Archive for February, 2014

Mark 9:35 explains very simply how we can impress God.

The 12 apostles had been arguing among themselves as to who was the greatest, but Jesus told them they had it backwards.

“He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to Him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

Let’s show great faith today.

Let’s display the faith-based desire to be the servant of everyone else.

Even if some of them don’t appreciate it.

It’s how Jesus was.

And how we’re to be.

As always, I love you

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I know God loves me.

I know Christ died for me.

And I know the Holy Spirit guides me and strengthens me and that He is the intercessory agent when God’s power heals me or His Word convicts me.

So I should never have moments of less than complete faith, right?


I want to say that I never wonder why God hasn’t solved this problem in my life or why God hasn’t yet empowered me to overcome that obstacle.

But I can’t.

I’m more faithful than I used to be, but nowhere near the 100 percent I need to be.

When struggles come, my default position should be that God already has in mind how He will bless me if I respond in the pattern of faithfulness.

God has good in mind for me when Satan is given liberty to do bad to me.

It’s the story of Job. It’s the promise of Romans 8:28. And it’s the promise of eternal life in heaven for those who embrace the biblical promise that a perfect eternity awaits those who faithfully endure an imperfect earth until they die.

This being the case, I need to acknowledge my inadequacies of faith/strength/wisdom when I encounter challenges that I don’t understand, particularly those that lure me toward thinking God doesn’t care about my situation.

I believe, yes. But I need God’s help in order to believe more.

And as I pray to hear His voice, as I read His Word, as I step forward in at least (more…)

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Many people think that the undeniable progression of our society away from biblical morality is no big deal.

So what if people want to behave in a way that the Bible defines as sinful?

What’s the problem?

After all, nobody is getting hurt, right?

Nobody also gets hurt in the car when the driver is racing along a curvy road while none of the passengers are wearing seatbelts and no accident has happened yet.

Pointing to the white crosses periodically along the side of the road has no effect on the driver who reasons “I haven’t wrecked yet, therefore I won’t wreck. And so, the warnings of others don’t apply to me.”

Sadly, it is this attitude that too often leads to more white crosses on the side of the road.

The history of Old Testament Israel undeniably shows this pattern of speeding down the curvy road as the Hebrews cast off the restraints of God’s Word and invariably found themselves in serious, tragic problems.

For untold millions of Americans now, the widespread ignoring of biblical teaching about sin appears to be comparable to the driver enjoying life without speed limits as the carful of friends revel in the excitement of fast-lane living.

You see what’s happening to God’s definition of family in the minds and hearts of the general public.

A news article today reported that the majority of Americans no longer hold to the view that marriage is only to be between a man and a woman.

Perhaps that doesn’t trouble you.

What matters is does it trouble God.

The need for prayer on behalf of our nation is desperate.

Not just for a national repentance of any beliefs/behaviors conflicting with God’s Word, but also for strength to hold up under the approaching tide of hassles that Christians will likely be facing as they hold to their own values regarding God’s design for the family and for godly living.

What used to be rejected by most is now is accepted by most.

As Christians, we can’t act surprised in the days ahead when the pressure upon us becomes oppressively strong to reject biblical values and embrace societal values.

It’s a pattern of history. Check out the last verse of the Book of Judges.

We just need to prepare ourselves to remain faithful and humble and prayerful and kind through whatever we encounter.

We need to hold fast to Christlike patterns for living and loving, including those where Jesus taught it’s wrong to cohabitate, that marriage was between a man and a woman and that the biblical response to sexual immorality by either gender is to “go and sin no more.”

How we respond will speak volumes to God.

If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38)

Let’s make the choices that humbly honor the Word, honor God, promote biblical families and protect us from being ashamed at the time we most want to avoid it — before God’s throne.

As always, I love you

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Here are seven words that can help us to have much better lives:

“The wise are glad to be instructed” (Proverbs 10:8)

This gift from the pen of King Solomon gives new meaning to the idea of the rich getting richer or to the axiom that you have to have money to make money.

The reason wise people are wise is that they know that the fountain of truth — and life success — doesn’t originate from within them.

Instead, they’ve had their Copernican revolution — they know that they are not the “sun” of the informational solar system and that the world doesn’t revolve around them.

Does this describe us?

Daily, we’re to assess if we’re opening our minds and hearts to the wisdom of scripture and to the sound practices for everyday living demonstrated by others.

I want to be more successful in ministry, in family life, in all my decision-making. I won’t be, however, if I rely only on my own knowledge.

Trust me, I speak from experience.

Solomon nailed it when he wrote, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Seek instruction. Hunger for it.

Daily from God’s Word.

It’s the wise thing to do.

As always, I love you

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I just finished a sermon series at church called One Month to Live. The “big idea” of the series is for believers to live each day committed passionately toward serving the Lord and serving the people in our lives as if there were no tomorrow.

When time is really short, our priority list tends to become much more clear and targeted.

The final message focused on leaving a legacy without regrets.

That’s something we all want, I’m sure. We want to be remembered for the things we’ve done well, things we’ve done that helped others toward better lives.

We don’t want a legacy stained by bad things.

Of course, we’re not perfect. We’ve made mistakes. But my sense is that people don’t cling to our mistakes if they weren’t malicious or weren’t because of stubborn refusal to change.

It’s those decisions that were intentional choices to put self first that tend to stain legacies.

