Author Archive

Be Still and Know

Posted by

God knows it’s challenging for us to feel safe and secure in such an unstable and uncertain world.

He knows our natural tendency is to walk by sight, cling to earthly things and live in fear (whether or not we say so out loud).  This frail alliance often causes us to panic when what we want to be stable and what we need to be stable is not.  Psalm 46, He draws us out of the shadows and shows us where our security must rest.  Let’s try singing it together.

It begins with a bold declaration: God is our refuge (external and defensive) and strength (internal and dynamic).

God is
our help
a present help
a very present help
a very present help in trouble

This is not just some wishful saying, but a confident profession of the exceeding much-ness of God!  He is…


Such truth gives rise to a resolute affirmation of faith: Therefore, we will NOT fear.  We will not be afraid.  We will not panic.  For God is…

Our Rock
Our Refuge
Our High Tower
Our Shelter
Our Fortress
Our Stronghold

But what if the worst happens?  What if our greatest fears come true?  What if the seemingly most stable things in view crumble?  What if…

The earth quakes
and mountains tremble
and oceans roar
and nations rage
and enemies rise
and kingdoms stagger…

and fear begins to grip us?


Settle your emotions.  Rest your mind.  Unite your heart.  Remember the only Truth that can face down fear.  Remember your faith is not founded upon your fortitude, but upon the Firm Foundation of our Mighty God!

Oh, the seas may rage, but there is Living Water in the River of our Refuge!  Yes, the darkness is tangible, but it is banished when Morning dawns!  Jehovah Sabaoth – the Lord of Hosts – the Lord of Heaven’s Armies reigns and He is with us!  The God of Jacob is our Fortress – our High Tower far above all the earthly chaos and confusion.

HE is unshakable.
HE is immovable.
Come and see!
Look and remember!
Stand in awe of HIS great works!

Then suddenly, this mighty chorus stops as God Himself rises from His Throne to sing into our hearts: “Be still and know that I am God!”  “Be still – Cease – Rest in Me – Let go of fear!”  Oh, the power of His Voice!  Even as Jesus spoke to the raging wind and waves, “Peace, be still,” so God sings Shalom into the raging turbulence of our souls.

And as if to remove any doubt, God concludes His solo with: “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” 

Do you believe this?  Then lift your voice and exalt Him with all your heart, “The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Fortress.”

Please take a moment to read Psalm 46:1-11 ESV

A New Song

Posted by

I waited patiently for the Lord;
He turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock and
gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in Him. 

Psalm 40:1-3 NIV

Though the notes of this psalm play out differently in each of our lives, its harmony of amazing grace and unfailing love is the same.

The Lord Himself bent down right beside us to make sure we knew He heard our desperate cry.  He rescued us from certain destruction even when were hopelessly trapped in the miry pit we ourselves dug.

Put down the shovel.  
Cease striving.
Look up.
Help is here.
The Lord is near. 

Only God in His magnificent mercy could save us from this self-inflicted bondage and set us free! Only God could miraculously airlift us from the vortex of sinking sand to the apex of solid Rock!

Believe it.
Test it.
It’s firm.
You’re safe. 

This new vantage point of stability gives rise to a new song. He securely sets our feet and then joyously loosens our tongues – both gifts from Him.  Our cry of despair is supernaturally transformed into a hymn of praise.

Only God!

It is our song, but is composed by Him.  We cannot help but sing – yet not with an earthly voice, but a heavenly one – a song of infinite depth and intimate resonance – a song of the heart.  Many will be moved by the sweetness of its melody and the power of its words – words drawn from a limitless well.

O Lord, 
Your compassion, not withheld!
My lips, unrestrained!
Your righteousness – Your faithfulness – Your salvation, not hidden!
Your lovingkindness – Your Truth, not concealed! 

O Lord, none can compare with You!  Many are Your wonders! Many are Your thoughts toward us! Many will SEE Your goodness and TRUST in You!

Rejoice and be glad. 
Declare His praises.
Sing a new song. 

Note: Even though I did not comment, please don’t overlook the Messianic implications of this Psalm – particularly verses 6-8.  

The Doe of the Dawn

Posted by

Psalm 22 has been on my mind, and I hope you will take time to read it – and read it with a prophetic eye to Jesus. Written 1,000 years before Jesus was born yet having “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” as an opening line, this psalm should easily capture our attention!

It has been called “The Forgotten ‘I Am’” because of this statement: “I am worm and not a man” (v 6). And like a worm, Jesus was scorned, despised, rejected, mocked and crushed by those He came to save.

