Life Along the Way

A Daily Devotional

"The Biggest Saddest Lie"

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"Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Genesis 3:4-5

How would you evaluate President George Washington's famous "I can not tell a lie" statement if what Behavioral Scientists report is true in that the average person tells between one and two lies per day. Was the president telling the truth or was it a lie? And if it's a lie, is it a white lie or a black lie, or do different categories of lies even exist? Before you answer that how would you answer the following question if you are a married man and your wife asked, "does this dress make me look fat?" Would you be telling the truth or would you be lying by your response and if you admitted to lying would that classify it as a bold face lie or just a little white lie so as to protect the one you love?

Proverbs 6:16-19 doesn't mince words, "These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren." God makes it as simple as He does clear. The Lord hates a lying tongue for the simple reason that a lie reflects the very opposite of who He is. God is truth and in Him is no lie at all.

Why is the truth so important to God? Jesus made clear regarding the origin of lies, "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it" (John 8:44 (NKJV). The devil never tells the truth for the simple reason that truth mixed with a lie is always a lie. 


In Genesis chapter 3 we learn how devastating a lie is, as we learn how one lie changed the course of human history. I call this the "Biggest Saddest Lie" as the devil deceived Eve to disobey God in an attempt to gain something apart from God that can only be received by the grace of God. The biggest saddest lie the devil convinced Eve of was that she had to do something to become like something she already was. The devil told Eve that if she would disobey God and eat of the forbidden fruit she could become like God when in fact she was already like God in that both she and Adam were created in the very image of God.

Oh, if only Eve had known that everything she truly could have ever want was already hers as God had provided it there in Eden. Its why the Garden was called Paradise. What the devil did back in the Garden of Eden that day in deceiving Eve he still seeks to do today. He lies to us and makes promises he cannot keep in order to get us to disobey the Word of God. He wants you and I to call into question the love and care of God for us. The devil seeks to make us think we can do better without God than we ever could with Him. All these things are lies with disastrous consequences, because of the fact that the wages of sin is death.

"The Greatest Truth" ever known by mankind stemmed from the "The Greatest Lie" which was revealed in that even though the thief (the devil) comes to steal and kill and to destroy, Jesus came to give life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). The Greatest Truth is this, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). The Good News of the Gospel is God is greater than our biggest sin, and that His grace is more than sufficient to provide the forgiveness for our failures.

The Biggest Saddest lie the devil convinced Eve of in Garden was that it was up to her to determine her worth in this world. Thats not just a lie, it's a big sad lie. Our worth is found in relationship to our God. We belong to Him. Our bible tells us, "All things were created by Him and for Him and nothing that exists does apart from Him." The biggest saddest lie is the one we buy into where we, like Adam and Even and like King Solomon, the wisest man to walk this earth apart from our Savior attempt to find life apart from God instead of in Him and through Him.

Isn't that sad to think Eve was deceived into disobeying God's Word by thinking that somehow if she went against God that she would become like God by doing the very opposite of what He had instructed her and her husband to do by His word. The devil convinced her to seek after something she already possessed. Thats why the Bible says she was deceived. Eve was already like God, created in His image, she was beautiful from the inside out and the devil convinced her to throw it all away. What's the devil trying to get you to throw away today seeking to earn something that God has already provided for by His grace?

There is nothing new under the sun the Bible teaches us. The tricks of the devil are no different today than they were back in the Garden. The devil lies to us, he always has, always will. He will trick us, deceive us, seek to divide us, he will do anything to keep us from enjoying the life we were created for. Don't bite into it the lie. Trust the Word of God. Stand on His promises, Walk by faith and not by sight. You were created in the image of God and because of that you were created for fellowship with Him.

Don't bite into the lie that you don't need God. We cant make it through this life and gain entrance in the life to come without Him. Jesus came to redeem us back to God, to reverse the curse of Adam and Eve. Sin has separated us from our God but Jesus offers us the tree of life when we come to Him as Savior and Lord. Jesus is the true tree of life! Don't hide from God any longer, friend, come out from behind the bushes as it were and enjoy the fullness of life found in God's forgiveness. Let God restore you back to once was, yet something we have never known. Life without sin. Paradise lost can be found as we walk with God each day, believing Him and trusting in His Word.

Remember, the biggest saddest lie the devil ever told was that we could become like God when he knew full well we were already created in the very image of God, we are already like God. Don't fall for the devils lies any longer. Your worth, your value is never in what you do, its who you are, or better stated, "it's whose you" that determines your worth in this world! There was life in the Garden as Adam and Eve walked with God and there is abundant life to be enjoyed today, loved one, by anyone who chooses to walk with God by His grace. Yes, loved one, God leaves the choice to us and for good reason. We who are in Christ don't just get to enjoy Christ we also get to enjoy the "mind of Christ." Day by day as we walk with Jesus, we are being transformed into His image, and He who has begun this good work in you is faithful to complete it! 


"Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him"

Colossians 3:9-10


I LOVE YOU!


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"No Buts About It"

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"but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name."

Nehemiah 1:9


It appears from careful study of the Bible that there are two types of promises in the Word of God, conditional and unconditional. In Nehemiah chapter 1 we read what appears to be a conditional promise. You and I are probably more familiar with the negative side of the word "but" for when we hear it we are often reminded of the old saying, "if it sounds to good to be true it is". With anyone else "but" our God that might be true "but" not with God, for He is gracious even to sinners! That's why the Gospel is Good News! 

When we sin, which means "to miss the mark" of God's perfection, the Lord desires for us to come to Him in prayer and to acknowledge our sin not seeking to hide it or even worse, justify it. The Word of God tells us in the book of Nehemiah that if we will confess our sin and turn from it by turning to and trusting in the Lord that He will forgive us, cleanse us, and restore us! That is a "but" you don't want to miss out on, loved one.

Have you ever felt far away from God before? If so, you can appreciate this passage. "Though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen." I would say to be cast out to the farthest part of the heavens is to be way out there, way off base, way off track, lost. The children of Israel were all those things and yet when they came to their senses and realized how wrong they were they turned to God, each and every time God accepted them. The good news for me and you today, loved one is this. He is the same yesterday today and forever. What He did for the children of Israel God in Christ will also do for me and you!

Keep this in mind today! Everything God does He does in love. God doesn't just love, He is love and therefore everything He does must first pass through the filter of His love. Even when the Lord rebukes us, and chastens us, He does so because He loves us. No matter where you are today, friend, God is closer than you might think and more than able to reach you and gather you to Himself. If you are feeling lost, alone and way out there today let me encourage you to call out to God, to put your hope and your trust in Him. He promises to not turn you away! Make no "buts" about it...

"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words."

1 Thessalonians 4:14-18

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"Do The Hokey Pokey"

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"But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

Matthew 19:14

You have heard the old adage, "Children are to be seen and not heard." Thats exactly how the disciples felt that day when Jesus encountered a bunch of small children who were being brought to Jesus to have Him lay hands on them and bless them. You can imagine the disciples attempting to protect Jesus from these children by rebuking them not realizing they would have naturally been drawn to Christ by His genuine love for them. The harder the disciples would have tried to prevent it the more difficult it would become. It was like spinning plates. Just as the disciples pulled one kid away from Jesus or intercepted them before they got close, one or two would slip by into the open arms of their waiting Savior.

Jesus basically rebukes the disciples and makes it perfectly clear in Jesus kingdom kids are not just tolerated, they are celebrated and a model of what true faith looks like. Oh that you and I would have child like faith! Monday as I was watching my grand daughters the Lord used our oldest grandchild to teach me a very valuable lesson I will never forget as long as I live.

