Life Along the Way

A Daily Devotional

"Danielle's Legacy"

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"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing."


2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NKJV)


"What makes a legend? Is it what someone did when they were alive, or how they're remembered after they're gone? In either case there is no question that Danielle is a shinning star! Though its been 5112 days or 13 years 11 months and 30 days depending on how you look at it since Danielle Marie Gould stepped into eternity at the age of 17 there still is yet to be a day that goes by when she isn't thought of, missed and her absence felt by those that knew and loved her. Today is one of those days her not being here is felt a lot more than usual as today is the day when her Mom hosts a "Purity" event in Danielle's memory for women of all ages. The event is known as "Danielles Legacy" and is an annual event held on the Saturday closest to the date Danielle went home to be with Jesus. Before Danielle's passing she had approached her mom and asked her if she could put together a bible study that Danielle's friends and their moms could attend and do together with Danielle and her mom regarding sexual purity and what the Bible teaches about relationships.

Because she loved people Danielle was very much aware of the pain many of her high school friends were experiencing due to the poor choices they were making regarding their sexuality and she understood from studying the Bible that God has a plan for relationships that both glorifies Him and brings satisfaction to men and women, young and old alike who reject the worlds definitions of marriage and family and instead choose to follow Jesus. 

Danielle went home to be with Jesus before she and her mom could do the study, so Sherrill, Danielle's Mom determined to fulfill her daughters wish by hosting an annual event and a subsequent small group study on purity in relationships in her daughter's honor. At first the group consisted mostly of the girls in our church and their moms and many of our singles. As the years have continued on the event has expanded to include girls of all ages, junior high, high school, college age and single, married or divorced, regardless of anyones beliefs about purity or God, an invitation is extended. 

Danielle's dream for wanting to do a bible study about purity was with the hope of reaching as many of her high school age girl friends as she could, especially those who had no idea of God's love for them and the plans He has for those who place their trust in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. Danielle's dream has been realized many times over now thanks to her mom and dads commitment and dedication to hosting the event each year.

My dictionary defines legacy as 1. an amount of money or property left to someone in a will. synonyms: bequest, inheritance, heritage, endowment, gift, patrimony, settlement, birthright; formal benefaction. I remember the Lord impressing upon my heart just a couple days after Danielle "left" to be with Jesus as Danielle's Dad would say, a thought so much deeper, so much more profound than simply leaving money or property behind after someone dies. I felt as if the Lord was saying to me, "A legacy isn't necessarily something a person leaves behind when they die for others to carry on as much as it is the part of the person that lives on in those they leave behind." 

You see, loved one, heaven isn't about stuff, its about people. As one of my favorite pastors often says, "you never see a hearse pulling a UHaul" and even if you did it would only be a joke as everyone knows you can't take your stuff with you when you die. Danielle took the Great Commission seriously and she made it her goal each day to reach out to someone and invite them to receive Christ and to have their name written in the Lambs Book of Life too! 

When Danielle stepped over the threshold from this life into the very presence of God she left something for us that money could never buy. She left us a model, an example, sweet memories of a life well lived for her Savior. She left an indelible mark on the hearts of her family and friends and even complete strangers as she sought to love God and love people with the love of Jesus. Danielle wanted everyone she knew to know Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord and her life was a mission and the earth her mission field. The Old Testament book of Daniel tells us, "Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever" (Daniel 12:3 (NKJV).

Danielle was wise beyond her years, her radiant smile could light up a room when she entered it. Call it her legacy, to me she is legendary, by Biblical definitions she's a superstar, one whose life shines as bright today as ever it did during her 17 years this side of heaven. She spent many days before her car accident pointing people to Jesus and even still her story remains the same. Danielle knew personally and shared openly that pure joy is found in Jesus! Hope is in Jesus, help to become Mrs. Right as she waited and prayed for her Mr. Right came from Jesus. Forgiveness is always available to those who seek it because of Jesus, and purity is possible as we walk with Jesus. Salvation is and will always be the gift from God. And yes you guessed it, all because of Jesus!

"What makes a legend? Is it what someone did when they were alive, or how they're remembered after they're gone? However you choose, Danielle will always be a legend to me. Her legacy will continue on as people come to know that her story is in all actuality His-story. An ordinary girl who lived an extraordinary life for the glory of God. Her light is still shinning and her testimony is still pointing people to Jesus every time its told. As I think back over her life today I realized she never said goodbye and thats actually part of the good newsAt her memorial service we didn't say goodbye to her either. Instead, we simply said, "see you soon Danielle" knowing she is more alive today than any day she walked this earth. Because, "to be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord" her death wasn't the end and though we count the days since she's been gone, all 5112 of them as of today, we too who have placed our hope in Jesus are one day closer to seeing her again in glory. And what a day that is going to be then and what a comfort that knowledge is to us now! 


"Remember the word to Your servant, Upon which You have caused me to hope."

Psalm 119:49 (NKJV)

I LOVE YOU!


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"You Can Do Hard Things"

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"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Philippians 4:13

Sometimes the simplest statements mean the most and stay with us the longest if not for a lifetime. That's how the one's above are for me from life and from the bible and they are what I want to remind you. Of all the things I could encourage you with today this quote I read some time ago now sums up my feelings pretty well. "If ever there is tomorrow when we are not together, promise me you will always remember, you're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." Some might remember that quote from Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh. Yes, that famous quote is from a children's book but then again God has called us to child like faith. I read the quote while doing some on line research on the topic of "courage," and in doing so I happened upon a website for cancer patients and the following few paragraphs were written by a mother with cancer on the eve of her daughters sixth birthday. She wrote,

"Today is my daughter's birthday party; tomorrow she will be six. She is my youngest so it's especially hard to believe that she is already six years old. I love the Pooh quote above, and I would guess that most parents do, too.

Having cancer means rethinking everything–everything you believe, everything you planned, every way you live your life every day. You question not only why you got this terrible disease, but how you are going to live whatever remains of the life you have. Whatever invincibility delusion you had remaining from your teen years is now gone–you know, for sure, that you are indeed mortal. Former nebulous future plans become urgent. The future itself matters less than the present moment, perhaps for the first time.

Perhaps the worst part of all of this has been the fears I have had about my children, and about leaving them before they are old enough to live without me. I'm more determined than ever not to do that (after enduring parenthood I consider it my inalienable right to enjoy grand parenthood!), but being sick forced me to recognize, for the first time, that it could happen.
But instead of dwelling on it, I'm just going to do everything I can each day to enjoy who they are and to help them on their path to becoming independent adults, and hope for the best. At the same time, I hate watching them grow up so fast!

Hopefully they will grow up knowing how deeply they are loved and how very proud I am of them and can carry that within them into life, no matter where they are and where I might be." (Story ends)


Oh how I wish I could sit with that mother and help her to see that our life's goal isn't about being independent but rather being dependent, dependent upon God knowing that with His love and grace we really can face anything that comes our way and even better than doing hard things, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us! The truth is we can do nothing on our own that's good or lasting apart from Jesus Christ, but with Christ's help we really can do all things! How many things? All things, loved one, that's right, all things! In other words, with Christ's help nothing is impossible!

It's sad how we so easily sell ourselves short and say, "I can't do this or I can't do that" when it comes to THE hard things each of us must face in life. If only we knew that God is available to help us, to provide us the strength and the courage so that we can say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". Those are powerful words, we need to hear like they were the last words someone whom we loved spoke them to us from their deathbed. You can imagine the scene. With eyes full of tears knowing these were their last words to you, they would loving say as they held your hand, "Don't ever forget, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you", as they slip away into eternity.

I have this tendency that maybe you can relate to when it comes to dealing with tough things. I tend to try to pick the "hard things" I can do and avoid the "hard things" I don't feel as if I can do. God always lovingly reminds me that in fact, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". The Lord has shown me again and again that if I want to do something I don't really look at it as being hard, even if in reality it is. And likewise, if I don't want to do something, I view it as next to impossible, even if it is relatively easy. Make sense? The truth is, we can say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" Today I want to encourage you my friends that no matter how you see your life, no matter how big or small the obstacles may appear to be, whatever you are facing, you can, you really really really can do all things through Christ who strengthens you! The key is look to Jesus, trust Him, love Him and obey Him!


