Reality Check

Therefore, as God’s chosen people holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

(Colossians 3:12-14 NIV)

Every once in a while a specific section of Scripture really convicts me. The writer of Hebrews explained that the Word of God is sharper than a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12-13) and is capable of piercing the soul (paraphrase). I came across the verse above in my regular study on Tuesday evening and it really knocked me for a loop. I read it, and read it again and I realized that I fall so far short of being what God wants me to be, I must wonder if there is any hope for me at all. Do you fall short, too? Are you always compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient?  Do you forgive when someone hurts you?  Do you wear love everywhere you go?  I cannot answer, “yes” to any of these questions. To some, that would mean that I must not be a real Christian; if that is the case, then no one is.

Scripture is meant to convict us, but it is also meant to teach and comfort us. We are all a work in progress. The Holy Spirit is there to guide us, but it is a conscious choice we make to ignore the direction He gives us. I cannot speak for anybody else, but it is often difficult for me to follow the Holy Spirit because of my own foolish pride. There are some people who take being kind and patient too far and end up getting walked on and taken advantage of.  I push people away because I don’t have time to deal with the pain they cause. Meanwhile, those who get walked on are just as guilty of being prideful as I am.

Thankfully, just as Scripture can pierce the heart with uncomfortable truth, it can also heal. Recognizing those places where we fall short of God’s purpose for us is the beginning of growth. Once we’ve seen our own weakness then we can make the choice to let the Holy Spirit give us strength. A reality check is necessary. It doesn’t mean you see failure in your life and give up; it means you see failure and grow up.

Prayer – Father in Heaven, Please open my eyes to my failures and give me wisdom to learn from them. Help me to be the person You want me to be, teach me to serve You and allow my life to glorify You.

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What God Has in Store

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.                    

(2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV)

Every day we face trials, and with the current state of world affairs it just gets worse. We struggle with our finances, jobs, families, health, etc. How do we survive in this expensive, unstable and painful world? Sadly, some people resort to vice; whether it is drugs, alcohol, gambling, adultery or some other destructive distraction or sin. Others become despondent and detached. No one has to sink into the depths, it is a choice. You can choose to deal with your problems the temporal (worldly) way, or you can choose to hand your troubles over to Jesus Christ and live for the Glory you will receive in His Kingdom. Everything the eye can see is temporal; everything is decaying and will at some point cease to exist. Yet, if we place our hope in God and trust in His promise that if we accept His Son as our Savior we will spend Eternity in Heaven (which we cannot see). Once you begin to look at life beyond what your physical eyes can see and recognize what your heart sees, you will have peace. It is a choice. I don’t know about you, but I choose to focus on what God has in store for me rather than what He must do to prepare me for it.

Prayer: Father in Heaven, Please increase my Faith and give me strength to face the tribulations each day will bring. Fill my heart with wisdom and prepare me for that day when I will be with you where you are. Amen


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Thirst Quencher

If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.                              (John 7:37b-38 NIV)

People don’t often admit to having a Spiritual thirst, but it is something that everyone has. Just as when we are denied water our physical thirst can be overwhelming, so too, can a Spiritual thirst overwhelm us. Sadly, people don’t recognize Spiritual thirst for what it is; a need for God. It is easy to determine that emptiness inside is the need for a human relationship, a new job, a house, a vacation, alcohol or drugs. You cannot satisfy a Spiritual thirst with worldly things; only the Grace of God through the Salvation of Jesus Christ is able to quench that thirst in us.  Once we receive His gifts we are filled to the brim and overflowing with His Spirit. That is how the Living Waters are able to reach those parched souls around us.

The Living Water is the Holy Spirit Himself. When we ask Jesus to come into our hearts and we accept Him, God sends the Holy Spirit to guide and direct our paths; just as a river flows freely, so should we.

Prayer: Father in Heaven, in Thy Holy Name, Please keep me from trying to dam up the Living Water that you have blessed me with. Help me to let go and let Your Spirit flow through me to wherever You want it to.  Amen.


