Is It Time?
“Is it time?” is a powerful question to ask ourselves and others. It is a question that implies a decision at the crossroads of change, that is, “is it time to change?”

There are many levels of possible change. For example, at a basic level, is it time to change my hair style. Moving on, is it time to change my attitude. Ratcheting further, is it time to change my job? On the bookend of levels of change is this: is it time for God?

“Is it time for God?” has many aspects. Is it time:
For a higher power to enter my life?
To surrender my will and be transformed?
To trust, believe, and have faith in something beyond myself?
To yield the care for someone in body, mind, and spirit?
For strength, wisdom, and knowledge beyond my own?
For light in darkness, living waters in a dry season?
For peace, joy, healing, and serenity?

There are certain things that only God can do, certain holes that only God can fill, and this is as it should be. We are finite. God is infinite.

Let us pray. “Yes, Lord, it is time. Do for me (and others) what I cannot do myself.”

What Am I Chasing?
Am I chasing peace and rest? Am I so busy and preoccupied with my quest that I don’t understand the futility of what I am doing?

True peace and rest cannot be tackled and subdued, made subservient to my will. Rather, I must surrender myself to the chase and become the one who is overtaken.

We are chased by the Spirit of God who offers us the only true peace and rest. The faster and more frantically I run that further I distance myself from my goal.

Stop, O my soul, and be overtaken.

What Does This Mean?
There are events in life that cannot be understood; we have neither the language, experience, nor imagination to fit them comfortably into our human existence.

The Apostles had such an experience on what we call The Day of Pentecost—the coming of the Holy Spirit.
“And when the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all assembled together in one place, when suddenly there came a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were separated and distributed and which settled on each one of them.”

“Violent tempest blast. Tongues of fire.” What can we say about this?

All the Apostles could say was, “What can this mean?”
(Acts 2: 1-3, 12 from the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition)

Indeed, what can we say when overshadowed by the power of God? When there are no words, when there is no meaning to comprehend, there remains worship. And that is all-sufficient.

I Want It All
I want it all. I get it all. Yet Christ says, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) How can this be?

Having it all, I should be able to do it all. There should be nothing I cannot do or have. But this is not so.

What is it that Christ offers that, apart from Him, I cannot have?

It is a relationship. It is the relationship between the vine and the branches. It is a soul, a purpose, peace in all circumstances, and an eternal joy. It is Christ Himself, being in us and connecting us to the Father.

“What, Me Worry?”
“What, Me Worry?” was the slogan used by a freckle-faced carton character, Alfred E. Neuman, for Mad magazine back in the 1960s. Neuman’s flippant expression reflected his cavalier approach to potentially stressful situations; he dismissed them with three simple words.

If only a worry-free life were so simple.

Christ makes, on first impression, a similarly overly simplistic statement about worry. He says, “Do not worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34). But is it so simplistic as to be impractical? Let’s look at the Greek.

The Greek word translated “to worry” literally means to be drawn in different directions. Distraction, uncertainty, competing priorities, and lack of direction come to mind. How can worry be tamed? Two ways.

First, determine to set a single priority and focus energy not on multiple courses of action but on a single one. This is basic common sense and practical wisdom (such you will find in wisdom literature like Proverbs).

Second, let your knowledge of (or seek the knowledge of) scripture to guide you in identifying your priority. We can go through life struggling with our finite resources of doing things or yoking ourselves to the infinite power of divine strength and guidance, offered freely and without cost. Here is sound advice from the Apostle Paul:

… in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

Life will never be totally free of worry but it need not tear us apart. Take these first steps toward a victory over worry.

God Blesses Prayer.
Prayer Requires Persistence.

This simple, logical sequence of thought may be so obvious as to be dismissed and in being dismissed we lose the full value of scripture.

In one of the most quoted biblical translations (New International Version), Luke 11:10 reads, “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” At first glance, this appears to be an action-response, do it and get it now type of message, and to read it just in this way may be misleading. Other translations add words like “keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking. (Voice translation.) Similarly, the International Children’s Bible emphasizes the word “continues,” and the New International Readers Version adds the word “searches,” which implies a continuation.

Perhaps the fullest translation is from the Amplified Bible as follows:
“For everyone who keeps on asking [persistently], receives; and he who keeps on seeking [persistently], finds; and to him who keeps on knocking [persistently], the door will be opened.”

Not be ignored is the emphasis on three actions, not just one, further implying that a simple, one-time effort is not enough; we are to ask and seek and knock.

So, what is the essence of this message? It is simply this: pray often and without ceasing to receive the abundance of God’s blessings.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?
The is a common expression. It is a rhetorical question, usually sarcastic in tone, meaning something isn’t right or is unfair.

Let’s put it into a more practical context. For any picture (meaning any situation), imagine Christ asking “What’s wrong here? Where am I in this picture?”

Is Christ in all our pictures? Only He can make what is wrong, right.

Your Personal Trainer And Life Manual
It’s the Bible.
We must become spiritually fit.
1 Timothy 4:7
Don’t waste time arguing over foolish ideas and silly myths and legends. Spend your time and energy in the exercise of keeping spiritually fit.
The Living Bible

2 Timothy 3:16-17
The Bible is your personal trainer and life manual.
The whole Bible[a] was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. 17 It is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone.
The Living Bible

The Moment Life Is About To Change
There comes a time when you decide to choose Christ. This changes everything.
There also comes a time when to witness amounts to this: to suggest to someone that now is the time to make a choice. Choose God and let Him help you, or go it alone.
These are precious times.

The Gift Of “If”
One of Christ’s greatest gifts is the gift of “if,” which is the gift of choice. He never commands us with the forceful or dogmatic “you must,” (though some may interpret it as such), but dignifies us with the invitation to choose: life or dead, blessing or curse, follow or go alone. Even The Ten Commandments, Given by God to Moses for the benefit of the Hebrew people, are less the demands and dictates they seem but more like instructions how to live in relation to the God who chose them, now that they are no longer under the thumb of Pharaoh and slaves to Egyptian gods. The tragic history of the Hebrew people, and all societies at all times, demonstrates the freedom of the “if” and the consequence of choosing against God.

Reaching Out To God
How do we find a God that is spirit and truth? Acts 17:27 makes a startling statement to suggest that God is almost palpable, touchable. Luke, the presumed author, writes “God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.”

“Reach out (NIV)” in Greek is translated to touch, handle. Other translations use the expressions feel, grasp, and grope.

When considered with the words, “he is not far from any one of us,” we may conclude that God desires to be found, is not a hide-an-seek God, or a remote God.

How does one touch spirit or feel truth? This is the mystery that is God, and we are promised that it is possible. We need only to make the effort.

What Good Is An Unknown God?
What good is an unknown god? What good is a god that lives in shrines made by human hands and requires service by the same human hands? And what good is a god of gold, or silver, or stone—an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals?

There is no good in such a god.

In contrast, how much more is a god who made the world and everything it, who is lord of heaven and earth, and does not require shrines or service by human hands? How much greater is this god that gives life and breath to all mortals and all things?

Such is a God truly worthy of being known and worshipped. Such a God is not far from each one of us. In fact, this God abides in us, lives in us, and is known to us through His Son.

We are the offspring of this known God.

Acts: 17:22-31

Is There A Greater Desire Than To Be Adopted Into God’s Splendor?
Today I will attempt what is impossible through my own powers but what is made possible by the love of God, and that is to grasp the all-encompassing Good News presented in Ephesians and what it means to be adopted by God, sought after by God, and redeemed by God.

Ephesians 1:18
…and this is my prayer. That God, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ and the all-glorious Father, will give you spiritual wisdom and the insight to know more of him: that you may receive that inner illumination of the spirit which will make you realise how great is the hope to which he is calling you—the magnificence and splendour of the inheritance promised to Christians—and how tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God.
Phillips Bible

Today I will walk to God’s altar believing that what awaits me is far greater than what I can possibly imagine or desire.

How Do You Comprehend God?
Astronomers announced (May 11, 2023) the largest cosmic explosion ever witnessed. It was traced to 8bn light years away. That’s 8 billion times 6 trillion miles, or more zeros that I could fit in my SUV.

How do you comprehend this?

The easiest way is to ignore it, like we ignore God, for who can truly comprehend God?

But, if Genesis is to be believed and we are called to use our minds and not send them to pasture, we must come to grips with something that is beyond our beyond. I know of no other way than to give glory to the God of creation and marvel at the mystery, not try to explain it or cast it aside.

So we are left with this magnificent statement:
1 Colossians 16
For through him (Christ) God created everything in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen things, including spiritual powers, lords, rulers, and authorities. God created the whole universe through him and for him.
Good News Translation

Give Me A Heart
Give me a heart to believe, that I may obey you, for you have commanded it. Give me a heart to believe, that I may please you, for you have said that is what you desire. Give me a heart to believe, that I may honor you, for you have declared that this gives glory to you.
—David Clarkson

From Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans, by Robert Elmer

We Forget To Remember
Charles Spurgeon draws our attention to the fact that we are more likely to remember “poisonous weeds” — the negative aspects and events of life — than the most beautiful and beneficial ones. This human tendency leaves us drained rather than refreshed. Christ commanded “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24) not for His benefit but for ours. Though this command referred to His Last Supper institution of what is called The Great Thanksgiving, it is well for us to daily remember that all good things come from God. (Charles Spurgeon Morning And Evening Devotional for April 26)

What Makes Your Heart Burn?
We risk living a life without meaning If we don’t know the answer to this question. Enflamed emotions, burning passions, and scorching desires are not hearts that burn. There is only one source.

Luke 24:32
They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

We Forget To Remember
Charles Spurgeon draws our attention to the fact that we are more likely to remember “poisonous weeds” — the negative aspects and events of life — than the most beautiful and beneficial ones. This human tendency leaves us drained rather than refreshed. Christ commanded “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24) not for His benefit but for ours. Though this command referred to His Last Supper institution of what is called The Great Thanksgiving, it is well for us to daily remember that all good things come from God. (Charles Spurgeon Morning And Evening Devotional for April 26)

God Is More
Three words that hold the key to all situations when we think of or experience less. Here are some of the words of “less:” never, hopeless, exhausted, can’t, impossible, not me, if, why, how, defeated, failure. The God of creation, of miracles, of mercy, of forgiveness, of never failing light is always more than the problems and limits we experience or impose on ourselves. We need know anything beyond these three words. 

A Prayer For Those Experiencing Crushing Sadness
It is our privilege to pray for you and your family. On the top of the list, of course, is for the miracle of healing. Miracles, however, do not come “on-demand”. There are blessings, though, that do come on-demand and may be considered miracles of their own. Here are those we pray for you:
Strength for the journey
Courage in the face of daily battles
Hope where despair dominates
Tenacity to look overwhelming challenges in the eye
Light in the darkness
Endurance to stay the course
A rock to perch above the turmoil
A hand to grasp for support
A yoke to share burdens
For music within when the storm is outside

The Way
Which way? Where are we going? How do we get there?

We ask these questions throughout life and look for directional signs. But these signs are often missing, misleading, or hard to understand.
There is, however, a way to move forward with confidence to a good place.

In John 14, Jesus is telling his disciples that He has the ultimate destination planned for them and that they know the way to it. Thomas responds with basically these words: “We don’t know where or the how.” (Verse 5) Jesus counters with “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

What is the full understanding of Christ’s words and how may they be applied in life? It is this:
It is unequivocally certain—an absolute truth—that the the fullness of life comes from following Christ—THE WAY.

This was not a one-time directive to a specific location but an overarching message to be applied throughout life, at all times, and under all conditions.
It is so like Christ; we ask for a simple remedy and He gives us an entire pharmacy. We ask for directions to a specific location and are given a map of the world. We ask for a cup of cold water and are given an overflowing fountain.

Life, in all its fullness, is what Christ desires for us. Trust Him, follow Him to this abundant life.

Who Is Your Companion?
We are given life through no means of our own. What are we to think of it? I think of it as a grand invitation to eventually live in the presence of our creator in all his glory. At any point in our journey through life we may be tempted, and often are, to reject this invitation if favor of other invitations that are centered on living without God. How are we to know that we are on the correct path? Ask yourself, ”who is my companion?” If your companion is Christ then you will be led to the Father, regardless of where you are.

Do You Have A “Return-To-Home” Button?
My drone has a “return-to-home” button on its remote controller that, when activated, signals and guides the drone to return to its launch site. This is both a convenience and safety feature; it is easy to lose site of the drone and not know how to navigate it back home.

What about a return-to-home button for our lives, especially our spiritual lives? We often stay from our spiritual home and don’t know exactly how to return.

The Bible is our button. It teaches us where are true home lies. Faith activates it.

Purify The Heart
What must be purified in our lives and how may this be accomplished?

If it is pride or any other vice, start with the heart.

From a parable:
“My son, hear the word of wisdom; if thou art wrong, seek not to correct thine outward life, but seek first to get thy heart correct, for out of it are the issues of life, and thy life shall be pure when once thy heart is so.” So if we would get rid of pride, we should not proceed to arrange our dress by adopting some special costume, or to qualify our language by using an outlandish tongue; but let us seek of God that he would purify our hearts from pride, and then assuredly, if pride is purged from the heart, our life also shall be humble. Make the tree good, and then the fruit shall be good; make the fountain pure, and the stream shall be sweet.”
From  “What is pride?”

Do Not Pass Over The Meaning Of Passover
The Jewish Feast of Passover is over. Holy Week, in which Christ’s Passover on Good Friday was celebrated, has ended with Easter. Is the meaning done and gone?

Redemption. Freedom from bondage. These are the messages to carry through the year.

Angelic Messengers
There are times when we may feel so utterly undone, so completely drained, and without any hope. But there is always hope and it may come in the most unexpected way.

Luke 22:42-43
Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?” At once an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him.”

We sit too often like chained eagles fastened to the rock, only that, unlike the eagle, we begin to love our chain, and would, perhaps, if it came really to the test, be loath to have it snapped.
Charles Spurgeon in Morning and Evening Devotionals

Now Is The Time
Now is the time…for what?

What really matters? What must you do? What must you drop and pick up in its place?

This is not about what you would like to do or even should do; what must you do?

Lent calls us to the musts of living. What is calling you now?

Today I will acknowledge that we all need healing and that we cannot heal ourselves. Our healing comes from Christ’s substitutionary atonement, our soul’s true life from His physical pain and death. With this comes the privilege of sacrificial intercessory prayer for the healing of others.

Intercessory Prayer
Intercessory prayer—a form of worship—may lift you up to the mind of God for the ones for whom you pray. Become so energized and please Him for putting others first.

Philippians 2:13
“because God is energizing you so that you will desire and do what always pleases Him.”

The Limits Of Understanding
Today I will not dismiss the fathomless, incalculable love of God simply because it is beyond understanding. Rather, I will worship, adore, pray, love–all these and more–to begin to chip away at my lack of understanding. And I will work in tandem with God for it is by God’s grace that it will come to me. 

Ephesians 3:19“…to know this love that surpasses knowledge…”

It takes courage to confess being a coward but too often I am.

So today I will confess my cowardice in standing up for Christ, for the many times I have abandoned Him when I could have proclaimed Him in word or deed, for being a paper disciple. Yet, I am powerless to be stronger. So I pray the Holy Spirit to strengthen me in love and commitment.

Rick Warren (with an assist from Paul) has given me a new perspective on pain. Where once it was to ignore, minimize, and hopefully avoid pain—mine and the pain of those I love and care for—, now I see that there is a redemptive power in it.

(To avoid being hypocritical, I confess that it is easier for me to write about pain than to experience it.)

Warren entreats us: “I beg you not to waste your pain; don’t waste your hurt.” What does he mean?
He means that how we live with and attack pain affects us and those around us; it becomes our “deepest life message.” We have these critical choices to make.
Will I fight pain with endurance and tenacity or surrender, that is, will my actions support others?
Will I us use my pain to awaken compassion for others suffering the same pain?
Will I look for the goodness and love in others who try to comfort me (and this includes relatives, friends, healthcare professionals, and those who pray for me), or be oblivious and unresponsive, meaning ungrateful?

Warren calls us to look outward toward others, not inward, as we consider our response to pain. In one of life’s great mysteries, as we tend to others we nurse ourselves.
“I beg you not to waste your pain; don’t waste your hurt. People all around you are going through the very thing you’ve already gone through, and they need your help. They need you to comfort them.”

2 Corinthians 6:4
“in every way we demonstrate that we are God’s servants by tremendous endurance in the midst of difficulties, hardships, and calamities;”
International Standard Version

A final thought. Pain and suffering bring us into the frontline battle with good vs. evil; good because we can reach out to God for comfort, strength, and endurance; evil because Satan can use pain to drive us from God.