Reese and I had been riding bikes up and down our street while my wife watched our youngest grand daughter Quinn while my wife cooked dinner. Without warning Reese got off her bike and parked it in the street near the curb and invited me to join her out in the middle of the street to play some games with her. I said, "ok, what game do you want to play?" Reese patiently lined me out like only a member of the female gender can as to where I was to stand and then she took her place in front of me and begin to sing, "Put your right foot in and put your right foot out, put your right foot in and you shake it all about. Do the Hokey Pokey and turn yourself around, thats what its all about."

You have to understand we are now standing out in the middle of the street no longer in front of my house but down the street in front of a neighbors house with their garage door open and cars passing by very slowly because we have one of those florescent green plastic, "slow man" signs that you can put out on your curb to warn oncoming traffic that children and their Opa's are playing in the street. "Slow Man" even has a bright orange flag he holds in his hand. Did I say playing in the street? No, we were playing the Hokey Pokey in the street for all the neighbors to see. I live in a retirement community so don't worry, everybody's home.

As one car after another passed I was forced to make a decision each time. I could hear the words from the Lee Ann Womack hit song playing in my head, "I Hope You Dance"… "Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance, and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance… I hope you dance." I knew my wife would be happy too knowing I didn't sit it out but rather I chose to dance!

In all honesty, at first I was reluctant, even somewhat embarrassed by what people might think of me so as the first car passed I went through the Hokey Pokey motions at less than 50% effort not to draw attention to myself. As the driver smiled and waved as they drove by at like 15 mph a quote I shared on Sunday in a sermon came to my mind that said, 'life is about putting others' needs above your own fears.' And as soon as those words passed through my mind the fear was gone.

You see, friend, my love for my granddaughter allows me to do the hokey pokey and turn myself around in the middle of the street all the while wearing a bike helmet as cars are passing by. I no longer care what the drivers might think of me and for good reason. The reason I don't care is simple. My love for my grand daughter is far greater than my fear of what others might think of me. The lesson Jesus taught His disciples in Matthew 19 took on a whole new meaning for me personally as I was confronted by my own pride standing there in the street with my bike helmet on but my bike laying over on the side of the road. I am fully convinced that the disciples weren't afraid how Jesus blessing children would make Jesus look. They were not trying to protect Him. No, the disciples were more afraid how they would look.

I get it as I too was afraid of how I would look to the people who didn't matter as the one who did was standing there next to me smiling from ear to ear and laughing endlessly as her Opa made a fool of himself going all in as I did the Hokey Pokey. There is an old saying, "If you realized how little people thought of you, you wouldn't care what people thought of you." If you are like me at all you tend to worry way too much about what the wrong people think at times instead of seeking to please the one who loves you already. I love when my grand daughter comes over because she teaches me so much.

I want to love Jesus more than my fear of what others might think of me. I want to be open to public humiliation for wanting people to know the love of our Savior. I don't want to live in fear, I want to be guided and motivated by Christ's love. I want to love Jesus the way the hokey pokey song ends. I want to go all in. I want to put my whole body in and shake it all about and do the Hokey Pokey and turn the whole world around, cause that's what it's all about!

"And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen."

Matthew 28:18-20

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"Mercies in Disguise"

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"Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all."


Psalm 34:19

After our Connect group last night where we were thanking God for little things God has done in our lives to remind us how big He is, I remember a few years ago now learning the night before having a heart procedure that the hospital I was having it done in didn't offer jello which I don't often eat but really like and instead offered pudding instead which I like even better. That might not seem like a big deal to you but when you are already overwhelmed by the anxiety of having heart surgery that little bit of information to me was simply God's mercy in disguise.

Whether you realize it or not, every day God is working on our behalf. Much of the time we simply aren't aware of the thousands of little things God does to bless our lives and to show us just how much He loves and cares for us. I remember the day I was having my heart procedure performed we had early morning prayer at our church that day. Knowing I needed this time before the Lord and the prayers of people I love, even though I was exhausted from a lousy night of sleep, I went and as I prayed and was prayed for I felt the comfort of God in a very profound way that morning. My anxious heart turned to a heart of calm and peace as I placed yet once again my life into His hands. Or was it I became aware I was safe in His hands? I'll let you decide.

As I was driving home from prayer that morning thanking God for all the little reminders that He was with me, a song came on the radio that I had listened to hundreds of times before, a song that still brings me comfort but on that particular day it took on a whole new meaning for me as it became personal in that it was me who was in the midst of my own trial where as at other times I was reminded of those that I love and the trials they were having to endure in this life. Usually as the song played it helped me identify with others and to pray for them. On the day of my heart procedure the song became so fitting for me. Maybe today you are facing your own trial. If so my prayer is that this song takes on new meaning for you too. The word's go like this,

"Blessings"
Laura Story

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise (song ends)

Being born into a world of sin and death because of the fall of Adam and Eve you and I don't know a life without trials, they touch us all. With all the voices clamoring for our attention daily, its easy to get distracted from what matters most in life and so God capitalizes on them all to reveal Himself to us. As C.S. Lewis once said, "Go whispers in our pleasures, shouts in our pain, as pain is God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world." I know its true for me but I have come to know too that the shout of God in the midst of my pain doesn't bring me fear but comfort and peace and joy.

If there is one thing I can tell you today, loved one, from first hand experience as I have gone through my own trials in this life, if you look close and listen carefully you will discover for yourself that the trials of this life really are the mercies of God in disguise. I remember as that song played that morning tears were streaming down my face because I knew in that moment my life has been blessed beyond measure by God's mercy and grace. Think of all the songs out there and God had it playing at the exact moment I was driving home. Coincidence or providence? For me it was divine providence! I love the words of the song as it concludes when Laura sings,

"Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise"

I remember living this song out as the week prior to my heart procedure was one of the most disappointing of my life as my trials seemed to mount and the news kept going from bad to worse and yet in the midst of each trial God came to my rescue and I got to see with my own eyes that the storms, the hardest nights are God's mercies in disguise. I was sharing at church yesterday and at our Connect group last night the best thing that has ever happened with regard to my personal health was the news that I was suffering from congestive heart disease. God has never been more near and dear to me than He is now.

Mercies in disguise, Yes! My trial has brought me closer to God where I am learning to trust and rely on Him all the more. Through my own trials God has revealed to me His love and care and how the trials of this life are in fact His mercies in disguise! If you are facing a trial today may you too know they are His mercies in disguise. Remember, we cant stop the trials from coming our way just like we cant prevent the mercy of God from being poured out on us either.


"Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever. Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever: To Him who alone does great wonders, For His mercy endures forever; To Him who by wisdom made the heavens, For His mercy endures forever; To Him who laid out the earth above the waters, For His mercy endures forever; To Him who made great lights, For His mercy endures forever-- The sun to rule by day, For His mercy endures forever; The moon and stars to rule by night, For His mercy endures forever. To Him who struck Egypt in their firstborn, For His mercy endures forever; And brought out Israel from among them, For His mercy endures forever; With a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm, For His mercy endures forever; To Him who divided the Red Sea in two, For His mercy endures forever; And made Israel pass through the midst of it, For His mercy endures forever; But overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea, For His mercy endures forever; To Him who led His people through the wilderness, For His mercy endures forever; To Him who struck down great kings, For His mercy endures forever; And slew famous kings, For His mercy endures forever-- Sihon king of the Amorites, For His mercy endures forever; And Og king of Bashan, For His mercy endures forever-- And gave their land as a heritage, For His mercy endures forever; A heritage to Israel His servant, For His mercy endures forever. Who remembered us in our lowly state, For His mercy endures forever; And rescued us from our enemies, For His mercy endures forever; Who gives food to all flesh, For His mercy endures forever. Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever.

Psalm 136:1-26

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"Everyone's Got A Story To Tell"

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"Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!"

1 Chronicles 16:8


Listening to Christian recording artist Chris Sligh in concert at our church on Tuesday night give the backstory on a few of the songs from his newly released album the Lord reminded me of the power of our testimony in ministering to others. Like most of us walking this planet Chris has endured his fair share of hurt and pain. What makes Chris different from many though is his willingness to share his story openly without blaming others as he has learned God is working in and through everything he has gone through in this life for God's glory and for the good of Chris.

