God's Word is Powerful

God's Word is Powerful

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


When I was in high school I willingly endured torturous training and discipline.  Everyday for about 3 hours I would run up down stadium steps, lift weights, run wind sprints, do suicide and fourth quarter drills until I was exhausted.  I hated it - and yet I loved being able to play into the 3rd overtime during a game and not be tired.  Our coach was a man who believed in discipline - and he was deadly serious about it.  And anyone who was not serious about the discipline necessary to play ball for him did not make the team.  As I was reading in Hebrews 12 the thought that God disciplines His children came through clearly. 

Hebrews 12:5-7 (NET) And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons? “My son, do not scorn the Lord’s DISCIPLINE or give up when He CORRECTS you. [6] “For the Lord DISCIPLINES the one he loves and CHASTISES every son he accepts.” [7] Endure your SUFFERING as DISCIPLINE; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not DISCIPLINE?

I think that in the past I have interpreted these verses through the eyes of a child who has been disobedient and is suffering punishment.  Certainly punishment for wrongdoing can be part of God’s discipline. The word chastise (vs. 6) means to punish.  Verse seven reminds us that many times discipline comes in some form of suffering.  So in God’s Word discipline also means to correct and instruct.  There are times when God is not punishing rather He is shaping and molding us through His discipline.

Speaking of human parents the writer to the Hebrews says...

Hebrews 12:10-11 (NET) ...they DISCIPLINED us for a little while as seemed good to them, but HE does so for OUR benefit, that we may share His holiness. [11]  Now ALL DISCIPLINE seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it PRODUCES the fruit of peace and righteousness for those TRAINED by it.

Good parents do their best to discipline their children, but God like the perfect parent -OR- coach brings DISCIPLINE into our lives SO THAT there will be a harvest of godliness in our lives.  Once I started seeing the things God brought into my life as an incentive for growth rather than punishment it changed my perspective. I was much more willing to embrace those hard things because they were for MY good.  The discipline my coach forced on me trained me so that I could play at full speed all the way to the end of the game.  God TRAINS us through the discipline of painful things SO THAT we will be able to FINISH the race which He has place before us WELL. (Heb. 12.1-2)

PRAYER: Lord God, please help me to remember that all the things You are doing in my life is for my benefit and good.  You want me to bring You honor and glory by the way I think, speak, and act.  Lord, I long to finish each day well - in a way that really does honor You.  Help me to see the hard things that come along as part of your discipline in MY LIFE to strengthen me and encourage me.  Thank You. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016


Have you ever felt like a turtle sitting on fence post?  All of us find ourselves in situations when we realize we are in deep trouble without help. I found myself in that situation and I felt like I was stuck floundering with no help in sight as we were trying to finish all the things that needed to be done for our daughter’s wedding.  But it ALL got done.  How?  A whole bunch of friends and family gathered round and helped in countless ways. And as they lifted me off that fence post the overwhelming thought that filled my mind was THANK YOU. 

Maybe you have felt that same way in your walk with the Lord.  A time when it was all was dark - when there was NO HOPE - when it felt like the end was near - when you just wanted to give up.  But in crying out to God He gave hope and help and lifted you to solid ground. 

Psalm 40:2 (NLT)  He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.

The response to that should be Praise Worship - thanksgiving to God for ALL He has done...

Psalm 40:3 (NLT)  He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what HE has done and be amazed...

It is amazing how our perspective changes AFTER help has come.  The turtle that is lifted off of the post can scurry away safely.  For me there was no need to be anxious - there were many people who helped set things up and take them down afterwards. I was humbled and THANKFUL. 

Paul’s reminder to us is that everything we do in life can be done in a way that brings Honor to the Name of Jesus.  And as we do whatever we are doing it should be done with a heart full of thanksgiving to God. 

Colossians 3:17 (HCS) And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

We may feel like a turtle on post - in desperate need of help.  But we are never alone, and God will give us the help that we need if we will Trust and Him and continue to be Thankful.

PRAYER:  Lord God - thank You for good Friends and Family who have been so encouraging and helpful.  But thank You most of all for the way You work in every situation.  Thank You for taking the hard things, the difficult tasks and using them to make me look to You for Your Help and Strength.  Thank You for helping me see that I am never sitting on a post all alone.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


What do we do when the worst possible thing takes place?  How do we feel when we wake up and realize it was not just a horrible nightmare it really did happened?  If you have ever heard the words “I’m sorry it is cancer” or if you have had a close family member or friend commit suicide.  Then in a small way you have a sense of what Jeremiah was describing in Lamentations chapter three.  Jeremiah had preached and prophesied to nation of Judah telling them over and over to turn away from idols and to turn back to God. He warned them again and again that God’s judgment was coming.  He told them that captivity and death were waiting.  But the people did not repent - and the horrors of war, captivity, and death overwhelmed them.  Lamentations is Jeremiah’s description of those dreadful and difficult times. He describes clearly what he has seen and what he is feeling.

