Monday, December 5, 2022

The Best Parting Gift

“The Best Parting Gift”

John 14:27 NLT

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So don’t be troubled or afraid.


We’ve all been on trips where someone gives us a gift either before going on the journey or before we leave to make the return trip back home.  Maybe it’s a gift of money to help out with various expenses of the trip.  Sometimes it’s memorabilia that we can keep as a souvenir.  How about advice that someone gives to us that we feel is invaluable as we journey on?  Sometimes wonderful words of wisdom can fill us like nothing else.  Perhaps it is a mentor, a close family member or friend that passes on some very comforting and encouraging words.

When we say goodbye to people, we often give them well wishes as they leave our house or we leave theirs.  Or anytime we have some gathering, we often give people well wishes for the day and week.  We like to leave others with a blessing feeling as we depart from each other. 

Isn’t it a great feeling when we receive and give well wishes.  It’s a heart-warming gift and there’s nothing like it.  It’s a parting gift and I believe we all like to give and receive those.

Jesus leaves the best gift with His disciples and with us as well.  He gives us the best parting gift anyone could ever give.  He gives us the gift of peace of mind and heart.  He gives us the peace of knowing He is with us.  His Spirit guides us and helps us as we live each day.  Jesus wants us to not be troubled or be afraid because He is always with us in Spirit. 

I hope that we can all appreciate and be thankful for the parting gift Jesus gave us.  There is absolutely nothing like His gift of peace.  That peace is definitely nothing like anything the world could ever give us.    

Monday, November 7, 2022

The Most Amazing Rescue

“The Most Amazing Rescue”

Colossians 1:13-14 NIV

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Song he loves, in whom we have the redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

I have always enjoyed watching TV shows and movies that have a dramatic rescue of some kind.  Even thought I know it’s staged in shows and movies, the directors usually do pretty well in creating some strong emotions as I watch the special effects, hear the music that accompanies and listen to the voices of the actors and actresses.  I have often found it funny and interesting that I’m still filled with the same emotions every time I watch, even though I know exactly what’s going to happen!

I know that we have all been filled with various emotions as we watch different rescues, whether it be on TV or in real life.  When it’s in real life, that becomes a different experience as we realize it probably hasn’t been planned and we hope people are ok.  We tend to find ourselves caught up in much emotion when we watch and experience these situations. 

As I consider these times in life that we witness or experience from movies, tv shows or real life, we keep a pretty good memory of these instances. 

I have to wonder how often we are truly caught up in emotion and in awe when we think about the most amazing rescue that’s ever been recorded in history.  Jesus Christ performed the most amazing rescue ever recorded in all time.  He rescued us from our sinful life and gave us a new life in Him!  What could be more awesome and more spectacular? 

As much as I like to get into movies and shows that show great and dramatic rescues, I need to be reminded of the most amazing and meaningful rescue ever performed.  Nothing could compare with the rescue of the Cross.  What Jesus did to save us could never have been done by any human being other than Him.  It is more amazing than anything we can possibly think of.  It holds more meaning that anything else in the world can.

We tend to use the word “amazing” in a lot of different ways these days.  Kind of how we use the word “awesome” in so many ways.  In reality, there is nothing more awesome and amazing than what Jesus Christ did for us and nothing else will ever compare. 

Let us never, ever forget the most amazing rescue is what Christ did for us in saving us from our sins by dying on the Cross!

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

We Are An Overcomer Through Him

“We Are An Overcomer Through Him”

John 16:33 NLT

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.  Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world.


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how so many things and situations in life can present themselves as impossible to overcome.  We know that God is always with us and that we can do all things through Christ.  However, we are all human and we have many times in our lives when certain challenges come our way and we feel totally helpless and defeated.  We have all been there and some of us out there may be going through these times as we speak. 

There are a lot of things and situations that come up that seem intimidating and scary, leaving us wondering if there’s a way out or a solution.  With various life situations and hearing about different things going on lately, I’ve often found myself thinking of how overwhelming challenges can be in life.  Our hearts break when very unexpected situations arise.  We know God is good and that He is with us and all-powerful, but we still struggle because we become filled with emotions and questions.  No matter how we try to be in our faith, we get tested. 

I kept thinking about how powerful God’s Word is and how so often we become so overwhelmed that we forget His true power.  So often we feel we need to be able to have the answers and come up with solutions to problems that come.  While we try hard to do this to be responsible people, we also have to remember that we need to leave things in God’s hands ultimately and trust that He will lead and guide in His timing.   

