Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Our Hope For The New Year And Beyond

“Our Hope For The New Year And Beyond”

Psalm 33:20-22 NLT

We put our hope in the Lord.  He is our help and our shield.  In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.  Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone.


I have found myself in the past months starting off statement with “I sure hope________________” and then I fill in the blank with whatever thought I have at that time.  I have been hoping for a lot of things as I’m sure many or most of you have as well.  Through our years of life, we hope for many things in different ways. 

This past year, 2020, we have all probably hoped for things we had never thought about before.  With all the chaos and uncertainty, we have found ourselves hoping in different ways and maybe hoping for different things than we have hoped for in the past.  Just take a few moments and think back to the different things you have hoped for this past year.  Think of all that has gone on and all that has happened in your family, at work, at church and other places.  Take some time to think on what you have hoped for that you hadn’t really thought about in the past until now.

Many of us have probably had hopes shattered in some ways and then found ourselves grasping for some kind of relief and assurance that things will get better.  We have all been affected in so many ways this year by all the pandemic chaos and we are hoping and praying that things will get better very soon.

I’m learning each new day that instead of hoping in things of this world, as I so often do, I instead need to hope always in God.  I need to put my hope and trust solely in Him because He knows the future and knows what is best for myself and my family.  I’m learning little by little to hope more in Him and not in what the world offers or tries to offer.  I have been so grateful for the ways God has been providing for us this year in many different ways with the pandemic, but I need to remember that those things we have been blessed with are not and in themselves.  God is always the provider and I need to put all my hope and trust in Him.

Perhaps we need to shift our thinking of hope for the New Year and start putting much more hope in God instead of the things of this world.  When things seem bleak, God is still going to provide in some way and He always does.  We need to look into the New Year and be reminded of all the wonderful ways He has provided and still will continue to provide.  

He is our True Hope for the New Year and beyond!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

The True Source For Every Season

 “The True Source For Every Season”

Psalm 62:1-2 NIV

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.  Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.


As I gather my thoughts and share with you in the devotional for this week, I am thinking through the whole year of 2020 and all that has taken place with the chaos.  However, even with all the chaos, I know and truly believe that God is still and will always be in control. 

As I consider the past year, our time of celebrating Thanksgiving last month and now embarking on the week of Christmas and then New Year’s to follow right after, I am reminded that no matter what is going on, I can always find true rest and peace with God amidst all the craziness going on.  We have all experienced and continue to experience times that are good, time that are challenging and times where we just cannot wrap our minds around anything going on around us. 

I am so blessed to know that God has taken such good care of me and my family through all of this turbulent time this year.  I am so thankful for the health that he has given to me and my wife and kids.  I’m also thankful for the wonderful family he has give to me through my wife’s extended family and mine as well.  Each day, God is reminding me of all He has blessed me with and continues to give me. 

I am reminded that I have a job, a family who loves me, great friends who care, a house to live in, food in my fridge and transportation to get me and my family where we need to go.  God has provided and He continues to do so in so many ways.  I am reminded that He is truly my peace and rest.  He is my salvation and my rock.  He is my fortress and I can never be shaken, no matter what comes my way.

I find each day that instead of focusing on all the constant changes that are happening around me, I need to focus on the blessings He has given to me and continues to give. 

I’m sure so many of you out there are dealing with many different challenges and struggles as this year has progressed.  Let us never forget that even though we often face great challenges, we serve a great God Who is bigger than anything we face!  He reigns and always will!

As we approach this week of Christmas and gathering together with friends and family as much as we can, let’s remember Who is the real reason for not only this season, but every season and every single day of life.

God bless you all and have a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Praise, Give Thanks And Trust

“Praise, Give Thanks And Trust”

Psalm 28:6-7 NLT

Praise the Lord!  For he has heard my cry for mercy.  The Lord is my strength and shield.  I trust him with all my heart.  He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.  I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.


After reading through this passage several times lately, I felt it would be a good challenge and encouragement for us to consider focusing on three different things as we have just finished the Thanksgiving holiday and go into Christmas.  I always say and have heard often that we shouldn’t just focus on Thanksgiving one day per year, but rather each and every day because we have so much to be thankful for. 

The three different areas we should focus on are praise, give thanks and trust, considering all the chaos this year has brought to us.  First, we should praise God for Who He is and always will be.  Second, we should always give thanks no matter what has happened or is happening.  Third, we need to daily continue to learn to trust in Him, especially when we don’t understand life around us.

There are some days it is easy to do these three things.  Then there are days when it is far from our minds to even consider praising Him, giving thanks and trusting.  I get it and have many of those days as well.  There are some days when I feel good in praising Him, giving thanks and putting my trust in Him. Then there are days when these things are the last on my mind because I’m frustrated and confused and just don’t feel like doing so.  We all have challenging days when we feel like and wonder why God isn’t leading us or connecting with us. 

This year has been so challenging in ways we never expected.  Instead of us often focusing on the frustrations we continue to deal with, perhaps we need to shift our perspective and focus on praising God for all He has done and continues to do, give genuine thanks for the abundant blessings He has given to us and learn to trust in Him no matter what situations or circumstances come our way. 

In the past weeks, I have found myself up and down in emotions and feeling frustrated over continued changes and restrictions.  Some days it really feels overwhelming and I feel so tired of dealing with the year, as I’m sure many of you are.  But then I have to remember that I should not focus on all the negative things, but instead focus on all the great things God has been doing and continues to do in my life.  It’s my choice what to focus on and I need to make sure I’m working hard to set a good example for not only my family at home, but also for my coworkers and for anyone anywhere else I go. 

My prayer for all of us today and every day is that we will remember to always praise Him, give thanks and trust not only to keep us focused on what we’ve blessed with, but also to show others His light as we strive to shine setting an example of His love for all to see.    

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Focusing On Giving Thanks

 “Focusing On Giving Thanks”

Psalm 105:1 NLT

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.  Let the whole world know what he has done. 


I wanted to share a small devotional with you all today as we gather together today in different ways today, for the first time for everyone.  Most of us would be traveling and getting together with our families and enjoying the fellowship in big groups.  I hope and pray that even though things this year are completely different than ever before, we can still focus on what God has done for us and all that He has continued to do, even in the midst of this pandemic. 

No matter what, we still have so much to be thankful for even with the chaotic year.  For the first time in my whole life, I am just spending Thanksgiving day with my wife and kids.  For many days, I knew this would be the situation at hand, but I’m praying that God would work in me to still be thankful for family and so many other things even though I cannot be with more family. 

I encourage all of us to find ways to express our thanks to God for all that He has done for us.  It is especially challenging this year for so many people to do so, but it is still possible because we serve an Almighty God! 

Please make it a point to focus on the blessings God has given and give Him thanks from deep within your heart.  My prayer is that we would all focus on enjoying the time we do have with smaller numbers gathered today and this weekend and appreciate what we do have. 

And we all definitely need to remember that Thanksgiving time is an all-year-around event, not just today!  Let’s focus on giving thanks each and every day!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Sunday, November 22, 2020

From Thoughtlessly To Wise

“From Thoughtlessly To Wise”

Ephesians 5:15-17 NLT

So be careful how you live.  Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.  Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.  Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.


