Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Do you guys want a preview of my youth group lesson?

It goes with the stuff God has been working on in me.    ;)

Luke 1:30

Gabriel, an angel, shows up and greats Mary, and that kinda freaks her out. (Can you blame her?)

And he says, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in you womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus."

Way to drop a bombshell on her.

And there was SO MUCH to this bombshell. She could have lost her life if Joseph (before he was visited by an angel, too) had made a big deal about her being pregnant.

If anyone should be allowed to feel overwhelmed, it's Mary.

I think that's why Gabriel said, "Don't be afraid, Mary," before he said anything else. He needed to tell her, that despite this bombshell, she didn't need to fear for the future because it was in God's hands.

In our lives today, there is SO MUCH to fear. Why, any sensible person would be afraid to step out of their doors in the morning, least something awful happen to them. And we are taught to fear from the time we are little children.

Fear finds us, grabs on, and sinks it's claws in deep. It changes, and grows. It takes on different forms the older we get, but it never fades. Not on it's own.

That's where God comes into play.

"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."  2 Timothy 1:2

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

We were never meant to be plagued by fear. God never gave that spirit to us. We are supposed to have power, love, and self-control.

Unfortunately, until Jesus comes back, there will always be the spirit of fear in this world. Tribulation, life-changing bombshells, and one thing on top of another. But God has overcome this world. So take heart! Stop letting fear rule your life! NO MORE!

It's time we all took that vow: NO MORE FEAR! WE WILL BE FEARLESS FROM THIS DAY FORTH!


"This Amazing Scripture"

So here we are back at this amazing scripture and, hopefully ready for part II ...But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior ... Is 43:1-3

In part I we took a short look at "Fear not, for I have redeemed you;"  In part II we will take a look at His next phrase: "I have called you by name:" These six words may seem like something of "no brainer" to you but to me, they strike me as amazing! Imagine it, the God of all humanity, of all the universe would take the time to call me by name.

 I would say that 99.9 percent of the time I have spent my life feeling pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things. It has been my experience that when people call me its because they want something from me, not because they just want to spend time, with me. With God its different and we need to understand that our coming into the kingdom isn't an accident.  He doesn't get stuck with us because we happen to come along and believe. He said, "I have called you by name." Its on purpose. He chose you specifically, by name to come and to spend time with Him.

As I was thinking on the reality of these words, a scene came to mind where Jesus spoke the name of a friend and it made all the difference. Take a look at the account in John 20:11-18.  The account, when Mary is outside the tomb. She doesn't realize it, but she is talking to Jesus.  ...she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned to Him, "Rabboni!" ... vs 14-16  I love that, one minute she thinks she is talking to the gardener, and in an instance she knows that its Him! It happened just that quick, all because He spoke one word. Her name.

He spoke her name in a way that brought recognition. Think about it. How many people in her life had even bothered to know her name or spoken it in a way that wasn't full of derision, judgement, condemnation, condescension etc. Jesus came along and gave her life a hope and a future. He was probably the only one in her life that had ever spoken her name in way that was loving and full of affection. He spoke her name and everything changed.

So, as we come to the end of part II, I would ask you to once again read this "no brainer" phrase,                "I have called you by name." and then listen for the love in His voice as He calls, "Your name"

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Our Pity Party For One

This got mentioned briefly in church today, but it stood out to me as God's "You there. Yeah, you. Say this." So I'm saying this.

1 Kings 19. We see Elijah flea from Jezebel. But what stood out to me the most today was his conversation.

God is like, "What are you doing here Elijah." (Now the sarcastic me would have said, "You brought me here." Thankfully, it wasn't me.)

Elijah says, "I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away."

God then gives Elijah a list of  instructions, and then says this, "Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth with hath not kissed him."

I think one of our most common vices as selfish, self-involved humans is thinking it's just us. We are the only one going through whatever it is we are going through. And it's all about us.

Oh, this passage has got to sting us sometimes.

We are not the only ones. We are not alone. God-lovers are all over the world, all of them going through situations in life that are similar to your problems.

Part of this conversation was God saying, (This isn't a quote, ya'll.) "Dude, you are not alone. You never were. There are people all over, just like you, who feel just like you. But ya'll need to knock it off! You were never alone! So, please, please, stop with the party for one."

Don't slip into a Pity Party For One mode. Don't waste your time with that.


