Life Along the Way

A Daily Devotional

"The Chosen One"

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"Blessed is the man You choose, And cause to approach You, That he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Of Your holy temple."

Psalm 65:4

There is not much in this life that compares to being chosen. Be it on a team in a pick up game of kickball as a child, a school prom in high school, and your hand in marriage as an adult. Beyond affirming our self esteem being chosen says we have worth, that we matter to someone.

Here in Psalm 65 we read how the Psalmist is fully aware of the blessings of being chosen of God, to be picked to come into His presence. He writes that when God causes us to approach Him we don't want to leave and the reason is because its in His presence that we find satisfaction just being there.

I remember when my mom passed away and how within just a few hours of her passing I found myself standing in the living room of her home and feeling a sense of her presence just being surrounded by her things. In talking with my oldest sister I discovered she felt the same way. If you have ever really loved someone then you know that empty feeling you get as you part ways. Their absence from you creates a longing within you. The psalmist here simply acknowledges that truth.

The good news today, loved one, is we have more than an invitation from God to draw close to Him. God compels those whom He chooses to approach Him. Like a fish caught on a line, the love of God reels us in until we are right there by His side. And once we are there, though He sets us free to go, we choose to stay. Love you might say has a hold on us that needs nothing else to secure us to God.

Let God's love get a hold of you today, don't pull away but rather let His love draw you close. Let Psalm 65 speak to you, let it remind you that every thing God touches blooms and produces an abundant harvest. No matter where you find yourself today the good news of the gospel is one day the Messiah will walk the earth again and when He does, those with whom He has chosen will walk with Him too, enjoying seed time and harvest. It will be like a beautiful spring day everyday! Just like His presence, beauty will surround you!

Celebrate Jesus today, celebrate the fact that He is coming again, that our Beloved is coming again, He is coming for us soon! All of creation is joining in the celebration in recognition of the fact just like the song sings, "Oh how He loves us, oh how He loves you, oh how He loves me, oh how He loves you and me!"

"As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love."

John 15:9

I LOVE YOU!


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"The Blessedness of Brokenness"

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"And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep." For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law."

Nehemiah 8:9


We read in the book of Nehemiah that the people wept when they heard the Word of the Lord. It just goes to show us how tender their hearts were to the Word of the Lord. They stood in honor at its reading and they lifted their hands up to the Lord in worship. The people were literally standing in awe.

I remember watching the movie, "The Passion of the Christ" for the first time and like most people I too was moved to tears. Yet my tears were not brought on by the reading of God's law in the movie, but rather, I was in a sense (though it is was a movie) able to see the Word with my own eyes. The tears I shed had nothing to do with the reading of the law. I cried because of the fresh realization and revelation of God's grace in my life. Unlike the Pharisee's who were known as moralist's, Jesus was perfect in every way but what people remember the Lord for most is His forgiveness and His compassion towards sinners.

I cried because I am so aware of the fact that I am a lawbreaker, a sinner and because of that Jesus Christ willingly came from heaven to earth and died in my place on the Cross. I cried as I was reminded He died not just because of me but in love He died for me. Not only is that love but it is personal! The thought of God's love being personal overwhelms me every time I think about it, and I pray it does you too! 

To watch if only on a movie screen the inhumane treatment that the Lord endured on the Cross because of my sin just overwhelms me when I watch the movie "The Passion of the Christ". I can't help but mourn, I want to mourn, I need to mourn my sin. Yet, the reason I mourn most is because I know the Word of God and that it teaches me that Jesus died for me. Without the Word, its just human emotion, but because of God's Word, I am drawn to repentance.

The reading of God's Word brings us to moments of bitter sweetness. The joy of salvation is like honey on our lips yet the judgment that will befall those who reject Jesus Christ as Savior should cause our stomachs to turn. Wasn't it apostle John in Revelation 10:9-10 who was instructed, "So I went to the angel and said to him, "Give me the little book." And he said to me, "Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth." Then I took the little book out of the angel's hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter."

When I read the Word of God and understand that it was my sin and your sin that Christ had to die for my heart aches, yet at the same time my heart rejoices at the knowledge that Jesus would love me and you so much that He would die for us. That's the sweet part, that's the Good News of the Gospel, beloved; Jesus Christ came and laid down His perfect life for a sinner like me and a sinner like you. We have reason to rejoice today knowing our sins are forgiven because of Jesus Christ. 

Don't just mourn your sins today, loved one, rather, rejoice instead that you be or that you are Born Again, that your name is written in heaven! If you aren't a Christian and you read this today know that God mourns for you and as those who love Jesus do too. Yes, friend, God mourns as do believers all around the world for those who have not (YET) experienced the love of God found in Jesus Christ.

