God's Word is Powerful

God's Word is Powerful

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Every now and then a memory will come crashing back into my consciousness - not a good memory - but a bad memory.  A memory of something awful, of a time when I said or did something horrible.  Something I would go back and correct if I could - but I cannot.  There are two or three of these memories which come back regularly.  Please understand I have confessed these things to the Lord Jesus and I know that they are forgiven.  Yet they come back - many times at a moment of weakness. These memories bring horrible remorse and terrible shame.  That is why these words from Romans were such an encouragement. 

Romans 9:33 (NLT) ...I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.

Romans 9:33 (HCS) ...the one who believes on Him will not be put to shame.

The stone in Jerusalem was Jesus Christ - many stumbled over Him and would not accept the fact that He was the Messiah and that salvation could be found only through Him.  But to ALL who do believe to those who TRUST in Him He gives the right to become sons and daughters of God. (Jn. 1:12) When we are forgiven and enter into a relationship with God - one of the things we can count on is that God will not disgrace us or SHAME us because of those things that we have said and done in the past.  They are truly covered once and for all at the cross. Psalm 103 tells that HE has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west.  He has FORGIVEN us and those sins are GONE forever! What an amazing God of Mercy and Grace.  So when I feel the shame of those old sins - I remember that God will NEVER remember those sins and He will NOT shame me with them.  I must choose to believe the TRUTH about my forgiveness and stand in His grace putting  behind me (100 times a day if necessary) ALL those memories that come flooding back.  How do I put them behind me?  By focusing on Jesus. I pray and thank God for His Mercy and Grace. I sing a song of worship, or review verses I am memorizing, or open my Bible and start to read.  WHY?  Why can I do this?  Because "..the one who believes on Him will not be put to shame."  Praise God what an awesome Savior we have. A song I heard many years ago says it well.

And though your body lay weary from wasting, and your eyes show the sorrow they've had.
Oh the love that your heart is now tasting -  has opened the gate, Be Ye Glad.
And there is no disease or no struggle, that can pull you from God, Be Ye Glad.

Be Ye Glad, Be Ye Glad, Every debt that you ever had
Has been paid up in full by the grace of the Lord,
Be Ye Glad, Be Ye Glad, Be Ye Glad.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus thank You that You did PAY in FULL for my sin and shame.  Thank You that I do NOT live under the crushing weight of guilt and sin. Thank you that forgiveness cleanses me from sin and shame here and now as well as forever. Amen

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I choose HOPE and PRAISE in JOY and SORROW

Christmas can be a time of joy for some and a time of discouragement or others. Many times how we see it is based on the things we have experienced or the things that we are currently going through in our own lives.  This time of the year which normally brings me so much joy is different. Please do NOT misunderstanding me I am thrilled and proud as I can be that Tascha and Kathryn are serving the Lord in Quito, Ecuador.  But I miss them, I miss their laughter, and I miss the tears when we are moved by something, I miss the conversations we have, and the special times we spend together. Yes I am thankful that God has called them and that they are serving Him but Christmas will be different without them.  So these verses today were encouraging. 

Psalm 42:5-6 (NLT) Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will  praise him again - my Savior and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will  remember you...

I love the way the Psalmist honestly says what he is feeling. He is deeply discouraged, sad and down.  But he does NOT stop with the statement of what he is feeling. He goes onto remind himself of what he should do.  He goes on to make three statements of purpose.  I WILL put my hope in God, I WILL  praise Him, I WILL remember You.  WHY?  Why can the writer say I will Hope, Praise, and Remember even during the difficult things he is facing?  After all he cannot control the circumstances he cannot change the things that are happening all around him.  However,  he can choose to Believe and Trust God.  He can DECIDE that he will put his TRUST in God’s promises.  Many times life may feel like the waves of fear and doubt are crashing over us vs. 7.  But this writer reminds that ...each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon us... vs.8.  So he speaks of commitment when he says I will choose to HOPE in God, I will choose to PRAISE God,  I will always seek to REMEMBER God - even during those times when nothing is going right and God FEELS like He is far, far away.   My prayer is that this Christmas will be all you hoped it would be and that you will be full of joy as you PRAISE God for His wonderful gift.  But then maybe you are going to be separated from those you love, or perhaps you will not be able to buy the gifts that you wish you could have.  That is when it is important to REMEMBER God, to HOPE and Trust Him, and no matter what happens ALWAYS respond by PRAISING Him.  May we see Christ Jesus and the HOPE and JOY only He can bring this Christmas.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus thank you that I can choose Hope and Joy no matter what. Thank You that we can share Tascha and Kathryn with others... Please give them Your Joy and Hope this Christmas.  May we all worship YOU - You are worthy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

GOD IS NOT DEAD - NOR DOES HE SLEEP (thoughts on the election)

Elections - not one of my favorite things.  Do not misunderstand I love the our country and I am thankful for the opportunity and privilege of voting.  I am thankful for the freedoms we have.  Yet it would be easy to become fearful or depressed.  One of the things that has challenged me often during elections is the reminder that I am supposed to put my HOPE in GOD - not politicians.  These verses are an encouragement to do just that.  Also that TRUE peace is found ONLY in Jesus not in politics.