If we’re known as people who tried to do the right thing as a pattern for living, we’ll have good legacies.

People — particularly our loved ones and friends — will have good memories of us.

Today’s devotional reading in the One-Year Bible contained a passage that prompted this Morning Devotion.

“We have happy memories of the godly, but the name of a wicked person rots away.” (Proverbs 10:7)

Like me, you almost certainly have happy memories of godly people who have passed into eternity. Those memories are not only comforting for your residual sense of loss, but they’re also instructive in making your own good choices regarding family life, work life, church life or health life.

And like me, you almost certainly have memories of people who engaged in wickedness, whose passing was met with little sorrow on your part.

Sadly, too many people die with the same lack of concern shown by peers that was shown to evil King Jehoram in the Old Testament. When he died, the Bible said nobody regretted it.


Let’s pour our hearts and hands into serving others in godly ways and to conducting ourselves in a godly manner. This is what will leave a legacy that pleases and guides those whom we love and leave behind.

And please don’t wait to start manifesting godliness in every aspect of your life.

You see, none of us knows how many days we have left.

An auto accident or a stroke or a heart attack could happen at any time and we’re done.

Nobody wants a “coulda, woulda, shoulda” legacy.

Let’s live like Jesus now and bless our loved ones with a quality legacy forever.

As always, I love you

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I can count on one hand the number of times yearly that I get enough sleep to feel rested when I awake.

This has been the pattern for my life — eyes wanting more sleep.

But this is a lifestyle choice, a choice to be productive doing this or that at the cost of having rested eyes.

I am not alone in this pattern. Many of you reading these words take the same view of sleep.

When I got out of bed this morning at 5:11 a.m., I immediately started preparing Lori’s breakfast and after taking that to her, I prepared her lunch.

She’s under a tight schedule to get ready in the morning in order to beat the traffic rush and still get to her job by 7:15 or so — 45 miles away from our house.

It’s right for me to help her rather than staying in bed and letting her figure out her own breakfast and lunch.

When she pulls out of the garage, I shift toward other tasks such as my devotional time and then writing the Morning Devotion.

After that, I take care of personal correspondence and personal business that’s needed and then my workday starts at the church office.

Wow, nearly four hours of tasks each morning before I get to work….

Some of you have even busier mornings, so I consider myself blessed to not have to get up even earlier.

“Go, go, go” is how I’m wired. It’s not just about getting things done but, even more importantly, it’s about being a good steward of opportunities to make a difference.

Of course, we all need some sleep. Let’s just make sure to never let the desire for more sleep get in the way of doing what we should.

Here’s the Bible’s view on how believers shouldn’t allow the desire for sleep to determine their choices.

“A wise youth harvests in the summer, but one who sleeps during harvest is a disgrace.” (Proverbs 10:5)

Let’s be wise. If getting out of bed a bit earlier or going to bed a bit later — or both — will help you to serve more people with deeds of kindness, notes of appreciation, acts of service or prayers of intercession, then such things should be harvested through our faith in God.

As long as people around us have needs — including the need for salvation — we’re in an endless summer and settling for less sleep is an act of faith that can bear much fruit.

You know, Jesus never got a lot of sleep and — because He was exhausted — He even fell asleep on a boat in a raging storm.

Why was He so sleepy? You know…. He was always up very early praying.

What a great example for us!

As always, I love you

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If I’m breathing, sooner or later I’ll want to be eating.

It’s the way of the flesh.

We’re organisms and as the ad jingle used to say, “Ya gotta eat.”

It’s not just eating food that we need until we die.

We also need forgiveness.

You see, our appetite is not only for food but also for sin.

Too many times when tempted, we act as if we’ve forgotten where the “No!” word is in our vocabularly.

We’ve told ourselves before that we were NOT going to repeat a particular sin and, for a time, we kept our word.

But that dreaded “Oops!” moment returns when we realize we’ve again dropped our guard and bitten the forbidden fruit of whatever.

Everybody has their stumbling blocks. You have yours and I have mine.

It stinks.

Not just for us but for God, too, who wants better for us.

This is why it’s vital that we keep a well-worn path to the throne of God, not just for worship but also to plea for forgiveness.

We all sin. We all need grace. And we all will until we die.

That means the spiritual discipline of repentance and rededication is to be a daily pattern for living rather than a random choice when we determine if we’ve messed up enough to feel unworthy.

Let’s follow the principle taught in Leviticus 6:13 where the Israelite priests were told by God to NEVER let the fire go out on the bronze altar of sacrifice. You see, God told the priests that guilt offerings are to be placed on that fire. And since with millions of Israelities being present, there was always guilt in the camp that needed forgiveness.

Because God’s desire is for restoration of the soul, the fire had to keep burning in order to complete the guilt offering sacrifices ordained by God.

If the priests chose to let the fire die, it would be because they stopped believing that sins were occurring or they stopped believing that sins needed forgiveness.

The day eventually came when priests did neglect the altar fire and Israel suffered terribly.

We don’t have bronze altars at churches now, but our need for forgiveness is just as real today.

Let’s remember that our going to God to gain forgiveness for our sins should be even more important to us than is going to the fridge to gain food for our stomachs.

Let’s never let the hunger for forgiveness fade.

For unlike food that can sustain us until we die, forgiveness can carry us through this life into the next.

As always, I love you

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