We should be stunned by the cry “they have pierced my hands and my feet” (v 16) being written some 500 years before the earliest known crucifixion by the Persians in 519 BC!

We should cringe as they gamble for Jesus’ only earthly possessions at the foot of His Cross while He is dying for their sins (v 18)!

And we should be completely overwhelmed as we are ushered into the very thoughts of Jesus as He suffered the intense agony of the Cross (v 14-18)!

As you will see, this psalm is both a cry of despair (v 1-21) and a song of praise (v 21-31). The brutal savagery surrounding Jesus is clearly marked by the numerous references to wild animals – not the least of which are the human beasts. The song has a throbbing cadence in the Hebrew with a quickening pace and sense of urgency that sways between the desperation of self/circumstances on one hand, and the assurance of God/His Truth on the other.

Despite translation inaccuracies in several versions, the pivot point of this psalm is found at the end of verse 21: “YOU HAVE ANSWERED ME!” (as in the NASB). Without that profession – that revelation – the dramatic shift from verse 21 to verse 22 doesn’t make much sense.

In light of the Cross, this victory cry is that of Resurrection!  

We also should consider the inscription preceding this psalm (it must be important because not all psalms have them): “For the music director; upon Aijeleth Hashshahar. A Psalm of David.” That Hebrew phrase translates “the doe of the dawn.” David is saying the lyrics of this song should “ride upon” his melody called “the doe of the dawn.”

Picture David rising before the dawn just to be alone with the Lord. In the quiet of the morning as he sits in prayer with God near a stream, he rejoices in the rising of the sun – another day blessed by the glory and goodness of the Lord – and He gives thanks.

But then the Lord animates their conversation by the entrance of a doe. David sees her silently and gracefully bow to quench her thirst – an intimate emotion he would express in another one of his songs of his own soul thirsting for the Lord (Psalm 63:1). Little does she know he is watching as she cautiously eases over to the grass heavy with the morning dew.

Quietly the sun rises. Quietly the doe grazes. And so, without a sound, the Spirit gives birth to a tender song matching the quiet beauty of the morning and the gentle grace of the doe. Morning has broken.  A new day.

And later, as God gives David the lyrics of Psalm 22, David must have noticed the stark irony and striking paradox. For riding upon his gentle, tender melody are now cries of anguish and despair – suffering and distress – vicious pursuit and cruelty – prayers of urgent petition for help and rescue – right alongside strong professions of trust, hope, assurance and even praise!

This side of the Cross, this irony sings the very heart of the Gospel.

Oh, the irony of the gentle Good Shepherd silently going to the Cross like a sheep led to slaughter! Oh, the irony of He who knew no sin being made sin so that in Him, we might become the righteousness of God! Oh, the irony of the Holy Son of God forsaken that we might be redeemed – condemned that we might be justified!

No wonder this psalm ends with this glorious declaration: “A seed will serve Him; it will be told of the Lord to the coming generation. They will declare His righteousness to a people who will be born that He has performed it.

Jesus embodied these very words on the Cross when He proclaimed, “It is finished!

Because of Jesus, morning has broken, and a new day has dawned.

He is not here, for He has risen.

The Two Paths

Posted by

If you’re like me, you are repeatedly drawn back to the very center of the Bible: the Psalms.

These ancient, inspired songs supernaturally connect our lives with the very heartbeat of our Heavenly Father. They openly express vast ranges of raw emotion, ask difficult questions and invoke intimate conversations with God. They take us on a journey from the cries of our darkest valleys to shouts of joy on the highest mountaintops. Uniting heart and head, they invite us to sing along by lifting our eyes (and emotions) to an Eternal Throne and the unchanging Truth of our Mighty God.

When we open this Hebrew hymnal to Psalm 1, we find only 6 verses. Although deceptively short, it is succinctly provocative and significant. Beginning with “blessed” and ending with “perish,” we should be quick to exclaim, “I want to be the blessed one; not the one who perishes!”

And just like that, we are shown there are only two ways: the way of the righteous/blessing and the way of the wicked/perishing.

Jesus also spoke of these same two paths when He told us about the broad way and the narrow way (Matthew 7:13-14) or when He talked about building your life on the Rock, not the Sand (Matthew 7:24-27) or as He spoke about the wheat/tares (Matthew 13:24-30) or the sheep/goats (Matthew 25:29-46) – to name a few.