Psalm 42:5 (HCS)  Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God.

John 14:27 (HCS) Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.

With Christmas coming this story and these words also challenged me after the elections yesterday:   It was a nation seriously divided by war. The North fought against the South.  Christians fought on both sides. How could God reign?  How could God be in Control?  The civil war had started in 1861 and three months later Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s wife died after suffering severe burns when her clothing caught fire. Longfellow was seriously injured trying to put out the flames and save her life.  The war waged on and in 1863 Longfellow received word that his son serving in the Union army had been severely wounded and crippled in battle.  He struggled with deep depression as the civil war continued.  Then in 1864 as he continued in his depression God used tolling of the bells on Christmas morning to break through with Hope.  
I heard the bells on Christmas day Their old familiar carols play;
In music sweet their tones repeat, “There’s peace on earth, good will to men.”

I thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along through unbroken song  Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: God is not dead, nor does He sleep,
For Christ is here; His Spirit near Brings peace on earth, good will to men.”
When men repent and turn from sin The Prince of Peace then enters in,
And grace imparts within their hearts His peace on earth, good will to men.

O souls amid earth’s busy strife, The Word of God is light and life;
Oh, hear His voice, make Him your choice, Hail peace on earth, good will to men.

Then happy, singing on your way, Your world will change from night to day;
Your heart will feel the message real, Of peace on earth, good will to men.

PRAYER:  Lord God thank You that YOU are in Control, Thank You that You are GOOD and that I can trust You.  Thank You that YOUR Word and Your Promises never change.  Please Lord God have mercy on our Nation - bring revival to me, to my family, to our church, and to our nation.  Please use these time to remind us that YOU are the Sovereign Lord of ALL.  Please help me to live out that Truth with Hope and Joy today and everyday. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I am always fascinated by people who become the best at what they do.  Whether it be in the area of academics, arts, sports, or business, very few people reach the top in their field without hard work and discipline.  Carol and I have a friend, whom we have known since he was 3-4 yrs. old, who plays in the NFL.  God has given him great physical ability and skill but he has disciplined himself for years and worked hard so that he could do the things that he does on the football field.  He has spent thousands of hours working on conditioning, agility, speed and endurance. Paul used the example of sports to challenge us to live disciplined Christian lives. Let’s look at these verses together.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NLT) Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! [25] All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. [26] So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. [27] I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

Paul is saying we are in the race of life and it is NOT enough that we merely compete - we are supposed to do our very best.  In order to do our best we need to be DISCIPLINED in the way we live.  We may NOT train to be a Christian - but perhaps we should approach being a disciple of Jesus Christ with the same tenacity that a professional athlete has towards becoming the best they can be.   Paul the apostle is the one saying I discipline myself like an athlete - I train so that I will not be disqualified.  What he means is that he refuses to coast in his walk with God.  He will continue to study God’s Word, Meditate on God’s Word, and pursue his walk with Jesus SO THAT he will be able to represent His Lord well no matter where he is or what he is doing. Here are some practical applications: Life Application Notes: “Self-Discipline requires an honest look at your strengths and weaknesses, with emphasis on the latter. It means building the will to say no when a powerful appetite inside you screams yes. For example, when you have discipline yourself, you can: (1) say no to friends or situations that will lead you away from Christ, (2) say no to pornography, or immorality, and (3) say no to laziness and say yes to spending regular time pursuing the Lord Jesus. Self-discipline is a long, steady course in learning attitudes that do not come naturally, and channeling natural appetites toward God's purposes.”

PRAYER: Lord, God thank you for the challenge to live a disciplined life for the purpose of godliness.  Help me to be willing to say NO to myself so that I can say YES to You in my life.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


There is such a difference between Building something and Tearing something down.  I have a friend who is the administrator of as large Christian Camp.  The easiest time they have getting volunteers is when they are doing demolition - tearing down a shed or barn or old structure.  It is a whole lot harder to get volunteers to help to build or construct something.  The reason is that it takes little or no skill to tear something down - anyone can swing a sledge hammer and break things up.  However, when you are building something you have to have skill, or it will not be made correctly.  Tearing down a wall is a whole lot easier than building a square, strong wall.  Please keep that in mind as we look at the following verses.

