Monday, May 31, 2010

Psalm 23

1The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.

2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lord, Thank You (Friendship Poem)

Lord, thank You for loyal, loving friends

Who are there in winter or springtime fair.
New acquaintances are easy to come by,
But true friendship is extremely rare.

A friend always sees the best in you,
Although they've known you at your worst.
They laugh with you in the good times,
When storms threaten, they'll be there first.

They'll offer a shoulder to rest your head
When tears are welling in your eyes.
Take a walk down friendship's path with you
And help chase away those stormy skies.

Lord, thank You for all the gifts You give
Each one makes our life seem more worthwhile.
But one of the finest gifts you've given us
Is the warmth of friendship's loving smile.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Prayer Of Jabez (bless Me) by Ramsey Lewis or Donald Lawrence

Bless me, bless me

Oh Lord, bless me indeed,

Enlarge my territory

Oh Lord, bless me indeed

(I pray for increase)

Bless me indeed

(I pray for increase)

Increase, increase

Oh Lord, bless me indeed,

Enlarge my territory

Oh Lord, bless me indeed

(I pray for increase)

Bless me indeed


Keep Your hands upon me

So that evil cannot harm me

Sunshine and rain, sickness and pain

God, I humbly come to You

Enlarge my territory

Enlarge my territory


Oh Lord, bless me indeed

(I pray for increase)

Bless me indeed

Keep Your hands upon me

So that evil cannot harm me

Sunshine and rain, sickness and pain

God, I humbly come to You

Enlarge my territory (x2)

Oh Lord, bless me indeed

(I pray for increase)


Keep Your hands upon me

So that evil cannot harm me

Sunshine and rain, sickness and pain

God, I humbly come to You

(I want you to…)


Enlarge my territory (x2)

Enlarge my territory (x4)

Enlarge my territory (x2)

Oh Lord, bless me indeed

(I pray for increase)

bless me indeed

(I pray for increase)



Friday, May 28, 2010

Joy in spite of trouble.

Acts 16:22The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.


25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!"



Whenever I go through any trial, I want a miracle like this to happen! I don't want to remain in the trial for any period of time. In fact when I face a trial, I want to withdraw and say "life wins, just leave me over here in the corner!"


I have spoken to many people recently and they seem to be struggling. It's really difficult for them to see that life really hasn't changed, just another circumstance is in front of them. I know many times in my life I couldn't see what GOD was doing because I was so worried about my circumstance.
  • When I focus on the bad, everything seems to be wrong.
  • When I focus on the negative, I can't hear GOD.
  • When I focus on the lies, I can't discern what is true.
  • When I focus on the future, I get worried about the present.



Humans have the tendency to try to figure things out. When I don't have all the right pieces, then my worries, fears and doubts take over. I jump into "GOD's job" when I think about the future because only HE knows what is going to happen to me.



Paul and Silas remained “in the present” and they were truly blessed. They had no idea that GOD was going to rescue them. In fact they always had the resolve that they had been tremendously blessed up to this point and if GOD wanted to take them away "right now" then so be it.

  • When I focus on spreading GOD's kingdom, I expect problems.
  • When I focus on spreading GOD's kingdom, I can help people even though I need help.
  • When I focus on spreading GOD's kingdom, I can actually see people who need help.
  • When I focus on spreading GOD's kingdom, I don't complain as much.
  • When I focus on spreading GOD's kingdom, I'm not worried about me getting my way, but GOD getting HIS way.

GOD warns me that life will be difficult. HE doesn't want me to have a difficult life, but HE allows life to go on. HE knows there will be good and bad days so HIS advice to me is "help others recognize MY SON and I will do the rest."

I have taken the lesson from Paul and Silas. When I am having a bad day, then it must be time to call someone up and encourage them to have a good day!

  • Are you going through difficult times?
  • In the middle of your suffering can you encourage someone?
  • Do you realize that if you encourage someone, you will feel better about your situation?
  • Can you thank GOD for blessing you throughout life and HE has already done enough?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Praise the LORD!

Psalm 112

1 Praise the LORD.

Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who finds great delight in his commands.

2 His children will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.

3 Wealth and riches are in his house,
and his righteousness endures forever.

4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.
5 Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely,
who conducts his affairs with justice.
6 Surely he will never be shaken;
a righteous man will be remembered forever.
7 He will have no fear of bad news;
his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
8 His heart is secure, he will have no fear;
in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.
9 He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor,
his righteousness endures forever;
his horn will be lifted high in honor.

10 The wicked man will see and be vexed,
he will gnash his teeth and waste away;
the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Remain "true to the faith" even when it's tough!

Acts 14:21They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said.


When I feel nervous, upset, or the pressure is on, the first thing I drop is GOD. I don't know why I do that. I guess my instincts are to take over. I desire to control my life so much that I push GOD aside to make things happen.

I can easily hang out with GOD when times are easy, but when times are tough I have the tendency to drop GOD like a hot rock.

Here is what happens. I set a date or an expectation because I am a planner. I pray "at" GOD about my date or expectation and blame it on faith. I say "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of thing not seen."

Then I wait impatiently. When that date or expectation isn't met, I get upset at GOD and ask "Why are you ignoring me?" Then I question GOD's sovereignty and I ask "Why do you let other people who don't worship you get away with all the stuff they get away with?"

Then I realize GOD is sovereign and knows what is "best" for me and HE has some wonderful plans for me.
  • GOD loves me especially when times are tough.
  • GOD loves me when I sin.
  • GOD loves me when I serve.
  • GOD loves me when I am nervous.
  • GOD loves me when I am confident.
  • GOD loves me so much that HE allowed HIS SON to die for me.


Satan tried to ruin the birth of JESUS by tempting the first humans. After their fall, all humans were doomed to Hell. GOD did a miraculous thing by allowing HIS volunteer SON to die in mankind's place. JESUS lived on this earth and faced every type of temptation, yet HE did not sin.


HE is now alive and is the only one who is WORTHY enough to judge all of creation. HE is building a place for you and I that is unimaginably wonderful.

Paul and Barnabas were excited about preaching this GREAT NEWS! They told many people and they believed, unfortunately the crowd was stirred up by the wealthy and powerful. They had Paul assassinated, but he got up from the stoning and kept on preaching.
  • I have a choice to follow GOD's ways when times are tough.
  • I have a choice to believe that GOD wants the best for me when I don't understand the plan.
  • I have a choice to pray and let GOD change me while HE changes the circumstance.
Paul says "remain true to the faith." This means that I can expect GOD to do marvelous things, but usually not the way I expect them to happen. I can expect difficult times in my life, and I can expect GOD to take care of me through these times. I can expect to have opposition when I lovingly and humbly preach CHRIST.