"This Amazing Scripture"

As I was reading this morning I ran across this amazing scripture that seemed to stay with me throughout the day, so when it came time share with you, this is where I ended up. Back at this amazing scripture! ...But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior ... Is 43:1-3 

I have to say it again, "This is an amazing scripture!"  I have so much to share with you that I think we'll have to break it down into smaller, bite size portions. So here it comes, Part 1 - FEAR NOT, FOR I HAVE REDEEMED YOU;

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are mine."

Amazing sentence!  To start with He says, "Fear not," so, I looked up the word fear, not because I don't know what fear is or haven't experienced it on a personal level because fear is something we all deal with, all the time. I decided to look it up because I wanted to see exactly what He is telling me not to do. The word fear, comes from a root word that simple means... to fear...to revere...to frighten.

I don't know about you, but as for me, I never really thought about the word revere in terms of the things that put fear in my heart. I revere God! He is the One I revere. The One who is my Great Big God, Amazing, Wonderful, my All in All, and Worthy to be praised! At least that is what I thought, BUT if you stop and think about it, when we "fear" something, whatever that something is, it tends to loom up there pretty large. It can get really big, really fast. If fear gets its grip on us, it becomes the thing we focus on. The thing that consumes us and even motivates our actions if we let it. Stop and think about it. We all have things, for example ... If you were to drop any kind of rodent, mouse, hamster, ferret etc. on the floor next to me, I would be sitting on the top of your head faster than you could blink!

The the word, revere, it does work here because the thing we fear can easily become the biggest thing in the room,  the thing that fills up our hearts.

When He is specifically saying, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you;" what He is trying to make us understand is: 
  •  Fear not = Don't revere it, Don't look at it as though its bigger than me!
  •  For = Because
  •  I have redeemed you = I already took care of it! Don't let it trick you! I'm bigger!
As we come to the end of  Part 1 - Think about the issues/circumstances that have you worried and afraid of what the outcome might be. 

Acknowledge Him, His authority, His provision and lay hold of His word..."Fear not, for I have redeemed you."

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mountain Climbing

"But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:14-15

Lately, I've been struggling with something that makes it hard for me to keep my hope, to have no fear of the future, to really put it all in God's hands.

This is something we humans often struggle with in life.

It's like when I climb halfway up this mountain I'm against, an avalanche of circumstances drags me back to the bottom.

The weight of it gets heavier every time. The strain of digging myself out, and starting my climb all over again gets harder each time.

I founds several verses today that really addressed this for me, and touched me.

"...Do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread." Isaiah 8:12 b

I have let fear and dread and anxiety rule me. No more. Yes, there is a mountain to climb. No, I don't see how I am going to climb over this mountain. But God will provide the rope and anything else I need. Life will keep happening, but God will not leave me hanging, so I will not fear anymore.

I will laugh in the face of the mountain, and I will not fear.


P.S. And when I stop spazing, I can see how God's been taking care of me all along.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Seeds Grow

Then He said, "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it?  It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches." Luke 13:18-19

Jesus stopped and asked himself the question, "What shall I compare it?" Once He decided on the answer  He tells us that the man took it and planted it. From there it took root, and it grew until it was big enough for the birds to nest in it. Jesus uses this small little seed and its ability to grow and to provide shelter for the birds, as an important lesson that we all need to take note of.

The kingdom of God is the seed that is planted.  The garden it gets planted in is you and I. We need to remember that seeds grow and we need to be planting daily from His word. If we will allow even the smallest glimpse of the things of God to take root in our lives, then growth is guaranteed!  It will grow, and it will keep growing, not just to the point were we are sustained but to the point where He will use us to touch the lives of others!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Whistles From God

God whistles.

I just find that fascinating. God whistles.

In these verses, it's a good, God-sign too.

"In that day the LORD will whistle for the fly that is at the end of the streams of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria." Isaiah 7:18

"He will raise a signal for the nations far away, and whistle for them from the ends of the earth; and behold, quickly, speedily they come!" Isaiah 5:26

A whistle can be used to signal a lot of things. But how often is it used to signal victory? Triumph? Reuniting?

God whistles to His creation, and they come to Him from the ends of the earth.

Will you hear a whistle the same way ever again?

Or will your spirit hear it, and you feel the stirring in your soul. The stirring that burns within you. The movement that says, "God is calling me to Him."

Because He is. He is calling each one of us back to Him. To eternity.

Listen for the whistle, my friends. Listen for the signal of victory.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"Jesus Listened And Then He Marveled"

In Luke 7:1-10 we see a lesson in faith that Jesus didn't actually teach!  As a matter of fact it says in verse nine that he heard the words and marveled at them.  He then declared, " I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!"  He was talking about the centurion with a sick servant. This lesson began when the centurion heard about Jesus, sent for the elders of the Jews, and asked them to convince Jesus to come and heal his servant.

