Thursday, July 9, 2009

To Persevere

When you walk as a Christian you will be acquainted with a gambit of emotions.  How many times have you been going along and doing what you knew to be the will of God in your life and suffered a setback?  I have had and still do have this happen.  Usually, the greatest discouragement will follow your greatest victories.   You see, when you do something that makes the angels cheer, you rattle the gates of hell as well. 

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
(Galatians 6:9)

Adversity and discouragement are not signals you have done something wrong in these cases.  In fact, the opposite is usually true.  When you become the hands, feet and mouthpiece for God's glory, you will unleash all manner of demonic forces as well.  They want you to have no impact for the Kingdom of God.  They want nothing less than your destruction.  Discouragement is a spirit and must be fought.  You have to persevere in doing God's work.  Satan is a defeated foe and we need to remind him and ourselves of that fact. 

We have an Advocate with the Father.  Christ has already won this battle we fight on these occasions.  His resurrection sealed the devil's fate.  Our weapons are the Word of God and His truth.  It is in our authority to rebuke the devil.  We have the power of prayer on our side.  This includes telling the spirit of discouragement to go away.  God has promised you will not be given more than you can bear.  He will give you what you need at the time you need it.  Believe Him for this.  Continue your work for God and His glory despite your feelings.  His Word is true and faithful to come to pass.  You will reap the rewards God desires for you if you will not give up!  You will reap the blessing.

Encourage those you know who are going through difficult times in their lives.  Lift their names and concerns before the throne of Grace and bestow a blessing upon yourself.  To be able to be an encouragement to a brother or sister in Christ is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give to another soul.

Father, you know my heart.  You know how close this subject is to my heart today.  I ask you would encourage each and everyone who reads this.  I don't know all of their concerns but I know you do.  I ask you would give them hope and comfort and joy.  I ask you would stand next to them as they wrestle with the things the devil tries to trick them with.  The only teeth in that lion's mouth are the ones we give him.  Help them stand and fight, Lord.  Teach them to use the armor you have given them, according to your word.  May your blessing rest upon them all.  I ask these things in the name of Christ Jesus my Lord.  Amen.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Tale of Mercy

Today, I want to share my personal testimony with all of you.  The month of July 1974 was a pivotal time in my life.  I was shown three acts of mercy and grace which began a transformation in my life.   Most of us have heard that being idle is the devil's workshop.  I am living proof of this.  Before I came to Christ, I found myself in trouble.  I was a rebellious young teenager; a problem child.  Perhaps I was just a child with problems I did not know how to handle. 

For some reason, I broke into an establishment and did a fair amount of vandalism.  I wish I could say what motivated me to do this but all I remember was being bored.  Being bored with life at thirteen years of age is not good.  The Sheriff's Deputy put me in the back of his car and was going to carry me to jail.  My mom pleaded with him not to take me there and finally he relented to her wishes.  This was the first act of mercy that month.  I had never been in trouble with the law before and now I had a trial date coming up.  This consumed me with fear and worry but I couldn't say I didn't deserve it.  I knew what I deserved was reform school.

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:16)

While I was waiting for trial, I went to visit my relatives in Georgia.  My dad had four unmarried sisters who shared a house there and I went to stay with them for a week that summer.  All of them were devout Christians and in my mind this was going to be a drag.  It turned out to be a life-changing visit.  I was there because they were having Vacation Bible School.  One night after service I told one of my aunts I felt a stirring inside of me whenever the preacher would give the invitation.  I asked her why this was happening.  She began to share the Gospel with me in a way I understood.  When she asked me if I wanted to receive Christ as Savior, I said,  "yes."  She went slowly and patiently helping me to get everything just right.  I literally felt a weight lifted off me when I finished praying.  I had been born again but did not know just what it all meant yet.  I had been granted mercy from God, the highest source of power known.

When I got home I still had to go to court.  My prayers were from my heart but not polished.  I just prayed the best I could.  I went into court  and sat there while the charges were read against me.  My new conversion never played into this because I did not share it with the judge.  He asked me some questions and I answered as truthfully as I could. I was as guilty as I could be and there was no need to make things worse by lying.  He said normally he would send me to juvenile correction but he sensed I should be given a second chance.  He suspended the sentence to probation and let me go home.  I was very relieved but felt bad for what I had done.  For the third time in less than a month I had obtained mercy.  I had obtained grace.  I didn't deserve it any of those times.  Grace and mercy ruled that month because of the love God had for me.  He has the same love for you as well.

Father, thank you for your grace towards me.  Thank you for the mercy you have shown me.  I praise you for all you have done in my life since this time and I thank you for all you are still doing in my life.  I ask that you would bless the ones who read this and help them with any concern they may have in their lives today.  Help them to seek you first when they are having a problem.  I especially thank you for the one who decided to ask Jesus into their heart as Lord and Savior this week.  Strengthen him and put a hedge about him and his family.  Manifest your presence to his life in a mighty way.  Guide him to the place you want him to worship. Thank you for letting me tell him the truth.  May your name be praised forever!  I ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Divine Appointment

On a mid-summer evening several years ago, we arrived at church on a Wednesday night for the midweek prayer service.  My wife and I were new in our music ministry and had been scheduled to do special music the next Sunday.  We arrived with some young people going to youth meeting and our daughter and her friend who were a bit younger.  When we parked the car, we got out and I leaned over for my Bible with my right hand.  My left hand was on the jam of the doorpost in the center of the car.  My daughter didn't notice and slammed the car door.  Two of my fingers were crushed when the door shut. 

One of our friends worked as an EMT and came out of the church when they heard about my hand.  The knuckles of the ring and middle fingers were crushed on my left hand.  My EMT friend looked at my hand and said "I am so sorry, Khris. They look like they are crushed." 

Since I am right handed, I chord the guitar with my left hand.  I told him I had to play on Sunday and he didn't say another word.  He was thinking that was not going to happen.  Someone agreed to watch over the kids while my wife and I headed to the doctor's office.  While we wondered about what the Lord would do, we knew this was in His perfect will somehow.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28)

I don't recall any pain after my fingers were out of the door.  They went numb.  Even with the swelling the knuckles were flat as they could be.  We went to one of those emergency care places where you don't need an appointment.  I call them a "doc in a box."  My regular family doctor had closed hours ago and it was closer than the emergency room. 

While we were sitting in the emergency care waiting room we started talking to a woman across from us.  She was waiting on a friend who was seeing the doctor.  We started a conversation and were talking about the accident that brought us there.  My fingers were a wonderful conversation piece at that time.  I wanted to know about her though.  It wasn't long before I knew she wasn't a believer and I began telling her all the wonderful things God had been doing in our lives.  She was really interested in hearing about God.  We talked for a while and I basically gave her the Gospel message.  She listened intently and asked questions but wasn't ready to make the commitment that night.  When I looked down at my fingers they looked normal.  There was a little pain but I could move them now.  By the time I got back to the doctor and had the X-rays taken there were no crushed or broken bones.  My fingers had been healed.

I believe the only reason I was there that night was to tell the woman about Christ.  In fact, I know it.  The Lord will put all sorts of people in our path so we can share the good news.  Sometimes He puts us in their path.  That was God's purpose that night.  I was able to play the guitar on Sunday.  I was playing the same night, as a matter of fact!  There was no swelling or soreness in the fingers.  They had been healed.  I saw this happen with my own eyes! 

No matter what your circumstance you can be a blessing to God by being faithful to do His will.  As a Christian you are called to share of yourself with others who need Christ.  Jesus really went around loving people.  To walk as Christ walked means to love people as He did.  Redeeming the time and making the most of every opportunity is important.  Remember, you may be the only one God has chosen to share with the person He has put in your path.  They may not get another chance if you are not faithful.

