Life Along the Way

A Daily Devotional

"Refreshing Confession"

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"It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem."

2 Samuel 11:1

This is probably one chapter of King David's life he wishes never made it into the history books for us to read. Those who are chosen to lead in the kingdom of heaven live in glass houses. God doesn't cover up our sin, He does far greater. First He judges it and if like David we are seeking His heart He forgives and forgets it as He removes it from us, which is far better.

In 2 Samuel chapter 11 we get to look behind the scenes as it were in much the same way a jury of our peers would sit and listen if charges were brought against us in a court of law. Since it is David's life we are viewing here like an open-heart surgery, we don't get to emotionally involved. We can drop our own defenses and learn what went wrong and how the wrong was ultimately made right.

We see right off what went wrong. Wrong place, wrong time as David the king of Israel and commander of the Lord's army he should have been with his troops at war in the springtime but he in the neglect of his duty, the king was left with idle time. You know the old saying, "an idle mind is the devil's playground", and its true. Doing nothing has led countless numbers into serious trouble. Boredom is a great tool in the hand of the Devil regardless of your age. David fell to the tricks of the Devils trade, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life always lead to sin and David took the bait, line, hook, and sinker! That David, a man after God's own heart is susceptible to the snares of the wicked one should be a reminder to you and I to stay focused on the Lord and to never let our guard down.

When temptation comes our way we need to learn the lesson here from David's failure. Don't think for a second you can resist temptation because the bible says you can't. Flee the temptation is the only source of victory. Like the guy who prays the Lord would give him strength on his diet as he passes the donut shop and prays, "Lord, if you don't want your servant to have a donut today then make sure there is no parking spot in front of the donut shop…amen". The guy was overheard later that day telling others that God must have wanted him to have a donut that day because on the seventh trip around the block, low and behold there was an empty parking spot right in front of the donut shop. It must have been God! Flee temptation, friend, don't keep driving around your temptation testing God. If you do…you lose! Oh, how David wished he had fled as well.

David's self indulgence leads him into greater sin, sin has a way of leading us into greater sin, as sin is blindness and it reveals the true state of the heart of man, not the heart of the man of God. We have a sin nature, a nature that wars against our spirit, and we must fight and not pull back from the good fight of faith and not give into our flesh. David's lust moves to adultery, and from adultery to deceit, from to deceit to deception and from deception to death; and all because man is depraved without God ruling our heart. It truly is a downward spiral if there ever was one.

We can stop the downward spiral of sin and death in our own lives by crying out to God and confessing our sin to Him. Learn the lesson David learned from what he did "dodo" here. He tried to cover his sin when he should have been confessing it. Yet because of the great mercy of God David came to know God's healing grace that we first read of in Psalm 51. I pray you know God's mercy too, that when we confess our sins to our faithful God He is faithful not only to forgive but to wash us clean and make all things new.

Sin is a downward spiral where life in Christ is just the opposite. Life in Christ is upward and onward! Read what David discovered about the grace and mercy of God and what happens when we turn from our sin and seek His forgiveness. It's a life changing moment that we can enjoy again and again as we learn to bathe in His love!


"Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your loving kindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin."

Psalm 51:1-2

I LOVE YOU!


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Never Stop Wanting

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"What is it you want?" Jesus asked"


Matthew 20:21


As I read this verse above I began to think, what would I ask for if Jesus asked me what I wanted. My mind went wild. I remember thinking, Lord; don't ever let me lose my passion, my desire. Studying for a Marriage Conference I'm going to be sharing at I read a statement in a book on marriage that stuck in my mind. It said, "Their marriage had the passion of oatmeal". I couldn't help but laugh because I love oatmeal but when you think about it the statement is sad. I know oatmeal is good for you but I must confess too that if I eat it the way my cardiologist prefers without the brown sugar it is rather boring to me.

C.S. Lewis once wrote, "The greatest enemy to holiness is not passion but apathy." One of the greatest dangers you and I will encounter in this life is the lack of wanting, the lack of desire. Its been well said that you can't help the man or woman who wants nothing in life. Many a marriage falls prey to the lack of passion, the lack of wanting, and ultimately, the lack of desire. And not just marriages, many of our lives as well. People lose their passion and when they do they also lose their hope, and ultimately, they lose their life. Sad but true.

There is a story in 2 Kings 13 about the prophet Elisha and king Jehoash who was king of Israel at the time. The king's enemies were pressing in and he knew that the prophet was close to dying so he went to Elisha and asked for help. Elisha told the king to take some arrows and strike the ground and the king did as the prophet spoke. It says Jehoash struck the ground three times then he stopped. Elisha rebuked the king saying he should have struck the ground five or six times and not just three. Had he kept hitting the ground his enemies would have been defeated as the striking of the ground symbolized the kings heart in battle and it showed his heart to be passionless, meaning that the kings heart simply was not in it battle, he had no passion to win.

There is a great lesson about life to be learned here. Never stop! Don't Quit! Never stop wanting, loved one, don't lose your passion for living, and for loving. Don't ever give up on your dream no matter how long it takes or how long you must wait. It was God Himself who created within us hearts with longings, with deep desires to be pursued. Commitment is only good when it is expressed and the best way to live out your commitment is through desire. Lets put it this way. Almost all women love to receive flowers but no woman likes to receive flowers as an act of duty. If I would have given my wife flowers on our anniversary and when she thanked me I said in response, 'there is no need to thank me, I had too, its our anniversary" I might has well have given her a tumbleweed.

John Piper in his book Desiring God wrote, "Dutiful roses are a contradiction in terms". Duty reduces desire to a drill. It is well said, "A woman doesn't want to be an object of duty, she wants to be desired". I think that is true about most everyone, men and women alike. And guess what, the good news of the gospel is, each of us are deeply loved and wanted by God. I like what A.W. Tozer wrote when he said, "God waits to be wanted" and if that is true with God it must be true as well about men and women who were created in the image of God. God isn't seeking dutiful relationship from His creation, what God is seeking is a love affair with us. God is seeking to be sought by us. We all seek the one we desire and many times in life it's that deep desire that sustains us in our deepest trials.

Let me ask you today, friend, what is it that you really want in this life? What is your burning desire, what is your passion that gets you out of bed each day? Don't let your desire become a duty, keep them as your delight because if you don't eventually your life will be ruled by the desires of others. C.S. Lewis wrote, "We can only have hope for what we desire, No desire, no hope". You can have desire and yet not hope for it but you cannot hope for something you don't also desire. God desires relationship with us and we know the depth of that desire in what is referred to as the "passion of the Christ", the last week of our Lord's life here on earth where He suffered, died, was buried and rose again for us! Talk about passion, talk about desire!

Oh, that you and I would know we are desired today, loved one. I'll close with this thought, its a scene to play over and again in your mind. It's from the movie, "The Last of the Mohicans" where Nathaniel says to Cora, "No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you". Now there is a man whose life is driven by passion, by hope and desire. May you know today, beloved, in the Gospel's you and I represent Cora and Jesus is our Nathaniel. You are wanted, you are sought after, and you are unquestionably desired!

"I have loved you with an everlasting love"

Jeremiah 31:3

I LOVE YOU!


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Defining Moments

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"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

John 13:35


Everyone's lives are marked by defining moments; you know the ones, those moments in our lives that changed our lives forever. Some would finish the statement above saying, "some for better others for worse" but in the Lord we know that all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purposes. There is an old saying that says, "God never wastes a hurt" and it's true, beloved. God doesn't set out to hurt His children and it's not His goal but He can and does take even our hurts and turns them into blessings if we will allow Him too. That's where faith comes in.