In Lamentations three Jeremiah is brutally honest about what has happened to the people of Israel. He speaks passionately of the horrors of the invasion and the captivity.  These are the writings of an eye witness who is heartbroken over what has happened to Jerusalem.

Lamentations 3:1-2  I am the one who has seen the afflictions that come from the rod of the LORD’s anger. [2]  He has led me into darkness, shutting out all light.  (NLT) 

Jeremiah shares the depth of what he is feeling. God has poured out His wrath on me.  He has led me into utter darkness there is NO Light and absolutely NO HOPE.   I have felt God’s wrath - His anger has been directed against me. He has brought me into utter darkness.

Lamentations 3:7-8  He has walled me in, and I cannot escape. He has bound me in heavy chains. [8] And though I cry and shout, he has shut out my prayers.   (NLT

Listen to the emotion - God has built prison wall around me - there is NO ESCAPE.  He put me in chains, and even though pour out my heart to Him but He refuses to hear my prayers.

Lamentations 3:10-11, 20  He has hidden like a bear or a lion, waiting to attack me. [11] He has dragged me off the path and torn me in pieces, leaving me helpless and devastated.       ...[20] I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.   (NLT)

God has ripped me in pieces like a savage lion.  He has left me helpless and devastated. Jeremiah has seen the horrors of the destruction of Jerusalem.  The slaughter of people and slaves being dragged away to Babylon.  He says he will NEVER FORGET this horrifying time.

But then suddenly in the midst of all the horrors of death and destruction there is a huge shift...

Lamentations 3:21-23  Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: [22]  The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. [23]  Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. (NLT)  

I DARE to Hope - What?  How?  In the darkest times Jeremiah had ever face he stopped and focused once more on God and His FAITHFUL Love. Why?  Because he knew that God’s Love and Mercy never end.  But how can all of this be God’s love? How can these horrible things show His mercy?  Jeremiah accepted the fact that the people of Israel deserved judgment.  He had warned them and preached to them.  He called on them to TURN BACK to God but they refused.  The Faithfulness of God was seen in that He chose to discipline His people rather than to give up and totally destroy them.  Even in the darkest moments with the horror of all that has happened Jeremiah believes that God will keep His promises and restore His people.  God’s Mercy will replace His judgment.  This is Jeremiah reminding himself that God is just and merciful. 

PRAYER: The words to this song by Stuart Townend are a great reminder and prayer.

There is a hope that lifts my weary head a consolation strong against despair
That when the world has plunged me in its deepest pit, I find the Savior there
Through present sufferings, future's fear, He whispers 'courage' in my ear.
For I am safe in everlasting arms, And they will lead me home.

There is a hope that stands the test of time, 
That lifts my eyes beyond the beckoning grave,
To see the matchless beauty of a day divine When I behold His face!
When sufferings cease and sorrows die, And every longing satisfied.
Then joy unspeakable will flood my soul, For I am truly home. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


When I was in high school someone challenged me to read some missionary biographies.  I remember as I read about Hudson Taylor, Jim Elliot, and Helen Roseveare and the things that they went through as missionaries that I was stunned by their faith, courage, and perseverance.  I was in awe and wondered if I could ever be like them.  Yet down deep inside there was always doubt and fear.  I was sure that I could never do those kinds of things or be that kind of person. Sometimes I still feel the same way when I read some of what Paul wrote in the New Testament.

2 Corinthians 12.10 "That’s why I take PLEASURE in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (NLT)

Paul, what do you mean you take PLEASURE in weakness, insults, hardship, persecution, and trouble?  Are you nuts?  Why in the world would you find any pleasure in those things? It makes a lot more sense to try to avoid those things, to do whatever is necessary to steer clear of them rather than to embrace them. The first two words of vs.10 give a hint as to why Paul felt this way.  They take us back to the context in the previous verses.  Paul had something very serious and perhaps even painful that he was dealing with. So in vs. 8-9 he said "Three different times I begged the Lord to TAKE IT AWAY.  Each time HE said, MY grace is all you need. MY power works BEST in weakness..." 

So Paul took the hardship that he was facing, that he found extremely difficult to handle, right to God and asked Him to take it away. God's answer was “you need this Paul because MY GRACE is seen most clearly in you when you are WEAKEST and dependent on ME.”  At that point Paul tells us “that is WHY I take pleasure in these things.  Because when I am weak, when I cannot do this alone, when I am powerless and unable to do the next thing, that is WHEN God's Power is really comes through.  That is when God works in my weakness to give me HIS Strength.”  So what does Paul do?  He embraces and takes pleasure in whatever the hardship or struggle may be.  No matter what he is facing he moves forward TRUSTING God to give him the ability keep on going.

