Friday, December 30, 2016

A Good Example

Malachi 2: And you will know that I have sent you this warning so that my covenant with Levi may continue,” says the Lord Almighty. “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin.


“GOD, YOU are difficult to follow” was my thought. I mean all the rules and regulations! It sometimes seems like GOD wants me to fail! This could be farther from the truth!

  • GOD simply wants me to revere HIM more than anything I place in front of HIM.
  • GOD merely wants me to tell what HE says in HIS word, no matter how difficult the message.
  • GOD just wants peace with me and has not called me to become JESUS, rather follow HIS example.

JESUS died for my sins and the sins of humanity. HE served HIS purpose and no one has to do this act again. BUT GOD wants me to have peace with HIM; this means following HIS ways the best I can. I will forget, I will disobey and I will flat out challenge and oppose GOD. BUT GOD is gentle and merciful enough to guide me back to HIM.

GOD wants people, all of us. HE wants me to show HIS loving ways so more people will drop their selfishness and turn to HIM. Levi and JESUS were great examples for me to follow.

  • Are you following your own way?
  • Are you tired of GOD’s rules?
  • Can you stop looking at how many “rules” you are following and look at simply having peace with GOD?
  • Will you look at GOD with reverent awe today?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Dirty Penny Thinking

Malachi 1:
“It is you priests who show contempt for my name.

“But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’

“By offering defiled food on my altar.

“But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’

“By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible. When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty.


When the snow melted I spotted change on the grimy parking lot. In spite of the salt, dirt and gook, I picked up the soiled coins and placed them in my pocket. When I finished my shopping the cashier quoted my balance due, “That will be $8.22” is an example. I reached into my pocket and shoved the shiny dimes and pennies aside only to pick the grimy, nasty change. I handed the wet change over with confidence!

  • Sometimes I don’t give my best.
  • Sometimes I hand the other person the worst and keep the best for me.
  • Sometimes I make a judgment call on who “deserves” the best.

“Dirty Penny Thinking” crept into other parts of my life. Soon I was not sharing “my” stuff. I was holding back the best for me and giving others the leftovers. I went to church and said “Not this week, I don’t have enough to give” as I held back a nice portion for myself.

  • GOD says to me “I want your best.”
  • GOD says to me “I want you to give me your first, not your last.”
  • GOD says to me “I want your attitude towards me to be top of mind, not second or third.”

Giving GOD my best means I keep the Dirty Penny and give others the best, even when they don’t “deserve” it. “Clean Penny” thinking shows up when someone is not giving me their best. I need to do my best in spite of what is going on around me. That is when GOD is pleased.

  • Are you treating someone poorly because they have treated you poorly?
  • Do you give someone your worst, trying to keep the best for yourself?
  • Can you stop thinking “that” person “deserves” mediocre to poor treatment?
  • Will you give someone your best today in service to GOD?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The ONLY Name

Zechariah 14: The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.


Parents were Lords to me at one time, telling me when and where to go. Teachers were Lords to me at another time, assigning homework and grading my performance. Bosses became Lords to me at yet another time, hovering money over my head in anticipation of raises and bonuses.

  • GOD says to me “I AM THE LORD your GOD.”
  • GOD says to me “I AM the Alpha and Omega, beginning and end.”
  • GOD says to me “I AM.”

The great “I AM” is the only name that can be called LORD. HE has full authority to do as HE pleases with my life and my struggles are fewer when I let go and place full trust in HIM.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Going Through the Fire

Zechariah 13: This third I will put into the fire;
    I will refine them like silver
    and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
    and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
    and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’


What a year! I mean I have seen so much happen and many days I spent on my knees praying. I can truly say “The LORD is our GOD!”

  • GOD takes me through fire in order to refine me.
  • GOD takes me through fire in order to test me.
  • GOD takes me through fire in order to burn away the impurities.

I can understand these words when the writer thanks GOD for various trials, because they make me stronger and stronger. GOD’s test never feels good. I squirm and ask “Can the test be over now?” BUT GOD has a much better plan. HE holds me in the fire a little longer until HE can see the gold of HIS fruit shining through.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Much Needed Strength

Zechariah 10: “I will strengthen Judah
    and save the tribes of Joseph.
I will restore them
    because I have compassion on them.
They will be as though
    I had not rejected them,
for I am the Lord their God
    and I will answer them.


12 I will strengthen them in the Lord
    and in his name they will live securely,”
declares the Lord.


“I can’t do this” were the words I said as I threw another gutter. This was my first time bowling and everyone else seemed to get it right. I scored a “twelve” which is very far from the perfect game of three hundred. It got so bad that people stopped laughing because of my struggle.

  • There were times in my life when I felt like giving up.
  • There were times in my life when I felt like throwing in the towel.
  • There were times in my life when I felt like I could not do anything right.

In the next try at this painful game someone came over to not only encourage me, but show me how to make a few minor adjustments. I slowed down a bit and aimed the ball towards the seemingly elusive target and got nine points all at once, that was almost as much as my previous entire game. I rejoiced and was glad I did not give up! GOD says the same.

  • GOD says to me “I WILL strengthen you.”
  • GOD says to me “I WILL restore you because I have compassion on you.”
  • GOD says to me “I WILL answer you, and in MY name, you will live securely.”

