This is the day that the Lord has made...

This is the day that the Lord has made...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


"A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish."  Psalm 49:20
There are many pursuits in life that require daily focus, attention and discipline. To excel in one's career is one of these areas. To be satisfied with the status quo requires very little effort, therefore, that is why we see so many people, in my opinion, underachieving.

To continue with this example, you don't have to go further than the nearest bookstore to learn what it takes to make it to the top in "the world." The number one selling genre of books are those providing understanding in the area of personal growth and development. Many of the world's most successful and influential people will tell you that you can judge a person by the quality and size of their library.

I, myself, tend to believe that this virtue is accurate. The people I have chose as mentors in my life have all been extensive readers who are consistently seeking understanding. As I've grown older, and matured, I have seen a shift in the people that I have chosen to model and follow. Early in my life, I studied principles and practices of those who had amassed and achieved great business success and personal wealth. I discovered over the past year of reading, writing and studying scriptures that my definition of success has changed.

It has become apparent, by looking around outside of me as well as inside of me, that one of the most profound pursuits of my life must be understanding. The verse written above exemplifiesthis concept. A man that amasses wealth for the good of serving himself is a life wasted. Without the understanding and knowledge that the Lord gives us all things to serve him, we miss out on the greatest treasures that life has to offer.

To excel in one's career and achieve success and prosperity without having the understanding that we are designed to serve the Lord and one another, we have the ability to change and influence on the a few lives. To do the same, but have this understanding, we have the ability and opportunity to change the world. As in so many aspects of life, hereto, we have to make a choice. And I ask, how do you choose?

Monday, July 25, 2011

We Are Not Alone Here

Meaning.  How do we find it, where should we look, how do we know when it has been uncovered?  Big questions, that for centuries, have turned people in a multitude of directions in pursuit of just that...meaning.

I was taught many years ago that nothing has meaning until you give it meaning.  And for some, they give WAY to much meaning to just about everything in their life.  The color blue existed before we did, and, existed as something other than "blue" until we named it blue, and gave it meaning.  The moon was around long before we called it the "moon" as were horses, raindrops, clouds and crickets. 

My point here is that meaning for all of these things is given by our educated minds so that we might communicate and give reference to these "things" and have others know what we are talking about.  Think about how confusing life would be if I labeled the color red, "blue".  It would created a silly amount of stress and strain in my life until I changed the "meaning" of the color that we all know as red.  Therefore, most things that we label and give meaning to are based on a "worldly" perspective, or in some cases, consensus.

The same concept is true in our spiritual lives in that nothing has meaning until we give it meaning, except here, there is no consensus.  Our point of reference for giving meaning spiritually to our lives comes from the One.  The One that Jesus said he was returning to.  The One that Jesus said all things come from.  The One that was there in the beginning and will be there in the end.  The One that has sent the great Counselor to be with us every step of the way.

We are not alone here, in this journey of life.  We do not have to give meaning to what it is we do and experience everyday.  The One has already done that for us by instilling in each of us a purpose that is higher and mightier than we can comprehend. The challenge we face is listening, for the great Holy Spirit does not always speak in our language as Jesus told us.  This means that we have to quiet our educated minds, turn down the "loudness of life" so that we might "hear" the Holy Spirit speak to us.  God did not leave us alone for a reason.  He knew that this life, in the world, was going to be tough.  So tough and brutal and horrible and unreasonable and wicked that the only way He, the most powerful force in the Universe, could provide help, was by sacrificing His son.  Think about that for a moment.  The only way God saw fit to help us out was by taking the life of His most precious son.  Would you even contemplate sacrificing your child to help anyone else?  And, AND, He controls all aspects of the Universe, which to me, seems like there might have been another way to bring us help.  But, no, there wasn't.

Jesus died for me, so that I might receive the Great Comforter and Counselor to guide me and support me in and through all the ways of my life.  Praise God today for the blessing of the Holy Spirit and all that He brings into our lives.  Thank God he never left us.

Friday, June 24, 2011

He Will Provide

How much have I sacrificed for Him?  What am I willing to give up in my "life" so that I might gain an "eternal life"? 

Living for God instead of living for me is the start.  It sounds good.  It's easy to say.  Yet it is nearly impossible to follow through with.  Why?  Because we are human.  Built to sin.  Designed to serve ourselves.  Since the fall of Adam, we have been struggling with an overdeveloped ego, living based on our own individual needs. 

But why would we live any other way?  I mean, it is MY life after all, should I not strive to meet my needs, my families needs?  Here is the realization that I have come to: Living for me continues to create one need after the next; living for God, there are no needs because He is sufficient.

This is a huge point.  God, the creator of the universe, the one and only who keeps it all in balance, is perfect and void of nothing.  When we open our hearts and minds to Him, we take on the consciousness of the Spirit, which is the great provider, the great comforter.  With the Holy Spirit, there is no need or lack for the Spirit is sufficient enough.

Just as darkness is the absence of light, need is the absence of the Spirit. The further we are from God, his son Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the more perceived need we will have in our lives.  This is why when anyone wanted to follow Jesus, he told them to leave everything, don't worry about your family or your belongings: I will provide for you everything you need.

The same is true right here, right now.  He will provide.  He will meet every need if we are willing to let the dead bury the dead and follow Him.  Are you willing to leave everything you know behind and follow Him?  That is what He is asking of us.  That is the God of the scriptures- holy and merciful- yet jealous and vengeful. 

To have enough faith in the Lord for complete sustenance, complete fulfillment is my goal.  This is where I want to be.

Monday, June 13, 2011

You Can Turn the Whole Horse

I was taught a  long time ago that what you say, how you say it and to whom you speak it can play a significant role in the peace, joy, success and harmony that you create in your life. It is for this reason, I  believe, that the book of James has a whole chapter on taming the tongue.
When we put bits in the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.  James 3:3

Consider the way you answered the question, "How are you?" the last time it was asked of you.  Most of us are not truthful in the response, primarily because we know the one asking the questions really isn't concerned about how we are.  We know they are just using that as an unconscious introductory phrase.  The challenge in this is that the words we speak have meaning to our subconscious mind and spirit and have a tremendous impact on the outcomes of our lives.

When we become conscious communicators, that is, consciously observing the words we choose in conversations with others and ourselves, we can impact the course of our lives.
          The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21
Choosing to use common phrases such as "My back is killing me" or "That just makes me sick" impacts the activity in the psychosomatic workings of the brain (consciously or non-consciously) which in turn plays out in our daily lives.

The verse from James talks about being able to turn the whole horse by controlling the mouth.  We are not any different.  If we can learn to control our mouths, especially the words that come from it, we can change our life.  The words we choose, as you we know, can either be constructive in the world, or destructive.  Just the same, the words we use when talking to or with ourselves, have the same constructive or destructive value.  This is why calling yourself a dummy or stupid, or saying things like "I could never do that" only reinforces your current false beliefs.  Scripture says that faith comes from hearing the word and this is not only valid for faith in Christ Jesus, but other areas of life as well.

If we continually are told how ugly, or stupid, or slow, or incompetent we are, over time, that builds faith in the fact that it must be true.  The same is true for the other end of the perspective as well.  The more we hear how sweet, or smart, or beautiful we are, the more we tend to believe it.

The words you think and speak are as powerful as the elevators on the tail of a 747 jet.  One slight change in a positive or negative direction will either lift the jet up or cause it drop.  Take some time today to contemplate the words you use.  Watch what happens around you when you decide to lift yourself and others up with your words, rather than beat you and them down.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Don't change you, change who

For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:17

Faith is a funny thing.  No, not funny as in laughing or joking.  But more like funny as in peculiar, odd, different.  I say this because from day to day my faith is continuously being challenged, and, strengthened, by the experiences and results of life.

Some days, I truly feel as if I can change the world, conquer any challenge, whip Satan and his army and have energy left to be a parent!  And others, I feel like my butt is getting kicked every step I take, nothing works as I had planned and life is just a struggle.

It is for this exact reason, I believe, that "the righteous will live by faith."  Not every day is having faith, living by that faith and sharing that faith going to be easy.  Not every day will feel like a victory day nor will it feel like "a bug on the windshield" day.  This is why faith is a necessary component of a happy, healthy, functional and high achieving life.