As I think back over my life and the defining moments I have faced, I recall those things that served to make me and to brake me, the things that happened to make me who I am today. Can you recall a defining moment in your own life? For some it's conquering a fear, for others it's passing a test, or surviving that first job interview? For some people the greatest moment of their life, their defining moment as it were was getting married, or having a baby. Those are defining moments for sure. Defining moments mark all of our lives. No matter what our age, each of us has experiences in our lives that have shaped us, changed us by changing the way we see the world and ourselves. From first steps, to first dates, to first kisses, the most defining moment in our lives is when we discover that we are loved. Oh how I hope you realize that today, my friends, you are so very loved.

I was going through some "Chicken Soup" books last night and came across a quote by Mother Theresa that said, "The greatest disease is not TB or leprosy. It is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love."

Love is the greatest defining moment in each of our lives and the second is the exact opposite, hatred. Love and hate are the two greatest factors that define who we are and what we become in this life. Love and hate are strong motivators and yet we do well to remember that the bible reminds us that the longest lasting and greatest of gifts is love. The power of love is transforming.

As I was reading in Matthew 7:1-6 regarding judging others a song came to my mind because of its lyrical content. In the song are the lyrics, "There is no one here to judge you I only love you" and the song goes on to say, "Promising forever knowing that this moment might be all we ever find." It reminded me again of the power of love and its power in defining our lives and changing us for the good. The apostle Paul writes in Romans 8, "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." God did not send His Son into the word to judge the world but that through His Son, through Jesus Christ our sins could be forgiven and we could experience eternal life.

Love is what motivates God to work on our behalf and it's His love that works in our lives to define us, moment by moment. Of all the moments, those defining moments that you and I will ever experience in this life none will compare to the moment when we realize that God loves us, that Jesus Christ died for us and rose again on our behalf and is working now in us and for us.

Oh how I pray you have a defining moment today, a moment so real, so true it transforms you forever. A moment when your heart and soul grasp the fact that you are loved, that you matter, that your life counts, and that God cares about you. Don't let the world define you, spend time with the Lord today, listen for His voice and the words He speaks to you from the pages of your bible. God is for you, He will always be for you and it's His love that will transform you from glory to glory! Rest in that today, loved one, rest in the arms of love!

"The Greatest gift is love"

1 Corinthians 13

I LOVE YOU!


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"Why Me?"

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"Look on my right hand and see, For there is no one who acknowledges me; Refuge has failed me; No one cares for my soul."

Psalm 142:4


I was going to title this devotional, "Why Bad Things Happen To Good People" but that title seemed too long and overused, so I settled for "Why Me?" From the prayer requests I receive weekly and conversations I am privileged to have with those who are seeking help and encouragement while wading through their personal struggles I understand the confusion most of us feel when we have been dealt a painful blow in life. If we are honest, more often than not our first thought is, "why me" when bad things happen and because God knows us so well He provides in advance the support we are in need of from His Word.

Flip to James 1:2-4 and you will find in God's Word the purpose of trials when Jesus half brother James penned these words, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." I appreciate what the author of my "Book of the Month" wrote regarding the impact of trials in the lives of God's kids, "People who are becoming love understand God guides us into uncomfortable places because He knows most of us are too afraid to seek them out ourselves." So true! Some of us might be "gluttons for punishment" as the old saying goes but that doesn't mean we like pain. We know we need to change, and most of us want to change but when changing involves hurt, most of us again prefer it in really small doses, and I mean really small.

If there is one thing I wish I could share with every person going through a painful experience in life its this. Never forget that God doesn't allow trials to happen to mess with our heads; He uses life's circumstances to shape our hearts. God knows difficulties and hardship and ambiguity are what cause us to grow closer to Him because its in the midst of our trials we are reminded of our absolute dependence upon Him. 

So then, here is the million dollar question for the day. How do we know when a trial has served God's purpose in our life? What I have learned from my own trials is this. We know we are growing in our faith and that the trial we are in is shaping us the way God would have it when we are able to say to God "why not me" instead of "why me" when we fall into various trials.

Nothing encourages me more than talking with someone who has gone through a life altering experience and who shares with me how looking back after the wounds have healed and the dust of the impact settled they can say without hesitation, "I wouldn't change a thing." Only a person who has seen the hand of God first hand, and has known the comfort of the Lord like they had not previously known can say that. It's hard to complain and say, "why me" when the trials we have gone through have helped us to grow closer to the Lord and to become more dependent upon Him. After all, isn't that the goal of our lives, to love and trust God more? My hope and prayer is simple. May each of us be able to say in advance of the trials we will face in this life say, "why not me" knowing that the Lord Himself will be right there with us every step along the way, and when we come out on the other side our lives will be a more bright and clear reflection of Jesus!  


"being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ"

Philippians 1:6

I LOVE YOU!


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"Want To Be More Loving?"

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." (and He remembers them no more).

Psalm 103:12


When my kids were growing up someone came up with the concept of AYSO soccer where the focus they said would be on participation and not keeping score, (so they said). The organizers said it was supposed to be about all the kids getting equal time to play, and not about wining and losing. Unfortunately the kids figured out really quick this did not reflect the real world. And you know what? The kids kept score even when the parents did not. If the organizers didn't want the kids to keep score they probably shouldn't have put any goals on the field for them to kick the ball into. Not that it would have made any difference. The goals are there for one reason, and that is to score! The kids could have just played keep away, but then that wouldn't have been soccer would it.

If you listen to kids talking after the game they would immediately say, "we won" because they knew that they had kicked more soccer balls into the opposing teams nets. And like I said, even if you would have removed the goals they would have come up with some means of keeping score. Behavioral scientists remind us we are legislative by our very nature, meaning we are inherintally judgmental in that we keep score for just about everything from games to the faults of others. If we can keep a record for it, we do. Who doesn't love statistics? Four out of five people reading this devotional today are going to be blessed by reading it, ha!

If you have ever prayed, "Lord make me a more loving person" its probably safe to say that some where in the back of your mind you recognized that you are in one degree or another a "score keeper" and not in a good way. By "score keeper" I mean you keep records of the wrongs done to you. The very opposite of what love does and why we pray and ask God to help us to become more loving in the first place, so we keep score less. I recall a quote that said, "We are never more like God than when we forgive and never more like the Devil when we don't." 1 Corinthians 13, the "Love Chapter" in our Bible gets read at more weddings than probably any other single portion of scripture because it clearly communicates what each of us desires deep within our relationships. In just a few verses we have God's definition of what true love is, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV).

Though He has perfect memory God has chosen not to keep score when we wrong Him, ourselves and others. Because He loves us so much He gave His Only Begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him can know that the records of our wrongs have be erased, forgiven completely, never to be brought up again, publicly or privately. That's known as the Good News of the Gospel, or at least part of it anyway. Only those who are walking in love can forgive and forget, and not keep score any longer. Love is the fruit of God's Spirit in us.

We are never more like God when we love and never more like the devil when we don't. Choose to be imitators of Christ today! Choose to not keep score when you are wronged. Not keeping score doesn't mean to "let it go", it means don't keep a record of wrongs to begin with. Remember, love keeps no record of wrongs. Love then isn't something we choose to do "after the fact", love is what we are doing before, during and after we are wronged. Love is a way of life. Like the author of my "book of the month" wrote, "love is not something we do, love is what we are becoming".

"If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also."

1 John 4:20-21

I LOVE YOU!


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"Really?"

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"I am the LORD your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it."

