Friday, January 31, 2014

Noble Character

Ruth 310 “The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. 


“I saw your car last night” someone said to me suspiciously. I mean how could you miss it? It was mustard yellow, rust everywhere and a vanity license plate with my nickname on it. There was no denying it. My car showed others that I was in a place that I shouldn’t have been. I wonder if the person’s suspicions were a question of my character.

  • People are watching me whether I see them or not.
  • People pay attention to me whether I see them or not.
  • People look at my actions and listen to my words whether I see them or not.

My character is defined as an action done when no one sees me doing it. What I do in the dark is what will be brought out in the light. There have been many moments that I have been told I was being observed and unfortunately I wasn’t doing what GOD wanted me to.

  • GOD can see every action so I should focus my attention on what HE wants.
  • GOD can hear my thoughts so I should focus my thoughts on what HE has written.
  • GOD can read what’s in my heart so I should fill my heart with HIS people.

Character is not an act. It comes flooding out of my pores and there is nothing I can do to stop it. The only thing I can do about my character is to focus it towards the living GOD and let people know my flaws are accepted by HIM and theirs can be too.

  • Are you busy trying to clean yourself up?
  • Do you have character flaws that you may be blind to?
  • Can you ask GOD to handle your character for a while?
  • Won’t you bridal your negative thoughts and point them towards GOD?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Reputations precedes me

Ruth 2: 10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?”

11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. 12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”


Popularity felt great at the time.  My foul mouth and quick wit earned me a spot in the “in” crowd, or so I thought. For some reason one of the populars decided to come up with a “most notable” declaration that wasn’t a contest.  The populars got together and decided who had what designation. 

They gave me “Campus Clown.” Several people told me to lay low and let the moment pass. Great advice!

  • My reputation isn’t always as important to me when I want something.
  • My reputation isn’t always a consideration to me when I want something.
  • My reputation isn’t always top of mind when I want something.

I wanted popularity and I got it “the wrong way.” Maybe I didn’t want what I was getting after all. Maybe the thing I was shooting for was plagued with pitfalls and problems. Which reputation should I try for?

  • GOD wants me to model HIS behavior as much as possible so people can see an example.
  • GOD wants me to put away childish ways and grow in HIS grace and love.
  • GOD wants me to increase compassion and decrease fear as my primary reputation.

GOD doesn’t want me doing things to be known, rather HE wants me to do things because of HIM. My reputation should point to HIM. If it points to me then I will have my reward here on earth.

I only have a short time to live on Earth and GOD has made it clear that I shouldn’t waste it on pettiness. HIS greatness comes through faith, compassion and love.  These are the areas I should desire more of so my reputation can point to HIM.

  • Are you busy protecting your reputation to get more money?
  • Are you trying hard to be polished so you can climb the ladder?
  • Have you put any effort into focusing on what GOD wants for you?
  • Is your reputation marred or is your life pointing to GOD?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Don’t Stop Someone’s Blessing

Ruth 1: 15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.


Out of work meant out of transportation for me. I had a lavish company car and for the first time since the beginning of my employment, I had no job and no car. My father in law urged me to use his van. He was wise and kept this vehicle as a “just in case” car.

My pride said “No”, I mean I’m the one who blesses others, and I’m not the one who is supposed to need help! I reluctantly received the van and it truly was a blessing.

  • Pride gets in my way when others try to bless me.
  • Pride gets in my way when others reach towards me with help.
  • Pride gets in the way when others bless me with their offerings.

JESUS allowed Mary to serve HIM while Martha complained about the work not being accomplished. HE said “Mary has chosen well” and was able to receive a blessing from others.

  • GOD sometimes wants me to be a humble recipient as well as a cheerful giver.
  • GOD sometimes wants me to understand compassion from the receiving end as well as the giving.
  • GOD sometimes wants me to see the blessings other people bring rather than blaming them for what they are not doing.

Spiritual Blindness is a dangerous disease that my sin nature tries to dangle in front of me constantly.  I blindly think I have to be the giver and can’t reach out to anyone for help. GOD says “I AM the provider” to me so I need to accept whoever HE sends my way.

