1/19/23 – Faithfulness

In my effort to avoid mediocrity at all costs, I sit here and write another Word for Today entry. When I began this blog back in 2020, I was determined to produce a website that would allow me to express myself and also one that would help others identify issues needing to be addressed. I have been faithful to it, writing mostly everyday and only taking the necessary breaks. My relationship to my Heavenly Father is quite similar to my relationship with my blog. It has its ups and downs, but not Him. He is always faithful to me, every moment of everyday; I am in His capable hands. Thank you, Lord for your faithfulness. (The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23; He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24)

1/18/23 – Mediocrity

Doing a shoddy job just to get things done, to check the box, robs us of a real prize. The sale of a home, a fully risen loaf of bread, or the snagging of the Newberry Award for excellence in children’s literature are a few examples. Why won’t we take the time to clear the clutter, measure the ingredients properly, or fine-tune the plot, grammar, and the characterization? The word that slaps me again and again is mediocrity. Instead of asking, Is this the best I can do? I often times decide, It’s okay the way it is. This character trait of mediocrity stands between success and me more times than I want to admit. No sale, a puny loaf of bread, or the letter of rejection from the publisher are all outcomes that I don’t desire. So why do I settle? Because I am impatient. Impatience most always breeds mediocrity. In this new year, I have vowed to my Heavenly Father to make this matter of mediocrity a thing of the past. (A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. Proverbs 10:4; Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. Ecclesiastes 9:10)

1/17/23 – Drive

Drive. Ambition. Motivation. Do these words describe your character? Do you do whatever it takes to get the job done, to make your dreams a reality? I think of Richard Branson, a dyslexic and rather awkward boy growing up in the 60’s. He might have been labeled the least likely to succeed by his professors in school, but this man, because of his drive and complete dedication to his values, achieved much more in his life than anybody would hope to achieve in 5 lifetimes. I believe it wasn’t because he wanted to be rich. It was because he believed in certain things so desperately that if he didn’t attempt them, he’d have probably died. Granted, most of us don’t have that much determination, or we’d all be rich and famous. But we can ask for it, can’t we? Drive? Motivation? We can ask God for His wisdom and ambition, the kind that created everything from nothing. We can ask for the wisdom and determination that his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ had when he was alive. He had one mission, one goal and accomplished it no matter the obstacles in His way. I don’t know about you, but I want that. (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; Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Proverbs 19:20)

1/14/23 – Intrusion

The act of moving in on something without having an invitation to do so is the act of intrusion. An invasion, trespassing, a breach, an encroachment; these actions inflict negative emotions on the one(s) receiving it. Intrusions come in many different forms but the result is the same. We want to shout, Get out! and You’re not wanted here! Sometimes we have control of the outcome, and sometimes we don’t. The one truly controlling the outcome is our Heavenly Father. If only we believed it. If only we had confidence in Him to deliver us from evil. We ask Him for deliverance, and then we worry. What peace we would experience instead of the ghastly anxiety that paralyzes and finally brings us down. The funny thing is, when He does deliver, we forget we even asked. We don’t thank Him, and we might even, in all our pride, take the credit. 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; Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Hebrews 5:6-7)

1/5/23 – Intruders

Our daily routine is so predictable, isn’t it? Most of us get up, eat breakfast, go to work, eat lunch, work some more, come home, eat dinner, watch something, sleep, and then we start all over. But what happens when an intruder breaks into our ordinary life? What if some injury, some sickness, or some relational issue runs interference? This unexpected and unwanted interruption is so irritating. We are down. We are out. Laid up. Unavailable. And what if we can’t get a break? Over and over we are faced with one negative event after another. When does this crazy ride stop so that we can get off? It’s hard to have faith when no end is in sight, when the hits just keep on coming. The guy operating the ride just won’t push the button. It’s in these times we must trust. He’s going to push it. We just don’t know when. We must change our thinking. We must learn from it. We must believe that it won’t last forever. We must have confidence that something new, something refreshing, and something glorious will come. (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; Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19)

1/4/23 – Resolution

I recall the lyrics of the familiar tune from The Sound of Music: Brown paper packages tied up with string…it is the season for packages, and more were mounting up underneath my Christmas tree by the minute. I guess I bought too much once againWhy do I buy so much at Christmas time? Is that what Christmas is really about? Gift-giving? I mean, I guess it is. And it’s about family, friends, food, and most importantly, the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Some people believe that lighting up the Christmas tree is a pagan ritual that began long ago. And that giving the gifts piled up underneath it is a form of idolatry. Whatever your belief, it’s over, and a new year has arrived in a package of its own. What will you do with it? (“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:9-21; 

12/20/22 – Reminder

It’s like a clay pot having been dropped. We may have faith that our super glue of choice will do its job, but the reminder of our mishap is always visible to us. Others may have no idea unless we show them, but to us, it’s as vast as the San Andres Fault. Although our pot may hold the liquid once again, we are reminded of the incident if we choose to look closely enough. We can only hope the liquid doesn’t seep through during the dinner event. But we can’t be sure. Not totally. Because we lack knowledge concerning the nature of clay and the science behind it, we wonder. Like that clay we all are broken, but we trust that God can put us back together. Our glued fractures, our scars are a reminder of what we once were. We can inspect them if we want to, but why? Let them be. They’re part of who we are now. (Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:7; He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3)

12/15/22 – Unknown

Sometimes, the only way to know the seriousness of an injury or sudden change in the status of our health is to have an x-ray or some other test that makes the unknown, known. It’s the not knowing that fills us with so much anxiety. It’s in the darkness this anxiety breeds and then multiplies. The future is like that. We can’t see into it no matter the quality of the psychic’s crystal ball. No cards with pictures can ever reveal whether or not we’re headed for the grave or the end of a relationship. And don’t depend on a board game to help you glean knowledge from a dead person. The unknown is simply that. Some things we just can’t know ahead of time. The most important thing in life, however, can be. Your home in the afterlife. And folks, there are only 2 places. We can know where we’re going after we breathe our last breath on this earth. Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and asking Him to be our savior is all we need to do to get into heaven. What are you going to do? Time is running out. (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; Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26)

12/11/22 – Opponent

In most cases, your most dreaded opponent in the relationship Olympics of life is you. You often blame other people in your circle for your losses and unhappiness, when in reality you qualified for the wrong events. Jumping to conclusions without gathering all the facts is number one. Cycling through your unchangeable past is next. Perhaps you dive into situations that aren’t any of your business. Are you swimming in cesspools of gossip, guilt, and regret? Do you wrestle with jealousy and envy? Until you see yourself as your only opponent, the one you’re competing against, the exhilaration of receiving the gold, silver, or even the bronze will be far out of reach. (Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29; I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day… 2 Timothy 4:7-8)

12/6/22 – Chain

Whose chain is binding you, holding you prisoner? Most times, it belongs to you. You choose to wrap it around yourself, lock yourself up, and then misplace the key. A friend recently asked me to pray for him. I assume he meant that he wanted me to ask God to free him. My question is: What is he doing to free himself? If a person wants to break free badly enough, he can. Just get the key, open it up, and let that heavy metal fall. It’s that simple. Only it’s the packing up while chained that has one huffing and puffing. It’s the cutting of the soul ties that makes one bleed. But once we catch our breath, once we clean and bandage the wounds, the healing can begin. That heavy chain becomes like bread dough. The trouble is, we’d rather it be thick and made of metal. (So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31; 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)

12/5/22 – Sleep

Sleep is a strange phenomenon isn’t it? Thinking about your body entering a sedentary state for a number of hours in a row can create a lot of questions. What happens during this shutdown? Why do we sleep? Why is this time of unconsciousness so important? Why can we not escape it without severe consequences to our health? In the book of Genesis, God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. It was so deep that he had no recollection that God had removed of one of his ribs in order to create his future wife. Have you ever slept that deeply? Perhaps only in a surgical situation while under the influence of anesthesia, or perhaps you were in a coma from some sort of accident. Sleep is so important that God mentions the necessity of it all over the scriptures. We need rest. All of us. And this need is inescapable. If you’re lying awake night after night, seek help right away. (So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. Genesis 2:21; For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” At this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me. Jeremiah 31:25-26)