In verse four and five it tells us that they did just that, as well as giving us a glimpse into their motivation, after all these are the same Jewish leaders that gave Jesus a hard time every chance they got.  Their motive wasn't faith.  It wasn't because they thought Jesus could or would heal him.  They did it because of who was asking them to ...And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this is worthy, "for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue."  He was a man with authority, power, influence. A man they were motivated to please because of what he could do for them.

The next thing that happens as Jesus is getting close.  The centurion sends some of his friends to meet Jesus and they tell Him, "Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, "Go." and he goes; and to another, "Come," and he comes; and to my servant, "Do this," and he does it."

Jesus marveled at the centurion's words!  The centurion had a greater understanding of faith than God's own people.  He recognized that Jesus' authority was greater than his own when he said, "I am not worthy.." He understood authority and how it worked. He even had the Jewish leaders doing his bidding.  He explained that he knew how to submit to it as well as implement it himself. But most of all he declared that he understood that if Jesus spoke it, it would happen!  He understood that as soon as Jesus spoke it was accomplished. "But say the word, and my servant will be healed."


Monday, April 22, 2013

A Life Without God

Ecclesiastes is the book in the Bible where you hear, "everything is meaningless," "life is smoke," and, "life is vanity."

What do you say to someone who reads that and is like, "Whooh, what's going on?"

Most of us can say immediately why we need God. Because we are nothing without Him. Because we are weak, but He is strong. Because His Son died for us lowly beings. Because He will help us in our lives.

What about the people who feel like everything is meaningless? Like life is vanity? Smoke in the wind?

Why do they need God?

Because, as we've looked, life is meaningless. It is vanity, and is gone before the wind can even get to it.

That is life without God.

God gives meaning to life. He gives us purpose. He makes life not pointless.

Without God, life is a waste. We waste it away, and on what? Smoke.

Truthfully, this is a reason we all need God.

Life is smoke.

But with God, there is so much more to life.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

"Short Sweet And To The Point"

The following thought is contained in only two short verses or thirty one words. Jesus used these thirty one words to paint a picture that has one purpose, to tell us just how much God loves us.  "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all he had and bought it." Matthew 13:45-46

These thirty one words tell of a man who found one pearl that stood out far and above all the other pearls and because it was so much more beautiful it had a great price tag attached to it.  Because he fell in love with it, because he desired it so much, he was willing to pay the asking price.  In order to do it he had to sell everything he had and went back and purchased it.

The first few words of this parable tell us that the kingdom of heaven is like this.  The kingdom of heaven would do this. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the merchant. In genesis when all the, "Let there be...etc." were all said and created, including Adam and Eve it says, "Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good." They created us and fell in love with us. Take a look at Proverbs 8:22-31 It is talking about the creation and ends with this statement, "...And my delight was with the sons of men."

God's love for us is real! His desire to have us around is real! The great price for that to be possible is also real and HE PAID IT!

His message - short, sweet and to the point. Two verses, thirty one words, just to say, "Your precious to me  I'll do what it takes to love you forever!"

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Call In The Holy Guard!

We all know this verse, "She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;  those who hold her fast are called blessed." Proverbs 3:18

We read that and we know this: Wisdom is important.

Do we know this verse?

"For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it." Ecclesiastes 7:12

Do we know how important wisdom is?

If someone was going to attempt stealing our money, we'd karate chop their arm, and Chuck Norris kick them. Ok, maybe not so extreme, but you see my point. We protect our money. It's important. We need it for everyday functions.

But isn't that true about wisdom?

Don't stop after asking God for wisdom.


Protect it! Protect it with your life! You need wisdom! You need God's wisdom in order to function in this world!

So don't treat it flippantly. Treat it like the treasure it is, and call in the Holy Guard for protection.


"Testimonies For His Glory"

In Acts 3:1-11 we find an encounter that ends with a crowd the people being filled with amazement because a miracle happens and a lame man ends up - walking, and leaping, and praising God! I told you what happens at the end because we are mostly going to look at the middle of this encounter and I wanted to make sure you knew we have a terrific ending!

At the beginning of our encounter we are introduced to our three main characters, Peter, John, and a certain man who was born lame. Our setting, the temple, at the hour of prayer, or the ninth hour. Also, as we all know, any good story needs a problem or a conflict, an issue to be resolved.  Most people reading this encounter might just assume that the issue in this encounter is the man's lameness? Personally,  I think its some thing else and it can be found in verses 2 - 3.

