Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Gift of God

The Gift of God

What is most important to you this Christmas? Special time with your family? Extra days away from work? The gifts you give? The gifts you receive? Doing for others? The parties you attend? The decorations, the food, the songs? Knowing that every good and perfect gift comes from Father God (see James 1:17), it is good to rejoice in the blessings He provides. Solomon acknowledged this truth as he struggled to make sense of life in this fallen and broken world. 
  • Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.
  • Ecclesiastes 5:19 As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God.

However, we must never forget what matters most. We must respect and obey God – to glorify Him is the primary purpose of our lives. One day we will all stand before Him and be judged according to how we have lived (because our lives reveal the truth about our relationship with Him). Solomon clearly understood the supreme importance of a reverent and reconciled relationship with God.
  • Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.

Which brings us right back to my original question, ‘What is most important to you this Christmas?’ Well, according to God’s Word, the eternal and absolutely truthful answer to this question is:

What is most important to you this Christmas is
what you have done with The Ultimate Gift of God!!

God has given us many gifts; but most importantly, He has provided a way for us to be in a reconciled relationship with Him for all eternity. Why does that matter? Because without reconciliation, we face judgement. Judgement for what? Judgement for sin (missing the mark and falling short of His righteous requirements and restrictions). God’s provision for reconciliation is His ultimate gift. And the Bible teaches that there is only one way that we can only be reconciled to Him – through faith in Jesus Christ.
  • 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.

Christmas is the time of year that followers of Jesus celebrate Him coming to earth to die for our sins. He died to take the punishment for our sins so that, when we place our trust in who He is and what He has done for us, we can stand fully righteous before God. And, amazingly, the very faith it takes to trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior is itself a gift from God!
  • Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Jesus, the human incarnation of God, spent the last three and a half years of His time on earth showing people who He was and telling them why He came. In one instance, He traveled out of His way specifically to meet with a woman from Samaria. In the course of their conversation, Jesus told the woman that His being there with her was a gift of God. But she saw Him only as a man.
  • John 4:10-11 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?
Yet patiently and lovingly, Jesus continued the conversation. And when the woman mentioned Messiah (a very specific title in the Bible referring to the coming Savior King), Jesus revealed Himself to her!
  • John 4:25-26 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
This Samaritan woman came to saving faith in Jesus because He made Himself known to her. And now, perhaps for the first time, or maybe for the 5th, 10th, or 100th time, Jesus is making Himself known to you. Jesus wants you to be declared innocent when you stand before God to be judged. He wants you to spend eternity in heaven with God instead of eternity in hell separated from God.

The miracle of Christmas is that God came to earth as a man. This man, Jesus, lived a perfect life so that He could die as a sacrifice to make payment for the sin of all those who profess Him as Lord. If you have never surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, do so now. Pray to Him. Admit that you are a sinner. Proclaim your faith in Him – that He is God, that He died for your sins, that He is the Lord of your life!! Accept the ultimate gift of God!

If you already follow Jesus, pray for those who don’t, that they will hear and heed the good news about Jesus.


Father, in Your perfect love, grace and mercy, draw the lost to salvation in Jesus. Thank You for the ultimate gift to this lost and dying world, Jesus. I pray these things in His precious and mighty name. Amen.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Why Am I Surprised

Why Am I Surprised

For the past year or so I have been praying with increasing diligence (and sometimes desperation) about the worry and fear I deal with daily. For quite some time, for me and where I am in my walk with Christ, I consider my response to the difficulties and uncertainties in life that drive these feelings to be sinful. Why is that, because what I have discovered is:

I absolutely trust Jesus for my eternal salvation…

… but I am not trusting Him in my day to day life now.

The result of this realization is, that instead of trying to figure out what is wrong with the people and circumstances that trouble me, I am beginning to understand that I must determine what is wrong with me! I am asking, ‘What is the disconnect between my head knowledge about Jesus and my relationship with Him, and the negative feelings I often allow to dominate my consciousness?’

And then this week it hit me, I have been begging Him all year long to help me deal with the persistent sin in my life. Looking back over some of the confessional devotions I have written on this blog in 2018 (for example, see ‘Drastic Measures’ posted on January 27, 2018 and ‘Digging Deep; posted on October 7, 2018), I am wondering, why am I surprised at the difficulties I am facing? He is answering my prayers to get victory over the sins in my life by putting and/or allowing me to be in situations where I have to face them!

Even though God does work in the circumstances of our lives to bless us in very special ways, in His wisdom and love, rather than just eliminating our problems, He helps us to work through them. Although we may want a quick fix to our problems, He is interested in transforming our very nature. He wants us to be more like Jesus! He wants us to depend on Him. He wants us to trust Him! No matter the difficulties of today and struggles of tomorrow, when we keep an eternal perspective, we will see and experience the truths of God’s Word.
  • Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Today, I still feel like I am drowning in my own personal ocean of worry and fear. But I know that I must trust Him in all things. I have seen a bright light on the horizon, a ray of hope that pierces the darkness and that can only be found in Christ Jesus! Here are some of the truths I am focusing on as He does His work in me.
  • Psalm 37:3-4 Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
  • Mathew 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.”
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
  • James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
  • 1 Peter 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.


Father, forgive me for not trusting You today, help me cling to you no matter what comes tomorrow, and fill me with the joy and peace that come’s with embracing your eternal promises. In Christ’s name I pray, amen.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Missing the Miraculous

Missing the Miraculous

In John chapter 6 of the Bible, we find a large number of Jews following Jesus. They were following Him because they had seen Him heal the sick. And as they followed Him, Jesus performed another miracle, He provided more than enough food to feed over five thousand people when all that was available was five barley loaves and two small fish. Because of these miracles, the people started claiming that Jesus was the Prophet (a reference in Jewish law to the coming Savior King). But Jesus knew their intentions to take Him by force to make Him king, so He left them.