11/16/22 – Force

You cannot force relationships and receive lasting happiness. You may feel good for a little while, but my friends, you cannot control anybody but yourself. If someone is unable to respond to you for whatever reason, get in your car and move on. Let that person be. Your hand may want to reach for your phone again and again to call or text, but if that person isn’t ready to receive, you only hurt yourself by the follow-through. She’ll come around or she won’t. He’ll reach out or he won’t. The one who’ll never leave you hanging is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is in complete control of every situation. Trust Him. If it’s His will that you receive, you’ll receive. He knows what you need, what is good for you and what isn’t. Charles Stanley said it best; “Do what’s right and leave the consequences to Him.” (Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5; You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3)

11/15/22 – Essentials

This season of flu, colds, and other physical ailments can send you plunging down the side of a mountain if you’re not careful. When you feel a little off, downright awful even, the devil seizes his ripe opportunity to whisper sweet nothings into your ear. And that’s exactly what they are, folks. Nothings. Nothing but lies from the father of lies telling you you’re not good enough, that you’ll never be well, and that your strength is gone. What makes matters worse is that your ears are especially vulnerable in this season of sickness, busyness, and holiday cheer. The only weapons against the evil god of this world are prayer and Bible reading. These 2 essentials are all you need. Renew your mind with scripture, and then pray like mad. (Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8; Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! 1 Chronicles 16:11)

11/14/22 – Replace

While in the midst of a fiery trial, it’s difficult to consider the good things that are happening simultaneously. Our negative thoughts trickle over into enemy camp; if we’re not prepared, they can overwhelm us, capture us, and before we know it, they can lock us into solitary. Get hold of these unwanted notions before they begin their takeover. Beat them at their own game. Replace negative thoughts with something good. Anything will do. A sunny day. A Robin feasting on the red berries dangling from the tree limbs in your front yard. Offering thanks for your home, your car, or your family can cause the enemy to retreat. Renewing your mind with scripture is the best defense there is. Even the simple action of smiling can work its magic. No matter how bad things seem, there is always a good thought waiting to be claimed. (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; You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3)

11/12/22 – Naivety

I’ve always leaned toward naivety with regard to people. Hiking a trail alone isn’t scary to me. According to the dictionary, naivety is not a good trait. But shouldn’t we here in the good ‘ol US of A be able to trust our fellow citizens? Doesn’t everyone gravitate toward goodness, kindness, honesty, and self-control? Of course, none of us is always good, kind, honest, or self-controlled, but don’t people generally strive for these things? Shouldn’t they be more natural to us than their counterparts? My husband use to say, “You’re so naive. You have no clue what’s going on around you.” I suppose that I did grow up in a fairly sheltered environment, but I am mostly unable to be leery of something or someone I know nothing about. While others might be more suspicious or skeptical at the get-go, I still find I am not. Now, I have since learned from bad experiences that to be on the lookout is more beneficial, as most everyone seems good at the start. But when I’m in the dark about a situation, the Holy Spirit takes up the slack and shines a bright light. (Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105; Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21)

11/11/22 – Waver

Am I being too harsh? Is what I’m requiring too much for someone to accomplish? What are my expectations? What are my boundaries in a unique situation? Should a unique situation matter? That is where I depend on the Lord to pour out His wisdom on me. He says that if I ask for wisdom, I shall have it. But His boundary is that when I ask, I must believe I will have it. That is, when I ask, I can’t be wishy-washy. No wondering or wavering is allowed here. I smile when I think of receiving this priceless gift. No amount of money or crypto can compare to the gift of wisdom from God. I must ask for it and then depend on it. It must be my expectation. Ask and then receive. Lord, give me wisdom in the situation in which I find myself today. That is my sincere prayer, so I wait for it knowing that without a doubt, it will come to me. (If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 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 1:5-6; Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:14)

11/10/22 – Rivers

I was listening to a podcast this morning, and it was interesting to learn that 2 major rivers in the Middle East are drying up. The Nile, once a lifeline providing nourishment to the fertile land in Egypt is now at its lowest point in history. The Euphrates is also becoming an arid strip of land producing a significant decrease in agricultural output. What once was a flowing river is now being likened to a creek. Is it surprising? In these end times, nothing I learn is surprising, especially since these prophesies were documented in the pages of Isaiah chapter 19 and in chapter 16 of the book of Revelation. Now, I’m no scholar, but it seems to me that unless someone lugs a giant water hose to those rivers and begins to fill them up again, the end of time, as we know it might be near. (The streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up. The reeds and rushes will wither, also the plants along the Nile, at the mouth of the river. Every sown field along the Nile will become parched, will blow away and be no more. Isaiah 19:6-7; The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. (Revelation 16:12)

11/9/22 – Anyway

Even though my circumstances were less than desirable, yesterday was a good day, full of sunshine and peace. Was everything perfect? Definitely not. But to question from whence those good feelings materialized is to doubt my salvation. Jesus gently reminds us that in this world, we’re going to have trouble. There is no human being who has not experienced it. But we don’t have to give in to it. When we don’t feel well, we find the strength to get up and get moving anyway. When we don’t feel like smiling, we smile anyway. We put one foot in front of the other and take a walk in the unseasonable temps. These few days of warmer weather are a gift from above. Take advantage of it. (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; I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33)

11/8/22 – Weapon

We always want what we can’t have. A desire unmet is like a rose unable to produce its stunning blossom. It lacks something required for flowering and its stem only presents prickly thorns. I feel like that infertile rose today. What I want so badly for myself is just out of reach. What will it take for you to be satisfied without the blossom, to be content with the thorns? The truth is, we all have the ability to be okay, to come to terms with what is, to thrive even, in our current condition. The secret to contentment is to win the war against the adversaries in your mind, as that’s where the battle takes place. It’s nowhere else. Think on things that are good, things that are lovely, and things that calm and that pour out peace. Renew your mind with scripture, as the Bible is your weapon against the enemy. Use it to your advantage. (And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32; For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

11/7/22 – Deliverance

Has your patience ever been as thin as plastic wrap? Is it now? Mine is. As many of you know, my impatience grows thin while I’m behind the wheel; otherwise, I am a fairly patient person. But I’m not behind the wheel right now. I’m behind an old woman recovering from a nasty infection. I’m literally walking behind her making sure she remains upright. I’m preparing meals of which I hope she’ll eat at least half. I’m at her bedside wondering why, at 2am, she’s fidgety, anxious, and confused. I’m wondering why she refuses to do things that will help improve the quality of her life. I’ve known many people who have had it worse than we. But my reality is mine, hers is hers, and yours is yours. What do we do when we’re at the end of our rope? We call upon the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth. We call upon the One Who knows what we’re up against. We call upon the only One Who gives us strength to hang on just a little longer. And then we wait for our deliverance with patience. (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 41:10-11; And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” Psalm 50:15)

11/5/22 – Morals

When it comes to your values and morals, what would you give up to stand up? If your job required something of you that conflicted with your beliefs and convictions, would you stay or go? If your value to stay pure before marriage came face to face with a tempting but opposing viewpoint, would you stay or go? We are all tempted everyday to do things contrary to our values and convictions. The temptation is not the sin. It’s the surrendering, the giving in, the crossing over that damages whatever good we intended. Remember the adage, The road to destruction is paved with good intentions. If your life is not completely destroyed, the rebuilding of it could take years. Think about that the next time sex or money says, “Right this way.” Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals. 1 Corinthians 15:33; Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 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. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17)

11/4/22 – Warning

I’ve not been active here in a while because an unforeseeable event took place in which my complete attention was needed. We never know, do we, when something unexpected will occur. It can happen without warning. Then we find ourselves thinking differently and acting differently. Our whole world suddenly changes. Our priorities shift and life continues on in the new normal. But what if we had received the warning? What if we had known? Would we have done things differently? Spiritually speaking, all we have is the Bible, a book detailing future events delivered with no inhibitions and making no apologies. It is a book in which all events have taken place from the beginning of time until now. The apostle, John, told us in the Revelation what things would come to pass. Are you ready? Take a look at the final book of the Bible. It’s all written down for us. It leaves nothing to the imagination. The question is, do you believe it? (And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. Revelation 14:9-10; The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Revelation 1:1-2)

10/21/22 – Reach

If you’re not one to respond positively to a friend or family member’s crisis, let me say that nothing will make you feel better than that. Reaching out to people in need doesn’t do as much for them as it will for you as the reacher-outer. Think back for a moment. I dare say that the moments you’ve been there for someone make more of a mark than the moments someone was there for you. Giving is like that. And the Lord created it in us from the beginning. There’s nothing more satisfying than giving. When you bought that coat for the freezing child or when you cooked and delivered a meal to that sick friend probably brought you more joy as the giver than the one who received the coat or the person who ate your meal. Be a reacher-outer and revel in your goose-bumps satisfaction. (Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:6; One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:24-25)