... And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms.

Every day. Day after day, for his whole life he was carried to the outside of the temple where he asked alms from those coming and going.   It says that he saw Peter and John about to go in, so he asked them, the same as he asked every one, not necessarily expecting, but because that is what he did, every day, all day. It was his routine and while he didn't really take much notice of them, because of this routine, it says they noticed him.

... And fixing eyes on him with John, Peter said, "Look at us."  So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.  verses 4 - 5

So, if we take a look at this key verse we get to see the issue.  He was so busy with his day to day routine. So busy with his rote "asking" that he almost missed his opportunity. It wasn't until they spoke that they got his "for real" attention. Suddenly, there was an expectation to receive!

... Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, But what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them---walking, leaping, and praising God! verses 6 - 8

So, while his lameness was the obvious  problem, it wasn't the issue that God saw and dealt with. God saw a man full of hopelessness, with no expectation to enter into His presence. So, God being the loving God that He is, provided  for the whole man. He went from being a "downtrodden" man to a --walking, leaping, and praising God testimony in an instant.

I think that too often this man's issue is one that we deal with. I think that its easy to get complacent in our day to day providing and to get in a "habit" of asking without any real sense of expectation to receive.  Too often we sit "outside" His presence, focused on the wrong things.  We get caught up and forget to give Him all our attention.  Too often we pray without believing!

The solution:  When He says, "Seek My face."  We need to look to Him and say, "Your face, Lord, I will seek." Ps.27:8   Then we too will be ---walking, leaping, and praising God testimonies for His glory!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

No more Mr. Angry Guy

Man, it is harder then ever to have an angry rant when you're a Christian.

"Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few." Ecclesiastes 5:2

My brain translates this verse into something like this, "Dude, don't call them names just cause you're angry. Don't swear to God that you will knock some sense into them or something ridiculous like that. God is never too busy for His sons and daughters. He has, however, had it up to Heaven and back with all this silly junk. Don't waste your breath on the meaningless stuff."

It's irritating when God does this. Doesn't He realize I want to be angry!



Why waste my time on the meaningless?

Why hold a grudge that will turn my bones to sawdust and strip all the humor out of my life?

It's not worth it.

Really, was it ever worth it? Jesus died so that we could be free from the lord of this world.

Angry rants, grudges, and tirades are not from God.

So why do we waste so much of our time on them?

We don't have to anymore.


Rather, say goodbye to Mr. Angry Guy.


"Gotta Tell Somebody"

Today we are going to take a look in Mark 1:40-45 at a guy who just couldn't seem to help but tell everyone about his encounter with Jesus.  He was actually quite the blabbermouth about it even though Jesus had specifically asked him not to. It says in verse 45 ...But he went out and he began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every quarter. 

To "proclaim it freely," and "to spread the matter" basically means, he blabbed to everyone, everywhere he went. He couldn't stay silent!  It was to big, too much for him not to talk.  He had to tell somebody, everybody.  Jeremiah understood that same feeling.  He put it like this, "... but His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not. Jeremiah 20:9

So what did he have to tell? What was his testimony? What had happened that made it so hard to contain it?

It all starts with a guys reputation and the question  he asked Jesus. Both his reputation and his question are found in verse 40. His reputation, leper.  His question, "If You are willing, You can make me clean?"

As a leper he was considered unclean, and had to live outside of towns, and had to cry, "unclean" when other people came near. So every time a person approached he had to yell out and tell them he was unclean, to stay away, don't come near.

When he said, "If You are willing, You can make me clean." it says, ...Then Jesus, moved with compassion, put out his hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed." As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.

I love that Jesus responded in a way that shows that he looked beyond the leprosy the heart of the man in front of Him. We know this because His compassion motivated Him to do something no one else would. He reached out and touched him! The man was a leper. No one touches a leper. Jesus did! We know that he didn't need to. He could have just spoken it like He did with others throughout His ministry. He told him, "He was willing," and he said, "Be cleansed." Not be healed, but be cleansed. I love His compassion! He healed the whole man not just the leprosy! He healed not just his body, but the emotional scars and the spiritual wounds that come with declaring, "I'm dirty, don't come near." as a way of life.

Is it any wonder he couldn't stay silent!  Now everywhere he went he had something else to declare! "Jesus healed me! I'm clean!  He touched me, when no one else would. He touched me!"