However, the next day, motivated by what they had seen and experienced, the people searched and found Jesus. At this point, Jesus confronts the crowd with the truth about their motives.
  • John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

Jesus was telling them, ‘You have seen the miracles, but you are missing the miraculous!’ He wanted them to see beyond the obvious physical miracles to a clear understanding of the miraculous spiritual truth about Him!
  • John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

But because these Jews were so focused on finding a savior who would address their temporary earthly troubles, they couldn’t see that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah who was sent to meet their eternal spiritual needs. With love and compassion for these lost souls, Jesus spoke to them using graphic physical imagery to express a critical spiritual reality.
  • John 6:53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

But they didn’t understand what He was saying to them! They weren’t willing/able to accept what seemed to be appalling statements about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. So, Jesus tells them plainly that He is speaking about spiritual, not physical things.
  • John 6:61-63 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
    • NOTE: The word ‘disciples’ in this verse literally means ‘students’. Here, Jesus was referring to the people in the crowd who were hearing His teachings, not the 12 disciples He had chosen earlier in His ministry (see John 6:67 and Mark 3:13-19). The 12 disciples were those who spent 3.5 years in close relationship with Him and continued to spread the truth about Him after His death, resurrection and ascension.

And then we read, what is to me one of the saddest scriptures in the Word of God.
  • John 6:66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

Those who walked away from Jesus had seen with their own eyes His healing power. They had eaten the bread and fish that He multiplied. They walked away from the very Messiah for which they went searching. They walked away from God!

They Had
Seen the Miracles

But They Were
Missing the Miraculous

Christians, pray for those who don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior. Pray that they will see the truth of WHO HE IS AND WHAT HE HAS DONE!

If you are not a follower of Jesus, pray for the one true God of the universe to reveal the truth about Jesus to you.
  • Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
  • Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • John 3:16-17 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. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
  • 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 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”


Father, may the truth of Your Word and the conviction of Your Spirit encourage believers and draw the lost to You through Jesus. Thank You for Your perfect love and Your amazing grace. I pray these things in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen. 

Sunday, November 4, 2018



All of humanity lives in this broken, sinful world. The reality of evil, a cursed planet, and the depravity of man leads to much suffering. Unfortunately, many people find themselves in desperate situations. And sadly, when someone is drowning in pain, sorrow, disappointments, frustrations, feeling trapped, they may consider ending their life. And even more tragic is the fact that many times people do end their lives.

The Bible tells us of four people who directly asked God to end their life.

  • Numbers 11:14-15 I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now—if I have found favor in Your sight—and do not let me see my wretchedness!”
    • Moses was overwhelmed by the responsibilities and disappointments that came with leading the rebellious Nation of Israel once they left Egypt and headed out for the Promised Land.
    • God provided a solution (seventy elders to help Moses bear these burdens (Numbers 11:16-30). And Moses persevered, continued to serve God, led the Nation of Israel, wrote the first five books of the Old Testament, and was present when Jesus was transfigured on the mountain (Mark 9:2-4).

  • 1 Kings 19:3-4 And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”
    • Elijah was persecuted for confronting the evil King of Israel, Ahab, and destroying many prophets of false gods (which angered the wicked Queen of Israel, Jezebel).
    • God sent angels to minister to Elijah. God demonstrated his power to Elijah in a very strong wind, an earthquake and a fire. And then God spoke to Elijah in still small voice. God spoke to Elijah and gave him instructions. Elijah was obedient and was eventually taken up into heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11). Elijah was also present when Jesus was transfigured on the mountain.

  • Job 6:8-9 “Oh, that I might have my request, That God would grant me the thing that I long for! 9 That it would please God to crush me, That He would loose His hand and cut me off!
    • ‘loose His hand and cut me off’ means – reach out His hand and kill me.
    • Job was grieved by the loss of his children, possessions, standing in the community, support/encouragement from his friends, and not understanding how God was working in these situations.
    • God speaks to Job and enables him to see the foolishness of questioning His sovereign rule, almighty power, infinite wisdom and perfect plans. God instructs Job’s friend to go to Job and offer up burnt offerings. He also told them that Job will pray for them. God tremendously blessed Job’s latter days (Job 42).

  • Jonah 4:2-3 So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”
    • Jonah was resentful because God chose to be merciful to a great multitude of people that Jonah hated (the Ninevites). God spoke to Jonah through an unusual object lesson and revealed two things to him: 1. Although Jonah had heard directly from God and was saved from drowning by God, his priorities and understanding of God’s mercy were utterly deficient; 2. God has great compassion for those who are blinded by their sin. (Job 4).
    • Jonah’s call for repentance in Nineveh resulted in 120,000 souls turning from their sin and turning to God. And although Jonah is mentioned several times in the New Testament, we don’t know about his life after Nineveh.

The heartbreaking truth is,
Sometimes people end their lives.

The point of this devotion, as demonstrated in the Bible, is that anyone can become so desperate that they want to die. Those who love God are not immune to the horrific realities of desperation and/or depression.

Psalm 88:1-3
O Lord, God of my salvation,
I have cried out day and night before You.
2 Let my prayer come before You;
Incline Your ear to my cry.
3 For my soul is full of troubles,
And my life draws near to the grave.

Whoever you are, whatever circumstance you find yourself in, if you are desperate enough to consider ending your life – immediately reach out for help!

If you have access to a friend or family member who follows Jesus, or if you can talk with a Christian pastor, they should listen to you and help you find the help you need. They can also share with you the message of love and hope found only in Jesus. God loves you and has a plan for your life even if you can’t see past your current circumstances.

If you are not willing or able to talk with a Christian, find someone you trust and tell them what is going on. Let them help you find the resources you need to see and move beyond the issues and/or circumstances that have brought you to this desperate point in your life. There is hope!


