Thursday, November 29, 2012

Spiritual personal trainer

1 Peter 1:In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.


“Are you going to the general graduation” a friend asked me. “You better believe it” I exclaimed! I wanted to sit and savor every moment because I was finished! My college experience was now complete and I didn’t have to face sleepless nights studying again.

I could now look back and see how painful it was to go through many situations and failures. Whatever went wrong actually helped prepare me for “the real world.”

  • When I am in pain I only want relief.
  • When I am in a circumstance I can’t see anything else but that circumstance.
  • When I am in a world of hurt I beg for liberation and want to give up!

Each trial I have faced seemed like it would never be over but looking back at them I can honestly say I needed them.  Struggles don’t feel good but, just like exercise, builds me up in ways I can’t express.

  • GOD knows how much pain I can handle and motivates me to hang in a little longer.
  • GOD knows how much suffering I can take and says to me keep going you’re almost there.
  • GOD knows how much anguish I can face so and HE uses difficult circumstances to develop spiritual muscles.

Faith is like a muscle, the more it’s used the stronger it gets. Trials, while uncomfortable and unwelcome, build my character, perseverance, endurance and patience. GOD has placed HIS HOLY SPIRIT in me to comfort me and lead me “through” trials, refining my faith so it shines as bright as purified gold.

  • Are you going through trials?
  • Is it difficult for you to keep going?
  • Can you stop looking at the trial for a moment and ask “what am I being prepared for?”
  • Won’t you begin seeking the new ministry GOD is giving you no matter how young or old you are?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I believe in prayer

James 5: 13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.


“My shift is almost over” I thought to myself. Some guys entered the bowling alley with surly attitudes and summoned me “around the corner” to ask a question about an item we were selling. With glass case separating us I sort of felt safe but something was wrong this time.

Some guys distracted my coworkers at the front while I, the lone sheep, remained split from the flock. When they pulled out the gun I knew I had no place to run. I hadn’t been to church in a while, nor had I talked to GOD very much but that was the first thing on my mind!

  • It’s amazing how fast I run towards GOD when I’m in trouble.
  • It’s amazing how much I beg GOD for help when I’m sick.
  • It’s amazing how much I seek GOD when something is wrong.

Prayer is exactly what GOD wants on a regular basis but I have used it simply to get out of situations. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with praying during dire situations. In fact that’s exactly what I should be doing. What I’m saying is prayer shouldn’t be the last thing I do rather in most instances it’s the “only” thing I should be doing.

  • I should pray when I’m in trouble and GOD will calm me in the midst of the storm.
  • I should pray when things are going well and GOD will keep me from temptations that easily tear me from HIM.
  • I should pray when others are sick or down and GOD will heal them and forgive them.

Prayer is extremely powerful when used unselfishly. Prayer coupled with the right motive and right attitude outdoes any action I can conjure up. When I pray I’m actually saying to GOD I accept whatever outcome YOU choose rather than trying to manipulate HIM. HE always answers a prayer where HE is the center and that’s a good thing!

  • Are you in trouble?
  • Are you happy?
  • Are you sick?
  • Can you pray a prayer of praise before you ask HIM to fix your problem?
  • Won’t you use prayer more often just to have a nice conversation with GOD?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wait a minute or maybe a few years

James 5:Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!


“Dark, dinky, dank road” I thought to myself. As the highway curved and curved it seemed like the cars in front of us were not only getting slower, they seemed to be going backwards! It was early so it was still somewhat dark and I could probably see the glow of headlights coming at me.

I know what I’ll do, I will take a chance and pass all these cars in the no passing zone! As I moved into the oncoming traffic lane I revved the engine and we took off! I can make it, I thought… then a car was headed in our direction but I hadn’t finish passing all the cars. Fortunately for us, the drivers let me back in and we avoided a collision! My coworker said “don’t do that again!”

  • When I am impatient I actually make mistakes.
  • When I am impatient I sometimes make rash decisions.
  • When I am impatient I don’t wait on the result of what others can do or become.

Sometimes I just want GOD to be done with the lessons HE has for me.  I mean can’t HE just zap wisdom, knowledge and understanding in me and be done with it already? Can’t I skip the trial? Can’t I just leap into a life of luxury without having to endure life’s pressures?