But with these two ways comes the inescapable call to choose – for the path you walk will determine your eternal destiny.

The path of the blessing is initially described by what it is not. Notice the warning of a slow, downward progression: don’t walk in the counsel/advice of the wicked or you might just end up standing around in the path of sinners and ultimately find yourself sitting down in the seat of scoffers (1:1). What is at first seemingly causal ultimately becomes fixed and final.

Instead, we must cling to the Word of the Lord – and not primarily as a discipline or a duty, but as our “delight” (1:2)!

Think about that! Whatever delights you effects your entire being and gives you great pleasure! In that same sense, if you delight in His Word then you rejoice in reading it and hearing His Voice. Plus, it is Life-giving because of your relationship with the Life-Giver (Psalm 16:11).

And this blessed one “meditates” on God’s Word “day and night” (1:2). You might say, “That’s impossible.” But in the Bible, this Hebrew word is not only used in a good way like “meditate,” but also in a negative sense when someone is “plotting” or “devising” a plan. Most of us can probably recall a time when someone wronged us and, over and over, almost involuntarily, we kept thinking about them while we pondered telling them off or figuring out how to get even!

So how is it we can so easily stew over someone but find it hard to mediate on the Word of God?!

Jesus calls it “abiding” (John 15:5), but either way, we should invite the Word into our hearts every day and nurture an ongoing, delight-full conversation with God. His Word is Spirit and Truth and Life. Breathe deeply and often and allow it to flow through your whole being with its Life-giving power.

And look at the result of clinging to the Word and its Author: You will “be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water” (1:3). More accurately, you will be like a tree that was “transplanted” from one location to another. The Hebrew verb is passive.

In other words, God Himself picked up the tree (that’s you) and planted it next to His streams of Living Water!

This tree is not only firmly planted (gracious, divine intervention), but also:

by streams of water (reliable, abundant provision)
yields its fruit in its season (a timely blessing to others, impactful, a heritage)
its leaf does not wither (drought-proof, a comfort and refuge to others)
in whatever you do, you prosper (the favor of God, divine purpose/fulfillment)

Now contrast this blessed, fruitful tree with those who choose the other path – those who scoff at God and pursue their own way – the way of sin – the way of the world. They are like chaff which is quickly blown away (1:4).

In those days, the harvested wheat was manually beaten on a windy hillside (the threshing floor) to separate the grain of wheat from its husk/chaff. Then the two were thrown into the air and the inedible part (the chaff) was blown away while the good part (the grain) fell to the ground. Why?

Because the useless, weightless chaff was quickly scattered by the wind whereas the valuable, heavy grain neatly fell in place and was gathered.

So it will be in the Day of Judgment (1:5). The Lord knows, cares for and watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish like chaff on a windy day (1:6). Please note: there is no third way.

By the blood of the Lamb, you can stand before God forgiven and clothed in His glorious righteousness or go your own way only to be scattered in ruin by the guilt of your sin.

This is a call to choose. Choose wisely.


Psalm 1

1 How blessed is the man who
Does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright ©1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Praise Awaits You

Posted by

Recently, I celebrated a numerically significant birthday.  We could just leave it at that, but I’m going to disclose the digits as I talk about my “birthday psalm” anyway.  So, turning sixty-five is kind of hard for me to believe.  It seems a long way off, and then inexplicably, there are a lot of candles on your cake!

Truly, time passes slowly and then suddenly.  

You may have heard the expression, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”  Well, not this old!  Truly, every day is a gift from God, and we should all be grateful for each purpose-filled day He gives us in Christ Jesus.

However, my birthday psalm quickly turns my eyes from the winkles on my face, the gray in my hair and the frailty of life to the Author of Life Himself.  Psalm 65 (see below) has always been one of my favorites!  I hope you will take time to read it aloud and talk about it with your friends and family no matter how old you are!
When you do, notice how many times it repeats “You” or “Your” as it proclaims the abundant provision of our loving Heavenly Father.  By doing so, David asks us to join him in a very personal psalm since he is not talking about our Heavenly Father, but to our Heavenly Father!

YOU (O Lord) hear our prayers (v.2), YOU forgive our sins (v.3), YOU choose us to become YOUR sons and daughters (v.4), and YOU lavish us with goodness because YOUR house is filled with good things (v.4)!

YOU alone are God and Savior – YOU alone are the Hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas (v.5)!  YOU alone are the Creator, and YOUR sovereignty extends over all (v.6).