Instead of playing into the devils hand Chris has risen above life's hurts and pain and found the silver lining in life as it were where, "all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purposes." As Chris sang the words to a new song with the following lyrics, "God turns things backwards" he shared how in the world we are defined by "what we bring to the table" and immediately the Lord brought to mind The Last Super we read about in John 13.

John 13:1-7 recounts the story of Jesus last meal with His disciples before He went to the Cross. "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. And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, "Lord, are You washing my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this."

In a world where we are defined by what we bring to the table Jesus steps in and God turns things backwards. I loved the pictures racing through my mind. No longer are we defined by what we bring to the table, because of God's love we are now defined by what Jesus brings to the table. Just like the disciples seated at the Lords Supper that night we often times don't understand what Jesus is doing. It seemed all backwards as they knew in their hearts they should have been washing His feet and yet it was God who sent His Son to wash ours. In the song Chris Sligh was singing one line contained the lyrics, "God gave imperfection worth" and I can just imagine how the disciples must have felt when Jesus stooped down in front of them one by one and humbly and gently washed their dirty, tired, achy feet. Washing their feet that night was just the beginning of God giving imperfection worth. The Cross would provide the ultimate display of God's love and the value He places upon each of our lives, imperfect as we may be.

Because of the Cross the song Chris was singing continued, "All thats broken comes alive, You make all the hurt and shattered things brand new." As I sat listening to this beautiful song I wondered where Chris received the inspiration for it? It didn't take long to find out. I invited Chris to go get a bite to eat after the concert and as we sat on the patio of a local restaurant with no one around us to make the conversation uneasy, I asked Chris plainly, "So what's your story?" And pretty much the rest of the night I sat, listened and munched on chips and salsa as I learned the backstory to almost every hit song Chris has written. I was humbled by his transparency and encouraged by the grace and mercy of God that Chris has discovered through the highs and lows of life. In all honesty I enjoyed our conversation just as much or even more than the concert. I know this, the songs all have more meaning to me now knowing what lead to them being written in the first place.

Listening to Chris share brought to mind Revelation 12:11 which reminds us, "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." We often forget that there is power in the fact that Jesus shed His blood on Calvary's Cross, and there is power as well in our personal testimony of Christ and how His life has changed ours. Chris might have looked like just an ordinary guy but when he shared his testimony Tuesday night he went from being anything but ordinary, he became extraordinary!

The good news is this! What's true about Chris is true and you too! Everyone has a story to tell and it's our relationship with Jesus that moves any of us from being ordinary to extraordinary. You might not be an accomplished musician or song writer like Chris Sligh, but if you have received Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, you definitely have a story to tell about the grace and mercy of God in your own life that others desperately need to hear. Remember, "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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"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear"

1 Peter 3:15

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"Don't Cross The Line"

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"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned"

Romans 5:12


Some of the best biblical lessons are taught as we go through our normal day in and day out activities. The Lord provided me one on Romans 5:12-15 as I was attempting to pull into a parking stall of my favorite bike shop. I could hardly get out of my car and had to actually act skinny to get out. I took a deep breath and I squeezed out the driver side door as quickly as possible before I passed out. I didn't want to hit the car next to me (especially since the guy driving it was still seated in the car) so I opened the door very slowly which made matters worse. It's hard to focus when you are holding your breath.

Once I got out of the car and caught my breath I was walking side by side with the guy who parked next to me almost trapping me in my vehicle. The parking spots are designed for golf carts not for real cars and this guy parked over the line into my space. You might say he was a "space invader" or better put, he was a "space violator". I was thinking about calling him a "space invader" just for fun as we walked together towards the bike shop but he beat me to the punch in a sense. He started apologizing for crossing the line and parking in my spot. He said the car next to him had parked over the line forcing him to park over the line too.

As I left the bike shop the same guy who pinned me in my parking spot was walking back out to his car, as I was mine. We picked the conversation up where we left it off and I said something like we are parked so close we are going to have back out at the same time. He chuckled as he thought about what I had said and he apologized again for having to cross the line into my parking spot. To see what had happened and why all the cars were parked so far over the lines I walked past my vehicle and sure enough, the guy who trapped me in my car was telling the truth. Every vehicle in our row was parked well over the line. The reason I discovered the vehicles were all parked over the line was because of the first car in our row. Parked in the first parking stall was a real nice sports car with no plates on it parked in such a way so that no other car could park next to it. I totally understand. Not having a license plate means the car is new therefore the parking laws don't apply, ha. Obviously this is an unwritten law but anyone who has had a new car knows everyone pretty much does this until, yes, until they get that first dent and then its back to normal parking.

Not wanting the owner of the sports car to have to live with this stress any longer I did what any caring person would do. I keyed his new paint job and kicked the door with my foot so they would never again have to worry about protecting their new car from that first dent. Ha, I am just kidding, seriously, I am kidding. I didn't do anything to the car. It never even crossed my mind until I started writing this devotional. Praise God for victory over sin!  

What I did do was gingerly climb back into my vehicle and start laughing. I laughed out loud because the Lord gave me this great picture about sin in my mind. I shared with you the verse from Romans 5 above about sin entering into the world through one man. Ok, I don't know if the driver of this car was a man or a woman but the point is this. The first car that parking over the line forced all the other cars in the row to cross the line too. Just as sin entered into the world through one man and therefore all sinned after him, every car after this first car (call the car, Adam) crossed the line it forced all the other cars to cross the line too. I got it. We are all guilty of crossing the line so to speak… We all have parked over the line as it were.

What a great reminder for me that we all have a connection to Adam when he sinned (parked over the line as it were) and lived outside the lines God had drawn for him and because of Adam's sin he caused all men after him to sin (park over the line too). Thank God that He sent Jesus Christ to not only park within the lines so to speak (by living a perfect sinless life) but Jesus also paid the fine (which was death as the wages of sin is death) for Adam's sin and your sin and mine for breaking God's law.

The Lord gave me a great analogy of that parking lot incident as to how Jesus fixed where Adam failed. When I approached the parking spot I had to make a decision too. Do I cross the line or do I accept the failure of the car next to me and seek to make things right and in the process making it more difficult on myself by parking correctly. What Would Jesus Do? I chose to do what Jesus would do and park correctly. As the guy who pinned me in my car and I walked out to our vehicles together I noticed all the rest of the cars from my vehicle on were in their proper parking space well within the lines. Don't get me wrong here; it's just an analogy. a vehicle parking straight doesn't even merit comparison to what the LORD did for you and me by coming to earth, living a perfect sinless life and dying on the cross for our sin. 

My comparison is to encourage you by reminding you that Jesus perfect life offers each of us the opportunity to live within the lines. Jesus fixed what Adam messed up. Jesus made straight what the devil made crooked. Jesus rights every wrong! That's the Good News of the Gospel, loved one. God loves you and is ready and willing to forgive you for living outside the lines and as well to offer you both the hope and the help to live within the lines as you go through your day! 


"But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many."

Romans 5:15

I LOVE YOU!


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"What A Difference A Day Makes"

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He answered and said, "Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see."

John 9:25


What a difference a day can make between us being blind and seeing clear, of feeling lost and being found. As difficult for some to remember, there most likely was a day in almost every believer's life when we didn't believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord. Regardless of what someone might have said to us the day before we came to faith in Jesus as the Christ, we simply didn't "get it" because getting it doesn't come naturally to us but supernaturally by the Spirit of God. Like the blind man in John 9, we were blind but now we see!

One of the many blessings we enjoy as someone who has come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior is that for any of us to come to that knowledge it is because God opened our eyes to truth. We would all love to say we were seeking God (and some were) but if the truth be told many of us encountered God more like the apostle Paul did (when he was known as Saul in the book of Acts) riding along through life on our high horse until the day came and God knocked us off.