  • My view on life should include the understanding that my situation is temporary.
  • My view on life should include the knowledge that life will be a little uncomfortable but GOD’s “valuable crop” is worth the wait.
  • My view on life should include the wisdom to recognize when I’m judging others harshly versus looking at my life and its crop.

GOD is extremely patient with me. HE watches me sin every day and doesn’t just zap me to hell rather HE shows mercy and grace. HE expects me to show the same patience to others.

  • Is there someone who is annoying in your life?
  • Do you find yourself irritated at what “that” person says or does?
  • Can you show a little patience today?
  • Won’t you slow down or even stop to wait on the LORD and watch HIS deliverance?

Monday, November 26, 2012

My plans mean nothing without GOD

James 4: 13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.


“Business plan” check… “Service to sell” check… “Business Cards” check… “Tools” check… “Customers” a few so “CHECK!” As I halfheartedly proceeded in my first business venture I began with what I thought were the right components. With baby on the way and a very demanding job, I wanted to strike it out on my own to “be there” for the family so my intentions were honorable.

Weekends were now spent away from the family and with my band of one I had no time to grow my business plus my job was sending me out of town next week. The business failed before it got started. What went wrong?

  • When I plan without GOD my plans are headed for failure.
  • Even if I have reached a level of success that is recognized by many, if the achievement was without GOD my plans are headed for failure.
  • When I look into the future and develop contingency plans to thwart catastrophe, without GOD my plans are headed for failure.

Now that I am in business again I recognize something very important, GOD has the ability and the right to say “NO” or “not at all” to my plans. I could have, what I think are the best intentions but when I have not accepted the fact that my plans may not be aligned with GOD’s plans then I am prone to pout “when” they fail.

  • GOD has a plan for me that is complex, purposeful and perfect.
  • GOD’s plan will always be done; my plan can be done more if aligned with GOD’s plan.
  • GOD knows the future of my plan and its success hinges on my dependence on HIM.

Saying “if it is the LORD’s will” means I am willing to accept “NO” for an answer. I am not rolling over and dying and preparing for a crash and burn blamed on the LORD rather my eyes are wide open to the fact that GOD has all I own. I can’t protect my family, stuff or business. GOD owns it all and has a right to do with it as HE pleases.

  • Do you believe your abilities came from you?
  • Do you have plans for yourself, thinking you can control your situation?
  • Won’t you start your next plan by asking GOD what HE wants to do?
  • Can you stop bragging about “your” accomplishments and credit them to GOD?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What I really want is my way!

James 4:You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.


7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up


“That sure is a nice suit” I said to my boss. I couldn’t think of anything else to say but I needed to make small talk because I wanted to get that promotion. Of course I didn’t get the promotion so I stuck my mouth out and started to act like a very deserving employee.

I ranted and threatened and do you know what… I never got promoted there.

  • My fake compliment is quickly seen through by GOD.
  • My wrong motive for whatever I desire is easily thwarted by GOD.
  • My false humility trying to act “churchy” is effortlessly noticed by GOD and HE doesn’t like it.

GOD knows exactly what’s good for me and says “NO” to me quite often. In fact I look back on some of the things I’ve wanted and I am extremely grateful I didn’t get them. Believe it or not, I am also grateful for some of the turmoil I have been put through as well.

Getting “my way” means getting my way and I really don’t want my way when I get my way. I usually end up on a path that’s really bad for me and then I can’t find “my way” out of it. GOD has a remedy.

  • HE wants me to submit “my way” to HIS way which means I can resist temptations and the Devil will leave me alone.
  • GOD wants me to take a step toward HIM first and HE will come near to me.
  • HE wants me to sincerely desire for things to be better for “that” person rather than trying to manipulate them to get “my way.”

GOD wants me to truly be humble, not false humility where other people tell me I’m humble. It means admitting I’m “still” a sinner and my plans will lead to the wrong place.

  • Are you trying to manipulate GOD by acting good or by only listening to “godly” stuff?
  • Do you think GOD can’t see through your efforts to be good for a moment and turn away from HIM when you get what you want?
  • Can you let go of that thing you desire so much and let HIM decide if it is good for you or not?
  • Won’t you back down and examine yourself and admit your stubbornness to GOD?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What kind of wisdom do I have?

