Thursday, October 22, 2009



Not long after I became a Christian, I heard my Pastor say, “You preach a sermon every day by the way you live your life.” This simple statement radically changed the way I viewed my place in the world as a Christian. I am a walking, talking testimony of what the love of Christ can do in a person’s life.

So, if my life looks no different than before I was saved, what does that say about Christ living in my heart? If I continue to have a foul mouth and bad temper, would others see a reflection of Christ in me? Don’t get me wrong, it’s not about appearances. But if your heart is changed, your life will change. And if you accept Christ as your Savior, your heart will be forever changed!

The more I seek after God and submit myself to His Will for my life, the more clearly I understand the ongoing transformation that happens in the life of a Christian. It is called a walk, because we should never stand still; and as we move closer to Christ, we become more like Him. His light will shine through us. We become humble servants. We commune with God just as we breathe, continually, without thought or effort.

Our lives pass so quickly. Yet there is joy and hope in knowing our eternal destination. That is, if our names are in the Lamb’s Book of Life.


Focus Verse: Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Additional Verses: James 2:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17, Matthew 7:7, James 4:14,
Revelation 20:15


May my life be a prayer,
That started with Your grace.
And faith that comes from knowing,
Your Son died in my place.

May my life be a prayer,
Where Your light shines through me.
That men may see my good works,
My faith by works they’ll see.

May my life be a prayer,
As Your love fills my heart.
Teach me to love all others,
Show me where I should start.

May my life be a prayer,
Where I serve as You did.
As other’s pain I comfort,
Grow selfless as you bid.

May my life be a prayer,
I’ll read Your Word each day.
So I will know You better,
And in Your will I’ll stay.

May my life be a prayer,
I ask and I receive.
For diligently I seek You,
So others may believe.

May my life be a prayer,
Rejoicing evermore.
As I pray without ceasing,
You open every door.

May my life be a prayer,
So I become like You.
The Holy Spirit guides me,
In all I say and do.

May my life be a prayer,
It’s nothing but a mist.
That ends with me in Heaven,
Thankful I’m on Your list.


Holy Father, You have changed me from the inside out. You started with my heart and have worked Your way into every aspect of my life. And though the battle rages; my flesh against my new spirit, Satan tempting me to stumble, and the world enticing me, I am Yours. As Your love strengthens me, I beg You, may my life be a prayer that rises as a sweet odor to Your throne in Heaven. May others see You in me. And may I have the honor of being used by You to help bring others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. In the name of my precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

Thursday, October 15, 2009



Please read the first part of this devotional “FOUR STORIES: Part 1” posted to this site on September 30, 2009 before reading Part 2.

Bruce sensed the uneasiness in the room. He felt somewhat embarrassed and ashamed at the excitement he had been experiencing just a moment ago in anticipation of ‘confronting’ each of them with what he had classified in his mind as mistakes in their stories. He slowly stood up and said, “Each of you loved Diane as much as I did. We may have all loved her differently, but we all loved her very much.”

“So what do you mean by ‘subtle difference’?” Ruth asked.

Bruce cleared his throat. He decided he should come clean. “I know what I have been thinking for the last couple of weeks. But being with you here today, seeing the love we all share for Diane, I am not really sure what I meant. I think the best thing I can do is to try to explain myself.”

“It’s OK dad. Just tell us what is on your mind.” Travis added.

Bruce sat back down with his notes in front of him and started to explain himself. “I can’t tell you how much each of these stories has meant to me. I learned things I never knew about Diane. I can honestly say I know her better now than I did the day she died. Each of you, from your own perspective, revealed aspects and events from Diane’s life that helped me to get a more complete picture of who she really was.

But as I read and reread the stories, I started to notice some differences in the accounts of events that overlapped in two or more stories. There were three major things I noticed in parallel accounts of the same event. First, when Diane or others were quoted, the wording did not exactly match. Second, there were times the order of events were different. And third, some accounts contained details or events that were completely missing from the other accounts.”

Annie spoke up at this point. “Bruce, I understand what you are saying. But really, the fact that some of us noticed different details or included more or less of what happened, is that really a discrepancy?”

Bruce smiled. “You are exactly right Annie. The fact that items were included or excluded from some accounts is just a matter of prioritization, relevance and perspective. I resolved that one pretty quickly.”

“Then what about the other two issues dad?” Travis asked.

“Well, I think the best thing I can do is give an example.” Bruce opened his binder to a page he had marked in his story. “There are many examples of events that show up in some stories, but not in others. The day Diane and I got married, Annie, Ruth and I were all there. Ruth and I both included references to that day. Annie did not.” Bruce turned to Travis, “And of course, Travis didn’t mention that day because it happened before he was born. But the best example of the three items I mentioned before is from last Thanksgiving.” Bruce looked down at the tear stained page in front of him. “Every one of us wrote about that day. As a matter of fact, that was the last time we were all together before the funeral.”

A sudden knock on the conference room door startled all four of them. Sara, Bruce’s assistant, stuck her head in the door, “Sorry to interrupt. Lunch is here.”

“Thanks, Sara.” Bruce said in a low voice. “Is anyone ready to eat?” Everyone shook their heads no. “Please just leave it on the hall table. And thanks for coming in on Saturday. You can go ahead and leave. I’ll see you on Monday.”

Bruce refocused on the words in front of him. He picked up his binder and started reading. “As the pumpkin pie was being served, Diane stood up and shared what was on her mind. ‘I have traveled over much of this world. I have had the opportunity to see and do many wonderful things. But the happiest and most meaningful moments of my life have been spent with you, my family and friends.’ It seemed the entire house grew quiet when she spoke. Then suddenly, Dee (Annie’s five year old granddaughter) spilled a half-full (or in this case, a half-empty) glass of milk as she reached for a cookie. Everyone burst into laughter.”

Annie quickly started turning pages. “Wait a minute. I wrote about that too. But I know that Dee spilled the milk just before Diane said that.” She found the page she was looking for. Annie started reading her account, “As I reached across the table to hand Dee a chocolate chip cookie, she accidently knocked over her glass of milk. Dee was on the verge of tears; but thankfully everyone at the table started laughing. And although Diane made her living making speeches, she rarely did so in her home. But she wasn’t one to let an opportune moment pass by either. My beautiful sister stood up quietly and raised her glass, ‘I’ve traveled for most of my life. I’ve traveled to many different countries. And on these travels, I’ve had many wonderful adventures. But truly, the happiest and most meaningful occasions in my life have been spent with you, my dear family and friends.’ That is different.” Annie said.

“No it’s not.” Travis said. “You both said exactly the same thing. You just used slightly different words. I didn’t even mention mom’s ‘speech’. I was sitting next to Dee. I was tickling her just before she spilled the milk. I was sitting there feeling guilty.” Travis opened his binder. “Here it is.” Travis started reading, “As cute as she was, I always enjoyed messing with Dee. I was tickling her when she suddenly reached across the table and knocked over her milk. I felt my face turn red. Mom was standing across the table from me. She was saying something I didn’t really hear, but she saw just what happened. She looked at me and smiled. Then everyone started laughing. My embarrassment was turned into laughter and happiness as mom walked around the table to hug both me and Dee. Mom always had a way of making things better.”

Ruth had sat there quietly and listened to everything that was said. “Don’t you all realize the beautiful portrait you just painted of the woman we love? You all shared your perspective on the same event. Bruce, you saw her as your wife. Annie, you were looking at her from the perspective of a proud older sister. And Travis, you missed the speech, but received a loving smile from the mother you adore. I was there. I don’t even have to read my story. You each captured it brilliantly. I may have had a word or two different. Who cares? I am not really sure at this point when Dee spilled the milk. Again, who cares? We all saw and experienced the same thing. A beautiful woman that loved each of us that shared what was on her heart.”

They all sat there silently for what seemed like a very long time. Each was reflecting on the significance of how Diane had shared her love for her family and friends in that moment. It wasn’t the words she used; it was the meaning of what she said that was beautiful and true.


Focus Verse: Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but is shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Additional Verses: Galatians 3:28, 1 Corinthians 1:17-19


Isaiah 55:11 makes clear to us that God’s Word will accomplish what God intends. And God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). So, how do you effectively present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to over six billion hearts? How do you touch the hearts of men and women, Jews and Gentiles, slaves and free people?

God has shown us. He told the absolute truth in each of the four Gospels. But he used different wording, perspectives, etc. to accomplish his purpose. Galatians 3:28 tells us that regardless of who we are or where we come from, if we believe, we are one in Jesus Christ. The wisdom of men would tell us that slightly different words or perspectives would equate to inconsistencies. Yet God’s Word tells us that he shall destroy the wisdom of the wise and that to us that are saved, the preaching of the cross is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:17-19).

Additionally, just as Bruce learned much more about his wife by reading the other three stories, we learn more about Christ by reading the four Gospels. There is a clear, consistent truth that runs through each of the Gospels (Jesus Christ, God in the form of man, came to earth and lived a sinless life, died for our sins, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and is the only way to salvation). Thank God for the four Gospels and the beautiful portrait of Christ and His love they paint for us.

By the grace of God and the truth of the Gospels we know what matters is not the exact wording, but the absolute truth of the consistent message taught in the four Gospels (and the entire Bible). I believe it is legalistic (treating the doctrines or preferences of man as the commandments of God) to get hung up on the exact wording God uses to spread His message. It is the intent and the absolute truth of God’s Word that matters.


