Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Love God, Love People

 YouTube Video Devo

“Love God, Love People”

Matthew 22:37-39 NIV

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”


This past Saturday night, I took my wife on a concert date to go see Danny Gokey, Jordan Feliz and Blanca.  They were all very talented and gifted singers.  I had never seen Blanca or Jordan Feliz in concert before and it was a blessing to hear their music live.  This is the second time my wife and I have seen Danny Gokey in concert and he was a favorite of ours back when he was on American Idol.


One of the songs Danny sings is “Love God, Love People”.  I’ve heard this song many times, but it was a great reminder hearing it once again and got me thinking about our lives and our mission as followers of Christ.  As Danny’s song states, we are called to love God and love people.  I think back many years ago a devotional I read from him and he stated, “So many times I think we overthink our calling and over complicate the Gospel, when really our purpose in this life comes down to two simple things; loving God and loving people.”


I want to ask us all a very simple question.  Do we make it our daily life mission to love God and love people?  This should solely be our life call each and every day.  No matter where we are and no matter what we are doing, we are commanded by God to love Him and to love people. 


Friends, there is nothing about this requiring a Seminary degree.  It’s a very simple concept, but it can be very tough to live out some days when life doesn’t make sense and people are treating us terrible.  However, we must remember Jesus was very mistreated, but He kept loving people because it was His mission and call of life. 


I really like the chorus of Danny’s song which says, “Gotta keep it real simple, keep it real simple.  Bring everything right back to ground zero.”


I hope that we can all take a step back, look at life and see how we can make it our daily life mission to love God and love people.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Keep Away Means Keep Away

 YouTube Video Devo

“Keep Away Means Keep Away”

1 John 5:21 NLT

Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.


Many of us, if not most, probably remember the famous game of keep away when we were kids.  We all most likely remember times at recess or in gym class when we had a game of keep away with other kids.  If we were the ones trying to keep the ball away from the person in the middle, we recall doing all we could to keep the ball away from the person in any possible way.  If we were in the middle, we were determined to stop that ball by reaching quickly or reaching up high enough to catch it.


Another idea of “keep away”, we remember being told by adults to stay out of something that might be harmful or something we just were not supposed to touch.  For one reason or another, we were commanded to keep our distance from a certain area or certain things.  I remember how it drove me nuts to not touch or go near something or an area that I couldn’t access.  The more I was told I couldn’t touch or go near, the more I wanted to!!!


As I consider these ideas of keeping away from something or some area while growing up, I think about how it still applies even today as an adult.  There are still many things and places I have to remember that I shouldn’t go near, whatever it might be.  I might be able to access a certain area or touch a certain object, but the consequences could very well be disastrous if I don’t heed the warning to stay away. 


God commands us to keep away from anything that takes His place in our hearts. I want to emphasize “ANYTHING”.  When He says “ANYTHING”, He means “ANYTHING”.  If it doesn’t encourage our walk with Him, it will most likely take us away from Him.  Day after day, we need to take into consideration anything and everything we encounter to determine if it will steer us nearer to Him or take us away. 


So often in our lives, we find ourselves running to things that will not help us at all. As Zach Wlliams’ song “Chain Breaker” says, “We’ve all run to things we know just ain’t right”.  We spend each day of our lives making choices that will either draw us closer to God or pull us away.  I so often find myself going after worldly things and thinking somehow they will bring me joy or happiness, but instead I just feel more and more empty, longing for fulfillment even more.


God promises that if we keep away from things that take His place in our lives, we will experience true fulfillment. 


Let us not forget, when God says “Keep Away”, He has something so much better for us if we turn to Him instead. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Remember That We All Fall Short

 YouTube Video Devo

“Remember That We All Fall Short”
Romans 3:23 NIV
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

About a month ago, many of us watched the AFC Championship game between the Bengals and Chiefs. When defensive end, Joseph Ossai, slammed into Patrick Mahomes on the sideline, causing a 15 yard penalty to give the Chiefs the opportunity for getting the field goal to win, I remember reacting to that play. I remember saying to my wife about how I can’t believe he would make such a play like that and cost the team the win. It was a quick judgment that later I regretted making.