James 3: 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.


Conflict seemed to be the center of discussion between our departments. There was no love lost between our group so when one of my employees complained about what “they” were doing I immediately sprang into action hoping I could flex a little muscle to get the issue resolved.

Little did I know “they” had already brought in the big guns and had swayed senior management toward their posture. The fight was over before it had started.

  • My warring wisdom reaps a crop of conflict.
  • My combative wisdom reaps a harvest of struggles.
  • My confrontational wisdom reaps a defensive stance from that person rather than promoting unity.

“I’m right” and “they” are wrong leaves me seeking a much smaller group who wants to follow “my” thinking. Unfortunately I usually end up with a group of people with the same flawed thinking and we don’t go anywhere. I stand around looking at “them” blaming “them” for all the problems “I” am facing. Is my thinking too low?

  • GOD says “ask ME for wisdom and I will give more than you can handle.”
  • GOD says “MY wisdom seeks peace rather than being right all the time.”
  • GOD says “MY wisdom seeks what the other person wants rather than blindly serving self.”
  • GOD says “MY wisdom is full of mercy, submissive and good fruit rather than judgment and depletion.”
  • GOD says “MY wisdom is impartial and sincere rather than thinking one group is better than another.”

GODLY wisdom says mankind is not changing rather it has always been in a fallen state and desperately needs a savior. Communities and neighborhoods do not “change” rather a new face that needs GOD appears and I must serve them the way GOD wants me to serve them, with GODLY wisdom.

  • Do you think your country or neighborhood is “changing?”
  • Do you see a big problem or a large opportunity to harvest more people?
  • Have you looked at yourself to see if your heart needs to change toward other people?
  • When have you actively sought to understand “that” person to win them over rather than trying to get them to conform to your ways?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cuts you like a knife!

James 3:With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.


Being laughed at was the norm when I grew up.  I had messy hair, clothes with holes in them that were too short and I was skinny. Oh yes, I forgot to mention I had thick framed black glasses. If you looked up the word ridicule you would have seen my picture. I spent an enormous amount of time and money trying to fit in.

After amassing my small fortune of eight hundred dollars, I bought some clothes, glasses and joined a health club. Soon I got on the other side of ridicule.  It felt good laughing at those broke weaklings who weren’t in style!

  • My praise of GOD is faulty when I complain about other humans.
  • My praise of the FATHER is broken when I look at other humans as the problem.
  • My praise of our LORD and SAVIOR is defective when I think other humans have problems and “I’m okay.”

My tongue can be full of poison and is potentially a dangerous weapon. From slander to degradation my words can be quite harmful.  I don’t even have to be speaking directly to a person to harm them.  I can have side conversations that slam the person even when I have never met them nor understood them. GOD hears every word I say.

  • My purpose is to spread GOD’s message of love and this is tainted when I dog the person out.
  • My purpose is to show love so others will be drawn to GOD and this is spoiled when I use slander instead of praise.
  • My purpose is to sow a good message of salvation but if my attitude towards other people is bad then my message is useless.

How in the world can I love people and hate people with the same tongue? “Hate” is such a strong word, maybe I should say “dislike” or maybe use “annoyed” to make myself feel comfortable. All I know is that I am not praising that person and GOD is not excited about my words. HE wants me to be able to speak well of my friends AND my enemies.

HE wants me to be single minded and focus my tongue with love.

  • Are you complaining about “those” people or “that” person?
  • Are you engaged in conversation that is pleasing to GOD or pleasing to a specific group?
  • Can you try to tame your tongue enough to speak about the LORD to “that” person?
  • Won’t you cut off the source of your poison so that you can learn to speak well of others?

Friday, November 16, 2012

I go to church so I must be pleasing GOD

James 2: 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.

16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.


“Wow, this neighborhood sure is going downhill” I thought to myself.  The riff raff were steadily moving in and things were getting torn up and worn down. “I know what ‘they’ need… ‘They’ need to come to our revival.” We walked around and passed out hundreds of flyers to our event.

On the day of the event I could hear crickets chirping and see tumbleweed rolling down the street. In other words nobody came. Maybe we should give away hotdogs next time we thought.