The other day when I read this passage, it really caught my attention.  The word that stood out to me was “thoughtlessly”.  I began thinking of all ways I find myself acting that way and reasons why I do so often it seems.  I also thought about how it is so easy nowadays to go down that path because so many of us have nerves that are either shot or close to being shot. 

With all the craziness and chaos this year has brought on, it is so easy these days to find ourselves acting thoughtlessly in different ways.  We get worried, stressed out and frustrated easily because of so many changes that have come upon us in ways we never expected before.  Maybe some of us are finding ourselves flying off the handle more than we ever have been in situations where we usually keep our cool.

I think now, more than ever, we need to tightly hold onto God’s wisdom and really let His promises guide us so that we can better avoid acting thoughtlessly.  The world really, really needs to see us filled with hope when so many things are pulling hope further and further away.  You don’t have to look far to see or hear that hope is being dashed by the media and in other ways.  Our emotions have been all over the place this year and continues to be often. 

I do not want to act thoughtlessly in any ways as that does not bring hope to others.  I’m sure you don’t either.  However, we need to begin our days with God’s wisdom as we read His Word and take in the hope that only He gives.  We need to make the most of every opportunity, especially these days during a continued pandemic.  We need to hold on to this hope we have in God and find ways to share it with others. 

When we choose to seek God’s wisdom each day, that doesn’t meant the problems all around us will go away, but we will learn more how to hold on to hope and let peace fill us.  As we do this, we will become a beacon of God’s love and hope to those around us.  As we strive to steer away from the temptations to act thoughtlessly, we will find that we become wiser and we can then share God’s love and hope even more with others.

I hope that we will all seriously consider how we can avoid acting thoughtlessly and become wiser as God leads us each day.  I pray that we will all learn to make the most of every opportunity each and every day.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Resting At Home Base

“Resting At Home Base”

Psalm 91:1-2 NLT

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust in him.

I remember the old-fashioned game of tag as a child.  It’s one of the most cherished childhood games that so many grew to love.  It was fun to run around and try to avoid the person who was “it” and not get tagged!  I also remember how challenging it was to try to avoid the person who was “it”.  Sometimes, it was easy if the person was slower, but then other times it was very challenging if the person was fast.

One thing I clearly remember was always having a “home base” in the game.  Even though the game could get very intense as we ran out of breath, it was always reassuring to know that I could go to home base and rest for a bit.  While at home base, I was safe and no one could get me “out”.  It was a safe refuge for a period of time until I left home base.  It was just a great feeling to know that I could go to home base at any time and feel safe.  However, most of the time I played tag, there were rules that you could only stay at home base for a certain amount of time and then had to get back into the game.

As I read this passage and thought of the game of tag that I used to play, and sometimes still do, I couldn’t help but think about how things are in today’s world.  No matter what is going on in life and what chaos is going on around us, it is always so refreshing to know that God is and will always be our refuge.  We can rest at home base with Him knowing that He is always there to welcome us and give us peace and strength.  This isn’t to say, unfortunately, that nothing can bother us or affect us in any way, but when we are close to Him and resting in Him, He does give us peace no matter what storms come our way.

Friends, we are all weathering many different storms this year in different ways.  So many things have been going on and flooding our lives with fear or just not knowing what’s ahead.  I have found myself thinking so often, “Will this ever end?”  I’m sure so many of you are as well. 

While we don’t know how long any of this craziness will last, one thing we know for certain and can be assured of is that we can go to home base and rest in the arms of Almighty God.  Again, we won’t become immune to all that is going on around us, but we will have peace and feel safe knowing that He is in control.  We just have to trust in Him.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Reminded Of His Constant Love

“Reminded Of His Constant Love”

Psalm 143:8 GNB

Remind me each morning of your constant love, for I put my trust in you.  My prayers go up to you; show me the way I should go.


The other day, as I was reading this passage, I was thinking about how I really need to be reminded each day of the awesome and amazing love of God.  Not that I doubt He loves me, but just the fact that I really need the reminder every day in some way that His love is constant and never wavering. 

In the past days and weeks, I have found myself continuing to be overwhelmed and tired of all that has been going on with the pandemic and other things going on in our nation.  Some days, it just seems so overwhelming and I get tired of hearing news that is negative.  I want to hear some great news and the best news that I could hear is that His love is always with me, no matter what.

I’ve been tired of dealing with things regarding the pandemic and all that has been going on with the election.  So often I’m just asking God to give me peace when I don’t feel any peace at all.  Often I have so many questions to God about why this or that is happening.  I find myself wanting so badly to protect my family and do everything I can to make sure they stay safe and healthy. 

I need to learn more and better each day to continue to put all of my trust in no one else but God.  He will lead me and He will guide me in the ways I need to go.  Some days, I become unsure of what way to go and what to do.  I’m sure I’m not alone in that feeling and many of you are feeling the same things. 

Friends, I don’t like being overwhelmed with so much negativity and I’m sure that you don’t either.  Being overwhelmed by good things is a great feeling, but being overwhelmed by negative things around us drains us!  My hope and prayer for each one of us is that we will seek God each and every day knowing that He truly does love us.  We need reminders every day, especially now, that He will never leave us or forsake us. 

I know that many days I find myself weak and not feeling hopeful or filled with much faith that things will be okay or go right.  Some days, I just downright feel hopeless, but I must remember that God is my hope and that He will pick me back up and help me to be filled with hope again.

We all need to be daily reminded of His constant love that endures forever!

Sunday, November 1, 2020

We Desperately Need Restoration

 “We Desperately Need Restoration”

Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.


As I was reading this passage this morning, I thought about how we are all so often guilty of negative behavior toward other people.  It’s definitely evident in the world around us each day, especially during this time of election.  I get so tired of commercials showing candidates bashing each other.  But, it’s not only evident in the secular world around us, but sadly also very evident in the church today as well. 

If we were to be absolutely honest, often this behavior happens more in the church than in the secular world.  Ouch!  In all my years of paid ministry and volunteer ministry, I have seen so much that has broken my heart as people treat each other in so many ways they never should.  I have been very guilty of this myself in many ways through the years. 

Paul is very adamant that we need to get rid of all this evil behavior that consumes us and, instead be consumed with kindness, love and compassion for each other.  The world really needs to see the church be the example of Christ that it needs to be.  If we are filled with bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander, who in the world would want to be around us?  If we are filled with this behavior, how is the love of Christ going to shine through us?  Just the opposite!

My wife, kids and I really enjoy watching HGTV shows.  We are often surprised and make loud comments when people walk into homes that look disgusting.  We often wonder how in the world people could treat homes the way they do.  Some home are left in awful condition and it’s often a turnoff to many realtors and home flippers.  The one thing they want to do in these homes is get rid of everything that makes the home sale impossible.  They want to get rid of everything disgusting and replace all of that with things that will bring in home buyers.  The home flippers will go to whatever lengths they have to in order to make the home presentable and inviting. 

Friends, we also need to work desperately hard to rid our lives of the disgusting things Paul mentions and fill our lives and attitudes instead with the love of Christ so that people feel invited more to know the love of God.  We cannot afford to set a bad example of behavior for others when they need to see God’s love. 

