Monday, June 27, 2016



  • Psalm 103:1-5 Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: 3 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, 4 Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, 5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

David, inspired by God, wrote these wonderful words (and the rest of Psalm 103) as a Praise for the Lord’s Mercies. What a tremendous encouragement to know that God forgives, heals, redeems, surrounds and satisfies. For those who know God and have a right relationship with Him through faith in Christ, these clear statements of God’s goodness provide assurance, comfort and hope.

But what about those who haven’t been reconciled to God? Where do they find assurance, comfort and hope? If they do, and if it is in anything other than Jesus, it is false and fleeting. If they don’t, what a miserable existence in this life and in eternity.

What if we were to take the five ‘Who’ statements about God in Psalm 103:3-5 and pose them as questions to the lost? And what if, as we shared these truths about God, we also provided Biblically based answers that demonstrate the relevance of these truths to daily life now and for eternity?

Who provides the good things in your life?
God gave us life. Everything truly good is a gift from Him.
  • Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
  • James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Who surrounds you with love and compassion?
God loves you! He longs to be in a right relationship with you. Respond to His love by trusting Him.
  • Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
  • 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Who can forgive your sins?
To sin is to fall short of God’s standards of righteousness. Everybody sins. Only God can forgive your sin.
  • Psalm 51:4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.
  • 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Who can deliver you from the snare of death?
Your sin stands between you and a right relationship with God. Jesus Christ is the only way to reconciliation with God. Rejecting Christ’s payment for your sin debt means choosing death (eternal separation from God).
  • Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
  • Romans 6:22-23 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Who is able to heal all your sicknesses?
When you surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you are healed from the curse of sin and made righteous before God – that is the only way to have a right relationship with Him. Sometimes He heals our bodies while we are still living on earth; but Heaven is where the promise of healing is ultimately and completely fulfilled. When we join Jesus in the place He is preparing for us, all pain, sorrow and sickness will be done away with forever.
  • Isaiah 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
  • John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
  • Revelation 21:4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

There is only One who can save us. Only One who’s mercies never fail.
  • Lamentations 3:22-23 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

The Lord God Almighty!!

Share the truth about God with those who need Him.  You don't have to 'preach' at people; engage them in a conversation.


Merciful Father in Heaven, I praise Your Holy Name for all you do for us. May the truth of Your love and mercy as expressed in Your Word draw many to salvation in Jesus Christ. May followers of Jesus be encouraged and challenged by Your Word. Great is Your faithfulness dear Lord. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Know a Noah

Know a Noah

So often when we think of Noah, we think of the ark that he built and the flood that God sent. It is good to think about the truths revealed through this historical event. Especially when we see the reality of God’s judgement of sin (as seen in the flood) and God’s deliverance from His judgment through Christ (as seen in the ark).

But don’t miss the clear display of God’s love prior to the flood. Among the throngs of humanity willfully and totally committed to lives of sin, our Lord found the one righteous man remaining. God searched the world over, longing to find Godly men leading Godly families.
  • Genesis 6:7-8 So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

Don’t let anyone quote select scripture referenced out of context to convince you that we serve a hateful God that indiscriminately destroys races, nationalities or religions. God consistently declares His love for mankind and His desire to be in a right relationship with all. God always judges sin – that is His justice. God does not enjoy condemning sinners – that is His compassion.
  • Ezekiel 18:23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?
  • 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

In a wicked world, Noah stood for God. The Bible gives us many examples of men who stood for God despite the opposition of those around them. Here are a few.

Old Testament Examples of Men Who Chose to Stand for God

  • Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
    • No matter where we’ve been or where we find ourselves today, we must choose to serve the only true God.
  • 1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word.
    • God is patient; but we should never knowingly test His patience. We must make a choice. We must choose Him.
  • Daniel 6:13 So they answered and said before the king, “That Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”
    • The world system is setup in direct opposition to God and all He stands for. What will we stand for?

