5/24/22 – Understanding

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. Our own understanding is smaller than a grain of sand and is as simple as a sheep’s compared to our Lord’s understanding. The hard part about leaning on His is that we cannot see. We have only to trust. And if our trust has been broken a time or 2, this is even more difficult. Do it anyway. Trust in His unfailing word, in His immeasurable understanding, and in His ultimate wisdom. The rewards are there waiting. (Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:5; The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:130)

5/23/22 – Heavy

My heart is heavy as I read the book of Amos this morning. Amos was called to deliver an important message to the people of Israel. Amos wasn’t a noble or priestly man but only worked as a breeder of sheep and as a tender of fruit. His call, similar to that of Jonah, was to warn Israel of its coming destruction. God had had enough of their disobedience, lawlessness, and unrighteous living. Look around you now. Listen up. If you think human hands generated these plagues from which we’re suffering, think again. If you think this current financial crisis originated from the human mind, think again. If you think these food shortages were caused by human negligence, think again. God has had enough, and His judgment on the West is here. (The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent…Acts 17:30; For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 2 Corinthians 7:10)

5/22/22 – Introvert

I was embarrassed today. I should’ve been the one to reach out, however what I was doing and how I was feeling at that moment was more important than introducing myself. Introverts are known to use that very label as an excuse to avoid confrontation of any kind. I’m an introvert; therefore I have difficulty asserting myself. No excuse. As introverted Christians, quiet and reserved, we have the Holy Spirit inside us but forfeit opportunities to lead, to welcome newbies, or to offer a timely compliment. It’s more difficult for introverts, but a few butterflies and a little upper-lip sweat is worth the blessing we’ll receive if we’ll only step out and do what’s uncomfortable. How about we forget our introversion for a second and see if we’re not blessed too? (… but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4; Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak. Exodus 4:12)

5/21/22 – List

Seeking the kingdom of God FIRST assures us peace, joy, and fulfillment while living out our days on this earth. Most times, however, seeking God’s kingdom is either 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or perhaps not even on the list at all. We have it backwards so often, as we decide which job we will have, to which person we should be married, or where we should live BEFORE seeking God’s kingdom. A right relationship to Him, that is, living in obedience to His word is a promise that all the added things on our list will come to us naturally and will be right. There is no need to be anxious about anything if seeking God’s kingdom is number one. (But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33; Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6)

5/20/22 – Tethered

Leave it to social media to get us all riled up. We are so connected or dare I say, addicted to it that our schedule, our mood, and even our beliefs are tethered to it like a dog on a leash. There’s nothing wrong with social media unless we allow it to control us. Checking it isn’t a bad thing unless we’re more connected to it than we are to the Bible. Social media becomes a bad thing when plan our lives around it. If we want to know the truth about what’s going to happen in the future, the Bible has it all mapped out. You won’t find any propaganda within its pages. Let’s get connected or dare I say, tethered to it instead. (Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Matthew 24:35; So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11)

5/18/22 – Bait

We follow certain people on social media because we’re starved for their privileged information. The bait is all the same. Secrets now unveiled. Classified claims radically revealed. Shocking insider information finally released. All SM influencers use these fat, juicy worms to hook us. I was caught just last night. Remember; the SM influencer has bills to pay. He or she might have an attention deficit. Hearing or seeing the words, Like, Subscribe, and Share this Video is a sure way to sense an influencer’s motives. It’s clear they want something other than to divulge their info. In these end times, the worms of attraction can distract us from the real and true information the Bible offers. (For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12; Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105)

5/17/22 – Caught

Are you doing things in secret hoping nobody ever finds out? Are you cheating? Are you stealing? Are you a Peeping Tom operating from your top-secret mission control throne room? Are you planning to carry out some act of lawlessness? God said in His word, Be sure your sins will find you out. You will be caught. No matter how smart you perceive yourself to be, there is always someone who’s smarter. No matter how calculating, even some of the wisest get sloppy. Sins you thought were buried deeply in the ground will someday be resurrected. Friends, one little mistake causes it all to fall. Picture the game, Jenga. All the wood pieces are neatly stacked into a tall tower. As each piece is removed, the foundation becomes faulty. It takes only one to bring it all down. Remember. God sees what you’re doing and He doesn’t like it. It’s only a matter of time. (The iniquities of a wicked man entrap him; the cords of his sin entangle him. Proverbs 5:22; …and you know all our sins, even those we do in secret. Psalm 90:8)

5/16/22 – Insight

Have you ever felt desperate to know the unknowable? My friend was once so eager that he made an appointment with a prophetess (mediums disguised as Christians). To establish her credibility early on, she told him things about himself that she couldn’t possibly have known. What a set-up. She then told him of future events regarding him and his family. Folks, the devil and his minions know a lot about everybody. They operate through these fakes. Be discerning! Seek only the Holy Spirit’s insight on everything rolling into and out your life. In desperate times, it’s easy to slip incognito into the local psychic’s reading room, play a hand of tarot, and peer into the crystal ball rather then to wait until the Lord blesses you with His true and perfect insight. (And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? Isaiah 8:19; So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse. 1 Chronicles 10:13-14)

5/15/22 – Wisdom

The book of Proverbs in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible is my go-to for wisdom. Asking the creator of wisdom itself for the same wisdom He gave to Solomon and Daniel is my prayer, because everything I say and do comes from it. In my asking, however, there are some things I must do. By humbling myself and repenting of my wicked and self-centered ways, God promised He would hear me and would give me a liberal portion of His wisdom. Imagine receiving something of more valuable than gold or silver in exchange for obedience. Unfortunately, for most people, it’s not worth all the pain bowing down in full surrender would deliver. It’s not worth sacrificing short-term losses in exchange for long-term gains. Where’s the wisdom in that? (Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Proverbs 4:6-7; Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. Proverbs 3:13-14)

5/14/22 – Fit

Because we operate in a fast food society, keeping ourselves fit is an exercise in futility at times. With our full calendars spilling over, we hustle to the local food truck and polish off a pizza within minutes, the faster the better. Pretty soon, we’re poking another hole in our belt to accommodate our waistline’s new expansion program. Similarly, if we feed our spiritual life with only a meme, a verse, and a tiny prayer every now and then, we’ll end up starving, just in time for disaster. Keeping physically fit is denying the body the fast food it craves and then feeding it with healthy foods and daily exercise. Keeping spiritually fit is denying the body the sin it craves and then feeding it with the acts of obedience and complete reliance on God. (Therefore, beloved, since we have these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that defiles body and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1; Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2)

5/13/22 – Idol

Anything to which or to whom we give priority other than Jesus is our idol. It’s hard in these end times to focus only on Him. I am guilty at this very moment. The devil is at work more than ever before because he knows his time is short. You, like me, probably have family, friends, a home, a job, investments, concerns regarding money and your health, or your appearance, social media, the news media, or a schedule that requires focus. If anything is more important than obeying Jesus it is an idol. What does the Bible say about idolatry? The first of the 10 commandments condemns the worship of anything or anyone other than the Lord God of Israel. The New Testament says that those who participate in any form of idolatry will not enter the kingdom of God. (…idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:20-21;Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5)

5/12/22 – Pity

I pity those who are grieving. I pity those who are experiencing sickness. I pity those who are at war. But mostly, I pity those opting for an eternity in hell and some don’t even know it. Folks, it’s almost over, this end-time season. You’re behind 11-7 with only a minute left. It’s the difference between your winning and losing. Are you sure you’re going to heaven? Are you sure your name will be found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? Or will Jesus say to you, Depart from me; I never knew you.? What does He mean, I never knew you? As the creator of all life, we thought He knew everybody. Think of it this way. We all know many people but aren’t invited to the wedding. We don’t give gifts to everyone we know. We’re sad when we hear about the death of a friend’s nephew, but we don’t attend the funeral. (Then I will tell them plainly; ‘I never knew you; depart from me… Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.…Matthew 7:23; But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 21:27)

5/11/22 – Stakes

If the stakes are high, that is, if things go wrong, you won’t simply lose; you lose a lot. In this world, the stakes are highest. You’re either saved with Jesus or doomed with the devil. As you’re reading this word, you’re either headed for heaven or hell; there’s no in-between. A few weeks ago, my friend’s ex informed her that he was definitely going to hell and was looking forward to it. The more evil, the better, he said. Folks, that man is a fool. It’s not a gathering spot for like-minded friends to meet up, have a drink at the bar, and to feast on nachos and naked women. He is right about one thing, however; it is evil. Hell is a place of extreme agony and torment that lasts for eternity. Our capacity to imagine it is limited but reading the book of Revelation will enlighten even the most ignorant. (And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. Mark 9:43; Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. Jude v7)

