rails

rails

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Impossible To-Do List

“Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”
1 Peter 2:17 ESV

(Edited)

Peter gives us an impossible to-do list. It's also a picture of the three kinds of relationships we're to live out by grace through faith: Upward, inward and outward relationships. Up, in and out. (Think triangle with UP at the top)

UP - "Fear God." This is our posture in our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Holy respect, honor and awe for his holiness and power.

IN - "Love the brotherhood." Peter is referring to our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Church. These "insiders" are family. We love them out of the overflow of loving our good God.

OUT - "Love Honor everyone...honor the emperor." Peter reminds us to love and respect everyone no matter where they stand with God. This is the missional impulse of a rescuing God. He calls us to join him in this great work.

(See Jesus flesh out these 3 kinds of relationships in Luke 6:12-19.)

This is what we do as Christ-followers. If you follow Jesus, you do what he did. We love God (UP) and love people (IN and OUT). But not in our own strength.

We cannot do this apart from the grace of God. Pray for His Spirit to work in and through you to accomplish this impossible to-do list.


What is God saying to you?

What are you going to do about it?

Who should you share this truth with today?


Note: The UP, IN, OUT triangle comes from Mike Breen and the team at 3DM Ministries. 3DMovements.com for more information and resources

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Fragrance Pleasing to God

“I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.”
Philippians 4:18 ESV


Paul has received kind and generous support from the Philippian Christians. He thanks and encourages them here for their pattern of godly behavior. 

Paul describes the abundant gifts he received from them in v. 18. He says they are:

1. A fragrant offering. 

This speaks to an aroma wafting from them like a nice cologne or perfume, or like the smell of a rose exploding in bloom. It's ultimately an offering because it's to their Lord, Jesus. In this, Paul applauds theIr effort and then elevates it.

2. A sacrifice. 

This continues down the road of sacrificial offering to Jesus. That is, a very costly gift. It's giving until it hurts. 

3. A sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 

Not just something that is costly and painful to give--it's pleasing to God. 

God accepts it because it's given in the spirit of the law of Christ--selfless love. Loving their neighbor (in this case, Paul) as themselves, they give to him abundantly and sacrificially. This is clearly something they did by faith. In other words, they did it even though they may not know where the money for their own needs will come from. The early church was full of recently impoverished people. This faith "pleases" God. (C.f. Hebrews 11:6)

So in describing the Philippian's gift to him, Paul exalts them and blesses them with encouraging words so they'll repeat this behavior and live with this attitude of gratitude and generosity. 

For me, this has at least two applications.

First, I should get more comfortable giving until it hurts--especially to those in need serving the Lord in the mission field. 

Paul is under house arrest in Rome at this point. He's under arrest because of his missionary activity. While he's learned to be content in all circumstances, it's no doubt encouraging to receive gifts and money to provide for his many physical needs. 

Second, I must remember that many brothers and sisters in Christ are sacrificially giving to the Church. As a pastor, it's easy to think that people should grow up and give as God teaches them to. It's easy to get frustrated with the lack of giving in the face of so much need. It's easy to focus on what's not happening and miss what is happening. 

Lord, help me give and receive gracefully and graciously. Give me a grateful heart! Keep me from unfair and misinformed judgments. Find me generous and cheerful in my giving. Help me live as if Jesus' words, "It's more blessed to give than to receive" are actually.

Thank you for the priceless gift of your son Jesus Christ. He saved my life. I give you mine. 

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Top 10 Podcasts in 2015

I have been listening to podcasts for several years now. It's basically like TiVo for radio. 

However, now some podcasts are created solely for, well, podcast audiences. They just skip past radio. Others are made for radio and then podcasted. I last posted my top 10 back in 2012

My preferences are just that--what I like to listen to based on my own interests as an NFL fan, church leader and cultural influencer. 

Here are my Top 10 this year:

10. Your Move. Andy Stanley shows up several times in my top 10. He's a great communicator with life-changing content. Here is his attempt to reach folks who watch late night TV/comedy--many of whom will never step foot into a church. 

Your Move is actually a TV program hosted by Andy Stanley. He speaks in contemporary language about the life-changing truths in the Bible. He does it with humor, object lessons and simple, sticky statements of truth. 

9. The Briefing. Albert Mohler is brilliant. This man has to have a photographic memory and high IQ to talk about the things he talks about. 

He comes from an Evangelical Christian worldview on The Briefing showing that evangelical Christian does not mean you do not use your brain. Quite the contrary, in fact. 

He reads articles in major secular publications (NYTimes, WSJ, etc.) and comments on the cultural trends and changes he sees. As a result, you are challenged to think about what you believe and how you live. It can be a little tedious at times. He's intellectual and moves quickly. Yet even just a few crumbs from each episode will sharpen your mind and thinking on the great issues of our day.

8. Fantasy Focus Football Podcast. (ESPN) Matthew Berry continues his run in entertaining "Mediocre Fantasy Advice" in over 10 seasons of NFL fantasy football expert advice and nonsense. First-year host Field Yates does what I never thought anyone could do--out host Nate Ravitz. Otherwise, Berry would be a shadow of who he could be. Nice choice in Yates, to be sure! As a raving fantasy football-er, this podcast on trivia of trivia is a welcome diversion to my day. 

7. The Eric Metaxas Show. Eric Metaxas is a delight. He's brilliant too. Did I say he's passionate? He's passionate! He cares deeply about life, culture and what's happening in our world today. An accomplished author, he thinks deeply about the greater issues of our day. He's able to do this with a levity that few can pull off. His wit and charm compliment conversations on some pretty heavy topics. 

6. Passion City Church - The only church making my top 10 this year is Louie Giglio's plant in Atlanta, GA. He brings most of the messages here and boy does he bring it. 

There are many great church podcasts out there that I listen to. I chose Louie because he paints pictures like few do in his messages. He challenges the mind and the heart by displaying God in all his brilliance. His genuine passion is contagious. Go download and listen!

5. Breakpoint Daily - John Stonestreet and Eric Metaxas tag-team on this daily 3-minute program formerly hosted by Chuck Colson. Speaking from a biblical worldview, these gentlemen bring commentary on all that's happening in the news today. A must-listen for those serious about changing our culture for good.

