The Word of God is living and powerful…Study The Word and speak it!!!
3/5/2022Genesis 33:4 “But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.”

Hugging has been dubbed a “miracle drug.” Medical science declares that hugs are a healthy way to boost the immune system.

They cure depression, reduce stress, and induce sleep. They are invigorating and rejuvenating with no unpleasant side effects, all-natural and organic. Hugs are naturally sweet, nothing artificial, and their ingredients are 100% wholesome.

Hugs are the ideal gift – great for any occasion. They show how much we care, are fun to give and receive, come with their own wrapping and, of course, are fully returnable. When we open our hearts and our arms, we encourage others to do the same.

Two decades had separated Jacob from his brother, Esau. Jacob had fled Esau’s murderous anger after he stole his birthright and blessing, but he was coming home. Esau came out to meet him with 400 men, but instead of the anticipated battle, Esau enveloped Jacob in a hug as he wept for joy.

When pain becomes unbearable, words are often futile…Your embrace can convey healing where mere words fall short…In times of extreme grief, we cannot say, “I know how you feel,” because we do not…We can only hold others close, cry with them, and allow the healing power of God to touch and minister hope and healing…
3/4/2022Colossians 1:27 “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Christ inside of us brings with Him the hope of all the glorious things to come! Allow that hope to generate enthusiasm and excitement.

Hope produced a song that reverberated in the midnight hour in a Roman prison in Philippi. Paul and Silas had been stripped, beaten, and secured in stocks in an inner cell. Bruised and bleeding, they did not waste their time bemoaning the hardships of ministry. Instead, they began to pray and sing hymns as the other prisoners listened.

Suddenly, the glory of heaven invaded that space, a great earthquake shook the foundations, and all the chains were loosed. When the jailer realized that all the prisoners were inside, he shakily asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).

They walked out of jail with the keys in one hand and converts in the other! In their darkest hour, they reflected the hope of glory, and others were drawn to His light.

You will face adversity…When you feel overwhelmed and overlooked just remember the Jesus in you is greater than anything in this world…He makes you more than a conqueror…He is the hope of glory!!!
3/3/2022Job 10:12 “You have granted me life and favor, and Your care has preserved my spirit.”

God’s loving favor is better than silver or gold. One day of His favor can undo a lifetime of reversal. Does that sound too optimistic? Consider the story of Joseph.

Joseph was a dreamer – loved by his father and envied by his brothers. One day, they threw him into a pit before selling him to a passing Arab caravan. He became an Egyptian slave in Potiphar’s house. A vicious lie landed him in prison where he continued to hope in God and stay true to the mission before him.

For 12 years, Joseph languished in prison until the Pharaoh summoned him to interpret a dream. In one day, Joseph was promoted from a prisoner to a prince of the most powerful nation on earth.

Joseph’s adversity was the vehicle God used to bless the nation of Israel and to change the course of history. He saved the Gentile world from starvation. After 22 years of separation, he created a home in Goshen for his father and brothers where the nation of Israel was born.

From the pit to Potiphar to prison to the palace – Joseph’s hope was securely placed in God…Remember that the issue you endure may be the instrument God will use to undo a lifetime of reversal for yourself and your family…God’s favor is upon you!!!
3/2/2022Psalm 42:5 “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.”

Hope in God! When the psalmist thirsted for God, when tears poured day and night, when he was discouraged, he commanded his soul to hope in a God Whose help was certain.

Hope is the companion of power and the mother of success. If we put our hope in God, we will never be ashamed or disappointed in the outcome. He has blessed us with a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

God placed each of us here at this particular time with a specific assignment. You are here to do something that no one else can do – a divine destiny and unlimited potential because of the hope that you have in God and His word. Exercise hope to believe you can with God’s help.

People are not limited by their birthplace, social standing, or past mistakes….People are limited by the size of their hope…May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit…Not just a little bit of hope but so much hope that it splashes onto everyone that you meet…Venture out in faith on the wings of hope to do the impossible because it is God’s gift to you…Hope in God!!!
3/1/2022Hebrews 6:19 “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…”

Hope is the confident assurance that anchors our souls so that they do not wander off course or shatter under life’s pressures.

Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible. The word “impossible” can be translated as “unwilling to try.” Impossible becomes possible when someone accomplishes it!

Consider Abraham’s impossible situation. He is almost 100 years old; his barren wife is 90 years old. God tells Abraham that he and Sarah will have a son of their own, that his seed will be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the grains of sand along the seashore. Impossible!

Yet, Abraham’s hope was unwaveringly placed in God’s ability and faithfulness. God quickened two elderly bodies, and Isaac—the son of laughter—was born. In time, Jacob was born to Isaac. From Jacob came 12 sons who produced the tribes that became the nation of Israel.

That nation produced the prophets, kings, and Jesus of Nazareth. Today, Abraham’s offspring are too numerous to count. Every nation on earth has been blessed because Abraham’s hope was securely placed in a God Who keeps His word.

Hope brings the brightest presence of God into your darkest day…When doubt might be easier, hope puts faith to work and anchors our souls until the answer arrives!!!
2/28/20222 Corinthians 10:5 “…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

Broken hearts leave us susceptible to runaway imaginations. Vulnerable and hurting, our minds can drive us to worst-case scenarios. We must keep our imaginations in check.

The Israelites experienced this situation as they prepared to enter the land that God had promised to them for 400 years. Moses sent in 12 spies to canvas the territory. Two of the spies returned and confirmed that Canaan was definitely a land flowing with milk and honey. They encouraged their fellow Jews to take possession of it because they were “well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30).

The other 10 spies verified the beauty and bounty of the land, but their imaginations got the better of them. They proclaimed that the people of the land were like giants, and the Israelites were mere grasshoppers who could not hope to be victorious over them. Imagination won out over their faith.

When we keep our imaginations submitted to God and His Word, no heartbreak exists that is too complicated for God to heal…All things become possible to them that believe…He will answer us with great and mighty things that we do not know…Take every thought captive to obey Christ!!!
2/27/2022Psalm 85:8 “I will hear what God the LORD will speak, for He will speak peace to His people and to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly.”

When our hearts are broken and our lives are in turmoil, we long to hear the word of the Lord to us. We need to know how to gather up the pieces and move ahead.

Many times, God already has written down the answer for us. We simply need to open His book and obey His precepts.

If the enemy has attacked your family, the Word from the Lord is that “no weapon formed against you shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17). If the enemy has attacked you with sickness, the Word from the Lord is that “by His stripes, we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). If the enemy has attacked your finances, the Word from the Lord is that “God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

God will never whisper something in your ears that He has not clearly written in His Word…He is not the Author of confusion…Out of the mouths of two or three witnesses, a matter is confirmed (2 Corinthians 13:1)…If the Holy Spirit gives you specific direction, verify it in His Word…Then, confirm it with a spiritual authority – a pastor or leader…Let us hear only what God speaks!!!
2/26/2022Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!”

When our hearts are broken, we should postpone important decisions while we are still picking up the pieces. We should wait until we are above it or have some distance for the opportunity to think clearly.

After David’s heartbreak, he strengthened himself in the Lord. Then, he inquired of the Lord; he asked for specific instruction about how to proceed. The enemy had burned his city to the ground, carried away the women and children, and stolen all of the valuables. David and his mighty men were brokenhearted at this deep loss.

When David went before the Lord, he asked a strange question: “Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?” (1 Samuel 30:8). David was a warrior. He had killed lions, bears, men, and giants. His blood was running hot, and he was zealous to recover the families. He knew what he wanted to do, what he was trained to do. But he did not want to pursue the enemy until God gave His permission.

He wisely waited to ask what God thought about his plan. 

Before you use the instincts and intuition that God gives you to make decisions be sure to submit your carnal mind to His spiritual will…Before you make a decision that could result in death be sure to wait on The Lord…Wisdom lies in the waiting!!!
2/25/2022Psalm 103:1-2 “Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”

Heartbreak will define us…if we allow it. Heartbreak will come to stay…if we let it set up camp.

David chose the better way in 1 Samuel 30:6. After his city was burned, its families carried into captivity, and his men threatened to stone him, David “strengthened himself in the Lord.”

The decision that we make determines a tragic or triumphant outcome. Sometimes, the most powerful motivational speeches are the ones that we speak to ourselves in our own mirrors.

The Bible encourages us to examine ourselves (1 Corinthians 11:28) – to honestly consider our spiritual, emotional, physical, and relational health. David rose to his best when he should have been at his worst. We can do the same.

We can look in the mirror and say to ourselves: “Self, we might be surrounded by bitterness, but bitterness will not get inside of us…We will stay hopeful…We may be pressed, but we are not crushed…We may be persecuted, but we are not abandoned…We may be struck down, but we are not destroyed…We will not give in to anger or anxiety…We will not whine; we will shine…As long as we have breath, we will praise the Lord!!!”
2/24/2022Proverbs 13:6 “Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.”

After heartbreak and a time of tears, each of us has a personal decision to make. We must reason it out to our own conclusion.

Is God’s Word true or is it not? If His promise is true, it will endure. If His Word is faithful, it will come to pass. If it is unerring, we must choose – in spite of our broken heart – to persevere and hold to God’s unchanging hand.

David and his mighty men faced the same dilemma in 1 Samuel 30. When their city was destroyed and their families carried into captivity, they wept bitter tears together. Afterwards, though, they made two distinct decisions. David sought the Lord, but his men began to look for someone to blame.

In their emotional state, they wanted to pin the fault on David. Why did he drag them off to war? Why did no one protect their own? Is he really the anointed king of Israel? And in their souls’ great grief, they decided to stone David.

We must take great care to guard our hearts in seasons of deep grief…Heartbreak will define us or we will define it…Our choices can drive us into the arms of our Redeemer or far away from Him…What we choose determines whether we will be a victim or a victor!!!
2/23/2022Ecclesiastes 3:4 “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

Heartbreak finds us. This truth applies to all of humankind. Some heartbreaks shatter our world suddenly. Some come after long seasons of rejection before the final abandonment. Some result from our wrong choices; sometimes, we have no choice at all.

David experienced the depths of heartbreak. He and 600 mighty men returned to Ziklag after waging war for Israel. As they neared the city, instead of happy families running out to meet them, they saw smoke on the horizon. Their joy turned to terror.

Inside the city, they found that their wives and children were kidnapped, their homes burned, and their possessions stolen. Their hearts were broken. These elite commandos lifted up their voices and wept until they had no more power to weep (1 Samuel 30:4). These valiant warriors, whose stories were still being told thousands of years later, cried until they could cry no more.

What do you do when your heart breaks? How do you react when the enemy has stolen all that you treasure and you sit alone in the ashes? 

This is the time for tears…This is the time to lift your voice and weep until the tears run dry…The One Who has the power to help catches every tear in a bottle…He comes to comfort and console…For now, weep…
2/22/20221 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

As we go about the work of growing our marriage relationships and building strong families, we can take heart that our “labor is not in vain in the Lord.” Our work is worthwhile.

Consistency is key in our marriages. We must be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding.” To our spouse, we must remain dependable, trustworthy, and committed. We must be stubbornly and uncompromisingly devoted to the vows that we made before God and our family and friends.

Consistency compliments before it criticizes. Consistency appreciates instead of compares. Consistency yields instead of attempts to control. Consistency loves unconditionally. Consistency communicates instead of dictates.

Sacrificial love involves an act of the will, as well as the emotions…It is a decision to consider the needs of another person before our own…To take the necessary actions to benefit and bless our spouse…and to determine to protect and preserve our marriages…We have the ability to abolish the power struggles in our marriages…We may not be able to influence the political or economic power struggles in our culture today, but God has given us impact and influence in our homes…We must resolve to submit to God and to serve one another as we raise our children in “the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4)…This is worthwhile work!!!
2/21/2022Ephesians 4:32 “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

The Greek storyteller, Aesop, said, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” In marriage, we often see this proverb play out.

Husbands and wives live in close proximity. They witness the best in one another, but they also have a front-row seat to the regrettable weaknesses we all possess. If we are not careful, this close association can create a lack of appreciation – and even scorn – towards our spouse.

In our marriages, we must be mindful to extend continuing kindness to one another. When we are exhausted and stressed by daily demands, we are susceptible to irritability. Our tempers become short, and our words become hurtful.

We must keep our hearts sensitive to each other’s needs, preferring our spouse in love…When we choose compassion over conflict and harmony over hostility, we demonstrate sacrificial love…Love the other more than you want your own way…The currency of love is sacrifice…When divisions threaten, quickly restore the bond of peace in your relationships…Since Jesus so generously cleanses and accepts us, we must forgive and repair the rift…Healthy marriages make no room for cold shoulders, the silent treatment, or harsh accusations…Familiarity need not breed contempt…Let your marriage be marked by sacrificial love, gentle kindness, tenderhearted affection, and warm intimacy that grow through the years!!!
2/20/2022Proverbs 11:14 “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

“And the two shall become one flesh” is not without challenges! Many couples falter early in their marriages because they lack wise counsel when navigating the transition of two individuals merging to become one unit.

The friends that we choose at this important juncture have the power to determine our future. A source that shares good, Godly counsel can determine a successful outcome.

Good counsel can be found in those couples who have negotiated this process successfully. They possess the experience and expertise that comes from charting a path through difficult, unknown waters. They have trusted God to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18). They have held onto one another to discover the depths and richness of seasoned married love.

Titus 2 encourages the more mature women to be “teachers of good things” – to nurture the younger women so that they will know how to love their husbands and children well, create happy homes, and be good wives…The older men are exhorted to model dignity, wisdom, faith, and endurance…By following their example, the younger men will learn discipline…In this way, how we live will enhance – not detract – from the Gospel message that we carry…Seek out the Godly counsel that leads to success!!!
2/19/2022Hebrews 3:14 “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.”

Most of us know a for-better-or-for-worse couple who pledged their promises for the long haul. They are confident in their love and committed in their devotion to one another as they journey through life together.

Confident means “living with faith;” the Latin “con” means “with,” and “fideo” means “faith.” These couples live with faith in God and His Word. That faith comes through hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

They are intimately connected to God and have made His Scriptures the compass for their lives, marriages, and homes. This Word protects the vows they have made and preserves their relationships.

The confidence in God and the love He has bestowed between them keep a husband and wife committed to one another even in the difficult seasons. When walking out seems the easiest choice, they refuse to quit on their marriages. They will not quit on each other or their kids.

Marriage is not always convenient or carefree…When Christ remains at the center of this sacred union, He steadies and secures us through the rough patches…When we are committed to God and the vows we made before Him, the same confidence of our first “I do” will carry us steadfastly through the years!!!
2/18/2022Mark 3:25 “And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”

In 1858, a young individual running on the Republican ticket for Senate made this statement: “A house divided cannot stand.” Though politically accurate, he was criticized for being too harsh.

To which Abraham Lincoln responded that he did not pen those words, God did; if they offended someone, he should take it up with the Author. Lincoln lost that Senate race, but he stood firm and eventually won the White House.

We must stand firm in guarding our families with the truth that convinced Lincoln. Power struggles and division cut to the heart of a family. They undermine the very foundation of the marriage relationship to destroy hope and, in many instances, the future of our children. A divided house is a doomed one.

God has given us the ability to choose….Like Joshua of old we must declare: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”…We must recognize the differences between male and female…We must appreciate the strengths that the husband and the wife bring to the marriage relationship…We must acknowledge the fact that God will use a devout spouse to speak His truth and His will to us…Together, we must stand united in the power of His might!!!
2/17/2022Psalm 8:5 “For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor.”

God created us – male and female – to look and act just like He does. As the icing on the cake, he crowned us with glory and honor!

We did not evolve to be a little higher than an ape. A Divine Being designed us to be a little lower than the angels. If we debunk that “monkey business,” it changes everything.

Created a little lower than the angels in the image of God, we are not just a step above an animal. We have a different nature and character. It is not humankind’s nature to behave like an animal; we were created for more – to reflect the image of our Maker!

God created them male and female, equally valued and loved. Our differences allow the world to continue as God designed it. He instructed Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). That means kids – not cars or condos!

God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep and took a rib from his side to create the woman…He did not take from Adam’s head so that Eve would rule over him…He did not take from Adam’s foot so that he would walk over her…He took her from Adam’s side so that they would walk side by side to complement and complete one another!!!
2/16/2022Psalm 139:14 “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.”

In the beginning, God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, a place of perfection and delight. They could eat the fruit from every tree in the garden – except one.

They chose their feelings over the facts God established, and it created a problem for all of us for all time. We still struggle between our feelings and facts, right and wrong, and selfishness and sacrifice.

We even experience an elemental power struggle between male and female. Modern activism has pushed the “anything you can do, I can do better” mentality to the extreme. This social movement can trace its roots all the way back to the Garden where God “created them male and female” (Genesis 5:2).

God designed us with significant differences that complement and complete one another…When sin and selfishness entered the relationship, Satan contorted these differences to become a source of contention and competition…No room exists in our marriages for this battle between the sexes…Lay down your weapons to prefer one another in love, to build up our relationships and families…Contention and competition run counter to all that Christ represents…He created us wonderfully and marvelously – each of us one beautiful, necessary piece of a much larger mosaic…Let us celebrate the differences!!!
2/15/20221 Corinthians 16:14 “Let all that you do be done with love.”

Even before the day that we say “I do,” we begin the work of building a good marriage.

Much like building a house, marriage requires dreams for the future, intensive planning, and lots of sweat equity. The process often results in dirty hands and bruised hearts. It demands much love and every resource that we possess. We must be all in!

And we quickly come to the surprising realization that our home is never really complete! That leaky faucet needs attention. That outdated wallpaper must be replaced. Why is the furnace making that noise?

Better than a contractor, we have an Advocate Who works alongside us! Jesus lives to make intercession for us. When we boldly approach the throne of grace, He promises to hear and work on our behalf.

Like every master artist, He pays scrupulous attention to detail…Every project is a labor of love…The tiniest task is done with the greatest of care…He never walks out in the middle of construction…He sticks close until the assignment is accomplished…Wherever you are in the process – just laying the foundation or designing a new addition – carry on with dreaming and doing, loving and laughing, planning and preparing…Believe with confidence that your Master Carpenter is creating a masterpiece in your marriage!!!
2/14/2022Song of Solomon 8:7 “Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it.”

Red roses, sweet sentiments, and chubby cherubs with drawn bows abound on this “love-iest” of holidays!

Every human heart longs to be fully loved and fully known. Beyond the flutter of infatuation, Jesus calls us to a sacrificial love that demands the best of ourselves. The very definition of sacrifice tells us that we give up something valuable for the sake of something more worthy or important.

Paul encourages us to concentrate on harmony in our relationships, on ways to build up others and promote their spiritual growth (Romans 14:19). He urges us to not say or do things that would interfere with the free exchange of love. Put an end to selfishness, and consider another person’s feelings and preferences.

Speak words that are a gift of grace to the person who hears them…Appropriate words spoken at the right time are like apples of gold in a silver setting…Treat one another with deep affection…Prefer one another in love…Competition and comparison have no place in God’s family…Choose love above all else today and every day…Embrace the sacrificial love that Jesus modeled for us…In the same way He loves us, let us love one another!!!
2/13/2022Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?”

Great marriages do not just happen! They succeed because the husband and the wife invest 110% to create a relationship that does not just survive, but thrives!

A basketball player tosses up hundreds of practice attempts so he can sink that critical free throw in a game situation. Good musicians practice endlessly to perfect their sound. Luck has little to do with it. Couples must be deliberate about building Godly relationships and strong families.

They determine to serve Jesus – individually and together. They seek His way of doing things first, and they trust God for all the other things (Matthew 6:33).

Intentional couples carve out time for one another. External demands and obligations take a toll, so they seriously guard their intimacy and create space for just the two of them.

They cultivate authentic communication. Ten minutes of talk about to-do lists and daily details does not constitute connection. Genuine communication requires time, eye contact, listening, and conversing.

Intentional couples choose the priorities they build into their relationships. How will they serve together? Will their home be filled with music? Or will they spend every free minute outdoors? Who will be in their inner circle? When will they pray and study together?

Couples do not drift into great marriages; they take prayer, time, practice, and work. Heart-to-heart and hand-in-hand, they agree on how to walk together. They build intentionally!!!
2/12/20221 Peter 4:8 “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.”

Every relationship suffers seasons of difficulty. All marriages experience wear and tear. It speaks to life and our own humanity.

Circumstances beyond our control set us reeling. The day-to-day chipping away at our relationships can leave us bruised and exposed. Two imperfect people in close proximity, struggling against selfishness, often hurt one another.

Jesus, our Prince of Peace, brings hope to re-establish broken borders in our marriages. The enemy breaches the walls to cause isolation, resentment, and pain, but Jesus raises up a standard against him. He carries the banner of love into battle to vanquish him.

When storms arise – as they inevitably do – we must assess the damage to our relationships. We must determine if we played a role in inflicting the hurt, and we must be quick to repent and restore. Was I kind or seeking my own selfish desire? (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) What action can I take to begin the rebuilding process right away?

When your spouse causes you pain be compassionate and forgive one another in the same way that Jesus has forgiven you…Confess your faults to one another and pray for one another and let God will bring healing and harmony…Love one another fervently and let the tender devotion pull up a quilt to generously cover all offenses!!!
2/11/2022Matthew 19:6 “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

God sanctifies our marriages. Are we fighting to protect what He has promised to preserve?

The Old Testament Israelites returned from captivity to find Jerusalem in ruins, the city walls demolished. The Israelites – not the invading Babylonians – caused their own downfall when they forsook God’s covenant. Their neglect of His principles allowed an enemy to swoop in, decimate the walls, and destroy the city.

When we forsake God’s covenant of holy matrimony, we open ourselves to the attack of the enemy. When we neglect our spouses, we allow the enemy to scale the walls to steal, kill, and destroy our marriages, families, and homes.