Lord, What Is Man?
If inclined to boast of our abilities, the grandeur of nature may soon show us how puny we are. We cannot move the least of all the twinkling stars, or quench so much as one of the beams of the morning. We speak of power, but the heavens laugh us to scorn. When the Pleiades shine forth in spring with vernal joy we cannot restrain their influences, and when Orion reigns aloft, and the year is bound in winter’s fetters, we cannot relax the icy bands. The seasons revolve according to the divine appointment, neither can the whole race of men effect a change therein. Lord, what is man?
Charles Spurgeon Morning and Evening Devotionals, on Job 38

What Is Your Return On Life?

Background: If you haven’t yet heard of the concept “return on investment” or ROI you will. It’s a basic idea that you use all the time, often without realizing it.

For example, you say to yourself “what will I get if I do this or that?” In business, you would ask how much profit you will make if you invest a certain amount of money. It’s all about the return on your investment.

There’s a bigger picture than ROI and it’s Return On Life-ROL. This involves your investment in time, energy, emotions, character, and everything you possess. And returns come in many forms: joy, fulfillment, peace, contentment.

So, here’s today’s question: what are you investing in to get the highest return on your life?

Faith links me with divinity. Faith clothes me with the power of God. Faith engages on my side the omnipotence of Jehovah. Faith ensures every attribute of God in my defence. It helps me to defy the hosts of hell. It makes me march triumphant over the necks of my enemies. But without faith how can I receive anything of the Lord?
Spurgeon, Morning and Evening Devotionals

“The source of our strengths and abilities and gifts is not within ourselves. We possess these gifts, we exercise them, we can if we wish rejoice in them, but we must always remember that their source lies in God.”
Prayers for the Breaking of Bread, Herbert O’Driscoll

What Is True Religion?
True religion can use the power of God to connect us in the service of others so that our joy is enhanced and our sorrows are lessened, our strength is renewed in times of exhaustion, and our paths are illuminated in times of darkness. Any religion that does less is not worthy of you or your God.

Christ Is The Master Recycle
We recycle many things: paper, plastic, metal, water. Airplanes recycle air to purify it. Recycling is good economically—it saves money and costly resources—and morally, in the sense that all of creation is precious and we are not to wantonly waste it.

What about lives? Are lives recyclable? Of course they are, and Christ is the master recycler.

Consider words we find in the Bible like Redeemer and Savior. All point to reclaiming, reusing, and restoring our lives from what we could consider as wasted, depleted, or of no value to the perfection that faith promises.

We are told that Christ is in us and we in him. We are told that the Holy Spirit lives within us. And we are told that God so loved us that he gave His Son so that we would not perish. These are the ultimate statements that, regardless of our condition at this moment or any moment in the future, we can be recycled—remade—gloriously into the person He desires us to be.

Where Is Your Center?
Where is your center, the core “you”? What determines who you are, what you do, and what you become? What or who do you trust, consult for guidance, and go to for comfort? What are the values at your core? Truth, faith, humility, integrity?

As you can see, your center determines everything. It’s like gravity. It pulls everything together and keeps it whole. What would happen if your center weakened or was not powerful or sufficient for you? Think of what happens when a ball you are spinning is released; it flies away. And so could everything that is important to you.

Gravity is a constant force. It never varies. It never changes. You can always depend on it. Your center needs to be the gravity of your life.

So think about your center. What it is. And if it is a person.

The Slippery Slope
You’ve heard this expression. It means a bad situation or habit that, after it has started, is likely to get very much worse; you slip further, harder, faster to an undesirable outcome.

Charles Spurgeon (Morning and Evening devotional), in his unique voice, paints a vivid picture of the slippery slope of small sins in our daily lives.

“So we palliate sin; we throw a cloak over it; we call it by dainty names. Christian, beware how thou thinkest lightly of sin. Take heed lest thou fall by little and little. Sin, a little thing? Is it not a poison? Who knows its deadliness? Sin, a little thing? Do not the little foxes spoil the grapes? Doth not the tiny coral insect build a rock which wrecks a navy? Do not little strokes fell lofty oaks? Will not continual droppings wear away stones? Sin, a little thing? It girded the Redeemer’s head with thorns, and pierced his heart! It made him suffer anguish, bitterness, and woe. Could you weigh the least sin in the scales of eternity, you would fly from it as from a serpent, and abhor the least appearance of evil.”

Face The Reality
Today I will affirm one of the realities of life: it is short and full of sorrows. With this in mind, the Christian response is the most practical and satisfying: live it fully with Christ as the core.

A Personal Mission
Do you have a personal mission statement? Is it filled with grandiose goals (as mine was)? Compare it with that of Harold Kushner.

Kushner is the author of over a dozen books, the first of which was When Bad Things Happen To Good People. A rabbi, one might expect his mission statement to include growing his congregation, building a school, or leading a worldwide ministry. In Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life, we see a very different mission. Though not specifically stated as his mission, and more a reflection upon what his life evolved into, here is a statement that puts my mission statement to utter shame:

To recognize when people hurt and to be given (by the Source) the language to ease their pain.

Although such a statement is not unexpected from a rabbi, priest, minister or other ordained individual, it serves as a huge fork in the road of one’s life direction—that is, to focus on oneself or on others.

How different life would have been, and still may be, when focused on others.

Have We Lost The Majesty of God?

In his book, Knowledge of The Holy, A.W. Tozer writes, “The decline of the knowledge of the holy has brought on our troubles. A rediscovery of the majesty of God will go a long way to curing them.” The world and our lives are full of problems; a cure is highly desirable.

Complete article here.

More Reasons Why We Need God

From no one else can we receive unlimited grace and mercy.
Because no one is good enough and we cannot make ourselves good.
Only God removes the indelible stains of guilt, fear, regret, despair, and hopelessness.
Only God lifts the spirits of those who are caught in the mire of life, whose resources are depleted.
Only God defends against us against the attacks we all experience on our self-worth and acceptance.

What Can We Learn From The Philistines, The Ancient Enemy Of The Israelites?
The Philistines were an existential threat to the Israelites. They wished to dominate and eliminate them. It was a great war that ancient Israel faced against a powerful, merciless enemy.

Today we face the Philistines of evil in many forms, seeking to devour our faith. How do we meet this enemy?

Charles Spurgeon, who coined the expression “Philistines of evil”, offer this advice in his morning devotional for March 2:
1. Every weapon within our reach must be used. Preaching, teaching, praying, giving, all must be brought into action
2. Each moment of time, in season or out of season; each fragment of ability, educated or untutored; each opportunity…must be used
3. Most of our tools want sharpening; we need quickness of perception, tact, energy, promptness, in a word, complete adaptation for the Lord’s work.
4. This morning let us note enough to sharpen our zeal during this day by the aid of the Holy Spirit.

Drop The Apple
We all know—at least to some degree—the story of Adam, Eve, and THE APPLE, the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3). They saw the apple, they even held the apple, but even at this point they had not yet eaten the apple. Life lures us in many ways to the forbidden fruit, as Adam and Eve were lured. Satanic forces may persuade us to grasp it. But here the choice remains. Drop it; don’t bite the apple.

Please Help Yourself
We often hear this expression when we are at a meal. The host will say “please help yourself’’ meaning take whatever you want to satisfy your hunger; “there is no limit and I delight in all that you take.”

“Please help yourself” may also be an expression of surrender to Christ. In any place, at any time, and in any situation we may pray, “Lord, help yourself to my life.”

Truth may be as simple as “knowing him.” 

If you have ever searched for truth or pondered it, as I have and continue to do, you may have experienced my frustration. Its allure is great but capturing it is something else. Is the truth about truth so obvious as to be hidden in plain sight? Life seems so complicated; can truth be simplified?

Chris Eyte may have drawn the veil from complexity of discovering truth with these words: “I think the truth is simply summarized in two words: Know Him. Knowing Jesus means knowing life in all its fullness.”

Truth—life in all its fullness, found only in Him.
Read more from Chris Eyte.

Change is one of the most desired actions and one of the most difficult to obtain. This is true for both small and great change. Like so many other positive desires, it many require a power beyond ourselves. When we run out of personal resources, let us reach out to God’s divine power.

“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.” 2 Peter 1:3 New Living Translation

Rich Warren writes, “by nature no one is contented! It is not natural to be contented. But it is mature to be contented.”

In the context of today’s world, contentment has the connotation of accepting less than you are capable of, perhaps being lazy, and certainly not being a mover and shaker. These are hardly terms of high esteem and positive self-worth. But perhaps today’s world has got it wrong.

So let’s look at several sources of discontentment; envy, jealousy, resentment, ingratitude, and above all—comparing. Does anyone want this?
In contrast, let’s examine how the Bible sheds light on contentment from the classic translation of Ecclesiastes 6:9, King James Version:
“Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.”
The Good News Translation is:
“It is better to be satisfied with what you have than to be always wanting something else.” 
A further translation is:
Better is the sight of the eyes [the enjoyment of what is available to one] than the cravings of wandering desire. This is also vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility) and a striving after the wind and a feeding on it!
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition

Vexation. Always wanting. Futility. If these reflect the absence of contentment, isn’t contentment something to be desired? A question we could ask is, “Would God intentionally steer us from something that is good, wholesome, and beneficial?” In other words, is contentment a goal that God seeks for us? The answer to this question will determine whether we find contentment (a long-lasting feeling accompanied by peacefulness, gratitude and satisfaction) or face an incessant striving without end that can never be satisfied.

As Warren points out, to seek contentment is not natural. It is a gift from God. To seek, to pray for it is spiritual maturity.

Arise From The Dead
Today I will arise from the dead, that is, jolt myself out of the deadness of being apart from Christ. I will take the initiative to connect with Christ and receive His life force to face life’s challenges. What I cannot do myself can be done when Christ gives me His power. But that power cannot be accepted until I admit my powerlessness.

Ephesians 5:14
“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”


Love On Valentine’s Day
Today is Valentine’s Day and it is appropriate to consider love. Isn’t the buying of cards, flowers, and other gifts on this day stoked by love? What, then, is love?

Without the concept and belief in a God of love who, out of love created and continues to sustain us, what are we left with? Chemical reactions in the body that transfer electrical impulses through neurons to the brain which are interpreted as…something? It’s hardly satisfying, though possible if you follow this line of thought, that poor digestion in my gut may, in some way, affect my ability to experience love.

On the other hand, if God is love and if God is beyond our comprehension, then love is beyond our comprehension. Where does this leave us?

It leaves us to ponder a mystery and, though unfathomable, draws us with an invisible magnetism toward a source of joy that cannot be fully expressed with words (and certainly not with flowers and cards).

“God is love” is not a cliché. It is what makes our incomplete sense of love priceless.

Dwell In Peace
When my mind is filled with shrapnel-like thoughts—piecing, confusing, too many to confront at once—Lord help me to duck for cover behind the skills you have given me (and those only you provide) and decide which ones need to be addressed (and in what order) and which ones I can let fly over my head harmlessly. Help me to dwell in your peace.

Is Today Your Third Day?
The third day: Christ has been crucified, along with misguided beliefs in how the Messiah’s kingdom will arrive, and the resurrection has not been observed.

What have I been hoping or trusting God would do? Is today “my third day” and has God still not done what I expected, begged or prayed for? Am I then justified to reject God? (Inspired by Oswald Chambers “Spiritual Dejection”)

There are “third days” in every life, the time between shattered expectations and joyful newness. These may be moments, years, or even decades. But joyful newness does come on the wings of faith and prayer in the form of a blessing, a mercy, or grace—perhaps in a form or manner that could not possibly be anticipated.

The disciples’ third day came as prophesied and as Christ promised. They and the world were forever changed. And so we will be when our third day arrives.

Luke 24:21
“…but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.”

The Power Of Turning
There are many things in life to be saved from: disaster, ruin, heartbreak, despair, and much, much more. These are the things of life; they are inescapable. God is with us, if we choose, to overcome them or at least to deal with them. They may require immense effort and time

There is one thing, however, that can be instantaneous and ludicrously easy and that is being saved for eternity with God.
Isaiah 45:22
“Turn to me and be saved,
all you ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other.
This is salvation and it is already done—accomplished through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Christ; we have merely to ask for it. It is like reaching into a closet and pulling out a royal garment. This is what is meant by “Turn to me and be saved.”

How Near Is God?
God is not just near us—He is with us. He is so with us that He is in us.
John 16:20
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. (The day Christ comes to the disciples after the resurrection.)
With this assurance, let us approach each day and all its challenges with confidence, hope, and a friend who will never leave us.

God is with all these people. There is no place, no condition, no situation where God is not with us.
The drowning
The dead
The sick
The ostracized
The thief
The leper
The hungry
The lame
The blind
The deaf
The defeated
The commoner
The betrayer
The possessed
The poor
The doubter
The unbeliever
The religious outcast
The sinner
Even the wise, the powerful, the religious

Jesus is called Immanuel. The Hebrew name “Immanuel” literally means “God is with us”.  “The reference to this name comes from the prophet Isaiah who first foretold of a virgin or young women conceiving and bearing a child. As the prophet says, this child will be named “Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14). In Isaiah’s day the kingdom of Judah was under threat. The promise that God gives through the prophet of a child named Immanuel was meant as a sign that God was with them…” (Benjamin Johnson in

“I Can Fix This.”
Focus on His promise. Push through your fear.

Is It Time To Surrender?
God seeks us relentlessly.
We resist him incessantly.
He will never surrender. The question is, will we.

How To Recover Your Life
Serve God, not yourself. Here is a self-help message from Matthew 11:28.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Message Bible

Who Or What Is Your Master?
Is food, or clothes, or anything else that sustains the body your master? 

Our bodies were made for us to live to God and not to be our master. How then shall we live to God?  I will use both heart and mind; the heart to prioritize my relationship with God and the mind to objectively deal with day-to-day worries so that they do not lead to anxiety and destroy my trust in God. Yes, I have my mind to help with managing the jungles of life, to deal with issues and to do responsible planning, but not to be so focused on things far into the future or beyond our control or even relevant to our lives that I live in perpetual poverty, especially the poverty of faith. God desires  me—us—to live, not just to exist.

Matthew 6:25
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

What Is The One Indispensable Thing Without Which We Cannot Live And Make Sense Of Life?

Might it be Hope?

Not the wishful thinking kind but one of confident expectation.

What might this hope look like, what form could it take?
A friend, companion who listens without judgement, walks alongside without leaving?
A calming sense that there is something greater than my own powers, which are proving too weak, and which I may call upon?
A guiding light that leads, not pushes from behind?
A solution that I cannot imagine but which exists?

What does hope look like to you?

Trust And Abundance
If we believe that we have a God of abundance,
And if we are asked to trust God for our abundance,
Then we must first define what abundance means to us.

It may be other than what we expect.

Here are some contenders for our abundance.

Philippians 4:12-13 says, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (New International Version)

The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:6, “It is better to have only a little, with peace of mind, than be busy all the time with both hands, trying to catch the wind.” (Good News Translation)

What do you hunger for, thirst for? What is the nature of your abundance? Once discovered, can you trust God to provide?

The Whispered Lie
The whispered lie: subtle, disguised, nagging. Holding onto our thoughts like a thistle brier on a woolen sweater, hardly noticed but difficult to remove. Tenacious, digging deeper into the fabric of our minds. A seemingly insignificant intrusion that commands increasing attention. This is Satan, at times a roaring lion seeking to devour, but now the great deceiver at his most cunning.

What lies are Satan whispering to you? On your low self-esteem, lack of personal merit, poor social acceptance? Or perhaps lies of over bloated self-accomplishment and self-sufficiency.

In the confusion of mind—what to believe, what to discard—do you run headlong into the thistle patch, getting pricked by more and more lies?

Stop. Slow down your mind. Use the gift of God’s Scripture, His literature of wisdom such as Proverbs, to discern truth. Use the power of the resurrected Christ to replace lies with truth, the truth of His precious love for you. Accept the grace of God to scrub your mind of the lies that exist. And use the polished armor of the Spirit to push through the thorny field of lies through which you will inevitably travel.

Deflect the whispered lie with the trumpeted truth.

Good Debt And Bad Debt
There are two kinds of debt: good and bad. Bad debt suffocates and destroys. Good debt humbles and builds. “The more thou hast, the more thou art in debt to God.” (Charles H. Spurgeon-Morning and Evening.) On the balance sheet of life, we are aways in debt. This is good debt and realizing this destroys false pride and opens our hearts to the bounty of grace we have received.

How Not To Be Consumed
A simple 3-part action plan for survival:

“…replace your panic with prayer, your worry with worship, and your anxiety with adoration, focus less on what social media and the news and other people are saying and more on God’s unchanging truth.
-Rick Warren

The Devil’s Martyrs
We are familiar with the first martyr, Stephen, a martyr for Christ. His death witnessed for God. What is a devil’s martyr? This expression, coined by Harold Kushner in his book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, defines a devil’s martyr as someone whose response to the “bad things that happen to good people” witnesses against God. Kushner makes this critical distinction; it is not the event (however tragic or painful it is), but our reaction to the event.

Bad things can leave us confused, angry, unable to think rationally. This is natural, it’s how we are built. We have a choice how to respond. Our choice may depend upon calling for God’s strength, mercy, and blessings to choose for Him, not against Him.