Psalm 81:10 


I've been taking my time reading through my "book of the month" trying to absorb each page like my favorite after shave lotion. I am seeking to allow the Holy Spirit to rub the truths I am learning deep into my heart until all that remains is a fragrant aroma of Jesus. 

The author was writing about serving people through acts of kindness, preferring them in love. He wrote, "It's this simple: I want people to meet you and me and feel like they've just met everyone in heaven." I don't know about you but I haven't done a very good job of that throughout my life and I guess thats one reason I picked the book to begin with. I wasn't necessarily looking for something to read that I agreed with but rather something I struggle and need help with. I'll be the first to admit I need lots of help in loving people like Jesus loves them.

I decided I would take God at His Word when He moved the writer of Lamentations to pen, "This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:21-23). Have you ever wanted a "do over"? That might represent a moment, a day, a season or even a lifetime. I am so glad God has planned a "do over" into every morning. You and I can start fresh every day! We don't have to drag our failures forward, we can rise up and begin again. 

My motivation began as I recalled reading a story about evangelist D.L. Moody who went to bed one night without sharing Jesus with someone that day so he arose from bed in the middle of the night and went looking for the first person he could share with. That person just happened to be a police officer who wasn't really interested in what Moody had to share. But Moody had met his self imposed vow to not go a day without sharing Christ so he went home and back to bed only to be awakened by this same officer at like 4:00 a.m. frantic that he was unsaved. He wanted Moody to pray with him to receive Christ and he did.

I didnt set a goal to share Jesus with someone every day as I felt that I would just fail and was just trying to imitate something God had led D.L. Moody to do. God was simply prompting me to love someone, anyone with the hope of making them feel like they had just met everyone in heaven. My opportunity wasn't planned, it was divine. God set it up, not me, so He gets all the glory. I was just filling my vehicle up with gas when I noticed a young man in his late twenties sitting on the ground outside the gas station/convenience store. 

I heard him talking to a couple of customers who entered the store before me while I was filling my vehicle but I couldn't make out the conversation. I assumed he was asking for either money or food but I couldn't tell. I didnt have any need to go into the store but I chose to go over and strike up a conversation. I like bikes and he was sitting next to a bicycle so I said, "nice bike" and he replied saying something like, "yeah it gets me a round." I proceeded to ask him if he was hungry to which he stated that he was. I invited him to come with me into the store and get something to eat. We went to the back of the store to the beverage section and he reached in and grabbed a cold ice tea in a bottle. I thought that was kind of strange since it was tea without sweetener in it. I thought at first he got it for me which would have been a real Jesus moment since I had not told him thats what I buy, same brand and all. As it turned out he wasn't getting it for me, it was for him. I looked at him I said, "would you like something else to drink too?", to which he responded with a surprised look on his face, "Really?" I said "yes, really" and he grabbed the largest 'Monster' brand energy drink he could find.

Next I said, "do you want a sandwich or something?", to which he responded once again, "Really?". I laughed and said, "Really." He didnt grab a sandwich but instead he went for the biggest burrito they made. His hands were full now but I said to him, "would you like some chips to go with that" and yes you can guess what he said, "Really?". Again I replied, "Really". He started to reach for a bag of chips and as he did I said, "you might want to go to the back of the store by the drinks as I noticed thats where the big bags of chips were" as I had seen a rack of them as he was selecting something to drink. You'll never guess what he said to me next? Ok, you guessed it, He said, "Really?" This time I told him I would not have mentioned it if I wasn't offering. He walked back and grabbed a big bag of chips and by this time he was carrying his selections like a new born baby trying not to drop anything.

He placed his items on the counter and the cashier began to ring them up when I said, "Hey, you didn't get dessert! You might want to check out the candy bars or something" and for the last time he said to me, "Really?". Even the sales clerk was smiling now when I responded back, "Really." The cashier bagged up the items and we headed back outside where I began to ask Him questions like if he believed in God because I wanted him to know that it wasn't me but that God who had purchased the items for him, I was just the "delivery boy". We talked for awhile and then I asked him if I could pray for him. Afterwards we shook hands and as I was walking away he was just sitting there on the ground smiling from ear to ear. Yet, I don't believe he was smiling half as big a smile as I was. Really! Loving others like Jesus loves them, expecting nothing in return satisfies like nothing else. 

As I was driving home the Lord established a goal for me. Unlike D.L. Moody who couldn't go to bed at night without sharing God's plan of salvation with someone, the Lord impressed upon my heart to make it my goal each day to seek to love someone, anyone in such a way that they are so blessed that their response becomes, "Really." And what I mean by "Really" is that whoever the Lord leads me to share His love with on a day to day basis, my hope is to leave them believing they have met everyone in heaven that day. How I'll know is when they say, "Really?" after being loved with the love of Jesus. Hopefully now it makes sense why Jesus said, "By this all men will know you are my disciples because you have love one for another." It would be much easier to just read people "the 4 spiritual laws" than it would be to love them unconditionally. 

Pray for me and I'll pray for you with this goal in mind today. May every person we meet today be left thinking they just met everyone in heaven after their encounter with us. May they be so overwhelmed by the goodness of God all they can say is "Really?" To God be the glory!


"Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?"

Romans 2:4

I LOVE YOU!


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"How To Spot A Christian"

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"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

John 13:35


Reading my book of the month yesterday the author wrote, "We don't need to go on "mission trips" any longer. Jesus' friends never called them this. They knew love already had a name. Just look for opportunity to love people in Jesus name." I couldn't have agreed more as I thought back over the years and how many times have we sent people on "mission trips" all over the world who upon arrival back home would share without realizing it that they just returned from a "Mission Trip" without saying a word to the people they came in contact along the way about the love of God we have in Christ Jesus. I'm pretty sure there had to be people on the bus ride to the airport who didn't know the love of God. Or how about the numerous people they came in contact while shopping for supplies for their trip. Think about all the waiters and waitresses and check stand people that need Jesus too. Oh, and don't forget the people who work in the airport. There are literally hundreds of opportunities to reach out and touch somebody there, to love them in Jesus name.

The book went on to say, "Instead of saying you're a missionary, why not just go somewhere to learn about your faith from the people you find there and be as helpful as you can be? The neat part is most of the people I know who go on "mission trips" are already doing exactly that. We don't need to call everything we do "ministry" anymore either. Just call it Tuesday. That's what people who are becoming love do." So simple when you think about it. Ministry may best be defined then as, "Loving people in Jesus name today. Any place a Christian goes. Everyone we meet."

We don't have to wait to go on "Mission Trips" any more! Every day is our opportunity to love people in Jesus name. Jesus didn't say people will know you are a Christian by how many times you can share the "4 spiritual laws" with someone. Jesus said, "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35). The best way to share Jesus with people then is by loving them. That's how Jesus got peoples attention. If we go anywhere today we are most likely going to come in contact with people which means we are going to have an opportunity to love them if we so choose.

Let me ask you the same question the Lord asked me. What would your day be like if you knew that you had an opportunity to run into Jesus today during your travels? Would you be excited? As I was studying Matthew's gospel it hit me. You and I do have a chance to come in contact with Jesus every day and not just from spending time in prayer and in God's Word. Jesus said in Mathew 25:35-40, "for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'" Did you notice Jesus didnt say, "you did it for Me" but rather, "you did it to Me". There is a huge difference. There is the "ah ha" moment!

Much of what I and other well intending believers have mistakenly done in our service for God is to misunderstand who we are serving. I use to think when I did something for another person it was me doing it for them, helping out the less fortunate in their time of need. Even my motive I discovered was impure as somewhere in the back of my mind I would think, "I don't really want to do this but I'll help them in hopes that if I ever am in need someone would help me out" not realizing that our serving others is merely an investment in ourselves, something like a savings account. I never realized that when I gave someone food I was in reality giving it to Jesus. I never made the connection that when I bought someone a soda or water who was thirsty that it was any big deal until I realized that every time I did so, it was as if I had bought the drink for Jesus Himself.