Father, I thank you that you have shown yourself in mighty ways on more than one occasion.  I am blessed everytime you give me an opportunity to share your truth.  I ask that you would continue to put people in my path.  Thank you for those who read and have been such a blessing to me.  I ask that you would bless them this day.  Supply their needs and comfort their hearts as only you can.  Help us to remember the honor you have given us as your children.  Strengthen and guide us in your perfect will this day and be a blessing to all we come in contact with.  I ask this in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Love Thy Neighbor

Relationships are a part of all of our lives. We have a bond to our friends and family. We have those people who we work with on a professional level and we have those people we have met through organizations or church. Being social is just part of the human experience. Most people we get along with quite well. That is the way it works in my life anyway. However, there are people who come around and try to make your day miserable. Do you know the ones I am talking about? Sometimes these people do things or say things you do not like. One time, not so very long ago, I had such a person in my life. This person had a real problem! I had just moved to North Carolina with my family. This person made my life miserable in just about every conceivable way. They would goad me at every opportunity and soon I realized there was something strange happening to me. I hated this person! Now, who had the problem?

Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
(1 John 3:15)

This was the verse which came to mind at the time I realized my problem. I wish I could say I felt less than hatred for this person. It was hatred! I didn't want to see or talk with him or have anything to do with him. The major problem with hatred is that it is sin. Hatred has a way of eating at the one who does it. I did a lot more damage to myself than I did to him by my hatred. Pretty soon thoughts of revenge crept in my mind. This was my fault for not dealing with this right away. Now sin was begetting sin! Finally, I stopped long enough to pray about it and the Lord let me know I had to forgive him and ask for forgiveness myself. This answer angered me too. Now hate and revenge were begetting disobedience! Do you see a pattern here? This is not some little story I am making up. This actually happened. After two or three months of this, I submitted. I was stubborn back in those days and not the most spiritual of Christians. I woke up in the middle of the night with this on my mind and my heart full of conviction. I walked outside and told the Lord I wanted to forgive him but I didn't have the ability in myself. I asked for God's ability to forgive to work through me. I told God that I chose to forgive him. I then asked for forgiveness for being full of hate. No bells or whistles went off or any visions or great revelations occurred. The next day I woke up and didn't hate him anymore. I really felt kind of sorry for him. This might not seem like much to anyone else but it was a great relief to me. It put me back in the will of God. I have tried not to hold grudges or let hate get the better of me since then. How about you? Is there anyone in your own life who comes to your mind when I tell this story? If there is, I encourage you to give up all grudges, hate and strife to God. Lay them at the feet of the Lord and He will readily forgive. He will take all of the hate away and you won't have to carry it anymore. Life is way too short to spend it hating someone.

Father, I thank you still for what you did for me then. I pray that you would bring anything I may have against anyone to my mind. I want to forsake all of these feelings from me. Anyone who I have ever had contact with is someone who Christ shed blood for. Put me in remembrance of this. For all who come and read today, I ask you would bless each one and supply all they need this day. I thank you for the forgiveness you have in your heart, Lord. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Good Name

I want to share a story today which was told to me by the person I am writing about.  In a small community here in North Carolina there lived a family.  There was a mother, father, and six children.  Now most of the children were grown and living on their own.  One child was a newborn infant, one was in high school and yet another child was in a hospital with a major illness.  The father was also in the hospital with a chronic illness.  These were long term illnesses in both cases.  The mother also cared for the infant daughter and she also had her father living with her who she was caring for at the time.  Her father was a retired minister who was more or less an invalid.  This mother worked full time to support her family.  She cooked, cleaned, and did most everything she could to keep the family going.  The teenage son did his part as well.  He would do what needed to be done around the house and yard.  They were doing the best they could.  This woman had a deep faith in God.  She still has one of the most humble spirits that I have ever come across.  One day while the teenage son was at school, her father fell from his bed and she was unable to pick him up.  There was this country store about a half mile away where many of the men in the community would gather round and tell stories and socialize in the morning.  This woman went down there and asked if someone could come and help her father back into his bed.  One of the men, perhaps two came to help her.  After they helped her one turned to her and said, "We all know what you have been going through lately.  I never did believe in God before, but I don't see how you could keep going on if there was no God."

A GOOD name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
(Proverbs 22:1)

Small communities are places where everyone knows everyone else.  Most of them know what difficulties are going on in your life.  It was no secret this woman was going through a tough period in her life.  From what I understood, this man who helped her became a Christian later.  The mother's example proved to be what was needed to make him think about God.  Her life became a living testimony to this man.  This is not just someone who reads her Bible and loved her family.  She not only was able to talk the talk, she walked the walk.  I know for fact she is not a big talker.  She is a woman with great faith when it comes to loving God with all of her heart.  When I hear a story such as this it really blesses me.  It also makes me want to examine myself more closely in God's light.  Am I doing all I should be doing?  Do I live in a way that is pleasing to the Lord?  Would someone ever want what I have even in the midst of my difficulties?  Lots of these thoughts run through my head.  I want to be an example pleasing to God.  This woman presented Christ to a person without uttering a word!  Can I say the same?  If you are a Christian, there are people watching you.  They watch how you live and how you conduct yourself in various ways.  You may never even know their name or when they will be watching closely.  You may be the only scripture they ever see!  What an awesome responsibility!  This became your lot when you accepted Christ as Savior.  He wants to use you and he is counting on you to be faithful.  I think when we get to Heaven we will meet the souls who were impacted by our witnessing.  We witness with our actions and our life and with our words.  Our life and actions are far more powerful when it comes to sharing the truth of Christ.  May God help you and I to be a better example of Christ with each passing day.

Father, I thank you for this woman and for the testimony she has.  Her life is merely a reflection of yourself.  Help me to show more of you in my life.  I give thanks you have allowed my path to cross hers and that she was able to share this with me.  I pray also that you would pull the heartstrings of those who will read this and give them a desire to be a living witness for you.  I know that some of them are and for those I give thanks.  Grant them the peace and joy which comes only from you regardless of their present circumstances.  Grant them favor with you, Lord.  Place a hedge about them so they will be protected from all that would come against them.  May your loving kindness shine upon and through all of us.  I ask this in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Off topic--Award

My thanks to Mikes at Your Daily Word for this award. Mikes is a fellow blogger who is a wonderful Christian with a very loving spirit about him. I am sure that he would love you all to go and visit him.

I haven't decided who to pass this onto just yet but I do plan to update this post when I do. Thanks again Mikes.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Who is Jesus to me?

This topic is too big for me and I am the first to admit that. There is no way I can convey who Jesus is and deliver it in a way that does this topic due justice. I can tell you the miracles He did in the Bible and in my life. Sometimes I can answer the question: "What would Jesus do?" All I can do is share who Jesus is to me and hope He will use it to His glory. It is my hope and prayer you will be blessed and encouraged. It is difficult for me to speak this list audibly because I get blessed before I finish. Hopefully you will be touched in your heart for who Jesus is to you by the time I finish.

And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? And they answered, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.
(Mark 8:27-29)

His disciples knew who He was. He is the Christ, the Messiah, the Holy One of God! Jesus, according to the opening verse of the Gospel of John, is the Word who was from the beginning. He is to be revered and also regarded as friend. Jesus is the One who walks with me in the fiery furnace of the trials I go through. He is the One who "sticks closer than a brother" according to Proverbs 18:24 . He is my High Priest who has sprinkled His own sinless blood on the Mercy Seat of my heart for the forgiveness of my sins. He dwells in the Holy of Holies, which is the heart of my soul. He calls me His Temple according to 1 Corinthians 6:19. He is Grace personified and it is in His eyes when He looks upon me. Jesus is the One who put a rainbow in my heart ending the flood of sin in my life. He is the Balm of Gilead and the Lily of the Valley. He is my Bright and Morning Star. My Lord is my Cloud by day and my Fire by night, guiding me through the wilderness of this world. Jesus is my Fortress, my Shield, my Buckler and yes, He is my Friend who I can cast all of my cares upon. Jesus is the sick person who I visited as an act of kindness. He is the person in prison who I go to visit and encourage. Jesus is the hungry one who I gave food to or the thirsty person who I gave a drink of water to. He is my Lord, my Savior, my God! I could go on! As I said, there is no possible way I can tell you all He is to me. He is my Everything! I only want you to dwell on one question today. Who is Jesus to you?