We mourn because we don't want people to miss heaven. I like a bumper sticker I saw that said, "Friends Don't; Let Friends Miss Heaven." Yet, maybe we mourn the most knowing that once we too were lost in the world and we know so well the emptiness of a life without Christ that we want nothing more than to see this world reconciled to God through the Word of God that became flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ! We want everyone we meet to enjoy heaven one day. 

Is your life is full of tears today because this world has left you broken and empty? If so, I beg you by the mercies of God to give your life to God as a living sacrifice. Surrender your heart to Jesus and give Him your sorrow and allow Him to exchange it for joy, lasting joy! Allow God to turn your brokenness into blessing! He can, He does, and He will!

"I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance."

Luke 15:7

I LOVE YOU!


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"Lifestyles of the Rich in Faith"

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"Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted."

Galatians 6:1

The message is pretty straight forward in the book of Galatians. Legalism is witnessed by self preservation where as love is witnessed by self sacrifice. The churches Paul is writing to personally in the book of Galatians had started off good in the Christian journey like many of us, as they started off by faith but now they are seeking to be justified by the works of the law which Paul reminds them will unfortunately nullify salvation by grace as grace can only be received by faith apart from works. You can't work for God's gift of salvation.

What the apostle Paul was seeking to communicate regarding the importance of God's grace is that "Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. Your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace." Everyone needs grace! In fact, every chapter in the book of Galatians is about grace, God's amazing grace!

In chapter six verse one the apostle Paul gives the mature believer an assignment when he writes, "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted." The word "trespass" means a person "steps in it" as it were, they are caught in their sin like a trap. The word "Trespass" is a passive verb in the Greek language. This isn't the same attitude regarding "sin as a practice" like we read of regarding the works of the flesh back in Galatians 5:21, "that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." Paul writes in Galatians 5:21 that those people who make sin a regular practice in their life we aren't even to have anything to do with them for what does light have with darkness. 

This person here in chapter six is a brother or sister who has become "over taken" or trapped by their sin. They didn't set out to get stuck in their sin but unfortunately they have…and they need our help! Hebrews 12:1 puts it like this, "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." 

Though the sin that so easily entangles us is not premeditated, it is still our fault. No one can say when he is tempted that God made them do it. What God does do is in every temptation is to make a way of escape so we are without excuse. God is always there to help us walk in victory. 1 Corinthians 10:13 makes it perfectly clear, "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."

Yes, loved one, you and I who would consider ourselves to be "spiritual" or "mature" in Christ and bearing the fruit of His Spirit in our lives have a responsibility to get involved as the word, "Restore" in the Greek language is an imperative, meaning it is a command. We who are spiritual are commanded to leave the ninety nine as it were and go and help them, to get involved in getting them out of their sin even if that means getting our own feet dirty remembering, "Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you" (John 13:10).

Keep in mind the word "to restore" means to "mend" as in repairing a fishing net. Its laborious and tedious work but its necessary. To restore can also mean to "set straight" as in setting a broken bone. You don't want just anyone to set a broken bone. You want someone who is gentle yet firm to do so. You want someone who is spiritually mature to minimize the pain if possible.

So, here is the million dollar question today we should ask ourselves. How do we know if we are spiritual or mature in the Fatih? Is there fruit evidenced in your life like we read of in Galatians chapter five? Is your life marked by the fact that you are walking with Jesus and He is producing in you the fruit of His Spirit, "Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." 

Go back to Galatians chapter six verse one as it goes on to say, "in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted." When a mature person is dealing with the sin of another person they will do so in a spirit of gentleness which translated means, "Meekness under control". It means when we need to confront others who are stuck in sin to do so humbly knowing we could just as easily get stuck ourselves if not for the grace of God. 

Our humility stems from our awareness that our conversation is going to be painful as we seek to mend and set things straight. The apostle Paul writes in a nut shell, "Be humble lest you stumble." Never underestimate your own ability to blow it and to get stuck in sin! Because we can so easily offended when someone confronts us in our sin we often say of that person, "they are judging me". In reality we are not judging someone with whom we are willing to go to and talk to in private and get involved in their sin, in their mess with the desire to get involved and help them out of it. Its actually the very opposite.

Here is what a judgmental person does, this is what the Pharisees and the Judaizers Paul was confronting did. "You form an opinion about someone and do nothing about it." This person "talks the talk" but fails to "walk the walk". Its easy to talk about people, but to actually get involved in their lives takes love and time. The legalistic talks about people, they gossip about the person but they do so with no intention of getting involved and helping them get "unstuck". They will talk negative about the person all the while keeping their distance.  

Here is something we all can do the next time a judgmental gossip seeks to draw you into their sin by gossiping about others. Ask these two questions

1. Are you helping them? Ask the person gossiping. I hear what you are saying but let me ask you a question. What are you doing to help them get out of their sin? Is what you are saying right now easing their load or are you adding to their burden? We all know the loving thing to do is get involved. Thats what love does. It gets involved where the judgmental person, the legalist and the Pharisee just talk and point out whats wrong.