Often times the Lord uses some situation or circumstance of life, a hurt, or pain or in extreme cases even some devastating loss that gets our attention and like a good chiropractor, God gives us an adjustment that straightens us out. Though painful in the moment, afterwards we were capable of walking tall, holding our head up and standing tall in Jesus.

It was A.W. Tozer who once said, "The unbelieving mind would not be convinced by any proof, and the worshiping heart needs none." So true! You and I who have placed our hope in Jesus don't need a reason to worship the Lord today; we already have one, as we see Him as He is. He is God and worthy of all praise!

The good news today is this. God has given every man a measure of faith and it is faith that opens up our eyes to see the Lord. I liken it to the saying, "believing is seeing, not seeing is believing".

If you want to see the Lords hand in your life today let me encourage you to place your hope in God, loved one. Remember, hope is not just a good thing, it might just be the best thing because no matter what we go through, "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen (yet). Hope keeps us moving forward.

The call of every believers life is to walk by faith, faith in God, faith in His promises, faith in His power, and most of all faith in His abiding presence in our lives. Faith makes it possible to worship instead of worry today, loved one, because God is in control of everything! Knowing these things to be true makes it easier today, to let go and let God because we get it, God cares about you! 

"Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered."

Matthew 10:29-30

I LOVE YOU!


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"Captured By Love"

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"I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me."

Song of Solomon 7:10


Reading the book of the Song of Solomon a quote comes to mind I heard a number of years ago. It said, "Many Things Will Catch My Eye But Few Things Will Capture My Heart". It's one thing to be noticed but it is another thing to become the object of focus. I could easily imagine how the Shulamite captured not only Solomon's eye but his heart too.

Do you know that you are desired, beloved? Do you have any idea that there is One who pursues you day and night, night and day, and who longs to meet with you face to face? It's true. Oh, to be pursued! Better still, to be loved!

The Song of Solomon is a beautiful love story, a story that communicates the desire of one for another. Every time I read it I learn something new, something that reminds me of the tremendous love that God has for His bride, the church.

We seldom think of a romantic love when we consider God's love for us but we should when we read the Song of Solomon because though Gods love for His bride isn't erotic, His love for us is truly romantic, and deeply passionate. When we respond to God in Christ Jesus it is because we have been desired, pursued and ultimately captured by love. We can learn a lot about the heart of God by reading the Song of Solomon, since He inspired it.

Yet, here lies the key to enjoying this unique story tucked away in the midst of the poetic books of the Old Testament. I think Max Lucado might have said it best regarding the reading of the Song of Solomon when he wrote, "A love letter is to be enjoyed not analyzed".

That's my prayer for you today, beloved of God, as you read the word of God today don't analyze it, simply enjoy it. Keep in mind that God's Word is His love letter to you. Simply open it up and listen for His voice to speak to you and just take it in like a sponge absorbs fluids. Get lost in His words and allow them to fill your heart and mind, and to saturate your soul. It will bring you peace and comfort for sure!

That's how you read a love letter. You read it over and over and over until the paper is crumbled and the words are no longer written on paper but now, they are forever engraved on your heart, in your mind and in your soul. Yes, beloved, that is how you read a love letter! Enjoy.


"Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death…"

Song of Solomon 8:6

I LOVE YOU!


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"To Know You Is To Love You"

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"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'"

Matthew 7:21-23


Not the kind of passage you might think one would use to encourage married couples but I pray you will bear with me as we consider this verse in context. At first glance it would appear that Jesus cant be pleased or at least not very easily. Some read these verses in Matthews gospel and think, "See, you can never do enough to please the Lord" or maybe you might read this passage above and get the idea that to stay in "good with God you need to "Do more, try harder" Yet, the truth is, the message Jesus is communicating is the very opposite. Our problem is we attempt to measure our faith and even our marriage by what we do instead of celebrating what has already been done. The motive of true faith is what God has done for us and not what we can do or have ever done for Him.

Let me attempt to illustrate the point using my wife as an example… Lets say on our Anniversary this year I make my wife dinner. And not just any old dinner, I mean I go all out. We have been married almost 35 years and I have only fixed her dinner a couple of times. And for good reason. I am why Takeout was invented. Its people like me who gave birth to the fast food industry, the health department and ambulatory services.

But for the story sake here after watching an episode of the old popular television show "Throw Down with Booby Flay" lets pretend I can cook and so I go the Vons Grocery Store around the corner from our home and get some shrimp and vegetables and rice along with some bread and for dessert I get some A&W Rootbeer and some Bryers Vanilla Bean Ice cream. I set the table using real plates and silverware along with place mats and chargers too, and get everything done so that when my wife walks in after she gets home from work all she has to do and sit down and eat.

But wait, there's more! As she makes her way to the table I have some Berry Manalow music playing softly in the background, candles lit (even though it's only 4:30 p.m.) and I pull the chair out for her and place the napkin in her lap. She is smiling from ear to ear and then I go and get the main course, huge coconut shrimp cooked to perfection along with the giant rootbeer floats in frosted mugs! As I approach the table she starts to cry… Obviously she must be overwhelmed, I mean after all, look at the effort I put into the meal. She looks up and says to me with tears streaming down her face, "You don't love me".

Now… I'll stop the story here to ask you a simple question, "what is the impression you get of my wife from this story?" Don't worry, it's a rhetorical question and the events never took place. I think the average person hearing this story would get or could get the impression that my wife is ungrateful or that she is at least very hard to please. Much the same way I think people can read the story from Matthew 7 and arrive at the same conclusion with regard to pleasing Jesus.

The truth is regarding my wife in my make believe story for illustration purposes only is that like I said, we have been married almost 35 years and in 35 years of married life I can tell you without hesitation my wife hates coconut shrimp (hate is not to strong a word to describe her feelings for coconut shrimp) almost as much as she hates rootbeer floats. So the point is this. If I were to fix those two items and offer them to my wife as a gift, as a token of my love and appreciation for her she would have every right to respond by saying something like, "You don't love me, you don't even know me" if you think after 35 years of being married you thought doing that is what pleases me or if you thought that this was what I would have wanted." I could get all upset and say something like, "I did it for you" and she could respond, "if you knew me you wouldn't have done that to begin with."

Marriage like Christianity is not based upon a "to do list" but on a relationship. Marriage is to be a reflection of the godhead, a picture of completeness or oneness. It's not about doing, its about knowing. Consider Jesus words inMark 3:13-14, "And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach," First and foremost Jesus chose the 12 disciples to be with Him. And as well, first and foremost with regard to your faith, Jesus chose you to be with Him. Jesus didn't save us just to send us out, He saved us to draw us in so that we could be with Him. The Good News of the Gospel is Jesus and knowing Him as our personal Savior and Lord.

In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me." In eastern culture to invite someone to sup was a sign of friendship, a desire for relationship. Remember the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 12… A great reminder that the best part of relationships is in the knowing, the spending time together. Luke 10:38-42 says, "Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."

Jesus, more than anything wants us to know Him, what He has done for us…What makes an anniversary is first a wedding. To celebrate an anniversary is to celebrate a wedding all over again. To go back to what got you here. Abiding in Christ is like abiding in your marriage. It's saying with joy, "I'd marry you all over again." The beauty of communion is reflection… Remembering the Lord and what He has done for us! In marriage an Anniversary it's reflecting back to your wedding day and remembering and rejoicing in what brought you together to begin with. Reflection in marriage?