Father, I have said this the best I know how. I ask you will be able to use it for your glory. I pray for all who read this that you would bring to mind who Jesus is to them. I ask you would use this for them to draw closer to you. I ask that you would draw close to them. I thank you and praise you for the blessing you are to me. I am so happy that I am your child. I ask you would undertake each and every concern those who read this have today and fill them with your peace. I ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Walking through the Storm

Our walk with God is full of peaks and valleys. This is not something that is peculiar to the period of time in which we live, it is a timeless truth. It has been this way for servants of God since the beginning. Your walk with God will be full of moments that you stand on the mountain top and see God move in mighty ways. There will be those times when you question where He is. I have had these highs and lows occur back to back numerous times. This is part of the unseen battle darkness wages against us as believers in Christ. God allows us to go through trials so we may learn, grow, and be mature as Christians. The short answer to "Where is God?" is He is right there with you always,even unto the end of the world.

And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
(Matthew 14:25-32)

There is a lot to be learned about our walk with Christ in this passage. Peter goes to the mountain top of walking on water to the depths of the fear of drowning. He then realizes that his hope is in the Lord, as it should be. Peter tested the spirits when he asked if it was Jesus. We need to test the spirits when we aren't sure of the situations that face us. We need to be sure of God's instruction to us. Peter stepped out of the boat on faith because Jesus said "come." Peter knew he would be able to go to Jesus if he told him to do so. What kind of faith do we have when it comes time to step out of the boat? How many times are we told to come or go based on nothing except what He has led us to do? How many times are we asked to simply trust God? One of the first things Jesus said to them was "be not afraid." What did Peter do when he saw the waves and the wind? He became afraid. It all comes back to fear and faith again doesn't it? He did have the faith to ask Jesus to save him. Peter did not doubt Jesus could save him. He will help you even in the midst of your fear. All you have to do is ask Him. Finally Jesus put an end to the storm. God always puts an end to the storm. He did this for Peter. He does this for me. He will do this for you. What a blessing it is to reach the end of a trial that you are going through. What a joy to see the promises of God fulfilled in our lives. Whatever life may throw at you, be assured that Jesus will be right there with you if you are His. He will help you. When you finally get to the other side of a major trial in your life you will see the things God has brought you through more clearly. I think that you will ask yourself the question that Jesus asked. "Wherefore didst thou doubt?"

Father, again I come to you and thank you for the simple truths you have given us in the Bible. There are so many examples of faith and overcoming. There are so many ways that you have shown your love to those who love you. I ask that you would be near to those who read this and are going through a trial right now. Whether this be a trial of faith, finance, health, or a burden for someone else, I ask that you would bless them and remind them of your presence. I ask that you would strengthen them and grant them wisdom during this time. May they come through this glorifying you and what you have done for them. I give you the praise and the glory for all of them Lord. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Off topic--Lemonade "Attitude of Gratitude Award"

I was informed I have received the Lemonade "Having and Attitude of Gratitude" award. I would like to thank Kim over at "stuff could always be worse" for this award. She is a very kind lady and I am sure she would enjoy it if you would pay a visit to her wonderful blog. I know that you are supposed to nominate 10 other people to receive this award and tell how you came to have an attitude of gratitude. Telling you how is no problem.

Having gratitude for me is something that the Lord Jesus Christ has taught me. I have to claim Christ in this respect because there was no gratitude in my life before He came into it. I highly recommend getting to know Jesus in a personal relationship. It would be the best decision you could ever make.

Nominating other sites is a bit more challenging to me but I have these for right now.

at " Daisy Gray Design"

at "Christian Blog"

at "A Christian Guy's Random Thoughts"

at " LIVE and learn!"

at " Disjointed Thoughts"

Eva Marie
at "Thankfully Chewed Up and Spat Back Out"

at " -Life of Thomas-"

at " Simply Blessed"

at " Nona Nita's Grandparenting Blog"

at " God Nuggets Blog "

Thank you again Kim for your kindness.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A New Temple

Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD'S house.  
(2 Chronicles 7:1-2)

King Solomon had finally completed the building of the temple in Jerusalem.  In chapter 6, he offers his prayer of dedication to the LORD. This passage of scripture shows what happened next.  I have read this scripture many times over the years, and to this day it moves my heart because of its beauty.  To me, this is an Old Testament passage which describes what happens to a believer at the moment they pray to accept Christ as Savior.  God will always honor a prayer that is in His will.

The prayer we term the "sinner's prayer" is always in His will.  Many people have said this prayer at an altar of a church.  Some people have said this prayer at home after watching a Christian television  program which prompts them to do so.  The last time I said this prayer was in the parking lot of a grocery store.  That night, I chose life over death.  I chose God's way over my way.  God isn't hung up on where the prayer is said but it is always in His will for the prayer to be said.  When you finish this prayer, the Holy Spirit fills your heart.  He lives inside of you because you invited Him.  You become a new creature in Christ!  It is the first step of an incredible journey that lasts until you see him face to face.  It lasts beyond that!  I am going to close today with a sinner's prayer.  Feel free to say it with me.  If you mean it with all of your heart, God will transform your heart.  You will pass from death to eternal life, and the glory of the LORD will once again fill His temple.

I encourage you to say this prayer out loud.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:10)

Father God, I am a sinner.  I confess this sin before you and ask for your forgiveness.  I turn from this sin and accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  I accept his sacrifice on the cross as the payment for my sin in full because I have no other way to pay for sin on my own.  Fill my heart with the Holy Spirit and guide me in the way of your truth. Help me to live my life for you.  Teach me your ways and your words and fill me with your joy. Thank you Father for hearing this prayer.  I ask this in the name of Jesus, my Savior. Amen.

I want to say a prayer for you now.

Father, I thank you that you are still concerned with the lives of people.  I thank you that you loved us enough to give your Son Jesus to die for our sins.  For those who did not say this prayer, I  ask you would continue to draw them to yourself.  Let them see Jesus everywhere they turn.  Lead them to your truth.  For all who  said  this prayer today I ask you would fill them with a powerful presence of yourself.  Guide them and keep them Lord.  Give them a hunger for your word and the people of God.  Give them a desire for all things that are of you and use them for your glory.  I thank you and praise you for this in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

To fulfill the law of Christ

Today I want everyone who does not have a need to raise their hands!  No one?  Anywhere?  Since I can't see you this question has no merit at all does it?  If you are like everyone else you have needs and concerns you would like to see met.  I knew that before I even asked the question.  The reason I am asking is simple.  I think that we all desire to have someone that will stand with us during a difficult time.  We all need someone that wants what is best for us and no one is better than God for this.  Still we need that human factor.  We need that human touch.

Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
(Galatians 6:2)

A few posts ago I spoke on the compassion the Lord has for people.  What about us as Christians?  What kind of compassion do we have for others?  We go through life and see all manner of suffering.  It is not as though there is a lack of someone to pray for or pray with.  We all have concerns in life because we are all human.  Sometimes the burden people carry is about health.  Perhaps the burden is about loved ones who do not know the Lord.  Christ saw and met needs in his earthly ministry.  He still meets the needs of people.  We are allowed the opportunity to share in the ministry of Christ.  He said that if we Loved the Lord God with all of our hearts and loved our fellow man as we love ourselves that we have fulfilled the law.  I don't look at it as only fulfilling the law, Christ did this for us.  I look at this as meeting the need of one Christ shed His blood for.  There is really no need so small or any prayer insignificant enough that we shouldn't reach out to the ones around us.  It doesn't matter if you are a young Christian or an old Christian.  Some of the most heartfelt prayers I have ever heard came from Christians who were newly converted.  They prayed with their hearts and you could feel the fire of God in the sincerity of their prayers.  May God help me to pray with that sincerity and intensity.  I encourage you today to seek out those who have a need.  You won't have to go far I assure you.  Lift them up in prayer before God.  Allow them to lift you up in prayer as well.  Let us together fulfill the law of Christ.