10/19/22 – Service

We always want to do for God. We want to volunteer for this and that instead of grounding ourselves in Him. Immersing ourselves in the God of the Bible will then lead to activity for Him. I remember back when my dad was a deacon for a little Baptist church we attended. We, as children of the board members, looked forward to the monthly meetings because we were free to roam the church, gorge ourselves on southern potluck the women provided, and engage in scary games of hide-and-seek in the basement. I never wondered from down there what they discussed up in the sanctuary. It was just what they did, and I reaped the benefits. Nothing much ever changed in that church and when we left it to join another, I quickly adapted to a much larger congregation’s way of doing things. But still, I didn’t really know God. I helped refurbish a church in a poor area of Mexico, memorized scripture and the books of the Bible in order as I was told, but I didn’t read His word on my own, nor did I ever pray. As many other Christians, I had it backwards. First, get to know God, and then He will put you in a place of service that makes sense and with it, give you the joy that comes from making a lasting difference for the Kingdom of God. (For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6; Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4)

10/18/22 – Mourn

What does the face of repentance look like? How do we recognize it in others and more importantly, in ourselves? Zechariah chapter 12 paints a vivid picture of repentance that will occur in Israel at the end of days, but I believe we can apply it today. The prophet says that after Israel receives God’s spirit of grace and supplication, it will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son. The people will grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. Have you ever mourned over your sin? Have you grieved over the pain you cause our Lord? That kind of evidence, the mourning and grieving, is the product of true repentance. A change of ways is the fruit we naturally bear if we have His Spirit. (Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:7; Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8)

10/17/22 – If

Sometimes, we have no control over what happens in our lives but mostly, we do. If we had eaten healthier meals, we might not have received a diabetes diagnosis. If we had said our final goodbyes to a bad relationship a little sooner, we wouldn’t be suffering a wrong-person attachment. If we had issued consequences for our child’s bad behavior, we might have avoided visits to the prison. And we’re quick to blame everybody but ourselves. I am speaking to myself here; so don’t go rolling your eyes at me just yet. Most negative outcomes are a result of our choices. Roll the tape of your life back to where your problems began. Look clearly and honestly as you view them one-by-one and see if I’m not right. The goal here is not to shame you (or me) or persuade you to stir the deep and murky waters of your past but only to learn from it. (He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. Isaiah 7:15; I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life that you and your offspring may live. Deuteronomy 30:19)

10/16/22 – Bother

My 90-year-old mother is away on a trip with a girlfriend (nearly 90) and her family. She boarded a plane by herself and flew south, landed, and spent the night with the family. They got up the next morning and flew west to their final destination. Last night, I received a call from the person in charge of the trip. He informed me that she is ill. Food poisoning is what the nurse labels it. Was I really to believe that she’d travel without incident at her age? Yes. I believed it because she always has. I had no reason to doubt. There was no reason to worry that something would go wrong. We worry because we have a reason. We doubt because we’ve been bamboozled before. When doubts in God’s sovereignty rise up, when we lack trust, it’s because we feel He has let us down somewhere along the line. Even after praying incessantly for healing, someone we loved died. The ceaseless prayers for our spouse to remain made no difference. Are you at a crisis of faith? You don’t fully understand this God in whom you are to trust, but you are asked to trust anyway. If you truly believe in Him, you have confidence in His better plan, in His divine purpose for the pain you’re suffering. Otherwise, why bother with Him at all? (Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24; 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)

10/15/22 – Talk

We like to talk about ourselves. We babble on about our struggles and victories over our extreme weight loss or our journey of ups and downs on the company ladder. We’ll rattle on to anyone with at least one ear the excruciating symptoms of flu we are experiencing. We want others to realize what a challenging time it was for us to bear the storm and its devastating consequences. We talk about it because it feels good. I do it. You do it. And it’s normal. But the fact remains; nobody can feel our gains and pains like we do, not one person. Not even your closest confidant, be it your spouse, child, priest, or even your mother will be able to fully feel what you feel. Not one, except for Jesus Christ. He knows you and your need for self-expression. He’s always available and is eager to hear your voice. If it’s pain you’re feeling, He feels it as if it’s His own, and by the way, He’s the only One Who can do anything about it. (The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:18-19; 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)

10/14/22 – Weak

Most of us are strong more often than we are weak. But when the weakness pours over us, it seems to serve as double the portion. When we’re not feeling faint, we don’t wish for strength. It’s only when we’re feeling feeble that we long for enough strength to get up off the couch, to walk those last few feet to the finish line, or to hammer those last few nails into an exhausting project. Do you ask God for strength when you’re already feeling courageous, capable, and carefree? It’s when we come to a crisis, when we are weak with suffering that we are on our knees begging for that which we thought we already had. And that’s okay. There’s plenty to go around. (For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10; 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)

10/12/22 – Sick

As I sit here coughing and wiping my nose, I am thankful. There are so many with ailments far worse than mine. I wrote yesterday about God’s timing. If I am to be sick, I suppose this is the most opportune time. In my narrow-mindedness, I thank God for allowing this disease to descend upon me now rather than later. If I want to, I can find joy in this slight discomfort and in the realization that I’m getting it over with. I don’t know God’s ultimate purpose for me this season, but if I am sick right now, He has purposed it for me right now. I don’t have to worry about it. If we’re walking with God, we can be sure He has us right where He wants us. (The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9; I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33)

10/11/22 – Omniscience

To quote the eloquent Oswald Chambers, Time is nothing to God. We pray for this and that and expect God to agree and to answer momentarily. After all, He knows the circumstances of our time-sensitive situation, doesn’t He? One thing I have learned is that He often delays for a greater purpose. Is it comfortable? No, but I can rest in His omniscience. I don’t have to worry that my family isn’t intact, that my friend isn’t healed, or that our nation is on a downward spiral. The story of Lazarus in the New Testament is a perfect example of God’s omniscience. After receiving word about his sick friend, Jesus waited 2 more days to attend to him. In the meantime, Lazarus died. What are you waiting for? If God doesn’t answer, we think that He either doesn’t hear, that He doesn’t know, that He doesn’t care, or that He doesn’t exist. We must remember that Time is nothing to Him. If what you’re asking God to do will glorify Him more with a delayed answer or a negative response, then put your feet up and breathe a sigh of relief. (Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. Isaiah 40:28; Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! Romans 11:33-34)

10/10/22 – Accustomed

I was impressed with my pastor’s talk yesterday. Speaking against sin for over 30 years, he has never been more outspoken than he is now. I believe it’s because our country has become so ungodly and is living in such extreme carnality. When will we awaken? But these immoral and lascivious behaviors didn’t materialize overnight. I am reminded of the frog relaxing in a pot of tepid water on the stove. He becomes so acclimated to the rising temperature that he doesn’t realize he’s being boiled alive until it’s too late to jump out. We, as parishioners, have become so accustomed to the devil’s lure that what used to be wrong in our society is now right and vise versa. If a man desires to become a woman, it’s no problem. If a woman becomes pregnant and desires to discard the innocent, it’s no problem. Some of us don’t even sense the severity of these sins because we’re like the frog, having a good old time bathing in the devil’s pot of carnality with no apparent consequences. Friend, if you haven’t already been paid, those consequences are on the way; make no mistake. You can’t do wrong and get away with it. (Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. Galatians 6:7; Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him. Isaiah 3:11)

10/8/22 – Resist

As promised, here’s the outcome of yesterday’s mom scenario: Regardless of her cooking emergency, I decided to finish my own time-sensitive task before heading upstairs. In the past, I’d have broken my neck to run and help her. Since I chose to resist in this situation, we both learned something. She learned she could do it on her own, and I learned that I could finish what I was doing and the world would remain on its axis. However, the anxiety I experienced because I didn’t capitulate was a little more heightened than I’d anticipated. Learning to stand my ground will take time. Count on this: If we as Christ-followers need to learn a life lesson, God will provide scenarios in which we will be tested. I passed this time. I only hope the meantime stress will subside as I take these baby steps through life. (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; And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28)

10/7/22 –Agreeable

I’m experiencing, at this very moment, my mother’s impatience. She wants something right now, and by golly, her yelling informed me. But I cannot give her what she wants at the time she wants it because I’m involved in something else. Either she does it herself, or she waits for me to finish what I’m doing in order to receive my help. I must not put off my time-sensitive itinerary to answer her every beck and call unless it’s an emergency. At least that’s what I’m learning. Being agreeable has its limits. The issue of boundaries is a learned weakness of mine to be sure. Why? Control. It’s that simple. In order for everyone to be at peace with me, I must see to his or her every whim. Not today. I’ll see how that decision affects me and let you know tomorrow. (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; When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7)