New Testament Examples of Men Who Chose to Stand for God

John the Baptist
  • John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
    • John the Baptist proclaimed God’s truth to the faithful and the faithless. Do we?
  • Acts 7:52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers,
    • Are we willing to face the wrath of man to help him see his sin?
  • Acts 21:13 Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
    • We are in a war. But we are called to love those who oppose God. Will we follow God’s call straight into the camp of the enemy?

Do you know a Noah? Do you know a man who is leading, living and loving in such a way that his family, friends and foes are drawn to God?

Pray for them!

Encourage them!!

Stand with them!!!


Father, You have called and equipped men to be leaders; humble and kind, but resolute and steadfast in standing for You. I pray that Your Words and Your Truth will comfort those who stand for You, challenge those who haven’t chosen a side, and convict those who oppose you. Please forgive me for where I fall short. I love You, I thank You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Beyond Humble

Beyond Humble

David was the greatest of the Kings of Israel. He defeated the Philistine giant named Goliath (1 Samuel 17). God called David a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22). Jesus Christ was his descendant; He was called ‘the Son of David’ (Matthew 1:1). He wrote many of the Psalms. And much, much more!

David was man blessed by God. He was a king chosen by God. Yet despite all of this, he sinned greatly against God. David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed (2 Samuel 11). David wrote Psalm 51 as a prayer of repentance for these sins. In this psalm, after David begs for mercy, confesses his sin, acknowledges his sin nature, asks God to cleanse him, asks for restoration, commits to teaching others God’s truths, asks for deliverance from his guilt, promises to praise the Lord for His righteousness, he makes an interesting statement:
  • Psalm 51:16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.

Wait a minute. Even before God gave His Law through Moses, He instructed Moses to lead the Nation of Israel out of Egypt to make sacrifices to Him.
  • Exodus 3:18 Then they will heed your voice; and you shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt; and you shall say to him, ‘The Lord God of the Hebrews has met with us; and now, please, let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’
And in His Law God prescribed many burnt offerings; one example is the Day of Atonement.
  • Leviticus 23:26-27 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 27 “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.

So what did David mean by Psalm 51 verse 16? Let’s read the next verse.
  • Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.

God desires us to be broken, humbled and repentant over our sin. Look back at God’s Words regarding the Day of Atonement offering in Leviticus 23:27 above: ‘you shall afflict your souls’. As part of making a burnt offering to God, the people were to humble/deny/lower themselves before God. God sees our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7). There is rejoicing in Heaven when a sinner truly repents.
  • Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Our attitudes and intentions are so very important to God.
  • Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
  • Ephesians 4:1-2 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,

Going through the motions and/or trying to look ‘religious’ is an offense to our loving and faithful Father.
  • Matthew 6:1 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
  • Matthew 6:5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
  • Matthew 6:16 Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

Tradition, which is often a very good thing, when it stands in the way of God honoring actions and attitudes, is anything but good.
  • Mark 7:6-7 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.
  • Mark 7:9 He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
  • Mark 7:13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

You can make a sincere decision, commitment or pledge to be humble before God; and that is a good thing. But just like genuine laughter or an unexpected tear, true brokenness over sin is an involuntary response.
  • Ezra 9:6 And I said: “O my God, I am too ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God; for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has grown up to the heavens.
  • Luke 18:13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’

This kind of brokenness over sin is what David was expressing in Psalm 51. David was mourning over his sin. Yet in the midst of his brokenness, David was expressing unwavering confidence in God’s mercy, kindness and compassion. Before anything else in Psalm 51, David acknowledges the goodness of God.
  • Psalm 51:1 Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions.

The first thing Jesus talks about during the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7) is what are called the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10). These eight statements of blessings describe God’s loving response to a God honoring attitude and lifestyle. In verse four, we see how God responds to authentic brokenness (mourning) over our sin.
  • Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.

So, as followers of Jesus, how does all this apply to our lives?