4. The ChurchLeaders Podcast - This one is new to me. I love interviews and they bring great ones. You'll have a blast catching up too. A growing library will entertain and inform you for weeks to come.

3. Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast - An Andy Stanley-disciple, Carey is still his own man. He is a great communicator through all things tech. He writes, speaks, podcasts and is a master at interviewing. His blog is a terrific source of free resources too. Love this guy's heart for "Helping you lead like never before." Way to go, Carey!

2. Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast - This is still my favorite leadership podcast. Andy is at his best when he's communicating to leaders who want to change the world through church, non-profit or business. The truth he drops is priceless. I don't miss these. In fact, I listen to them over and over again.

1. The World and Everything in It - The only thing I don't like about this podcast is it's awkwardly long title. I concede it is a good description, however. 

It's my daily source of news and commentary on what's happening in the world. In less than 25 minutes each morning I can get the news of the day, social commentary with heart and soul, and equipping to engage our culture through great thinkers of great faith. The new app leaves a little to be desired. I have continued to listen through the itunes podcast app.



Honorable Mention


  • 3DM Podcast - The content flows from the 3DM (3 Dimensional Ministries Movement). If only they'd keep posting. At this point there are only 9 episodes. Each one is terrific. But the last one was in August. Please do more!
I'm always checking out new podcasts so feel free to post below what you like and listen to. I'd like to check them out!

If you have not tried listening to podcasts, I encourage you to download a great podcasting app and give it a try!


Thursday, December 03, 2015

King Hezekiah's seal discovered in Jerusalem - CNN.com

We often joke about a verse being found in the "Book of Hezekiah" in the Bible (there is no such book), but here archeological evidence that he was a real king...in fact, the greatest other than David. We can learn a lot from this king of a idolater. Are we so different? Amazing find!


King Hezekiah's seal discovered in Jerusalem - CNN.com:


Monday, November 16, 2015

Out on the Wire (Book review)

I pleased to give you my book review of Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio.

If I was as talented as Jessica Abel perhaps I could write this review as a comic book or graphic novel. Alas, I must stay with the typed word.

Abel takes us behind the scenes behind some of the best radio show creations. There she guides the reader through a series of interviews where the experts teach the reader how to tell a story well.

This is what got me interested in the book. I am a story-teller. I want to learn how to do that well. Stories change the world!

What's so cool is that in the process of writing (and re-writing her book (7 times!!)) she ends up teaching herself (by reading what she wrote) how to write this comic book.

I'll admit, at times--especially early-on--I was confused. Some of it was getting use to her pace and style. Some of it might have been her flashback to an earlier work (I'm still a little confused). But press on because there's good stuff in this comic!

I enjoyed getting to know the creators to some of these radio programs. It made me want to go and listen to them. I plan to check out these podcasts soon.

Abel walks her tightrope teaching us about pursuing ideas that really interest you, finding your voice, setting up solid story structure, finding the right sound(s), and the edit, of course.

All in all I learned a lot and was entertained along the way. I felt like I was learning right alongside of Abel.

For that, I am grateful.

  • More Info
  • Author Bio
  • On Amazon here

  • Note: While I was given this book for free to review (Blogging for Books), the thoughts are my own and were not influenced by that fact.

    Wednesday, November 11, 2015

    Faithful AND Fruitful

    “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.

    You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.”
    John 15:8, 16 NLT


    I've heard preachers and individuals say from time to time, when they're not as fruitful as they would like to be, that it's OK because we're just called to be faithful. 

    I want to challenge that here with these two verses. While there will be times when we are faithful but not fruitful, I do not believe this should be our pattern. According to these verses we're called and chosen to be fruitful. That makes fruitfulness pretty important in my eyes.

    Tuesday, October 27, 2015

    Be Attractive

    “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.””
    Luke 14:11 NIV
     

    Jesus knows our tendency--my tendency for sure-- to think more of ourselves than we should. 

    This isn't because we aren't as good as we think we are (even though it's often the case) but because this is an arrogant place to be. It disregards our sinful motives and tendencies. It tends to disregard our need for God.

    In this story, Jesus is calling out those who were angling for the most prestigious seat at the table. They cared way too much what other people thought about them. Jesus shows them that this is a pursuit fraught with potential shame and humiliation. For when someone more honored shows up, the host will ask you to move down. And there will be times when the only remaining seat is the least honorable seat.  Jesus points us to a better way.

    Start at the bottom. Place yourself in the least and last seat. This doesn't mean that you don't deserve more honor. It doesn't mean that you shouldn't be sitting closer to the most honorable seat. Jesus is simply saying don't seek that out. Let it be a gift. Don't make your life pursuit be what others think of you. Those rewards are empty anyway. Instead, use the opportunity to allow others to be in the spotlight. 

    This is freeing! No pressure to impress. Just enjoy being with people God has graced you to be with. 

    What's ironic is that people will actually end up thinking more of you when you live this way. People are drawn to humility and repelled by arrogance. 

    This attraction shouldn't surprise us. Those are qualities that come from Christ. People are drawn to Christ when he's visible in us. Shouldn't our aim be to display his glory anyway?

    What is God saying to you today?

    What are you going to do about it?

    "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." Romans 12:3 NIV84

    Thursday, October 08, 2015

    An Emerging Pattern

    Just say the words "Planned Parenthood" or "abortion" and most people have a visceral reaction no matter which side of this debate you're on. Passions run high on this issue. Which is why I always hesitate to write or share anything about it online. 

    Sometimes, I am a coward.

    I believe courage is doing the right thing, motivated by love, even when you are afraid. 

    So this is me trying to live courageously on this issue.

    I don't think we realize how young ladies get find themselves in a Planned Parenthood clinic. According to Kristan Hawkins, there is a common pattern emerging. I quote it here to inform you.

