Sunday, September 25, 2022

Mind Your Words

 YouTube Channel Video Devo

https://youtu.be/83Spq4Vp9i8



“Mind Your Words”

Proverbs 18:20-21 NLT

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Monday, September 5, 2022

Sharp Enough To Penetrate

 YouTube Channel Video Devo

https://youtu.be/yiHJLY6zV-8


“Sharp Enough To Penetrate”

Hebrews 4:12 NLT

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Are We Really Thrilled?

 YouTube Channel Video Devo

https://youtu.be/Q_nGIrElum4


“Are We Really Thrilled?”

Psalm 92:4 NLT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

What Would You Do?

 YouTube Video Devo

https://youtu.be/UnoLABnYGsU


“What Would You Do?

Daniel 3:6 NIV

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Don't Miss The Moments

 YouTube Channel Video Devo

https://youtu.be/hIwiY8xwMEE


“Don’t Miss The Moments”
Luke 10:41-42 NLT
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Anytime I’m at home or out and about somewhere and I see a sunset, I know I have to get to a good place to view it quickly because there is very limited time to take in the moment. You can’t wait very long and still expect to see the majestic display of God’s glory! Sunsets are one of the most beautiful types of scenery ever! If you don’t act quickly, you miss it. The glow of the sky as the sun is just setting is one of the most beautiful sights ever!

Just like these limited time moments with sunsets, there are so many other moments in life that we must act fast and take in because they don’t last long. I think about the moments I have at home with my daughters or when we’re out and about. There are times when they want to share something with me and I find myself wrapped up in something else and I tell them to hang on for a bit. Instead of dropping whatever it is I’m doing (which is usually not as important!), I continue on and I end up missing the moment with them. The excitement wanes a bit and my heart breaks because I know I have missed yet another moment.

I often think about the story of Mary and Martha when Jesus comes to visit. It’s one of my most favorite stories because it shares a powerful message. (As I was typing this, my youngest daughter walked in the room and wanted to share a moment with me in showing me something. I actually paid attention!) Martha is all bent out of shape because her sister is taking time to chill and take in the moment with Jesus. While Martha is flipping out, Mary just takes the moment in and chills for a bit.

This is a fascinating story because it’s powerful in sharing a simple concept, but one that many of us fail to live up to. We get so busy with so many things and we fail to take the time to stop and smell the roses. We forget what’s often really important. Taking care of life stuff is vital, but we have to make time for moments that pop up. We have people around us that need us and these limited moments are important to take in.

We all need to be a little less like Martha and more like Mary to take in precious moments that won’t last. Just like the sunsets that don’t last long, take in the precious moments you have with people you love. Chores and other duties will always be there, but sometimes we just have to stop and take in these moments that are truly a gift from God.

Don’t miss these moments!

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Show And Tell

 YouTube Channel Video Devo 

https://youtu.be/wNZgcNrjD5A


“Show And Tell”

1 John 4:9 NLT

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.

 

Do any of you remember having “show and tell” in school when growing up?  I remember how excited I was to bring something from home to show off to my class and explain the uniqueness of whatever it was.  Many of us probably recall special times when we brought something that was of value and showed it off to our classmates.  We were proud and excited to share our treasure, whatever it might have been.

 

Through the years, I think of the numerous times that I’ve been really excited and proud of something I made or did and wanted to share it with others.  There’s just something about showing and telling other people about a completely project or treasured item that we get excited about.  Sometimes, we go to great lengths to show others cool things we think are neat and are proud of.  We take time to tidy up and present the project we’ve completed or item we just purchased and show it off to family and friends. 

 

It’s great and fun to show off things we are proud of to others.  It’s exciting to see their reaction and hear their responses about what they think.  While thinking about this, I cannot help but think if we are always this excited and even more to show and tell others about God when we have opportunities to do so?  Think about how much God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us.  That’s the great act of show and tell ever!  Nothing could compare to that! 

 

I have to wonder how excited and anxious we actually are to share with others what God has done for us.  Do we carry an excitement with us at all times ready to tell and show others what God has done and continues to do in our lives?  Are we anxious and excited to share His love and what He can do for others when we get into conversations?  Do we look forward to showing and telling others of the wonderful things He has done in our lives that only He can do?

 

I hope that our desire to show and tell others about God’s love far outweighs anything else we may get excited about in our lives.  Unfortunately, all too often, this is not the case and we get more excited about other things of the world rather than God.  It isn’t wrong to get excited about different things in life, but when that excitement outweighs our excitement to share God’s love more than anything else, then we have a problem.

 

Are we ready and excited for show and tell about all that God has done for us for others to see and hear?

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

We Need Wise Company

YouTube Channel Video Devo “We Need Wise Company”

“We Need Wise Company”

Proverbs 13:20 NLT

Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get into trouble.

I remember numerous times while growing up how my parents warned me about not hanging out with people who would influence me in wrong ways.  As a kid, you often want to be accepted and noticed by others so badly and are willing to go to great lengths to be liked.