We know that in the end, we win, because it says so in the scriptures.  Living each day in confidence, knowing that before hand, allows me to "live" my faith that much stronger for there is no doubt.  And whether you are new to Christ or have known him for 100 years, living a just, God-like life is the result of building a solid faith. 

Rather than spending the rest of your days trying to change who you are, try changing who you believe in and what you have faith in.  For faith is the cornerstone to a life of change and difference making.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What is your thorn?

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:7-10

So many times I ask the Lord, why?  Why me?  Why does this have to happen to me?  Why do I continue to struggle through hardship after hardship, insult after injury with one difficulty in life following the previous?  When will it end?  Then, at about that point in my little pity party, I chuckle under my breath. Remembering that I have a loving Father in Heaven that supports, nurtures, and develops me, I am able to take a deep breath and move on- ready for the next time it happens!

I was feeling a bit this way yesterday so I spent some time with Jesus this morning getting some much needed counseling. I was amazed, once again, at what I can learn in just a few, focused, quiet minutes.  Looking back over my life, it was easy to see that the times I begin to feel beat up or knocked down by life or the world, well, they generally follow on the shirt tails of some significant personal success or accomplishment.  It's amazing how just about the time I start think that I am all that, maybe even starting to think, "hey, look at me! Look what I've done!" That's when I am struck down by my thorn.

And as much as I have pleaded and begged the Lord to "save" me from these struggles and hardships that appear, I know he won't.  For as long as continue to focus on me, I will carry this thorn forever.  Which, I believe, is what Paul is saying in this scripture.  We each have one, or maybe multiple, thorns that keep us in check.  If it weren't for Paul's thorn, he could have traveled the countryside preaching about himself and all that he has done.  But, no.  Jesus tells him that His grace is enough, that Jesus' power is at it's highest and best when we are weak.

Weak?  Not that kind of weak, the kind in which we are humbled, meek and submissive to the Lord.  The further away from our ego and the closer we get to Christ, the more power he has in us.  Thus, the reason for the thorn: to remind us that we are not Him, that we are to be humble and to focus on serving Him, not ourselves.

So relish your weaknesses today!  For if you have no thorn, then I might suggest you have no relationship with Christ, and that is something that only you can resolve.  And, a little hint, it helps to get down on your knees to solve that one.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Where is the love?

When was the last time you sat down to examine your motives and goals in life?  How long has it been since you took inventory on your purpose for life?  Have you ever taken the time to uncover your purpose for life?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

In order to find your purpose, it helps to understand that you were created with intention by the loving God of the universe- that you were not a mistake- that you were made in his image- and you are perfect as you are!  For everything God has created, he did so in love, with intention and purpose.

Second, we must return that love back to our Heavenly Father so that we might tap into and understand His purpose for our creation.  The key is love.

We were created in love, for love, to be loved, to give love, to share love and live from love- which is at the center of our purpose for life!  If you were an airplane builder and you built and designed planes out of love, you would create the most elegant, efficient, safe and functional plane you could because of your love for planes.  If on the other hand you built planes solely to make money, your product could be less than exceptional, good enough to pass tests, not quite as safe as it could be, all because of the missing ingredient of love.

Where is the love in your life?  Think about it, pray about it, meditate on it.  Find the love of Christ in your heart and put it to work in you life. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Place of Refuge

This world, the one we live in now, is a tough, mean, sometimes nasty, forever stressful place to live.  Between economic woes, worldwide terrorist threats and problems as close to home as a diagnosis of cancer or the loss of job, it is easy to see why worry and fear make residence in our minds.  On a daily basis, we are confronted with obstacles that, in the moment, seem insurmountable.  For many people this daily stress of life is overwhelming.  Overwhelming to the point that we develop in our minds new and creative strategies to cope with what I like to call "the stuff of life."

Many of these self-preserving strategies are born out of necessity rather than as well thought out actions or plans.  For some, eating is a successful strategy.  In fact, I would say that as a whole, the majority of the population of the US has been digging their graves with their mouths as an attempt to handle the stress of life.  Others have found escape through the art of mind altering with alcohol, drugs and other abusive substances. Even at the opposite end of the spectrum are those who are engaged in extreme exercise, which by the way, can be just as harmful as drug abuse or over-eating.

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

The stress of the world can, and will, change you as a man or woman.  It can change your thought processes, your attitude and, definitely, your outlook on life.  It is for this reason that we cannot rely solely on ourselves to develop appropriate and healthy coping mechanisms.  Jesus tells us in this scripture verse that he knows the world is a tough place.  He knows we are going to struggle.  And, notice, he doesn't say that he will take the hardships, struggles, turmoils and stress away.  No, he tells us that the one place to find refuge, to find true peace in this world, is in him for he is the only one that has overcome this world!

"Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; also trust in me."   Jesus - John 14:1

In studying scripture daily you can find help in handling the turmoils and tragedies of this life.  We are given direction and leadership on where to turn in trying times.  Jesus lays out the path for us to follow, however, the challenge is for us to take the first step, and then the second and so forth.  Step one is laid out perfectly here in John 14: trust in God and also in Jesus.  When we put our faith in God, and Jesus, we now open the door to supernatural coping mechanisms that provide comfort, peace and, in some cases, solutions that our minuscule earthly minds cannot fathom.

Let today be a supernatural demonstration of your faith in God, and Jesus, and watch how your heart and mind can be changed.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Smoke and Mirrors

It's Sunday morning, May 22nd, and I'm still here.  Last week I saw a billboard that made me cringe.  I'm sure most of the population in the US heard grumblings of Mr. Camping's prediction of the end of the world.  I, personally, shrugged it off and said a prayer for the troubled man for I know that no man of this world will be able to predict it's end for that is only for our loving God to know.

My heart goes out to all of his followers who have been duped into believing that our faith is a fraud because of one man's inexcusable actions. For those of us who have a relationship with Christ, we know the truth of the matter: God loves us so much that he took his one and only son and sacrificed him for us.

Jesus is the truth, the light and the way.  Hold him in esteem, keep him in your heart and focus your mind on his ways and gimmicks such as Mr. Camping's appear as what they really are: smoke and mirrors.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

His Love Is Amazing

I find it truly amazing how the Lord supplies every need when we put our faith and dependence on Him.  I have had a frustrating couple of weeks, maybe more, and have been spending more time in prayer and meditation than writing, so I apologize to anyone who may be reading and wondering why I have not been posting.

I truly believe it is an inborn, human condition kind-of-thing to create self-doubt and pity in the midst of life when it appears things are "not going your way."  I also believe that this is one of the primary reasons we need Jesus in our life, to help us overcome the human condition, for we are merely spiritual beings having a human experience.

So anyway, I was given a set of CD's to listen to about 2 weeks ago by a patient.  The speaker is John Maxwell who has written probably hundreds of books on leadership and communication.  I took the CD's and put them in my truck and thought I would get to them soon.  Low and behold, a trip to Duluth came up for business so I took advantage of the 31/2 hours of windshield time, and listened to presentation.

What a gift from God!  "But he gives us more grace." James 4:6

Mr Maxwell, thank you for the "swift kick in the pants" which is exactly what I needed.  And thank you, Lord, for putting a stranger in my path who was willing to be a messenger for your, to me.  It reminds me of just how much the Lord loves us and how He is working for us, with us and through us each and every day.  His love is amazing, which makes you and I...amazing.  How quickly we can forget just how amazing we are...because of Him.

Monday, May 16, 2011


I had a great deal of windshield time with a weekend trip to Duluth so I took advantage of that time to listen to some of John Maxwell's stuff on CD.  I have to admit that I have fallen away from the personal growth and development trail so it was good to hear his wisdom and poignant stories.  The whole time listening to him, a quote from one of my mentors was running through my head-"As long as you're green you're growing, as soon as you're ripe you rot."

It seems I maybe have been rotting for a while now, or maybe just not as green as I have been in the past.  Either way, it was obvious to me that I have been stuck where I am in life because I haven't taken the time to get unstuck.  For many people, getting unstuck is a huge challenge because it requires change- either physically, mentally or spiritually- which is usually not comfortable. 