    Planned Parenthood’s create-a-customer business model is vicious, and it’s trapping our generation into their money-making scheme. Here’s how they do it: STEP #1: First, they go to our middle and high schools and offer to teach sex education classes. In those classes, they tell the young girl that abstinence is impossible and to come to Planned Parenthood for help that won’t require going to her parents. STEP #2: Then Planned Parenthood prescribes her birth control that they know is carcinogenic and won’t prevent sexually-transmitted diseases. After she gets her heart broken, she will come back for a STD or HIV test, perhaps STD treatment, and more birth control. This cycle will start again with every new partner she has. STEP #3: Finally, when the birth control fails, she will return to Planned Parenthood, whom she has visited for years, for a positive pregnancy test and they will sell her an abortion.

    While I have trouble understanding how a women's right to choose is more important than a baby's choice to live, I truly believe that some of those who defend abortion themselves truly believe they are pursuing a noble cause. I'm not against people here. I'm for people! 

    What I'm against are bad ideas. I'm against taking innocent life. And since I believe that abortion is taking an innocent life, I cannot in good conscience continue to stay silent on this issue. 

    So my aim going forward is to courageously (doing the right thing, motivated by love, even when you're afraid) speak out against this bad idea. It's bad for the child. It's bad for the woman carrying the child. It's much worse than having the child and giving the child up for adoption would be. 

    I am praying for, giving to, and serving those who find themselves in a situation where carrying a child to birth is a great burden. I am also praying that more will put their baby ahead of their inconvenience when deciding on this issue. 

    What is God saying to you?
    What are you going to do about it?
     

    Add your name to the "Don't Fund Planned Parenthood" bus http://buff.ly/1L29bqK

    Wednesday, October 07, 2015

    Do You Need A Doctor?

    “On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.””
    Mark 2:17 NIV


    This verse is Jesus' response to the Pharisees' question, "Why does (Jesus) eat with tax collectors and sinners?"

    Jesus tells his disciples why through this analogy of a doctor and a sick person because there is a parallel between our physical and spiritual condition.

    When we are sick, and the cure is beyond our knowledge or expertise to treat, we eventually call a doctor. 

    We hate going to the doctor. Not only because of the cost but because we are saying we don't know what to do. That's humbling. Because of our need, we humble ourselves and go see the doctor. 

    Even those who are too proud or stubborn to go see the doctor still need a doctor. Their pride just keeps them from going.

    It is the same way with our spiritual condition.

    Sin is our disease. Treating the symptoms is a hopeless cause. Medicating ourselves with sex, materialism, alcohol, accolades or popularity. There is only one cure. The blood of Jesus.

    We need a blood transfusion from Jesus himself. It's his blood that washes away sin. His blood is the antidote to the virus of sin.

    By God's grace, some come to realize that they are sick from sin. They are sick beyond their ability to get well. They have no hope apart from someone giving them blood that cleanses theirs. 

    So they humble themselves and go see a 'doctor'. Someone who can help them find healing and wholeness. True doctors take them to the Great Physician Jesus who takes away the sins of the world. He heals us by cleansing us from our sin and filling us with his Spirit. 

    Who are the "righteous" Jesus refers to? Those who are proud and don't think they need healing. They have no hope of healing apart from humbling themselves and admitting they need help. But they won't receive--because they don't believe--the transfusion that will save their life.

    The key is we must humble ourselves and 'go to the doctor'--Jesus. 

    Are you sick? Yes, apart from Christ, you are.

    Do you see your disease? Do you see your need for a blood transfusion?

    Go to the Great Physician and holy blood donor Jesus Christ and ask him to heal you from sin and death. He is able!


    What is God saying to you right now?

    What are you going to do about it?

    Monday, October 05, 2015

    How Many Blessings Have I Missed?

    “Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!””
    Luke 5:5-8 NIV


    Simon's response to Jesus asking him to put out his nets in deep water one more time is interesting.  I suspect he's thinking at least one of two things.

    He could be thinking, "Lord, I'm exhausted. There aren't any fish out there. I know--I've been up all night. I just want to go home and crash. But to save face in front of this crowd, and because I respect you, Lord, I'll do it." 

    Of course, Jesus doesn't mind asking him to go out one more time because he knows he's about to bless Peter and many others with a huge catch.

    Peter could be thinking, "Lord, I'm happy to do what you ask. Your teaching is amazing and I've really been blessed by it this morning. So I'm going to honor you by doing what you ask. However, let me temper your expectations. I believe you mean well and want us to get a good catch--Lord knows we need it! Just don't be surprised if we don't catch anything (which is what I'm expecting). Poor naive Jesus. He knows nothing about fishing."

    Again, Jesus isn't worried about his expectations. In fact, there's probably a twinkle in his eyes over what's about to happen.


    So what?

    I think for me there are a few takeaways.

    First, the Lord Jesus wants to bless me. It's his nature to bless people--especially his people. He delights in doing it.

    Second, his blessing often comes attached to obedience. Jesus asks me to do something and then to teach me to trust him more ties the blessing to my trusting and obeying him. Positive reinforcement is very effective.

    Third, blessing may seem unlikely when we feel God's nudge to act in faith. As a result, I am often tempted to not believe and, as a result, not act in obedience. 

    This means I miss out on the blessing God has for me. If Peter says he won't go out and walks away, either no one gets the blessing or someone else does. 

    I wonder how many blessings I've walked away from.

    God is a good God. We can trust him.
    God is a great God. He is able.
    God is worthy of all my worship and life.


    What is God saying to you today?
    What are you going to do about it?

    Saturday, September 26, 2015

    Richard John Neuhaus (Book Review)

    I chose to read this biography because I wanted to learn more about who influenced President George W. Bush on issues of faith while he was campaigning and in the White House. I learned that and more.

    I knew nothing about Neuhaus before reading this book. I'd read quotes here and there but that's all. 

    In this excellent biography by Randy Boyagoda, you not only learn that Neuhaus was incredibly influential all his life. You learn about a man who was his own man. What stood out to me beyond his influence was that he defied stereotype. That doesn't mean people didn't try to paint him in broad strokes. He was a complicated man who was not afraid to say and write what he thought about religion, politics and the culture.