All-knowing Father, You know better that anyone about the desperation that exists in this world. Please Lord, make a way for anyone considering suicide to get the help they need. I pray in the name of Jesus that desperate people around the world will obtain eternal life in heaven with You through saving faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Truly His

Truly His

For a Christian, salvation is both an instantaneous reality and an ongoing process. When we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we are immediately and permanently reconciled to God, forgiven of all sins, made righteous in His sight, indwelled with His Holy Spirt, adopted into His family, and so much more. Yet, from the time of our salvation on, we also look forward to the ultimate fulfillment of our salvation: receiving our eternal bodies and being in heaven for all eternity with God, His holy angels, and the saints from all time.

If you are His, you are truly His. And if you are truly His, there are five distinct aspects of salvation that have been, are being, and will be revealed in your life. These truths are taught throughout God’s Holy Word, but I have chosen five specific verses from the writings of the Apostle John that clearly communicate these truths.

Salvation is revealed in the life of a Christian as:

  • John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
    • In a gracious act of love, God the Father gives a person the faith to believe the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Christians know the truth about Jesus.
  • 1 John 5:12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
    • Once God reveals the truth about Jesus to a person, that person must choose to surrender to that truth. Christians accept the precious gift of saving faith in Jesus.
  • 2 John 1:9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.
    • Every Christian falls short of God’s standards, gets discouraged, has doubts, experiences frustrations, etc. But a child of God will never permanently/definitively walk away from their Heavenly Father. Christians are in an enduring relationship with Jesus.
  • 3 John 1:11 Beloved do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.
    • The Word of God instructs a Christian about how and why they should become more and more like Jesus. The indwelling power and presence of the Holy Spirit enables them to do so. Christians obey Jesus – they obey the Word of God.
  • Revelation 21:27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
    • A born again believer in Jesus Christ will spend eternity in Heaven with God. Christians are joint heirs with Jesus.

These five distinct truths blend perfectly into
one absolute truth in the life of a Christian.


Loving Father, gracious King, I pray that the truth of Your Word presented in this devotion will encourage those who know you and draw to You anyone who does not. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Digging Deep

Digging Deep

Throughout this year I have been struggling in my prayer time. In particular, I have had a very difficult time with confessing my sins. Not that I’ve had any trouble recognizing the sin in my life, but that I had a long list of sins that I confessed over, and over, and over again. Although I desired and attempted to be open and honest during my times of confession, I was finding myself to be distracted and frustrated. Eventually, I began to realize, that even though the sins I was confessing were legitimate, I was not digging deep enough. So, I asked God to search my heart and show me the things that really needed to be dealt with in my life.

To share what He showed me is difficult. But I believe this is necessary. Here are the four specific sins I am struggling with as I walk with Him today.

  • James 4:11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
    • I didn’t think I considered myself to be better than anyone else, but I have constantly criticized others. And the really bad thing is, I have felt justified in doing so. What the Lord has help me to see is that, by being critical of others, I have been elevating myself. Instead of focusing on my walk with Jesus and how to become more like Him, I have made myself the judge of others.
  • Colossians 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled
    • It has been a real slap in the face to realize that I am not nearly as grateful for the sovereign work of salvation God has done in my life as I fooled myself into thinking I am. I know this because I am beginning to see that I often take for granted how blessed and highly favored I am to be a child of the King. I didn’t, and don’t, deserve eternal life. My heart is not filled with gratitude.
  • Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
    • Simply put, although I say that Jesus Christ is the most important person in my life, I often put other people, tasks, commitments and interests ahead of Him. ‘I deserve to relax. I’ll get to it later. I’m just too tired right now.’ I was a priority to God the Son when He died for me. I am still a priority of His. He is worthy of the time and energy I have, not leftovers.
  • 1 Peter 4:16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
    • I am not secretive about my faith in Jesus; but I am not bold and proactive either. I am way too concerned about the potential consequences of sharing my faith. What if I offend someone and never get to share with them again? What if I share my faith at work and lose my job? As much as I want to share, as much as I think I am not ashamed, I am not willing to pay the price.

I am embarrassed to reveal these sins. Yet I want so badly to have victory over them. I know I can only do so in His strength. I know the only reason to do so is for His glory. My prayer is, with the time and effort it has taken to evaluate and describe these specific sins, that now I will pray more fervently about them, more clearly confess and address them, by His power and grace turn from them, and for His glory overcome them.

Are you struggling with some specific sin? Have you considered asking God to help you dig deep to get to the root of the problem? I have only taken the first few steps of this difficult journey; but now I see a path forward to victory and know He is walking with me every step of the way.  Jesus is there for you to. Ask for His help!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Not Sure What to Call this Devotion

Not Sure What to Call this Devotion

Perhaps I should call it ‘Bad Attitude’, or ‘Worn Out’, or ‘Need a Break’, or ‘Who Cares’, or…

Do you ever have one of those days when you wrestle with one or more of the following (or similar) questions regarding the things Jesus has gifted and called you to do?
  • No Commitment – ‘Why do I want to give up?’
  • No Joy – ‘Why am I so frustrated?’
  • No Passion – ‘Why am I procrastinating?’
  • No Time – ‘Why is this taking so long?’
  • No Satisfaction – ‘Why is this so hard?
  • No Results – ‘Why am I even doing this?

I do. And honestly, I am having one of those days today. Yet here I am, refusing to walk away from what, at this particular moment, feels more like an obligation than a privilege.

Actually, right now, I am realizing that everything above is a prayer to my Lord and Savior. A desperate plea for His intervention in my self-absorbed and pitiful pity party.

And as I type away, He is speaking to me:
  • Lay all that down.
  • Trust me.
  • I love you.
  • You matter.
  • This matters.
  • Praise me.