I am very grateful for my parent’s advice and guidance to help me through choosing good friends that would encourage me rather than get me into trouble.  That didn’t always keep me from trying to make friends with people who were troublemakers, but I learned through the years that I needed to be wise in who I hung out with. 

Wanting to be accepted and liked isn’t just for kids or teens, it’s for adults as well.  We so often want to surround ourselves with people who will accept us and like us.  There’s nothing at all wrong with wanting to be accepted and liked.  Who wouldn’t want that, right??  However, we have to be very careful in what company we surround ourselves with.  This proverb is very clear that if we walk with the wise and surround ourselves with wise people, then we ourselves will become wiser and learn great things.  However, if we associate with fools who are troublemakers, we will be influenced and find ourselves falling into temptations to be troublemakers as well.

Just as our parents warned us to not get into trouble by hanging out with people of bad influence, God wants us to be wise in who we surround ourselves with.  We definitely need to make choices to be around those people who will mentor, encourage and help us become better people.  Through experiences and connections, we can learn better to surround ourselves with people who truly care about us and want us to become better people.  We definitely don’t want to surround ourselves with people who just like us when we do want they want us to do.

Walk with the wise and become wiser, but walk with fools and we get into trouble.  Trouble can bring some nasty consequences that could last a lifetime.  But, walking with wise people will bring great experiences to last a lifetime. 

We all need wise company.  Question is do we seek wise company out?


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Hold On To Something!

 YouTube video devo  https://youtu.be/l60e0nnYokc


“Hold On To Something!”

Hebrews 10:23 NLT

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

 

I think we all have had our fair share of hearing this phrase throughout our lives.  Maybe it was when we were outside with other people and the wind started blowing extremely hard.  Maybe it was when we were with someone walking across a bridge or walking down some rocks and we felt the surface begin to crumble below us.  We could come up with numerous scenarios in which there’s a situation we are not prepared for and something happens causing us to panic and grab something so we don’t fall and get injured.

 

There are a lot of unexpected things that come up in our lives that send us running for cover and searching for something or someone to help and protect us.  That’s how we are wired.  When we’re in danger, we immediately want to seek help and relief.  We want to hold on to something or someone. 

 

It’s so tempting to reach out and hold on to earthly things or other people for hope and comfort when life throws us curve balls and/or devastating circumstances.  While we definitely need each other in difficult times, we must always remember to first and foremost hold on to God and the hope we have in Him rather than putting our trust in other people or other things.  Again, we definitely need to support and lean on one another to encourage and, but we must never put our hope solely in people or things.  God must be our supreme source of hope. 

 

I know that through the years I’ve found myself holding out for hope in things of this world, and I still do!  I look for things that I think will hold me up and keep me safe and secure, but they all fail at one time or another.  People and things were never meant to complete us and keep us afloat like God can.  When we get scared in life, where do we run?  Who do we turn to?  What do we turn to?  We definitely get bombarded every day with marketing tips that persuade us to turn to anything and everything other than God. 

 

Instead of just holding on to something in life when we get scared, we must always remember that our hope comes from Christ alone and He is Who we need to hold on to.  God will keep His promises.  He will always help us when we reach out to Him.  When the ground beneath us shakes, we can trust and hope in Him, no matter what. 

 

What or who are we holding onto?  God or worldly things?

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Thankful For Simple Things

 Video Devo  https://youtu.be/8NSOuMNuAgc 


“Thankful For Simple Things”

Psalm 100:4 NIV

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

 

A little over 1 year ago on June 7, 2021, I underwent the process of a dental implant.  I’ve had numerous problems with this tooth and when my dentist tried to remove the bad crown to put another one on, I was sadly informed there wasn’t enough bone structure to do another crown.  At the time, it was very frustrating news.  He explained my options to me, but the only one that seemed the best was getting an implant.  I was told it would be a very long process. 

 

Got the tooth pulled, waited 4-6 months.  Then, got the post put in, waited another 4-6 months.  Got fitted for my final crown and waited another few weeks.  Finally, this past Friday, I got the final crown placed.  The kicker in all of this was that I wasn’t allowed to chew on my right side for an entire year.  At first, when I heard this news, I was really frustrated.  However, I got used to it and after a while it didn’t even bother me.  I just got accustomed to chewing on my left side.  After last Friday, I was so excited to finally chew on both sides.  As that happened, it reminded me of the simple blessing and pleasure of just being able to do that. 

 

I share this experience because as I was going through all of this in the past year, every time I was frustrated and wanted to chew on my right side, I thought of all the less fortunate people who are experiencing way worse problems than this.  I think of people who can’t even eat and need feeding tubes and what not.  Every time I got frustrated about it, God reminded me of how I need to thank him for the simple blessings and pleasures that I do have.  I was reminded that I still could at least eat whatever I wanted to, but just have to on the left side. 

 

It’s so good for us all to have these reminders when we get frustrated about little setbacks when others are experiencing so much worse.  It’s easy to get down and think we have nothing to be thankful for, when in reality, we have SO MUCH to be thankful for.  I hope this devotional serves as a simple reminder we need every day to be thankful for the little things we take for granted.  We need to be thankful for the abilities we have that some other people don’t have. 