    He started out as a fairly liberal man by most accounts in the 60's. This was seen in his activist activities around the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement. As the liberal movement became more visible to him, however, he saw what was lacking in the thinking behind their actions, policies and rhetoric. As a result, he ultimately swung right religiously and politically as he continued to be a vocal part of the nation's conversation regarding all things religious, political and cultural. By the 80's he was advising President George W. Bush and Pope John Paul II. 

    While Neuhaus clearly had great self-confidence (at times, egotistical), he seemed driven by a love for people and the cultural systems our lives are lived out through. His tireless efforts influenced many influencers and so extended his ability to shape the American conversation about important matters around religion, politics and the American culture. 

    At the end of the day, his legacy is clearly one of great positive influence on our national conversations even today. Boyagoda does a terrific job of sharing this. 

    While I found myself, at times, impatient to get to the 80's, I found myself growing in appreciation for someone who so persistently sought to influence the most important cultural conversations--from his pulpit to his magazine First Things.

    I also found myself inspired by his voracious appetite for reading and writing. He seemed to work tirelessly as if driven with a great sense of urgency. 

    Boyagoda has served us well with this biography. Neuhaus served us well with his life. 

    I'd also like to note that I really enjoyed Boyagoda's conversation with modern-day cultural warrior Eric Metaxas on his radio show The Eric Metaxas Show. When I got bogged down in reading the book I found myself inspired to finish it by this interview. I highly recommend both that conversation and that radio program. I listen to it as a podcast via the Apple Podcast app. 

    In my personal efforts to counter our culture as it drifts further and further away from God's ideal, I am left inspired and challenged by Richard John Neuhaus. Thank you Randy Boyagoda for this important work. 


    Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

    Thursday, September 24, 2015

    Who Are You Equipping and Sending?

    “This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.”  Acts 19:10 NIV


    Paul's work in Ephesus and the fruit that resulted is more than impressive--It's miraculous.

    After preaching in the synagogue in Ephesus for 3 months, opponents made it clear to Paul that he was no longer welcome there. So he moved his ministry of preaching, teaching and prayer to Tyrannus' lecture hall for the next 2 years. 

    From there Paul seems to have changed his previous strategy from going out on mission city to city to equipping and then sending other disciples out on his behalf. 

    Paul setup a training center. I'm not saying that he didn't go out himself. However, unlike his previous missionary journeys, Paul seems to have figured out the power of sending out disciples who make disciples who make disciples. 

    And they did. 

    This verses reports, "This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord."

    That's miraculous.

    To be clear, we're not talking about the continent of Asia but the province. Probably modern day Turkey. 

    Still, for a whole province to hear and have a chance to respond to the gospel in 2 years is amazing. God's power + a system/strategy of equipping and sending out others resulted in many becoming new disciples of Christ. 

    What about us? Is this how we "do church?"

    Paul may have equipped these folks but he didn't do it alone. He didn't run a fully funded mission organization either (though he did run/lead a strong one). He equipped and sent out men who in turn sent out their family, friends and others they trained up to go out and make disciples. It became a Jesus movement that led to my life thousands of years later being changed forever. 

    Now I get to make disciples who make disciples!

    Do we realize the privilege and responsibility we have before us today? Are we rearranging our life around this mission of making disciples who make disciples? If not, why not? 

    There's nothing more important in this life than that. It's why we're still here and not on our way home already. It's the mission of God we've been invited to join.

    What is God saying to you?
    What are you going to do about it?

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

    Restoring All Things

    “...With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”
    Ephesians 1:8-10 NIV


    "To bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ." This phrase warrants a little breaking down.

    "To bring unity" or to restore the parts into one beautifully unified whole. 

    Our world is like an old Mustang in the back yard up on blocks. It needs a lot of work to return to it's former glory. It needs a transformation that can only come through intentional and labor-intensive effort over time.

    The "unity" part is the essential piece. We're taking our corrupted world and bringing it together. God is uniting all creation in purpose, on purpose, to it's former unified beauty.

    "All things" means all things--everything. People, creation, heaven, earth...everything.

    What's cool about all of this is that we "get" to be a part of it. As God's people--those he's reconciled to himself and to each other, we are being united by Christ into one, unified, purposeful family on mission together. 

    This is God's plan. This is the mystery he revealed to Paul and then the world. God working to reveal his kingdom to our decaying world to restore it. 

    Sure Christ will come one day and completely restore all things. That's coming and nothing can stop it. It will be a total work of God. That doesn't mean, however, we just kick back and wait for that to happen. We have something to do in the meantime.

    We actively work to reveal this beautiful kingdom, one glimpse at a time, to our world. It is often through this effort that people are drawn to the King of that kingdom. Maybe the best way. God's family working in unity together to bring his kingdom to earth--a foretaste of the fullness of Christ that will be here when he returns.

    Is this mysterious plan consistent with your "church" experience? Do you find yourself part of a family on mission together extending Christ's kingdom where you live, work and play? 

    What is God saying to you?
    What are you going to do about it?

    Wednesday, September 09, 2015

    It Takes Effort

    “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,”

    Philippians 2:12 NIV


    What does it take to live this way?

    The mind of Christ.

    That's what Paul is saying in the verses just before these. A Christ-like mindset is one based on humility--not pride. It's being a servant to all creation will you are their Creator King. The contrast is jaw-dropping.

    Paul continues the contrast here when he talks about "shining like stars in the sky" (15). Just like pinpoints of light or luminary bodies in the night sky grab our attention, whether we like it or not, our lives--when lived with the mind of Christ--will grab the attention of others. It will be obvious and unmistakable.

    What jumps out to me today is that this doesn't just happen. It takes effort. Intentional effort on our part.

    "Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling," makes it clear this isn't effortless. Now we aren't earning anything here (we can't). We are, however, putting forth great personal effort. We are working--not casually playing--really working out our salvation. 

    In a gym workout, you are pumping iron, jumping, running, rowing or doing some kind of strenuous exercise to get stronger. To succeed you need a plan, a place and a person to hold you accountable. It doesn't just happen.

    The same is true of our spiritual walk. It takes a lot of effort. Some physical but mostly intellectual, emotional, and willful. 