"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us"

Ephesians 3:20

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"The Secret's Out"

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"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


Had a brother in the Lord ask me what I thought the "secret" to a great marriage is? I love questions like that because I might not know the answer to many questions but I know I know the answer to that one. I am not talking about having an opinion about something, I am talking about having the answer and the correct answer at that! I said with a huge joy filled smile and excitement, "That's easy, being loved by Jesus is the secret to a great marriage". I went on to explain to my friend, "A lot of married people want to take the credit themselves but I have come to know in my life the only good thing in me comes from Jesus and I have come to know as well, "I can't give you what I don't have" so I need desperately to receive God's love if I am ever going to be able to love my wife the way God calls me to love her and the way she needs me too."

My friend understood exactly what I meant and I pray you do too, loved one. The secret to anything good is love, and the secret to love is God, as 1 John 4 reminds us, "God is love" and those that love know God and are loved by God long before we ever love anything or anyone else. 

Be aware, lust and love look a lot alike in the beginning, for a season of time maybe, but in the end lust always burns out where true love just keeps burning bright as ever as the apostle Paul wrote in the book of 1 Corinthians, "love never fails". That's why the bible reminds us that love is patient. Time will always tell and God has loved you since before time began. There has never been a time when God has not loved for He is love! Love then is not something God does, it is who He is. Love is God's nature, its His character and everything He does is in love.

Do you have a desire to be more loving, or are you feeling unloved or unappreciated today? If so, try spending time with the One who loves you above all others, the One who has loved you since before you were born, and who looks forward to every conversation you have with Him and never forgets a single word you say. Seriously, if you and I really understood how much we are loved by God it would just blow our mind, knowing we are always on His mind.

To think that God's love for us never changes. He doesn't love us any more when we do good and He doesn't love us any less when we stumble and fall. Knowing this, we can rest in the love of God today! Take time and consider His thoughts towards you as you read God's Word and allow your heart and mind to be filled with the love of God. As we do His love naturally pours into our lives then out on to all we touch as His love saturates how we think, talk and respond to others. May you have a great day knowing you are loved. That's Good News any day of the week but especially TODAY!

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love."

1 John 4:7-8


I LOVE YOU!


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"Stay Hot"

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"To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven"

Ecclesiastes 3:1


I confess, I have watched more baseball this year than in every other year of my life and for me, well, that's just weird knowing me and my baseball history. My wife is the baseball fan in our family and yet before the game ends she is usually fast asleep leaving me to watch the game for her.

One thing I do thoroughly enjoy when watching professional sports is discovering a player who has passion. Passion gets our attention and makes us want to watch. As a pastor when I think of passion I am reminded of the famous preacher D.L. Moody out of Chicago who once said something like, "If a man has passion people will come for miles to watch him burn". It's true. No one enjoys mediocrity.

Professional baseball is one of if not the most difficult sports ever played and not just because of the grueling 162 game schedule. Hitting a baseball is nearly impossible (it is impossible for me) when you look at it scientifically. Consider that a major league batter must discern the vertical location of the pitch within ~1.5 inches for a vertical object that's moving at several feet per second in the plane perpendicular to the batter's line of sight. He also must swing during the correct 0.03-second window for a fastball that arrives at the plate in less than 0.4 seconds. A good change-up mind you, if it fools the hitter completely, will have an arrival time delayed by as much as 0.06 seconds, causing the hitter to misjudge his timing window completely. Timing is everything!

I would also add that ascertaining within one inch the path of an object (a baseball) moving at ~90 mph towards you, while at the same time timing the arrival of the object to within ~0.03 seconds (from the pitchers hand to the catchers glove), is at the limits of human ability (beyond mine). That's why even the best hitters in baseball can't consistently hit line drives on fastballs, even if that's all they're looking for. It's a very specialized skill, and one where it's all but impossible for a mortal being to hit line drives in more than 20-25% of at-bats for an extended period. That translates to about one line drive in fair territory for every 15-20 pitches they see. Yes, loved one, timing is everything!

Yep, hitting a baseball is no simple task and watching these professional baseball players day in and day out makes me appreciate how difficult the game really is and also why I love watching individuals and teams that play with passion. In a game that is so technical its easy to see how this "Game" can become a "Business" and lose its flavor. What I am learning about life from watching baseball is the need we need to never lose our passion.

I'll admit it, some of my favorite movies in recent years have been about baseball. The movie, "The Rookie" reveals the passion it takes to succeed. Actor Dennis Quaid plays high school baseball coach Jim Morris who was pursuing his child hood dream of playing in the major leagues at almost forty years of age. Married and with children he tries out one more time and against the odds gets drafted by the Texas Rangers. He spends the first few months in the minor leagues before getting the "call" to join the "dance" as they say. During his stint in the minor leagues there is this scene where he is lonely and frustrated and is just about to give up and quit when he walks across the parking lot of the cheap hotel the team is staying at and he watches part of a little league baseball game in progress and is reminded of something he forgot, something that when he remembered it, it changed his attitude and his performance dramatically. He remembered what he loved about baseball in the first place and that is that it is a game, a game that he loved and was passionate about until this moment in his life.

The next day rejuvenated by a sense of purpose and passion (in the movie), Jimmy Morris says to one of his teammates as they suited up in the locker room, "Do you know what we get to do today Brooks? We get to play baseball." I loved the line, "we get to play baseball". His infectious attitude was immediately picked up by his teammates and even the fans as passion is something you can see in others and it is transferable too, it can be caught.

You see, loved one, it's easy in life to get bogged down with the mundane of every day life and lose sight of the big picture. For baseball players it might be to lose sight that baseball is still a game and what gets you to the dance is what keeps you there too. Passion and love for the game. It's the same in life too. We can just live and go through the motions or we can choose to live, to realize that today is a gift that will never come our way again. We have one shot at today, one trip to the plate you might say. We can stand there and just look at what is thrown our way today or we can go at the day with passion and zeal and take a swing, and not just swing but to keep swinging with all our heart. From watching baseball this year I have come to believe that a strike out isn't a bad thing if you go down swinging. I have yet to yell at the television when a guy goes down swinging. Theres nothing more frustrating than watching a guy just stand there and be called out on strikes leaving the bases loaded.

With all my heart let me encourage you today! Don't just stand there looking today, loved one, go down swinging or better still, make contact with the Lord and the people around you. Enjoy the day and remember life is short, a gift from God and it was meant to be lived to the fullest. Appreciate what you have for tomorrow it can all be gone. King Solomon said it best when he declared in Ecclesiastes 3:1, "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven". Timing is everything in baseball and in life and you were born for such a time as this. Make the most of your today and remember, "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift and is why its called the present."


I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor--it is the gift of God."

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

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"Refrigerator Reminders"

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"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."

Philippians 4:8

If you are like most people you have something on the front of your refrigerator. My wife has pictures of our family on ours, drawings, works of art from our grandchildren. I use to think by placing pictures and drawings on the refrigerator served as reminders for my wife and I but as our grandchildren grow and I see their faces light up when they discover their latest picture or their newest drawing on the refrigerator they are reminded that they are loved! Our refrigerator serves as a photo album as well as an art gallery for all the world to enjoy. At least those in our world.

I throughly enjoy checking out the refrigerators in the homes I have the opportunity to visit as you can learn a lot about a person from what they have on their refrigerator and not just what's in it. Some people put pictures of the people they love on them like my wife does. Others put quotes and proverbial statements that serve to remind the reader of some great truth we all most likely need to take to heart.

Besides the pictures and hand made treasures, my favorite refrigerator decorations are the ones that have little sayings that make me think. Below are a few of my favorite ones. Here are some good old sayings that I hope make it to a few new refrigerators in hopes that when they do they help to make some ones day just a little brighter.

"Be kinder than necessary for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

"One day or day one. You decide"

"When things are good, say good things. When things are bad, say twice as many good things."

"Love thy neighbor" is a command, not a suggestion.

"Choose to see the best in others"

"When life is sweet say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter say thank you and grow."

"Joy is not a matter of what's happening around you, but inside you."

"Today is a really good day for having a really good day."

"If God has a refrigerator it has your picture on it"


The above are just some good little proverbial statements to help make you think about the day and to encourage and inspire you to look not only make the most of your day but to seek to make someone else's day with the words you speak as well as the deeds you do. Everybody really is fighting a battle of some sort, loved one. For some it is the fight for life and for others still it is another day to fight the good fight of faith. No matter what battle people are in a good word can go a long way in encouraging others to hang in there. It was Mark Twain who once said, "I can go three months on one good compliment."