Father in Heaven, may I trust in Your Word and rest in Your Truth. As you draw me closer, I pray that I will abandon earthly wisdom and trust the Holy Spirit to lead me to an understanding of Your Message. You are my Lord. I am Your servant. I submit myself in obedience to Your Will. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009



At 2:00 PM on December 13, 2008, Diane was killed in a car accident. She was returning from a trip to the mall and was listening to a Christmas CD when she was broadsided at an intersection by a young driver who ran a red light. Diane was killed instantly. She left behind a loving husband of 23 years, a 21 year old son, and many beloved family members and friends.

Diane had been a very successful motivational speaker. Her husband, Bruce, was a publisher. Travis, their only child, was a junior in college. Despite the money they made and the modest amount of public spotlight due to their careers, privately they lived a considerably simple life centered around their family and friends.

On June 13, 2009, Bruce asked three people to lunch at his and Diane’s home. He invited their son Travis, Diane’s older sister, Annie, and Diane’s oldest and dearest friend, Ruth. This was the first time the four of them had all been together at one time since the funeral. Although everyone was glad to see each other, there was a clear sense of shared sadness.

After lunch, Bruce invited everyone to sit in the family room. “I know it’s tough.” He started. “But would Diane want us to be sad on such a beautiful day and in the presence of such great company?” Everyone smiled. Ruth wiped a tear from her check. Bruce continued, “There is a very specific reason I asked you here today. Six months ago today, we lost someone very dear to us. Di… Di… Diane.” Although he had put up a good front to this point, Bruce was having a hard time keeping his composure.

Travis quickly went to his dad and embraced him. “What is it Dad? Why did you want us to meet here today?”

Bruce clung tightly to his son and uncontrollably let out six months of hidden grief. Without a word or any hesitation, Annie and Ruth joined Bruce and Travis in the middle of the room for a group hug that lasted for quite some time. They all cried together.

Eventually Bruce and everyone else regained their composure. “So what is it Bruce? What do you need?” Ruth asked.

“I’ve had an idea.” Bruce said. “I want each of us to write a story about Diane’s life. I want to put the stories together in a book dedicated to her memory. I want the title of the book to be, “Four Stories, The Life of Diane Brown.” But really, I was hoping this wouldn’t be all about what I want.”

It didn’t take long from there. Travis was a little reluctant at first (he was still dealing with his own hidden grief). But within two hours they had all agreed that by the end of September they would have their first drafts to Bruce. Bruce would read them all and then either follow-up with everyone individually or call a group meeting to discuss the stories. Everyone left in high spirits. They were all very excited about the book and having the opportunity to honor Diane in such a personal way. Once the house was empty again, Bruce walked to the guest bedroom and sat on the bed. This time he cried for three hours.

By the third week in August everyone had their first draft completed. Bruce tore through each of the other three stories looking for a renewed sense of connection to his lost wife. He laughed, he cried, he reminisced. The second time through he savored each word. He was learning more about his wife than he had ever known before. He hadn’t really realized what a tremendous blessing it would be to have the opportunity to see his wife’s life from the perspective of three other people that loved her dearly. One, a grieving son. One, a confused older sister. One, a now very lonely best friend.

About the fifth time through the stories (now each time he read his own story along with the others), he began to read them as a publisher. It was still deeply personal, but it was also turning into something different. As much as he loved each story, he had started to notice some discrepancies. Although he didn’t want to question the accuracy of the other three authors, he was meticulously comparing the details where each story overlapped and started developing a detailed list of any inconsistencies.

Bruce scheduled the second meeting of the group for September 19 at 10:00 AM. This time the meeting would be held in a large conference room at Bruce’s office. He had explained to everyone that this would be a working meeting to go over the drafts and start finalizing them for the book. Bruce told them he would have lunch brought in so they could spend the entire day working. He also forwarded each of them a binder containing copies of all four stories. He did not mention the discrepancies.

The day of the meeting, everyone showed up a little early. They were all very excited (especially after reading each other’s stories). The first hour was spent genuinely praising each other for their work. And then Bruce delicately shifted the meeting’s focus to start dealing with the inconsistencies he had so meticulously documented.

“In the binder I sent each of you, I marked up only your story with suggestions and/or corrections on things such as grammar, spelling, phrasing, etc. I will follow-up with each of you separately on those items. But before we go any further, we need to deal with … with what I will call subtle differences in accounts where the stories overlap.” Bruce then passed out copies of a table he had created detailing the discrepancies he had found.

The mood in the room changed from one of happiness and excitement to a mix of sincere desire to address the issue at hand, and confusion and anxiety about how there could be discrepancies in the stories. Was Bruce saying that they had made mistakes? Was he questioning their honesty? Or worse yet, was he discounting their individual perspectives relating to the events in Diane’s life?


Focus Verse: 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

Additional Verses: Matthew 26:20-30, Mark 14:17-26, Luke 22:14-39, John 13:1-30


Every word in the Bible is the Word of God. Therefore, without question, there are no mistakes. No discrepancies. No contradictions. Only opportunities to grow closer to God and stronger in our faith as we diligently seek him by reading his word (Hebrews 11:6).

Before you go any further with this devotional, pray that God will give you wisdom to understand the absolute truth of His Word (James 1:5-6). This devotional is intended to give insight into God’s Word, not to question the validity or accuracy of the Bible.

Okay. Your assignment for this devotional is to study the four accounts of the Last Supper (see ‘Additional Verses’ above). Notice I didn’t say to read the four accounts. I said to study them. Read them carefully. Compare them to each other. Make some notes about what you find.

Before you begin your in-depth study of these four separate accounts of the same event in the life of Christ, there are a few things you should understand about the writers of the four Gospels. But first, a more general point should be made. I believe that God, through the Holy Spirit, inspired the writers of every word in the Bible (John 14:26, 1 Corinthians 2:13). However, these writers were not merely pens in the hand of God. Each of them brought their personality, perspective and life experiences to what they wrote.

With regards to the four Gospels, only Mathew (Levi) and John were actually at the Last Supper. Mark and Luke probably heard most of what they knew about Christ from Paul (but never forget they were inspired by God as they wrote their Gospel accounts). And although each of them believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, they each focused on a particular aspect of Christ’s role. God also had a particular audience in mind for each of the Gospel accounts.

Mathew viewed Christ as the Promised King and wrote primarily to the Jews. Mark focused on Christ as the Servant of God as he wrote this Gospel in Rome. His primary audience was the Romans. Luke was a Greek doctor (the only Gentile writer in the New Testament) and saw Jesus as The Son of Man. Luke wrote as a historian, in great detail, with a Greek audience in mind. And finally, John, the Disciple whom Christ Loved, wrote to Christians throughout the known world about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

In the next devotional (Four Stories: Part 2), we will pick up where we left off with Bruce, Travis, Annie and Ruth. They are headed on a journey filled with discovery, love, and lessons in humility. We will also review what you found in your detailed review of the four accounts of the Last Supper. We will conclude this devotional with some lessons about how God speaks through His Word to a very diverse world (God is so very patient with us and not willing that any should perish, 2 Peter 3:9). So study hard. But pray harder.


Father, You are faithful and patient as You teach Your children. There is such comfort for my soul in knowing that as I read the Bible, I am reading the thoughts of Your heart. I trust and believe that You teach us not only by the individual accounts, and laws and lessons presented in Your Word; but also, and more deeply, by the entire Word of God taken as a whole. Thank You for the Holy Spirit, my comforter and teacher, who reveals the truth of Your Word to me. I love You and Praise You Lord. I pray that love, gentleness and humility in my life show my submission to You and Your will. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

Sunday, September 13, 2009



Barry was fourteen when his father Jack was injured at work. It wasn’t life threatening, but an extremely painful back injury. By the time Barry was seventeen, his mother and father had divorced; and his father was addicted to pain killers. Barry watched helplessly as his father’s life death spiraled. At his father’s funeral, Barry’s mother told him that she had always loved his father and that all this was really the doctors’ fault.

Barry never really believed the doctors caused all his father’s problems; he blamed the pain killers. And over time, Barry began to hate medicine. He wouldn’t even take an aspirin for a headache. He also became a bit of a ‘health nut’. He exercised everyday, ate a very strict diet (never cheating) and always got his yearly physical.

It came as quite a shock to Barry, when at age 27, he was diagnosed with high cholesterol. His doctor explained that it was a genetic condition. Diet and exercise may help delay the onset of heart disease or a stroke, but without medication, his cholesterol would only get worse over time. Barry was distraught to realize that without medication, no matter what he did, his high cholesterol would probably cause his death.

As hard as it was for him to get the prescription filled, Barry could not bring himself to take the medicine his doctor prescribed. There were too many memories of sitting in the car waiting for his father to come out of another doctor’s appointment and then rush to the pharmacy to get his prescriptions filled. Seeing his father broken, frail and addicted had scarred Barry.

Barry told no one about his condition. He drafted a living will explicitly stating that he was never to be given medication without his consent.

At 48, he had a heart attack. At 52, Barry died of a stroke.


Focus Verse: Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Additional Verses: James 2:19, Matthew 8:28-29, Matthew 7:21-23, John 3:16


Christ is the medicine for our soul.

You can know that Christ is the Son of God. Satan and his demons know (James 2:19, Matthew 8:28-29). But having an intellectual understanding of who Christ is will not save your soul. You must believe in you heart and confess with your mouth to be saved (Romans 10:9-10). To cure your spiritual disease (separation from God due to your sin, Romans 3:23, 6:23), you have to take the medicine (accept Christ as your Savior, Acts 2:21).