    Are you standing out like stars in the night sky to those around you or are you blending in? 

    It's scary letting God's light shine out through you. It gets you more attention that you may want. It also brings glory to your Creator and Savior.

    The only alternative is to hide your light under a basket. (Matt 5:14-16) We're called to much more than that.


    What is God saying to you today?
    What are you going to do about it?

    Thursday, September 03, 2015

    Love > Faith

    "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”  - Paul of Tarsus, 1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV

    Love > Faith

    As I think about the challenge of walking with God consistently and by faith, I’m often disappointed in myself. I wonder what I could do better and how to pull that off. I marvel over how I can have so little faith and yet see God work in my life. Do I pray for more faith or more courage to exercise the faith I already have? So many questions.

    Mike Breen (@mike_breen) wrote a blog post recently where he was wrestling with healing and faith. He discerned that the key ingredient to prayers of healing wasn’t faith (as I always assumed and thought) but love. 

    Love. I never saw that coming.

    It’s almost obvious to me now. Love > Faith. 

    Well, I’m thinking now that love is ALWAYS the key ingredient. Always. 

    Struggling with sin? Love.
    Marriage issues? Love.
    Struggling with unity in the church—or someone in particular? Love.
    Lacking peace? Love.
    Seeking everything but God? Love.
    Praying for healing? Love.
    Praying for grace while suffering with chronic illness? Love.
    Looking for guidance? Next steps? Love.
    Praying for a loved one to come to Christ? Love.
    Afraid? Love.

    The love of the Bible is a word of action. (“Love is a verb.” -DC Talk) We’re not talking about “love" the emotion or “love" as brotherhood. We’re talking living a life of love that flows from being loved infinitely by a God who says he IS love. That’s big.

    Love is seen in our actions. 
    Love is heard and felt in our words. 
    Love begins in our thoughts.
    Love arrives because of our God-given faith. 

    Think about Jesus. 

    His actions were always motivated by love (for his Father, his followers and others aka UP-IN-OUT) and manifested love.
    His words were guided by love (the Father). They propelled others to live a life of love.
    His thoughts were always fueled and guided by love. 

    God is love.
    Jesus is God.
    Jesus is love.

    So Jesus was love with flesh on.

    An example, yes. But more than that.

    His love changed the world. 
    His love changes the world.

    His love in me changes me.
    His love in me changes the world.

    “We love because (God) first loved us."
    -John the Beloved, 1 John 4:19 NIV


    What God saying to you?
    What will you do about it?



    Wednesday, September 02, 2015

    Merciful Confrontation

    “Son of man, will you judge her? Will you judge this city of bloodshed? Then confront her with all her detestable practices”
    Ezekiel 22:2 NIV


    Confrontation.

    The Lord is angry with his people. Israel is unfaithful and practicing "detestable" things. He lists these things throughout the entire chapter.

    What gets my attention today, though, is that God confronts his people. He confronts them through his faithful prophet Ezekiel. He is direct. He is colorful and dramatic. Why does this stand out to me?

    Because it's a picture of God's mercy. 

    Not what you might first think.

    Why is it merciful? Because if they don't realize that God's displeased and about to punish them, they might not repent turning back to him. They might just blindly live until his just wrath comes. Not what he wants. Not what we would want either.

    So it's mercy. God confronting his people.

    What is God confronting you about? Anything?

    See it for what it is. Mercy. Then respond in humility and obedience rooted in faith in a trustworthy God. 

    Because he is.


    What is God saying to you right now?

    What are you going to do about it?

    Monday, August 31, 2015

    This is a Treasure...a Member of the Family

    I just finished reading this beautifully created book. Part children's-Bible--part adult summary of the Bible.

    One of the biggest challenges of the Bible is that, because of it's length, it's hard to capture it's overarching story. It's more likely that one gets the smaller stories and misses the meta-narrative. DeYoung takes great pains to make the overarching story apparent. He succeeds too.

    So he writes this children's Bible/story with kids in mind (amazing illustrations!!!) while, at the same time, not dumbing or watering down the major themes in the Bible--themes that capture the essence of the Story. This is why adults can read this book over and over to their kids and themselves grow from it. It truly can become a "member" of the family.

    I encourage you to buy one to read to your children and later grandchildren. If you're a grandparent, also buy one for each of your kids to read to theirs. This is a book to pass down generation after generation.

    But don't get ahead of yourself. Trying to preserve it and not tear the dust jacket misses the point--just use it. The real value is in the time spent reading this story together!

    This is a treasure. Thank you Kevin DeYoung!

    Link to Book on Amazon.com


    The un-disclaimer.

    I was NOT given this book to read and write a review of. I bought the book, read it and was so impressed that I chose to write this review. I'm glad I did!

    Wednesday, August 12, 2015

    Treasure on Display

    “He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.”  

    Jeremiah 18:6 NIV http://bible.com/111/jer.18.6.niv


    God is speaking to Israel through Jeremiah. He's not happy with them right now.

    He asks a question that should sober and remind us who's God--and who's not. 

    "Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?"

    God is referring to the potter he sent Jeremiah to observe. The potter takes a lump of clay and forms it into a pot. When he sees it's "marred in his hands" he reforms and reshapes it. Why? Because he can; because he's the potter and it's the clay. No one expects the clay to question or complain to the potter. It "knows" it's place. The potter knows his place too. He is the one with the power to create, shape, reshape and destroy. It's his right as creator.

    God compares himself to the potter and Israel to the clay. He tells Israel through Jeremiah that Israel is marred and needs reforming. They should repent from their wicked ways or he eventually will destroy them.

    God is speaking to all his people when he says this. Paul refers to this passage in 2 Cor. 4 using the same picture. We're just jars of clay formed by the hand of the master. When we are marred because of our wicked and wayward ways, he calls us to repent. He wants to reform us and make us usable again. We can cooperate or we can resist. Ultimately, persistent resistance leads to destruction. By God's grace I pray we will yield to his good and wise ways and allow him--invite him--to reform us.

