Thursday, September 30, 2010

Does my life have purpose?

Galatians 1: 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23They only heard the report: "The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy." 24And they praised God because of me.


Tattered plaid pants that were too short, uncombed hair, skinny and glasses with thick “professor” like frames does not describe your idea of dreamy hunk. In fact it describes a nerd who attracts bullies. Okay you can stop laughing at this person, namely “me.”

It seemed like so many people were able to have the latest fashion and I wasn’t. Their hair cooperated and mine didn’t. I didn’t like food then so I was as big as a whisper and everyone seemed to have such a better life.
  • GOD always had a purpose for me, even from my birth.
  • HE saw each and every one of my sins and still said “I have the perfect job for you.”
  • GOD gets excited when I fulfill my purpose of telling people how great HIS SON is.
  • HE is the one who determines who is “great” and who isn’t.

When I looked at my life and compared it to others, it didn’t seem fair. “Everybody is teasing me”, I thought to myself, then I was told about JESUS accepts people just as they are, no matter what sin they have committed. Wow! I can be accepted by someone?! This is GREAT NEWS!
  • JESUS accepted me before HE made me.
  • HE saw my sins before I committed them and sentenced me to Hell.
  • HE then took the sentence for me by dying in my place.
  • GOD the FATHER raised HIM and placed HIM above everything.

Years later a very gracious woman married this crazy looking sort. I have traveled around the world spreading CHRIST’s gospel and I have served many. I never would have thought this would happen to me. I mean, who would want to listen to me?

Paul persecuted the church and was thoroughly against CHRIST. He was an “anti-CHRIST.” His zeal for moving against the church was driven by his blind beliefs and misconceptions of GOD. BUT GOD had a purpose for Paul to write most of the New Testament and suffer, serve and save many.

My life has been full of surprises. Speaking through translators to tell people about CHRIST was never a dream of mine. I just wanted to be accepted. Now I see GOD can use anyone, just look at Paul and me.
  • Do you think GOD cannot use you?
  • What is your purpose in life?
  • Are you busy seeking riches and fame or can you focus a little of your attention on GOD?
  • Can GOD use your sadness to brighten someone else’s life?
  • Can you “lead” in spite of your situation?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Who are you trying to please?

Galatians 1 10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.


One could make arguments about the Bible’s stance on drinking alcohol. Some are for it and some against. At one point I saw people who seemed to be having “fun” drinking and laughing so of course I joined in.

Soon I became the life of many parties BUT GOD wanted me to be a different witness so I totally gave up drinking. I remember going to a party after work where everyone but me had a glass in their hand. I felt so out of place! “Why aren’t you drinking”, people would ask me. Strangely I felt ashamed.

  • Everything about GOD is strange to humans.
  • GOD says MY ways are not your ways; MY thoughts are not your thoughts.
  • JESUS did the strangest thing by becoming a human to be murdered in order to save me.

After being ashamed of not drinking, going to church, believing that demons do exist, believing that GOD is above science and believing in JESUS I soon realized I was ashamed of my Savior. I looked the same as everyone else and had no GODLY fruit in my life.

  •  When I try to blend into the world, I hide my GODLY light under a bowl.
  • When I show no constraint in my life, GOD does not use me to draw people to HIMSELF.
  • When I am grumpy, fearful and doubtful, people join me and reject the power of GOD’s grace.

Paul wrote to the Galatians and opened his letter by telling them to stay firm in their faith. He asked “how could you so quickly leave the truth and believe lies about salvation?” He said “JESUS is the only way so stop trying to say what people want to hear.”

There are days I felt like telling people what they wanted to hear. I wanted “that person” or “that thing” for my own selfish fulfillment and I gave up on following GOD in order to get what I wanted. BUT GOD wants me to be different. HE chose me to be “strange” in this world and is helping me not to be ashamed of HIM.
  • Are you hiding your salvation from people?
  • When is the last time you actually said the words “JESUS saved me from going to Hell” to someone?
  • Is your life any different than people around you?
  • Do you complain in public when you should be displaying grace, mercy and peace?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Let GOD make your test!

2 Corinthians 13
 5Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?


We laughed and joked as we walked on the quad. Another sunny bright day made everyone we passed smile. When we arrived in class the teacher, to our surprise, began passing out a test. We looked at each other and got back up and walked out!

Not knowing there is a test was trying but what is even more difficult is trying to make up my own test with the correct criteria that shows I know what I’m doing.

  • GOD has taken the test for me by giving me HIS SON.
  • HE died because of my sins and now I can have eternal life.
  • Because HE lives in me, I can understand right from wrong with corrected lenses.

JESUS made a way for me to live eternally correct by following what HE tells me through HIS Bible, messengers and the HOLY SPIRIT. I can know exactly what GOD “wants me to do” by comparing “what I want to do” to what “GOD says I should do.”


  • I know GOD is speaking to me when I want to sin and get my way and a quiet voice talks me out of it.
  • I know GOD is speaking to me when I help someone when no one is looking.
  • I know GOD is speaking to me when I “hear” one of HIS messengers tell me to have patience.
  • I know GOD is speaking to me when I should have fear yet I have peace.

Paul was correcting some actions of the people of Corinth. Men were bringing their wives and prostitutes to church and slander was the way of life. GOD wants me to “test” my actions to see if they are aligned with HIS.