YOU created the spectacular mountains of the earth which rise in all their majesty (v.6) and YOU calm the roaring of the seas as well as the roaring of the nations (v.7).  From the heights to the depths, nothing escapes YOUR sight, YOUR care or YOUR command.  Now, rest your thoughts on verse 8 for a moment:

“The whole earth is filled with awe at YOUR wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, YOU call forth songs of joy.”  

How beautifully poetic!  We stand in awe at YOUR unfathomable wonders, O Lord.  Each day, we see the sun make its journey from one end of the sky to the other – from its dawning to its fading – shining in all the glory YOU gave it – bringing Light and Life – literally singing and shouting for joy unto YOU!

And oh, how YOU care for YOUR Creation.  By YOUR sovereign command, YOU soften it with showers, and YOU bring forth blessed crops to nourish YOUR people (v.10).  Without YOUR Word, both we and the land would be dry and barren.  But in YOUR kindness and grace, YOU drench us with abundance from YOUR streams whether watering the earth or quenching our souls!

It’s as though YOU personally sign all YOUR work by putting YOUR royal crown atop YOUR bounty (v.11)!  YOU, O Lord, are the God of superlatives!

The land is enriched abundantly (v.9) – the streams are filled (v.9) – crops are blessed (v.10) –  YOUR paths overflow (v.11) – the grasslands overflow (v.12) – the hills put on garments of gladness (v.12) – the flocks flourish (v.13) – the valleys adorn themselves with grain (v.13) – and everything shouts and sings for joy to YOU – our great God and Savior (v.13)!

This is a call to worship.  

Thank YOU, O Lord, for calling us to truly see what YOU are doing every day and inviting us to join in the song all of Creation is already singing.  I think that’s why David begins this psalm with the end in mind:

Praise awaits YOU, our God…


Psalm 65
For the director of music. A psalm of David. A song.

1 Praise awaits You, our God, in Zion;
to You our vows will be fulfilled.

2 You who answer prayer,
to You all people will come.

3 When we were overwhelmed by sins,
You forgave our transgressions.

4 Blessed are those You choose
and bring near to live in Your courts!
We are filled with the good things of Your house,
of Your holy temple.

5 You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas,

6 who formed the mountains by Your power,
having armed Yourself with strength,

7 who stilled the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.

8 The whole earth is filled with awe at Your wonders;
where morning dawns, where evening fades,
You call forth songs of joy.

9 You care for the land and water it;
You enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so You have ordained it.

10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
You soften it with showers and bless its crops.

11 You crown the year with Your bounty,
and Your paths overflow with abundance.

12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
the hills are clothed with gladness.

13 The meadows are covered with flocks
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing.

The Sounds of Silence

Posted by

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 NIV

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, my God. Psalm 42:1 NIV

In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. Psalm 5:3 NASB95

I call on you, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer.  Show me the wonders of Your great love…  Psalm 17:6-7a NIV

[The Lord] awakens me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple. Isaiah 50:4b NASB95

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law.  Psalms 119:18 ESV

[For] Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  Psalm 119:105 ESV

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. Psalm 143:10 NASB95

Make me to know Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation…  Psalm 25:4-5 ESV

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning…  Psalm 130:5-6 ESV

O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.  Psalm 90:14 NASB95

As for me, I will sing about Your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about Your unfailing love.   Psalm 59:16a NLT

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Your Name, O Most High; to declare Your steadfast love in the morning, and Your faithfulness by night.  Psalm 92:1-2 ESV

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits…  Psalm 103:1-2 NASB

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness!  Lam 3:21-23 NASB95

Search me, God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.  Psalm 139:23-24 NASB95

Jars of Clay

Posted by

Isn’t it interesting one of the things Scripture calls us is “jars of clay” 2 Corinthians 4:7. Not long ago, I was broken and defeated from the relentless personal attacks of the enemy – you might call it spiritual identity theft as a result of agreeing with the lies spoken over me. And the more I talked about what I was going through with others, the more I found out I was not alone.

Remember only God has the right to do the commentary on your life. Satan is the author of death and wants you to question God’s goodness, doubt the Truth of His promises and walk around with spiritual amnesia. But God is the Author of Life and in the Name of Jesus, any lies we’ve believed – any agreements we’ve made – any ground we’ve surrendered must be repossessed one Truth at a time.

So, Jars of Clay was borne out of brokenness to proclaim the truth of who we are in Jesus – to overcome the lies of the enemy – to help restore fullness and wholeness in Jesus – and to declare THIS IS WHO YOU ARE.