Jesus, I praise You. You are worthy of so much more than what I have to give, yet I give it all to You. Thank You for dying for me. Thank You for saving me. Thank You for being kind and patient. Thank You for Your perfect love. I trust You. I love You. I am Yours. Use me as You see fit. May I bring glory and honor to You.
  • 1 Peter 1:6-9 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

All who serve Him

Stay Focused on Him
Walk with Him
Pray to Him
Praise Him
Trust Him
Love Him
Obey Him 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

My Shepherd and My Father

My Shepherd and My Father

The God of the Bible is known by many names/titles. He is my Lord, God, Savior, King, Master, Redeemer, deliverer, rock, fortress, shelter, strength, shield, etc. However, there are two specific designations for God that I will focus on in this devotion. In Psalm 23, He is called Shepherd. In Matthew 6:9-13, He is called Father. Although He is called Shepherd and Father in many other scriptures, these are two of the most well-known and beloved passages found in all the Bible.

And as the years pass, and as I grow closer and closer to Him (by His grace and mercy), I believe there are three primary reasons for the popularity of these verses. In these verses we find:
  1. A crystal-clear picture of the profoundly personal relationship we can have with the creator, sustainer and judge of the universe.
  2. The benevolent, loving and unchanging character of the one true God is presented with concepts that can be readily embraced by all peoples.
  3. That the hope for reconciliation and restoration of this broken world and the broken people who populate it is not only a reality, but is desired and made available by the One righteous King who rules over all things.

Let’s take a closer look at what these verses tell us about who God is, what He does, and how He does it.

His Position

  • Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    • My perfect provider and protector keeps a close eye on me. He comes after me when I stray. 
  • Matthew 6:9-10 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
    • I am loved by a Father who knows me better than I know myself. His plans for me are best. 

His Provision
  • Psalm 23:2a He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
    • He has provided a glorious eternal destination for those who love and obey Him.
  • Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.
    • He meets all my physical and spiritual needs (even when I think it isn’t enough).

His Peace
  • Psalm 23:2b He leads me beside the still waters.
    • My peace is not defined by my surroundings, it is found only in Him.
  • Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
    • Through His grace and mercy, we find forgiveness of sins and peace with Him. We find peace with others when we are gracious and merciful.

His Pardon
  • Psalm 23:3a He restores my soul;
    • I born into sin and condemned to death – He paid for my soul by shedding His sinless blood. Now I have eternal life.
  • Matthew 6:13a-b And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.
    • He has rescued me from my depraved nature, the sinful ways of the world, and the adversary.

His Participation
  • Psalm 23:3b He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
    • He is deeply and personally engaged with my life – that’s what He is known for.
  • Matthew 6:13c For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
    • Not only is He the all-powerful, all-knowing ruler over all things, He receives glory and honor for how, when and why He righteously exercises His authority.

Here are a few final thoughts – Jesus said:
  • John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
  • Matthew 7:11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Follow the Shepherd!
Honor the Father!
Embrace Him as Both!!


I am in awe of You my Selfless Shepherd and Faithful Father. Teach, correct and guide me as I seek to know You better and honor You with all that I am. Please help me surrender everything to You. I am tired of holding back. I am sick of the fear and doubts. Use me for Your glory. I ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Amen. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Never Say Never

Never Say Never

Have you ever heard someone say something like,

‘He would never __________.’
‘She could never __________.’
‘No matter what, I will never __________.’
‘My child would never __________.’

Such statements often produce the following response, ‘Never say never.” Why is that?

‘Never say never.’, is one of the world’s unintended confessions of a Biblical truth that they would otherwise vigorously deny – namely, that all people are depraved by nature! But, according to the Bible, since all people fall short, rebel, shock, disappoint, disobey, surprise, etc. with regards to living up to God’s moral standards and requirements, it is completely appropriate and accurate to say that man can never:

Live Without Sinning
All people sin, that is why Jesus had to die.
  • Romans 3:23 or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Be Reconciled to God Through His Own Efforts
There is only way to an eternal life in heaven with God, Jesus.
  • 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.
Avoid Eternal Blessings or Torment
Every person will spend eternity in heaven or hell.
  • John 5:28-29 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
    • Note: The use of the phrases ‘those who have done good’ and ‘those who have done evil’ in vs 29, does not refer to earning salvation through good works. These phrases refer to the life of a person who has surrendered to Christ as Savior honoring God in how they live, as opposed to someone who has rejected Christ and lives in rebellion against God.

Additionally, the Bible also teaches that it is correct to say that God never:

God and His Word are absolute truth.
  • Titus 1:1-2 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began
The character, motivations and trustworthiness of God never change.
  • Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
Tempts (or is Tempted)
God is above reproach and never entices us to sin (but he may allow us to be tested).
  • James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone 
Leaves or Forsakes His Children
He will not abandon those who truly love him.
  • Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 
We serve an eternal God with no beginning and no end.
  • Psalm 102:27 But You are the same, And Your years will have no end. 
God can do anything that doesn’t contradict His character.
  • Jeremiah 32:17 ‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. 

As Christians, we reject the saying, 
‘Never say never.’ 
We put our trust in the 
absolute truths of God’s Holy Word! 

The unwillingness of a born again follower of Jesus Christ to take firm positions based on what the Word of God teaches shows a lack of:

No Christian fully understands God. But when a Christian has not matured in their knowledge and understanding of scripture, they will not have a stable foundation of absolute truth to stand on.

Knowledge without faith is impotent. A person won’t stand for something they don’t trust.

Trust that overcomes fear leads to the embracing and sharing of truth; even when that truth is rejected by the world.

A passion for truth is revealed when faced with opposition.

Christians are called to persevere in truth regardless of the form or extent of the opposition faced.