That reminds me of the story about the guy who wakes up in the middle of the night and goes down stairs… after some time his wife rolls over and notices he is gone and she gets up looking for him and notices him sitting there in the dark at the kitchen table clutching a cup of coffee starring aimlessly out the window. She turns the light on and asks him if everything is Ok and he says then why are you sitting in the dark here in the kitchen at 3:00 a.m. in the morning? He said, "I was just thinking". Thinking about what his wife asked. With tears starting to stream down his face he says, "sit down, what I have to say is hard for me to find the words". She sits down across from him and he says, "Do you remember the night of our first date?" She smiles at him and says, "Yes". He says, "do you remember how we were making out in my car in front of your house when your father came outside and saw us and how he turned around and went back in side?" Yes, his wife responded. "Do you remember how the door of my car flung open and there your father stood pressing his shotgun into my chest and how he said to me, "no man is going to be kissing my daughter like that unless he plans on marrying her or spending the next 25 years in prison." The man's wife says, "Yes, I remember, but whats the point?" The point is, "As I was laying in bed tonight I realized tomorrow would have been the day I would have been released from prison."

Like I said, reflection in marriage is reflecting on what brought us together is the proper reflection. Revelation 2 serves as a great reminder for both our faith and our marriage with regard to the proper way to reflect. When your life gets off track or your marriage gets off track go back, go back and reflect. Follow the steps laid out in Revelation 2. Jesus says in Revelation 2:5, "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent." Remember these steps.

1. Remember from where you have fallen…

2. Repent… change your mind, agree with God

3. Redo those things you once did… what were you doing when you first fell in love with Jesus? Resting in the finished work of the Cross, enjoying Him in the Word and prayer.

In marriage what were you doing? You were making time for one another, you were spending time together investing into one another. Would you like to have a great Anniversary this year that won't cost you a penny but the experience might just be priceless? If so, go back and reflect. What do I mean? First, pull out your bible and go back and read God's love letter to you, read the Gospel account of Jesus last night with His disciples and the Super he had with His disciples and how He loved them by serving them as He washed their feet. Remember how Jesus went to the Cross and died for them and how three days later He rose again from the grave and came and showed Himself to His disciples and how them seeing Him and being with them changed and transformed their lives.

What changed them was not what the disciples did for Jesus but what happened when they finally understood what Jesus hd done for them. The beauty of reflection is realizing at the deepest place of our being that we were chosen, that we are loved. Now, if you are married, don't worry about Hallmark cards, don't even worry about fixing a romantic dinner or even buying flowers this year.

As a husband loving your wife as Christ loves the church, love her by taking her back, by helping her reflect on how you felt and what you thought of her when you first fell in love. In essence, tell her all the reasons you said "I Do" to begin with and why each and every day since you still "Do". Tell your wife you have plans for your anniversary this year and it's not going to cost you a penny. Explain to your wife that you want to sit with her and go through your wedding album together, that you want to look at all the pictures in your album together and relive every moment when you first met her and fell in love with her. Relive the moment you chose her. If you really want to score big points, show some real emotion, let the tears fall as you share of your love for her.

The greatest realization of the Christian life is understanding that you were chosen by God in Christ. The greatest joy of the Christian faith and of marriage is being together, and becoming one. In John 17, Jesus great earthly prayer Jesus prayed in verse 3, "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." Grow in knowing. Make the goal of your faith to know Jesus and make it the goal of your marriage to know your spouse. I tell couples that are engaged or married that the best marriage manual in your marriage is the one right in front of them. Learn to read each other, study one another and make it your life goal to know each other, not just facts but to really know one another as you walk through this life together.

Know this too, no one ever gets tired of knowing they are chosen, knowing ever grows tired of knowing they are loved! It really is true, loved one, "To Know You Is To Love You".


"I have compared you, my love, To my filly among Pharaoh's chariots."

Song of Songs 1:9


I LOVE YOU! 

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"When God Hands It To You"

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"Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, and has extended mercy to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king's mighty princes. So I was encouraged, as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me; and I gathered leading men of Israel to go up with me."

Ezra 7:27-28


Teaching last night in the book of Ezra we found Ezra traveling back and forth from Babylon to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord being blessed by God in that even the heathen king in power allows Ezra to come and go and even assists Ezra in the beautifying the house of the Lord back in Jerusalem. Proof yet again that a man might plan his steps but it is the Lord who causes them to come to pass. Ezra even collects goods from the people along the way and is encouraged to put together a team from among the willing to go with him to complete the work that he has discovered he is to do.

How did Ezra go about discovering the work and the calling of God upon his life? The same way you and I do! Read verse 10 of chapter 7, "For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel." If we have a desire to truly be used of the Lord we need to follow the example given by the Lord Himself in the scriptures. Ezra prepared his heart to seek the Lord. Traveling some 900 miles in 4 months allowed Ezra plenty of time to study God's laws and put them into practice each day. And not only did Ezra study to know the Lord, he studied to share God's Word with his traveling companions. Its no wonder that by the time they reached Jerusalem they all had the same heart for the work of God. God's Word has a powerful effect on the human heart that is dedicated to seeking Him. 

Notice the power of the Word of God that the apostle Paul writes of in 2 Timothy 3:16, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness". All scripture and not just part of it or just the parts we deem are necessary. God has said the whole Word; the full counsel of God is good for us and will instruct us in the way we should live and the service we are to provide for Him. There is a blessing that comes with obedience to the Lord and Ezra understands what I pray you and I grow to understand too. It is God who is working behind the scenes in our lives just like He was in Ezra's, granting us favor wherever we go when we go in the name of the Lord. Ezra came to understand that it is the Lord who grants us mercy before even the very enemies of God.

But, as good as all that there is something even better than having the favor of kings. I pray that your heart would be strengthened and encouraged today because you have seen with your own eyes and experienced in your own life as you have sought to serve the Lord that His hand is upon you. I pray you sense His hand upon your life, leading you, guiding you, protecting and providing for you every step of the way. Like king David was before him, Ezra too was a man after God's heart. These great men of God came to know what I pray you know today too. The best gift God can bless our lives with is the gift of His presence, for us to experience the joy of knowing His hand is upon us. May you sense His touch in a real way today!  

"Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go."

Joshua 1:6-7

I LOVE YOU!


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"How To Have Lifetime Joy"

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"fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind."

Philippians 2:2

Like many who believe in the sovereignty of God, I don't believe in coincidence, I believe in divine providence. Take yesterday as an example. I had just finished writing a devotional I titled, "How To Win At Life" and then saw a "How To"​ email that offered advice and it immediately caught my attention and I believed God was leading me to read it. 

The email began, "This 75-Year Harvard Study Shows, 'How To Have Lifetime Joy'" which I could not pass up for the obvious reason. Like most people breathing I too want lifetime joy and yet I was curious to know if the study concluded something other than God's love as its basis. Galatians 5:22-23 states plainly, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." In other words the bible says joy is a relational byproduct.

The article stated that for 75 years the study focused on the physical and emotional health of two groups. The first group was made up of 456 poor people from 1939 to 2014 and the other group of Harvard graduates from 1939-1944. And after 75 years of study you might be surprised that Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development concluded, "good relationships keep us happier and healthier, period." Melanie Curtin added, "The biggest predictor of your happiness and fulfillment overall in life is, basically, love." I couldn't have said it any better than Melanie. Her words brought to mind 1 John 4:8 which reminds us, "God is love" and the by product of being connected to Jesus in relationship produces in us, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

God is into "transformational relationships" which maybe better stated by basketball coaching legend John Wooden who said, "You can give without loving, but you can't love without giving."  Maybe that is why John 3:16 is the most widely known bible passage in the world for in it we read of the greatest expression of giving in love, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

The article continued on, "The most loving and deep relationships are built on a very simple foundation: giving and gratitude. When the focus is on what you can give, rather than what you can get, the relationship becomes a gift to both of you." Wow! Why is it I get this feeling someone assisting in doing this 75 year Harvard study was familiar with the Word of God? When we focus on what we can give and not what we can get the article stated, "there is no holding back, no keeping score." Wait a second, isn't that what the apostle Paul penned in 1 Corinthians 13 of the Bible, the "love chapter" that is quoted in more weddings than I could even begin to count, Christian or otherwise, "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

The more I read the article the more appreciative I am for Jesus and what His life does for you and me. The author continued, "Only in such relationships (loving-giving) can you be fully present to the moment and fully un-inhibited in the expression of your love." Because of God's amazing and unfailing love we are free to let go and let God. God can and must be trusted with our hearts, loved one, because He not only understands us better than anyone, He created us to begin with! In love God created us with free will and sadly we misused it and in doing so sinned against Him causing our relationship with our Creator to be broke off. This is why God sent us Jesus, to make a way home, to restore us back to fellowship with our Heavenly Father, to make having a new relationship with God possible. Thats what love does, that's the distance love will go.