As I was listening to Mr. Maxwell, who is a pastor, I kept getting reminded of the book of James, chapter 3, beginning with the 13 verse: "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  But it you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.  Such wisdom does not come down from Heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.  For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you have disorder and every evil practice.  But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness."

To seek change, to stay green so that I am always growing, I must seek the wisdom of Heaven.  I have spent the last year seeking that wisdom, writing about it, reading about it, wishing I could find it.  And now, you know, I think I am beginning to understand.  Getting unstuck in life isn't only about changing your mind, but more importantly, your heart.

You can have a positive attitude for a short period of time.  You can fake it till you make it until everyone sees through you.  But when you truly change your heart, everyone can see that you are different.  The change necessary to get unstuck in life starts when the mind is made up to change the heart.  If the heart does not change, the life cannot change.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Once again...

Why is it so much easier to bring work home, to think about all that needs to be done at the office than it is to bring Christ into my daily life?  It seems that I can get very, very focused on Jesus at certain times in my life, and, even certain times of the day, yet not everyday.  But if you were to ask me what I was thinking about at nearly any given moment during my waking hours, I would have to respond with some descriptive explanation of work.

I know this is a topic that only I struggle with and I should be happy that my work is my vice and not drugs or alcohol or pornography.  Justification, however, gets me no where because one sin is no more damning than another. 

"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree will be recognized by its fruit."  Matt 12:33

I ask for forgiveness today, Lord, for my lack of strength in keeping you the focus and center of my life.  Forgive me Lord for the dishonesty I have presented to those around me in an attempt to have more time to myself.  I am a selfish man, Lord, and I pray once again to have mercy on me.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Work Truck Is Here

Then he said to his disciples, " The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into the harvest field."

Look around.  Everywhere you look there are people hurting, suffering, lost, wandering in the wilderness of life.  Many put up a good front, a facade, that can fool even those with the most acute spiritual awareness. 

For some, they don't know that they don't know.  What I mean is they have never been introduced to Jesus and the way of life He brings.  Sure, they may have heard about a Heaven, and some might even think that that is where everyone goes when they pass, but they don't have the key that unlocks the gates and have never been shown how to acquire that precious key.  They are lost in the wilderness but don't know they are lost.

For others, they have been burned in some way and have turned away from Jesus.  Maybe they have made mistakes that they feel they cannot be forgiven of, or another man or woman professing to be a Christian hurt them in some way.  For these lost souls, pain prevents them from turning back to Jesus because they believe that is all He and His way have to offer.

And still for some, like where I used to be, they feel that they don't "need" Christ at the center of their lives.  They've got everything under control.  Sure, they know about Jesus, and maybe even go to church and profess to be a believer, but their hearts are empty.

It is up to you and I to reach out in a real, meaningful way and introduce these, and as many others possible, to our Lord, Jesus Christ.  More than our duty, it is put on our hearts by Christ when we accept Him into our lives to share his awesome message of hope and redemption. 

I challenge myself today to find one person, just one, who fits in one of these categories and open my heart to him or her.  The work truck just pulled up, are you going to get on today?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Two Simple Words That Changed So Many Lives

Follow me.  That's it.  That's all Jesus needed to say to the disciples and they left family and home to learn His mighty ways. Think about what it would take for someone to tell you to follow them, and you would actually do it?  Give up everything, and everyone, in your life to follow a complete stranger calling himself "The Son of Man".  It sounds odd to me

My cynical mind wonders if there were any men or women he invited to follow Him that said no?  Maybe there are and we just don't know about them.  Maybe there are and I am not well versed enough to know about it.  Maybe there aren't.

Look what happened to Mary when Jesus called her name.  I have to believe that the same can be said about Jesus' conversation with the disciples.  He called their name and said to follow him in a way only they would recognize that it was God speaking.  And, if you or I knew God was calling, certainly we would answer!

Has He called your name?  If you know Him, He will. If you know Him, He already has and will again when He returns to us, or when we return to Him.  But, only if you know Him.

In reply Jesus declared, " I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."  John 3:3

Follow me.  The key to opening the gates of Heaven and slamming shut the doors of Hell.  He is calling you, listen, can you hear Him?  Are you willing to follow? 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Why Name Calling Works

"Woman," he said, "why are you crying?  Who is it that you are looking for me?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."  Jesus said to her, "Mary."  John 20:15-16

Yesterday was the celebration of Christ's triumphant victory over death and sin.  We all went to church to hear the Good News of His resurrection, listen to beautiful music proclaim that He lives and feast over wonderfully prepared meals with our closest of family.  Easter was a great day, is a great day and will always be a great day for those of us who know Christ.

I was visiting my Mother's church in Iowa and listened to an eloquent message, which at the heart of it, was the verse above.  Pastor Vicki extrapolated the text and then commented on what tone of voice Jesus would have used to get Mary's attention. I began to think about how I talk to my children and how many different inflections I can use to get their attention, and why is it that I know so many, and which one will work at the  appropriate moment.  I realized that I would know which tone to take with my children when I needed to because I know them, and love them. What a wonderful notion to know that Jesus is going to call my name because He knows me and loves me!  Then I began to think about all of those lost souls who will not hear their name called by Jesus. 

These are the ones that found all the eggs yesterday, ate a ton of candy, had a great meal, yet left the table unsatisfied because the One who made Easter so special wasn't invited to dinner.  We all know folks like this.  We know what they are missing out on.  Is it not our mission, our instruction from our Lord, to tend to those that are lost and bring them back to the flock?

In order to be called by name, He has to know your name...and He learns your name by calling out His name, Jesus, and surrendering this finite, pain-filled, struggle-laden sinful life to Him.  He has gone before us to make a room for us in His mansion, but only if He knows us by name.  On this morning after the celebration of eternal life and victory over sin, I pray that everyone I know will be called by name.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He Is Risen

"Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!"  Luke 24:5-6

For weeks Jesus was predicting the events of his final days, even his final hours, here on Earth.  Yet, when the time came, his followers were still perplexed and astonished by the events.  I can only imagine the feeling in their hearts, and guts, when they learned that he was not there.  Praise God for the realization of the Truth that he preached- that he conquered death and sin so that we wouldn't have to!

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."  John 16:33

In my pursuit of living spiritually inclined, everything comes to a head on this grand and glorious day- the day He gave us the Holy Spirit through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. To believe, better yet, to know, that God so loves us that He sent His son- His one and only son- to be tormented, tortured, ridiculed, mocked and eventually killed- for me...and for you.

Look around at the world we are living in.  Really look...deeply...and you will see the pain, the suffering, the loneliness, the false persona's.  His message is more valuable today than ever.  He is risen!  Thank you God for that stone being rolled away and for the tomb being empty on that morning!  He is risen!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where was His "Bucket List"?

Teaching.  That's what he was doing on his second to last day on Earth.  Spending precious and valuable time ministering to the sick and broken, sharing the message his Father sent him here to deliver so that he might accomplish his goal.  Of all the things he could have been doing in those last days, he was serving others.

This makes me think about 2 specific points, totally unrelated to one another: 1) How awesome must Heaven be that he continued to teach people about their Heavenly Father so that they might one day get to see him, and 2) How frivolous is the idea of the "bucket list", trying to do all the things here on Earth before we die.

Knowing his ultimate destiny was nearing, Jesus continued to serve man by sharing the hope and grace of eternal salvation.  Our human nature is to focus our concerns heavily on this life and all the needs, wants and desires we continuously develop.  Satisfaction is something rarely achieved while here, in this life, yet the message of eternity is the opposite- there are no wants, needs or desires.  So, it makes sense that Jesus would have focused on what is truly important- eternity- in his last waning hours.  Building my faith in that message and holding on to the hope of eternity in Heaven with Jesus and all of the other believers is something I pray  I continue to pursue the rest of the days of my life.