10/6/22 – Heredity

While I was driving home the other day, my mind shifted from the pleasing fall landscape to the reason I might be an impatient driver. Just like that. My dad was an impatient driver as is my mother. Can I really blame my heredity for the impatience I feel while driving? Why are my actions and my heredity such kindred spirits? Certainly, heredity is the reason I resemble my mother and grandmother in appearance. But must my heredity play a role in everything I do and say? When we become Christ-followers and have received His spirit, our former heredity should play no part in our present drama. The Bible says that after making the decision to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we’re given His heredity. It’s His spirit now who lives inside us and directs us. That’s how we know. That’s the assurance of our salvation. When our desire is to be like Jesus Christ, our heredity shouldn’t matter anymore. (Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17; 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. 1 John 3:9)

10/5/22 – Rigid

Having such rigid patterns of behavior can lead to undergrowth and then on to stagnancy. We’d all like to be forever riding on the landscape of peace and serenity, but interruptions to our daily schedule will occur. Tragedy will strike without warning. What then? You who are plagued with inflexibility will suffer most. Your extreme need to control causes your own discomfort. If you read the pages of history, you’ll clearly see that things have changed over the years and are continuing at a more rapid pace than ever. Loosen those reins of obstinacy on the journey through this life you’ve been given, and then see if you’re not a little more at peace. (Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:19; Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4)

10/4/22 Refuse

You won’t hear many statements like, I will not and No way from those with little to no backbone. These spineless jellyfish say things like, I don’t know and I don’t care, when in reality they do know, and they do care; they’re merely afraid to speak it. I know. I used to be one. Refusing to be treated in a way contrary to your desired treatment, to stand your ground takes guts, and most of ours are in need of medical attention. Refuse to be bullied. Refuse to be used. Try speaking the word No, and see what happens. Soon, those irritating people-pleasing chains will loosen their ghastly grip and you’ll begin to feel the glorious sensation of freedom. (Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. Matthew 5:37; Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. Deuteronomy 31:6)

10/3/22 – Shock

Even after extreme warnings, many are in shock when the weather diverts or increases in strength. People residing in these vulnerable regions know from experience that storms can be unpredictable, gaining strength and changing paths that catch everyone by surprise. So when government officials issue widespread evacuation orders, why not go ahead and get out? Why not play it safe and exit just in case? The answer is simple, really. Unbelief. People don’t believe it will happen to them. If you’ve heard the warnings spoken of by Jesus Christ Himself concerning the end of days, you will either heed like the better-safe-than-sorry crowd, or you will ignore the warnings and face the devastation that follows. It’s coming, folks. It’s not a question of if. (Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Matthew 24:42-43; So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 1 Thessalonians 5:6)

10/2/22 – Withdraw

Does what you believe about Jesus Christ remain true as your fame and fortune take a sudden and devastating tumble? Is what you knew to be true about Jesus Christ still true as you lie suffering in your hospital bed? How about when the divorce papers are served? Do you still believe? Or do you, with your blame, anger, and self-pity in tow withdraw to a place of isolation and set up camp? We’ve all done it, but do we allow ourselves to remain in that dark, lonely place? The truth about Jesus Christ is still true, even when all hope is lost. He’s as good as He was when you were rich. He’s as powerful as He was when you were well, and He’s as present as He was when you married. Seek Him. (Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13; The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18)

10/1/22 – Pit

Boy, if that isn’t something. The minute you think things are looking up, you’re pushed into the pit once again. We all have our pits. Some are deeper and darker while others are more moderate in nature. But no matter the depth, we all fall in at one time or another. So do we starve to death down there or do we escape somehow and begin another journey to the mountaintop? Our choice. Neither the pit nor the mountaintop is our home; it’s the climb, really. The in-between. We eventually thank the Lord for all of it, the desperation in the pit, the struggle of the climb, and the refreshment at the mountaintop. So get up and start digging. Before long, you’ll be taking another nice, long, hot shower. (We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9; Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22)

9/30/22 – Sift

None of us enjoys the feeling of hurt. But sometimes God must take us all the way down to His threshing floor in order to make lasting changes. We are a prideful and stubborn lot. Until we’ve been crushed and sifted, like mature wheat from its tough and useless casing, we will be deaf to the call of God on our life. It often takes a crisis to make a pig-headed person pliable. But even then, even when He brings us to our lowest low, He often finds a scrap of stubborn debris still clogging the sifter. Make no mistake; if Jesus is calling you, He’ll get at it. It’s when you stand your ground on the hardened surface of your pride that panic should set in. (His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:12; He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Psalm 1:3-4)

9/29/22 – Aftermath

It’s what is left. We are warned to evacuate, to seek higher ground, yet some choose to ignore, to stay put, and to hunker down. Even though the vivid radar displays the approaching storm and weather anchors predict the inevitable, people’s hearts are still somehow deceived. Time was running out for the countless residents of Florida, and then it did. We are also in the warning stage Jesus talked about in Matthew’s gospel of the New Testament. The un-believer continues to be informed; yet he wades in his deep skepticism ignoring the danger signs and then decides to take what comes. Heed the watchman’s warning, my friends. You don’t want to be left in quagmire of the aftermath that’s on the way. (And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 21:14; For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. Matthew 24:21)

9/28/22 – Forfeit

What part of your life is yet not abandoned to Jesus Christ? It’s difficult to forfeit the keys to every room in our hearts, isn’t it? We give Him control of our speech, yet we lust with our eyes. We give Him control of our health, yet we eat or drink ourselves into oblivion. We read in Mark’s gospel of the New Testament that Jesus had compassion on a rich, young ruler who had good intentions. Because he wanted the eternal life Jesus spoke about, his desire was to forfeit his life to Jesus. But in the end, he couldn’t let go of his money, for he was a very wealthy man. We can’t have it both ways. Our lives aren’t like ice cream cones. We don’t get two dips. (And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Matthew 10:21; And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. Luke 8:14)

9/27/22 – Suffer

When the rubber meets the road or when push comes to shove, we as Christ-followers are to choose Him over anybody. That is, friends, relatives, immediate family, pastors, teachers, or whomever else you may idolize. I have failed so many times, choosing this person and that person over Jesus Christ. I am to follow Him no matter what. If He has told me to do something and I don’t do it, He doesn’t suffer; I do. If He plants a red flag of warning in my yard and I remove it, I suffer. If He has called you to go and do something for Him, go and do it. You’ll suffer if you settle for anything less. (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 you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 10:22)

9/26/22 – Quit

We all have had times in our lives when we’ve been tempted to give up. And most of us have succumbed at least once already. The decision to quit, to throw in the towel is a shattering experience of defeat no matter how small. These black marks on our previously pearly-white reputation as a trooper, a winner, or a conqueror will at some point gain strength in our hurricane of life, but they don’t have to leave indelible stains. What now? We begin again. We call on the name of the Lord and start over. There’s no shame in that. (But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9; “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…Isaiah 1:8)

9/25/22 – Pattern

A person exhibiting a negative behavior will continue it unless he faces a crisis or an encounter with God. Most of us continue our patterns because that’s what patterns are: reliable samples of traits or tendencies. In other words, we can count on someone to return to the chips aisle in the grocery store if that was his pattern in the past. Unless he’s suddenly suffering from a cardiac arrest and is carted off to the nearest emergency room, he’s likely to grab and down a bag as he has always done. Don’t think for one minute that anything has changed unless he is wounded or is deeply nudged by the Holy Spirit. How will you know? Oh, you’ll know. (But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed…Romans 6:17; “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Matthew 6:24)

9/24/22 – Concentrate

To what or to whom are you choosing to freely give your attention? We can certainly concentrate on those sticky situations in which are hands are tied. We can repeatedly mull over that which we have no control. We can then become cranky and joyless. But what does this really accomplish for the cause of Christ? Maybe instead, concentrate on Him. Thank Him for what you’ve been given. Send a card of gratitude to someone who has come to your aid in the last month. How about handing out an encouraging word to someone you don’t even know? Begin weeding out those suffocating thoughts choking the new growth in your joy garden. Concentrating on others is a sure way to fertilize those healthy seedlings trying to take root deep inside your heart. (Finally, brothers, 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)