Proverbs 12:18 (NET) Speaking recklessly is like the thrusts of a sword, but the words of the wise bring healing.

Speaking carelessly, without thinking first, causes as much destruction as someone swinging a sword wildly around.  None of us would dream of going into a room full of people and swinging a sword around.  That would be harmful and destructive.  That is why the writer of the proverb used such strong language.  Words are powerful they can be used to hurt people or to help people.  They can cause deadly damage or they can bring healing.  How am I using my words? 

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)  Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Paul wanted to encourage the Christians in Ephesus to use their words to help, to encourage, and to build up.  Do NOT speak in unwholesome ways - in destructive ways, in ways that are harmful.  Make sure the words you speak are HELPFUL for building up.  Which is easier to tear down or build up?  Tearing down takes very little skill in the world of construction as well as in our relationships with others.  That is why it is important to remember that we are called to build up, we are to think of the other persons NEEDS - not our own.  I may want to let loose and vent my anger or frustration but if there is someone around I must first ask will this be helpful to them or will it hurt them?  If it does not build up and help then I must NOT speak.  The last thing Paul says is that our words should BENEFIT those who listen.  We are supposed to think before we speak so that our words will build others up, so that others will benefit from the things we say.  If there is NO benefit to the other person in my words then I should remain silent.  My words must build others up, must be helpful to them in their need, and they must profitable for the other person.  If I do this then I can say that I am truly honoring the LORD God with my words. 
PRAYER:   Lord Jesus, help me to think before I speak.  Help me to think clearly and to speak wisely and to consider the impact of my words on others.  May I use my words to build up NEVER to tear down.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Eeyore the donkey is one of my favorite characters from the Winnie-the-Pooh books.  In the audio versions of the books he has a grumpy old voice and most of what he says comes across that way.  Eeyore is not a glass half empty kind of donkey as far as Eeyore is concerned there is no glass.  One of my daughters (not a morning person) has a mug with Eeyore on it that says (grumpily) Good morning if it is a good morning which I doubt.  Have you ever felt like that?  I have to be honest once in while I do feel like that.  Sometimes when I get bad news followed by hard news followed by a difficult situation that I have no idea how to handle I get a bit down.  At those times I find it hard to TRUST God.  My head tells me God is Sovereign by my feelings and circumstances pile on and I feel a bit like Eeyore in the morning.  What do you do when you face those kinds of feelings?  Getting back into the Word of God is the only way to correct Eeyore in the morning feelings.  So today two passages were a huge encouragement to me.

Psalm 130:1-4 (NLT) From the depths of despair, O LORD, I call for Your help. Hear my cry, O Lord.  Pay attention to my prayer. LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? But You offer forgiveness that we might learn to fear [honor, revere] YOU.

Those are the words of someone in deep trouble, someone who desperately needs help so they turn to the only SOURCE of real help that exists - God.  They may be in despair but they are looking for help in the right place.  How many times do we feel like this but instead of turning to God we turn inward trying to figure things out by ourselves?  Or how many times rather than seeking the Lord do we seek the help in others?  This desperate person knew to whom they must turn. 

Romans 8:1 (NLT) So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

No matter what I am feeling: down - like a looser - like nothing I do matters - like I blow it all the time - like it is NEVER a good morning - or like the half full glass does NOT even exist.  The TRUTH is that if I have accepted God’s gift of Forgiveness and Salvation then I belong to Jesus Christ.  If I BELONG to Him then there is NO condemnation that I need to fear.  ALL my sins, including my doubts and fears, my bad attitudes, my lack of Faith, ALL of those sins have been paid for.  I will NOT suffer any condemnation for them.  God has Forgiven me - SO THAT - I can learn to honor and revere Him.   I love Eeyore - he reminds me that God loves me EVEN when I feel like Eeyore the donkey under a dark cloud. 
PRAYER:  Lord Jesus - I give you my doubts, fears, and every wrong belief about You.  Lord God help me to be in absolute AWE of Your amazing grace and forgiveness.  Please Lord God help me in my unbelief - help me to TRUST You more and more. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The YOKE is on me?

When Carol and I moved to Kansas City over five years ago we packed and moved a lot of boxes.  There were times when there were things we could NOT move or carry alone.  In those times we were so thankful for those who helped us move out of our home in Detroit and for those who helped us move into our home here in Belton.  It was so much easier because we did NOT have to carry the load alone.  Sometimes however, we carry loads that are emotional or spiritual.  If you have a family member who is struggling with serious health issues - it can become a very heavy weight.  Others struggle with obedience to the things of God and may even think that the Bible is FULL of heavy commands which are designed to weigh us down.  I love these verses from 1 John and Matthew. 

1 John 5:3 (NET) For this is the love of God: that we keep His commandments. And his commandments do not weigh us down...