Many marriages are destroyed by outsiders. Families are ripped apart because people who have no part in that covenant relationship intrude where they do not belong and scatter it like straw in the wind.

Examine your marriage and family for gaps in the wall…See if the border been compromised…Do not be distracted by detractors…Be alert against the schemes of the enemy…Pull the border tight and protect it for your spouse, your family, and all the generations to come…Our commitment to our spouses and families impacts our homes, our churches, and our greater community…Focus on protecting what God has joined together!!!
2/10/2022Mark 10:8 “…so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.”

When a man and a woman enter the marriage relationship, God declares that two separate, individual persons become one flesh – united spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Paul declared it a “great mystery.”

God has a plan for each husband and wife, but He also has a purpose for your marriage. This is the vehicle He has chosen to mirror His union with His bride, the church. Holy matrimony becomes just that – a divine covenant God sanctifies to use for His sacred purposes.

As two people come together, it requires more than the hazy infatuation of romantic love. It calls for an act of the will to submit to God and to one another. It demands discipline to set aside selfish desires and prioritize the benefit of the other person. It requires intentionality and determination. And as any spouse can attest, it is hard work!

Live together in unity…Let God command His blessing on you…God’s blessing will be visited upon any children or grandchildren whom He gives you…Build your relationship upon the foundation of Christ Jesus…He will prosper your family and determine your outcome…Commit yourself to the Lord and to the spouse whom He has gifted to you…Seek to outdo one another in sacrificial love…Yours will be a home filled with God’s presence, peace, and power!!!
2/9/2022Mark 10:6-8 “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

God built all of civilization upon one relationship — marriage between a man and a woman. By His design, the family unit is the foundation of society.

At creation, God fashioned the male and female. The only marriage relationship that God endorses in Scripture is the union between a man and a woman. A man separates himself from his parents to be joined to a wife, and the two become one flesh.

Marriage and virtue are to be respected by all (Hebrews 13:4). Paul goes on to correlate the marriage between a man and a woman with the relationship that Christ enjoys with the church – a “great mystery” ( Ephesians 5:32).

Jesus calls each of us to honor one another…Wives should submit to and support their husbands in the same way that they defer to Christ…Husbands must submit to and go all out in love for their wives in the same way that Christ loved the church…Submitting, nourishing, cherishing, respecting, loving, are all words that should describe your relationship…Your marriage should reflect the monumental love that compelled Jesus to lay down His life for His bride!!!
2/8/20221 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

Are we – the corporate church in America – choosing daily bread or deadly bread?

Statisticians report that more and more churches close every year in this nation. Fewer people read the Bible, believe in God, or follow the Ten Commandments. More people claim that Jesus is not the only way to heaven.

Jesus declared that God’s Word is truth (John 17:17), but we have disconnected from the eternal source of our strength. We are not reading. We are not living. We are not standing on the eternal promises of God.

We have forgotten our freedom…We have debated – more than declared – His truth…We have argued our agendas rather than committing to the Great Commission…We have reduced the Gospel to a religion of rules rather than relationship…We have fought for preference rather than carrying out our purpose…More than relevance, we need to be filled with God’s revelation…We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, God’s own special possession…He has transported us out of darkness into His marvelous light for this purpose – so that we can proclaim His praises…Let us arise and shine again!!!
2/7/20222 Corinthians 6:14 “For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”

Give us this day our daily bread. Many Christians attend church on Sunday, walk out the doors, and do not partake of the “daily bread” again until next week.

They spend the other six days chewing on the deadly bread of this world. They mix it with the everlasting Bread of Heaven and come up with a toxic fusion.

In the physical, if we combine two foods that do not agree, it upsets our stomachs. Many Christians deal with upset spirits and unsettled souls because they continue to mix the worldly with the heavenly. Good and evil do not belong together. Light and darkness cannot share the same space. God and Satan cannot be partners.

We cannot eat deadly bread and have the power to shine as the light of the world for Him….We cannot expect God to erase six days of worldly impact in one hour on a Sunday morning…Examine your heart…It could be that you ingested something that is causing upset and turmoil…If you have welcomed something that has no business in your life seek His forgiveness and be cleansed by the washing of the water by His Word (Ephesians 5:26)!!!
2/6/2022Psalm 34:8 “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”

We have all seen someone bite into something that obviously does not taste good…and the grimace that immediately follows. What comes next? He attempts to entice you to try it too!

What you chew is up to you! No one can force feed you something that you do not desire. When a delicacy is offered, you may choose to refuse or to gobble it up with relish.

Today, David encourages us to taste and see that the Lord is good. No one can coerce you into a taste test. What you choose to take into your heart, soul, mind, and body is solely up to you.

Another person may attempt to persuade you. She may share Scriptures that have the power to help you see things in a new light. She may try to convince you with stories of God’s grace, how He scooped her up from rock bottom just in the nick of time.

Ultimately, though, what you chew is up to you. The Psalmist declared that God’s words were sweeter than honey in his mouth (Psalm 119:103). No one else can sample them for you.

Open up your mouth to taste…Open up your eyes to see…The Lord is good, and He blesses those who trust in Him!!!
2/5/2022Romans 4:20 “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God.”

Abraham did not waver at the promise of God. He was fully convinced that what God promised, He would also perform.

Looking at his circumstances, who would have blamed him for doubting? But he was not weak in his faith; he was actually strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God!

He walked with God, recognized the sound of His voice, experienced His faithfulness, and knew he could stake his life – and his son’s – on the promises.

When your marriage dissolves into arguments and adversity, decide that no man can tear apart what God has joined together (Matthew 19:6). God came to restore relationships!

Do not despair at the doctor’s diagnosis. Hang on to the Word that He has sent to heal us (Psalm 107:20). He alone has the power to save from destruction!

When anxiety binds you in a stranglehold, declare that God has not given a spirit of fear; He has given a spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7). We can confidently stand on His Word!

Walk with God…Listen for the voice of our Beloved…Trust Him day by day to learn the rhythms of His faithfulness…He will make you rock steady…You will not waver at one of His promises!!!
2/4/2022Genesis 48:15 “And Israel blessed Joseph, and said: ‘God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has fed me all my life long to this day”

How did Abraham walk with God? On a daily basis. God provided the daily bread that nourished and sustained him.

How could Abraham leave the only life he knew at God’s command? He moved from a prosperous city to a tent in the desert. He followed a God that no one else believed in or recognized.

How could he believe that he would be the father of many nations? He was an old man with a barren wife and no son. How could he gather up that miracle son a few years later to sacrifice him on Mt. Moriah?

Abraham fed on the daily bread of God. As he walked towards the place of sacrifice, he trusted a God Who had never led him astray, Who had always kept His promises.

Even as he bound Isaac to the altar, Abraham believed that God would honor the covenant between them…Knife raised, God sent an angel to grasp his wrist and provided a sacrificial ram instead…On that same hilltop, God sent His Son, Jesus, as a sacrifice for us…The Bread of Heaven bought every promise found in the Word of God…Like Abraham, we can walk with Him and trust Him for our daily bread!!!
2/3/2022Proverbs 30:8 “Give me neither poverty nor riches—feed me with the food allotted to me.”

Jesus instructed us to pray that God will give us our daily bread – not weekly, monthly, or only for Easter or Christmas.

Daily bread sustains us through today to give us what we need, when we need it, no more and no less, right on time. What if God had shared our whole lives with us in advance? If He had explained it all ahead of time, many of us would have politely declined. Being a wise and sovereign God, He simply asked us to believe Him for today, to trust Him with our needs for now.

And day after day, He proved that we could count on Him to lead us safely. How did we navigate the low valley of the shadow of death? With daily bread. How did He take us over mountains too high to climb? With daily bread. How did He lead us through battles we had no courage to fight? With daily bread.

This daily bread satisfies the hunger of our souls…It quenches the thirsting of our hearts…It heals the broken places in our lives…It brings strength to the weary and weak…It fills the frightened with courage and confidence…We can count on Him to feed us exactly what we need for today!!!
2/2/2022Matthew 6:11 “Give us this day our daily bread.”

All of us crave the liberty and joy that can be found in relationship with Jesus Christ. Hiding behind that desire, though, we may harbor a taste for our old lives.

We long for Christ’s forgiveness, but we carry a grudge against another. We pray for the blessings of prosperity, but we seethe with jealousy when He blesses our neighbor. We relish the gift of grace, but we judge others instead of extending that same generosity.

We combine two things that do not mix – daily bread with deadly bread! We must choose between the daily bread of heaven that comes from God or the deadly bread of this world.

Our daily bread says that God is more than enough, while the deadly bread tells us that we need more. Our daily bread instructs us to love our neighbors and bless those who persecute us, while the deadly bread pushes us to seek revenge.

God has generously provided us with His daily bread through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit…From the pages of His Word springs the message of salvation, freedom, hope, and redemption…We must repent and cut away those cravings for our old lives—deadly bread—and the certain death to which they lead…We must embrace the daily bread given by a loving Father who satisfies our every longing with good gifts!!!
2/1/2022Isaiah 55:11 “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

Do not focus on any situation until you have focused your faith first on a God Who never fails. Circumstances can sink your best intentions. Despair can demolish your hope.

Discipline yourself to exercise your faith and feast on God’s Word. Instead of thrashing about in a sea of fear and doubt, ground yourself in His truth. Lift your eyes to discover where He is at work all around you.

Every line and letter that He has spoken over you was sealed with His shed blood. With complete certainty, you can declare: “The Lord is on my side” (Psalm 118:6).

When the river rises, it will not sweep you away…When the fire rages, the flames will not scorch you…When your world falls apart, even if the mountains crumble into the sea, you have no need to fear when God is your refuge…He is always present in troubled times…Focus first on God’s Word that never returns unfulfilled…His Truth always accomplishes the purposes for which He sends it and always completes the task to which He assigns it…Take Him at His Word!!!
1/31/2022Isaiah 43:18-19 “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing.”

Have you ever known someone who had a great memory of a bad past? He experiences selective amnesia when it comes to the bleaker recollections

After a short while in the wilderness, the Israelites remembered the fleshpots of Egypt where they had eaten their fill of bread and meat (Exodus 16). They complained that God should have killed them there instead of bringing them out to starve.

Those pots that they recalled with such fondness were huge cauldrons filled with leftover animal carcasses discarded by the Egyptians. They remembered the sound of bubbling water, the smell of boiling meat, and the fullness of their bellies. But they forgot the cries of the oppressed, the odor of slave sweat, and the emptiness of lives with no liberty.

In unfamiliar territory, we often long for the familiar…When we cannot see the provision, we yearn for the predictable…Instead of pressing into God, we wish for the seeming safety and familiarity of our yesterdays…Do not fall back into the old life with its slavery and tears…When pressures loom, press into the promises of God…Instead of retreating into old habits, run to the Deliverer…Do not remember the former things; exercise faith for the future new things…Press in to press on!!!
1/30/2022Luke 6:45 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil”

The food that we put in our mouths determines how we address our bodies. Donuts now mean treadmill time later!

That principle holds true in our spiritual lives also. What we take in now decides our behavior later. And many of us are stuck on a treadmill.

We can get bogged down on a financial treadmill. Our focus becomes the love of money instead of God, our ultimate Provider. Instead of sowing into God’s purposes, we withhold our giving. We do the work but get nowhere.

Or, we find ourselves stuck in an endless loop of unforgiveness. We want to let go and allow God to heal our hearts, but we rehearse the arguments and offenses. Over and over, we replay the scenes in our minds.

The children of Israel could have crossed the wilderness in 14 days. Instead, they found themselves on a 40-year treadmill. Their doubt, disobedience, and distraction did not get them where they desired to go.

Examine the treasures you are taking in and storing up in your heart…See if they are worthy things that will cause you to bring forth good…Only you can control the input that will change the output!!!
1/29/20222 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”

For 400 years, the children of Israel cried out to God for freedom. But when He finally delivered them out of Egypt, they could not get the Egypt out of them.

They had forgotten how to live in freedom. Pharaoh had dominated every aspect of their lives. He controlled where they worked, what they ate, where they lived, and even whether their children lived or died.

After God destroyed Egypt with the plagues, He led the Israelites out of the land. But three days into the wilderness, the children of Israel began to complain. After all the miracles they had witnessed, they began to question: Can God bring us water in the desert? Can God keep us from starving? Can God give us meat?

Have we, like the Israelites, been delivered from Egypt but still hold on to the Egypt inside of us? Do we still question His ability to deliver, to provide, and to satisfy us?

Know with complete confidence that God is able…Know with complete confidence that He has overwhelmed us with grace…Know with complete confidence that He has supplied all of our needs…Know with complete confidence that He has equipped us to do good works…Know with complete confidence that God can…Yes GOD can!!!
1/28/2022Psalm 57:7 “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise.”

We all know a Negative Norman or a Debbie Downer, don’t we? Poor, pessimistic attitudes accompanied by a constant stream of complaints!

They dwell under a gray cloud and take great delight in raining on everyone else’s parade. They subsist on a diet of doubt and dissatisfaction, soaking up all the negativity around them. Their appetite for drama knows no end. Is it any wonder that their behavior reflects their consumption?

The Psalmist gave us a simple solution! When our hearts are fixed steadfastly on God, we cannot help but sing and give Him praise. Are we listening to the words of this world or the Word of God? Faith comes by hearing the Word. When we eat it up as a steady diet, we begin to crave it, and it begins to work its good purpose in us.

Where are we focused? The Psalmist wisely declares that he will set nothing wicked before his eyes (101:3). When our gaze is locked onto our God Who does not fail, we can exercise our faith even farther to believe that every letter and every line of His Word was written for us.

What we put in determines what we give out to others…Let’s set our hearts uncompromisingly on God so that we joyfully radiate His goodness and love!!!
1/27/2022Psalm 78:29 “So they ate and were well filled, for He gave them their own desire.”

Today’s verse resounds with lip-smacking satisfaction. Or does it? God gave the Israelites what they wanted, and they gobbled it up with relish.

From the time they marched out of Egypt, the Israelites grumbled and groaned, complained and questioned. When they were thirsty, God caused water to stream from a rock. When they accused God of bringing them into the desert to starve, He rained down manna. Then, they demanded meat, so He sent a great covey of quail into their camp.

While the meat was still in their mouths, the wrath of God blazed forth, and the strongest men in Israel died – about 40,000 of them. God did not want to slay them, but He “gave them their own desire.”

Instead of focusing on the amazing ways that God had delivered them, they deceived themselves about what they needed and gave in to their fleshly appetites. Instead of trust and gratitude, they insisted on what they craved. Their diet ended in death. Their demands destroyed their destiny.

Staying in close relationship with Jesus diminishes the possibility that we will be deceived by our own cravings…The more we know of Him, the more that we hunger for His presence…His priorities become our own…Our desire is in Him and our desire is Him!!!
1/26/2022Romans 8:5 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”

A great conflict exists in each one of us when our cravings run up against what we actually need. We wrestle with that pain daily.

Spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially – we long to pursue our own paths. Yet, at the same time, we long to do what God asks. Paul said that things he longed to do, he ended up neglecting; the things he did not want to do, he carried through to completion (Romans 7:19-25).

When someone offends us, we can “live according to the flesh” and plot our revenge or we can “live according to the Spirit” and pray for those who harass us. We might be tempted to splurge on ourselves, but God prompts us to help someone in need.

If we are carnally minded and pursue fleshly things, it brings death…If we are carnally minded and pursue fleshly things, we have no hope of pleasing the Lord…If we set our minds on Godly things, we enjoy life and peace…When we crave Him and the things of the Spirit, we get Him…When we long for His will, we receive His joy…When we crave His purpose and plan, we are rewarded with His peace and provision…Let’s set our minds on things above!!!
1/25/2022Psalm 34:8 “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”

Some of us are starving to death. On the outside, everything appears fine. But a black, empty hole gapes deep in our souls.

We have craved what the world offers. We have drunk what it said to drink, bought what it said to purchase, swallowed what it said to take, and followed many streets to their dead ends. And still, we starve.

David encourages all of us to place our trust in God, to taste and see that the Lord is good. Try out His words to find them sweeter than honey in the honeycomb. Feast at His banquet table to be overwhelmed by His loving-kindness that is better than life.

Drink from His living water to never thirst again…He pours out fresh oil and new wine…He rains down manna from heaven in the desert of our days…He satisfies our souls with good things until our hearts overflow…Take a taste test…We may have tasted misery, heartache, and sorrow in the past, but the Lord is good…He will never disappoint the person who trusts in Him and craves the things of God…He satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness…Taste and see!!!
1/24/2022Romans 6:11 “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God wove desires and cravings into our DNA. We cannot simply denounce our cravings and be done with them.

One of the first questions a doctor asks a new mother is: “How is the baby eating?” She wants to know if the child has cravings. A lack of craving indicates a serious issue, and she will quickly attempt to fix what is broken.

The dilemma is not whether we will or will not crave. It comes down to what we crave. Paul instructed us to reckon ourselves dead to sin. That does not mean that the capability to sin no longer lives within us.

In 1 Corinthians 15:31, Paul assured the believers that he died daily. He killed his cravings one day at a time. As long as his spirit was wrapped in flesh, he had to submit his carnal nature to the Word of God every day. He read, he prayed, and he gave thanks to God. And this daily dying awakened him to righteousness (v. 34).

When we submit to Jesus and His purposes, the desire to sin disappears…Our hearts are captured by a new love…All of our desires and affections are bent more and more towards Him…We are dead to sin, but alive to God!!!
1/23/20221 John 2:15 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Our cravings are created and controlled by the things that we see, hear, and experience.

The entertainment industry banks on our susceptibility to the images that it broadcasts: the miracle cream that erases wrinkles, the protein shakes that promise the perfect body, the happily-ever-after portrayed by the beautiful couple living in the huge house with the perfect children.

Where are our eyes focused? Are we looking at the distractions of this world or the Gospel truth? Are we listening to the opinions of imperfect others, or are we tuned in to the revelations of God? Are we experiencing the pressure of unrealistic expectations or the peace of His Spirit?

In today’s verse, we are warned not to love the world or its things. We must guard our hearts against its allures. Love for this world squeezes out our love for the Father. Demanding our own way, coveting the goods and gadgets, desiring to feel important – all of these isolate us from God.

Be careful what you crave most…Nothing must edge out God’s presence in our lives…Nothing should consume us more than our hunger for Him…Nothing else deserves our devotion and delight…Our priority is loving Him!!!
1/22/2022Psalm 42:1 “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.”

Our cravings have the power to kill or cure us.

Our cravings can deceive us into believing that we must have the very thing that damages and destroys. When the drug addict craves the fix, when the married person craves someone other than their spouse, when the CEO craves the promotion over personal ethics – those things end in destruction and eventual death.

When our souls begin to long intensely for God, though, He becomes our cure. The payment for our sin is death, but Jesus took our place. His cure bought our pardon and everlasting life. 

The lashes across the back of Jesus paid for our healing. He was wounded so we could be made whole. He was hurt so we could be healed. We are cured through His crucifixion.

When we crave Him, we find the confidence our souls lack…He does not give us a spirit of fear, but one of love and power and a sound mind…We can calmly rest in Him…When we pursue Him with passionate zeal, the presence of God empowers us to walk in a manner that is pleasing to Him…Our minds are conformed to His truth, and we are transformed to act more and more like Jesus…This is the craving that cures!!!
1/21/2022Luke 19:40 “But He answered and said to them, I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

When Jesus mentioned those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, He was not referring to those with a polite appetite – an invitation to brunch after church.

He was speaking of the attitude and actions of a person starving for even a morsel of food. The ravenous person does not graciously accept the plate, shake out her napkin, and delicately slice the food into bite-sized pieces. She grabs it greedily and buries her face and fingers in it, licking the last crumbs from her hands. She does not care how she looks or if it offends the onlooker.

When was the last time that the Church craved Christ in that manner???When was the last time that we were so hungry for the move of God in our midst that we did not care what the onlookers said???When was the last time that we so urgently wanted the lost to come to Jesus that we boldly declared the Gospel with no thought for what others might think???When we hunger and thirst for Him, fear is burnt up in His presence…When we are desperate in our pursuit of God, He will hear and answer…If we do not cry out for Him, the stones will!!!
1/20/2022Psalm 84:2 “My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”

What do you crave? What do you need? Our cravings often have nothing to do with our needs.

That creates a dangerous dilemma for us. Our cravings can deceive and convince us that we absolutely need what we desire, but we crave things we do not need and do not crave things we need.

Our doctors claim that we need a big bowl of leafy greens, but we do not crave it. We want donuts! Our doctors insist that more exercise is beneficial, but we devise creative excuses to avoid it.

Our pastors get to meddling, too! They profess that we need a daily dose of God’s Word, that we need to spend time in His presence every day, listening and talking with Him. In spite of what we know about our need for Him, do we crave Him?

Do we hunger for more of His presence? Do we long to spend time with the living God? Do we experience a desperate desire for more of Jesus than we know right now?  No excuse diminishes the truth that we need more of Him!

The Psalmist declared that everything inside of him longed for God…The only thing that would bring fulfillment was basking in the presence of the King…What are you craving???
1/19/2022Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

A tug-of-war exists between what we want and what we actually need. We often want brownies when we should choose broccoli! We desire things our way, but God asks us to submit to His will.

When these forces collide, we experience hunger pains. Sometimes, we long to give in to fleshly desires. Sometimes, we yearn to submit to the Holy Spirit. The one that we feed prevails.

How many are starving to death spiritually and do not even realize it? In America this year, 867,000 marriages will end in divorce, 46,000 lives will be cut short by suicide, and 68,000 people will die from accidental overdoses—famished for hope, relief from pain, and love.