  • Are you in need of help and too proud to accept it?
  • Are you pushing help away?
  • Do you know the future of someone’s blessing?
  • Won’t you let others bless you and reduce your pride?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Scheming is never a good idea

Judges 21: 18 We can’t give them our daughters as wives, since we Israelites have taken this oath: ‘Cursed be anyone who gives a wife to a Benjamite.’19 But look, there is the annual festival of the Lord in Shiloh, which lies north of Bethel, east of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.”

20 So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, “Go and hide in the vineyards 21 and watch. When the young women of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing, rush from the vineyards and each of you seize one of them to be your wife. Then return to the land of Benjamin. 

22 When their fathers or brothers complain to us, we will say to them, ‘Do us the favor of helping them, because we did not get wives for them during the war. You will not be guilty of breaking your oath because you did not give your daughters to them.’”

23 So that is what the Benjamites did. While the young women were dancing, each man caught one and carried her off to be his wife. Then they returned to their inheritance and rebuilt the towns and settled in them.


25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.


Holding my breath and wishing everything would go well, I sat next to my potential buyer. He drove around the parking lot and everything seemed to work just fine.  He agreed to give me the maximum asking price and I breathed a sigh of relief.

I mean just a couple of week prior, the car stopped on the side of the road.  “It’s not my problem anymore” I thought to myself as I handed him the keys.  He called me two weeks later asking if I knew the car had major issues. “What [lie] should I say to this guy to get him off my back?”

  • There is a way that seems right to me that is not.
  • There is a path that is very wide and sometimes I choose to remain on it.
  • There is a pile of money that sometimes drives my deepest decisions.

It seems like when I want to do something wrong, I can find a crowd to support my efforts.  They will look and act like me and I can do as I please because everyone else is doing it this way. BUT GOD wants something different.

  • GOD wants me to follow HIM no matter how many people agree to do wrong.
  • GOD wants me to do what’s right not what’s popular.
  • GOD wants me to understand HIS plan instead of making up my own.

There is a way that seems right to a man, BUT GOD’s way in infinitely above mine.

  • Are you thinking of a gimmick to bring people to GOD?
  • Are you worried that your efforts are failing?
  • Can you allow GOD to thin your tools and grow you HIS way?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Victory may come with defeat

Judges 20: 26 Then all the Israelites, the whole army, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the Lord. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord. 27 And the Israelites inquired of the Lord. (In those days the ark of the covenant of God was there, 28 with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, ministering before it.) They asked, “Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites, or not?”

The Lord responded, “Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands.”


After being passed over for a number of positions I wondered what was going on.  I prayed and it seemed like GOD was saying “keep going.” Finally the company asked me to interview for CIO of one of their recently purchased companies. “Wow, look at GOD” I said. When it was all said and done, I didn’t get the job.

I pouted and questioned GOD. “Why did you put me up to this?” I said in a tiff.  Little did I know HE had something much greater in store for me.

  • When I get defeated I think I can’t move forward.
  • When I lose the battle I think I can’t fight anymore.
  • When I don’t get my way I think GOD has forgotten me.

The Israelites went to GOD, not once but twice and prayed to HIM asking if they should fight and the LORD said “Yes” and they lost both times. In fact they were humiliated in their defeat. They went back one more time and GOD gave them victory.

  • GOD’s plan is wonderful for me but it has included painful growth.
  • GOD’s plan for me is great but I have had to fail in order to accomplish HIS goal.
  • GOD’s plan is absolutely marvelous for me but I have had to fall in a few holes to realize I need HIM.

Just because I am defeated on one battle or even two doesn’t mean I shouldn’t keep fighting. GOD wants me to be strong as I move forward. The weak will observe my defeat as total failure, BUT GOD sees it as an opportunity to strengthen me and grow me. HE is the one who raises me and places me in the position HE desires.

  • Are you defeated?
  • Are you tired of the fight?
  • Can you open your eyes and ask GOD to fight for you?
  • Won’t you “keep going” like GOD told you to?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

What is GOD trying to protect me from?

Judges 19:Then when the man, with his concubine and his servant, got up to leave, his father-in-law, the woman’s father, said, “Now look, it’s almost evening. Spend the night here; the day is nearly over. Stay and enjoy yourself. Early tomorrow morning you can get up and be on your way home.” 10 But, unwilling to stay another night, the man left and went toward Jebus (that is, Jerusalem), with his two saddled donkeys and his concubine.