  • Are you losing your faith because of a prolonged problem?
  • Have you given up on GOD?
  • What other plan do you have?
  • Can you control the circumstances? Can GOD?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's good to be good but my good is not good enough!

Acts 13: 38"Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. 40Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:

41" 'Look, you scoffers,

wonder and perish,

for I am going to do something in your days

that you would never believe,

even if someone told you.'"


Over the years I have struggled with the notion of "good" versus "evil." How good should I be? What are the consequences for my sins? Since I'm saved from my sins, can I sin as much as I want to?


This is a difficult concept to grasp and explain so, as always, I have to explain it from my perspective. When Adam wondered if his wife would live or die by eating the fruit of "life", everything changed.


Every human was sentenced to death because sin was passed down through the birth process. GOD said "All have sinned and fall short of HIS glory." Humans got so wrapped up in their sin that GOD destroyed the earth and left one sinners family alive, namely Noah.


After repopulating the earth and after many battles and struggles, prophets and kings were put in place to declare GOD's message. The message they declared was "Salvation comes through following the law."


JESUS volunteered to become a human before the world was made but HE chose to be born 2000+ years ago. HE lived as a perfect human and was killed for healing people and supplying their needs. HE was murdered by the people trying to follow the law.

  • The flaw I have with the law is I follow parts of it and not all of it.
  • The flaw I have with the law is I get "proud" of what I do which breaks the law.
  • The flaw I have with the law is I think it is what keeps me saved.
  • The flaw I have with the law is I question if I am close or far from GOD.
  • The flaw I have with the law is I think I am in control of how much GOD loves me.


GOD did not do away with the law. In fact HE wrote it on every humans' heart. In the law HE wrote about HIS SON and rejecting the law still means rejecting HIS SON. So what am I to do? Should I follow the law or should I just believe in JESUS?


I think it's both! Believe in JESUS and use the law for good judgment.

  • Believing that JESUS saved me from my own death is what makes me want to follow the law.
  • Believing that JESUS saved me from my own death makes me want to tell people about the simplicity of salvation.
  • Believing that JESUS saved me from my own death keeps me from thinking there is some good in me that steers GOD into loving or hating me.

GOD loves me with a strange and powerful love. HIS grip is so tight on me that HE will never let go. The people who "scoff" at my belief will wonder and perish, but I am to love them just as CHRIST loves "ALL" humans.
  • Do you think the message of salvation is easy or complicated?
  • Are you busy trying to be "good" to please GOD?
  • Do you know HE is pleased with you already?
  • Since GOD placed HIS HOLY SPIRIT inside of you, how can you ever be "far" away from HIM?

Monday, May 24, 2010

GOD rescues us even when we don't know what's going on.

Acts 12:5So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

6The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. 7Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. "Quick, get up!" he said, and the chains fell off Peter's wrists.

8Then the angel said to him, "Put on your clothes and sandals." And Peter did so. "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me," the angel told him. 9Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.

11Then Peter came to himself and said, "Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating."


Sometimes I don't think GOD is listening to me. Things seem hopeless so during those times I give up. I mean, as far as I can see, the situation “at that time” seems to be quite impossible.

Then GOD delivers me and I go on my merry way. Then another problem would pop up and that issue would seem impossible and guess what? HE would deliver me from that. GOD has done some amazing things in my life.

  • GOD protected me in dangerous situations.
  • GOD led me when I had no direction.
  • GOD raised me up to heights I never would have dreamed.
  • GOD picked me up when I fell from those heights.

Peter was in prison in an impossible situation. He was sentenced to death and for days he awaited his impending doom. GOD had another plan for Peter. GOD sent an angel to rescue him and Peter couldn't believe it.

Peter was miraculously being rescued by GOD but he was going through the motions and had no idea that he was truly being rescued. He had lost all hope and was just sitting there. What else could he do? Meanwhile on the outside, people prayed "earnestly" for his release.

  • GOD hears my prayers and your prayers.
  • GOD has a plan to rescue me even before I get into trouble.
  • GOD has a time for my rescue that is just in time and right on time.

Sometimes I try and try so hard to get myself out of impossible situations. I pray "at" GOD then I go on with my plans, never once asking HIM "is this the direction YOU want me to go?" Peter listened to the angel and didn't have a clue what was really going on.

It wasn't Peter's "lack of faith" that put him in jail and it wasn't his faith that got him out. GOD's plan for Peter was greater than any jail. HIS plan for me is greater than any problem I face on this planet.


  • Are you facing an impossible situation?
  • Do things seem to be falling apart and you have no way to fix them?
  • Are you exhausted from trying too hard?
  • Do you realize that GOD still performs miracles like the one performed for Peter?
  • What is GOD's plan for you? Have you asked HIM?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Jesus Christ is the Way by Edwin Hawkins

(When I think about the hour then I know - what I must do - when I think about what God - has done - for me).

Then I will (I will open up) my heart to every (to everyone I see) - and say (Jesus Christ is the way).

(No one knows the day) (nor the hour) (may be morn) may be morn (night or noon) night or noon (but just rest assure) (time will be no more) (He is coming) I know He is coming - (coming soon) Coming soon - Then I will open (I will open up - my heart) - to every (to everyone I see) - see and say (Jesus Christ is the way)

Then I will open (I will open up) open up (my heart) - MY HEART - to every (to everyone) - everyone (I see) - see (and say) (Jesus Christ is the way)- Jesus is the way - (and say) (Jesus Christ is the way).

A Song of Praise to God by Sandra Julian Barker

Lord of Lords and King of Kings,

God, you’re Lord of everything.
By your hands we must be fed –
Thank you for the Living Bread.

Jesus, Savior of my Soul,
You’re the One who makes me whole.
God, you’re Lord of everything,
Nothing in our hands we bring.

Holy Father up above
Fill us with your precious love.
Fill our hearts with your dear Self
And we will want for nothing else.

Holy Spirit grant that we
Faithful to our Lord might be.
Jesus, lover of my soul,
Only You can make me whole.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Christianity truly is simple if GOD leads it.

Acts 11:22News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.


25Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.


Wow! Sometimes I feel that it's tough being a Christian. In fact I cringe when a televangelist speaks and says or does something contrary to GOD's word. I got upset at churches who exclude out of ignorance. I got even more upset at unscrupulous pastors bilking their congregations out of money and trust. Then I had to reign in my thoughts because I was finger pointing at them.