Now getting the chance to serve others and to love them in Jesus name has taken on a whole new meaning. Everything is a big deal now! No longer do I see my self in any place of superiority doing something for the less fortunate. Now that my eyes are opened to see that every person I have the privilege of loving in Jesus name by providing them water or food, clothing or shelter is actually an encounter with God Himself, serving has never been the same. The biggest change for me is motive. God has changed my heart. I am no longer burdened but honored for the chance to serve Jesus. I'm not proud but privileged that God would even allow someone like me to serve Him.

Just think, loved one, today you and I have a chance to serve Jesus by loving on thirsty and hungry, naked and sick and imprisoned people knowing that when we do we are doing it to Jesus. And here is some more good news, we don't even have to go half way around the world to do so! We can start right where we are and just love on the people around us and every place we go, anywhere the Lord leads us today!


"Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."

1 John 4:11 


I LOVE YOU!


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Remembering 9/11… "It Seems Like It Was Just Yesterday"

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"But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."

2 Peter 3:8

Today September 11 marks the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our country, and like many of you I too choose to remember those who lost loved ones on that fateful day or as a result of the attacks. Even today, 17 years later, many of the first responders are suffering from terminal illnesses they contracted at ground zero. Whenever I am confronted with human suffering I find myself opening my bible to the book of Job. It seems in studying through the book of Job I come to understand better the problem of pain and grief associate with death, suffering and grief and the difficulty we have to simply just "move on" as some suggest we do when dealing with the death and loss. We must not forget that human beings were not created to comprehend death as we were hard wired by God for life eternal. Death only came into the picture because of the fall of man.

After watching stories of survivors from 9/11 and listening to family members and friends share about their loved ones whom they lost that day I was not surprised when I heard many of the testimonies use the exact same phrase to describe how fast 17 years goes by. Seventeen years might be a long time and yet for many 9/11 families little progress has been made in healing the deep emotional tears of the soul that came with losing someone you love so suddenly, without any time to gain a sense of stability before the crushing news is received that they are gone.

The older I get the more I grasp how amazing the human mind is in its ability to both protect and preserve moments, "frozen in time" as it were with such intimate detail when a person receives the news that their loved ones has been killed suddenly. It's like time stops and yet, even amidst the shock and the chaos, our feelings experience a sort of numbness when tragedy strikes the heart and soul, and the mind seems to work almost independently preserving memories into a special album in the heart I like to call, "It seems like it was just yesterday".

Many of those who were directly impacted by the events of 9/11 and who were willing to share their grief with the world would say one after another during their interview with reporters, "It seems like it was just yesterday" as they recalled the pain and shock that the terrorist attacks brought upon their lives. The events of the day and those that followed are just as real today, seventeen years later as if it happened just yesterday. Like most who watched these made for television specials my heart just ached as I listened to the numerous documentaries that have been created to mark the anniversary of 9/11 each year.

As difficult as it can be to share in others grief its important that we do (Its biblical. Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-4) as each of us at some point in life will be faced with the loss of a loved one, some injury or pain or disease that will alter the course of the life we had hoped for, the one we had planned. What makes 9/11 so unique is how many people suffered the same exact loss at the same moment in time. That only magnified the pain as America stood in horror as the events unfolded right before our eyes making that sense of hopelessness all the more difficult to process. Because so many in our country witnessed the events live on television the scope of the tragedy became national. We suffered a national tragedy together. No two people suffer alike, but all of us have suffered because of the events of 9/11. No one should ever have to suffer alone. And the good news of the gospel is, because of Jesus not one of us needs to.

As I prayed for those families touched by this tragedy the Lord spoke something so clearly to my heart as to why so many used the same exact statement to describe their feelings on the anniversary of 9/11 when they said, "it seems like it was just yesterday". As I thought about it more I realized It wasn't just the pain of the loss that made the day seem still so fresh in these peoples minds. No, on the contrary, something greater than the pain was preserving their memories. It was their love for the one that they had lost that made it seem like it was just yesterday to them. That's right, love.

Love is the reason it seems like just like yesterday, because love remembers. Love has this uncanny ability to take a snap shot with the heart and soul and permanently capture it so that we can recall it on a moments notice. Its why the victims of 9/11 could so easily and vividly recall the events surrounding the fateful day even though with the memory comes tremendous pain. Love is passionate and like it or not passion involves pain. It's why C.S. Lewis penned the words, "Why love if it hurts so much." Yes, loved one, true love involves pain and as well, true love chooses to remember.

In making the point in my own heart the Lord quickened to my mind the story of Jacob and Rachel in the book of Genesis. Remember that Jacob loved Rachel and as the bible says the 7 years he served to earn her hand in marriage (which turned out to be 14 years) seemed like, "just a few days" or you might say, "like it was just yesterday" to him because of Jacob's love for Rachel. Love is so much more than a feeling, for it is love that sustains us when nothing else will and its love that preserves the memories of our lives like no scrap book can. Love allows the heart to take pictures to preserve memories beyond space and time and is why someone can say 17 years later or even more, its seems like it was just yesterday. Think about two old friends who have not seen each other in years. How easy it is for them to catch up and how the memories of days gone by come flooding right back in leaving both to proclaim "it seems like it was just yesterday". Yes, beloved of God, love remembers and its love that fills the gap of space and time. Love really is eternal.

Imagine heaven for a moment today and how it's going to be one day when we (who have placed our hope in Jesus Christ) are all gathered together before the Lord forever. No clocks, no calendars, nothing pressing us, never again needing to say, "goodbye". As we listen and we share with one another and all the saints gathered there I can just imagine the thought that will fill our minds as we laugh recalling only the happy times of our lives, "it seems like it was just yesterday". Oh, the power of love and its ability to not only remember and preserve but to empower us forward in hope. It was Alexander Pope in his, "An Essay on Man" who wrote the words, "Hope Springs Eternal" and its true but even more so, "Love Springs Eternal" because love never forgets because love never fails! Not in this life nor in the life to come.

"And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

1 Corinthians 13:13

I LOVE YOU!


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Don't Worry, Be Happy!

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"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together."


Psalm 34:1-3


Here in Psalm 34 David maps out the clear way which every child of God should approach the day… any day. No matter what we are facing, regardless of the circumstances we might be enduring, the call remains the same. We are called to praise. David here seems to be in dire straights yet he remains steadfast in his devotion to the Lord. This is one of my favorite Psalms in the entire bible and has been quickened to my own heart on more than one occasion when going through what seem to be my darkest hours or difficult days. In those moments each of us has a choice to me, do I succumb to worry or heed the call to worship? 

I have had to decide more than once myself and I can tell you the roads lead in opposite directions. Worry always, 100% of the time drags me down where as worship 100% of the time lifts me up! David's words here have served as my own prayer many times and become the declaration of my own mouth when my current situation would dictate otherwise. I encourage you to make the words of Psalm 34 yours too. The blessings are bountiful for sure! There is something about singing God's praise that lifts even the most discouraged heart to higher ground. 

Worry or worship… doubt or devotion… you and I are left to choose. In and out of season as believers we are called to be prepared to testify of the goodness of our God. Psalm 20:7 reminds us "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God". From the very depth of David's soul he chooses to make his boast in the Lord and it's obvious David's devotion is more than skin deep. David's love for God comes from the very core of his being and he lives to sing His praises…at all times. Try it the next time you feel anxious and are being drawn to worry. Instead of being pulled down, begin to sing God's praises and see for yourself how worship lifts you up. 