Yes, loved one, our words, written or spoken serve to lift the human spirit and to help fill the heart with hope. Its been well said, " a man can go 6 weeks without food, 6 days without water, 6 minutes without oxygen but only 6 seconds without hope." Remember, loved one, as long as there is a God in heaven we have hope in this world. Let God use your life today to bring hope to someone else. The day you make might just be your own!


"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."

Ephesians 4:29

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"A Walk Is As Good As A Hit"

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"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Matthew 11:28-30


The word "slump" is almost synonymous with sports so I wasn't surprised when I came across a book on bicycling that talked about going through slumps in training. Reading made me more aware that life itself has its own unique slumps. We have all experienced them in life in one way or another. There is only One who is always on His game, only One who never has a bad day and that is God Himself and is just one of the many reasons why we do well to follow Him.

You see, loved one, life this side of heaven is filled with various types of slumps, we all experience the ups and downs of every day life in some way shape or form. Its inevitable, but thank goodness most of us don't have our slumps broadcast on national television for all the world to see unlike professional athletes do. People might envy the money these athletes make but few have any idea of the enormous pressure they feel to perform. Try to imagine what it must be like having millions of people watching you strike out every day while you are in the midst of your slump and many of those watching are reporters (professional gossipers, ha) who just can't wait to broadcast for all the world to hear, see and read. Just thinking about it can put you in a slump, ha!

As I read the book (with much interest) the author spoke of breaking out of a slump by "mixing things up", by breaking up our otherwise normal routine. One of the biggest reasons the author said we experience slumps has little to do with mechanics and everything to do with our familiarity with what we are doing. Just like in sports, if your life becomes all too predictable, so familiar that you can go through the motions of your day with your eyes closed as it were then you are most likely heading for a slump if your aren't already in the middle of one.

We all need routines but most of us don't realize that the human neuromuscular system adapts to specific movement patters. In exercise this can work for you but it can also work against you. Adaption to movement patterns ensures proper form in lifting patterns in weight lifting, or swinging a baseball bat or a golf club. In sports this is a good thing for a season but the writer went on to say that, "Selye's GAS theory states, if the training stimulus remains the same, improvement stabilizes and may even drop off."

In short being so familiar with something takes away the edge, the growth that comes with being stretched and puts us on the path where eventually we will experience a slump. The key is to not get too comfortable as to lose our edge.

As I sat considering a slump in sports I could easily make the connection to life as well, especially the believers life. We all need disciplines but what we don't need is a rut. I once heard it said, "A rut is a coffin with its ends cut out." The author of the book I was reading wrote, "A slump is like a freight train. You always know when one hits." The author was implying we won't necessarily know how a slump happens but we will be fully aware of it when it hits. 

It's true, loved one, slumps are a part of life and cannot be avoided. Growth in weight lifting occurs when we push the muscle past the point of fatigue and it is forced to grow. In life we grow when we are faced into situations we are not familiar with and they stretch us beyond our capacity to carry them and we are forced to cry out to God to help "spot" us (using a weight lifting term) or better still to give him the burden all together. The Christian life is best lived in places where our comfort zone is completely removed and total dependency on Christ is required.

You might be thinking then, if a slump can't be avoided how do we get out of one once we find ourselves in one? Thats a great question, and in short the answer is break up your routine. For the Christian it means to walk in the Spirit, to let God lead our lives. The book suggested trying something different, change your approach and that is good for the child of God too. Romans 12:1-2 puts it like this, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." 

The key to breaking out of a slump is to break out of our routine and walk by faith and not by sight. Yet, sadly, most people, and many athletes are somewhat "superstitious" when it comes to their routines. I have read stories where an athlete won't even wash their uniform if something good happens as they think that if they can control the circumstances of their efforts doing everything the way they did when they enjoyed success they will experience the same results again. To think someone would continue to wear the same uniform day in and day out without washing it thinking that might help them win. That idea just stinks, ha! Actually, its that exact mentality that plants the seeds for the next slump. Trying to create a routine so we don't have to think. 

Remember Einstein's Theory of Insanity? "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result". The key to getting out of a slump is adaptability. Every day is new, every day is different. As followers of Christ it's learning the art of contentment which causes us to relax and not press so much or push or try so hard. The beauty of the Christian life is we are accepted not because of what we do but because of whose we are. We belong to God and are part of His family. Unlike sports where you compete for your position on the team, with God, you can perform better because you and I can rest assured, secure in the fact God will never leave us nor forsake us. In other words if we are in Christ Jesus God will never kick us off the team. We don't have to compete for our spot! 

As believers we can break out of our slump often times by simply focusing our eyes back on the Lord and what He has done for us. Religion is based on man's performance but the Christian life is based on Christ Jesus performance for us when He went to the Cross in our place. In Christ we are offered peace not pressure, an invitation to walk with God that is based on His performance not ours. The pressure is not on us to perform, we are simply invited to follow Him. That's the Good News of the Gospel and is what is responsible for helping billions break out of their slump in life. Trusting in Jesus, and receiving Him as Savior and Lord, and walking with God as we are lead by His Spirit is how to break out of a life slump.

In sports no individual is required to carry the whole team as their isn't even and "I" in team. In the Christian life Jesus carries the weight, the burden too. He is the captain of our salvation and its in and by His strength we accomplish any good that we do.

Yes loved one, you can break out of your slump today! Focus on Jesus, His Word and prayer, resting in the finished work of the Cross and the life that is yours because of what God has done for you in Christ. Take the pressure off yourself by giving your burdens to Jesus and literally feel them being lifted as you do. 

Don't change your mechanics, don't trade what you do know for what you don't know. Simply change your routine today. Give up the control of your life, give up control of your day to Jesus and follow Him and in no time at all the slump will be broken. Remember, Jesus specializes in setting us free, even free from the slumps of this life. Walk with God today knowing in baseball terms, a walk is as good as a hit any day!


"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."

Galatians 6:9

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"Just 5 Minutes Longer"

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"Love never fails."

1 Corinthians 13:8


Like most people with an email account I receive notes from friends and fellow believers with bible verses and quotes attached to them as well as devotionals from ministries I have signed up for that are meant to encourage me and strengthen my walk with Jesus. One such encouragement I received came from a subscription on leadership and it was a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that said, "A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer."

As I was thinking about what the quote meant the Lord quickened a passage of scripture to my mind from John 13:1 which says, "Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end." it was the last sentence that encouraged my heart and I pray it does yours today too, loved one. It says Jesus "loved them to the end". The implication is not that some how Jesus love ended for us when He went to the Cross. No, it is far better. The text reminds us that Jesus has never stopped loving us, He never quit on us, even though all quit on Him. Jesus is no ordinary man as He is the Son of God.

As I thought about Jesus words so many scriptures came to mind as well as stories I have grown to appreciate from life about staying the course and finishing the race before us. Most of us have heard reference made to a speech that Winston Churchill made regarding quitting. It took place on October 29, 1941, when United Kingdom (Great Britain) Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited Harrow School to hear the traditional songs he had sung there as a youth, as well as to speak to the students. This visit became one of his most quoted speeches, and not so much because of the content or the quality of what he spoke of but due to distortions that evolved about what he actually said that day.

The myth is that Churchill stood before the students and said, "Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up." Then he sat down. In reality, he made a complete speech that included words similar to what are often misquoted. What he actually said in his speech that day was, "Never ever, ever, ever ever give in. Never give in, Never give in. Never give in." What Winston Churchill was exhorting the students to do that day was to persevere, to stay the course, and not to compromise. Churchill wanted the students to understand what another great leader and innovator of his own day had said. It was Thomas A. Edison, who knew from personal experience that, "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."

If anyone understood failure and the desire to quit it was Edison. On a cold December night in 1914, Thomas Edison's factory burst into flames that consumed all of his current projects and much of his life's work. At 67 years old he sat on a grassy knoll and watched everything he had worked for being destroyed in front of his own eyes. His wife was worried that he would become distraught over the loss and she sent their children to find their father who was sitting there almost as it were with a grin on his face watching his life's work being consumed before his very eyes. The next morning, Mr.Edison looked at the ruins of his factory and said of his loss: "There's value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God, we can start anew and now more intelligently."