Our sinful nature is genetic (Romans 3:10). Thanks Adam (Genesis 3). And just as in Barry’s case, there is nothing you can do to cure yourself. Thankfully, God loves us so much, He sent His Son to pay the price for our sins (Romans 5:8, John 1:29). THANKS GOD!!!

So, when the doctor tells you what’s wrong and prescribes the medicine (when the Holy Spirit convicts you of your sin and draws you to Christ), do the right thing. Take your medicine; and live a long, long life (1 John 5:11-12). One dose lasts forever!


Only by Your grace are we saved dear Lord. Thank You for the plan of salvation. I pray that Your will be done in all things. Draw the lost and sanctify the saved. May Your love reign in my life. Amen.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009



In the last Devotional we began our study of the Bible as the road map to salvation. Salvation from what? Salvation from an eternity of torment in hell separated from God.

To recap what we learned, we are all sinners. And as a result of our sin we face spiritual death (eternal separation from God). We also learned that Jesus Christ is the only way to God.

So, how do we obtain forgiveness for our sins and the promise of eternal life in Heaven? Let’s find out.


Focus Verse: Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional Verses: Romans 5:8, John 3:16, Romans 10:9-10


Romans 6:23 and John 3:16 (as well as many other verses) tell us that God loves us so much that He sacrificed His only Son to pay the price for our sins so that we can have eternal life. In His righteousness and perfect justice, God demands a blood sacrifice be made to pay the price for sin (Leviticus 17:11, Hebrews 9:22). And God demonstrated how much He loves us, in that, while we were sinners, Christ sacrificed Himself for us (Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:21).

And though it may seem overly simple to us (we tend to think we have to earn what we get), all we have to do to be saved is to believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and confess this belief with our mouths (Romans 10:9-10). Only by God’s grace, through our faith in Him are we saved (Ephesians 2:8).

So how do you get saved? Believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son, that He died to pay the price for your sins (a price you could never pay) and that He rose from the dead. Then confess your sins and commit your life to Christ.

If you want to be saved, say the simple prayer below. Then start reading your Bible, praying and seek out a Bible believing church to learn about living a Christian life and the importance of developing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.


Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner. I believe that You are the Son of God, that You died for my sins and that You rose from the dead. I ask You to forgive my sins and come to live in my heart as my Lord and Savior. I commit my life to You. Thank You Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, July 19, 2009



In the past two devotionals we have studied about the Bible as: 1. the Word of God; and 2. as the ultimate power in the universe. Now we begin a discussion about the Bible as the road map to salvation (eternal life in heaven praising God). Without salvation, there is only damnation (eternal life in hell separated from God).

We begin this discussion by examining our situation as sinners.


Focus Verse: Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

Additional Verses: Romans 3:10, Romans 6:23, John 3:3, John 14:6


After Adam yielded to the temptation of satan in the Garden of Eden (Genesis Chapter 3), a sin nature was passed to all his descendants (Romans 5:12). And as a result of the sin nature inherent in all of us, as Romans 3:23 tells us, we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. Simply stated, we are all sinners.

Sin is rebellion against God’s righteousness and truth. Anything that comes between you and God is sin. So now that we know we are all sinners, what does that mean? Romans 6:23a tells us that the wages of sin is death. However, this is not speaking of physical death. This scripture refers to the spiritual death we suffer as a result of our sin. Spiritual death is separation from God.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus Christ tells us that we cannot see the kingdom of heaven unless we are born again (John 3.3). Christ was speaking of a spiritual rebirth. Christ goes on to tell us in John 14:6 that He is the only way to the Father.

So here is the situation: we are all sinners; as the result of our sin we face spiritual death (eternal separation from God); and the only way to God is through Jesus Christ.

How do you obtain salvation? Why is Christ the only way to God the Father? For the answers to these questions, seek out a Bible believing Christian and ask them. Also, these questions will be answered in the next devotional posted to this site. And if you are really curious, read one of the most famous Bible verses, John 3:16.


Father, I pray that Your Holy Spirit will touch the heart of anyone that reads this devotional and has not found salvation and the hope of eternal life in Heaven. Amen.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009



If I say the word “Power”, what do you think of? Do you think of a powerful person like a president or a king? Do you think of a powerful machine such as a high-performance car engine, a bull dozer, or a train engine? Perhaps you think of a powerful force such as gravity, electricity, hydraulics or even forces of nature (hurricane, tornado, ocean currents, etc.).

The devotional posted on June 23 summarized the belief of Christians that the Bible is the Word of God. This belief is one of the most fundamental aspects of Christian faith. As we continue to study different aspects of the Bible, this devotional will focus on the Word of God as the ultimate power in the universe.


Focus Verse: Genesis 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Additional Verses: Ephesians 6:17, Matthew 4:4


From a human perspective, one of the most amazing attributes of God is that He is eternal (God has always existed and will always exist, Psalm 102:27, Hebrews 13:8, Isaiah 43:10). Yet in our humanity, we can’t quite grasp what eternity really means. Suffice it to say, before there was anything, there was God. And out of nothing, by His Word, God created everything that is (Genesis 1:3-27). Therefore, God’s Word has the power to create. His Word can create something out of nothing (as He did with the stars, the earth, the sea, the land…). And He can create something from another part of His creation (as He did with man, forming us from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7)).

And just as His Word can create, His Word can destroy. Referring to God the Farther, Jesus Christ told His disciples to fear him that can destroy both body and soul (Matthew 10:28). And at the battle of Armageddon, after casting the antichrist and false prophet into the lake of fire, Jesus slays the kings of the earth and their armies which had gathered against Him with the sword that came out of His mouth (His Word).

A human soul can be saved from an eternity in hell by the power of God’s Word! We are saved by God’s grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8) and faith comes from hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

God’s Word is the most powerful weapon we have to resist the attacks of satan. In Ephesians chapter 6, as Paul describes putting on the whole armour of God to resist the schemes of the devil, at the end of the list of armour, he adds, “…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”. The Word of God, the sword, is the only offensive weapon listed. When tempted in the desert by satan, Jesus Christ defended Himself responding to all three temptations by quoting scripture from the Book of Deuteronomy (Matthew 4:1-11).

God’s Word has the power to change our hearts from rebellion against Him (Luke 6:45) to loving and striving to obey Him (Psalm 119:11).

Through His Word, God gave the Law (Exodus 20:1-17), revealed sin to us by the Law (Romans 7:7), and showed us our need to be freed from the Law by salvation through Jesus Christ as we walk in the Spirit (Romans 8:2-4).

Do you want to experience the power of God’s Word in your life? If yes, then confess your sins and repent, accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Then study the Bible, pray without ceasing, attend Church regularly and watch God work in the world around you. Embrace your weakness as you submit to God (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) so that He can be the source of your strength (Isaiah 40:31).


Father, thank You for Your Word. Thank You for all You have done for me. May the power of Your Word work in my life as I submit to You. As I study Your Word, please continue to reveal Yourself and Your ways to me. My heart is Yours. My life is Yours. I pray that Your Spirit will guide me in Your Will. Thank You Father for the opportunity and resources to share this devotional. May I decrease and You increase as I attempt to share what I believe You have laid on my heart. In the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009



How many Bibles are in your home? Why would you swear on a Bible in court? Why do the Gideons place Bibles in hotel rooms and other public places?

I could go on with many more questions. But the main question I have for you is, “What does the Bible mean to you?”

For the next couple of devotionals, I will focus on a few of the fundamental aspects of what Christians believe about the Bible.


Focus Verse: Psalm 33:11 The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations.

Additional Verses: 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21, Mark 13:31, Hebrews 13:8


Simply stated, Christians believe that the Bible is the Word of God. It was written by men as they were moved (inspired) by the Holy Spirit. The Bible reveals to us what God wants us to know (“the thoughts of His heart to all generations”). As the Word of God, we believe the Bible contains no mistakes or contradictions. We also believe the Bible has been preserved by God and the meaning and intent of God’s word does not change over time.

The Bible was written over the course of about 1600 years (from approximately 1500 BC to AD 100) by more than 40 kings, prophets, leaders and followers of Jesus Christ. In summary, the Old Testament tells the story of the creation of the universe, the creation of a nation (the Jews) through which the world will be blessed and prophesy of the coming Messiah – the Son of God. The New Testament tells the story of Jesus Christ (the Messiah – God in flesh, who came to earth by a virgin birth to die for the sins of the world), the spread of the Christian Church and prophesy about the rapture of the church, the final judgment of God, the punishment of Satan and his demons along with those that have not accepted Christ as their Savior, and creation of a new heaven and earth where Christians will live for eternity praising God.

You may hear the Bible referred to as the Living Word of God. This is because as a Christian, you have a loving relationship with God and He will speak to you through His Word as you study and draw closer to Him. Also, as you grow in your faith and Christian maturity, you will continue to learn more and see the deeper meaning of scripture as the Holy Spirit reveals the truth of God’s Word to you.


Father in Heaven, You are worthy of so much more praise than I am able to give. But I lift my praise to You in song and in spirit and pray that it is pleasing to You. I thank You for Your Word. I pray Father that as I read Your Word daily You will sanctify me, that I will submit fully to your sovereignty and that I allow Your Holy Spirit to create in me a clean heart. Please speak to someone through this devotional and bring them closer to You. Thank You for all the precious gifts and blessings You provide in my life. Amen.