Reject Any Plan That…
“Reject any plan that promises to make men richer without making them holier.”
Life of Christ by Fulton J. Sheen

Proverbs 16:9
We can make our plans,
but the Lord determines our steps.
New Living Translation

The things we truly thirst for, are built for, and which nourish us to our spiritual core may be promised by others but only God can promise and deliver.

Seduced By Service
Service may be a true expression of our commitment to “love our neighbor” but there is a downside to it, if it becomes its own god. Hear what Oswald Chambers has to say.

“The greatest competitor of true devotion to Jesus is the service we do for Him. It is easier to serve than to pour out our lives completely for Him. The goal of the call of God is His satisfaction, not simply that we should do something for Him. We are not sent to do battle for God, but to be used by God in His battles. Are we more devoted to service than we are to Jesus Christ Himself?” (My Utmost For His Highest)

As someone who, by nature, is more inclined to process than people, I must continually tear myself from doing and focus on relating. It is the relationship that matters.

Finding Rest
Find your rest in the knowledge that all needs are satisfied, all calls for help answered, and all uncleanliness removed for we have an all-powerful God, an all-loving savior, and an all-knowing Spirit to lead, defend, and sustain us.

Isaiah 6:7
“See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Why Pray?
How have you responded to the Damar Hamlin story?

The instinctive urge to pray that surrounded (and continues to surround) the players, football fans, national audience, and media in the Damar Hamlin event of January 7—in which he suffered life-threatening cardiac arrest on the football field and is now in recovery, tweeting that God is using him in a different way—tells us many things about where God and prayer live in our lives.
If science was sufficient to save Damar, why pray?
If the skill of medical personnel was sufficient, why pray?
If we are creatures without a soul, just a random alignment of molecules, why pray?
If our minds could make sense of life in all its manifestations, why pray?
When we are absolutely dumbfounded and shaken to our core, where else to turn than to prayer?

The urge to pray is embedded in us and comes from a creator God who beckons us to speak to Him so that we may find—beyond any resources of our own making—comfort, understanding, strength, endurance, and the tenacity to live when life doesn’t work out the way we think it should. Prayer is one way we speak to Him.


Slipping Away From God
In this simple, four-line poem, we discover how easily we can slip away from God. Satan, it seems, does not have to attack us boldly to create cracks in our faith. He can use little things. Beware.

“At first, it seems a little thing,
A want unmet, a prayer unwinged.
Voiceless, it interrogates the King,
When sounded, Lucifer sings.” —Greg Morse

Posted by John Piper on his Facebook page

How Good Am I At Carrying Crosses?
Simon’s planned journey to the celebration of Passover was jarringly interrupted by a totally unexpected life event. How would I respond when life interrupts my plans, when the Roman soldiers of life grab me and force me to carry the crossbeam of burden? Who will help me with my cross? How will I respond when life interrupts my neighbors’ plans. Will I offer to help carry their cross?

Luke 23:26
As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.

How To Experience Our Inscrutable God
Our God is beyond comprehension. Rather than fumble with inadequate thoughts, let feelings control: reverential awe, majesty, royal splendor, awesome power veiled by impenetrable clouds and thick darkness. Yet, while He is inscrutable, we know Him fully and intimately through His Son.

Don’t Leave The Same Way You Arrived
Life is about change and transformation. We notice this in our earthly lives and it is especially important for our spiritual lives. This is why one lesson from the story of the wise men, who, upon interpreting the movement of stars, travel from the West to Jerusalem to worship the newborn King of the Jews, is particularly important.

Matthew 2:12
Then they returned to their country by another road, since God had warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod.

It is easy and comfortable to retrace our steps and return to the status quo after journeying. Some journeys, however, may introduce profound change into our lives and it is these journeys that compel us to move in new, not old, directions.

The journey of the wise men was such a journey. They encountered the Savior. We, too, encounter the Savior throughout our lives. Do we recognize Him? Worship? Offer gifts? Does He change our lives?

Had the wise men returned to Herod, history would have been changed forever. It is interesting to note that, though they were described as “wise”, (and some traditions hold that they were royalty), they did not discern Herod’s motive, which was to destroy, not honor, the newborn king.

When we encounter profound events that can meaningly change our lives, (encountering our Lord in any way), it is to our benefit to reassess where we were and where we need to go. There are spiritual dangers to ignore what God is expressing to us, to rely solely on our understanding. Don’t leave from such encounters the same way you arrived. Move forward with a new, lively faith.

What Friendship Really Means
This is what Christ meant of friendship: a close intimacy of thought, heart, and spirit; never lonely, never lacking for understanding or compassion, living in “strong, calm sanity.” (Chambers). More so, our minds and souls have been opened to the will of the Father.

John 15:15
I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

We Live Between Two Worlds
We live between the spiritual world of God and the physical world as we know it. This shapes our daily decisions; which world do we choose?

Abram, before he was given the name Abraham by God, reflects the tension between the spiritual and the physical/temporal.

Genesis 12:8
After that, he moved on south to the hill country east of the city of Bethel and set up his camp between Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There also he built an altar and worshiped the Lord.
Good News Translation

Bethel in Hebrew means house of God. Ai represents a city in ruins. We pitch our lives daily between these two extremes. Only from one do blessings flow.

The Irresistible Call
Are we at the place yet when the call to follow Him is irresistible? What will it take? For Peter, is was when “he came completely to the end of himself and all of his self–sufficiency.” (Oswald Chambers, My Greatest For His Highest, January 5)
John 21:19
“Follow me.”

How Well Do We Know Ourselves?
Do we know ourselves better than Peter knew himself when he said, “I will lay my life down for you?” (John 13:37) For me, the safest path is to admit that I don’t know myself well enough to make claims of faith and to ask the Holy Spirit to search me and show me where I fall short of the relationship I need with Christ, a way of living to sustain me day-by-day.

Psalm 139:23
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:” (KJV)
“Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong— then guide me on the road to eternal life.” (Message Bible)

Everything looks larger the closer it is viewed. Worship brings me closer to God and I need a bigger God; the bigger my God, the smaller my problems, the lesser my worries, the stronger my faith and the greater my joy.

Do You Know What God Is Going To Do?
“Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do— He reveals to you who He is”
(Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, January 2)

New Year-New Person
G.K. Chesterton was on to something important when he wrote, “The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul…” What is the value of a new year if it is not a new, better, changed “me”? And change begins in the heart of the soul. (New Year’s Day 2023)

Drink For The Thirsty Soul
For his New Year’s Eve morning devotional, Charles Spurgeon writes about drink for the thirsty soul. What a marvelous way to be lead into the new year to know where and how God freely, generously, and earnestly leads us to quench all the thirsts of our lives.

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.”
John 7:37 (KJV)

“Provision is made most plenteously; all is provided that man can need to quench his soul’s thirst. To his conscience the atonement brings peace; to his understanding the gospel brings the richest instruction; to his heart the person of Jesus is the noblest object of affection; to the whole man the truth as it is in Jesus supplies the purest nutriment. Thirst is terrible, but Jesus can remove it. Though the soul were utterly famished, Jesus could restore it.

“Proclamation is made most freely, that every thirsty one is welcome. No other distinction is made but that of thirst. Whether it be the thirst of avarice, ambition, pleasure, knowledge, or rest, he who suffers from it is invited.”

( )

The Accident Of Heredity
“It is the saddest thing to see people in the service of God depending on that which the grace of God never gave them, depending on what they have by the accident of heredity.” What Oswald Chambers (My Upmost For His Highest) means is that what we are naturally born with can take us only so far in God’s service. The grace of God, underserved but freely given, takes us to a higher level of service. We need only to ask for it, and it will be ours. Why settle for a lower level of service?

Beyond Knowledge
First comes data. From data we get information. Information leads to learning. Then, if we work at it, learning becomes knowledge.

But knowledge is not the end. There is higher knowledge.

Higher knowledge does not refer to what we do for ourselves but what can only be obtained as a gift from a higher power.

John 15:5
“…apart from me you can do nothing”

This thought guides us to an understanding of higher knowledge. It is the knowledge that lifts us up, gives us strength, and directs us alongs paths of hope that are impossible without a relationship with Christ. Higher knowledge is a relationship. Mere knowledge is nothing. Higher knowledge is all.

How Small Must We Go?
This is an image of a snowflake. How small must we go to recognize the Hand of God in creation?

When Our Eyes, Ears, And Mind Are Not Enough
While it may be natural to believe that our faculties (eyes, ears, and mind) can understand God and His gifts, they are not. We require God’s Spirit which He gives to us for the very purpose of understanding Him. Understand this truth.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10
However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”]
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

A Blessing Machine?
“We treat God as if He were a machine designed only to bless us, and we think of Jesus as just another one of the workers.” (Oswald Chambers from My Utmost For His Highest, December 18)

And when we experience difficulties we feel the blessing machine is broken, or Jesus is asleep. How ridiculous.

What or who, then, is God? He is creator and sustainer who calls us to be faithful at all times. We are to obey, not complain, and He offers no explanation other than He Is. Exalted as He is, we, His creatures, are nonetheless loved and cherished.

Why Do We Need Christ?
There are happy pagans and comfortable atheists, so why do we need Christ in our lives? It is simply because His peace, joy, comfort, a truly abundant life,  and all other blessings are part of a higher standard we cannot obtain without Him, understand apart from Him, or fully experience separated from Him. 

Hybrid Power
We hear a lot about hybrid power, particularly for cars. Gas and electricity. Better mileage.

What about hybrid spiritual power? Physical and spiritual.

We tend to rely solely on physical power, that is, what we generate ourselves. The fact is, it’s never enough. Never enough to change, to grow, to fight battles, or to overcome. We may think it’s enough, but it isn’t.

Hook yourself up to the spiritual power that offers more “real living” mileage.

From Strength To Strength
Life will take its toll. Aging will deplete resources. And it is sadly true that we often go from affliction to affliction, from strength to weakness. But  this need not blind us to another fact of life. We can more that offset what we lose by going from strength to strength, growing in Christ. How to grow in Christ? Dwell in the house of the Lord.
“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! Blessed are those whose strength is in you…They go from strength to strength…” (Psalm 84: 1, 5, 7)

Do You Seek Predictability?
We live in an unpredictable world yet seek what cannot be obtained in it: predictability. This is not the predictability of the likes of gravity but of events, consistency of character, outcomes…the future. Change is inevitable, but what, where, and how?

There is, however, an everlasting predictability and that is in our everlasting, unchanging God. “His ways are everlasting.” (Habakkuk 3:6)

“Human action is frequently the hasty result of passion, or fear, and is followed by regret and alteration; but nothing can take the Almighty by surprise, or happen otherwise than he has foreseen.” (Charles Spurgeon) And what is the nature of our unchanging God: love, compassion, justice, truth, wisdom, mercy.

If we seek stability in life let us look to our unchanging and everlasting God and the attributes only He can provide.

For The Third Week In Advent: Joy
In this time and place where we believe we have everything, remind us that we have nothing without You. And as we frantically seek happiness in presents and parties, reveal to us that there is no true joy apart from You.

How Do You Define Perfection?
By definition, perfection means flawlessness.

In baseball, it is a game in which a pitcher gets every batter out without anyone reaching base the entire game. In bowling, it is a 300 score. In a musical recital, it is a flawless performance—every note, every nuance as it should be.

We say God is perfect, but you and I certainly are not. And a perfect performance does not count for all the imperfections of daily life. How, then, can the author of the letter to the Hebrews claim, “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy”? (Hebrews 10:14, NIV) How can we be made perfect?

The answer may be expressed in a type of formula; perfection multiplied by perfection to infinity.

What does this mean?

It means a perfect God offering a perfect sacrifice by a perfect Son in perfect obedience. It is perfect because it covers all people, for all times, once and for all.

Why is this important?

It is important because a perfect God cannot be approached by anything less than perfection. It is through Christ’s sacrifice that we are made perfect. Once and for all times.

This is better than pitching a perfect game and hitting a walk-off home run, every day of our lives.

What Crucified Christ?

Rebellion provided the nails, idolatry sharpened the nails, and a hard heart hammered the nails in.

The Master Mechanic
If your car broke down, could you fix it? If your computer did not reboot, could you fix it? If your life is a mess—choked with grief, confusion, pain, regret, uncertainty—could you fix it?

There are some things in life that are so overwhelming that their solution requires more than we can give.

We could try, of course, to think our way through difficulty. We could Google keywords or search on YouTube for solutions. Friends may help. And there are experts who may hold the solution. But even with all these efforts, there are some things in life that are so overwhelming that their solution requires a master mechanic of the soul—the only one capable of going under the hood of the heart, preprogramming the mind, and meeting us as one who understands our real pain.

When the solution requires more than we can give, look to the only One who can give more than we require. Seek Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. (Mark 12:30)

Who Is In The Driver’s Seat?

I got so weary on our journey with the paths that you would choose.
I thought my driving was much better, so I took the reins from you.

Your driving always seemed much slower, people passed us all the time,
and we were really getting nowhere, so I snatched those reins from you.

But now we’re lost, and I am tired, even though we made good time.
I think we missed our destination when I took those reins from you.

I humbly ask you to forgive this arrogance inside of me,
and Lord, I’d be so very grateful, if you’d take these reins from me.

Anne Peterson © 1996 via

Only One Relationship Matters
There is only one relationship that matters, and that is your personal relationship to a personal Redeemer and Lord. Let everything else go, but maintain that at all costs, and God will fulfil His purpose through your life. One individual life may be of priceless value to God’s purposes, and yours may be that life. (Oswald Chambers)

The Bible In Four Parts
Confused by the Bible? Here it is in four parts. Every book expresses one or more of these themes:

The character of God (holy and just),
The nature of man (rebellious against God),
Restoration (redemption by Christ), and
Eternity (life with God in its fullness).

How Not To Become A Shallow Person
It is a sure sign that you are shallow when you wish to impress other people with the fact that you are not shallow.

You rebuke other people because they are more shallow than you.

“Determinedly take no one seriously but God, and the first person you find you have to leave severely alone as being the greatest fraud you have ever known, is yourself. And remember, God became a baby.” (Oswald Chambers)

Living Abundantly
We cannot build a castle for ourselves but we can feast sumptuously, rest securely, and live abundantly in the eternal mansion God calls us to.

Put A Pebble In Someone’s Shoe
One of the better books on apologetics (the science and art of defending the faith by using reason and evidence) is Tactics, by Greg Koukl. In that resource, Koukl talks about the modest goal of putting a pebble in the shoe of his listeners. It is this strategy that C.S. Lewis employs throughout Mere Christianity. Here is Koukl explaining the strategy:

“Now here is my own more modest goal. I want to put a stone in his shoe. All I want to do is give him something worth thinking about. I want him to hobble away on a nugget of truth he can’t simply ignore because it continues to poke at him.”

Thank God for those who are gifted with words that elevate even lofty topics such as praise. The word “praise” appears 363 times in the Bible (NIV) with the Psalms containing the most instances (182). One could agree that there can never be too much praise. But what of the quality of praise? The Bible is immersed in exalted expressions of praise for our God, and it is a pure delight to read them. And beyond this is the inspired language of mere mortals. Here is as magnificent an expression of praise as has even been written. Savor it.

“Put more coals and more sweet frankincense into the censer of your praise.” (Charles Spurgeon)

Read “In Praise of the Psalms: Praise)

(A censer, in ancient, Biblical, and modern times, is a vessel filled with burning coals that release a fragrant aroma when filled with particular oils or resins like frankincense. It is often used is religious ceremonies.)

You Can’t Hitchhike to Faith
You either drive the car (commit to faith) or hope for someone to transport you, which doesn’t count. Sticking out your thumb to God just won’t work.

See God In All Things
We can all see God in exceptional things, but it requires the culture of spiritual discipline to see God in every detail. Never allow that the haphazard is anything less than God’s appointed order, and be ready to discover the Divine designs any where. Oswald Chambers

Spiritual Gaslighting
Do you know what the term “gaslighting” means?

It is very important to understand, identify, and defend against it.

Simply, gaslighting is the attempt to convince you that what you believe to be real and true is not. Spiritual gaslighting is an attempt to deny the truths of the Bible and the reality of God’s redemptive love. Gaslighting comes in many forms and can originate from people (including those you believe to be friends and those in authority) social media and organizations. Your defense is truth and confidence in your beliefs and ability to sort through false logic. Let the Holy Spirit guide and defend you.

A Prayer For The Knowledge Of Him
Prayers take on many forms, often seeking some kind of tangible benefit for one’s self or for others; health, success, prosperity, deliverance, forgiveness. Lost in the litany of prayer requests is the desire to know more of Him. Here, from Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians (1:17-20 NIV) is such a prayer, a prayer that is breathtaking in its desire.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[a] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,

“I’m In”
“Born again”, “sanctified”, “they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14) and other expressions may be part of your spiritual vocabulary but may be confusing—even offensive—to others who, in their own way want to follow Christ. Let’s make this simple with “I’m in” and move forward.