Anytime challenging situations come up, we definitely need to leave things in God’s hands as we pray and ask Him for wisdom to work through the challenges.  As long as we stay strong, stay prayerful and trust in His daily wisdom and direction, He will guide us.  We can often feel totally lost and unsure of what to do next in life.  We need to always remember that trusting in His Word and His guidance is the best for us.  No matter how much our heart breaks for others for whatever reasons, we must always trust in God’s powerful Word to do what only He can do. 

I want to encourage all of us to trust in God no matter what circumstances we might find ourselves in today or the days, weeks, months or years ahead.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Mind Your Words

 YouTube Channel Video Devo

“Mind Your Words”

Proverbs 18:20-21 NLT

Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction.  The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.


I forget where I first heard this illustration and may not remember it verbatim, but I read a story about a grandfather who took his grandson up to a higher elevation and had a bag of feathers.  He opened the bag of feathers and he and the boy watched them all blow every which way.  He looked at the grandson and said, “Okay, now go find them all, pick them up and bring them back.”  The grandson of course replied, “That’s going to be impossible, I won’t be able to find them all.”  The grandfather then replied back, “Exactly!  This is just like the words we say.  Once they leave our lips, they are most likely gone and we can never get them back!”  


I have remembered this story for many years as I consider the words that I use each and every day with my wife, kids, co-workers, boss, friends, church family and extended family.  No matter who I come into contact with, I have to remember that my words need to be spoken with wisdom and not with hurt. 


You’ve heard the phrase “Mind your manners”.  Well, the same goes with our words.  We definitely need to learn to be careful with the words we speak.  There are many Scriptures dealing with the words we use and how we need to be wise in what we say and how we say what we do say. 


I am so guilty of letting words fly from my mouth that I should never say.  Sometimes it happens unintentionally and sometimes I get frustrated and feel I have the right to let them fly!  No matter the situation, I need to let my words be wise.  I tend to let my words fly when I’m in traffic and I have really annoying drivers around me!  I’ve been working on my road rage for many years, but I still get very frustrated often at how people make dumb choices and have no common courtesy on the road.  However, I need to remember that I have 2 girls who are watching my every move and learning from what I do and say.  That’s HUGE to me!  I blow it so often and need to remember that my words need to be wise and encouraging.


I encourage all of us from this day forward, to focus on using wise and encouraging words.  As the saying goes, “If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all”.   Let our words be wise and full of satisfaction to those who hear them! 

Monday, September 5, 2022

Sharp Enough To Penetrate

 YouTube Channel Video Devo

“Sharp Enough To Penetrate”

Hebrews 4:12 NLT

For the word of God is alive and powerful.  It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow.  It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.


I used to watch a lot of crime shows years ago.  I found myself so intrigued by how detectives asked the right questions and spent enough time digging into clues to finally solve a case.  I remember when the original CSI show came out.  I was hooked on that show and watched it every week.  It was like a rush when the theme song “Who Are You?” came on and I was ready and pumped for the rest of the show!  Through the years, I’ve gotten into other crime shows that I’ve enjoyed as well. 


What always baffled me was how the detectives would carefully work through the cases and uncover what they needed to prove what happened.  I just found myself intrigued by the end results.  I often found myself thinking, “How did they do that???”  If they could uncover the truth, that brought light to the whole story and set the record straight.


As I think about our lives of faith, I cannot help but think of this passage from Hebrews.  God’s Word is very powerful!  We often take this for granted and sometimes think what lies beneath in our lives won’t become uncovered.  We let things go in our lives, thinking some things we do or say are no big deal.  However, in order to grow and become stronger in our relationships, God has to penetrate deep within us to uncover things that need to come to light.  It’s often only in this way that we can truly heal and move forward.


We shouldn’t take His Word for granted.  His Word is far more powerful than anything we can possibly imagine!  We can’t live life thinking we can hide our secrets and live like we want to.  So often we think we can, but then our secrets somehow get uncovered by Him in some way.  He will somehow break through and wake us up to reality that we need to let go of these things that separate us from Him.  His Word penetrates hard and will bring us to our knees. 


Just like the detectives in crime shows dig hard and deep to uncover the truth, God’s Word will penetrate hard and deepest and will uncover the ugliness in our lives that needs to be exposed.  We all have these moments in life when things need to become exposed so that we can heal and live life for Him fully. 