5/10/22 – Initiative

God has been urging me to take the initiative on the unsettled. Since my spirit has been camping out in a nomad village for about a year, hanging around and kicking the can down the street, the time has come; it’s time to move on. The Holy Spirit has made the call, and now I must take action. God will not leave Heaven to pack my bags, lift them into the truck, and move them to a new place. After we’re saved, an act that only God can do, we also expect Him to stop us from lying. We want Him to blind our eyes to things we shouldn’t see, to stop our hand from reaching for the bottle, and to keep our feet from following evil. God will not do for us what we are capable of doing for ourselves. The acquisition of good character and good habits is on our own To-Do List, not His. (For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge…2 Peter 1:5; An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. Proverbs 18:15)

5/6/22 – Standard

We’re all following somebody. Even leaders follow. Check the lists on social media and you’ll see. If Jesus had a following list, there’d be only one name on it. God. Relationship: Father. If we as Christ-followers would only follow Jesus, if we would copy everything He did, we’d have all we’d ever need. Why don’t we? It’s because we enjoy our sin too much. Really. Isn’t that it? If we followed Jesus’ model exclusively, we’d have to give up those sins that calm our nerves, those sins that get us out of a jam. We’d have to stop our sin of jealousy. We’d have to give up our lust for sex, money, and food. We’d have to refrain from anger at inopportune moments. In our pride and self-sufficiency, we opt for the world’s standard. Not good. (Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2; For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 1 John 2:16)

5/5/22 – Know

Do you really know? You envision it, you plan for it, but do you really believe? Acting as if it has already happened is a start. Do you have that much faith? In the unseen? It’s hope and belief mixed with action that gets you up off the couch. Whatever it is for which you hope, your inaction causes that hope to be deferred. Lying in bed hoping someone will come knocking on your door to hand you a set of keys to a new car probably isn’t going to happen. Hoping without a little action on your part is no good. Are you confident in what the Lord has shown you? Now, what are you going to do about it? It’s both. Knowing and doing. (But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:25; Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12)

5/4/22 – Connection

Making a connection is a good thing when you’re an electrician or if flying from Detroit to Hawaii. It’s a bad thing when accidentally touching a live wire or when missing the LA to Honolulu leg. I’m reminded of the time I agreed to go on a blind date that turned out to be a complete disconnect. Seeking a connection to something or someone on any level can be a slight risk, but not connecting at all is worse. As Christians, prayer is our direct connection to God. Without it, we lose power, arrive late or not at all, and waste the precious time it takes to get it right. (Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:16-17; Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26)

5/3/22 – Seconds

Having seconds isn’t usually a good idea at mealtime. If our portion was adequate the first time around, then our stomach is satisfied. Not full perhaps, but content. Wait 15 minutes before dipping into a second helping. Let your stomach rest and walk away from the table. When making XL decisions, the same is almost always true concerning our thoughts. Recall having them for a moment; these second thoughts are often the devil’s ploy to get us to renege on a God-sized opportunity. Second thoughts, while not terrible, can leave us feeling wishy-washy; we appear weak and we lack confidence. These doubts leave us feeling XS and timid. If we follow through on a decision, even if it’s wrong, we made one and we learn. Double-portion! (But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:6; Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. 1 Corinthians 4:2) 

5/2/22 – Sure

When I was a little girl, my dad and I would walk hand-in-hand into the store and he’d allow me to choose one treasure. Aisle after aisle, item after item, and after much scrutiny, I’d narrow it down and hand it over. He would always ask, Are you sure that’s what you want? I was never totally sure, but on the ride home as I sat admiring my selection, the rejected treasures smiled, waved goodbye, and rode off into the sunset. I am at a crossroads again where my choosing is much more challenging. Almost nothing is sure these days, as what I hope for is unseen. I am, however confident about one thing. He Who began a good work in me will carry it on to its completion until Jesus comes. When you know, you know. I must remember, however that the devil is in the details. (Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:24-25; And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6)

5/1/22 – Fallow

It’s nearing planting season in my neck of the woods. If I do it right, if I cultivate the fallow soil first and then, plant, fertilize, and water the seeds that will actually germinate, I will enjoy a burst of hearty vegetation a season of proper planting brings. Tilling the soil is a must, as planting on fallow ground won’t cut it. We all have good soil underneath our calloused and crippled exteriors. God said it was so on day 6 of creation. But since sin entered in, that good soil may have become fallow ground. Reaping a blue-ribbon harvest is impossible, as the seeds of morality, prayer, and Bible study only bake on the hardened and cracked soil. If we don’t turn over our fallow ground, repent of our sin, and pitch the debris, it is unlikely our seeds will produce anything. (Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns. Jeremiah 4:3; Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap in mercy; break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you. Hosea 10:12)

4/30/22 – Indecision

If you’re fiddling around kicking the tires or you’re puttering on the forest floor like a hungry deer, you’re unsettled. You know a change is needed, but feeling stuck, you’re overwhelmed. You’re alone and you’re tired. It’s cold, and it’s dark; it’s time to go. Somewhere. It’s time to do something. This indecision and listlessness in your spirit is a hotbed for fear, anxiety, and insecurity to take root. But how beautiful, glorious even, is that moment, when you know, you know. There’s nothing like it really. When the light has broken through and you finally see it clearly, the sigh of relief, your resolution cry can be heard for miles. A load is lifted. Moving forward, if only in baby steps, is light and sanity for your soul. Now, get a move on! (The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. Exodus 14:15-16; “The Lord our God said to us in Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain.’ Deuteronomy 1:6)

4/29/22 – Feelings

Often times, we make decisions based on how we feel in the moment. In seasons of uncertainty, when we’re grappling with fear, laden with grief, or burning with anger, we just want to know. Right then. But God asks us to trust him with the timing. It’s like He’s saying, Hold on there, or a Whoa, boy. When we base decisions on our feelings, we generally make wrong ones. Feelings are so wishy-washy, here today and gone tomorrow. Surrendering both our will and our feelings to God assures us that at least we can catch our breath and weigh all the possibilities. If we could stay still until the fierce winds die down, the answer will come. We’ll know what to do and when to do it. Trust Him. He already knows. (The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. Lamentations 3:5; But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7)

4/28/22 – Sacrifice

Some Christians participate in the 40-day sacrificial period of Lent in preparation to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter. While there’s certainly no harm in abstaining from certain foods or activities during Lent, it’s not what God would choose. His first choice for us is always obedience, not for 40 days, 60 days, or 200 days, but everyday. To obey is better than to sacrifice. Once the decision to give up your right to yourself is made, your obedience will become as natural as breathing or as easy as reading words on a page. Once we choose to obey God, sacrifice is nothing. (To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. Proverbs 21:3; For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:16-17)

4/27/22 – Receive

Then why ask? The Lord knows what we need when we need it; why bother pestering Him about it? We don’t fully understand this act of prayer. Scripturally, we know we won’t receive because we don’t ask or because we ask amiss. Often, we are not fully surrendered to Him; we ask while we continue clinging to bad habits or ungodly people. Logically, we ask because we want or need something we can in no way provide for ourselves. I believe God wants a close relationship with His children. That’s why He says, Ask. Instead of living day-by-day hoping for it, we ask for His guidance. He will always do what He has planned regardless, but it’s the relationship He desires. Ironically, when we are close to Him, we will stop asking because we trust Him so much that whatever comes or doesn’t come is what is good and perfect. It’s one of those mysteries we may never fully understand until we see Him, and it’s okay. (Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4; But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33)

4/26/22 – Row

Life is but a dream. For whatever reason, the lyrics of the old children’s song, Row, Row, Row Your Boat appeared on the horizon of my mind this morning. What did the lyricist mean, life is but a dream? You are the captain of your own vessel; you decide your own destiny and the means by which you arrive. The song suggests that you row through life gently, happily, without allowing anger or any other negative emotion to come aboard. It’s the stuff of which dreams at sea are made. Folks, it’s calm and quixotic until it isn’t. Bad things happen out on the water. What then? Are you prepared? Do you have a destination in mind, or are you simply rowing and drifting along to nowhere accepting what comes? If your ultimate dream isn’t heaven and if the Lord, Jesus Christ, isn’t your captain, you’re already lost at sea. (Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10; For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. Luke 19:10)

4/25/22 – Life

As I walked into the hospital room, my aunt’s smile suddenly grew arms that wrapped around me. She had fainted earlier that day; the EMS scooped her up, and as a precaution, transported her to the emergency room where she was masked, registered, confined, and monitored while awaiting sentencing. Since most inmates wear the same ugly blue gown, an IV, a blood pressure cuff, and a heart monitor, it’s hard to tell which ones are critical and which aren’t. I had never seen her in the hospital before, but because she looks so much like my mother, it wasn’t such a shock to me. She began to rattle off reasons to be released immediately, for the upcoming tests weren’t necessary. Since her life, like ours is but a vapor, a mist, here today and then gone, we need to be sure of the after whenever it arrives because we never know what a day will bring forth. (Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Proverbs 27:1; You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. James 4:14)