Why Me?
You have cried this to God or have heard it wailed by others. It is a lament, a complaint, an expression of deepest sorrow, it is searching for an answer that may never come.

But there is another “why me” and it is found in the lyrics of a song written and performed by country music singer, songwriter and musician Kris Kristofferson. “Why me” is here an expression of joy from unmerited love. It is not about unfathomed pain but unexpected blessing. We are confused, bewildered, puzzled by both and so it is now our choice as to which one we latch onto.

Why Me?

Why me Lord, what have I ever done
To deserve even one
Of the pleasures I’ve known
Tell me Lord, what did I ever do
That was worth loving you
Or the kindness you’ve shown.

Lord help me Jesus, I’ve wasted it so
Help me Jesus I know what I am
Now that I know that I’ve need you so
Help me Jesus, my soul’s in your hand.

Tell me Lord, if you think there’s a way
I can try to repay
All I’ve taken from you
Maybe Lord, I can show someone else
What I’ve been through myself
On my way back to you.

Lord help me Jesus, I’ve wasted it so
Help me Jesus I know what I am
Now that I know that I’ve need you so
Help me Jesus, my soul’s in your hand.

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 I cannot fully and truly love myself and others unless my first love is for Christ, for that is where the true power of love resides. Not less love for others but more love for Him.

A Running Prayer
“You don’t need to use fancy words, close your eyes, or end every prayer with “in Jesus’ name.” You just keep a running prayer going throughout the day, picking up where you left off.” Rick Warren

True Bread From Heaven
It is easy to gloss over John 6:35 and take it for its literal meaning alone:

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (NIV)

Even figuratively we can understand it as spiritual nourishment.

There is another, very satisfying interpretation that draws from the different ways we take pleasure in food and drink (figuratively bread). That is to go beyond physical survival to include comfort, pleasure, reward, and a temporary measure of peace. 

With this in mind, let us call upon Jesus to feed our necessities but also to find comfort, pleasure, reward and peace now and for eternity. 

Spiritual Cataract Surgery
Is your spiritual vision becoming cloudy so that you no longer see Gospel truth clearly? If so, consider cataract surgery.

A cataract is a medical condition in which the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque, resulting in blurred vision. Cataract surgery with lens replacement can not only remove the film that forms a gauzy type of curtain over your vision but can restore 20/20 eyesight.

Life can become a cataract that blurs not only what we see but what we believe. What seems like reality isn’t, and the bright hues of light and clear distinctions of truth are gradually lost but in such a slow and gradual way that we don’t realize the loss or we become resigned to it.

The Bible and prayer are much like God’s surgeon. Trust both to regain your sight.

There are many definitions for worship (both as a noun and a verb). Two of the most popular are:

  • to honor or show reverence for a divine being or supernatural power
  • worship is declaring the greatness of someone or something

An examination of the origin of the word (in Hebrew and Greek) reveals a dual nature: an inner attitude and an outer posture.

A useful understanding of worship  is to declare worth, to attribute worth to something or someone.

Worship was dominant in ancient times, including pagan worship. Today, worship has taken on a secular meaning, devoid of meaningful substance. 

“Worship in our time has been captured by the tourist mind set. Worship is understood as a visit to an attractive site to be made when we have adequate leisure. For some it is a weekly jaunt to church. For others, occasional visits to special services.. Some, with a bent for Christian entertainment and sacred diversion, plan their lives around special events like retreats, rallies and conferences. We go to see a new personality, to hear a new truth, to get a new experience and so, somehow, expand our otherwise humdrum lives. We’ll try anything — until something else comes along.” (Source)

Everyone worships something or someone. Depending upon your attitude toward worship, you either enhance your life or rob it of significance.

So, who or what do you worship? What or who do you really value?

An Important Invitation
Inviting Christ into your heart will establish Him in your life.

Who Is Your Sunshine?
You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are gray
You’ll never know, dear
How much I love you
Please don’t take
My sunshine away

(Song writer Jimmie Davis. Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing)

Who Do You Trust, And Why?

We trust so many things that don’t have our best interests at heart. Why don’t we trust the Bible?

We trust celebrities to tell us how to think. We trust athletes to tell us what to buy. We trust actors to tell us how to look. We trust politicians to act on our best interests. We trust the news to feed us facts. We trust health officials to keep us healthy. We trust educators to teach young children on the merits of being transgender. And, sadly, we trust some untrustworthy pastors to tell us how to make money on the way to heaven. 

What do they have in common? Self-interest, not our interest.

In contrast, the Bible tells us, over and over and in so many ways, that we are loved, cherished, and of such importance to our Creator God that He gave His Son so that our relationship could always be sustained. 

Why is it so easy to trust what is not trustworthy and so hard to trust the Bible?


Rejoice is not a word we typically hear. Most often the word we hear is happy or glad. But rejoice is an important word with significant meaning.

Simply, rejoice means “favorably disposed (showing joy or delight) to God’s grace” and comes from the Greek charió. Grace, derived from the Greek charis (note its similarity to charió), refers to “the undeserved or unmerited love and favor of God.” Grace is neither deserved nor earned; it is a gift.

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice” (Philippians 4:4)

Paul used the word rejoice to encourage the church in Thessalonica which was under sever persecution. This was no idle expression meant for others and not himself. Throughout his ministry, Paul was constantly rejoicing in the Lord, often under difficult situations. And he rejoiced also while in a Roman prison known for its horrific conditions, expecting to be executed. He rejoiced then and exhorts us now to follow his example.

What can be make of this word in our lives?

Accept God’s gifts with gratitude at all times and under all conditions, especially those events we would prefer to avoid or to never happen.

“He who bids us let down the net, will fill it with fishes”
Simon (to be called Peter), James, and John were sitting on shore, washing their nets after a fruitless night of fishing. This is significant because fishing is their livelihood and they basically live day-to-day. Jesus tells Simon “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” He did and the nets were so filled that they were at the point of breaking and, after signaling their partners in the other boat to come and help them, they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

What was going on here? Charles Spurgeon explains:

“Were they not fishermen plying their special calling? Verily, they were no raw hands; they understood the work. Had they gone about the toil unskilfully? No. Had they lacked industry? No, they had toiled. Had they lacked perseverance? No, they had toiled all the night. Was there a deficiency of fish in the sea? Certainly not, for as soon as the Master came, they swam to the net in shoals. What, then, is the reason? Is it because there is no power in the means of themselves apart from the presence of Jesus? “Without him we can do nothing.” But with Christ we can do all things. Christ’s presence confers success. Jesus sat in Peter’s boat, and his will, by a mysterious influence, drew the fish to the net.”

Christ’s presence confers success: He who bids us let down the net, will fill it with fishes.

(Based on Charles Spurgeon’s reflection on Luke 5:1-8. Quotations by Charles Spurgeon.)

The Impossible Is Possible
The impossible is possible when we accept a faith that can move mountains, heal the blind, cure the sick, and raise  the dead.

The conditions of discipleship are impossible to attain with mere human power. These are conditions of perfection by a perfect God who demands nothing less. But our loving God has given us the means to do the impossible through the sacrifice of God’s son and the giving of the Holy Spirit. Our avenue is faith and our cry is “increase our faith.” (Luke 17:6)

Connect To Power
“We can remain powerless forever…by trying to do God’s work without concentrating on His power, and by following instead the ideas that we draw from our own nature.” (Chambers)
Why were the disciples unable to cast out demons? They were not fully connected to Christ’s power through prayer.
Mark 9:19
He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer. (NIV)

Have Faith That God Is at Work Behind the Scenes
“Rest assured, God prepares us even if we do not realize He’s doing it. He develops our skills in private, so that when needed, we will be successful in public. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called in a way that causes us to face the pits of life and learn lessons from them.”
Frank Santora blog

You Are Not Asking Enough
In a world where we crave so much of what is not truly important, why is it that we don’t ask God for more of what He wishes to give us?
(Inspired by Herbert O’Driscoll in Prayers for the Breaking of Bread: Meditations on the Collects of the Church Year.)

There Is A Solution For Everything
I was first introduced to this comforting thought about 10 years ago when I was puzzling how to make a repair to my sailboat engine in a location that I couldn’t reach and couldn’t imagine how anyone else could. I expressed this to the boatyard manager who said, nonchalantly, “There is a solution for everything.” And he found the solution.

The absolute certainty of this expression was reinforced recently when I was trying to find a fix to the handle of my microwave that had broken off. After working through several mental solutions, I fell upon the notion to look on YouTube. YouTube had the answer. I have come to believe that there is a solution to everything on YouTube, meaning that others have experienced my problem and have solved it.

But what about other problems, like “what is your purpose in life”, how to face life when life is unbearable, how to be joyful when all is misery? Of course, there are YouTube videos for these, but these can only skim the surface of solutions for they do not original from the true source. The true and utterly reliable source to life’s vexing problems is the Bible. Every emotional issue is addressed in the Psalms. Wisdom for practical living abounds in the Proverbs and other wisdom literature. Rules of conduct are found in the Old Testament, and New Testament Gospels and letters point to the essence behind true living-real life-and that is the relationship with our creator.

Nevertheless, YouTube, and digital search in general, are awesome engines that can bring the Word of God to anyone, at any time, and on every topic. Use them to find your solution to everything.

The Daily Duel: We vs. Life
Every new day presents us with the opportunities and challenges for good, better, and best. The only thing that stands in the way is…us, and the decisions we make. How we approach each day is critical. 

Do we rehearse the failures of the past or focus on the wonders of unexpected success? Do we frame our attitudes with our weaknesses or our strengths? What weapons do we bring to this battle? And who can we trust to refresh our depleted resources? “I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.” John 10:10 Common English Bible

We Do Not Earn Our Way To Heaven. We Choose It.
Is it possible that sin is allowed to exist to permit a choice: life or death, blessing or curse? Consider that sin is taking the wrong path, moving away from our relationship with God, severing our connection to the true vine. And while the right path may not always be obvious or easy, we always have the means to discern it, from the Spirit within, Scripture to heed, and belief to guide. This is the choice for life.

How Can Something So Small Count?
Yesterday my church raised $21k to enable 60 children in Ecuador and Madagascar to go to school. There is no free education in these countries so no money, no school.

60 children out of millions worldwide will benefit. This is so small a number, why does it matter?

It matters because this is what we are called to do as Christians. It matters because God is the Great Multiplier who can take seemingly small or insignificant efforts and convert them to immense feats. It matters not because there are so many without, but that a single life can be changed. And it matters because it is about the gift, not we the givers. We are not called to see the future; we work and God works the miracles. Our work is for God’s glory, not ours

What Really Counts?
Can it be as simple as a relationship that transforms?
“…now I think that all things are worth nothing compared with the greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Philippians 3:8 (Easy-To-Read Version)
“What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.” Galatians 6:15 (New Living Translation)

5 Steps To Healing
Ask “Forsake me not, O Lord” Psalm 38:21

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Focus on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians

Pray without ceasing 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Stop thinking and just embrace the mystery of God’s love, healing, and salvation.

Why Do We Not Forget When Forgiven?
In his blog, Why We Must Understand That God Removed Our Sins “as Far as the East Is from the West”, Clarence L. Haynes Jr.points out one fundamental lesson from Psalm 103:12 which reads, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” The lesson is this: once forgiven, our sins (how we miss the mark) are forgotten. Yet, at least for myself, I can’t forget them. Why is this?

Clarence’s point is that “Satan is very good at reminding of them.” If we can’t forget, then we can’t fully “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me” which begins the Psalm.

It takes faith to have faith, trust to be trusting. My response is this prayer: Help me Lord to so trust in your word that I listen to you only, that your voice is heard above all others, and that hearing your voice I may bless you with all that is within me.

(Psalm 103 in its entirety is a masterpiece of praise.)

Let’s Not Lose Sight Of The Simple Message Of The Catching Of Fish 
Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.
Luke 5:5-6. NIV

We toil without result.
We respond to the Master’s voice.
We are blessed with abundance.

When The World Is Upside Down
“The world is upside down. Good is bad and bad is deified.”
From The 6:20 Man by David Baldacci

Murder, mayhem, and mystery. Yes, today’s world is upside down and false gods are being worshipped? What’s the remedy?
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
John 1:5, 16:33) NIV

(Read Destroy These False Gods here.)

Is This The Day You Do Something Amazing For God?
Be an Esther. Read the amazing story of her life with the twists and turns, high drama, and trust in God that changed history.

What Is Free Will?
Free will means you don’t have to buckle your seat belt. You have been given a mind to assess consequences, wisdom to know what good decisions look like, and trusted friends who can guide you into good decisions. But only you can buckle your seat belt. Don’t blame God for the problems you could have avoided.

Comfort And Healing
As a child, most of us could go to our mothers for comfort and healing, and to our fathers for strength and protection. As adults that is not often possible. To whom or to what do we now turn?

Unsearchable Riches
“My Master has riches beyond the count of arithmetic, the measurement of reason, the dream of imagination, or the eloquence of words.”
Charles Spurgeon on Ephesians 3:8

Energy Drink
When you are totally depleted, exhausted, and on the verge of giving up, praise God and be filled with His abundance.

Window In The Wall
“Looking for the window in the wall, maybe we can see the other side.”
Sung by Olivia Newton-John 

There is always a window in the wall through which we may glimpse the other side. It is the window of faith and on the other side there is hope, courage, and peace.

Supernatural Sense
Never let your common sense become so prominent and forceful that it pushes the Son of God to one side. Common sense is a gift that God gave to our human nature— but common sense is not the gift of His Son. Supernatural sense is the gift of His Son, and we should never put our common sense on the throne. Chambers

Secret Things
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.
Deuteronomy 29:29

It is a fact of life that we do not and cannot know everything; there are secret things that only God knows. On the other hand, much has been revealed and it is our choice to seek it or not.

He made the door to eternal life, opened it, and keeps it open.

How To Be Significant In A World That Makes You Feel Small

Pray the Psalms

“A man who uttered such prayers never felt himself lost in the unlimited largeness of the universe, but was sure that He who knew all and was everywhere could never forget the least of His creatures, or be uninterested in him. “O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thoughts afar off.… There is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.… Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?… Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” The majesty of God and the faith of man are brought together in thoughts and words that are made possible only to him who in endeavouring to understand himself strives to come near in reverent belief to his Creator.”

From Biblehub

Whose Approval Do You Seek?
How on earth can you believe while you are for ever looking for each other’s approval and not for the glory that comes from the one God?
John 5:44
J. B. Phillips New Testament

The Only Certainty
There is only one certainty and that is the love of God. All else is foolishness. To live a life trying for total control is to live in a constant state of anxiety. Lose yourself in God’s sovereignty and find peace amidst the chaos of life.

Boundaries are highly useful concepts. Keep out the bad; let in the good. There are physical boundaries such as fences. There are behavioral, psychological and emotional boundaries of what is acceptable and not acceptable. And there are spiritual boundaries relating to beliefs, relationships, and commitments.

Who is patrolling your boundaries and keeping you safe?

When was the last time you checked for weaknesses?

Starting Over
Can there be a greater gift than to be able to start over, to leave the past behind with all its baggage?

False Gods
False gods are screaming out to us, “trust me, believe what I say.” What false gods are you worshiping, that you trust? Destroy these false gods before they destroy you

Beware of refusing to go to the funeral of your own independence.
Oswald Chambers

Courage to Look Inside
We do not know envy when we see it, or laziness, or pride. Jesus reveals to us all that this body has been harbouring before His grace began to work. How many of us have learned to look in with courage?

What is the Parable of YourLife?
Can you sum up your life with a simple, short story? What is the deep meaning it holds?

You Are More
Don’t dull your life by missing this point: You are more than statistical chance, more than a marriage of heredity and society, more than a confluence of inherited chromosomes and childhood trauma. More than a walking weather vane whipped about by the cold winds of fate. Thanks to God, you have been “sculpted from nothing into something.”
(Psalm 139:15 The Message Bible)

How Do You Handle A Crisis?
“I did not care whether everyone knew how bad I was, I cared for nothing on earth, saving to get out of my present condition.”Oswald Chambers on responding to God’s call in his crisis.
In My Utmost For His Highest

There are two types of wisdom; wisdom to address worldly matters, and the higher wisdom to connect with God, to know how to please Him. “Prayer is life’s greatest time-saver, so don’t remain confused. Ask God for His wisdom.” Charles F. Stanley Bible Study Notes

Whom to Seek for Enlightenment?
“People might tell you to ask the fortune-tellers, consult the babbling astrologers, conjure the dead to tell the living what’s to come, but shouldn’t they ask their God?”
NASB Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible Notes

What Is Competing For Your Attention?
A warning which needs to be reiterated is that the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things entering in, will choke all that God puts in.
From My Utmost for His Highest Classic Edition, January 27

A Snow Day
God’s grace is like a snow day. Think back to when you were a child. When it snowed you had a snow day-a day to relax, free from school, homework and tests. It just came down from heaven.