Is it any wonder? ... He was brand new, inside and out!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Why? I'll tell you why!

Now, tell me the truth:

When you read Ecclesiastes, do you ever hear a balloon deflating in the back round?

It's one of those books in the Bible you go to when you're having a BAD DAY. When you feel like everything is meaningless.

I read this, "everything is dust," rant for a couple chapters when I saw an answer.

"...Also, He has put eternity into man's heart.." Ecclesiastes 3:11

My mind immediately went to Colossians 3:2, "Se your affection (dude, that's your "heart!") on things above, not on things on the earth."

Isn't it great that we have the whole Bible to make sense of stuff?

Guys, most of this junk is kinda meaningless. Our fancy cars, our jobs, our super cool stuff.

That's all "down here" stuff. They are overrated perks.

Focus on stuff that's going to be in Heaven.

God---Focus on getting to know Him better! People---Focus on sharing the Gospel, and loving your family and friends!.

Those are the important things.

Not the newest IPhone.

"Now I See"

 ... when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side." Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filing. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!"  And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.But He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!" Mark 4:35-41 NKJ

When I was a new Christian and read this I just didn't get it. His words felt like a rebuke and I didn't understand why Jesus questioned their faith. After all, "A great windstorm arose," and it must have been an incredibly fierce storm for these men, experienced fishermen, to be so afraid. Plus their feelings of, "don't you care that we are perishing?" seemed pretty reasonable to me as well, after all, He was asleep in the boat! I also didn't understand why He said, "no faith." why not, "little faith?" To me it seemed that they had a little faith, they woke Him for help, they felt that if He wasn't sleeping they wouldn't be at the point of perishing. It seemed to me that they should at least rate, little faith.

Now years later, I've weathered a few storms of my own and I've grown in my faith to the place that my perspective has changed.  Now I when I read this I notice different things.     

For instance, now I see:  

... that as soon as they woke Him, He dealt with their storm! He rebuked the wind, spoke to the waves and brought in its place, a great calm!

... that He was with them. He didn't send them across alone! They didn't have to weather the storm alone. He was in the boat with them! How many times did He say, "The kingdom of  God is at hand."  He was right there, at hand, ready to answer their cry for help.

... that He said, "no faith" for a reason.  Faith is having confidence in His word and that He will do what He says he will! He said,  "Let us cross over to the other side."  He didn't say, "Let us cross over to the other side as long as its nice weather, or as long as there isn't a storm." They forgot the plan and got caught up in the storm! He had already spoken what was going to happen, crossing over to the other side!

... that He rebuked the wind, not them!  Now I see His words as words of comfort and encouragement.  When He is saying,"Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" I know that He is trying to calm their fears and to speak to them about their ability to trust Him because of who He is. They too where fairly new believers and His words now remind me of when, as a foster parent, I try to calm the fears of my little guys as they come into my home.  In the first few weeks I often have to say reassuring things like, "You don't have to be afraid, there are no monsters here. There are no monsters allowed in my home. Trust me."   "You don't have to be scared. Your safe here. I promise."  "There is nothing to be afraid of, I'll keep you safe."  The first night they don't believe me, but the longer they stay and get to know me and to trust me, the safer they get. They learn that my words are true. His words,"Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?"  no longer look like a rebuke but more like, "You don't have to be afraid, trust me, there are no monsters under your bed. Honest!"

... "Don't you care that we are perishing?" ... He cares and He has a plan ... For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Today's blog isn't anything ground breaking. I am just blessed and amazed at the way God hears me.

The way He hears my problems, my cries, and my prayers.

The biggest thing I've been stressing about was like the main topic of the church service this week.

I'm sure you can all relate to times when it felt like God didn't hear you. When you're like, "God, where are you in this? Do you see this? What do I do?"

*Sheepishly look here* And it always comes back to trust and faith in Him.

But what blessed me the most out of that wasn't the actual lesson.

It was the fact that God hears me.

And He answered me.

When you step back, stop stressing, and focus on Him, then you start to see it. But not until then. Unfortunately for all my fellow stressers.

He hears me.

Has anyone else had any cool God-moments? Where they were like, "Wow, You heard me!" If you have, I'd love to hear about them!


"More Than Just Bread"

Today our "snack" is more like, when you go to a restaurant, and you can't make up your mind which appetizer to get, so, you go for the sampler with a little bit of all your favorites. Today He put together a sampler for us. I hope you'll enjoy the selection!