4/23/22 – Obedience

Mostly, I’m a rule-follower. If I’m asked to wear a particular type of clothing to an event, I wear it. If I don’t have it, I borrow or buy it. There are, however, times when I’m tempted to walk the line. If the rule is presented without a compelling reason to obey it, I sometimes question it and tiptoe across its boundary hoping nobody sees me. Aren’t we all that way at times with the commands God has set forth? All He wants is obedience. No justifications, no negotiations, no sacrifices. Just obedience. When He said, Don’t lie, He meant don’t ever lie. A half-truth is a whole lie. When He said, Don’t steal, He meant for us to keep our hands off something that doesn’t belong to us. These commands were established for our benefit and not for our punishment. Play it out. Count the cost of disobedience before having to pay an arm and a leg. (Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. Psalm 128:1; Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. 1 John 3:24) 

4/22/22 – Quiet

If, after making several attempts to contact someone, you receive no response, there is a reason. You’ve punched in the wrong number, or how about these gut-splitting possibilities? You’re blocked or being ignored. Read the room. The other person has no desire to communicate for whatever reason. Be quiet and let it be. Allowing your anger to boil over and your blood pressure to reach record highs is no good. Also remember that unnecessary investigation killed the cat. The test of your mental and spiritual health depends on your response to this rejection. What affect did rejection have on Jesus? Because He knew He was completely loved and accepted by His Father and was only focused on His end goal, He had nothing to prove to anyone; the affects of rejection were minuscule in comparison. If only we could be like Him, to accept things as they are and move forward, His peace would fill the holes. (And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Matthew 10:14; …forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:13-14)

4/21/22 – Opposite

I say that I trust God for everything, but then I worry that my family is headed for disaster. I say I trust God for everything, yet I am afraid that the money won’t come in time. I say that I trust God for everything, but when handed the diagnosis, I am crippled with anxiety. I say that I trust God, except that I crumble at the passing of someone I love . Do I really trust that God is in complete control of everything? He says, Let not your heart be troubled, yet my heart is troubled. He says, Do not be anxious, yet I am anxious. He says, Fear not, for I am with you, yet I am laden with fear. It’s my saying, I trust You, when I really don’t or I’m not afraid, when I really am that hurts the Lord. My actions are the opposite of my words. If I could grasp and hang onto the truth that, in this world, I will have trouble, but Christ has already overcome it, I might need a timeout, but I’d always be at peace. There’s a difference. (And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? Matthew 6:27; “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1)

4/20/22 – Give

Just to be clear from the start, I’m preaching to myself today. If you’re on the payroll, whether in business for yourself or working for someone else, your goal is to have, to receive. You sell your goods and/or your knowledge to receive. Giving is only a means to receive. If you aren’t receiving that for which you bargained, you exit stage right or you start something new. If making, spending, and saving money is the goal, you aren’t giving for nothing. Volunteering, on the other hand, is doing or giving expecting nothing in return, except for maybe a pat on the back or an atta-boy every now and then. Check your motives. Why do you donate items or help out at the soup kitchen? Why do you give of your time to a particular organization? Why do you financially support that non-profit? To receive recognition? To acquire another tax deduction? To sooth your conscience? To fill the void of loneliness? Or maybe you don’t give at all. I don’t know which is worse. (Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16; For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21)

4/19/22 – Crisis

Have you recently encountered or survived a crisis? Maybe it was the death of someone close to you, a failed relationship, an unwelcomed medical diagnosis, a sudden financial upset, or a combination. The recovery is often much longer and more painful than the term of the crisis itself. If you’re currently walking through this dense fog alone, that is, if the word of God is not your guide, your sustenance, your strength, or your counselor, you could be tempted to settle by seeking ungodly means of wisdom, comfort, and support. If you could only discern before making your choices, that some, whether subtle or obvious, are clever and specific temptations set up by the devil whose end goal is to kill you. His best works are created during a crisis. Remember; it’s your response to it that determines the final outcome after the dust settles. Are you completely fulfilled and content with the choices you’ve already made? There’s still time to make changes until there isn’t. (Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. Jeremiah 17:14; And give no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:27)

4/18/22 – Grants

And the Lord, Who hears our prayers for strength, wisdom, clarity, understanding, discernment, and insight grants in abundance that which we need to advance the Kingdom of God. If these words are resonating with you, I invite you to pray this prayer: “Thank you, Lord, for granting my requests. But when Your answer is no or when it is slow in coming, help me to trust your timing and your plan, for they are perfect as You are. Though I trust You, Your ways are beyond my understanding. Sometimes I feel as weak and defenseless as the doe losing sight of its mother. Don’t let me make a sound until the way is clear. Hedge me about. Shield me from my enemies who seek to destroy me. Show me the way today. I am listening and watching.” (Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3; If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5)

4/16/22 – Persistent

Because you don’t succeed at something for which you are fully qualified doesn’t mean you can’t. Be persistent. Go at it again. Allowing your mistakes to determine your destiny is death. Fix them and carry on. As Christ-followers, defeat is something we simply won’t accept. The devil’s darts of inadequacy, incapability, and ineffectiveness fire from all sides as he would like nothing more than for us to crumble under the insurmountable pressure; our cowering and quitting is his only objective in this fierce battle between good and evil. If we could only remember in the heat of it that with Christall things are possible. We are already well equipped, unashamed, approved, and able to defeat the devil’s wicked agenda and to continue on with Christ’s. (But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded. 2 Chronicles 15:7; When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7)

4/15/22 – Died

Today is Good Friday, a Christian holiday that commemorates the death of Jesus Christ. Until recently, I always wondered why this day is labeled as good. How is it good that a bunch of savage, ruthless Romans were permitted to brutally beat a sinless man, nail His hands and feet to a wooden cross, and leave Him hanging there suffocating in the blistering heat of the Middle Eastern sun? It’s only good because it fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. It’s only good because God’s plan to redeem the entire human race from the bondage of sin was flawlessly and prophetically executed. It’s only good because Jesus’ death bridged the gap between God’s wrath and His mercy, and therefore, between God and me. It’s all good. Thank you, Jesus! (Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5; He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24)

4/14/22 – Complain

Have you listened to yourself lately? When someone asks how you’re doing, what is your response most often? An acquaintance of mine always says I’m tired, so I’ve since stopped asking. I think I’d fall over dead if he said, I’m rested and feeling really well! Are the words coming from your mouth mostly words of complaint about this or that? Granted. It’s easy to complain these days. It’s normal to feel and to proclaim the size of your overwhelming financial, relational, and medical pressures to anyone who’ll listen. But Jesus wants you to come to Him, to take His yoke upon you. Wouldn’t it be better to depend on His strength than to complain about not having any of your own? (And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10; Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30)

4/13/22 – Collapse

The Bible says that the heavy weight of guilt from his sin could’ve caused David’s bones to collapse. Have you ever felt that kind pain? I have. It feels like a terrible case of the flu that you don’t have or the pain of a boulder on your chest minus the boulder. Guilt is an intense heaviness generated by the Holy Spirit if you’re a Christ-follower. If you’re sinning on a regular basis without these feelings of guilt, it’s likely your heart has become hardened. Like the pharaoh in the Old Testament, God has perhaps hardened your heart to accomplish His purposes in you or through you. In either case, you’re in a dangerous place, my friend, and you don’t even know it. Pray, read your Bible, and pray some more. (They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. Ephesians 4:8; Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity. Proverbs 28:13-14)

4/12/22 – Fullness

We cannot experience the fullness of God until we decide to throw our sin in the incinerator once and for all. Cast it out and burn it up. What is the fullness of God and why would we want it? When we have trusted Jesus Christ as our savior, the Holy Spirit enters our body. He begins to counsel us. He teaches us. He helps us in our weaknesses. He reveals the sin in us. He is the source of wisdom and power. He tells us the truth about others and ourselves. He reveals the mysteries of God. He prays for us. The Holy Spirit in us is our proof, our seal that we have been adopted into God’s family. Once the Spirit is given to us, He remains unhindered, uninhibited until sin enters in. Yes, we will sin as Christ-followers, as it is still in our nature from the beginning, but we won’t continue in it. We cannot. It is the habitual sin in us that wages the war. We say we want to stop, but we cannot. I say, we will not. No amount of human counseling will stop the insanity. It is only when we decide to cleanse ourselves and agree that sin will absolutely not have dominion that we will finally begin to experience God’s fullness, His power, His peace that passes all human understanding, and His joy in the midst of pain and grief. Why would we not want these things? Is our sin that much more gratifying? For a moment perhaps, but then what? (But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. John 16:13; So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh…The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5: 16; 19-21)