  • When a desire pops in my head, I must test my motive not my achievement list.
  • When I do something for CHRIST, I must test my humility not my manipulative nature.
  • When I fear doubt and worry, I must test my faith not my knowledge

Knowing myself has helped me test myself. I know the sins I commit and I also know some of my sinful desires. I have also noticed GOD working in my life, showing me what HE wants me to do and say each and every day. How do I know it’s GOD? Because usually it’s something I don’t want to do, but know it’s the right thing to do.


  • Is GOD telling you to stop a sin that you want to hold on to?
  • Does “that person’s name” pop into your head when GOD tells you to serve somebody?
  • Have you asked GOD “Am I doing things YOUR way or my way?”
  • Are you walking on what you know or by faith?

Monday, September 27, 2010

My weakness is my strength!

2 Corinthians 12
7To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.

9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.


During the day we worked very hard. The president needed his speech, dignitaries had to be in their place and every booth required management as a small ocean of people attended our convention.

Numerous parties were hosted in the evenings celebrating self acclaimed success boasting about sales increases. The fan fair, music, pomp and circumstance rallied everyone to frenzy. Money! That’s what we discussed and there was a LOT of it to pass around.
  • GOD said any lust is a sin.
  • The lust for money is the root of all evil.
  • When I desire a “lifestyle” then the desire can control me.

It’s very hard to not get caught up in the desire for money and a better lifestyle especially here in the USA. Nice cars, big houses and the latest fashion or gadget dance in front of us daily. Our discussions were about humidors, wine cellars and golf practice in the game room.

There is nothing wrong with any of these “things” but my lust for them took my eyes off of GOD. Once I was no longer in that high position, I felt my world was gone. I thought I was “a nobody” and “a nothing” BUT GOD said something different.
  • Since GOD defines “wealth” I need to pay attention to what HE has to say about it.
  • GOD is insulted that I call myself “a nobody” because HE made me.
  • My definitions can sometimes get in the way of how GOD wants me to view HIM.

GOD knows my weaknesses and lusts. I beg HIM to take them away and HE leaves them there. Then HE tells me “MY grace is sufficient.” Grace! Wow that’s a concept I really could use daily.

  • GOD’s grace is sufficient to cover any and “all” of my sins.
  • GOD’s grace is sufficient to guide me to a better path even when I stray off the path.
  • GOD’s grace is sufficient to focus my sadness and turn it into joy.
  • GOD’s grace is sufficient.

  • Are you trying to hide your sins from GOD?
  • Do you think things will go better for you if you stop sinning?
  • Can you stop sinning “without” trying to manipulate GOD and do it just because it’s the right thing to do?
  • Can you forgive yourself and others today knowing GOD’s grace is sufficient?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Thank You Proverb by Stan Washington

If a thank you is what you seek, you will find it with empty fulfilment.

-Stan Washington

Friday, September 24, 2010

“My” weakness makes “you” stronger!

2 Corinthians 11: 30If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.


“Where is everybody”, I thought to myself as I went to my desk. The office was never this empty. Then one of my coworkers invited me into the conference room. “Surprise!” everyone yelled not because of my birthday, but because I had won the highest award in the company. My wife and kids were there to celebrate. I was on top of the world and ready to tell everyone about it.
  • Titles and awards do not impress GOD.
  • Bragging about worldly achievements only gets noticed by humans not GOD.
  • Seeking human affirmation causes me to please humans and not seek to please GOD.

After winning that award my family didn’t see much of me. I was married to a new mistress namely work. Money, honor and titles continued to pour in. I had made it! I thought. That is until I ran into “that” group of political people.
  • Hearing about my weakness enables people to realize GOD is with me through my storms.
  • Seeing how GOD sustains a sinner like me let’s people know that HE can do the same for them.
  • Listening to my excitement about GOD grows people and challenges them to show their faith.

For years I thought “strength” was in title and bank accounts. The bigger my title or the larger my account the more sure of myself I became. I never realized that I was actually more fearful and less equipped than I thought.

  • When I depend on my intelligence I downplay GOD’s power.
  • When I go through trials I want to temporarily use GOD then go back to my old ways.
  • When I seek human approval, I hide my sin and flaws but when I seek GOD’s approval I point my sinful life toward HIM.

Paul had been beaten, shipwrecked, lost, murdered (yes I said murdered) and he still pursued GOD with vim and vigor. He realized human approval would never bring any good. He sought to please GOD and HIS life turned upside down. Humans laughed at him BUT GOD made him strong.

I see GOD’s blessings on my life now. In spite of trials GOD’s name is what I will praise!
  • Are you seeking human approval?
  • Are you seeking to brag about your title or status?
  • Are you ashamed about your sinful life?
  • Have you thought about telling people about your sins, fears, doubts and worries?
  • Can you also share your faith that GOD will bring you through?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Am I fighting the right fight?

2 Corinthians 10: 3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

When it comes to political speeches and commercials you really don’t want my opinion, but here it is anyway. Double talking and posturing insights rage and anger in me. Instead of solutions people are too concerned about “who” is in power not “what” is being done! Whew! Have I complained about “them” enough? What about me?

As I looked at politicians I realized that I too act like them at times. When I want my way my double standard shines brilliantly. Unfortunately my double standard doesn’t work well against “stronghold” or powerful evils and addictions.
  • My judgmental attitude doesn’t mix well with GOD’s compassion.
  • My fear doesn’t mix well with GOD’s faith.
  • My lust doesn’t mix well with GOD’s purity.
  • My short fuse doesn’t mix well with GOD’s patience.
  • My rage doesn’t mix well with GOD’s kindness.
  • My prejudice doesn’t mix well with GOD’s love for “all” humans.