I no longer felt weak and inept after a little guidance. In fact, I felt strong enough to join a bowling league and got better and better. Life is the same. Sometimes it feels like I am throwing gutter after gutter and getting nowhere. THEN GOD steps in with HIS promises and gives me strength to keep going.

HE provides me with HIS compassion and it is as if HE never rejected me in the first place. GOD loves me so much that HE volunteered to die for me. HE faced excruciating pain and was accused by those close to HIM. When HE rose from the dead, HE sent HIS HOLY SPIRIT to live in me. HE speaks to me through HIS word daily.

  • Do you feel weak right now?
  • Are you facing a situation that seems overwhelming?
  • Can you slow down for a moment and allow GOD’s greatness overshadow what you are going through?
  • Can you seek GOD’s compassion today?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Even More Than I thought

Zechariah 9: 11 As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
    I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit.
12 Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope;
    even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.


GOD’s promises are wonderful! In the middle of captivity, GOD promises not only to free me from my sin, but to restore me to a better place. GOD is deeply concerned about me, though the world would say different.

  • The world may make me worry.
  • The world may make me doubt.
  • The world may make me think I am less than I am.

Those in the world may carry poisonous words, treading upon my peace in an attempt to place me in a waterless pit. BUT GOD’s blood through the death, burial and resurrection of JESUS, frees me from my prison. HE tells me to return to my fortress because of my hope in HIM.

GOD’s restoration is a promise, not a wish. HE sees every situation I get in and has grace enough to restore me to a place that is better than I could ever imagine! GOD is wonderful!

  • Where is your hope?
  • Do you think you are down and out?
  • Can you place your trust in GOD today, knowing HE will restore you fully?

Monday, December 19, 2016

Enough is enough

Zechariah 7: 14 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Just as I had determined to bring disaster on you and showed no pity when your ancestors angered me,” says the Lord Almighty, 15 “so now I have determined to do good again to Jerusalem and Judah. Do not be afraid. 16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; 17 do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord.


Being held after school was a strange feeling. The teacher knew my friend and I were nerds, but I just wanted to see what it would be like to be one of the “bad” kids for a change. She didn’t hold us there for very long. In fact when it was nearing the time to let us go, she helped us with the upcoming test!

  • There were times that I was punished for my actions.
  • There were times that I had to face the consequences of my misdemeanors.
  • There were times that I experienced justice and I did not like it.

Being put on the right track was important to this teacher. She told us how disappointed she was in our actions, but showed us the right way to go. GOD does the same to me.

  • GOD says to me “I have determined to do good again.”
  • GOD says to me “Do not be afraid.”
  • GOD says to me “Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely.”

I actually knew I deserved to be where I was, in detention. I did not beg to be released or to have my sentence shortened. The same goes with GOD. I mean sometimes GOD sees me trying to go down the wrong path and HE allows consequences to flow in my life. Then HE says “Enough is enough!” and stops the disaster.

GOD shows me HIS mercy and puts me on the right path. HE tells me “Now that I have your attention, treat people with truth, sound judgment and plans for good not evil.” GOD hates liars who try to trap people with twisted words and does not want me to go down that path. HE brings me back to HIM and promises to be the “Faithful and Righteous GOD.”

  • Are you being punished for something you have done?
  • Have you angered GOD?
  • Can you stop trying to hide and confess to GOD today?
  • Will you say “I deserve what GOD has dished out” instead of trying to squirm out of HIS grasp?
  • Will you look forward to HIS mercy and deliverance?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Exhaustion Solution

Zechariah 7: “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’


“I’m going to get that person back!” were my words. I used a lot of energy developing my plan. I lost several nights’ sleep while I brooded over situations that I would replay in my mind. “How dare they!” would come to mind as I think of more retaliation.

  • There were times in my life when my immaturity led me to anger.
  • There were times in my life when my immaturity led me to rage.
  • There were times in my life when I wanted to harm those who harmed me, or at least in my mind they did!

After a while I believed the lies my mind told me about “that” person. I would replay old videos and negate positive imagery. I was not at peace. Soon I found myself mad at the world because I wanted people to justify my rage. I became exhausted. What was I to do?

  • GOD said to me “Show mercy and compassion to one another.”
  • GOD said to me “Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor.”
  • GOD said to me “Do not plot evil against each other.”

When I reviewed my rage I realized I had no compassion, extended oppressive thoughts and an evil plot. I had not let go of the situation or the person, for that matter. GOD sees every heart and knows the wickedness of all souls. HE allows us to be prodigals and has compassion to enable our return. HE wants me to see HIS example and to give my stony heart to HIM.

Only GOD can change a person, it is not my job. HE is busy trying to change me! HE wants me to have perfect peace within HIM so I can drop my rage in exchange for mercy and compassion. I can release my anger and exchange it for peace. I can get rid of my evil plot and exchange it for encouragement. GOD gives me peace.

  • Are you exhausted because of your evil thoughts?
  • Are you tired trying to justify your oppressive thinking?
  • Will you stop trying replaying old issues and live for GOD today?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Being Sent

Zechariah 6: 15 Those who are far away will come and help to build the temple of the Lord, and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently obey the Lord your God.


“How are we going to do anything to make a difference?” was the question in my mind. The need seemed to be so great that it was overwhelming. We visited a group who had absolutely nothing but the clothes on their backs. What difference would I make?

  • There are times that things seem overwhelming.
  • There are times that seem like nothing can be done.
  • There are times that seem way out of control.