9/22/22 – Forward

If you’ve not read 9/22/22, Around, read that first before reading Forward. I decided to pull over out of concern for an elderly man lying in the road. It appeared that he wasn’t badly injured after falling from his bike but was only shaken. Another concerned motorist helped him to his feet, and then after a few minutes of deliberation, the three of us went our separate ways, me back home to search for my phone. With no success, I grabbed my tablet and drove on to work. From an application designed to find a device, it’s not surprising that my tablet pinned the phone’s location to a roadside not too far from my residence, as I had carelessly set the phone on my mother’s car earlier that disastrous day. Now nearly dusk, I phoned my mother. While she and a helpful neighbor searched for the phone in the rain, another curious onlooker stopped to ask them if everything was okay. Concerned for their welfare, she took my number from my mother and gently persuaded her to go on home and that she would take it from there. Texting me from her device, this willing Good Samaritan connected with me and I was able to guide her to my undamaged phone. What was I to learn from this ghastly, 24-hour experience? Had I not stopped to help someone early on, I may not have been the recipient of a blessing from another. I wonder what blessings all these other Good Samaritans will receive. The Lord sees when we do the right thing, uncomfortable or not. He knows our hearts and takes it from there. (But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. Luke 10:33; Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. Proverbs 21:2)

9/21/22 – Around

You’ve heard it said that what goes around comes around. It is so true for me. A Good Samaritan opportunity introduced itself, and it was as though the Lord asked, What are you going to do? I was late for work already, and as I rounded the corner of an intersection in my neighborhood, I saw that an elderly gentleman had fallen off his bicycle and was lying in the road unable to get up. Because of the lateness of the hour, I reasoned that other people stronger than I am and who probably had their phones would stop to help him. I had neither the time nor the strength, and I couldn’t have called anyone as I’d lost my phone earlier that afternoon. I was headed back home to find it, which was the reason I found myself at this particular intersection in the first place. It was a test. Stay tuned for the rest of the story. But first, I must ask: What would you have done? (Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16; Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38)

9/20/22 – Storage

As I was watching Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral yesterday, drones capturing the glorious English countryside couldn’t quite maneuver around all the different types of storage companies barging in, eye sores to be sure. No doubt, we’ve all had bouts with storage infections in our pasts. I had a unit a few years back and didn’t keep half of its contents when I finally emptied it. The thing is, storage, for the most part, is something we could all live without. Do we really need to cling to that ghastly chair that has no place in our new home? How about the corroded lawnmower now that we’ve hired a company to mow? Consider that dead-end relationship taking up an enormous amount of useful space in our hearts? Why can’t we throw things out? Why can’t we let go and move on? Why are we so attached? What are you storing that would be better off in the dump? (“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal…Matthew 6:19; For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Luke 12:34)

9/17/22 – Temptation

Most people link this word to sexual lust. That is, temptation leads only to sexual sin. On the contrary, temptation is anything in our way that leads us to do or say something else. I can be tempted to do good and bad things, and I can be tempted to say good and bad things. Therefore, temptation in itself is not necessarily only negative. If I am tempted to help someone and act on that temptation, it is, hence, a good thing. Temptation is common to men and women. We all experience it. It’s the temptation that leads us to become mesmerized by our sinful desires, and we suddenly find ourselves on the stage acting it out that determines the outcome. It’s the ACTING on the temptation that determines our sad or happy ending. (So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:17; Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8)

8/25/22 – Affinity

A bend toward something, a spontaneous pull toward someone by a commonality is what it is to have a natural affinity to something or someone. For example, a Victorian house with its multicolored rooms, curved ceilings, and ornate moldings wouldn’t be comfortable allowing clean-lined furniture, concrete countertops, and pale colors inside. It wouldn’t make architectural sense. As Christ-followers, we have a natural affinity to Him, to love Him, and to obey Him. There should be a strong attraction to the things He loves and to the things He does. The devil would like nothing more than to entice you to be drawn to his loves, his way of living. (Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:6; Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8)

8/8/22 – Kindness

When relationships are on the verge of a bloody battle, the first thing people do is to take an inventory of their verbal ammunition. Some even make lists. What are the choice comebacks? If she says this, I will say this, and so on. What type of ammunition do you use? Snide comments? Lies? Some choice words I do not permit on this website? Remember that whatever comes out of your mouth is tucked neatly away in your heart. This is not easily performed, but how about cleansing that area thoroughly with repentance? See if kindness and love don’t begin to replace the type of retaliation you once used. See if refreshing showers of blessings don’t rain down on you instead. (A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself. Proverbs 11:10; Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor. Proverbs 21:21)

8/6/22 – Sometimes

Sometimes He does, and sometimes He doesn’t. Sometimes He heals our physical ailments, and sometimes He doesn’t. Sometimes He heals our relationships, and sometimes He doesn’t. Sometimes He heals our land, and sometimes He doesn’t. But He always answers. Never does He leave a request unheard or unanswered. We will receive one of three responses: Yes, No, or Wait. So we keep on if the answer isn’t, Yes. We keep looking up, and we continue asking for our heart’s deepest desire to manifest. We trust in the omniscient power of the God of the universe. Whatever His answer, we know He loves us and is for us. And that has to be good enough. (For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11; And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10)

8/3/22 – Example

I should not only want to be a good example to my kids but a shining role model to the world. If I am living like Jesus wants me to live, my girls should want to be like me. But sometimes, it’s not that way. Even back in Jesus’ day, many people didn’t want to be like Him. They felt shamed, threatened, and convicted because His light shone on their darkness. Because they were living so far off the mark, the guilt they felt was too much to bear. The only way to escape it was to turn it all back onto Him. So, they shamed Him, threatened Him, and convicted Him. If you’re living a godly life and are being shamed, threatened, and convicted, then count it all joy. You must be doing something right. (“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. John 15:8; An unjust man is detestable to the righteous, and one whose way is upright is detestable to the wicked. Proverbs 29:27)

7/31/22 – Defect

Is there still something that’s not quite right in you? You may have quit raising your glass, puffing your cigarette, allowing an off-color joke to slip from your lips, or you may have stopped agreeing to sexual satisfaction with people to whom you’re not married. But is there something else? Another small defect, a tiny chip in your armor? God will not stop tapping your shoulder until you have surrendered everything to Him. How about the little white lies (they’re all lies, no matter their color), choice words of gossip, one too many French fries, or the dishonoring of your parents? He will keep on until the finishing touches on His work of art are complete. (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; The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9)

7/30/22 – Enemies

Someone asked me how I could attend events in which those who’ve hurt me so badly also attend. It is very difficult to show love to the one(s) who’ve hurt me. To pray for them instead of pronouncing them poisonous beasts is not easy. But it is what the Lord has asked me to do. Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you, He says. Love. Do good. These two actions are not the natural way for humans to behave, but I am not called to live the way in which my fallen nature dictates. I am called to a divine way of living now that I’m a Christ-follower. Since both loving and doing good are opposites of what I want to do, I can only perform these godly behaviors with His power. His Holy Spirit living in me does it; otherwise, I am also a poisonous beast. (But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…Matthew 5:44; Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9)

7/29/22 – Child

I recall the time when I was the mother of an infant. She was completely dependent on me. And she knew, with absolute certainty, that I would care for her should she scream loudly enough. Eating didn’t concern her until she was hungry. She didn’t bother about sleeping until she was tired. It was only as she grew and began wandering off on her own that she learned she could control her own destiny, for at least a day. When a need arose, she learned how to fulfill it on her own. And that is where the trouble began. Like the growing child, when we, as Christ-followers, let go of our Father’s hand and begin wandering off on our own, fulfilling our sinful desires, our trouble begins. God wants us to live like the dependent child, completely relying on Him. When we do, there is no need to wander or to worry about anything. (For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13; 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)

7/28/22 – Moment

Keeping our eyes on the prize, the end-goal, is okay, as most of us have something we’re working toward, the completion of a project, living a more healthy lifestyle, a college degree, the closing of a mortgage agreement, or placing the finishing touches on a dead-end relationship. However, living in the moment, that is, living in full obedience to Jesus at each tick of the clock is all that’s required of a Christ-follower. If we’re doing that, we’re already living the end goal. It is now. For after all, who knows what this day, this moment will bring forth? (Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. James 4:14; The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 1 Peter 4:7)