We need to daily resist the temptation to fly off the handle and instead allow God’s love to fill us and bring us to forgiving others and showing unconditional love that God showed to us. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Let Us Hold Tightly To Hope

“Let Us Hold Tightly To Hope”

Hebrews 10:23

NIV- Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

NLT- Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.


The other morning, I was reading this passage and the timing could not been better and I’m sure it will be good timing for many of you to read this as well.  This passage hit me as I’ve thought about all the different challenges and obstacles so many people, including myself, have dealt with this year.  2020 has definitely been a year where many people have had their faith and hope tested.

So many people these days are hoping for so many things.  I have found myself hoping for many things as well.  Often times, our hopes are dashed because of past pain that has resurfaced or new pain that has come up.  We all continue to deal with current and new challenges as this pandemic goes on.  We feel fear, panic, worry, concern and so many other different emotions as we continue to listen to news and statistics of what’s going on.

There are days when I find myself holding onto hope in God that He is in control and then other days when I don’t feel much hope for one reason or another.  I find myself becoming discouraged from hearing about constant issues coming up with the pandemic and other things happening.  I’m not a political person at all, as I’ve shared in the past, and I’m so ready for all this election stuff to end.  Some days, I’m finding my head and heart full of concerns and worries that I need to give to God. 

God is inviting me each day to turn over these things that weigh me down and allow His hope to fill me as only He can do.  Friends, we need to hold on very tightly to the hope we have in God.  Just because we have chosen to follow God and committed our lives to Him, that will NEVER make us immune to the pressures and discouragement of this world.  Each day, we need to commune with God and ask Him to fill us with His presence and pray that He will give us strength to continue to have hope in Him.

God is faithful and He will lead us on, even in the midst of such a crazy year.  He will always be faithful and we can always trust and hope in Him.  I hope and pray that each of us finds new hope in God every day that we wake and in the moments when we feel especially weak. 

Let us hold tightly and unswervingly to the hope we profess because God can be trusted and He is forever faithful!

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Understand This Most Of All

“Understand This Most Of All”

Deuteronomy 7:9 NLT

Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God.  He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.

There are a lot of things in life that I don’t understand and cannot wrap my mind around to even begin to comprehend.  Some things I wish I did know and other things I know a lot about.  There are some things that I have taken great interest through the years to read up on and come to understand better.  Then there are other things that I find totally boring and don’t care to learn more about at all.

There are some things in life that I wish I understood better and some things that I really don’t care to know more about for one reason or another.  Some people make it a point to educate me on things they think I need to know.  Some of those situations I really appreciate while others I just take with a grain of salt.

Out of all the things I don’t understand and wish I could, I am very thankful to know that I understand God is an amazing God and He is more faithful than I’ll ever know.  I don’t have to know all there is to know and I never will.  No one can fully understand Him.   It comforts me to know that I don’t have to know everything to be at peace in Him. 

I often find myself becoming frustrated at things in life that I cannot understand and I feel like everyone else is “getting it” but me.  Satan knows this is a weak point in my life and he drives it hard with me often.  My wife often has to remind me this is not the case and there are many people who don’t understand a lot of things.

While there are so many things in life we don’t understand, especially this year with so many crazy things happening with the pandemic, we can rest assured to know that God is indeed a great and amazing God and He’s in control.  He indeed lavishes His love upon us each and every day.  Just knowing that He leads us and guides us should be a wonderful comfort for us.

I want to encourage all of us to stop trying to understand everything that happens in life and rest in the fact that while we can’t understand so many things, we can understand that God is indeed Who He says He is and that He will always be our great Provider. 

May we all be blessed in the coming days, weeks, months and years knowing He will continue to be faithful and loving to us all!

Thursday, October 8, 2020

The Greatest Example Of Service

“The Greatest Example Of Service”

Mark 10:45 NLT

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.


We have all experienced so many times in our lives when we are not servants toward others.  We all struggle with the battle of being self-centered and only focusing on what we want in life.  As I live my life from day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year, I am saddened not only by watching how others get sucked in to a self-absorbed life, but I find myself also being sucked in to becoming so self-centered so much of the time.

I think about how there are needs all around us each and every day, no matter where we go and how so many people are not coming to know the love of God because of how selfish we have become.  We miss so many opportunities because we have forgotten that Jesus calls us to a true life of serving.  He Himself gave us wonderful examples of what it means to serve others. 

We should look no further than Christ to see the best example of what it means to serve and love others.  Why have we become so bad at this?  Why have we become so self-absorbed?  We are all so guilty and we actually seem to enjoy keeping to ourselves while people all around us go about their lives not knowing God’s love. 

Jesus focused His time on building relationships with others and building a family with a group of men whom He devoted so much time to teaching.  Jesus really cared about serving and He gave some great examples of what it means to be a true servant. 

Friends, I’m not sharing anything new here.  What I am hoping and praying is that we all realize and remember how we are called and commanded to reach out and be servants for others.  He calls us to get out of our comfort zones and reach those around us, wherever we are.  What are we willing to do in order to serve people in our lives each day? 

Let us seriously consider how we may turn our focus from ourselves to serving others. 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Daily Desperation For Almighty God


“Daily Desperation For Almighty God”

Psalm 42:1-2

NIV- As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?

NLT- As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.  I thirst for God, the living God.  When can I go and stand before him?

I was reading a devotional this morning and the author used the word “Desperation” describing how our longing and panting for God should be each day.  It really caught my attention and I looked at both the NIV and NLT translations and wanted to use them both for this week.  I think about how we do or do not find ourselves longing or even panting desperately for God. 

If we are really honest with ourselves, I think most of us find ourselves often longing and even panting for whatever is next to give us another “high” of what the world offers.  With all the ads and invitations we constantly see and how we really long for the next great thing the world offers, we often get pulled away and enticed instead of truly longing and thirsting for what only God offers.

We so often get so busy with our daily lives that we forget how desperate we should be for God.  As you can tell, it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve sent out a devotional.  We just got done selling a house and buying one in the same town.  For the past couple of weeks, I kept thinking about how I need to get another devotional out, but allowed myself to be consumed by everything else as we’ve worked on getting settled. 

So the case and point right there is that I longed and desired to send out another devotional and then ended up reading this morning about being desperate.  That hit home!  We so often get wrapped up in what we think is important and often forget what is really important and that is meeting with Almighty God and seeking Him above all else. 

When was the last time you and I found ourselves really longing and even panting desperately for God?  We should be this desperate each and every single day, not just when we become drained from the pull of the world that leaves us dry.  We should develop a daily desperation to seek God like we’ve never done before. 

I hope and pray that we are all encouraged this week and in the coming days, weeks, months and years to daily become desperate to seek Him like we have never done before!  We need daily desperation for Almighty God!  Our souls should long and pant for God in desperation to meet with Him!

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Do They Really See Him In Us?

 “Do They Really See Him In Us?”

1 John 4:11-12 NLT

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.  No one has ever seen God.  But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

I have to really wonder how often unbelievers really see God in and through us.  As I consider all the ways we tend to live our lives each day as proclaimed followers of God, I just have to question whether or not we are striving for others to see Him in us?  It seems like we get so focused not only on how we want things, but also on how we want others to know how we feel about certain things. 