Father, I thank you for those who you allow me to minister to in your name.  Help me to always be an encouragement to others.  Help me to always make the time to do this.  I thank you for the love I have for you and the love that you have given to me for others.  Help me to grow in this even more.  I give thanks and I pray for those who read this today that you would bless them and encourage them with anything in life they carry a burden for.  Bless them and comfort them Lord.  Meet all of their needs in whatever they need a solution for.  I ask these things in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Garment of Praise

When I was 18 years old, I suffered through something a lot of Christians don't or won't talk about. I have had several bouts with depression during my life. The first one was by far the worst because I didn't recognize what it was. Depression strikes so many good people. I was not walking with the Lord as I should at the time this struck me. The onset of depression did play a major role in my revival. While I believe those who have depression should seek medical help, I do not want to discount the role of faith. It is my belief we wrestle with forces which cannot be seen that intend us harm. These cowards attack without provocation and at our weakest points. God in his mercy showed me something a few years ago that makes this much easier to win this battle. He has given me a sword with which I can stand and fight. I wanted to share this with you today.

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
(Isaiah 61:3)

The keys for successful combat over the spirit of heaviness are humility, the Spirit of God and pure undefiled praise.

The beauty for ashes is humility. This is what Job did when he saw his affliction. This is what David did when he realized he was the man Nathan said had sinned. Job committed no sin but David did. Depression doesn't mean you have sinned. It could be that you have or have not sinned. If you have you should confess it before God and ask forgiveness for it. If you haven't committed any sin you are aware of, humble yourself before God and seek His face. God will give you beauty for the ashes.

The oil of joy for mourning...Anytime I see a reference to oil in the scriptures my mind automatically looks for the presence of the Holy Spirit. Saul was anointed with oil. David was anointed with oil. The parable of the Ten Virgins had oil or a lack of oil. Make sure you are in communion with God is what I am trying to say. Your relationship with God needs to be current. It is that simple. God will be near to those who are of a broken heart. You only have to reach out to Him.

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness is exactly what it says. Put on your garments! Praise God for who He is. Praise Him for what He has done and what He will do! Make a joyful noise to God. Be sincere! The Psalms tell us God inhabits the praises of Israel (Psalm 22:3). He will inhabit your praise too! So go ahead and praise Him! I enjoy this part even when there is no depression to be found.

If you are having trouble with the spirit of heaviness, I encourage you to do this. It was years before I learned to apply the truths in this scripture. I don't want this to be the case for you. There is so much more God has for you that doesn't include this baggage.

Father, I praise you for who you are and for the things you show me. I praise you for Jesus who is worthy of all of the praise I can give. I praise you for those who will read this and apply your Word which is better than anything I have to offer them. I give you all of the praise, honor and the glory for what you want to do in their lives in the name of Jesus! Amen.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Promise of Life

I have a cousin on my father's side of the family that had cancer a few years back. She was a Christian who truly loved the Lord.  We all prayed for God's mercy concerning this situation.  My brother in particular prayed for her healing.  He felt sure that he had God's confirmation that everything was going to be all right.  A few months later she passed from this life to the life that is promised to all that love the Lord.  My brother was discouraged by this and few months later he was working on one of his many projects. While he was working he began to think of this and said to himself..."I really believed that she was going to be all right."  He told me as soon as he said that a thought came to his mind. "She is all right, she is right here with me."

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)

When my brother told me this I was given a sense of peace about what happened.  While she did die in the physical sense as we know it, she lives a new life in the Lord.  For the Christian there are things far worse than physical death.  We have the hope and promise that Jesus will never leave nor forsake us.  I still believe in physical healing of the body.  I believe that petitions should be made on behalf of the sick.  I am just saying that the Lord chooses the time that we are to go through the veil from this life to the next one.  Grieving is a natural thing to do.  We do miss our loved ones after they have passed away.  I think you should not have to grieve as if there is no hope.  There is always hope in Christ!  While you grieve you should also think of the life your loved one has passed into.  Rejoice for them because they have realized the promise of God. We have all lost someone that was very special to us.  I hope that you will turn to God in your grief with thankfulness for the times you had together. Turn to God for the hope and promise of seeing them again in the life that is to come through Christ Jesus.

Father, I thank you for all of those that I love in my life.  I think of my parents whom I loved and still love so dearly.  I think of friends who have gone home to be with you, Lord.  I think of those that are still with me and rejoice in the promise of life eternal with you.  Bless those that read this today and give them peace with their past, comfort for today, and hope for their future. While I thank and praise you for the things that you have given me, the ones that I love are truly the most wonderful gift of all.  I ask this and praise you in the name of Christ Jesus my Lord. Amen.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hidden Camera

 I used to watch the show "Candid Camera" when I was younger. It was great fun to watch all of the practical jokes they played on people.  Perhaps that is one of the reasons I have such a sense of humor.  These people did not know the cameras were rolling and were caught in some pretty awkward situations.  I think most of you, with any age on you at all, have seen this hidden camera show.  There is one camera which rolls continuously on all of us.  When the camera stops rolling we will have to give an account to God for what is on the tape!  There will be two Judgments when all things are finished.  There will be the "Great White Throne Judgment" for all of those that died in their sin.  There will be "The Judgment Seat of Christ" where all of those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior will have their works since their salvation judged.

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
(Revelation 20:11-13)

But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
(Romans 14:10-12)

From these scriptures, it is clear that everyone (and I mean everyone) will acknowledge Jesus as Lord before everything is complete.  It is my hope this confession will come on this side of Heaven. It is important! The Great White Throne Judgment is serious stuff!  It is the place where all non-believers of Christ will stand to be judged on their own merits. No one will be found good enough to warrant a favorable outcome at this Judgment.  Christians get accused of judging non-believers.  This is not true for the most part.  If you are born into sin, you will sin as a part of your natural being.  This is not judgment, this is fact!  The Judgment is yet to come.  I wouldn't wait for that since God has provided a way of salvation through Jesus.  I am amazed at the number of people who believe they will go to Heaven if their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds!  Scripture doesn't bear this out at all!  This is a massive lie of the devil! 

For the Christian, there will be the Judgment Seat of Christ.  It doesn't scare me but it makes me want to be serious with my relationship with God when I think of it.  I want to either be all in or all out.  I don't want to be straddling a fence with sin on one side and holiness on the other side.  It is way too easy to fall off the fence!  The fact that anyone is on the fence at all should be an indication that your relationship with Christ needs revisiting.  If you are a Christian, you need to be serious about your relationship with Jesus.  He doesn't have a taste for lukewarmness!  Although your works will be judged, it is not your works that earn salvation.  Salvation only comes through what Jesus did on the cross for us.  It is a gift!  No merit of your own can earn it.  Works are just a natural by-product of a believer.  Believers do works because they love God.  So today, I encourage you to walk closer to Jesus if you are a Christian.  I want to encourage those who haven't received Christ to seriously consider doing so.  The cameras are rolling!