Sunday, June 7, 2009



The God of the universe came to earth as a man and dwelt among us. He lived a sinless life and was humiliated, tortured and crucified by the ones He came to save. As He hung on the cross, He took on all the sins of the world (past, present and future) to redeem those of us who will accept and profess Him as our Lord and Savior.

How can we possibly show adequate appreciation for what Jesus Christ has done for us? We can’t. But we can show him how much we love Him and appreciate His sacrifice. Christ told us that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. He told us that loving God with all your heart, mind and soul is the greatest commandment. And he also told us that loving your neighbor as yourself was the second greatest commandment. We can praise His holy name now and look forward to praising Him in Heaven for all eternity.


Focus Verse: John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Additional Verses: Matthew 22:37-40, Matthew 16:24-25, Ephesians 2:8-9, Matthew 17:20


How can I say thanks,
For all You’ve done for me;
When Your mercy, grace and love,
Mean so much more than I can see.

How can I say thanks,
For I was lost in sin;
But by Your grace You saved me,
A brand new life I did begin.

How can I say thanks,
For living in my heart;
Your Holy Spirit guides me,
I know we’ll never be apart.

How can I say thanks,
Your death has brought me life;
I’ll praise Your name forever,
No more to deal with fear and strife.

How can I say thanks,
There’s nothing I can do;
But die to myself daily,
Take up my cross and follow You.

How can I say thanks,
You meet my every need;
By faith I can move mountains,
Faith as a grain of mustard seed.

How can I say thanks,
Your will is never wrong;
Your grace is all sufficient,
When I am weak then am I strong.

How can I say thanks,
By keeping Your commands;
Love God with heart, soul and mind.
And neighbors as Your law demands.

How can I say thanks,
You change me everyday;
To make me more like Yourself,
Please sanctify me this I pray.

How can I say thanks,
In Heaven praising You;
Sing glory, praise and honor,
There’s nothing else I’d rather do.


Heavenly Father, may the way I live my life show my love for You and my appreciation for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins. May your Holy Spirit guide and teach me. May I deny myself and allow Your strength to be made perfect in my weakness. Help me Father, to love You with all that I am and to love others as You have loved me. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009



Your beliefs about Jesus Christ are critically important to your identity as a Christian. Although we don’t know everything about Jesus, in the Bible, God has revealed all that He wants us to know (and what we need to know) about our Lord and Savior. Under Satan’s influence, there are many cults, misguided teachers, and heretical teachings attempting to corrupt our understanding of who Jesus is and thereby either condemning those who reject Jesus to hell or destroying our witness to non-Christians.

Although not all inclusive, this week’s devotional is intended to present some of the clear teachings from the Bible about Jesus. If any of these points are unclear to you, or if you don’t agree with them, please: pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of these points to you; speak to your pastor, deacon or a mature Christian from a Bible believing Church about these points; read your Bible and discover the truth about Christ; and if possible, join us for service Sunday morning at Temple Baptist Church.


Focus Verse: John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Additional Verses: John 1:1-34, John 14:6


The truth about Jesus:

1. As the second person of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit – One God, three Persons), Jesus has existed for all eternity (John 8:58, Exodus 3:14, John 1:1). A full understanding of the Holy Trinity is beyond our comprehension (Isaiah 55:8-9). For more on the Trinity, see the devotional on this site titled “All in One” posted on March 22, 2009.

2. Jesus Christ was born of a virgin (Matthew 1:18-23) and was fully human (John 1:14).

3. Jesus Christ was fully God (John 1:1 and 20:28).

4. Jesus Christ lived a sinless life (2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 5:17, Hebrews 9:13-14).

5. In order to satisfy the justice of God, Jesus Christ offered Himself as the perfect (sinless) sacrifice to pay the price for all the sins of the world (1 Peter 3:18, John 1:29, Romans 5:8).

6. After His crucifixion and death, Jesus Christ defeated death and rose from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Luke 24).

7. Forty days after He rose from the dead, Christ ascended into Heaven. After Christ ascended, God sent the Holy Spirit to comfort, guide and teach us (Luke 24:51, Acts 1:9-10, John 16:7).

8. Christ is the mediator (intercessor) between us and God (Hebrews 7:25) and our advocate before God the Father (1 John 2:1).

9. Christ is the only way to God the Father and Heaven (John 3:3, Romans 10:9, John 14:6).


Holy Father in Heaven, may Your word, Your Holy Spirit and the body of Your Son Jesus Christ (the Church), reveal the truth of Jesus to a lost world. I submit myself to Your divine sovereignty and ask that you use me to help spread the good news about my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May I die to myself and live only in You. Amen.

Sunday, May 3, 2009



As often happens, the Holy Spirit will use many different means to speak to us about something very specific. You may have a discussion with a Christian friend about a topic. The next thing you know your spouse or another friend brings up the same subject. Then on Sunday the Pastor touches on the exact same issue in his sermon (or you hear about it on a Christian radio station, or you read it in a devotional, or …). This has happened to me numerous times. Each time I am amazed (don't I have a long way to go?). Well, recently this happened with ‘salt and light’. I touched on light last week. So this week it will be salt.

Salt is amazing. It has been used for many different purposes over the centuries. And more and more uses for salt continue to be found (just do a Google search on ‘uses for salt’). However, I have decided to focus on seven key aspects of salt.

1. Salt is essential for human (animal) life. Each cell in our body contains salt and there is nearly one cup of salt in each adult person. One key purpose of salt in our bodies is to maintain a balance of our fluids (fluids that carry oxygen and nutrients to all parts of our bodies). Without salt we die. And too much salt will kill us.

2. Salt is used as a medicine. A dentist will tell you to rinse your mouth with warm salt water. A doctor will recommend a salt water gargle for a sore throat. You soak sore muscles in warm salt water. Salt can be used to soothe a bee sting.

3. Salt preserves (slows decay). In past times (and now) meat was packed in salt to keep it from spoiling.

4. Salt is a spice. Tasted alone, salt is really not very pleasant. However, when put on meat, or potatoes, or other foods, salt really adds to or brings out the flavor of what you put it on.

5. Too much salt in the body creates thirst. Have you every tried eating a pile of french fries covered in salt without having a drink?

6. Salt lowers the freezing point of water. That is why salt is applied to icy/snowy roads and walkways. The salt effectively melts the ice because the freezing point of the water is lowered when salt is applied to it.

7. When put on a wound, salt really stings.

Although I am often troubled by the degree of what I consider to be over-analysis of parables or statements found in the Bible, please bear with me as I expand on the relevance of the seven properties of salt listed above in relation to our Christian lives in the fallen world. I wish I could take credit for all these ideas, but only two of them are ‘new’ to me. The others are pulled from recently heard sermons or devotions I have read. However, I pray that the Holy Spirit will use me to present these all in an original manner that sheds new light on your path.


Focus Verse: Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour; wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Additional Verses: Leviticus 2:13, Mark 9:49-50, Luke 14:34-35


In the Old Testament salt was used with the meat offering to symbolize the covenant between God and Abraham and all the people of Israel. The use of salt showed the faithful obedience to the contract between those offering the sacrifice and God. In all three New Testament scriptures listed above, Christ refers to uselessness of salt if it looses its taste. So, since we are the salt of the earth, let’s discuss how useless we become in a fallen world if we lose the seven properties of salt I listed in the Introduction.

1. Salt is essential for human life. When we are converted and filled with the Holy Spirit, we become usable tools for God to help bring others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through our witness (how we live our lives, direct evangelizing, etc.). We are an essential element in the spread of the Gospel. Therefore we help bring life to the lost. If we do not allow ourselves to be used by God for this purpose, we become very useless indeed.

2. Salt is a medicine. We are saved through faith by God’s grace, not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). However, as James teaches us, faith without works is dead (James 2:20). Therefore, once we are saved, our works demonstrate the genuineness of our conversion. Through our good works, we can bring healing, happiness and bright light into a very dark world. We can work as a medicine to ease suffering. However, without good works, we are like an expired medicine: good for nothing.

3. Salt is a preservative. We live in a dying world. One day, this world will pass away and be replaced by a new one. However, before that happens, God is demonstrating His patience so that the gospel message can be preached around the world (Matthew 28:19-20), not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). We help to preserve this dying world by allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us. Subtly different than number 1 above (where we are essential for life), here we are preventing decay. If we don’t follow God’s will for our life, we are not helping prevent the decay of life on earth.

4. Salt adds flavor. Imagine a world without Christians. A world completely lost to sin. No inspirational stories to be told about acts of selflessness. No expectation of safety or salvation. No light in a dark world that would consume itself. The goodness of God shining through us brings light and hope into this world. We spice things up by showing what a difference Christ can make in a life. When we submit to the freedom of obedience, we add flavor to a drab world. If not, why should we still be here?

5. Salt creates thirst. Living as a mature Christian, the unsaved should long for what they see in you (the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)). Our lives should create a thirst in the unbeliever for salvation and the peace that can only be found in the divine certainty of eternal life in Heaven praising God. If we are not creating this thirst in others, are we useful at all?

6. Salt melts ice. How sad to a Christian is the hardened heart the lost has towards Christ. The sermon we preach everyday by the way we live our lives can have a warming effect on even the coldest heart. Submit completely to God and His will for your life. Melt the heart of someone you love today. If you aren’t melting hearts by your witness, you may be helping to freeze them.

7. Salt stings in a cut. I am sure you have heard the expression, “That burns like salt on an open wound!” In Romans 12:2, Paul instructs us not to conform to this world. Therefore, our lives should ‘stick out’ or sting as distinctly different from the lives of those living ‘in the world’ around us. Are you conforming, fitting in; or do you sting this domain that Satan rules temporarily?