It started as I was reading in Luke 4:4 "And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." These six words caught my eye and I started to think about them.  Next, I wasn't planning on it as I had asked Him earlier if I could do Old Testament today, He brought me to Hebrews 11 where three other verses others caught my eye.

We will start with Enoch.   We find him in Gen. 5:18-24.  So here is a guy who gets to have all of seven verses. Six of which are mostly talking about the begats of his life, you know, his dad, his son. Only one of the seven verses really gives us any insight as to why he gets to be in the well know, "Hall of Fame" or "Faith" chapter, Hebrews 11.

So other than, his father, his son, and his age, this is what we know about him ... "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." vs. 24 

Hebrews 11: 5 gives us a little more insight. It says ... "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God translated him; for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God."

So now we also know, that he had faith. That he walked with God. That he was not found anymore because God translated him to heaven so that he would not see death.That he had a great testimony.  We also now know that God took him because he was pleased with him.   

I looked up Enoch's name and it simply means; initiated.  God translated or initiated Enoch into heaven because he pleased Him! God enjoyed his company!

The next  verse, Hebrews 11:6 goes on to say, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Now we know that he pleased God because of his faith. Enoch believed that God would do what he said He would. He trusted God  to be and to do what He said  He would! He had faith and he pleased God because he daily trusted in and lived by every word of God!

In the next verse Noah caught my eye with this ..."By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house... Heb. 11:7

Genesis 6:8,9 says, But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord ... Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God."  In 18 we see God telling him He will establish a covenant with him.  In verse 22 it says, "Thus Noah did; according to all God commanded him, so he did."

The thing that jumped out at me were the words, being warned of God.  That means God told him about what he was about to do and Noah believed Him and acted on it even though it scared him and was something he'd never seen before.He believed in the outcome of those words and because of that he saved his family!

Again, we see the phrase, "walked with God." We also see him described as a just man. What that means is it was his daily habit to talk with God, to listen to God, and to obey God. Bible says, "the just shall live by faith,What that means is the just shall live by every word of God!

The last thing he showed me ...By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward ... for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. Heb.11:24-27

Moses chose to align himself with God!  He chose to let go of the things of the world believing in the promise of a greater reward!

We too can choose to have faith!


Faith is only possible if you first hear His words. There is a reason why Jesus was always saying, "He who has ears to hear let him hear."

Faith means choosing to not just live by bread alone but to live by EVERY Word that God speaks!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bad Day Blues

For everyone who has had a bad day, week, or year.

For everyone stuck between a rock and a hard place.

For everyone torn apart by fights and quarrels and anger.

For everyone tormented by the past.

For everyone in fear of the future.

And for everyone who is weighed down with all of that and more.

You are not, nor have you ever been alone.

And God has never left your side.

There may be no right answer for what you're going through. There may be no easy solution, but God is there.

Cast your cares on God. He can handle it. Give Him your bad days and heartaches.

He cares for you.

You've heard this before, but it's like saying, "I love you." You can't ever hear it too much.

God cares for you.

And He wants to take your cares FROM you.


Friday, April 12, 2013

"Nevertheless Moments"

... Now when He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." But Simon answered and said, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net."And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink.When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!" For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken;and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon, "Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men." So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.  Luke 5:4-11

When Simon said, "Nevertheless at your word," he was really saying, "Fine, just because its you asking I'll do it."  I wouldn't be surprised if a heavy sigh and or an eye roll had accompanied it! He only obeyed because it was Jesus.  He in no way thought fish were a possibility.  We know this because he asked Jesus to forgive him and it said that he and all who were with him were all astonished at the catch.

Why? Why do we see the word nevertheless?  Jesus was just asking him to fish. He wasn't asking him to do anything hard. So, why the attitude.  Why wasn't he jumping in with a positive response, anticipating the outcome.  Why? Because he did what we sometimes do, prejudge the outcome based on our own thoughts and experience.  Simon thought he was a fisherman and based on his knowledge he felt it was pointless to cast his net!

Jesus knew they hadn't caught anything all night. He knew they had been toiling and he wanted to bless them. I think it was His good pleasure to overwhelm them with the outcome!

Jesus took this "nevertheless" moment and renewed their calling. They thought they were experienced fishermen and Jesus thought of them as "fishers of men!"

Note: Remember that He can accomplish astonishing results even in the midst of our "nevertheless" attitudes. Trust that His thoughts are not our thoughts and at HIS WORD, CAST OUT YOUR NET!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Why Does He Get To Do This And I Don't??

"But, but, it's not fair, why can they do this, and I can't?"