Father, help me to look at myself the way that you see me.  Help me to live my life in a way that is pleasing to you. I want to be a man after your heart, Lord.  I can only do this with your help.  Bless those that read this today and grant them the wisdom and grace to look at themselves honestly.  I ask your blessing on each and every one, Lord.  May your peace rest upon them this day.  I ask this in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Being well read

I cannot keep talking about things relating to Christianity without mentioning the Bible. It is just not possible. Sooner or later it will have to be referred to as the final authority on this side of Heaven. The Holy Bible is a remarkable book! Written down for us over the course of many centuries by God through the hand of numerous writers. Every time I open the pages I learn something new! I see something in a verse I may have read a thousand times before and something new will reveal itself to me. The more I read, the more this happens. Now I have read other books of all sorts and this kind of thing just does not happen with them. Sometimes I read a secular book or even a book by a Christian author and I gain clarity from multiple readings, but never like the impact of revelation I get from scripture. The Bible itself explains why this is better than anything else I could share on the subject.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) KJV

The Bible is quick or alive! This explains a lot of things then does it not? It has the power to separate soul and spirit. In my life, it has acted as a reflecting pool. I see Jesus in almost every page if I apply the page properly. I keep looking to see myself. It is my heart's desire to look more like Jesus everyday. Not in physical appearance, but in the appearance of my heart. The Bible has the power to separate the reader from sin. If you stop reading it for any prolonged period, it is probable sin has separated you from it. Reading my Bible is what convicted me and broke my heart in the first place. I know of its power first hand! How joyful it is to walk someone through the scriptures to receive Christ! If I don't read it, what pages would I turn to? I don't want to look at them and say "the answer is in there somewhere" and walk away. I want to be able to show them how God loved them while they were yet sinners. I want to show them the price that was paid for their sin. I want them to know how to receive Christ and know they are saved. I want to be able to give them hope for a difficult problem in their life. I don't have those kind of answers apart from God and his scripture! If I don't read and study, I won't be able to show them God's answers. Neither will you. So today if you have a Bible laying around somewhere that is dusty or tucked away in a corner shelf, pick it up. Open it up and ask a little prayer that God would reveal Himself through His word. I have never seen this prayer go unanswered. Do this everyday for a few weeks. Let me know what happens.

Father, I thank you for the Bible. I thank you that you have made it so available for people to read. Grant everyone who reads this today a desire for more of you through your word. Help them to understand the things you want them to know through reading it. Help them to seek it as nourishment for their soul. I praise you and thank you for your faithfulness in this and I ask it in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Only Believe

I am using a lot of scripture today. I think the bible can say this better than I ever could. I have no doubt in the authority in God's word. I will try to be as concise as possible, but there is a lot I want to say. All scripture references are taken from the King James Version of scripture unless otherwise noted. The other day, I spoke of fear. Today I want to elaborate on the other side of that thought. I want to speak on faith. In the book of Hebrews, in chapter 11, is what Christians refer to as the "Hall of Faith." It defines faith this way:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

Now that faith has been defined for us, the writer goes on to list how great men of God went on to do great things because of their faith. Let me be clear. It was God who did the great things through and for these men. These men set no limitations on the power of God. They trusted God with their very lives! Some gave their lives in His service. All things were possible in their minds. Then we get to verse 6 which states:

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

I don't know about anyone else, but that verse makes me want to shout! This is the promise that God will reward those that seek him with all of their heart. To be diligent is to keep on seeking no matter what! You keep on believing even when it even defies logic. We are not talking about logic. We are talking about faith. To believe that God will do that which we petition Him to do. According to verse 6, giving up shouldn't be an option. Only believe that He will do it. You also have to believe that God exists. I don't see how anyone can expect things to turn out right in their lives when they don't believe in the One that has the power to make that happen. Let me give just one more scripture to illustrate this point.

But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching. (Mark 6:4-6)

Here Jesus was ministering in Nazareth. This was His hometown. The people there knew him, but did not believe in His power. He had the power to do all they could have dreamed of. They just would not believe. He was only allowed to heal a few sick people. They limited the blessings of God with their unbelief. Do we ever do that? This brings up my last point. Do you believe He can take care of what you bring to Him? Be very honest with yourself. I am not asking whether or not you believe in yourself. I am asking, do you believe in God? Is He able? Is He worthy of your trust? If you believe God is, then I am very happy for you and rejoice with you. If you don't, however, it is time to set that right. Don't limit God with unbelief! It doesn't have to be that way. It is so easy to just yield to God and ask Jesus into your heart. It only takes a few seconds and your life, and faith, will be turned around forever! The God that spoke creation into existence can certainly help you with coming to a saving knowledge of Christ!

Father, I feel so inadequate speaking on this subject. There is so much I would like to convey. I know that you can open the windows of Heaven to all who will only believe you! I truly believe this is what you want to do. Take what I have said and magnify it by your power. Magnify it for the sake of grace. Take what you have said and let it bring forth fruit for your harvest. Bless those who read this and let them study their own hearts. Help them be honest with themselves. Let them be honest with you, Lord. Thank you for the opportunity to share this today. Encourage those who believe. Help those who are struggling with unbelief. Save those who are lost. I pray this and thank you for all of them in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Being content with yourself

I spoke to someone earlier this week and they said I seemed happy. I told them I wasn't so much happy as I was contented. What does it mean to be content? According to, it means to be "satisfied."To have "ease of mind." There seems to be a shortage of that in people these days. Now I do know many people who are truly content with their lives. There seems to be many people who are not. To me, this is sad. It can be had for no cost, yet it is its own best reward. You cannot put a price on something like this. Its value far exceeds any wealth we can assign to it. Contentment is valuable in the sense that it puts you at peace with yourself. If you can truly look at your life and wouldn't change a thing, you are probably content with your life. It has more to do with wellness of spirit than with present circumstances. I am going to give a passage of scripture today that talks about this.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
(Philippians 4:11-13) KJV

I give you three verses here because I want to keep this in the context in which it was written. He was talking about being content with his life regardless of circumstances. This is an awesome scripture! Especially when you think about the fact that it was written from prison. You want to talk about being content with your life? Paul was yielded to the will of God. He was an obedient servant of Christ. He also knew that many hardships would befall him as a result of the call God placed on his life. We all have moments when things don't go as we would like when it comes to careers, finances or even matters of love. I also know people who are great with money but have trouble with relationships in their life. I also know those without much money to their name that have wonderful relationships. With the help of God, all types of people can find the peace and contentment they long for. God made a way, through Jesus, whereby we can all be at peace. Not only peace, but also have contentment and joy as well. It isn't about what you have or don't have. It is about the state of your soul and spirit. You notice I haven't mentioned happiness. That is because happiness by its definition relies on circumstances. Joy, peace and contentment do not. If you read this, and feel that you are not content with your present situation or state of being, talk with God about this. This is where you can learn, like Paul, to be content. He has a plan that He has made just for you! I will give you a hint: It involves receiving Christ as Savior. He only asks that you follow the plan His way. Your life may be turned upside down but He will give you peace.

Father, I pray for all who read this today. I ask that you would help them search their hearts today to see if they are truly at peace with you. If they are, I give you the praise and glory for this. If they aren't, I ask for a special blessing for these, Lord. I ask that you would lead them to your truth through the cross. I give you praise and thanksgiving for each soul who reads today. Be with them in a mighty way this day. May the peace that passes understanding find a home in their hearts. I pray this in the name of Christ Jesus, my Savior. Amen.

P.S. An updated post on how to implement contentment in your own life can be found here.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Work of the Spirit

I have seen many things in the time that I have served the Lord. Wonderful things. Things that bear witness to His divinity. I never saw Him physically, I still have that to look forward to. I see instead the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers and in the transformation of souls. Only God can do what I have seen.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26) KJV

Here Jesus gives us a glimpse of the Trinity. The Father glorifies the Son, Jesus came in human form, ministered and bore our sin, and the Holy Spirit comforts and helps us in our daily lives. The Holy Spirit bears witness to our hearts, convicts of sin, and leads us to the cross. My walk with God would be impossible without the Holy Spirit. It is He that leads me in the way I should go. I have seen Him bless an entire congregation of believers to a point where no one could speak. Not even the pastor. He was unable to deliver his sermon that week. We could only be in awe of a living God. This has happened on more than one occasion. Several times non Christians would come to me and ask me about God. They were eager to know! I did not even have to initiate it. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. That is the work of God! He has told me when to speak, when to be quiet, and when to look out for danger. He helps me to make decisions on a daily basis. He bears witness to my spirit when I meet another person that is a Christian as well. Somehow, we both know. He is always faithful, always a gentleman. He is always with me, and He wants to be with you too.