  • When I have an attitude that my church program is more important than the people I am serving I am blind.
  • When I am not seeing spiritual growth from others around me then maybe I’m blind not them.
  • When I am not part of the community and I see it as “them” then I am blind.

Communities see right through me. They can see my surface love and phony smile. They can also sense when I really want them to attend my program instead of loving them and meeting their need. They stand back and watch my shallow attempts to be holy and see that in reality I really don’t get along with a person I supposedly call my brother or sister.

  • GOD wants me to have deeds that mean something to HIM.
  • GOD wants me to have deeds that aren’t just going through the motions.
  • GOD wants me to have deeds that meet the needs of those who are down no matter how different they are from me.

Please excuse my graphic words “my righteousness is like a used tampon.” Unless I make “them” “us” really quickly my actions are worthless.

  • Have you been serving in church for a while and think “they” have a problem?
  • Do you believe “they” won’t come to know the LORD because “they” are too far gone?
  • Have you ever considered maybe you need to meet “them” at their base need to belong rather than giving them stuff as a surface attempt to serve?
  • Won’t you reach out to understand “them” and try to make “them” “us” while remaining in the LORD?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Here’s mud in your eye!

James 2: 12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.


Dangerously close is an understatement as to where my bumper was to the car in front of me. We were all traveling at a high rate of… well let’s just say we were really moving! Then “that” guy pulled up in the next lane. I recognized the shiftiness on his face and the movements of his car showing he wanted to “get in front of me!”

I wasn’t having it. I nudge my car closer and closer to the car in front of me and as he backed off I had a sense of victory. Later, in that same drive to work, my exit was approaching and I had to merge into another lane. Most would not let me in and now I created a traffic jam behind me. Someone was “gracious” enough to wave me on.

  • When I judge people I will be judged by the same measure no matter who I’m judging.
  • When I judge people I will be sentenced to their sentence.
  • When I judge people I will be embarrassed when I am being judged in front of everyone.

I have said this many times before… “We are all in the mud, throwing mud at each other, saying you have mud on you!” How disgraceful it is for me to act without mercy. No wonder my ministry is weak at times. I’m amazed that GOD would even listen to me at all.

  • GOD wants me to speak to “that” person as if that person were me.
  • GOD wants me to act like I am “that” person and then I name the sentence.
  • GOD wants me to be merciful to “that” person so HE will show mercy on me.

“But I’m saved” popped into my head, I’m supposed to judge people. Well, not quite. My meal should consist of a healthy ration of love and a heaping dose of mercy with a sprinkle of correction done in love. GOD knows my heart and HE knows “that” person’s heart and HE says choose grace and mercy to both and everything will be fine.

  • Are you judging someone?
  • Are you really trying hard to get you way?
  • Do you realize you may be trying to reduce GOD down to your judgment?
  • Can you let GOD show judgment on whom HE wants to show judgment and mercy to whom HE wants to show mercy?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Am I as blind as a Pharisee?

James 1: 26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.


“What is that church thinking” I said to a friend. I began to dissect the sermon, their intentions and even the clothes some of the people were wearing. Then I turned to look at other people the next day and began to dissect their clothes, messages and intentions.  I found them all appalling. Everyone else is wrong, right?

  • When I think “those” people are wrong them my religion is worthless to GOD.
  • When I think “my” actions are better than “those” people then my religion is worthless to GOD.
  • When I think “they” are sinners and “they” are falling away then my religion is worthless to GOD.

Quite honestly I am very disappointed with gathering as a collective group because I tend to want to exclude someone who makes me feel uncomfortable. I mean if they don’t listen to my music, dress the way I dress or think the way I think it becomes difficult and I don’t have the energy to deal with “those” people. BUT GOD did it differently.

  • JESUS ate with “those” people and wants me to do the same.
  • JESUS went to “those” people and wants me to seek them as well.
  • JESUS prayed for “those” people and wants me to have enough compassion to pray for them too.

Any time I think “those” people are doing it wrong I forget to include myself in the group. I actually fool myself and believe I am not acting like a Pharisee but in reality I am.  GOD loves HIS humans and wants me to go to “all” humans not just the ones I feel comfortable with. HE wants me to help those in need rather than hanging out in my club.