4/11/22 – Wrong

Say it. Lay aside your fears and say it. Don’t keep your beliefs and convictions about controversial topics hidden. If any act goes against what the Bible says, voice your opinion, either with your mouth or by your written word. In these end times, what used to be wrong is now right, and what used to be right is now wrong. Can’t you see it? Look at how the devil has manipulated and convinced even the most decorated religious people to abandon the truths of the Bible to hitch a ride on the You-do-you train. I’m so tired of hearing this phrase, I could scream! No! We aren’t to do whatever we want to do and no, we aren’t to be okay with people who do whatever they want to do. If the Bible says, no, it’s NO. Taking the life of an unborn baby is wrong. Homosexuality is wrong. Sex before marriage is wrong. Lying is wrong. Cheating is wrong. Dishonoring parents is wrong. Why can’t we say it? (For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10; 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)

4/8/22 – Gift

The gift to all who’ve truly been born again means we have been gifted the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God, the helper, the comforter, lives inside us. We are made holy because the Spirit is holy. The evidence of this Spirit in us is our obedience to God. That’s why you may hear preachers and watchmen alike say that it will be surprising on the day Christ returns for His people. Only those people who truly possess the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth. These end-times birth pains are increasing with such intensity; surely, the day is drawing near. Ready yourself. You know what you must to do. Make the necessary changes, lest you are left behind. (“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17; But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…Galatians 5:22-23) 

4/7/22 – Thoughts

Until I choose to think about things that are lovely, pure, honorable, just, and excellent, I will be overcome with the problems of this world. There is no other way around it. It is my thought life that determines my state of mind. How do I get victory over my mind? I must not forget that I’m in control of it. If I’m thumbing through the pages of social media day and night, I’m sure to run head-on into deadly roadblocks set up exclusively for me by the devil. He has stalked and charted me since day-one and is unmatched at predicting my next move. As long as I’m fully aware of his tactics and am armored up, I’m more apt to shun the distractions set before me in time to put them behind me. (Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2; For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6)

4/6/22 – Reveal

My intense desire of late is for God to reveal to me what I don’t yet know, but He will not until I am ready. I cannot receive until the Holy Spirit shows me. It is His prerogative; He knows if I’m spiritually mature enough to handle a revelation. I’d like to think I could be trusted right now. It’s also entirely possible that He has already revealed things to me and because I’m still choosing to party in the land of self-absorption, I sabotage the reveal. Open my eyes, Lord, to see the things You want me to see, to hear the things You want me to hear, and to do the things You want me to do. I ask that You prepare my heart to receive all you have for me today, in Jesus name, Amen. (And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. Matthew 16:1-3; And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Acts 9:5)

4/5/22 – Agony

It’s not only an intense pain, but agony is the prolonged and extreme suffering brought on by certain events whether mental or physical. I have experienced this kind of pain; have you? Think of times in your life when it was like moving a mountain to make it out of bed. The struggle was real and almost unbearable. Perhaps you’re feeling that way now. Let’s look at the way in which Jesus experienced agony while in the garden during the last hours of His life. So excruciating was it that drops of blood oozed from His pores. It wasn’t the fear of man or the pain of His pre-determined torment and death on the cross over which He agonized. No, for it was His purpose from the beginning. He agonized because He would soon bear His Father’s fury against the sin of all humanity so you and I could be free. (But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:12; In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7) 

4/4/22 – Initiates

God initiates the darkness in our lives. Now, why would He do that when we’ve given our lives to Him? There’s usually some sin in us that needs to be yanked out by the root. We often think that the devil is behind our darkness. But remember? God is sovereign. He either initiates or allows both the light and the darkness. If you find yourself groping about in some darkness today, know that you’re there for a reason. Mostly, you know why. But when you don’t, pray. Ask Him. Sing praises to Him. Worship Him. Tell Him that He is the way when there seems to be no way. Tell Him that you trust Him because He has the final say. Often, once you’ve truly worshipped Him in your darkness a while, a sliver of light will interrupt it, you’ll move toward it, and you’ll find your peace walking into the fullness of it. (Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12; And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16)

4/2/22 – Please

There’s a fine line between doing what I want to do and doing what I should do regardless of my wants. Am I doing or saying the thing to please someone else’s wants and needs or am I doing or saying the thing to please God? Pleasing myself shouldn’t be in the equation at all. If I am a true Christ-follower, He is the one whom I must please. His Holy Spirit has given me access to all of the discernment I’ll ever need in order to see things clearly. But in the fog of distraction, the devil has cleverly set a trap. I must wait for the all-clear before venturing out. When the fog lifts, and it will, I’ll know what to do or not do, say or not say at the right time. If I believe and trust God, I can believe and trust His Holy Spirit as well. (For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10; The fear of man lays a trap, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. Proverbs 29:25)

4/1/22 – Ahead

It is so much like a toddler to run ahead of his parents when in a shopping situation. If he is allowed out of the confines of the cart for one minute, he is running off by himself into the unknown exploring all the store has to offer while his parents are drowning in fear and anxiety. As God’s children, we do the same thing. When we run ahead of Him, we get lost. We get ourselves into all sorts of trouble. It’s best to stay close to our Father, to hold His almighty hand while walking through this troubled, old world. He knows the way. He knows what’s ahead. Heed His direction and remain near. His word is strong. It is truth and light in this present darkness. (Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105; For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12)

3/31/22 – Delay

We’ve been waiting so long. It seems we’ve been at this same station for years waiting for a train that never comes. Day after day, we sit on the bench watching, hoping to hear the distant squeal of the wheels on the rails or the shrill whistle signaling its soon arrival. Nothing. Losing all hope, the impatient ones leave the station and settle for something less. Others of us know that the best is close or afar off; it matters none, so we remain and we wait for it. Though He tarries, wait for Him. (I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:13-14; But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7)

3/30/22 – Explain

Let me explain. It is absurd to explain our sinful actions to the Lord. We spout off justification after justification regarding the reasons we chose to lie, cheat, gossip, or steal. As if the Lord doesn’t know why we did a thing. As if the Lord doesn’t understand our way of thinking that led to the incident. But I was just so…we say to the One who made our mind, hoping to sidestep the consequences. Christ-followers do it all the time. We blame, we deny, and we minimize. The minute we start explaining by using any of these tactics, the guarantee is that we’ll never stop explaining. (For godly sorrow produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly sorrow produces death. 2 Corinthians 7:10; Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Proverbs 28:13)

3/29/22 – Careful

If you’re not careful to examine that person to whom you’re connected, to whom you’re listening, in whom you’re confiding, you both could end up in the ditch. Our relationships should not be haphazard. Sometimes, we are blinded by our need for companionship, money, and security. Because we allow nice people into our lives to satisfy our needs doesn’t mean we should. The world is full of nice people, some even claiming to be Christ-followers; but their vehicle in which you’re riding is faulty. It looks clean and shiny on the outside, but its guts are laden with rust. It’s really only a matter of time until you’ll need a tow. (Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a ditch.” Matthew 15:14; Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; Revelation 18:4)

3/28/22 – Error

I hate receiving error messages, mostly because I’m afraid I can’t fix whatever’s wrong. But at least, I’m notified. Life is overflowing with error messages, either digital ones from our devices or even worse, spiritual ones from God. In order to receive error messages from the Holy Spirit, we have to be within range. If we haven’t been praying or reading God’s word, we won’t see or hear any messages at all. Before long, we’ll be in too deep where the spiritual pings of discernment can’t reach. (For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12; Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them. Hosea 14:9)

3/26/22 – Performance

One of the most dangerous lies we can believe about ourselves is the performance lie. We, who grew up with a performance mentality continue trying harder, not necessarily to fulfill our calling but to help ourselves feel better. In order to feel valued, we believe the lie that our value depends on what we do and how we do it. I recall what my mother used to say to me. Look what you could’ve been if you’d practiced more. Like what? A concert pianist performing at Carnegie Hall? What if that’s not my purpose? Not the point here…the aim of this post is to persuade you to change your thinking. You no longer have to believe the devil’s lie that you’re not good enough. Because I believed it for so long, I missed out on some great opportunities. I now know God’s truth about me:  I’m good enough because of what Christ has done in my life. Better late than never. (For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13; And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6)

3/25/22 – Sinner

Just because I’m a Christ-follower, doesn’t mean I don’t sin. I become easily annoyed if I don’t agree politically and morally. Be angry and sin not. I engage in gossip. For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. My impatience grows as I drive down the highway of slow motorists. With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love. I can be unkind when my expectations are unmet. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. I overindulge when a feast is set before me. So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. I withhold money from those who are needy. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. I lie to protect myself. A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin. I desire what someone else has. Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. I’m sure I’ve missed something. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

3/24/22 – Schedule

We eat, we work, we play, and then we sleep. From the crib to the coffin, people typically require some sort of schedule or daily plan in order to maintain stellar blood pressure readings. I know that if I don’t eat before work, my focus is on food and not on my work. If a workout is missing from the lineup, I’m more tired. If I don’t schedule private time with the Lord, my focus is on deadlines and difficulties and not on the Person Who has control of it all. It’s ironic that He is the reason we’re still living on this earth, yet we don’t think He’s important enough to allow Him access into our daily grind. (But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33; 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) 