GOD clearly doesn’t like the actions of a “double talker.” HE definitely will punish those who posture to get their way and trip people up in their words so HE wants me to act right and use HIS weapons.
  • GOD wants me to control my lust by focusing on serving.
  • HE desires that I drop my fears, doubts and worries by getting excited about HIS current plan.
  • GOD loves when I have patience for people, especially when I don’t hold them to “my” standard.
  • HE is extremely pleased when I comfort the sad, enlighten the lost, encourage the depressed and build up the anguished.

In order to attack the “strongholds” of life, GOD wants me to use HIS tools of love, grace, mercy and peace. What strange tools… but these are the only effective tools.
  • What fight are you trying to fight?
  • Are you taking matters into your own hands?
  • Are your actions based on what GOD wants you to do?
  • Are you helping someone out of a “stronghold?”
  • Are you stuck in an addiction or stronghold?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The purpose of money.

2 Corinthians 9: 10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.


Cellophane wrappers glistened the aisle and a musky odor touched my nose. As we purchased a comic book for my son, the salesman told me that a mint condition “Superman” comic episode 1 was worth thousands.

To my dismay I remembered having this comic book and I also remember it being thrown in a bin of toys, junk and trash in my attempt to “clean” the basement. Mine was worthless because I didn’t care about it and didn’t know its value.
  • Money and trinkets are only temporary.
  • Having money, then having it taken away brings deep sadness when I have the wrong focus.
  • Money is only valuable if the lifestyle that it brings is valuable to me.
  • Money can bring status amongst humans but not with GOD.

It’s amazing how much of GOD’s resources I have wasted over the years. As I said before, I wasn’t too much of a giver because I considered myself poor. When I had little, I gave little. I did not tell people about GOD’s SON and I felt GOD needed to give to me first before I gave to other people.
  • Blessings can come from GOD and from Satan.
  • Just because a criminal or godless soul is wealthy doesn’t mean their wealth is a blessing from GOD.
  • Jealousy of wealthy godless people is like me saying I want to be blessed in the wrong way rather than accepting GOD's current plan.

Abundance of trinkets that come from GOD is reserved for a few people here on earth. GOD knows when a person is truly generous and will bless them with wealth because that kind of person doesn’t let wealth go to their head. They know the problems that come with the wealth and they still give to people without judging them. But their true focus is telling people about GOD's SON.
  • Money from GOD is meant for me to distribute to GOD’s people.
  • It’s alright for me to have nice things as long as I have served GOD’s people first.
  • My bragging should be contained to GOD’s wealth, not mine.
  • When I have little, I still should be generous.

A friend and I just spoke about this topic yesterday and I am amazed that it’s here again. GOD wants me to be earthly “and” eternally wealthy but it starts with "eternity" and that should be my focus.
  • Are you sad because you can’t buy the latest thing?
  • Are your bills greater than your income?
  • Can you still be generous in spite of your situation?
  • Do you place money higher than GOD?
  • Can you give just a little to someone today?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Are you “willing” to give?

11Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.

Music played as everyone quieted their hearts. “Clink” was the sound that broke through the calming tone of the instruments. This was the sound of “giving” at my church when I was a child. We didn’t have much so change was all that we could give.

Then one day I was able to give a dollar! I felt proud, but it was far less than ten percent of my earnings. After years of giving that same dollar, I felt the need to give more. “What would be ultra generous?” I asked myself. “I know… five dollars!” This too was a far cry from I had or was making.
  • Generosity means giving in spite of having.
  • Generous people do not look to “get” anything for their giving.
  • Money is viewed as a thing to distribute not as a savior of problems to the generous.

I am hearing more and more stories of how people are becoming generous during these tough economic times. People are giving their time instead of money because that’s all they have. I remember my parents opening their home up to many relatives and strangers for the sole purpose of helping them.
  • My giving may have to be creative.
  • My giving needs to be merciful.
  • My giving needs to be plenty based on what GOD has blessed me with.
  • My giving needs to be out of willingness not obligation.

The funny thing about GOD is HE doesn’t need my money. HE actually doesn’t want my money; rather HE wants my willing “generous” heart.
  • When I give to HIS humans, HE is pleased with my gift.
  • When I give to someone in need they can see GOD and not me.
  • When I give without judging, then GOD sees me and blesses me with more.

I didn’t believe that GOD would ever bless me with the way HE has. I mean when I started “really giving” HE blessed me thoroughly! I’m not saying that if you give then it will automatically, proportionately come back to you especially if your attitude is not right. But I am saying that if you are “generous” then GOD will be “generous” with you!
  • Do you have a generous heart?
  • Do you feel upset that you don’t have enough money for “things” or giving?
  • Is there someone you can give to today?
  • Can you be creative in your giving?
  • Can you open your house up and give someone a meal?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Even my sadness has purpose.

2 Corinthians 7: 10Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.

Cornfields laced both sides of the road as far as the eye could see. The sun stood high in the air and there was absolutely no one on the boring road, I thought. As I edged my speed up I noticed blue and red flashing lights in my rear view mirror.

“I’m sorry” was the first thing out of my mouth and the police officer said something very memorable. “You are sorry you got caught, not sorry you did it.” Wow was he right!
  • GOD wants true change in my life when HE puts obstacles in my way.
  • My heart would never follow GOD without something going wrong in my life.
  • When I am in a trial, I beg GOD to remove the trial.
  • The longer GOD leaves me in the trial, the more eager I serve HIM.