I just have to wonder with all the different opinions that we feel we need to share and get others to hear from us, how often are we really concerned how much God is showing through?  In all of my years of experience with secular work and working in ministry, it breaks my heart how so often His love is not expressed through how we treat one another. 

Think about this passage and read it over and over again, pondering what it is saying.  God loved us way more than we’ll ever understand.  He came to die for us and that is the greatest act of love anyone has ever expressed.  What does that mean to us?  Does it overwhelm us?  Does it move us to the point where we stop focusing so much on what we want and what we think and focus on loving others as He commanded us to?

I go to work each day and I just so often wonder if others are seeing God in me in some way.  I wonder if they notice something different in the ways that I treat others.  Sometimes, I don’t know if they see God at all in me as there are times that I don’t handle things well at all and say things I should keep to myself.  Working in the secular world for so many years has taught me so much and it has challenged me to think more about how I am around non-believers.

Loving each other is probably one of the biggest challenges we face in being the church God wants us to be.  Why is that so hard?  Sure, we have differences, but why can we not just love each other as He has called us to do?  That’s been a prayer and cry of my heart for years.  I’m sure it has been for many of you as well. 

I hope that you and I will deeply desire for others to see God’s love in and through us.  We need to work a lot hard on loving each other, especially when challenges arise.  We need to love others as best as we can, even if we don’t get along.  If we really want others to see God in us, we will obey His command with a passion in our hearts to sincerely love one another.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Investment in Godly Wisdom and Understanding

“Investment in Godly Wisdom and Understanding”

James 3:13 NIV

Who is wise and understanding among you?  Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

I think we would all be very quick to say that we desire to have understanding and wisdom.  We all want to know things and become wiser in all that we do.  We want to learn more so that we can further our understanding for different things we continue to do in life.  We spend so much of our lives continuing to learn different things so that we can fill our minds with more knowledge to be more successful.

With all the learning that we do, I often think the best wisdom we can obtain goes untouched in so many ways from God’s Word.  We say we want to grow in Him and that we want to learn humility, but the ways we live our lives really says something totally different all too often. 

What are we investing in these days?  Where are we putting our time and focus?  This is something I have been thinking a lot about, especially with so many changes that have happened over this year.  I’m trying to continuously challenge my priorities and where I am putting most of my focus.  It’s a daily challenge as it is for us all.

This week, I’d like to ask all of us to seriously consider where we are investing our time?  Do we really seek Godly wisdom and understanding?  Do we really want to learn what is means to be humble?  Are we serious about this learning?  We often say we are, but what we are doing daily to be challenged and to learn more about Godly wisdom that will bring more understanding and more humility? 

I’m not at all against the different investments we make in our lives for us and our families.  We definitely need to invest in different ways, but I have to wonder where we are focusing most of our investing?  Are we investing more in material things or in Godly wisdom?  I know I am not investing as I should each day. 

What do you think others are seeing in your life?  Are they seeing you invest in the wisdom from God or from the world?  Do they see you investing in understanding His Word more?  Are they seeing you become more humble?  I think we all need to take a serious look at how we are investing our daily lives and then ask God to give us His wisdom and glean as much as we can even more from His Word like we’ve never done before.

Our greatest investment is gaining Godly wisdom so that we can be more understanding and learn to be more humble. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Easy To Understand, Hard To Practice


“Easy To Understand, Hard To Practice”

1 Peter 5:7 NLT

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

There are a lot of things in life that we find very easy to understand, but then they are difficult to put into practice.  Often times we are given instructions to do something and, at first, the instructions seem simple.  However, once we get into the nitty-gritty of actually following through, we come to find out that it’s more than we bargained for!  It isn’t necessarily that we made a wrong choice per say, but we just definitely don’t understand how hard it is to actually follow through with certain things.

We all struggle with different situations, whatever they may be.  We may think something sounds cool, but then when we actually jump in and start, we find out that it’s so much harder than we first thought.  We honestly want things as easy as possible.  I know I do!  When we’re faced with instructions or obstacles that are hard, we tend to hesitate and try another way so that we can avoid any extra work or effort.  As I said before, there are so many different scenarios that seem easy to understand up-front, but once we get going and try to follow through, we find ourselves having a hard time keeping up and actually committing to finishing.

This passage really hit me the other day as I pondered how hard it is for me to give all my worries and cares to God.  I mean, it’s so simple to understand that we should give all of our worries and cares over to God.  He wants us to leave those things at the Cross and to trust in Him.  We know that.  We’ve been taught this for so many years, yet we find ourselves struggling to do this each and every day.  It’s so simple to say it and tell others we need to do it.  But then actually following through and letting God take these things from us is a different story all together! 

I have struggled for so much of life giving Him all my worries and cares and just letting Him be in control.  I want to worry and fret and be anxious and stress about everything it seems!  Well…..I really don’t want to, but by the way I live, it sure seems that way often!  God doesn’t want us to hold on to these things and live with all these things burdening us.  He wants us to give it all over to Him and trust that He will guide us through.  He doesn’t want us carrying these things on our own.  He wants us to give it all to Him. 

This is so easy to understand, but very hard to put into practice.  However, it is a daily challenge and learning experience as we grow in our faith and allow Him to take our worries and cares.  Are we willing to give those up and actually follow through in letting Him be in control? 

The ball is in our court.  Are we going to give these things to God and let Him be in control? 

Sunday, August 16, 2020

He Is Our Shield, Glory And Only Hope

“He Is Our Shield, Glory And Only Hope”

Psalm 3:3-4 NLT

But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.  I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain.


In a sermon many years ago, I heard Chuck Swindoll say that he has been asked many times how people who don’t know the Lord get through their problems and trials.  He then said not to come up and ask him that question because he didn’t know the answer to it.  I’ve never forgotten that statement and have shared it many times with others.  I also do not know how people, who don’t know God, make it through different challenging times in life. 

As hard as life is often times, I cannot imagine dealing with all the challenging times without God to guide me and comfort me.  Life is hard enough and just to even imagine dealing with hard times without Him just seems impossible.  I can’t even imagine going through life without knowing He is with me and guiding me, even though there are many things I continue to not understand.  He is my Shield and my Glory and only Hope in life.  The world around me does not and will never give me what He does.

In the past months, I have been focusing many of my devotionals on dealing with challenging circumstances because I feel that is what God has been laying on my heart to share because we are all dealing with situations, circumstances and emotions that we have never before dealt with.  I know that I need daily reminders that God is helping me through this uncharted waters and I believe you all do as well.  Even though we all may be dealing with new experiences this year, God continues to be Who He is and that will never change. 

Never forget that He is our eternal Shield, eternal Glory and eternal Hope!  We all have good days and we all have bad days.  It is definitely easier to have hope when days are good and we are feeling good about the future.  However, when times seem gloom, it’s much harder and much more challenging. 

I would like to leave us with this prayer as we continue to go about our days through this consistently challenging year.

Father, we thank You for being our constant Shield, Glory and Hope.  We just cannot imagine dealing with life and not having hope in You.  Where would we go and how would we even deal with all these things if we could not come to You with our burdens and concerns?  Father, please help us to put our trust and hope solely in You always!  Let us never forget that You are guiding us, even when we cannot feel it.  Give us daily strength to do what only You can do through us.  We know You are leading and we just need to trust, even when things seem very confusing.  We trust and hope in You!  Amen.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

His Unfailing Love Never Ceases

 “His Unfailing Love Never Ceases”

Psalm 86:5-7 NLT

O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.  Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord; hear my urgent cry.  I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me.