Be salt in this world. Make a difference for Christ.


Dear Father in Heaven, I pray that this devotional is pleasing and honoring to You. May the illustrations presented here prick the heart of the unbeliever and inspire the spirit of Your saints. My only hope is to be fully submitted to You and Your will, living a life that is pleasing to You. I thank You Father for the countless blessings You continue to bring to my life. I love You above all else. Amen.

Sunday, April 26, 2009



When Reggie, Matt and Tony finally arrived at the park it was late in the afternoon. They were all surprised at how high and steep the mountain seemed from this perspective. From the highway it had always seemed rather small. But Reggie had really been wanting to get out of town and have some fun. He had to convince Matt and Tony (Matt’s younger brother) to come along. Although none of the three were really hikers, the mountain trail before them seemed like a real challenge and a good way to release some pent up energy. As they eagerly headed to what looked like the beginning of a trail, Reggie turned around and headed back to the car. “What are you doing? Let’s go!” said Matt impatiently. “I’m grabbing my flashlight. Who knows, we may run across one of those caves we’ve heard about. Anyway, we forgot the snacks.” Reggie quickly grabbed the flashlight and backpack out of the trunk and sprinted back to where his friends were waiting. “We don’t need that flashlight you Boy Scout.” Matt said. Reggie just ignored Matt. After years of being friends, he was used to Matt’s attitude. Full of youthful energy and the excitement of the unknown, the three young men traveled quickly up the steep trail. They ran through the woods and discovered several different trails. The October air was cool and crisp; the break from city life was more rejuvenating than expected and the few small caves they had found fueled their desire to find a bigger one. Quite naturally, as they ascended one of the rocky trails, the three of them started to race. “I bet I can beat you to that big jagged boulder up there!” Tony shouted as he started to run. It was on! All three gave it all they had. Unfortunately for Matt, he tripped on a root and fell flat on his face. Reggie dropped the flashlight out of his back pocket. As he paused just for a moment trying to decide whether he should stop and pick it up or try to win the race, Tony sprinted ahead. When Tony reached the boulder he yelled and began making fun of his friends. Reggie picked up the flashlight and put it back in his pocket, disappointed he lost to a fifteen year old. After they all calmed down a bit, they decided to have a snack. Tony opened the backpack. “Wow. A couple of granola bars and two bottles of water? Matt, why didn’t you bring what I asked?” Matt wasn’t in the mood for questioning. He had scraped his arm pretty bad when he tripped and fell. “I did. I put it all in the trunk in a grocery bag. I don’t want anything anyway.” Reggie was pretty frustrated with himself for not noticing the bag in the trunk or how light the backpack was. As they sat catching their breath and talking, Reggie and Tony split one granola bar and they all split one of the bottles of water. Suddenly Reggie jumped to his feet. Matt and Tony looked at him with questioning expressions. “It’s getting dark.” Reggie said with obvious concern in his voice. “So what.” Matt exclaimed. “So what? Reggie said back to him. “The so what is that we got here around 3:30. The sun sets around 7:30. We have been bolting up this mountain in broad daylight for almost four hours. We’ve changed trails so many times I’m not even sure I know where we are. If we leave right…” Tony interrupted. “If we leave right now, it will be almost midnight before we get back to the car. And that’s presuming we know where the car is.” Being inexperienced outdoorsmen, all three of them suddenly felt very uneasy about their situation. “Lets go and get as far as we can before it gets completely dark,” Reggie said. Without saying a word to the others, he felt some measure of comfort remembering the flashlight in his back pocket. He was very thankful he had put new batteries in the flashlight this morning. And even more glad they hadn’t found a cave big enough to need it earlier and run the batteries down. With the others ahead of him, Reggie stopped and said a short prayer. “Father, please keep us safe.” Within 45 minutes it was starting to get really dark and the tension between them was rising. “I don’t remember that fallen tree. None of this looks familiar.” Tony said nervously. “None of this looks familiar!” Matt said angrily. “How could it look familiar? I can’t see 20 feet ahead of me. With all these clouds its going to be pitch black soon.” But they kept pressing on. At this point, with the stress and tension, none of them remembered the flashlight. Thirty minutes later it was completely dark. Each of them had tripped several times and the progress down the steep trail was very slow. “Let’s just wait right here until morning,” Tony said. “I don’t know what to do,” said Reggie. “But I do know there are bears in these woods and I don’t want to spend the night out here. “We’re lost,” said Matt. “Really lost,” said Tony. Feeling lost himself, Reggie suddenly remembered the flashlight. With the light, he knew they could find their way down the trail. As Reggie reached for his back pocket there was a quiet growl and rustling of leaves from the woods. “It’s a bear!” Matt said in terror. “Matt! It’s OK. If it is, he just wants this granola…” Another growl, but closer this time. Matt started running. “Matt! Matt! Don’t run. You can’t see where you are going!” Reggie threw the backpack towards the sound in the woods and grabbed the flashlight. He turned it on and yelled for Matt. Matt turned and in his state of panic, the light shining in his eyes just frightened him more. His imagination running wild and adrenaline rushing through his veins, Matt frantically ran from the light. He had no idea he was near the edge of a 30 foot cliff. “Matt!” Reggie yelled. Then he saw his friend disappear! Reggie turned to Tony. “You stay with me! This light will show us the way.” Although horrified about the thought of what may have just happened to Matt, Reggie was still thinking about the bear. He turned quickly with the light in the direction the growl had come from. He and Tony saw a small brown bear with the backpack in his mouth retreating into the woods. “Let’s go!” Reggie said. He grabbed Tony by the arm and started in the direction Matt had run. With the flashlight, the trail was easy to follow and the edge of the cliff was obvious. Reggie slowly walked to the cliff’s edge and looked over. Thirty feet below, he saw his friend Matt lying motionlessly. “Come on, Tony. We’ve got to get down there and help him. Matt!! We’re coming. Hang in there man!!” Even with the flashlight, it took two hours to find a safe way down to the bottom of the cliff. It seemed like the longest two hours of Reggie’s life. Was Matt dead, or paralyzed, or possibly OK by some miracle? Aside from all the thoughts running through his mind, Reggie had to tend to Tony. Reggie was concerned that in his distraught condition, Tony may unintentionally hurt himself by falling or tripping. When they finally reached Matt, what the light revealed and a desperate check for a pulse confirmed what Reggie feared most, Matt was dead. Reggie was heartbroken. He and Matt had been friends for years. Reggie was nearly overcome with guilt. He wished he had remembered the flashlight sooner. He wondered if shining the light towards Matt had startled him and caused him to fall. Matt was pulled from his own deep thoughts by the sounds of Tony crying. Tony was overcome with grief and fear and nearly hysterical. Reggie realized that, between the loss of his older brother, fear of the darkness and unfamiliar surroundings all around them, the threat of bears or other wildlife, Tony was in desperate need of help. He had to get Tony down the mountain. Although it tore him up inside, he knew he would have to leave Matt. “Tony. I’m so sorry about Matt. I can’t believe this happened. But we’ve got to go. We have to get off this mountain and get help. We have the flashlight and we can see where to go now. You’ve got to stay with me.” He gave Tony a hug, took him by the arm, and started leading him down the trail. Tony sobbed as they walked and was too overcome with emotion and grief to really think. He just walked. Although there was darkness and danger all around, the light allowed them to see the path and any dangers along the way. The night air was getting very cool, they were both exhausted. “I can’t go on,” Tony said. Reggie responded, “We can make it. With this light we can see the path and get to safety.” “But we don’t even know where we are,” Tony said desperately. “We are following this path down the mountain. Despite the darkness this light will show us the way and keep us safe. The sun should be coming up soon. Then we will be able to see everything and easily find our way back to the car.” As they continued to walk, Reggie began to pray silently. He prayed for Matt and Tony. He confessed the guilt he was feeling over Matt’s death. He thanked God for the flashlight. But mostly he prayed for sunrise. He knew that with the sunlight would come freedom. Freedom from the darkness surrounding them. Light that would reveal everything around them. The journey seemed long and difficult, but the flashlight fulfilled it’s purpose. They were able to see their way along the path and stay safe. As dawn approached, Matt said, “Tony, look. The sun is coming up. Soon we will have the light we need to easily find our way back to the car. We’re safe now. It’s going to be alright.” Tony stopped and looked back up the trail. “I wish Matt were here and could see the sun come up. He’s not alright. Why didn’t we remember the flashlight sooner? Matt could have been saved too.”


Focus Verse: 2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophesy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.

Additional Verses: Psalm 119:105, 2 Corinthians 4:6, John 8:12, Matthew 5:14


What is the Bible? It is the word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). Therefore it is the absolute truth. What is the purpose of the Bible? Although God’s word serves many purposes in our lives, I believe the primary purpose of the Bible is to reveal the fact that we are lost in sin (a light in the darkness) and show us the way to forgiveness and eternal life (a light unto our path) by salvation through Jesus Christ (the Light of the World). Once we are saved, one of our purposes is to allow the light of Jesus to shine through us by His Holy Spirit and help bring others to a saving knowledge of Christ (which comes only by God’s grace). Do you remember to look to God’s word in good times and bad? When life is tough and stressful times come, do you read the Bible and pray to God for direction? Do you only read God’s word when it is convenient for you? Or do you read God’s word each day and rely on the truth in the scriptures to keep you on the right path each day? Sometimes we forget how valuable the word of God is and how blessed we are (in much of the world) to have such access to it. Read the Bible everyday. Pray to God as often and as much as you can. Attend church and Bible study. Watch God work in the world around you. God will reward those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6). Mature as a Christian and let your life shine as an example of what faith in Christ can do. Ask yourself, are you letting the light of Christ shine through you?