GOD isn’t holding me hostage by saying “love me or else” rather HE knows certain worldly situations can tempt me away from following HIM. When HE removes or changes the situation then my sadness makes me “seek” comfort.

  •  There is no comfort better than GOD’s comfort.
  • When I repent of the sins in my life, my conscience is clear.
  • When my conscience is clear, I can actually see GOD the way HE wants me to see HIM.
  • When I see GOD as my savior, I become eager to serve.

True change means I am “sorry that I’m sinning” rather than being “sorry that I got caught.” GOD can tell the difference between my arrogant rants of “being right” versus when I am truly sorry I am not serving HIM the way HE wants me to serve HIM.

HE can easily see through my attempts to “get my sinful life back” by manipulating HIM with my tainted goodness. HE can tell my goodness is temporary and when things are back to the way I want them, all of my lusts and sin will return. GOD prolongs my circumstances even longer until I “truly” give my life and the situation over to HIM.
  • Are you truly sorry about your sin or are you sorry you got caught?
  • Are you trying to be good to impress people or GOD so you can get your way?
  • Are you trying to manipulate someone or GOD by being good?
  • Is your conscience clear?
  • Can you seek GOD today to cleanse your broken spirit?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Which Way? By Jeff Norberg

Standing on the crossroads deciding which way to go toward.
To the left is my way and to the right is to the Lord.

My way means humans who are just as imperfect as me.
The Lord's way means perfection will walk beside me and be a friend in need.

My way is like a boat that doesn't have an oar.
The Lord's way is like an eagle that was made to soar.

It is true that with my way a false sense of freedom could seem strong.
Whereas the Lord's way might take work and the road may seem long.

Eventually though the illusion of freedom would end and I would be destitute and all alone.
But the Lord's way means I would have a friend to take my hand and lead me home.

I notice that even with all my possessions my life would always get unfurled.
So I reached for the treasures of Heaven and not those of the world.

I know I made the right choice as I turned right onto the road.
For it was at that instant I felt the Lord take my hand and release my load

Saturday, September 18, 2010

You Are Loved by Rebecca St. James

We were younger then, you and me, full of dreams, weren’t we?
I went my way, you went yours, where did you go, dear?
Someone said you had left the life we lived together then
This is my way of reaching out cause I remember

This is what I want to say to you
If I had one chance to speak to your heart
You are loved
More than you could ever know

This is what I want to say to you
If I had one chance to tell you something
You are loved
More than you can imagine

If I told you would you believe, the narrow road, I did not leave
If I told you would you understand that Love found truth
Are you jaded? Are you hurting now? How I wish that I could tell
Where your heart’s at can you see? Mine has found home

Not sure if Love, made it clear enough
It’s not my love I sing about
Everybody asks, Is God good?
I believe, He is
In fact I know, He is

Friday, September 17, 2010

Today is your day!

2 Corinthians 6
1As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. 2For he says,
"In the time of my favor I heard you,
and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.

Sitting on the edge of my bed in my apartment I squinted as I peered around my room. My glasses had fallen off of the nightstand and the dim light hid them well. As I patted the floor bumping into things, a thought came over me. “I have been wearing glasses since I was five due to a car accident and I deserve to have clear vision!”

“Good idea”, I thought to myself. So I prayed “GOD, if you ‘are’ GOD, heal my eyes!” Well twenty plus years after I said this I am fond of my glasses that I still wear to this day. In other words GOD ignored my blithering prayer.
  • Just because I’m annoyed or inconvenienced doesn’t mean the situation isn’t good for me.
  • GOD is still GOD whether I understand what HE is doing or not.
  • Fortunately for me, GOD is not moved when I am angry at HIM, HE still has everlasting love for me!
Over the years I have matured to understand that “tempting” GOD is not a good idea. HE is GOD and I was created to follow HIM but I have the free will to not choose HIM or HIS ways. When I sincerely follow HIM I notice something special.
  • When I finally stop trying to do things my way, GOD shines through me.
  • When I stop trying to steer GOD in my prayers, HE hears me.
  • When I believe that HE has already taken care of my situation and act like it, HE pours out HIS blessings on me.

GOD says to the weak, sad and hurt, “I AM your GOD and I hear you. I hear your plea and today is the day for your salvation.” What a great message! You mean all my bills are paid or my ailment is instantly gone or that broken relationship is mended or I get to keep my job? Maybe for someone but here is a way to look at it.
  • I get excited just hearing GOD hears me and acknowledges my pain.
  • I feel I can endure knowing GOD will handle things in HIS time, not mine.
  • When HE says “HIS time of favor” is here then I open my hands and wait for the blessings!
 Today is my day! I know for sure HIS blessings have been poured all over me!
  • Have you prayed for things out of disappointment?
  • Are you anticipating what a blessing should look like?
  • Can you open your eyes to the blessings HE has done in your life?
  • Do you believe that “today” HE has resolved your issue even though you may not see it?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What does a “New Life” look like?

2 Corinthians 5: 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.


We could always tell when it was the weekend not because of the obvious glance at the calendar. Our phone would start to ring and the main question was “is there going to be a party in your room?” In fact when we got an apartment we expanded party central to new heights. We received twenty one phone calls in ten minutes!
  • My life is GOD’s and HE wants me to proclaim the message about HIS SON.
  • My example “is” important and determines whether I will be heard or not.
  • My actions do speak louder than words so my actions need to be in line with GOD.

After college I tried to take my partying ways into the church and for some reason it didn’t quite feel the same. My message of forgiveness while being dedicated to GOD who saved me just didn’t mix well with cursing at someone at a grocery store or being tipsy and flirtatious in bars. I had to find a “new life.”