Brad Pitt once provided the most beautiful evidence of the science of gratitude and giving in a letter he wrote about his wife at the time, Angelina Jolie. Its important to note his forgetfulness does'nt diminish the fact that his actions provided beautiful evidence of the science of gratitude and giving. He wrote, "My wife got sick. She was constantly nervous because of problems at work, personal life, her failures and problems with children. She had lost 30 pounds and weighed about 90 pounds in her 35 years. She got very skinny, and was constantly crying. She was not a happy woman. She had suffered from continuing headaches, heart pain and jammed nerves in her back and ribs. She did not sleep well, falling asleep only in the morning and got tired very quickly during the day." 

He continued, "Our relationship was on the verge of break up. Her beauty was leaving her somewhere, she had bags under her eyes, she was poking her head, and stopped taking care of herself. She refused to shoot the films and rejected any role. I lost hope and thought that we'll get divorced soon…But then I decided to act on it. After all I've got the most beautiful woman on the earth… I began to pamper her with flowers, kisses and compliments. I surprised her and pleased her every minute. I gave her lots of gifts and lived just for her. I spoke in public only about her. I incorporated all themes in her direction. I praised her in front of her own and our mutual friends. You won't believe it, but she blossomed. She became even better than before. She gained weight, was no longer nervous and she loved me even more than ever. I had no clue that she CAN love that much. And then I realized one thing: The woman is the reflection of her man. If you love her to the point of madness, she will become it." Reading this letter Jeremiah 29:11 comes to mind, "​For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."

Where Brad Pitt and many others before and after him have failed, Jesus has not. Jesus loves us with perfect love, a love that seeks the best for us. the Bible has a word for it, it is called grace. Grace has been described as, "undeserved and unmerited favor" yet I prefer a simpler more vivid picture the words, "One way love" create in my minds eye. What Brad Pitt was showing his wife was grace, one way love you might say and it worked, not like a science project but on a real messed up broken human heart just like yours and mine.  

I like what the article went on to say, "Giving freely without an expectation of return is essential. As are expressions of gratitude. In fact, this study found that expressions of gratitude have a powerful effect on the other person. Specifically, this study found regular expressions of gratitude can: Increase a person's self-worth. Increase a person's self-efficacy (confidence). Increase a person's prosocial behavior (in other words, when you're grateful to someone, they become a better person to society at large). Increase ability to cope with life's challenges. It worked for Angelina Jolie.

The article ended with some keen insight that echoes many of the teachings of Jesus, "The deeper and more transformative your daily experiences, the more perspective you'll have into what the world needs. The better you'll be at your job. The happier you'll be as a person — despite experiencing hardships throughout life. When you have people around you who love and help you, you become a different and better person." Now it makes more sense why Jesus would say, "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you" and later in the same chapter Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:15, 34-35).

It may have taken Harvard 75 years to discover what the Bible has said all along regarding joy but I for one am blessed they cared enough to want to study the topic in the first place as to how each of us might enjoy it for a lifetime. It's science but it's not rocket science. To the degree by which we enjoy Jesus it will be equal to the joy we experience in this life. They go hand in hand. If you want more joy, loved one, joy that lasts a lifetime make it your aim each and every day to follow Jesus example. Love freely, serve unselfishly, forgive completely, all the while appreciating openly and with an attitude of gratitude.


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

Jeremiah 31:3 


I LOVE YOU!

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"How To Win At Life"

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"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."


1 Corinthians 15:57


Most books written today are classified as "How To" books as authors know that an overwhelming number of those who read books often do so in hope of gaining some new insight that will assist the reader in experiencing a more abundant life. Though the Bible wasn't written to be a "how to" book, there are within its pages many truths that when studied in depth demonstrate a consistent pattern of living by those who enjoyed victories in this life.

First and foremost, all lasting victories find their foundation in God. Don't believe me, believe the Word of God. Study Romans 1 for yourself and you will find that those who suffer the greatest defeats in this life are those who choose to be ungrateful. Likewise, those who look to God with a heart of gratitude will ultimately experience the victory that God Himself provides. Maybe you have heard the expression, "an attitude of gratitude" a phrase that is considered by almost all life coaches, counselors and teachers to be one of the most important core characteristic of those who consistently walk in victory in their daily lives.

A better life begins with a better day and today is the day that the Lord has made so let us rejoice and be glad in it. Count your blessings today, loved one. Take a few minutes and think of things you can be thankful. Begin with God and work out from there. Thank God for His amazing love and for His mercy and grace. Thank God for giving us Jesus as our Savior. Thank God for the victory that the Cross has provided for us over sin and death. Just think, the penalty of our sin was paid in full on Calvary's Cross. The power of sin was broken as well when Jesus died in our place. And looking ahead, one day, even the very presence of sin will be gone from us as Jesus will make all things new as old things pass away and mortality puts on immortality. Yes, loved one, we have much to be thankful for today.

Are you wanting to experience victory in your life today? Its as simple as giving thanks. Thank God, and in turn thank people every chance you get today and watch what happens to your day. Discover for yourself the foundation of victorious living, which is a grateful heart. I appreciate the words of William Arthur Ward who once said, "Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." Yes, loved one, there is power in gratitude! Be blessed as you walk in victory today being thankful!


"Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever."

Psalm 106:1

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"Lessons From Your GPS"

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"So it was, when the Angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept." 


Judges 2:4


Life today is much like it was back in the days of the book of Judges in that everyone did what seems right to them. If your car is equipped with GPS you know what I mean. If you miss your predetermined mapped out destination the system automatically begins to search for an "alternate route" instead of the "best route". And yet, if you have ever missed a turn when traveling because you didn't follow the directions that were given you, you soon discover the best way to get on track is to just turn around and not look for another route. Unfortunately most of us hate to turn around when we get off track. We simply look for "alternate routes".

One of the things I have appreciated in learning about the children of Israel is how they respond to the chastening of the Lord when the angel of the Lord (the Lord Jesus Himself) appeared to them and rebuked them for their failure to fulfill the vows.

The bible tells us here the Lord came up from Gilgal (which means blessing) to where they were, Bochim (which means weeping). The people respond the way anyone with a sensitive heart would upon being rebuked of the Lord for rebelling against His will for our lives. They listened intently to what the Lord spoke and His Word cut them to the heart, and then they lifted up their voices and wept.

Sin and disobedience should break our heart in the same way it does break the Lords. When you and I study the Word of God with an open heart and mind, tears should come to our eyes when we sin and are in disobedience to the Lord. When we realize that our sin, your sin and my sin is what cost Jesus His life on Calvary's Cross, our hearts should ache if not break. Until we come to the place that we despise our sin the way that God does we will allow it to coexist in our lives like the children of Israel did in the book of Judges. Matthew Henry once said, "God has told us how deceitful and desperately wicked our hearts are, but we are not willing to believe it, until by making bold with temptation we find it true by sad experience."