The prophet Amos predicted a famine where people would long for the Word of the Lord. They would starve because they sought fulfillment outside God’s will. We have craved power and never been more out of control, riches and never been emptier, pleasure and never been more bankrupt.

The simple answer for this deep hunger is the Good News of Jesus Christ…He brings hope to the desolate… He breaks the chains of the addict…He redeems broken relationships…To the hungry and thirsty, come try the Bread of Life and the Living Water…He satisfies our longing and fills us with every good thing…His anointing truly does lift the burdens off our bowed-down backs and destroy the yokes of bondage…Pressed down, shaken together – our cups run over!!!
1/18/2022Psalm 23:5 “You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.”

When the Lord anoints our heads with oil, our cups overflow with blessings. No need to tip them up to drain the bitter dregs at the bottom of our mugs. Our cups spill over with all the favor that He pours out!

We are vessels in the hands of a faithful Potter Who has plans to prosper us, to fill us with hope, to give us bright futures. He anoints us with the oil of gladness because we have loved Him and His righteous ways.

David assured us that goodness and mercy would follow us around all the days of our lives, that we would spend our days in the presence of the Lord where we will experience the fullest of joys. He pours out the anointing oil to the very brim – blessings that we cannot contain!

When others jostle us, His mercy and goodness will splash over the rim with contagious joy…Our God-of-more-than-enough throws open the windows of heaven to rain down blessings that soak us, our children, our homes, our workplaces and communities…Dance in the downpour…His anointing truly does lift the burdens off our bowed-down backs and destroy the yokes of bondage…Pressed down, shaken together – our cups run over!!!
1/17/20221 John 2:20 “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.”

Our natural minds are at war with the will of God. We often experience carnal thoughts in our new creation bodies.

Paul begged us to stop being conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds instead (Romans 12:2). Don’t be squeezed into the mold of this world; let’s fix our minds on Christ Who remakes and remolds—transforms—our way of thinking to be in alignment with God’s.

We are not left to figure out this metamorphosis on our own. We have an anointing from the Holy One! We can discern the lies of the enemy because the Holy Spirit teaches us and reminds us of all the things that Jesus taught us.

This anointing guards against error…The Holy Spirit will whisper the way that we should believe…The Holy Spirit will help us take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ…The Holy Spirit shows us the way to walk in order to live the life that God wants us to live…The Holy Spirit sets our pace and leads us in right paths…If we run ahead, just the sound of His voice will cause us to stop and turn around…He convicts us of sin and convinces us of God’s righteousness…He leads us into all truth (John 16:13)…We are renewed day by day!!!
1/16/2022Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted.”

The Spirit of the Lord has sent Jesus to proclaim pardon for prisoners, to restore sight to the blind, and to liberate the burdened and the battered.

Before Jesus came, we sat in darkness, in the very shadow of death. We were bound in a cell of sin, confined behind iron bars. Our eyes were blinded by sin, our minds darkened by a heavy veil that kept us from understanding the things of God. Sin was our master, and we were enslaved to corruption.

But Jesus came in the power of the anointing; the Light dawned on us! We were translated from the kingdom of darkness into His marvelous light. The scales fell from our eyes, and He gave us eyes to see things as they truly are. He broke our chains in pieces, snapped the iron bars in half. We turned to the power of God to receive forgiveness and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith.

Our scarlet sins were washed white as snow by His crimson blood…We became brand new creatures in Christ…It is for freedom that He has set us free…When He makes us free, we are indeed completely free!!!
1/15/2022Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted.”

The Spirit of God has anointed Jesus to break the yokes—the shackles of Satan—in our lives. When Jesus abides in us, the power of His anointing is brought to bear in our every need.

Jesus brings the gospel to the poor—not just those lacking in financial resources, but any of us who experience lack in our lives. Our bank accounts may be full, but our heart accounts can be empty. 

Our All in All recognizes the places where we fall short and brings the good news of His sufficiency into the equation.

In place of turmoil, He gives peace. In place of doubt, He gives confidence. In place of exhaustion, He brings refreshing. In place of weakness, He grants strength.

Jesus has come to heal the brokenhearted. Our hearts are so susceptible to brokenness. They can be crushed through circumstances beyond our control, destroyed by decisions that we long to take back, or shattered by tragedies of the past.

With one touch of His anointed hand He can restore the splintered fragments…With one touch of His anointed hand He fills our hearts with hope again…With One touch of His anointed hand we sing a new song…With One touch of His anointed hand we learn to love once more…He is a God of second chances and new beginnings!!!
1/14/2022Isaiah 10:27 “And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing oil.”

In today’s verse, Isaiah the prophet brought some exceptionally good news to King Hezekiah.

King Sennacherib of Assyria had set his sights on Judah. He captured her cities, demanded exorbitant tributes, and mocked the God they served. In desperation, King Hezekiah went to the Temple to seek the Lord’s assistance.

God sent a message through Isaiah: He would lift the burden under which Hezekiah bowed. He would destroy the yoke with which King Sennacherib had controlled and crushed them. And He would do so because of the anointing. God honored His anointing, His word, and His purposes.

Satan is the enemy of our souls…He has set his sights on us…He bows us down with burdens and lays heavy yokes across our necks—to steal, kill, and destroy us…When the enemy comes in like a flood, God raises a standard against him (Isaiah 59:19)…The anointing destroys the yoke…The anointing brings the power that mends broken hearts, resurrects dead marriages, restores broken homes, causes barren wombs to bring forth life, brings immovable walls tumbling down, and gathers the wandering to the cross…The anointing lifts every burden and destroys every yoke!!!
1/13/2022Psalm 28:8 “The LORD is their strength, and He is the saving refuge of His anointed.”

The anointing of God distinguishes us from the world, activates His gifts in our lives, and empowers us to do His work. However, there are some things that the anointing is NOT.

The anointing is NOT a one-time event, a box that we check off on a spiritual inventory. Paul encourages us to be continually filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), to live in relationship with a God Who pours out His sufficiency like ever-flowing streams of water.

The anointing is NOT a get-out-of-jail-free card, a free pass from life’s issues. Jesus was anointed, and He was plagued and persecuted, debated and defamed, crucified and killed. The anointing is the power that pulls us through the trouble, the confidence that we never walk alone as children of the Most High.

The anointing is NOT optional. Anything that God uses for His purposes must be anointed. When Moses constructed the Tabernacle, he anointed all of it – the posts, hinges, curtain rods, bowls, every article of clothing, every person who entered, everything. If we desire the fullness of a relationship with God, we cannot forfeit the privilege of the anointing.

The ongoing anointing of God saturates our lives with His goodness…The ongoing anointing of God allows you to access His presence…The ongoing anointing of God allows you to experience His power…The ongoing anointing of God allows you to fulfill His purposes!!!
1/12/2022Psalm 92:10 “I have been anointed with fresh oil.”

As we navigate the upcoming year, let us move forward in the power of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

This anointing distinguishes us from the world and sets us apart for service to our King.

Consider how the anointing impacted David – the youngest of eight sons, forgotten by his father, and overlooked by his brothers. God saw his heart and commanded the prophet, Samuel, to anoint David as the next king of Israel.

From that day forward, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him (1 Samuel 16:13). Under that anointing, he vanquished a giant and reigned over Israel as the apple of God’s eye.

The anointing puts a finger on our God-given talents and activates them to accomplish the divine purposes God has ordained for each of us. It gives strength when we are weak. It swallows up fear with courage.

The anointing destroys the yokes of slavery and oppression. It lifts the heavy burdens. It makes crooked paths straight and causes our feet to be steady on the journey.

Ask the Lord to pour out the anointing that will activate the gifts of God in your life…Ask the Lord to pour out the anointing that will set you apart for His service…For all that the new year holds, we can face it in the power of His anointing!!!
1/11/2022Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”

How often do we spiral down into the dialogue of doubt? Instead of holding fast to our confession of hope in a faithful God, we begin to question His promises and doubt His Word.

In the coming year, practice the priority of behaving as if it were so—as if the promise of God was an in-living-color reality in your here and now. Romans 4:17 assures us that God breathes life into the dead; He calls those things which do not exist as though they already do. Even when those dreams seem down for the count, be confident that He is at work.

Eliminate the “if God moves” or “if God answers” from your vocabulary. Instead, begin to thank Him for the fulfillment of the promise – that He heard your prayer, that He is making a way, that He is healing your body, that He is providing for your needs.

Behave as though the breakthrough has come…Confess your hope, your alert expectancy for all that God is doing…Declare that you will rejoice right now, that you are one day closer to the answer…Agree with Him that, even though it is not visible to you yet, the answer already exists in heavenly places…He is working everything out for good…Say it is so…Act like the answer has arrived!!!
1/10/2022James 5:11 “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.”

God values persistence. He honors those who are faithful, who hang on to hope and continue to believe for breakthrough.

When we continue to profess God’s faithfulness, when we persevere with patience, and when we wait with hope, the mountain of impossibility begins to move.

The prophet, Daniel, exemplifies the supernatural law of breakthrough. After receiving a message from the angel, Gabriel, regarding the desolation that would besiege Jerusalem, Daniel began to fast and pray.

On the twenty-first day of his fast, an angel appeared. God heard the very first prayer on the very first day, and He sent an angel in instant response. However, the angel was delayed by a demonic force that warred against him until reinforcements arrived. Only then was he able to carry the answer to Daniel.

The response that was sent on Day One took twenty days to sort out in heavenly places. If Daniel would not have persevered through the twentieth day, the angel could not have prevailed to bring the answer he sought.

Make perseverance a priority…Continue on course in spite of difficulty or delay…Do not forfeit the blessings of God by bowing out before the breakthrough…Do not pack it in right before the promises become your reality!!!
1/9/2022Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”

Are you looking for something to blossom and bloom in your life this year? Have you been praying for a breakthrough or hoping for an increase? Learning how to manage your seed can lead to exponential blessing.

When you plant a seed, two things happen. You reap a harvest, and you reap more seed. One seed of corn grows a stalk with several ears and multiple kernels.

2 Corinthians 9:10 tells us that God supplies and multiplies the seed that we sow to increase the fruits of our righteousness. We can enjoy the harvest and plant even more kernels to produce an even greater yield.

Sometimes, we make the mistake of eating our seed. We hoard it or waste it indulgently. When our harvest needs have been met, the seed is our opportunity to sow in the fields of others.

Are you praying for a stronger marriage, increased finances, or open doors of ministry? Sow your seed…Sow tenderness and acts of kindness in your spouse’s field…Plant generosity and helping hands at your neighbor’s home…Invest your time and money into a ministry that furthers the Gospel…Manage your seed well…He promises a pressed-down, shaken-together, and running-over blessing…When you spread the seed liberally, it will come back to you!!!
1/8/2022Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.”

Three basic truths come to mind when we mention repentance.

First of all, everybody needs it! The Bible clearly tells us that if we say that we do not have any sin, we only fool ourselves; we contradict God Himself (1 John 1:8). We are sinners, and God commands all of us everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30).

Secondly, repentance is absolutely effective. Repentance is not a feeling; it is a fact. If we confess our sin, God is faithful to forgive us and make us clean (1 John 1:9). Many regret what they did, whom they hurt, and the consequences of sin, but true repentance involves confession to God and turning away from sin to follow His plan.

Thirdly, God assures us that He will rebuke and chasten every child He loves. He cares enough to correct us, to help us align our priorities with His. When He does convict and convince us, we must be eager and enthusiastic to repent. We discover why in Revelation 3:20.

He stands at the door of our heart and knocks…The longer we refuse to repent, the harder it is to hear His hand against the door…Repentance sweeps away the barrier of sin…We now hear His insistent knock and throw open the door to experience sweet fellowship with our Savior!!!
1/7/2022Acts 3:19 “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

Have you ever considered the beauty and power of repentance? More than a drag-your-feet action to be avoided, it is a miraculous gift from God!

Repentance is a rapid response to the sins to which we fall prey. It restores our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Sin separates us from God, but repentance sets us right again.

Proverbs 28:13 tells us that “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” The sin that we hide and harbor causes us to live in spiritual poverty. The sin that we confess and renounce gains us spiritual prosperity.

We need not be ashamed of our need to repent. That is why God sent His Son. He knew that we would need to repent, that we would need forgiveness, that we would need our sins to be washed away.

When we repent, times of refreshing will come…We will experience His joy in the dark times…We will experience His peace when chaos is all around…We will experience His strength to soar above the storms…If you long for thirst-quenching revival from the presence of the Lord, prioritize repentance…Be quick to seek forgiveness for the sins that separate…Dance in the refreshing that comes after repentance!!!
1/6/2022Deuteronomy 28:13 “you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.”

Too many times, we wonder if God is on our side. We question His good intentions and doubt His love.

In Deuteronomy 28, God spelled out all of the ways He had determined to bless the Israelites—in the city and country, their children and crops, their land and livestock, their baskets and kneading bowls, their wombs and workplaces. He promised to pour out the rain and put their enemies on the run, to make them the head and not the tail.

This is the God we serve! He promised that those blessings would overtake those who took refuge under the name of the Lord Almighty. He longs to bless us—just like those long-ago Israelites. All those blessings are ours “if…”.

He only asks one thing: that we carefully listen and diligently obey the commands of God…The “if” is not in Him…He sincerely desires to give us the protection and provision He promised…The “if” is in us…If we desire the blessings of God to overtake us in 2022, we must answer the “if” today…Be willing to carefully obey His commands…If we are, the Lord will open up His good treasures to us (verse 12)!!!
1/5/2022Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

The priorities that you choose wield great power in your life. They determine what you do and where you go; they decide your “Yes” and your “No.”

Where are your treasures and your heart? Take a look at your calendar and checking account! Where do you invest your time and energy? Where do you spend your money? Those are the things you value most. Follow the treasure trail to find your heart.

God has mapped out the year before you. He has promises to fulfill, good work for you to accomplish, people for you to reach, and lessons to be learned. The priorities that you establish today will set you up to accomplish what God has ordained in every tomorrow!

Take hold of the priorities that abound in God’s Word…More than just acknowledging His truth, your willingness to obey places you in the proper position to receive His blessings…These tried-and-true promises come from a God Who never fails…Priorities are the keys to unlock the power and prosperity of God in every area of your life…Priorities apart from God are the keys that lock you into a penitentiary of what-might-have-been…Embrace the year that God has planned for you…The choice lies in the power of your priorities!!!
1/4/2022Psalm 50:15 “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

Every year holds blessings and burdens, sunshine and showers, dreams and disappointments. We each experience seasons of poverty and plenty, hurt and hope.

We can face the “day of trouble” with the absolute confidence that the Lord will deliver us. He loves us with an everlasting love. When struggles loom, they will not destroy us. What Satan intends for our demise, God will use for our good and His glory.

He knows how much strength we will need for every battle. If God is for us—and He is!—who can be against us? Every battle boasts a victor, and we claim that title. No enemy can defeat us when God is our Defender. We are champions because of Christ’s work on the Cross.

When trouble brews, the Lord encourages us to call on Him…Asking for help is not a shameful thing…Shouting out to God is a sacred privilege, a divine right…Independent of God, we will never be big enough, strong enough, or capable enough to meet the fiery darts that the adversary hurls our way…When we cry out to Him, we reach out to the only One capable of the impossible…We will do great and mighty things in His name!!!
1/3/2022I John 2:8 “Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.”

Does nothing look different as you awaken to this new day at the beginning of a new year? The battles of last year left you exhausted and longing for a fresh start and a brighter future.

Take heart! He has not abandoned you to disappointment. The fight you face may look like the same old battle, but it is not.

Because God has changed you! Because you have endured hardship like a good soldier, you are stronger. In the darkest nights and the fiercest battles, God has revealed Himself to you in powerful ways, and you will never be the same. You have learned to don the whole armor of God and wage war in heavenly places.

It might look like the familiar fight, but you are a different fighter…It may look like one more chapter in a long war, but you are a different warrior…It might require one more lap, but you are not losing ground…You are laying claim to enemy territory…Every hard-won step brings you that much closer to a victory that is certain…The darkness is passing away, and a true light is already shining…You are well able to overcome!!!
1/2/2022Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”

God is already in all of the tomorrows of 2022—working everything to your good in the new year into which you walk.

Many parallels exist between our lives and the story of Jericho. At the point that Joshua prepared to enter the Promised Land, he had been wandering in the desert for 40 years. He was eager to cross the Jordan and embrace the promises of God—new provision and new possessions. Instead, God instructed Joshua to do more of the same. Keep on marching!

You might be asking God to do a new thing in your life in 2022, but He is encouraging you to continue some old faithful habits:

God, please speak a fresh word to me.

        Open up My Book!

God, pour out a blessing.


God, renew the joy of my salvation.

       Praise Me!

God, please send me a friend.

       Be a friend!

God, I am searching for hope.

       I am your Hope!

Like Joshua, when you are faithful to that which God has called you, He leads you into victory…When you continue to place one foot obediently after the other, He will cause you to walk out on the other side as more than a conqueror!!!
1/1/2022Isaiah 43:19 “Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Happy New Year! Stretching out before us are 365 days of bright promise and divine potential. How will we fill them up?

By diving in! Some approach the shallow end of the pool, hold onto the handrail, and ease into the water. Others run straight at the deep end, shrieking with joy, and cannonball in to splash up a massive tidal wave.

DIVE IN to 2022! Keep your head up and your eyes on Him, take a giant leap of faith (hold your nose if you must!), and anticipate the splash.

DIVE IN to Prayer! The Bible is crowded with people who needed Someone bigger than themselves, and it made them bold. Ask, seek, knock, and receive. Be audacious in prayer.

DIVE IN to God’s Word! This is the key way that He speaks to us. Discover Him and His will in those pages. He will show you great and mighty things.

DIVE IN to Service! You were designed to serve others, created with good works in mind. If the world will know us by our love, how is His love demonstrated in your life?

Experience refreshing joy and messy freedom…Everyone around you will get soaked…Your exuberance will encourage them to leap too…DIVE IN…The water is fine!!!
12/31/2021Luke 8:40 “So it was, when Jesus returned, that the multitude welcomed Him, for they were all waiting for Him.”

Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus was met with mobs and meals (Lord, tell Mary to help me!), palm branches and parades, accusations and accolades, pointing fingers and perfume. His presence prompted a response.

Even today, Jesus demands a decision….and action. What we choose to do with Jesus and His cross is the primary and most pressing decision any person ever makes.

Instead of His death ringing with finality, it trumpeted a new beginning for all of us. His anguished cry, “It is finished,” actually means “paid in full.”  He wiped away the enormous, insurmountable debt – the penalty for our sins – completely. How can we properly express our gratitude and devotion?

At midnight tonight, many will celebrate with confetti and countdowns, horns and hats, fireworks and food, remembrances and resolutions…We will usher in the new year with exhilaration and anticipation of good things to come…Plan how you will meet Jesus in 2022…Wait and watch for Him…Welcome Him with worship and adoration…Greet Him with gratitude and great joy…Truly honor Jesus in the coming year with whatever is the one thing that you can begin to do right now…God is ready…How will you usher Him in???
12/30/2021John 20:21 “So Jesus said to them again, Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

Have you committed to any New Year’s resolutions? Have you vowed to break a habit or initiate a healthy one? Our natural inclination is to get stuck in Neutral. 

In our overcrowded lives, we assume that someone else will do what God actually is calling us to do.  Someone else will witness to a neighbor or volunteer at a shelter or pray with a co-worker. 

The Bystander Effect – a social psychological phenomenon – indicates that individuals fail to offer help when other people are present. The greater the number of bystanders, the less likely any of them will help. Everyone waits for someone else to come to the aid of the victim.

For someone in your life right now, you are God’s Plan A…Most likely, He is prompting you to do something you have not done before, to stretch beyond what is comfortable…Jesus is counting on you to listen to His voice, to obey His prompting, and to reach out to meet the need…He created you for this moment, this good work that He ordained, to be the answer to someone’s prayer…Ask God to reveal your 2022 mission…All around us, people need a Savior…YOU are Plan A for at least one of them…Resolve to intentionally serve Jesus and others in the new year!!!
12/29/2021John 10:28 “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”

How comforting to know that God holds us securely in His hand, cradling us with great care and compassion. If you are exhausted at the end of a very difficult year, be assured of several things.

Every detail of 2021 was filtered through the loving fingers of our Father. Nothing and no one can tear you away from Him. He is not shocked or alarmed by the drama or tragedy in your life.

Whatever you perceive as your greatest weakness, whatever is lacking in you, in the place that you feel the most ugly and the least lovable…you are His. Now and forever. He will not disown or throw you away. You are precious in His sight.

He cannot wait to swoop you up and pull you in close. Zephaniah 3:17 says that He delights in you as He sings with joy. Imagine His lips on your forehead as He hums a lullaby. You belong to Him.

Run to Him as fast as your tired legs can carry you…Throw out your arms in complete trust…He will swing you up…He will pull you close…He will call you His own…He won’t give you up…He won’t give up on you…You are accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6)…He’s got you…Better things are on the way!!!
12/28/2021Luke 5:38 “But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

A certain satisfaction exists in closing the chapter on one year and turning a page to the new. Our ever-creating God has extraordinary plans for each of us in the coming 365 days!

Jesus once shared a parable with the religious leaders. He pointed out that no one pours new wine into old wineskins; the wine would spill out, and the wineskins would be ruined. New wine requires new wineskins.

Wineskins were goatskins sewn around the edges to create a watertight vessel. As new wine ferments, it emits gasses that cause the wineskin to expand. An old, rigid wineskin cannot withstand this process and will burst.

Jesus’ new teaching was so different from their old ways of thinking that it required a changed heart and a transformed mind. The new wine of the Holy Spirit could not be contained in their archaic system of laws.