David's life serves as a testimony that when we "will " to worship the Lord our burdens are lifted and the pressures of this life are replaced by peace, gloom by gladness, despair by delight. If you are under pressure today and it seems as if life is crashing down upon you let me encourage you to seek the Lord, beloved, and cry out to Him, start to sing. God hears, He is listening and is ready to respond. Notice what verses 4-7 say, "I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them." What promises to those that seek after God. 

Keep reading Psalm 34 and your heart will be strengthened to know… "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing." It's true, friend, "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him…" Like David, lets choose to worship the Lord by singing His praises instead of worrying about things we have no control over. Give your best effort to what you can do and not to those things you have no control over. Put your hope in God, friend, and you will not be disappointed!


"The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned."

Psalm 34:22 

I LOVE YOU! 

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"You've Got A Friend"

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"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."


John 15:13


Dinah Craik wrote a poem titled, "Friendship" that goes like this. "O, the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts, nor measure words - but pouring them right out - just as they are - chaff and grain together - Certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them - Keep what is worth keeping - And with the breath of kindness blow the rest away."

Every time I read that I am reminded of the love each of us has in Jesus. I also read that poem with the desire to be that kind of friend to others. Proverbs 17:17 tells us that a friend loves at all times. God wastes no time in making it clear what a true friend is and what they are not. No matter what we do our true friends remain faithful even when we are not. Thats a Jesus quality why true friendship is such a rare treasure.

I recall years ago something Dr. James Dobson shared on his radio program along these lines, "if you can find one person in this life with whom you can share your heart and soul with and who without reservation or hesitation accepts you without judgement for who you are, you are rare indeed as the majority of people in this life do not have a single person with whom they can confide."

Obviously there are degrees of friendship and what Proverbs is referring must represent the pinnacle of the mountain. For each of us the first person who should come to mind when we think about friendship is our Savior, Jesus Christ the friend of sinners! Proverbs 17 goes on to say that a brother is born for adversity. Some interpret this to say our family members cause us grief but that could not be further from the truth of the text. The brother born here is a gift from God who is to be a comfort to us during our troubled times. 

Solomon wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes on this very point when he penned the words of Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 , "Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken." Did you notice in verse 10 where it says, "when he falls?" Each of us will stumble at some point in this life, we get easily tripped up and yet Solomon reminds us of the wonderful gift of friends who are there in our worst moments and stand by us and assist to get us back on our feet.

Let me ask you, do you have a family member or a friend like this? If so, praise the Lord, cherish them, tell them, and seek to reciprocate the same kindness back to them for they are truly a gift from God, a visible manifestation of His amazing grace to you. Proverbs 18:24 teaches us, "A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." When I read this Proverb an old quote comes to mind, "I went to church to find a friend and found none. I went to church to be a friend and I made many." If you are need of a friend today let me encourage you to begin by showing yourself friendly to others! Don't go out looking for a friend but instead go out to be a friend and you will be surprised how much easier it is!

Why not determine today to take the first step and reach out to others. Take an interest in them; prefer them better than yourself, because that is exactly what Jesus Christ has done for you and me. After all it was Jesus Himself who said in John 15:16-17, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another."

Thank God today for the gift of friendship that we enjoy with Jesus, thank God for the gift of true friends. Thank Him for the opportunity we have to reflect His life to others as we befriend them in His name!


"Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men."

Philippians 2:1-7


I LOVE YOU!


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"No Regrets"

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"And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things."

Luke 10:41


Maybe its because I'm over fifty years of age but life seems to me to be speeding up not slowing down. There are so many things I want to do but I feel like I have so little time to get it all done. I run out of day before I run out of projects. I can relate to Martha and her sister Mary. Remember on the day in question in Luke chapter 10 Martha was busy in the kitchen preparing a meal for Jesus and the disciples who were gathered in her house and while Martha was working in the kitchen preparing a meal her sister Mary was sitting and listening to Jesus speak in another room. Martha got very upset with her sister and went to Jesus to complain and He lovingly pointed out to Martha that her sister Mary had chosen the better thing when she came and sat at Jesus feet. The moral of the story is there is a time to work and be busy and there are times to just sit and listen.

I confess, sometimes, OK, often times, life is hard to figure out as to what we should be doing. From Jesus conversation with Martha in Luke 10 and the little story below I think we do well to focus more on people more than we do on things, especially when that relationship is the one between Jesus and us. When you look back on today I hope and pray you can say, the best part of my day was the time I spent with people not busy doing things, and time with Jesus learning from Him. Enjoy the story! It goes like this…

"Lift up your eyes! You are certainly a creature of time, but you are also a child of eternity. You are a citizen of heaven, and an alien and exile on earth, a pilgrim traveling to the celestial city. I read some years ago of a young man who found a five-dollar bill on the street and who 'from that time on never lifted his eyes when walking. In the course of years he accumulated 29,516 buttons, 54,172 pins, 12 cents, a bent back and a miserly disposition.' But think what he lost. He could not see the radiance of the sunlight, the sheen of the stars, and the smile on the face of his friends or the blossoms of springtime, for his eyes were in the gutter. There are too many Christians like that. We have important duties on earth, but we must never allow them to preoccupy us in such a way that we forget who we are and where we are going." (Story ends)

That's it! We need to look up today, we need to remember who we are in Christ and where we are going (towards Heaven) but just as important, remember to whom you belong! You belong to God and were created by Him and for Him. I think that is why Jesus told Martha in Luke 10 that Mary had chosen the better part when Martha complained to the Lord that her sister had left her all alone in the kitchen to serve while Mary sat and listened to Jesus speak. Jesus didn't condemn serving then nor does He now, as He was the consummate servant. Jesus simply was teaching Martha when you have to choose between a person or a thing, choose the person.

The time we spend with one another and the Lord is priceless, as we know too well that when a person is gone from our lives no amount of money can calculate their worth to us then. Looking up is about having the right focus in life and that focus is on relationships over work. Treasure the moments with people knowing the moments are all we may ever find. Make the most of your today spending time sitting at Jesus feet listening to Him. Make the most of your day serving those whom God places in your path today, those "divine appointments" that become the fruit that proves out we too have chosen the "good part, which will not be taken away!" No regrets!


"But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."

Luke 10:42

I LOVE YOU!


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"The Power of a Promise"

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"And you shall not only show me the kindness of the Lord while I still live, that I may not die; but you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever, no, not when the Lord has cut off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth." So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, "Let the Lord require it at the hand of David's enemies."

I Samuel 20:14-16

A covenant, a vow, and a promise to keep. David, the anointed next king of Israel and Jonathan, the natural heir to the throne of his father king Saul share a love that not many know today in a world that looks for ways out of agreements instead of how to fulfill them. I just read a quote this morning that I cant get out of my mind. It said, "Incompatibility is a choice, not an excuse."

In a society where "fast food" and convenience stores reign and the days of the full service super markets and gas stations are a thing of the past because of the price one would need to pay for service, it's difficult for us to comprehend this kind of commitment and this kind of love. For much of the world, "preferring others" is a thing of the past and no way to get ahead in life today. Just don't tell that to the owners of "Chick Fil A". 