3/22/22 – Emotions

Uncontrolled emotions can kill us, perhaps not in the physical, although not out of the realm of possibility but certainly in regard to our present mental and emotional state. Allowing our emotions to guide us is to either follow them straight onto the mountaintop of contentment, peace, and joy, or into the abyss of shame, lust, depression, and finally, loss. While these emotions of ours are not good or bad, nor right or wrong, it’s the way in which we act upon them that determines the outcome. Our actions and not our emotions are the producers of right and wrong in us. If these emotions, this heap of kindling on the ground is unlit, there is no fire. The question then remains; do we need a fire or don’t we? Should we ignite it or shouldn’t we? If we could only take the time, at that critical moment, to play it out to the very end, there would be no need to call the fire department. (A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. Proverbs 25:28; Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8)

3/21/22 Death

How serious are you about getting rid of the sin in your life? I’m not talking about what the psychologists and counselors call “white-knuckling” it until the next time it bites you. I’m talking about issuing it a death certificate. I’m talking about crucifying it, once and for all, like Christ did on the cross. Are you THAT serious about it? What’s it going to take for you to do THAT? To finally kill it at its root? Do the hard thing before God does. You may suffer in the interim, but the rewards are so great that you will likely forget all about that thing you used to do or that person you used to know. (I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20; Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…Hebrews 12:1)

3/19/22 – Walk

Just to get some fresh air and to clear my head, I began walking during the pandemic of 2020. Then, I bought the shoes, as I quickly discovered that mine didn’t quite cut it. In the beginning, after the first mile, I struggled to keep going, but after pushing myself to go a little further each day and believing that the more I walked, the more I could walk without fainting, little by little, the trails and I became friends. Setbacks? Yes, of course there were. Blisters, sickness, family pressures, and weather conditions prevented me from venturing out on certain days, but I didn’t quit. Walking became a lifestyle and not a destination. It’s a little picture of the life of a Christ-follower, as it’s more about walking straight on without fainting, and less about an eagle experience now and then. (Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4; I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7)

3/18/22 – Claim

When you hand your coat to the attendant, you receive a claim ticket in order to retrieve it at the end of the night. That ticket matches the one on your coat assuring that you receive yours and not someone else’s. If you have believed and trusted in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, He has a claim on your life; you belong to Him. As a husband having a claim on his wife and a wife on her husband, God also expects certain things. He wants obedience from you. He wants communion with you. He wants sanctification in you. But because He loves you, He gives you the free will to choose whether or not to give Him those things He desires. We may see surrender as loss, restraint, or confinement. On the contrary, when we decide to surrender our will to Him, it actually frees us to experience peace in the midst of the storm and joy in the midst of pain. (Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2; Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16)

3/17/22 – Backwards

If I find, after spending hours sewing a future garment’s pieces together, one of the sleeves is on backwards, I have two choices. I can leave it hoping nobody notices or I can rip it out and sew it correctly. Only in a designer competition would anybody notice the backward sleeve, but in truth, one backward sleeve is uncomfortable to wear. A garment that hinders my ability to move about in comfort will remain on the hanger. In quite the same way, I’ve sewn what I thought was the Christian life into myself backwards. Instead of first surrendering to God to do with me as He pleases, I give to the needy and volunteer my time and talents to serve others in hopes that God is pleased with me. It might feel okay at first, but like the garment with the backward sleeve, my serving will likely end early. In all of my doing, if my ambition is anything other than to please God, I sew in vain. (I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5; Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5)

3/16/22 – Penalty

The penalty for pulling another player’s face mask in the game of football is a 15-yard setback. Players are fully aware of the cost, but some pull it regardless. In our lives, we know sin is wrong, but we just can’t help ourselves. We curse at the driver who cut us off. We lie to our spouse or to our boss. That player wanted to bring his opponent down with such vigor and determination that the consequence was many yards away from his logical realm of thinking. To say he didn’t mean to pull it or that it was an accident is absurd. He did mean to pull it or he wouldn’t have done it. Most people do what they want to do. And the worst penalty of all is that they get used to their sin of choice, and they no longer realize it as such. It eventually becomes as normal as passing a football. (Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. Galatians 6:7; For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11)

3/15/22 – Dismayed

Pastors and teachers of the Holy Bible use this word on occasion, but does anybody in your circle use it in everyday conversation? God used it to remind the children of Israel that He was with them wherever they went. They were not to fear or to be dismayed. Alarmed. Surprised. Caught off guard. Troubled. Anxious. In these end times, we sometimes find ourselves crowding into scary arenas with other fearful people. Why? Because we don’t know the future as it relates to everyday living on the earth. With wars and rumors swirling and no guarantees that we’ll be exempt, we worry. But if we are prepared, there is no need to be dismayed; rather, we look forward. We are living in exciting times! If we are ready, we wait with eager anticipation at the soon return of Jesus Christ. (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 41:10; What then shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31)

3/14/22 – Concede

To concede is the act of giving in. It is yielding or surrendering one’s will to continue fighting. It is stopping in order to move forward. To concede is to finally admit defeat. The weaker nation remains in war until every last citizen is either captured or killed. The weaker candidate remains in the race until the final votes are tallied. The addict remains a slave to his lusts until the final blow. Why do we wait so long to concede? This act of conceding is the enemy of the sin of pride and is one of the most difficult things a human being will ever do. It’s in waving the white flag of surrender to our pride and saying, I cannot continue on my own without help, that we free ourselves from self-inflicted slavery. Until we concede that we are in need of the Holy Spirit’s help, our pride will continue to put up its dukes to protect our lusts for fame, money, sex, and power. (And He said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23; And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24)

3/11/22 – Barren

What good is a fruit tree that bears no fruit? If you’re a fruit-grower expecting fruitful earnings at harvest time, you’re apt to cut it down and plant another in its place; it is only a disappointment. Jesus felt the same about the barren fig tree as he passed by it. Hungry from traveling all day and needing nourishment, He’d hoped to snag a fig from the tree. Finding only leaves and no fruit, He became angry and thereby cursed that fig tree for its barrenness. Do you find that a rather harsh punishment? It’s important to know the context here. The fig tree is symbolic of the nation of Israel. Simply, Jesus was sick of their religiosity; that is, they were spiritually barren, worshipping their rules and glorifying their traditions but lacking the thing that really mattered: A truly changed heart. (And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once. Matthew 21:19; Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Matthew 7:19)

3/10/22 – Message

We send and receive many messages during the day, some welcomed, some not. Think of it for a minute. Think of the many devices you use to send a message. Hands down, the most popular is the cell phone. A few of us still use it to talk to another person audibly! But what about those messages you send when you don’t answer, when you don’t respond? In reality, you communicated a message on a completely different level. If I’m honest, it feels like that with God sometimes. I pray, but He is silent. Now what? Do I stop praying or do I continue baring my soul? (O Yahweh, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you ‘Violence!’ and you will not save?” Habakkuk 1:2; My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46)

3/9/22 – Others

No matter how much we want others to think as we think, to do as we do, to say what we say, and to believe as we believe, it is out of our control. We can protest, promote, and prescribe all day, but at the end of it, people will do what they want to do. They may offer excuses for staying, buying, looking, and going, but they do what they want to do. We shake our healthy heads and stomp our godly feet at the adverse actions of others, but because their hearts are hardened, their ears cannot hear and their eyes cannot see. No amount of human persuasion can soften a stony heart. Only the prayers of righteous saints and the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit can draw a person and then change him. Now, what are you going to do? (Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16; But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13)

3/8/22 – Surprise

After an unexpected delayed-flight notice topped with the TSA’s shocking search of my Coffeemate powdered creamer, I’m back home, safe and sound. I’ve returned from my 4-day vacation relatively unharmed. Being on the receiving end of a surprise can be either good or bad depending on our perspective; but one thing is certain. A surprise always catches us off-guard whether we end up feeling content, confused, overjoyed, or forlorn. One to which I’m most eager to witness is the surprise return of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Ever wonder how you’ll feel when the trumpet sounds? Will you even hear it? (For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:44)

3/3/22 – Departure

I am leaving on a jet plane tonight. I know where I’m headed, as I made all of the arrangements beforehand. I did what everybody does; I decided where and when to go, purchased my ticket, packed my bags, and made arrangements for someone to meet me on the other side. Trips don’t just happen. They are meticulously tabulated with regard to prices, schedules, and availability. When things align, the angels sing. Mine’s all set, and now, I await my evening departure. Similarly, I’ve planned for my final departure from this earth. I may not have tidied up the trust and gotten it notarized and filed with the courts just yet, but more importantly, I know where I’m going after my final breath. Even though I don’t know the pre-determined departure date and time, I’m know I’m going to heaven when I die. I know my final destination. Do you? Some people have a little time to decide at the last minute, but some don’t. You could end up leaving in an instant, without a moment’s notice. (“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16; Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9)