    Lord, forgive my proud and evil ways. Forgive me when I resist your attempts to reform me. I gladly and humbly submit to your good, great, gracious and glorious rule in my life. I am but clay. Yet in your hands I am a jar of clay holding the priceless treasure of your gospel. May I display it well this day. In Christ's power name I pray, amen.

    Tuesday, August 11, 2015

    Extremism on Display

    I thought this piece from Gary Bauer illustrated well the difference between two candidates running for President and their position on abortion:

    "Senator Marco Rubio in recent days has argued that his philosophy on the sanctity of life does not include exceptions for abortion. Hillary pounced, as Democrats always do, portraying the pro-life position as out-of-touch. 

    During a campaign event yesterday, Hillary took a question about Donald Trump and used it to attack Rubio saying that his pro-life position was "as offensive and troubling a comment as you could hear." Normally such attacks would send Republican politicians running for the tall grass. 

    But here's the difference: The Rubio campaign immediately hit back and hit back hard. The Florida senator said:

    'Hillary Clinton supports abortion even at the stage when an unborn child can feel pain; she has defended partial-birth abortions as a 'fundamental right;' she opposes requiring parents to be notified that their minor daughter is having an abortion; she supports funding Planned Parenthood even after they have been exposed for their role in selling the organs of unborn children; and she supports using taxpayer money to pay for abortions overseas. Hillary Clinton holds radical views on abortion that we look forward to exposing in the months to come.'

    That is exactly how candidates should handle the issue. Don't apologize for being pro-life and boldly expose the left's extremism." - Gary Bauer



    FOLLOW GARY ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER. VISIT END OF DAY ARCHIVES TO SHARE REPORTS ON FACEBOOK. 

    SIGN UP FOR GARY BAUER'S "END OF DAY REPORT"

    EMAIL GARY BAUER 


    Thursday, August 06, 2015

    A Confession. A Prayer

    Zephaniah 1

    Why am I not angry when I see people who say they are Christ-followers worshiping things other than God? 

    Is it because I struggle with this too and I don't feel like I can speak to it? Is it because I don't have a passion for God's unique place as the sole object of our worship and praise? Is it because I'm so distracted by my trivial pursuits of this world that I don't even notice? Am I even capable of seeing this wickedness?

    I think about how little outrage there is over the Planned Parenthood videos. But then it wasn't that long ago when I didn't think about abortion hardly at all. I'd preach maybe one sermon a year. Maybe. The 3,262 babies/day murdered in the name of convenience hardly stirred my emotions--much less righteous indignation.

    Lord, have mercy on me. I have not defended the fatherless or the poor. I have ignored the widow. I have sought church growth but not kingdom growth. Cleanse me and fill me with your Holy Spirit for I am a needy and bankrupt man apart from your mercy. 

    I cry out to you, Lord, for mercy and grace. Do a mighty work in and through me! Make me usable and then wear me out! Strip away the sin that so easily entangles me. Purify me like silver in the fire. Move me to rejoicing even in trials. (James 1:2-5) Empower me to, "Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with my God." (Micah 6:8) For you are worthy! (Rev 7:11-12)

    Lord, when I see idol worship by Christ-followers today, give me the conviction, compassion and courage to confront it. In Christ's holy name I pray, amen.

    Friday, July 31, 2015

    It's Worse Than I Thought (Warning: Disturbing) #plannedparenthood

    This is the first of the four planned parenthood videos I've seen in full (only 12 min.). It's sobering and reveals what's happening in abortion clinics across the country. If this doesn't bother you...



    My prayer:

    Lord, when I watch this I am appalled and saddened and overwhelmed. I am angered by the evil, disturbed about the consequences, and paralyzed about what to do. 

    Help us know what to do (and not do) next. I pray that you will raise up people to see what's really happening and demand justice and reform that we might finally see human life valued as you value it. Have mercy on us, our nation and most of all the defenseless, unborn babies in our world. In Christ's name I pray, amen.

    Thursday, July 16, 2015

    Tuesday, July 14, 2015

    What God Requires of Me

    "With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God?
    Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?

    Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
    Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

    He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

    Micah 6:6-8 NIV


    The question is, "What does the Lord require of you?" It's a bottom-line question, really. In the area of faith, that means it's a profound question.

    The answer is what you'd expect from God--any god, really. He wants you. Not your stuff. Not your money. Not your prayers. Not your offerings. Not your sacrifices. Not even your first-born son.


    He wants you. All of you.


    By you he means he wants all of your life--your allegiance. Total surrender.

    And this is what he wants from you once you've surrendered your life to him:


    "To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." With him. Relationally.


    It's simple, really. Beautiful. Profound. Personal.

    There isn't anything more valuable that you could give than yourself. Which would be fitting since that's what he gave you. Himself. His life. At the cross.


    What is God saying to you today?

    What are you going to do about it?

    Monday, July 06, 2015

    Are You Blind to Pride?

    Amaziah, however, would not listen, for God so worked that he might deliver them into the hands of Jehoash, because they sought the gods of Edom. (‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭25‬:‭20‬ NIV)


    This whole story of Amaziah is a picture of nearly every king of Judah found in 1 & 2 Chronicles and 1 & 2 Kings. These men struggled with pride. In most cases, their pride caused them to fall. The only real difference was how blind they were to their pride.

    The root of sin is pride. Pride has many manifestations. In the end, it makes us vulnerable to the temptation leading us to sin against God. It gives us a false sense of security where we do not fear the Lord. As a result, we begin to see ourselves as self-sufficient. We make more and more decisions that revolve around us. We think too much about ourselves.

    Amaziah did this. A prophet comes to him and tells him he can win his battle without the help of Israel, who he's hired for just that purpose. He remarkably follows the prophet's advice and sends Israel's army home. Judah then fights and wins the battle.

    Now here's what's remarkable. Amaziah keeps for himself idols from the people he just conquered! He bows down and worships them! The prophet again comes to him and shows him how stupid this is asking, "Why do you consult this people's gods, which could not save their own people from your hand?" Pride truly blinds us. Especially in success.

    God saved Judah in battle. Amaziah foolishly turns away from the Lord, who delivered them, to false gods. How blind can you get?

    This is easy to see. However, our pride blinds us too. It's subtle. It shows up most when we're successful. It's consequences are tragic.