We did not have power tools because we were in a place with no power. My carpentry skills were at the novice level at best but managed to build some shelves for the donated books and benches to replace the board straddled over two cinder blocks.

  • GOD said to me “Whatever you do for someone you do for ME.”
  • GOD said to me “Ever word you say in MY name does not go out in void.”
  • GOD said to me “Go, make disciples teaching them about ME and MY kingdom.”

“Thank you!” was all they could offer but it was not necessary at all. I knew I would be getting on a plane soon to head back to more luxury items that I could barely name. GOD tells me to go and do what I can. HE doesn’t want me to save the world because JESUS did that already. HE simply wants me to have a heart for my neighbor while being obedient to HIM.

  • Are you being obedient to GOD?
  • Has GOD told you to go somewhere to serve a group or even one person?
  • Will you listen to the calling of the LORD and serve someone today?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Trying too Hard

Zechariah 4: So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.


After looking at the clock when I got home, I noticed thirty six hours had passed from the time I had last got out of bed. We were trying to land an account and I stayed overnight to work on the proposal.

  • There were times I worked extremely hard to make things work.
  • There were times I worked to exhaustion only to find dead ends.
  • There were times I worked my fingers to the bone in order to get what “I” wanted.

Avoiding disappointment was the reason behind all the effort. I figured that since the others were not “strong” enough to complete the work, I would push us over the top with “my might.” We did not get the account. Wait, I worked hard! Why didn’t we get the account?

  • GOD said to me “Not by your might.”
  • GOD said to me “Not by your power.”
  • GOD said to me “Only by MY SPIRIT.”

Success is defined by GOD alone. HE is the one who deems what will be successful and what will fail miserably. GOD places perfect barriers on my path that I cannot go over, under around or through. HE stops me dead in my tracks until I acknowledge I need HIM and HIM alone.

I have to take my faulty thinking that the source of success is from me and turn it towards the truth, namely GOD.  HE is the way the truth and the life!

  • Are you depending on yourself for your success?
  • Do you think you can get yourself out of your mess?
  • Will you stop trying to depend on yourself and place your trust in GOD who will guide you?

In memory of Daryl Matthews

Friday, December 9, 2016

Garments of the Soul

Zechariah 3: Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”

Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”


Greeted with smiling faces I proceeded into the church. Songs played, people clapped but I felt rotten inside. The preacher preached on a bunch of stuff I was doing wrong then we all got up sang again and walked out the door with the same smiling faces. 

  • There have been times when my outside did not match my inside.
  • There have been times when smiling faces was not enough to crack open my tough exterior.
  • There have been times when my sin was hidden and I wore filthy clothes on my soul.

After reading this passage I could easily think that I would have to clean myself up in order to be loved by GOD. The problem with that kind of thinking is I can never “clean” myself up. The more I try the filthier my soul garments get. I drop off an obvious sin to society and trade it in for a larger sin to GOD, namely piety. What am I to do?

  • GOD says to me “In the middle of your sin, I saved you.”
  • GOD says to me “I saw you before the foundations of the world.”
  • GOD says to me “I have taken away your sin.”

I had to reread the passage a few times in order to see the timing. GOD says “Take off his filthy clothes”. Then I noticed HE says “See, I have taken away your sin” meaning HE died in my place and the act of cleansing was complete. All I have to do is believe in the ONE who cleansed me and then my filthy garments will be taken off for me.

Cleansing is not my job. I cannot clean myself up by trading sin. I need GOD in my life through JESUS who died and was raised from the dead. Now I can cry in church and smile. I can bring in my anger and leave with joy. My filthy garments of the soul can be replaced with GOD’s garments!

  • Are you hiding something?
  • Does the thing you are hiding eat away at you?
  • Are you lying to yourself in order to feel more comfortable?
  • Can you stop hiding your sins and allow GOD to take off your filthy soul garments by confessing to HIM?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Eyes on the Prize

Zechariah 2: 10 “Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the Lord. 11 “Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. 12 The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem. 13 Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.”


Desperate for a little cash, I entered the tournament hoping to have one of those movie like endings. I was doing great that day and just knew I would win the cash prize. Unfortunately, the guy next to me was performing with perfection. He not only won the cash prize, but the car that went along with it!

  • Many times I have missed out on the prize.
  • Many times I put my hopes in a prize and lost.
  • Many times I did not get what I sought out for.

Disillusioned was the feeling as I used my last few dollars in a longshot. I went home dejected. “How am I going to make it now?” I cried out. I had my eyes on that prize and I did not get it.

  • GOD said to me “Shout and be glad for I AM coming to live with you.”
  • GOD said to me “You will become MY people.”
  • GOD said to me “Be still before ME because I have roused MYSELF from MY holy dwelling.”

My heart was not at peace. I was looking at the current bill of the day and not looking at the true prize, namely JESUS. It is easier said than done to not worry about finances and only focus on GOD, but it had to happen in order for me to gain peace. I got on my knees in a very rare moment of prayer and said “Help!”

Somehow, everything worked out just fine. GOD gave me just enough to keep going and push through that bleak time. HE wanted me to put my trust in HIM and not my abilities. HE tells me to “shout and be glad” even when I don’t feel like it. This enables me to keep my eyes on HIM rather than focusing on bleak situations. HE has never let me down when I look at HIM!