Give Someone Good News
Someone is hurting today. Give that person some good news. It may be as simple as a smile, kind word or loving action. It may take the form of enthusiasm or encouragement. Or perhaps what is needed is endurance or tenacity. Whatever it is, brighten someone’s day with good news.

We all have visions. They may be of two natures: ours and God-inspired. Our visions without God’s blessings may appear important, but in God’s grand scheme are not, so why pursue them? God’s visions require God’s power. If, then, we become discouraged in our ability to pursue His visions for us, it is only because we have not sought His power. The  choice is: leave the vision unfinished or allow Him to empower us to finish it.

So Why Try?
You Cannot Argue Someone Into Being a Christ Follower.
So why try?

The desire must come from within and these are those kinds of desires:

The desire to change where change seems impossible.
The desire for hope when hope is not present.
The desire to possess something that is not attainable by human means.
The desire for meaning when surrounded by a life that sucks the meaning out of you.
The desire to be truly alive when the glitter of life falls to the ground.
The desire for unmerited blessings when everything you possess is not enough.
The desire to be forgiven when you realize that you need forgiveness.
The desire to be loved when you realize that you are unlovable.
No one but Christ can fulfill these desires.

Your Eli
Who is your Eli that needs to hear God’s message? (Samuel telling Eli of God’s message against Israel.)
1 Samuel 3:15

Worship In Truth
Are you noticing what is important to the Lord? It’s not the size of your offering that matters; it is the trust of your heart to give everything you are and dedicate everything you have to Him. It is not the beauty of your praising, giving thanks, singing, praying, or giving financially that moves Him; it’s your motivation—your true feelings of love and adoration for the Lord.

As you prepare to worship God in spirit and in truth, examine the reason you are approaching His throne. Is it to further your goals or to experience His loving presence? Is it to get something you want or to give Him your utmost devotion? As Philippians 3:3 instructs, “Worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.” It will not only satisfy your being but will also build intimacy in your relationship with Him.
NASB Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible on Psalm 51

What is Faith?
To believe without seeing, to go without knowing, to walk without fainting, to succeed without success

Who To Hold Onto?

When the best of me is barely breathin’
When I’m not somebody I believe in
Hold on to me
When I miss the light the night has stolen
When I’m slammin’ all the doors You’ve opened
Hold on to me (Hey)
Hold on to me

Hold on to me when it’s too dark to see You
When I am sure I have reached the end
Hold on to me when I forget I need You
When I let go, hold me again

By Lauren Daigle

Your Solar System
What is the center of your life? What does your life orbit look like? What is the gravity that holds your life together?

In The Grasp
What are you holding onto that is holding you back? What has you in its grasp that you must destroy? What part of you are you reluctant to lose? Therein you will discover your false god.

The Great Irony
The invisible God we worship is more real than the reality we see.

You cannot remain alive if your heart goes on holiday.
You cannot remain moral if you take a moral holiday.
You cannot remain spiritual if you take a spiritual holiday.

Did The Bottle Let You Down?
Tonight the bottle let me down
And let your memory come around
The one true friend I thought I’d found
Tonight the bottle let me down

Words and music by Merle Haggard

The bottle is a metaphor for all the false gods we turn to, to do for us what they cannot do. We believe they are true friends, but they are not. There is only one True Friend.
1 John 3:2
Dear friends, now we are children of God
New International Version

What is your true you? How much makeup do you have on? What happens when the tears fall? Are you performing for the crowd, or do you have a more important audience?

Is Your Smile Painted On?
While the tears on my makeup melts my painted smile into a frown
The crowd thinks I’m a dandy, I’m Bandy the rodeo clown.
Bandy The Rodeo Clown, sung by Moe Bandy

What is your true you? How much makeup do you have on? What happens when the tears fall? Are you performing for the crowd, or do you have a more important audience?

Ephesians 4:5-6
one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
New International Version

What IsYour Job?
Your job is to do what you can do, not what you cannot do.

“…my job now became only to provide the loaves and fish. It’s His job to perform the miracles and produce the results.”
Dallas Jenkins explaining the success of his TV show, The Chosen, and how it was born of failure.

Matthew 14: 17, 21
“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish.
The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
New International Version

How To Live Abundantly
Living abundantly does not mean spending lavishly. In fact, it may mean the opposite, depending upon how you define abundance.
If living abundantly means enjoying free gifts, then it is merely a matter of discovering these gifts. 
If it is a sense of freedom, then we must brake the chains that bind us.
If it is not about things, then we need to look at relationships.
If it is not about getting, then we must look at giving.
If it is not about worldly activities, then there are higher pursuits to consider.

Psalm 36:7-9
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.

Psalm 132:15
I will abundantly supply what she needs; I will give her poor all the food they need.
New English Translation

Knowing that your future is absolutely assured can free you to live abundantly today. Because I am infinite in all My ways, you need not fear that I will run out of resources. Abundance is at the very heart of who I am. Come to me in joyful expectation of receiving all you need-and sometimes much more! I delight in showering blessings on My beloved children. Com to Me with open hands and heart, ready to receive all I have for you.
Jesus Calling for Christmas, Sarah Young

1 Peter 1:4
…an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.
New English Translation

Be The Miracle
“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle.”
Phillips Brooks

And All Shall Be Well (Julian of Norwich)
This declaration that “all manner of thing shall be well” does not eliminate misfortune, sickness or death. It is pointing to what all the respected wise ones say about the ability to find peace, and even joy, in the eye of the storm — to come to trust that there is something that transcends chaos and impermanence. (Found on Google)

Herein is the key to this expression-trust. It is not sufficient to merely say the words, but to trust in them, to believe them. And to believe them one must embrace the foundation of this belief.

Our Life’s Work
John 15:5-7
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned”

It is clear that we are not to live a life unto ourselves: a life for ourselves only. Our purpose is to live to bear fruit, blessings to others. And we cannot do this apart from being in, abiding in, drawing vitality and endurance from Christ.

What Do You Want?

What Do You Want?

If you want to be joyful, attach yourself to someone who is pure joy.
If you want peace, connect with someone who gives total peace.
If you desire security, invest in someone who is unchangeable.
If you must change, believe in someone who has unlimited strength.
If you truly want to live, accept the one who gives life.

Whatever it is you want, desire, need-seek the One who is the source of all.

It’s Easy To Go To The Wrong Place

Where do you go to change what you cannot change? To find what you lack to make you whole?  

Have you gone to the Bible and left confused? To religion and left empty? To church and left disappointed?

These are not wrong places to go, but they are not THE place. THE place is a person, not a book, not a ritual, and not A place. Christ said, “Come to me.” (Matthew 11:28). The Bible, religion, church, and so many other good things are good because they point to what is supremely good, and that is Christ.

A Way To Start The Day
Listen for, be alert to, seek eagerly, look longingly for instruction.
And once instructed, go and sustain the weary.

The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
    to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
    wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
 The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
Isaiah 50:4-5

God Is Not A Commodity
God is not an ATM machine of blessings to be used by inserting our faith card any time we need “more.” The Holy Spirit is not a get-out-of-jail card whenever we are in trouble. And Jesus’ name is not a magic incantation to be used to change our life. This Trinity is a relationship of love to be entered into with gratitude and faith, and it is through our relationship that the abundant life is lived; blessings received, problems confronted, and joy experienced.

The Folly of Striking an Empty Piñata
It’s what inside the piñata that counts. An empty piñata offers nothing for the effect, and frustration for the unfulfilled expectations. Fill it with candy and trinkets and you get candy and trinkets-nothing more. 

Our life is like a piñata and what we fill it with makes all the difference. Fill it with love, service, and gratitude and we get the abundant life. Fill it with anger, jealousy, and self-gratification and we get a vacuum of satisfaction. Fill it with tasty treats and toys (often expensive) and we get an unsatisfied craving for more. In other words, fill it with anything but what is wholesome and holy and it is still empty. What’s inside your personal piñata?

Where Is The Central Source of Your Power?

Say “Yes” to God and join Him in your journey.
Inspired by “The Chosen”

What are you really seeking and from whom?

Where is the “where” you are frantically seeking?
“Come unto me”
Matthew 11:28

On what are your expectations built?
“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.”
Matthew 7:25 The Message Bible

The Prisoner You Set Free With Forgiveness Is…You.
To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
Isaiah 42:7 KJV

What Paths Are You Following?
I will lead the blind on roads they have never known; I will guide them on paths they have never traveled. Their road is dark and rough, but I will give light to keep them from stumbling. This is my solemn promise.
Isaiah 42:16
Contemporary English Version

Relationship comes before action but is the basis for response.
People do not want to be devoted to Jesus, but only to the cause He started. Jesus Christ is a source of deep offence to the educated mind of to-day that does not want Him in any other way than as a Comrade. Our Lord’s first obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of men; the saving of men was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father. If I am devoted to the cause of humanity only, I will soon be exhausted and come to the place where my love will falter; but if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity though men treat me as a door-mat.
My Utmost for His Highest, June 19

God Is Not Your Scapegoat
A fellow priest of Fr. Brown throws a hammer off the tower of his church in raging anger over the heinous sin of his brother. It was thrown with the intent of destroying the brother. But the priest does not accept guilt until Fr. Brown confronts him. If the priest does not confess to the crime, an innocent woman will be hanged.

Priest: “My brother is dead. It was by God’s hand, not mine.”
Fr. Brown: “Your actions were yours and yours alone. Is it God’s will that she hangs for your crime?”
Priest: “God will save her.”
Fr. Brown: “God-he’s not your scapegoat.”

From the Fr. Brown TV series, Season 1 Episode 1 “The Hammer of God”

Feeling unworthy? Join the club. 
It’s the club of “I’m not good enough: not in life, not in faith.” Well, that is true when our standard is God. But that’s not the final answer because God provided the means-the Atonement-whereby we are judged not by what we are but by in whom we place our faith. So, in a way that is ludicrous to many, we can appear as Christ. Think of a robe of righteousness (right relationship) that is thrown over us, obscuring what we are.

Time Is Your Life
Don’t squander your time because time is your life.
2 Corinthians 6:1, The Message Bible

The Miracle of Touch
When is a touch more than a touch?
In the Gospel of Mark Chapter 5 we are introduced to a woman with a medical condition that has consumed all her money, is the cause of social out-casting, and has only grown worse after 12 years. In others words, she has exhausted all avenues of relief, at least relief that was available at the time. But, she has not exhausted one last avenue and that is built upon faith, belief, and perhaps outrageous hope in the form of an itinerant rabbi known for his healing. Jesus is passing through her community and is crowded by people-and no doubt he is jostled and brushed up against. This woman seeks only to touch his cloak-not even his person-and she believes that this will heal her. She does and she is immediately healed.

How many in the crowd needed healing of some sort? And how many of these touched his garments, perhaps even touched his arm as he was walking? Many, but we are not told of any other healing.

Importanty, and not to be missed, is the requirement of some act. The woman touched. Earlier in Chapter 5 the leader of the local synagogue came and pleaded (and his daughter was brought back to life.) In other passages we read, “come, follow, ask, seek, open” and more. The remarkable fact of these actions is that God’s response is infinitely greater than the act.

So, it is faith, belief, hope in a person that makes a touch more than a touch.

We cannot touch Christ’s garments today, but we can reach out and touch Him with the long arm of prayer and be healed.

Are You In The Grip?
Are you gripped by someone or something?

All of us are gripped by someone or something. Is it what we desire or have we complacently fallen into it? It is healthy or destructive? Do we wish to loosen the cords? Where are we heading?

Yet, my brothers, I do not consider myself to have “arrived”, spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasped me. My brothers, I do not consider myself to have fully grasped it even now. But I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal—my reward the honour of being called by God in Christ.
     Phillipians 3:12, Phillips Translation

Who Knows?

I do not know, but God knows—
2 Corinthians 12:3

Indeed, who knows? Such a simple question and a simple answer. We do not know but God knows. How much simpler life would be if we simply acknowledged this fact!

This is not a matter of not knowing:
For God knows… (Genesis 3:5)
The Mighty One, the Lord! He knows! (Joshua 22:22)
…for the Lord is a God who knows (1 Samuel 2:3)
…he knows the secrets of the heart (Psalm 44:21)
…but God knows your hearts (Luke 16:15)
The Lord knows (2 Timothy 2:19}
…the Lord knows (2 Peter 2:9}
…he knows everything (1 John 3:20)
All above verses from NIV

God only knows
The Beach Boys

Spiritual Roadmap

In the remarkable TV series The Chosen which dramatizes the ministry of Christ from the viewpoint of those who were with him, the episode leading up to the Sermon on the Mount, where the Beatitudes were presented, depicts Jesus coming to grips with how his message of salvation can be effectively communicated. I readily saw myself in the same circumstance, pacing back and forth with different thoughts fighting each other for a logical place in the message I wished to give to various audiences during my personal and professional life.

In explaining his intention to a curious disciple, Matthew, who is acting as stenographer, Jesus says, “I want to give them a roadmap.” Later in the broadcast, during a post-episode interview, we hear the expression “give little bits of information to digest.”

Taken together, these two thoughts-a roadmap given in little bits that are easy to digest-provide a simple path to one’s own spiritual journey and helping others on their journey. We all need a roadmap to find Christ in our lives and that roadmap must be fed to us in easily digestible morsels.

The Non-Existent Debt

The idea is that because we have received something, we owe something. The problem is the nonexistent debt. The love we receive, or money, or time–or anything that causes us to feel obligated–should be accepted as a gift.

“Gift” implies no strings attached. All that’s really needed is gratitude. The giver has no expectation that the present will provide a return. It was simply provided because someone loved someone and wanted to do something for him or her. Period.

Christ Is Not a Vitamin Supplement

The power for living the abundant life comes not from taking something like a Jesus supplement or spiritual protein shake but in having Christ in us.
John 14:20
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

When I pray — “Lord, show me what sanctification means for me,” He will show me. It means being made one with Jesus. Sanctification is not something Jesus Christ puts into me: it is Himself in me.
My Utmost For His Highest, July 22

Cast Your Burdens Upon The Lord
Blessed be the Lord, who bears our burden day by day (Psalm 68:19, Amplified Bible*)

10 Ways Our Burdens Are Lifted

Calm The Storm In Your Mind. Too often our burdens are magnified beyond reality in our minds. Asking Christ to calm the mind can help us think clearly.

Perspective Change. Too often we see only a narrow range of reality, and too often that is the negative side. Changing or broadening our perspective can present a refreshing, affirming alternative.

Focus Change. Working in harness with Calming The Storm and Perspective Change, changing focus from narrow to broad or vice-versa can help align our strengths with the burdens we face.

Apply Different Strengths. We have many strengths that may go unrecognized. Ask the Lord to reveal to you all the strengths that He has blessed you with.

Power Of Reality. There are at least two powerful realities to consider. First is the reality of your current situation unmasked by fears. The second is the reality of the working of God’s grace in your life. Embrace both.

A Friend. We are never alone and knowing that we have a friend in Christ can support us through troubling times.

Shalom. More that the absence of peace, shalom means wholeness at all times in all things, even when there is no apparent peace. This “peace” is pronounced many times in the Gospels, beginning with the announcement of the Lord’s birth by the angels to the shepherds.

Acceptance. Aligning with the Power of Reality, Acceptance of what is can be the springboard to what we desire. 

Remove Guilt and Shame. There are some things that only Christ can remove-try Him, ask Him.

The Big Picture. We are part of an infinitely beautiful and vast future. By always keeping this picture in perspective and focus we can unburden ourselves.

*To get a bigger idea of this Psalm, other translations include “loadeth us with benefits, carries us day by day, supports us, rescues us, bears us up)

Discernment: What Is It? Why Is It Important? Where To Find It?

Discernment (Gr. diakriseis, spiritual judgment, understanding) is faithful living and listening to God’s love and direction so that we can fulfill our individual calling and shared mission.

We need it because we are lost:
“As I let my eyes look deeply into my own heart and yours, I am increasingly aware of how lost we are. Those of us who are wealthy and successful are no less lost than those of us who are poor and experience life as a failure. Those of us who are healthy and strong are no less lost than those of us who are frail and weak. Those of us who are priests and ministers are no less lost than those of us who are lawyers, doctors, or business people. Those of us who are active in the church and society are no less lost than those of us who have resigned ourselves to passive waiting for the end of life. Those of us who are excited about new projects or full of energy to bring about changes here and there are no less lost than those who have become skeptical or cynical about the possibility of a better world.” Nouwen, Henri J. M.. Discernment 

We need it to go from darkness to light, from aimless wandering to being found.

Discover it at Discernment and discover the abundant life.

The Calm In The Storm

Storms are all around us, all the time. How comforting it is to have someone who is watching out for us in our difficulties, takes action to aid us, can “walk” above the turmoil, infuse us with courage, and bring calm out of chaos. We only need to bid him “come.”