My confusion of what a “new life” looked like came from my lack of understanding GOD and HIS purpose for my life.
  • GOD made me for HIS purpose not mine.
  • HE desires that I spend some of my time on earth proclaiming the Great News about HIS SON.
  • GOD blesses me when I give up my selfishness and I attempt to live for HIM.

There were many who questioned the validity of my “new life.” “Will he stick to it” probably ran through their minds. “Why are you trying to act goody, goody” is another. Or better yet "Look at him going through his problems, I wonder will he crumble?" BUT GOD wants me to review all areas of my life and be an open book to my sin so that people may believe in HIS SON and that’s all that matters.

I still look at my life and try to remove barriers to someone believing in GOD’s SON. I am not trying to “work” my way into Heaven; rather I have realized that my walk is just as important as my “talk.”
  • GOD doesn’t expect me to be sinless; HE did that HIMSELF.
  • GOD wants me to show love to people who don’t deserve it like HE did for me.
  • GOD desires that I acquire faith instead of fear so that people will be drawn to HIM by my example.
  • GOD wants me to willingly give up worldly pleasure for a moment only to get eternal pleasure.

A “New Life” is not a sinless life rather it is one dedicated to proclaiming a message of grace not judgment. I’m glad HE gave me a new life!
  • Is GOD telling you to change some areas of your life?
  • Can you proclaim the message of salvation, grace and mercy with your current attitude?
  • Are you projecting “fear”, “lust” or “jealousy” or is your life full of GOD’s “grace”, “peace” and “mercy?”
  • Is there at least one area of your life that you can let go of in order to be GOD’s example?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

“Please” or “Be Pleased”

2 Corinthians 5: 9So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.


Teenage years seem to be a very tumultuous time for most families to go through and mine was no exception. It’s where idealism begins to meet reality and separation from parents is evidenced by sometimes painful arguments. Seeking recognition was my craving at that time and sometimes it was from the wrong crowd.

  • When I seek the world’s luxuries it’s hard for me to not have them when they are lost or stolen.
  • When “my value” is based on recognition from humans instead of GOD then I get depressed at negative feedback.
  • When I serve people to get something in return, then I resent when they don’t reciprocate.
The wrong crowd wanted me to do things the world's way. This made me desire more for myself and less for others. It made me "feel" like I needed to be served. If I have to “feel” like doing the right thing for GOD, I would never do it. GOD wants me to serve HIM in spite of how I feel. HE wants me to be HIS example through “thick and thin” because HE knows my motives are never aligned with HIS.

Salvation conceptually gets in the way of how I truly serve GOD. What I mean is my view of GOD is sometimes skewed by HIS act of kindness to me. HE saved me now I want HIM to serve me but in reality it should be the other way around!
  • Serving GOD enables me to tell GOD that HE is GOD.
  • GOD is a jealous GOD and wants to be viewed as GOD, not a slave to me.
  • GOD knows my feeble attempts to serve HIM are sometimes mixed in with the motive of manipulation.

Selfishness and wanting to be seen heard and recognized all get in the way of how I truly feel about GOD. I love HIM but I want to “do life” my way. GOD wants me to serve HIM and HIS humans with passion and excitement regardless of pain and turmoil.

HE doesn’t want me to be miserable in my relationship with HIM and HE wants spontaneous bursts of love towards HIM and others. Trust me, when I follow HIM, HE knows how to bless me.
  • Are you so focused on yourself that you are not serving others?
  • Are you holding your “love” back because someone is not meeting your standards of serving you?
  • Why do you think you need to be served?
  • Can you drop your expectations of other people for one day and serve them fully?
  • What does “that person” want?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


2 Corinthians 4: 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.


Speeding in an old “Junker of a car” was my way of being carefree. Unfortunately the cops didn’t feel my same sentiment. After a couple of heavy fines I found myself out of cash then the bandwagon came. Bill collectors started harassing me. What? You mean I have to pay for the things I charged on my credit card?

To make matters worse I got a letter from my dean stating my grades weren’t up to par. Weeks before I was dumped by my girlfriend. Also, my janitor job wasn’t glamorous and when my junk car broke down I had to walk two miles to get there. Extra effort for a miserable existence! Where was GOD?

  • Life is tough, GOD is stronger than life!
  • Problems can be perplexing; GOD is my way to clarity!
  • People can be uncaring; GOD loves me in ways I can’t imagine!

During that time many other things seemed to go wrong, BUT GOD was there to bring me through. I hadn’t prayed much at that time so I got down on my knees in my apartment and just said “Please help me! I don’t know where I’m going or how to handle this situation! My life is out of control and I need YOUR help!”
  • GOD placed HIS SPIRIT inside me to protect me from the world’s problems.
  • HE said things will go wrong while I live on earth so focus on HIS kingdom.
  • JESUS is there when I get low and knowing this always gives me hope!
Looking back on things helps me see that GOD was there all along. HE nudged me in the right direction and protected me even when I didn’t ask for it. Years later GOD blessed me with the right wife and family, a wonderful job and a dependable car. I also learned how to get out and “stay out” of debt.

Now when I go through a trial period I can see GOD working even when I don’t immediately see the problem going away. GOD gives me hope!
  • Are you having difficult times?
  • What have you put your “hope” in?
  • Can you let go of your problem for a minute and recognize how GOD is protecting you?
  • You believed GOD saved you, why are you doubting HIS love for you now?

Monday, September 13, 2010

I like what I’m becoming!