One of my biggest arguments with my mother while I was growing up.

Be honest, we have all used that line.

Probably more often then we realize.

How often do we use this line with GOD?

"Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day." Proverbs 23:17

His answer is simple: Don't envy them. Focus on ME.

When we focus on HIM, we don't think about THEM.

Getting mad or envious about what they "get away with," doesn't help us spiritually.

Focusing on GOD does.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"More + Less = More"

"... Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30

When John spoke these words they were meant to reassure his disciples that it was okay that Jesus's popularity was increasing.  He felt joy that Jesus's reputation was growing beyond his own.  He proceeded to explain more to them about who Jesus was and why He was sent.  He ended the conversation with them by saying "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." John 3:36

He used a four letter word here that we need to take note of. "He must increase, I must decrease." the word must means; - be obliged to; should (expressing necessity.)
More of Jesus, less of me was a concept that John was declaring to be a necessity to those he was closest to. So, is it a concept we that we should take heed to? 

I pray that as believers this is also our desire and that we too might know the joy that comes when the daily cry of our heart is like our Saviour's, "Not my will but thy will be done!" 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Say Hello To Spring Horses.

I thought this was a cool verse. "The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD." Proverbs 21:31

Today was a beautiful day outside. I drove with the window down, with the spring air assaulting my face with it's wonderful, warm, chilly scent.

I love the spring.

It is such an awesome season. Everything in nature is preparing for summer. It's making ready.

Spring preparing for summer is a lot like the horse being made ready for battle.


The season where you are being made ready.

Guys, we are the horse, we are the spring. We are in the preparation time. The preparation time before being used by God. Before the final game. Before the end of all time.


This is spring.

Prepare yourselves.


"I Will Not Let Go"

...And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, "Let me go, for the day breaketh." And he said, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me."  And he said unto him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Jacob." And he said, "Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed." .....And Jacob called the name of the place "Peniel:for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." Gen. 32:24-30

 God brought a song called "Stronger" by Tanner Clark across my path this week and it has really blessed me.  It brings to mind this life changing event in the life of Jacob. Why life changing? One reason!  He held on!  He declared in his heart and with his mouth "I will not let go except you bless me."  

You and I might think the hard part was behind him at this point. After all he had held on, hip and all, all night long!  He had to be tired and exhausted . He had been holding on, and holding on, and holding on...... etc.    But, I think the hardest part to holding on came next..."What is your name?"

He now was faced with a choice ... to answer or... to let go and walk away.  

He answered with one word, "Jacob." (supplanter, schemer, trickster, swindler) With that one word answer he revealed so much about himself. Why would this matter? Because Jacob knew what his name meant. He knew his past. He was asked his name so that he could move out of the shame associated with his past and into the blessings of his future. 

We need to understand that God knows our past and  He wants to bless our future.   As soon as Jacob confessed his name to Him he proceeded to give him his blessing.  He changed his name to Israel. (contender with God) and enabled him to walk into the blessings that God had promised him.

So, today's morsel : Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Don't let go no matter what!  Even if it means a confession of where you've been or how your feeling!  Don't let the past rob you of the blessings He has for YOU! Don't forget...daybreaks coming!  Make the cry of your heart ..."I WILL NOT LET GO TILL ..."

Saturday, April 6, 2013

You Never Really Graduate

My aunt has been working in the youth group for a LONG time. And one of the things I have heard her say the most is that she has seen a lot of kids walk away when they get to "That Age."

In my short time, I've seen some kids completely walk away, too.

I knew someone who use to say it was the age when you "knew it all."

"Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge." Proverbs 19:27

And my Bible has this as a linked verse:

"For it would have been better for them never to have known the way to righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them." 2 Peter 2:21

Kids in school never pay attention to the review. They already know it.

When we think we know it all, we stop paying attention. We stop listening. We zone out during church services, prayer, and Bible reading.


You see, you never really know it all. And when you think you do, you start to slip.




Friday, April 5, 2013

"Green Bean Crispers"

I recently had the opportunity to go out to lunch with a friend, which doesn't happen very often these days. We decided to go to Applebees and as we were placing our order, I told her to go ahead and pick an appetizer.  She did.  I was not happy with her choice!  She knows I don't like green beans! We are good friends and she KNOWS I hate green beans.  Her response, "Trust me. Just trust me, you'll see."  Anyways, lets jump ahead. They come and she eats one and encourages me to try one.  Again accompanied with the "trust me" quote for assurance.