  • Are you focused on a bleak situation?
  • Do you think you will never get out of this hole?
  • Can you stop focusing in on the situation long enough to look at GOD?
  • Will you take a moment to shout, be glad and “be still” before the LORD?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Take the First Step

Zechariah 1: “The Lord was very angry with your ancestors. Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.


Choosing to “get away from GOD” was probably one of my worst choices. What the choice meant was I was tired of following rules and not getting my way. I wanted to be as wild and “free” as I wanted to be. When I looked at those who did not believe in any god but themselves, I saw prosperity and hedonistic pleasure. I wonder if I should try that.

  • Sometimes I look at GOD as being too strict.
  • Sometimes I look at GOD having too many rules.
  • Sometimes I look at GOD as if HE were the problem, not the solution.

Looking back at those pouting years, I could see my immaturity towards GOD. I had already accepted the fact that JESUS died for my sins, yet I abandoned following HIS ways. When life started to unravel I did not know what to do.

  • GOD said to me “I WILL always be with you.”
  • GOD said to me “I WILL never leave you nor forsake you.”
  • GOD said to me “Return to me, declares the LORD Almighty, and I WILL return to you.”

After licking my wounds I decided to turn back to GOD. It felt rather strange at first. I mean restraining myself from “freedom” and becoming a slave to GOD was not my first choice. It seemed like I would never have “fun” again!

After a while I realized I was simply following a lie. “Fun” is found within GOD, so is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The hole in my life was finally filled. I had to take the first step to return to GOD and HE has never let me down!

  • Are you thinking about turning away from GOD?
  • Have you already left GOD and are too ashamed to return?
  • Can you stop believing lies and take the first step by turning back to GOD?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Facing Huge Challenges

Haggai 2: But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’


Nervous about the journey I set out by myself. I had never traveled this far alone. “Which block do I turn down?” Dogs could sense my fear as I scurried past them. I made it to school safely. This was huge! Years later, with little to no counseling, I applied for college. I stood in the wrong line to sign up for classes and had no idea how to study, but somehow I made it.

Still years later I had just implemented technology to make the company more money. After the celebration, the position I held was eliminated. I was back to asking “Which way should I go?”

  • There have been many times I have been faced with walking blindly.
  • There have been many times I have had to go places that seemed unknown.
  • There have been many times I have been in an impossible situation that seemed like I would overwhelmingly fail.

In each instance I felt like giving up. I mean I had no help, no one to guide me and the odds seemed impossible. BUT GOD always had a different message.

  • GOD said to me “Be strong for I brought you out of Egypt.”
  • GOD said to me “Be strong for I have been with you every step of the way.”
  • GOD said to me “Be strong for MY SPIRIT remains among you. Do not fear.”

I left out a part in each story. When I felt like giving up, GOD showed me the way. Inevitably a person would pop up and guide me to a better place. HE placed HIS servants all over the world and enabled me to be guided in places I never would have dreamed of. HE has led me to still waters and restored my soul.

  • Do you feel lost?
  • Do you feel like giving up?
  • Will you stop looking for the destination and seek GOD who will give you strength?
  • Will you ask HIM for HIS direction and deliverance today?

Monday, December 5, 2016

Give Careful Thought

Haggai 1: Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord.


Swimming in deep water, uphill, in a blizzard was how I felt. Drowning in debt and low on wages, I could see the needs pile higher and higher. My car was broken down, rent was due, tuition was unpaid and creditors were calling. Who has time for serving when I am in this much trouble?

  • There were times when I thought life was spiraling downward.
  • There were times when I thought life would never bring satisfaction.
  • There were times when I thought all of my efforts were for naught because I did not seem to be reaping any great harvest.

Focusing in on money would excite some and depress others. I was in the latter because no matter how much I tried I just did not have enough. What was I doing wrong?

  • GOD said to me “Focus on ME and I will bless you.”
  • GOD said to me “Pay attention to ME and I will make your paths straight.”
  • GOD said to me “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find.”

Lost and bewildered, I gave my life back to GOD. This time something seemed different. I did not care if GOD took everything away from me, as long as my relationship with HIM was fine. It took a while, several years but I noticed a huge change. I was not worried, stressed or lying awake. I was out of debt and living quite comfortably. GOD did come through with HIS promise.

  • Are you lying awake over something?
  • Do you feel tired of working hard and getting nowhere?
  • Will you take time today and focus on what really matters, namely GOD?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Pardon My Arrogance

Zephaniah 3: “Then I will purify the lips of the peoples,
    that all of them may call on the name of the Lord
    and serve him shoulder to shoulder.
10 From beyond the rivers of Cush
    my worshipers, my scattered people,
    will bring me offerings.
11 On that day you, Jerusalem, will not be put to shame
    for all the wrongs you have done to me,
because I will remove from you
    your arrogant boasters.
Never again will you be haughty
    on my holy hill.


“You sound like one of us” is what a senior leader said to me. I now had the title, responsibility and the “strut” down-packed.  I could not be bothered with the trivial and sped up conversations because I was “busy.” I had made “it.”

  • There were times when I was arrogant.
  • There were times when I was boastful.
  • There were times when I was the “one who would save.

Reeling with confidence, I laid “my” plans out to the masses without permission. Every step was a battle and each moment was a fight to keep the group under me strong. BUT GOD wanted something different.