Father, I love You! I praise You! Thank You for loving me, saving me and indwelling me with Your Holy Spirit. I pray dear Lord, that as I submit my life to You and Your Will, that Your light will shine in me and that I may have the privilege to be used by You to help bring others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I pray to You Father, in the Spirit, and in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, March 29, 2009



Charlotte was a very cute little girl. She was full of energy and loved to play. When she first started kindergarten, she was a little shy. But it didn’t take long for her to come out of her shell and make lots of friends. One day when the teacher stepped out of the room for a moment, little Billy dared Charlotte to steal a piece of candy from the large bowl of candy the teacher kept on her desk to reward her students for good behavior or for correctly answering a difficult question. Charlotte turned to Billy and emphatically said no. Billy asked her why not. Charlotte stated confidently, “Because my daddy loves me and he told me to be a good girl.” In eighth grade, Charlotte’s best friend was Suzie. Charlotte and Suzie hung out together all the time. One night when Charlotte was spending the night at Suzie’s house, they stayed up late to watch a movie. After everyone else had been in bed for a while, Suzie sneaked over to a cabinet in the kitchen and came back with a bottle. “What’s that?” Charlotte asked. “Vodka.” Suzie said. “I’ve been wanting to try this because I always see my parents drink it when they have friends over. Here, let me put some in your Coke.” Charlotte put her hand over her glass. “I don’t want any. Please put that back.” “Why?” asked Suzie. Charlotte said, “I love my dad very much and he has warned me about alcohol. I trust him and promised him I wouldn’t do this.” Although she was a little disappointed, Suzie cared about Charlotte a lot. She reluctantly walked back to the kitchen and put the vodka away. By twelfth grade, Charlotte was a beautiful young lady. She was very popular and made good grades. Because of her grades and the fact that she never got in trouble, Charlotte’s parents had given her quite a bit of freedom. Thursday nights were family night. Charlotte, her mom and her dad always had dinner together on family night. But tonight, Charlotte wasn’t looking forward to dinner. She had spent the afternoon talking with her mom and knew that she had to tell her dad what was going on. Charlotte had never really seen her dad angry before. But more than anything she was just afraid of disappointing him. She also felt very guilty. Her dad had worked hard to provide for the family and she didn’t want to make things any harder on him. About half way through dinner, George, Charlotte’s father, finally said, “What’s wrong? It hasn’t been this quiet on a Thursday night since Scooby (the family dog) died.” He didn’t get an answer. In fact, Charlotte had not looked up from her plate or eaten a bite since they sat down. “Charlotte.” George said, “What is the matter?” George saw the tear run down Charlotte’s cheek. Charlotte looked up and said, “Daddy. You know I love you. I have always tried to be a good girl. I’ve always listened to you and tried to do the right thing.” “What is it baby?” George asked compassionately. “I’m pregnant.” Charlotte said as she burst out crying. George was shocked. As hard as he tried he couldn’t hide the disappointment. His mind raced with thoughts of Charlotte’s future (high school graduation, college, married,…). George looked towards his wife Cynthia to ground himself. Cynthia was crying too. George was overcome with emotion. He felt anger, disappointment, frustration. In just a few moments, it seemed like hours were passing by. And then he felt Charlotte’s hand on his. “Daddy. I am so very sorry. Do you forgive me?” Through the flood of emotions he was feeling, one rose to the surface and drowned the others. Compassion. With tears running down his own face now, and thinking about many of the mistakes he had made in his own life, he felt embarrassed and ashamed of the anger and disappointment he had just been feeling. He got up and walked around the table where he knelt down beside Charlotte’s chair. “I love you, Charlotte. Of course I forgive you. Let’s figure out what we are going to do to take care of you and my first grandchild.” Charlotte reached over and hugged her father tightly. Although he knew there would be tough times ahead, George felt a measure of peace as he heard Charlotte whisper in his ear, “My daddy loves me.”


Focus Verse: 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.

Additional Verses: Psalm 103:8-13, 1 John 4:16-19, John 14:15,


Our Christian experience should not be much different than Charlotte’s. First she recognized the love her father had for her; just as we recognize the love God has for us (John 3:16, 1 John 4:16). As she matured, she realized how much she had grown to love her father. Similarly, as we are sanctified and mature as Christians, we recognize how much we love God (1 John 4:19). Then, because of her appreciation for all he had done for her, Charlotte tried to do the things she knew would please her father. Because of our love for Christ, we should strive to keep his commandments (John 14:15). And finally, when she fell short, as we all do (Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8), Charlotte humbly approached her father, confident in his love for her, and asked for forgiveness. Just as Christians, we know that God will forgive our sins when we ask Him to (1 John 1:9, Psalm 103:8-13).


Heavenly Father, my Lord and Savior, blessed be Your holy name forever and ever. Thank You for the many ways You have demonstrated Your love for me. Thank You for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for my sins. I pray dear Lord that I please you as I try to live my life according to Your will and Your commandments. And I am so grateful that when I sin, I can humbly approach Your throne of grace and ask Your forgiveness; knowing that You are faithful and just to forgive me. I love You more each day Lord. And I thank You for Your incomprehensible love for me. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

Sunday, March 22, 2009



Shaundra loves to walk in the forest. It started when she was a young girl and her farther took her for long walks in the woods near their house. Shaundra’s father, Cliff, spent many hours teaching her how to identify different types of trees. He taught her to look at the bark, the leaves, the nuts or fruit (if there was any), and with all the information available analyzed, identify the type of tree. Because of these lessons, and the time and effort Cliff put into teaching Shaundra many other things, she grew up to be very analytical and very intelligent. Now in her 40’s, her father gone, Shaundra still makes time for her walks in the forest (though not as often as she would like to). She spends some time thinking of her father, some time looking at the different types of trees, but mostly she prays. Shaundra always says, “Each step I take deeper into a forest always seems to bring me one step closer to God.” Today as Shaundra walked on a trail she had never been on before, she was thinking about one of her favorite Bible verses, John 15:5 (I am the vine, ye are the branches; He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me, ye can do nothing.) She loved to think of abiding in Christ and Christ abiding in her and it showing in the way she lived her life. As she walked, with the sun just starting to dip in the late afternoon sky, she caught sight of a beautiful tree set off the west side of the trail somewhat to itself. It was one of the largest pecan trees she had ever seen. Still reciting the verse in her head, Shaundra reached down and picked up a pecan. Looking up, out of habit she began to analyze the different parts of the tree (the texture and shape of the bark, the shape and color of the leaves, the distinctive brown and nearly black pattern on the shell of the nut in her hand). Walking, deep in thought, trying desperately to classify exactly the type of pecan tree, she turned to examine it again. But as she looked up, with the sun now directly behind the tree, all she saw was a silhouette. Not pieces, not parts, but everything together as one. “I am the vine,” she said out loud. After a short pause, “What are You trying to show me Lord?” she prayed. Suddenly she found herself deep in thought about the Trinity. The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. The Godhead. Separate Persons but One God. A concept she had always struggled with. Shaundra closed her eyes, breathed in the fresh air and began to pray, “Father, may Your Holy Spirit reveal Your truth to me.” Then she got it. One tree is made up of distinct parts just as One God is made up of three distinct Persons. She smiled a beautiful big smile realizing she had just had an encounter with God.


Focus Verse: 1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Additional Verses: John 8:58, Exodus 3:14, John 10:30, 2 Corinthians 3:17, John 14:15-23


Using John 15:5, God planted the idea in Shaundra’s mind of God as a vine, then more generally as a plant, and finally as a tree. God used this image to reveal the nature of the Holy Trinity to Shaundra. With all the separate parts of the tree floating through her head, as Shaundra turned and saw the parts silhouetted together as one tree, this is what God illustrated for her. Imagine a magnificent tree. Think of the trunk, the bark, the limbs, the roots, the leaves. These comprise the structure of the tree. Without the structure, there is no tree. In this illustration, the structure of the tree represents God the Father. Fully grown, majestic, awesome! Now think about the sap in a tree. Distinctly separate from the structure, but every bit as much a part of the tree as the structure and absolutely necessary for the tree to exist. The sap represents Jesus Christ, the Life Blood of the Trinity. Our Lord and Savior. By the shedding of His blood, we can be saved. And finally, the fruit of the tree. The Fruit of The Spirit. The Holy Spirit. Again, clearly part of the tree, but distinctly separate. The means by which we are indwelled by God and His Spirit is shared with Christians. Providing spiritual nourishment for us. So do you see it? Three distinct parts to One Awesome God.