Father, I thank you for the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. I know that your word never returns to you void. It always goes forth and accomplishes the purpose for which You have sent it forth. I ask now that you would stir the hearts and minds of those that read, and stir my heart and mind as well. I ask this, and thank You for it in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


When I first gave my life to Christ, I understood what I was doing. I realized that all of the old things of my life, that displeased God, would have to go away. Only later did I realize that this is the work of God. In my ignorance I ran into one stumbling block that I tripped on again and again, but could not understand why. God had forgiven my sins, I could accept that, but I could not forgive myself.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) KJV

I was stuck with the thought that I am still not good enough. I thought the verse read: For God so loved the world, except for me. That whosoever, except for me. That was a lie of the devil! That lie made me try to do things in my own strength for the longest time. I was miserable. One thing I know about God that is very true. He is patient. He was very patient with me until I realized my true identity in Christ. I never shared this until now with anyone, except my wife. I was truly embarrassed about it. It has not been that many years since I learned to forgive myself as God forgave me.

There is no sin so big that God cannot handle. You will not surprise Him. Why would He be surprised that sinners commit sin? The repentant heart is beautiful to God. God can work with a soul that accepts His terms. Read this verse again. These are God's terms! How can we add to something that is already perfect? When a person comes to God and sincerely acknowledges their sin, and asks Jesus to come into their heart, He forgives. You should forgive as well. I still have no idea why this is what I was supposed to share with you today. I do feel a strong need to share it though.

Father, I thank you for the salvation that you offer through Christ. I thank you for teaching me how to forgive others the way that you have forgiven me. I thank you that you have also taught me how to forgive myself. I pray that others will not have the same difficulty with this as I did. If they do Lord, be merciful to them and do not let them give up on themselves. Teach them your love and your truth. I praise you for this in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Faith Over Fear

We humans are emotional creatures. We laugh, we cry, we sing with joy, and sometimes cower in fear. If you pay attention to the news on television and the print media, it would seem that there is a lot to be fearful about. I have found myself worked up into a frenzy at the mere thought that something might happen that would be detrimental to me. It is always something that could happen, not something that has happened. For those that have put their trust in Christ, there is truly nothing to fear from this world.

What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. (Psalm 56:3) KJV

Just because we shouldn't be afraid, doesn't mean that it doesn't happen sometimes. I would like to be able to say that I am writing this for everyone else that reads this. The truth of the matter is that I am writing it for myself as well. I too get fearful every once in a while. There are times that I become distracted and take my eyes off of the Lord for just a little while. That is all the time it takes for the enemy to get a foothold of fear in me. He looks for any opportunity to destroy that which gives God glory. A person gripped by fear is a poor witness. Fear makes a person doubt themselves. Sometimes it can make a Christian doubt their own faith. The verse says what to do in case of fear. It says to trust in God. That takes faith. Fear and faith have trouble co-existing together, because they are polar opposites on a spiritual level. Faith is one of those things that doesn't always make a lot of sense to a human mind. It is, however, just as real as fear. When we can learn to take God at His word, we can replace that fear with faith. Trusting God for the things that are uncertain will put an end to the fear factor that is a part of so many lives today. I really believe that fear is one of Satan's most powerful tools. So are lies. Most times, when you take the time to break it down, Satan is really lying to us to trap us into these unreasonable fears. So today, whatever your concern is that holds you captive in a fearful manner, you can trust in God for the deliverance from fear. You have His word on it.

Father, I thank you for your word. I thank you for the truths in it. Grant me the grace this day to choose faith over any fear that I may have. It really doesn't matter what the fear is about in our lives. It only matters that we trust you to not give it a place in our lives before you. I choose this day to trust you in any and all matters that come before me. You have proved so faithful to me and there is nothing that you cannot overcome in my life. Help me to live a life of faith before you in the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Holding the Rope

On both of my blogs, I have written about how much I love my wife.  My dating relationship with her began in 1984, and we were married in 1986.  There have been all sorts of trials and blessings throughout our marriage.  Never in our marriage, even in our darkest times, did I ever think about leaving this relationship.

And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12) KJV

Read this verse carefully.  It is the secret of the "strength of  love" that I have for my wife.  I took a vow before God, and to her.  There are three of us in this relationship.  There is God, my wife, and myself.  All three were present, and fully aware of the vows we were taking.  We took those vows joyfully.  When things have gotten out of sorts in my head, I go back to that day we took those vows.  I remember how much I loved her at that time.  I will share a little secret with you.  I love her more this day than I have ever loved her before!  This is the work of God and I cannot explain it any other way.  If you notice, that it does not say that it cannot be broken.  It only says that it is not quickly broken.  This is good in the fact that you have time to remember the love that you once had for one another.  This is good because it gives you time to reconsider, if you are planning on ending your relationship.  This cord does not have to break at all!  When God is involved with the day to day life of a married person, you will consider your spouse above yourself. So view this as an appeal to all that are considering ending their marriage.  Allow God to be the Lord of your marriage. Give your marriage one more chance before you give up!  He is able to heal a marriage just as He is able to heal anything else. If you feel that you are at the end of your rope...God wants to be the third strand in that rope.

Father, I thank you for the wife that you have given me. I thank you for all of those that will read this. I ask that you would minister to anyone that is hurting from a bad relationship. Heal the unions of men and women that have taken the vow of marriage before you. Minister to them and grant them peace and love.  I pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Why did I say that?

How many times have you said something and thought..."I wish that I had not said that." I have been there and done that. Not once, but on numerous occasions. If I am not careful about what I speak, I can cause great harm to someone that I love. The wrong choice of words can destroy a first impression with someone that you meet. Words can't be taken back as easily as some things in life. The hurt that they can cause can last a lifetime. The encouragement they give can last a lifetime as well.

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. (Luke 6:45) KJV

This verse puts a completely different spin on what I just said. Why did I just say that? What was I thinking? Was I trying to cause harm? Well, was I? It speaks of my motives. More than that, it speaks of my spiritual condition. It starts in the heart. A loving person will naturally say loving things. Cruel people will say....well, you get my meaning. God has called us to be salt and light to a lost and dying world. How will we ever point them to the cross if we do not let God help us choose our words wisely. This is His work, He will help us to say the right things to those in need. He will even help us to be civil to one another, even when we have disagreements over doctrine or protocol. We need to make sure that our motives are based in Christ. We need to fill our hearts with His word and allow ourselves to be used of Him. We need to speak the truth. Sometimes the truth is painful in itself. Some things must be said when forever is at stake. We cannot always say what makes someone feel good just for the sake of making them feel good. Some facts are just downright difficult to hear. However, God will guide you if you are acting in His will. This is not to say that you won't ever make a mistake, but I guarantee the mistakes with words will be far fewer if we allow Him control of our hearts and minds. What is in your heart today?

Father, search my heart today. If there be anything displeasing to you, bring it to the forefront of my mind so I may repent of it and forsake it. I want my heart and tongue to be fully cleansed and used of you. Help me to choose my words wisely as a witness for you. Help me to be kind, but never afraid to speak the truth. I am trusting in you for this, and ask this in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Nothing is Impossible

How many times in your life have you come up against something that you thought was impossible? What did you do? Did you try to work on the situation yourself? Did you worry about it? Or did you take the problem to the Lord? I think that should be the first course of action. The prophet Jeremiah was told that Jerusalem would be taken captive by the Babylonians. God was quite angry. As I read what the Lord told Jeremiah, my mind fell on one particular verse which has given me hope and encouragement through the years.

Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?
(Jeremiah 32:27) KJV

The reason I use this verse today is because it is my favorite verse in scripture. I claim this verse often and use it sometimes in my prayers to God. When I see this verse. My heart is moved. My soul is encouraged. Is there anything too hard for God? Of course there isn't. I may not see one way out of a situation that I am in. The Lord probably knows over a thousand ways out of any given situation. Maybe more! I remember one time I was looking for work a long time ago, and our creditors were really giving us a hard time. We turned the phone off to keep from hearing the phone ring. This was bad since the phone was the only way that I could get a call back from the applications that I had turned in. A job was the only way that I would be able to pay these bills that I had accumulated. My wife and I talked about calling one potential employer back and we prayed and put it in the hands of God. I picked up the phone to make the call, and the potential employer was on the other end of the line. I had picked the phone up at the right micro second that they called! I got the job by the way. Now what is it that God cannot do? If you know, please tell me. I am all ears. That is just one of many examples that I could give. You see, God takes care of His children just the way you would try to take care of yours. He loves them, just like you love yours. He just happens to have more of a capacity for love than we do. There is no doubt in God. There is only love and perfect knowledge. He knows your situation and He knows your concern. He knows how you plan, and He knows if you don't plan at all. He knows you! He loves you! So the next time you have something that you think is too hard to overcome, take it to God first. Is there anything to hard for God?

Father, I praise you for who you are. The fact that you are able to do above what I ask for is beyond my limited comprehension. I thank you for your love and care of me. I thank you for having my best interest at hand. Let me never, O Lord, be afraid to take anything to you. No matter how big or small the problem, help me to bring it before you. I praise you and thank you this day in the name of Jesus, the name above all names. Amen.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Divided House

I am currently in the process of looking for another church. Once in every great while, I sense a strong impression from the Lord that it is time to go somewhere else. It is hard for me, on an emotional level, to do this. Usually, I have made dear friends where I was at, and hate to leave. Not leaving would be going against what I believe is the will of God in my life. I consider my background unusual to say the least. I didn't have much time at church as a child, but I was taught a reverence for the Lord. I have never doubted His existence.  I never doubted His virgin birth, or His resurrection.  My dad was Southern Baptist, and my mother was from The Church of God of Cleveland, Tennessee. That explains why I didn't get to church very often. I would hear lots of arguing about different denominations and things that really did not pertain to salvation. As a matter of fact, the salvation message was the same.

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
(1 Corinthians 12:13) KJV

I was saved in an Independent Baptist church and was married in a Pentecostal Holiness church. I married a girl whose father was a Nazarene minister. My ministry with music began in a Wesleyan church. I have went on visitation with Southern Baptists. I have walked the Roman Road, and been Slain in the Spirit. While some see this as confusion, I see it as a blessing. I have been able to have friends from all areas of the Body of Christ. Sometimes the hand, sometimes the foot, sometimes the mouth. Well, you see what I am saying. This petty bickering denominations do back and forth is useless, and discouraged in the verse above. I refuse to take part in this bickering. I will not argue with other Christians on this! I will walk away first. There have been wonderful friends in all of these denominations that come to my mind. There are also those, in all of them, that are destructive to their own kind. Their own kind being other Christians. As long as a denomination doesn't change the way in which a person comes to Christ, which is my litmus test, they are my brothers and sisters. Do people that are not Christian notice these disagreements between God's Church? You better believe it! They not only notice, but avoid it like the plague! This can greatly reduce the impact we have for God. Let us this day, walk according to the Spirit of God. Let us walk in love for one another now the way we will have to be with one another in heaven. Surely, we can put our differences aside for the common goal of reaching those that need Christ.

Father, thank you for letting me tell of this. It is an important issue that faces our effectiveness as Christians. I thank you that I have experienced many of the differences of the Body of Christ. Do not let the differences,  which should make us stronger, make us weaker. I bless each and everyone that reads this Lord. May your love penetrate each and every heart and soul and fill them with your presence. I offer this praise and request before you in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Religion? What is that?

Sometimes I am asked questions on religion. I have to admit, I don't know much about religion. I only know about relationship. I know some about relationship with my my wife, my daughter, my friends. I know about my relationship with Jesus. I don't consider it religion. I am also still learning on a daily basis. This blog is listed in a category: religion/Christianity. It was the closest I could get to the truth, but it was not the full truth. A true listing would be: Jesus/relationships/personal.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (John 1:12) KJV

You know, there is enough wisdom and knowledge in the opening verses of John's gospel that I could blog for a long time, and still not tell everything I want to say. I will reflect on being a child of God today. This is an awesome verse! If you are a Christian, this is a wonderful fact! I have prayed with people to receive Christ and they would tell me: "I don't feel any different." That is because it is a fact, not a feeling. Our feelings are deceptive at best. Just ask someone that has been through depression. Facts are facts! They are unchanging from day to day because they are true day after day. If you mean it with all of your heart when you pray to receive Christ, it will be reflected in you soon enough. At this point, you become a child of God and you enter into a family relationship with Him. God takes care of His own. He leads His own. It is a lot like that post I had about my father. My dad said for me to do something and I did it. He took care of me the best he could. I loved my dad. I love my God! It is not religion! It is relationship. God was there when I got saved. He was present for my baptism. He was there when I witnessed to someone for the first time. He was there when I got married, and when my daughter was born. He is family. He wants to be a Father to you just like He has been to me. Won't you give Him the opportunity?

Father, I thank you for the opportunity to share this. I know that I cannot do this subject justice on my own. I know that you can. I ask that you would do so, and give people the desire of a relationship with you. You do this daily. Show yourself to those that read this the way you have shown yourself to me. Bless them I pray, in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Praying Wife

There was a period in my life in the early 1990's where I did not walk with God. I was in a backslidden condition and very angry at God, the church, and hated life in general. My temper had a short fuse and I always had a chip on my shoulder about something. We are not always promised an easy walk as a Christian. We are tested and tried to make us stronger. As long as the person is walking in the Spirit, all is well. It is when we try to do things in our own strength, without consulting God, that we run into problems. I am so grateful for a praying wife, and a God whose love for me knows no bounds.

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22) KJV

My wife would remind me from time to time about the fact that I had given myself to the Lord and that I should go back to church with her. This angered me to no end! I was extremely bitter and wanted nothing to do with it. I felt that no church would accept me as I was at that time, and this nagging wasn't helping anything. The Lord told her to leave me alone and just pray for me. The Lord then set into play a set of circumstances that led to my coming back to Him. Thank God for the obedience of a loving wife! She was at that time a much better wife to me than I was a husband to her. He did bring about my restoration over the course of about a year and I have tried to serve Him since. Some days are more successful than others for me, but I love Jesus without limitations. If it had not been for the quiet obedience, love, and prayers of a devoted wife, my life would have probably been over by now. If you find yourself in a similar circumstance, just remember, you are never beyond the reach of a loving God.

Father, thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for the wife that you gave me. Help me to be as much of a blessing to her as she is to me. I praise you for your mercy and longsuffering towards me. Help me to serve you in a way that is pleasing to you. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Awards--off topic

Vespa Blogger Award Friendship

Vespa Blogger Award Friendship

I received this award from Kay at:

Thank you Kay! I appreciate you!

I in turn award the following people, that have been friendly to me, to receive this award:










1. Put the logo on your blog
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4. Add links to those blogs on yours
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blog

I know this was more than 7, but I am feeling generous today. :) All of these people are deserving of much more than this!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Small Voice

Life gets hectic. There is no doubt about that. We have things in our work, family, and even our leisure that require our attention. I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to not slowing down or letting God get my attention. I don't intend this as disobedience, I just get other things on my mind.