1 John 5:3 (HCS) ... Now His commands are not a burden...

Matthew 11:28-30 (NET) Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you REST. [29] Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. [30] For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.”

I love the fact that John makes it very clear that obedience to the Lord Jesus is NEVER a burden.  Perhaps John was thinking the illustration Jesus used of the Yoke when he said God’s commands do NOT weigh us down...they are NOT a burden.  WHY? Jesus calls us into a unique relationship.  He calls us to not just to be believers but to become disciples.  Jesus said that being a disciple of His means joining Him in the yoke.   This kind of yoke is something that makes it possible to harness two animals together so that their strength can be combined. It makes it possible for the animals to pull a wagon or a plow.  Jesus was saying give up your burdens and all the things that weigh you down.  Come to Me and I will set you free by inviting you to join me in MY YOKE.  He makes it clear that His yoke is not oppressive or harsh but gentle and the burden is light.  Why is the burden easy to carry?  Because we are NOT carrying the burden alone.  We are walking side by side with Him - and He is the all powerful God of the universe - if I walk with Him the weight of the yoke falls on Him.   Yes I am still in the yoke and that means effort - but that effort is made light and easy because I am walking with Jesus in the Yoke.  
PRAYER:   Lord Jesus, I do want to Obey and follow you closely.  I admit that at times I feel weighed down by worry and fear.  Please Lord help me to TRUST You to carry to Lord.  Please Lord keep me safely in the yoke pulling with you - not wandering off on my own.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I remember talking a man who was in ministry.  I was 19 at the time and I was at a point where I was starting to get serious about following Jesus and growing in my faith.  He seemed so mature as he shared with me that God was a God who loved to fulfill dreams.  He said that God loved to bless His people by lavishing His gifts upon them.  Then he went on to share a series of examples of HOW God had done that in his own life.  Every single example was about something pretty incredible.  He was given the opportunity to drive a sports car as he house sat for someone, he had the chance to visit several continents and see amazing things, he had seen God provide financial resources for numerous things he wanted to see happen.  Not once did he mention hard times or struggles and difficulties in obeying the Lord.  I don’t remember hearing anything about surrendering to God.  I had already seen some of my own dreams broken and crushed so I was a bit skeptical.  And in light of my own sinful motives I had to ask myself if what this man was saying was true?  Is God really like a genie in a bottle or Santa clause who grants wishes or gives gifts to those who have been good?  The more I learned and studied the less I believed the things that this man told me so many years ago.  I have found wonderful comfort in God’s Word as I have gone through struggles and hardships in my Faith.

Hebrews 11:32-38 (NAS) And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, [33] who through faith...

who THROUGH FAITH... conquered kingdoms, administered justice, received the promises, shut lion’s mouths, quenched flames, escaped the sword, were made strong, conquered enemy armies, raised the dead.  (vs. 33-35)

Hebrews 11:35 (NAS) Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were... 

through FAITH - OTHERS... were tortured and refused to be released, faced jeers, were flogged, were chained and put in prison, were stoned, were sawed in two, were killed with the sword, had to wear sheepskins and goat skins, were destitute, persecuted, and mistreated, wandered in deserts and mountains, lived in caves and holes in the ground.  (vs. 35-38)

Life Application Bible:  “These verses summarize the lives of great men and women of faith. Some experienced outstanding victories, even over the threat of death. But others were severely mistreated, tortured, and even killed.  Having a steadfast faith in God does not guarantee a happy, carefree life. On the contrary, our faith almost always guarantees us some form of abuse from the world. While we are on earth, we may never see the purpose of our suffering. But we know that God will keep his promises to us.  ...we live in an evil world filled with suffering, even for believers. But God is still in control. He allows some Christians to become martyrs for the faith, and he allows others to survive persecution. Rather than asking, ‘Why me?’ it is much more helpful to ask, ‘Why not me?’ Our faith and the values of this world are in CONFLICT with one another.”  

PRAYER:  Lord God, thank You that You are in control of all things.  Thank You that You are with me no matter how hard things may be.  Thank You that You ALWAYS work EVERYTHING - including the hard, the difficult, and the painful - out for Your honor and my good.  (Rm. 8:28)  Please Lord help me to surrender willingly each day.  Help me to live my life as a living sacrifice for YOU!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


How do you feel when a someone tells you about something hard that they are struggling with?  Do you try to fix it?  Do you give advice about what they should do?  Do you get uncomfortable and changed the subject?  Do you tell them you will pray for them and then forget about it?  We have all done those kinds of things. What do we do when what is happening to someone does NOT go away -maybe it even gets worse?  Do we blame them for NOT having enough FAITH?  Do we quote verses at them and promise that God will help them if they will obey?  Hard things, like serious pain, long term health issues, or even on-going emotional struggles make many of us uncomfortable.  We may wonder if the person is being punished by God, or if there is some secret sin they have not confessed that keeps God from answering their prayers.  In this the last section of Hebrews 11, the FAITH chapter, we meet two groups of people. Both groups are PRAISED for their FAITH.  Please take time to read these verses.