How fitting God made us like fragile jars of clay. Yes, we are prone to crack and break in many ways, but oh how He puts us together again and then continues to use us! Can you believe He gives us the privilege of housing His priceless treasure – His glory inside of us?

And His repairs don’t diminish His glory, rather they allow it to be seen all the more. For the glory of God we carry inside shines through our cracks as a testimony to all He has done. Far from shameful imperfection to be hidden from view, these are undeniable declarations of the power and depth of His love for us. In Jesus, we are uncommonly common! We are gloriously cracked! Be not ashamed, but shine.

Will you join me in confident, expectant prayer asking God to multiply what we now hold in our hands and use Jars of Clay to speak His Truth into the lives of many?  And if you haven’t already, please take 5 minutes to watch it here.

THIS IS WHO YOU ARE – 40 Day Journey

Coming in January to further the impact of this presentation, we will be offering 40 days of short devotionals anchored to 40 truths in Jars of Clay called “This Is Who You Are.” You will clearly hear the Words of Life our heavenly Father is speaking over us in the Name of Jesus!  Day by day and truth by truth, we will walk through, remember, meditate on, fight for, claim and celebrate the incredible fullness and joy of our spiritual identity in Christ.

We are like common jars of clay that carry this glorious treasure within, so that the extraordinary overflow of power will be seen as God’s, not ours.  2 Corinthians 4:7 TPT

Please sign up and ask others to join the This is Who You Are journey by using the form right under the Jars of Clay video on our site. Please note: even if you are currently signed up to receive our monthly devotional, you must also choose to sign up for the 40 Day Journey.

What Does Scripture Say?

Posted by

What does Scripture say? Rom 4:3 NIV

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1 ESV

I am afraid that just as the serpent deceived Eve by his treachery, your minds may be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Cor 11:3 NLT

The devil was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 NET

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions. 2 Ti 4:3 ESV

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 1 Ti 4:1-2 NIV

Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard that you do not get led astray by the error of these unprincipled people and fall from your firm grasp on the truth. 2 Pe 3:17 NET

What does Scripture say? Rom 4:3 NIV

So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes. Eph 4:14 NET

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Col 2:8 ESV

You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 1 Pe 1:23 ESV

For this is no idle word for you—it is your life! Deut 32:47 NET

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Rom 12:2 ESV

What does Scripture say? Rom 4:3 NIV

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Ti 3:16-17 NIV

Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you. 2 Ti 1:14 NLT

Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Eph 6:10-11 ESV

…and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Eph 6:17 NLT

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Rom 15:4 NASB

A voice said, “Shout!” I asked, “What should I shout?” “Shout that people are like the grass. Their beauty fades as quickly as the flowers in a field. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” Isa 40:6,8 NLT

What does Scripture say? Rom 4:3 NIV




The King of Glory

Posted by

Lift up your heads, O gates!  And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle!  Psalm 24:7-8 ESV

The Lord reigns, He is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength; Psalm 93:1 NIV

Splendor and majesty are before Him, strength and joy are in His place. 1 Chronicles 16:27 NASB

Who is like You O Lord? — majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?  Exodus 15:11 NASB

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head above all. 1 Chronicles 29:11 NIV

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; love and faithfulness go before You. Psalm 89:14 ESV

Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they existed and were created. Revelation 4:11 ESV

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory above the heavens. Psalm 8:1 ESV

Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. Psalm 33:8 NASB

To whom, then, will we compare God? Or who is His equal? Isaiah 40:25 NIV

You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, Psalm 65:5 NIV

You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship You. Nehemiah 9:6 NIV

Let them praise the name of the LORD, for His name alone is exalted; His splendor is above the earth and the heavens. Psalm 148:13 NIV

They raise their voices, they shout for joy; from the west they acclaim the Lord’s majesty. Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord; exalt the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea. From the ends of the earth we hear singing: “Glory to the Righteous One.” Isaiah 24:14-16 NIV

Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory! Psalm 24: 9-10 ESV

A Sure Foundation

Posted by

When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? Psalm 11:3 NIV

“Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but You do not come to save. Must I see these evil deeds forever? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts. Indeed, the wicked intimidate the innocent. For this reason, justice is perverted. Habakkuk 1:2-4 NLT/NET

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20 NASB

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. Proverbs 14:34 NASB

The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble. Proverbs 4:19 ESV

For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:20 ESV

My soul is in deep anguish. How long, O Lord, how long? Psalm 6:3 NIV

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My HELP comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2 ESV