16 That evening an old man from the hill country of Ephraim, who was living in Gibeah (the inhabitants of the place were Benjamites), came in from his work in the fields.


20 “You are welcome at my house,” the old man said. “Let me supply whatever you need. Only don’t spend the night in the square.” 21 So he took him into his house and fed his donkeys. After they had washed their feet, they had something to eat and drink.

22 While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.”


What a difficult piece of history this is!  This chapter had only a list of bad decisions that led to worse decisions that ultimately ended up with very, very bad things happening. It made me ponder… If GOD isn’t giving me something I really, really want, should I have it?

  • GOD sees my past and knows my future.
  • GOD understands what is good and healthy for me and protects me even from myself.
  • GOD delivers me from harm when I listen to HIM.

There have been parties I wanted to go to and my parents said “No” and I pouted. Looking back on one situation I do remember some “not so good” things happening to those who went. I pouted because the weather was bad and I couldn’t be with my friends. Many accidents happened that day and people were critically hurt.

I’m not spouting fear, doom and gloom. I just know that when I want something I should ask GOD if this thing I want is what HE wants for me. I should then allow HIM to say “No or Yes” and act accordingly. Usually if the thing I want doesn’t match following HIS word, I won’t get it.

  • Are you trying to go in your own direction?
  • Are you acting in fear?
  • Are you spreading fear to others?
  • Won’t you consult GOD instead of going down your own path?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Don’t mistake prosperity for GOD’s blessing

Judges 18: 30 There the Danites set up for themselves the idol, and Jonathan son of Gershom, the son of Moses, and his sons were priests for the tribe of Dan until the time of the captivity of the land.31 They continued to use the idol Micah had made, all the time the house of God was in Shiloh.


Dressed in my new suit, I ventured into a huge church.  This place seemed to have everything!  When I sat on one of the lavish pews I noticed several women sitting near me. I noticed this the next week and the next. Finally a couple of them introduced themselves but similar to that of being in a club.

The preacher drove a lavish car and the sermons were about how to live in prosperity. Meanwhile, I noticed the deacons sneaking peeks at the women and winking at me as if to say, “You didn’t see that.” The crowd was huge and since this was one of my first efforts to go back to church I said to myself, “This place is better than the clubs!”
  • Sometimes I can be fooled by fake prosperity.
  • Sometimes I can be fooled into thinking immense wealth will bring me closer to GOD.
  • Sometimes I can be fooled into seeking a place where I won’t be corrected so I can do what I want and blame it on GOD.

The Danites stole an idol and attacked peaceful people out of ignorance of what GOD desired for them. They worshipped the idol and broke one of the major commandments of GOD. I can relate to this because I was ignorant to what GOD wanted for me and when I got to the church where the preaching tickled my ears, I felt great!
  • GOD told me HIS word is like a two edge sword, it cuts the preacher and the receiver.
  • GOD told me HIS word applies to every human so I should look at my flaws before I make statements.
  • GOD told me HIS word is above any thought I could dream up so it’s best that I follow HIS ways.

Prosperity comes and goes, BUT GOD is here forever.  When HE said “I will never leave you nor forsake you” HE also meant HE would hang around and correct those who believe in HIM. The country I live in emphasizes two things way too much, money and sex.

It blinds us to our many other flaws like prejudice, hatred, slander, corruption and divisiveness to name a few. GOD made it easy, “love one another as I have loved you.” This simple command is easy to remember and breaks down any pitiful cause focused on one single sin.
  • Are you in a building calling itself a church that is not following GOD?
  • Do you feel GOD wanting you to grow?
  • Are you studying and learning about HIM?
  • Can you add “loving others” to your plan today?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Treating GOD any old way!

Judges 17:Now this man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and some household gods and installed one of his sons as his priest. In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.


“GOD won’t mind” is what I said when I lied to my boss for slipping away and goofing off. Well, actually I didn’t think about GOD at the time but later when it popped in my head I did. “GOD won’t mind” is what I said when I did (insert sin here). I mean HE did forgive me so I can sin as much as I want right?