  • GOD wanted me to have a humble heart, not a haughty one.
  • GOD wanted me to recognize my boasting that I called “managing upward.”
  • GOD wanted me to see my arrogance that I placed false confidence in my abilities.

Confidence in capabilities is only good when I acknowledge where these gifts and talents come from, namely GOD. In business, people told me I spoke like a wimp when I did not say “I did this or I did that” so I did and people praised me for it. BUT GOD was not pleased.

HE wants me to point to HIM, not to me. HE should get ALL the glory for even the tiniest step I make. GOD is my guide and my refuge. In HIM I brag and boast.  

  • Are you trying to get a promotion?
  • Do you feel you need to “manage upward” in order to get ahead?
  • Can you stop your arrogant tone and start asking GOD for humility?
  • Will you seek GOD today?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

What to Look For

Zephaniah 2: Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land,
    you who do what he commands.
Seek righteousness, seek humility;
    perhaps you will be sheltered
    on the day of the Lord’s anger.


What does it mean to “Seek first the Kingdom of GOD?” I mean don’t I have to eat and pay bills first? I remember sitting on an airplane and hearing them say “Put your oxygen mask on first before helping someone else with theirs.” Shouldn’t I get what’s mine first?

  • Sometimes I think of finances before I think of GOD.
  • Sometimes I think of people with titles before I think of GOD.
  • Sometimes I think of my wellbeing before I think of GOD.

With all of the busy-ness the world has to offer, I can get distracted. I can get into a seemingly innocent path of becoming so busy that I never once look up to see something special. When the winds of life blow against me I get frightened and then I look for GOD to mop up all the mess I’m in. How can I get out of this rut?

  • GOD says to me “Seek righteousness” and since no human is righteous I need to seek GOD.
  • GOD says to me “Seek humility” and since my heart is desperately wicked I need to seek GOD’s heart.
  • GOD says to me “Seek MY kingdom first” and since HE owns everything I need to bow to HIM daily before my day starts.

There is nothing GOD places on me that is too hard for me. HE doesn’t command that I become a title or live in fame rather HE simply wants me to follow HIM in HIS righteousness and humility. Seeking GOD means I am looking for HIM on a daily basis. In my hunt for fame and fortune I must ask GOD “Is this what YOU want for me?”

Serving money and GOD cannot ever mix. I cannot mask my intentions by pretending to serve church folks when I really want their monetary gain. I must truly desire that people get to know GOD, end of story. Seeking GOD as my teacher enables me to learn forever!

  • What are you seeking?
  • Are you mad that you are not getting your way?
  • Can you stop pouting and start learning from GOD today?
  • Will you seek GOD’s heart before yours?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Being Invited

Zephaniah 1: Be silent before the Sovereign Lord,
    for the day of the Lord is near.
The Lord has prepared a sacrifice;
    he has consecrated those he has invited.


Overlooked and unimportant was my description. Everyone else was having “fun” meanwhile I was the person who was picked last to be on the team. One day, while sitting in class, I heard the most foreign words. “Would you like to come to my birthday party on Saturday?” In shock, I had to look around to see if they were speaking to me. “Yes” I blurted out! Wow, my first birthday party!

  • It feels great to be invited.
  • It truly feels wonderful to be thought of.
  • It really feels terrific to be included.

Getting an invitation means “I belong” and I wasn’t getting a lot of them, or at least not the right ones. I was invited to try some drugs and another time I was invited to be an accomplice to a shoplifting plot. While I avoided these, some of the “not so good” invitations sounded good. What should I do?

  • GOD says to me “Be silent before ME.”
  • GOD says to me “MY return is imminent and the day of the LORD will be horrifying.”
  • GOD says to me “I have invited you to be part of MY family. I stand at the door and knock. If anyone opens the door I WILL come in and sup with them.”

Many years later I see that there is only one invitation that is important, namely being invited to be in GOD’s family. Through JESUS, whose death burial and resurrection cleansed my sins, I was invited. When I accepted this ultra-special invitation, I now belong to a family who will never leave me nor forsake me. I am treated wonderfully by GOD!

  • Are you looking for an invitation but not getting it?
  • Do you feel left out?
  • Will you accept GOD’s invitation to be part of HIS family?
  • Do you know HE is looking specifically for you right now so HE can pour out HIS love on you?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Prayer for These Days

Habakkuk 3:Lord, I have heard of your fame;
    I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.
Repeat them in our day,
    in our time make them known;
    in wrath remember mercy.


17 Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.
For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.


“What about our time?” I asked. I mean I have read history that recorded immediate deliverance from some ghastly situations. People were rescued from lions and furnaces and removed from jail. Can these things happen today?

  • GOD tells me to say “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
  • GOD tells me to say “The LORD is my shepherd I shall not want.”
  • GOD says to me “Be still, and know that I AM GOD; I WILL be exalted among the nations, I WILL be exalted in the earth.”

Even when trouble occurs and it seems to be no way out, I will rejoice in the LORD. HE has shown HIMSELF to me time and time again through HIS daily deliverance. GOD is my strength, through HIM comes my joy! amen

  • Will you take your bitterness and turn it into praise today?
  • Will you reduce the amount of complaining you do and trade it in for exaltation today?
  • Will you stop looking at you and start looking at GOD today!