Okay, what was I doing to over complicate "Christianity?" It took some soul searching but I came up with a number of things.
  • I over complicate GOD's love when I set my expectations on other people (That's GOD's job).
  • I over complicate GOD's love when I don't trust that GOD is doing HIS job and I jump in and "help."
  • I over complicate GOD's love when I judge people for their sin rather than rejoicing what GOD is doing in their life.
  • I over complicate GOD's love when I fight GOD on HIS wonderful plan for me.
  • I over complicate GOD's love when my faith is too small to see what HE is doing in my life and the lives of others.


Barnabas saw what had already happened and rejoiced. He didn't focus on the future and get upset and discouraged. He saw that people gave their life to CHRIST and that was enough to rejoice.


I see that GOD's message is simple. Mankind sinned, everyone of them. CHRIST loved mankind and died in their place. Now mankind can live with HIM eternally just by believing in HIM. Nothing more to do!


This makes me so happy that I want to drop my sins and do what HE says, but here is the caveat... GOD said "Come unto ME all who are broken and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take MY yoke upon you and learn of ME for MY yoke is easy and MY burden is light."


HE said "MY love is easy, eternal and everlasting so stop trying so hard to please ME. I have already done what you are trying to do." The GREAT news about CHRIST is that the message is so simple that even a child can hear it and understand it.

  • When I focus on what GOD has done I can rejoice.
  • When I focus on who HE saved I get excited.
  • When I see that HE is in control my faith grows.
  • When I put my trust in HIM life actually does become simpler.

GOD's message is very simple. My worries doubts and fears overcomplicate HIS message. I now have to focus my actions on spreading this simple message and not worry about what other "Christians" are doing.
  • Are you excited about what GOD is doing or mad at what someone else is doing?
  • Is Christianity hard for you?
  • Can you focus on the simplicity of the message?
  • Are you stuck on trying to eradicate sin in your life and in other folks lives?
  • Do you trust GOD's plan and process?




Thursday, May 20, 2010

Can you share JESUS with a different group this time?

Acts 10:34Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. 36You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.


39"We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."



I like to be around people who have common interests as me. I feel comfortable having conversations with them and I really enjoy when I can laugh and play. But when I read this scripture I realize that GOD wants me out of my comfort zone.


Everywhere I read in the Bible where GOD has done some amazing things, it was never at a time when a human felt comfortable. Quite frankly I must admit there are people I don't feel comfortable around.


You may think this is crazy, but I am starting to feel uncomfortable with church goers who point fingers at others while never looking at themselves. I am less afraid of "rowdy" people than I am of churchy people who have narrowed their congregations based on their opinion of what a Christian should look like and act like.


I have been in churches around the world and I must report that GOD is still GOD in Harare, Shanghai, Rosarito and Des Moines. I have seen people all over the world celebrate the salvation of JESUS and this let's me know that my biases for others have to be dropped in order for me to serve HIM fully.

  •  When I prejudge a person, I miss out on sharing GOD with them.
  • When I prejudge someone I make assumptions that GOD knows are not true.
  • When I prejudge a lifestyle I cannot share the GREAT NEWS with them.


The problem is sometimes I don't trust GOD. I want to see people accept JESUS right away after hearing my words and then I want to move on. Sharing CHRIST take time and effort and it takes building a relationship.


That means I must take time to build a relationship with someone who looks and acts different than I do. I must get out of my comfort zone and show GOD's love to those HE sends me to.

  • When I share CHRIST with a person different than me, I remove my cockiness.
  • When I share CHRIST with a person different than me, I remove my arrogance.
  • When I share CHRIST with a person different than me, I have to trust GOD for the right words.
  • When I share CHRIST with a person different than me, I have to remove my prejudice thoughts.

GOD wants me to love HIS humans the way HE loves them. HE wants me to not be afraid of any human rather I should be afraid of HE who owns Heaven and hell.   
  • Do you speak about "groups" of people?
  • Are you afraid of age, gender, political, social, sexual or racial affiliations?
  • Are you focused on the "sin" of someone rather than the love for the "sinner?"
  • Did you have a bad experience with a person that causes you to judge an entire group of people?
  • When is the last time you shared CHRIST with someone who looks, acts and thinks different than you?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

GOD needs "you!"

Acts 9:1Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
5"Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked.
"I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. 6"Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."
10In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, "Ananias!"
"Yes, Lord," he answered.

11The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight."


If GOD can use me, he definitely can use you! I don't consider myself a very bad person. I mean I don't rob, cheat or steal. In fact I try to do things the way GOD wants me to as much as I can.

When I compare myself to other humans I think I am pretty good. Comparing myself to others is "the problem." GOD has set a standard for perfection and I am supposed to compare myself to JESUS.

When I compare my life to JESUS, I get depressed. I mean HE is GOD! How can I follow that act? JESUS says "I use broken people, not whole people." GOD knows just who to use in certain circumstances. 

  • JESUS looked at my heart when HE chose me.
  • JESUS cared enough to choose me, now I want to do more for HIM.
  • JESUS understands the wrong that I have done and helps me serve HIM.
GOD understands when someone is messin' with HIS church. When they mess with me they are messin' with HIM. HE chose the worst person for the job from a humans perspective. HE chose Saul who was self righteous, arrogant and the most churchy person you could run into.

He was a person who enjoyed telling other people what they are doing wrong, meanwhile never admitting what he was doing. He was a blamer and had no problems pointing his finger at the wrong others were doing.

GOD saw Saul's personality, zeal and determination and said "I can use that kind of person to draw mankind to ME." JESUS does the same for me.

But what about Ananias? Was he as bad as Saul? Not by comparison, but when Ananias compared his life to JESUS, he was just as bad as Saul. JESUS evens the playing field and looks at every sinner like a wonderful diamond. HE sees the best in me when humans see the worst in me. 
  • Can you be used of GOD?
  • Are you ashamed about something?
  • How can you serve HIM today?
  • Is HE telling you to do something "big" and you are scared of trying?
  • How can you fail if GOD is telling you to do it?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Look for something "good" out of the "bad."

Acts 8:2Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.
Philip in Samaria

4Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. 6When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. 8So there was great joy in that city.


Do you remember 2001? If you were too young to remember please stay tuned in. I remember it because fear embraced the nation. The economy was spiraling out of control and then terror hit which caused everything to really crash.

The company I worked for decided to lay off staff and many jobs were on the line. We nervously waited to hear our fate. Everyone was distracted that week. Toward the end of the week I got a tip to call around to people in the company who could use my skills.

On Friday I found a person who wanted my skills but we had to make a decision to move from the Midwest to the west coast. After a very brief prayer and a shorter conversation with my wife we decided to move. They said to me, "Get on a plane, you start Monday."

Wow! What have I done? Our lives changed that quickly. We were no longer Midwesterners but west coast dwellers. The entire country had a different attitude. Many stories like mine happened around that time. Unfortunately, some were not quite as happy. Many jobs and lives were lost and people had their lives changed in other ways.