Mark 6:48-50
He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.

Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”


Although the Declaration of Independence guarantees the right to the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of happiness is not the path to happiness.
“You become happy by living a life that means something. The happiest people you know are probably not the richest or most famous, probably not the ones who work hardest at being happy by reading the articles and buying the books and latching on to the latest fads. I suspect that the happiest people you know are the ones who work at being kind, helpful, and reliable, and happiness sneaks into their lives while they are busy doing those things.” (Kushner, When All You’ve Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough)

So, don’t listen to the world. Don’t pursue happiness. Let it invade you though a noble, meaningful life, and live abundantly.


The problem with illusions is that they are eventually exposed for what they are-something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality-which leads to cynicism* and away from the abundant life. Yet we are surrounded by forces, events, and our own expectations that generate these illusions. What are we to do?

Place your ultimate trust and reality on the “only one Being Who can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Chambers)

*Based of the following definition of cynicism (Wikipedia) and our experiences in life, it is difficult to argue against assuming a cynical attitude toward life. But this is the dark way to approach life and begs us to search for a way to live life positively and abundantly even amid so much that is negative.
Cynicism is an attitude characterized by a general distrust of others’ motives. A cynic may have a general lack of faith or hope in people motivated by ambition, desire, greed, gratification, materialism, goals, and opinions that a cynic perceives as vain, unobtainable, or ultimately meaningless and therefore deserving of ridicule or admonishment.

Frustration And The Abundant Life: What Do You Do?

You long for something, perhaps even with a great desire. It could be something to acquire or to shed. It may be for noble, selfless reasons. There may be real emotional, physical or spiritual pain involved. You pray, again and again, earnestly and passionately. And the “something” is not granted, as least in a way you recognize.

“Deep inside, you know that only God can fill your need—which further frustrates matters and reveals your complete lack of control. You cannot successfully meet your own need or compel God to comply with your personal desires, time schedule, or concept of how it should be accomplished. So what are you to do?”

   NKJV Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible Notes

You choose. You choose to fall toward God or away from God. But you must choose.

Does contemporary life guide to a true choice? Where will you find guidance? How can you continue to count on or trust a god that does not deliver what you want, when you want it, and how?

Try this: pray. Pray for understanding. If you do not receive understanding pray for wisdom. If you do not receive wisdom pray for endurance. If you are at the last ounce of endurance pray that you will not abandon God. Ready to abandon God? Then pray for the supernatural power to praise and worship Him, no matter what. But pray unceasingly. And this is the right choice that will lead to the abundant life.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Jame 1:4 (NIV)

You Are Called

You are called by the Almighty for a noble  service.
You have been given a special gift to bless your service.
Discover your gift, unwrap it and serve, living a life worthy of His calling.
Based on Ephesians 4

I Invite You

I invite you to let me walk beside you in your pain and to bring you the strength, hope and healing comfort of Scripture.  Scripture is a gift. Like any gift it must be unwrapped. It is a healing garment. Like any garment it must we worn. It is an amazing garment that fits all sizes.

Do You Consider Yourself Rich?

What do you possess that makes you believe you are rich, including but beyond money; which of these would make you soWhat do you possess that makes you believe you are rich, including but beyond money; which of these would make you sorrowful to surrender, to place above your love of God? Comfort, reputation, security, possessions, family, faith? Which of these must you offer as gifts to God that you may find your joy in Him and not be sorrowful? Am you prepared to sell all that you have (Luke 18:22), that is, to rid yourself of self-acquired obstacles, that you may possess Him?

The Power Of Powerlessness

Are you powerful enough not to cry? Can you resist all evil? Have troubles you cannot overcome? Brokenhearted? Crushed?

These are the conditions mentioned in Psalm 34 for the righteous-that’s all of us who have a right relationship with our God. And if we encounter these as righteous, how are we to overcome?

Ephesians 6 shows us the way: Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. What does this mean?

The troubles, difficulties, and pains we encounter in our worldly lives are symptoms of evil in the spiritual realm (cosmic powers of darkness) and it is spiritual armor that St. Paul urges us to “put on” to defend ourselves and to stand firm. The armor includes truth, righteousness, faith, and the word of God.

The key thought here is that only by acknowledging our powerlessness can we be in a position to gain the power that only God can provide. And the key issue is, can we accept our powerlessness. 


Is peace high on your agenda? Does it rank above success and prosperity?

What I find interesting in the concept of peace is that it has two identities. There is the peace that we try to acquire on our own, and there is peace which is a gift. The peace we seek by our own means is what is referred to as the world’s peace. This is an illusion at best. The gift of peace is something that when offered we must accept, unwrap, and wear much like a garment. It is only available through a higher power. The questions then are, “is it a priority in your life and where do you look?”

John 14:27
“I leave the gift of peace with you—my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace.”
The Passion Translation

Poison Of The Heart

What poison is in you that you need to expel? That leaches out and poisons others?

“Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”

We may look and function normally on the outside but inside we are being poisoned, poisoned with hate, greed, envy, arrogance, self-importance—you get the point. This poison is difficult to detect and often masquerades as something innocent or trivial. But it is what ultimately destroys us, our relationship with others, and—most importantly—our relationship with God.

What Christ was warning us against was outward appearances vs. inner character; we happily accept investment returns from companies that oppress workers or defile the environment; we smile to our adversary but, inside, wish them harm. The ultimate passive-aggressive situation.

The remedy is not cleansing our outward appearance but our inner heart. And that is why we have a savior.

(View a sermon on this topic on YouTube at 15:45)

Joy Vs. Happiness

I hear a lot about happiness but very little about joy. Could we have a wrong idea of what they are?

To me, happiness is what we chase and it is something we depend upon others to give or circumstances to provide. For example,
I could say that I am happy when I win my tennis match or when someone compliments my serve. But, I am not happy when I lose or when someone criticizes my double faults. Question: could you possibly be happy when life goes in the tank?

On the other hand, to me, joy transcends circumstances and the fickleness of others. It comes from actions that are outer-directed, that is, with others in mind. It is service-oriented. And it is in the service that joy finds me. Question: could you be joyful when life goes in the tank?

“Man’s idea of joy is to be as happy as he can by leaving God out of his life. The Lord taught that real joy comes by taking God into
one’s life as much as possible.” (Believers Bible Commentary). 

John 15:11
I have told you these things so that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing.
Amplified Bible

If you could chose only one—joy or happiness—which would it be?


What nourishes you, gives you strength, purpose and joy? How do you nourish others?

John 7:38
Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.


What relationships compete for your total loyalty? Parents, spouse, children, even yourself? Who or what has the primary claim on your life?

John 17:6
“You gave them (those to whom Christ revealed His Father) to me.”

The Test of Life

If we approach the test of life confident only in our own abilities or the abilities of others, we have failed the test before it is even given.
It is prayer alone that will guide, sustain, and strengthen us, for only prayer connects us with our Higher Power.

Begin The Day By Cleansing The Heart

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord.  Amen
From the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer

Are You Crisis-Ready?

When a crisis hits, are you battle-ready? If you rely on your own strengths you have lost the battle before it is begun. “If you have not been worshiping in everyday occasions, when you get involved in God’s work, you will not only be useless yourself but also a hindrance to those around you.” (Oswald Chambers)

How To Untangle The Mind
Humility is the path to simplicity. Simplicity is the path to clarity.

In a world fraught with dishonesty and devious practices, the abundant life is found in the simple, honest truth of the Gospel. We do not need to embellish, rationalize, or justify God’s word.

How Do You Respond To Temptation?

There are frivolous temptations, like eating too much and exercising too little, and these can be addressed with common sense and wisdom. The critical temptations are the ones which force us to choose God or reject God, meaning whether or not we follow His commandments, His Word, His image in Christ, and His discerning Spirit within us.

What, then, are your needs for grace today? Bring those boldly to him now.

Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Study of the New Testament on Hebrews 4:14-16
Take the mercy, accept the help.
The Message Bible


The best answers in life are often based on the best questions. Can you answer these?
From what do you need to be saved, rescued, liberated?
-What affirmation do you need?
-What hole in your life needs to be filled?


“There will be works of God exhibited through us, people will get blessed, and one or two will show gratitude while the rest will show total ingratitude,” (My Utmost For His Highest). Can you handle ingratitude and still be a servant?

Personal Connection Checklist

  1. Are you fully present or distracted?
  2. Are you loving or judging?
  3. Are you open or closed to being changed?
    (From Emotionally Healthy Discipleship)

Fate and Choice

Notwithstanding the circumstances of our lives and regardless of the events over which we have no control, we and we alone determine our fate through the choices we make. Will our choices lead to deep joy or profound sorrow? How may we find the path to one and not the other?

Thoughts About Choices

A choice is based upon two fundamental factors: we gather information and then make a decision.

On the source of information:

It is trustworthy, honesty and objective? How do we know?

How wide is the search for the source of information? 

How do we account for our unknowing, mental shortcomings, and our lack of experience, depth of knowledge, and wisdom? Have we removed the blinders to insight?

What is the role of inspiration?

Whom do we counsel?

On deciding:

How trustworthy, honest and objective is our decision-making?

Have we given the important decisions of our lives sufficient time and resources?

Have we examined the blinders, arrogance and prejudices that unduly influence our decision-making?

Have we opened the process to accept powers of discernment beyond our own?

Whom do we counsel?

For guidance, wisdom, and insight see Psalm 19.

What do you really want?

Here are three questions.
What will make you fulfilled?
How/where will you get it?
What will it cost?

Three answers:


What are the dream-stealers in your life? These are the false gods that seek to limit you, discourage you, deny your self-worth, and tarnish your self-image. They delight in making you dependent, fearful, doubting, and hopeless. They rob you of energy, true joy, and serenity. Be watchful, for they are beguiling, enticing, and ever-present.

Groping In The Dark

Are you groping in the dark, bumping into unseen obstacles and disoriented as to which way to move? Then discover a source of light to illumine your path.

Why Come To Him?

Three simple words with life-changing power:
“Come to me,”
Matthew 11:28

We come to Him for three reasons:
This is a personal invitation made from love. It is not a command.
It is an invitation to a personal relationship, not to an impersonal transaction or to some “thing.”
It is an invitation to do what we cannot do ourselves, to change what we cannot change, and to be what we cannot be on our own merits.

The choice is ours; do we accept the invitation?

Assaulted By Love

What barriers have you erected to Christ’s love? A fortress defended by scores of soldiers and fortified with weapons? What foolishness! Christ will not come with His angel armies or cause earthquakes to crumble fortifications. He comes gently, meekly and alone to tap softly on the door to our heart.

God’s Silence

God’s silence is never truly complete silence. That is because we search for sounds and look for actions. God responds in a timeless, multi-dimensional way often outside our physical senses of perception. And this is why we can trust that He is present when we sit in silence, incapable of words, with someone grieving  beyond words.

Love Freely Given

Only recently have I appreciated the extent (overflowing!) to which God’s love freely given is connected with images taken from the best of creation that is also freely given. It is a circle of love with no end, and I have only to observe the fruits of creation to be reminded of this love. Expressed another way, evidence of God’s love surrounds us continuously. Can there be a greater sign of how God desires to reconnect with us that we may enjoy Him fully?

Here in Hosea 14, for example, are expressions of God’s love for us taken from the very best that anyone living at Hosea’s time (750-722 B.C.) could possibly hope for. There is one condition, however; to turn away from waywardness and idol worship and return to the Lord your God.

Hosea 14: 4-8 (NIV)

“I will heal their waywardness
    and love them freely,
    for my anger has turned away from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
    he will blossom like a lily.
Like a cedar of Lebanon
    he will send down his roots;
    his young shoots will grow.
His splendor will be like an olive tree,
    his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.
People will dwell again in his shade;
    they will flourish like the grain,
they will blossom like the vine—
    Israel’s fame will be like the wine of Lebanon.
Ephraim, what more have I[c] to do with idols?
    I will answer him and care for him.
I am like a flourishing juniper;
    your fruitfulness comes from me.”

The Fragrance Of An Abundant Life

Some of the joys of the holiday season are the sweet fragrances that can embrace us and immediately set a particularly joyful tone and mood based upon associations, experiences, and expectations. Life can have a sweet fragrance to it as well. Our smile, actions and words can be to others what a scented candle does for us: brighten the day, raise hopes, and be a moment of uninterrupted serenity. This is the fragrance of the abundant life. And where is this life to be found?

2 Corinthians 2:14
God uses us to make the knowledge about Christ spread everywhere like a sweet fragrance.
Good News Translation

To Be Cleansed

When we accept Christ as savior we are cleansed and gain the Holy Spirit. This means that Christ’s robe of righteousness does not cloak a disfigured, ugly, dirty body but one that has been thoroughly cleansed.

The Bartemaeus Formula For Healing

Bartimaeus was a blind beggar. By his very physical limitation he could not literally follow Jesus.  But then he was healed and could see and did follow. 
Scripture reference: Mark 10:46-52

The Bartimaeus Formula for Healing

  • Identify the need. We are often blind to our personal need. 
  • Ask for help.  There is no shame in asking for help. We are intentionally made incomplete so that we must ask for help. 
  • Believe in a compassionate and merciful God that desires to heal and who can heal.

The Martha Choice For Decisions

What do you do-how do you choose-when confronted at the “crossroads of overwhelming circumstances” (Chambers)? An overwhelming circumstance is one in which you have no personal solution. Do you choose belief or despair?

Martha choose belief. “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe…” (John 11:27)

For full context read John 11:17-45.

The Timothy Choice For Encouragement

The world needs encouragement. Be a Timothy to the world and to yourself. Be an encourager.
Give a kind word
Offer a loving action
Be enthusiastic
Be an encourager
Help someone to endure
Support someone in their tenacity

1 Thessalonians 3:2
We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith,

Sacred Fires

Sacred Fire: a reverent belief in something holy and mysterious, beyond the grasp of mortals and not to be interfered with but occupying an important part of a person’s (group, community, tribe) life.

What sacred fires exist in your life? Are you honoring them or extinguishing them?

Daily Bread
What is “our daily bread?”

Those of us who recite The Lord’s Prayer are familiar with the expression, “give us this day our daily bread.” I’ve recited it thousands of times in my 73 years, but it is only in my 73rd year that I begin to understand its fullest meaning.

Certainly, it means more that bread (literally) and food (figuratively). It means, at its most fundamental level, that we are alive and to be alive means that there is a meaning and purpose to our lives at this moment. It also means that most, if not all, of our bodily functions and sense are working. Just the act of eating involves taste, smell, touch, sight, and hearing the crunch of food. Then there is the digestive system and the process of converting food to energy. If we are fortunate, we consume our bread in safety, comfort, and abundance. You can easily see how could go on and on.

But there is a greater meaning to our daily bread. Let us find this meaning by going beyond our physical nature to our spiritual nature. Our daily bread is found in the Word of God. It is guidance and sustenance for our spiritual journey. As with regular bread, we need to be fed daily with this heavenly food. Without it, just as our bodies will sag and drag without nourishment, so too will our souls, the spark that makes us truly come alive. 

Praying for our daily bread is a huge undertaking. Accepting our daily bread is worthy of the highest form of gratitude.

John 6:35
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Common Sense
“Common sense is not faith, and faith is not common sense; they stand in the relation of the natural and the spiritual; of impulse and inspiration. Nothing Jesus Christ ever said is common sense, it is revelation sense, and it reaches the shores where common sense fails.”
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest

Thanksgiving 2021

What is your greatest gift and how do you express thanksgiving? Through prayer? Through song? Through song as prayer?

Pat Barrett, co-author of the song Good Good Father with Tony Brown, was inspired to write the song when he became a father. Here are his words:

“When I started having kids and I’m looking at my daughter Harper Gray, and I’m like, ‘How am I going to explain God to you? How am I going to introduce you to someone who so transformed my life? How am I going to tell you what he’s like?'”

If you are searching for a special way to express thanksgiving on this Thanksgiving Day 2021, go to

What is your greatest gift and how do you express thanksgiving? Through prayer? Through song? Through song as prayer?

If you are searching for a special way to express thanksgiving on this Thanksgiving Day 2021, search for the song “Good Good Father.”

A Fresh Look At Diets

The word “diet” is associated with food and nutrition and by extension body weight, appearance, and health. But there is more to the idea of diet that warrants consideration.

Think of diet as anything you consume, anything you feed yourself or are fed by others. Expanding this line of thought, there exists the diet of ideas, information, relationships, and how time is spent. Consider also a diet of values, virtues, and activities. Is there anything that the concept of a diet cannot be applied to? 

Where does this take us? Let’s return to the fundamental notion of consumption and this leads to the reality of choice. We can choose our diet; we can choose what we take in and this affects who we become. Having chosen, then let’s ask ourselves these questions: “Do I feel truly nourished or have I merely temporarily satisfied a craving?” “Have I built new muscle to engage life or have I added useless fat?” “Have I replaced impulse with healthy discipline?” And, lastly, “Have I consumed something beneficial or have I been consumed by something harmful?”