And, how many times do we hear about the terminally ill completing their final "to do" list while they have the strength and energy to find enjoyment in it's fulfillment?  I pray I am never in that predicament for I am not certain of which I would choose.  I would hope that my faith was strong enough to carry me through to recognize the futility of clinging to this truly temporary, and ultimately, meaningless existence knowing what was in store for me in the near future.  If Jesus, my shining example of faith, hope and love, spent his last hours helping others find grace and mercy through salvation, I should hope that I might have just a small portion of his character to be able to do similar.

In these final days of Holy Week as we prepare to celebrate his victory over death, and ours, I can't help but be humbled and grateful for having and knowing such a loving God.  My prayer today is for those who don't have this peace and don't know my Lord, Jesus, and that somehow, someway, all of those lost souls might be touched by his love and peace this week.  Look around.  The signs are plentiful.  He is coming.  Praise God, our Father, for that glorious day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An Example We Can All Learn From

Jesus answered, "I tell you Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me."

Sitting before all of your closest friends, people you consider more special than even your family, and your solemn leader, the go to guy, the big dog, the top cheese, the BMOC, turns to you and says that you are a traitor- that you are going to disrespect him and the rest of the group.  I cannot even imagine how that would feel!

Peter, I'm sure, was just as shocked as anyone could be for he just finished telling Jesus that he would go to prison for him if he needed to do so.  So with Peter all riled up, ready to fight for Jesus and filled with fire and passion in his heart and mind, Jesus throws this wet blanket over him. Why?

Was it because Peter was a little too zealous for Jesus?  Or, maybe, Jesus could see through Peter's little "show", knowing in fact, that Peter wasn't that committed to the cause at that time.  I may never know the answer to that, but I do know how the story ends for Peter.

"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you like wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith will not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."  Luke 22:31-32

Here, once again, is the overpowering grace and mercy of Jesus being displayed for all of us to see.  Even though Jesus knows, and even tells Peter, that he will betray him, Jesus still prays for him and knows that he will come back to the family in the end!   Sometimes it takes a little trauma, turmoil or some type of devastation to re-open the eyes of the heart to see Jesus, again.  Just as Jesus says here, He is praying for us with a full knowing that if we should stray from the path, we are welcomed back- AND- are expected to use those new lessons to help strengthen the faith of those around us.

Once a member of the family of Jesus, always a member, if we are willing to open our hearts and let Him in.  I pray today for those who have fallen away, much like I have in the past, in that they may be touch by the Holy Spirit today in some miraculous way, to bring them back into the family of Jesus Christ. 


Monday, April 18, 2011

It's All About The Donkey

Who would have believed a donkey could have had such an impact on millions and millions of lives?  It is by no accident that Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem during his "Triumphal Entry."  In case you don't know the history of the donkey, I'll share a bit of my research.

The donkey is considered by some to be a mistake, or cast off, as a result of genetic mistakes.  As a result of breeding powerful, majestic horses, on occasion a donkey is created.  A mistake, if you will.  For centuries kings and military leaders have ridden beautiful stallions in public displays of power and leadership, yet, no one would consider riding a donkey during a ceremonial march...except Jesus.

It is totally fitting for the "King of the Jews" to make his grand appearance on the back of a lowly donkey for Jesus was, and is, known to take the weakest and poorest and exalt them!  Also, it is no coincidence that his mother and father brought him into the world via a trip on donkey-back.  Once again Jesus, in his actions alone, teaches us how God values even the lowest amongst us.

Only the Son of Man, our Lord and Savior, could take a cast-off animal such as the donkey and give it such a high position of accolade.  I can only believe that in those few moments when Jesus was on his back, that donkey was as proud as a peacock. Or, just maybe, he carried the King with a humble attitude in some way knowing that the one that chose him was the one that chose all of us.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Heaven is for real

The idea of Heaven has been a perplexing one for me for many years.  I truly believe there is such a place for our spirit came from somewhere and, therefore, has to return.  I've studied scripture diligently for many months, and still, have many, many questions.  But, I tell myself, isn't that what faith is for?  To help support my beliefs and values?

I'm reading a book right now, Heaven is for real, that has been confirming and supporting all that I have believed.  It is filled with scriptural knowledge, heart wrenching agony and tearful joy- everything a good book about heaven should have!

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.  And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."  Matt 18:2-4

There is a section in this book where the author, a pastor, describes what it means to become a child again, and, he is dead on.  For us to have child-like faith is to put our intelligent-all-knowing brain in the back seat for a moment; to put our idealistic thoughts on hold; and to humble ourselves to the point where we are willing to call a spade a spade and deal with the reality of it.

I look forward to the day when I am called home to be with Jesus, and yes, I wonder what it will be like.  I know that it will be more than my earthly mind can comprehend.  And that's all I need to know!  Go get this little book, Heaven is for real, and be inspired about what Jesus did for us and what he still offers us!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Joy In The Moment

Floods, nuclear meltdowns, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis.  A constant reminder of how little control we truly have in our lives and how the things of the "this world" are always at risk. We can spend an entire lifetime toiling to accumulate all these "things" while never experiencing the true joy of living.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.   1 John 2:15-17

Loving and serving each other is the will of God.  Not doing so because of the reward that awaits, but doing so because it is just what we do.  It is in these small moments of service in which the joy of the Lord can be discovered.  To see another person smile because they are truly grateful for what you have done for them can change your heart, and your mind, in a hurry. 

It is in these small moments that we can see and feel God's love shining on us, and, in us.  It's easy to pray for the big things in life- sick folks, financial hardship, marital woes. Why not spending time today praying to God for more of the small moments so that we might experience a little heaven on Earth? 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kind of like death and taxes

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved.   Ephesians 2:4

The harsh reality is that I don't deserve it.  None of us do.  Everyone one of us has lived, or maybe still are living, a life dominated by sin and transgressions.  There are countless categories of sin and an infinite number of ways to sin, so much so that even knowing how we ought to act or behave, and not doing so, is sinful. 

My point is, we cannot escape sin.  It is all around us.  Tempting, inviting and alluring.  And, to know that I will succumb to it at some point, whether it be daily, weekly or yearly, is just one of those cold, hard facts of life.  Kind of like death, and taxes.

The good news, though, the really, really good news, is that those sins I have committed are long gone.  They have already been erased from my history.  They don't have to be drug behind me in a crate, or lugged around in a backpack  with me all the days of my life.  Nope. They have been forgiven.  Not because of who I am, or what I have done, or how much money I have given, or how many orphans I have helped, or how many meals I have delivered.  No.  Because Christ loved me enough to die for me, so that I, too, would not have to die for my sins. 

It is through His mercy and grace that I am free from my sins.  Hallelujah!  If it were up to me, I'd be screwed!  Yes, I am free because He was willing to suffer in my place.  And so are you.... 

Monday, April 4, 2011

What have you got to lose?

Every now and then I run into people, old friends or merely acquaintances, whom I haven't seen in some time.  A majority of the time we get caught up in talking about the kids, work, the latest vacation or some other trivial aspect of life.  Once in awhile, though, the conversation has some meaning as we talk about how our lives have changed, how our perspective is now different or how our priorities have been realigned as a result of some incident, tragedy or trauma.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.  Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.  Ephesians 2:1-3

I have asked God and, myself, many times why it takes a trauma, tragedy or life altering event for us to truly turn our eyes to Jesus?  As much as I haven't liked the answers, which is obviously why I continue to ask, the reality of it has set in.  Just as Paul writes here in Ephesians, with God absent from our lives, we are at the mercy of a different spirit.  One that preys on our Earthly desires and selfish thoughts.  A spirit that manipulates and distorts our perspectives and thoughts so that simple, natural justification can prevail in any circumstance.

However, there comes a time in life when the reality of this strikes a chord:  we are spiritual beings having a physical experience.  Becoming spiritually inclined is an awakening of sorts in that either the pain of the wrath of God due to our disobedience or the miracle of the grace He offers, opens our hearts and minds to this new perspective. 

The God of Heaven is patiently waiting, and will always be waiting, for those who are ready to come to Him.  It is my experience that each of us will, at some point in our lives, need the presence of the Holy Spirit.  It is not a matter of if, but when.  I have chosen to have Him at my side daily for comfort, support, love and encouragement.  I have been in the deep, dark pit of despair that results from trying to live without Him, relying solely on me, myself and I.  That is a place I never want to return to...ever.  That is Hell. 