D.L. Moody, the famous preacher in his own right said that the Christian has two natures that are like two dogs. We have an old nature and a new nature that must be fed to survive. The problem is, we only have enough food to feed one or the other. Our job as children of God is to starve our flesh to death and feed our souls and live. Unfortunately, the children of Israel failed to do just that and the cost of their sin far exceeded the temporal pleasure they might have enjoyed. If there is a truth to glean from Judges chapter 2 it's this, "history not learned from tends to repeat itself." Most commentators agree that a major theme in the book of Judges is apostasy. You might wonder, what exactly does apostasy mean? APOSTASY (ah·pahs'tuh·sy) is the act of rebelling against, forsaking, abandoning, or falling away from what one has believed previously. The children of Israel have a history of falling away and repenting, walking with God, falling away, repenting, only to fall away again and again. Its as if they were constantly looking for alternate routes.

True repentance though leads to God's forgiveness and just as pride leads to separation from Him as God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 tells us, "Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death."

Know this, friend, if you are sorry when you sin, that's a good thing! It's when we don't feel bad when we blow it that we have a problem. The children of Israel developed a pattern of living that we can observe and learn from here in the book of Judges. They developed a bad habit of Rebellion, Retribution (Retribution involves the act of paying someone back according to their behavior), Repentance, Rest, and then Repeating the cycle over and over.

We can break the cycles of sin and rebellion in our own lives by entrusting ourselves to God and following Him. Get in the Word and listen for His voice as you study the bible. It has been said that the Bible will keep you from sin and sin will keep you from the Bible. It's true, friend, that's why God gave us the Word, that's why He gave us His Son, the living Word! God wants us to know Him, and to know His ways so that we can live in victory every day of our lives and not just when we get to heaven.

The good news of the Gospel is this. The Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us…His Word is truth…and He said if we would know truth it will set us free! It was Jesus who said, "I Am the way, the truth and the life, and no man comes to the Father except by Me." Follow Him, loved one, stay close to Jesus today and you will never have to look for an alternate route again!


"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

John 8:36

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"Second To One"

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"It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose."

John 1:27


Most of us have heard the expression, "He or she was second to none" as a means of saying this person was the best at what they did. A compliment for sure but from studying the Word of God a greater compliment would be to say, "He or she was second to One", with the One being our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The more invisible we become the more visible Christ is. Thats we read John the Baptist declaring to his followers, "I must decrease that He might increase" and the apostle Paul writing to the church at Galatia boldly states, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." The highest goal we each should strive for in this life is to be "Second to One".

Ezra was one such man and studying his life will provide you with tremendous insights as to how to become successful in God's eyes. Even the name Ezra is significant as his name means "help". That word can be taken a few ways. God is our Helper and when we look to Him we succeed. It can also mean we are God's helper. Like the apostle Paul writes regarding his life of service to the Lord in 2 Corinthians 4:5, "For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake." A bondservant was a one who became a slave to another person as an act of their own free will and the term of their service was for life. Thats commitment!

Are you aware that Ezra was regarded very highly in Jewish tradition being regarded as a "second Moses"? Ezra, who himself led a group from Babylon to Jerusalem, it took four months and covered about 700 miles of rough terrain to arrive and assist in the rebuilding of the temple. By the time Ezra arrived in Jerusalem, the people had almost all but given up on the work of rebuilding, discouraged by their adversaries they decided to just focus on building their own homes instead of engaging in the work of the Lord that they were called to do.

Ezra stirred he hearts of the people to get back to work and complete the work they were sent to do. The Word of God tells us, "this Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him" (Ezra 7:6). Ezra stirred the heart of the people because the Word of God first stirred the heart of Ezra. If you desire to be used of God in building up His kingdom, learn the lessons of Ezra's life.

Ezra did much in preparing his heart during those four months it took to get from Babylon to Jerusalem. He was a skilled scribe, something more than just a glorified secretary position writing down notes of importance. Ezra was skilled in the Law of Moses, comparable today to being a highly trained lawyer. And because he set his heart to study and grasp the Law of Moses, God's hand was upon Him. In other words, God was with Ezra, supporting and supplying his every need.

What made Ezra successful in his journey of faith will make you and I successful too. First, start by setting your heart on the things of God. Every great work of God in the lives of men begins with a longing in the heart for the will of God. Ezra traveled hundreds of miles and many months to a city that was broken down and in desperate need of restoration. What was in God's heart became Ezra's heart too. Second, he loved God's Word and not just to read it devotionally. Ezra became skilled in Law of Moses. Scribes were influential in Israel's history because they were diligent to preserve the Word of God, to teach the Word of God and maybe, number 3, the most important of all, they helped the people both hear and apply the truths of God's Word in real life. Scribes were different from prophets as scribes didn't receive new revelations from the Lord, they focused on knowing and explaining the revelations already revealed. Ezra was one of the first of these.

Notice the steps we read in Ezra 7:10, "For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel." What Ezra was to the children of Israel in the Old Testament, you and I have been called to the church and the world which we live in the New Testament. Matthew 28:18-20, "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen."

The method and the model of ministry has not changed. The men and women God uses for His glory are those who first set their heart to seek God. Seek the Lord, long for Him by setting your heart to know God by knowing His Word. Study to know God's Word both intellectually and by careful application. Don't just study to know, study to do! Study to apply His Word to your life and not just to memorize His Word. And lastly, whatever the Lord teaches you know, He has done so that you might encourage others lives too. Seek out those with whom you can share what you have come to know as true in hope of stirring the hearts of those who are listening and who also want to seek and serve and share Him too. Impact others with what has impacted you! Determine today to be second to One! Be the man, be the woman of God that He uses mightily to stir up others to love and good works.


"So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."

John 13:12-17


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"Mistaken Identity"

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"Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ."

1 Corinthians 11:1


During World War 2 an off duty German soldier walked into a donut shop along a narrow street dressed in full military garb. With a brown paper bag in hand concealing his delicious delicacies as he left the shop he passed a young boy sitting near the shops entrance. As the soldier passed by his eyes met the young boy and the two shard more than just a passing glance. They were acutely aware of each others presence and yet not a word was spoken between them. As the soldier continued down the sidewalk something inside him prodded him turn around as the young boy continued to watch. Without speaking a word to the young boy the soldier came back and stopped directly in front of the young lad and reached down and handed him the bag of donuts he had just purchased. Surprised, shocked, and somewhat afraid the boy couldn't muster a word in the moment and the soldier not requiring one simply smiled and turned around and walked away. The boy looked down and opened the sack to see a few fresh baked donuts and the smell brought a smile to his own face. Within seconds the young boy yelled out to the soldier who was just a few yards away by this time, "hey mister" to which caused the soldier to stop and turn towards the boy still sitting on the curb. The boy shouted out, "are you Jesus?"

Mistaken identity, but what an identity to be mistaken for! Oh that you and I could have the joy of being mistaken for Jesus today! In reality we can. Every conversation, every opportunity that presents itself to us today is an opportunity to imitate Christ, to do what Jesus would do if He was walking in our shoes and living His life through me and you. After all, it was Jesus Himself who said, "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35). 

Study the life of Jesus today, read the Gospels and consider the words Jesus spoke and the deeds Jesus did in ministering to the needs of others and then ask God to lead you to the very people He desires that you share the life and love of Jesus with. Thats what it is to imitate Christ.

Just think, every person, every encounter today is an opportunity for us to experience for ourselves "mistaken identity". Oh how the world needs to see Jesus today!


"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

Matthew 5:16

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"Grow in Grace"

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"but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen."

2 Peter 3:18

My wife has a garden in our backyard that she tends to throughout the week. She has a green thumb and my life is blessed by the fruit of her labor. Monday afternoon she was showing our oldest granddaughter Reese all the plants that were coming into bloom. As they walked together in the garden my wife was pointing out how some of her plants are small right now but that in just a few short weeks they will be standing tall producing the very fruits and vegetables for which they were created by God to do. All they need to do is cling to the vine! 