BUT GOD had a reason for our move. We connected with a church that served multiple communities including Mexico. We went on many day trip "missions trips" to Mexico serving churches and people in need.

Believe me, I never would have thought I would be doing that. In fact if everything stayed the same, I would never had move to the west coast and I would have been content to make enough money to retire and die leaving my kids wealthy.

GOD shook up the nation then as HE is now. HE is now scattering people just like we see in Acts. Then Christianity was growing by leaps and bounds. People were getting more and more bold about speaking about CHRIST. The religious leaders weren’t having it.

They wanted to remain in control so they spread persecution to anyone who proclaimed the message that the CHRIST had come and had already saved mankind. The people were scattered but the message was now being preached with more power than before.

  • GOD has a "purpose for trouble" that I cannot understand.
  • GOD has a "plan for me" if I'm open to going where HE wants me to go.
  • GOD can see a need for my skills, I have to be open to using them for HIS purpose.
  • GOD uses turmoil to do some greater things in everyone’s life.

I see that the gospel was spread further and faster when turmoil hit the church. Many people feared their very lives, yet they still preached the GREAT NEWS about JESUS. HE has done the same thing in my life and continues to scatter HIS people.

I have spoken to many people who have lost their jobs or moved to another city to remain in the workforce. Their content lives were tossed upside down and now they find themselves in a new place they have never been before.


"GOD where are you?", they scream!


  • GOD says "In the middle of trouble, I AM here with Peace."
  • GOD says "I love you and I love the people I'M delivering you to."
  • GOD says "I AM in control of this situation, please have faith to let ME do MY work."
  • GOD says "I AM."

My problem is that I believe I know how my life should go. As I said before, I thought my purpose was to make a lot of money in the Midwest and retire. I never thought I would move to the west coast. I never thought I would move back to the Midwest. I don't know where HE will lead me next.

Wherever GOD leads me I will go with HIS message on my lips.

  • Why are you in your situation?
  • Are you being persecuted on your job?
  • Are you out of work?
  • Why has GOD picked you to be in this situation?
  • Have you told one person about HIS GRACE, MERCY and LOVE recently?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Are you GOD's tool?

Acts 7:30"After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to look more closely, he heard the Lord's voice: 32'I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.' Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look.

33"Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.'

35"This is the same Moses whom they had rejected with the words, 'Who made you ruler and judge?' He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36He led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert.


I have felt like a "nobody" before. There were times in my life where I didn't think anyone noticed me. The world seemed to pass by me while I just sat and watched progress change things. "What is GOD doing?", I would ask. Well, GOD was doing some exciting things!

This is an exciting piece of history that gets me pumped up when I read it. GOD shows us that HE is in control of every situation that looks bleak. The people in control had just decreed all Israelite newborns should be put to death.

Through many miracles, GOD protected Moses for a special purpose. Moses had no clue what was in store for him. He was raised as an Egyptian. He was wealthy and had everything he could wish for. GOD however pierced Moses' heart and left an empty hole that only HE could fill.

Moses felt a need to get away from Egypt and to help the Israelites. He murdered someone who was doing wrong and ended up in the desert. The desert didn't look like a victorious place. In fact it was far from victorious.
  • In Egypt it is noisy.
  • In Egypt things seem to be going well when they really aren't.
  • In Egypt I accept oppression just to keep the little wealth I have.
  • In Egypt I am scared to move one way or the other.

Moses left Egypt and spent forty years in the desert. I have to tell you the truth, at one point in my life I couldn't spend one day in the desert, BUT GOD has shown me that the desert is a great place to prepare me for something "GREAT!"
  • In the desert people are alone with GOD.
  • In the desert it is quiet.
  • In the desert there are no distractions of wealth, greed and lust.
  • In the desert the dependence of GOD becomes greater.
  • In the desert I learn who GOD truly wants me to be.
 HE placed me in the "desert" many times in my life where I have to spend an extraordinary amount of time with just HIM and I. HE told Moses "Take off your sandals; The place you are standing is Holy ground." GOD didn't want anything man made between HIM and Moses.

HE also said "I AM sending you back to Egypt." You have got to be kidding! Go back to the noise, wealth and lust after YOU have sustained me in the desert? Yes, but this time with a purpose.
  • GOD has a special purpose for my life.
  • GOD sees a need that only I can fulfill.
  • GOD has protected my life and has prepared me for this point in time.
  • GOD is using my life to deliver people to HIM, just like HIS servant Moses.
I can now see that I am God's tool and my life is to be used by HIM as HE pleases. In the end it will all be good!
  • Are you in the desert?
  • What are you learning about GOD?
  • Can you see that HE is preparing you for something?
  • Do you realize that HE is not surprised about your circumstance?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Don't Give Up! Don't Give In! by D.D.Sutton

Give Up, Give In, Never shall I do,
Stay faithful stay strong stay true to your values.

Never give up on the beautiful soul God has made you.
Hold on to your dreams let God lead you.

When others fail you and don't understand what you're going through,
Do not give up and don't let others pursuade you.

Head up! Spirit on high!
Never shall I give up or give in, I shall keep my pride.

I am chosen, destined to be,
what God wills me to be.

I have a lifetime of happiness, and dreams to make come true.
Years from now when others ask Why you still have that youthful look, What is your secret? Just Say Don't Give Up ! Don't Give In!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

HE lives! Song by Alfred Ackley

I serve a risen Savior,
He's in the world today;
I know that He is living
whatever men may say;

I see His hand of mercy,
I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him,
He's always near.

Refrain:He lives, He lives,
Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life's narrow way.

He lives, He lives,
Salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?

He lives within my heart.

In all the world around me
I see His loving care,
And tho' my heart grows weary
I never will despair;

I know that He is leading
thro' all the stormy blast,
The day of His appearing
will come at last.


Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
to Jesus Christ the King!

The hope of all who seek Him,
the help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
so good and kind.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Time to get tough!

Acts 6

8Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. 9Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, 10but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.
11Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, "We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God."
12So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13They produced false witnesses, who testified, "This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us."
15All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.


It seems like the more I try to act like a Christian the more opposition I get. When my life was on the path that wasn't pleasing to GOD, it seemed like life was so easy. Oh, but the mind plays tricks that make me think this way.

I forgot the agony I went through while trying to act on my own strength not serving GOD. My plans were failing and I had to turn back to GOD. I felt full again so I started serving HIM. First small opposition came against me.

I was lazy and would not go to church often. While church doesn't make me holier, I knew that I would grow by going. So GOD helped me with my laziness. I was cheap and only gave $1 a week. While giving doesn't make me holier, my sacrifice enables me to realize the sacrifice CHRIST made for me. So GOD helped me give a lot more.