Have you ever felt as if your life was like watching a warehouse burn down and all you can do is sit by hopelessly and watch? Been there done that! If you have ever suffered loss you probably have felt that to some degree. The good news this morning, loved one, if you are a child of God, you can, like Thomas Edison thank God and start anew as the book of Lamentations so graciously reminds us in chapter 3:22-23, "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness." Did you get that, loved one, in a world where everything is one day going to burn up in a puff of smoke a few things will remain, and that is the mercy of God and His compassion for you and me as His faithfulness that is so great it never fails, it never gives in!

Are you discouraged today, loved one, has this world left you wanting, is there nothing that seems to satisfy you and you just feel like giving up? if so, remember the Lord! When Jesus came to earth His first public sermon was from the book of Isaiah chapter 61. You need to read it for yourself and meditate on it and let the words soak deep into your soul. It's the Good News of the Gospel, as Jesus stood reading he was proclaiming to His listeners that the Savior was here! Brighter days were now ours because God was among His people now like never before in human history and was about to accomplish something so amazing that it would change the course of mankind. The long awaited Messiah that the saints of old had lived their entire lives looking and waiting for had finally come to rescue His people, to provide what Isaiah 61:3 declared nearly a thousand years before, "To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified."

I don't know about you but waiting a thousand years for anything is a long time and most of us would have long given up and quit before then and yet the Lord reminds us that the hero's of the faith, the men and women of the bible that we so admire and who we read about in the "Hall of Faith" in the book of Hebrews didn't. Hebrews 11:13-14 declares, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland." They are hero's and yet not one of them had actually received what they sought and waited for. The world and the devil consider us fools to be patient and wait and to trust because we are as they say, "wasting our time." Yet, what made them hero's in God's eyes and what set them apart from the ordinary is that they didn't lose hope. No matter the situation, or the circumstance each of the hero's of the bible faced, they continued to live with hope and they held on to it. Like the quote above about bravery, they just held on five minutes longer than everybody else.

Make this your prayer today as I make it mine too, loved one, "God grant me the faith and the strength to hold on five minutes longer, to live in the light of Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." In Jesus name!"

​ 
"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)

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"Our Good His Glory"

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"And He led them forth by the right way, That they might go to a city for a dwelling place."

Psalms 107:7


Hold onto this thought as you read on, "Everything God does in our lives is for our good and His glory." Maybe you find yourself questioning that statement? If so keep reading! The Lord reminded me ever so gently again this week that "Why" questions are most often a substitute for trust. When our life takes us on a road we had not planned for or one we had not desired its easy for us to become anxious and to ask ourselves and most often God, "why is this happening to me?" as if the answer would somehow make us feel better about the unpleasant situation we find ourselves in. Knowledge doesn't provide true inner peace, but God does!

We tend to learn rather quickly in our journey of faith that our confidence is many times in our circumstances and not actually rooted in God Himself. When we feel like we are in control of our situation we feel at peace, but are we? True peace, the peace of God has nothing to do with our situation or circumstance, real peace comes from an abiding presence, that I am with God and He is with me. Psalm 139:11-12 reminds us, "If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me," Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You." I cant see in the dark nor in the midst of the darkness of my own despair and thats Ok because God can the psalmist assures us! God has night vision!

Proverbs 16:9 makes plain, "A man's heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps." God is directing our paths and often times His leading is in a direction we have no desire within us to follow but none the less, God is leading us on a journey of trust. I find when my life is as I imagine it to be my stress level is at a minimum and my anxiety is almost non existent. When I am standing on the mountain top and as it were can see for miles on end and I feel as if my faith cannot be moved, but place me down in a valley low where darkness is all about me and I cant see a foot in front of me I tremble inside. The Lord has shown me that my confidence is all too often in situation and circumstance rather in God Himself. I forget the promise of God, "Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth" (Isaiah 40:4).

If you are like me at all you find yourself asking, "how did I get here and where is God?" when life is difficult and the way hard. The good news today is, God is wherever you are if you are a child of God and as Psalm 107 reminds us, "And He led them forth by the right way." "Right way" can be translated, "straight way" too which is interesting when we find ourselves on a road less traveled. Could God actually be leading me and you down a road of hurt and heartache, one filled with pain and sorrow? The answer is yes as the road you are on, understand it or not is the "straight path" and God is using that road to bring us to Him.

This life does not provide an easy path for the child of God, only a straight path. The easy road won't prepare us for glory, the life of pleasure and leisure never makes us fit for heaven. This life is a test to teach us how to trust, how to walk by faith when sight would tell us otherwise, and the call of God is to hold on when everything in our flesh cries out to let go.

The apostle Paul writing in Acts 20:24 knew that in his future were "chains and tribulations" and still he could write with confidence, "But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God."

How is it that the apostle Paul didn't have to ask "why questions" regarding his own life? What is it that he knew that you and I often forget? Philippians 4:11-13 reminds us, "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Paul learned that in a world filled with change there is one thing that never changes and that is God.

God is always with us even when we can't see Him or feel Him. God is always working on our behalf even when the situation and circumstance of our lives would dictate otherwise. What the apostle Paul knew and what we need to constantly be reminded of is, God is in control. Its scientific fact that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line but when choosing our paths in life we often choose the path of least resistance. God however does not. Our lives are on a straight path leading us right into the very presence of God, loved one, and every perceived obstacle is nothing more than an opportunity for God to display His awesome power in your life and mine, for Him to demonstrate His ability to bring us through anything. Anything?

Romans 8 says it all when the apostle penned the Words of God, "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" (Romans 8:31-35). Like every child of God we must learn that even when the waves of this life crash down on us they are used of God to wash us further upon the Rock, to bring us closer to the shore of our salvation.

Why is it then that we need not ask "why" questions of God today, loved one? In Romans 8:38-39 the apostle Paul gives us the reason when he writes, "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." That's it, when we understand that God is with us we don't need to know the answer because we know that whatever God is allowing in our life He is doing for only two reasons and two reasons only. Its for my ultimate good and for His ultimate glory!

"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"

James 1:2-4


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"Becoming Something New"

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"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."


Ephesians 5:31


If there has been a single passage of scripture that has dominated my week so far its this one in Ephesians 5:31. From pre-marital counseling, to couples with years of married life under their belts, the admonition of God's Word hasn't changed nor the process. Marriage is the process of leaving and cleaving that results in fusion. Some say its like a welder welding two individual pieces of metal into one. The joint or union is the strongest point. Others say it's a lot like child birth. It stretches you and creates tremendous discomfort and pain at times as it transforms both husband and wife, ultimately bringing forth something beautiful. The transformation is something you cant even imagine until you experience it for yourself and then suddenly, your life is changed forever. You are never again the same because you are something new! 

Many a couple are mistaken regarding marriage in believing the goal of marriage is to make us happy. God's goal of the Christian life which includes marriage is to be conformed into the image of Christ. There are numerous passages that speak of being conformed into the image of Jesus Christ, Romans 8, Romans 12, Philippians 3:10 and 3:21. Each speaks of a transformation where our likeness takes on the likeness of Christ and what a beautiful transformation it is. I think we would all agree, when our lives become a true reflection of Jesus, we will be very happy!

The practical day to day goal of marriage is to be conformed into one, no longer independent but interdependent, to become something you could never become being single. Marriage is the pinnacle of all human relationships and defined biblically is the sacred relationship between one man man and one woman as God uniquely created them, for the purpose of procreation and fruitful companionship with Him and one another. You see, loved one, its in the marriage between man and woman that we see a type and shadow of the Godhead in oneness. God is one and man and woman the bible teaches us become one in Him. Jesus said, "For this reason (marriage) a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."

Becoming something new in marriage is a joyful experience and yet at times it is painful as we go through the transformation process. I have a song on my phone that came up while I was riding my bike that I remembered sending to my wife years ago now on our 28th wedding anniversary while we were celebrating at the coast for a few days. 

The very first line of the song hit me as this week has been very difficult for me personally in dealing with the attacks of the enemy in my own life. As I thought about the dark cloud that was forming over my head this past Monday that was seeking to weigh me down the Lord reminded me in this song of the bright light I have in my wife, the gift of her life that affirms yet again, "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" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NKJV).