So let’s put ourselves on a diet of right thinking and right actions that can lead to a healthy body, mind, and soul.

Offer Hope
Always be alert to the need to encourage someone. And the first words should be the words of hope.

So What?
What really, really matters in life? What Must you know, not merely should know? And if something is not really, really important and it is not something you Must know, then why get upset if certain things happen or don’t happen? These are “so what?” situations. “So what” can be the path to peace.

Lessons from Scrooge
Three important lessons we learn from Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol;”
1. Leave the bitter past with all its disappointments and failures behind. Do not give the past power over the present.
2. Don’t be hardened against the joys of the present.
3. Bless others and be blessed in return as you do the good you can, when you can.

Your Most Precious Gift
As you anticipate opening gifts on Christmas Day, consider your most precious gift—past, present, and future. What has or will give you pleasure without ceasing? What can you trust to never fail you? What is so priceless that it cannot be bought? Open your imagination to think boldly about your most precious gift. It is probably what you do not expect but, having found it, will be your greatest treasure.

The Feast That Famishes

We feast on social media yet remain famished. Why is that? Here are 10 good things we need for an abundant life that social media cannot deliver.

1. Truth
2. Self-Worth
3. Love
4. Hope
5. Wisdom
6. Character
7. Inner Peace
8. Goodness
9. Right Thinking
10. Virtue

The thoughtful person will ask, “Where shall we find these good things?”

How Well Do You Know Yourself?
One key to the abundant life is you know yourself—your strengths and weaknesses. It is said, “your strengths are your weaknesses, and your weaknesses are your strengths.” How can this be? Apply arrogance and humility to this and perhaps the answer reveals itself. Also, “The most secure are commonly the least safe; and those most shamefully betray their own weakness that most confidently presume upon their own strength.” (Matthew Henry on Peter’s denial of Christ and the admonition in 1 Corinthians 10:12.)

Blessings: What Are They, Really?

I am guilty of using the expression “blessings” freely and frequently without really understanding what the term means. This is my act of contrition.

I use the word blessing in many contexts: a blessing before meals, a description of a happy state of being, an unexpected relief from a problem, and so on. I acknowledge blessings, request them, and ask them to be bestowed. While my intent is sincere, I fear that I do not do it justice. Why? Because I focus more on the gift than the giver.

I cannot imagine a blessing without acknowledging its giver: not “fortune” (see my thought-piece The Wheel of Fortune), not lady luck, not an alignment of stars. Rather, a blessing is something good that you are grateful for; it’s a good start to focus on the word “gratitude” but let’s continue. Next in line is a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness—even better to bring God into the picture. Last, but not least (do a search and begin to see the full richness of the word) is “little glimpses of the Kingdom, of the way that God created things and his original intentions for us, places where the divine order peaks through into our broken world (source here). Also note that “In Hebrew, the word for blessing is barakah, which means “a transmittal of God’s favour.”

I could go on and on but that is for a deeper exploration. For now, I am content to acknowledge God in all things and to offer thanksgiving for all things—blessings unimaginable, unfathomable, and limitless—all freely given. And for this I am greatly blessed.

(NB: Enjoy this article that I found helpful: What is a Blessing in the Bible? at

Reality Check
It is what it is.
It’s not what it isn’t.
It will be what it must be.
It will not be what it cannot be.

I Love You and I’m Sorry
Who do you love and to whom must you say you’re sorry?

In the Epoch TV movie 20 Minutes, an incoming nuclear ballistic missile is heading toward Hawaii and the lives of 12 individuals are followed as they discover and must deal with the fact that they have 20 minutes to live. Included iare a billionaire, a Hollywood producer who is an atheist, a Black man who’s embittered with the white man’s world, a white supremacist soldier, and a Republican and Democrat seeking shelter together.

What happens under the pressure of imminent death?

We see that differences disappear in shared fate. To a person, there are deep regrets, sorrows, and a realization that it is the relationship with people and not things that matter; not the divisions, misunderstandings, pride and arrogance that occur in life. And, because of the deep craving for the love that the relationships once held, everyone, with unabashed tears, seeks to connect for one last time with their loved one and to say they are sorry for whatever it was that tore them apart.

Who do you love and to whom must you say you’re sorry?

Astounding Ignorance
“It is astounding how ignorant we are about ourselves! We do not know envy when we see it, or laziness, or pride. How many of us have learned to look in with courage?”(Chambers)

Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

On Wisdom
Lord, make us strong to overcome the desire to be wise and to be reputed wise by others as ignorant as ourselves.
From The Knowledge Of The Holy by A.W. Tozer.

Today I will rest in the knowledge that all my needs are satisfied, all my calls for help answered, and all my uncleanliness removed for I have an all-powerful God, an all-loving savior, and an all-knowing Spirit to lead, defend, and sustain me.

Did You Take Your Happy Pill Today?
Nothing is more uplifting than to be greeted by someone who is smiling, positive, and buoyant. Similarly, nothing is more draining than to be ignored by someone who is frowning, self-absorbed, and negative. And, how you feel relative to others is how you make others feel. Do you have your happy face on?

There are generally three conditions of being happy. One, you are a genuinely happy person. You exude warmth and friendship. Even when you don’t feel like being happy, your natural disposition takes command and, in so doing, you bless others. No pill necessary.

The second condition is when you confront the drudgery of the day. There is nothing new or exciting to look forward to. In this situation, take the liquid gel happy pill. It gets into your system quickly and transforms your appearance and attitude. This happy pill is composed of smiles, kind words, loving actions, enthusiasm, and encouragement.

The third condition is when you are experiencing grief, sorrow, disappointment—any of life’s downers. For this condition you must take the time-release happy pill. It will take time before its affects are felt but trust it to eventually bring you a smiling countenance. This pill has an unusual formula. It is based on faith and trust, believing that all your needs will be satisfied and all your calls for help answered, for you have an all-powerful God, an all-loving savior, and an all-knowing Spirit to lead, comfort, and sustain you.

Do You Need A Happy Pill Today?

How Do You Hope?
There are two types of hope; one is wishful thinking, the other is confident expectation.
On what type of hope does your life hang?

I raise the value of hope to you for it is vital to an abundant life, yet there is so much occurring in life that can drain one of hope, which is called despair. And with despair comes a draining of life’s energy, its vibrancy, and joy.

There are three questions to ask and answer about hope:
1. What is it?
2. Why choose it?
3. How to get it?

Read the complete Abundant Thought here.

Who Am I? Where Am I Going?
If I don’t know who The Lord is, I do not know who I am; “Who are you, Lord?” (Paul on the road to Damascus, Acts 9:5)

If I don’t hear The Lord’s call, I do not know where I am going; “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (Samuel upon hearing The Lord speak to him, 1 Samuel 3:10)

Question: Why was Moses a shepherd for 40 years (before being called by God to deliver his people)?
Answer: Because for 39 years Moses was unprepared for his next job.*

Patience is part of preparation and is sometimes difficult to accept. Especially in our fast-paced world, patience is often thought to be a weakness. Yet, time takes time and our ability to prepare is sometimes out of our control.

So it was with Moses’ call by God to deliver his people from slavery. Why did God wait so long? We don’t know, and this is the key point: we can’t control when God calls us to a specific task, ministry, or life direction, and this is particularly true with a spiritual calling.  And, because we can’t control the timing, we must accept the reality with patience. Our desires, however well-intended, are not God’s command.

Are you waiting anxiously for something? For a sign from God? Our task is to wait upon God, not push Him to action, however uncomfortable this may be.

*From A Daily Companion To My Upmost For His Highest

How Much Is “Much More?”
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
Are you not much more valuable than they? (The birds of the air)
…will he not much more clothe you…?

Matthew 6 is an immensely rich chapter in the New Testament Gospels. It speaks of “much more” in terms like rewards and treasures. What exactly are these rewards and treasures and how much are they? Click here to learn “how much more.”

Right-Thinking: What Is It And How To Get It?
Does anyone desire to engage in wrong-thinking? Of course not. So, let’s take a quick look at what right-thinking is all about.
Naturally, we can think rightly about many things. To get straight to the point, therefore, let’s focus on what is the most important subject about which to think.
Click here to learn more about right-thinking.

Romp On The Floor With God
The biggest obstacle to communication (with God) is our preoccupation with other things. Take the time to drop our plans, behave like a child, and romp on the floor with God.
Inspired by Macosko, Jed; Macosko, Cecilie. A Daily Companion to My Utmost for His Highest (p. 102). Our Daily Bread Publishing. Kindle Edition.

A Grandfather’s Caution
“My grandfather used to say that most people don’t want to hear the thing that will make it work better,” I said. “They want to hear what will make it easier.”
The Last Thing He Told Me, Laura Dave

How Do You Dream?
“Nobody gets everything he or she yearns for. I look at the world and see three sorts of people: those who dream boldly even as they realize that a lot of their dreams will not come true; those who dream more modestly and fear that even their modest dreams may not be realized; and those who are afraid to dream at all, lest they be disappointed. I would wish for more people who dreamed boldly and trusted their powers of resilience to see them through the inevitable disappointments.”
Harold S. Kushner
Overcoming Life’s Disappointments

How will you dream more boldly and who will you trust for the resilience to see you through disappointments?

Are You Called To Be A Moses To Someone?
Are we, each one of us, called to be a Moses to at least one other person? Are we called to deliver someone from bondage of some kind, to lead them through the desert of hardship to a better place? If so, we must be prepared to encounter resistance, ingratitude, and disappointment along the way. Moreover, we will need the encouragement and strength to continue the journey to its end. Moses was called by God and commanded to deliver His people. Moses was assured of God’s continued presence. Moses knew who he was working for and drew his strength from that source. Are we so called, do we know who our leader is, and do we have trust in His never-ending presence? 

How Do You Draw Water From A Well Too Deep?
What do you do when you are thirsty and the well is deep? In ancient times, you came to the well with both vessel and rope. What do you do when the rope tied to the vessel used to draw the water is too short? What if you had neither rope nor vessel?

These are critical life questions.

There are two aspects to satisfying our thirsts, which are many. One is preparation; know where the well is and have the equipment necessary to draw the water. The second one is having a source to call upon when, even with the best preparation, we cannot draw the water.

If we attempt to face life’s challenges with only our preparation we will thirst often and may barely survive. But, if we call upon resources greater than ourselves, our thirsts will be satisfied, including thirsts we may not be aware of.

What are these greater resources? Prayer. A relationship with Christ. Surrender. Abandonment. Transformation.

The Samaritan woman who met Christ at the well was equipped to draw water–she had the right equipment. But she, like me, had a thirst greater than the water in the well and which could not be reached with vessel and rope. Once she heard Christ’s living words her physical thirsts became secondary and her soul overflowed with living waters.

Avail yourself to these living waters. Let Christ be your rope and vessel.

John 4:11,13-14
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Managing Your Blessings
Whatever God has given to you, manage it well for His glory.
(Comment from Our Daily Bread Podcasts on actor David Suchet’s audio recording of the entire Bible)

I am a servant of God. I have blessings in abundance. Let me distribute them among God’s children.

Managing The Tough Times
It is hard to be positive when things are tough. Everything is not wonderful when you are hurting. What to do? Pray for understanding. Hope for better times. But above all, stay close to God and put your hope in Him. Never leave Him. 

A Message of Strength
It is supremely better to face the challenges of life with strength, not weakness.


Not exclusively with our own strength, which is limited, but with the strength of the Lord. His is a conquering strength, not one of surrender. His is a strength without limit.

No, in all these things* we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
*trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword”
Romans 8:37-39

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Matthew 19:26

Are You Ready For Act Three?
In Act One, we dream big, have high expectations, and fear no obstacles.

In Act Two, we often face the reality of unfulfilled dreams, lowered expectations, and a mine field of obstacles.

This brings us to the critical Act Three. In Act Three we must decide whether we retreat into a disappointing past, maintain a comfortable but not inspiring present, or regroup our resources and remake ourselves into a new, thrilling, and positive Act One.

Think of life as a series of three acts: act one, two, and three that continually challenge us to dream, move through obstacles, and live an abundant life-however that life may be.

Do you have someone to inspire your dreams? Do you have a friend to walk beside you in disappointments? Do you have a comforter to help you out of the mud holes of life and try new, glorious things?

Psalm 50:5
But as for me, I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; Lord, do not delay.

John 3:16
You’ve heard it. You’ve read it and you have seen it on billboards. But what does it fully mean?

Here is one way to think of it:

God’s outpouring of pure goodness in wonderful abandonment to the underserving.

Psalm Therapy
There is a way to deal with all the emotions, trials, disappointments, frustrations, and joys of life without going to a therapist. Just go to the Psalms. The Psalms capture the full spectrum of life’s events: great and small, happy and sad, serene and threatening, joyful and disheartening. They were written by God’s chosen (David and Solomon) and select others who lived life to the fullest and experienced, collectively, every possible experience that  we may have. Their joy was without limit and their distress was tempered by an unshakable faith. The author of creation guided them at all times. What more could you ask of life?

If you value wisdom and wish a true companion in life, walk with the Psalms.*

*You will be helped greatly by using a commentary or Bible with commentary. I highly recommend the Life Application Study Bible, New Living Translation by Tyndale.

A Simple View Of Life As Seen Through God’s Eyes-It’s Not That Complicated
I created you out of love to share my goodness and glory.

My only condition is to worship me alone and accept me as the ruler of your life and the treasure of your heart. This is the binding nature of our relationship.
You tarnish this relationship-break its bonds-when you worship (put into first place) false gods, including yourself, and fail to follow my commands which are meant to ensure the integrity, strength and resilience of our relationship.

In my everlasting love, I call you back again and again.

But there is a price to pay for your rebellion. You cannot pay that price, make restitution or redeem it yourself.

But through my love, I have provided the means for you to return to me and that is through the sacrifice of my Son—a wondrous, incomprehensible gift to your underserving selves.

Your decision is whether to accept through faith (trust) my invitation to return to me by accepting my Son as the ruler of your life and the treasure of your heart. What more could you ask of life?

Where Is Your Focus?
Focus on God first and the obstacles will fall. Focus on the obstacles first and you eliminate God.

Who Are You?

Are you a physically attractive person? What happens when you lose your physical beauty?

Are you a successful person? What happens when you fail?

How you define yourself determines much of your life’s joys and sorrows. 

You are, first and foremost, a child of God. In this you cannot lose or fail.

Who are you? More importantly, whose are you?

Extravagant Love
What is the only response to extravagant love? If it is God’s love, the only response is extravagant worship.

In the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32) we are told of the extravagant love of the father for his profligate son who returns in disgrace but is met with a loving embrace. We are that son (or daughter) in need of our Father’s embrace and forgiveness.

In the story of Mary anointing Jesus’ feet (John 12: 1-8,) we are told of the simplicity of the gesture combined with the extravagant expense of the perfume (about one year’s income). When the two are combined-a heedless concern about cost and a driven, passionate need to adore-we unveil extravagant worship. Extravagant worship does not require great monetary cost; Mary’s action, particularly with drying Jesus’ feet with her hair, expresses the highest value, that of giving up oneself in total adoration. No price tag can be placed on this. We can be that extravagant worshipper.

Priceless, extravagant love evokes priceless extravagant worship.

(Click here for Revisiting The Prodigal Son, a fresh look at an amazing story.)

Be God’s Instrument
Ananias was God’s instrument to convert Saul, persecutor of Christians, to Paul, proclaimer of Christ as Messiah. We can be that instrument. Read about Ananias here.

Crucified to Sin; What Does This Mean?
Today is Palm Sunday, 2022, the beginning of Holy Week, and we will hear the word “crucified” often. Paul uses it extensively, as in crucified to sin and crucified with Christ. What does he mean?

In its simplest form, crucifixion means death. To me, the clearest way to understand the use of this expression is to apply it to my relationship with Christ; am I growing into that relationship or away from it. To have sin (meaning a turning away from Christ) crucified in me is to have more of Christ in me. It is as straightforward as choosing spiritual life over death, blessing over curse.

It is all the things that separate me from Christ that I wish to remove, destroy, put to death—crucify. This is what is meant by identification with Christ’s death; “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” Galatians 2:20

Ironic, isn’t it, that a word so identified with death can mean life: true, spiritual, abundant life.

An Important Distinction

When we accept a gift from someone we receive something apart from them, though it may come with love and affection. Think of a birthday gift that we grasp and unwrap.

The gifts of God are different. We don’t receive something from God, we receive God. The gift of the Spirit is the Spirit himself, not a gift from Him.

These gifts become part of us and therein is their value and power—the fullness of God.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Ephesians 3:17-19

Where is home?

Home is a place of security, a place of serenity, and a place to refuel—physical, emotionally, and spiritually. But life can interrupt this status, leaving me unbalanced, disoriented, and drained.

So it is important to have a second home where there is constancy, peace, wholeness, and joy. This is the Father’s home to which we are called and from which can meet the challenges before us.