The journey back to living a life for God, with the Holy Spirit, will not-as Matt Maher says in his song "fix your life in 5 easy steps".  It will, however, bring peace to your spirit so that you can begin making better decisions, seeing life more clearly and, putting things into a new perspective.  God is waiting for you and me to choose Him over everything else. Will today be that day for you? 

Nobody, at no time, in an any age, is perfect.  The social stigma that has been placed on believers to be "perfect" is unattainable and keeps many from committing their lives to a higher pursuit.  No one, not even our Heavenly Father, expects perfection from me or you.  It is the pursuit of a holy life and recognizing when we slip, asking for forgiveness, and getting back on the path- that is what is expected. 

Make today the day you fully commit- all in- to the pursuit of a holy life through Jesus Christ.  What have you got to lose?

Friday, April 1, 2011

This New Life

Much has been written in scripture, and in other books, about the transformative nature of the Holy Spirit and what happens when you invite the Lord into your life.  The ultimate goal for us as believers is to reside in Heaven, with the Lord, for eternity, enjoying the promise of salvation.  While here on earth, however, we still have to live our lives, day in and day out.  Here is what Paul writes about living with the Holy Spirit: "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:22-24

How many times do focus on truly putting off my old self, taking on a new attitude, only to find that I cannot sustain it for more than a few measly days.  What a huge frustration for me it is to not be able to follow through, continuously, on what I have been taught.  Herein lies one of my biggest challenges in living spiritually inclined.  Consistency.

  The key, for me, is recognition.  It's important for me to be able to recognize when I am slipping off the path illuminated by the Holy Spirit.  Satan, and all of his troops, do their best to drag me to a different path, daily, which is why it takes daily prayer and reading to keep me focused. 

One of the glories of being saved in Christ is that His forgiveness of our sins is eternal, as long as we are able to confess them  Falling short of the goal, being distracted from the path of righteousness and letting my mind be deceived by the senses is part of being human that will forever challenge me.  Thank goodness I have a loving God that will accept me in whatever condition I show up, as long as I know Him and confess my shortcomings, mistakes and mess-ups. 

How amazing is it to know that there is one person, always, in my corner, on my side, loving me unconditionally, not because He has to, but because He chooses to!  He chose me, so it's up to me to choose Him, daily.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We Win!

To be blessed is a wonderful thing!  There are times in life when it feels almost too easy, that life is just grand and working at moving forward is really not a challenge at all.  Then there are times when life is just plain hard, blow after blow after blow, getting beat down just to be challenged to get up again and take some more.  I say, in both situations, as a lover of Jesus, you are blessed.

Life is the best teacher of principle and universal law in that nothing goes unnoticed, for every positive there is a negative, for every devastating event there is a building up event and for every loss there is a gain.  Being blessed, to me, is part of the understanding that we serve a loving God that is abundant in every way, for all people, no matter what the situation or circumstance!

"Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble." Prov 28:14

Blessings are not just for the rich, or just for the poor.  Being blessed is the result of living a spiritually inclined life where seeking God, fearing God and loving God are at the very core of your existence.  As the world comes crashing down around us with nuclear meltdowns, horrible natural disasters and silly wars, we remain blessed as followers of Christ for when it is all said and done, we WIN! 

We WIN! We WIN! We WIN!  How blessed are we to know the answer before we even finish the test!  We don't have to eat the box of cereal to find the prize at the end, we already have it!  We are blessed coming and going in this life when we know Jesus and believe in the sacrifice that he made for us. 

Being blessed is the result of a choice, that we must make, with our own free will.  And, more than that, we must live it daily.  How great is our God to provide us with a life filled with support and challenge, love and hate, abundance and scarcity, victory and defeat so that we might understand that we are blessed in all ways, at all times, in all things in our lives.  Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Monday, March 28, 2011

How well is your house built?

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.  Proverbs 24:3-4

King Solomon was a mighty, rich and powerful ruler of Israel whose transformative vision and unmatched relationship with the Lord led to his writing of the book of Proverbs and 2 other books of the Bible.  He wrote the book of Proverbs to share his spiritual understanding of leadership, decision making and, in general, how to live a God-fearing life.

As followers of Jesus, and in relationship with Holy Spirit, it is of utmost importance for us to develop the wisdom necessary to decipher the clues, communications and signs that are given us as our lives our led under the direction of the Holy Spirit. As Solomon says here, wisdom is what gives us refuge, safety, protection, comfort. 

I've struggled with understanding "wisdom" for a while, and, only recently, have come to a conclusion regarding this "wisdom". This type of wisdom is imparted to us through the Holy Spirit, as a result of our understanding the principles of the Scriptures and Jesus' teachings, and our use of the knowledge gleaned through life experience as a believer. 

This "wisdom" can't be learned in a book or bought for a price.  No, it is the result of a commitment to Christ and living according to His laws.  King Solomon knew these Heavenly principles, lived them, and, in time, wrote them down to share with the generations who would follow him.  Because of his wisdom, we now have a "User's Guide" for this life on Earth, a reference manual if you will, to give us help in our understanding of the Lord's ways.

"Faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ" (Rom 10:17)  As we study Scripture, learn the principles of Christ and apply them to our daily lives, we build our faith in His ways.  As our faith grows, our ability to trust in these principles grows and strengthens.  As our trust builds and our decisions in life get bigger, and consequently better, our life becomes enriched.  After enough time studying the principles, building our faith, making decisions based on our understanding...we come to that place of wisdom.  Wisdom is the end result of life well-lived in studying, learning and living the principles of Lord.

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you."  Matt 6:33

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Greatest Pursuit

There are many desires and pursuits throughout the course of one's life here, in this world, that at the time appear genuine and important.  Everything from raising a family, to creating a successful career and maintaining exemplary health.  Each desire and pursuit has beneath it a hidden, subconscious goal or ideal that moves us forward toward that which we want.  And, many times, the achievement of that pursuit, or attainment of this desire, leaves the mind wanting more. 

I know, Lord, that this is not you at work in my life, but the work of the enemy.  Fulfillment and satisfaction are the direct result of spiritual attainment not mortal attainment.  Those things that move us, satisfy us and glorify the Lord are of the spiritual nature, yet we are constantly attracted to those of the mortal world. 

He who pursues righteousness and love finds live, prosperity and honor.  Proverbs 21:21

At the center of our very being is a spiritual desire and unending pursuit of love.  Love is the power that connects, binds, bonds and fills the holes in our spiritual armor.  Love is at the very core of what we want out of this life and the next.  Living with love is a completely different experience than living without love. 

From love come all things that satisfy us spiritually and mortally for where there is love, there is God.  And wherever God is, there you will find life, prosperity, honor. To truly know what love is provides an anchor for your spirit and a fountain of never ending refreshment. 

Our greatest pursuit is of love and that begins by following the Lord, accepting Him into your heart and allowing His spirit to make you a new being, born out of His holy love.  With this love in your life, you now have a well spring to share with others which brings peace, joy and complete fulfillment.

Find the love of Christ in your life and new meaning for living will abound.  It is not I, but He who lives in me, that satisfies my soul's yearning for love.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Daily Struggles

 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.    2 Peter 1:5-8

Some background is necessary to fully understand the power of these couple of sentences.  This is an apostle of the Lord, writing to his people who have just accepted Christ into their lives and are filled with the excitement and exuberance of having a new life in Christ.  Here, Peter is giving them instruction and, in some ways advice, to take what you have been given, add to it and live it!

In essence, these few short sentences are the new Christians handbook to life success!  If you want to be a man or woman of God that has a positive impact in the world, then here are a few qualities you should have: faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness to your brothers and sisters in Christ and love for all. 

I struggle with this daily.  I know in my heart there is more that I can do for the body of Christ.  I know that my individual outreach isn't what it could be and that I am certainly falling short.  I look at the list given by Peter and see that I certainly have grasped many of these qualities, yet others, I need help...daily.  Faith, self-control, godliness.  Yeah, these I have not fully applied to my daily life with the same level of commitment as others. 