  • Sometimes I treat GOD a bit too common.
  • Sometimes I treat GOD as if HE can’t do anything to me.
  • Sometimes I treat GOD like HE is a pushover and doesn’t require me to worship HIM.

My actions will always bear fruit, but many times the fruit may be rotten. GOD sees through my actions and understands that if even the tiniest bit of sin is at the root, the action will fail. Does this mean everything I do will fail?

  • GOD forgave me and cleansed me of all unrighteousness but I still should follow HIS ways.
  • GOD understands every temptation I face but if I look carefully HE shows me a way out.
  • GOD knows my weaknesses because HE made me but HE loves when I overcome them and turn to HIM.

Sometimes I look at GOD with extreme eyes. Either HE is this mushy, weak forgiver or HE is a sadistic punisher who likes to put tests in front of me that I will constantly fail. GOD is so much different than my thoughts!

HE is all powerful, all seeing, all knowing and chooses to show HIS love, gentleness and kindness to have a relationship with me.  HE knows the right amount of discipline to grow me instead of breaking me and has my best interest in mind ALL the time!

  • Do you have the wrong view of GOD?
  • Are you doing anything you wish and think there is no consequence for your action?
  • Won’t you turn your life back to GOD and watch HIM work in your life?
  • Can you take small steps toward HIM so HE can take giant steps towards you?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Check to see if GOD is with you

Judges 16: 18 When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. 19 After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him.

20 Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!”

He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.


Teaching Sunday school would be easy to me because I was used to training people at work.  “This should be a breeze” I thought to myself.  I prepared fervently making sure the teens were entertained.  I had my quips ready and I delivered the message.  “How was that?” I asked a student afterward.

She replied “I enjoyed the message, but I didn’t understand what you were saying.”

  • There are times when I serve people without having GOD in my service.
  • There are times when I think I’m doing GOD’s work when I’m really doing it for myself.
  • There are times when I want the pat on the back for serving.

It takes faith to serve GOD and when I try things under my own power they fail miserably. If GOD wants me to stretch for something and HIS power is not with me, then the plan I am trying to achieve will fail miserably.

  • When I plan something, GOD has to be included.
  • When I try something new, GOD must be asked.
  • When I have a new endeavor, GOD must be bowed to for HIS supreme answer.

I have heard in business “failure is not an option” but it is when I don’t ask GOD for permission. Even when I do ask permission I must accept that HE may answer “No.” GOD’s power is never to be taken lightly and HE supplies me with it as I humbly seek HIM.

  • Are your efforts falling apart?
  • Do you feel exhausted and full of failure?
  • Can you take a moment to recognize where GOD fits in the plan?
  • Won’t you reduce your effort and increase HIS?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It’s actually GOD

Judges 15: 14 As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands. 15 Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.

16 Then Samson said,
“With a donkey’s jawbone
    I have made donkeys of them.
With a donkey’s jawbone
    I have killed a thousand men.”


After months of development the system was finally finished. I had put an incredible amount of time planning and preparing although there were many who worked on the project. When the convention rolled around, we had lines hanging around our booth!

“My” hard work paid off. “I” got an award for it and “I” deserved it right?

  • Sometimes I don’t give credit where credit is due.
  • Sometimes I think it’s “me” when great things happen and it’s GOD when things break down.
  • Sometimes I think I want all eyes on me rather than pointing to the one who deserves it.

Success can easily go to my head.  I have been successful many times in my career and it feels great to have people cast accolades at my feet. BUT GOD deserves some attention.

  • I should practice praising GOD for little things so I can praise HIM for big things.
  • I should practice praising GOD often so it becomes second nature.
  • I should practice praising GOD publicly so I can point my life to HIM rather than having all eyes on me.

I don’t mean thanking GOD publicly for my foul act or sinful gain, I mean I need to thank GOD when people want to praise me instead of HIM. It really is HIM who deserves praise because without HIM I can do nothing.

  • Are you looking for praise or thanks from people?
  • Do you feel looked over?
  • Can you stop wanting accolades and point people to GOD?
  • Won’t you take time to praise HIM today?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

If I don’t know then am I accountable?

Judges 14:Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.


Standing in line in one of my frequent eatery joints a man approached me with the ultimate cliché… “you want to buy a watch?” This was easy for me to resist because I knew it was stolen and besides the watch was way too big for my scrawny arms.