As you anticipate what God has for you in 2022, prepare your heart…Is there anything rigid in me that would prevent the work God will do…Where am I resistant to His touch…Am I pliable to His direction…Open yourself to His possibilities in 2022…Listen for the fresh truths He will whisper…Expand your boundaries for the opportunities He will bring…Get ready…God has great aspirations for you in the coming year!!!
12/27/2021Philippians 3:13-14 “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Here at the end of the year, many of us may look back on a year marred by grief and disappointment.

Jesus understands the longing and necessity for new beginnings. For every person that comes to Him in brokenness, He washes away the old and makes a brand-new creation. He continues to mold us into vessels He can use.

Consider the man lying by the Pool of Bethesda who had been ill for 38 years. When Jesus asked if he wanted to be healed, his despair was evident. 

Jesus gave three commands: Rise, take up your bed, and walk! If the man had remained on the mat, it could have tied him to his pessimistic state. He needed to get up and get moving forward.

Perhaps this year’s events have left you hurting and longing for relief…Hope, help, and healing are found in Jesus alone…His mercies flow anew every morning…Leave your burdens at the feet of Jesus…Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you…Let go of the things that weigh you down and prevent you from running your race well…Forget those things behind and walk into the new year with head held high!!!
12/26/2021Psalm 143:5 “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands.”

As the year draws to a close, a wonderful opportunity exists to ponder the events of the past year and prepare for the promise of a new year.

Set aside some time to remember God’s faithfulness. Look for the places where His hand has been at work, where you have experienced breakthrough and abundance.

It is easy to see Him there in the marriages, births, promotions, and celebrations. How amazing to find His love shining brightly – maybe more so – in the disappointments, death, or divorce!

The Israelites insisted on remembering God’s enduring compassion and undying faithfulness. They established memorials to remind themselves and their children. They sang songs, designed dances, and penned poetry. They assembled altars, designated days of celebration, wrote in their record books, and offered oblations to God.

For them and the following generations, those memorials pointed to how the Lord delivered them from enemies, brought them through deep waters, and provided for every need.

Today, revisit the yesterdays of this year…Meditate and wonder at the work of His hands…Find a way to memorialize His goodness…Write it in your journal…Sing a new song of worship…Capture it in a photo….Tell your family and friends this is how God revealed Himself to you this year!!!
12/25/2021Luke 2:11 “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Merry Christmas! Today, we celebrate the birth of Jesus – the moment when He put aside His robes of majesty, wrapped Himself in flesh, and came to dwell among us.

On that night, a star shone brightly. May the Light of the World illuminate your heart and your home this holy day. Like the shepherds, may you always follow that Light to bow quietly and reverently in His presence.

Unlike the innkeeper, may you create a sacred space for the Holy One to come and abide with you. May your heart always be open and receptive to Him.

Like the angels that poured light and song across the sheep-dotted fields, may you always be compelled to share the Good News of His coming with all people.

May the Bread of Life satisfy your hunger to fill you with every good thing. May He prove Himself to be more than enough in every situation.

Through that humble stable, the Lamb of God came to be with us…Immanuel brought us forgiveness, hope, restored relationship with the Father, and overcoming power to walk in righteousness…With angels, shepherds, and wise men of old, take time to acknowledge the wonder of a Baby born unto us – sent from our Father with unspeakable love!!!
12/24/2021Matthew 1:21 “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”

In the most unlikely of places, in the most mysterious way, God blessed this world with an indescribable Gift. The Savior of all was born in an obscure town, in a crude stable, to an impoverished virgin.

God sent Jesus to destroy the works of the devil (I John 3:8). Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus undid the deeds with which Satan intended to steal, kill, and devastate. For the diseased, His touch brought healing. For the poverty-stricken, He proved more than enough.

For the oppressed, He broke off the shackles to give joyous freedom. At Calvary, He saved people from their sins. He bore our shame so we can go boldly to the Father’s throne to receive mercy and grace for our needs.

For His glorious Gift, our joy cannot be contained…This is not a treasure to be buried beneath holiday traditions or celebrated only one day a year…Because of the wellspring of His life in our inner beings, we pour out His praises…Like the shepherds on that Bethlehem night, we make widely known all that God has done for us…Like the heavenly host, we bring the good tidings of great joy…The free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ for all people!!!
12/23/2021John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

Many people have become so familiar with the Christmas story that they overlook the reason why God sent His Son into our world.

Many go to Bethlehem’s manger, peer at the baby, chuck Him under the chin and say, “It’s good to see You, Jesus! We’ll check back at Easter.” Merely recognizing Him does not equate to receiving Him.

Peter tells us that Jesus was ordained, from the foundations of the world, as the Lamb of God. Micah recognized Him as Ruler of Israel, future King of kings and Lord of lords.

The Lamb, born in a stable, grew strong in spirit, was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on Him (Luke 2:40). When John saw Him on the Jordan River bank, he cried, “Behold! The Lamb of God!”

John was baptizing for the remission of sins…Jesus waded into a current of judgment, was lowered into a sea of transgression, and was resurrected from the watery grave…God affirmed from heaven: “This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.”…More than just the Babe of Bethlehem, He is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world…Do you recognize Him?…Have you received Him?…Accept this greatest of gifts!!!
12/22/2021John 6:51 “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever”

In the Hebrew language, Bethlehem means “house of bread.” How fitting that God sent Jesus, the Bread of Life, to become the provision for all humanity there!

Wheatfields abounded in Judea. The threshing floors at Bethlehem provided a place where the wheat was separated from the chaff, the seed was ground into flour, and the flour made into bread.

In the Old Testament, Naomi returned to Bethlehem. Her family had escaped the Judean famine by going to Moab. While there, her husband and sons died, leaving her with no means of support. She heard that God had blessed His people with bread again, so she and her daughter-in-law, Ruth, went back.

While gleaning in Boaz’s fields, Ruth met her kinsman-redeemer. He covered her with his cloak and welcomed her into his family. She came to Bethlehem poor, alone, and outside the promises of God. Boaz made her his bride, brought her into the covenant, and enriched her life in every way.

The world was shaken when the Seed of Heaven fell to the threshing floors of Bethlehem…Our Kinsman Redeemer came to wrap us in His robe of righteousness, call us His bride, and extend His covenant to make us heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus…Through the Bread of Life, we will never hunger again…May the Lord bless you and keep you…May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace…May you never lose the wonder of the unspeakable love that sent God’s Son from heaven to earth…Allow that Gift to transform your life as you live loved in this blessed season!!!
12/21/2021John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”

From the beginning of time, God planned and prepared a place for us to receive everything that we need for life now and eternally. He so loved us!

God always knew that He would do this for us. First Peter 1:20 assures us that, before God even laid the foundations of the world, His divine plan included Jesus. This was no afterthought.

Before He said, “Let there be light,” He understood that Adam would succumb to temptation and fall into sin. He knew that we would need a Savior.

Our sin would require a cleansing sacrifice, and the only remedy would be the blood spilled by His precious Son. He spoke all things into existence anyway.

At the right time, He revealed His plan in the sleepy village where the Treasure of Heaven came to earth…God did not send Him because we deserved it…He sent Him because He loved us so…Through a tiny babe born in Bethlehem, God demonstrated how absolutely, unconditionally, limitlessly, and incomprehensibly He loves us…Never doubt the depth of His love…Whatever burdens have buried the beauty of Bethlehem in your life, roll them back to remember God has provided all you need…Never allow these words to fall on deaf ears..For God so loved…you!!!
12/20/2021Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”

The prophet Micah uttered these words that are planted like a gem in the Old Testament. God had a plan from the beginning of time that would change the world forever.

Mention of “Bethlehem” floods our minds with the familiarity of the Christmas story. From our current vantage point, we know that Bethlehem became holy ground that long-ago night when a baby’s cry rent the air, and God wrapped Himself in flesh to dwell among us.

When Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden, Bethlehem did not exist. But God knew.

When the children of Israel exited Egypt for a land flowing with milk and honey, they had no idea what would happen on a Judean hillside centuries later. But God knew.

When David sat on his throne in Jerusalem, and generations of kings descended from him, they had no understanding of a baby in a manger. But God knew.

When Micah spoke centuries before the blessed event, Bethlehem was a little-known town…But God knew…In an insignificant place on the map, an eternal Ruler would come forth…But God knew…Micah spoke…Seven hundred years later, the Messiah was born!!!
12/19/20212 Corinthians 9:15 “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

With Christmas only days away, we are caught up in the holiday scramble! Halls to be decked. Carols to be sung. Presents to be bought. Boxes to be wrapped. Cookies to be baked. The list is long!

Over 2000 years ago, under Bethlehem stars, the greatest Gift ever bestowed was born of a virgin, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and nestled into a manger.

Angels illuminated the sky to announce His birth to humble shepherds tending their flocks in the open fields. A Savior was born! A world shackled in sin and condemned to die welcomed Emmanuel. God came to be with us.

The shepherds hastened to the crude stable where they found the promised Child. And when they discovered Him, they “made widely known” (Luke 2:17) all that they had experienced that glorious night. They could not keep it to themselves!

Be careful not to bury the greatest Gift beneath the twinkle lights and tinsel, the stockings and sleds, the elves and evergreens…Find a silent night to kneel before the Savior – the Babe of Bethlehem who became the Champion of Calvary…Make Him the center of every celebration this holy season!!!
12/18/2021James 1:4 “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing”

How easy it is to become impatient in the maturing process! We want to hurry things along to the harvest, but growth requires time and patience.

God has a plan for carrying you to completion. He sends the sunshine and pours out the rain. He lifts up and prunes to produce much fruit. He plans to make every barren area abundant. His intention is not to harm, but to prosper.

Do not resent the growth process as some sort of intrusion in your life. Do not try to cut it off prematurely. Allow patience to do its work in you until you fully bloom and produce the fruit that God seeks.

Endure the season of sorrow because joy comes in the morning…Trust through the time of need because the righteous have never been forsaken…His children do not beg for bread…In the middle of the tempest, be assured that God rides on the wings of the storm…In the day of battle, find defense in our Shield and Defender…Even in the fiery furnace, He walks beside us through the flames…Trust Him as you allow patience to perform its refining work…Like those plump, purple grapes, your life will be a perfect thing of beauty in His hands!!!
12/17/2021Ecclesiastes 5:2 “Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few.”

How do we respond to the pruning from our Heavenly Father? Do we submit to His wisdom? Or, are we quick to complain and blame?

James encourages us to be quick to listen, but slow to speak (James 1:19). Do not be discouraged by the pruning process. The Lord disciplines the child that He loves. He corrects the one that He embraces. In the same way that parents discipline their children, He trains us to grow and produce fruit.

James also warns us to be slow to wrath. When the Vinedresser lifts us up and begins the process, our frustration will not hasten the work. James goes on to say that “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Our fits of temper will not bring about God’s best in our lives.

Our tongues have the power to speak life and health or poison and death…Do not cancel out the harvest by uttering hasty, rash words…When we undergo the painful pruning, we can rejoice that our Father loves us enough to work with us until we produce the fruit that He desires…We can yield to His tender touch… wait quietly on the Lord!!!
12/16/2021James 1:19 “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”

When we fail to respond properly to the Word of God, the Vinedresser picks up His tools. He sees us in need of pruning.

Be swift to hear! Jesus said it this way, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Mark 4:9). He was emphasizing the difference between an auditory function and an action. “He who has ears to hear” indicates an auditory function. “…let him hear” indicates a heart function.

When we hear the Word of God and respond from our hearts, it carries impact in our lives. But we can be slow of hearing. When we hear and fully understand, but we debate it…our debate is disobedience.

When Jesus spoke to the people, He said, “…hearing they do not hear…” (Matthew 13:13). They had closed their eyes and stopped up their ears. Their hearts were dulled, their understanding dimmed.

Obedience to His Word brings the blessings of God into our lives…Even though we may not completely comprehend His commands, we can trust Him…Delay and debate bring about His chastening…It begins with a listening ear…When we hear it in His Word, let’s be quick to put it into practice…With our ears and with our hearts, let’s be swift to hear!!!
12/15/2021John 10:28 “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”

If you are connected to Christ, you are in the hand of God. Whether you are the least productive or the most productive branch, He holds you securely.

No matter what burdens you carry or what blessings you walk in, God has His hand on you. No matter where you come from or where you are going to, God has His hand on you.

You can be in no better place. The same hands that fashioned man from the dust at creation hold you. The same hands that pushed back the Red Sea for Moses are making a way for you. The hands that defended Daniel in the lion’s den are protecting you.

They suffered blisters and splinters and carpenter calluses. They touched the leper. They held the little children. They were stretched out on a cross. They were impaled at Calvary. Those nail-pierced hands still reach out today in invitation: “Come unto me.”

His hands will never push you away nor leave you unattended or undefended…They move mountains of impossibility…They prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies…Nothing and no one has the power to pluck you out of this safe and loving haven…You are loved, and you are held…You are in His hand!!!
12/14/2021Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

Every believer lives in one of two states. We are either being lifted up or we are being pruned. Why? Because God wants us to bear much fruit!

Our Vinedresser continually inspects the fruit that we produce. He is looking for love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). When He cannot find evidence of those fruits, He pays special attention to those branches.

God begins with a tender touch to gain our attention – the pastor will speak a word, a song will quicken our heart, or a friend will share a gentle rebuke. If we fail to respond to His tenderness, He will take tougher measures.

He will begin to cut away all of the things that do not bring forth good fruit…He will pull out all the debris that we accumulate until we are forced to put our trust exclusively in Him…We will find that when He is the only One left, He is all that we need…When He lifts us up, He does so with love…When He wields the pruning shears, He does so with great patience…No need to lose heart…We will reap a harvest of much fruit if we continue to trust in Him!!!
12/13/2021Matthew 4:4 “But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'”

After Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness where He fasted for 40 days. At the end of that time, Satan appeared to tempt Him.

Satan waited for the fortieth day when Jesus was hungry and exhausted. Our greatest temptations come when we are emotionally, physically, and spiritually spent.  

Satan tempted Him first by opening the door of doubt: “If you are the Son of God….” Sound familiar? “If you are really saved….” “If God really loves you….”

Secondly, Satan tempted Jesus by demanding: “Turn these stones into bread.” He pushes us to accomplish things in our own strength.

Jesus did not argue with him…He did not point out His ability to destroy Satan and his works…He simply declared, “It is written.”…He did something that we can do – even when we are at our weakest…We run to the source that declares us triumphant…Whether we are in a battle for our life, our business, or our family…it is written…When we speak the promises of God, they become the Living Word to bring us victory over the evil one’s intention to defeat and destroy…God has placed him under our feet…It is written!!!
12/12/20211 Peter 2:2-3 “…as newborn babies, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

Before we sit down to eat, we must wash our hands. No filth from the outside should go inside. Once we are clean, we are free to enjoy the tasty dishes.

God desires to feed us with good things, but if we have unclean hands, we cannot receive the blessings that He has stored up for us. Our hands are cleaned by the washing of the water of the Word.

Peter encouraged the New Testament believers to desire the pure milk of the word so that they could grow in their faith. When we bring new babies home from the hospital, we feed them milk for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That is the only food they can digest.

As new believers, the only food we should desire and digest is the Word of God…It will cleanse and cause us to develop…Expect growing pains…When it reminds us to repent and change, we will be required to make choices…We must decrease so that He might increase…We must deny ourselves to follow Him…As we are washed, we can lift up holy hands without fear or doubt…He will pour good things into those clean hands…Taste and see that the Lord is gracious!!!
12/11/2021John 15:3 “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”

The Word of God is a cleansing agent in our lives. The water of the Word washes us from our sinful pasts and painful habits to make us clean and complete in Christ.

In Exodus 30, God instructed Moses to build a bronze laver for the Tabernacle. Before the priests could minister at the altar or enter the Holy Place, God required them to wash in the basin.

The laver was created from bronze mirrors, and as the priest washed, he could see his reflection. His image was a reminder that he needed cleansing from God.

When we read the Word of God, we look into a mirror…We see our reflection there…We read it, and – since the Word is alive – it reads us…If a woman looked into a mirror and saw smeared lipstick and smudged mascara, she would make the necessary repairs to be presentable again…We must do the same…We need cleansing…When we open God’s Word and see our flaws reflected there, we must seek forgiveness…With His help, we must make the necessary changes to come into alignment with what He requires…We must act on what we see…Do not glance in the mirror, walk away, and forget what the Word has spoken…Be cleansed by His Word!!!
12/10/2021John 15:7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

The living water of the Word of God is 100% pure and necessary for spiritual growth (Proverbs 30:5). Any religious source, word, book, doctrine or denomination that does not align with His Word is outside of the will of God and should be denounced.

The Word of God has been tested and approved. The youngest child can find instruction in its pages. Mature believers have learned that they can stand upon it solid and secure.

For its power to impact our lives, we must apply it. We must read it, speak it, and exercise it! Jesus told the disciples that He had applied the Word to their lives and had washed off the contamination of the world.

As we apply the water of His Word to our lives, Jesus washes us clean…He lifts us out of our sinful pasts and painful habits…As the written word takes root in our hearts, we begin to speak its truths out loud…When we speak it over situations, it becomes the living Word that transforms…When our desires are based on the living Word derived from the spoken Word based on the written Word, we can ask what we desire…And it shall be done!!!
12/9/20212 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Spiritual growth requires being rooted in the Word of God. His Word proves 100% effective in every situation.

It underpins our doctrine, reprimands our wrong choices, points us to truth, and steers us back when we wander astray. Everything that we need to complete God’s will and His work can be found in its pages.

When we are lost and confused, His Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. His words throw a beam of light on the path so we do not stumble (Psalm 119:105).

When we are surrounded on every side, the Bible tells us that God’s name is a strong tower that we can run to and find a place of protection and reprieve (Proverbs 18:10).

We need not live in fear…God’s Word assures us that He gives a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7)…The Holy Spirit emboldens us with wisdom and strength…If we lack wisdom, God encourages us to come to Him…He answers our questions without making us feel foolish or guilty (James 1:5)…His Scriptures make us wise and mature in every way, completely prepared to live for Him!!!
12/8/2021Romans 5:3-4 “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Being grafted into the Vine does not guarantee eternal sunshine and storm-free days. On the other side of salvation, we often endure seasons of struggle.

We experience dry deserts and devastating storms. We endure the long winters and silence of delays. Be assured that hard times will bring a harvest!

If our life in Christ will mature, we must be willing to experience growing pains. Struggle is synonymous with growth! In the vineyard, every branch that produces clusters of glowing grapes has suffered pain to mature.

The seed planted in the soil has struggled to break ground. The plant has struggled to dig deep roots, to push out leaves, to blossom and bear fruit. We celebrate the harvest, but pain accompanies production.

By nature, we resist struggle…We prefer pain-free days…We long for the easy route, the results without the cost of growth…But we will not have the strength to sustain growth if we do not work for the outcome…where is our character developed?…The good days do not make us emotionally strong, expand our confidence, or establish our fortitude…Struggle makes us strong…We can glory in tribulations knowing that our perseverance produces much fruit!!!
12/7/2021John 15:9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.”

As Jesus spent final, precious moments with His disciples, He spoke of abiding and how their point of contact determined their potential.

Vinedressers can attest that the point of contact – where the branch meets the vine – is where healthy, flourishing life begins. At that juncture, life-giving sap flows through to be delivered to the fruit growing on the branch.

If the branch has a large, unobstructed connection to the vine, the potential is great for a bumper crop – plentiful, luscious grapes. If the connection is poor, the fruit will be withered and sparse.

To abide means to remain, to stay closely connected, to settle in for the long term. Ongoing vital connection with Jesus directly determines the flow of His supernatural power at work in our lives.

In John 15, Jesus uses “abide (remain or dwell)” eleven times. John uses it 40 times in his gospel. To be productive, we must join with Him. 

A branch, severed from the vine and lying in the dust, will not produce one leaf, one flower, one grape…Our connection to Jesus must be our singular priority…To remain in Him, we must set apart devoted time with Jesus…We must deepen our relationship by talking and listening to Him…Savor His words…Be attentive to His presence every moment…Abide in Him!!!
12/6/2021John 15:2 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

Today’s verse sounds quite ominous to the “branch” that is not bearing fruit. However, when we examine it in the original text, a beautiful picture emerges.

Instead of “take away,” the Greek word “airo” can be translated “lift up.” John the Baptist exclaimed, “Behold! The Lamb of God Who takes away (airo) the sin of the world!” Jesus took away our sins and “lifted” them to the Father. Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up (airo) from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

In a vineyard, grapevines grow upwards along a trellis, so the clusters of fruit hang freely. If branches grow along the ground, the fruit splits or grows moldy. They are never intended to exist there.

We cannot flourish where we were never intended to live…If we are connected to old behaviors or old ways of thinking, our ability to produce good fruit is severely limited…We cannot grow in the dark…Our tender Vinekeeper will come to “lift up” the branch that has fallen in the dirt…He will “take away” the dead foliage…He will prune it for optimum growth…He will wash it with the water of the Word to make it clean…With gentle hands, He will do everything He can to ensure that we produce much good fruit!!!
12/5/2021John 15:8 “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

God’s will for each of His children is that we bear fruit – and not just somefruit, but much fruit! God is a productive and producing God, and He desires the same attributes in us.

When do we start? Immediately! Fruit production is possible for every believer. From the moment we are grafted into the True Vine, His potential and power flow through us.

Where do we start? Here! Our mission field exists right where we live. We have great impact in the place where we are known the most.

How do we start? The Holy Spirit produces fruit in us as we submit to the Father. His good fruit grows in us, and we produce works as evidence.

When the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, they received power to become His witnesses in Judea – that was home. In Samaria – those were their neighbors. And to the uttermost parts of the earth.