As I read about the play and saw Joseph sitting on the bench at the end of the game, my heart sank. I just watched him sitting with his head down and could just imagine the heartache he was feeling. I wanted to take back the words I said to my wife and I was feeling really bad for the guy. He was passionate about the game and got into the emotion of playing and didn’t mean to do anything to cost his team the game. He was playing his heart out and he felt terrible about the penalty.

I was quick to judge and make the comment about how you just don’t do that and get a penalty to cost the game. I quickly regretted it and felt for the guy, knowing he was feeling pretty bad about the decision he made.

It really got me thinking about how I make decisions in my life so often that I quickly regret making. I so often do things that I later regret. It’s so easy for me to see others doing things I think are so dumb, but then I often realize I’ve probably done the same dumb thing many times in my life. It’s so easy to criticize others instead of realizing that I’ve done dumb things, too.

Friends, the next time we consider casting judgment on someone else for something bad they’ve done, take a moment to realize that we have all sinned and fall very short of the glory of God. It’s so easy to come down on others for how we see things they’ve done, while we are no better as we are sinners as well. We definitely need to consider more coming alongside them and offering encouragement to let them know they are not alone. We are all in this life together and need to encourage instead of discourage.

We have all had our times where we hang our heads low because we are so ashamed of something dumb we have done. I do this so often and I cringe when I think about something I’ve done that I am very regretful of and ashamed about.

Let us encourage one another and be thankful to God for His love even though we have sinned and fall very short of His glory.  

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Be Kind

 YouTube Channel Video Devo

“Be Kind”
John 12:34-35 NLT
So now I am giving you a new commandment. Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
I have come to really come to appreciate the phrase “Be Kind” that I have noticed on t-shirts and signs. I don’t know how long this phrase has been surfacing or who came up with the idea to put it out there so much lately, but every time I see this, it makes me smile. Through the years, I’ve cringed at some popular phrases and sayings that have shown up in various places that are worldly.
When I think of the idea of being kind, I cannot help but to think of so many of the words Jesus used as He shared the important command for us to love one another. “Be Kind” is such a simple example, but its effects can be profound when we actually live it out. Just imagine for a few moments what this world would look like if we, as Christians, actually started being kind, not only to people we enjoy being around, but to everyone, regardless of how different they are?
Friends, we have been called to a mission in this world, and quite frankly, we are failing much of the time. I hate to bring that up, but it is true. We say we want a world that is full of God’s love so people can experience it, but that truly begins with how we are treating other people. God commands us to love each other unconditionally. How in the world do we expect the world to believe we are all about God’s love if we don’t prove it by our actions and the way we treat others?
I am pointing the finger at myself on this because I have a long way to go on treating others with love. I’m not saying I don’t, but there are plenty of people that annoy me and are different and I try to avoid them instead of being kind to them as Jesus commanded me to do.
Be Kind. It’s such a simple idea! Two words! However, it’s one of the hardest things for many of us to do. Jesus chose to love us. Take a few moments and realize that you are sometimes very hard to love and deal with for others. I saw a saying one time and it really hit me. It said, “Love difficult people….You’re one of them”. Ouch! Let’s take an honest look at ourselves and realize that we could all be doing much better at being kind to people, especially those we don’t like being around.
After watching The Chosen series, it’s really challenged my thinking in how Jesus intentionally loved on those, especially ones who were different and seemed very unlovable. He was being kind. He was firm, but He was kind. He lived out that mission.
Let’s do a better job of living out the mission of Jesus. Let’s be kind to others. Let’s show the world His love.

Monday, February 6, 2023

The Amazing Feeling Of Unfailing Love

 YouTube Channel Video Devo

“The Amazing Feeling Of Unfailing Love”

Psalm 63:3 NLT

Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise You!


I have been truly amazed lately at the work of God in my life and in my family.  Through the past several months, God has continued to teach us that He is in control and that we just need to continue to trust Him.  We’ve been through a variety of challenges and we’ve seen God move in ways that are really inspiring.  Though the challenges have been difficult in many ways, God continues to teach us to trust in Him and His timing. 


I don’t know what I would do without His unfailing love in life.  When so many things and people fail us at one time or another, He never does.  Every day brings its own challenges in various ways, but we continue to trust in what He does and all the ways He’s working. 


In the last devo I wrote, I shared how we need to prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.  God has continued to teach me to do this in various ways.  It is not easy to do, but I have found that it teaches me more about His unfailing love and that He’s always working, even when I cannot feel it or see it. 