Monday, November 28, 2016

What to Live By

Habakkuk 2: “See, the enemy is puffed up;
    his desires are not upright—
    but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness


“You are very good at what you do” someone said to me. “I am” I thought to myself. I “deserve” a raise and a promotion. I did not put my feet on the person’s desk physically, but I did with my words. “When will I be next in line for a higher position?” I said.

  • There have been times when I have thought “more highly” of myself.
  • There have been times when I have felt I am “better” than “that” person.
  • There have been times when I have believed the words of flattery and let them go to my head.

After getting the promotion I soon realized this was not enough. I mean my boss was asking me all the questions. Shouldn’t “I” be the boss? I took classes on how to get to the next level and after a while I did become the boss, only after a lot of people were fired! Good riddance! Or was it?

  • GOD wants me to walk humbly with HIM.
  • GOD desires that I live for HIM and not for the job.
  • GOD wants me to follow HIS ways and live by HIS faithfulness.

Instead of becoming a repellent, GOD wants me to be a draw to many. HE wants me to place my sinful desires at HIS feet and ask “Do YOU want me to have this?” and allow HIS answer to be “No!” HE wants me to treat everyone with respect and allow HIS humility to be my guide.

Faithfulness to GOD is the creed I need to follow. It should not matter how high I climb as long as I have GOD guiding me. GOD removes my arrogance and replaces it with HIS wisdom.

  • Do you have a deserving attitude?
  • Do you believe you should be treated better?
  • Do you think you can rob or take whatever you desire?
  • Can you stop thinking more highly of yourself and allow GOD to humble your ways?

Dedicated to the robber who attacked one of my daughter’s. – GOD forgives

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Well Placed Complaint

Habakkuk 1: How long, Lord, must I call for help,
    but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
    but you do not save?


13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
    you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.
Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?
    Why are you silent while the wicked
    swallow up those more righteous than themselves?


“There’s nothing on TV!” I blurted out. I pay for hundreds of channels and you would think they would have just one I could watch! “My phone has no signal!” I exclaimed. I pay for a fast network and you would think I should be able to get coverage here on the moon! “Traffic is moving too slow because of that camper!” I said out loud. I wonder what I can do.

  • Sometimes I complain about comfort.
  • Sometimes I grumble about luxury items.
  • Sometimes I grouse about things that are out of my control.

Complaining takes practice and after a while I had a PhD in complain-ology! It’s too cold, or it’s too rainy were whining statements I protested as I passed a homeless person without seeing them. “Man, my tire is low light is on again!” are words I have said while driving out of communities where people are murdered, overlooked and undignified. Should I complain?

  • GOD says to me “Stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.”
  • GOD says to me “Pray for those who have needs.”
  • GOD says to me “Serve those who are poor and outcast and I will serve you far more than you know.”

Habakkuk complained about the mistreatment of his friends, family and community. He wasn’t asking for more riches rather some relief from the oppressors. He knew GOD was the only answer to truly difficult situations. GOD wants me to focus on some of these problems as well. HE wants me to have compassion when necessary.

Instead of complaining about traffic, HE wants me to pray for those who are involved in the accident. Rather than complaining about luxury TV, HE wants me to have a heart of thanksgiving that I even have TV and maybe open up my home to someone who doesn’t. GOD does not mind a complaint as long as the other side points to growing HIS kingdom.

  • What are you complaining about right now?
  • Are you complaining about your comfort?
  • Can you reduce your complaints a little and point your frustrated words towards injustice?
  • Will you genuinely pray for those you have overlooked today?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Where to Place Trust

Nahum 3: 16 You have increased the number of your merchants
    till they are more numerous than the stars in the sky,
but like locusts they strip the land
    and then fly away.
17 Your guards are like locusts,
    your officials like swarms of locusts
    that settle in the walls on a cold day—
but when the sun appears they fly away,
    and no one knows where.


“Go to school” was the overarching advice given to me by the masses. I went, got kicked out, went back and finally finished. “Get a job” was the next message that was a norm to society. I went, got kicked out, went back and same story.

  • Sometimes I place my trust in governmental themes.
  • Sometimes I place my trust in societal norms.
  • Sometimes I place my trust in global commerce.

Looking back, I can see the bright shiny statements of groups promising safety and security. In glowing gullibility I soaked it up and followed the masses like a lemming. One day I cheered for “my” choice of a leader, the next I pouted in disappointment. Where should I place my trust?

  • GOD says to me “I AM the one who controls nations, not humans.”
  • GOD says to me “I AM the one who controls economies, not groups.”
  • GOD says to me “I AM the one who gives and I AM the one who takes, not bosses, leaders or chiefs.”

Completing school is great, getting a job is wonderful, having a business is amazing, but all is for naught without GOD. Placing too much trust in any human construct is a huge mistake. GOD sees the storehouses being built and in an instance, wipes it away like dust. HE makes me nervous, quite honestly.

I mean should I keep going in any effort? Yes! I need to traverse the unknown holding GOD’s hand every step of the way. GOD desires that I dwell in HIM and HE in me. My jealousy of the rich and powerful diminishes when I know GOD is pleased with me following HIS plan.

  • Are you secretly following government and preaching GOD?
  • Do you get mad at not being wealthy enough as society dictates?
  • Can you stop following the crowd and start following GOD who controls it all?
  • Will you place your total trust in GOD today?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Destruction Restored

Nahum 2: The Lord will restore the splendor of Jacob
    like the splendor of Israel,
though destroyers have laid them waste
    and have ruined their vines.