7/27/22 – Remorse

If remorse for your disobedience is not pouring over you like Niagara Falls, then something is wrong spiritually. Either you have not truly been born again or you’ve wandered so far off the path that the sensation of guilt is no longer felt. Remember; the more you dilly-dally, the longer you frolic through the fields of sexual immorality, or the more time you spend gathering lies to weave your web of deceit, the harder it is to free yourself. Don’t wait to be caught. It’s a slow and painful death for the mouse in a trap. (For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 2 Corinthians 7:10; I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart. Jeremiah 24:7)

7/26/22 – Proof

How can the Holy Spirit be living in me if I conjure up excuses to stay home instead of helping someone in need? After all, I’m tired. There is a portion of my heart that is impure. How can the Holy Spirit be living in me if I am engaging in immoral behavior and make excuses to myself? After all, I am only human. There is a portion of my heart that is tainted. How can the Holy Spirit be living in me if I take something that belongs to someone else? After all, he doesn’t need it as much as I do. There is a portion of my heart that is corrupt. If I am truly born again, the Holy Spirit is indeed living in me even if I take part in these ungodly behaviors. But He is grieved, and presto, I’ve been transported to the land of regret. I am remorseful and I repent. I turn from the behavior and seek to become more like Jesus. That is the proof. (My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27; And every man that hath this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure. 1 John 3:3)

7/25/22 – Anxiety

When something or someone arrives unexpectedly, anxiety, like a fierce dictator, can rise up to choke us with fear. An unwelcome medical diagnosis, a stack of divorce documents, or a policeman standing at our door sent to deliver dreaded news about our loved one, are a few examples of which we hope to never experience. What do we do when it happens, as it probably will or has already? We pray. Unless we’ve put our complete trust in Jesus Christ, our battle with anxiety will be more intense. God knows the beginning to the end. What He allows is for His purposes. If we, in our weakened human condition could only live with this certainty in our minds, we could exchange this devil-inspired and crippling tension for God’s peace. (Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27; Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6)

7/23/22 – Significance

Yesterday, I asked if you desire significance. What is it to experience significance and why would we want to? What is it to live a life of significance rather than, say, a life of triviality or the smallness of self-service? To live a life of purpose or to live it with clear intentions is one thing, but Jesus took it a step further. He lived His to serve others. It’s an interesting phenomenon. Reaching into your wallet and handing a hundred bucks to someone who can’t pay his bills is difficult at first. It’s not easy to drive down to the local food pantry to help with deliveries. Because we’re such a self-serving civilization, we think we’re saying goodbye to a portion of our paycheck or a chunk of our day with little to no benefit to us. But it’s not like that. It’s just the opposite. The returns far outweigh the stuff we give or the time we’ll spend. I remember the moments I served somebody more than the moments somebody served me. Are you in? (Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:25; But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 1 John 3:7)

7/22/22 – Impatience

I’m quite sure my selfie provides the illustration for this word in the dictionary. I’m in the boxing ring everyday fighting its one-two punch. Imagine me in the center lane of traffic with a slow poke in the passing lane to my left and a semi at a standstill to my right. Envision my being the last person in a mile-long express grocery line. I’m also the impatient gardener traipsing out to the tomato plants twice-a-day just a week after planting. Why does everything take so long? The Bible is exploding with stories and proverbs exalting the virtues of impatience’s opposite. Because I’ve made some ghastly decisions as a result of my impatience, I’ve since made myself familiar with the verses that encourage these life-altering substitutes: Waiting, self-control, and restraint. Do you desire significance? How about rewards? Both can be gained by engaging in these activities rather than in their counterparts. (Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:14)

7/19/22 – Authority

You’ve heard it said about people in your circle, classroom, or even in church that a particular person has trouble with others who have been placed in positions of authority. First of all, that’s called PRIDE, but pride is not the subject of this post. When Jesus came to Earth, He was given all authority. Except that He wasn’t. Not all. What I mean is that even though His Father, God, gave His Son all authority in heaven and on earth, many people didn’t accept Him, want Him, or believe Him. Many wouldn’t give Him absolute access to themselves. Nor do they today. The ironic thing about His kind of authority is that He never insists. He never pleads. He doesn’t badger nor does He bargain. He only offers. After that, it’s up to you. (And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Matthew 28:18; For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23)

7/17/22 – Watching

Who are you when nobody’s watching? Is Jesus glorified when you’re alone at the office? Is He glorified during the midnight hour as you lie awake unable to sleep? Is He glorified during your travels from point A to point B? Who you are when nobody’s watching is the true test of your character. We suppose we’re alone, but Jesus is always watching. Think about that before you curse the slow driver, before you deposit someone else’s money into your account, or before your drinks or your pills transport you to La-La Land. Think about it before you decide to carry on sexually with someone to whom you’re not married. Remember; there won’t always be an opportunity for a retake on this most important test of character. (…For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7; Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33)

7/16/22 – Confident

If I’m truly confident in God’s plan for me, I will not worry. God asks that we trust and not worry. It’s either/or. I may be drowning in the surfs of sadness because of some tragedy He allows, but if my confidence in Him is unblemished, if it is pure, I will know that He has permitted it for His purposes. But the effects of it are difficult to navigate, aren’t they? They produce such unimaginable pain. To live through it and to come out on the other side is what we do. We must. Otherwise, we take things into our own hands and end it all. That would not be His plan. Trust Him. Learn from Him, He Who is the greatest teacher of all time. (And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39; And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? Matthew 6:27)

7/15/22 – Retaliate

It’s easy, oh, so easy to hit back. We simply won’t have it. We will not stand there and take such ridicule. We must retaliate. We must sling a snide and spiteful comment back when under the duress of such humiliation. Embarrassment. When it lands on us, sometimes the only way to keep from drowning is to lash out at the one who did the pouring. But it’s the feeling of shame we are fighting against and not necessarily the person delivering it. As I said yesterday: The condition of our hearts is revealed by our reactions to being kicked in the teeth, left at the altar, or slapped in the face. After all, we only have 2 cheeks. What then? (“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Matthew 5:38-39; Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. Romans 12:17)

7/14/22 – Insults

What is your reaction when an army of insults is hurled and you’re the target? How is it with you at that moment? Do you retaliate by hurling insult build-up back at them? Maybe you cower and cry into a suffocating pillow of intimidation. Or do you love them? Do you pray for them? Are you silent while you wait for a ceasefire? Our response when we are insulted reveals the condition of our hearts. Take a look at Jesus’ response to the many verbal attacks he endured throughout His ministry. That’s how we are to respond if we’re following Him. We are to imitate Him in everything we do. (“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Matthew 5:44; “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11)

7/13/22 – Moving

Moving is out of the question when you’re as cozy as a dozing dog in his down-filled bed. But when the pangs of hunger nudge, that sleeping dog is awake and on all fours searching for something to eat. This process of moving is generally a slow journey to the valley of unease and then continues, either up to the mountain’s summit, or down to the depths of despair. It’s the continuing pressure from the tightening of the crank. That is, little to no movement will occur until some kind of unease is felt. The question is, how much unease do you need to endure to make that move? To step out into the unknown, to give up that which is sucking the life out of you? Why wait until the last straw? Why add another unnecessary nail to the coffin? Why walk so close to the edge that it puts you over it? (So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:17; “Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.” Ezra 10:4)

7/2/22 – Corner

Not much can fit comfortably in the corner. It won’t accommodate most furniture unless it’s a specified corner-piece. We even put people there when they misbehave. It’s not a pleasant space. I recall the infamous line from a familiar movie; Nobody puts Baby in the corner. Even in our soul, there’s a corner where we hide things. We don’t want our secret sins displayed, so we confine them to the corner, out of the way of our prized relationships. We say we walk with the Lord, but in our soul’s little corner, we find a pile of lies, some stolen goods, and a clump of other pride-filled impurities that zap the life out of us. Until we get rid of these unnecessary iniquities, those sins we hide, we will continue to be defeated by our corner of clutter. (The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9; Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Proverbs 28:13)

6/29/22 – Speck

A tiny speck in the eye can cause the fiercest irritation. In the right spot, that tiny particle captures all the attention, even in a storm. Jesus used the comparison of a speck and a log in His Sermon on the Mount in the New Testament of the Bible. He said that we are hypocrites when we attempt to remove the speck (some sort of sin) from someone’s eye while a log (our own more weightier sin) lays in ours. Check your own baby blues before using your medical-grade tweezers on someone else. (“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5; Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Romans 2:3)