 

Now, each day, as I chew on my right side, I am thankful after waiting a year to do so.  The waiting was challenging, but I got used to it and I just longed for the day I got my final crown.  I was so thankful and it’s reminding me each day to be thankful for the simple blessings and pleasures I have.  I don’t want to take these things for granted. 

 

Let us be thankful for the simple things. 

Monday, June 13, 2022

His Amazing, Unfailing Love

 YouTube Channel Intro Video   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5essWJy_eA

“His Amazing, Unfailing Love”

Psalm 103:11-12 NLT

For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.  He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.

I often take for granted how very amazing God’s unfailing love proves to be in my life.  I tend to think so highly of other earthly people and things more often than I should.  I find myself becoming fascinated and in awe of so much this world offers and I am ashamed that so often my life shows little fascination and awe of Him. 

Why do we get so caught up and immersed into what this world offers and find ourselves less and less immersed into His Word and the amazing promises He has waiting for us?  It happens all too often.  We just tend to find so many things in this world great and amazing instead of focusing our appreciation and awe on Him Who saved us and gave His life for us.

There is no one else in this life with the same amazing and unfailing love.  No one can hold us like He can when life pulls us down.  People will fail us and let us down, sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally.  I often find myself putting way too much faith and hope in the things of this world and in people rather than the One Who created me and wants the best for my life.

Father, forgive us when we look to the things of this world and other people as more amazing than You.  We often become so caught up in what we think is amazing and unfailing.  Lord, we want to become immersed more and more with You.  Thank You for forgiving us and removing our sins as far as the east is from the west.  Your love is truly amazing and unfailing.  We will never be able to fully comprehend how amazing You truly are.  We can never measure Your unfailing love and how great You are. 

I just wanted to share this prayer with all of you today and encourage us all to come to Him each day with gratitude for His amazing and unfailing love.  Let us work hard to not become more amazed by the things of this world rather than being amazed by Him and all He has done. 

I pray that we would make more effort to be aware and appreciative of what our Heavenly Father has done through His amazing and unfailing love.  He has never failed and never will!  That should bring us pure joy and amazement!  No one in the world could ever live up to that!  He and He alone will always be amazing and unfailing.   


Sunday, June 5, 2022

He Is Awesome, No Matter What

 “He Is Awesome, No Matter What”

Psalm 44:8 NLT

O God, we give glory to you all day long and constantly praise your name.

I know that I should give glory to God all day, every day, but there are days when I just don’t feel like doing that because life just gets discouraging and challenging.  There are days when I know I should be doing more for Him, but I just want to do my own thing and bury myself in my own selfish desires.  It’s often hard to know that you should be doing something you know is right, but you just don’t feel like doing it or just aren’t up to it.  This is just how life sometimes is.  It’s not that we don’t love God, but often we just don’t feel like praising Him because of what we are dealing with.

I have learned and continue to learn that no matter what I am dealing with or what I experience that is frustrating, it never changes how awesome and amazing God has been and continues to be.  I need to remember that no matter how I am feeling or what I experience that discourages me, I should still praise Him because He is always working in my life and that He deserves all the glory.

No matter what we deal with in life, He still deserves praise.  It’s often easy to sulk and mope because something or someone did put us in a bad mood, but we always have something to praise God for.  No matter what, He always deserves praise.  No matter what hardships or confusion life is throwing at me, there is always something I can praise God for. 

This psalm is great to remind us that we need to be giving glory to God all day long and praise His name because He is always working in some way in our lives.  He never stops working and never leaves our side. 

I know there are a lot of people out there going through some seriously difficult life circumstances right now and they need a lot of encouragement.  It’s easy for me to sulk and mope often times, but then I am reminded that there are always other people who are experiencing much more difficult things that I cannot comprehend.  Many of these people are probably still praising God even in their storms!  That gives me no reason to mope and sulk.  I need reminding to praise God and keep my eyes completely focused on Him.

I hope that no matter what you are experiencing today, this week, this month or this year, you will pull through, lift your head up and know that God is still working in and through your life to do wonderful things.  As hard as it might be to see and feel it, believe that He is and give praise to Him.

No matter what, nothing ever changes how awesome and amazing God is!

 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

We Always Need Reminding

 “We Always Need Reminding”

Isaiah 46:9 NLT

Remember the things I have done in the past.  For I alone am God!  I am God, and there is none like me.

It seems the older I get, the more things I need to remember.  Usually they are things that I need to get done or want to accomplish.  Whether this be at home, work or church, there are so many different tasks and other things that I need to be reminded to do. 

At home, I have a routine list of chores to take care of each day and through the week.  Then there are the projects I am trying to take care of.  At work, I have responsibilities to take care of and remember all day long.  That can get very exhausting if it’s a busy day!  Then at church there are things to remember to do as well whatever the situation may be.  Wherever I am, there are things I need to be reminded of.  As you all will probably relate to and agree with, all the things we need to remember to do can be very mentally draining.