I fall short, Lord, and I thank you for your perfect love and support of who I am, who I am growing into and what I can become with and through you.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Natural

This world can be a nasty place.  It is filled with hate, envy, greed, corruption and pain, all largey due in part from having lost a solid connection to God.  When there is light, there cannot be darkness because darkness is the absence of light.  The two cannot coexist in the same place, therefore, we get one or the other.  When light is added to a place, it exposes all of that which was previously hidden and unseen.  The light gives us the opportunity to come face to face with those obstacles that have been in our way and hidden from us.

At least part, if not all, of the challenge in dealing with the darkness in the world is that it arises from our deep seated human-minded earthly desires.  When our focus is on the things of this life, this time, this place and on myself, we are stuck with human, earthly results.  With this earthly, human focus, by default we are forced to live with what is natural and expect the same.  In this world, 2 fish and 5 loaves maybe feeds 10 people because we know that it takes a certain amount of food to nourish us.

Conversely, when living in the light, with the Lord, with heavenly motivated desires, we can open the door to supernatural results.  Here, the same 2 fish and 5 loaves can feed thousands. 

 "His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. "  2 Peter 1:3-4

Living in the divine nature allows us to experience SUPER-natural results in our lives as we may know His goodness and power.  With the presence of the Holy Spirit, darkness is gone.  Seek Him today for His spirit

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Well, today is post number 100 for me here on Spiritually Inclined.  I can't put into words what writing to and about God everyday has done for me emotionally, spiritually and physically.  Having someone or something in my case, to hold me accountable to spend time with the Lord and really study His life and the lives of other great men and women of scripture has brought me to a new level of understanding.

Although Christ has been the same for over 2000 years, He is different to us during different phases of our life.  Here's what I mean because I know I am not making sense.  At times in my life He has been my comforter, helping me through troubled water, emotional pain.  Other times He has been my biggest cheerleader, supporting me and lifting me up during my successes.  And on other occasions He has shown me discipline as I have lost my way along the path. 

So what I am getting at is that God is not a big, scary entity that does nothing but punish you when you mess up!  Moreover, He is not going to rescue you everytime you need rescuing.  What He will ALWAYS do for you is to love you.  And what more could anyone want from another person than to be loved.  Love is the greatest of all emotions, intentions, feelings, attitudes and spiritual states as it has the power to heal, the power to mend, the power to build and on and on.  It is for this reason that love is the most discussed topic in the Bible.

Love is why we are all here.  To learn to love one another; to learn to love God; and more importantly, to learn to love ourselves.  When we prepare our hearts to fall in love with God and ourselves, we have now created the loving, nurturing environment to attract other loving people into our lives.  But it starts with loving God and loving self.  This I have learned first hand, and have witnessed in other peoples lives time and time again, that when they return to loving the Lord and loving themselves, life is better.  Life is more fulfilling.  Life is more rewarding.  Life works best with love.

Thank you to all of you who have emailed and facebooked me comments.  A special thanks to those who have shared stories about what an impact this blog has had on a friend or loved one.  As much as I'd like to say that is why I do it, I really can't.  This blog has been a selfish production from the beginning that I have simply chosen to share with the world. 

I pray that you do continue to read and share, however, because the next 100 posts will be just as good or better than the first!

Life works best with love!  I love and appreciate my God, Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for setting the example and showing me how love conquers all and wins every time!

Life works best with love!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What A View

We serve an amazing God!  As I look out my window this morning I see the brilliant pallate of colors across the sky that only He could create.  These little things-the colors in the sky, the smell after a fresh rain, the beauty of a fresh snow-are where we are able to see God's glory and majesty in our world.  He has given us a free will to make many choices, yet these things are beyond our abilities.

Science continues to develop formulas and discover compounds and particles to explain nearly everything that exists in our lives.  However, for years I have stood by my belief that God doesn't live in a test tube, nor can you quantify or measure His greatness and glory.  While water might be made of H2O and can be measured in ounces, milliliters and hundred other ways, there is no container that can hold God...other than the heart.

Curl your fingers into a fist and there you have the size of your heart. So many people on this earth live with their fingers clenched, holding tight to what they believe is "theirs", fearing the loss of anything. Having faith in God means filling your heart, which is as big as your fist, with God's love and living your life with your hand open, freely offering God all that you have and all that you are so that He might place into that open hand or take from it, all that He desires for you.

If the God I serve can create the beauty I am witnessing this morning, He can certainly cure the lame, raise the dead, prosper the meek, feed the hungry and heal the sick.  Our God has no limits for He is the beginning and ending of all that there is.  Praise Him today for His greatness and the glory that shines upon us!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

3 Wiseguys

Set your mind on this story for the next few minutes and really, truly attempt to get in character with what I am about to share.  The following is an inspired story which I was given after my daily study time in the book of Daniel.

Imagine being the CEO of ConocoPhilips Oil Company, the nation's 3rd largest oil company.  You are blessed with a great job with a host of benefits.  You have the fleet of corporate jets at your will, a new Mercedes every year, a large home in Texas, one in the Cayman's and another in Bamff. You have house servants that cook and clean for you.  You play golf on the finest courses, drink the finest wines and wear only the finest garments. Not only do you have nice things, you have power. You are in control of a significant portion of the US's oil production. You have power in Washington, DC with the lawmakers. You get to rub elbows with all of the top professional athletes and musicians.  Life is, well, exquisite. 

Then, one day, the Sheik's from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the rest of that region of the world form an alliance and proudly proclaim, "We will not sell you one single barrel of oil unless you bow down and worship Allah." 

One simple act and you can maintain your incredible lifestyle with all of it's perks and gratuities.  Or, object and see the life as you know it taken from you instantly...

The 3 wiseguys (as I like to call them) in the book of Daniel, Shadrack, Meeshak and Abednego, were faced with a similar decision.  Worship this golden idol or die a fiery death in the King's furnace.  We all know they stood up for the God in Heaven and survived the fiery death.  But, think about what those last few moments before they were dropped in the furnace were like inside their minds.  What must they have been thinking, or praying, or screaming?

There are very few, if any, times in our lives when we are faced with decisions to follow God or pay the consequences like the 3 wiseguys were faced with.  We are, however, challenged every day to follow his lead and live as he has proclaimed for us to live, without sin.  And, the consequences of not doing so are exactly the same except not today, but for eternity!

I am not a learned biblical scholar but I can't help but see the symbolism in the story of the 3 wiseguys and their escape from the fiery furnace.  The principle rings true throughout the Bible- only the God in Heaven can save you from the fiery eternity of Hell.  Do you know Him?

Monday, March 14, 2011

There Is A Plan

I sat down to read my scripture verses for the day and was inspired to begin reading the book of Daniel.  It had been a long time since I had looked at this book.  In fact, I wasn't sure if I had ever really read the whole book.  I know that I had read bits and pieces about Shadrack, Meeshack and Abednego, but studying this book is something I hadn 't done. So, I have decided to take on this challenge, the book of Daniel.

In his hometown, Daniel was set aside with a few other men of intelligence and skill to be destined as the upcoming leaders of his country.  It was looking like Daniel's life was being set up to be pretty good, with a fair amount of power and wealth in his future.  Then his land was seized by an opposing king, Nebuchadnezzar, and Daniel was taken away to serve a new king and a new set of God's. 

I found it most amazing that with all of this turmoil and change in his life, Daniel still stood strong in his faith in the the God of heaven and did not fall for the other god's of the king.  Daniel was ordered by his new ruler to eat and drink, dress, and even live a certain way, all of which were drastically in opposition to his was of living for God.  Instead of conforming to his new king's wishes, Daniel used his talents and gifts from God to conform those around him.  By doing so, Daniel was able to continue to serve God and see manifestations of Him in his life.

There is a plan for each of us. Daniel teaches us that no matter what our circumstance, we must continue to love and serve the Lord.  By doing so, His plan will manifest in a magnificent and glorious way.  We may never know what the future holds, so we must hold on to the one who knows our future.  For it has been written that he will never leave us nor forsake us.  Look around today, in your own life, and see the glory of the Lord at work and be thankful for the plan he has given you as it is perfect...just like you.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

To Serve

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in it's various forms.  1 Peter 4:10

Many years ago one of my mentors coined the phrase "Love, serve and give to others, out of your own abundance."  I can remember the first time I heard this charge and how it resonated deeply in my heart.  For over a decade now this has been a thought that I have returned to on a regular basis.