3/2/22 – Request

I am humbled when someone prays for me over the phone, but because I’ve been in this negative situation for so long, the pray-er’s voice over the airwaves often reminds me of loud, obnoxious brass or a band of clanging cymbals. Yeah, yeah, yeah, is what I was thinking last night. Because the Lord hasn’t answered my request about this certain thing, to be blunt here, I had no hope that He would fix it. Have you been there? Waiting for this or that and nothing happens? For months and even years you’ve been clicking your fingernails one-by-one on the waiting table. Well, last night, the Lord granted my friend’s request. This blog post is a testament that He does hear. He does answer in His time and in His way. Persist, and praise the Lord! (Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1)

2/28/22 – Settle

Settle down and give everything back to the Lord. Hand over your troubles, anxieties, and disappointments. Set each concern in His mighty hand and say aloud, Not my will, but Yours be done. Read His letter and allow all of your worrying and panic to peter out. When you do this, peace settles in. The joy of your salvation calms the storms of this life. You are going to heaven! Remember this today: He is in charge. He is in control. Nothing happens without His agreement. Settle your thoughts on these things and be free. (“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  Matthew 6:25-27; Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7)

2/27/22 – Past

Sometimes it’s difficult to keep the past in the past. When trying to negotiate new behaviors and policies with the perpetrator, the victim often refers to the past and is unable to envision or to accept a better, more equitable plan. Because the perpetrator is in violation, trust has been broken. A sure way to know what he will do in the future is to look at his past. Until his pride has been broken, and until he has surrendered his old ways and is set entirely anew, recreated by the grace of God, his past will remain a true reflection of his present and beyond; hence, a tree is known by the fruit it bears. (No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God…1 John 3: 9-10; A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Matthew 7:18)

2/26/22 – Faith

The problem with skeptics is that they don’t believe many things that they cannot see, feel, touch, or hear. Because they can’t see it, it’s too good to be true, or because they can’t prove it, the idea is dismissed. Faith, at this juncture, is as good as dead. What is faith anyway? It’s having confidence or belief in someone or something. It’s trusting that something will happen without first seeing or proving it. Do you have it? Do you have faith in anything or in anyone besides yourself? The woman at the well in Jesus’ day, because of many bad experiences and negative outcomes, had faith only in herself until she met Him. Jesus had come to the well lacking anything with which to draw water, so she presumed He was clueless. Why would anyone come to the well empty-handed? How would He get water without a bucket? After a few bits of conversation, the woman realized it was she who was clueless. (And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6; Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10)

2/25/22 – Knowledge

The tech-savvy geniuses of the world are continually seeking new and easier ways to get the same results with less work. Technology is advancing at breakneck speeds and is producing the unimaginable like never before. With the push of a button, a package appears on our doorstep. On our phones, we can see the person with whom we’re speaking. Are robots the new butlers, bartenders, and busboys in your town? On a major news network, Michelle was interviewed just this morning as she concocted a mixed drink for a patron in Miami. She has completely replaced Rita, the human being. Granted, robotic machines in factories have been replacing humans for years, but now these metal mechanisms have heads, hair, and other humanlike body parts. Interestingly, the heart has been excluded. That seems to me a fairly important part to omit, does it you? Maybe Michelle should go and see the wizard. (But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” Daniel 12:4; He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. Matthew 16:2-3)

2/24/22 – Divided

At the time of this writing, war has become breaking news in America. Although not currently directly affected by it, America is in a tough spot, as we have received a threat; if we come to the aid of the alliance, there will be serious consequences. This threat comes as no surprise since the enemy sees America as severely divided; she has skyrocketing debt and is crippled by soaring inflation and a weak administration. It leaves us wondering if America will be next. The Bible says that a house divided against itself cannot stand. So, do we lay down our pride and suddenly support those for whom we have such reproach, in whom we have no trust? How? Is it too late for America? Maybe, but it’s not too late for you. While you still have time, repent and accept Jesus Christ as your savior, for this deteriorating, old world is not your home. (If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. Mark 3:24-25; “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34)

2/22/22 – Victory

If you’ve watched any type of news, you must know something is coming. At the time of this writing, inflation is about to win the gold, with rumors of war, pestilence, gender identity, critical race theory, human trafficking, climate change, and the great reset not far behind. When you look closely, you’ll notice that the same evil person is coaching all these deadly competitors. It appears that the devil is in the lead, but make no mistake; the One Who’s really in control behind the scenes wins it all in the end. If you’ve not already donned your dancing shoes, make the necessary changes before it’s too late. (I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33; the horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord. Proverbs 21:31) 

2/21/22 – Runaway

I’m running away. How many movies have you watched and books have you read about a runaway? That is, the protagonist is either on the run from the law, opportunities, or a relationship. As a youngster, you may have even planned a runaway event of your own. Or maybe you’re a runaway now. Running away is based on guilt and fear. You might not know why you’re running except that you are no longer able cope and simply must escape your situation despite the cost. Like Jonah in the Bible, we run from God because we don’t agree with what He’s asking of us. We might be afraid we’ll look bad or that we will be asked to give up the sin that we love so much. We run from Him because we’re afraid of impending punishment. Sooner or later though, our legs will grow tired. We’ll need to sit down and rest for a moment while we weigh it all out. But the truth is that until we lay down our heavy load of pride, we’ll be on the run forever. (But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. Jonah 1:3; Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:7-10)

2/17/22 – Promise

When God promises something to His followers, He always delivers, but it’s more of the If-and-Then scenario. If you do that, I will do this. The IFS are the determining factor in the delivery of His promises. But the ball is in our court. Isaiah says it plainly in chapter 58 of the Holy Bible. Israel was acting holy before the Lord but really only pleasing themselves and going through the motions; their hearts were far from the Lord. That’s how it is with me at times. How I really feel is displayed in my actions. It’s what I DO, and not what I say, or on whose posts to which I add a like. I say I love God, but I don’t give food to the hungry. I don’t give shelter to the homeless. I don’t provide clothing to those having none. If someone is sick, I don’t call. In other words, I pursue my own selfish interests. Is that how it is with you too? (“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:34-40)

2/16/22 – Camera

What a gift our eyes are to us. Without spouting off the scientific gobbledygook regarding the eye (I mean no offense to the scientists seeing this post), think of the magnificence of it. Professor Anthony Goodman MD of Montana State University says that the eye is like a camera capturing a photograph. The data from that image transfer along the optic nerve to the brain (like transferring files via a memory stick), and the brain then downloads and makes sense of the information (like opening a photo on your computer). Like everything else, the devil’s intention is to turn what God meant for good into bad, so it’s a good idea to be careful what you allow your eyes to see. Why? Because you can’t un-see something. You can’t un-see what your brain instantly absorbs from any type of media or activity. It’s in there, like a photo stored on a hard-drive; it’s filed away for future use. (“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! Matthew 6:22-23; So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31)

2/15/22 – Avoid

Generally speaking, people avoid news of potential war, imminent inflation, or any other type of negativity that would invade carefully planned daily activities. People also avoid topics regarding the end of time. They say things like, Stop. You’re scaring me, and I don’t want the end to come, as I want to get married and have children first. The younger a person, the more they desire to linger here on Earth; I know, as I used to feel the same way. In fact, the only time I thought of heaven at all was when my dad died or when the pastor was talking about it in church, and even then, it wasn’t of much interest to me, as I already had a beautiful home. To me, gates of pearl and streets of gold seemed like a gaudy way of decorating. Besides, I had things to do with people I loved. I wanted nothing more than for church to end so I could get on with my day. I get it. I remember. Nevertheless, whether young or old, married or not, interested or not, Jesus is coming back for His church at some point in the future. It’s not really about you and what you want or don’t want. Just be sure you’re ready. (For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 1 Thessalonians 5:2; Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:44)

2/14/22 – Think

I know this is true. I know that my thoughts determine the day’s outcome. I’d love to stop obsessing about so-and-so or such-and-such. I pray and ask for God’s help. While He’s certainly able to remove things and people from my mind in an instant, it’s really best if I learn to change the thinking that has become a rut in my road. But because I’ve chosen it day after day, I naturally settle into it. It’s the easier road because it’s familiar, but it’s worn. It’s broken. It’s hard on my tires. I’ve traveled this road so furiously at times that it will take a whole crew of patchers to fill the holes. No. To stop the insanity, I must do the filling or choose another route. (Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8; You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3)