Holy Father in heaven, I pray that your Holy Spirit will reveal to me the truth of You as One God comprised of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. May this understanding bring me closer to you and continue to help me more completely understand what You have chosen to reveal to us through Your Word. I love You Lord. I praise Your holy name. May the love of Jesus Christ show through me as a light in this dark world. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, March 15, 2009



Ron was having a really bad day. In fact, if you were to ask Ron right now, he would say he was having a really bad life. Last year, he got divorced after six great months and three horrible years of marriage. Last month, he lost his dream job as a graphic designer at a small advertising company due to the failing economy and layoffs. Although he had found work at a sign company, he was only making about half of the salary he was making at his previous job and was going to have to sell his new car. Late this afternoon, Ron was heading to the car dealership to make the deal trading his new car for a used one. While stopped at a red light, another car struck him from behind. Once the police left, feeling distraught and overwhelmed, Ron started walking. With no specific destination in mind and oblivious to his surroundings, he just kept walking. After several hours, feeling he was near the end of his rope, Ron decided to call his dad. “Hello. This is Mike.” Just the sound of his dad’s voice seemed to ground him. “Dad. I don’t know what to do.”, said Ron. Mike could hear the distress in his son’s voice. In a comforting and compassionate tone he said, “Tell me what’s wrong son.” Ron started off with the details of the wreck, but before long he was recounting every misfortune of his adult life. Mike listened patiently. Ron went on for nearly 45 minutes. He only stopped talking because of the beep on his cell phone indicating his battery was about to go dead. “Great!” Ron said out loud feeling even more sorry for himself. “What’s wrong now son?” Mike asked. “My cell is about to die!” At that point Mike knew he didn’t have much time. “Now son, this may be hard to hear right now, but you know one of my favorite sayings has always been, Life is tough….” In anger Ron cut off his father. “Life is tough, get a helmet!! I know dad! I’ve heard it a million times! And you know what!” Ron paused for a moment. “You know what!!!” he yelled. Surprised his father didn’t answer he looked down to see that his cell phone had died. In a fit of rage, Ron threw the phone on the ground and stomped on it. Ron was overcome with anger, grief, frustration and self pity. He felt absolutely lost and alone. “Come on dear.” a strange voice said. Ron looked around to see a lady and her young daughter walking around him and away in a hurry. Ron had been so engrossed in the conversation with his dad, he didn’t even realize he had been pacing around in circles in a parking lot for the last 10 minutes. Feeling more embarrassed than anything else, Ron hung his head and started walking again. When he came to the street, he was even more embarrassed to realize he was in a church parking lot. Looking left, then right, not sure which way to go, he noticed a man descending a ladder at the sign in front of the church. Right there, he fell to his knees. He began crying. He looked up to see if it was real. Through the tears and heartache, he made out the words just placed on the sign, “PUT ON THE HELMET OF SALVATION!” Ron got to his feet and started walking. It didn’t take long to reach the front door of the church. He didn’t know where the strength came from to walk through them.


Focus Verse: Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Additional Verses: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, Romans 8:18, Romans 8:28


By the grace of God and His sovereignty, Ron was saved that Wednesday evening. A few months later, by his testimony, Ron led his father to a saving knowledge of Christ. It was some time later before Ron truly started to appreciate how each and every moment of his life had led him to that church, on that day, at that time. And although the man descending the ladder was the only reason Ron noticed the sign that Wednesday evening, Ron never knew that the man had always changed the sign on Monday’s. But that week the man’s wife had been sick and he couldn’t get to it until Wednesday. It is so easy to get lost in our own self pity and complaining. Think of the suffering of Paul as he lived a faithful life spreading the gospel of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:24-27). Did he give up? Did he sit around complaining? Of course not. Paul knew that God was on his side (Psalm 118:6). Let the helmet of salvation guard your mind against negative thoughts. Find peace and strength in the knowledge that, as a Christian, no matter what trials or tribulations you face in this life, you will spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus. God created us in His image. While we endure the troubles of this world, we will have a yearning in our heart to be with Him in a perfect world under His perfect rule (Ecclesiastes 3:10-11). Put on the whole armor of God so that you will be able to withstand the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:10-18).


Father, as I praise Your holy name, I thank You for my salvation. May I find peace and comfort in knowing all things of this world are temporary. Nothing compares to the glory and honor and peace of eternity with You. Forgive me when I fall short. Strengthen me to never stop trying. Give me wisdom so that I see things from Your perspective. I choose to love You with all my heart and soul and mind and strength. Help me to love others as You have loved me. In the name of Jesus, I humbly ask these things. Amen.

Sunday, March 1, 2009



Sammy kept his eyes on the road, but his mind was wandering. He had looked forward to this day for many years and now that it was here, he was much more nervous than he had anticipated. He glanced over at Tim, his fifteen year old son, and thought back to the day his own father had taken him down this same road. “We’re almost there, son.” Sammy said. “Great.” replied Tim very unenthusiastically. Although Sammy and Tim were close, things had been more tense between them over the last six months or so. Sammy turned into the entrance to the state park and worked his way back to the most remote parking area. “Come on son, let’s get out and walk for a while.” Reluctantly Tim got out of the truck and followed his father to the trailhead. They walked for quite some time without talking. Then, just as Sammy was getting ready to begin his well rehearsed ‘speech’, Tim asked, “Dad, what are we doing out here?” Sammy cleared his throat and said, “Well son, my dad brought me out here when I was your age to talk to me about something he felt was very important. At the time, I didn’t really appreciate what he told me. But over the years, it has made more and more sense to me. Actually, when I was fifteen, I thought my mom and dad were two of the dumbest people on the planet.” Sammy heard Tim laugh under his breath and realized that he had probably just summed up Tim’s feelings about him. Sammy went on, “But as the years passed, I realized just how wise they really were.” “Is this going to take long?” Tim asked. Sammy fought back the urge to get impatient and just honestly answered his son’s questions, “The talk itself will not take long at all. But hopefully, you will spend the rest of your life applying what I hope you learn here today.” Tim actually seemed a little interested now. “Tim, I want to talk with you about wisdom. My dad told me there were three kinds of people in the world. Foolish people, who don’t learn from their mistakes and experiences. Smart people, who do learn from their mistakes and experiences. And wise people, who learned from the mistakes and experiences of others.” Sammy paused to let his son take that in. Then he walked over to a bench alongside the trail and sat down. Tim made his way over and sat down next to his father. “That actually makes a lot of sense.” Tim said. Sammy couldn’t hide the smile that appeared on his face. “I am glad to hear you say that son. Understanding it is one thing. Applying it to your life is another. Wisdom is quite different from knowledge. Knowledge is just an accumulation of facts. Wisdom is when you apply what you know in a meaningful way. You know your grandfather wasn’t a Christian until much later in his life. So back when he told me about wisdom, it was strictly from a worldly viewpoint. So I want to expand that thought a little further and put it in the context of being a Christian. I believe a spiritually wise person learns from the lessons God teaches. And I further believe that God uses four distinct ways to teach us. He teaches us from His word, the Bible. He teaches us as we pray. He teaches us through our experiences with other Christians. And He teaches us through the circumstances of our life. That’s it. That is what I wanted to tell you.” Sammy stood up and started walking further down the trail. It seemed like he had walked forever when he heard Tim running up from behind him. “Dad! Dad! Wait up!” Tim was somewhat out of breath. He had sat on the bench thinking for some time before he realized his dad had walked on ahead. They walked side-by-side for some time without talking. And then Tim asked, “So dad, what have you learned that you think might help me?” Taken aback, Sammy reached out and hugged his son. Sammy was overwhelmed with the maturity his son demonstrated by that question. He realized that moment marked a new beginning in their relationship. They walked for two hours that day. Sharing and learning from each other.


Focus Verse: Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels;

Additional Verses: Proverbs 9:10, James 1:5


In 1 Kings Chapter 3, when God said to Solomon, “Ask what I shall give thee.” (v. 5), Solomon asked for wisdom (v. 9: “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: …”). And in James 1:5, James tells us if we lack wisdom to ask God and he will give it to us liberally, without blame or criticism. So my question to you is, why live without it? Learn from your mistakes and experiences and those of others. But most importantly, learn from the lessons God teaches (in the Bible (Psalm 119:97-104), in prayer, in church and your relationships with other Christians, and in the circumstances of life). Seek after God. Show Him reverence and respect. Ask Him for wisdom. Try to see things from God’s perspective.


My Lord and Savior, I humbly and respectively ask that You teach me wisdom. Not worldly wisdom, but wisdom that will help me to more completely understand You and Your ways. Wisdom that will help me to seek after You and live in such a way that reflects my desire to serve You and fulfill Your purposes for my life. Not for my benefit, but that Your will be done. Thank You Father for the many blessings in my life. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, February 15, 2009



There was a land which had given itself over to evil and lawlessness. Brute force, selfishness, seduction, self-indulgence and envy were the way of the land. But there arose a king who was devoted to truth and righteousness. The king spent his life determined to establish a society based on kindness, selflessness, self control and love. Many from the land desired to be a part of this new kingdom. Therefore the king established the boundaries of his kingdom with a great wall and commissioned a devoted army to protect its subjects and property. He also established the law of his kingdom and the oath required of anyone who chose to be his subject. The oath was very simple, “I submit myself to the law of this land and the sovereignty of its king.” In truth, once someone took the oath, they became a slave to the king (his rule was absolute). But the people loved him and gladly submitted to him. The people recognized his love for them and the freedom and protection from the outside world provided by his power. They also strived to obey the laws of the land in acknowledgment of the personal sacrifices he made to establish the kingdom. Nevertheless, they lived freely within the kingdom. If they obeyed the laws of the kingdom, they flourished. If they broke the law, the king determined the punishment. Yet they would always be a part of the kingdom and afforded the protection and benefits of living within the great wall. Each adult had to take the oath for themselves. The king established what was called, “The Time of Decision” for children. This was determined based on the kings assessment of the child’s maturity and understanding of the oath. A child could enter the kingdom with their parents without taking the oath if they were not yet mature enough to understand the oath and its implications to their life. Once the king established that someone had reached The Time of Decision, if they refused to take the oath they were removed from the kingdom. Outside the great wall was freedom from the king’s law. But there was no law at all. Outside the wall you became a slave to evil (You didn’t have the option of being honest or just. If you did, you would be taken advantage of, mistreated or killed). Despite the horrible things that happened outside the wall, the first law the king established was, “Anyone from outside this kingdom, regardless of what they have done, may enter at any time if they take the oath. Once they take the oath and enter the kingdom, they start a new life subject to my laws and my authority. I will no longer view them as one from the outside world, but as one of my children.” There was always a line of people outside the gate waiting to enter. But when it came time to take the oath, many would turn and walk away. What would you do? Would you chose to live as a slave to the evil outside the wall? Or would you chose to take the oath and live subject to the rule of the righteous king?