"Fade Into Me"
David Cook

All I feel now is the weight of the day
I need you with me to push it away

When we disappear into each other
Colors appear and bleed into one

Fade into me, fade into you
The two of us melting together
Until we become something new
And we can't escape
The world chasing to find us
Both of us hidden from view
You fade into me

When I'm broken, you're the one thing I need
Like an ocean, I feel you crash over me

We disappear into each other
Colors appear and bleed into one

Fade into me, fade into you
The two of us melting together
Until we become something new
We can't escape
The world chasing to find us
Both of us hidden from view
You fade into me

Let go, fall in and drown in the moment with me
Sink in till we start to break

Fade into me, fade into you
The two of us melting together
Until we become something new
We can't escape
The world chasing to find us

Oh fade into me, fade into you
The two of us melting together
Until we become something new
We can't escape
The world chasing to find us
Both of us hidden from view
Fade into me
Fade into me....
Fade into me... (song ends)

Yes, loved one, the beauty of marriage created by God is the ability for man and woman to be transformed and to become something new in life. The process doesn't end on our wedding day but continues on every day until we meet Jesus face to face one day! For me, thirty five years and three beautiful children and three beautiful beyond description, wonderful grand babies (as of this writing) serve as my reminder today of what it is to become one, to as the song sings, "Fade into me, fade into you, The two of us melting together, Until we become something new."

As I listened to the song by David Cook, Jesus prayer in John 17 came to mind when Jesus prayed that we might be one in Him. I can almost hear the Lord inviting me and you to, "Fade into Me fade into you, the two of us melting together, until we become something new". Obviously the "we" is us, you and me, as God never changes. We become one in Him! The same is true in marriage. Give yourself completely to it, hold nothing back. Allow the heat of life's trials to melt you together until you become something new! God loves making all things new! May He start with me, may He start with you! 


"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

2 Corinthians 5:17

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"A Heavenly Perspective"

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"For the LORD is the great God, and the great King above all gods."


Psalm 95:3


Albert Einstein once said, "There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." Reading that quote brings a word to my mind. The word I am thinking of is the word, "perspective". We have all heard the expression, "is the glass half full or is it half empty?" The truth is, it's a matter of perspective. I have been learning a lot about perspectives these last few days. I realize I don't see as clearly as I once thought I did. I am not talking about my eyesight; I am talking about my insight. Eyesight can be corrected rather easily with glasses but insight is a matter of our spirit and our soul that can only corrected by heart surgery, the kind the Lord does that results in a change of heart as well as a change of mind and a change a will.

Are you aware that what you think bout God is the most important thing about you. How you and I see God has everything to do with how we will live our lives each and every day. Do we see Him as holy and true, everlasting and sovereign over all, caring and omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent? Or, do we see Him as hard, uncaring, and uninvolved in the affairs of mankind, distant, ready to criticize and to pouch on us when we fail? It cannot be over stressed, how you and I see God has everything to do with how we will relate to Him as God and even more so, how close we will walk with Him.

Today, I have high hopes for you that you would see that we serve a BIG God. He is good. He is good all the time, loved one! Why is our God above all gods as the psalm declares? Because our God is the only true God! Think of who you serve today and the hope and the possibility that is in Jesus Christ for those who believe. Consider this, we serve the Creator of the universe who by His mouth spoke the heavens and earth into existence. He is our Savior, our Deliverer, our Redeemer, our Healer, our Advocate, and the one who is called Provider as He alone meets all our needs. He is our life and He calls us friend!

Listen close, loved one, you might not understand all that you are going through in life today. I know I sure don't, and in all honestly no one does except the Lord. But this I do know, friend, Our God is the God of revelation and if you will call out to Him, He will come and meet with you right where you are. Getting a hold of Jesus is easier than dialing 911. God is our strong tower where we can run and find refuge from this old world. Yes, friend, how you see God has everything to do with how you and I will serve God. Whatever obstacle is in your way today know this, God is bigger than it. Remember the words of Psalm 121:1-2, "I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth." God is bigger than the mountains we must both face and climb!

The key to victory today is simple. Don't focus on the size of your problem, change your perspective today and focus on the size of your God. Get in the Word of God and read for yourself. Better yet, let the Word of God get into you! Do more than read it, seek to apply it. You will soon discover that nothing, absolutely nothing is too difficult for our God. Regardless of how big the mountains you are facing, remember, God is bigger than everything He created.

Something is going to get the best of you and me today friend and I pray it is God. Lets determine to give our focus to the Eternal One and not temporal and lesser things. I am reminded almost weekly, "what matters 100 years from now is what should matter right now". The point is, truth never changes! And all that will matter 100 years from now is what did you and I do with Jesus? Let a vision of God dominate your mind today, friend, and see how that effects your day. I know you will be blessed because you will "see" for yourself, that your life really is a miracle because…

"You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."

1 John 4:4

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"The Early Bird And The Late Worm"

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​"Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed…"

Psalm 25:3

Decisions, decisions the old saying goes. What if I am wrong? Can I miss the will of God? Great questions to ask when deciding on what to do. I love that little old saying that goes, "It's the early bird that gets the worm". It has been used often with regard to discipline and diligence. Yet, did you know there is another saying that uses the same characters to teach the exact opposite concept? It goes like this, "It's the late worm that misses the early bird." Sometimes there are great advantages to waiting, especially in life when it comes to waiting on the Lord.

There is a book titled, "The Contemporary Christian" that deals with the concept of "Vocation and Service" to the Lord and how the Lord goes about preparing men and women for His service. Sadly, many a good man falls by the wayside by being impatient and not trusting in the Lord. In the book it said, "It is a mistake to be in a hurry or to grow impatient with God. It took Him about 2000 years to fulfill His promise to Abraham in the birth of Christ. It took Him eighty years to prepare Moses for his life work. It takes Him about twenty-five years to make a mature human being. So, then, if we "have" to make a decision by a certain deadline, we must make it. But if not, and the way forward is still uncertain, it is wiser to wait. I think God says to us what He said to Joseph and Mary when sending them into Egypt with the child Jesus: 'Stay there until I tell you' (Matthew 2:13). In my experience, more mistakes are made by precipitate action than by procrastination."

A few months ago now I sought council from one of my mentors about some very important decisions I needed to make and his advice to me has been priceless. He told me after listening to me in detail that the best thing I could do was wait. Understand loved one, that advice stood directly in opposition to my own heart and what I personally believed the Lord was showing me at the time and I told him so, and he told me that was all the more reason to trust him (my mentor) and the Lord, and wait. Thank God I did, and he was exactly right in what he said the end result would be. Think or say what you may but the Word of the Lord stands, "Love is patient". Not just sometimes, all the time.

I learned a valuable lesson that day from meeting with my mentor that has transformed my life and my trust in Jesus as I learn to wait on Him. Love is patient, child of God, just consider the heart of God towards you and me. Trust me when I say, "opportunity may only knock once but temptation leans on the doorbell." Be patient as you wait on God to work in your life. You are a masterpiece, or as the book of Ephesians reminds us, "God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works that He prepared beforehand…

Did you get that? "God prepared beforehand", and that beforehand scripture speaks of is from eternity past. Just thinking about God's sovereignty blows my mind. God is working on our behalf and the best thing we can do today is to wait on Him. Rest in the Lord, beloved of Jesus, trust in Him and know that His ways are high above our ways and that's what makes Him God and we the sheep of His pasture. Waiting on God is always good though its far from easy as most of us would admit that patience hasn't had its perfect work in us "yet". So, God, being all knowing continues to place us in situations and circumstances in this life where we must choose to wait. I know its hard and the enemy might even accuse you of being lazy as you wait and trust in the Lord.

Take it from me, from someone who knows first hand from failing to wait, it takes much more effort and energy to clean up the mess from not waiting on God than it does to having nothing to clean up after because we were waiting and trusting the Lord. Consider Abraham for a moment, the father of faith who couldn't wait for the promise of God regarding he and Sarah having a son. A son that God Himself promised them. In their impatience they set out to "help God" and produced an Ishmael, and the world has never been the same since.

Yes, loved one, the best things in life are the things God desires for each of our lives and are received not by our works but by God's grace. If you believe this is true then join me today, hurry up and wait on the Lord knowing…

"But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."

Isaiah 40:31


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"Hope Wins"

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"But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope."


1 Thessalonians 4:13


When the apostle Paul contrasts the way the child of God deals with sorrow he does so by contrasting it to the way those without God deal with theirs. For the child of God we have hope and hope is as Andy Dufresne wrote to his friend Red, "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies." The apostle Paul had just reminded the church in Thessalonica that a day was coming when the heavens would open up and Jesus would rapture His bride away to be with Him forever, both those who were alive as Paul wrote as well as those who had fallen asleep and were buried in the grave. Because our hope is real the apostle Paul instructs us to comfort one another with these truths.