    Amaziah loses his life as a result of this foolishness. Worse--the nation suffers because of his foolish pride. Many people in Israel and Judah suffer because this ruler makes foolish decisions rooted in pride he doesn't even see. He's blind to his bride.

    We also have blind spots--created by pride in the wake of success. Make no mistake, we are prideful even when we're not successful. But we're more vulnerable when we succeed. We often believe we were successful because of our great skill, intellect, charisma, etc. We usually forget that it was God with us that led us to succeed thus failing God's test. We are often blind to pride.

    What can we do? Some suggestions:

    1. Pray daily asking God to reveal your blindspots. Be particularly aware of your recent successes or wins. Could these be blinding you?
    2. Embrace relationships where others feel free to speak into your life when you need them to. This takes time to nurture. You must prioritize this re-ordering of your life to create space for this to happen. It will not happen unless you intentionally make space for it.
    3. Confess your sin as soon as you recognize pride in your life. No matter how small. Don't delay. Deal with your pride tenaciously and persistently.

    A great additional resource for this is CJ Mahaney's book "Humility".

    Remember, as soon as you think you have humility, you just lost it.

    Remember, too, that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)


    What is God saying to me today?

    What am I going to do about it?

    Friday, July 03, 2015

    Simple, Straight Facts on Abortion

    by GoTandem Books
    by GoTandem Books)
    Let's assume you're convinced that aborton is (a) illogical or (b) scripturally wrong. What in the world can you do about it? How can you lead your friends in the right direction, and exactly what do you say? Use these facts about abortion from 10 Reasons to Stay Christian in High School as your guide for making a case about this hot-button issue.

    A fetus is not just another part of a woman's body.
    A body part is defined by the common genetic code it shares with the rest of its body. The unborn's genetic code differs from the mother's, even to the extent that some unborn babies are male, while their moms are female.

    An unborn human is not just a blob of tissue.
    From the moment of conception, the unborn is what it is. . .a separate, living human being. At six weeks, you can see a beating heart. At twelve weeks, eyes and hands can be observed.

    A fetus is not just a blueprint or a potential human.
    A fetus is a person at a particular stage of development—much like a toddler or an adolescent. The fact is, something nonhuman does not become human by getting older and bigger.

    Life does not begin at birth.
    Science has shown us that human life begins at conception. All genetic characteristics of a distinct individual are present from the moment of conception. Our recognition of birthdays is cultural, not scientific.

    Denying abortion does not step all over a woman's rights and freedoms.
    The onetime choice of abortion robs someone else of a lifetime of choices and creates pain for the mother, not to mention others involved. Furthermore, responsible societies must deny choices that would harm others.

    If abortion is made illegal, thousands of women won't die from rusty hangers.
    Prior to the legalization of abortion, 90 percent of abortions were done not in back alleys but by physicians in their offices. In fact, women in America still die from legal abortions.

    The early stage of human life is as meaningful as any other stage.
    But if we listened to abortionists, who base human value on size and intelligence, then we'd also have to dehumanize other members of society: dwarfs, basketball centers, the obese, the mentally disabled. And when we dehumanize the beginning of life, we dehumanize the end of it as well.

    Since human life is valuable, every human is wanted.
    A pregnancy may be unwanted, but there is no such thing as an unwanted child. The list of couples wanting to adopt runs into the millions. And if we destroy all human beings we believe are "unwanted," then any segment of society is at risk: AIDS victims, the elderly, derelicts, etc.

    . . .For more advice for teens on how to react when you're in a tight spot,
    CLICK HERE for a free preview of 10 Reasons to Stay Christian in High School
    on our Resources page.


    10 Reasons to Stay Christian in High School will Enable Readers to:

    Survive and Thrive During Their Teen years
    Better Handle Peer Pressure
    Share Faith with Confidence
    Find Real Friends and Avoid Lethal People
    Navigate "Landmines" Like Impurity, Drugs, and Drinking


    https://www.gotandem.com/

    Thursday, July 02, 2015

    Helpful Ways to Help

    The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.” Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.” Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. (‭2 Kings‬ ‭4‬:‭1-3‬ NIV)


    Elisha shows Jesus-like wisdom here as he helps this family in need.

    Their needs needs seem obvious but he doesn't presume to know what to do or how to respond. He is seeking direction from the Lord by asking the wife questions.

    Most specifically, it's interesting to me that he asks her what she already has that may help, as opposed to just giving her something that he has or can get.

    In addition to that, he asks her to ask for help from her neighbors. His direction is specific and intentionally in calling her own community to become part of the solution. This would have been natural for them to do in that day (and for most cultures except the more individualized western cultures like the US) but not necessarily easy under these shameful circumstances.

    My takeaway is, when helping people in need, to ask questions. These questions seem like good ones to have handy whenever someone asks for your help:

    How can I help you?
    What do you already have that may help?
    How might your neighbors or local family help?

    What is God saying to you?

    What are you going to do about it?

    Tuesday, June 30, 2015

    What are you holding onto?

    This video illustrates how we can get trapped by the things we hold onto. God wants us to let go and trust him with everything--our whole lives. Like this baboon, however, we hold onto people, places and things that keep us from fully relying on God. The result is we lose our freedom and are enslaved to whatever it is we're holding onto.





    What are you holding onto?

    What is God saying to you right now?

    What are you going to do about it?

    Friday, June 19, 2015

    Who is the Enemy in Church Shooting?

    A few thoughts on the shooting this week in Charleston at the Emmanuel AME Church prayer meeting. 


    True Enemy

    The true enemy is behind this. (Ephesians 6:10-13The shooter isn't the real enemy here. The powers behind his evil deed are.

    The shooter could have done this on a Sunday morning when there was a much bigger crowd. He could have killed more people and made a bigger headline. Why did he seemingly go small and murder the few in a prayer meeting of about 13?

    I believe he was sent to go after those battling the true enemy on their knees. Our enemy knows where the battle is fought and won.