2/13/22 – Silence

I was patronizing a unique store for the home while vacationing last weekend when an interesting table accessory snatched my attention. Its message was simple, typed (as on an old Smith-Corona machine) on cotton rag paper, and set behind the glass of a gold-rimmed picture-frame. Silence is luxurious. Yes. It is. I envisioned a snow-laden wintery night. A study cubicle at the library. An empty church auditorium. The house after the children have gone to sleep. The drive home after an argument. When I am lonely. Silence is luxurious except when it isn’t. When I feel that God is silent, I immediately assume that it’s probably my fault; that is, I’ve done something wrong. Or maybe He simply tires of my trying to get information that I don’t need. It’s entirely possible that He is speaking to me, but I can’t hear. Nevertheless, I keep on until this un-luxurious silence is broken. (Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. 1 Samuel 3:10; But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray. Luke 5:15-16)

2/9/22 – No

Many times, I feel that my answer, no, needs an explanation tacked on, lest I be presumed as unkind or cold. But I must remember that no, while negative and less-than in nature is an acceptable answer to a question. It may not be what people want to hear, but it is a valid answer. Do you want to go? No, without explanation should suffice. A side-note: Men are generally better at saying no than women. Regardless, decide, and say it. Be deliberate and without apology. Add-on explanations are not necessarily bad but certainly are not a requirement. The Lord, Jesus, is our perfect teacher, as He was deliberate in all of His answers to all of the questions asked of Him. People didn’t necessarily like no for an answer, but if He said, no, no was no. He didn’t apologize, wasn’t afraid, and best of all, He could be trusted. (Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. Matthew 5:37; Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Proverbs 18:21)

2/9/22 – Questions

I don’t know about you, but when I’m flailing out on the ocean waves, when I can’t seem to find answers to life’s biggest questions, in order to save myself from drowning, I must grab onto the word of God; it’s everything I need out there in the vast unknown. All the answers to every question life throws at me are in there. I only have to search for them like I’d search for sunken treasure. Sometimes the answer is there within minutes, and at other times, it’s days or weeks before I find it. But what is so beautiful about the search is that, because I’ve memorized portions of it, sometimes those treasures simply come to me at just the right time. (“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11; Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105)

2/8/22 – Next

As the pandemic appears to nearing the finish line here in the states, what’s the next big ticket item at the starting gate? What agenda will take its place? With wars and rumors of war headlining, will it be WW3? Will it be climate change, an even larger push of the color green? How about the ongoing volatility in the stock market? Crypto currency? Then, I ask this question. Does any of it really matter in light of eternity? Besides the continued fulfillment of Bible prophesy and the soon return of Jesus, no. The only race in which we should be investing our time and energy is the certainty of our own salvation in these end times and in the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s it. How’s it going? (Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:44; “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Matthew 7:21-22)

2/7/22 – Center

Since the new age movement and other eastern religions have included this word in their vision statements from time to time, I debated whether or not to use it here. When I’m off kilter, that is, when I’m not feeling well, if I’m in a rift with someone, or if other distractions have become my focus, it manifests itself in the quality of my health and well-being. It used to take longer to realize how off-center I was, but these days, I am more in tune to the Holy Spirit. In order to remain content in my current situation, I must adjust myself back to Jesus. He must be my center. He seems to say, Look at Me, and Come to Me. When I sense these words, I know I need rest or to be alone with Him. In the midst of all the people and projects competing for my attention, Jesus must be my center, my rest, and my burden carrier. My contentment is found nowhere but in Him. (Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2; if then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1)

2/4/22 – Fog

Hmm…I’m not really sure about that. I have my doubts. I’m 50/50 on it. It could go either way. I’m not enjoying this getaway on the island of uncertainty, a melancholy playground where fog is the daily prediction. The ocean is out there somewhere playing with the sun, but I can’t see either of them. Sweater or jacket, maybe neither, I can’t decide. How I landed here is also in question, as I usually know what to do and where I’m headed. While I’m stuck in this place, I’ll pray and to get into God’s word; it is there, in His presence, that the fog lifts and the temperatures moderate. His voice breaks through the clouds of doubt and disillusionment. You know, I think I’d better head home now; my plane is waiting…(But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31; O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble. Isaiah 33:2)

3/8/22 – Surprise

After an unexpected delayed flight notice topped with the TSA’s shocking search of my Coffeemate powdered creamer, I’m back home, safe and sound. I’ve returned from my 4-day vacation relatively unharmed. Being on the receiving end of a surprise can be either good or bad depending on our perspective; but one thing is certain. It always catches us off-guard whether we end up feeling content, confused, overjoyed, or forlorn. One surprise to which I’m most eager to witness is the return of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Ever wonder how you’ll feel when the trumpet sounds? (For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:44)

3/3/22 – Departure

I am leaving on a jet plane tonight. I know where I’m headed, as I made all of the arrangements beforehand. I did what everybody does; I decided where and when to go, purchased my ticket, packed my bags, and made arrangements for someone to meet me on the other side. Trips don’t just happen. They are meticulously tabulated with regard to prices, schedules, and availability. When things align, it becomes a reality. Mine’s all set, and now, I await my evening departure. Similarly, I’ve planned for my final departure from this earth. I may not have tidied up the trust and gotten it notarized and filed with the courts just yet, but more importantly, I know where I’m going after my final breath. Even though I don’t know the pre-determined departure date and time, I’m know I’m going to heaven when I die. I know my final destination. Do you? Some people have a little time to decide at the last minute, but some don’t. You could end up leaving in an instant, without a moment’s notice. (“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16; Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9)

3/2/22 – Request

I am humbled when someone prays for me over the phone, but because I’ve been in this negative situation for so long, the pray-er’s voice over the airwaves often reminds me of loud, obnoxious brass or a band of clanging cymbals. Yeah, yeah, yeah, is what I was thinking last night. Because the Lord hasn’t answered my request about this certain thing, to be blunt here, I had no hope that He would fix it. Have you been there? Waiting for this or that and nothing happens? For months and even years you’ve been clicking your fingernails one-by-one on the waiting table. Well, last night, the Lord granted my friend’s request. This blog post is a testament that He does hear. He does answer in His time and in His way. Persist, and praise the Lord! (Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1)

2/28/22 – Settle

Settle down and give everything back to the Lord. Hand over your troubles, anxieties, and disappointments. Set each concern in His mighty hand and say aloud, Not my will, but Yours be done. Read His letter and allow all of your worrying and panic to peter out. When you do this, peace settles in. The joy of your salvation calms the storms of this life. You are going to heaven! Remember this today: He is in charge. He is in control. Nothing happens without His agreement. Settle your thoughts on these things and be free. (“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  Matthew 6:25-27; Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7)

2/27/22 – Past

Sometimes it’s difficult to keep the past in the past. When trying to negotiate new behaviors and policies with the perpetrator, the victim often refers to the past and is unable to envision or to accept a better, more equitable plan. Because this person has violated an agreement, trust has been broken. A sure way to know what he will do in the future is to look at his past. Until his pride has been broken, and until he has surrendered his old ways and is set entirely anew, recreated by the grace of God, his past will remain a true reflection of his future; hence, a tree is known by the fruit it bears. (No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God…1 John 3: 9-10; A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Matthew 7:18)

2/26/22 – Faith

The problem with skeptics is that they don’t believe many things. Because they can’t see it, it’s too good to be true, or because they can’t prove it, the idea is dismissed. Faith, at this juncture, is as good as dead. What is faith anyway? It’s having confidence or belief in someone or something. It’s trusting that something will happen without first seeing or proving it. Do you have it? Do you have faith in anything or in anyone besides yourself? The woman at the well in Jesus’ day, because of many bad experiences and negative outcomes, had faith only in herself until she met Him. Jesus had come to the well without anything with which to draw water, so she presumed He was clueless. Why would anyone come to the well empty-handed? How would He get water without a bucket? After a few bits of conversation, the woman realized it was she who was clueless. (And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6; Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10)

2/25/22 – Knowledge

The tech-savvy geniuses of the world are continually seeking new and easier ways to get the same results with less work. Technology is advancing at breakneck speeds and is producing the unimaginable like never before. With the push of a button, a package appears on our doorstep. On our phones, we can see the person with whom we’re speaking. Are robots the new butlers, bartenders, and busboys in your town? On a major news network, Michelle was interviewed just this morning as she concocted a mixed drink for a patron in Miami. She has completely replaced Rita, the human being. Granted, robotic machines in factories have been replacing humans for years, but now these metal mechanisms have heads, hair, and other humanlike body parts. Interestingly, the heart has been excluded. That seems to me a fairly important part to omit, does it you? Maybe Michelle should go and see the wizard. (But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” Daniel 12:4; He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. Matthew 16:2-3)

2/24/22 – Divided

At the time of this writing, war has become breaking news in America. Although not currently directly affected by it, America is in a tough spot, as we have received a threat; if we come to the aid of the alliance, there will be serious consequences. This threat comes as no surprise since the enemy sees America as severely divided; she has skyrocketing debt and is crippled by soaring inflation and a weak administration. It leaves us wondering if America will be next. The Bible says that a house divided against itself cannot stand. So, do we lay down our pride and suddenly support those for whom we have such reproach, in whom we have no trust? How? Is it too late for America? Maybe, but it’s not too late for you. While you still have time, repent and accept Jesus Christ as your savior, for this deteriorating, old world is not your home. (If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. Mark 3:24-25; “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34)