Studying the book of Job we learn that quickly that pain, suffering and sorrow are no respecter of persons and that we all hurt, we all suffer and experience sorrow in this life in varying degrees. What makes us unique from one another is how we deal with it. Some ways are good, others not so good. Some people's methods of dealing with pain and grief are just down right destructive. I am humbled each time a hurting person allows me in the sacred ground that surrounds their heart and shares their story. It's the part of being a pastor that I enjoy most as not very many things compare to being able to provide comfort to hurting people.

Below I'll contrast how the world has taught us to grieve and as well I'll share with you some proven ways God leads us to healing. Six wrong ways to grieve and six ways we can grieve right. May we each choose the right way. Grief is a part of life, yet it doesn't need to define our lives. We need God's help in grieving God's way.

1. The world teaches us to, "Bury Your Feelings". Often times the first thing someone says to us when they see us crying is, "Oh, please don't cry" or "You shouldn't be crying". As children you might have had a parent say to you, "Stop your crying or I'll give you something to cry about" if they thought your tears were senseless.

1. God says to us, "Feel your Feelings". We were created in the image of God, spirit, soul and body with God given emotions. If God didn't desire that we cry when touched deeply Jesus would not have cried Himself at the tomb of Lazarus or over the nation of Israel at their rejection of Him as their promised Messiah, or in the Garden of Gethsemane. Tears are the natural expression of a tender heart.

2. The world teaches us to, "Replace Your losses". (Run from your pain). An example might be, a child has a pet die and starts to cry and the parents say, "don't cry honey, we'll get you a new puppy". This reinforces the belief we should not cry but as quickly as possible move on and replace our loss.

2. God says, "Review the Loss". Mourning is a healthy aspect of living and God even set aside specific allotments of time under Jewish law so the people had ample time to mourn their loss. To heal properly we need to feel the effects of our loss, to appreciate fully what we had. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to talk about the loss with others and to write about it reflectively, and pray about it, slow down the pace of your life for a season of time and resist the unhealthy urge to speed up. None of us can out run the pain forever. Sooner or later we'll have to stop. The best time is now not then.

3. The world says, "Grieve Alone". When we need people the most we tend to withdrawal from them thinking its best to not burden others with our pain. We might have even been told when we wanted to comfort someone we love when they were hurting, "Don't bother them now, they need to be alone" which only reinforces the belief that when we grieve we should do it alone.

3. God says, Grieve in Community. (After Jesus death the disciples gathered together in an upper room). One of the blessings of being a family is being there for one another during times of loss so that the family members can grieve together. All throughout the bible God calls us to share our burdens with others, not to carry them alone. "A friend loves at all times but a brother is born for adversity". There is nothing like having family and close friends who are there for you when you hurt. Don't grieve alone. Reach up, reach out!

4. The world says, "Time Heals All Wounds". After bypassing the first three steps here the world says to us, "just give it time, you'll get over it" but for many the pain never stops, the pain never ceases and like a deep infection it only gets worse with time if not treated.

4. God says, "Only the Holy Spirit Can Truly Heal". Jesus on the night before He went to the Cross to die for the sins of the world He told His disciples to not let their heart be troubled. He could say that because Jesus would provide for them and for us, The Holy Spirit, "to be with us", "along side us" and "in us." Jesus said He would send us the Holy Spirit who is called, "The Comforter". Jesus knows we need comfort to heal and God has provided it for us in a person. If you are in pain, dealing with sorrow and suffering turn to God. Pray and ask God to give you too the gift of His Holy Spirit and let the Spirit come to you and bring you what only God Himself can.

5. The world says, "Live with Regret". The world says to us that the past is the past and there is nothing you can do about it to change it. Just live with it or just forget it if you can.

5. God says, "Share Your Regrets", express them, to God and to others. The first thing Jesus calls His disciples to do is repent. Because God knows our heart, when we repent, when we are truly sorry for the past and the regrets each of us feels its as if God says to us, "I know your heart, I know that if you could go back and fix or change the situation you would, but you can't. But what you can do is move ahead. I died for you on Calvary's Cross, I took your sin and its shame so that you could be free. You are free today because forgiveness is found in Me. It's mine to give and I give it to you, go now and sin no more". God knows if we could go back, if we could turn back the hands of time as it were we would change the situation. Its why pouring our heart out to God is best. He knows us, He knows our heart and His peace and comfort are like no other!

Share your regrets with others too. Find someone who will listen to you and if you cant find someone to share them with consider writing out your regrets then read them aloud as if you were reading them to the person with whom you have the regret. The important thing is, don't carry your regrets, get them off your chest, out of your head and heart and experience for yourself God's amazing healing grace. No matter what might have happened to us, we can make peace on our side of the equation. Romans 12:18 puts it like this, "If it is possible, as much as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." We can't change our past, we cant change what people think and say about us but what we can do is change our thoughts and feelings about our regrets. Let them go, give them to God.

6. The world says, "Never Trust Again". We have all heard the expression, "Do it to me once shame on you, do it to me twice, shame on me!" The problem with building our walls so no one can get to us and hurt us is, once we complete our walls to protect us from others, we are stuck, we can't get out. Remember loved one, isolation is hell.

6. God promises, "I will never leave you nor forsake you". Even if the world walks away from you God won't. I love the saying, "I didn't know Jesus was all I needed until Jesus was all I had." Its true, friend, when you hurt and you feel abandoned and alone, as if no one cares and no one is there. Remember, Jesus is there for you, He is always there for you. The bible again and again reminds us, "Those who trust in the Lord will not be disappointed." God is there for you and not just when you hurt but He is for sure there when you do. You can trust Him.

The only sure thing in life is God and when we make Him the center of our lives we can live without the fear of being alone and for good reason. God cannot die, He cannot break, God doesn't wear out, move away, change His mind about us. God is not vulnerable! He is the same yesterday, today and forever! And the best part is He is standing at the door of your heart today knocking, waiting for you to open up your heart and let Him in. Answer the door!

"Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God."

Psalms 43:5

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"Lost Without Her"

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"He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD."


Proverbs 18:22 (NKJV)


I woke up wide awake this morning at 3:00 a.m. still adjusting to living in another part of the world these last two weeks that is nine hours ahead of our time zone. As I was reading in the book of Psalms I began to pray for my wife and her first day of being back to work after our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary vacation to London and Paris and places in between. I know going back to work is always hard after being on vacation and because there are so many things that only my wife does in the course of her job I am certain her desk will be piled high and possibly a bit overwhelming.


As I was praying for her tears began to flow and I couldn't stop them. It wasn't just that I was feeling sorry for her for having to go back to work, (though I do wish she never had to go to work but being a two income family she does) I felt sorry for me. I knew I was going to miss being with her throughout the day as I had these past couple of weeks. Our lives are pretty hectic with work and ministry and tending to all the needs of our ever growing and spread out family, so the time I get my wife all to my self, just me and her is rare. Our vacation just reinforced so many reasons why I am so thankful to God for blessing me with the wife He has. Of all the experiences I enjoyed on our anniversary vacation, just being with her was my most cherished memory. But the lesson the Lord kept reminding me of almost daily was how lost I would be without her, literally.


The Word of God has much to say about marriage and most anyone who reads the Bible on a regular basis is familiar with most of the passages. God created marriage with a purpose, He knew that it was not good for man to be alone, so He created a "helper" who would be suitable for man. Thus, God created woman. One of the many needs marriage was intended to fulfill is our need for companionship so that we would not have to be alone in this world. Traveling around the globe I saw very many lonely people, and not just lonely but lost and lonely. You could see it in peoples eyes regardless of what continent you were on. I found myself feeling sad for complete strangers as my wife and I walked along the sidewalks hand in hand, with her fingers interlocked between mine. I cant even recall the number of times I thanked God for my wife while on our trip.


When we began to discuss our trip months before going my wife kept asking me what I wanted to do and see and I always had the same response. I would tell her, "whatever you want to see and do is what I want to do. Just being with you and watching you enjoy the trip will be my satisfaction." At times that response frustrated her because it put the burden of planning on her, all on her (though a friend of ours who works in the travel industry in Israel got us in contact with a travel agency in the UK who booked all our flights and hotel rooms along the way).