Simply stated, are you truly broken over your sin? Not broken in a, ‘I’m no good for anybody or anything’ kind of way. But in a way that you quietly mourn over your sin, sincerely humble yourself before God and confidently await His loving restoration.
  • 1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,

God doesn’t want empty sacrifices.

He wants your heart!


Loving, kind and merciful Father, I confess that I often pray out of habit or commitment more than brokenness and need. I pray that Your Word and Spirit will guide me and many others to a renewed appreciation for the seriousness of our sins, the necessity of sincere humility, the freedom found in confession, the beauty of heartfelt repentance and the peace and comfort found in Your forgiveness and restoration. I praise You and love You. I pray to You in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Relationship

The Relationship

In a devotional entitled, ‘Please, Don’t Call Me Religious’ posted on this blog on February 27, 2016, I wrote the following”

'My hope is, that if you examine my life, looking beyond how desperately short I fall of the example set by my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, you will see that my motives and intentions are, by the grace and gifts of God, purer and greater than what can be accomplished by attempting to adhere to the rules of, and carrying the burden of expectations placed on my life by, ‘religion’.'

I rely on the Lord and the power, purity, promises and practicality of His Word and Spirit to live a life that honors Him and draws others closer to Him.
  • Psalm 119:116 Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.
  • Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
  • Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

I am telling you all this because my wife and I recently had friends (a man and wife) visit with us in our home for couple of days. We know them well, but I have not previously had the opportunity to spend this much ‘one-one-one’ time with them. Interestingly enough, by the second day or our time together, one of them, referred to my wife and I as, ‘very religious’.

Fair enough. During the course of our days, along with other things: we prayed; we talked about Christ, the church, our church family; we spent time in Bible study; we planned on attending church on Sunday (and invited them to come to church with us)…

But my prayer, my desire and my longing is that, if you spend much time with me at all, you will see beyond everything else in my life and come to recognize that, whether you like it, understand it, respect it or not, I have a relationship with Jesus Christ. And this relationship, more than any other, defines and drives who I am, what I do, and all that I hope to be and do, in Him and through Him for the furtherance of His Kingdom.

See Beyond the Rules
God’s commandments, principles and expectations bring order to a chaotic world. His ‘rules’ are for our benefit.
  • Exodus 20:3-17 The Ten Commandments (paraphrased/condensed here): have no other gods before Me; do not make for yourself or worship an idol of any kind; do not misuse My Name; remember the Sabbath day and keep it Holy; honor your father and mother; do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not give false testimony (lie); and do not covet what is not yours.
  • Psalm 119:4 You have commanded us To keep Your precepts diligently.
  • John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

See Beyond the Reliance
Mature Christians realize that Jesus (God in the flesh – the only begotten Son of the Father) is the preeminent and perfect potentate, protector, provider, preparer, and so much more. We aren’t weak, we’re well informed.
  • Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
  • John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
  • John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

See Beyond the Routines
Our days, our very lives, are centered on the One who gave us eternal life. All we do should demonstrate our appreciation for Him and desire to be like Him.
  • Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
  • Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

See Beyond the Religion
Followers of Jesus are part of His church (Christ died for the church, Ephesians 5:25)! They worship, fellowship, learn, encourage one another, give to God’s His church, give to different ministries, give to the needy and much more. Christians study the Word of God and build strong relationships with their brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
  • Malachi 3:8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.
  • Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Recognize the Relationship
Becoming a Christian requires a knowledge, understanding and surrender to the gospel message of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Living as a Christian is a journey that centers on and celebrates a loving and dynamic relationship with Jesus – our friend, mediator, intercessor, prince, power, peace, wisdom, example…
  • Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
  • Psalm 42:1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God.
  • Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
  • John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
  • Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
  • John 15:15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
  • Colossians 2:6-7 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.


Father, may my love for You and Your love for me be a shining light in this dark world. Thank You for making a relationship with Jesus Christ possible for me. Thank You for eternal life! Use me as You will. Enable me to walk worthy of Your call. Use Your Word to touch and Change lives. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.