Believe it or not there was a time you use to be able to pull into a service station (they don't call them that any more) and an attendant would come up to your car and ask you how he or she could serve you. They would fill up your car with gas, check your tires air pressure, and even "pop the hood" and check the oil and coolant levels, battery and windshield washers level. And the best part of all, it was free! It was part of the service you were offered as a customer. Oh how things have changed, as those were the good old days! We now live in a world that doesn't want help, at least if we have to pay for it as we opt to find it ourselves if we can save money, and oh yes, we want it now! Thank God for Google and Amazon, and next day air, amen! 

That's why feel good stories like 1 Samuel 20 are refreshing for us because they are more than just feel good, they are do good too. Jonathan loves David as his own soul and has no problem serving him and doing him good. God's kind of love is love in action.

Faithful to our vows is just one mark of a man or woman of God. Let our 'yes' be 'yes' and our 'no' be 'no'. The Word of God reminds us to not make a vow if we don't plan on keeping it. You might say, 'Mike, what if things change?" They will change and that's the importance of prayerfully thinking things through, seeking the Lord and walking in His strength and not our own. God will give us the super natural ability to fulfill our vows if we will seek him for it. Yes, friend, only one thing stays the same and that is God Himself so we need to prayerfully and carefully consider our vows. 

There is power in a promise and God desires our obedience more than sacrifice, and is why we can't make our vows conditional. Thank God that He doesn't enter into covenants with us that have to do with our eternity. We can only receive our salvation based on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ and not our own. Praise the Lord today for our salvation and for our future hope that He has secured for us. I don't know about you, but I thank the Lord that He has been faithful to me even when I have not been faithful to Him. Because God is faithful He will make us faithful too as we allow the Lord to lead and direct our lives as we abide in Him. 

The bottom line is this… If you make a vow…keep it! God will honor you for it and your credibility with others will increase as you do. The best part of keeping our vows is to be able to hear Jesus say to us one day…

"His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord."

Matthew 25:21

I LOVE YOU!


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"You Are Always On His Mind"

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"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."

Jeremiah 29:11


You know that feeling you get when someone sends you a card, a letter, an e-mail, or calls on the phone or maybe stops by unexpected simply because they wanted to convey a message to you that said, "I was thinking about you." I am sure most everyone has at one time or another, and if you have, then you know it's nice to be remembered. But, did you know, loved one; there is something even better than someone telling you they had been thinking about you? The better thing, the much better thing is to know that there is someone that loves you so much that you can't be forgotten, ever! You are never past tense but always in the present tense. That's how we are to God. He is very much aware of us, today, and I pray that thought overwhelms you as it did David in Psalm 139:6, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it"

Do you recall going on a field trip as a child or visiting a professional or government building and you can't help but notice those pictures that are often found in the foyers or lobbies of these buildings all lined up in a perfect row. Pictures of the founders or original owners and or it's founding Board of Directors who made the project possible to begin with. People walk past these pictures without even noticing any of these "once upon a time" very influential people who have since passed away or moved on. Yes, loved one, life goes on… and sadly, people forget, but not God. God is mindful of not only what we do, God is even aware of our thoughts too.

Yes, loved one, God never forgets us, we are always on His mind. If you look outside today you will see something beautiful within His creation that He has placed there just for you, something He wants you to see today that reminds you, "I'm thinking about you, I'm here for you" and if you take time today to open up His Word there is something He wants you to hear today too, something that will speak to your heart to remind you that He is with you, that He is always with you. Listen for His voice and consider the words He speaks from the pages of your bible as they are designed to be a light unto your path and a lamp unto your feet.

Realize today, loved one, receiving Christ is more than having our sins forgiven. Coming to Christ brings us into relationship with God. Just think; no matter where you go, or what you are going through, God wants you to know, He loves you, He has always loved you. God will always love you and there is nothing that can separate you and me from the love of God that is ours in Christ Jesus. God's love for me and you is never past tense, beloved of God, His love is always in the now. What a gift we have in Jesus! No wonder its called the present!


"The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying:" Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you."

Jeremiah 31:3

I LOVE YOU!


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"Labor of Love"

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"For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister."


Hebrews 6:10


Two sayings come to mind this morning as we celebrate Labor Day weekend. The first is, "if you love what you do you'll never work another day in your life." And the second is, "You will never see a hearse pulling a U-haul". Those two thoughts put into perspective that the best use of our finances comes not from the things we might accumulate in this life but the investment we make in the lives of others. After all, the only things that are eternal are, "God, the Word of God and the souls of men." That's why Jesus calls us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness telling us all these other things will be added to us. "These other things" Jesus refers too are the necessities of life. The Lord knows what we have need of even before we ask.

There is another adage that comes to mind today too that says, "You can't take it with you" referring to our possessions and we all know its true. God never said there was anything wrong with owning stuff and being rich in the worlds goods is not a sign of God's blessing anymore than being poor or going without "things"is a sign of holiness.

Remember, Jesus was poor by the worlds standards but His wealth is incalculable. Everything you see around you belongs to Him. Everything you and I possess in this life is merely on loan to us and for a very very short time we learn from reading the book of Ecclesiastes. Don't read this wrong, loved one, it's not unspiritual to own a car, a house, or to have nice things. Living without "things" doesn't prove our spirituality any more than owning nice things proves we are spiritual. The question for us all is what in your life is really worth laboring for? What are you working for? Is it people, places or things? Are you seeking to advance the kingdom of God or building your personal portfolio? Don't forget, we can't take it with us but when we invest our treasures in the kingdom of God its like sending it on ahead. What we store up in heaven will be there one day when we arrive!

The apostle Paul reminds us that the best things in life worth laboring for are people, any and all people. Not only laboring for the elect but for all people in this world, lost and found so to speak. Love in the Gospel is always associated with people not things when it comes to God and in the apostles mind love is worth the effort, it's worth the sorrow and it's worth the pain we will go through to reach others with Christ's love. Simply put, the labor of love is what motivates God's children to do what we do for others knowing that God is glorified through our lives as we live for Him, seeking to bring glory and honor to Jesus. We don't work to earn God's favor, we labor diligently because we already do have His favor when we placed our trust in Jesus.

The best jobs in the world are service provider jobs where we get the opportunity to minister to someone's need else in Jesus name. Be it making a cup of coffee for someone or preparing a meal or educating others in some way. When we seek to serve and use our job as a means to ministering to others its then that our work becomes a labor of love because the goal of our work isn't just earning a paycheck but better still, loving people and serving them in Jesus name. Make today your own "labor of love day" and commit to reaching out to those around you seeking to serve them in love, with the love of Jesus. It's that spirit and attitude that puts the love back into our labor!


"For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works."


Matthew 16:27


I LOVE YOU!

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Developing 20/20 Vision

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"For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."

1 Corinthians 2:2-5

It has been well said that believers have two sets of eyes, the eyes of faith and those of our flesh and each sees the world entirely different. One set can hardly see whats in front of us while the other set can see far into the future. I was reminded of that truth this past week when I read a quote by Max Lucado and changed a word in it so it would read like this, "Your eyes see your sins. Your faith sees your Savior." So, in reality then there is no such thing as "blind faith" for true faith, saving faith is what makes it possible to see in the spiritual dimension. The question begging to be asked today, loved one, is which set of eyes are you and I going to be seeing the world through today? Are we looking through the eyes of our flesh that only see the limitations or are we looking through the eyes of faith that can see endless possibilities?

It might be Friday today but there is still much ahead of each of us to do, many different roads to travel down, and choices to make. How will you decide which way to go and what to do? The book of Proverbs reminds us that there is a way that seems right to a man but its end brings forth death. How then can we avoid going down the wrong path? Great questions that the bible provides the answer in one word, "FAITH", which defined means to trust, love and obey God choosing to trust His Word and to walk by faith when we what we read in our bibles does not match up with what we see with our natural eye.