Every day in a part of the world we had never been before, and in a countries where we didn't speak the language, my wife had the mental stress of trying to get us from point A to point B because not only did our trip include seven different airline flights, but as well, numerous bus, train, subway, taxi and boat rides too. To say our trip was an adventure isn't an exaggeration at all. Every day I kept thinking to myself, "If I lose her I'm dead" as I had no idea regarding the intimate details of where we were headed. I had placed my trust in her in working out the details and was there for her when we encountered a speed bump of some sort and she needed help in figuring something out that wasn't expected or was uncertain. But seriously, I would be lost without her.


Life is made up of a series of tests that the Lord allows us to take until we pass. Marriage is just one of such tests. Those who pass the test are those who see their spouse as a gift from God Himself. God knows each of us better than we know ourselves. He knew what we needed when we first got married and as well He knows what each of us will require as we grow older together. For me, after following my wife all around the United Kingdom and France these past two weeks I can humbly and graciously say with all my heart, "I would be lost without her" as Proverbs 18:22 is so very true in reminding us, "He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD." I know because I am typing this from the comfort of my own home in the United States. She got me home safely! 


"An excellent wife is the crown of her husband…"


Proverbs 12:4 (NKJV)


I LOVE YOU!

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"Raise Your Aim"

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"Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them."

Hebrews 11:16

I have always been drawn to the ministry of D.L. Moody ever since I gave my heart to God and one of my favorite quotes of his is, "Aim at the earth and you will miss heaven, make heaven your aim and you will get the earth thrown in". I am asked periodically how do we keep going when life hurts and disappointments and trials get you down? The answer is easier than you might think. Raise your aim! That's right loved one, raise your aim towards heaven. Look up. It was Abraham Lincoln who once said, "I can see how a man can look down upon the earth and be an atheist but I cannot comprehend how a man can look up int the heavens and say there is no God." Lincoln wasn't implying that we stare at the clouds but that we look beyond them.

The writer of Hebrews puts it like this, "By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude–innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them." (Hebrews 11:8-16).

You see loved one, the reason we should be talking about heaven is not because we are getting old or are dying or as some say, "about to meet our Maker" but because faith in our present struggle is sustained only when we have the hope of a better and brighter future. Let me repeat myself here. Faith in the present struggle is sustained only when we have the hope of a better and brighter future. In the case of the believer we have a glorious future in store for us, one whose architect is God and builder is God. Its this knowledge that a helps us hold on and not let go, to walk by faith and not by sight. If we make decisions based on what we see and how we feel eventually our lapse in faith will take its toll on us.

Jesus calls His disciples to abide in Him and asks the question of us, "will the Son of man find faith on the earth when He returns?" Will you and I still be standing and trusting in Jesus Christ and believing His Word or will our love grow cold like the world around us? The only way to know for sure is to fix our eyes firmly on Jesus and on our place in heaven now. We need to talk openly about Jesus and the glory of heaven that awaits us knowing as we do it will create within us a longing that this world cannot satisfy. Yes, beloved of God, the goal of today foe those who believe is to look up, to raise our aim towards heaven knowing as we do His love will pull us through.

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

Matthew 6:33

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"Being Prepared For His Presence"

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"make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. And I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words."

Hebrews 13:21-22


Hopefully by now like me you have or are figuring out that this life is nothing more and nothing less than a dry run, a walk thru, a dress rehearsal for eternity? Like I love reminding those who are in Christ, the best is yet to be! Because of the Fall of man this life and everything in it as we currently know it is slowly dying and in desperate need of redemption. The Good News of the Gospel is, this earth is not our home and with each passing day we experience with a greater sense of awareness like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz speaking to her pet dog Toto, "I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore". Like I said, this isn't heaven and all that we are experiencing is preparing us for something better, something so much more. If you don't remember anything else today remember this, for the follower of Christ, the best is still yet to be!

One of the greatest lessons I learned in my studies in the book of Job is that life is simultaneously pleasure and pain, happy and sad, grief and glory and we don't find them to be mutually exclusive but rather simultaneously inclusive. Everything and everyone in life comes our way by an act of divine providence, some for a season but all for a reason. 

Life is full of difficult experiences. If you are not in hot water today, God is preparing you for it tomorrow. Life is a lot like a tea bag. Hot water or difficult times is what brings out the flavor in us. Don't forget, friend, a tea bag is of no use until you put it in hot water. It was Jesus who said in this life we would have trouble but to be of good cheer for He had overcome the world. Our hope is and will always be in Jesus, nothing else, no one else!



Life, however we look at it really is made up of simultaneous experiences. Have you ever been so happy that you cried or hurt yourself and laughed? No matter how good our lives are, there is something God is working on to make us more like Jesus. And conversely, no matter how hard life is at the moment for you, there is reason to rejoice, ample reason to worship and praise the Lord because God is always working as He never sleeps nor slumbers. 

Today is a new day, loved one, a day you and I get to choose to focus on Jesus or focus on you and me on me. What will it be, Jesus or me? Will I praise Him or will my problems get the best of me? Remember, God is more interested in what you and I will become than in what we do. Again, for the Christian, the best is still yet to be so then the best part of today is knowing Jesus in whatever state we might find ourselves  in. Here is a thought to keep in mind…

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.


"For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name."

Hebrews 13:14-15

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"The Flesh Dies Hard"

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"So Saul, his three sons, his armorbearer, and all his men died together that same day."

1 Samuel 31:6


A sad ending to what could have been promising lives. That can be said about every person who has ever breathed the breath of life yet died not knowing the Lord. You see, friend, it doesn't matter what we accomplish in this life, it doesn't matter how much money we make, where we work, the number of toys we possess, all that matters when it is all said and done is did we live for the Lord, did we know Him personally as Savior and Lord?

The flesh dies hard is the message of Saul's life. He trusted in himself instead of trusting in God like David did. The world says, "those who live by the sword die by the sword" and that's true in the world. But, in Christ, those who live by the sword of God's Spirit, which is the Word of God, they go from victory to victory! Walk with God, walk in His Word today and the victory is yours!


"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."


Hebrews 4:12


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"How Big Is Your God?"

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"O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens!"…"When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained."


Psalm 8:1,3


Can you recall the last time you sat and thought about how big God is? Lets think about it this morning because the more you and I understand how big God is, our problems in this life will seem very small. The psalmist tells us that God has set His glory above the heavens so that means God is bigger than the heavens He has created. To get an idea of just how big heaven is we need to understand the way science measures that kind of distance. Science uses light.

Light travels at the speed of 186,000 miles per second. We call that the speed of light. A light year is 186,000 miles per second for an entire year. If you could travel at the speed of light, you would be able to circle the Earth's equator about 7.5 times in just one second! A light-year is the distance light travels in one year. So just how far is a light year? Multiply the number of seconds in one year by the number of miles that light travels in one second, and there you have it: one light-year. Do the math and it comes out to about 5.88 trillion miles. Thats a long way!

Science tells us that it would take approximately 100,000 light years to get from one end of our galaxy to the other. And from what science has been able to gather with our limited ability to see, since telescopes can only look so far, there is something like 350 billion other galaxies out there besides the earths galaxy. Why is that so important to know today? I don't know about you but I can worry about a lot of things, mostly things I have no control over so for me and my tiny brain it simply reminds me we serve a BIG God who is both bigger than and in control of this humongous world of ours.

God tells us in His Word that He's set His glory above the heavens. Psalm 8:1 tells us, "O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! Verse 3 goes on to say, "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained." To think God not only created the moon and the stars but He has numbered each one of them and called them by name. All I can say is wow!

And yet this big God of ours isn't just aware of all the galaxies that make up our universe. God is also very much aware of me and you! The psalmist is overwhelmed by the thought that the same God who has created the moon and the stars which he can see is also mindful of us! Psalm 8:4 captures the moment of his awareness, "What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?"

I don't know what you are up against today in your life but I do know this. God is mindful of you! And because He is mindful of you He is seeking you out today to visit with you. God isn't so busy managing the universe that He doesn't have time for you. He is perfectly aware of all that you are going through and seeks to remind us, we are not alone.

Yes, loved one, the world is so very big and you and I can seem so small and yet God wants us to know we are not alone. Read Psalm 139:1-18 and understand today that what was true of David in this psalm is also true regarding me and you!


"O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me," Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.

Psalm 139:1-18 (NKJV)


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"Happy Wife, Happy Life"

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"submitting to one another in the fear of God."