With all the things we try to remember to take care of, the most important thing we must always be mindful of is all that God has done in the past for us and all that He continues to do for us.  How much effort do we put into remembering all that God has done?  How often do we need reminded how amazing and wonderful He is and what He has done?  Out of all we have to keep track of and remember each day, the most important is taking time to be mindful of our Awesome God and all that He has done. 

As important as it is to keep in mind and remember our responsibilities each day at home, work, church and other places we go, we should never forget and always be reminded all that we have because of what God has done for us. 

Maybe we need to set reminders around the house, in our vehicles or at work to remind us to praise God and to take time to remember His great sacrifice.  There are so many options and ideas of ways to remind ourselves these days.  Take advantage of these ways and get creative to set reminders.  God loves when we take time to remember how great He is and spend time praising Him for all He has done and continues to do.

We always need reminding, don’t we?  No matter what we do or where we go, we always need some kind of reminders.  We need the same in our walk with God.  We need daily reminders to keep us in step with Him and to never forget or take for granted how awesome He is!

Let us always be reminded!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Are We Connected

“Are We Connected?”

Exodus 33:18-20 NIV

Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”  And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence.  I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

One of many amazing encounters we see in the Old Testament between Moses and God.  Moses was connected and was about to have a major connection session with Him!

As I think about how we connect these days, I feel like we are focused on connecting every way we can in our world and with our world these days.  We want to be connected on social media.  We want to be connected with events happening in our church.  We want to be connected to events happening in our community.  We want to be connected with what is happening in our children’s schools.  We try so hard to stay connected so that we don’t miss anything!

With all of the technology we have available today, we are so concerned to miss anything that we peruse our social media accounts and check to see what texts and e-mails are coming in.  We seriously do not want to miss ANYTHING!  I admit I have become one of these people.  I don’t want to miss any important info that I need to know from whatever sources I feel are important for me to stay up with.

As much as we have become addicted to staying connected in whatever ways possible to not miss anything, it breaks my heart when I think how unconnected we have become in our relationship with God.  I’m not saying we don’t care about growing in our faith, but we have to admit we focus a lot more on staying connected in our world events rather than with what God wants to teach us. 

How often do we find ourselves with the deep desire to connect with God as Moses did?  He wanted to be so close to God and he made it a priority.  That’s what we need to take time to consider in our lives these days.  How important is it for us to be connected to God and what are we willing to do in order to make that happen?  Do we really want to connect with Him?  Will we let all the other connections we try so hard to maintain go by the wayside in order to make sure God remains our top priority? 

This doesn’t mean we ditch other things in our lives, but it does mean that God needs to be our main connectivity above all!  What are we willing to do about this and how badly do we want to connect with Him? 

Are we connected more with Him or with the world?

Monday, April 25, 2022

Strategies To Defeat

“Strategies To Defeat”

Ephesians 6:10-11 NLT

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.

We all have experience with putting together different strategies for various things we’ve been involved with through our years of life.  There are many different situations and activities in which we put much effort into strategizing. 

In school, we may develop certain strategies to accomplish things in our classes or extra-curricular activities. 

At our job, we may come up with certain strategies to do the work better and build up to more promotions. 

We become involved with various sports and develop strategies to not only work together as a team, but to defeat our opponents during games.

In different hobbies we have, we can develop certain strategies to learn more and get better at what we learn.

When we buy a home, we can develop strategies to make the house better and build equity.

There are so many different ways in life that we become involved with developing strategies to do different tasks for various reasons, whether professionally or personally.  The list could be endless!

As we consider different strategies that we put our time and energy into through the years, I cannot help but to think how much more effort we often put into the strategies of earthly matters and how much less we focus on the strategies of growing in our relationship with God by defeating our enemy, Satan.  How much time and energy do we invest each day by reading God’s Word and developing mental and spiritual strategies to defeat the flaming arrows of what Satan throws at us? 

I so often find myself becoming defeated because I have put so much time and effort into other worldly things in my life and much less time and effort being smart about how the enemy might attack me.  I don’t build my spiritual ammo up to defeat Satan. 

What would our spiritual lives look like if we put much more effort into being prepared daily for spiritual battle?  Paul meant it when he told us to be prepared.  We should heed that encouragement and always be prepared for the strategies the enemy throws at us.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Just Like He Said He Would Do

 “Just Like He Said He Would Do”

Matthew 28:6 NLT

He isn’t here!  He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.  Come, see where his body was lying.

I think we would all agree that we like when people follow through on what they say they will do for us.  We like it when our food comes out fresh and hot in a fast food place or restaurant.  We like when installers show up on time to do what they say they will do and do it correctly.  We like when repair people show up on time and get the job done that they promised to do.  When a good friend or family member says they will show up to some event, we appreciate them making it a priority to actually be there.

As we like it when people do these things for us, the exact same is expected of us when we give our word to doing something or being there for other people.  When we say we are going to do something, people put trust in us and expect us to follow through.  Granted, life happens and there are understandable things that come up to prevent this at times, but we must always make the very best effort to be there and do what we say we will do.

As we celebrated Easter, the great story of the amazing Resurrection of Jesus Christ this past weekend, I got to thinking more about this passage.  What stuck out to me was the phrase “just as He said he would happen”.  Jesus predicted what would happen and it happened.  People were totally amazed and dumbfounded at all that happened.  It is truly amazing to remember that Jesus not only died, but He rose again victorious! 