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
John 14:23

For the abundant life, seek your Father’s home.

Too Close To The Cliff?
Look for ways to make Him smile, rather than probing to see how close to the cliff’s edge we can get without falling off.

Are Your Strengths Your Weaknesses?

One of the best pieces of wisdom I have ever received was this:

Your strengths are your weaknesses.
Your weaknesses are your strengths.

In a world where strengths are sought and weaknesses are shunned, how can these be words of wisdom?

These words are meant to warn us against over-relying on strengths to the extent we lose perspective and become vulnerable through complacency. And they portray recognized weaknesses as alerting us to areas of vulnerability that require attention. Here is sage advice from the Book of Revelation.

In Revelation 3:15-18, John writes to Laodicea. Laodicea was famous for banking, black wool, and medicine, particularly an eye salve. Its strengths became its weaknesses and misdirected loyalty from Christ. He writes:

You claim, ‘I am rich, I have accumulated riches, and I need nothing’; but you do not realize that you are miserable, pathetic, poor, blind, and naked. So here is what I suggest you do: buy true gold from Me (gold refined by fire so that you can be truly rich), white garments (to cover you so that you can keep the shame of your nakedness from showing), and eye ointment (to treat your eyes so that you may see clearly).

The Voice

Do not allow your strengths to blind you from truths. Beware the unguarded stronghold!

How To Avoid A REALLY Bad Day

Bad days are a way of life. They will come. But what is a really bad day and can it be avoided?
A really bad day is a day without hope. It is being alone. It is having no strength beyond our own. Our escape, our refuge lies in these promises:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

Fading Glory
Are you clinging to fading glory? Are the people, ideas, organizations, and treasured possessions in your life losing their luster? Well, welcome to life. There is, however, something—someone—whose glory never fades. Cling to Him.

2 Corinthians 3:18
So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
New Living Translation

Peace of Mind By Elvis
The abundant life is a life of burdens that have been unburdened. Find your peace in this song by Elvis. Read all the lyrics. Listen to the song. And find peace.

Take your troubles to the chapel
Get down on your knees and pray
Then your burdens will be lighter
And you’ll surely find the way

Crying In The Chapel

What Ignites Your Heart?
“Want to know God’s will for your life? Then answer this question: What ignites your heart?

“The fire of your heart is the light of your path. Disregard it at your own expense. Fan it at your own delight. Blow it. Stir it. Nourish it. Cynics will doubt it. Those without it will mock it. But those who know it—those who know him—will understand it.”

And to set your heart on fire is to discover a world you could never have imagined.

Quotations from NKJV Lucado Encouraging Word Bible on 1 Peter 4

1 Peter 4:10
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
New Living Translation

We are in danger of forgetting that we cannot do what God does, and that God will not do what we can do. We cannot save nor sanctify ourselves— God does that. But God will not give us good habits or character, and He will not force us to walk correctly before Him. We have to do all that ourselves. 
Oswald Chambers, My Upmost For His Highest

Need Something Fixed?
“Hang in there. I can turn things around.”
(This is the message of hope that rings throughout Scripture, with a shout-out to Bob Statler.)

Why Choose What Is Worthless?

Psalm 119:37
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;

It’s a decision we make daily, hundreds of times; we choose what to look at, what to focus on, what to value, to embrace. Would you knowingly choose what is worthless, without value, that has no redeeming quality, consumes irretrievable time and resources, and serves no soul-building purpose?

When the question is positioned in such a way, the obvious answer is “no.” Yet, we make these worthless choices daily, hundreds of times. I know I do.

We choose the things of the world that catch the eye, allure the heart, and inflame the emotion: riches, honors, and pleasures that are all vanity. We accept words that are “glided over with the specious pretense of truth; and all false worship and superstition, set off with pomp and pageantry, with which the eyes of the body or the eyes of the mind are taken, and by which the heart is ensnared.” (

It is far better to divert our eyes from such worthless things onto something better, things that give life and invigorate our steps. How is this to be done?

Verse 9 asks and answers this question:
How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.

What does this mean?

Psalm 119 goes on to tell us that It means (and not only to the young): seeking, praising, rejoicing, meditating, and delighting in the statutes, precepts, laws, and decrees of the Lord, which are found throughout scripture (particularly in the Old Testament) and then summarized in “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all you soul and with all your mind…and your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22: 37,39)

Will your eyes now be attracted to worthless things or to the priceless relationship with your creator God?

Fictitious Wealth
As we read about high inflation and scarcity, and listen to debates as to whether or when a recession will occur, it is wise to consider our attraction to fictitious wealth and where true wealth resides.

Psalm 87:7
All my fountains of joy are in You.
The Voice

Never Alone
There are many ways to feel alone. We may be literally alone, by ourselves and apart from everyone else. Or we may feel alone in a crowd of strangers or in a stadium seating 100,000. We may be alone in our thoughts in the sense that “nobody understands me.” Our attitudes and preferences may cause a division with others. Stress, anxiety, or fear may cause us to feel the despair of aloneness.

But we are never really alone.

Paul asks in Romans 8:35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” and answers in the most soul satisfying way that nothing, no one, in any way, or at any time can separate us from the love of Christ. We have a companion at all times, in all situations, who will never abandon us.

Never. Alone.

We Are Buffeted Between Two Extremes
We are buffeted between two extremes: false riches and false poverty. At one extreme, we hear that we must be powerful, self-reliant, and ruthless to make it in life, to make it to the top (wherever that is). These lead us to false riches. Consequently, we seek advantage over others, compare ourselves to the success of others, and are in a constant state of jealousy or envy.

On the other hand, after we have tried and failed to live up to unrealistic expectations, having been beaten down by events. In life, and perhaps after having made some errors along the way, we feel powerless and without the strength and resources to endure, start over, or simply to make it through the day. This is false poverty.

In between these two extremes lies the promises of God. These promises include being our strength when we are weak, being our constant companion when others desert us, and having personal worth that no-one can diminish. 

Where we settle between the extremes is a matter of choice. God, His promises, and the abundant life God desires for us is always to be found in the middle. He will provide the inner strength and positive self-image we deserve so that we don’t have to assume the deceptive lures of worldly wants and standards. His are true riches. He will also pick us up after we have failed miserably, or have fallen into despair, because that is what He does and has done for thousands of years. False poverty is eliminated.

Reach out to God.

Your Personal Sword
Video games and action movies often have characters who wield swords that save them from harm and destroy their enemies. These swords have amazing qualities that endow their owner with superhuman powers.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have such a sword?

We do. It’s called the word of God.

With it, we don’t have to be Superman or Wonder Woman to hack our way out of trouble, pull ourselves out of the mud hole of despair, or climb over obstacles to reach our true potential. The word of God is our armor (see Ephesians 6:10-17), it is God’s mighty power to enable us to stand firm against the devil’s schemes, the spiritual forces of evil, and whatever we may encounter in life. It is truth, a right relationship with God, peace, a shield, and the sword of the Spirit.

Video games and action movies are fantasies. They don’t exist, nor do their weapons. God exists and we have only to call upon Him to arm ourselves with spiritual powers that enable us to stand firm, fight the good fight, and be blessed.

“What Are You Doing Here?”
This is a good question to ask oneself at any time, but especially appropriate when it is asked by God as it was to Elijah: 
The LORD Appears to Elijah and the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:9 (NIV)

The prophet Elijah was not in a good place. He was running away from what seemed to him to be a failed mission for God. He was filled with such an overwhelming web of negative emotions that he was suicidal. In this depressed state God came to him, not with disdain and criticism, but with this question, “What are you doing here?”

God did not mean for Elijah to justify his actions or state of mind but to open his mind to the voice of God. This voice came as a gentle whisper with instructions for his next actions. 

“What are you doing here, Lord?” is a powerful question that can help you and me to stop, reflect, assess, and re-commit to a purposeful life focused on God’s purpose. God’s response may be gentle and soft, so listen carefully. Ask the question daily.

Wheel Of Faith Or Fortune?
Consider the Ferris wheel and how it represents life. It consists of two moving parts: the wheel and the gondolas that are suspended from it. The wheel is life with its highs and lows, fickle fortune that entices and disappoints. The gondolas are rooms of faith: true and steady. Choose to enter the gondola of faith. The gondola will travel the circumference of daily life with it the highs and lows. But the gondola is always upright because it is attached not by our grip but by Christ’s grip on us, allowing us to encounter all facets of a fickle world with strength beyond ours, hope that soars, and a friend who travels with us. 

Replace the fickle wheel of fortune with the true gondola of faith.

(Read more about The Wheel of Fortune)

When You Cry, Who Will Come?
5 Steps To Wipe Away Your Tears

“Forsake me not, O Lord.”
Psalm 38:21

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Focus on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

Pray without ceasing.
1 Thessalonians 5:17

Stop thinking and just embrace the mystery of God’s love, healing, and salvation.

Ask, Seek, Knock: What, How, Where?
Luke 11:
So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

We work through many iterations of ask, seek, knock as we journey through life.
“What do I want to be when I grow up?”
“What will I major in?”
“What is the purpose of my life?”

The promises of Christ implied in Luke 11:9 are based upon focused actions. We must act with intentionality to receive what Christ desires for us, not what we want for ourselves. This is why is it critical to receiving His assured blessings that we diligently and prayerfully ask “what is it I truly want by asking?”, “how committed am I to seeking it?” and “where do I knock, what door to I wish to be opened?”

There may be a simple answer to these questions; earnestly seek a relationship with Christ by knocking on the door to His heart.

Why Thirst?
Pity those who thirst for no reason, for whom the free gift is not sufficiently expensive or exclusive.

Isaiah 55:1 
Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.

The Frightening Funhouse of Life
Years ago a traveling circus would entice you to a ride through the Funhouse; you would get into a small car on rails and would be whisked though a door that would immediately immerse you in darkness, spooky sounds, and with pop-up, frightening images. Today’s amusement parks have their own, more sophisticated version of the Funhouse, but the purpose is still the same; to offer you the trill of danger, fear, and disaster while promising safety at the end of the journey.

Life is a Funhouse of sorts with these real differences: we will experience hurt, the terrors will be real and we may become so overwhelmed with the ride that we lose faith that the journey can end in light and not darkness, in peace and not fear, in hope and not despair. 

This I believe is the challenge of faith and the purpose of the assurances given in the Bible. God is with us in the car through this spook house of life. The car ride will be jarring and at times it will seem to be out of control but it will never spin off its tracks. His plan assures us of a light at the end of the tunnel of life. And whatever we fear during our ride will be laid to rest at the end.

So the message is this: choose to take God at His word, grip the car firmly with faith, and focus primarily on His plan for eternity with you, or live in constant, hopeless dread. 

Seven Assurances From the Bible

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 14:24
The Lord Almighty has sworn,
“Surely, as I have planned, so it will be,
and as I have purposed, so it will happen.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

2 Samuel 22:29
You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.

Psalm 73:23
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Matthew 28:20
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

*A building or an attraction in an amusement park or a carnival that features various devices intended to surprise, frighten, bewilder, or amuse. ( Its purpose is to distort conventional perceptions and startle people with unstable and unpredictable physical circumstances.

What Celebration Are You Refusing To Join?
Luke 15:38
“The older brother became angry and refused to go in.”

The Parable of the Prodigal Son is often called the Parable of the Older Brother and it is this older brother that is today’s focus. (Reread the parable in full, Luke 15:11-32.)

In short, the older brother, out of jealousy, envy, and resentment, refuses to join the celebration that the father throws out of joy because the younger brother, who left home in disgrace, returns. The father pleads with the older brother to share in the celebration. Although there is great depth and richness to this scene, one key thought emerges:; our Father God desires that we join the celebration of life that He has given us and plans for us in eternity. It is ours freely and we cannot earn it.

The question to ask yourself is this: Am I standing outside, refusing to go to God’s celebrations? What pleasure and joy am I denying myself? 

Paul cautions us in Colossians 2:8 how we may be fooled to remain outside; “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”

How sad to hear these words, “He stood outside, refused to go in to the celebration.”

Come in and celebrate.

Who Do You Trust?
Life cannot be lived without trust. But who can you trust?

Much trust is based on the messages we perceive: words, images, impressions.  We are bombarded to excess with all of these. Which ones are we to believe? How do we test anything for truth, legitimacy, or honesty?

Truth in messaging in not found in the medium (with regrets to Marshal McLuhan). The well-choreographed presentation is not necessarily the message. Likes and followers are not the message. The intent is not the message. Even the words are not the message. The message is the person. But wait…it’s not the attractiveness of the person, nor style, nor charm.

The person to believe—to trust, to set your life upon—is the one whose life is lived out in actions. Action is the testimony of truth.

Read the full article here.

The Fires Of Sorrow
Oswald Chambers, in Receiving Yourself in The Fires Of Sorrow, states that “sorrow either gives me to myself or it destroys me.” Success, he says, cannot make you a better person for it leads to pride. So, are we to welcome sorrow? No. But we can welcome what God can do in us as we work through the fires of sorrow. We can reaffirm and grow in our relationship with Him, find new strength and purpose, and what Chambers calls “nourishment for others,” that is, caring for others who have been destroyed by sorrow.

Can You Do The Impossible?
Here is your challenge: can you (1) create a community united in faith? (2) build a vessel with primitive resources that can sustain the harshest weather? (3) free a person, a community, or a nation from the slavery of injustice, personal vices, or weakness? (4) make profit in investments that seem doomed? (5) defeat evil with only sound?

No, you cannot, but God can. Reflect on Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jeremiah, and Joshua who, with Gods power, fathered a nation, build a boat on land, freed a people, bought property that would be conquered, and destroyed fortress walls with ram horns.

What impossible things are you prepared to do with God’s help?

No One Travels Alone
We travel with many over a lifetime. Some we choose to travel with: our spouse and friends. Some we have no control over-our family, co-workers, and those who sit next to us on an airplane. Groups and activities, such as teams and church services, come and go. Some travelers insert themselves into our lives with the sole intention of taking, not giving. And there are those we travel with virtually, without physical contact: bloggers, columnists, and writers.

All of our fellow travelers – intimate or impersonal, welcomed or not – share one feature; in some way at some time they will leave or abandon us: death, foibles, disappointment, tragedy, accident­-all will take a toll.

We cannot escape this immutable fact of life: no one travels this life alone. We were created for companionship and simply cannot exist by ourselves.

Who do we choose to travel with? Who will be our constant companion, regardless of what are? Who will not abandon us-ever? Who will lift us up, make us more than we can imagine, quench our thirst? Who will love us, even if we are unlovable?

There is only one. Travel with Christ. Abide in Him.

John 15:4
Remain in me, as I also remain in you.

Do You Need A Trophy For Everything?
If you need a trophy for everything you do and accomplish, success may be your false god, your favorite idol.

Sharla Fritz, in her post 3 Reasons Success May Be Your Favorite Idol, brilliantly shares her thoughts how we succumb to the false god of success in its many forms. “God alone can de-throne this sometimes powerful counterfeit god in our lives” she writes, and identifies three steps we can take to “overcome our worshipping tendencies.”
1. Recognize the Idol of Success in Your Own Life
2. Work Behind the Scenes
3. Daily Worship the True God

Read the full article here. Note that this article may contain advertisements placed on the website

You may enjoy my ebook, Destroy These False Gods: 101 False Gods To Destroy Before They Destroy You.

“Never look for right in the other man, but never cease to be right yourself. We are always looking for justice; the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is — Never look for justice, but never cease to give it.”
My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers

Is Your Reality Real?
There are people and tools that can create and distort any reality, or what we believe is reality. Think of movies largely constructed of special effects and video games. (Can you name any movie or commercial that doesn’t have “special effects”?-scary) Think of how emotions can be inflamed or doused. Think of artificially produced “reality” shows. But mostly think about how truths can be distorted into lies, and lies into truths. Are you living in true reality or a manufactured one, being manipulated by someone for their own selfish purpose?

What personal armor is shielding you from untruths? 

The other side of the reality coin is this: are you projecting your true self or an artificial one? Is your personal armor also cloaking your true self from others?

Read Who Do You Trust?

God Is Not Human
God is not human, not like a man. Our weaknesses should not be imposed upon Him. 

Numbers 23:19
God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill?

Trivialize God And You Trivialize Yourself
God created mankind in his own image (Genesis 1:27)

Three Questions About God
In times of doubt, fear, pain, vulnerability-when we need help-we may ask these three questions about God:

Can God do anything?
Will God do anything?
What will God do?

The response, as it so often is in the Bible, is not a direct answer but a redirection from ourselves to God. 

Psalm 25 is one such answer. Here are several key phrases:

Put your trust in God (and not yourself, others, or things)
Show me your ways (not mine)
Teach and guide me
Fear (respect, hold with awe) the Lord
Relieve the troubles of my heart
Guard and rescue me, give me refuge
Let hope protect me through integrity and uprightness

Is this the answer you expect or the answer you need?