2/22/22 – Victory

If you’ve watched any type of news, you must know something is coming. At the time of this writing, inflation is about to win the gold, with rumors of war, pestilence, gender identity, critical race theory, human trafficking, climate change, and the great reset not far behind. When you look closely, you’ll notice that the same evil person is coaching all these deadly competitors. It appears that the devil is in the lead, but make no mistake; the One Who’s really in control behind the scenes wins it all in the end. If you’ve not already donned your dancing shoes, make the necessary changes before it’s too late. (I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33; the horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord. Proverbs 21:31) 

2/21/22 – Runaway

I’m running away. How many movies have you watched and books have you read about a runaway? That is, the protagonist is either on the run from the law, opportunities, or a relationship. As a youngster, you may have even planned a runaway event of your own. Or maybe you’re a runaway now. Running away is based on guilt and fear. You might not know why you’re running, except that you are no longer able cope and simply must escape your situation despite the cost. Like Jonah in the Bible, we run from God because we don’t agree with what He’s asking of us. We might be afraid we’ll look bad or that we will be asked to give up the sin that we love so much. We run from Him because we’re afraid of impending punishment. Sooner or later though, our legs will get tired. We’ll need to sit down and rest for a moment while we weigh it all out. But the truth is that until we lay down our heavy load of pride, we’ll be on the run forever. (But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. Jonah 1:3; Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:7-10)

2/17/22 – Promise

When God promises something to His followers, He always delivers, but it’s more of the If-and-Then scenario. If you do that, I will do this. The IFS are the determining factor in the delivery of His promises. But the ball is in our court. Isaiah says it plainly in chapter 58 of the Holy Bible. Israel was acting holy before the Lord but really only pleasing themselves and going through the motions; their hearts were far from the Lord. That’s how it is with me at times. How I really feel is displayed in my actions, that is, what I DO, and not in what I say. I say I love God, but I don’t give food to the hungry. I don’t give shelter to the homeless. I don’t provide clothing to those who have none. If someone is sick, I don’t reach out to him or her. In other words, I pursue my own selfish interests. Is that how it is with you too? (“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:34-40)

2/16/22 – Camera

What a gift our eyes are to us. Without spouting off the scientific gobbledygook regarding the eye (I mean no offense to the scientists seeing this post), think of the magnificence of it. Professor Anthony Goodman MD of Montana State University says that the eye is like a camera capturing a photograph. The data from that image transfer along the optic nerve to the brain (like transferring files via a memory stick), and the brain then downloads and makes sense of the information (like opening a photo on your computer). Like everything else, the devil’s intention is to turn what God meant for good into bad, so it’s a good idea to be careful what you allow your eyes to see. Why? Because you can’t un-see something. You can’t un-see what your brain instantly absorbs from any type of media or activity. It’s in there, like a photo stored on a hard-drive; it’s filed away for future use. (“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! Matthew 6:22-23; So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31)

2/15/22 – Avoid

Generally speaking, people avoid news of potential war, imminent inflation, or any other type of negativity that could invade carefully planned daily activities. People also put a bag over their head regarding the end of time. They say things like, Stop. You’re scaring me, and I don’t want the end to come, as I want to get married and have children first. The younger a person is, the more they desire to linger here on Earth; I know, as I used to feel the same way. In fact, the only time I ever thought of heaven was when my dad died or when the pastor was talking about it in church, and even then, it wasn’t of much interest to me, as I already had a beautiful home. To me, gates of pearl and streets of gold seemed like a gaudy way of decorating. Besides, I had things to do with people I loved. I wanted the pastor to stop talking so I could get on with my day. I get it. I remember. Nevertheless, whether young or old, married or not, interested or not, Jesus is coming back for His church at some point in the future. It’s not really about you and what you want or don’t want. Just be sure you’re ready. (For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 1 Thessalonians 5:2; Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:44)

2/14/22 – Think

I know this is true. I know that my thoughts determine the day’s outcome. I’d love to stop obsessing about so-and-so or such-and-such. I pray and ask for God’s help. While He’s certainly able to remove things and people from my mind in an instant, it’s really best if I learn to change the thinking that has become a rut in my road. But because I’ve chosen it day after day, I naturally settle into it. It’s the easier road because it’s familiar, but it’s worn. It’s broken. It’s hard on my tires. I’ve traveled this road so furiously at times that it will take a whole crew of patchers to fill the holes. No. To stop the insanity, I must do the filling or choose another route. (Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8; You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3)

2/13/22 – Silence

I was patronizing a unique store for the home while vacationing last weekend when an interesting table accessory snatched my attention. Its message was simple, typed (as on an old Smith-Corona machine) on cotton rag paper, and set behind the glass of a gold-rimmed picture-frame. Silence is luxurious. Yes. It is. I envisioned a snow-laden wintery night. A study cubicle at the library. An empty church auditorium. The house after the children have gone to sleep. The drive home after an argument. Times when I am lonely. Silence is luxurious except when it isn’t. When I feel that God is silent, I immediately assume that it’s probably my fault; that is, I’ve done something wrong. Or maybe He simply tires of my trying to acquire information that I don’t need. It’s entirely possible that He is speaking to me, but I can’t hear. Nevertheless, I keep on until this un-luxurious silence is broken. (Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. 1 Samuel 3:10; But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray. Luke 5:15-16)

2/9/22 – No

Many times, I feel that my answer, no, needs an explanation tacked on, lest I be presumed as unkind or cold. But I must remember that no, while negative and less-than in nature is an acceptable answer to a question. It may not be what people want to hear, but it is a valid answer. Do you want to go? No, without explanation should suffice. A side-note: Men are generally better at saying no than women. Regardless, decide and say it. Be deliberate and without apology. Add-on explanations are not necessarily bad but certainly are not a requirement. The Lord, Jesus, is our perfect teacher, as He was deliberate in all of His answers to all of the questions asked of Him. People didn’t necessarily like no for an answer, but if He said, no, no was no. He didn’t apologize, wasn’t afraid, and best of all, He could be trusted. (Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. Matthew 5:37; Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Proverbs 18:21)

2/9/22 – Questions

I don’t know about you, but when I’m flailing out on the ocean waves, when I can’t seem to find answers to life’s biggest questions, in order to save myself from drowning, I must grab onto the word of God; it’s everything I need out there in the vast unknown. All the answers to every question life throws at me are in there. I only have to search for them like I’d search for sunken treasure. Sometimes the answer is there within minutes, and at other times, it’s days or weeks before I find it. But what is so beautiful about the search is that, because I’ve memorized portions of it, sometimes those treasures simply come to me at just the right time. (“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11; Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105)

2/8/22 – Next

As the pandemic appears to nearing the finish line here in the states, what’s the next big ticket item at the starting gate? What agenda will take its place? With wars and rumors of war headlining, will it be WW3? Will it be climate change, an even larger push of the color green? How about the ongoing volatility in the stock market? Crypto currency? Then, I ask this question. Does any of it really matter in light of eternity? Besides the continued fulfillment of Bible prophesy and the soon return of Jesus, no. The only race in which we should be investing our time and energy is the certainty of our own salvation in these end times and in the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s it. How’s it going? (Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:44; “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Matthew 7:21-22)

2/7/22 – Center

Since the new age movement and other eastern religions have included this word in their vision statements from time to time, I debated whether or not to use it here. When I’m off kilter, that is, when I’m not feeling well, if I’m in a rift with someone, or if other distractions have become my focus, it manifests itself in the quality of my health and well-being. It used to take longer to realize how off-center I was, but these days, I am more in tune to the Holy Spirit. In order to remain content in my current situation, I must adjust myself back to Jesus. He must be my center. He seems to say, Look at Me, and Come to Me. When I sense these words, I know I need rest or to be alone with Him. In the midst of all the people and projects competing for my attention, Jesus must be my center, my rest, and my burden carrier. My contentment is found nowhere but in Him. (Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2; if then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1)

2/4/22 – Fog

Hmm…I’m not really sure about that. I have my doubts. I’m 50/50 on it. It could go either way. I’m not enjoying this getaway on the island of uncertainty, a melancholy playground where fog is the daily prediction. The ocean is out there somewhere playing with the sun, but I can’t see either of them. Sweater or jacket, maybe neither, I can’t decide. How I landed here is also in question, as I usually know what to do and where I’m headed. While I’m stuck in this place, I’ll pray and to get into God’s word; it is there, in His presence, that the fog lifts and the temperatures moderate. His voice breaks through the clouds of doubt and disillusionment. You know, I think I’d better head home now; my plane is waiting…(But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31; O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble. Isaiah 33:2)