God is our REFUGE and STRENGTH, a very present HELP in trouble. Psalm 46:1 ESV

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the GOODNESS of the Lord In the land of the living. WAIT for the Lord; be STRONG and let your heart take COURAGE; yes, wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:13-14 NASB

The Lord has ESTABLISHED His throne in the heavens, and HIS SOVEREIGNTY RULES over all. Psalm 103:19 NASB

For KINGSHIP belongs to the Lord, and HE RULES over the nations. Psalm 22:28 ESV

“BE STILL, and KNOW that I am God. I will be EXALTED among the nations, I will be EXALTED in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 ESV

“If My people who are called by My Name HUMBLE themselves, and PRAY and SEEK My face and TURN from their wicked ways, then I will HEAR from heaven and will FORGIVE their sin and HEAL their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NASB

“When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil, I am the One who KEEPS its foundations FIRM.” Psalm 75:3 NLT

“[And] for you who fear My Name, the sun of righteousness shall RISE with HEALING in its wings.” Malachi 4:2 ESV

REND your heart and not your garments. RETURN to the Lord your God, for He is GRACIOUS and COMPASSIONATE, slow to anger and ABOUNDING in LOVE. Joel 2:13 NIV

Even in darkness LIGHT DAWNS for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. Psalm 112:4 NIV

If we walk in the LIGHT, as He is in the LIGHT, we have fellowship with one another, and the BLOOD of JESUS His Son CLEANSES us from all sin. 1 John 1:7 ESV

REJOICE with those who rejoice, WEEP with those who weep. LIVE in HARMONY with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is HONORABLE in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live PEACEABLY with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with GOOD. Romans 12:15-19, 21 ESV

Then shall your LIGHT break forth like the dawn, and your HEALING shall spring up speedily; your RIGHTEOUSNESS shall go before you; the GLORY of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Isaiah 58:8 ESV

Lord, I stand in AWE of your deeds. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath REMEMBER MERCY. Habakkuk 3:2 NIV

Land of the Free and Home of the Brave?

Posted by

Each Memorial Day we pause to honor those who died in the military service of our country.  We honor them by remembering what they died for. And we who live on because of their sacrifice not only enjoy freedom, but are also called to defend it here at home.

“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up among us. It cannot come from abroad.  If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.” – Abraham Lincoln

Think for a moment about what you have been witnessing. Consider how quickly and easily freedoms vanished. In a flash, our right to gather to worship, to provide for our families, to privacy, to bury our dead, to access basic services and care, to leave our homes or speak freely disappeared. Some will say it was necessary, but the discerning eye will see we were unlawfully forced to do so, and we obeyed mostly out of fear.

The Constitution was trampled on. Law unequally applied. Truth censored. Thought suppressed. Power grabbed. Due process denied. Protest forbidden. Misinformation disseminated. Workers deemed “non-essential.” Lives and livelihoods destroyed. Citizens trying to work jailed while convicted criminals freed. Official orders and even arbitrary whims magically transformed into enforceable laws without any true legislative action or constitutionality. In short, freedom was enslaved.

We must wake up! Is this what those we honor on Memorial Day died to preserve? Since this assault on freedom is not over, here are a few things to remember:

  • – Don’t be enslaved
  • – Freedom is still worth fighting for
  • – Think for yourself
  • – Truth matters
  • – You do have a choice
  • – Follow the Good Shepherd
  • – Don’t be deceived
  • – Test the spirits at work
  • – Dare to risk
  • – Look for divine opportunities
  • – Encourage one another
  • – Remain grateful
  • – Proclaim the Word
  • – Show the love of Christ
  • – Keep your eyes on Jesus
  • – Pray for revival
  • – Fear not
  • – Be brave
  • – Be free

John 8:32 ESV “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – Jesus

You’ve Got a Friend

Posted by

We have become the most connected disconnected people in history. Thanks to technology, we are wired to anything and everything worldwide 24/7. The whitewater of social media, all-access information, endless group texts, stores that never close and on-demand entertainment can create the illusion that digital “relationships” are all we need.

However, recent surveys capture the turbulence. 25% of us on a normal day are lonely and depressed, and with the imposition of COVID-19 restrictions, that number has dramatically increased to 44%. The majority of us only have a few friends, find it hard to make new ones and, at most, have only one close friend. We long to belong, yet we are digitally sequestered. We want to be known, but deeply fear the same. Many desperately need a true friend.