So, there I am looking at them, trying to decide if I'm going to try one.  They aren't like regular green beans.  They have a crispy coating on them and they came with a dipping sauce.

Again she says. "Try one. You will like them. Trust me."

Okay, so I get brave, pick up the littlest one I can find and dip it in the sauce. In my mind and heart I was totally prepared to hate it. I didn't! Truth is, I LOVED it!

For the first time since I was a kid and my mom would make me, I ate my green beans and they were good!  I ate more than my share.  A few days later I ordered them for take out because I kept thinking about how much I enjoyed them.

Just think, if I hadn't got brave and trusted my friend, I would have missed out on my new favorite appetizer, "Green Bean Crispers."
       "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!" Ps. 34:8

 How often do we miss out on the blessings He has for us because we aren't brave enough to trust Him?

As your friend, I'd like to say.  "Try Him! You'll Love Him. Trust me!" 

On The Road Again

Proverbs 16:1-4 talks about plans. Our plans. Our plans compared to God's plans.

Sometimes they don't quite match up.

Ever experienced that? I hope it's not just me.........

When life doesn't go as planned, it can be frustrating. So frustrating that you want to smash your head into a wall.

Truth of the matter is, we can plan all we want, but sometimes life will step in, and kick us in the rear.

And sometimes God will bring us down a different path.

The key to handling either, is to trust God.

It always comes back to this.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"When Did We?"

"... COME, YOU BLESSED OF MY FATHER, INHERIT THE KINGDOM PREPARED FOR YOU FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD...for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me."

Then the righteous will answer Him saying ... "WHEN DID WE...?"


I couldn't help but meditate on these words of Jesus found in Matthew 25:34-46 this morning as I watched a two year old little boy who came to live with me last evening devour his pancakes, yogurt, sausages, strawberries, and milk this morning. He would look up at me, grin and go in for another bite. He cleaned his plate and couldn't have seemed more pleased with himself.  We then got him dressed in an outfit that I dug up for Him since the clothes he came with were in need of a good wash. When he was all dressed, I got a big hug, again accompanied with a big grin!

More often than not, when people hear that I am a foster parent the next words out of their mouths is, "How do you do it? I could never do that! I would get to attached."

My answer, "Yes, I get attached!, Yes, its hard to let them go! Trust me, I cry!  I love them!" But my question is, "How do I not?" The "least of these" need me.

Think: We all have the least of these in our lives. When did you NOTICE the LEAST OF THESE in your life?"

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Warm Socks

When it's a beautiful day outside, I have a habit of wearing shoes that are not very warm. Flip-flops, flats, sandals. And everytime my feet start to FREEZE!

And everytime my husband-to-be will get me some of his socks so my feet stop freezing.

He takes care of me.

It made me think of how GOD takes care of us. How He says if he can take care of the little birds, and make sure they eat, then how much more will He take care of us?

I don't know about you, but when stuff starts to hit, it can be hard to see how God takes care of me.

My first response isn't unconditional trust in GOD.

When the bills start to come, when the bad days start to pile up, when it's just one bad thing after another, what is your first response?

Instead of getting cold feet about life, TRUST GOD!

I know it's not easy. It's hard, but God doesn't want you going through life with spiritually cold feet. He has warm socks! Just for you!

Get some GODLY warm socks!

"Lord I believe, help my unbelief!"


Monday, April 1, 2013

"Just Like His Father!"

Today's snack ...In  Mark 12:41-44 we come across a scene where Jesus is not performing a miracle. He isn't healing the sick, lame, or blind.  He isn't raising someone from the dead. He isn't speaking a word of knowledge or a word of wisdom. He isn't walking on water. He isn't turning water into wine. He isn't sharing a teaching that would cause the response like the one found in verse 37 ..."And the common people heard Him gladly."  He isn't forgiving sin or engaging the scribes and pharisees.

He isn't doing any one of the signs, wonders, or miracles that He is famous for. Yet, what He is doing, shows us just how much He takes after His Heavenly Father!

In verses 41 & 42 we find Him sitting and watching. He is just sitting there, observing the comings and goings of the people as they put money in the treasury.  In verses 43 & 44 He explains what He saw to His disciples.  Many of the rich put in much and a widow put in two mites. His comment, "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood."

I love that this is where HE IS being just like His Heavenly Father! He wasn't looking at what was happening on the outside.  He saw beyond the outward appearance of their giving and He saw the heart behind it.

JUST LIKE HIS FATHER!...But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

Fact:  He is just like His Heavenly Father and He knows your heart!