Let’s produce good fruit at home – with our spouses and children…Let’s be productive in our witness to our neighbors…In the places where we are employed, let’s work with God-honoring integrity…Those who know us best must know how we love Him most…Start here…Start now…As you are nourished by the Father, may you flourish…Abound in every good work to produce more and more fruit!!!
12/4/2021Romans 11:17 “and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree”

Many people claim a deep affiliation with religion, but they have no relationship with Jesus. Until they are grafted into the True Vine, they face death and the fire of judgment.

To graft a branch into a vine, the vinedresser cuts open the well-rooted, mature vine. In the fresh cut, he places the branch. He then ties the vine and the branch together.

As the vine begins to heal, the sap and nutrients from the root will feed the branch through the wound of the vine. This life-giving flow unites the branch and vine. Eventually, no one will be able to tell that the branch was once separate from the vine.

Before Calvary, we were outside of the covenant of God – a wild olive tree…When Jesus went to the cross, He was wounded for our wrongs, crushed for our evil…The judgment for our sin was placed on Him…He was pierced and broken for us…But when He cried, “It is finished,” His crucifixion pulled us into the covenant…Because we are grafted into Jesus, the spiritual DNA of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob now flows through us…We are His chosen and redeemed, fed by the richness of the True Vine!!!
12/3/2021Colossians 2:6-7 “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith.”

Trees are known by their fruit. Apple trees produce apples; cherry trees produce cherries. We are known by the good fruit that we produce for His kingdom.

Without a root, though, no fruit exists. If we are not vitally connected to the Root of David, we produce nothing of worth. Jesus, the True Vine, stretches from the manger all the way back to Abraham. He connects the covenant of Genesis with the cross of Golgotha. He pulls us into every promise of God.

Before the cross, we were without hope outside of the covenants of God. Because we have been grafted into the True Vine, every promise is now “Yes and Amen” to us in Christ.

Those who refuse to abide in Him, who reject the Root of David, are branches disconnected from the life-giving source. They wither and die, are gathered up, cast away, and burned in the fire.

Those abiding in the Vine live as heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus…We build our lives in the One from Whom all blessings flow…Wrap your life around the Root of David…Abide in Him to be fruitful in every good work, increasing in the knowledge of God, and fully pleasing to Him (Colossians 1:10)…
12/2/2021John 15:16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit”

Jesus and His disciples had just celebrated Passover. As they walked towards the Garden of Gethsemane, they passed through a vineyard in the Kidron Valley.

There, among the clusters of grapes, He taught them. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. You are the branches.” His further instructions extend to us.

He chose us. He appointed us. We are to go and bear fruit. He desires that we grow and produce good things for His kingdom. No matter if we have been a believer for five minutes or 55 years, God shows no favoritism or partiality.

The patient Vinedresser will come to inspect our branches and our baskets. For those of us producing fruit, He will prune us to help us grow even more. For those of us whose branches are bare, He will lift us up to cut away the loose ends in our lives and to help us produce.

He wants growth…If we are breathing, there is room for more of Him…He desires for us to grow more mature, stronger, deeper, wiser, more faithful, and more fruitful…Cultivate opportunities for growth…Everything that is occurring around us – and in us – works to make us that much more fruitful…Leverage it all for Him…Go, grow, and produce!!!
12/1/2021John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

Jesus knew what was coming as He gazed into the circle of dear, familiar faces glowing in the lamplight. These were the final words He would share before He was betrayed.

What a ragtag group they were – men with callouses on their hands and hearts, cheaters, liars, betrayers, and doubters! Jesus saw what others could not. His heart was tender towards these vagabonds who would undertake His earthly ministry to carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

The words that He spoke into their ears that fateful evening are the same ones He whispers to us today: “…apart from Me you can do nothing.” He wanted them to understand that if they chose to go it alone – to work hard to generate results on their own – all of their efforts would be in vain. No matter how well-intentioned, they would produce nothing of enduring worth.

How freeing to realize that it is not up to us…Only He is the Prince of Peace…Only in His presence can we find the fullness of joy…When the enemy rushes in like a flood, only He can raise a standard against him…Outside of Jesus is barrenness and brokenness…With Him, our lives blossom and bloom in the beauty of God!!!
11/30/2021Genesis 32:31 “Just as he crossed over Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip.”

As Jacob wrestled with God, the sky began to lighten. God saw that He did not prevail against Jacob, so He touched his hip and threw it out of joint.
Jacob was forever changed. For the rest of his life, he leaned on God. When he escaped with Esau’s stolen birthright, he was proud and pompous. His shoulders were square; his chin was held high. His scheming deception had earned him what he wanted.

But after he wrestled with God, he was humble in heart. He carried himself slowly.  With each faltering step, he recognized that his blessing came from God. His limp reminded him of his new name and destiny. He called that place Penuel, face of God.

Have you ever been through a trial so traumatic that you were changed forever? 

The person you were before the crisis no longer exists…The new you recognizes that it is good that you were afflicted…Your prayers prevailed…His Word has settled in your bones like never before…You wrestled with God until the sun rose over you…He gave His blessing because you contended through the long night…you are familiar with His face…You know Him in a way that defies explanation…You will never be the same…
11/29/2021Isaiah 62:2 “You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD will name.”

Jacob stubbornly wrestled with God. He would not let go until God gave him what he wanted more than anything.

God blessed him with a new name; He would now be called Israel. Jacob had struggled with God and man, but he had prevailed. His desperation for the blessing won out.

In an instant, he received a new name, a new character, and a new outcome. No longer was he known as Jacob – the heel catcher, deceiver, and trickster. God called him Israel, a Prince with God.

He had lived up to his previous name and fulfilled the expectations of that label. But when His Creator – the One Who formed and ordained – called him by name, he became the man God had designed. When his Maker told him what He saw and called out his true identity, Israel was born.

Many of us wrestle with who we once were…We are exhausted by the expectations and diminished by the doubters around us…Our Creator will struggle with us – just like he wrestled with Jacob – until we are in a position to receive the blessing…In a moment, He will call out the person He designed you to be…He will give you a new name, new character, and new destiny…One touch will change everything!!!
11/28/2021Psalm 148:5 “Let them praise the name of the LORD, for He commanded and they were created.”

From the highest heaven to the lowest valley, all of creation praises our Father. He commanded, they were created, and they commend His efforts.

From above, the psalmist calls for the sun, moon, stars, and clouds to praise Him. From earth below, he calls for a response from the oceans, mountains, and forests. He commands the cattle, sea creatures, and birds to give thanks to their Creator.

At this beautiful time of year, all creation joins to magnify His name. The trees burst forth their riotous robes of color and clap their hands for joy as the wind teases their leaves. The mountains and hills sing in tones of aspen yellow and dancing goldenrod. The geese honk of His greatness as they wing their way south under a high, cloudless, autumn sky. The bountiful harvest extols His goodness in a cornucopia of pumpkins and produce.

All around us, creation reminds us to praise the Lord…The earth and His creatures know that they are created by Him and for Him – to point to and praise His majesty…The psalmist rallies us to praise too…From the tiniest babe in arms to the gray-headed elder, he summons us to exalt our God Who reigns over all…Join in the symphony of praise with all God’s creatures today…Praise the name of the Lord!!!
11/27/2021Psalm 150:6 “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!”

Praise the Lord! Psalm 146 through Psalm 150 all begin with that resounding encouragement, and it echoes throughout the verses of these chapters.

These psalms tell us who should praise the Lord – everything that has breath. What should extol His goodness? Every creation above and below. When? Every single day forever and ever. Where? From the sanctuary to the quiet of our beds in the midnight hour. Oh, how these verses tell us why we should give thanksgiving to our most worthy Father!

Psalm 150 explodes in a symphony of praise! Blast the trumpets, crash the cymbals, shake the tambourines! That worship is also exhibited in the stillness where we know that He is God, in the soft strumming of stringed instruments, in the tears of gratitude in the comfortable silence between us. In every way we know how, every single being that has breath should praise His name!

How extraordinary that this continual outpouring of praise would bless God and would produce extraordinary results in us, too…Science has proven that this attitude of gratitude creates pathways of positivity in our brains that benefit our health in every way…These thoughts of thankfulness center our very beings on the One Who continues to gift us with spiritual blessings in a beautiful cycle of generosity…If you have breath, praise the Lord!!!
11/26/2021Psalm 149:4 “For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.
What a beautiful picture the psalmist paints for us in today’s verse! The Lord has blessed and beautified us with salvation. He delights in us.”

When there was no good thing in us – nothing worthy of His attention – He took notice of our desperate state. While we were still sinners, He died for us. He stripped away our own filthy rags and clothed us in His holy robes of righteousness.

This kind of love merits a new song – not just melodies and harmonies droned out mindlessly, but a joyful river of Spirit-song flowing from a heart of inexplicable gratitude. Make those praises privately – and publicly – surrounded by other saints!

This unspeakable gift of salvation causes us to rejoice in our Maker and to be joyful before our King. Such love demands our deepest response of thanksgiving – praising Him with dancing, song, and playing of musical instruments.

Our hearts overflow with gratitude…The daylight hours will not be able to contain our praise…Even lying in our beds, we will keep up a constant flow of praise for the goodness of our God…Praise Him for the gift of His salvation…He has given us beauty for ashes and joy for mourning…Bask in His delight…Let all that is within you bless His holy name!!!
11/25/2021Psalm 30:4 “Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.”

The first American Thanksgiving Day occurred in 1621 when the Pilgrims gathered to give thanks for surviving the long winter to reap their first harvest in the strange, new land.

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared an official holiday with the following proclamation: “I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”

Today, as you mark the Thanksgiving holiday, find a quiet moment to count the many gifts with which God has blessed you. Look back over the last year to recognize the evidence of God’s handiwork. Remember His arms carrying you through the difficult days, His provision and protection.

Thank Him for salvation today and bright hope for eternity…Praise Him for the blessing of living in a nation where peace predominately prevails…Express gratitude for the dear family and friends gathered around your table…May you be aware of His every blessing…May you acknowledge it as a good and perfect gift that has come from the Father of Lights above!!!
11/24/2021Psalm 147:1 “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.”

Again, the psalmist encourages us to approach the Lord with praise and thanksgiving. Throughout this psalm, he lets us know that it is good, pleasant, and beautiful to sing to God!

Other translations tell us that – not only is it good, pleasant, and beautiful – it is appropriate and fitting that we sing praises to Him. When we consider His goodness and glory, it is exactly right that we would burst forth into grateful song.

He created, counted, and called each star by name. He causes the grass to grow and feeds all the creatures of the earth. He keeps peace at the borders of our nation. He launches His promises to earth, and they accomplish His will here.

Closer to home, He puts good food on our tables. He pulls together the outcasts, heals their broken hearts, and bandages their wounds. He makes our cities secure and blesses our children.

In this season, consider the handiwork of the Lord…Take note of all His blessings to you…He delights in giving good gifts to His children…Allow the gratitude in your heart to spill from your lips in joyful worship…Sing a hymn of thanksgiving to God…The Lord strains to hear your upraised voice…your praises are music to His ears!!!
11/23/2021Psalm 146:1 “Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul!”

As Thanksgiving approaches, we are counting our blessings and singing God’s praises. We choose to give thanks every single day.

In our verse, the psalmist speaks forcibly to his soul, “Praise the Lord!” He seems to be waking up his sluggish soul and reminding it to give praise where praise is due.

A popular quote asks the direct question: “What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?” Ouch! How easy it is for us to get sidetracked by all the distractions that clamor for our attention. How quickly our world-weary souls bow under the weight of everyday pressures.

But the psalmist rings the alarm and shakes our shoulders: “Praise the Lord, O my soul!” And he proceeds to spell out all the reasons that those whose hope is in the Lord should be happy.

God always does what He says that He will do…He executes justice for the oppressed…He gives food to the hungry and freedom to the prisoners…He opens the eyes of the blind and raises up those who are bowed down…He watches over strangers, the orphans, and the widows – those who feel displaced and lonely…Today, rouse your soul…Wake it from its slumber…Remind it of all the reasons that God has given you to be happy…Count your blessings one by one!!!
11/22/2021Psalm 145:1 “I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever.”

Thanksgiving is just a few days away! More than a one-day-a-year celebration, thanksgiving should be the everyday overflow of our hearts.

The psalmist gives us a great reminder. With sweeping passion, he declares that he will bless the name of the Lord forever and ever. Yet, the next verse draws it a little closer to home. He promises to bless the King every single day. Then, he explains how he might fulfill that vow in the rest of Psalm 145.

He promises to meditate on the splendor of God’s majesty. He will recall how He is gracious, full of compassion, slow to anger, great in mercy, and good to all.

He will declare God’s mighty acts, His wondrous works, and His glorious kingdom. He will remind others of all His blessings. His mouth will speak the praise of the Lord.

He turns his eyes expectantly to the Lord Who satisfies the desire of every living thing. This is our Savior Who draws near and preserves all those who love Him.

For the next week, bless your King every single day…Take time to meditate on all He is and all He has done for you…Testify to others about His overwhelming kindness to you…If we are to praise Him forever and ever, we should begin to practice now!!!
11/21/2021Hebrews 6:10 “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”

Not only does God remember you, He remembers the work that you do in His name. He promises a reward for those unseen tasks that no one else recognizes.

Something as small as giving a cup of cold water to a little one in His name does not escape His notice (Mark 9:41). He recognizes these tasks as a labor of love given out of our deep appreciation for all that Jesus has done for us.

Each of us has some ministry to fulfill for the Lord – no matter how small. The key is to do it in His name and for His glory. If we desire credit or recognition for our work, we are not doing it for His glory – but our own.

A labor of love is completed with excellence. We pour our very best efforts into every task we undertake. He is worthy of the finest we have to give. 

Our verse today mentions the ministry to the saints in the past and the continued ministry in the present. 

A labor of love is an ongoing effort…We must be committed to advancing the Kingdom…Keep up the labor of love for God…Even when no one else notices, He sees you there…He will not forget!!!
11/20/2021Psalm 139:1 “O LORD, You have searched me and known me.”

God forgets no one. Over and over, Scripture declares that God remembered His promises to His people.

God remembered Noah, and He closed the windows of heaven and shut off the fountains of the deep so the floodwaters could recede. God remembered Abraham, and He made him the father of many nations with descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky.

God remembered the Israelites, and He delivered them from slavery in Egypt. God remembered Rebekah, and He took away her reproach by opening her womb to give her a son.

The Psalmist declared that we are continually on God’s mind. If we were to count the sum of His thoughts towards us, they would be more numerous than the grains of sand on the seashore.

He knows every idea that passes through our minds…He is aware of every word we will speak before it rolls off our tongues…He is acquainted with all of our habits…Every one of our days was written down in His book before we lived one…He knows us more intimately than anyone else ever has or ever will…and He still loves us so deeply that we cannot even comprehend the breadth or depth of His commitment to us…Even when you feel forgotten and deserted, He remembers you…God forgets no one!!!
11/19/20211 John 1:7 “and the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

On the day that the flood of God’s judgment loomed, Noah and his family climbed aboard the ark, and God closed the door. The opportunity for mercy and grace was no more.  As the lightning flashed and thunder crashed, Noah was sealed inside. God provided a way of escape from the watery grave outside.

Years later, the children of Israel hunkered in their houses on the first Passover night. The blood of a spotless lamb splashed over their doors turned away the judgment of the death angel as he passed through Egypt to kill the firstborn sons. He did not discriminate as he took the Pharaoh’s and the pauper’s sons. When he saw the blood, the Israelites’ sons were saved.

At Calvary, Jesus became the Ark of our Salvation…He hung between us and judgment…Sin, death, and hell had laid claim to us…Addiction and bondage tightened chains around us…By His stripes, Jesus paid for our healing…His crown of thorns bought our royalty…The Cross set us free…Now, no weapon formed against us will prosper…When fear lurks, when the past rises up to haunt, when old sins rattle their chains, the blood of Jesus stands against them…When they see that we are safe within the Ark, they must pass by…We are under the Blood – cleansed and set free!!!
11/18/2021Revelation 5:9 “And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”

Two by two, male and female, animals from every species boarded the ark – from the mammoth elephant to the tiniest snail.

Jesus, the Ark of our salvation, provided a way of rescue for people of every kind. Through His sacrifice on the Cross, He welcomes “whosoever will” to join the family of God.

The Good News does not take your nationality, skin color, or social class into consideration. No one is disqualified by the sins of the past or the predicaments of the present. If you have a heartbeat and are breathing, you are the right kind of person to receive salvation through Jesus Christ!

One day, we will gather around the throne of God. Men and women from the whole earth will sing a new song to the only One worthy of worship. The redeemed from every walk of life – bakers and bikers, pastors and prostitutes, teachers and truck drivers – will eat together at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Animals of every shape, size, and temperament marched aboard Noah’s ark. ..God sent His Son for you…Here is your invitation…He is waving you aboard. ..You are the right kind of person for Him!!!
11/17/2021Genesis 8:1 “Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark.”

By faith, Noah built an ark that carried him through the flood of judgment to safety. He started out before he knew how things would turn out.

The waters of the flood prevailed on the earth. Noah and his family were adrift on a three-story zoo with no rudder, no sail, and no map. They had no place to dock, to plant a seed, to see a future for themselves. Noah must have felt forgotten and forsaken by God.

But God remembered. After 150 days, He closed the windows of heaven, turned off the faucets of the deep, and the floodwaters began to recede.

You may be weeks or months into your own flood.  There is no let-up in the pouring rain. You feel alone and abandoned. The water has swamped the sunshine and drowned your dreams.

God knows when the first raindrop fell…He knows when the clouds will clear…He sees the beginning and the end…He is right beside you in the middle…He sees you there…No need to flounder in the floodwaters because He will never leave you…No need to feel alone because He will not turn away…No need to despair because He has given you a future and a hope…He remembers!!!
11/16/20212 Timothy 2:13 “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.”

Noah was a faithful man – a righteous man – but he was not perfect. We sometimes struggle to behave like we believe. Even though we are professing His promises, we waver over the “why’s” and stumble in the uncertainty.

Even when we fail, God does not. Even when we are too weak to go on, His strength will be perfected in us; His power will rest on us. When we are hurting beyond words, He will help us. We are such a part of Him that He could never disown us; it would be like denying Himself.

His love and mercy, His grace and provision are not contingent upon our perfection. When our flesh is weak, He says, “My grace is sufficient for you” (II Corinthians 12:9).  

When the storm clouds begin to gather. When the rain begins to fall. When the fountains of the deep break open. When the flood begins to rise. We can enter the Ark of salvation and find the safety and shelter we need.

When we fail, He does not…When we cannot, He can…When we do not know, He does…When we are out of answers, He is the Answer…Have faith in God…His grace is sufficient….He remains faithful!!!
11/15/2021Proverbs 22:29 “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men.”

Noah heard God’s warning. He believed what God said, and he went right to work. He did not stand in his living room and ask God to manifest the ark in his yard. He did not “name it and claim it” or “mark it and park it.”

Too often, people desire the convenience of the blessing but dismiss the burden of the work. God’s promise does not automatically entitle us to the blessing. We must act on the word that He gives. We take the step of faith that demonstrates our confidence in what He has said.

God promises us the power to get wealth, but He tells us that the person who will not work should not eat either. He promises that His Word will be health to our bones, but we must be good stewards of the physical bodies with which He has blessed us.

Our profession and our conduct must be in agreement. Noah scouted out the forest, felled the trees, sawed the planks, and hammered the nails. He put his faith to work.

God has a plan for our family’s future…Know when you need to pick up the hammer…Let’s behave like we believe…Let’s watch God’s promises come to pass…Let’s get to work!!!
11/14/2021Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”

“You’re not the boss of me!” Sound familiar, parents?

We love them with all our hearts. We make sacrifices to provide for all their needs. We take them to church and practice our faith to be Godly, genuine examples. And yet?

Children have responsibility in this equation, too. God instructs them to honor their parents. Not a suggestion, this is a commandment that carries a promise. If they choose to obey, they will enjoy a long life in which things go well for them. For the child who treats his parents with contempt, God reserves a curse.

We must teach our children to take this responsibility seriously. We begin by honoring our Heavenly Father, demonstrating the reverence and respect that He is due. We also honor our own earthly parents – extending forgiveness for past hurts and practicing grace in the present.

And always, we must guard the authority that God gives us as parents – not pals. Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child (Proverbs 22:15), and we must administer the discipline, correction, and training that will help our children mature to walk in God’s commandments.

Parents, love your children…Train them up in the way they should go…Children, obey your parents in the Lord…This is right!!!
11/13/20213 John 1:4 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

After the animals paraded two-by-two into the ark, Noah’s family followed. By faith, they entered the boat that proved to be their salvation.

Noah’s wife must have supported him. When the rest of the world was against him, he needed someone in his corner. Because of their agreement, their sons believed and worked alongside Noah to complete the boat. Finally, they all climbed aboard and waited for the rain to fall.

When we are united in faith with our spouses, our children will follow. When they hear us talk about Jesus as our Best Friend, they will find the love and acceptance they crave in Him. When they catch us reading, reciting, and wrapping our lives around God’s Word, they will recognize its truth as the foundation for life.

When they watch us bow our knees, they will recognize prayer as a first resource – not a last resort. When they see us rely on Jesus to bear our burdens and to provide for us, they will comprehend that He is more than enough to meet every need.

As we persevere in this most holy faith, our children will see that a life in Christ is the only one worth living…As they climb aboard the Ark of salvation, we will know no greater joy!!!
11/12/2021II Peter 2:5 “…and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness…”

Scripture does not celebrate Noah for his naval genius. While he was an impressive boat builder, he is remembered for something more world-shaking.