In many situations in life, whether it be at home, in the workplace or in the community, a foundation built on the desire to serve others has brought much joy, satisfaction and success into my life.  Because of this understanding and living from this principle, I have been able to witness God at work in my life and those around me.

In a world filled with "what have you done for me lately" thinking, living with a servant's heart can be challenging and frustrating at times.  The key to this principle to me is to do it out of my own abundance, or, within my own capacity.

As the scripture verse states, we have all been given great gifts and talents from God to use to serve one another.  Expressing your own unique gift is not challenging in itself. The challenge is finding, even better, searching out the right opportunities to use your gifts and talents to benefit others. 

It's easy to use your gifts to serve yourself because that is what comes naturally.  I have yet to find a scripture verse describing or proclaiming the virtues of using your talents to make yourself and your own life better.  We have come pre-programmed and, to a greater extent, programmed by society, to find our strengths and exploit them for our own good.

Jesus is the living example of operating with a heart focused on serving others.  He used His gifts to changed the world, to make it a better place for all of us.  He had no regard for how it would benefit Him or His family.  His focus was on serving others.

Imagine how different our world might be today if each of us who loves the Lord would focus on using our talents and gifts to serve those around us with the full intention of doing so just for the sake of serving and giving and loving others?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Peter is a wise man

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.  As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.  1Peter 4:1-2

There is so much good stuff in these couple of lines my mind has a difficult time even getting started.  All I can think right now is "Yes, Lord, Yes!"  For isn't that our continual struggle as humans- putting down the desires of the flesh to make room for the Holy Spirit?  This isn't something you do one time in your life, like registering when you turn 18.  This is a day to day grind, pump your fist and beat your chest type battle for all of us who follow Jesus.

For some it may be daily, for others like myself, it must be moment to moment, the checking of my attitude and human desires.  There is not a single day that goes by in my life where I don't have to ask the Lord for forgiveness of my sinful desires and thoughts.  Some days are better than others, of course, yet I catch myself falling back into the snare of pop culture, keep up with Jones' syndrome and Lifestyles of the Rich and Materialistic.

The enemy certainly has studied me intensely because he knows right where to start tempting me to lead me astray.  Show me a picture of the 2012 Corvette or Camaro, or let me drive by a big, beautiful new home for sale and watch my gears start turning.  My human brain kicks into high gear and I immediately start thinking about how I can HAVE this or that! 

You know, the beauty of having a relationship with Christ is that now, at this point in my life, I recognize exactly what is going on when that happens.  I don't stew for weeks or months and plan my purchase any more.  I can only imagine how much of my life has been wasted with idolatry and the pursuit of THINGS.

I thank God daily, for sending His son to the cross for me so that I might have the ability to die, and yet live, for Him.  Getting clear in your heart and mind with the Lord, knowing and accepting that He did die for you, is one of the most transformational "a-ha" moments you can have in your life.  I continue to pray daily for the salvation of the lost souls of my friends, acquaintances and people around me.  I have chosen to live for God so that He can live in me.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Praise Friday

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."  John 5:25

Praise the one, almighty God, who has set me free from the chains of my past sins!  Praise the one who knows my heart and loves me unconditionally!  Praise Him who came to show us the way to eternal life through salvation and the sacrifice of His very own life for mine!  Praise Him, who died for me, so that the Holy Spirit might be available for those of us who want and need it in our daily lives!  Praise Him for His goodness and mercy, for the grace and peace He brings to our lives!  Praise you Jesus, the living God, the creator of life and the great deliverer from death! 

Oh Lord, we give you praise and glory today, because you are who you said you would be.  We have read and listened to your word this week, oh Lord, and have built our faith deeper and broader on the strength of your mighty teachings.  Grant us peace this weekend, God, so that we may rest in your presence and have the glory of your great peace and mercy upon us.  Thank you, Lord, for your gift of eternal life that came by way of the ultimate sacrifice. 

Praise Him today...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Faith Walk

Intent, as defined by Webster is the state of a person's mind that directs his or her actions toward a specific object.  To have intent also means to have purpose or meaning.  When intention is present in our daily thoughts and actions, it moves us in the direction of a desired result or goal.  I often talk and think about intentional parenting, that is, choosing the best words, actions and behaviors to have the greatest positive benefit for my children.  On the opposite side is unintentional parenting where life with children is purely reactionary based on the immediate set of circumstances.  Which one produces the best result is obvious, yet it is certainly the most difficult and challenging to live by.

The same can be true with our faith in God.  Many times the level of faith we express and bring forth is dependant on the immediate situation or circumstances. Think about your level of faith and prayer and focus on God during the trials and tribulations of life.  How much more time do we spend seeking His knowledge, guidance and comfort during those low times in life than when we feel as if we are on top of the world.  Being able to maintain a constant, consistent level of focus on God through prayer, reading scripture and daily faith is what I refer to as intentional faith.  Truly living life "in and through" faith, not merely "with" faith.

"Walk by faith, not by sight."  2Cor 5:7

This verse in and of itself is our personal directive from God on how to live with intentional faith.  Being able to put aside what we see around us, what the world is telling us and what we are thinking and feeling in our human mind is the core principle of intentional faith.  To be able to be in the world, but not of the world- my personal pursuit and the purpose behind my daily writings-is the result of intentional faith.  Applying this principle to our family life, work routines, recreational adventures and spiritual pursuits gives our life new meaning and depth, allowing us to bear fruit that would be inaccessible without it.

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Gal 2:20

When "I" can get out of the way, and let the Holy Spirit work "in and through" me, then, then I have reached the pinnacle of intentional faith.  On paper it seems so simple.  Too simple.  And in application, it is hard- darn hard.  This is why I write and read scripture- to build my relationship with Christ and my faith in Him so that He may live in me and be made manifest in my life. Living my life with intentional faith is where I see and feel His presence in my life, and I truly love that life.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Intentional Faith

Faith is a funny thing in that when life is sailing along with smooth waters and an abundance of sunshine, it's easy to be thankful to God and to believe that anything is possible.  It's when challenge confronts me, that's when it should be easiest to have faith.  But, in most cases, that's not reality.  Our feeble human minds default to worry and doubt, rather than faith and confidence. 

In the book of Matthew, chapter 14 is the story of Jesus feeding the masses.  Jesus withdraws from the people with his disciples to regroup after the death of John the Baptist.  When they arrive on shore there are thousands of people waiting for him.  After healing the sicking and preaching the word, the disciples begin to worry about feeding the followers.  In their moment of doubt they tell Jesus to send them away to find food since there is not enough to feed them all.  Of course, Jesus thinks otherwise, "They do not need to go away.  You give them something to eat."

Stepping back into their doubting minds and lack mentality they respond by saying they only have five loaves  of bread and two fish, which to them was not nearly enough to feed all the people.  In his glory, the Lord multiplies the bounty to more than enough to feed his followers.

How many times are we like the disciples and are limited in our faith and belief in the power of the Holy Spirit?  I find it astonishing how many times I, too, default into doubt and lack when situations appear bleak.  Rather than leaning on my faith, I will set it aside in thinking that I must provide the solution or fix the problem.  When in fact, all things are possible with God for those who BELIEVE! 

If Jesus can turn 5 loaves  and 5 fish into a smorgasbord for thousands then certainly he can provide an answer to whatever troubles me!  In times of turmoil, stress or frustration he wants nothing more than to help, to be the one I lean on and look toward for guidance and answers.

Faith in the command post is easy and almost casual, but faith on the battlefield is hard and intentional.  Intentional faith provides opportunities for the glory of the Lord to shine brightly in the life of the believer.  What am I keeping from the Lord?  Where am I holding back in my faith for fear of failure or being let down? 