As I proceeded outside another guy approached me. “You want to buy a DVD?” the movie was still in the theater and I really wanted to see it. “Hmmm” I thought to myself.

  • Sometimes I ignore what is wrong so I can have what I want.
  • Sometimes I fool myself into thinking “if I don’t know something wrong happened then maybe it’s alright.”
  • Sometimes I conveniently forget to tell others if I have done wrong and they don’t know why consequence has fallen on them.

Consequence of sin is usually not what I want to hear when it comes to GOD. I mean isn’t HE all love and no wrath? On the contrary, GOD is all powerful, full of love and wrath. GOD despises when I categorize my sin into large and small so I can get away with the “small.”

  • GOD wants me to confess my sins so HE will be faithful and just to forgive me of my sins and cleanse me of all unrighteousness.
  • GOD wants me to take HIS yoke upon me and learn about HIM so I can allow HIM to steer my path.
  • GOD wants me to allow HIM to lead me beside still water which means I have to be on HIS path.

Allowing GOD to be in my life means GOD has the right to say “NO” or “Not now” or “yes, but with a different outcome.” I should not hide ‘what I’m doing’ from HIM so HE can guide my path.

  • Are you ignoring what’s going on around you so you can get your way?
  • Are you caught up in something that you feel is not right?
  • Are you blind to the fact that you may be off GOD’s path?
  • Can you learn of GOD and confess what you are doing so HE can put you on HIS path?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Missing the opportunity to see GOD

Judges 12: 17 Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?”

18 He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding” 19 Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the Lord. And the Lord did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: 

20 As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. 21 When the angel of the Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord.


“Come on, come on!” I willed to my car to start but it seemed to have a mind of its own. Finally I heard a sputter and off I went to pick up my classmate. With four bald tires, no working heat and a gas gauge that could not tell me how much gas I had in the car, we set out on our icy drive. My friend had to scrape the ice that formed on the windshield inside the car as we plodded down the street.

I looked and saw a car that spun out on the road and then another and another. “They must be bad drivers” I said to myself. Suddenly my car went into a skid. We swerved back and forth all over the highway. “I” got control of the car and said to myself “I” better pay attention, not once praying!

  • When I look at my abilities I can miss GOD.
  • When I think I accomplished something I can miss GOD.
  • When I pat myself on the back and look at others like they have a problem I can miss GOD.

Many times I have missed the message of GOD because HE was standing in my face and I was too blind to recognize HIM. My assumption of what HE would say and how HE would sound and when HE would help blinded me to what HE was doing right in front of my face.

  • GOD wants me to open my eyes to see HIM every day.
  • GOD wants me to recognize HIM from the smallest task to the largest.
  • GOD wants me to see HIM in everything rather than putting HIM in a building I go to visit once a week for a very short period of time.

 I hear the term “Act of GOD” and cringe because it implies that HE only works with the large things. GOD works with the infinitely tiny as well as the outstanding enormity of the universe. HE is concerned with my day to day situations and wants me to give HIM as much time and communication as I can.

Recognizing GOD on a daily basis is not a stretch, all I have to do is open my eyes and I can see HIS marvelous works.
  • Are you blind to what GOD is doing in your life?
  • Do you think you are doing things on your own ability?
  • Can you open your eyes to see GOD working on the small things in your life as well as the large?

Friday, January 10, 2014

GOD is with you through the battle!

Judges 11: 29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites.


32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands. 33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.


Scowling faces made me feel a bit uneasy as I walked through the crowd. As I shook a few hands I engaged people in conversation to find out why they were so angry. As they told me their story I could empathize a bit more.

As I stood at the podium I saw the same scowls on the ocean of people but a sense of peace fell over me. I took a deep breath and began my presentation. I could actually see the scowls lift into smiles as I made some modifications to my discussion that included their pain. I could feel a spirit of peace in the room.

  • GOD gives me peace when I face something huge.
  • GOD leads me beside still waters and restores my soul.
  • GOD fights my battles when I face difficulty.