I was reminded this weekend, and am reminded each day, that He keeps His promises and does what He says He will do.  He has never let me down and He has always come through.  He always will!  As we continue our thoughts of Easter weekend and the praise of Him rising from the grave as He said would happen, I think it would be good for us to all do some soul searching and examine our lives to all the things that we “say” we will do. 

When we say we will do something, let us make the most effort to keep the commitment.  People are counting on us just like we count on others.  None of us are perfect, I get that, but we definitely need to do better on what we commit to and actually following through.  Look at all that Jesus followed through on and He went through more than anyone in history will ever go through.

Let it be said of us from others that we did “Just like we said we would do”. 

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Giving It Up To Truly Follow

“Giving It Up To Truly Follow”

Luke 9:23 NLT

Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, 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’ll be perfectly honest with you all in that I like to do things my own way.  I also like to hang on to things that I think are important.  Pretty much any day, I want to do things the way I think they should be done and go my own way.  I also want to hang on to things that I think are important and have a hard time letting go of what so often shouldn’t be important to me at all.

This passage has been heavy on my heart the past week or so and I just wanted to share the real struggle this has been for me as I take inventory of my life and how I want to grow closer to Christ in giving up my ways and my life. 

We so often want the better life and the better ways that Christ offers us, but we do NOT want to and are so often NOT willing to give up our own ways to do so.  It’s like we think we can do our own thing and have the better life Christ offers us to have the best of both worlds.  It does not work that way and we are well aware of that!  However, we continue to convince ourselves that we can do what we want and when we want.

Two things I find fascinating when Jesus talks about the cost of following Him.  First, He makes it very clear the cost of following Him and how hard it will be.  Second, I’ve often found myself thinking that He almost tries to talk people out of following Him in a sense because He wants people to really consider the huge cost.  He wants us to follow Him and desires that above all, but He absolutely wants us to count the cost of what it really means to give up our own way and our own life in order to do so. 

Friends, do we REALLY count the cost???  I don’t think we often do.  We say we do and we say we understand what it means to follow Him, but I don’t think we totally understand the depth and magnitude of what this truly means.  I know I don’t.  It is very difficult to daily give up our own way.  As much as we are all so accustomed to a self-centered life and culture, it is so challenging to surrender every day and give control over to Jesus. 

My prayer is that we all make a true and honest effort to daily commit to giving up our own ways and our life so that Christ can really be in control and lead us.

Sunday, April 3, 2022

For God So LOVED That He GAVE

“For God So LOVED That He GAVE”

John 3:16 NIV

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

I have heard this Scripture cited so much through my years of life, but the past few weeks something really stood out as I heard it again.  Two words stood out to me and really stuck with me as I thought more about this passage I’ve heard so much.  The two words are “Loved” and “Gave”.  They are not only action words, they are also very intentional.  What greater message could be shared with a dying world than to tell them that God Loved and He gave? 

No one else in the entire world has ever loved and given more than God.  This is a model for us to truly live by.  God so loved this world that He gave.  He loved more than anyone of us could ever love and He gave more than any of us could ever give.  This is a model of the greatest love ever shown and given to anyone. 

As I pondered this thought the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking of the absolute greatness of the love God gave in sending Jesus Christ to redeem our lives.  Let’s just consider this thought and let it sink in for a while.  Take a few moments and just think about this passage and those 2 action words.  God so LOVED that He GAVE.  It’s really breathtaking if you stop to consider this!  We didn’t do a thing.  He did it all!  He love us so very much that He gave everything. 

Friends, I encourage you over the next several days and weeks to take time to think about these intentional action words and what they mean to you and your life.  Consider the impact they have not only on your life, but what they could mean for others who need to hear of the great Gospel message!

I just don’t ever want to take for granted (even though I have way too often) how intentional God’s love was that He truly gave it all for us.  He so very much loved us that He gave His only Son.  There is so much power packed in those words!

I hope that we all keep these intentional action words etched in our minds each day as we remember how very amazing it is and was that God so loved us that He gave the most anyone has ever given.

For God so LOVED that He GAVE!  Let us NEVER forget how amazing and powerful these words are!    

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Love More, Do More

“Love More, Do More”

1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT
Three things that will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.

Several weeks ago as we were attending the food packing session for Feed My Starving Children, I noticed a new shirt they had.  The shirt had this log on it, “Love More, Do More”.  Ever since I saw that shirt, that phrase has stuck with me.  There are so many places in Scripture we find the command to love others.  It is so imperative in life that we live with the intention of showing God’s true love to other people.  Yes, that is often so hard to do.

When we love people more as God calls us to do, greater things can happen and we will see God do amazing things.  When we take the time to love others, we see truly amazing things take place. 

Loving others and doing loving things for others can often be difficult, especially if we are on bad terms.  No matter what, God has called us to do our very best to follow His example and love others as He has called us to love.  It is often not an easy task, but when we do this, the benefits are just amazing.  We come to discover that we learn so much more and that love we show goes far beyond what we might think.