Ephesians 5:21 (NKJV)

Today, July 9th marks my wife's and my 35th wedding anniversary and as usual we entertain questions as to what is our secret to 35 years of marriage. Every marriage is unique and what works for one couple doesn't necessarily work the same for others. For my wife and I what I would call the so called secret to 35 years of marriage is "submission". 

Yet I'm not talking about my wife submitting to me but rather me submitting to her. Through the years I have discovered far more pleasure in my marriage by learning to submit myself to her rather than trying to get her to submit to me. I'm constantly learning it is Jesus who is the model of submission, and how His love for the Father was all the motivation He needed to live His entire earthly life in perfect submission to the Holy Spirit. 

Its so important to understand that a man never loses his place as the head of his household by submitting to his wife's authority as a joint heir of promise. When a husband submits to his wife he merely models the way God always intended things to be done from the beginning, in love. Make no mistake about it. A redeemed life is a submitted life. 

Most everyone has heard the expression, "Happy Wife Happy Life". The words adorn everything from coffee mugs to t-shirts and it usually carries a negative connotation towards women along with it that somehow implies that unless a wife is happy nobody else is or can be happy. As a pastor who has done my fair share of marriage counseling through the years I can honestly tell you that relationships like that don't last very long. Eventually selfish people become single people.

When I think about what it means by "Happy Wife, Happy Life" I think of the privilege God has blessed me with as a husband to prefer my wife's needs over my own each day and not just on our anniversary. I prefer to look at "Happy Wife, Happy Life" as a goal I seek to achieve each day of my life and not a burden. No one forced me to get married. I chose my wife, she chose me and 35 years later we choose us! 

I don't live in fear that if my wife's not happy she will make life miserable for me. If anything, I know I would be miserable if I felt there was nothing I could do to serve her and make her happy. There is a quote by Robert Heinlein that captures best what I am trying to say, "Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own." The apostle Paul put it like this, "So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself" (Ephesians 5:28).

Yes, friends, I throughly enjoy when my wife is happy and I am extremely thankful to our Lord for allowing me another year of life to show her my love and not merely tell her that I do, though I do enjoy telling her very much every day that I love her, and that she is very beautiful to me and that after 35 years of marriage, I still absolutely adore her. Today, on our anniversary I look forward to preferring her and serving her, providing for and protecting her just as Ephesians 5:29-31 exhorts all husbands to do for their wives when it says,

"For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."

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"The Gift of Loneliness"

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"Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed."



Mark 1:35



Have you discovered what Jesus knew, that the best moments in life, no, I should have said the sacred moments are the times you and I spend alone in silence with our Heavenly Father, not studying or even praying for the desires of our heart, just simply sitting still before the Lord, listening, waiting and learning from Him.


We use phrases like "in the lonely hours of the morning before the sun rises and the world awakens" to convey that sense of isolation that we might have felt before the hustle and bustle of a new day provides for us "white noise" to extinguish the feelings of loneliness or aloneness that might over take us if we are left to ourselves.


Little do we know that in reality the noise of the day seeks to drown out any sense of peace we might have enjoyed otherwise and yet as I study the life of our Lord I am growing to appreciate these divine moments of isolation and loneliness that He deliberately sought out for Himself for in them revelation is birthed in much the same way we see how God operates in reading Genesis 1:2, "The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." Before there was anything there was God and before light there was darkness. It was in the dark that light came forth into being and when I consider creation and all that God does, His best work, His miraculous work always stems from nothingness. You may feel isolated today, loved one, you may be lonely, but you are never alone. God shines in the dark!


I read an interesting quote by a Catholic Priest whose studies focused on solitude, "Loneliness is one of the most universal sources of human suffering today. By running away from our loneliness and by trying to distract ourselves with people and special experiences, we do not realistically deal with our human predicament. We are in danger of becoming an unhappy people suffering from many unsatisfied cravings and tortured by desires and expectations that never can be fulfilled. To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into a garden of solitude. This requires not only courage but also a strong faith. As hard as it is to believe that the dry desolate desert can yield endless varieties of flowers, it is equally hard to imagine that our loneliness is hiding unknown beauty."


Jesus loved people, He lived to do the Father's will but we know from the disciples request of Jesus to teach them to pray that they easily recognized Jesus strength, His courage, His focus in life and most of all the comfort and peace He enjoyed seemed to be directly connected to those moments of isolation when Jesus would seemingly sneak away in the dark of the night or in the early hours of the morning to a solitary place.


Have you ever considered, loved one, that maybe whats missing in your life are lonely times where you lock the world outside deliberately and get alone with yourself and allow yourself to experience the barrenness of your own soul so that when the Lord visits you He can bring light to the darkest places of your being and shed His glorious light on the beauty that would otherwise go unnoticed? Yes, there are varieties of flowers God has planted that can only grow in the dessert places, proof once again that there is nowhere we can hide from His love.


Loneliness and isolation might just be the perfect place the Lord has you currently to prepare the soil of your soul for a new harvest, to reveal to the world the rarest of beautiful desert flowers. After all it was Jesus who said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain" (John 12:24). Yes, beloved of God, loneliness is the gift of God that reveals to us that He is there!


"Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts."


Jeremiah 15:16


I LOVE YOU!


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"No Place Like Home"

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"A song of Ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain."


Psalms 127:1


Studying the book of Psalms this summer took me to John 11 and Jesus declaration that He is the resurrection and the life and whoever believes in Him will never die got me thinking about what it means to be at "home" with the Lord. In my studying I was reading about how when evangelist D.L. Moody was invited to perform his first funeral he poured over his bible to see how Jesus performed funerals. D.L. Moody quickly learned from his study of the bible that Jesus never performed a single funeral for the simple fact that when Jesus showed up at a funeral it turned into something that resembled a birthday party for the deceased person always came back to life. Where Jesus is there is life.

Don't you love the word "Home"? It gives you this picture of peace and security, life and love, (at least it does for me) and I think that is exactly what our Lord had in mind when He told the disciples in John 14:2, "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." Home is that special place where you can let your hair down so to speak, be yourself without a care in the world. home is our hiding place, an oasis from the world, our own little slice of heaven. 

It is if Jesus is Lord over it. Heaven is home, and it's a real place Jesus is preparing for those that love Him. Yes, beloved of God, Jesus is preparing a place for each of us where we can feel at home, where we can feel safe and secure, where we are loved and full of life. I doubt very seriously Jesus is carving furniture or hanging pictures on the walls. No, loved one, I believe the Lord is doing something so much deeper, so much more better than that for us. He is preparing a place that we can be with Him.

Let me ask you, friend, where is it on earth that you feel most at home? I read a quote that a Mrs. Craik wrote regarding friendship, and you might wonder what friendship has to do with feeling at home but there is a link? Bear with me as I share with you what she wrote and see if you can make the connection. She wrote,

"Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts or measure words, but pour them all right out just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow away the rest."

Home then is not a house per say, but rather; home is a relationship, a friendship between two people that is shared. I tell people all the time. It makes no difference then if you live in a tent then or in a castle, what makes a home truly a home are the relationships there. For me, home is wherever my wife is. Mrs. Craik understood well there is a direct link between friendship and heaven. When people experience love at its deepest level they often will say things like, "Isn't this heavenly" or "this is simply divine" to describe how they feel and that is entirely true. 

There is nothing like a good friend that will make you feel like you are at home. Its why the gift of hospitality is so sweet. We all enjoy those people with this gift as when we grace their doors we just feel at home and not because of the house itself but rather because of the relationships there. My wife has been blessed with this gift. It's not the place that makes home, home, It's the people. Like the old saying, "home is where your heart is".

Did you know, loved one, that Jesus desires to be that kind of friend to you? He does and if you remember it was Jesus who Himself said, "No longer do I call you slaves but friends, for a slave doesn't know what his master is doing but I have told you all things." In John 14:3 Jesus made sure the disciples knew where He was going and what His intentions were regarding them when He said, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."

The purpose then of Jesus building a place for us was so that we could be with Him. Did you get the last part of what John was saying? John was quoting Jesus own words, "that where I am, there you may be also." Do you get it? We get it only when we understand that heaven is home because heaven is being with the One who loves you so much so He that gave His very life for us so that we could be together with Him forever. That's what makes heaven, heaven! Heaven is heaven because Jesus is there just as hell is hell because Jesus isn't there. There's no place like home when Jesus is its Master builder! After all, He is a carpenter too you know!

"So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord."… "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord."

2 Corinthians 5:6,8

I LOVE YOU!

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