Hebrews 11:32-39 (NIV) [32] And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, [33] who through faith... conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, [34] quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. [35] Women received back their dead, raised to life again.  ...Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. [36] Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. [37] They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated-- [38] the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. [39] These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.

SOME... conquered kingdoms, administered justice, received the promises, shut lion’s mouths, quenched flames, escaped the sword, were made strong, conquered enemy armies, raised the dead.                                   

OTHERS... were tortured and refused to be released, faced jeers, were flogged, were chained and put in prison, were stoned, were sawed in two, were killed with the sword, had to wear sheepskins and goat skins, were destitute, persecuted, and mistreated, wandered in deserts and mountains, lived in caves and holes in the ground.

What a difference BOTH groups had FAITH.  By Some through FAITH trusted God for victories, miracles, and blessings OTHERS by FAITH trusted God help them endure, faced torture, death, or living desolate and lonely lives in a way that Honored God.  The amazing thing is that verse 39 says ALL of them... both groups were commended for their faith.  I have to be honest I would rather be somewhere in the first group and nowhere in the second.  Yet the writer of Hebrews reminds us that it was FAITH at work in both kinds of situations.  That challenges me NOT to complain when things are going badly for me - and never to judge why someone else is going through difficulties and trials. 

PRAYER:  Lord God, help me to TRUST You no matter what is going on in my life.  Help me to depend on you for the strength to be victorious or for the grace to suffer while honoring You.  I cannot do it without You.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


We celebrate freedom in many interesting ways... I have to admit I love fireworks and setting off firecrackers.  We have so many things to be thankful for and so many things to celebrate in our families and in our nation.  We can continue to Pray for our nation that God would bring an awakening and a spiritual revival starting with us.  Those thoughts were going through my mind as I pondered the nation of Israel leaving Egypt and then finally entering the Land God had promised them over 400 years earlier.  Let’s look as these verse together.

Hebrews 11:29-30 (NIV) By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. [30] By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.

Between vs. 29 and 30 there is a GAP - a Gap of FAITH - and a GAP of 40 yrs.  Israel left Egypt with many miraculous demonstrations of God’s power.  Then trapped between the advancing Egyptian army and the Red Sea, God opened up the sea and they walked through on dry land.  They Egyptian army followed and were totally destroyed.  Once they arrive at the promised Land - the spies sent into the land brought back a negative report.  The people gave into their FEARS their Faith is weakened and DOUBT eroded their Confidence and Trust in God. So instead of TRUSTING God to keep His promises they reject God and turn away from Him.  As a result that generation was NOT permitted to enter the promised land.  It took 40 yrs. for that generation to pass on and for the new generation to ready to enter the Land.  Finally in FAITH they crossed the Jordan and entered the Land of Promise. They OBEY God and the walls of Jericho FALL - not by their power and strength - but by the POWER of God.  They Trusted God to keep His promises and He Fulfilled them.  They overcame the GAP of FEAR and DOUBT.

PRAYER:  Lord God, help me to TRUST You.  Help me to continue to Believe in You and Your promises.  Keep me LORD from giving into my DOUBT and FEAR.  Please do NOT allow me to give in to  uncertainty or panic.  Help me to BELIEVE You and to TRUST Your Word no matter what.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


An Oxymoron is when two contradictory words are put together.  Words like “bitter sweet” or “deafening silence” or “irregular pattern” are examples of an oxymoron.  As I was reading Hebrews today I came across a phrase that on the surface seemed contradictory “By faith Rahab the prostitute...”  Those words just do not seem to go together.  How in the world does Rahab end up in  Hebrews 11 - the chapter describing the heroes of the Faith in the Bible? Let’s take a look.

Hebrews 11:31(HCS)  By faith Rahab the prostitute received the spies in peace and didn’t perish with those who disobeyed.

After 40 yrs. wandering around in the wilderness because of rebellion and a lack of FAITH the nation of Israel finally arrived across the Jordan river from the city of Jericho.  In order to enter the Land God had Promised them they would have to deal with Jericho. So Joshua sent two spies into Jericho. When the King and his soldiers start looking for them the two spies sought help from Rahab the Prostitute.  Why?  It is possible that they thought that for the right price she might help them.  What they were not aware of was that this prostitute had heard about the God of Israel.  She had longed to hear more about this God who acted so powerfully on behalf of His people.  Before she helped the spies get away safely she said to them: “...the LORD your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.” (Joshua 2:11)  That is an amazing statement for a woman who had NEVER heard God’s Word.  She was a Prostitute who believed the stories she had heard about the God of Israel and decided that the God of Israel MUST be the TRUE God.  So she turned to Him in Faith and was rewarded for seeking after Him.  