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. (1 Kings 19:11-12) KJV

Elijah had been through a rough time. He was depressed and looking for answers. God instructed him to stand on the mount and He would speak to him. He expected, I am sure, God to arrive in great fashion. He looked in the great wind that came, and God was not there. He looked in the earthquake that came, and God was not there either. He looked into the fire that came, and still the same thing. After all of this, a still small voice. A whisper, if you will. This was the voice of God.

Life gets hectic, and we sometimes go through things where we need God. Sometimes it is in a great revelation. Most times, in my case, it has always been that still small voice. The quiet time I spend with the Lord recharges my life. He wants me to do this, and I need this. I believe we all do. The Holy Spirit will sometimes give you just an urge to do something or say a kind word to someone. He doesn't ask the world of you, but if everyone is obedient, the world will change as a result.

Father, help me to slow down from time to time and listen for your voice. Grant me the wisdom to discern your voice and act upon it. Thank you for your instruction and care for me. I pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I remember, when I was very young, nothing could harm me as long as my dad was around. I really felt so safe and secure. He gave me confidence to do things that I would not have done on my own. He was there for my first fishing trip, hunting trip, and my first day of school. I was, and still am, a terrible hunter. :) I lost my father when I was 17 and I miss him very much. I still have all of those memories that he left me with though. Thinking of him reminded me of something.

But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 19:14) KJV

Being with my father brought out the best in me. The faith I had was pure and undefiled. My heavenly Father, through Jesus, brings forth that same pure faith. The faith of a child. When I am walking in communion with Jesus, all is right with the world. I can attempt any task, and He gives me the confidence and assurance that He is right there with me. I personally try not to over think this with a lot of theology. I want to keep my faith in Him like that of a little child. Simple and pure.

Father, I thank you for being my father. I thank you for Jesus and the fact that I can come to you with anything that is on my mind. For the fact that you are there with me through all of the things I face in life, the good and the bad. Help me to keep my heart pure before you like that of a child. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

To Paint the Sky

About ten years ago, my wife and I were driving from one town to another locally. I do not recall where we were going or if we were on our way back home. I do remember that it was warm weather and it was late afternoon. She said, "Look at that beautiful sky!" And it was beautiful! Shades of orange and pink, purple and others arranged in a swirling and layered fashion. It was memorable. I told her, without thinking twice, "God painted that sky just for you." I don't know why I said that, it just sort of popped out. I saw her eyes fill with tears for the love of a God that would do that for her. Her very expression showed her love. She took my word as truth. To this day, I still believe that He painted that sky for her.

In the book of 1 Peter we have this verse: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1Peter 5:7

My wife did not ask for that sky that day. I just believe that He gave her that because He cares for her. He cares for me. He cares for you too. Jesus is capable to to take care of all we need for this day and for every day for the rest of our lives. What is in store for the person that chooses to love Him with all of their hearts? The sky is the limit.

Father, thank you for allowing me to tell of your many mercies that become new each morning. To tell of your kindness towards me and all that believe. Bless each and every one that reads and pour out your love upon them this day. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


What goes through your mind when you see a homeless person on the street? How about a child that has a birth defect, or cancer? Or what do you think when you meet someone who has no hope? For me, my heart is filled with compassion. Seeing people that hurt tends to be unsettling to me. I am moved with compassion for them. This is a normal response from one human to another. As it should be.

In the book of Mark we have these verses: And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. (Mark 1:40-42) KJV

Never in scripture do I ever recall seeing where Jesus did not heal, teach, or raise the dead. He broke up every funeral he came in contact with. Compassion is a motivating force. It stirs in your very soul and begs to burst forth. It is a God given desire to empathize with those that are hurting. We are given a command and desire to share the gospel of Christ with others. It is an act of love and compassion for a Christian to do so. For we know that to be without Christ is spiritual leprosy. While we cannot heal this condition, we can point the way to the One that can. Jesus is still moved with compassion towards those in need.

Father, grant me the compassion for others as Jesus taught we should have for each other. May I be a blessing to someone you send me to today, and have the opportunity to share your truth and message of hope to someone in need. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, April 17, 2009

God's will

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Knowing the will of God should be paramount in the life of a Christian. Sometimes that is easier said than done, but it is not near as difficult as it sounds. God does not work according to our time schedules and sometimes we don't know what to do until the task is at hand. Much of this is done according to faith. Some is according to obedience of what we know is the will of God. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a part of every true Christian helping them stay in the will of God. He comforts us, guides us, warns us, and convicts us of sin. He tells me when to witness and tells me to shut up when it is time. To grieve the Holy Spirit is a gut wrenching experience at best. It should be this way when we have stepped out of the will of God. He only does this because of his love for us. No one can ever love you the way that God does. Being in his will is really natural for the Christian because of the new nature that we have in Christ. Refer to 2 Corinthians 5:17, it is a wonderful passage as well as a comforting promise. Praying is part of his will. Studying the scriptures is part of his will. A genuine concern for the welfare of others is part of his will.

You do however, need to realize that you cannot be everything for everyone. It is important to not make yourself feel guilty or weary because you cannot do all of the things someone wants you to do. Remember, it is God's will we are concerned with here. Not man's. There is so much more that I could say, but really the best way to know the will of God for me is to just ask him. He wants you to be in his will. He will help you by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thank you Father for who you are. Thank you for having my welfare at hand and guide me in your perfect will this day. May I be a blessing to you, and to the people I meet, by the way I conduct myself according to your will. May the Holy Spirit empower me and guide me with what is needed in these encounters. Be with those that read this message and impart to them your blessings. In the name of Christ Jesus I pray, Amen.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Making decisions

How do we make important decisions in our life? I am sure most of us weigh them out carefully, but do we seek guidance for them? A doctor or perhaps a lawyer? What about asking God in these situations? Do we even consider it?

One of my favorite passages of scripture is found in 2 Samuel 5:17-25. The Philistines have come to make war with Israel's new king David. David asks the LORD should he go out and meet them in battle. The LORD tells him to go and fight for He will deliver them into his hands. David does this and the enemy scatters and regroups again. David asks God again should he attack? God tells him yes, but surround them from behind and wait. David was supposed to wait until he heard the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees. This would signal that God had gone before him in battle. David did this and defeated his enemy.

I think we all would do well to inquire of the LORD when we have an important decision to make. Asking in itself is not all there is to it. Listening and obeying are just as important. When God tells us to do something, we should do it just like he wants. He will go before us into battle. He will never ask more of you than He will give you the ability to do. Just like He did for David, He will go before you in whatever problem or task you face.

Father, remind me today to seek your help in all matters. Guide and direct me and help me to listen for your answer. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

About this blog

I have been a Christian for many years now. Much of that time I have served Christ with music, testimony, and help to those that are in need. However, I had grown to become a complacent Christian. This is a difficult thing for me to admit, but admit it I must. Many times I have been lacking when it came to fundamentals like faith, love, and sharing the gospel of Christ as I should. Today, that changes! This is the blog of a man. A simple man that struggles with life as any man does. Being a Christian does not exempt you from the problems of life. Sometimes the problems are multiplied because you are a Christian. That should not keep me from walking by faith in the truth of Christ as I know it. I plan to share scripture and my interpretation thereof, maybe a story. Perhaps I will share the innermost part of my being. That is still nothing compared to what Jesus has done for me. I will end with prayer at the end of each post. We are promised that if we ask, we shall receive. I really believe this will be a blessing to me being able to share the various things in my life. So now, let us end in prayer.

Father God, I give thanks to you for all that you have provided to me today. I thank you for being the one true God that cares for all of his creation. I ask for the wisdom to carry forth this plan you have given me and may it glorify your Kingdom. May it comfort those that hurt, help those that need, and carry forth your Word with honor. I ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.