Remember the writer of Hebrews declared regarding faith, "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (yet) (Hebrews 11:1). Yes, loved one, we need faith to make it through the day for the bible goes on to say, "Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is God and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). The key then is, to seek Jesus and keep your eyes fixed on Him. 

So then, how do we develop the eyes of our faith and seek Him practically? Again the bible holds the answer for us when it says, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). Isn't that just like God? We develop the eyes of our faith by seeking Him and listening to His voice, hearing the promises of God and accepting them for what they are, truth, every word. Who would have ever thought the way to correctly see would come to us by way of hearing? Its true, loved one, faith comes by hearing not by seeing.

When we look at our lives through the eyes of our flesh we see all kinds of limitations and obstacles in our way but when we look at our lives from heavens perspective, through the eyes of our faith the barriers and the blinders are lifted. Faith is the only sure way to travel down life's roads! Believe it or not, the bible says we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, at least all the things God has in store for us and has called us to do. The key then is doing exactly what Max Lucado made mention of when he penned those words, "Your eyes see your sins, your faith sees your Savior."

Don't focus on your past, on your sins or on your failures, friend, focus of Jesus Christ today and see your life through His eyes, believe His promises and walk in the plans He has declared He has for you. When you do you will soon see your future more clear regardless of the battle you are facing. As well, you will sense His peace and His presence because what will become most clear to you is that you are not alone, that God Himself is with you every step of the way. Thats the best part and what makes the journey worth while! 

Remember, the best way to travel down life's roads is by faith, listening for the voice of the Lord Himself as He speaks to us through His Word and illuminates our paths and makes our ways straight. Could anything be more exciting and adventurous? Now I know why people say, Thank God its Friday! 

"For we walk by faith, not by sight."

2 Corinthians 5:7

I LOVE YOU!

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"Make The Most of It"

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"To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach the unsearchable riches of Christ"

Ephesians 3:8


It was Philips Brooks who once wrote, "It does not take great men to do great things; it only takes consecrated men." The definition of the word consecrate is: "dedicated to a sacred purpose."*. That means in other words, to have one focus throughout life, in every relationship and in every job, in every experience you find yourself in. Try to imagine that kind of dedication to everything you do in life as that is God's intention for every one who has determined to follow Jesus. God's will, His heart for me and you friend is to be completely dedicated to following Jesus in everything we do.

Christians who do great things in this life are living in light of the next as their thoughts and actions are shaped by the One who gave His life for them. Jesus is the filter of a pure and holy life and when we seek His will and to walk in His purposes above everything else we can and will accomplish amazing things in His name. There is a sacred purpose for your life today, loved one. I pray you seek it, tap into it and dedicate yourself to it wholeheartedly, and experience for yourselves what Francis Havergal expressed this way:

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord to Thee.

Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.

Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 says, "I returned and saw under the sun that, The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill…" In other words it is not the most talented Christians who best serve the Lord, but rather those whose lives are consecrated to the Lord daily and who with their mouth and with their deeds say, "Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord to Thee." Just imagine the amazing things God can and will do through our lives as we do! Just imagine the scene of the worship we will be part of one day!

"Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!" And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!" Then the four living creatures said, "Amen!" And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever."

Revelation 5:11-14

I LOVE YOU! 

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"No Greater Joy"

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"And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life."

1 John 5:20

Like many of you, I love reading my bible but not for the reasons one might think. I am not in love with my bible, nor do I worship my bible. My bible contains the words of the One I love and they point me to Him, remind me of Him, provide for me His instructions and commands. My bible gives me direction, and provides me comfort and strength. Most often when I read it I am convicted by God's perfection which causes me to reach out to Him. 

I don't ever want to be satisfied with just the words of my bibles pages, I prefer the person the words speak of. Its one thing to possess a book and another thing to be possessed by the author of the book and that's exactly God's desire for you and me, loved one, that we abide in His Words and that His Word would abide in us.

My bible belongs to me and yet my comfort doesn't come with owning a bible per say but rather that I belong to God. The words of my bible would be meaningless to me, nothing more than wisdom and poetry if it were not for the fact that I know the author, I know the One who makes all the promises it contains and is faithful to each and every one that He makes to me and to you too. Yes, loved one, the words of our bible are faithful and true but only because the One who spoke them is too. God never breaks His word to us and is why we can stand on the words that make up the pages of our bible but lets not forget its not the bible that we worship, its Jesus Christ, the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us, the One the world got to behold and the One we will one day soon behold again!

Until the day we see our Savior face to face its good for us to remember those old sayings, "Love the giver more than the gift", and "Seek His presence more than His presents." Yes, beloved of God, let your bible point you to the One its written about. Let each story bring you to the One who loves you and has given His very life for you. When you read your bible let it always bring you to a person, to God Himself. The bible always magnifies the One behind the Word, the One who gave us the Word, the One who is the Word. Notice what the Psalmist declared when he said in Psalm 119:105, "Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path." He didn't say, the word, he said "Your" word. The word has value and meaning to us because they are the very words of God. Many religions have Holy books but only Christians and Jews have the Words of the One true God.

Keep that in mind to day as you read your bible, as you study and pray. The bible was given to us by God Himself to lead us to Him. Our bibles serve us best when they do exactly what the Psalmist wrote of in Psalm 119:105 and that again is to light our path, the path that brings us to Jesus. When you read your bible today read it to know Him, not just facts about Him, but to better know and understand Him. That's the joy of owning a bible, knowing You Jesus!

"Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me."

Philippians 3:12

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"A Masterpiece of the Puzzle "

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"Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

1 Peter 2:4-5


Browsing my Twitter feed I saw a quote that said, "Our whole life is solving puzzles" and it was as if a light came on for me. I had to laugh at myself as I thought, "Now it's starting to make sense! I understand why my life is so easily messed up at times, I hate puzzles." The bible does say that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by God and I take that to mean we are complicated, made with lots of different pieces, physical, emotional as well as spiritual. 

The apostle Paul writes in the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 12 that the church is like a human body, made up of all kinds of parts and by God's design they all fit together… somehow. Life is a mystery to me much of the time, at least my life is any way so when I read that quote I took comfort in knowing that in all truthfulness I don't need to solve any puzzles nor do you, loved one. The puzzle of my life and yours has already been solved if you are in Christ. The key then is to allow God to piece us together and make us whole. After all, God is the one who said to us, "Be holy as I am holy" and the word "holy" in the bible means to be complete.

Pondering that quote, in many ways the bible is to me like the box a puzzle comes in. Most often times the puzzle box has a picture on it and if you focus on the picture on the box the puzzle comes together in time. It does for me any way. In our bible is page after page that explain all the pieces of our puzzling life and the only way to put it all together so to speak is to focus on the picture the bible reveals, and the picture from Genesis to Revelation is Jesus Christ. Our life is hidden in Christ and the purpose of each day, of every situation and circumstance we find ourselves in is to be transformed into the image of Christ. To be conformed into Christ's is the goal and yet none of us can accomplish that in our own strength. Like I said, each day of our lives is like a piece of the puzzle. To see it all come together happens as we submit ourselves to the Lord, the One who manufactured the puzzle to begin with.

Everyone who has ever put a puzzle together knows the best way to get it started and complete it is to first find the edge, a corner. The bible says Jesus is our edge, He is the chief cornerstone and He sets all the other pieces in their proper place. When we are aligned with Jesus the puzzle of our lives begins to fall into line and become more clear. If you are confused today or things don't seem to make sense in your life today let me encourage you in this. The answer isn't doing more or trying harder. The key to solving your life puzzle is to surrender to Christ and allow Him to piece you together one day at a time. 