6/28/22 – Undiluted

The potency of concentrated cleaning products and fertilizers can be lethal unless they’re diluted properly. Using them at full-strength, for instance, to make a plant more fruitful, will do the very thing you’re trying to avoid. Adding water to some products marketed as full-strength may save a few pennies and may or may not compromise their effectiveness; however, to receive the fullest benefit, using them in their undiluted form will likely produce the best results. The Bible is once such item. Watering down the word of God won’t help anybody in the end. The Bible was written to be read as-is, used at full strength, that is, to be studied daily, and obeyed in its entirety; its instructions to receive eternal life are clear. (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; Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. Proverbs 30:5-6)

6/27/22 – Lean

We think we’re so smart. Our reasoning is renown in our own minds. Because we battled the Bar and won or because we conquered the USMLE, we no longer need to prove our proclivity. We’ve arrived. We’ve received our title. But, hold on just a minute. Did you know that even today, the most highly intelligent researchers from all over the world are still baffled when it comes to the origination of the universe? Day after day, they continue experimenting and investigating to no avail. Whatever your IQ, leaning on your own finite understanding is a danger. Since you had no part in the creation of the universe and all that’s in it, doesn’t it make more sense to lean on the understanding of the One Who did? (And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21; Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5)

6/26/22 – Treasure

This word makes me smile. With negativity and backbiting swirling around me like an F5, the word, treasure, is such a joyful and positive one to which I must cling. To focus on the treasure of God’s grace is to be happy, fulfilled, peaceful, and thankful. Why would we want the treasure of God’s grace? What is it exactly? It’s the favor He yearns to pour over you and me though we are desperately underserving. It’s the power, wisdom, and knowledge He gives us though thoroughly unmerited. If we are not begging for the treasure of His grace, for His favor on some level of consistency, we will live a lackluster, mediocre, and mundane life. Now, if you want it, go and ask for it. (But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—1 Corinthians 2:9; Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor. Proverbs 3:34)

6/25/22 – Despair

Have you ever been in the depths of despair? Maybe you’re suffering right now. The only thing I can offer is the news that despair doesn’t last. In the heat of the moment it seems otherwise, but you will get through it. That’s the beautiful thing about this sort of paradoxical moment in time. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, is a lyric to a song that makes so much sense. What gut-wrenching event God allows to occur in your life will be of great help to you or to someone else in the future. Think about Jesus. His extreme sorrow, suffering, and death delivered the greatest gift to all of humanity. If He, the Prince of Peace and Lord of Lords can conquer despair, He can certainly be trusted to help us bear our grief-stricken situation with grace and mercy. (He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Isaiah 53:3; 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) 

6/24/22 – Validation

Why does the LGBTQ community break its neck to promote itself? Why the need to form this organization? We as a “straight community” don’t wave our “straight flags,” wear “straight clothing,” or attend “straight rallies.” Are there even such things? And if not, why not? Why are there no straight colors? I had to think it through. Those who partner with the LGBTQ community need approval, validation, an atta-boy. Somewhere along the line, something bad happened and now these folks believe a lie straight from the devil. (And the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. Romans 1:27; But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Mark 10:6-9)

6/21/22 – Nothing

Until we realize that we are nothing without Jesus Christ, we try in vain. In our selfishness, we try harder to please Him so that we feel better about ourselves. Friends, until we take our eyes off ourselves and become like Him, to speak and act as He did, to live in complete obedience, our service to Him is nothing. He only asks that we abide in Him. That’s it. When we do, everything falls into place. Prayer won’t be a chore. We won’t dread Bible-reading. Serving others won’t be a nuisance. We won’t hate loving people. (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; Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:6)

6/19/22 – Wheat

We have been informed in recent days that the price of wheat will increase. We also know that in the book of Genesis, Joseph, the guy with the snazzy coat, gathered and stored wheat for the future famine, but that’s over now. I want to warn you that in these last days, God is allowing tares or the darnel weed (wheat’s evil twin) to be sown in among the real wheat. Growing side-by-side, there is virtually no visible difference. But the tare, this intoxicating weed is so dangerous to humans that Jesus used it to illustrate what would happen to both the wheat and the tares on judgment day. In Matthew 13, He says He will separate the wheat (true Christ-followers) from the tares (Christian look-a-likes). Which twin are you? (“‘No,’ Jesus answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” Matthew 13:29-30; 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. 1 John 3:9)

6/18/22 – Dilemma

Equally desirable options produce a dilemma of choice. Double-booking your calendar and not recalling whom you booked first is a common example. One party will be left on the shore unless the 2 events can be combined. However, when you have clearly scheduled something in advance and another more enticing event floats by, the tendency is to fish for reasons to ditch the canoe and grab onto the warps of the fancy yacht passing by. Understandable. But is it the right thing? You argue with yourself and consider manipulating the circumstances to fit your selfish desires, but it’s no good. There is a reason you’re on that canoe and not on the yacht. Trust it. (There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 14:12; Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. Psalm 25:12)

6/17/22 – Trap

I woke up this morning to an army of ants marching two-by-two along the kitchen window ledge and then down the wall and out onto the countertop. After researching, the only way to win this battle is to set a trap with sugar or protein, the two most delectable items of which ants can’t resist. That’s what the devil does with us. He knows what we like and what we need better than we do. Since his only objective is to kill us, the lure inside his trap must be just right. Perhaps it’s the sweetness of passion you’re missing. Maybe it’s the image of wealth he so brilliantly paints that will draw you. Whatever his bait, you take one step toward that trap, it’s doubtful you’ll turn back. The pull is just too strong. (Does a bird fall into a trap on the ground when there is no bait in it? Does a trap spring up from the earth when it captures nothing at all? Amos 3:5; The wicked have laid a trap for me, yet I have not gone astray from Your precepts. Psalm 119:110)

6/16/22 – Angry

I don’t even know what to say right now. When I read the headlines, I am appalled. I am angry. People, what are you doing? What is happening? Then I remember what Jesus said. Don’t be troubled. He said that all these things we’re experiencing would begin to happen before the tribulation begins. Birth pains aren’t so bad at the beginning. I’ve experienced them. Twice. They’re tolerable. But as the baby makes its way through the birth canal, the pain is more intense, comes at more frequent intervals, and then it’s almost unbearable. So be quiet, all you scoffers. Keep silent, all you unbelievers. Just stop talking unless you are humbling yourselves, falling to your knees, and are begging Jesus to forgive your sins. Cleanse your hearts, you wicked and perverse generation. And hurry; for the baby is coming. (And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.” Matthew 24:4-8; But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 Timothy 3:1)

6/15/22 – Engineered

In my younger years, I would manipulate my circumstances to get answers, get invited, or to get some attention. I couldn’t let it be. Now that I’m following Jesus, that is, now that I’m choosing to live in obedience to Him and His word, I don’t need to worry about those things that formally caused headaches, heart palpitations, and stomach upset. I certainly haven’t arrived, and I still blow it, but I am more tuned in. I hear His voice in the dark of night, Seek first the kingdom of God, or This way. Here is the road, or Wait on the Lord and be of good courage. When we are in right relationship with our Heavenly Father, we can be confident that He engineered a difficult conversation with a friend, or there’s a reason we are driving instead of flying. We see the red flags waving, so we decide not to attend an event. (The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9; And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21)

6/14/22 – Matter

We won’t care about a thing once we depart this old world. That we never married won’t matter. That our ex-spouse married another won’t matter. That we aren’t rich won’t matter. That our children continue to make bad choices won’t matter. None of these things are of any consequence after our last breath is drawn. The only thing that will matter at that moment is whether or not we made the right choice on a final destination. Where are you going? It’s either to Heaven or to Hell. If you’ve repented of your sins and have accepted Jesus as your savior, you’re Heaven bound. If not, get on your knees and plead for mercy before it’s too late. Care enough to ask Jesus to save you from eternal suffering. (Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26; And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7)

6/13/22 – Experiment

I didn’t really enjoy science like other kids in my class. But on experiment day, now, that was another story. Had teachers done more experimenting rather than lecturing, students like me might have been delighted to attend class. What is it about the experiment, the hands-on, that is so intriguing? It’s getting to the known from the unknown by not only hearing, but by seeing, touching, smelling, and tasting. It’s the creation of something from nothing. It’s the aha! It’s the moment we are enlightened. We, as Jesus-followers, are His experiments, as Oswald Chambers so eloquently writes in his daily devotional, My Utmost For His Highest. He says that if we give up our right to ourselves, Jesus will make a holy experiment out of us and His experiments never fail. Are you willing to be spilled and poured out to see what He will make of you? (Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10; Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2)