His unfailing love is better than anything I could ever experience on this earth. There is no comparison.  There is absolutely nothing like what He provides.  He gives peace amidst chaos in life.


I want to encourage all of us that no matter what challenges we may be continuing to face in this new year, we can totally trust in His unfailing and amazing love.  There is nothing like it and He will never fail us.  We may hit some pretty hard challenges, but He will never leave us or forsake us.  Every day, we need to pray and hope for the best outcomes, but be prepared for hard times as they will come. 


I hope we will all continue to experience the amazing feeling of His unfailing love.  There is nothing on earth like it.   

Monday, January 23, 2023

Hope For The Best, Prepare For The Worst

“Hope For The Best, Prepare For The Worst”

Matthew 26:39 NLT

He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

I think we would all agree that most of the times in our lives when we face difficult situations, we hope and pray for the best outcome.  I mean, who wouldn’t pray for a great outcome when hard times are present, right?  Who in their right mind would even consider praying for bad things to happen?  No one would.  However, we all know that both good and hard times both come with life.  There is no escaping it.

Through various times in the past couple of years, I thought off and on about the idea of hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.  I used to find myself always hoping and praying for the best to come, but then not preparing for what could happen if it were not the best outcome.  I often found myself not dealing with the bad outcomes.  In the recent past, I have found myself preparing more mentally for both.  I have come to a point where I really try to accept the possibilities of both good and bad outcomes. 

I always want to hope for the best, of course, but I also want to mentally and spiritually prepare for the worst.  I’ve been finding that through these prayers of asking God to help me mentally and spiritually prepare for both, I am prepared to accept the worst outcome, but when the opposite happens, I am so grateful for the best.  This has been a thought on my mind for a while now and I’m learning to pray and prepare myself more like this.  I hope and pray for the best, but then also ask God to help me accept if the outcome is not what I hoped for.

When I think of Jesus as He prays this prayer 3 times to His Father as He approaches a very agonizing time in His life, I think about his prayer in being hopeful for the best, but prepared for the worst.  This struggle He had and prayed through is so powerful! 

I’ve been amazed how much this way of thinking and praying has helped me through recent times in various ways.  It’s not easy, but it’s been helping me as I consider what God wants me to do as I live each day.  I always hope for the best, but I want to be prepared and ready if things don’t go the best way I had hoped for.  I need to be prepared and ready to accept and still be faithful no matter the outcome.  Being willing to accept and stay faithful is so huge!

Friends, I pray that we will all daily always hope for the best, but prepare for the worst so that we can all strive to do God’s will regardless of what situations we find ourselves in.  It’s all about His glory, not what we want. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2023



Matthew 16:24-25 NLT

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it.  But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”

I just got done reading through a 7 day devotional on the Bible app regarding Resurrender.  It seems timely to me as a new year has begun and I’m reflecting on my walk with God and how I need to be more committed in my daily walk with Him. 

As I thought to myself about things that we do daily in our lives, there are so many daily routines that we become accustomed to.  From the time we get up in the morning to the time we go to bed at night, we have many routines that we go through each day.  Many of these routines we don’t even think twice about because they have become such a habit.  We just get used to doing the same things each day and it becomes second nature to us. 

As I consider so much that I do on a daily basis, I think about my walk with God and what all I am doing each day to live for Him.  This devotional I read reminded me that surrender is not just a one-time thing I did when I gave my life to Christ so many years ago.  Each day, it needs to be a routine to surrender my life back to God.  But it needs to be more than just a regular routine.  Routine is and can be good, but I don’t want to just say the words that I surrender and go on with my day.  I want my resurrender to God to be very heartfelt and very genuine.

We’ve experienced some challenging times lately in our home and we’ve been learning to really trust and rely on Him instead of our own understanding and strength.  However, this is a daily decision we have to make.  It is not easy to choose each day to deny ourselves and walk with Him in total surrender.  I am learning that it is amazing to resurrender each day and watch Him work in ways I don’t understand.  Even the days when I have no idea what He is doing, I still choose to resurrender because I know His ways are not my ways.

I need to choose each day to deny myself, take up my cross and follow Jesus without any reservations.  Resurrender involves me being willing to completely give up my ways. 

My prayer is that we will all make a genuine choice each new day to completely turn over our lives and resurrender to Him.