We must love even when situations become difficult and people oppose us.  As we go to Feed My Starving Children each quarter, we continue learn how difficult it is so often for these meals to reach kids who are hungry.  The meals have to go through a lot of barriers to get to the destination.  As we pack these meals and we do so in love, we know God will do incredible things as we send them off. 

The more we love and become intentional about loving, especially in challenging times with others and situations, the more God can work in the hearts and lives of others.  He has called us to be faithful in loving.  We cannot control how others will react to us, but we can do our best to be loving.  Are we being faithful in loving? 

I know I have a long way still to be loving to others.  It’s often hard, but I know the more I do it, the more others will see Him through what I say and do.  Like I said before, when we love more, we do more than we can possibly ever imagine. 

I pray that we will all learn to love more so that God can do more through what we do and say.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Letting Go

“Letting Go”

Proverbs 22:6 NLT

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

A year ago, my wife and I started working with our oldest daughter to learn driving when she got her permit.  We spent much time working on instructing her and helping her as she learned more and more about driving rules.  This past week, we took her to take her driving test for her license on her sweet 16 birthday.  My wife and I waited anxiously as she was out driving with an instructor and hoping and praying she would pass.  As she stepped out of the car, my wife and I walked toward her and she threw her hands in the air with an excited run and smile toward us!  She passed her test and was officially licensed!

We are so proud of her, but I cannot help but to feel emotional still today as she embarks on this new adventure in her life.  It is really hard for me to let go and watch my little girl grow up so fast and take on a new phase of life.  I want her to learn and grow, but so much of me does not want to let go.  We’ve raised her in a Christian home and have done our best to teach her God’s ways and will continue to do the best we can as she continues to grow. 

As hard as it is for my wife and I to watch her drive off now by herself, we have to be reassured that God will take care of her and that we have worked hard to train her in His ways so that she makes good decisions.  It’s a time of life I thought would never come and it came too fast.  This passage came to mind this week as we transitioned from her having her permit to her passing her test for her driver’s license. 

Friends, it can be hard to let go of many things in life.  We grasp so tightly to many things and we don’t let go.  We’re afraid of what we might lose or what might be ahead.  It’s the unknown that scares us so often.  We want control and we have a hard time trusting that God will lead and take care of things.

As I am working on letting go of my little girl into a new phase of life, I am being reminded by God that He will guide her still and take care of her as we have worked hard to train her and raise her in a Godly manner. 

Whatever it is that you are finding yourself having a hard time letting go of, I encourage you to trust that God will lead and guide, whether it’s a child who has grown up into taking on more responsibilities or if it’s letting go of something you need to part with.

Letting go is hard and I will do my best.  We must trust things are in God’s hands.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Keep Away

 “Keep Away”

1 John 5:21 NLT

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

When we were all kids, we probably remember seeing signs different places and being told certain things were off-limits.  It probably drove most of us nuts and just made us want to go to those places and behind the closed doors even more!  I know it did for me.  Any sign reading “Keep Out” or “Keep Away” or having someone tell us that we can’t go somewhere or get into something just made us want to get into even more.  We are curious, right???

Children are often told to “keep away” or “keep out” because it is for their own good.  As adults, we are responsible for teaching them because they need to learn and we can’t just let them go wherever and do whatever.  They want to, but adult supervision is to help teach them right and wrong.  If kids went anywhere and did whatever, they would get hurt and terrible things could happen.

Even as adults, we often have many areas of life that God tells us to “keep out” or “keep away”.  There are many directions we could go in life and some of those will no doubt do nothing but hurt our relationship with Him and with others.  God is serious about wanting us to stay away from the things that will do no good at all for our lives.  However, no matter how much He tries to steer us away from bad things, we just continue to be curious and we follow temptation right back into those directions. 

God’s heart breaks when we allow anything from the world to take precedence in our hearts over Him.  We often end up forcing Him out when we think something better comes along.  It’s not that we purposely want to hurt our relationship with Him, but we get just get so consumed with what we want that we throw Him off the throne of our heart. 

So, there is a very good reason why God tell us, as His children, to stay away from things that will corrupt our lives.  God should always be the center of our lives and bad things should be kept out.  It’s a daily struggle.  Just as we teach our kids and other young people to stay away from bad things, God teaches us as His children and so often we don’t listen.  We want to go where we shouldn’t go and touch what we shouldn’t touch.  Often we have to learn the hard way. 

When God says to Keep Away or Keep Out, He means it and it’s definitely for our own good.  When we obey, we discover an even more fruitful and satisfying life!

Friday, March 4, 2022

Thankful For His Service

“Thankful For His Service”

Matthew 27:50 NIV

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

We have all had encounters with people we meet who have served in the armed forces.  Whatever branch of service, I often find others and myself immediately saying, “Thank you for your service” when approaching these people.  Why?  Because there’s a certain respect we want to pay these people for all that they have committed to doing in their lives for their country.  It often brings tears to my eyes when I watch and listen to people react this way.  It’s a great reminder to them and to myself of the amazing service they have given for freedom in this country.