As I started to go to church and give more and more, I noticed a change in me that made me want to serve. I taught which meant I had to study. The more I studied, the more I desired to serve. I then went on various missions trips.

I noticed that the more I served GOD, the tougher the opposition became. On one trip we were told we had to be careful about how we spread the gospel or we could wind up in jail. The wheels kept trying to fall off of this trip and many things went wrong.

We did however go and I was able to spread GOD's gospel and it is still preached in that country to this day, not because of me, because of GOD.

  • The more I serve GOD the more opposition I will face.
  • The more I serve GOD the more problems will come into my life.
  • The more I serve GOD the stronger I will become to handle those problems.
  • The more I serve GOD the easier it is for me to see spiritual opposition.

Stephen was just doing what GOD had told him to do. He wasn't trying to get credit or brag about what GOD was doing through him. HE simply did what he was told to do. He wasn't trying to cause a riot, BUT GOD was.

The religious people of that day, and today for that matter, were and are the most difficult to deal with. The words "grace" and "mercy" never come from their lips and judgment pours from their mouth. Stephen spread the gospel through word and deed.

He told the truth and was not afraid. He knew the religious leaders of that day would kill any person who spoke about the simplicity of the gospel of CHRIST. He knew they tried to over complicate their messages to get people to look at "them" rather than "HIM."

He knew they spouted out scripture and had no compassion for other humans and judgment was their first weapon instead of "GRACE." They had to get rid of this guy! He made people feel great about themselves and for the first time in a person’s life they could be forgiven of all sins without persecution from GOD.

I have faced opposition from the world and that is difficult, but the opposition I face from religious institutions seems more difficult than the world. Some churches have so many rules trying to be efficient that they forget they are serving humans.

I now understand that as a Christian, Satan will not just sit back and let me spread the gospel easy. He will place opposition in front of me at every turn.

  • In order to serve GOD I have to remain teachable.
  • In order to serve GOD I have to read what HE wants me to do.
  • In order to serve GOD I have to listen to people who don't have hidden motives.
  • In order to serve GOD I have to drop my know it all attitude.

GOD never said it would be easy, in fact HE said it would be difficult so HE prayed that we would remain in HIM and that we would serve HIM. I know times and problems are tough so I choose to serve GOD.

  • Are you facing difficult times?
  • If you believe in CHRIST why don't you believe you would face these difficult times?
  • Are you trying to do right?
  • If you believe in CHRIST why don't you believe Satan will try to oppose you?
  • Can you get energized by CHRIST today instead of looking at your situation?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

When your "purpose" is of GOD, no one can stop you!

Acts 5: 29Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men! 30The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."

33When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while.

38Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."


Sometimes I have to check my motive for doing things. I remember just beginning my journey into the workforce. I was fresh out of college and had just started to serve the LORD again. I really didn't know what to pray for or how to pray.

I prayed to be "successful." At that time I didn't know what that meant. Well, years later I was considered successful in men's eyes, but what about GOD? Yes, I went to church, gave money and even served here and there, but I had transferred my trust in HIM to trusting money, insurance and mutual funds.

My trust and faith had transferred into what I could see versus what I could not see. GOD has now blessed me with the vision of helping others. I really thought I was helping others before, but now, GOD said "get along side of people and help them,"

There are times in humans lives that we can question GOD and HIS methods. HE flooded the earth to get rid of evil. HE burned up a city. HE caused famine to happen for years and years. And now the world economic system is in turmoil causing fear in millions.

In each case GOD had a reason for doing the things HE did. "Hey, that's not fair", one would think. Why do the rich get away with murder and the servants seem to suffer? I'm here to tell you that GOD has that under control.

  • Just because I don't understand what GOD is doing doesn't mean HE isn't doing something.
  • Just because I don't see what GOD is doing doesn't mean HE isn't in control.
  • Just because I don't hear what I want to hear, doesn't mean GOD isn't saying what I need to hear.
  • Just because I don't like the situation I'm in, doesn't mean HE won't use it to draw many people to HIM.
Peter and the apostles had gotten bold now! They were going to preach about JESUS to their death. They had a sense of PURPOSE. Nothing could stop them. They were thrown in jail and didn't know if they would make it out alive. GOD said, "your purpose isn't over!"

HE freed them and they were caught again. GOD said "your purpose isn't over!" Gamaliel set them free and said "if their PURPOSE is from GOD then you will not be able to stop these men, rather you will find yourself fighting against GOD!"

  • When men get jealous of me, I'd rather be on GOD's good side not theirs.
  • When the economy causes men to worry, I'd rather trust in GOD and not trust in my account.
  • When people try to make me compromise my values, I'd rather follow GOD rather than following the crowd.

GOD saved the apostles because HE had a purpose for them. They felt driven by their sense of purpose and nothing could stop them. They knew they were protected by GOD and no matter how bleak things looked, GOD would save them.

PURPOSE is like a thermostat versus a thermometer. It sets the temperature of the room rather than reacting to the weather.

  • Do you have a sense of PURPOSE in your life?
  • Aren't you tired of reacting to the "weather" of life?
  • Can you find it in yourself to tell at least one person about GOD's greatness?
  • Can you stop focusing in the world's wealth for a minute to focus on GOD's great power?
  • Can you seek the kingdom and know HE will take care of earthly riches for you?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

No more fear!

Acts 4:16"What are we going to do with these men?" they asked. "Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. 17But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name."
18Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. 20For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."

21After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.


I was a very, very, very skinny child. I once blew off of a porch. Since I was so small, I feared bullies or people I perceived to be bullies. That wasn't me only fear. I feared new things, new places. I feared failing. I feared rejection. I feared loss of material things.

I remember getting mugged in Chicago and this added to my fear. I guess that's why GOD has helped me the way HE has for years. HE doesn't give me any options so my fears won't explode and make a mess out of things.

What I mean is, GOD only provided one option many times in my life. I took a test to get into my high school. This was the only school of my desire. I got in. I only applied to one college. I graduated from there. There was only one job offer after college. I went there to work. I dated different people, BUT GOD delivered one woman to me who would become my wife.

When I saw GOD steering the circumstances in my life, I realized that I didn't need to fear as much as I did. HE worked out a lot of things in my life. I began to speak boldly about my sin and HIS goodness. Soon many people were getting excited about HIS SON.

GOD blessed our family materially and I didn't know it, but fear crept in again. I didn't see it coming! I thought I was still powerful and bold in my speech. Then the company eliminated positions and I found myself cowering in the corner wondering what was I going to do?

Oh NO! What about my stuff? What about my future plans? What about me? I began to read the great history that is written in the Bible. I came across this story and I saw these men speaking boldly about GOD to the people who had just killed HIM.