Forgive me Father
for how short I fall of
what You have
called and empowered
me to be
in Christ Jesus.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Seek His Face

Seek His Face

Psalm 27:8 When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

Recently, my wife and I were talking about what it means to ‘seek the face of the Lord’. Honestly, as much as I liked the sound of this phrase, as often as I had found or shared encouragement in, and with, verses that reference this concept, I was struggling to understand the deep personal meaning of it. I had realized I was missing something very basic and very special.

Fortunately for me, my wife can explain things in very simple, yet profound ways; she approached this topic from God’s perspective. She talked about imagining a parent attempting to get, and keep, the attention of a preoccupied or defiant child. Parents in this situation will often say, ‘Look at me.’ And to her credit, with that simple explanation, I got it.

When the Lord says, ‘Seek My face.’, He is telling His children to listen and submit to, acknowledge, pursue, and obey Him. He is telling us that He wants a close personal relationship with us. When I say, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.’, I am affirming the desire of my heart to be close to Him. I want to praise and worship Him, engage with Him, learn about Him, please Him, continue to grow and become more and more like Him, and to share with others about Him.

We must seek His face with reverence, respect, awe, appreciation, honesty, humility, worshipfulness, willingness, diligence, determination, confidence, curiosity… with all that we are. We learn, grow, change and are blessed as we seek and respond to His:

  • Psalm 99:5 Exalt the Lord our God, And worship at His footstool—He is holy.

  • Psalm 25:5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.

  • Psalm 69:29 But I am poor and sorrowful; Let Your salvation, O God, set me up on high.

  • 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.

  • Psalm 145:17 The Lord is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works.

  • Psalm 145:18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.

  • Psalm 40:17 But I am poor and needy; Yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.

  • Psalm 61:3-4 For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy. 4 I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah

There are infinite aspects of His character, His ways, His expectations, and His love that He will reveal to us over the millennium as we continue to seek His face in Heaven.

Do you have an insatiable desire
to know Him, please Him, and become more like Him?

He created you so that He can be in a
reconciled relationship with you!

Seek His face!!!


Gracious, loving Father, please ignite a passion in the heart and soul of every one of Your children to seek Your face. May our lives be defined by our desire to know You and glorify You. Help us to let go of anything and everything standing in the way of complete surrender, unending commitment and resolute devotion to You. I ask these things in the name of Christ my Savior. Amen.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Being Close to God

Being Close to God

The Temple of God is a central theme throughout the Bible. Throughout the ages, in the past, present and future, the ‘Temple of God’ may refer to a number of different places of worship.
  • The Tabernacle (assembled at Sinai after the exodus from Egypt)
  • Solomon’s Temple (constructed in Jerusalem after David’s death)
  • Zerubbabel’s Temple (built on the site where Solomon’s Temple had been destroyed by Babylon)
  • The Millennial Temple (described by in Ezekiel’s visions pertaining to the period of Christ’s thousand-year reign)
  • The Eternal Temple (located in the capitol city of heaven (the New Jerusalem))
    • Once everything has been remade and we enter the eternal state in Heaven – the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple

The Temple of God is where Israel seeks God’s face, gathers for corporate and private worship, offers sacrifices, and embraces/embodies the realities of being the chosen people of God.

Being in the Temple of God

In the Bible we find that for the Nation of Israel to be in the Temple of God meant to be close to God.
  • Psalm 27:4 One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.
    • Being close to God was a goal for those Israelites who truly loved Him.
  • Psalm 84:4 Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You. Selah
    • Being close to God was a tremendous blessing.
  • Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
    • Being close to God was viewed as a way to experience the eternal goodness and mercy of God.

Yet, for all the blessings and benefits associated with seeking God’s presence in a particular place, God has promised something much greater for those who are reconciled to Him through faith in Jesus.

Being the Temple of God

Followers of Jesus Christ experience an everlasting intimacy with God – He has drawn close to us! Being close to God is not about our physical location, it is about His actual presence living in us!
  • John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
    • Being close to God in a new way was promised by Jesus to those who love Him.
  • 1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
    • Being close to God now means we have become the temple of God.
  • Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
    • Being close to God means that He is always with us and guarantees our eternal destination is with Him in Heaven.

Under the Old Covenant,
being in the Temple of God meant
consolation and blessings!

Under the New Covenant,
being the Temple of God means
transformation and eternal life!!


Father God, lover of my soul, thank You for the incredible blessing of Your indwelling Spirit. To know that You are always with me, and will never leave me, brings peace, humility, and confidence that has radically and permanently changed who I am. I am Your child. I am Your temple. I am Yours!! I praise You and pray to You in the name of my Savior, Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, July 29, 2018



Everybody is looking for something. What is it that you desire more than anything else? Do you know where to look for it? Do you have any idea where it might come from?
  • Psalm 121:1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help?

The question that really needs to be asked is, ‘Is what you are looking for what you really need?’

When it comes down to it, from an eternal perspective, there are three things that every person needs.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
    • Faith – We all need something we can count on in this life. There is no greater truth and no higher power than Jehovah, the God of the Bible. We must trust in Him with all that we are.
      • Isaiah 45:22 “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.
    • Hope – We all need something that keeps us going in this life. Regardless of how desperate things may seem, we must have confident assurance in His righteous, sovereign rule.
      • 2 Chronicles 20:12 O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”
    • Love – We all need something that assures us we are highly valued. That something is the perfect love of God. He loves us so much, that He came to earth, lived a sinless life, and died on a cross to pay our sin debt – even when we didn’t deserve it or know we needed it. In order to spend eternity in heaven with Him, we must reciprocate His love by turning to Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
      • Jude 1:21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

There is One and only One Who can meet our ultimate needs – the self-existent eternal creator of all things!
  • Psalm 121:1-2 I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

Have Faith in Him!

Find Hope through Him!