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV) And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

Rahab the prostitute whose FAITH caused her to SEEK out God - eventually becomes one of King David’s ancestors and is mentioned in the genealogy of the Messiah Jesus. The words Faith and Prostitute do not normally go together - but in this case it shows us the wonder of God’s Amazing Love and Grace.      
PRAYER: Lord God, thank You that You are a God who can put FAITH and PROSTITUTE together in one phrase giving a vivid picture for all the world to see of the Wonders of Your Grace.  Thank YOU for Your forgiveness Thank YOU for Your Grace to me. 

Friday, June 15, 2012


It was Monday (if a pastor is going to  be down emotionally it will be Monday) and I was in a bad mood.  I was pretty much self-focused. I wanted to think about the things that were troubling and frustrating me. So when Carol mentioned someone she was concerned about.  I dismissed it and kept on brooding.  The good news is that Carol knows me well enough - and loves me enough not to let me get away with that nonsense.  She challenged me to stop thinking about myself and to see what was going on with this other person.  As we talked I realized that my self-focus and my frustration over what I was thinking and feeling was keeping me from being able to serve this other person in a godly way.  Let’s look at these verses together.

Luke 7:11-15 (NLT)  ...Jesus went with his disciples to the village of Nain, and a large crowd followed Him. [12] A funeral procession was coming out as He approached the village gate. The young man who had died was a widow’s only son, and a large crowd from the village was with her. [13] When the Lord saw her, His heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” He said. [14] Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” He said, “I tell you, get up.” [15] Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother.

 Luke 7:13 (MSG) When Jesus saw her, his heart broke. He said to her, "Don't cry."

Jesus was moved by great compassion.  His heart BROKE for this widow.  WHY? She had lost her only son.  In that time period that meant she would most likely end up destitute - husbands and sons took care of wives and mothers.  So Jesus seeing how bleak her future would be acted.  I love this picture of our Lord Jesus.  His heart overflowed with compassion - His heart broke and He acted.  I wonder how often does my heart go out to those who are hurting. How often does MY HEART BREAK with the pain of what someone else is going through.  When we allow ourselves to be moved as Jesus was by the needs of others - it takes the focus of OURSELVES.  It gives us the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus as we reach out and encourage and help others in His Name.  May the Lord give us more and more His heart for those who are struggling and hurting around us.    

PRAYER: Lord, help me to have Your TENDERNESS and COMPASSION for others. Please Lord Jesus, may my heart BREAK with those things which BREAK Your heart.  Then give me wisdom to do those things that I can do to encourage and help those You bring across my path.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I had such great plans.  I was going to finish up a few things and then relax and spend some time with Carol after having been gone all week.  But Sunday afternoon MY PLANS suddenly changed.  We discovered water backing up into our laundry tub (that is never a good thing). So I proceeded to try plunging, and pouring a gallon of highly toxic drain cleaner into the drain in hopes of that I could avoid a service call. Nothing worked so much for MY PLANS.  My next thought was perhaps I take off the cleanout cap and see what is going on and do something about it myself.  At this point however the laundry tub (full of highly toxic drain cleaner and sewer water) was higher than the cleanout.  So I took a bucket and slowly emptied the laundry tub.  I moved the washer and dryer to get to the cleanout cap.  Then I got everything in place so that I could slowly drain the remaining liquid from the pipes into some containers I had ready.  I picked up the channel locks turned the cap slowly and it broke giving way suddenly and pouring sewer and drain cleaner out all over.  Not exactly what I had planned.  Several attempts to get something down the drain and a trip to Home Depot left me with no alternative.  I had already invested several hours and nothing had worked.  So I made the call they came they took 15 minutes to snake out the drain and went away with my check.  Not what I had planned. Let’s look at these verses together. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 (HCS) Rejoice always!  Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  Don’t stifle the Spirit.

I do not remember the exact thoughts that went through my mind when the cap broke and sewer water spewed out at me.  I do not think I was REJOICING.  I had been praying and asking for help.  But now there was nothing left to do I had to call for help. The exhortation here in these verses is to Give THANKS to God not matter what.  WHY?  This is not a pleasant or good thing that happened.  The challenge is not to THANK God that it was not any worse than it was.  The command is to Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you.  I don’t know why this was part of God’s plan for me Sunday - but it was.  I could whine and complain and be in a bad mood or I could accept what had happened and continue to honor the Lord knowing that NOTHING ever catches Him by surprise.  As I was thinking about these verses I came across this comment:  “These verses are not just good advice; they are God’s will for every Christian.” Bible Knowledge Commentary  

So even if I am covered with sewer sludge and my plans are ruined - I can thank God and continue to Rejoice in Him.   WHY?  Because it is God’s Will for me.  I believe it because I TRUST God and His WORD.  So even if it means MY plans are shattered I will thank God for what He is doing and bringing into my life.