In James Taylor’s autobiography, he recalls a broken, desperate time when the promised escape of drugs instead locked him in a prison. Hitting rock bottom, he checked into a rehab hospital. Strung out, depressed and alone, he wrote these words, “I’ve seen sunny days I thought would never end, and I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend” – a key line in a stirring song he would soon call Fire and Rain.

After completing the program, he left to record it and other songs with a studio band his producer recently put together. In particular, the pianist was very moved by James and this new song. So, as an answer to the cries of his heart in Fire and Rain, Carole King wrote You’ve Got a Friend. They each recorded and released her amazing song the same year. The two remain lifelong friends.

Jesus always had such compassion for the lonely, the isolated, the outcast. His friends included a beggar, a leper, a blind man, a woman at a well, a thief on a cross, a prostitute, a tax collector, a child, a widow and a woman issuing blood. What a friend we have in Jesus!

I’m thinking someone you know could really use a friend – a voice of encouragement – a touch of truth – a healing Word of Life. Be like Jesus and reach out your hand and your heart today.

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.” Matthew 25:40 NIV

What will that glory be?

Posted by

If eye has not seen, ear heard
or mind conceived
what God has prepared
for those who love Him,


If the splendor of this creation
so incredible to behold
is anxiously longing
to be set free,


To know only in part
and see dimly in this mirror,
but soon face to face
with joy inexpressible,


If this body so fearfully
and wonderfully made
is a seed sown in weakness,
but raised in power,


When our tent wears out
and we breathe our last,
and faith becomes sight
as hope bows to possession,


In the twinkling of an eye
when there’s no more death,
no more sin, and
no more crying or pain,


To long for a home
as yet unseen,
an eternal dwelling
He prepared for me,


When our veil of sufferings
lifts to reveal
an eternal weight of glory
far beyond all comparison,


When the Morning Star arises,
splits the sky like a scroll,
and darkness pierced
by the coming of our King,


When God dwells among us,
wipes away every tear
and by His Word
makes all things new,


To stand before the Lamb of God
with saints from
every tribe and tongue,
in mighty song of praise,


To look upon the King of Glory,
Exalted Majesty,
Beautiful Savior,
the One who died for me,


But to walk with Jesus here and now,
to love Him we have not seen,
and to shine His light
before all men,



the death of death

Posted by

No one likes a bully. They seem to be lurking around every corner. Ready to pounce, they intimidate and humiliate. Inflicting constant worry and dread, bullies push us around and try to imprison us in isolation. Many of us have had to endure a bully in our past, but everyone on earth is pursued by this enemy.

From our first breath, an unseen adversary came to visit. One more formidable and oppressive than any we’ve ever encountered. Stalking us night and day, there is no escape from the threats it intends to keep. This ancient foe, unearthed in the Garden, sits atop the food chain with no natural predators.

Death is a cruel enemy.

Wielding a host of lethal weaponry against the weakness of sinful flesh, we fear it and do everything in our power to avoid it. Satan, the unmerciful master of death, seeks to steal, kill and destroy. He was a murderer from the beginning. He delights in death and rejoices over the grave.

Remember when Jesus came to the tomb of His friend Lazarus? As He approached it and saw the weeping of Mary, He was “intensely moved in spirit” – the Greek literally says, “He snorted with anger.” For as Jesus, the Author of Life, walked toward death, it made Him groan out loud with anger.

He hated the lies of Satan.
He hated how sin brings death.
He hated how death separates.
He hated such pain and distress.

Oh, what a Savior!

Jesus was angry, but His anger sprung from a supernatural heart of love and compassion that moved Him to face our enemies on the cross. Jesus confronted sin, Satan and death on our behalf and was victorious. As the perfect sacrifice for sin, the sinless Son of God rose from the dead never to die again! He silenced the boasts of Satan and conquered the grave!

Thank You, Jesus, for the victory we have over sin and death.
Thank You for the power of Your precious blood.
Thank You that we no longer must live in fear.
Thank you that nothing, including death, can ever separate us from Your amazing love.

Oh, what a Savior!