Over half of the year has flown by and is full of events that we would like to soon forget!  We have all been exposed to new emotions and circumstances that we never though would occur.  We are all continuing to deal with the inconsistency of different events that keep popping up all over the world.  It can get very overwhelming at times.

No matter what we continue to experience, we can be assured that our Almighty Father never ceases to pour out His unfailing love.  No matter what is troubling us, we can bring these burdens to Him and He will shower us with His unfailing love.  He is good and is so ready to forgive, no matter what is in our recent past or years past.  He will always listen closely to our prayers.  Take some time to read through the Psalms of prayers from David.  You will see the heart of a man of God pouring his deepest pain out to God. 

No matter what is going on in our lives, we must always remember that God’s unfailing love will never cease.  That is a promise you can always count on!  Don’t listen to the lies the enemy is trying to feed you.  God always hears our urgent cries for help and we must keep an open mind and remember that He works in His ways and not ours.  Isaiah says that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not ours.  We often get into trouble when we expect God to work in our timing.  He has never worked that way and never will.

I can’t promise you that God will take your pain away right now in whatever you are dealing with, but I can tell you that pain will never be in vain.  Whatever pain you are experiencing with waiting for answers, please keep trusting in Him and know He is working, even when you can’t feel or see that. 

We need to remember in the times of hardship that God wants to connect with us and commune like we’ve never done before.  It’s in these times that He can transform us and mold us like He’s never been able to do before.  We so often want Him to change our circumstances and the things around us, but what He wants to do more than anything is change our hearts so that we grow more in our faith. 

Never forget that His unfailing love never ceases, no matter what we feel or what we think.  His love and faithfulness endures forever!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

The Poison Of Dwelling On The Past

“The Poison Of Dwelling On The Past”

Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

There are a lot of things in life that I forget about.  There are things that I remember very easily and then other things I tend to forget.  I’m often baffled at what I can easily remember and then the things that I often forget.  We all feel this way with the things we wish we could remember and then wonder why there are some things that we have no problem remembering. 

One thing that I am very good at remembering, and comes back to haunt me so often, is the memory of mistakes that I have made.  I know that we can learn from our mistakes and focus on not repeating them, which is a good thing about remembering the mistakes.  However, the bad part about that memory of mistakes is how Satan likes to remind us so often that they somehow define us.  He is absolutely WRONG!  I have a very bad habit of remembering my mistakes and beating myself up over and over and over again about them.  My wife and kids will attest to that! 

The enemy has a sly way of popping his ugly head up every time a memory surfaces and a situation presents itself again and I repeat the cycle again getting down on myself.  We learn here that God is always doing a new thing.  We should never dwell on the past.  It’s so easy for us to constantly dwell on things that we did wrong in the past and be reminded of them every day by the enemy.  God wants us to instead focus on the new things He is doing with us and through us. 

It’s almost as if we are feeding ourselves poison every time we dwell on the past and relive the emotions of the painful mistakes we have made.  All the while God is trying to take this poison away from us and get us to focus on the new things He is doing.  I know there are many people who will read this and are reliving the same painful memories from the past that keep haunting you.  As the Apostle Paul shared to the church in Philippi, he pressed on, forgetting the past and focused on what was ahead.  We definitely need to do the same!

Friends, whatever painful past memories you are struggling to stop dwelling on, ask God to give you the strength to overcome and move forward.  I’m preaching to myself on this as well!  I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m working on it.  We are new creatures in Christ!  The old has gone, the new has come!  Let us focus on who we are in Christ! 

Stop feeding on the poison of dwelling on the past.   

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Many Parts, One Body of Christ

“Many Parts, One Body of Christ”

Romans 12:4-5 NLT

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

In all the years I have been involved with ministry, both paid and voluntary, I continue to long to see God’s church become a body that loves and supports one another.  As I was reading this passage one morning this weekend, I cringed at the thought that so many believers struggle with animosity toward one another in the church.  The Apostle Paul was very adamant about believers working together to love one another, despite differences.

Friends, we have all been part of hurtful situations in the church at some point or another.  It is unfortunate and we all have experienced scars from these instances.  I wonder so often if we will take seriously the call to show love to others and work hard together to be a healthy, functioning body of Christ? 

Think of all the different scenarios and situations in which different parts work together to make something operate properly.  We could think of so many different possibilities.  Consider different machines that are put together to operate to make something or make many things.  If one part doesn’t work, it affects the whole machine and the outcome.  We see the same thing happen with a vehicle that has many parts.  If the vehicle has a part that is acting up, you will notice and sooner or later, the car won’t run properly anymore until you fix that bad part.

Friends, we need to put this illustration to work in the body of Christ and seriously think about what we need to do to contribute toward a positive, healthy and encouraging body of believers.  There is unfortunately so much division and animosity within the body of Christ and too many of us focused on what we want and not focused on what God desires.  We have become so selfish and focused on things that we want to happen.  This leads to great hurt, confusion, and emotional scars as it damages relationships.   

To see love and healing start and spread in the body of Christ, we need to set the example of love ourselves for others to see.  We can’t fix others, but instead need to pray and ask God to help us show others love.  Why don’t we focus on praying for God to use us to show others love, despite our differences?  The church today desperately needs to show love to one another and work through differences and past hurt.  It is very hard to do, but healing needs to take place. 

My prayer is that we all strive to do our part to love, forgive and work hard to make the body function as God intended. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Help Us To Trust Your Path And Ways, Lord

“Help Us To Trust Your Path And Ways, Lord”

Psalm 25:4-5 NLT

Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.  Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me.  All day long I put my hope in you.

We receive directions at many various times in our lives, don’t we?  We get directions from our parents, grandparents, teachers, bosses, supervisors and others as well.  Almost every single day, we receive directions in some way to help us understand and learn what to do next. 

When we start a new job, we get trained in what to do for our position.  If we start a new hobby, we might read a book or watch a YouTube video to help us learn.  If we take up a new sport, learn to drive, or buy a new product, we will find out what we need to do in order to succeed.  We spend so much of our lives being trained for things we don’t know how to do. 

I like having instructions in knowing what to do with any new thing.  Some of us adapt quickly and figure things out without having to refer to instructions over and over again.  Some of us need the instructions more often as we learn slower.  Everyone definitely learns different. 

As much emphasis as we put on following instructions and directions, how often we do the complete opposite in our relationship with God and following Him.  We so often get determined to do things the way we want to do them because we think we know what is best.  All the while God longs for us to trust Him, even when His instructions and directions don’t make any sense at all.  I think that’s the big kicker for us.  While so many instructions and directions in life come to make sense after we study and train for a while, often God’s ways do not make sense to us.

We need God to show us the right path.  We need God to give us strength to trust in Him, even when things so often don’t make sense.  We have all had quite the year of things not making much sense.  We’ve all been through new experiences and it’s often hard to trust God in these uncertain times we continue to face.  There have been a lot of things in life in the past months that have tested my faith and trusting in God because I want things to happen in my timing.  I have often gone my own way and done my own thing thinking it was right and then hit a wall. 