If you are reading this today and you are in the service or have served in the past, I want to say thank you for your dedication to this country.  I appreciate you making that commitment to being of service and contributing to the freedom we so often take for granted.  Thank you!

As I think about being thankful for the service these people have given, my thoughts also turn toward the greatest act of service anyone has ever known.  Jesus Christ gave the ultimate price of anyone in the world.  And, what’s sad is that we often take that for granted.  He went to the Cross and gave up His life for you and I so that we could have eternal life.  It’s definitely something we all take for granted way too much.  It becomes commonplace and so often, just like those who have served in the forces, we take for granted and don’t think twice about it. 

Just as our freedom in this country came at a great price, so our life in Christ came with the ultimate price. So many have given their lives to serve this country.  Jesus Christ served and gave up His life to give us life. 

Are we truly thankful for the service Jesus gave?  He gave it all.  We should be thankful every day for the great sacrifice Jesus gave so that we could have eternal life through Him.  We need reminded each day of that great gift He gave. 

Be thankful for His ultimate service.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Never Meant To Be Alone

“Never Meant To Be Alone”

Genesis 2:18 NLT

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

This past month at church, the sermons have been about building community together.  What I found to be fascinating and had never really considered is how our pastor connected this passage to community.  Adam was alone, but God made a helper suitable and just right for him.  God didn’t want Adam to be alone, so He made Eve.  It wasn’t good for Adam to just be solo.  He was meant for community.  When our pastor shared this, it really made sense. 

I get that some people are not people-oriented and they would rather fly solo in anything they do.  For whatever reason, some people just don’t vibe very well with others and prefer to be alone all they can be.  However, this is not healthy and God has created us to be in community with each other.  It is so important for us all to be around others and build relationships so that we can encourage and build one another up.

Sometimes, it’s just easier to get into our own world and forget that other people need us.  Others need our encouragement and our presence.  Sometimes, you don’t even need to say anything to be in community with others.  Sometimes, your very presence speaks volumes just because you took the time out of your day and showed up.  That means a lot to so many people! 

I remember when I was a pastor and I went on some visits to various places.  Some situations were easier than others.  I remember some times when I didn’t have the words to share or know what to say.  However, God often reminded me that I just needed to be present.  Sometimes, I would actually hear someone say, “Thank you for coming.  Just you being here meant the world to us!”  I was like, “I didn’t do or say anything”.  But it wasn’t anything I did or said.  It was just the fact that I made a presence. 

Friends, we were all made for community.  We need to be there for one another and lift each other up as God leads us to do.  It is so important that we strive to build community with other people, even those we don’t necessarily jive with.  Just be there for others and show them you care.  God wants us to be in community with each other and share His love in whatever ways we possibly can. 

We were never meant to be alone.  Since the very beginning, God made it a point to create community.  I just pray that this devotional reminds you and encourages you that being in community with other people is vital to us living a healthy life.  We need others and God created us to be with others.  People need us and we need people.  Be thankful for the people God has brought into your life as you experience community. 

Monday, February 7, 2022

He Is Always There

“He Is Always There”

Psalm 16:8 NLT

I know the Lord is always with me.  I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

There are a lot of things and situations in this life that don’t make sense to us.  There are times when we find ourselves shaking our heads and say, “I just don’t get this!”  We all have found ourselves experiencing moments where we just don’t know what to think or what to say.  We have found ourselves, especially in the past couple of years often times, just doing what we can to keep ourselves going and maintaining the best attitude we can. 

We have all experienced way more in the past couple of years than we ever thought we would.  We try so hard to do what we can to protect our families, stay healthy and encourage each other to keep pressing on.  There are some days when we just don’t know what to do about things going on in life and there are some days when we feel like we are on cloud 9. 

We all have good moments, not so great moments and really bad moments.  This is just part of life that we cannot escape.  We do our best to make the most of any moments as we learn how to handle the different scenarios life has thrown us.  I have found myself so many days thinking “Lord, why can’t all this sickness just end?  I just want covid to be gone for good.” 

With all the ups and downs we have in life, we need to be reminded that God is always with us, through the ups and downs.  Some days, we may not feel like He is close or even doing anything in our lives.  However, we must keep the faith and not be shaken, trusting and remembering all He has done in our past and all He continues to do today.  We must hold on to the faith knowing He promises to never leave our side. 

I think of all the families who are going through really rough times and I just pray God will give them strength to hang on. 

I think of all the people I see day in and day out and I just want to be an encouragement to each of them in some way. 

Lord, thank You for always being there for us no matter what obstacles life throws at us.  Thank You for the promises You give to us each day and I pray that we won’t take those for granted.  You continue to do so many things each day right in front of us and I pray that we won’t become blinded to those.  Help us to remember to stay faithful even when we want to give up so often.  Help us to continue to carry on and keep the faith knowing You are always faithful.  Help us stay strong through the days that are so challenging so often.  Thank You for Jesus Who gives us real life. 