“My life is ruined!” I thought to myself. I had a new pair of pants and the pen in my pocket “flooded” and drained all throughout the fabric. I had to deal with the humiliation all day, which was about five hours or so!

“My life is ruined!” I thought to myself when I was in a head on collision. Not making much money, I did not have enough to buy another car. I had to resort to walking a mile and a half to work!

  • There were times when I thought “my life is ruined” because I lost something I deemed as special.
  • There were times when I believed “this is the end” when something was taken out of my hands.
  • There were times when I felt “Everything is falling apart” when something I wanted was not achieved.

From music collections to money, I have had things stolen, lost and destroyed. When I lost five dollars before going into the amusement park I cried like a child, because I was a child. In fact, even when I got older I was childish in response to the stuff that was now gone. What should I do?

  • GOD says to me “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”
  • GOD says to me “You cannot serve money and ME.”
  • GOD says to me “Give everything to ME and all will be well with you.”

By giving everything to GOD I noticed I did not mind “as much” if HE took whatever “it” was away. “It” is all HIS anyway. Job said “The LORD gives and the LORD takes away; blessed be the name of the LORD” and this is true. I cannot say it does not hurt to lose stuff, but I can say that I do not have to stay in mourning over the lost stuff long.

GOD says “I will restore your splendor” which means I have splendor in the first place. HE enjoys picking me up, dusting me off and placing me in a high place that I never would have expected. GOD’s plan is incredibly wonderful for me. I do not have to fret over “stuff” very long.

  • Are you crying over something you lost or was stolen from you?
  • Do you feel like everything is ruined now that you don’t have the income, house or car?
  • Can you stop looking at the stuff for a moment and look at GOD?
  • Will you allow HIM to restore you to the splendor HE made you with today?  

Friday, November 18, 2016

Help in Troubled Times

Habakkuk 1: The Lord is good,
    a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him


 Sitting on the edge of my bed, I worried about my “future.” What would it be like? How will I make it with the debt I was carrying? I ignored those who spoke about all that “GOD” stuff and went on my way.  I mean they don’t seem any better off. In fact, I have seen some people who spoke about “GOD” who were even more in debt than I was!

  • There were times that I worried about “my future.”
  • There were times when I did the math and my future looked bleak!
  • There were times when life did not seem to provide enough money so I thought everything was bad.

“Trust in the dollar with all your thoughts and all your future plans and all your ways” was my way of thinking. I would talk about where I was with others and they would put on a pity face with me. There seemed to be no way out! BUT GOD said something different!

  • GOD said to me “Put your total trust in ME and all will be well with you.”
  • GOD said to me “Seek ME in times of trouble and you will find refuge.”
  • GOD said to me “Give me your worries, fears and doubts and I will make your paths straight.”

I had reached the end of my rope, or so I thought. I went to a small church and the preacher asked “Is there anyone here who wants to give their life back to GOD?” Something inside me said, “Get up!” so I did. As I walked down the aisle, I could hear clapping and cheering. Tear flowed down my face as I reached a group who prayed for me and with me. I finally felt at peace!

  • Are you troubled?
  • Do you think there is no way out?
  • Can you place your trust in GOD today?
  • Will you give HIM your fears, worries and doubts?
  • Can you place your total trust in GOD and stop looking at the past and the future?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Daily Delight

Micah 7: But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
    I wait for God my Savior;
    my God will hear me.


18 Who is a God like you,
    who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
    of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
    but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
    you will tread our sins underfoot
    and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.


“Wham!” was the first thing that happened as I stubbed my toe against a cabinet. I ran around the house looking for my keys and it seemed to take a solid year to find them. I was in a hurry to get to work and “this guy” was in front of me with his blinker on for miles, doing well under the speed limit. “What a day!” I thought to myself.

  • There are some days where I get flustered.
  • There are some days that seem to have more wrong than right.
  • There are some days that simply just get to me!

As I rushed throughout the day I noticed my demeanor getting worse and worse. I went to get something to eat and my order was wrong! “That’s it! I had enough!” I thought to myself. I wasn’t going to let the day push me around anymore! I was ready to argue, fuss and fight with the next thing that went wrong. Is this how I should be?

  • GOD says to me “Place your hope in me and I will hear you.”
  • GOD says to me “I AM the one who pardons your sins and forgives your transgressions.”
  • GOD says to me “I will not stay angry forever and I delight in showing mercy to you.”

“Delight” was the thing that was missing from the day. From early morning and all throughout the day, I had missed out on “delightful” moments that could have been wonderful. Instead of complaining, I should seek out what delights GOD.

By slowing down long enough to place my “hope” in HIM through prayer, GOD actually listens directly to me. Amazing! HE leads me to a quiet place and turns my hurried harassed day into a place where I can see HIM doing HIS wonders. GOD has compassion on me.

  • Are you ready to fight?
  • Are you ready to snap and are collecting your “side” of the story?
  • Will you put down your poison and put away your sharp tongued weapons and seek GOD’s peace?
  • Will you ask yourself “Why am I so angry” and ask GOD to show what delights HIM today?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Exhausted Trying to Please

Micah 6: He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.