2 Corinthians 3: 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.


September meant classes were in full swing. The once empty town was now full of life and it also meant the freshmen would be there. We called them “fresh meat” because that’s what we thought of them. We knew there would be girls who wanted their “freedom” from their parents and those are the ones we would pursue. (Not in a good way!)
  • Freedom means living for CHRIST and not being stuck pursuing the world’s pleasures.
  • Freedom means helping people grow to know JESUS rather than sloppily getting my own way.
  • Freedom means believing GOD has my back rather than worrying about the future.
When JESUS saved me he left me in a strange state. I no longer will go to Hell, but I am free to sin. This is a very strange and wonderful concept, yet it saddens me sometimes. What I mean is being saved is great but I don’t like when I sin. I feel like I’m disappointing the one being who truly understands me.
  • GOD understands and forgives me for “all” of my sins.
  • GOD transforms me each day and gives me courage to face my sins and drop them little by little.
  • GOD places difficult circumstances in my life to keep me focused on HIM to build my trust.
  • GOD knows I can’t hide from HIM so I may as well be truthful with HIM and myself.
  • GOD has a plan for me to grow to “greatness.”
Moses saw the LORD’s glory with a peek at the SPIRIT. His face began to shine because he had been in the LORD’s presence. Unfortunately his radiant face began to fade so he hid it with a veil to pretend it was still there.

GOD wants my face to be “unveiled” showing that my righteousness comes from HIM and not me. HE wants me to openly admit “I still sin” so that others who sin might be attracted to the one who did not sin. HE also wants people to know that I am not “sinless” but “I sin less and less.”

Transformation is a wonderful thing. It is a process that takes patience and I’m glad GOD has enough patience with me to spare.
  • Are you still rebelling against GOD and expecting good results?
  • Is GOD changing your life?
  • Are you helping someone else change their life for CHRIST?
  • Is GOD asking you to drop a selfish area of your life?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Do I stink?

2 Corinthians: 14But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?


Flowers in the spring, a light summer rain, and charcoal in flames all have this affect on me. Each time I smell them I remember some very good times. I think of relaxation and carefree living… at least for a moment. What I didn’t know is my personality can have a smell.
  • When I act like a hypocrite while trying to serve GOD, my efforts stink.
  • When I complain about what someone else is doing or not doing, my relationships stink.
  • When I try to do good in order to manipulate GOD into getting my way, my righteousness stinks.
  • When I chose to sin knowing that GOD despises my sin, my prayers stink.
Occasionally I will wake up in a “funk” and I feel it’s my duty to spread that funk throughout my household. What I don’t realize is my funk can spread to hundreds of people. Each person my family touches can spread funk on others and they will do the same until it becomes an epidemic.
  • Sacrifice is always a sweet aroma to the LORD.
  • Giving extra in anonymity smells great to the recipient.
  • Ernest prayers admitting guilt wafts forgiveness to my nostrils.
  • Telling people about GOD’s SON permeates the air and settles troubled hearts.
Paul also tells me that my GODLY aroma will actually stink some. They will ask “are you really that nice”, “what’s the catch”, “why aren’t you mad even though I am attacking you”, “why do you believe in that JESUS stuff?”

The Great News about JESUS being GOD and dying for my sins is an offensive aroma to some people. It may mean giving up sinful habits, worldly views, titles, power and illicit sexual behavior. What stinks to man smells great to GOD and what smells great to GOD is all that matters.
  • Do you have a funky attitude that repels people from listening to GOD?
  • Are your judgments of others smelly to GOD?
  • Can you spread the fragrance of mercy and love today?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Am I acting right?

2 Corinthians 1: 12Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace.

One Sunday morning my students were putting their lesson away because it was time to assemble for the sermon. Sunday school was over and we had just finished a great discussion. As we walked down the stairs a person walked in the door of the church and recognized me. “Hey! We had a great time drinking at the club last night”, he shouted!

Okay, this is not a message on “drinking” or “clubbing”, but it did make me think about being an example. I wanted to live two lives, one with CHRIST and everything else.
  • When I believed that JESUS is my SAVIOR I became one with HIM.
  • When I accepted that I deserved to go to Hell but now I won’t, I now owe everything to HIM.
  • When I was given the HOLY SPIRIT as my guide, I can discern right from wrong.
The HOLY SPIRIT lives inside and sees all the sins that I commit on a daily basis. This part of GOD has the most difficult job because GOD cannot stand sin and wants no part of it. HE sacrificed HIMSELF to make sure that I would be forgiven for even the least of my sins.

Now, as my act of love, I try my best to serve GOD with sincerity and holiness that only come from GOD.

  •  When I serve others I do it according to the Bible, not from my own wisdom.
  • When I serve my family I am serving GOD instead of my family.
  • When I serve my neighbors I am serving GOD instead of my neighbors.
  • When I work I work for GOD not my company.

Paul recognizes the change made in him is only because of GOD’s grace. GOD took pity on Paul and me so that we could write and teach about GOD and HIS mercy. Now I actually desire to do things HIS way.
  • Are you doing things your way or GOD’s way?
  • Are you busy judging others and not working on grace and mercy between you and GOD?
  • Are you content with how you are serving GOD?
  • Are you living as an example of GOD’s mercy or are you living on your own wisdom?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Make yourself comfortable.

2 Corinthians 3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.


Pondering comfort was my task this morning. What is comfort? At one time I used to think comfort was “things.” If I had enough money in the bank, a nice house, luxury car, nice clothes and the latest gadget then I would be comfortable.