Focus Verse: Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Additional Verses: John 8:34, 2 Peter 2:19


The story above certainly cannot fully describe the love God has for us, His sovereignty or His plan for the world. But the key point should be clear. We all have a decision to make in our life: do we want to be slaves to sin unto death or slaves to obedience (God) unto righteousness? You cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). Once you have made a decision to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, you should strive to be obedient to Him and His commandments out of love for Him and appreciation for all He has done for us (John 14:15). However, making the decision to accept Christ (never forget that we are saved by God’s grace through faith, Ephesians 2:8) is really just the first step. As you mature as a Christian and grow to love Christ more each day, you will begin to understand what His sacrifice for us really means, how God the Father views us now that the Lamb of God has been sacrificed for the sin of the entire world (1 John 2:1-2), how the Holy Spirit frees us from sin and that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8).


King of kings, Lord of lords, Savior, Master, Father: my heart is full of praise for You. May my life reflect my love for You. By Your grace, may Your strength be made perfect through my weakness. I am humbled and honored to know I am a slave to You and Your righteousness. I submit myself to Your will and sovereignty over my life and the world and chose to serve You out of love. May Your Holy Spirit fill me, teach me and comfort me. I am Yours. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, February 8, 2009



Frank is a master carpenter. He makes his living building custom furniture. Years ago one of his regular customers called him, “the Michelangelo of Wood Working.” Frank was always glad that nickname never really stuck. Fact of the matter is, Frank just loves to build. He always seems to find carpentry work around the church or his neighborhood. Last week he built a handicap access ramp at an elderly neighbors’ home. He recently helped the local Boy Scout Troop build a large bin for collecting newspaper for recycling. Frank truly loves being a carpenter. He has a workshop full of tools. He has electric tools, pneumatic tools, manual tools, old tools, new tools, just about any tool you can imagine for woodworking. He even keeps the broken ones because he knows he can fix them and use them again. Frank loves all his tools, but he has two in particular he uses whenever he can. His old hand saw and the hammer his father gave him when he was still a teenager. He certainly has fancier tools, but these require little to no maintenance and just always seem willing to do whatever job Frank is focused on. As useful as these tools are, he has improved them. About ten years ago Frank put a new handle that was about an inch longer on his hammer. Not only was the old handle worn and cracked, but the added length greatly increased the momentum when he swung it. His saw doesn’t require much maintenance either aside from an occasional oiling to keep rust off the blade. But last year Frank sharpened every tooth on that old hand saw. It’s a sight to watch him tear through a two-by-four. Frank always seems pleased as he carefully nails the last piece of wood into place and steps back to admire his work. Over the years people have often asked why he repeatedly uses the old hand saw and hammer so often when he has so many other tools to choose from. The answer is always the same, “It’s always satisfying to pick up a tool that is ready to work. I know I can count on these usable tools.”


Focus Verse: Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

Additional Verses: Isaiah 10:15, Jeremiah 18:3-4


Have you ever viewed yourself as “… an instrument of righteousness…” What an amazing thought, to be a useable tool in the hands of God. But don’t misunderstand, God does not need us to accomplish His work. God is all powerful. He can do anything. However, He allows us the awesome privilege of joining Him in His work if we submit ourselves to Him. Don’t get focused on the work. Focus on being usable and submitting to God. And what’s even more amazing is God can and will remake you to suit His purposes. Carefully and diligently guard against pride when God uses you (Luke 18:13-14). Remember who is doing the work and humbly be thankful for God’s mercy and willingness to use you.


Holy Father in Heaven, I lift praises to Your name and beg You to forgive me of my sins. I humbly submit myself to You and pray that You will use me in your work. May Your will be done, dear Lord, and may I decrease as You increase. Thank you, Father, for Your kindness, patience and mercy. In the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, February 2, 2009



Jerry loved his grandfather. “Papa Chuck”, as he was known, knew everybody in town and was a respected member of the community. He was polite and always greeted people with an enthusiastic, “Hello!” or “How are you today?” Papa Chuck had a firm handshake, not overly powerful to show off his considerable physical strength, but sincere and honest, showing his inner strength and genuine caring.

Back when Jerry was a teenager, he spent a lot of time during the summers with Papa Chuck and Gran. They were a great couple and their love for each other was very apparent. With the tenth anniversary of Papa Chuck’s death approaching, Jerry found himself thinking about those summers more and more. He had so many wonderful memories. Gran was in an apartment now, and she was only two hours away.

Today Jerry had committed to take Gran to the cemetery. He knew that after visiting Papa Chuck’s grave, Gran would want to go for a walk and then head back to her apartment for a late lunch as they had done each year since his death. However, this year, after more tears than he remembered in the past, Gran just asked to head home. Gran seemed tired and somehow older. They didn’t talk much during the drive. When they got home, and as they entered the living room, Jerry immediately noticed the wooden box on the coffee table. This was quite unusual. The wooden box held Papa Chuck’s watch collection, and since his death it had always been stored under Papa Chuck’s side of the bed. Over the years Jerry had spent many hours looking at the different watches. Other than one or two of them, he never really thought they were very valuable, and not even that stylish. Actually, as he stood there, he realized that he had never really even paid much attention to most of them. The gold faced one with the diamond at 12 o’clock was always his favorite. The one with the silver band and mother of pearl face was pretty cool and ran a close second. Beyond that, he couldn’t really recall any of them.

Jerry suddenly realized he had really just been looking for the feeling of being close to Papa Chuck when he spent time in that wooden box. “You know,” Gran began as she sat down on the couch, “there is a story and deep meaning behind every one of those watches. It was the sentimental, not the material value of each one that meant so much to Charles.” Jerry sat down next to Gran. “I’m so sorry, Jerry,” Gran said as she began to cry again. “I was supposed to give you these watches when Charles passed away but I never felt you could appreciate them. Then about three months ago I realized the only reason you couldn’t appreciate them was because no one had ever told you the meaning of each one. I felt so guilty, but I decided that I would wait until today to tell you.”

Jerry hugged his grandmother and then got up to get a tissue for her. “Thank you, Jerry. You have always been so sweet to me. I’m not sure why I didn’t think you would understand the true value of these watches.” She reached over and picked up the oldest looking watch and said, “Now this was always Charles’ favorite. His father gave it to him when he got back from the war. It didn’t cost much, but these words on the back meant the world to my dear Charles.” Gran gently turned over the watch and, for the first time Jerry saw the engraving on the back – CHARLES: I LOVE YOU SON, DAD – “How did I never see that?” Jerry asked. “Jerry, Charles never once heard his father say those words, but here on this watch they were engraved for all time.”

Gran spent the next three hours telling the story behind each watch. Jerry’s eyes and heart were opened to an entirely new and deeper understanding of his grandfather’s life. Over the next year, Jerry worked with Gran to write the story of each watch in a leather bound journal.

The following winter at Gran’s funeral, Jerry told the story of the watches, the wooden box and the journal. He ended the eulogy by saying, “For years I looked in that old wooden box and had never seen its real contents. If Gran had not shared the true meaningtruth with me, I would have never known my Papa Chuck as I do now.” Jerry held the journal up for everyone to see. “Now, each time I read in this journal, I seem to learn more about my dear grandfather, his life and his love for those in his life. Also, I love, appreciate and understand both my grandparents. What is the wooden box in your life?” so much more than I used to. Thanks Gran. I’ll never forget the day you told me the story behind each watch and revealed the invisible treasures inside that wooden box.”


Focus Verse: I Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Additional Verses: John 14:26, Proverbs 9:10I Corinthians 2:14


Just as Jerry could not understand the deeper meaning of Papa Chuck’s watches without Gran’s help, without the Holy Spirit, we cannot understand the things of God. Many people have heard the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, Moses, the disciples, Jesus, etc. People may knowingly or unknowingly reference the Bible (i.e. the meek shall inherit the earth, see Matthew 5:5). But do they really understand the deeper meaning or even the context? An unbeliever may be able to intellectually process scripture, even memorize it. But they will not comprehend the true spiritual meaning.

As Christians, with the Holy Spirit living in our hearts, we can understand spiritual truths. However, we have to listen. We have to pray for guidance and understanding. Also, we have to start with the simpler things and, as we mature, we will be able to digest the more complex concepts (Hebrews 5:12-14). But before we try to understand God, we must approach him with the proper attitude. To be in awe of God, to worship, respect and acknowledge Him as Lord of our lives, is when we can begin to learn. Each time before you read your Bible, pray to God that the Holy Spirit will reveal the true meaning of what you are reading and how to apply these truths to your life.


Holy Father in Heaven, I do worship, love and respect You. I pray that my efforts to praise Your Holy name are acceptable. Please make me more sensitive to the leading and teaching of the Holy Spirit. Fill me with Your Spirit Lord. May I learn more about You and Your ways each day of my life. I pray for these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.