I would like to say it was me who calmed the crowd, but in reality it was GOD who brought peace in the room. Every circumstance, every situation, every tough decision can be brought to GOD and HE has plenty of peace to give me. All I have to do is trust that HE will be with me as I walk out and fight the battle, knowing the battle is already won because of HIM!

  • Are you fighting on your own strength?
  • Do you think you can win the battle by yourself?
  • Won’t you stop fighting without GOD and ask HIM to go before you today?
  • Can you trust that HE has your best interest in mind?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Do I really want to hear from GOD?

Judges 10: 11 The Lord replied, “When the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, 12 the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites[c] oppressed you and you cried to me for help, did I not save you from their hands? 13 But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you. 14 Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!”


After many disappointments from observing others I decided not to go to church anymore.  I mean people who were “sinning” seemed to be having more fun and they got away with whatever they were doing. Besides, my bowling alley job kept me up until 3:00AM so I had an excuse for not going.

Years later my world started crumbling apart from all sides. Finances were in the toilet, I was dumped, school had kicked me out and my dented old car wasn’t working. I was barely living but alive. I had no plan and no one to turn to… or did I?

  • When I turn from GOD my world falls apart.
  • When I leave GOD alone my world falls apart.
  • When I think GOD is the problem my world falls apart.

My tantrum included yelling at GOD and telling HIM I wasn’t going to serve HIM any longer.  It took years for me to understand this was not a good idea. Fortunately for me GOD had something else in mind for me.

  • GOD welcomed me back with open arms, but I had to turn to HIM first.
  • GOD listened to me when I cried out for help, but I had to cry out first.
  • GOD picked me up and dusted me off after I had fallen, but I had to stand and turn to HIM first.

Some people ask me “how do you know you are hearing from GOD?” My answer is simple, HE tells me to follow HIS ways and usually I don’t want to do it. In fact the more I turn away from HIM the more things go wrong, because HE allows me to walk unprotected. GOD has mercy and abundant love. HE wants me to turn to HIM all the time.

  • Are you walking away from GOD?
  • Do you think you have nowhere to turn?
  • Can you turn your life back to HIM?
  • Won’t you trust GOD again the way you used to years ago?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

GOD doesn’t play

Judges 9: 22 After Abimelek had governed Israel three years, 23 God stirred up animosity between Abimelek and the citizens of Shechem so that they acted treacherously against Abimelek. 24 God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal’s seventy sons, the shedding of their blood, might be avenged on their brother Abimelek and on the citizens of Shechem, who had helped him murder his brothers.


Lying had become a way of life as I tried to get as much as I could at that time. It was so convenient to just make up a lie rather than facing whatever I was facing.  When the dorm director asked “why didn’t you open up the office on time”, I wasn’t quick enough to form my lie and my story fell apart quickly.

I lost the cushy office job and had to look elsewhere. This same thing happened at the next place when I was a janitor. “I wonder if I should take these jobs seriously” I thought to myself.

When I sin I try to hide what I did by lying to myself.
When I sin I think I can get away with whatever I’ve done.
When I sin I hope no consequence will fall on me.

“I can’t be perfect” is my excuse for sinning so I jump in with both feet. I then justify my sin by comparing what others have done and trivializing my “little” sin to their “big” one. BUT GOD sees things different.

GOD doesn’t want me to blow off my sin even though I am fully forgiven for them.
GOD knows sin somehow weakens me to the point where I can’t be used for HIS plan.
GOD sees through my lies even when I lie to myself.

“Vengeance is mine” GOD says and that goes for me as well. HE fights my foes and protects me from their attacks, but HE also corrects me when I am the attacker. GOD cannot stand sin, no matter how I try to justify it. Fortunately for me, HIS SON forgave me of all my sins and cleanses me of all unrighteousness.

I still may have to face consequence while I’m on this planet, but thank GOD my consequences are only for this lifetime. However, the more I can reduce my sinning the more GOD rewards me in the next lifetime.

Are you lying to yourself and others?
Do you constantly have sin in your life that you are not addressing?
Do you feel powerless?

Won’t you mature by not lying to yourself and turning to GOD for the answers?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Never Take Credit

Judges 8: 22 The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.”

23 But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.”


Graduating with average to pitiful grades was not something to brag about, yet working at the only company that would accept me made me feel superior enough to become entitled. I did not leave when everyone else left because I was studying. Soon I became the best programmer in the department, or at least that is what people told me.