We all need to ask God to give us strength to trust Him to show us the right path even when His ways seem crazy to us.  We need His instructions and directions to lead us even when the path seems to make no sense.  We definitely need to put our hope in Him all day long.  Are we trusting?  Are we giving up our ways to seek His? 

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Focused On The World Or On Christ

“Focused On The World Or On Christ”

Colossians 3:1-3 NLT

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.  Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.  For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.

I have been realizing so much lately in my life how easy it becomes to focus on the things of this world.  Obviously, we’ve had a lot that has bombarded our minds this year that we’ve never had to deal with before.  It is so easy for us to become focused on things that we need to take care of and lose sight that our focus needs to be on Christ. 

For me, it is so easy for me to become focused on things at work, at home and so many other little things that need to be done and decisions that need to be made instead of focusing on letting Christ lead me.  It just seems easier, for some reason, to let my mind become engrossed and overwhelmed with all the cares of the world and neglect focusing on my Savior, Jesus Christ.  We all know we should focus on Him, but often, it’s just the opposite.  We tend to focus on anything but Christ and then somehow expect things in our every day lives to go right. 

Friends, I know that we all have so much going on in life right now that we’re still trying to process and work through.  None of us are in an isolated situation when it comes to many of the things we are dealing with.  We are all overwhelmed and concerned in many ways.  We just let ourselves become too focused on the world and not focused on Jesus.  But, we have to ask ourselves, are we going to be focused on what we want in the world or the life we are meant to have in Christ?

Often times, we like being focused on the world and all the temporary pleasures we get from chasing after things, don’t we?  Come on!  Admit it!  We all like to chase after things that we know we shouldn’t and then somehow we think that we should be able to have the best of both worlds and try to focus on Christ as well.  We think, “Hey, I can have the world and Christ, too!”  Nope!!!  Stop it!!!  Don’t even think that.  It doesn’t work that way.  I struggle with the same thoughts often. 

Friends, we are either consumed by and focused on the world or on Christ.  We need to choose.  We cannot have both and it will wear us out doing both.  I encourage all of us to choose which way we will go.  Let’s set our minds and hearts on Christ and not things of this world.  We can enjoy what God has given to us in this world, but not to be focused and consumed by the world. 

Are we focused on the world or on Christ?

Sunday, July 5, 2020

The Great Need For Humility

“The Great Need For Humility”

Ephesians 4:1-3 NIV

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

I am reminded so often each day how much not only that God wants me to learn humility, but also how much He wants me to share that with others.  I am not a naturally patient person and that often ends me up becoming less and less humble many days.  I think about how my lack of humility not only affects my growth in my relationship with God, but also in my relationship as I interact with friends, family and co-workers. 

The world desperately not only needs to see us acting in humility in our lives each day as we go about our routines, but the world really needs to see humility lived out as we interact with one another in the church.  In all my years of paid and voluntary ministry experience, I have seen so much hurt in the church as proclaimed believers treat one another without humility.  Believe me, I have had my fair share of falling to this problem as well and still do.  We all suffer from blowing our opportunities to show humility to one another.

Friends, I want to encourage all of us to practice humility with one another.  We need this in our homes, our places of work and in the church.  God calls all of us to focus on reaching out to others and putting them first as we live our lives.  This does not mean our needs and interests are not important as Paul shares in Philippians 2, but that we consider our needs less and other’s needs more.  God will always provide for us and we need to learn and practice more humility in order to show His love with others.

Paul knew how challenging it was for believers to practice humility and share His love.  So often Paul mentions to different churches the need for love, not only between believers, but also to non-believers.  Each week as I think about my interactions with people at work, with my family at home and then at church, I am reminded that He has called me to love others and practice humility.  I am hoping and praying that we, His church, will make a huge effort to start practicing this more and more. 

The world needs to see believers living out humility with one another instead of seeing so much disunity.  I know this is a tough pill to swallow, but it is so true.  Loving one another is key and will build God’s church and the Kingdom more and more. 

We have a great need and calling for humility!


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

You + God = Victory

“You + God = Victory”

1 Samuel 17:45 NIV

David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”

This morning as I was reading about David defeating Goliath, it got me thinking about all the giants I find myself dealing with each and every day.  I thought about not only the giants I deal with, but the giants so many others deal with as well.  We all have our “giants” that intimidate us and cause us to retreat back into defeat so often.  We see something that looks way too big and challenging to conquer and we fall back to the comfortable life we’re used to.

I cannot help but think it totally breaks God’s heart when He sees His children deal with the many giants in life like David dealt with.  There have been so many different challenged and obstacles in my life and I continue to daily deal with fears of different giants that I think I cannot overcome.  But then I get to thinking about how so often I think only about how I can overcome, when it’s not really about me at all.  It’s totally about what God wants to do in me and through me. 

As I thought more about this story and passage today, I considered how so often I become overwhelmed by the giants I face instead of becoming overwhelmed by God’s awesome presence in my life.  I so often forget that even though giants come against me with intimidating tactics, I can come against them with the very awesome power of God Almighty.  It’s so inspiring to read this story of faith and courage of David. 

We are all facing giants of many kinds in life these days.  Whether they are giants from the past or ones that have just risen into our lives, they often seem overwhelming and unstoppable.  What we must remember is that nothing is too powerful for God to help us overcome through Him.  We need to always remember that when God is behind us, nothing is impossible and He will often do things we never dreamed of. 

Can you imagine the look on the faces of the crowd of people after David defeated Goliath?  I’m sure everyone was totally amazed and it was all because God did something absolutely amazing through David who was faithful and devoted. 

I want to encourage all of us today, that no matter what giants we are dealing with in our lives, to remember that You + God = Victory!  We need to stop focusing on what our giants come against us with and focus more on the power that God gives us against our giants! 

We have victory over giants with Almighty God!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Lost Art Of Listening

“The Lost Art Of Listening”

James 1:19-20 NLT

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters; You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

There are a lot of situations in life that we must take the time to understand so that we can learn.  We spend our young lives taking directions and instructions not only from our parents, but also from our teachers at school as our bodies and brains grow and we absorb valuable lessons.  We spend years and years feeding our brains information and processing all of it so that we can continue to learn and grow. 

One of the greatest lessons in life is the art of listening.  It doesn’t do us any good to just listen good enough to get a decent grade and then forget what we’ve learned.  When we are taught lessons by whomever, we should always listen and seek to learn so that we can succeed in all situations and circumstances that come our way. 

Listening is definitely an art.  We learned at a young age the challenges of listening.  For some, listening comes naturally as we are eager to learn.  For others, listening takes a lot of work because we get distracted and lose track of the lesson being taught.  However, I think in some way we all struggle with listening for one reason or another.  James knew this and he shares a very powerful passage here as he teaches us that we all need to be quick to listen. 

Friends, it’s a sad reality we must face that we have become people who are not quick to listen, and instead are quick to speak and get angry.  That seems to be a large majority of people in the world today.  So many people get so angry and determined to get their opinions out all before they take time to actually listen to what others say.  