My little world has been turned upside down because GOD wants me to reduce me for HIM to save “them.”

  • Would the music, news and publications you gravitate toward offend someone who needs CHRIST?
  • Are you a catalyst to drawing many types of people to GOD or only one type?
  • Will you stop looking at “them” for a moment and look at “you” to see if you have become a Pharisee who judges “them?”

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ask and believe

James 1:If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.


“What should we do next” were the horrifying words from my team.  This was the first time I had led a project and I had micro-managed us into a corner where we had to make some difficult decisions. “I know” I said to myself. “I will listen to everyone and get all the opinions on how to fix the problem.”

When I opened the opinion box I unveiled a storm of differing views and I looked crazy trying to agree with everything. Now my team started doubting if we were going in the right direction.

  • When I get confused I seem double minded.
  • When I get lost I feel unstable.
  • When I get disorganized my thoughts race and I grapple with the issue.

When a challenge appears I tend to “think” my way out of the issue but this sometimes gets me deeper into hot water. Now what should I do?

  • GOD says “ask ME for wisdom and I will give it abundantly.”
  • GOD says “no matter how lost you get I will be there for you.”
  • GOD says “I am not looking for fault in you rather I am looking for you to believe.”

GOD only wants faith from me.  HE desires that I believe HE has the answers and I can ask HIM for as much wisdom as I can handle.  HE will heap a generous portion on me when I believe solely on HIM. If I seek other crutches I can be blown and tossed by the wind.

I’m not saying avoid seeking wise counsel, what I am saying is let GOD be my guide.

  • Are you confused?
  • Do you lack wisdom in something?
  • Won’t you ask GOD for wisdom?
  • Can you let HIM guide your words and actions today?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Punishment or compassion

Hebrews 13:Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.


“Traffic is moving slow today” I thought to myself. “Glad I’m on the train” I may have gloated in my mind. Suddenly I felt a hand reach in and grab the choker necklace I was wearing.  Within seconds my peaceful pondering had turned into roaring rage!  I mean I had just found that choker on the ground the week before and I never wore jewelry before.  “I hope they get put in jail and rot” I thought.

  • Sometimes I just want some people to suffer for the wrongs they have done to me or others.
  • Many times I wish I could have all the criminals locked up so I can live a peaceful existence.
  • There are times I look to GOD and say “zap them” because they did something wrong to me!

I don’t know where I got this mindset but I honestly thought I could live on Earth peacefully. Maybe if I avoided people who do wrong things I could just exist without trouble.  Somehow “they” kept finding me and I was fed up! Maybe “they” could be removed and “I” can have my peaceful life. BUT GOD sees “them” differently.

  • GOD sees the person who does something wrong as HIS child just like me.
  • GOD sees “their” sins and “my” sins and forgive “us” based on belief in HIS SON.
  • GOD sees my wicked heart and gives me grace and wants me to do the same.

“Love your enemy,” “remember prisoners” and “turn the other cheek” are some very difficult principles I’d rather not keep.  I mean don’t they show weakness?  GOD says an emphatic “NO, they show strength.”  It actually takes more courage and strength to love criminals and wrong doers than loving those who are easy to love.

GOD wants my character to be like HIS, loving those who have lost their way. Hopefully this love will bring them home.

  • Has someone wronged you?
  • Do you want revenge?
  • Can you let GOD have the revenge and you own the love for that person?
  • Won’t you gain strength today by allowing GOD to fill you with compassion rather than judgment?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Wanna fight?

Hebrews 12: 14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.


Walking back to my dorm room I had a lot on my mind. As I was sorting things out someone opened their door and screamed out foul names directed at me. I immediately stopped thinking about class and thought about finding the biggest guy I knew.

We banged on the door until it almost broke. We threatened and intimidated them quite nicely I must say. I wonder if I could preach the message of CHRIST to them right after that incident.

  • Living with the spirit of “fight” weakens my message of GOD’s love.
  • Living with the spirit of “argue” closes off the ears of my opponent when I speak of GOD’s love.
  • Living with the spirit of “anger” blinds those who are looking at me as an example of GOD’s love.
  • Living with the spirit of “resentment” leaves others cold toward my message of GOD’s love.