Peter and John had just healed a lame man. Everyone saw them do it so no one could lie about it. The religious leaders who killed JESUS tried to shut them up too. Peter and John were a threat to their existence.

Peter and John also knew that they could be killed any minute by speaking about CHRIST. Peter especially knew it because he denied CHRIST to these same people so he wanted them to know he was no longer afraid.

Fear is something GOD constantly wants to get rid of in our lives. HE places circumstances in our life to face what we fear. I used to be scared to speak about CHRIST because "What will the people on my job think?" Well, GOD worked that out, now what?

  • Fear is rotten.
  • Fear is stifling.
  • Fear causes me to doubt GOD's power.
  • Fear limits the way I think.
  • Fear controls me after a while.
  • Fear makes me make "safe" decisions.
  • Fear is against GOD.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they began to fear GOD who had done nothing to them. Prophets fear humans after performing miracles. Humans fear other humans and it causes them to perform poorly.

GOD says "do not fear, for I AM with you and I will NEVER leave you!" HE wants us to focus on HIS mighty power when we get afraid.

  • When I have fear I need to focus on GOD's great power.
  • When I have fear I need to tell GOD about my fear.
  • When I have fear I need to confront the fear.
  • When I have fear I need to remember the times HE has brought me through other situations.
  • When I have fear I need to look at HIS promises HE has for me.

GOD filled Peter and John with the HOLY SPIRIT. They were now equipped to face very powerful men without fear because they chose to fear GOD instead of fearing man.

  • What are you fearing?
  • Do you doubt GOD's power?
  • Is HE able to change your situation? Why hasn't HE?
  • Are you open to becoming GREAT in HIS eyes instead of humans eyes?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Do "miracles" still happen?

Acts 3:1One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" 5So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 6Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." 7Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. 8He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.


I am a firm believer in miracles. I think they happen each and every day around the world. I had to look up the definition of miracle to get some better words for myself.

A miracle is an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause. Such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of GOD. -Webster

Okay, I get it. A miracle is something that I can't do, but GOD can. I have to admit that I personally have seen people healed and I personally have seen people obtain things at the right time when it seemed like everything was going to fail.

Today in America it's hard to hear about a miracle. The way news is presented, even if a miracle happened, it would cause doubt that it came from GOD. There are still other places in the world where miracles happen and everyone knows that the event came from GOD.

So what's the difference. Is it location or is it faith? I believe it's faith. I'm not saying miracles don't happen in America. I am saying that miracles happen for a reason. GOD performs miracles so that people will believe in HIS SON. Unfortunately the faithless want to see miracles for their amusement.

I know at one time I have tested GOD, telling HIM, "If YOU are GOD then heal my sight!" Needless to say, years later I see a little worse now. This doesn't stop GOD from being GOD.

Later on GOD needed my little faith to grow so HE performed miracles in front of me. The miracles were for me and guess what? My faith has grown. Peter and John were on their way to have their daily conversation with GOD.

HE was probably talking to them along the way. When they saw the crippled man, something inside of them made them help the man. That something was GOD's prompting. Peter wasn't acting on his own. He asked later in the chapter, "Why are you amazed? This miracle came from GOD so that you would believe in JESUS."

I believe this still happens today. Some people say miracles happen through doctors and I say, umm, yes, BUT... the miracle performed here was not by a doctor, in front of everyone and could not be explained.

  • GOD can perform a miracle today just like yesterday.
  • GOD wants people to learn about HIS SON when HE performs a miracle.
  • GOD is still GOD when HE does not meet your demand for a miracle.
  • GOD wants to perform a miracle in front of you, but your faith has to be in the right place.

I believe Peter would get full of himself if he thought he could perform miracles. He was more than likely told to do this miracle and that's why he knew it would work. Now if it were me, I would try to abuse that awesome power and HE knows you would too.

All of the miracles I have studied have come at a time where people could believe in GOD's SON. The one miracle I'm waiting on is HIS return.

  • Do you believe in miracles?
  • Do you believe in coincidences?
  • Can you see small things happening that you know only could come from GOD?
  • Have you ever seen a miracle?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Praise the LORD by the Imperials

When you're up against a struggle
That shatters all your dreams
And your hope's been cruelly crushed
By Satan's manifested scheme

And you feel the urge within you
To submit to earthly fears
Don't let the faith your standing in
Seem to disappear

CHORUS:Praise the Lord
He can work through those who praise Him
Praise the Lord
For our God inhabits praise
Praise the Lord

For the chains that seem to bind you
Serve only to remind you
That they drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him

Now Satan is a liar
And he wants to make us think
That we are paupers
When he knows himself
We're children of the King

So lift up the mighty shield of faith
For the battle must be won
We know that Jesus Christ is risen
So the works already done

Friday, May 7, 2010

Carry your "community" with you.

Acts 2:42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.


I grew up in a neighborhood where parents knew each other. It wasn't utopia, but it was a nice way for me to grow up. Everyone in the neighborhood pretty much had the same income. It's funny, most parents in my neighborhood had three kids.

In this neighborhood many of the parents were pulling for the kids to do well, so I had many "parents." They would treat me to ice cream, invite me into their home for dinner and call my parent to let them know what was going on.

There were many gatherings of adults on the "steps" of my house. Adults would collect on the steps and laughter would emerge. I had no idea what they were talk about, but it seemed fun!

I grew up and moved away from the old neighborhood in search of fame and fortune. I found it but something was missing. Community. I missed the discussions and laughter. I missed kids playing in the streets and the smell of charcoal cooking food in the backyard.

I began to complain. This neighborhood isn't a neighborhood. I don't even know my neighbors. Each day I would drive out of my garage and immediately jump on voice mail. I would half heartedly wave at a couple of neighbors but that was the extent of my relationship with them.

On the weekends I was exhausted so I would spend time with my family to recharge my batteries. Where are my neighbors? Why don't they invite me over? Then it hit me. I'm the problem. I hadn't opened my door to my neighbors to see if I had anything in common with them. I guess I feared they were ax murdering planet gobblers.

  • When I open the doors to my home I act like a neighbor.
  • When I open the doors to my home I show friendship first.
  • When I open the doors to my home I provide the example of what community can look like.
  • When I open the doors to my home I have to prepare and that takes work.
  • When I open the doors to my home I feel satisfied that "my community" is being spread.

I have lived in several places in the US and it's the same story each place. People are scared to make the first move because of fear. By opening up the doors to my home I "bring the community with me."

Peter had his most powerful sermon. GOD gave him the right words and everyone’s heart was on fire. They saw people in need and they wouldn't stand for it. The first person gave and others saw the example and followed suit.