Heres another question you can ask the person gossiping to you about someone else.

2. What is your telling me doing to help them? Is what you are saying to me right now doing anything at all to help them? If not, all you are doing is gossiping and you should stop, you should ask God to forgive you. (What you are doing is modeling for them the right way to help a person get out of sin. Recognize they have stepped in it). 

Are you aware that one of the reasons people gossip is because they are lazy? Its true. The reason we gossip based on Galatians 6 is we don't want to get involved as getting involved means doing something. People who gossip don't really care, so as we gossip we are trying to convince ourselves we don't need to get involved or shouldn't get involved when other people are caught in sin though the Scriptures command us to get involved and help the person out. We all know the loving thing to do is to leave the ninety nine as it were and go after the one.

Galatians 6:1 teaches us the best way to avoid falling into sin is to stay focused on helping others get out of theirs. When our eyes are on ourselves we can get easily trapped in sin as we are not paying attention to whats going on around us. But when our eyes are fixed on Jesus and we are seeking to help other people who are in need of help getting unstuck from their sin we are too busy to get drawn away. 

Yes, loved one, the best way to enjoy the lifestyle of the rich in faith is to look for opportunity to help someone else today, to prefer others better than ourselves and to look for someone who is stuck in sin and help them find a way to get out. After all, isn't that what Jesus came to do for me and you? 

"For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost."

Matthew 18:11

I LOVE YOU!


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"Green With Envy, Ripe For Trouble"

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"But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked."

Psalm 73:2-3

Have you ever been envious of someone who seemed to have it better than you? If we are honest we all have at one time or another in life. Its human, but its also dangerous if left unchecked. In Psalm 73 we read the story of Asaph who in verse 2 says he "almost stumbled" which is to say he almost gave up on his faith in God because he was watching the wicked prosper who had no relationship with God, nor any desire whatsoever to walk in obedience to His statutes. Asaph, looked at those around him who were prospering though they were wicked and he became discouraged. He began to think "whats the use of living right and honoring God with my life if everybody else is doing just fine without even thinking about God?"

What Asaph was struggling with was the perception of the lack of problems the wicked seemingly have in this life. All Asaph saw was their prosperity, he saw all the stuff those around him were accumulating, the pleasures of life they seemed to be enjoying. But, what he couldn't see was what was going on inside the wicked's heart and soul, the unrest that lies beneath the surface of perception. He couldn't see the worry and the stress, the sleepless nights and the fear that one day it could all be gone. 

Sadly, Asaph began to suffer himself from comparison which is the thief of joy. In his envy Asaph forgot the old saying, "who you really are is who you are when no one is looking." The Bible tells us man looks at the outward appearance but God looks upon the heart. Envy is always proof our eyes are on the wrong things in life, that we are counting other people's blessings instead of our own.

Envy causes us to take our eyes off God and when that happens, when we become green with envy, and ripe for problems! Fortunately for Asaph he turned his eyes back to God, but not before he dealt honestly with his own feelings. Where many people get tripped up on when it comes to envy is, feelings are real but not necessarily true. Look at the transparency in Asaph's struggle as he writes, "Behold, these are the ungodly, Who are always at ease; They increase in riches. Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, And washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, And chastened every morning. If I had said, "I will speak thus," Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children. When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me" (Psalm 73:12-16). Envy is painful because its self consuming. Asaph was honest about his envy and the pain it was causing him. 

So what happened that turned it around for Asaph? What did he do to get his heart in the right place again? Psalm 73:17 tells us, "Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end." Asaph went to church! He went into the sanctuary of God and worshipped. Asaph got his eyes back on the Lord and when he did God put things in their proper perspective with regard to this life and the life to come. Asaph realized the wicked enjoy pleasure for a very limited amount of time. Asaph was reminded that life is eternal and that there is a price to pay for sin, as its wages are always death. The more Asaph focused on God and an eternal perspective the pain and suffering of his current situation became more bearable as he realized it was only temporal and the best for him and all the children of God is still yet to be!

Asaph's perspective changed from looking at God through the lens of suffering to seeing suffering through the lens of God. God puts everything into perspective when we get our eyes off ourselves and on Him. That is why the writer of Hebrews exhorts us, "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).

The best way then to avoid envy is to focus our attention on God, and on His Word, to maintain an eternal perspective about life. Asaph did what I hope you and I would do too when life lets us down and we are disappointed. Asaph didn't seek God less, but instead he sought God more! Asaph didn't pull back and isolate himself from God and others in his pain which is our natural tendency​. Instead, he reached up and he reached out even more! 

Asaph got with and around God's people, he worshipped and sang praises to God and as he did God put Asaph's pain into its proper place, in the hands of his loving God. God didn't remove Asaph's pain, He simply used it to transform Asaph's life into a life of worship! May God do the same to you and I too as we go through this life and learn to deal with hurt and heartache, loss and sorrow. Look to Jesus and learn how to view suffering through the lens of a telescope instead of a microscope. Keep the big picture in mind today by focusing on our big God, casting all your cares upon Him because He cares about you!


"A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones."

Proverbs 14:30


I LOVE YOU!


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"My Wish For You"

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"How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You."

Psalm 139:17-18

Studying through the Psalms this morning I am reminded of a few things that I wish to remind you with the hope that it leaves you standing in awe of our God today, almost speechless when you consider His thoughts about you.

As we study Psalm 139 we are quickly made aware that God is omniscient, to say He knows everything. God knows everything about you. He knows the good, the bad and the ugly of each of our lives and the good news of the Gospel is He still loves us! Psalm 139:1-5 teaches us, "O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me." Ponder that today loved one, God knows you and cares about you. I guess you could say you are always on His mind. I don't know how that makes you feel but I am comforted knowing my God is interested in me. Look what the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 139:6, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it."

It only gets better. Don't forget that God is omnipresent too, which means God is everywhere. He is always present, and that you are never alone! Imagine how it must have been for the Psalmist to know from personal experience the words he penned in Psalm 139:7-10, "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me." My wish for you today is that you are very much aware of God's omnipresence in your own life, after all, it's His gift to you!

If we only understood that God is omniscient and omnipresent most of us would be satisfied the rest of our lives by the fact that the God of heaven is mindful of us individually and that He is there for us but it doesn't end there. There is more! God is also omnipotent which is to say He is all powerful. There is none like Him, God has no rival as He stands alone separate from all creation. Notice verses 13 through 16 in Psalm 139 and the power of God, "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them." To think God has the power to simply speak the word and it is done. Talk about words being powerful!

For many the character of God is understood in His omniscience, omnipresence and His omnipotence and yet there is still more. Today, my wish for you is that you come to know God is obeisant too! By obeisant I mean, God stoops, He bows down. Have you ever been walking along and noticed something small on the ground and you stop and bow down to get a closer look and to examine it and give whatever it is your fullest attention? Thats what God does. He bows down not just to notice us but to care for us too. Yes, loved one, my wish for you today is that you are just as overwhelmed by the loving personal care of God for you as the Psalmist was in Psalm 139:17-18, "How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You."

Next time you go to the beach reach down as you are walking along the shore and take up just a single handful of sand and try to count the number of grains. My wish for you in that moment is that it just blows your mind to think God thinks of you more than all the sand on every shore line in the entire universe. Most of us are comforted when someone says to us, "I have been thinking about you" or "You have been on my mind a lot lately." Yet, here in Psalm 139 the Psalmist can hardly comprehend the staggering love and care of our God.

Yes, loved one, my wish for you today is that at the deepest level of your being it sinks in that even before God created the heavens and the earth, He was thinking of you! And not only was He thinking of you then, He is thinking of you now, still today, and as if to say, I think about you even more than all the sand on every sea shore! Wow! Now you know why the Psalmist replied, "It is too wonderful for me."

"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it."

Psalm 139:6

I LOVE YOU!


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"I Lost My Keys Again"

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"And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are one."

John 10:28-30 (NKJV)

I receive a lot of faith based email daily with offers on everything from free trips to the Holy Land that all have an * somewhere near the word FREE that means the trip isn't really free at all. I receive offers for free books of all types, many of them offering advice on how to grow our church into the thousands "in no time" at all which actually do at least make me laugh upon reading the promo as the ad cannot be deemed false advertisement as it does specifically say, "in no time at all" which in reality is saying its not going to happen as the term "no time at all" means just that. 

Yet, the bait that gets me most of the time because of the way my brain works, or doesn't work, are the ads that say,  "7 Keys To (You fill in the blank)." I think most of us spend a great deal of time throughout our lives looking for so called keys to a better life so I'm a sucker when it comes to being offered keys to anything.

I wish there was a key that made everything work in life, I'd even be ok if it required a few keys. Yet, what I have learned so far in my 58 years of existence is that a key that works for one person might not work so well for another. I guess thats why most of us carry key rings. I will confess I have keys on my key ring that I have no idea what they go too but Im afraid to discard them thinking as soon as I do I'll discover I need it. 

Of this I am certain. If the success of this life was based on using the right keys all the time, me and a whole slew of people are in trouble due to the fact we misplace our keys on a regular basis. Can you imagine what it would be like if God the Father had sent His only begotten Son Jesus to the earth and handed an actual key to everyone who placed their hope and trust in Jesus and said, "Here is your key to eternal life, don't lose it." Most of us would have lived the rest of our lives in fear knowing that we would eventually lose that key. Thats why I am thankful that my salvation and yours is not based on us holding onto a key but rather knowing that it is God Himself who is holding onto us! We are safe because we are in God's hands and not the other way around.

Yesterday morning I was sharing in our Victorious Living bible study about the grace of God and how it changes our lives. We all walked away so encouraged knowing that our salvation is an act of God's grace as Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us plainly, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." There are no keys to lose when it comes to our salvation. It is a gift from God! 

Most people that believe in Jesus as their Savior and Lord readily accept the fact of God's grace being the initial means of our salvation. Its sustaining it that begins to trip a lot of people up as many think that after God saves us its somehow up to us to fane the flame of our salvation and keep ourselves in right standing with God by the things we do or in many cases don't do. To those in this category its no longer Jesus + nothing = salvation but rather Jesus + works = salvation. That belief system has existed as long as there has been a devil, as the enemy of our soul does not want you and I to ever know or accept that Jesus sacrificial death upon the Cross was sufficient to pay the price for our sins and purchase our lives back to God.

Satan never wants you and to read the words Jesus spoke to the apostle Paul and receive them for yourself because he knows on that day you and I will quit trying to find the right keys to life and to abundant living that is based on us doing anything and rather we will begin to rest the same way the apostle Paul did when he accepted the words Jesus spoke, "And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV). In other words, the apostle Pauls eyes had been open not only to God's saving grace but to His sustaining grace! We are saved by Gods grace and we are sustained by His grace too! No keys to lose as grace is the key!

Grace changes everything and not only are we saved by grace and kept by grace, we are comforted in hope regarding our future by the grace of God too! Listen to the apostle Paul's words he wrote to the church in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, "But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 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." The apostle Paul is reminding the church God's grace doesn't not only save us and sustain us but His grace comforts us by reminding us one day Jesus is coming back to gather us up to take us home to be with Him. Heres where God's grace becomes most evident.

The church in Thessalonica was worried that their loved ones who had died before Jesus return to earth would miss out on the Rapture because they were dead. For some reason the church thought only those alive would be Raptured and so they were saddened to think they would not be reunited with their loved ones who had preceded them in death. Paul wrote these Holy Spirit inspired words to comfort them about God's amazing grace. 

Nothing proves God's grace more than a person who is dead being brought back to life as I am pretty sure most of us can figure out that people who are deceased are no longer capable of holding onto or turning a key to anything. People who are dead have to entrust themselves to the 100% complete care of another person which is exactly what the apostle Paul wanted the church to know and understand. Those who have placed their hope and trust in Jesus in this life by the grace of God will be raised to life by this same grace when the Lord returns to gather us all up to be with Him to enjoy the life that is to come!  

Grace, grace, grace, nothing but Gods grace will save us, sustain us and raise up to life from the dead. Remember this loved one, Jesus + Nothing = Salvation. Rest today in what Jesus has done for you, is doing now for you and what He has promised He will do in the future for you. Open up your bible today and let the Word of God speak to you and reveal to you, God is in control. He's got this! He always has and always will! We can trust Him. No keys to hold onto or lose! Jesus has the keys safely in His hands! Whoohoo! 

"I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death."

Revelation 1:18 (NKJV)

I LOVE YOU!


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"Do Good"

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"While we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith."

Galatians 6:10


As we meditate on this instruction taken from verse in the book of Galatians this morning, use the following "Do Good's" to help you show God's love to others you come in contact with today. 

Most have heard the acrostic for the BIBLE, "Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth." We say basic for the simple reason the apostle John wrote, "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" John 20:30-31. What John is saying is not enough books could be written to fully explain all that Jesus has done since He has been active since before the foundation of the world ever was. But, the good news of the Gospel is, we have plenty enough instruction in the Word of God to show us how to be saved and experience eternal life as well how to walk in victory in this life as we walk with Jesus in His victory each day.

Because the Bible is the living Word of God its always current, always relevant to the world around us. The Bible is a historical document as well as a prophetic one. Contained within the pages of our bible are both promises to receive and commands to do and situations to avoid. Studying through the book of Galatians we discover chapters 5 and 6 laying out for the believer practical application, things we can begin to do today to put the Bible into practice by the grace of God. When I think about lists like the one below I am reminded, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

Galatians 6:10 teaches, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith." What are some ways we can do good for our brothers and sisters in Christ?

"Do Good" in letting people know you care. Proverbs 12:25 (NASB) reminds us that, "Anxiety in a man's heart weighs it down, But a good word makes it glad." Proverbs 18:21 (NASB) goes on to say, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit." Its much easier to tear people down than it is to build them up. Do to others what you would have them do to you. Look for the good in others, as hard as it may be to find, look for it. Believe it or not, we all find what we are looking for in others. Ask God to help you express care through your words to them personally and about them when speaking with others.

"Do Good" by showing your care by your actions. Go the extra mile and get involved in others lives, especially when they need help. We all need a hand at some point in life and most people don't forget those who were there when no one else showed up. Isn't that what Jesus said to do? Matthew 5:41-42, "Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. "Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you."

"Do Good" to others by showing your love for them by being patient with them. One thing that is becoming more and more clear with each passing year, people quit way to soon. Be it marriages, friendships, jobs, churches, projects, new hobbies or interests. I think most of us would agree, we need more patience. Ask God to help you be patient with people, and not just patient as an act of tolerance but rather patient in love.

"Do Good" by being grateful for people. Appreciate the people God has placed in your life. Thank them personally, publicly, with words and on paper, in a personal note or a card. And know handwritten notes are the best! A grateful heart is the pathway by which every other blessing God bestows on His children comes from. Never underestimate the power of a thankful heart.

"Do Good" being generous to others. Start by tipping those that serve you. Honor and bless them for blessing you. Bless those who can't bless you in return. Are you aware you can't out give God? The more we seek to bless those we come in contact with the more blessed of the Lord we will be. We are so much more in tune with our Savior when we give sacrificially. 1 Timothy 6:17-18 reminds us, "Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share."

"Do Good" to others by being sensitive to the feelings of others. Ask God to help you listen to others. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. "Be quick to listen and slow to speak" the Bible reminds us! A friend just recently taught me that you can't have an agenda with people you are curious about. Think about it. In communicating with others we are often waiting for them to pause so we can speak. We often times are not even listening to them speak as while they are speaking we are formulating our own response. Sadly what that proves is we tend to go into many conversations with an agenda and trust me, its hard to listen when you have an agenda. On the other hand sit down with someone you are interested in and we become all ears. One key to inter personal relationships is to stay interested in other people knowing as you do you will learn to hear their heart.

"Do Good" by remaining loyal to the people God has placed in your life. Practice forgiveness by practicing intercession. You can't stay angry at someone you are committed to praying for. We cant control what people say about us but we have 100% control of what we say regarding them.

Dwight L. Moody once said, "The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God's help, I aim to be that man." 

Make it your aim today loved one, as I make it mine too! Lets surrender ourselves completely to the Lords will holding nothing back and see what a difference a single devoted life can make in this world. Lets determine today to put the Word of God into practice.

​I LOVE YOU!

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"How Long is Long Enough?"

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

Ecclesiastes 3:1


Wouldn't it be great if love were like a going to the Golden Corral? Unlimited selections to choose from, pick only those things you like. But would that really be love? Is love more than just the freedom to choose? The Bible's definition of love isn't loosely defined, go with your feelings or just follow your heart, do whatever makes you feel good. No, on the contrary, scripture says that love, "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

But how can we love those we find it hard to love? Is it possible to love the unloveable? The answer is 'yes' but God's love isn't easy and doesn't come without a struggle. Even Jesus love was put to the test again and again by those He came in contact. In Mark's gospel we read a story where it appears Jesus is frustrated by the unbelief of the scribes and the multitude who followed Him as He went from place to place. In Mark 9:19 Jesus responds to a scribe who had brought his son with a mute spirit to the disciples for healing but they were unable to heal the man's son. Jesus said, "O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me."

I don't know about you but I am comforted knowing Jesus dealt with the same struggles in interpersonal relationships just like me and you. Its been well said, "The ministry would be great if it wasn't for the people". Obviously not all the people, just some of the people. Jesus asked the crowd gathered before Him that day a great question, "How long shall I bear with you?" The short answer is, "long enough". God is love and His love never fails and the proof of Jesus love is revealed for all the world to see on the Cross of Calvary. How long did Jesus bear with them that day and with us even now? All the way to the end! John 13:1 paints for us a beautiful word picture as it were, "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."

The Cross demonstrates the unfailing love of God as Jesus loved His own to the end! I so appreciate what Max Lucado wrote regarding how long Jesus bears with us or as some translations say, "put up" with us. "Long enough for every sin to soak in my sinless soul so that heaven will turn in horror until my swollen lips pronounce the final transaction– "It is finished." How long? Until it kills me." The love of God never fails us and Jesus life, death and resurrection prove it. How long should we "put up" with one another you might be thinking? Since it was Jesus Himself who said in John 13:34, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another". The short answer regarding how long we should "put up" with one another then is simple, not a minute longer than Jesus would.

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

John 13:35

I LOVE YOU!


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"You Can Do Hard Things"

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

Philippians 4:13


When you study the life of the apostle Paul you read about an ordinary man who did extraordinary feats because of the power of God working in and through him. I'm sure there were times when Paul amazed himself at what God could do through his life. If I were a betting man, I'd bet that you can do more than you are currently doing now too in pretty much every area of life. About the only way any of us can do more than we are right now is if we had someone there to help us, to motivate us, to keep us accountable and to push us beyond what we think is possible and to cheer us on when we don't think we can take another step. That's why God has given us His Spirit to live within us.

The Holy Spirit isn't just in this world to comfort us, loved one, He is here you might say as our personal trainer. Yet, unlike a good coach or personal trainer the Holy Spirit knows perfectly our strengths and our weaknesses and knows exactly how hard to push and when so as to maximize our performance in life. He is with us to give us the strength to run the race and not just finish it but to help us finish our race well. God is with us every step of the way and He is the first one at the finish line to greet us when we are done!

Below is a true story that goes to show you what we are capable of even when we might think we aren't prepared for whatever it is that we are about to face in this life. Read the true story of one amazing woman,

"At age 42, in beautiful downtown Cleveland, Georgene Johnson ran a marathon by accident (all 26 miles, 385 yards of it). She lined up with the wrong group at the starting line. Not the 10K group, where she belonged. But the 26 mile group, where she didn't. It wasn't until the four mile mark that she realized her mistake. So she just kept going, finishing the race in four hours and four minutes.

But it's what she said later (by way of explanation) that has stayed with me since. Said Georgene:

"This isn't the race I trained for. This isn't the race I entered. But, for better or worse, this is the race I'm in."

Talk about a humble perspective. She understood in her running a marathon what you and I would do well to grasp about life. The bible makes very clear though we might plan our lives out perfectly, yet none go exactly according to plan. God ordains the steps of our lives and He leads us into situations and circumstances that cause us to trust in Him and not rest in our own ability. God doesn't allow such circumstances to harm us but rather to shape us, to build our faith and to learn how to walk with God and to trust His plan.

Georgene learned that day how to go beyond herself and to keep going even when everything in her wanted to give up and quit. Is there anything you have given up on, loved one, something that you need to finish? Maybe a project that is waiting for you, maybe a relationship that has been neglected and is in desperate need of repairing. It seems in this life we often give up and quit way too soon. We give up on marriages, on people, on jobs, you name it, when life gets too hard for us we quit.

Let Georgene's testimony encourage you today like it does me, loved one. You can do a lot more than you are doing now if only you would draw your strength and courage from someone other than yourself. The apostle Paul figured it out as so many others have throughout time. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Don't quit, don't give up, keep going and like Georgene you too will discover you have what it takes to finish your race and finish well!

Georgene stayed in her race because she had people running along side pushing her, encouraging her and exhorting her to not quit, to keep going. She had someone to hand her a cup of water to refresh her and provide the energy to persevere along the route. We have someone in our life too, beloved of God, you and I have the Spirit of God living in us, and He is with us running along side of us to help us run the race that is before us. Listen for His voice today, comforting you and challenging you at the same time, helping you run with endurance so that one day like the apostle Paul could say of his life, you and I can say of our lives too,

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing"

2 Timothy 4:7-8

I LOVE YOU!


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"A New Day Is Coming"

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"He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"

Revelation 22:20


Reading Revelation 22:20 I am reminded that today could be the day when the trumpet sounds in 1 Thessalonians 4 and we are taken up to be with the Lord forever. For centuries now the saints have cried out, "Maranatha, Maranatha", which means, "Come quickly Lord Jesus" living their lives each day with this blessed hope., the hope that our Savior would come and rescue us and take us home. Heaven is heaven because Jesus is there just as Hell is Hell because Jesus isn't there. Yes, loved one, home is where God is! 

Today could be the day, beloved of Jesus, today just might be the day! Think about it, meditate on it and let captivate both your heart and soul. There is a new day coming, it might just be today when all the former things will be wiped away and all things will be made new. I enjoy this song titled, "New Day" by Celine Dion. May the lyrics encourage you with the hope that today could be the day!

I was waiting for so long
For a miracle to come
Everyone told me to be strong
Hold on and don't shed a tear

Through the darkness and good times
I knew I'd make it through
And the world thought I had it all
But I was waiting for you

Hush, love

I see a light in the sky
Oh, it's almost blinding me
I can't believe
I've been touched by an angel with love
Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
Let it shatter the walls for a new, new sun
A new day has...come

Where it was dark now there's light
Where there was pain now there's joy
Where there was weakness, I found my strength
All in the eyes of a boy

Hush, love

I see a light in the sky
Oh, it's almost blinding me
I can't believe
I've been touched by an angel with love
Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
Let it shatter the walls for a new, new sun
A new day has...come

A new day has...come
Ohhh, a light... OOh


"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 4:16-18

I LOVE YOU!


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Grief Is A Love Word

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"And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart."

Genesis 6:6

Memorial weekend is a difficult time for many around the world who have lost a loved one as each year the families must relive their loss. Regardless of the tributes, the pain remains. One day of recognition can't fill the void of the remaining 364 days. On Memorial Day as a nation we choose to grieve together so no one has to grieve alone. Yet, its good to know that God grieves with us each and every time we do.