My encouragement is for all of us to let God’s Word penetrate hard into our lives each day so that we can get rid of the ugliness that keeps us hindered from growing in Him. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Are We Really Thrilled?

 YouTube Channel Video Devo

“Are We Really Thrilled?”

Psalm 92:4 NLT

You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me!  I sing for joy because of what you have done.

We get thrilled about a lot of things in life, don’t we?  Just take a few moments and think about some of the times in life when you found yourself getting really thrilled and psyched up about different things.  We all get excited, pumped up and thrilled about a lot of things in life.  It’s a great feeling when we get excited about certain events coming up, people we are going to see and places we may visit. 

As a kid, I really got into roller coasters as theme parks.  I loved the thrills of going fast, going long and going upside down!  The adrenaline rush of going on rides lasted all through my young life.  I don’t do this as much anymore, but would still like to.  I also think about going to different restaurants where I know I’m going to get a great meal.  Or how about coffee shops I go to with excitement to get a blended iced or hot drink?  Starbucks and Caribou, here I come!!!  There are certain places we go as a family and I’m so excited to get there.  One of my favorite destinations is Duluth, MN.  It’s absolutely breathtaking each time we go and it never gets old!

I or we could all list so many different ways we get thrilled about things in life.  While there’s nothing at all wrong with getting excited about different things, places, foods, drinks, people and such, sometimes we need to reconsider how thrilled we are getting about these things compared to our thrill about God.  It’s so easy for us to get thrilled about different things of this world, but so often we tend to get less thrilled about our relationship with God. 

I read about, watch movies about and see video clips of others who get totally worked up and thrilled about God and all He is doing in their lives.  Just from the reactions and ways they are, I can tell they are really psyched about God.  Often I think to myself, “Am I like that?  Do I get that excited?”  Too often, I cringe at my answer of “Ummm….maybe…not as much”. 

I am reminded that every single day, I should be the most thrilled, excited, worked up and psyched about following God!  He should be the biggest thrill of our lives.  Nothing else should even come close!  However, too often other things do.  Maybe in the coming days, weeks and months, we should all be reminded about this when we get excited about something in life.  Just take a few moments and consider if you would get this excited or even more about God?  Just something for us to consider as we move forward in our lives.

Are we really thrilled about God?  I hope we all are!

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

What Would You Do?

 YouTube Video Devo

“What Would You Do?

Daniel 3:6 NIV

“Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”


The past few Sundays our pastor has been going through Daniel and as he shared Sunday morning, I was convicted of so many instances of my life where I have given in and compromised to go along with the crowd.  I tend to think of the show “What Would You Do?” that has been on ABC in the past.  My family and I have enjoyed many episodes of this in the past.  If you’re not familiar with it, scenarios are set up with actors and then others who have no idea what’s going on are surrounded with the feeling of “What am I going to do”?


It’s very interesting to see what people will do in situations that make them uncomfortable.  Unlike this show, oftentimes in life we are faced with situations that come up that are real and people get very pushy to try getting us to do things we shouldn’t do.  Peer pressure isn’t just for young people growing up.  Adults struggle with this all too often as well.  Actually, it doesn’t matter what age you are, it’s tough to go against the flow.


What would you do if you were faced with a blazing furnace and were told to bow down to a statue or you will die?  That’s pretty blunt!  Either fall down and worship this idol or lose your life.  However, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not give in and they stayed strong. 


I know I’ve written about this story in the past, but it came back to me.  I think about how so often it’s hard for me to stand up for what’s right because it REALLY makes you stand out in the crowd. 


We have to really ask ourselves what is more important, obeying man or God?  When faced with certain situations, it’s downright hard to be different.  Our face may turn pale and we may feel lightheaded just with the situation at hand.  It’s uncomfortable!  However, God often asks us to go against the flow and be strong, just as these 3 men were.  They were faithful and would not go with the flow.  Their faithfulness paid off and God was praised!


Ask yourself, “What Would I Do?”  How would you react?  It’s not something we need to get all freaked out about and scared about it happening, but we do need to be prepared and ask God to give us wisdom whatever situation might arise.  We need to be prepared and pray for constant guidance to be a light when we get surrounded by darkness. 


It’s in these situations where we have an amazing opportunity to be a light for God!