Because Noah believed God and behaved like he believed, his entire family was saved – eight people in all. That is worth celebrating!

Today’s verse refers to Noah as a preacher of righteousness. Where and to whom did Noah preach? Genesis never mentions him standing behind a pulpit. But every day, Noah shared a message with his life, when he moved in Godly fear to obey His commands.

What message are we preaching to our children? Does our behavior cause them to believe in the God that we serve?

While Noah’s sons may not have understood his actions, they trusted him and followed him into the ark. Our children may not understand why we pray or attend church, but if we set the right example, they will implement those same practices in their own lives.

Are we living consistent lives of faith…Are we beacons that light the way to Jesus in this dark world…If we set the right example, they will follow us into the Ark of salvation…We may not be impressive boat builders, but we will be remembered for something more world-shaking!!!
11/11/2021Mark 11:22 “So Jesus answered and said to them, Have faith in God.”

What is the one thing in your life that opens up the door of opportunity for God to pour out His grace on you and your family?

It is not your works. All of our righteousness – the good things that we do in our own power – is like filthy rags in the sight of God. We cannot earn salvation.

It is not your monetary status. Your family may be held together with golden handcuffs of privilege, but finances will eventually fail.

It is not your educational standing. Even with prestigious degrees, you will collide with a question that no earthly wisdom can answer.

It is not your influence. No matter the awards you have achieved or the accolades you have received, God is not impressed.

Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord because of his faith. When the rest of the world thumbed their noses at God, Noah had faith. When they scorned him, he continued to hammer the nails. When they whispered as he walked down the street, he prayed harder and praised louder.

Even when it is not politically correct, have faith in God…Even when it is not socially acceptable, have faith in God…Your faith will open the door for God to pour out His grace on you and your family!!!
11/10/2021Luke 17:26 “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man.

God warned Noah of the approaching flood, and Noah heeded that warning. By faith, he began to prepare for the upcoming disaster. His actions saved his whole family.

By God’s divine design, Noah received everything that he needed to escape the coming judgement. He precisely followed God’s blueprint for the ark. He loaded up the animals and hurried his family aboard the boat. God closed the door behind them.

Noah was pressured by the same temptations and surrounded by the same wickedness that we face. And yet, he remained righteous. Because of his faith, his whole family came into the ark with him.

We are surrounded by widespread wickedness like the days of Noah…God has given us everything we need to escape the coming judgment…He gave His only begotten Son to be the Ark of our salvation…When we believe in the promise of God and enter in, we will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16)…Because of Noah’s obedience, those he loved the most followed him onto the boat…He did not win his neighbors, but his faith convinced his family to enter the ark…Are you doing everything in your power to reach your family for Christ???
11/9/2021John 14:29 “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe.”

Many people grow nervous when the storm clouds roll in and the thunder rumbles in the distance. Imagine how Noah must have felt when he looked up and saw a dark cloud forming on the horizon.

He had heard and heeded God’s instructions. For 100 years, he had worked and warned his family and neighbors. The rain was coming, and the flood would rise. He labored through day-after-day, building a boat for a flood in a world that had never seen a drop of rain.

When he drove the last nail into the final board and saw the storm clouds roll in, he did not get anxious about what was coming. He must have sighed in relief that his faith was fulfilled. He must have thanked God that He was true to His word.

Over two thousand years ago, Jesus assured us that He would return to earth as a conquering King. He made promises about perilous times and the pouring out of His Spirit, about disasters and dreams, about sorrows and signs in the sky, about tribulation and trumpets, about epidemics and the end.

Have you been working for His coming???Have you told your family and friends???God’s Word is true, and His timing is flawless…One day, He will split the eastern sky…His promise endures!!!
11/8/2021I Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”

No matter what personal flood is swirling around you, be assured that God has placed someone in your life to throw out a line to you.

God created us for relationship with Himself and with one another. He made us family. He instructs us to look out for the interests of others; we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.

In the middle of strange waters, struggling to keep your head above water, be alert for the person that God has sovereignly placed near you. That is the person who will toss out the life preserver, that will remind you that God has not brought you this far to fail.

In the face of a frightening diagnosis, that brother will testify to Jesus’ healing power. Once drowning in a sea of debt, that sister will tell of a Provider Who is more than enough. She will remind you of His past faithfulness. He will encourage you to trust and persevere. They will stand beside you in the rain and pray for the sun to shine again.

Watch for the hand reaching down to pull you out of the waves…Listen for the life-giving words that will be breath to your lungs…Find hope in the friends that He will give you in the flood!!!
11/7/2021Deuteronomy 31:8 “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

When we face a flood and are tossed about on waves of worry and woe, Satan whispers that God has abandoned us to sink like a stone.

In Genesis 7:11, the rain fell “in the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day.” God did not guess. How comforting that He knew exactly when and where the first raindrop would land!

We might not have seen our flood coming, but God was aware of the building clouds. He sees exactly what lies in our future, and He is already there awaiting our arrival.

From your mother’s womb, He knew that in your thirteenth year, in the second month, on the fifth day, you would need a friend that sticks closer than a brother. He waited there with open arms.

In your thirty-second year, in the sixth month, on the fifteenth day, when the doctor delivered the diagnosis, the Great Physician attended that appointment too. On the day that your heart was shattered, He captured every tear.

Nothing escapes His notice…No random events surprise Him…He holds you in the palm of His hand… Nothing can snatch you away…He is here for you!!!
11/6/2021Matthew 25:13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming”

Armed with the blueprints of the ark, Noah went to work. In light of the coming flood, Noah did not delay to gather the gopher wood and get started.

Noah had enough faith to believe that if God said it, He would bring down the rain. He had enough reverence to take action on the plans God had given him.

He must have enlisted the help of his three sons as he built the mammoth boat that would save his family and the animals of the earth. Their father’s faith and fear must have been contagious. His devotion and determination convinced them.

Some have doubted the success of Noah’s ministry. All around him, his neighbors continued to eat, drink, and celebrate life’s events. How they must have laughed and scorned the crazy man whose whole life had been derailed by this building project!

But on the day that the storm clouds gathered, the people that Noah loved the most walked into the boat with him. God closed the door on the ark of their salvation.

Let’s believe in the words of God and get to work on the plans that He has placed in our hearts…Like Noah, let’s be undeterred in our work for the Savior…If we do not grow weary in doing good, we will reap a reward!!!
11/5/2021Hebrews 12:28 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”

The alarm beeps every morning. We hop in the shower, grab our coffee, and head out the door to beat the traffic. Our routines make us feel safe and in control.

When Noah was 500 years old, God showed up to shake up his routine.  Life had fallen into pleasant patterns, but God was about to do something that had never been done before.

How do we respond to daily disruptions? What happens when the alarm fails to ring, when traffic comes to a standstill, when the principal calls, when the anticipated check does not arrive?

Noah responded with faith. He trusted in the word God spoke, and he was “moved with Godly fear” to gather the wood and pick up his hammer (Hebrews 11:7). He responded with faith…and fear?

This fear was not based in Noah’s anxiety for the future. It was rooted in his utter reverence and respect for his Sovereign Father. It moved him – caused him to take action. He did not rail against the disruption that took him 100 years away from his own plans.

When interruptions hijack your plans you should trust in God…He writes every single page of your story…Walk expectantly into the detour that He lays out before you!!!
11/4/2021Hebrews 11:7 “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household”

God opened the windows of heaven, and never-before-seen rain cascaded from the sky. The fountains of the deep broke open, and water gushed forth. Noah faced a flood.

Floods are inevitable in our lives. Noah faced a flood of judgment. We may be overwhelmed by a flood of fear, financial lack, physical trial, or family torment.

By faith, Noah teaches us how to navigate the unavoidable floods. If we cling to our faith, God has provided an ark of salvation to deliver us.

God warned Noah of the impending disaster. Noah was unprepared for rain, arks, and zoos. This had never been done before! He had a decision to make. Would he trust in the word of God or in his own intuition that said this was foolishness?

How many times we have deserted our faith to flounder in dark waters…Faith is not faith until it is tested…When we are tried by sickness, God becomes our Healer by faith…In our hour of need, God becomes our Provider by faith…When the rains fall, when the storms rage, when the floods rise…face them with faith in the One Who will shut us in with Him and carry us safely to solid ground!!!
11/3/2021Romans 11:33 “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!”

The wisdom and ways of God are simply over our heads. Impossible to figure out and beyond the realm of our ability!

At God’s word, Noah went to work for 100 years. He had no concept of rain because it had never fallen before. When he drove the final nail, animals arrived two-by-two to climb aboard until God shut the door behind Noah and his family. Unexplainable!

So many things are beyond our understanding. How did a holy God look into an abyss of blackness and say, “Let there be light,” and it came to be?

Why did He plan for His only begotten Son to be the sacrifice for sin from the foundations of the earth?

How did that Son come through the womb of a virgin to be crucified in our place?

We certainly cannot explain how, after three days in the grave, He burst forth to ascend to the right hand of God where He now rules.

How incomprehensible that, in the name of Jesus, we have access to bring our petitions to the Father…We have no reason for “exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ever ask or imagine” or “pressed down, shaken together, and running over”…Unsearchable and past finding out…He is the God of the impossible!!!
11/2/2021I Peter 4:7 “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers”

Jesus Christ is coming soon! All around us, we see the signs of His nearing return.

Jesus warned us of these impending signs:  wars, rumors of wars, disease, famine, earthquakes, deceivers who claim to be Jesus, increased wickedness, a lack of love, and a migration of Jews back to Israel. For anyone who watches the news, these are daily realities that cause us to look up, because our redemption is closing in (Luke 21:28).

His approaching return stirs a sense of urgency in our hearts. We have work to do before the trumpet blast and His appearance in the clouds!  We must remain sober and alert because no one knows the day when He will descend to catch us away.

We are Christ’s ambassadors while we remain…He has given us everything we need to succeed in our mission…We must be devoted to prayer, good stewards over all the gifts He has entrusted to us…We will give an account for the ways that we manage all He has given…Watch and pray…Work diligently at the tasks that He places before you…Keep your eyes on the sky…We will not be caught off guard when we live in expectation of His return!!!
11/1/2021Psalm 127:4 “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth”

They are exceptionally noisy and incredibly messy. They question our decisions and challenge our authority. They monopolize our days and keep us up at night. And we love them more than our lives – these children that God has given to us.

Our children are our legacy and future. We are commissioned by our Heavenly Father to raise up the next generation to follow Him, to thoroughly prepare them for a life in Christ.

As parents, we are charged with teaching them about this marvelous Savior to Whom we have devoted our lives. We must raise them up to love Him and fully embrace His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit.

They are like arrows in our hands – pointed and purposeful…We sharpen them to shoot them into the future, to carry the power of Jesus into the years beyond us…We must be intentional as we model and mold, train and teach, love and lead – always pointing them to Jesus…If we submit to the mission and the necessary sacrifices to pass this torch, our arrows will be pointed and prepared…They will fly true and straight to hit the mark of God’s purpose every time!!!
10/31/2021Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God”

In our noisy and hectic lives, silence is scarce. Rest is rare. The idea of stillness actually fills some with dread and alarm.

And yet, God beckons us into stillness before Him. We often lament how distant – even absent – God seems, but we infrequently sit alone in His presence just to listen. We expect Him to catch us on the fly, to whisper life-altering truths in our ears as we frantically fit one more activity into our day.

Elijah stood on the side of a mountain, waiting to hear. A wind tore across it, so strong that it shattered rocks. Afterwards, an earthquake shook the ground, and a fire blazed through the trees. God was in none of those things. Then came a still, small voice that was so powerful that Elijah wrapped his cloak over his face. How often have we missed the still, small voice?

Jesus often stole away from the crowds and even His close-knit group of disciples. He sought the solitude of a garden or the Galilean hills to communicate with His Father. The instruction and encouragement He received in those hours fueled His earthly ministry. His example inspires us to do the same.

Being quiet takes discipline…It means carving out time and clearing away the clutter to sit in the presence of God…Find a place…Be still…Listen expectantly…Make room for Him!!!
10/30/2021Job 23:12 “I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”

Pastor John Hagee once told his son, Pastor Matt: “If you’ll take the time to dig into God’s Word and tell others what He says, they’ll come from all over the world to hear you. But if all you do is tell them what you say, they won’t cross the street to listen.”

While most of us will not become internationally-known ministers, the wisdom in these words applies to us, too. This world is perishing for a lack of knowledge. They have rejected God’s laws and are reaping the painful consequences of living outside of His will.

People need to hear the Word of God – not the latest self-help advice, psychological diagnoses, or our well wishes. So many are floundering – and even falling – because they have failed to get the Word into themselves.

Job said that he treasured God’s words more than his necessary food; they sustained, nourished, and gave life to his faith walk. There, he found strength to persevere.

Take time to read it, memorize it, meditate on it…Dig in…We may not have silver or gold, but we can share the riches of God with others…Out of the storehouse in our hearts, we can give the life and love found in Jesus alone!!!
10/29/2021Psalm 45:17 “I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever.”

We are members of one, big, beautiful family! We count Christian brothers and sisters of all nations, tongues, cultures, and generations among our numbers. We are one family united under one Father.

As we submit to His Word individually and in the corporate life of our local assemblies, we sometimes overlook the greater, global church of which we are a part. Across the planet, believers cry out to the same God, apply the same beloved Scriptures, and believe in the same mission to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Each of us has a part to play as one generation shares the holy name of Jesus with the next. The older generation is charged with mentoring the younger ones. How rich are the testimonies of those whose faith was forged in the fires of perseverance!

For those in the middle generations, they must perpetuate the convictions and character of those who have gone before. The Truth that we have received transcends generations. They must pass the baton to those young ones who are listening and learning the love of our Savior.

Submission to the mission is how we accomplish God’s plans and purposes through every generation…He equips and empowers us to do His work in every age…What part will you play???
10/28/2021Philippians 2:3 “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”

We move at warp speed, rushing through exhausting days to fall into bed with unmet demands still burdening our hearts.

With so many responsibilities and so much pressure to perform, it is easy to develop tunnel vision. We focus exclusively on ourselves and our dreams and desires. Others become resources to reach our goals or nuisances that impede our progress.

Jesus calls us away from a life of selfishness into a life of sacrifice. Following His example, we learn to look up and look around. When the disciples shooed away the children who clambered around Christ, He stopped them and pulled the children in for a blessing.

On a life-or-death mission, He stopped for the woman with the issue of blood. On the Sabbath day, while the Pharisees looked on scornfully, He healed the man with a withered hand.

In the middle of important work, He noticed and took time. In fact, the irritants and outcasts were His important work. Instead of pushing them to the fringes of society, He pulled in the prostitutes, swindlers, crippled, and poor.

Where can we swap our selfish ambition for sacrifice?…How can we exchange our conceit for concern?…In the middle of our important work, let us look up and look around!!!
10/27/2021Luke 9:23 “Then He said to them all, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

A war rages inside each of us. The desire to do right is at odds with the desire to do wrong.

We each struggle with the temptation born of our fleshly nature. Sin comes naturally to our “old man,” the person we were before we made Jesus our Savior.

When we come to Jesus, the Spirit of God calls us to be more like Him. We have been crucified with Christ – dead to sin and alive in Christ. We put off the former sinful conduct we once practiced with its passions and desires. We are no longer powerless slaves to sin.

If we go after Jesus, we deny ourselves – say no to the desires of our sinful nature. We take up our cross every day – put to death anything that would rise in opposition against God. We follow His example – in our attitudes, our speech, our actions.

Our old nature wars against our new…but we do not battle alone…The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us now…He empowers us to put the old man to death…We need not fear that we will slip back into the bondage of sin…If God is for us, nothing can stand against us!!!
10/26/2021Isaiah 6:8 “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, Here am I! Send me.”

Difference makers come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and cultures. They often do not possess extraordinary talents or special gifts that set them apart from others. The one thing they have in common? Willingness.

They have decided to live with an attitude of gratitude. They determine to serve Him as a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. They are simply willing to try.

In Isaiah 6, Isaiah had an awe-inspiring vision of God cloaked in glory and surrounded by angels. The Lord asked, “Who will go?” Isaiah immediately blurted out, “Here am I! Send me.”

He did not take an inventory of his skills, make a list of all his inadequacies, or spout excuses for why he could not volunteer. In complete surrender, he simply said, “Here am I!”

Differences are as unique as difference makers. It is the woman who rocks babies at the local hospital. Or, the man who drives the church van. Or, the person who serves meals at the homeless shelter. Or, someone who sends a timely text. It is as simple as seeing a need and stepping in to meet it.

God is still asking, “Who will go?”…Be brave enough to say yes…Be grateful enough to go…Be determined to make a difference!!!
10/25/2021Jeremiah 9:24 “But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth”

Consistent prayer brings us into proximity with God. It develops intimacy and allows us to hear His voice when others might not.

Jesus is our true Shepherd, and we are His sheep. He calls us by name and leads us in His paths. We recognize His voice because we have spent time in His presence. His whisper has calmed our fears in the deep of night. His warning cry has kept our feet from the edge of the cliff.

People often say that they want to know the will of God, but they fail to ask Him. Or, they ask once and give up quickly. Jesus longs for us to pursue Him in prayer. More than the occasional try, He desires an ongoing and sustained effort.

Jesus is our Bridegroom, and we are the bride of Christ. This illustration calls to mind the rich love of a long marriage – the quiet conversations, hard questions, inside jokes, easy laughter, and vulnerable tears. He knows the lines of her face, and she recognizes his voice. Jesus yearns for that love relationship with us.

Unceasing prayer keeps us in His presence…As we learn the cadence of His voice, intimacy grows between us…May we glory in knowing and understanding Him!!!
10/24/20211 John 5:14 “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

Prayer is a privilege. Prayer is powerful. It rearranges our attitude and pulls us into alignment with the will of God.

For too many, prayer feels like an awkward encounter with a stranger. But prayer can flow as easily as a comfortable conversation with an old friend. As natural as breathing in and breathing out, it runs like a current throughout our days and nights.

Communicating with our Father should become such a habit that we do not even realize that we are praying – a part of our very identity. This inhaling and exhaling of petitions is an open invitation to Jesus to breathe His life into every situation.

When you have an important presentation at work…Pray…When you need wisdom to parent an unruly child…Pray…As you talk with a friend devastated by a divorce…Pray…As you contemplate a financial investment…Pray…Nothing is too small to request God’s assistance…If He has counted the hairs on your head, He is in the details that seem insignificant to others…Nothing is too big to request God’s assistance…He specializes in impossibilities…Partner with God in prayer today…Listen for His still, small voice and watch for His answers in response to the constant outcry of your heart!!!
10/23/2021Colossians 4:2 “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving”

Paul encouraged us to pray without ceasing. Do it all the time without letting up! Prayer aligns our attitude with God.

Prayer may be the most overlooked and underutilized gift that God ever gave us. What power we possess when we pray! How was the New Testament church built? Prayer. What healed the sick? Prayer. What brought revival fires in the past? Prayer.

Prayer is more than a nursery rhyme that our children recite at bedtime, a monotonous chant, or a religious ritual to check off of our to-do lists. Prayer is a privilege.

In the Old Testament, the Israelites did not have immediate access to God. They could approach Him through the priest, in a particular place on a particular day in a particular way. Only then could they make their requests known.

When Jesus died on Calvary, God tore the veil in the Temple from top to bottom. He ripped apart the barrier between us. Jesus, our High Priest, became our once-and-for-all sacrifice, and He now sits at God’s right hand to intercede for us.

We need only whisper His name to be ushered into the throne room where we can meet face-to-face…Call on Him at any time – all the time – with an attitude of expectancy…Cultivate a continuous attitude of prayer!!!
10/22/2021Psalm 34:1 “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

Praising God changes the atmosphere. Psalm 22 declares that God is enthroned in – inhabits – the praises of Israel.

When we are going through a difficult situation, our persistent praise is a personal invitation to the throne room of God. It welcomes Him to show up and demonstrate His power in our circumstances.

Consider Job who lost so much in one day – his ten children, business, and health. Kneeling beside freshly-dug graves, Job said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away” (Job 1:21). Job’s praise did not cancel the facts. In spite of them, he followed those words with: “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job was not in denial; he made a declaration.

God had been good to him in the past, and he could trust Him in the present. He had blessed him in the best of times, and He would not abandon him in the worst. God was too wise to be mistaken and too loving to be unkind. And even while walking through the darkest valley of his life…blessed be the name of the Lord.

God is consistent and constant…Praise Him…even in the middle of the storm…Your praise demonstrates your trust and invites Him to your side…Bless the Lord at all times!!!
10/21/2021Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Gratitude determines our attitude. The more thankful we are, the better our attitude – and our outcome – will be.

Rejoicing is a habit that we choose. It has nothing to do with the details of our circumstances but everything to do with a heart fixed on Him. And practice makes perfect!

When the alarm rings, thank God for new mercies every morning. This is the day that the Lord has made – choose to meet it with gladness.

Make work a sacrifice of praise to God. No complaining about overpacked schedules or unpleasant coworkers! Thank God for the means to provide for our families and for healthy bodies to accomplish all that is required.

As we drift off to sleep, thank God for our homes, for protection over loved ones, for the food that He gave us to eat today.

And always, thank God for the joy of our salvation! His Blood has washed us white as snow, forgiven us, and set us free. Even on rough days, thank Him for His sufficient grace that covers all imperfections. For protection and provision, bless His holy name.

Make gratitude your point on purpose…As we think on all He has done, gratitude swells in our hearts to overflow into our attitudes which change the atmosphere and our outcomes…Rejoice and be glad!!!
10/20/20211 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Our attitude determines the difference we make. Our focus on God’s goodness factors into our ability to have kingdom impact.

People with the right attitude often do impossible things. Conversely, people with the wrong attitude do little; they tie their own hands.