Experience Love from Him and for Him!


Father, please reveal Yourself through the absolute truth of Your Word to those who don’t know You as Lord and Savior. Draw them through faith, encourage them in hope and transform them with love. Help them see their need for You above all else. I humbly ask these things in the name of my Savior, Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

What If

What If

As much as I hate to admit it, I spend way too much time and energy focusing on what I perceive as possible problems, likely inconveniences, and potential negative outcomes in my life. And I do this despite knowing that our loving sovereign Heavenly Father is actively involved in the events of our lives and the fulfillment of His prophecies and promises. Honestly, my unintentional preoccupation with these matters can overwhelm my mind and causes significant unnecessary stress in my life. There is nothing particularly wrong with asking, ‘What if ______?’, but I am over doing it!

Over the past week, I have been thinking and praying about this a great deal. My thoughts and prayers have led me to consider two phenomenal examples from the Bible that, instead of being consumed with their own circumstances and pondering multitudes of ‘what ifs’ about tomorrow, focused on glorifying God today regardless of the situations they faced.

Joseph, the son of Abraham

  • Genesis 37:23-24 So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. 24 Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it.
    • Eleven of Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery because they were jealous of their father’s love for him.
Falsely Accused
  • Genesis 39:19-20 So it was, when his master heard the words which his wife spoke to him, saying, “Your servant did to me after this manner,” that his anger was aroused. 20 Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison.
    • The wife of Joseph’s master lied about what he had done so that her husband would throw Joseph into prison.
Giving Father God the Glory
  • Genesis 41:15-16 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.” 16 So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”
    • Joseph acknowledged that it was not him, but Father God who was able to interpret Pharaoh’s dream.
Acknowledging Father God’s Sovereign Rule
  • Genesis 50:20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
    • Joseph proclaimed that, it is Father God who rules over all things; in spite of, and/or in conjunction with the free will of man, He is working all things out to accomplish His ultimate purposes and plans.

Jesus, the Son of God

  • Matthew 26:47-48 And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.”
    • One of Jesus’ disciples turned Him over to the religions leaders for 30 pieces of silver.
Falsely Accused
  • Matthew 26:59-61 Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, 60 but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward 61 and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ ”
    • The two false witnesses lied about what Jesus had said so that the religious leaders could charge Him with a crime punishable by death.
Giving Father God the Glory
  • Matthew 26:63-64 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” 64 Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
    • Jesus acknowledged that He is God (the Son of God), but that He is also submissive to Father God.
Acknowledging Father God’s Sovereign Rule
  • John 19:10-11 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” 11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”
    • Jesus proclaimed that, it is Father God who rules over all things; in spite of, and/or in conjunction with the free will of man, He is working all things out to accomplish His ultimate purposes and plans.

What if:

Instead of asking so many questions,
I trusted God with the outcomes?

Instead of worrying about tomorrow,
I concentrated on bringing glory to God right now?

Instead of focusing so much on how things may impact me,
I watched with joyful anticipation to see what God is going to do?

Although often pondered, quoted and referenced, this week has brought me a much deeper and personal appreciation for the following verses:
  • Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
  • 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 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
  • John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

As with many other areas of my walk with Christ, I have a long way to go. But I am on the path with Him. I now understand this issue much more clearly than I did a week ago, and trust Him to strengthen me for, and guide me through, the changes that need to take place in my life to honor Him in these things.


Dear Lord, please help me to let go of all the what ifs that flood my mind and steal my peace. Fill me with the truth from Your Word above so that I don’t just know them, but that I live them out daily. I praise You and thank You in the name of the one who died for me – Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

For I AM, Am I Willing To…

For I AM, Am I Willing To…

In Exodus chapter 3, in response to Moses’ asking for His name, the God of the Bible referred to Himself as ‘I AM’.
  • Exodus 3:14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”
In this name, the only true God, existing as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, identified himself as both self-existent (He was not created) and eternal (He has no beginning and no end). But He is not a distant, uncaring God. Our heavenly Father has revealed Himself and His love for us in countless ways.

He Created Us
With love and care, Father God intentionally and purposefully made each one of us.
  • Psalm 100:3 Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 

He Protects Us
With wisdom and power, the Lord shelters those who turn to Him.
  • Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

He Forgives Us
With compassion and mercy, Jehovah God pardons the sins of the repentant.
  • Psalm 86:5 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.

He Frees Us
With the shed blood of Jesus Christ, I AM delivers the souls of those who have faith in Him.
  • Psalm 34:22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.

I am a born again believer in Jesus Christ. I have surrendered my life to the truth of His life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension. Jesus is my Lord, my Savior and my God. He is the bridge between me and Father God – the one and only way by which my sins have been forgiven and my relationship with God has been reconciled. But as much as I love him, as much as I long to please Him, I wonder, if for I AM, am I willing to:

Do I completely trust in this Savior that I cannot see and these truths that I may not fully comprehend?
  • John 20:29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed, Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Do I always consider Father God’s standards, desires and plans as I make decisions?
  • Matthew 6:10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

Do I joyfully prioritize other people’s needs ahead of my own?
  • Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

Do I unconditionally put my personal comfort, possessions, freedoms and/or life at risk for His glory and purposes?
  • 2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

Do I completely, always, joyfully and unconditionally live for Christ? The honest answer is no. But I want to. I long to.

Thankfully, the liberating truth of the gospel is, Jesus had to die on the cross. I am incapable of living a perfect life. That is what He did. And that is why, when I put my trust in Him, His shed blood pays my sin debt.
  • Galatians 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
  • Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
  • Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

For I AM, I am willing to:
  • Depend on His perfection, righteousness, faithfulness and strength, not my own!
  • Acknowledge my deficiencies and shortcomings as I confidently trust Him for the forgiveness of them!
  • Resist the temptation to give up the fight – for He never once gave up on me!
  • Persevere in this walk with Him – because He gives me the desire and ability to do so!
  • Trust that His Word and His promises are true!
  • Honor Him by being honest, humble, repentant, forgiving, loving, kind and merciful!
  • Learn as I go – I am a work in progress.