6/12/22 – Erase

I find it interesting that when a student selects a pencil with which to write or draw, they first determine the quality of its eraser. I guess they figure the pencil can always be sharpened, but if they can’t erase mistakes, the pencil is then written off as useless. Our lives are the same. If our mistakes can’t be erased, what’s the use? Can you imagine the mess? But after making the decision to lay down our pride, the root cause of all sin, that of self-gratification, and self-sufficiency, to become a true follower of Jesus, He erases all our sin. If after that, we could only abide in Him, we would only ever need a pencil. (If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9; 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 4:18)

6/9/22 – Church

My intense conversation with a client yesterday was not about music but the church. Not exclusively her church or my church, but the church. Exasperated, she voiced her frustrations concerning the church’s ideology of late. Shouldn’t it model the New Testament church of the Bible? The disciples initiated it after the death of Jesus by gathering of a group of local believers in order to preach His gospel, do good deeds, study His teachings, and to provide evidence to the world that God is real. The modern church of late seems to focus more on politics and social issues rather than what the early church modeled in the book of Acts. Take a closer look at your church. Does it look like that? (And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25; Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Ephesians 2:20-22)

6/7/22 – Today

Today. At the time of this post, there are 13 hours remaining, and then today will be gone, just like that. Will tomorrow even come? That, we cannot know, but we assume so because we’ve experienced many tomorrows already. Same old, same old. Sure, you say. Today will morph into tomorrow at midnight just as it always has. What does your today look like? Up at dawn, eat, work, exercise, more work, eat, socialize, back to bed, and repeat; it’s your personal expectation. But what if some drastic event occurs before today is over, one that will change everything? Think of 9-11. Most of us never saw it coming. There will likely be another at some point in our lifetime. Some unforeseeable, devastating incident is on its way. Are you ready for that? (Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3:3-4; Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:44)

6/5/22 – Crash

Do you ever wonder how you landed in the place in which you find yourself? Just the other day, someone said, How did I get here? In most scenarios, sin is the fuel, and the devil is the pilot. If we really want to know why we crashed and burned, we’ll analyze the data. If we fell into financial ruin, we’ll study our spending habits. We’ll recognize what led us to spend more than we had, and then we’ll close our wallets. If we fell into sexual sin, we’ll investigate the feelings that led us to Pleasuretown, and then we’ll identify the warning signs we ignored. We then devise a detailed plan to steer clear of that area. We can either choose to stop flying altogether or make the necessary changes to arrive at better destinations in the future. (Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:15; 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. 1 John 3:9)

6/4/22 – World

Jesus said, Love not the world, neither the things in the world. How do we not since it’s all we know? You may have acquired a lovely home situated on a lush piece of land, a chic car, and even a spouse whom you spoil on occasion. All of society, you and me included, places such high value on this dying world. Yet, Jesus also tells us to love one another, that even God so loved the world. It seems a little contradictory. But what I believe He means is that when the people and things of this world become more important than abiding in Him, we can’t love Him like we ought. I’m reminded of Lot’s wife in the Bible. She loved her home so much that it cost her her life. (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. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:16-17; You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4)

6/2/22 – Wolves

The Holy Spirit gives us discernment for a reason. There is purpose behind those bright, red flags of caution waving before us. If we’re hearing one thing and seeing another, something’s wrong. A person’s heart is revealed by what he does and not by what he says. If his words don’t match his actions, it can be likened to a soft, fuzzy sweater feeling scratchy, a mouth-watering meal tasting bad, or a million-dollar home with a musty smell. Could it be a short fiber in the sweater? Too much salt in the sauce? Water damage in the basement? You can’t put your finger on it, but your perception has suddenly snapped into the on-guard position. If you’re thinking, hmm…there’s a reason. Check it out and then run for your life. (But test everything; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21; “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Matthew 10:16) 

6/1/22 – Effect

The effect of our sin is like salve on a wound; only the wound never heals. It’s the aah we feel after a swig of alcohol. It’s the intense pleasure we feel during a sinful, sexual act. It’s the relief the pill provides not long after we pop it into our mouth. Isn’t it ironic that the effects of our sin of choice actually shield us from complete healing? But the problem is that sin breeds more sin. It’s a deadly trap and the devil is all about it. Until we decide that we’re done, that we’re no longer willing to act as its slave, and that we’re finally ready to end the destructive cycle, we’ll continue to be defeated by it. (No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13; Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. John 8:34)

5/31/22 – Repent

We don’t repent of our sin because we enjoy it too much, because we have too much pride to own it, or because a hard shell has formed around our once softened heart. But if we don’t snap out of it, change our minds, and turn from the sin in our lives, we will die in it. We will die in our idolatry. We will die in our lust. We will die in our lies. We will die in our covetousness. We will die in our thievery. We will die in our jealousy and envy. We will die in our gluttony. We will die in our rage. We will die while we dishonor our parents. We will die in our slandering. These, among other all-consuming sins will be the literal death of us if we don’t repent and cast them into the darkness where they belong. I’m walking out of this darkness. Walk with me into the light where there is fullness of life. (Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:15; 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)

5/30/22 – Divide

Except for the choir of birds singing outside my window, the ticking of the clock, and the low hum of the refrigerator, it’s quiet this morning. As I sit here enjoying my coffee, I’d never know something is coming unless it had been revealed to me. Something devastating is about to happen. Something hard-hitting. I’m not a conspiracist nor do I have holy dreams and visions. I’m simply saying that because the US administration recently announced to the world its decision to divide the city of Jerusalem, it won’t be long now. If this act of stupidity succeeds, the US will be in more trouble than it is now. Why? Because Jerusalem is God’s city. It belongs to the nation of Israel, and it will not be divided without severe consequences handed out to those who seek to divide it. Be on the lookout for tumultuous days ahead, folks. Get ready. God’s not playing. (But I have chosen Jerusalem that my name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over my people Israel.’ 2 Chronicles 6:6; And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelation 21:2)

5/29/22 – False

How are we to know except it is revealed to us? Some things are buried deeply into people’s hearts, but God sees. False teachers claim to be led by the Holy Spirit and declare to have seen visions, signs, and wonders. There are multitudes of people predicting future events. We wonder how they know. The truth is that we can all know what’s coming if we’ll only read the pages of scripture. Camping out there is where the truth regarding the future is exposed. If we ask anything in Jesus’ name, including the revelation of truth, He will give it. He will shine His light in the darkness. If we pray for understanding, it will be given to us. Wisdom and discernment is just a prayer away. It’s dangerous out there, folks. Stay out of the unsecured campsites. (When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. John 16:13; So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32)

5/27/22 – Radical

As of late, I have been praying for God to do something radical in the lives of my family. Yesterday, I spoke about prayer as a sort of natural phenomenon, like breathing; the Holy Spirit whispers a reminder to pray, perhaps while I’m vacuuming. While on my knees pulling the weeds in my flowerbeds, the Spirit nudges my memory again, and I pray that hard-core prayer. If you’re a true Christ-follower, prayer, whether radical or basic, will occur naturally. The Spirit will see to it and will intercede accordingly. (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; If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7)

5/26/22 – Normal

I’m quite sure my eyes were the size of Olympic gold medals when, as a teenager, I read the Bible verse, Pray without ceasing. How will I pray without stopping? How will I have time for anything else? The whew came after hearing a preacher explain this presumably exhausting and impossible phenomenon. When people are in a right relationship with God, praying is as natural as breathing, as normal as the blood gently flowing through the veins. He said that if we’ve accepted Jesus Christ as our savior and are living in obedience to Him, praying becomes part of our spiritual existence, as breathing and blood flow is to our human existence. It’s something that happens almost unconsciously, supernaturally, as we are always in a spirit of prayer. If we haven’t had a conversation with God in a long while, it might be time to call 911. (Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18; Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12)

5/25/22 – Widen

It’s construction season in my town. The main freeway will take at least a year to complete as crews are widening it in order to accommodate more motorists. The old road has to be excavated, cleared, and hauled away before the new and wider foundation can be poured. The progressive Christian agenda is similar, to widen the narrow road that leads to heaven. It claims that the narrow road of which Jesus speaks needs widening in order to accommodate everybody choosing to live life their own way. Accepting what Jesus calls sinful is an ever-growing issue and becoming more alarming as the days pass. But let me tell you something. The road to heaven is one that will not be altered no matter the size of the construction crew clocking in to alter it. (For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Matthew 7:14; “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:41)

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)