PRAYER:  Lord God, thank you that You never make mistakes.  Thank You for the hard things in life which remind me that YOUR plan is the one that matters.  Lord, help me to live with a heart full of Thanksgiving and PRAISE. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012


What does a toilet brush have to do with theology?  What could a group of missionaries from all over the world learn from a tool used to clean toilets?  Carol and I had the privilege of being part of conference for missionaries last week.  We were humbled to be with so many of the Lord’s precious servants - many of whom are serving in very hard and sometimes dangerous places. 

As I spoke I started out telling them the story of a young woman from our church in Detroit who had served the Lord at a Christian camp one summer.  She was given the nasty job of cleaning the bathrooms everyday after 100 + young campers had made them filthy.  She was getting down about it and starting to grumble in her heart when the thought came to her that she could actually do this job in a way that honored and glorified God - or she could have a bad attitude and complain.  She decide that each day she would raise that toilet brush towards heaven and dedicate the job ahead of her to the Lord then proceeded to the job well seeking to honor God.  That reminds of these verses. 

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

 Colossians 3:17 (NLT) And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

“In the Bible, a person's name represents that person. To do something in the name of the Lord Jesus is to act in a way that is in harmony with His identity and under His authority.” NLT Notes

The Christian Life and Ministry are Hard - many times we have to do things that we do NOT LIKE.  So I have a toilet brush clearly visible in my office to remind me of that TRUTH.  However, it is also there to remind me that I can choose to do the hard things, the difficult things, in my walk with Jesus or in my service for Him in a way that HONORS Him.  If I choose to do that then the toilet brush becomes my symbol of a hard thing done in a way that brings glory to God.  When I do that an amazing thing happens.  I discover that even those hard and distasteful things that I have to do can bring joy and satisfaction.  WHY?  Because I’m doing them for Jesus - I am more concerned with honoring Him with my thoughts, words, and conduct than I am about how awful the task may be.  Part of that process is GIVING THANKS to God for the privilege and opportunity to glorify Him through those difficult things.  What are you facing today that is Hard or unpleasant?  What things are you facing that you just don’t want to go through?  If you will take time to present that task to the Lord Jesus with Thanksgiving you will discover that no matter how hard the Christian life is - no matter how difficult serving the Lord Jesus can be - IT IS WORTH IT!  And that is TOILET Brush theology.

PRAYER:   Lord Jesus I don’t like this task - but I want to do it for You to Honor You.  Thank You for this opportunity which You have given me to do this.   Please help me - give Your strength - Your grace to keep on going.  

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fear - Doubt - Dread - Panic - REALLY?

What thoughts go through your mind when something horrible happens to you?  When Carol fell and broke he kneecap we had all kinds of thoughts and fears running through our minds.  Will the pain ever stop?  Is this really serious?  Will we be able to go and see our girls graduate in Costa Rica?  Will Mark be able to go and speak at the conference for Missionaries?  Fear - Doubt - Dread - Panic all went through our minds.  At times like that Carol and I have learned and continue to learn to go back to or default position, to one basic TRUTH.  God knows what He is doing - He never makes mistakes.  Once we remind ourselves of that Truth once we confess again Lord we TRUST You no matter what - then and only then can we seek God’s help with the Fear - Doubt - Dread - Panic that we are feeling.  Here are some amazing verses that have been an encouragement to me.

Psalm 27:1-4 (NLT) The LORD is my light and my salvation - so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? [2] When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. [3] Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident. [4] The one thing I ask of the LORD - the thing I seek most - is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.

Have you ever been full of fear?  Have you ever allowed the fear you face to control you?  David makes it very clear that God has the power to deal with any and all of his fears and his enemies easily and decisively.  His fears were perhaps more immediate in the sense that he had enemies literally trying to kill him.  Yet as David speaks about His FEARS and also remembers to put ALL his TRUST in God.

Life Application Study Bible Notes: Fear is a dark shadow that envelops us and ultimately imprisons us within ourselves. Each of us has been a prisoner of fear at one time or another - fear of rejection, misunderstanding, uncertainty, sickness, or even death. But we can conquer fear by using the bright liberating light of the Lord who brings salvation.  