In every circumstance, our attitude decides whether to name it a blessing or a burden. In every challenge, we choose whether to believe God for more or to become frustrated by the situation. Our attitude determines whether we will praise Him or whether we will dissolve into complaints and accusations.

Complaining cancels out the power of praise. God instructs everything that has breath to praise Him. Praise Him for His mighty acts! Praise Him for His excellent greatness! When we elevate our perspective, our attitude comes into alignment.

Our attitude is determined by three things: the gratitude that is in our hearts, how we praise God, and the time that we spend in prayer. We are not helpless victims of our emotions. We have the option to choose our actions and reactions. We get to decide!

Rejoice always…Pray without ceasing…In everything, give thanks…This is the will of God in Christ Jesus for all of us…These actions determine our attitude and the difference we make!!!
10/19/20211 Corinthians 2:2 “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

No matter how insignificant we may feel, when we determine to proclaim Jesus, we make a difference.

Edward Kimball was a Sunday School teacher in Detroit in the 1850’s. When a young visitor told Kimball that he had no interest in knowing Jesus, he could not let it go. Kimball went to his workplace, purchased a shoe shine, and began to witness to him. Before he left, D.L. Moody received Jesus as his Savior.

Moody became a powerful evangelist who reached more than one hundred million people with the Gospel. Frederick Meyer’s congregation heard about the American revival and invited Moody to London. He preached three sermons, every one entitled, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” Revival swept through the church, and Meyer’s ministry was transformed.

J. Wilbur Chapman came to Christ in Meyer’s church and eventually moved to Chicago where he led Billy Sunday to salvation. Sunday became a great preacher, and Mordecai Ham was saved at one of his meetings.

Ham went on to become one of the first tent revivalists. One night in North Carolina, under Ham’s large circus tent where people stood shoulder to shoulder, a young man came to check out the spectacle. That night in 1936, Billy Graham came to know Jesus.

Because one seemingly insignificant Sunday School teacher was serious about winning the lost, generations of people around the globe were impacted by Christ. What you do for Jesus matters. Go and tell! Win the lost!!!
10/18/2021Acts 17:28 “For in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring.”

Everything that God created, He connected to a source. As long as the created stays connected, it lives and thrives.

In the heavens, God placed the sun and stars. If a star falls from the sky, it dies; it has disconnected from its source. On the earth, God placed trees and plants. If we pull fresh flowers from the ground, they begin to wither and die apart from their life source.

When God made humans, He created us out of Himself. Made in His image, He breathed life into us. In Him, we live and move and have our being – we are His children! We have unlimited potential because our Source is limitless.

Sin created a soul-deep problem…Sin separated us from our Source…Every one of us has sinned and is dead in trespasses…Like a fish out of water, we flail and gasp for breath…We are not where we belong…We are outside of His provision and power…Without connection to our Source, we are dead men and women walking…Salvation through Christ reconnects us to our Source…We find life, wholeness, and abundance…Apart from Him, we can do nothing…Stay plugged in to stay powered up!!!
10/17/2021Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

We are God’s workmanship, and we have been created to do good works that God planned out for us in advance.

These are not good works that we perform for salvation. These are good works that we complete so others will be persuaded to receive salvation.

After the New Testament church received the Great Commission, they went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them (Mark 16:20-21). They took the Gospel into their homes, streets, and workplaces. They told friends, neighbors, strangers, and enemies what Jesus had done. And they turned the world upside down!

The Lord still works with us…When we do what He commanded us to do, He rewards us with His presence and power to accomplish His will…If we dedicate our homes to God, He will use them for His purposes…People will come in and experience the light and love of Jesus and will leave with the peace of God…If we dedicate our businesses to God, His unlimited resources become available to us…When our mission statement is His, He will open doors of opportunity and increase…When we are about God’s business, He partners with us…Let’s get to work so others will take notice and glorify our Heavenly Father!!!
10/16/2021Psalm 139:14 “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.”

From the top of your head to the tips of your toes, God created the amazingly unique you.

You are His workmanship, created by God and for God. How easy it is, though, to be discouraged in the middle of the messiness – to feel unsaved, unworthy, and outside of His blessings. Remember that you are a work in progress!

Think about an intricate mosaic floor. From a distance, you appreciate the beauty of its overall plan. However, the closer you move towards it, the less you can comprehend the entire design. In fact, up close, you only focus on one broken shard of pottery. When all you see is brokenness, it is not impressive. It all comes down to perspective.

God is working on you. He takes this broken piece, that shattered moment, this unplanned event, that mountain, this battle. He pulls it all together one piece at a time, over days and decades. Step back and see where you once were and where you are now, and know that God truly has worked all things together for your good.

Take heart…He has been refining you all these years…He will not quit until you are perfect in every way because He always completes every good work that He begins!!!
10/15/2021Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”

If anyone is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation (II Corinthians 5:17)! The moment that we accept Jesus as Savior, we are made new.

The truth is that – until we come to Christ – we only have the ability to become a reformed version of our old selves. We can embark on a journey of self-improvement, but without Jesus, true change is impossible.

Too many believe they can grasp salvation in their own strength. They cease and desist sinning all on their own. Even if they have the self-discipline to do that, they still have a problem.

Their behavior has changed, but their sins have not been forgiven. They still need to be washed by the Blood of Jesus. Without the shedding of Blood, there is no remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22).

Grace – by faith – is what saves us…Grace is the work that God does, and He gives it to us as a gift…Faith in our ability does not save us; faith in His ability does…Works cannot save us – only His grace and Blood wash us clean…How liberating to trust in His promise and rest in the work that He accomplished…Grace is the gift that He gives!!!
10/14/2021Luke 14:23 “Then the master said to the servant,‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”

To every Christian, Jesus has issued the order to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Jesus spoke these words to a small group of faithful followers thousands of years ago, but this special assignment was not for twelve disciples alone. This commission was not isolated just to them. This special order was for every person who has ever received Jesus.

If you accepted him forty years or four days ago, you have the same commission. Go and tell someone else who Jesus is and what He has done. No need to memorize chapter and verse or pass a test. Just remember these three simple words: win the lost!

No matter your denomination or tradition, win the lost…No matter your age or generation, win the lost…No matter your unique gifts or the one thing to which God has called you, win the lost…No matter where you have been or where you are going, win the lost…If you are looking for a passion and a purpose, win the lost…This is how to make a difference…When you win the lost, you introduce the sinner to the Difference Maker, and He changes everything!!!
10/13/2021Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you”

Members of the United States military have one commission to uphold: to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

No matter the branch of service – Air Force, Navy, Army, Marines or Coast Guard – the commission is the same. No matter the generation, training or assignment, the Enlistment Oath connects every service person who has ever worn the military uniform.

Even when a Marine argues his superiority over an Army soldier – one commission. Whether a soldier engaged in conflict or did not – one commission. Regardless if a service person retired as a four-star general or was discharged as a private – one commission.

As blood-bought, Bible-believing followers of Christ, we have one simple commission: go! God has commanded us to go into all the world and preach the Good News to every creature…When Jesus redeemed us, we were drafted into the army of the Living God…We are united under His banner and have received our marching orders…When His truth is ignited in the depths of our souls, we are compelled to share the message of the gospel with those who are outside of His saving grace…We must go and tell the life-changing things that Jesus has done for us!!!
10/12/2021Ecclesiastes 4:9 “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.”

We shine better together! Jesus looked at a group of people and said, “You are the light of the world.”

He spoke to each individual, since His light has taken up residence in each of our hearts. He also spoke to them as a group. Why? Because we shine brighter and better together!

Once we decide to try, to shine, to be difference makers, we must be willing to work with others. The church often suffers from an “I” problem – what “I” want, what “I” need, what “I” do. Instead, we must learn to ask how we can accomplish God’s plans together. How can we better reach this world?

How freeing to appreciate our differences! If we all are exactly alike, most of us are unnecessary. But He created us beautifully unique. Iron sharpens iron – one blade cuts against another – and friends hone the character of each other. In the places where one of us lacks, another comes to fill in the gaps; we come into agreement.

Under the cause of Christ, we unite to accomplish His purposes…Our God-given differences were made to complement – not compete with – one another…We are united in a purpose that is much greater than ourselves…Together, we will shine so brightly that His glory will pour out to flood the whole earth!!!
10/11/2021John 4:36 “And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.”

We love to celebrate big things! We bestow huge awards on people who perform better than everyone else. Behind every person who reaps the recognition, though, someone else has sown the little things.

In 1970, Dr. Norman Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his extensive work in agriculture. Scientists estimate that his discoveries saved over two billion people who would have starved to death.

Along with Borlaug, we must recognize Henry Wallace, one-time Vice-President of the United States. As the former Secretary of Agriculture, he believed that if the world was going to be at peace, it needed food. He hired young Borlaug to study ways to feed the world.

George Washington Carver must receive credit, too. Before he became the genius of his generation, he volunteered to take his professor’s son on nature hikes. There, he taught young Henry Wallace how all plants were created by God and could be used for great reasons.

Before that, Moses and Susan Carver rescued George from a band of bushwhackers who murdered his mother and kidnapped him. To honor his mother’s memory, they adopted George as their own.

Do not despise this day of small beginnings…Only God knows what eternal fruit will grow from the seeds you plant today!!!
10/10/20211 Timothy 6:18 “Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share”

One person who sees a need and is willing to try can change everything. A simple willingness to try can make all the difference.

Over forty years ago, Pastor John Hagee invited a nine-year-old boy to church. The youngster responded that he would love to go to church, but he did not have a ride. Pastor Hagee promised to find a ride for him. When he asked the church for a volunteer, a teenage girl raised her hand.

Every service the boy could attend, that young lady made certain that he made it to church. From the outside, it looked like a little thing, a mere good deed. In reality, she was a world changer.

That nine-year-old’s path changed the moment He surrendered his life into God’s hands. The course of his family destiny was altered for eternity. He became a pediatrician who has treated thousands of patients. For twenty years, he has volunteered as a Cornerstone Church cameraman so people around the world can tune in to worship. Thousands of people have been impacted by Jesus because one young girl was willing to try.

You are not responsible for a whole eternal destiny…but you can meet just one small need today…What a difference you could make if you were only willing to try!!!
10/9/2021Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

You are not defined by your function. Who you are is not confined to what you do. You are a difference maker.

You might be a parent, a postal worker, a painter or a pediatrician, but that is not all that you are. Elevate your perspective: you are defined by the purpose for which God has called you.

As a parent, you impact future generations. When your children become tomorrow’s leaders, the difference they make will be determined by what you do today. More than having hot dogs with the kids, you are feeding a feast to future difference makers!

God told Jeremiah that He formed, called, and ordained him before he was even born. And God has a divine purpose for you! He prepared good works for you to accomplish today long before you arrived here – walk in them!

When every little thing that you do…wiping a nose…sliding a letter through a slot…splashing color on a canvas…making a diagnosis…is done in the name of the Lord Jesus with an attitude of gratitude, He infuses those actions with holy purpose…More than fulfilling a function, you are created to make an eternal difference!!!
10/8/2021Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

You never know the difference you could make until you try. Little things make a big impact.

Think of how your own life has been transformed by little things. A smile brightened your outlook on a rough day. A handshake welcomed you into a room filled with strangers. Three simple words – I love you – set your feet on the road to happily-ever-after.

The slightest bit of effort can change everything. Destinies have been changed by a little invitation to church. Lives have been impacted by a little word spoken in defense. Suffering has been eased by a little willingness to reach into others’ pain.

Do not disqualify yourself from the exact place where God wants to fit little you into His bigger plan. You may feel inadequate for the task to which He is calling you, but remember that it is His Spirit – not your might or strength – that empowers you.

Little things in the hand of an almighty God make a great difference…Give God a baby in a basket, and He will deliver a nation…Give God a shepherd boy with a slingshot, and He will bring down a giant…Give God five loaves and two fish, and He will feed 5,000…Never underestimate how little becomes much when God is in it!!!
10/7/2021Matthew 5:13-14 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? You are the light of the world.”

We are the light of the world. We are the salt of the earth. We are the difference makers that change destiny.

If salt loses its flavor, it has no value. If light is hidden under a basket, no one will see it. Are we doing what we were created to do?

We are the light of the world. This is not a simple statement made by a common man. Jesus has expertise in light. He was there when the Father looked down into the void of darkness. When God commanded, “Let there be light,” Jesus brought light to form.

And when Jesus looks at you, He does not see an ordinary, everyday individual. He recognizes inside of you the same power that changed everything in Genesis. The change agent that God used to dispel darkness in the beginning is the same power that exists inside your soul.

When you shine, darkness flees…When you shine, light breaks forth…When you shine, the glory of God rises over the situation…When you shine, new life is born…Your salt and light can change destiny!!!
10/6/2021Esther 4:14 “…Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

“What difference does it make?” Have you ever asked yourself that question? Have you talked yourself out of taking action with that question?

You are a difference maker! Every day, whether you are intentional or not, you make an impact – for the good or the not-so-good. You decide the difference that you will make.

Instead of counting our blessings, we frequently choose to focus on things we would like to change. When it comes time to take the action that leads to change, though, we often throw up our hands and ask, “What difference does it make?” With that question, we discount any strategy, action, or outcome that would help us achieve our goal.

Do you wish your boss appreciated you more? Show up early. Stay later. Do a little more than what is required.

Do you wish you were in better physical shape? Put down the remote. Take a walk. Make healthier eating choices.

Do you wish that your family life was stronger? Spend time together. Look one another in the eyes. Talk about your accomplishments and challenges.

The power to make a difference lives in you…God has chosen you…He has inserted you into this moment in history to impact the world for Him…Live in wide-eyed expectation for the difference He will make through you today!!!
10/5/2021Psalm 146:7 “Who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The LORD gives freedom to the prisoners.”

In Psalm 146, ten verses give us ten reasons to rejoice for His kindness. We have good reason to shout!

The Lord sets prisoners free. Freedom – true, meaningful, spiritual freedom – cannot be found outside of Jesus Christ. Only He can break our chains and release us from sin.

We once were slaves to sin, and Satan was our slave master. But Jesus came to dwell among us. What He came to do in His earthly ministry, He has done in each of our lives. He touched the sick and set them free from disease. He touched the sinners and delivered them from the shackles of their past.

He spoke the Word, and the dead came back to life. The same hands that reached out to the sick and the sinful in the New Testament are the same hands that reach from Calvary, through the crimson stream, to touch us today.

The Lord has set us free…Like Lazarus, we have walked from death into life…Like Zacchaeus, we have walked from sin into salvation…Like Bartimaeus, we have walked out of the blindness of our yesterdays to see God’s purpose in our lives…Cry out for freedom…Lift your voice to declare your liberty…Now is the time to shout!!!
10/4/2021Matthew 28:20 “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”

God is our help in times of trouble. But if He promises to never leave us, why does He allow the terrible trials that we all experience?

God will allow us to go through difficulties, but He will never abandon us. He is beside us every step of the way through every circumstance.

A tangible example of this promise can be found in our long-ago experience of learning to ride a bike. When we perched on the seat, someone older and wiser than we were demonstrated how to peddle and taught us to steer. Before we pushed off, we said, “Don’t let go!”

As we peddled, they jogged alongside. As we mastered the balance and gained momentum, they began to run. Suddenly, they disappeared, and we were doing it! Until we realized their hand was no longer on the back of the seat. “Where did you goooooo?”

But they were there to pick us up, dust us off, dry our tears and tell us, “If you want to learn to ride this bike, I have to let you go.”

In order for us to learn what God wants to teach us, He will allow us to go through some challenging situations…When we fall, He is there to pick us up, brush us off, and encourage us to try again…
10/3/2021Ezra 3:11 “And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD…. Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD…”

Have you ever met someone who was excited about the win before the game ever began? That attitude sums up the shout of praise.

The shout of praise is something that you lift up before you see the victory. It is a shout filled with expectation and the certainty that if God has done it before, He will do it again.

The shout of praise is not rooted in denial; it is grounded in faith. You see a problem, but you know the Waymaker. You need healing, but you know the Great Physician. You need a miracle, but you know the Mountain-mover. In spite of how impossible the situation appears, God specializes in impossibilities.

He is worthy of your shout of praise…His great displays of power prove that He is able to meet your every need…He will part the Red Sea…The walls of your Jericho will crumble in the face of your shout…He will walk beside you through the fiery furnace…From the ashes of those dead dreams, He will resurrect your life…In anticipation of the victory, raise a shout of praise…Your faith is the victory that overcomes the world!!!
10/2/2021Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

Whether it is a shout for help or a shout for joy, we know that it is not why we shout, when we shout, or what we shout. It is to WHOM we shout that makes all the difference!

We do not cry out to some unnamed cosmic force that is limited in strength. We do not plead with a disinterested power with no compassion for our plight.

We shout to the Creator of the universe, the One Who spoke the heavens and earth into existence. We shout to the One Who fashioned each one of us uniquely in our mother’s womb, Who knows the exact number of hairs on our heads, Who has designed our divine destinies, Who has been working on our behalf since the day we took our first breath.

He gently challenges us to call to Him – to shout out – and He assures us that He will answer…Not only will He respond, but He will reveal wondrous mysteries to us – things that were once hidden, that we were not able to comprehend…When we shout to God, He moves heaven and earth for us…When we shout to God, we lift our hearts and our shouts to the King of kings and Lord of lords…And HE makes all the difference!!!
10/1/2021Psalm 98:4 “Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.”

Sometimes, our “Hallelujah!” breaks out with ease. We remember what God has done for us in the past. We see all of the wonderful things He is doing in our present, and we anticipate sunny days ahead.

When the storms come or the unthinkable occurs, our natural inclination is to fall silent, to shut in our shout. However, our shout for joy is not based on our circumstances. They change in a moment. Our emotions waver wildly. Our moods swing with our situation.

Our joy, though, is not a byproduct of circumstances. Fullness of joy is found in the presence of God (Psalm 16:11). If He abides inside of us, His joy – no matter what the situation – resides deep in our spirits.

In our season of need, we remember the Lord is our Shepherd; we shall not want. In our season of trouble, we sense His presence as we walk through the very shadow of death; His nearness comforts us. In our season of confusion, we find clarity in our Light and Salvation; we have no reason to fear.

Everything in our world need not be perfect before we shout for joy…In our very core, we recognize the fullness of God and His all-sufficiency to meet whatever it is we face…From that absolute certainty, our shout of joy erupts!!!
9/30/2021Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

When we are overwhelmed, God is our safe place to hide. When we are in the grip of a crisis, He stands ready to assist. His ear is attuned to our shout for help.

In the middle of a storm, Jesus came walking on the water towards the disciples’ boat. Peter was the only apostle who had the courage to get out of the boat and walk towards Him. In a blink, he was drowning in waves he had been walking over moments before. As the sea crashed over his head, Peter shouted a short and powerful prayer, “Lord, save me!”

His desperation caused him to be blunt. Our humble “God, I need you” pulls Him into our situation. We will never be independent of Him, and grace says that we have no need to be. God wants us. His eyes are on us, and His ears are open to our cries.

If you are surrounded on every side, if you are going under for the last time, shout to Jesus for help…Your desperation may cause you to be blunt…Your despair may cause you to be bold in your request…But even as the cry is torn from the depths of your spirit, He will be there, leaning over with hand outstretched to catch hold of you!!!
9/29/2021Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

The apostle Paul is a good example. After his conversion to Christ, he immediately withdrew into the wilderness of Arabia before returning to Damascus (Galatians 1:17). In total, he ministered some fourteen years in relative obscurity before being embraced by the leaders of the Jerusalem church (Galatians 1:21–2:2). An even longer period of obscurity was endured by Moses—forty years as a shepherd in Midian before God called him to go back to Egypt to lead the Hebrews out of captivity.

Sometimes God sets us apart in order to prepare us for what is coming next…There is always a purpose in His plans…
9/28/2021Matthew 16:15-16 “He said to them, But who do you say that I am? Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jerusalem was abuzz with the question: “Who is this?” Who was this humble man riding on a donkey amid a cheering crowd?

Some waved Him off; it’s just the son of Joseph and Mary. Others shrugged; He is just another prophet from Galilee. Still others saw Him as their rebel hero arriving to overthrow their oppressors.

Earlier, when Jesus posed this question to the disciples, Peter did not mince words: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” How do we respond when others sense the Spirit of God in us and inquire, “Who is this?”

Do we make our faith something bland and boring? Do we portray Him as something they can ignore or do we proclaim Him in a way that they can never forget?

Because He is risen, we are alive…When we did not deserve it, He forgave us and showed us mercy…When we were alone, He called us His friends…When we were weak, He was strong…When we were abandoned, He showed Himself faithful and true…When we were in trouble, He was there beside us…There is no one like Him…Who do you say that He is?
9/27/20211 Thessalonians 4:17 “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

Jesus is coming again! We can lose sight of this fact in the here-and-now directly in front of us, but every day brings us closer to His return. In the same way that He ascended to heaven after His resurrection, He will return again.

As the Day approaches, we will see signs and wonders: fire, blood, wars, and earthquakes. People will love themselves and their money. They will be disobedient and despisers of good, boasters and blasphemers, unholy and unloving.

But in the last days, He also will pour out His Spirit on all people. Sons and daughters will prophesy. Young men will see visions, and old men will dream dreams. Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. When we see these signs, we will rejoice for our Bridegroom is on the way!

Instead of a Suffering Servant, He will return as a conquering King. With a shout and the blast of a trumpet, He will descend.

No crowds will clamor for His crucifixion…No corrupt powers will sentence Him to execution…On that day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father…Our King is coming back!!!
9/26/2021Psalm 119:160 “The entirety of Your Word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.”

All Scripture is God-breathed – inspired by Him – and is profitable for conviction, correction, and instruction. It re-sets the direction of our lives and teaches us to live in a manner pleasing to Him.