With these “comforts” of life came uncomfortable sacrifice. With a nice house I got nice taxes. With a luxury car my maintenance was sky high. In the nice schools there were snobbish social issues. Fitting in with the “Joneses” didn’t work for me and my high paying job never enabled me to be comforted.
  • Comfort is relative and I had to readjust what comfort meant to me.
  • Comfort now means my wife and kids are healthy,
  • Comfort now means we are joyful, smiling and laughing.
  • Comfort now means I have served my neighbors without needing to be thanked.
  • Comfort now means I know GOD is 100% with me and will never leave me.
Many situations in life are uncomfortable right now. When I have based my life on things and titles I was at wits end. Who was I before I got my stuff and my title? I was the person GOD loved before HE created the foundations of the world.

  •  JESUS died for me and sent the HOLY SPIRIT who comforts me daily.
  • The Bible provides me with a daily dose of GOD’s comforting words.
  • Once I am comforted, I can share my comfort with others.

GOD has truly blessed me and now I am so excited to spread HIS “true comfort.”
  • Have you gone a week or even a day without eating?
  • Do you have access to radio, TV, cars and phones?
  • Can you tell people how much you have been blessed in spite of your problems?
  • Can you give GOD credit for being there 100% of the time even when you don’t feel HIM?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Help! I have problems!

1 Corinthians 16: 13Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 14Do everything in love.

Radiant light glared through my windshield as I headed east on my three hour drive to my new home. My neck was hurting and stiff, I didn’t feel well and I didn’t know where I was going. My first day of work was in a few days and I didn’t have a place to live.

Back then MapQuest didn’t exist and the street maps were sketchy at best. I exited at the first exit to the city just to stretch. People gave conflicting directions and I was nervous. I got in the car turned down a street and prayed “LORD I haven’t prayed to YOU in years, I don’t know what to do. Please help me!”

You won’t believe me when I tell you that while sitting at a light my stiff neck went away and as I tested my comfort I noticed a sign for a set of apartments with a great price for rent. Joy filled my entire body just finding an apartment I could afford and as I drove further I noticed something else. My new job was only a few blocks away!
  • Be on your guard – I must expect things to go wrong in my life as well as temptations.
  • Stand firm in the faith – JESUS died for me. No matter if I lose all material possessions or health or loved ones, I should keep my belief in HIM until I die.
  • Be men of courage – I must add courage to my faith and be confident that GOD will protect me through harsh times.
  • Be strong – Sometimes my problems will last longer than I anticipate. This is only an exercise in strengthening me.
  • Do everything in love – When I’m serving others, it is up to GOD bear the fruit, provide the comfort for me and them and grow us in the process.
Paul was going through opposition and struggled daily. He also knew those who fully gave their lives to CHRIST would face the same opposition if not greater. He didn’t always know what was in store for him around the next corner.

Life has many struggles but GOD is there to bring me through each battle. HE knows exactly what I am going through and has a great plan for me.
  • Are you going through problems?
  • Who or what are you putting your trust in?
  • Can you serve someone today?
  • Will you try asking GOD “what do YOU want to do today?”

Monday, September 6, 2010

Stand firm in your faith!

1 Corinthians 15:58Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.


There were times where I was fighting battles for what was true and right. Nothing could stop me from worshipping GOD and my prayers seemed to be heard and answered in amazing ways. Everything seemed to go right for me so it was quite easy to “stand” for GOD.

Then the waves of life came. A disagreement here, a stolen object there, pressure at work, then no work, loved ones sick or dying, it seemed like GOD wasn’t hearing me.

  • When my total focus is on life here on earth my labor is in vain.
  • My life has to have a balance of working to live here and looking forward to heaven.
  • I need to realize that “everything” I have came from GOD and HE can do what HE wants with it.

Since everything I have is GOD’s, I can stop trying to obtain and I can drop my worries over trying to keep the little I have. This frees up my thinking and time. When the things of this world are no longer an issue for me, then I can easily focus on GOD’s kingdom.

Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t do this very well, but when I do, I am truly blessed.
  • When I focus on GOD, HE blesses me.
  • When I focus on others, they get blessed too.
  • When I focus on serving, I forget about my issues.
  • When I focus on blessing, I can hear people in need.

 Standing firm is something GOD wants me to do. It takes a mindset that truly is not focused on me.
  • Are you standing firm in your faith?
  • Do you get easily shaken by life’s circumstances?
  • Do you try to use your own power to resolve everyone’s (even your own) issues?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Salvation Poem - Jesus Whispered My Name by Gloria Small

I was lost on the path of destruction
finding nothing to quench my despair.
Wandering thru the dark vale of shadow
no relief from life's pain found I there.
Then He whispered my name.
Jesus whispered my name.

He had whispered but I could not hear it
my sin had muffled the sound.
Then a lull in the tumult gave over
I listened and suddenly found.
He was whispering my name.
Jesus whispered my name.

"Come unto Me, My peace I give you
Lean on Me, stand in my rest.
I've paid the price of redemption
My strength can handle this test.
Believe, trust in My Name,
Trust in My Name."

My grateful heart filled with His presence
And accepted the grace in His voice.
All my self-effort was over
And I made His gift my choice.
I believed on His Name.
I trusted His Name

Now His power is with me
I'm redeemed my life is reclaimed.
In eternity one day I'll see Him
Because Jesus whispered my name.
He whispered my name
Jesus whispered my name.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Who are you Hangin’ with?

1 Corinthians 15: 33Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." 34Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.