Too many times sin has gotten in the way of GOD’s love and I choose to not be a good example. I’ll choose war over peace to teach “that” person a lesson. BUT GOD has another way.

  • JESUS chose to die peacefully so that I may live.
  • JESUS gave me a new commandment that I love others as I love myself.
  • JESUS showed me the example of peaceful living so I have no excuse for not following HIS ways.

I have to admit peaceful living is difficult. When I see someone acting foolish then I feel it’s my duty to bring it to their attention! GOD says “I love them as much as I love you.” HE wants me to love those who are difficult to love so even they may accept GOD’s message of love.

  • Are you at odds with someone?
  • Are you ready to fight “those” people?
  • Can you put your differences aside and live in peace specifically to show GOD’s love?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I just want it when I want it how I want it

Hebrews 12:Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.


Tired of being labeled as “the Professor” I decided to act “bad” that day. A good friend of mine felt the same way so we decided to join in on the antics of those who would normally get sent to the Principal. “Maybe we can go home early” I thought. I didn’t even know what to do but I wanted to make sure the other students knew it was me.

The teacher caught my friend and me and instead of sending us to the Principal we were sentenced to stay after school with her. “Uh-oh” I hadn’t anticipated staying later, now my parents would wonder why I was home so late. This discipline thing isn’t fun. I never did that again!

  • I can’t say for every sin GOD spanks me but HE does discipline me.
  • I can’t say for every bad act there is an equal act of discipline by GOD.
  • I can’t say for every wrong I commit GOD is there waiting to hit me with a holy stick.

Many times I have been on the wrong path. I mean I would leave GOD alone and seek my way. I would not seek GOD’s counsel, nor would I hang out with HIS people.  I wanted things my way, when I wanted it and how I wanted it. BUT GOD had other plans.

  • GOD has a way of lovingly disciplining me to put me back on HIS path.
  • GOD has a way of lovingly disciplining me to keep me focused on HIS wonderful plan.
  • GOD has a way of lovingly disciplining me to help me realize I can do nothing without HIM.

As a follower of GOD I wanted only to speak about a soft forgiving GOD without wrath or judgment. I want to be able to sin as much as I would like and be forgiven for anything I did, but here is the flaw. HE says “MY children listen to ME.” When I sin I ignore the HOLY SPIRIT.  All I can say is the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.

  • Are you enduring hardship right now?
  • Do you realize GOD may be disciplining you to grow you?
  • Can you let go of your way for a moment and focus on GOD’s way?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Never lose heart

Hebrews 12: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.


With bills piling higher and higher, I just sat on my couch wondering how I was going to pay them. I mean with tuition, a raggedy car and a janitor job, things looked a little bleak. I felt lost then the dean sent me a letter stating I wasn’t doing so well in school. Can anything else go wrong?

  • When it looks difficult I feel like giving up.
  • When it looks bleak I feel like throwing in the towel.
  • When it looks like I should stop fighting I feel like just sit there and take my blows.

I’m glad I didn’t just sit there and do nothing because GOD wanted me to persevere in the race. By focusing on HIM I see that even I can endure the little opposition I face because HE endured shame, humiliation and false charges from those who called themselves religious leaders.

  • GOD wants me to fix my eyes on JESUS who perfected faith.
  • GOD wants me to fix my eyes on JESUS who sent the HOLY SPIRIT to guide me away from hindrances.
  • GOD wants me to fix my eyes on JESUS who provides a way out of the sin that so easily entangles me.

When I look back I realize I faced a multitude of opposition that could have easily made me throw up my hands and give up. BUT GOD says focus on JESUS and I will always be fine.

  • What opposition are you facing that GOD can’t handle?
  • What situation are you enduring that GOD is not in control of?
  • What circumstance can you take your eyes off of to focus on JESUS who is the perfecter?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A better place to live

Hebrews 11: 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.


Graduation was finally here. I couldn’t wait to go to college for it had to be better than home, I thought.  Years later graduation came around again. I couldn’t wait to get away from college for working in a small town had to be better than college.

Years later I was being courted for a new job back in the city where I grew up. I couldn’t wait to move back because it had to be better than living in a small town.  Wait! Why aren’t these things getting better?