Our sophisticated world expresses skepticism about the veracity of the Bible; many even disregard the verses they choose not to believe. The Psalmist makes it clear though: all of His Word is true.

He always keeps His word. Always. Scholars count over 1200 prophesies in the Bible. Over 400 of those prophesies pointed to the coming Messiah. His life and death perfectly fulfilled every single one. Over 3000 promises beckon in the Scriptures. You can stand on every one.

The grass may wither, the flower may fade, but the Word of God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8). Every jot, every tittle, every comma, every period, every letter, every line, every word on every page will all be fulfilled. God has magnified His Word above His name (Psalm 138:2) and watches over it to be certain that it is fulfilled (Jeremiah 1:12).

The Word has been mocked by cynics, dissected by unbelievers, and diluted by frauds. Yet, for all the abuse it has taken, it still endures as a testament to His faithfulness. It is the whole truth of God!!!
9/25/2021John 4:24 “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The atmosphere was electric! Jesus came riding a donkey into Jerusalem on His way to the temple. The frenzied crowd threw down their robes across His path. Others waved branches as they shouted exuberantly, “Hosanna!”

Was this true worship? Because a mere few days later, this same crowd shouted, “Crucify Him!” This was not the Savior that they expected.

Jesus had confronted the Romans and the corrupt Jewish leaders; in Him was a political opportunity to overthrow their oppressors. Jesus took two fish and five loaves to feed 5000; in Him was unlimited resources. He restored Lazarus from the dead; in Him was the ability to raise up their wounded. They could not lose in a battle with Rome!

When their hero was arrested, their “worship” quickly disintegrated into contempt. If He could not give what they demanded, He was dead to them. They wanted Jesus to give them what they desired – not to give Him what He wanted. It begs the question of why we worship.

Do we worship Jesus for the blessings that He gives…Do we offer up genuine praise…Does our adoration pour from a true heart of gratitude…Do we bring to Jesus what He requires…Let us bow down before our Maker to worship Him in spirit and truth!!!
9/24/2021Revelation 1:18 “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”

Jesus is alive! In the middle of busy, complicated days, we often need a reminder. He lives to redeem our lives from destruction, to declare the good news, to heal the brokenhearted, and to deliver the oppressed.

Two thousand years ago, His enemies crucified Him at Calvary. But three days later, He rose – victorious over death, hell, and the grave. Because of Him, we boldly proclaim, “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” (I Corinthians 15:55)

After His resurrection, He walked the earth for forty days showing Himself alive “by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3). Then, He ascended into heaven to sit in power at the right hand of God. All angels, powers, and authorities have been made subject to Him.

And there He intercedes for us…He does not rest or sleep…He watches over us…He fills us up with His power and His presence…Whenever two or more of us get together in His name, there He is right in the middle…Take a moment to inhale the wonder of Him – as near as your breath…Close your eyes and see Him there at the Father’s elbow – continuing to plead your cause…All around us, He is at work…He lives!!!
9/23/2021Psalm 136:1 “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”

God is good, and He is worthy to be praised! Not just on the days when the sun is on our faces and joy bubbles in our hearts. Even on the days when thunderclouds congregate and grief drives us to our knees.

Paul admonishes us to give thanks in everything “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (I Thessalonians 5:18). But how is it possible to live with sincere gratitude in an often cruel world? Notice that he says to give thanks in everything…not for everything.

In the big moments – the salvations, the graduations, and births – give thanks…In the insignificant moments – a morning kiss, the first tulip of spring, a shared meal – give thanks…When we consider our past, thank God that it led us to Him…On the days we are overwhelmed, thank God that He walks beside us…In the face of a pink slip or a frightening diagnosis, thank God that He holds every tomorrow…that He holds us securely in His hand…Our gratitude demonstrates our trust in a loving Father…Our hearts are fixed unswervingly on a God Who is good to us in every season…No matter the circumstance, we believe that He is working all things to our good for His glory…We give thanks with grateful hearts!!!
9/22/20211 John 5:11-12 “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

For those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, we should overflow with the life of Christ. Our pasts are washed clean by His forgiveness. Our present is filled with the joy of His presence. Our futures brim with hope.

In the Garden of Eden, God breathed life into Adam. After he bit into the forbidden fruit, we inherited death. But Jesus came to redeem our lives from destruction. We were dead in sin, but He came to dwell inside and breathe new life into us. We became new creations.

He has redeemed our lives from destruction and crowned us with loving kindness. Goodness and mercy follow us; the blessings of God chase us down and overtake us.

How can we not exude life if we are filled with The Life? 

Jesus assured us that, for every person who chooses to believe in Him, rivers of living water will burst forth from their hearts…Jesus assured us that joy and exuberance cannot be contained…Allow yourself to be swept up in the river of the Holy Spirit…Splash that living water on those who are thirsty and long for life overflowing!!!
9/21/20211 John 5:4 “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.”

After we prepare for conflict, we need to get ready for victory! No need to debate what God has declared. Every step brings us that much closer to His promise.

When God promised Jericho to the Israelites, He instructed them to march. Every circle around the walls gave them opportunity to prepare for victory. As they marched in silence, they must have remembered God’s faithfulness to them in the past.

If God delivered them from Pharaoh’s brick pit, He was well able to give Jericho to them. If He pushed back the waters of the Red Sea, He could surely topple these walls. If He could be a fire by night and a cloud by day, He could lead them to victory. Manna from heaven, water from a rock…God was with them, and He was for them.

With every lap, their faith grew. A shout was building. They believed that on the seventh day, when they lifted their hands, when their shout erupted, those walls would come down. Victory belonged to them!

As you march around your Jericho, get ready for victory…Rehearse the things that God has done for you in the past…Faith will bring down the walls to reveal His promise!!!
9/20/20211 Peter 4:12-13  “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”

God sees us as victors! He expects us to win because He has already won the war. Before we are crowned as conquerors, though, we must prepare for conflict.

No one escapes this life without conflict. God gave Jericho to the Israelites, but after the walls tumbled down, the real hand-to-hand combat began. Victory was still assured, but they contended for the promise of God.

In today’s verse, Peter warned the church to expect the fiery trial – nothing strange about it. His next words were “but rejoice.” No whining in war, complaining in conflict, or bellyaching in battle! But rejoice!

If there is an enemy in front of you, rejoice that God is about to reveal His glory in you, and exceeding joy will break out. No one revels in a struggle, but we have this assurance: at the end of every conflict, glorious rejoicing awaits.

Do not fear the fight…Stand in the power of His Word and the authority of His name…The God that fights for you is greater than whatever fights against you…The battle belongs to Him!!!
9/19/20211 Corinthians 4:2 “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”

Focus and faithfulness go together like faith and works. Without works, our faith is dead. Without faithfulness, our focus fizzles.

An overwhelming lack of faithfulness exists around us. Temporary commitments abound. We find a world grown weary of doing good (Galatians 6:9). The moment that faithfulness runs up against discomfort, it fades.

True faithfulness is demonstrated in the difficult times. God desires a people who are faithful to read and obey His Word. He desires a people who pray continually – believing that He will respond. He wants a people who serve faithfully in even the small things. He wants a people who are faithful to bring their hearts to enter His gates with praise.

Faithfulness comes easily when life flows smoothly. But on the hardest day of your life, how do you remain focused and faithful? When trouble looms on every side?

You may not see the way through…Take one more step of faith…You may feel absolutely alone…Take one more step…When the darkness presses in, take one more step…Remain focused on the promise that He made to you…Remain faithful to take just one more step…He waits with hands outstretched on the path that He opens before you…He has not abandoned you…He is working everything out for your good…Take one more step…
9/18/2021Hebrews 12:1-2 “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

When facing our personal Jericho, we have learned that we must work while we wait. We must be faithful. While we are waiting, we must remain focused.

We all begin with energy and expectation, passion and purpose. But what do we do when those things begin to wane in the reality of our situations? When every step looks the same? How do we plow through the monotony?

For the Israelites, the solution was to have a vision. They saw their destiny up ahead – full of the promise and potential that God had stored up for them. They made it through day three – not because of the idea that they would do the same thing on days four, five, and six – but because they knew that day seven held the promise of a shout!

Some lose focus because of the pain in their past…Some lose focus because of the problem in their present…Some lose focus because of  the fear of the future…Let us fix our eyes on Jesus; He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith…He will lead us to the joy that He has set before us…
9/17/20211 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

When God gave Jericho to Joshua, it did not come gift-wrapped with a pretty bow set on top. Instead, God told Joshua, “You will march.” If the walls of Jericho were to fall, work was to be part of the equation.

The walls of Jericho fell…by faith. And since faith without works is dead (James 2:17), we see that work was holding faith’s hand. Everywhere faith is found in His Word, work exists right alongside it.

After God gave Joshua his marching orders, he rose early the next morning. He did not delay to do what God asked. He did not waste time whining; complaint is a restraint. He put the plan into action.

Joshua was not where he wanted to be…yet. He went to work right where he was. He knew that God was too wise to be mistaken and too loving to be unkind. He worked while he waited for the fulfillment of God’s promise.

We work while we wait…We march around the walls…We speak His truth…We extend His heart…We put our hands to the task before us…Every step of faith brings us one step closer to the shout of victory…
9/16/2021Hebrews 11:30 “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.”

The daunting walls of Jericho stood between the children of Israel and the Promised Land. If not for God, those walls were their mission impossible.

You may face the walls of a personal Jericho that are impossible for you to bring down on your own. But remember! God’s power begins where your strength ends. Even though every step of every lap must be walked before the wall crumbles, you walk by faith in a God Who makes the impossible possible.

Rather than analyzing the issue from every angle, choose to address your Jericho. You cannot change what you will not confront or finish what you are unwilling to begin. The victory of day seven only occurs after a first step is taken on day one. By faith, take the first teetering step that leads to freedom and laying hold of the promises of God to you.

One step in front of the other…one day after another we walk on by faith…When we march in God’s truth and in His way, a revolution of righteousness swells to sweep away the stubborn walls and carry us to victory…Our God makes the impossible our reality…
9/15/2021Psalm 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

As the Israelites prepared to take possession of the Promised Land, they stared up at the walls of Jericho. But in the middle of today’s difficult circumstances, God had some good news for Joshua.

As Joshua stepped into Moses’ leadership shoes, God assured Joshua that He was giving them the Promised Land. Every piece of land where Joshua’s foot fell belonged to him. No man would be able to stand before him all the days of his life. Just as God was with Moses, He was with Joshua. He would never leave nor forsake him.

As you march around your personal Jericho, be encouraged by the Good News. The afflictions of the righteous may be many, but the Lord delivers us from them all. If your heart is broken, remember that He has heard every prayer and has captured each tear in a bottle.

Weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning. No matter your affliction – physical to financial – God’s Word contains 3,000 promises that apply to you. He keeps His promises from generation to generation, and He will not fail you.

No matter how many laps you have circled around your Jericho, if you are walking in obedience and making every step one of faith, your shouting day is coming…One day soon, a roar will erupt…Your shout will go up…those walls will come down!!!
9/14/2021Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, Your God reigns!”

We live in a complicated, fast-paced world that threatens to overwhelm and rob us of the simple joys in life.

Remember not to ignore the Good News when dealing with today’s news. Do not allow God’s promises to be overshadowed by the Jericho that you face. Remember to rejoice in this simple truth: you woke up this morning!

Your heart beats in your chest because He has a purpose for you. He has not forgotten you, and He will never abandon you. He loves you deeply and unconditionally. He has a plan for you. Even when life is difficult, be assured that a good God still sits on His throne. He is faithful to fulfill all of His promises to you. He will provide everything that you need according to His riches in glory.

The situation might look complicated in front of you, but God is not confused…He knows the path that you take…He has gone before you to prepare the way…He has moved the mountains of impossibility…If you need wisdom, ask Him…If you need strength, lean on Him…If you need joy He will be the glory and the lifter of your head…Whatever you face today, do not forget the good news as you deal with today’s bad news…God is on your side!!!
9/13/20212 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

For forty years, the Israelites walked in circles in the wilderness. God planned to take them straight from Egypt to the Promised Land, but their unbelief and disobedience left them wandering.

Joshua’s first task in the Promised Land was to take another walk. This walk, though, was one of faith and obedience. When we walk by faith, we make progress. When we walk in our own carnality, we create work and frustration.

As we take another lap, our Jericho may be the same stubborn issue that needs to be solved, but something begins to happen. We are not the same people that we were on that last lap.

Every day, we are just a little stronger. We are just a little wiser. We are learning to lean more on a faithful God. His Word is growing in us. Our legs are stronger. Our faith is bigger. A shout is building in our lungs. Every step becomes one of progress when we walk in obedience to God’s will.

Even if our enemies scoff at us from the top of the wall. Even if they tell us how ridiculous we look. We are not walking blindly; we are in step with God Almighty. Just keep watching.

Jericho, He has given you to me…Jericho, He has promised me a victory…Jericho, your days are numbered…Jericho, you may be greater than me, but you are no match for the One Who lives in me…One step closer to victory!!!
9/12/20211 Samuel 15:22 “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…”

God promised to give Jericho into the Israelites’ hands, but when they would have marched into battle, He had another idea. Let’s spend seven days walking around this problem before we solve it!

We want to make progress, but God walks us in circles. We want to surge forward, but God forces us to take another lap. Why do we get so frustrated when we know that there is a lesson in every lap?

Our perspective of progress is nothing like God’s perspective. We measure success when we see what we want. God measures success when we are willing to do what He wants.

We want God to bless our businesses; He wants us to recognize Him as our Source. We want God to bless our marriages; He wants us to submit to one another. We want God to stamp out our tempers; He wants us to practice self-discipline. We want God to erase our hasty words; He wants us to control our tongues.

The next time God waves you on to another lap, stay alert for the lesson to be learned and for the wisdom He will whisper…Your willingness to put one foot in front of the other is better than any sacrifice you might make…The Lord delights in your obedience as you take another lap…
9/11/2021Joshua 6:2-3 “And the Lord said to Joshua: See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days.”

If you have served God for any time at all, it goes without saying that His ways are not our ways. The path that He charts, the routes where He sends us are not normally the ones that we would choose.

Joshua must have felt the same way when God announced His plan to take down the walls of Jericho. Walk around the walls in silence for six days? What about weapons, battle strategies, and manpower?

In our spiritual lives, it often feels like we walk in circles around the same situations. However, God has built a lesson into every lap. When our common sense says that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, His is the path of righteousness.

We long for progress, but God gives us the opportunity to take another lap and learn another lesson. Our Jerichos are gifts – not burdens – so that we may witness the greatness of God and gain His wisdom with every step.

It might look like another lap, but God is leading us…He is growing us…He is demonstrating His goodness…When the walls fall flat, we will understand the lesson in every lap…
9/10/2021Psalm 68:1-2 “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; let those also who hate Him flee before Him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.”

When Joshua and the Israelites stood on the brink of the Promised Land, the intimidating walls of Jericho loomed between them and the land flowing with milk and honey.

What obstacles stand between you and the promises of God? Every one of us has cringed under the shadow of a stubborn wall. Whether it is emotional, spiritual or financial, they tower so high and so strong that trying to tear them down seems pointless.

Those walls that keep you from enjoying the fullness of God’s promise may be much higher and stronger than you, but they are no match for the God that you serve. He is higher and greater. He keeps His promises, and He tells us that we can do all things through Christ Who gives us the strength.

Your Jericho problem is no match for the Waymaker. Even if you must walk around the problem for a few days, He will walk beside you and whisper lessons in your ear that grow your faith and your determination.

That day will come when God commands, “Shout!” And with a voice of triumph and a roar of praise, the walls and the barriers in your life will fall down flat. Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered!!!
9/9/2021Numbers 33:55 “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell.”

Joshua and the children of Israel stood on the brink of the Promised Land. The land flowing with milk and honey that God had promised to Abraham spread out before them. And yet…

There towered the walls of Jericho – mighty and intimidating. Joshua did not wish to deal with Jericho, but God made it clear: drive out all of the inhabitants in Canaan. If any were left behind, they would become a barb in their eye and a thorn in their flesh.

Jericho is not a problem that comes out to attack us. Jericho is a problem that shuts itself in and challenges, “Get rid of me if you can!” It is an issue that digs in, prevents us from seeing the goodness of God, impedes our progress, and causes us frustration on a continual basis.

In the same way that Joshua had to confront Jericho, we must address the painful issues that seek to take root in our lives…We must seek God’s face… We must listen for our marching orders…We must  obey them fully…We cannot allow strongholds to diminish our faith walk…Whatever that stubborn situation, it must fall in the face of the God that we know…His victory allows us to forge ahead into the promises that He has waiting…
9/8/2021Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

The book of John tells us that there is no truth in Satan. When he lies, he speaks his native tongue because he is the father of lies. How easily we fall prey to his accusations!

Today’s verse stiffens our spines and raises our heads though. When we find refuge in God, He comes to our defense. When we suit up in His armor, the fiery darts of the enemy fall powerless.

What shall we say when condemnation crouches with all its guilt and shame? God is for us. Christ bore our condemnation – along with our sin – at Calvary. No more condemnation for us!

What shall we say when old temptations whisper suggestively in our ears? God is for us. We are dead to sin and alive to the righteousness of Christ. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead rises up inside of us to help us resist the devil.

What shall we say when fear threatens to overwhelm? God is for us. The Spirit confirms that we are the heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; all of Their sufficiency is ours.

God will turn the things that Satan intends for our harm to work to our benefit…Through it all, nothing will separate us from His great love…God is for us, and that makes us more than conquerors…
9/7/20211 John 3:1 “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!”

One of God’s most loving and enduring blessings to us is the gift of family. Through faith, we become sons and daughters of God – adopted into a diverse and loving family!

Membership in His family assures many benefits. We are always – fully and without question – loved by our Father. He gave everything that He had to adopt us as His own. In the household of faith, we are surrounded by brothers and sisters who love us with deep affection. We no longer are lonely strangers; we are accepted and beloved.

These brothers and sisters pray us to the finish line and celebrate our victories. They sit in the ashes with us when our hearts are broken. They gently admonish us when we wander off course. They offer hospitality and generosity when we are in need. They encourage us with songs, Scriptures, and wise words. We eat together, laugh together, grow together, and share our stories.

And when differences arise? We extend the same grace to others that Jesus lavishly pours out to us. We do not provoke others to anger, and we are quick to forgive. We insist that peace tie us together.

We are not created to go it alone…We are gifts to one another from our Father Who knew that we would need each other’s encouragement and love…Together, we are the King’s children and a family…
9/6/2021Psalm 90:17 “And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.”

Labor Day provides us the opportunity to honor the social and economic achievements of the American worker. Today, we pay tribute to the contributions that workers have made to the development, security, strength, and prosperity of our country.

As we celebrate, let us offer our gratitude to God for the gifts with which He has graced us in this country. Our Constitution names three inalienable rights available to every American: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our national and personal freedoms allow us the opportunity to chase our dreams and realize our goals.

Thank God for the breath in our lungs, the strength of our bodies, and the sharpness of our minds as we set our hands to the work that He has provided for us…Thank God for the jobs He has given so that we can provide for our families…Thank God for the value and dignity that He places on the work that we do…As we give thanks to our Father and offer up every word that we say and every task that we complete in the name of Jesus, we become co-laborers with Christ to achieve amazing accomplishments in this world…May the beauty of the Lord be on us…May He establish the work of our hands…
9/5/2021John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

At the border of the cross, God sent His One and Only Son to draw all people – whoever believes – back into relationship with Himself.

“Whoever believes” is more than an intellectual acknowledgment because even demons know about Jesus. This type of belief involves commitment, confidence, and identification with Jesus that leads to trust and obedience.

When the Light of the world came, He shone a light on our sin – not to shame or humiliate us – but to bring us to repentance. God goes out of His way to interrupt our lives to save us with limitless, unconditional love. Like all gifts, we have to reach out to receive it.

“Whoever believes” means that He allows us the choice. He is not a master puppeteer pulling our strings and forcing us to comply to His will. At the Cross, He lovingly provided a way home. He held nothing back; He gave all He could give. Now, it is up to you.

If you will choose to believe, He will give you a brand-new life…If you will choose to believe, He will lift the weight of your burdens…If you will choose to believe, He will break the chains that hold you down…If you will choose to believe, He will heal your broken heart…If you will choose to believe, He will give you a home and a hope. Will you choose to believe?
9/4/2021Mark 1:41 “Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, I am willing; be cleansed.”

The Son of God – sent by love, motivated by love, and reaching in love. We often see Jesus with His hands extended, reaching out to touch a wounded world.

He demonstrates His love with actions – reaching beyond racial, cultural, and gender barriers, beyond sin, shameful pasts, and societal condemnation, beyond time and space to heal and restore.

Standing at a well in the midday sun, Jesus reached out to the Samaritan woman. Rejected by Jews and Samaritans alike, Jesus gave her living water so that she never need thirst again.

The scribes and Pharisees caught a woman in the very act of adultery. Instead of pointing an accusing finger, Jesus challenged the man who was without sin to throw the first stone. When they retreated, He sent her home to “sin no more” with no weight of condemnation.

When the disciples shooed away the children, Jesus took them in His arms and blessed them. When the blind man came seeking sight, Jesus took Him by the hand. When the leper begged to be made clean, Jesus reached out and touched his diseased body.

At the border of the cross Jesus still stands with hands extended…He longs to gather every person under the shadow and safety of His wings…May He teach us to reach with the same love that drove Him to the ultimate sacrifice…He is right beside you…All you need to do right now is drop to your knees in humble submission and He will show you the way…

Published by Dave Winstead

I am the Chairman Of FaithByTheWord Ministries in Burlington, NC.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: