Life Along the Way

A Daily Devotional

"I Hope You Dance"

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

Psalms 144:15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh Happiness
David Crowder Band

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

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

Such a thing to give away

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

Such a thing to give away

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

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

2 Chronicles 9:7

I LOVE YOU!


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"One True Friend"

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"A friend loves at all times…"

Proverbs 17:17


The last couple of weeks I have done a lot of praying and reading and contemplating friendship and in doing so I have spent longer than I would like needing to repent of not being the kind of friend I know the Lord desires and that I myself want to be. Reading in Matthews Gospel the Lord brought me to the story of Peter's infamous interaction with Jesus that serves as a great illustration of what true friendship is and what it is not. To understand what happened in its proper context pick up the story in Matthew 16 verse 13,

"When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" So they said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ. From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!" But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men." 

Ouch! At first glance and without knowing Jesus love or comprehending His will for our lives one might think Jesus was cold hearted and insensitive to the feelings of others. That is until we understand that one of the proofs of true friendship is the willingness to wound one's friend for the sake of God's glory. Proverbs 27:6 puts it like this, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." In other words, (no pun inteneded) worldly friendships tickle our ears telling us what we want to hear, where as our true friends will tell us what we need to hear, like it or not.  

If you study the Bible long enough you learn that the world has its own definitions of friendship and God has His. A true friend in the biblical sense is someone who as Proverbs 18:24 points out, "sticks closer than a brother." Translated, "A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out." A true friend is someone who puts your spiritual well being over their own as Moses and Paul did when they told God they were willing to be cut off from Him forever if only He would not give up on the children of Israel. Oh that God would help us all to be that kind of friend. Obviously the best example of true friendship is the Lord Himself. Jesus both taught and displayed by His death on the Cross that true friendship is 100% sacrificial. Jesus said it best in John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." Worldly friendships are measured by what they receive where as true friendship is measured only by what it gives.

In Matthew 16 Peter's actions serve as a reminder of what a true friendship is not. Though you could say Peters intentions were well meaning they were also misguided and anything but helpful. To be honest, at that moment Peter was a hindrance in Jesus life to say the least. True friends don't seek to detour our faith from God's will but rather they come along side us to assist us in obeying God's will regardless of the personal sacrifice. In Matthew 16, Peter took Jesus aside seeking to convince Him that the Cross was not necessary. Worldly friends are often times, even without their knowledge instruments of the enemy of our soul when they come between us and God's will for our lives. That's what Peter was doing.

God's design for friendships was never to be an end to themselves but rather the means to an end. "Two are better than one" the book of Ecclesiastes teaches us. God's desire for our friendships are to help us learn to enjoy God more, to seek Him first, to obey Him in all things and to find our satisfaction and worth in Him. True friends are to be there to remind us that Jesus is not just the Bread of Life but that He is our Bread of Life. Jesus isn't just Living Water, but He is our Living Water! Its personal with God! That's what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote in Colossians 3:4, "When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." Jesus isn't just life, He is our life and our true friends want nothing more than to see us experiencing life to the fullest so they seek to point us to Jesus as our source.

And because our true friends know us, our true friends tell us the truth about ourselves even when it hurts. Just ask Peter. Worldly friendships focus on externals and what makes us feel good, where as our godly friends know that sin is the thief of joy and that true joy in this life is found in Jesus and walking with Him in obedience to His Word. True friends understand confronting sin in another persons life is never easy but necessary because friends don't let friends miss heaven. True friends stand as blockades on the road to hell. True friends know the risk of personal offense far outweighs the consequences of an unrepentant heart.

Because true friends know their limitations in God's transforming work, our true friends will seek God in prayer consistently for us. Interceding and asking God to do in our lives what they are unable themselves to do for us is the truest mark of friendship. We cant save people but we can lift up our friends to the God who can and does! Nothing is more effective nor as powerful than having a praying friend. Jesus great earthly prayer that we read about in John 17 reveals the heart of our best friend! Nobody knows you like Jesus and no one comes close to loving you like He does. Oh what a friend we have in Jesus! What a model of what true friendship is. I don't know about you, loved one, but I'm making it my prayer today, Lord make me like You! Know too, friends, I am praying for you!

"My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other."

1 John 4:11 (MSG)

 
I LOVE YOU!

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"The Day God Ran"

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"But I am poor and needy; Make haste to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay."


Psalm 70:5

I love the story of the Prodigal Son that Jesus shares in Luke 15 for the simple reason it is Jesus telling us the story and He wants nothing more than for His disciples to know what His dad is like. If you have ever wanted to get a mental picture of how God responds His children when we sin terribly and are overcome with remorse and feel as if there is no way we could ever come back home to God this is one story you don't want to miss. It seems like every time I read the story of the Prodigal Son, God reveals something fresh about His love to me. Yesterday was no different. What was different though was how the Lord got my attention.

Late last night after finishing my devotional and heading to bed I was going through my Instagram feed when a really legit pair of green running shoes appeared. As I sat there starring at the shoes on my laptop I felt as if the Lord was speaking to me. No, He wasn't encouraging me to buy the shoes. What God shares is far more lasting. It was as if God spoke these words, "The distance from Me is further than the distance to Me". For a long minute I sat there having no idea what that could mean. Then suddenly Luke 15 came to mind.

As I opened my bible to read the story once again I immediately understood what the Lord was communicating to me. Imagine being the Prodigal Son and walking away from your father, literally. The son took his portion of his fathers inheritance and he traveled the Bible tells us "to far country" which means he traveled a long distance away, about as far away as he could possibly get. You get the picture.

After squandering all that he had on prodigal living we pick up the story in verse 17, "But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants." Its at this point in the story where the Lord wanted to draw my attention. Remember, I was starring at these green shoes on my computer screen and the Lord prompts my mind with these words, "The distance from Me is further than the distance to Me."

At this point you might be thinking, what I was thinking? In my mind it seemed the distance from the Father would be equal to the distance back to the Father. That seems logical until you read verse 20, "And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him." Did you get it? I hope you are as excited as I was when I got it. To think, the distance back to God really is shorter than the distance from Him because as soon as we turn towards home and back to the Father, He begins to make His way towards us until He just can't contain Himself any longer and He starts running towards us until He reaches us and then falls on our neck and kisses us!

Maybe you feel like you are too far from God, as you have been wandering for a long time now and your prodigal living has carried you "to far country" as it were and now you are so tired and worn out you don't even think you have the energy to make it home even if you wanted too. Don't buy into the devils lie! God wants you to know today, loved one, that the distance to Him is closer than the distance from Him! Don't be afraid to admit you are wrong. Have faith in God! Take that first step towards home knowing that when you do the Father will make His way to you! Home is not as far as you think! In reality, its only one step away!


"Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear."

Isaiah 59:1

I LOVE YOU!


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"The Last Day Of Your Life"

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"To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die"

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2


Have you ever considered what the last day of your life might look like and what you will be doing that day? Have you contemplated if you will be selfish or living sacrificially for the lives of others? Will you be kind that day or will you go out in a bitter ball of fire? Will the people in your life know that you love them or will they be left with regret, words unspoken and relationships un-repaired? I cant help but ask myself questions like these today because today isn't just another ordinary day. Today marks the fourteenth anniversary of Danielle Marie Gould's homecoming as it was on this day August 20, 2004 when Danielle "left" this earth to be with Jesus, killed in an automobile accident on her way home from our house after spending the evening with our daughter Bree, who was Danielle's best friend.

As I think back fourteen years this morning I thank the Lord for the gift of Danielle's life and the indelible mark she has made upon mine and in the lives of so many others. The number grows each year following the Legacy event held in her honor as new lives are touched by her story. In John's Gospel it tells us in chapter one verse four, "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." Danielle was so full of Jesus life, to say she could light up a room when she walked into it is far from an exaggeration. She loved to dance and to her the world was her stage but not in a self centered way trying to bring attention to her self but rather she danced in such a way that turned the spotlight on Jesus as she wanted all the glory to be His.

Obviously, Danielle didn't know August 20, 2004 would be her last day on earth or that she would be meeting Jesus face to face that night. She just lived her life each day as if she would. Danielle pretty much lived life the way anyone who loves Jesus would want their last day on earth to end which brings me to the question I felt the Lord was wanting me to ask of myself and others today. Let me ask you, loved one, if today was the last day of your life, how would you want the day to go? To help put that question in perspective go back one day and think, what if yesterday had been the last day of my life? How would my life on earth have ended and what kind of memories would my last day make? Are there changes I would want to make today? Would I do anything differently?

As I think about Danielle's life and specifically her last day on earth and all the things that filled her day from start to finish I am blown away at just how closely her walk with Jesus was and how the steps she took that day remind me so much of His. As I look back and recall the last day of Danielle's life it becomes my prayer, for me and for you as to how we will choose to live each and every day of our lives until we too meet Jesus face to face one day. 

Like Danielle's last day hopefully your morning will begin with the first words coming out of your mouth, "I love you" along with a radiant smile that comes up like a beautiful sunrise even though your eyes can hardly open yet. Hopefully your day will begin with a bible study and prayer time with some of your closest friends. Hopefully for lunch that day you will make contact with that person you have been faithfully sharing Jesus with and praying for. Desiring to show your unsaved friend the proof of your love you take them to lunch and share Jesus one last time with them and then before lunch is over you go as far as to give them their very own bible that you purchased with your own money which at seventeen isn't much. 

Hopefully you will get to spend your afternoon with your best friend, talking, goofing around and just being silly, taking pictures together and making memories that will last forever. Hopefully you too will decide the best way to spend your last Friday night on earth is at an event like a poolside bible study that your churches youth group hosts, hanging out with all your friends, living and laughing and loving as you eat and worship God on your last night this side of heaven growing together in God's Word. And then, finally, as your very long last day on earth comes to an end, hopefully, you get that one last chance to hang out with your best friend for just a little while longer and then leave them with as your last words the same as your first words were that morning, "I love you".

You see, friend, it was just after 10:30 p.m. that fateful Friday night on August 20, 2004 that Danielle got in her car and was driving home when she was killed in an automobile accident less than a mile from her house. Hopefully you wont die in an automobile accident but if by chance one day you do, I can only hope and pray that what the first responders discover is the same thing they did when they came to render aide to Danielle that night. Hopefully, when the first responders arrive on scene of the accident and approach your vehicle they don't discover the smell of alcohol coming from within the vehicle nor do they find beer bottles in the car. Hopefully like in the case of Danielle, as she didn't consume alcohol, the first thing they do notice about you is that you have a hand written bible passage like the one she had written on her hand from 2 Corinthians 8:24 scrolled on your own that the fire captain writes down and that when he reads it later on back at the fire station believes with conviction and certainty that it was a message from God Himself to the fire captain and his men personally. And to think they didn't even know who Danielle was before that night but now, like us, they will never forget her. I know this is true as at Dinner last Saturday night celebrating Danielle's Legacy event this year the fire captain and his wife were at the restaurant and he and Danielle's parents Tink and Sherrill shared a sweet moment together as friends now recalling the night that has now connected them forever. Hopefully, if you do happen to go meet Jesus face to face in an automobile accident that when the police search your car and go through your belongings one of the first things they find is a very well worn bible amongst your possessions along with all kinds of ministry minded materials that lets the world know where your treasure is.

Yes, loved one, all these events are absolutely true and are what filled the action packed last day of one amazing seventeen year old girl that day. And to think, she had no idea that August 20, 2004 would be her last. Like I said, Danielle just lived her life every day like it was and what a life she lived. The question that begs to be asked of me and you today, loved one, is how will we live the last day of our life? 

Will we like the famous Tim McGraw song sings, go sky diving or rocky mountain climbing? Will we seek to ride a bull named Fu Manchu? Or, will we like Danielle, seek to love God and to love people, to know Him and make Him known? Hopefully our last day on earth will look a lot like Danielle's that when you think about it reminds me of the life of Jesus and how He spent His days too. My greatest prayer is that our last day on earth starts and ends like Danielle's and like Jesus too with our words and our life saying from the moment we awake until we take our last breath, "I Love You!" That's the way I want to spend the last day of my life! How about you?

"Therefore show to them, and before the churches the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf."

2 Corinthians 8:24

I LOVE YOU!


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"Learning How To Sleep In The Dark"

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"I call to remembrance my song in the night; I meditate within my heart, And my spirit makes diligent search."

Psalm 77:6 (NKJV)

Most of us can relate to what the psalmist must have felt like in Psalm 77. No one likes being in the dark, especially when it comes to understanding why God is allowing you to go through some trial, a test or experience that seems contrary to what you have come to know about the ways of God.

Like most children I was afraid of the dark growing up. For some reason my parents didn't put a night light in the bedroom I shared with my younger brother so they would leave the door slightly ajar so we could see that the hall light was on. It provided just enough light so our bedroom wasn't "pitch dark" as my dad would say. I distinct-fully recall not being able to fall asleep if the light was off. I can remember getting up in the middle of the night and turning the light back on after my parents turned it off when they went to bed. Oh don't we wish it was that easy when it comes to being in the dark regarding the ways of the Lord.

To teach me how to sleep in the dark my mom would often times sit on the edge of my bed and usually she would rub my back until I fell asleep. I learned over a period of time that even though the room was dark my mom was either right there by my side or she was very close by in the next room, no more than a scream away when I would wake up to find the door closed and no hall light on. And if for some reason my mom didn't come to my room I would make my way to her, for I knew exactly where I could find her.

What was true for me wasn't true for Asaph in Psalm 77. Unsure of God's ways in that God would allow the Babylonians to bring God's judgment on Israel when the Babylonians were far and away more wicked than the children of Israel. It just didn't make sense to Asaph any more than it did to Habakkuk who asked the same question. Being in the dark to the ways of God can leave us stressed to the max.

In the first four verses of psalm 77 Asaph is completely stressed out, so much so he cant sleep. He feels abandoned by God. Asaph has always known God to be very gracious to Israel but now it appears as if God doesn't care, that He has cast Israel off and His mercies have come to an end. Have you ever gone through a trial where you felt that way? Life is going but nothing is going the way you thought it would, not the way you hoped and planned things would be and your world is shaken. You feel all alone and in the dark. If you have ever felt like that know you are in good company. Every child of God will experience a test of faith at some point in our relationship with God. And for two very important reasons.

First and foremost God is teaching His children, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9. God's ways are not always going to make sense to us, nor should they. "If God were small enough to be understood He would not be big enough to be worshipped" the saying goes. Once we come to terms with the fact that much of what the Lord does is not going to make sense to us we have taken a huge step in the right direction. Romans 11:33-34 captures the point well when the apostle Paul writes, "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! "For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?"

Second, God is teaching us about and testing our faith by purposely leaving us in the dark so we can learn to trust Him. Two of my favorite verses that come to mind are found in the book of Hebrews. Hebrews 11:1 tells us plainly, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" and verse 6 goes on to say, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." I learned to sleep in the dark as a child when I came to understand that though I couldn't see my mom in the darkness I knew she was there or close by and to prove it sometimes I would get up and go to my dad and moms bedroom and stand next to their bed just to make sure she was there and then I could go back to bed and go to sleep. You could say I found her when I sought her.

Unlike me being able to see my mom, as children of God we cant physically see Him but by faith in His faithfulness, we know He is there. In Psalm 77 Asaph learns to apply in the dark what he learned in the light. Though our situation seems hopeless and our circumstances make us feel helpless faith causes us to turn our focus from the size of our problem to the size of our God. What did Asaph do and where did he go to learn these truths and experience God's peace?

Before Asaph answers that question let me ask you, loved one, where do you go when the darkness surrounds you and this old world starts getting you down? I'm reminded of a hit song by singer and song writer James Taylor titled, "Up On The Roof" which contained the lyrics,

"When this old world starts a getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face
I'll climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space
On the roof, it's peaceful as can be
And there the world below don't bother me, no, no"

Yes friend, the world offers us a myriad of places to go to find temporal peace but nothing comparable to the peace of God that is ours when we leave the world behind and seek shelter in the sanctuary of the Lord. Psalm 77:13-15 makes a clear distinction from the pathways of the world when Asaph writes, "Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; Who is so great a God as our God? You are the God who does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the peoples. You have with Your arm redeemed Your people, The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah." We can find light in the midst of our darkness as we come into the sanctuary of God. Its there we come to know what Asaph came to know and what Charles Spurgeon so eloquently expressed when he penned these words, "God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart."

Yes, loved one, "when you cannot trace His hand, trust His heart" knowing…


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

Jeremiah 29:11

I LOVE YOU!


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"Danielle's Legacy"

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


2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NKJV)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Psalm 119:49 (NKJV)

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"You Can Do Hard Things"

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

Philippians 4:13

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Ephesians 3:20

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"The Secret's Out"

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

Jeremiah 31:3


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

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

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

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

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

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

1 John 4:7-8


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"Stay Hot"

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

Ecclesiastes 3:1


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

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"Refrigerator Reminders"

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

Philippians 4:8

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

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

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

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

"One day or day one. You decide"

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

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

"Choose to see the best in others"

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

Ephesians 4:29

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"A Walk Is As Good As A Hit"

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

Matthew 11:28-30


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Galatians 6:9

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"Just 5 Minutes Longer"

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"Love never fails."

1 Corinthians 13:8


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)

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"Our Good His Glory"

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

Psalms 107:7


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why is it then that we need not ask "why" questions of God today, loved one? In Romans 8:38-39 the apostle Paul gives us the reason when he writes, "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." That's it, when we understand that God is with us we don't need to know the answer because we know that whatever God is allowing in our life He is doing for only two reasons and two reasons only. Its for my ultimate good and for His ultimate glory!

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing"

James 1:2-4


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"Becoming Something New"

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


Ephesians 5:31


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

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

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

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

The very first line of the song hit me as this week has been very difficult for me personally in dealing with the attacks of the enemy in my own life. As I thought about the dark cloud that was forming over my head this past Monday that was seeking to weigh me down the Lord reminded me in this song of the bright light I have in my wife, the gift of her life that affirms yet again, "Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NKJV).

"Fade Into Me"
David Cook

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

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

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

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

We disappear into each other
Colors appear and bleed into one

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

2 Corinthians 5:17

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"A Heavenly Perspective"

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


Psalm 95:3


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 John 4:4

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"The Early Bird And The Late Worm"

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

Psalm 25:3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 40:31


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"Hope Wins"

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


1 Thessalonians 4:13


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalms 43:5

I LOVE YOU!


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"Lost Without Her"

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


Proverbs 18:22 (NKJV)


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Proverbs 12:4 (NKJV)


I LOVE YOU!

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"Raise Your Aim"

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

Hebrews 11:16

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 6:33

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"Being Prepared For His Presence"

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

Hebrews 13:21-22


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

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

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



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

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

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


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

Hebrews 13:14-15

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