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He Must Be Greater

To this John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.  (John 3:27-30)

John the Baptist knew his place and knew it well. It is easy to get caught up in our own zeal for the Gospel and forget the true reason for it; Jesus Christ. In our own pride we can get lost in sharing the Gospel; trying to convince others to accept it.  The process of sharing the Gospel can become somewhat of a job rather than a joy. When we invite Jesus to come into our lives, we must be willing to let Him be the guiding force in all aspects of our lives. Inviting Him in and then asking Him to sit in the corner and watch you do great things doesn’t work. The only way you can do great things is to let Him take the lead. It us pure folly to think that we can draw others to Jesus with our own feeble efforts.  Pride will keep you from knowing the pure joy of Jesus Christ. Letting go of pride is the only way to effectively share what God has given to you with others.  That point in life at which we are able to honestly say, “He must become greater; I must become less.” is the point of His true revelation in our own lives.  When He becomes greater, our faith becomes stronger and we are filled with unfathomable joy.

Prayer: Father in Heaven, cleanse me of the iniquity that keeps me tied to my own pride, and give me the wisdom and courage to follow Your lead in all things. Amen

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

The world we live in is overflowing with chaos. The burdens we carry are abundant. We worry about our family, friends, community, jobs, finances and our country. It is easy to think we must carry the burden ourselves, but it is of utmost importance to let go and give our worries to Jesus, because He (and He alone) is capable of handling it.  Taking time to rest from our tasks is a command from God (Exodus 20:8-11). Our world runs constantly, so it is difficult to define a day of Sabbath Rest, but is imperative that we do so.

We must take the time every day to rest in God’s Word and learn from Him. We must pray and lay our worries out before Him. We must give thanks for the abundance of blessings that He has poured upon us.  And, we must quietly relax and know in our heart that He is taking care of us.

For the next week or so, I will be away from this blog. It is my intent to rest in God’s Word, listen to His Voice and give my worries over to Him. I hope to come back to you replenished and filled with energy to share more of His Word with you.

Prayer: Father in Heaven, take my worries and cares, fill my with Your Spirit and give me strength and courage to share what You give me with others. Amen


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A Faithful Following

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. ” (Isaiah 29:13 NIV)

They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way; get off this path and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!” (Isaiah 30:10-11 NIV)

All throughout Scripture we are warned of people who want watered down teachings of God’s Word. The Truth is simple: you either believe God’s Word, or you don’t. The demands of our culture are no different from the demands of almost 3,000 years ago. The sinful nature of humanity has always wanted to change God’s Word to suit themselves. But, God’s Word does not change. Just as the assurance of His Judgment is the same now as it was in the Garden of Eden, so too is His Love and Mercy still the same. God asks us to be faithful followers; that means placing our faith in the proper place, in Him!

A church, a group or a person who deviate from the teaching of Scripture in order to appease the sinful nature of man is dangerous! It is not possible for us to adhere to all the Laws that God placed in front of us; that is why Jesus Christ took our sins upon Himself and died on the Cross. We must strive to live perfect lives, because He is in us and we are in Him, but we will fail from time to time.  If we make a practice of ignoring or trying to change Scripture to suit our own ideas of what God wants, we fail! Being a faithful follower means taking God at His Word, whether we like it our not because in the end it will be His Word against ours.

Prayer: O God in Heaven, in Your Holy Name! Guide my feet on a righteous path that leads to your Kingdom. Strengthen my faith in You, that my life will reflect your Glory. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.


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Do You Know What Love Is?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV emphasis added)

Do you really know what love is? Are you capable of loving the way Scripture tells us we ought to? Here’s a simple exercise: Look carefully at the verse above; replace every bold-print word with your name and personal pronoun (example: Susan is patient… I do not envy, etc.) Read the verse out loud with your name. How does it sound? Do you fall short? I know I do. When I replace the word Love with my name all I get is absolute conviction; I don’t even come close. Most of us don’t.

Now, try reading it like this:

Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. He is not rude, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs. Jesus does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Yes, the very definition of love is Jesus Christ! When we live in Him and He in us, then we become love. It is a daily process. Some days we succeed, some days we fail. Because He first loved us, we are able to love ourselves and others. As we listen to His Word, and as He fills us with His Spirit, we are emptied of the failure. Growing in our Faith brings us closer to the point where we can put our name in that verse and know the Jesus Christ is doing His work in us.