They had laughter and discussions, children playing and food was cooking in the yard. They had one thing in common. They believed the LORD saved them from sin and that's all they needed. They praised GOD for being GOD and HE blessed them.

I now take my "community" with me. I speak first even when I receive a grunt back. I help my neighbors without expecting help in return. I pray for my neighbors and truly hope all is well with them. Guess what? I now have the community I was seeking!

  • Do you know your neighbors names?
  • Can you serve them without having a hidden agenda?
  • Do they like games, food, and fun?
  • What two concerns do your neighbors have?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Be concerned about "everyone."

Acts 1:8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."


When I was younger I said, "Why would anyone go out of the country? We have mountains here, warm weather, tropical islands and skiing. What more could anyone ask for?" That was before I went on my first missions trip!

I remember the challenge. The pastor asked if there were anyone who felt led to go with him to Zimbabwe a country where race relations has deteriorated to deep hatred. I never imagined doing this, yet I found myself raising my hand and soon I was standing next to him.

"Wake up! What am I doing?", I quickly thought to myself. Pictures of people living in mud encrusted villages ran through my mind. I couldn't help thinking about the baby they always showed on TV with the “poked out” belly from starvation and the persistent fly circling its eye.

I told my friends and family that I was going to go. "WHAT?" They said in confusion mixed with rage. "What will you eat?" "Where will you sleep?" "Don't they have diseases over there?" "Don't we have unsaved people here? Why go there?"

These were all great questions I couldn't answer. I only knew that GOD was leading me to do this. After going to the orientation, many meetings and numerous vaccinations, the day of the trip arrived. We flew for 17 hours and arrived in Harare.

I peeked out the window as we were about to land. We flew over a pristine golf course and passed the skyscrapers that looked somewhat like Atlanta. After landing we met with a group of pastors and church leaders. They showed us around and we went to the houses we would stay in.

I thought I would teach people in this trip so I was well prepared. I had my notes and documents and I was ready! Well, I thought I was ready. My mind was ready but my attitude wasn't. In a condescending way, I was going to "teach" these people and go home to my comforts. Wow was I wrong!

During a conference a man made his way to me and said he had walked the equivalent of 20 miles to hear me speak. "You're kidding!" I thought to myself. Then GOD opened my eyes. There were several people like him who had journeyed great distances to hear someone give a message of hope.

I was humbled.

We went to another stop that week where I saw entire families of four and five living in 6' by 6' houses. Row after row, these houses seemed to go on forever, sort of a modern updated form of a village. We went to a makeshift church with a dirt floor and worn wood on cinder blocks as pews.

I saw GOD move on these people and 30 people gave their life to CHRIST. I questioned their genuineness towards their situation until I went back on another trip years later and saw the same people still serving CHRIST.

I was humbled.

We went to another church and a man got up and began singing. People from all over the community came to hear and join in. After the song ended another began. The shouts and roars about GOD was tremendous. Wow, what a great moment!

They sang another song, then another and another. I thought to myself, "This is taking long!" You haven't seen long until you have attended praise at this church. TWO HOURS later, people were shouting and celebrating. They had nothing and were celebrating. Then the man said "any requests for a song!?"

I was humbled.

We finally had a down day as these trips can get busy. We toured the city then went out into the "rural" areas. There we pulled over and I saw a man sitting next to his hut. He invited us to see his hut so we went in. I have never seen anyone so proud. He had his wife and kids there.

They had cows an garden and a lemon tree grew next to the hut. "Look at my lemon tree!" he said through our interpreter. That moment "it" hit me. He was excited over what little he had and I was worried over the junk and trinkets I tried to keep back home. He didn't seem to have any worries. I had all the worries.

I was more than humbled.

GOD says to be HIS witness around the world. HE says go to the ends of the earth and tell people about HIS SON. I pondered this and I found out that HE wants me to see things from a global perspective.

  • When I focus too close I become narrow minded.
  • When I focus too close I can exclude groups of people.
  • When I focus too close I can become arrogant.
  • When I focus too close I can become ignorant.

I heard a comedian say, "Yes we have poor folks here in the US, but our poor folks are fat." In his crude humor he is saying that situations can get bad here in the US, but other countries have it worse.

I learned a lot from this trip.

  • Never assume I will "teach" people rather just be prepared. Teaching is GOD's job.
  • Never think I am living "better." My trinkets may cause a spiritual degradation.
  • Never make worship mundane. GOD wants me to live in the moment with HIM.
  • Always be ready to serve and in the process be open to being served.

GOD has called us all to "go" and I understand the many reasons for not going. I am glad HE sent me. My view of the world has changed.

  • Are you only concerned with a very narrow group of people?
  • Is there any human on the planet who GOD doesn't love?
  • Did HIS SON die for everyone or just your neighborhood?
  • Can you pray for people outside of your community, city, state and country today?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Focus on "MY" relationship with "you."

John 21:18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." 19Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!" 20Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is going to betray you?") 21When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?" 22Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me." 23Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?"

I get jealous sometimes when I see people who seem to care less about life and they seem to have all the money in the world thrown at them. Celebrities who do anything to and with their bodies seem to make more and more money, meanwhile people who pray, give and serve seem to be struggling.

I ask GOD, "what about me?" Why do they seem to be blessed and I'm over here wasting away? GOD quickly answered my question through this message.

JESUS had just restored Peter from the denial he committed. Then HE told Peter that he would not only become a great speaker for CHRIST, but he would be killed. Peter immediately asked "What about him?", referring to John.

JESUS says "What is it to you?" In other words don't look at other people. Focus on "MY" relationship with you.

· GOD does not like when I compare myself to other people.
· GOD does not like when I envy someone else's situation.
· GOD does not like when I question HIS plan for me by asking about someone else.
· GOD does not like when I am trying to steer HIM into getting "my" way instead of HIS way.

JESUS quickly saw through Peter's question. He saw it was filled with jealousy, rage and envy. HE sees the same thing in me. When I post the question, "Why me and not them?" I am questioning GOD's approach. I am somehow wiser than GOD and I am telling HIM that HIS plan has to be wrong.

· GOD has a plan for my life that is wonderful and fulfilling.
· GOD has a plan for my life that I don't always agree with.
· GOD has a plan for my life that always works and I am always surprised.
· GOD has a plan for my life that includes me pointing my life to HIM.

HE is telling me to read the Bible for me not for anyone else. HE is telling me to give because "I" am serving people not because I have to. HE is telling to listen to sermons for me and not anyone else. HE is telling me to "give up the sin" I want to hold onto and not pay attention to the skeptics and critics.

I tried comparing my life to others and I saw that I'm alright, but when I compared my life to GOD's standard I quickly fell short.