My Lord and King, help me trust in You, not in myself. Teach me to submit, surrender, serve and suffer in Your strength and goodness, and always for Your glory. I pray that my life will point others to You. Thank You for being the gracious, merciful, just and loving Father that You are. I pray these things in the name of Your Son and my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Our Miraculously Practical God

Our Miraculously Practical God

Have you heard the story about the Christian who died in the flood?

A faithful servant of God lived his entire life on the banks of a beautiful river. He thanked God daily for his home and the provisions and blessings associated with his land and its close proximity to the picturesque waterway. But one day, a tremendous storm came through the area upstream of his home. As the water level of the river started to rise, the man began to pray. He prayed with great faith and passion for the protection of his home and his life. When the waters reached his front door, he continued in prayer and moved his most precious belongings to the attic. And as the unrelenting waters rose higher, he persisted in prayer and went up to the roof. At this point, realizing his home and belongings were lost to the flood, He thanked God for keeping him alive. He rejoiced at the blessings of his life and again faithfully asked God to deliver him from the flood waters.

After just a few hours, a man came by in a boat. He urged the man on the roof to abandon his home and leave with him in the boat. The man on the roof confidently proclaimed, ‘I have faith in God. I prayed for Him to spare my life and I know that He will deliver me. Please, go rescue those who need your help.’ The boat left.

Another couple of hours went by and the floodwaters had almost covered his entire roof. Faintly at first, then louder and louder, the man heard a tremendous noise. It was a helicopter. The National Guard lowered a basket to the man and pleaded with him to climb in. Without hesitation, the man on the roof shouted up to the helicopter, ‘There are many others who need your help! I have prayed that God will deliver me! Please go help someone else!’ Reluctantly, the helicopter flew away.

Within two hours of the helicopter leaving, the man on the roof was washed away and drowned. When he got to heaven, he asked God, ‘Why didn’t you save me?’ God smiled and said, ‘My son, I gave you time to leave your home. I also sent a boat and a helicopter to deliver you from the floodwaters.’ A little embarrassed, and now with a smile on his face, the man simply said, ‘O, that was you.’

We serve an amazing, all-powerful God who has demonstrated His character, His love, His justice and His will in many ways that are beyond our complete comprehension.

Creating Something from Nothing
God created all physical matter when nothing physical existed.
  • Genesis 1:1-2 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Making a Way of Escape
With the Israelites trapped by Pharaoh’s army, God provided a path to safety through the Red Sea.
  • Exodus 14:21-22 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
Raising the Dead to Life
Lazarus had been dead four days when Jesus commanded him to walk out of his tomb.
  • John 11:43-44 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”
Calming the Wind and the Sea
Jesus’ disciples went from fear to awe as He displayed His divine authority over nature.
  • Matthew 8:25-27 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” 26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

But sometimes, in awe of who He is, in astonishment of the incredible things He has done, and in anticipation of what great things He may do, we lose sight of His engagement with the everyday aspects of our lives. Yet, despite our lack of observation, understanding and appreciation, in the midst of our daily struggles and sometime mundane routines, He is there. We serve a miraculously practical God who answers our prayers and graciously meets our needs according to His will, in His time, and often with wondrous sovereign acts that can mistakenly be viewed as mundane.

Artistic Ability
God gave a man incredible talent, insight and wisdom to complete the work He had commanded to be done.
  • Exodus 31:1-5 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3 And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 4 to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, 5 in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.
A Close Friend
King Saul sought to kill David. But God provided a friend and advocate for David in Saul’s son Jonathan.
  • 1 Samuel 18:1 Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
True Rest
Jesus gives His love and gave His life so that in Him, we might find rest from the heavy burdens life.
  • 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.”
Victory Over Temptation
The gift of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit provides the power, wisdom and conviction to overcome the enticements of sin.
  • Galatians 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Don’t miss the miracle from God
that may appear ordinary
because you are waiting for Him to do something
that will be perceived as extraordinary!

Focus on loving, obeying, pleasing and glorifying Father God, and He will take care of everything else. Our walk with Him isn’t always easy (sometimes it is very difficult); but He is always there. He is lovingly and sovereignly watching, anticipating, overseeing, providing and guiding.
  • Psalm 139:1-6 O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. 5 You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.
  • Matthew 6:31-34 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.


Holy Father, help Your children to recognize and appreciate the miraculously practical ways You work in our lives and in the world around us. Forgive us when we want or expect something viewed as extraordinary instead of gratefully acknowledging the innumerable ways you express Your love in less blatantly obvious ways. Help us to surrender to Your will and Your ways. I ask these things in the name of Jesus my Savior. Amen.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

I Can

I Can

Pride lurks deep within the sin nature of all people (that includes Christians). And because of this, there is always the possibility that we might start to view His power as our ability. This possibility represents a clear and present danger in our relationships with God, the church and the world. Therefore, we must prayerfully examine ourselves on an ongoing basis to ensure that we are not letting pride enter and corrupt our understanding and perspectives about who God is and who we are.