I felt I needed a raise and a promotion otherwise I would take my brilliant mind elsewhere. When I interviewed for another company I didn’t get the job and had to sit humbly at my desk.

  • When I think too highly of myself I start comparing what I do to others.
  • When I think too highly of myself I become deserving and entitled.
  • When I think too highly of myself I forget where I came from.

Gideon knew where his strength came from. I mean 300 men fought and won battles against 150,000 or more. The odds were definitely not in his favor and upon return he rejected the Israelites request to become a ruler. This is a wonderful example to me.

  • GOD wants me to point my life to HIM rather than taking credit.
  • GOD wants me to tell people about HIM rather than trying to subdue HIM and pretend HIS power is mine.
  • GOD wants me to know where my strength comes from instead of thinking I have any power.

Low self-esteem is not what I’m shooting for. I believe GOD made me beautifully and wonderfully. HE loves me with my many flaws and accepts me as I am, but I should not get to the point where I think even the tiniest blessing comes from me. All good things come from GOD!

  • Are you comparing yourself or your church or your group to others?
  • Do you think “that person” or “that group” is the problem?
  • Do you feel you can do or say “it” better?
  • Can you reduce your focus on “you” and point your life to GOD today?

Friday, January 3, 2014

My own strength is faulty

Judges 7: The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.


The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.”


With instructions from my brother I trekked to my high school early in the morning. It took an hour and fifteen minutes to get there on public transportation that day because I second guessed what was told to me and I missed busses and trains.

As I got closer to the school, I noticed thugs, bullies and gangs lurking about.

Finally when I arrived I breathed a sigh of relief, but that sigh was short lived as one of the teachers gave instructions on what I had to purchase, where my locker was and two thousand other laws I had to keep. I was overwhelmed. Will I ever graduate, alive?

  • When I look at my strength I sometimes tremble with fear.
  • When I see situations that are far larger than me I sometimes shutter with fear.
  • When I think I have to solve a situation that is larger than my power I get stifled because of fear.

Fear makes me want to quit. I mean I think I am going to lose anyway, so why try? Maybe I should just go home, sit on the couch and ball up in the fetal position! BUT GOD has something different in mind.

  • GOD takes me through many difficult situations only to show me HIS strength.
  • GOD brings me through the battle to show me HE has already won the war.
  • GOD says “where you are weak I can show MY strength.”

Battles are GOD’s specialty. HE knows the extent HE cursed the Earth and HE knows just how to protect me through very harsh and difficult times. HE wants me to rely on HIS wisdom, HIS love and HIS strength. My strength pales in comparison to HIS so HE wants me to trust HIM.

  • Are you tired of trying things on your own?
  • Are you just plain old tired?
  • Won’t you look to GOD to solve and resolve your situation?
  • Can’t you add trusting in the LORD to your plan?

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Judges 6: 14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”


Distracted was the word that described my pitiful efforts. As I floundered through my classes I was stuck in a perpetual “I can’t do it” mode. I had no discipline, resources or focus and people expected me to graduate?! I didn’t even know where to begin.

  • When I see nothing but problems ahead I am probably making up excuses.
  • When I can’t think and I feel lost I am probably making up excuses.
  • When I feel overwhelmed because the task at hand is huge and I feel small I am probably making up excuses.

Back then I couldn’t see how I was going to accomplish the task at hand because I made excuses. Everything was a barrier and I couldn’t find my way around, over or through them.  At one point I just sat in my apartment and stared in despair. BUT GOD had something different in mind.

  • GOD says “Go in strength” meaning not my strength but HIS.
  • GOD says “I am sending you” meaning HIS plan will work no matter what I will encounter.
  • GOD says “I will be with you” meaning HE will be with me!

It is never my plans that succeed rather it is GOD’s plan that will never fail. When HE says “go” I must listen. When HE says “I will be with you” I should drop my fear and know HE is there to protect me. GOD tells me to “go in the strength I have” for in my weakness HE is strongest!

  • Are you trying to do things with your own power?
  • Do you have a very large task facing you?
  • Won’t you ask GOD to take over your plan?
  • Can you add trust to your plan?