All the pieces are accounted for and the Lord's timing is perfect to bring each of our lives to a desired end, an end that will one day reveal our lives as a master piece, His Masters Piece! Trust the Lord and submit to His loving hand as He fashions and molds your life (puzzle) one piece at a time, knowing that when He is finished with you you will be blown away at what you have become. You are and will always be His masterpiece, His priceless treasure and when Gods work in you is complete, you will look a lot the Jesus! 


"from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."

Ephesians 4:16

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"Naked and Not Ashamed"

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"A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

Proverbs 18:24

No, this isn't a devotional about marriage or even love as much as it is about friendship. Reading C.S. Lewis, something he said caught my eye, not physically, but much deeper, as his quote caught my eye relationally. The C.S. Lewis quote I'm referring to said, "Eros will have naked bodies; Friendship naked personalities."​ The C.S. Lewis quote brought to mind another quote, one by Tim Redman who said, "Many things will catch my eye but few things will capture my heart." There is nothing like friendships that capture our hearts and for good reason.  

True friends are as rare as finding buried treasure and their value is priceless. A true friend is someone you can bare your heart and soul without hesitation nor reservation knowing that they can be trusted, even to the point of death in that they would rather die than betray you. This is exactly the kind of friendship we read about in 1 Samuel 18:1-4 between David and Jonathan where we are told, "Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day, and would not let him go home to his father's house anymore. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt."

I believe that is why David wrote concerning his friend Jonathan upon hearing the news of his death in 2 Samuel 1, "I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; you have been very pleasant to me; your love to me was wonderful, surpassing the love of women." What made the friendship between David and Jonathan so special was that came at a high price for each of them. For David, he was chosen of God to replace Jonathan's father as the king of Israel so to trust the son who would be the natural heir to the throne of a rejected king could and would cost David his very life if Jonathan were ever to turn against him.

For Jonathan, to befriend the man who would replace his father on the throne would be viewed as an act of treason and the consequence for such an act would be no less than death as well. Both men had much to lose in forging a friendship but both were willing to take the risk out of the mutual love and respect they had for one another. Friendship has a way of doing that as David and Jonathan discovered. True friendship knits you together beyond the surface; deep friendships knit you heart and soul. Even at the risk of losing ones life. Oh to have a friend who would give their very life for you! The good news, loved one, we do have such a friend.

Everyone desires a friend they can trust, someone they can open up too, be vulnerable with and without holding back out of fear of rejection or betrayal. David and Jonathon shared this special bond of friendship. Jesus is that kind of friend and He invites you and me into this type of relationship with Him for it was Jesus Himself who said in John 15:15 to His disciples, "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you." 

That's what Jesus does in and through His Word, again and again. He reveals Himself, His purpose and plans for our lives. Jesus doesn't hold back from us but He makes known to us the Father's will. Jesus even takes friendship even further and to a level few people would even begin to understand when He said in John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."

Yes, loved one, oh what a friend we have in Jesus! To think, Jesus willingly took the nails for us, His friends, when He went to Calvary's Cross and died in our place. Jesus laid His life down so His friends could live! Sadly in life, people use people in a vain attempt to find life, so its no strange thing when someone seeks to lay our life down in hopes that they can live and yet when we study the life of Jesus we see He chose to lay His life down for us so that we could live. That's what a real friend does and its exactly what Jesus did for you and for me. Jesus died so we could live! Oh what a friend we have in Jesus!

The book of Ecclesiastes tells in chapter 4 verse 10 regarding friendship, "For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up." I like a paraphrase of the verse that says, "Friends will pick you up when you fall, and if they can't, they'll lay down beside you." Not only did Jesus lay down beside us, better still, He laid His life down for us so He could take it up again for us too! Yes, its true! Oh what a friend we have in Jesus! 

"A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity."

Proverbs 17:17

I LOVE YOU!

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"I Hope You Dance"

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"Happy are the people who are in such a state; happy are the people whose God is the Lord!"

Psalms 144:15

"TGIF" in one way shape or form will be thought, uttered, or stated millions of times today around the world as another week comes to an end. I am certain my wife is in that category as running an office for a school districts maintenance and transpiration department, the first week of school for her is worse I would think than two a day practices in football in August when its over a 100 degrees outside. My prayer with her this morning before she left for work was that she would hear music today that would make her soul dance. It's really hard to physically dance while driving an automobile but I'm hoping she has time today to read this and maybe it will cause her feet to dance from under her desk.

I remember a few years back and how when a particular Crowder song would start to play on the radio or her playlist on her I-phone she would immediately start to dance. Its almost intuitive that when the music begins to play, she begins to dance to the beat of the music. It's cute watching her as she can be doing just about anything and without stopping what she is doing she will just start to dance. I have watched, OK, I've caught her dancing to this song while cooking in our kitchen, and even as she waters her plants on our back patio. I have even witnessed her dance while riding her bike when this particular song has come on and trust me, that is no easy feat but she has balance like a cat and makes it look like poetry in motion when she does. This song is one of those songs that just gives her happy feet to go along with her happy heart and soul.

There's something about worshipping the Lord with the dance that when its done with the right heart and attitude brings God happiness the same way watching my wife dance to this Crowder song brings a smile to my face too. These moments remind me of what I believe King David was experiencing as he brought the ark of God to Jerusalem. It tells us in 2 Samuel 6:14-15, "Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet." Being in the presence of God brought David so much pleasure he couldn't contain himself, the joy had to be expressed and dancing was the method he chose.

Anything that glorifies the Lord ends up being really good for us too. Watching my wife dance, especially when she isn't aware that I am watching, as she is off in some far and distant place in her own world, my heart is happy for her as I know when she dances that she is in a good place, a place where peace is filling and ruling her heart and mind and her dancing is simply the "pressure release valve of her joy" that can not be contained and that she is experiencing in that moment and overflowing from the inside out.

I recall listening to an interview years ago now with the Christian group Newsong and one of the band members said something that reminded me of what happens when my wife dances. He said, "Worship is the thank you that cannot be contained". It has to come out, it must be expressed some way somehow and dancing before the Lord can be a beautiful aspect of our worship as it really can be an outward sign of an inward reality. It was for King David as he danced before the Lord and I know when this particular song plays it is a form of worship for my wife too. Hopefully today it can become an expression of worship for you too.

Yes, loved one, today of all days and not just because its Friday, I hope you dance. I hope your heart is filled with the goodness of God that only Jesus can bring and that as He fills your heart overflowing with His presence as you spend time seeking Him today. As the song plays I pray that all your cares, all your troubles melt like lemon drops and your feet just get so happy you are unable to stop them from expressing themselves in worship and you find yourself dancing before the Lord.

The good news today is it makes no difference what day it is! Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever! That's what the song below seeks to remind us today and is why I am sending it to you, with the hope it takes you to your happy place in Jesus! If someone by chance asks you what you are so happy about you can always tell them what the scriptures declare, "Happy is the man, (or woman) whose God is the Lord! If Jesus is the Lord of our lives we really do have something to dance about! TGIF, I hope you dance!

Oh Happiness
David Crowder Band

From the full streams
Of Your care
All who come
Begin again

Hard or friend
Rich or poor
All who need
Need fear no more

Such a thing to give away

All regrets
Let go, forget
There's something that
Mends all of that

Such a thing to give away

Sound the church bells
Let 'em ring
Let 'em ring
For everything can be redeemed
We can be redeemed
All of us (song ends)

"Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom!"

2 Chronicles 9:7

I LOVE YOU!


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