PRAYER: Lord God, I confess that I do NOT DELIGHT in hardship, persecution, weakness, or insults.  Most of the time I fight against those things.  Lord Jesus, please help me to stop trying to do everything I can do to get out from under these things and help me to embrace them instead.  Help me to pause and ask for Your for Wisdom, Your Strength and the ability to DELIGHT in You and whatever You bring into my life.  Lord I cannot do this without Your Power; please help me.

Monday, August 17, 2015


What is a quiet time loser?  A loser is defined as “a person who fails frequently or is generally unsuccessful.”  I have struggled in the past with having some kind of a quiet time.  It has been hard for me to set aside a regular time when I could be alone with God.  The more I struggled the guiltier I felt.  They guiltier I felt the more pressure I put on myself.  The more pressure I put on myself the sooner I failed.   

I really wanted to be like David to focus my heart and soul on the Lord day and night.  To be able to ...delight in the LORD’s perfections and meditate on Him Ps. 27.4.  But I had no idea how to do that. 

I had been told all “godly Christians” have a “daily” quiet time.  So when I tried and then failed I felt discouraged and defeated.  Please understand I wanted to spend time with God.  But nothing I tried seemed to work.  I tried all kinds of tricks and all kinds of programs.  I tried booklets that had questions to answer.  I tried reading through the Bible in a year.  Everything program I tried eventually ended up in defeat and I felt like a quiet time loser. 

At one point I was convinced that all I needed to do was read 20 chapters a day. It went really well for the 1st week and then fairly well for the 2nd week but the third week was very, very difficult.  Finally I realized I could not sustain it and I gave up in utter defeat. 

Finally someone encouraged me to read LESS rather than more.  They suggested that I read through a book of the Bible but to only read a small portion.  I was encouraged to read with the goal of hearing from God NOT with the goal of getting through the chapter or the book.  I also learned to take whatever I had learned or heard from God and turn it into a prayer asking God to make that truth a reality in my life. 

I set my sites on having a quiet time with God 4-5 days a week.  I kept a record of the days I read to hold me accountable to me.  Over time this became something that I enjoyed and really looked forward to.  Not because I “had to” but because I was wanted to. 

If you can identify with this struggle - let me encourage you.  You are not a loser. That is the voice of the enemy. Do NOT Give up keep on seeking after the Lord.  

I also want to encourage you to consider trying one of our Quiet Time Journals.  You can see the descriptions of them on our Facebook page: Walking Together With Jesus.  If you have any questions please send me a private Facebook message and I will be happy to reply. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Foundations of LAW and ORDER have Collapsed

Sin and disease are ugly.  To see a friend or family member struggling with cancer or some incurable disease is to see just a bit of what the fall into sin has done to our world.  We live in a fallen world and we see that fall vividly portrayed in the hatred and animosity that seems to have become much more common all around us. As a result evil, sickness and hardship impact all of us in some way. There are times when I wonder if there is any hope?   David asked that question many times in the Psalms so we know that it is not a new question? Let’s look at these verses together.

Psalm 11:2-3 (NLT) The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right. [3]  The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?”

We don’t know what prompted David’s words in this Psalm.  But we know that many times in his life he faced difficulties and hardships.  There were times when he must have thought those who were evil were taking direct aim at those who were seeking to live for the Lord.  When he was hiding from King Saul, who was trying to kill him, he must have wondered if it would ever end?  In this Psalm he goes on to say that the very foundation on which law and order were based had collapsed.  Watching the news, hearing about the decisions made by our courts, and laws passed by our government left me wondering exactly the same thing that David expressed at the end of vs. 3.   “What can the righteous do?”  I know we can continue to pray for revival - we can continue to share the gospel - we can continue to shine brightly into the darkness.  But is that all?   NO, there is always HOPE with God....

Psalm 11:4, 7 (NLT) But the LORD is in His holy Temple; the LORD still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth.   ...[7] For the righteous LORD loves justice. The virtuous will see his face.

I Love this reminder that the LORD is in His HOLY temple -AND- that the LORD STILL RULES.  Whatever difficulties David was facing, no matter how bleak things seemed he knew God was still Sovereign.  He accepted the fact that God was still in Control, He was still Ruler over all.  David also reminds us that God sees everything that happens good or evil.  God examines both the godly and the wicked.  The fact that God is Righteous and LOVES Justice is a great reminder.  Things may have gotten seriously twisted in this world and it may appear that evil is winning on every front - but God STILL REIGNS.  Someday all things will come to an end.  Until then on a daily basis I need to remember God still Rules - He still Loves Justice - and some day we will see Him.

PRAYER:  Lord God, please keep me from losing heart. Help me to live each moment of the day remembering that You STILL REIGN.  Please, Lord, help me to honor You by surrendering my own heart to Your control moment by moment, day by day.