Like everything healthy, God's desire for His children is that each of us grow in grace. Grace is best defined as "getting what I don't deserve" and grace with regard to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ means to grow in the knowledge that our salvation is a gift to us from God and not something we could ever earn on our own. We are saved the same way fruit grows, we cling to the vine! 

The reason Peter says we need to grow in grace is because it will keep us humble and fruitful as we focus our lives on what Jesus has done for us. Its very difficult to remain proud when you are constantly made aware of not only God's grace in your life but His mercy too. You recall that mercy means, "not getting what I deserve". God in His mercy has not given us what we do deserve when we break His commands which is eternal death. Instead, He has offered to us His grace, His unmerited and undeserved, one way love, the very thing we don't deserve, being eternal life in Christ Jesus.

Grow in grace, grow in Jesus life, loved one! Commit yourself to spending time in God's Word today which acts like fertilizer for our soul causing us to grow in His grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior. Remember, as we cling to the Vine and the life of Jesus grows in us, the peaceable fruit of His righteousness becomes ours to enjoy and share with others!

"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."

John 15:1-5

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"Don't Settle For Less"

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"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."

Matthew 7:7


Have you ever purchased a big bag of your favorite snack only to discover the bag was less than half full? In disappointment you read the fine print on the package that said, "product sold by weight not by volume" and your heart sank remembering the 'good old days' when it was the other way around. In a world where we are constantly paying more and getting less I am so thankful that God offers us life in abundance in Jesus Christ.

It was Jesus Himself who said in John 10:10, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." Its important to note that Jesus didn't just come to give us any just any old kind of life but He came to give us abundantly more life which is to say Jesus is offering us life eternal, life without end. With regard to heaven and the life that Jesus has for us the apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2:9, "But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." What the apostle is telling us is that there is so much more that the Lord has in store for them that love Him but now in these bodies we aren't fully capable of taking it all in right now. These eyes and ears we have now just don't do the job to help us see the spiritual world around us. We need God's Spirit in us! That also means we were created for something more and more is exactly what God has in store for you and me who are in Christ Jesus!

Luke's Gospel reminds us that even when we give we cant out give God. Luke 6:38 puts it like this, "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you." The same way we wish our snack items would come in their packages, Jesus says our return on investment in the kingdom of God will come back to us. We always receive back far more than what we give when it comes to giving to God. It is true, we just cant out give God.

Don't settle for less today, loved one, when God is offering us so much more. Keep this in mind today! There is more for you to accomplish today, more for you to receive from the Lord if only we will exercise our faith to believe and receive. Read the prayer of the apostle Paul today for the church in Ephesus and know too that his prayer for the church that he loved is also my prayer for you as well. As I bow my own knee I pray to the Father that you may be filled with all the fullness of God until you like King David recognized in the 23rd Psalm, "my cup runs over!"


"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 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, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

Ephesians 3:14-21

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"Garbage In Garbage Out"

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"I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me."

Psalm 101:3



Checking my Twitter feed I saw a post from a well known pastor I follow who said, "I heard the new season of The Bachelor was starting. It should be a felony to watch it". If his tweet doesn't make any sense to you let me be the first to encourage you to read David's words here in Psalm 101:3 where he determines to set nothing before his eyes that could make him stumble or fall away from walking in his integrity with God. David understood full well the old saying, "garbage in garbage out".

Today, this week, this year, make it your aim to walk worthy of the Lord. Don't let the world squeeze you into its mold. Take to heart the words of the apostle Paul who exhorts all believers in Romans 12:1-2, "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 goal of the Christian life is not to live sin free but to be free from sin, and Jesus came to set us free so that our focus would be on Him and not on sin. It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who said, "Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously doing God's will." The best way to avoid sin is to keep your eyes on the Lord and to follow Him.


"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Hebrews 12:1-2

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"I Hope You Dance"

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"When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?"

Psalm 8:3-4

Reading Psalm 8 this morning brought to mind a song my wife loves and so much so that when she heard it played for the first time she immediately sent it to each of our children to listen with the desire they would take the words to heart as a mothers hope for her children.

The words to the song are as follows,

"I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance
I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin' might mean takin' chances, but they're worth takin'
Lovin' might be a mistake, but it's worth makin'
Don't let some Hellbent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin' out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance (Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance
I hope you dance (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder)
I hope you dance (Where those years have gone?)
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
Dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance (Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder?)
(Song Ends)

Both the psalm above and the song beautifully express the vastness of creation and exhorts the listener to give the world around us more than just a passing glance. Each time I hear this song the words of G.K. Chesterton come to my mind, "We are perishing for lack of wonder not lack of wonders." By God's design when we stand on a sea shore looking out or gazing up into the heavens we can't help but feel small. Psalm 19:1-4 puts it into perspective, "The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun."

Like a child I stand in awe as I consider the works of Gods hand and my heart agrees with what Evelyn Underhill once said, "If God were small enough to be understood, He would not be big enough to be worshipped." Creation reminds us just how little we are. When we stand on the shore of the ocean, we realize there is a whole other world lying just beneath the waves. When we stand on top of a mountain and look up into the heavens we are drawn towards God. Psalm 148:1-6 explains why, "Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light! Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created. He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away."

Step outside today, loved one, and look up, look around and stand in awe, stand in wonder as you appreciate a fresh today all that God has made. Allow the work of God's hand to remind you how big He is and just how little you are, knowing as you do you will experience His majesty in a more profound way. Encountering God's creation is not at all belittling to us. Rather, His majesty is humbling as when we see God rightly, we see ourselves rightly too. God is great, we are small, and that reminder is to our comfort. It's freeing to discover our insignificance and to be left with a sense of wonder that everything that exists was created by Him and for Him and nothing that exists does so apart from Him. That includes me and you too! 

We were created for God's glory and we owe everything to Him, even the very breath we breathe. Knowing this, my hope and prayer for you today, loved one, is like that which my wife prays for our own children and grandchildren too, I hope you dance!

"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness"

Psalm 30:11


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"Choose Joy"

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"I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you…"

Philemon 1:4-7


I think its safe to say that almost everyone wants to be happy and yet as quickly as we think we have found it, it can be gone and rightly so. Happiness is fleeting at best, and unfortunately our happiness is tied directly to our 'happenings' which change as quickly as our circumstances. If things go as we hope we are happy to varying degrees and time. If things don't go as we hope discouragement and sadness often grip our heart and mind with greater intensity than the happiness we were longing.

Are you aware there is something more satisfying than happiness? Yes, loved one, better than the pursuit of happiness is the gift of joy. C.S. Lewis once said, "Joy is the serious business of heaven." What makes joy trump happiness every time is joy is not determined by our circumstances and therefore is not subject to change even when everything else does. Happiness is contingent on what happens to us, unlike joy which is dependent solely on what Jesus accomplished for us on the Cross. Joy is a gift from God to His children and constant through each and every circumstances we encounter that reminds us we are loved and that God is there.

Of all the apostles there was none who knew the difference between happiness and joy more than Peter. Before joy overflowed his life Peter was tossed to and fro by the emotional highs and lows that come with the pursuit of happiness it seems like almost daily. Peter, writing in the epistle that bears his name captures perfectly the impact of Christ's love upon our lives, "whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8). "Joy inexpressible" because there are no words that can describe seeing Jesus work supernaturally in your life in a way that transcends seeing Jesus physically as Peter did. Its like the difference between seeing something beautiful and being touched by it. Seeking and finding Jesus brings an abiding satisfaction, a joy like nothing this life has to offer. Nothing else comes close.

Do you have a desire for more joy in your life? I know I do. Discover more joy as you discover more of Jesus as Jesus and joy are inseparable. So, instead of seeking happiness, make it your aim to seek Jesus and you too will discover joy inexpressible! I believe C.S. Lewis said it best, "aim at the world and you get nothing, aim at heaven and you get the world thrown in." Choose Jesus!

"You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Psalm 16:11 


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