Figuring out what the boss wanted was a puzzle and I was losing sleep. I would wake up in the middle of the night thinking about work so I would jump out of bed, labor for a couple of hours then fall asleep for the remaining fifteen or twenty minutes before the alarm. I would then try to present my work only to be brushed off to do more laborious tasks. “What does he want?” I would exclaim!

  • Sometimes I get exhausted trying to please others.
  • Sometimes I get weary trying to guess at what others want from me.
  • Sometimes I get fatigued trying so hard to get things right that I lose sleep and feel even more tired!

“What do YOU want from me?” is an expression I have also used on GOD. I mean when I wasn’t getting my way I would try to do what GOD wanted me to do in a measured way. I would pray more, give more and show up to church more. I would even reduce my sins for good measure.

Then when I did not get my way, I would tell the LORD the list of things I had done so HE could eventually relent on holding back from my long past due rewards. I would then ask again “What do YOU want from me?”

  • GOD says to me “I want you to act justly to MY people.”
  • GOD says to me “I want you to love the mercy I have shown you.”
  • GOD says to me “I want you to walk humbly with ME, your GOD.”

CHRIST walked the earth showing me how life really should be done. HE set the example by showing even HIS enemy’s compassion. HE expressed HIS unfailing love in an extreme gentle way. The problem is sometimes the things I want may not be part of HIS plans. In fact they may conflict with HIM.

Any time I am anxious, nervous and afraid I must ask myself “Am I fighting GOD or serving HIM? GOD is not hard to please. HE was so pleased that HE became a human to die in my place. HE simply wants me to look at HIS example and follow them daily. That’s all.

  • Are you exhausted trying to please others?
  • Are you exhausted trying to please GOD?
  • Can you stop “trying” so hard and just “be” the person GOD wants you to be?
  • Will you stop downing yourself and others around you so you can add praise back into your life?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Greatness out of Small Places

Micah 5:“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
    from ancient times.”


He will stand and shepherd his flock
    in the strength of the Lord,
    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
    will reach to the ends of the earth.


Eloquent was his speech and solid was his direction. I watched this person rise from nothing to become the CEO of one of the largest companies in the world. I asked him where he lived when he grew up. Surprisingly he answered “the projects” or “slums” or “ghetto” to others. I thought to myself, “Someone this fantastic can come out of a place that is looked down upon by the masses?”

  • Sometimes I underestimate the people in small places.
  • Sometimes I overlook the people in places that are categorized as off limits.
  • Sometimes I protect myself by labeling places and people instead of searching for bright spots.

When I went to serve in a neighborhood that was classified as dangerous, I found people who had aspirations of becoming a doctor, lawyer, and famous musician. These individuals had something in common, they all followed GOD.

  • JESUS chose to become a human in a town that was overlooked.
  • JESUS chose to be born in a place where people would classify it as a slum or a ghetto.
  • JESUS chose to provide HIS redemption through a small place called Bethlehem.

GOD told me to teach these people about HIM and as they sat in my class I could see them grasping onto HIS message in their own way. They were hungry for the LORD and HE did enable them to become what they sought out to be! GOD raised them to their place and they have not forgotten HIM. I learned a lesson, never label a place or person that GOD has a plan for, including myself!

  • Are you labeling people in order to protect yourself?
  • Have you labeled people so much that you refuse to serve them?
  • Will you remove your label and serve people who do not look or act like you?
  • Can you realize that you may serve a person who will be used by GOD to bring millions to HIM?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Plan of Restoration

Micah 4:“In that day,” declares the Lord,
“I will gather the lame;
    I will assemble the exiles
    and those I have brought to grief.
I will make the lame my remnant,
    those driven away a strong nation.
The Lord will rule over them in Mount Zion
    from that day and forever.
As for you, watchtower of the flock,
    stronghold of Daughter Zion,
the former dominion will be restored to you;
    kingship will come to Daughter Jerusalem.”


Subpar insurance was all I could get because I was young, had accidents and a pile of tickets. The insurance cost me a mint but the broker told me, “just hang in there for twelve months and you can switch.” I watched the calendar like it was a clock. The days seemed to drop ever so slowly. If felt like the day would never come.

  • Sometimes it feels like an eternity before I am restored.
  • Sometimes it seems like restoration will never come.
  • Sometimes it appears that I will not make it to the end of the waiting period and everything will come crashing down on my head.

Six months into the wait, it felt like the day would never come, but when three months passed, the waiting period didn’t feel as harsh. In fact I could feel a weight lift off my shoulders even though I was still in the situation. I could actually see myself out of the trial!

  • GOD wants me to know HE has a plan for me that is prosperous and will give me hope and a future.
  • GOD wants me to know HE will gather me along with the lame and others HE has brought grief to.
  • GOD wants me to know HE will restore me.

Hope is what I was missing when I went into the problem. I mean I had to cancel plans of getting out of debt only to go in deeper because of my sordid driving. Life is like that. When I lose hope then I lose my way and I cannot reach full restoration. GOD is kind enough to tell me HE has a plan to restore me. HE wants me to keep going until I reach the day of the LORD.

GOD wants full restoration of every human, including me. It’s when I stop fighting who HE is, then I can be accepting of HIS plan. HE seeks me daily and wants me to turn and accept what HE has in store for me.

  • Have you lost hope?
  • Do you think you are at the end of your rope?
  • Will you allow GOD to restore you?
  • Can you stop believing lies and see that GOD does in fact have a wonderful plan just for you?