Notice in Genesis 6:6, God Himself "grieved." Are you aware that grief is a love word? You can be "angry" or "disappointed" with someone or some thing without loving. But you only grieve when love gets frustrated. Frustrated? Yes, loved one, when we have a hope or dream, a desire that goes unrealized we experience some level, a measure of frustration along with our grief.

Life is a paradox in many ways. Regardless of what some might think or say, life includes many regrets along the way. It has to since we are finite beings with a limited amount of time at our disposal. We can't turn back the hands of time. There always will be things left unsaid and undone in this life leaving us to wish for just one more day, and why living with an eternal perspective is the only way to navigate the stormy seas we all must face. Thank God that one day He will wipe away every tear from our eyes, as all the painful experiences of this life will be gone with a single touch of our Saviors hand.

Death is a part of this life and though it is our final enemy I rejoice that it has been defeated. Knowing Jesus conquered death on Calvary's Cross allows those of us who grieve the loss of loved ones to do so with hope. Unlike the world around us without Christ, we who are in Christ have the hope that we will see our loved ones again one day, just not today, and that is why grief is a love frustrated. I so get that.

There is no need to get over the loss of a loved one as God uses life and loss to shape us into who we are and who we become. Our lives are nothing more than the sum total of all our parts, and every person we encounter, every circumstance of life is an ingredient that God uses for His glory and our good. Sweet or bitter, hard or easy, good or bad, life and death, "all things work together for good to them that love God and who are called according to His purposes."

If we understood everything that happens to us in this life or could figure it all out we would either be God or have no need for Him and that is why we are left to trust His sovereign will when life hurts. Don't forget, answers to our why questions are nothing more than substitutions for trust. Everything that happens to us must first pass through the filter of God's love.

The good news today is we are never alone in our hurt and pain as suffering and sorrow are well known to our Lord. No one has suffered like God Himself and still God draws near to the broken hearted and comforts us in our afflictions so that we know He is near. Don't let your pain push you away from God, loved one, allow it to draw you near to God knowing He is there for you and promises that He will be there with you every step of the way. His promise is the promise of a lifetime.

When you see people in pain and overcome by sorrow don't pull away, draw near and allow God to use you remembering the words of the apostle Paul who said in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."


"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."

Galatians 6:2

I LOVE YOU!


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"We Will Remember"

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"For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed," Says the Lord, who has mercy on you."

Isaiah 54:10


There is no greater sacrifice that a man or woman can offer than to give one's life. Jesus said it best in John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." As I sit this Memorial Day reflecting on the freedoms I enjoy in my life I do so with a heart filled with gratitude for the brave men and women of our armed forces who serve us today and especially those who have given their lives paying the ultimate price for the very freedoms you and I enjoy this day.

Ultimate peace will not happen until our Lord and Savior returns to earth and establishes His kingdom on earth and therefore making peace will at times involve war. There is a tremendous difference between being a "peace keeper" and a "peace maker". A peace keeper is one who maintains peace and a peace maker is one who brings peace about and like I said, some times making peace and establishing it will involve going to war. 

Yes, loved one, there are still things worth fighting for and paying the ultimate price and today I thank God He has an army of warriors who are not afraid to fight against evil in this world, even at the most remote ends of the world for people with whom they have had no previous contact or relationship but are driven by the mission of establishing democracy, the very first gift God gave to man when He placed the man and the woman in the Garden and then blessed them with the freedom to choose life or death.

Sadly, mankind has been making the wrong choice between life and death for much of our existence and is why I am thankful for another set of soldiers today as well. Those brave men and women of the mission field of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who are driven by the mission of peace and freedom that only Jesus Christ can bring. They go to the most remote parts of the world sharing the Gospel and many pay the ultimate price in giving their lives so that others might live.  

Yes, loved one, Jesus words bring comfort to those families who have had a loved one pay the ultimate price in the battle against evil in the physical realm like the ones our military personnel face every day or the invisible forces of evil like the ones every missionary battles against in seeking to share the Word's of Jesus with the lost knowing that once God's Word is received it sets the captives free!

This Memorial Day I am reminded of a precious promise of our Lord who Himself declared in Matthew 5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God." Just as Jesus came to make peace with God on our behalf when He gave His life on Calvary's Cross our military personnel are part of God's sovereign plan to establish peace among men. Not everyone in the world has accepted God's gift of peace made possible in Christ and therefore remains an enemy of God, just as not everyone in the world we live wants to be at peace with their fellow man and is why war remains to this day.

Thank God today, this Memorial Day, loved one, that we have a military who answers the call both at home and abroad to risk life and limb that we might know peace and most of all thank God for Jesus today who one day and one day soon will come again and establish peace, His peace, like the world has never known. Until that day, we fight on as some things are worth fighting for! Let freedom ring! 


"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled."

2 Corinthians 10:4-6

I LOVE YOU!


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"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

I LOVE YOU! 

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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

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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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