Prayer: Father in Heaven, in Your Holy Name, Empty me of the things that keep me from living the Love that You have already given me. Amen.


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Oh Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. Do not bring your servant into judgement, for no one living is righteous before you. (Psalm 143:1-2 NIV)

The prayer of desperation is often the most honest of all prayers. When circumstances bring us to a breaking point we tend to get real about our own lack of righteousness. It is easy to forget that God is omniscient; He knows everything! He knows what is in your heart, what is in your head; He knows every word you speak and every thing you do. We are all unworthy of His mercy, because we all sin (see Romans 3:23). But, we must also remember that God loves us, not only when we are desperate for Him, but also when we think things are okay.  We go through seasons in life; some seasons are fruitful and abundant, some are bleak and painful. Being desperate for God’s presence during all circumstances is imperative to growing our Faith. Sure, you want God’s help when you hurt, but do you want God’s presence when you are laughing and dancing? It takes a lot of practice to get to the point when you not only think of God in all things, but that you want Him in all things.  God is righteous we are not. God is also merciful and forgiving. If we learn to rely on His faithfulness our desperation turns to peace.

Prayer: Father in Heaven, in Your Holy Name, Please help me to find shelter in You in all things.  Fill my heart with the everlasting joy of your eternal presence in my soul. In Jesus’ Name, Amen


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The Way!

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Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.” (John 14:6-7 NIV)

There are a lot of teachings in this world on how to “get to heaven”. Every religion has its own set of rules and regulations, and there are even some Christian doctrines that embellish the Scriptures to suit their own worldly views. However, Jesus was as clear and concise as anybody could be about the matter. “I am the way…”. He didn’t say this denomination or that protocol; this doctrine or that ceremony; He said, “I am…”. We tend to get lost in our own skewed ideas and in the convoluted agendas of various church teachings of what it means to be a Christian. We forget the Foundation and spend too much time worrying about the building. Faith in Jesus Christ is how we get to heaven; nothing more and nothing less. Paul the Apostle put it quite well in his letter to the Ephesians, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

Because of God’s Grace (His Son) you have been saved, if you place your Faith on Him. It is a gift! You cannot buy it, work for it or steal it; all you have to do is accept it and own it. Knowing God is as simple as believing in Jesus. Complicating it with protocol, ceremony and trying to work for it will only draw you away from God’s love. So, throw off the complications (Jesus made it easy for you) and embrace the joy of Salvation today.

Prayer: Father in Heaven, in Thy Holy Name, Please protect me from anything and everything that keeps me from you. Give me your Holy Spirit to guide me past the obstacles and live in your Light. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


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A Season for Devotion

Hello Dear Reader,

Thank you for checking in. I have neglected this blog for too long, so over the next few months I will be posting short Devotionals two or three times a week. If you are interested, you can subscribe to this blog and the Devotionals will be sent to your email in-box when they are published. If that gets annoying to you, you can always un-subscribe at any time. I pray that my feeble words along with Scripture and a prompt for prayer will help you in your daily lives. May God bless you, always. Here is the first…


Do You Have a Sword?

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.  (Hebrews 4:12-13 NIV)

We tend to think of a sword as a physical weapon to be used against those who would attack us. It is a weapon of self-defense or of offense. The Word of God is the ultimate defense. Remember that Jesus used Scripture to fight off Satan’s temptations (see Matthew 4:1-11). It is also the ultimate offense, as it gives us strength, courage and wisdom to go out into the world to share the Gospel with all Creation. When we have Scripture safely etched on our own hearts, we have the means with which to fight the attacks of evil that inevitably come our way, and we are able to share the Gospel with confidence. But, we must also realize that Scripture is God’s way of speaking to our souls and revealing His Will for our lives. He scrutinizes our thoughts, words and actions; He knows every motive in our hearts. So, it is important to treat the Sword that is the Word of God with great care. If we are open to God’s Will, the Holy Spirit will give us the skill necessary to use the Sword and the wisdom to know when to wield it.

Prayer: Father in Heaven, in Thy Holy Name. Search my heart and rid me of impure motives.  Strengthen my Faith in You and guide me to serve You. In Jesus’ Name, amen.


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