Harsh! But I guess I needed it. The first convention was so exciting! There were people from all over the world convening in one location. Suppliers, employees and entertainers filled the center with pomp and fan fair. After the day ended I retreated to my room refusing to go out drinking with the “in” crowd. This didn’t seem to work so well.

After a number of mediocre evaluations I decided to go out with this group. I awkwardly sipped on my Coke while others laughed and joked about body parts. Some of the jokes were funny and I found myself giggling. After the fourth convention, I was in the group laughing and joking like the rest of them. Where was I? How did I get here?
  • GOD has called me to be different.
  • HE wants me helping the world not judging it.
  • I am an example of HIM wherever I go so my behavior needs to reflect it.
  • GOD’s light shining through me is the thing that draws people.

After I caught myself from being on the road to adultery I found a good friend who would keep me accountable and I did the same for him at conventions. We would laugh and joke over a late night meal.

Honestly, I can say I have never reached anyone for CHRIST in a bar. Paul writes "be everything to all people" to reach them for CHRIST. He didn’t mean stop following CHRIST to reach them for CHRIST. In this chapter he writes to those who were being misled to believe there is no resurrection.
  • Read the Bible for yourself.
  • Take your reading seriously.
  • Ask GOD for understanding of HIS word.
  • Change crowds (even churches) in order to grow and get fed.
I used to think I was having fun when I stopped following CHRIST and was just hangin’ out. Sometimes I see the rich and fabulously wealthy doing all kinds of wild and wrong things and it seems like their lifestyle is one to be envied. BUT GOD wants me to keep HIS ways whether I am rich or down and out.
  • Who are you hanging around?
  • Are you envious of someone’s sinful lifestyle?
  • Are you an example of CHRIST to everyone?
  • Does everyone know you are a Christian?
  • Does “that” person know you are a sinner saved by JESUS?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Great news, HE “is” alive!

1 Corinthians 15: 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.


On Christmas Eve I stared at the fake tree with its twinkling lights in anticipation of this year’s grab. When the crack of dawn hit I said to myself “finally it’s here!” With joy I tore open my presents and played with games and toys my parents had so carefully wrapped.

Later that same day some of the toys were placed to the side because I was already bored with them. The same excitement, anticipation, elation and then boredom seemed to ring true for my Christian life. I mean all GOD expects me to do is tell people about HIS SON? Where is the excitement in that?
  • Being bored with the “Great News” may mean I don’t really know what was done for me.
  • Being bored with the “Great News” makes me look at GOD as a servant rather than my savior.
  • Being bored with the “Great News” shows up in my life and others are not drawn to GOD rather they are repulsed by my hypocrisy.
I have met recovering cancer patients and alcoholics who have a new lease on life. They overcame an extreme situation and they celebrate it every moment they can. They have no shame in telling people they almost died and now they are alive!

GOD wants me to be excited about HIM the same as when I first realized I needed HIS SON JESUS as my savior from the penalty of my sins. Every moment I get a chance, I need to thank HIM or tell others about HIS SON.
  • Telling people about JESUS is not repetitious if I truly cared for the person.
  • Explaining the “Great News” in simple terms is challenging and requires thought and new approaches daily.
  • Situations occur in my life and others that hinder me telling the “Great News”, this only keeps it interesting.

Yes, I no longer fit in the world and that is a fear for many. But HE has challenged me as HE challenged Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, to keep HIS humans from rejecting JESUS as the one and only savior to eternal life.
  • Are you bored with the “Great News” about JESUS?
  • Is it hard for you to be excited about hearing when people accept CHRIST?
  • When you go to church are you preparing yourself to spread the gospel to someone else?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

GOD is less “random” than you think.

1 Corinthians 14 26What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 27If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.
29Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.


When we took the field we had no plays drawn out. I ran deep and waved my hand but no one threw me the ball. In fact no one got the ball because out quarterback was sacked. No plan to execute. (Sorry for using a football analogy for those who don’t like the sport). When we regrouped this time we huddled, assigned roles, and executed.

As I ran by the tree I turned to my left and the quarterback threw me the ball and I ran for the first touchdown in my life. We needed “order” to achieve results.

Over the years I have blamed GOD for doing “random activity” when in fact HE loves precision, exactness and ‘absolute’ especially when it comes to strengthening the church. I saw war, famine, disease and broken people trying to serve HIM and thought “how could GOD allow these things to happen?”

In my life some prayers would be answered and some weren’t. Even the term “act of GOD” seemed to be random because it meant that some disaster happened. Why is GOD so random? Or is HE?

  • Strengthen the church by singing a song because it’s hard to complain while praising GOD.
  • Strengthen the church by teaching people about GOD for what HE revealed needs to be learned.
  • Strengthen the church by discussing new understanding of what “HE has revealed to you” that makes you stick to HIS ways.
  • Strengthen the church by speaking in another intelligible language with an interpreter so that people can grow by what is spoken.
  • Strengthen the church by asking if what you just said is in alignment to what GOD told man to write in HIS Bible.

GOD has plans and methods that I don’t understand so daily events appear to be random but they really aren’t. GOD wants and has control. It sounds like I actually have a choice in controlling myself.

Every tumbling rock or raindrop is accounted for. HE has the universe under control and expects me to control myself in a way to build up and strengthen HIS church.

  • Can you bring some order to your life?
  • If you view GOD as “random” can you stop for a while to seek HIS plan?
  • Do you do things with a purpose or are you letting life drag you along?
  • Are you sitting back blaming GOD or are you taking steps to grow others?