In choosing to TRUST God and NOT give into his own fears David was putting ALL his confidence in God’s Power NOT in his own strength or ability.  The logic is simple. If the ALL POWERFUL God of the universe is protecting me I have no reason for fear. Even in the middle of an attack David says he will remain confident in God’s Power and Might.  Perhaps the reason David can trust God, even during the heat of the battle, or the darkest night full of fears, is that he has found the answer in seeking out God’s Presence.  David is pursuing God - seeking to be in His presence - seeking to DELIGHT in God Himself.  David wants to Meditate by focusing his heart and mind on God’s Word - focusing his thoughts and even his emotions on the wonder of Who God is and What He is like.  When we are full of FEAR or Facing uncertainty we must seek out God - Pursue Him through His Word and by spending time alone with Him.  We can learn like David to POUR out our Hearts and Fears to Him.

Prayer: Lord, help me to look to you for strength and courage.  Help me not to give into fear or darkness but to seek out Your Light.   Lord God help me to Delight in Your character and to Meditate on Your Word so that I will know you better and Trust You More.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chocolate Bunnies and Cadbury Eggs

As much as I love chocolate bunnies and Cadbury eggs - that is NOT what Easter is all about. Easter is a celebration that has its roots in the shadow of cross.  The blood stained cross where the despair and anguish of Jesus’ Mother and His disciples was absolute.  The one they loved, the one they followed, the one they were sure was the Messiah.  WAS DEAD.  Jesus was quickly buried and the disciples all went into hiding for fear that the religious leaders. Friday night all day Saturday and through that night the cloud of hopelessness and desolation hung over them.  Then Sunday morning out of sense of love and duty some women went to finish the gruesome task of embalming Jesus body.  Sunday morning - EVERYTHING changed. 

Matthew 28:1-4 (NIV)  After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. [2] There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. [3] His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. [4] The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

Several women went out to finish the burial process of Jesus which had been very rushed on Friday evening.  Mark 16:3 says that they were concerned with moving the stone away from the tomb.  Either just before they got there or as they arrived an earthquake shook everything.  An angel arrived and rolled away the stone from the entrance to the tomb.  WHY?  Jesus was not there He had been raised from the dead.  Jesus did not need the stone to be moved so that He could get out.  The stone was moved for all the world to see that the tomb was EMPTY! 

Death cannot keep its prey, Jesus my Savior;
He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!
Up from the grave He arose;
with a mighty triumph over His foes;
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
and He lives forever, with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

PERSONAL:  Lord, You rose with POWER destroying death and it’s power over me.  You broke Satan’s grip over me.  Thank You for dying and for LIVING for me.  Thank You for making it clear for all the world to see that YOU are a RISEN SAVIOR.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


If you have ever shadow boxed or played shadow tag you know that you can hit a shadow or step on it and you will not affect that shadow in any way shape or form.  It is not substantial and real in the sense that we can hold and touch it.  In many other ways our world seems so real.  We can see, touch, hear, smell, and taste many different aspects of our world. In contrast heaven and eternity seem very unreal to us and sometimes we have a hard time living with eternities values in mind.  That is why it is hard for us to fully grasp what the Psalmist is saying in these verses.                                                                               

Psalm 144:3-4 (NET)  O LORD, of what importance is the human race, that you should notice them?  Of what importance is mankind, that you should be concerned about them? [4] People are like a vapor, their days like a shadow that disappears.

Psalm 144:3-4 (NLT)  O LORD, who are we that you should notice us, mere mortals that you should care for us? [4] For we are like a breath of air; our days are like a passing shadow.

In comparison to the universe with the splendor of the stars and the almost unimaginable distances of light years who are we?  Psalm 144 asks that very question.  Why did God take notice of us?  Why has God paid any attention to us at all?  We are not much more than a vapor or breath of wind.  In comparison to God and his creation we are merely a vapor or a shadow.  That really should step all over any illusions we have about our own importance.  Our lives, as real and substantial as they feel to us, in light of eternity and the realities of heaven, are nothing more than a passing shadow.  Yet the God of the universe the creator of all that we see and all that we cannot see still provided a way for us to have a relationship with Him.  It cost the life of His Son Jesus.  But through the death of Jesus we can come to God and ENJOY Him here and now and also throughout eternity. We must always remember that we are just a passing shadow that this world is NOT what it is all about.  We are merely preparing for eternity.  We have to remember that the blink of an eye or the flicker of a shadow that is our life here will pass it will come to and end.  That is when the REALITY of Eternity in God’s presence will start.  What an amazing God we have.  He is Worthy of ALL our praise Worship and adoration.  The old song said it this way:  This world is not my home I’m just a passing through.  My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.  The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door.  And I can’t feel at home in this world any more. 

PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, help me to remember that this world and everything in is will pass away.  Help me to live with Eternity and the Realities You have promised in mind.