What if we actually took the time to listen to others and started learning before going off on our tangents?  I’m not trying to get political in any way and I don’t like politics to be honest.  I am saying that it is so important, now more than ever, to stop spewing out what we think and feel all the time and take time to actually listen.  Most of all, we need to listen to God and let Him guide us. 

Instead of us being slow to listen, quick to speak and quick to get angry, we need to take a step back and start being quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry.  If we practiced this in our lives and in the Church today, it would be amazing what we would learn and the love that would abound as we actually took the initiative to listen and love one another. 

God, help us to always strive to listen not only to You most of all, but to others as well as we seek to share Your Love. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Ultimate Refuge

“The Ultimate Refuge”

Psalm 91:1-2 NLT

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust Him.

We all have different ways we enjoy being refreshed, don’t we?  A glass of ice water or a pool on a hot summer day; taking a book and going to the beach to relax and get some rays; taking a hot shower on a cold winter day.  These are just a few of the many ways we seek to be refreshed.  Whether it’s something we consume or a place we go, we all have different ways of refreshing ourselves.  Right now, you can picture your favorite spot to go to so that you can feel at peace and get some relaxation.  We all have our favorite things and places for refreshing. 

As I think of all the things people like to do and places people like to go to get refreshment, it reminds me of the great blessings God has given to all of us to have these opportunities.  We all need times to get away and be refreshed.  We can’t always work, work, work.  We need times to get away and calm our minds and just relax.  We need to relax our minds and just get lost in letting our minds stop thinking so much.  Refreshment is something we all long for so often in the midst of our busy lives. 

I hope that we are all thankful, most of all, for the refreshment we have as we take refuge in God.  When we live and dwell in the shelter and presence of God, that is refreshment like nothing else.  When we take the time to just be in His presence and soak in all that He wants to give us, we experience peace and safety, even while living in a world of chaos.  The chaos of the world will most likely never end or slow down, so we need to make it a priority to “check out” often to refresh in Him.  As much as the world provides ways of refreshment, there is no refreshment like being in His presence. 

When we let Him become our refuge and place of total trust, we find peace like we’ve never experienced before.  We find ourselves at the peak of true enjoyment.  There is absolutely nothing like resting in the shelter and shadow of Almighty God.  When things are crazy in my days, as they often get for many of us, I like to just rest in Him.  I know that He will give me refreshment and peace that no one else or nothing else can give in this life. 

I pray that we all will find times each day to escape the chaotic world around us and just get lost in His wonderful presence.  We all need this, especially with all the craziness going on around us this year.  We need Him now more than ever and He will provide this peace and refuge. 

Will we seek ultimate refuge in Him?


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Encourage, Love and Support One Another

“Encourage, Love And Support One Another”

Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

This past week I have found it more challenging to think about what I want to write and share about.  Some weeks the words just flow easily from my heart.  Other weeks, I find it very hard to articulate exactly what I’m feeling and what I want to share with others through my devotional writing.  The past weeks, I’ve been thinking and talking with friends and family about all the craziness of life.  While God has definitely continued to bless us in many different ways, the craziness of life is still present and we work through it by trusting in His guidance each day.

As I find myself scrolling through facebook, checking the news reports on my phone, listening to various conversations around me at work, I just have to wonder what this world would be like if we really took this passage to heart and lived it out.  What if we really challenged ourselves to encourage, love and support one another as God has commanded us to do?  What if we took this command seriously, as God wants us to and really loved one another? 

It seems these days so many people are so focused on getting their opinions out and making sure they are heard.  While this is healthy when done in the right way, we always need to remember that no matter what, God has called us to love, encourage and support one another.  I think about that when I’m with my wife and kids especially.  Am I loving them or just venting my opinions out to them about how I feel about things?  Do I take the time to really love them and hear how they are feeling?

Friends, sometimes we just need to take a step back and really listen to what others have to say.  Many months ago I watched a devotional series by Francis Chan and I was really impacted by how he talked about how, in this world today, so many people are so focused on airing their opinions and not just listening.  We really need to take the time to listen to others.  It’s important to show others we care and help motivate them to doing great things. 

I want to encourage all of us to focus more on encouraging others around us each day.  This is not to say we can’t share how we feel about things with others, but we need to make sure we are focusing on loving, supporting and encouraging people.  That is what God wants us to focus on as we seek to share His Light. 

Father, help us to encourage, love and support one another as You have called us to do.  Help us focus not on getting our opinions heard so much, but listening to others and seeing how we can help them come to know You.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Peace And Joy In Him Alone

“Peace And Joy In Him Alone”

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.

This past week and weekend, I found myself overcome with so many different emotions at all that is going on in the world right now.  I remember going to bed one night and I was overcome with anxiety and fear and I did not like that feeling.  I was overcome with feelings of anxiety and the fear of something bad happening because of things that had happened in our town.  As I laid there, I fought the feelings of anxiety and fear and I knew that God was trying to remind me that He was in control and that I need not worry. 

I just wanted to go to sleep and not lay awake worrying about the next thing that might happen.  I finally fell asleep and was glad that I could sleep through the night and awake in the morning knowing He was still in control.  This doesn’t mean that I was completely at rest for the weekend.  All the happenings in the news and such were just continuing to weigh my heart down and I just told God that I don’t understand why so many horrific things are happening.  My heart was broken and I prayed for peace and joy. 

Even though I cannot control the things happening in life, I need to remember every day that I can have total peace and joy in God.  The world will never provide this peace and joy.  It is only found in God alone.  Over and over and over again, God tells us in His Word to take comfort in Him and that He will be our peace and joy.  He is very clear that in this world we will have many trials and sorrows. 

While we are guaranteed we will have trouble in this world, we are even more guaranteed that He is always with us and will give us peace and joy like no one else can provide!  While all these crazy things are continuing to happen around us each day, we can know that God has overcome the world.  That gives us strength that we can, through Him, also overcome the world.  Whatever you might be struggling with today and this week, know that He will give you peace  and joy that the world can never give. 

God, thank You that in You we have amazing peace and joy that the world can never give us!  Father, as so much unrest is happening in our world recently, help us trust that You are still in control and that we need to reach out to others with Your love and shine.  Help us to trust in You everyday so that we can be a light for others to see.  Thank You for being our peace and joy, always.  As we continue to live in a world of confusion, work in us Lord so that we can be Your witness as people need that now more than ever.  Amen!

Monday, May 25, 2020

Always Remember.....With Love

“Always Remember…..With Love”
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

We all have experienced more than we ever thought we would have in the past several months.  Many of us still shake our heads thinking, “Is this really still happening?”  We’ve all had so many changes happen in our lives and, at times, we are still trying to make sense of this new “normal” as so many have come to call it.  This year has been unlike any year for everyone.  Sometimes, we can go through experiences in life and feel like we’re all alone because we think no one else has gone through what we are dealing with.  Well…..not now!  We are all experiencing many of the same feelings and emotions.

As many of us have been dealing with different experiences, it can be very challenging to show love to one another, especially when we get on each other’s nerves.  Just the fact that we are all dealing with constant changes can alone bring much irritation, especially if we are a person who doesn’t deal well with change.  Everyone is different for sure and that’s okay.  It’s in times especially like these that we need to be challenged to love people more as God calls us to do. 