    Wednesday, June 17, 2015

    Serving with Integrity

    Remove the dross from the silver, and a silversmith can produce a vessel; remove wicked officials from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭25‬:‭4-5‬ NIV)


    This is a picture of a leader taking appropriate action so that his officials and he can serve with integrity.

    The picture is of a silversmith crafting a valuable serving piece (like a silver wine goblet).

    Dross is made up of other minerals and corrosion that pollutes the silver making it look dull and ugly. They pollute the silver making it hard to recognize and unusable as a serving piece.

    Dross is removed through fire. The silver is heated to a high temperature, liquifying it. The lighter dross floats to the top and is easily skimmed off (while liquid) or scraped/sanded/polished off (while solid). The result is beautiful, pure silver that is fit for a king. This is silver of integrity because the impurities are removed.

    Speaking of kings and rulers, the point of this visual is that Solomon wants to impress on his son that wicked officials in the king's court are like dross on silver. They mar and undermine the integrity of the king and his staff greatly reducing their ability to serve well.

    Removing--not rehabilitating or reforming--is the solution. It's the equivalent of purifying silver through fire.

    Compassionate hearts want to give people second chances. This is good! However, discipline is the heat that is needed when wickedness is present. The wicked do not respect authority as seen in their lack of fear of the LORD. This can be costly to leadership. Solomon indicates that wisdom requires the removal of the wicked plain and simple. There's no place for compassion towards one who's heart is far from God even when they are in the presence of God's king or leader.

    To serve with integrity is to diligently remove the wicked from your presence giving them no influence on your people.


    What is God saying to you?

    What are you going to do about it?

    Monday, June 15, 2015

    The Gospel and Poverty: Live Simply and Generously

    To live counter culturally is to live and proclaim the gospel with conviction, compassion and courage. This is challenged greatly when we consider the impoverished people of our world.

    We were all challenged, sobered and, hopefully, moved with compassion by the numbers we heard Sunday (at Grace Christian Fellowship):

    7.3 billion people on the planet

    2.6 billion live on < $2/day
    1 billion live on < $1/day


    In contrast...

    The average American lives on >$90/day


    1,700 children die/day from water borne illness (lack of clean drinking water)
    20,000 children die/day from lack of food


    These numbers should awaken us to the reality that lies beyond our borders. We aren’t faced with this normally so it’s easy to not see it as real. It is. 

    In 1 Timothy 6, Paul challenges “The rich”  (that would be most Americans) to “godliness and contentment” because these are “great gain.” Paul further challenged his hearers to share, give and give sacrificially. 

    Our Savior lived this way no matter what standard you use. And he gave his life this way too. If we say we follow Jesus, should we do no less?


    The sobering reality is that we’ll have the poor with us until Jesus comes back and makes everything right. In the meantime, God calls us to live simply and generously. This leads to great contentment.  

    Saturday, June 13, 2015

    The Response SC: Praying for our Nation

    The Response SC (theresponsesc.com) begins this morning. I will go and serve wherever they need me. I'm looking forward to it.

    This event feels different than the other large-scale prayer events I've seen promoted in the past. For one, it's not being led with an ecumenical emphasis which tends to water down the Gospel. Also, while this was initiated (it appears) by the Governor, there will be no speeches. No one stands before the people more than 45 seconds either. No introductions or logos or egos. Just prayer. I love it!

    We'll see how it plays out. But I love the idea that our Governor cares enough about what God thinks to actually call for the Church in SC to have a day of solemn assembly--to pray for our state and nation. We need God!


    May God hear our prayers and meet with us.

    In God we trust.

    Thursday, June 11, 2015

    Is Fear Robbing You?

    I'm honored this week to have friend and blogger Kim Adams Morgan with us today. I hope you'll check out her blog at Learn. Grow. Love. Thrive


    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

    Fear vs. Control
     
    Are you struggling with fear? Do you have moments, maybe days and weeks, when you are paralyzed with fear at what might happen; at what is beyond your control?
    Are you exhausting yourself, and maybe your family, trying to ‘manage’ every inch of your life?
    I used to be this person. Some days, when I’m not guarding my heart and my attitude, I still am. I’m a Type A Control Freak. In my selfish pride, I decided if I didn’t have my hand in everything I did, it wouldn’t get done correctly, on time, on budget or in the most efficient use of time.
    What I was really saying to everyone around me…and more importantly to God…was that I knew better than He did. Pretty arrogant, right?
    How did I learn this? I discovered a personal relationship with my heavenly Father. I studied scripture. I participated in Home Groups. I became part of the body of Christ.
    I learned my fear was driving my need for control. Instead of trusting God with my future, I was trusting myself. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

    Don’t Let Fear Rob you of God’s Purpose for Your Life
     
    You are a child of God – you are dearly loved. God cares about your hopes and dreams. He put them in your heart.
    Do a search under the King James electronic bible. Did you know fear is mentioned 385 times. Isn’t that amazing? God wants us to be equipped to handle fear. Why?
    Satan uses our fears to keep us from moving forward with God. When Satan succeeds, we see an insurmountable problem we cannot overcome. We begin to doubt our abilities…we begin to doubt God’s abilities.
    We need to remember that God has a bigger perspective of our lives. He knows our dreams and is calling us forward; to trust in Him and in His plan – not our plan. If we are not focused on God, we lose sight of this. We become lost in confusion and self-doubt. We believe Satan’s lie that we know better.
    God hears your prayers. He is waiting for you to put your trust and belief in Him and take that first step in faith. Have the courage to believe in His mighty power. Have the courage to believe in His plan for your life.
    Remember, when we step out in faith, God’s plan may look very different from our plan. We think very small; God sees infinitely bigger and knows what’s best for us. Trust in Him.
    How do we know when our plan comes from God and not from us or from the evil one? When a dream is born from the Holy Spirit, it always seeks to glorify God and to serve others first. It will never be about serving one person.
    Psalm 23:4  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
    Jesus, thank you for always going before us, and for sending out your mighty angels to surround us and protect us from the evil one. We pray that your Spirit would strengthen us so that we can go boldly where you have called us. Amen
    What fears do you need to conquer today?
    Does it help knowing we never fight alone?
    Keep the Faith,
    Kim Adams Morgan