Intentional faith puts Christ in the center of life where he can be the difference maker for each of us!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

His Grace is Enough

 A near and dear friend, one of my spiritual mentors, is hurting deeply at the moment.  I saw him yesterday and the first words out of his mouth were," my world is rocked."  When a man of deep, strong, consistent faith shares that opening line with you, hang on, 'cause the enemy is at work.

It turns out that an estranged sister, one who eats right, exercises, never drinks or smokes, goes to church, prays daily, volunteers at the hospital, has been a foster parent for 23 years or so, has cancer in her colon, liver and lung.  As a doctor, I know the gravity of this diagnosis.  As a human, I feel his pain.  As a Christian, I believe in miracles.

So many good people get struck down too early in life and leave us asking the unanswerable question, "Why?"  I've heard many explanations as well as funeral sermons helping to shed light on this painful reality.  And, honestly, there are no good ones.

I believe that, ultimately, God has a plan for each of us.  He knows who we are going to touch, how we are going to impact others and when we've done enough.  He will call us home to be with him in Heaven when we have completed his plan, not ours. 

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  2Cor 12:9

I tend to look at sickness, disease and illness as blessings, or opportunities for miracles.  I have seen so many of them in my life that I know God is in the healing and miracle producing business.  So for my friends sister, I can see her being healed. Beyond that, I see opportunities for the power of the Holy Spirit to be made manifest in people's lives.  How many estranged families are brought back together because of a crisis or illness?  How many lonely people are comforted by friends and family during illnesses?  Don't you find it amazing how families reunite during a crisis?

There are so many pieces to this puzzle of life.  We may think that the border is the best place to start because we can comprehend and understand how two pieces can make a right angle.  All the while Christ sees the whole picture and is putting all sorts of pieces together here and there, creating the miracle we call life.

I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to comfort, provide, heal and lead.  I also believe Jesus in that sometimes we have to be made weak so that he can be strong.  Weakness can be seen as a gift, just as an illness, disease or sickness, to provide an open environment for a miracle.  It is during times of weakness that our hearts are most open to Christ, we are most receptive to the gift of the Holy Spirit and we see miracles.

My challenge is to live, daily, with weakness, so that the strength of the Holy Spirit might be made manifest in my life.  I hope to live in such a manner that it doesn't require an illness or disease or disaster to open my heart and mind to Christ.  I pray that my ego might die daily, that I might surrender control of my life to Christ, that in my weakness his power might prevail.

I pray for my friend, Mike, today, that the Holy Spirit would comfort him and his family in this time of concern and despair, that his heart might be touched and mind be opened to all the possibilities Christ might have available for him and his family. And lastly, I pray that the glorious healing power of the creator of the universe might touch the life of one of his faithful servants and make manifest the Glory of God through a miracle healing.  I pray that, too, God's blessing would be upon this family now, and forever more, so that they might have peace.

His grace is enough...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Simple Praise

Some days I sit down to write, and I can fill pages of inspiration and ideas and thoughts about the greatness of God in my life.  Other days, I only have tears and no words. And yet on other days, my spirit enters into prayer and I enjoy the peace and stillness of being in his presence.

My God is a loving God that provides me with exactly what I need.  He has been constant and unchanged since the beginning of time. In his perfection and omnipotence, he finds room for me, and you, to live in his glory and be blessed.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever."  Psalm 118:1

There is no one else like him.  He is my Lord, my Savior, and I love him.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Letting Go

As children bring their broken toys with tear for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God because he was my friend.
But then, instead of leaving Him in peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help, with ways that were my own.
At last, I snatched them back and cried, "How can you be so slow?"
"My child," He said, "What could I do? You never did let go."

How often is it that we cry out to the Lord for help and continue to struggle to find a way on our own?  It seems so many times I live my life with clenched fists, holding onto my troubles, sorrows, regrets, fears and failures when all the while I should have open hands.  Open to let God take from me and give to me as He sees fit, for my best interest.  Maybe not for today or even in this lifetime, but he certainly knows what is best for me  from the eternal perspective.  And, sometimes, sometimes what's best might have to be uncomfortable.  Uncomfortable drives change, and change is the basis for growth, and growing spiritually, personally, physically, emotionally, financially and socially is what life is all about.

I pray today that I and my friends and family might loosen their grip on those things that we are holding onto and have faith, confidence and trust in the Lord to make a way that is perfect, like only He can do.  Letting go is a crucial step in building our relationship with Him, which is truly all He wants.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2 Boys

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent."  Revelation 3:19

I love my children.  As a father of two boys, very close in age, it can be difficult and challenging when they battle for the alpha position in the house.  It seems every couple of weeks a huge battle ensues, words are yelled, arms and backs are punched and there maybe even is a little wrestling. One thing is for sure, there is always yelling!  Very seldom, anymore, are there tears like there was when they were much younger.

This battling is challenging for me as the father because I understand it, I know why they are doing it and I get that it is part of human development.  All that being said, I still don't like it.  Therefore, I generally intervene after a few minutes.  I've learned that if I step in too soon, it will just continue when I leave, escalating again until I have to come back. If I step in too late, someone is hurt.  Never anything more than a bruise or a sore groin, yet the winner definitely feels triumphant. 

When I do step in, the boys know they are in trouble!  When Dad is mad, someone's getting in trouble!  Ha Ha Ha!  Yes, they will get disciplined, with a chore, or quiet time in their room or worse, they might have to sit next to me for a while and not do anything!  Then, it's hug time.  After the flames have settled, a few giggles can be heard from solitary confinement, it's time for apologies.  I don't know how many times I've had to say, "do it again, this time like you mean it"! - all the while chuckling under my breathe.  And it rarely fails, after the apology, life is good. 

I love my children more than anything and would protect them with my life.  Yet, I love them enough to know that discipline is necessary to develop good character, integrity, work ethic and an understanding of responsibility.  I discipline out of love, not anger, and there is a difference.  Our God, bless his holy name, is the same with us.  Developing our spirit, our character and integrity is why we get rebuked and disciplined.  Because he loves us so much.

The God I know and love, loves me more than I could possibly reciprocate.  Words cannot create a a story or paint a picture bold enough to express the depth of his love for me, and you.  Accepting the discipline and asking for forgiveness with intent and meaning builds a foundation of trust in God.  When you know that you have that kind of love in your life, and the trust level is deep enough, the relationship goes to a new level and you find a new peace. 

I pray that I may be able to continue to accept his discipline and repent with a thankful, open heart.  For I know that he loves me.  And for that alone, I am thankful.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


It's a good thing that the Lord doesn't ever get too busy for us.  I am sure He has a busy schedule, with all His kids, the problems of a billion or so people and a ridiculously persistent enemy, ya' know?  How does He do it?  Oh, that's right, He's God!  Which means he is SUPPOSED to be able to do it all, be everywhere, handle everything all while being in control. 

Forgive me, Lord, for not being able to duplicate all that you do and thank you for letting it be that way.

How many crises is it going to take for me to learn and understand that I need to seek Him first, not last, for the solutions in my life?  I just endured a terrible amount of stress, filled with worry and fear, due to a software failure at my office.  My life is supposed to be dependant on the Lord, not a program, but it felt that way the last 3 weeks. 

I have been somewhat embarrassed that I let the stress get to me in such a way.  I have made it through so much with God, I cannot understand why I didn't seek Him for this as well?  I trust Him with my life and I know that the eventual result was all His doing and the simplicity and over reaching benefit of the solution is still mind blowing to me.  Because that is God's way. 

So I sought counsel in Proverbs today when this verse slapped me alongside the head:  Listen to you father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.  Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.  The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him. May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice! Proverbs 23: 23-25

I know that many times in life I have let my mother and father down, have fallen short of their expectations and at times, caused them undue strife.  As a father now, I understand the unconditional love a parent has and the sacrifice they are willing to make to help their children grow, learn and succeed in life.  I look back over my life and see how I took that for granted, how God allowed my life to play out based on my choices and how many blessings I have had because of my mother and father. 

Mom, who is still here with me, and Dad, who's been enjoying Heaven for four years now, I'm thankful for all the sacrifice you made for me, the discipline you handed down to me and the understanding that has grown in me because of you in my life.  It is my true hope that you are glad...