Think about what is really showing love to those around you?  It isn’t just saying that you love the people around you, but most importantly showing them love.  Paul makes it clear that we can do all the great “acts of service” we want to in life and look really good doing them, but if we don’t have love, it’s absolutely meaningless and we’ve wasted our time.  Ouch!  That’s a tough one to swallow!

I would like to encourage us all to make the extra effort to show God’s love sincerely to those around us each day.  Whether it’s people who are easy to love or who are difficult to love.  And, remember that YOU are difficult to love sometimes as well.  Ouch!  Another tough one to swallow!  Let us always remember that we need to do and say things……with love. 

Lord, help us to truly show love to others each day of our lives.  Help us to not only say we love others, but to really show it.  We need to love more than ever before.  Help us to love sincerely and even when it’s hard to do so.  You loved us enough to die on the Cross for us, regardless of how people treated You.  Help us also to love others, regardless of how we are treated, even though it is often hard.  Help us love others each day, especially as we continue to navigate these uncertain days ahead.  Help us love with Your love.  Amen!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Certainty In A World Of Uncertainty

“Certainty In A World Of Uncertainty”
Hebrews 13:8 NIV
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

There are some things that I don’t mind being the same in my life.  There are certain things that I enjoy being predictable and expected each day and each week.  I’m sure there are things that you all enjoy each day that become a routine.  We all get into routines and we come to expect certain things at certain times. 

We get up in the morning, take a shower, eat breakfast, get the kids off to school (in the normal world, of course), drive to work (or go into the home office), eat lunch, drive home (or leave the home office), eat dinner, go to bed at some point.  We sometimes add to these activities or change them up in some ways as different things come up, but we stick to a routine a lot of times. 

We live in a world right now where nothing is certain or predictable.  Just when we think we have something figured out, change comes drastically it seems.  Nothing seems certain anymore, especially with all the chaos of the pandemic around us.  We have become very unsure and uncertain of many things.  It seems every day that I go to work, there are some changes taking place and more to follow. 

I’ve come to a point where I mentally have to prepare myself for any changes that may come and ask God to help me deal with them.  Sometimes I deal with changes ok, but other times I do not.  The change in expectation or routine can totally throw my day off.  It can ruin my mood and make me crabby the rest of the day with coworkers and then with my family at night.  I just want to have certainty in life so often.  However, I need to learn better to expect the unexpected and just be ready if things change.  I don’t need to be anxious, but just prepared. 

Friends, we live in very uncertain times, but one thing you and I can count on each day is knowing, trusting and believing that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  We can rest in that promise that He will never change and that we can trust Him in every aspect of life.  Nothing will ever change Who He is and how awesome He is.  He will remain the supportive and loving God we have followed for years.  Be certain that in this world of uncertainty, He is and always will be constant. 

God, we thank you for being such an amazing Father to us.  In this world of constant uncertainty, we praise You for remaining You.  We thank you for helping us and never leaving us, no matter the situations that come up in life.  We are so grateful that we can put our trust in You, even in the midst of the uncertainty in the world with this pandemic.  Help us trust You, even when things don’t make sense.  We lay our worries and anxious thoughts before You.  Thank you for hearing us.  Amen!    

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Continued Thanks Through Uncertainty

“Continued Thanks Through Uncertainty”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

This passage is very powerful and encouraging as Paul reminds us to rejoice always no matter the situation, never give up with prayer, and continually give thanks.  Friends, this can be so hard to do some days, especially when we are bombarded with so many different venues of news and statistics. 

We have so very much to be thankful for these days.  We always have a reason to continue our attitude of thanks.  There should never be a moment that goes by in our daily lives that we don’t have something to be thankful to God for.  I know sometimes it’s hard to give thanks when we are having really bad days and things right and left seem to be falling apart.  It’s in these times that God challenges us more and more to focus on how blessed we really are.  It can be tough to look through the stormy clouds and feel joy and thankfulness. 

We need to be consistent in our daily thanks to God for all He has done and all He continues to do.  I want to challenge us all, whether we are working from home or if we’ve been laid off and are spending much time at home with our family than we possibly ever have before,  to cherish this time when we are forced to not go places and do the things we have been so accustomed to doing.  Life has slowed down in so many ways and God has opened so many other doors of opportunity for us to fellowship with each other. 

Let’s take advantage and be grateful for this time we have to be close to our family members every single day and look for the opportunities God gives us to bless each other and grow closer together.  Maybe we need to turn off the TV and any other news source pumping stats into our minds and just focus on being together and praising God for everything He has blessed us with. 

Some days, it’s honestly hard for us to give thanks, even though we know we should always be doing so.  We are human and we often get very frustrated and the enemy can easily work through these times to steer us away from our gratefulness toward God.  If we focus each day on His abundant blessings, we will be reminded of our need to have continued thanks through uncertainty. 

Father, as we continue on in these unknown days that follow, we desire to seek and trust You every step of the way.  We want to focus on the amazing abundant blessings that You continue to pour out, regardless of our situations.  Help us focus on Your unfailing love and the opportunities You give us to be a blessing to others during this challenge time.  We give You continued thanks because we know You are always with us through everything.  Thank You for being faithful.  May we also be faithful as we seek to serve You each day.  Amen!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Thank You For It All, Lord

”Thank You For It All, Lord”
Psalm 36:5-7 NLT
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.  Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.  You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.  How precious is your unfailing love, O God!  All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.

Lately, I have been finding myself thinking of more and more ways to be thankful each day for what God has provided for me.  This passage is powerful starting with declaring praise to God for His unfailing love.  I am thankful each day how God reminds me that I need to be constantly and more grateful for the unfailing love He pours out to me. 

I’m so thankful that He continues to love me, even as I am often unlovable to those I love and care about the most.  There are days when I’m just not fun to be around and I’m so grateful for the love my family continues to show in those times toward me.  I’m grateful for His continued faithfulness that never ends and stretches beyond the clouds.  He is faithful even when I am so often unfaithful to Him in little and big ways.  Some days, I just don’t want to even try for various reasons.  I get in my own world and I’m just selfish and want things my way.  I’m thankful for not only His faithfulness, but the faithfulness of my family in those times.

I’m finding myself becoming more aware of all that He has done for me and continues to do through His faithfulness and unfailing love despite so often how self-absorbed I can get.  I’m so thankful for it all!  I don’t want to become ungrateful, but so often I do.  I’m so grateful for how faithful He is to give to us so abundantly in so many different ways.  I need to be reminded often how very grateful I should be.

Friends, these are just thoughts I want to share with you in hopes that you will be reminded of how grateful you need to be as well because of the amazing faithfulness, unfailing love and righteousness of God.  We serve an amazing God and we all need to be daily reminded of how very Awesome He is!  We need to be reminded to be so thankful for all things and all the people He has put into our lives to encourage and love on us.  We should also be thankful for those who challenge us to be better servants in our lives.

With all the continued changes we are dealing with day in and day out, we need to be reminded of His blessings and say, “Thank You For It All, Lord!” 

Father, help us to be in complete awe of You every single day from the moment we get up till we lay our head on the pillow to sleep.  Help us to be strengthened each day by Your constant, unfailing love and faithfulness.  You are faithful, even through all these challenging days.  Amen!