· Are you comparing yourself to others?
· Are you comparing your sin to other sins, trying to justify keeping your sin?
· Are you "following HIM?"
· Are you committed to living for HIM and not looking around at other people?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Doubt? You can be sure HE cares!

John 20:24Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!"
But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."
26A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 27Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."

28Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"

29Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

30Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31But these are written that you may[a] believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

I have read the Bible for years. I have also studied the Bible formally and daily and I still doubt GOD. Why do I doubt GOD when HE has done such marvelous things in my life? I have a theory.

I see GOD through my life experiences and interactions with humans. I also see GOD through how my earthly parents raised me. Unfortunately both methods of looking at GOD makes me see HIM in a flawed fashion.

When I look at GOD the way I look at humans, I make assumptions that are not true about HIM. I think HE will punish me when I sin and reward me when I follow the straight and narrow. I think HE can get disappointed with me and at times leave me alone.

I feel this way because that's what humans have done to me in the past. I look at GOD with my fears doubts and worries and I see a being that can't possibly love me the way HE said HE does.

  • When I doubt GOD, I am not using the faith HE wants me to have.
  • When I doubt GOD, I feel powerless.
  • When I doubt GOD, I see more problems than solutions.
  • When I doubt GOD, I try to fix things under my own power.
  • When I doubt GOD, I feel exhausted.
  • When I doubt GOD, I get nervous, cranky and sad.

GOD understands me VERY well. HE made me and loves me beyond anything I can imagine. I do not have GOD figured out, but I can tell you that HE gets excited about the marvelous plan HE has for me.

JESUS tells Thomas "Stop doubting and believe." This is an amazing statement. GOD, who made everything wants me to "Stop doubting and believe." I guess HE is saying to me, "look, I made everything. Nothing that goes on can happen without ME knowing it."

"Since MY plans are only for good, everything will be alright." Then I step in and lay my plans on top of GOD's plans. I lay my expectations on top of GOD's expectations and they NEVER match up.

  • Believing in GOD means expecting HIM to do something and accepting HIS way of doing it.
  • Believing in GOD means dropping my time-lines and deadlines I place on HIM.
  • Believing in GOD means seeing HIM as GOD not as human.
  • Believing in GOD means knowing that HE loves me in such extreme ways that I can't even begin to imagine.

GOD is all seeing, all knowing, all powerful, ever present, inconceivable, incorruptible and full of LOVE because HE is LOVE! HE did all the miracles that are written in this book so that we might "believe" not doubt.

We should know that we know that "WE KNOW" that HE IS GOD and we need to stop doubting HIM right now!

  • Why are you doubting GOD?
  • Are you seeing HIM through your own sinful eyes?
  • Do you see HIM as a punisher?
  • Are you waiting for HIM to bless you or curse you?
  • Can you start believing in HIM today?

Monday, May 3, 2010

How many "Mommas and Daddies" do you have?

John 19:25Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," 27and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.


I just celebrated the 50th anniversary of my "Momma and Daddy" this past weekend. My parents had their 50th anniversary three years ago, but my "momma and daddy" just had theirs this past weekend. Confusing? It's not.

When I was raised, people truly lived like the African Proverb says, "It takes a village to raise a child." My parents were great. They provided a wonderful home, put food on the table and taught me about CHRIST. What more could I ask for? Well there was more.

As a teenager, I wanted to test the boundaries of what my parents were teaching. I would go over my friends house and see if I could get away with some things over there that I couldn't at my house.

We were loud and crazy over my friends house and then his father came downstairs and quickly shut all the craziness down and got us on track." Wow! Your parents are like mine", I said to my friend.

I was blessed with many "Mommas and Daddies" around my neighborhood. it seemed like all the "Mommas" could cook and all the "Daddies" had wise advice. One of my "Daddies" asked me and my friend where we were going that night. "The night club to have some fun", we responded.

He then proceeded to ask us "Where are you investing your money?" We had no answer. "Give to the LORD and save some", he said. I followed this principle the rest of my life and added my own twist to it. "Give to the LORD, save some and spend some."

JESUS sees the disciple who HE loved and HE sees HIS mother. I don't know where Joseph is and I would assume he is dead. JESUS had "step brothers" who Mary could have lived with, but JESUS says "Here is your mother."

I probably would have said "Here is your 'Momma'." JESUS knows the physical parent relationship is special, but HE also knows a caring relationship is just as special. HE loved HIS mother, Mary and HE loved John and knew they would care for each other.

This example of love would draw many people to CHRIST.

  • A "Momma and Daddy" are examples to me.
  • A "Momma and Daddy" may only say one thing that sticks with me the rest of my life.
  • A "Momma and Daddy" trusts in the LORD and wants the best for me.

My "Mommas and Daddies" would go on to show me things my parents didn't do. Some of them taught me how to bowl and others to play games. All of my "Mommas and Daddies" showed me what was important and that is to keep CHRIST as the number one thing in my life.

  • Can you recall a "Momma" or a "Daddy" in your life?
  • Are you open to their correction and advice?
  • Does your "Momma" and "Daddy" have your best interest in mind?
  • Where are you getting "GODLY SPIRITUAL" advice from?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

His Whisper by Kristen Clark

It is gentle and soft—almost airy
With a message designed for my ears only;

It drips with sweetness, draws my spirit close,
And protects the trust that experience knows.

It is hushed and tranquil and floats on the breeze
And the love that it carries buckles my knees,

And reminds me that I'm His priceless treasure
By promising a love that will not be severed.

Behind it He hides, until I am still
And eager and anxious in both soul and will.

It drifts on the air until reaching my heart,
And it speaks softly, "How precious thou art."

It seduces my senses as I draw near to listen
And quiets the world's roaring insistence.

Earthquakes and fires may light up the sky,
But, alas, His whisper will gently pass by.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Soon and Very Soon by Andrae Crouch

Lyrics to Soon And Very Soon :
[Chorus:]Soon and very soon
We are going to see the King

Soon and very soon
We are going to see the King

Soon and very soon
We are going to see the King

Hallelujah, hallelujah,
We're going to see the king

No more cryin there,
We are going to see the King

No more cryin there,
We are going to see the King

No more cryin there,
We are going to see the King

Hallelujah, hallelujah,
We're going to see the King

[Bridge:]Should there be any rivers we must cross
Should there be any mountains we must climb
God will supply all the strength that we need
Give us strength till we reach the other side.

[Verse:]We have come from every nation,
God has already signed our name.
Jesus took his blood and he washed my sins..
he washed them all away.

Yet there are those of us who have laid down our lives
but we all shall meet again on the other side...
soon and very soon.

We're going to see the King!