Have you ever felt or believed that:

I can earn God’s favor.
  • Romans 3:27-28 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.
    • Our Standing – Our righteous position before God is based on our faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ to pay our sin debt and to bring us into a reconciled relationship with Father God. God is not indebted to us for what we do for Him. We can’t earn His love – it is given freely. Genuine faith in Him is the key to this love relationship.
      • Also read Ephesians 2:8-9
I can live a God-honoring life because of my dedication and efforts.
  • Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
    • Our Testimony – Whether it is the victories we experience over the sin in our lives, or other things we do (or don’t do) that bring glory to God, it is not in our human nature to reverence Him. It is the presence, power and purpose of His Holy Spirit that calls, convicts and enables us to live according to the truth and standards revealed in His Word. The life we live in reverential awe and respect for Father God is a result of Him working in us, not us working for Him.
      • Also read Hebrews 13:20-21
I can figure out the deep meanings and correct application of God’s Word on my own.
  • 1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
    • Our Understanding – The Bible is full of true stories, historical facts, straightforward teachings, sensible standards, and much more that we can intellectually process, understand and apply to our lives with the help of pastors, teachers, other Christians and personal Bible Study. But comprehending, embracing and exemplifying the eternal truths and deep spiritual realities of scripture is only possible through a submissive encounter with the Holy Spirit of God. Praise God for His teaching ministry.
      • Also read Ephesians 1:15-17
I can convince someone that they should surrender their life to Jesus.
  • John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
    • Our Influence – No matter how eloquent, organized, passionate, convincing, persistent, etc. we may be, we are not able to talk someone into genuine saving faith in Jesus. Salvation results when a sovereign act meets submissive obedience. Father God draws a person to Christ with the gift of saving faith. When that person humbly accepts this gift and responds by surrendering all that they are to the Lordship of Jesus, they are spiritually reborn and adopted into the family of God. We are responsible for sharing the truth of the Bible through our words and our lives. We are not responsible for the results of another person’s encounter with God.
      • Also read John 1:12-13

Do you think that you love the unlovable because you are just that awesome? Are you convinced that you are putting other’s needs above your own because of your natural selfless desire to serve humanity? Have you started to believe that your merciful nature is why you forgive the unforgivable? If so, you have forgotten who you really are apart from God.
  • Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
Anything and everything good in us comes from Him.
  • 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.
  • 2 Cor 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,

To what in your life are you saying that,
‘I can!’,

When you should be praying that,
‘God will!’?

Be honest with yourself and God. Turn from your pride and confess this sin. He is faithful and just to forgive your sins!


Father, help Your children thoroughly examine themselves. Show us any pride that may have crept into our lives. Cleanse us of this sin as we turn from it, turn to You, and confess our shortcomings. Help us to humbly and thankfully keep our eyes on You at all times. Help us to never forget that everything good is a gift from You. Please use Your Spirit and Your Word to empower and enable us through the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. To You be the glory. I pray this all in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Choice

The Choice

Everyone must choose which path they will follow in life. And when it comes down to it, although identified in a lot of different ways, there are just two choices:

  • Choice One – A life that honors God
    • Godly Wisdom - also identified in the Word of God as Life, Light, Good, Righteousness, etc.
  • Choice Two – A life that defies God
    • Foolishness of the World - also identified in the Word of God as Death, Darkness, Bad, Wickedness, etc.
Both paths, Godly Wisdom and the Foolishness of the World, are calling you.

Please read Proverbs 9:1-18 before proceeding with this devotion.

The Call

In Proverbs chapter 9 we see the wisdom of God and the foolishness of the world personified as two very different women. In verses 1-3, we see that the wisdom of God is diligent, industrious, prepared and preemptive. In contrast, verses 13 and 14 portray the world’s foolishness as unruly, uninformed, gullible, and lazy. Yet surprisingly enough, their invitation and their target audience are identical (verse 4 for wisdom and verse 16 for foolishness).
  • Proverbs 9:4 & 9:16 both state:
    • “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
Although they are compelled by opposing motives, Godly wisdom and the foolishness of the world both continually call out to those who don’t have a clear direction in their lives (the simple who are easily influenced).

Godly wisdom seeks to save.
  • Proverbs 9:5-6 “Come, eat of my bread And drink of the wine I have mixed. 6 Forsake foolishness and live, And go in the way of understanding.
    • Wisdom offers blessings and results in hope.
Worldly foolishness desires destruction.
  • Proverbs 9:17-18 “Stolen water is sweet, And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” 18 But he does not know that the dead are there, That her guests are in the depths of hell.
    • Foolishness incites wickedness and leads to despair.
The path you have chosen is revealed by examining your life.

The Characteristics

Throughout the Bible, in proverbs and poetry and parables and proceedings, the ways of the Godly and foolish are contrasted.
  • Psalm 1:2-4 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
  • Proverbs 10:32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, But the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.
  • Matthew 7:16-17 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
Even so, none of us are perfect – we all fall short (that is why Jesus had to die on the cross to pay for our sins).
  • Galatians 2:20-21 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
  • Galatians 5:16-17 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
God made one way for everyone to be, and stay in, right relationship with Him. That way is faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Everyone has a choice to make about Jesus.

The Choice

No one is exempt from making a choice about God. Not choosing to live for God is a choice to rebel against Him.
  • 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;
  • Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
This choice is the most important decision you will make in this life. There are eternal consequences based on what you decide about following God.

The Consequence

Choosing Jesus will put you at odds with the world. But even though walking with Him can be a difficult journey, it is the only path that leads to eternal life in heaven with Father God.
  • Proverbs 11:19 As righteousness leads to life, So he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.
  • Romans 6:23 for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Godly wisdom leads to a God-honoring life and eternal blessings.

Earthly wisdom leads to a depraved life and eternal destruction.

If you have chosen Jesus, follow Him faithfully.

If you have not chosen Jesus, yield to the truth of God’s Word and surrender all that you are to Jesus Christ; and do it right now. None of us are promised tomorrow.
  • James 4:13-14 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
  • Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,


Father God, please do what only you can do – use Your Holy Spirit to draw those who have not surrendered to Jesus according to the truth of Your Word and Your faithfulness to Your promises of reconciliation and eternal life. Thank You for loving us enough to die for us. I humbly pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.