Monday, January 24, 2022

Nothing Compares To His Glorious Riches

 “Nothing Compares To His Glorious Riches”

Philippians 4:19 NLT

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

Several days ago I posted this passage on social media and I got a very intriguing comment from a family member which read, “Have you ever stopped and pondered what those riches really are?  It is mind boggling.”  I was so appreciative not only for this comment, but for the reminder it gave me of how very blessed we are from what God gives to us. 

If we are brutally honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that we really do long for the riches of this world in one way or another.  We all fall victim to jealousy and coveting something someone else has.  I have fallen victim to this all through my years of living and continue to struggle.  I think we would all have to admit that we have struggled throughout our lives with this fact.  It is so easy to get stuck in the mindset of achieving earthly riches.

I do want to make it very clear that it is not wrong to have earthly things, but when we focus on them way more than God Himself Who is the giver of all good things, then we have problems.  It is so easy to focus on the riches of this world instead of the glorious riches God has for us. 

Think about what Paul is saying here.  Do we really understand and grasp what we have in Jesus?  I know we talk about this a lot in church and share the various passages of what He has given to us, but do we take time to ponder what those riches really are?  Just as my family member said, it is truly mind boggling.  His glorious riches are NOTHING compared to what the world gives us.  However, it is so easy for us to get caught up in the moments when something new comes out that we want.  It’s easy to think that the next big thing is what we need to be happy and satisfied in life.

I know that I need to take more time to really ponder what His glorious riches are and how blessed I have been throughout my years of walking with Christ.  His riches are nothing compared to what the world offers.  They are never as satisfying or rewarding.  As much as I find myself longing for the riches of this world so often, I am also reminded so often that the fulfillment is temporary and will never satisfy as what He gives me.  He never fails to remind me of this in some way.

The world’s riches cannot and will not ever compare to the glorious riches in Jesus!

Monday, January 17, 2022

Giving It All

“Giving It All”

Romans 12:1 NLT

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you.  Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable.  This is truly the way to worship him.

We often have the tendency to give the very minimum effort in different areas of our lives.  There are areas we find ourselves giving the just the bare minimum so that we can just get it over with and get on with what we really want to do.  Some of us have done this in school with assignments, projects and tests.  Perhaps we struggled through these and we just did what we had to do in order to get a passing grade. 

Maybe we have done this in past jobs we’ve had.  We go to work and just do what it takes to get a paycheck.  Sometimes we don’t feel like going above and beyond to really make a difference in the work we have done. 

In the situations in which we have just done enough to get by and move on, we should stop and think about what life could have been like and what the results could have been if we had put in more effort and gone above and beyond.

We could all find different times and situations in which we’ve just done enough to get by for various reasons.  Sometimes we just don’t feel like giving more or giving our all because we’re focused on something else we really want to do.  We have all been there and done that in some way or ways.  We’re all guilty of it!

I cringe at the fact that so many of us have done this and are often still doing it in our relationship with God.  We don’t want to give our all because it can become inconvenient.  I definitely struggle with this often!  We don’t want to put the work in anymore than we have to.  We want to be held back from other things we’d rather do in life.  However, giving it all is exactly what God calls us to do. 

Paul is very blunt in saying that we should be giving it all every day with everything we have.  This is really the way to worship, when we’re truly giving life our all!  When we surrender it all and allow God control over everything and not holding anything back.  It’s real and it can get very messy.  However, it is all worth it because of how God can and will use us in the Kingdom to do amazing things.

Are we really giving it all?

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Way More Than We Ever Deserve

“Way More Than We Ever Deserve”

Ephesians 2:4-5 NLT

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead.  It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!

As we closed out 2021 and begin 2022, I need this passage and reminder that I have way much more in my life that I will ever deserve.  For so many of us, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that since we’ve worked so hard, we deserve “this” or “that”.  We often feel like people owe us something more if we work harder and harder.  We feel like we should have more because working harder means we should get more, right??

I find myself getting caught up in this mindset a lot when I try to accomplish things in my life and get better with something or several things.  Somehow, I convince myself that I deserve more than I have and should have more.  It’s a bad mindset, especially if I’m try to become more Godly and set a good example for my family, co-workers and friends. 

I know that I daily need to be reminded that I really do not deserve anything I have.  God has blessed me way beyond anything I should have and has lavished so much grace, mercy and forgiveness upon me.  When I get in the mindset that I’m entitled to certain things, I need His humble reminder of what He has done for me and how so little I deserve any of it.  This should bring me to my knees daily in complete surrender being so thankful that I have what He has given to me.

We will NEVER fully comprehend what all He has done by going to the Cross to die for our sins.  It is just beyond what we can ever understand.  As we embark on this New Year, let us daily be reminded Who we serve and what all He has done and all He continues to do for us. 

We should daily be brought to our knees in humility and surrender with a grateful heart for all that we have.  Perhaps we need to make a list of all the blessings we have in our lives so that we can focus more on what He has done and continues to give.  We all often need these visual reminders of what we do have and not focus on what we don’t have. 

I want to encourage all of us to remember God’s amazing grace, mercy and forgiveness every single day and to give Him sincere thanks to keep us humble as we live in this self-centered world. 

Happy New Year to everyone and be thankful daily for His abundant blessings!