  • Sometimes I get disenchanted with where I am.
  • Sometimes I look around and see mostly bad and fail to see what is good.
  • Sometimes I believe my situation is dismal and I need to move onto something new here on Earth.

It seems like “Utopia” has to be around here someplace. I mean can’t I find a perfect life where everything is easy, there is no fighting and I get my way while everyone else is getting their way? Not here on this planet!

  • GOD wants me to remain focused on HIS kingdom.
  • GOD wants me to know this life is extremely temporary.
  • GOD wants me to hold on and persevere through difficult times knowing HE has a better place for me.

Admittedly I want the better place now, here on Earth.  I want treasures now and treasures later.  I guess it’s the greed in me. GOD says keep my eye on the prize and remain focused on telling the world about HIS SON. Countries will come and go but GOD’s kingdom remains forever! GOD is not ashamed of me and has prepared a city for me.

  • Are you trying to make this world your permanent home?
  • Are you frustrated with the way other people are acting?
  • Can you focus your attention on helping others remain in GOD?
  • Will you stop trying to eradicate sin, which only GOD can do, and focus your attention on loving people?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Do I have what it takes?

Hebrews 11:1Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

“I’m going to do it” I thought to myself. I grabbed the handlebars, took a deep breath and put one foot on the pedal. My father had the seat firmly in hand so I felt I could go as fast as I wanted to. I was riding a two wheeler! In my excitement I did not notice he had stopped running and I was riding all by myself.

When I did notice I fell off my bike. I think a mushroom cloud plumed over the area because I skinned my knee. “I don’t know if I’m going to try THAT again”, I thought to myself.

  • When I doubt I can’t move forward.
  • When I fear I can’t take a risk.
  • When I worry I can’t hear sound counsel.

Many times I have been frozen with fear when it came to crossing over into greatness. I mean it seems like it was right there in my grasp and I did not seize the moment because some doubtful thought would pop into my head. Then after the moment had passed I could kick myself for not acting the way I was supposed to.

  • GOD wants me to have faith in the things I hope for.
  • GOD wants me to have faith in the things I do not yet see.
  • GOD wants me to have faith that pleases HIM through belief in HIS SON.

Faith isn’t confidence in me rather its confidence in the almighty GOD. My plans can fail BUT GOD’s plans will never fail. I can place my confidence and assurance in GOD because HIS plans are everlasting. HE doesn’t want self-confidence rather HE desires total dependence on HIM. I should earnestly seek HIM, desiring that dependence.

  • Are you worrying about something?
  • Do you have fear or doubt running your decisions?
  • Can you let go of what you are worrying about and let GOD handle the situation?
  • Won’t you put your confidence in GOD abd believe HE knows what HE is doing?

Friday, November 2, 2012

How to keep going

Hebrews 10: 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.


Our church was led to place “stretch goal” type ministries in a bowl and everyone was supposed to draw one out. Thinking this would be easy; I reached my hand in and pulled out a whale! “Run a marathon” my card read. What!? Before this particular race I rejected the notion of running. I mean why would anyone run 26.2 miles?

Right around the last quarter of my daily training run the same discouraging message would pop in my mind, “give up” or “why are you doing this” or “feel that pain, it could end up permanent.” It seems like many things in life have the same discouraging messages.

  • Many times I feel like giving up.
  • Many times I want to throw myself a pity party and talk about how bad things are.
  • Many times I see the difficulties ahead of me and get scared and want to do nothing.

Life has many obstacles and sometimes things look very bleak. Many storms ravage my very existence and I feel tossed about like a rag doll in the wind. What can I do?

  • GOD says “draw near” to HIM with a sincere heart not a phony, churchy, judgmental one.
  • GOD says “hold unswervingly to hope” in HIM because HE knows the great plans HE has for me.
  • GOD says “encourage someone” because it takes the focus off of me and places it on HIM.

Life has many challenges and can sometimes be scary. BUT GOD cleanses my guilty conscience, purifies my heart and holds the key to hope.

  • Is life difficult for you?
  • Do you feel like giving up?
  • Can you stop listening to the negative talk for a minute to hear GOD has a great plan HE promised to give you?
  • Won’t you persevere and push through the pain?