O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 ESV

when the rooster crows

Posted by
“What have you done?”
And the rooster crows 
Sewing fig leaves 
“Where are you?”
And the rooster crows 
The weight, heavy
The voices, condemning 
The burden, unbearable
The fear, enslaving  
The lie, empty
“Who told you?”
And the rooster crows 
Truth arises
Blood shed
Debt paid 
Grace flows
Chains broken
Free indeed
“Where are your accusers?”
No more shame
No more condemnation 
No more guilt 
No more fear
No more darkness 
No more running 
“Come to Me”
 For from His fullness
we have all received,
grace upon grace.
John 1:16 NASB

A Not So Silent Night

Posted by

Any woman who has ever been “great with child” can certainly relate to the discomfort Mary would have experienced making the difficult 80-mile journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem so late in her pregnancy. Such a small town bursting to overcapacity from the mandated census made finding peaceful accommodations all the more challenging. Since the trip was exhausting and there was “no room for them in the inn,” Mary and Joseph bedded down in an area where animals were kept. It was good just to get off their feet.

And while they were there – at just the right time – in the fullness of time, Mary gave birth to her firstborn son, wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger. Fitting, a common feeding trough became a cradle for the Bread of Life. By all appearances, His was an extraordinarily ordinary birth.

Along with a chorus of animals and the percussion of a crowded village, the cries of a newborn baby harmonized the night’s song. The One who had spoken all things into existence by the power of His Word – the Word made flesh, now as Mary’s little lamb, is reduced to the simplest form of human speech.

Shepherds, keeping watch over their sheep in nearby fields, were the first to receive the Good Shepherd’s birth announcement. Heaven’s joy simply could not be contained and spilled out across the skies. For suddenly, the shepherds were surrounded by the glory of the Lord as multitudes of the heavenly host began praising God and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to men” (Luke 2:13-14).

The angels sang at the dawn of creation and now they sing at the dawn of redeeming grace! Oh, the majesty of such praise! For on that not so silent night, the King of Kings lovingly set aside His royal crown, clothed His glory with flesh and made His throne a bed of hay.

Jesus. God with us. His was no ordinary birth. Let heaven and nature sing!

Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem.”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King!”

“For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all nations…” Luke 2:30 NIV

Will they tell your story?

Posted by

My wife and I recently had the opportunity to see the Broadway production of Hamilton in NYC with some great friends. Wow! What an incredibly powerful musical that retells the life of Alexander Hamilton – immigrant, statesman, politician, lawyer and economist. As one of America’s Founding Fathers, he was a zealous promoter of the U.S. Constitution and served as the first Secretary of the Treasury under President George Washington.

Hamilton’s songs range from forceful shouts to “rise up and take your shot” in joining the fight for freedom to tenderhearted melodies of forgiveness and healing while learning “to live with the unimaginable” by “a grace too powerful to name. Forgiveness. Can you imagine?” But the song that really stuck with me was the last one in which Alexander’s widow asks, “And when you’re gone, who remembers your name? And when my time is up, have I done enough? Will they tell your story?”

A lasting and meaningful legacy is a universal desire. Will I be remembered – and for what? Will the recap of my life be a mere recitation of activities and accomplishments or something more? The temptation for some is to think too much about themselves and live like they are writing an autobiography with thrilling accounts of their kingdoms. But let me suggest a better way…

Could it be as we become more and more consumed with helping co-author the biographies of others by pouring ourselves out for them, our legacy will take care of itself? Could it be in giving ourselves away by loving well and often, we engrave words of eternal grace into the lives of others? Could it be in living out the words of Jesus, we compose enduring impact?

And as His Name is proclaimed in generations to come, we share in a lasting legacy as joint heirs with Jesus. So perhaps the question worth considering is not “Will they tell your story? but “Will they tell His story?”

Less of us. More of Jesus. Start writing.

2 Corinthians 3:2-3 NET You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone, revealing that you are a letter of Christ…written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on stone tablets but on tablets of human hearts.


Posted by

Imagine you are quietly working at your desk in a high-rise office building. Suddenly, you hear that really annoying sound as the fire alarm starts to screech. But very soon, reality sets in as you smell smoke and a voice announces, “This is not a drill, please exit the building immediately.” Co-workers hastily grab a few personal belongings, cover their faces and rush for the stairwell.

As you start to join the quest for freedom, you see smoke bellowing up from a lower floor outside the windows. Shouting, crying and panic only briefly distract you from one overwhelming thought: the fire is below us – what if we can’t make it out?

Yet in this surreal moment where most people are reflexively rushing to save themselves, something compels you to remain and help others as many are gasping for air, others are paralyzed by fear and some are unable to walk without assistance. Driven solely by compassion, you risk your life to save others.

Through the thickening smoke, you repeatedly help others navigate the danger and find the way to safety. Nothing else matters except precious lives are being saved – and rightfully so.  But one thing’s for sure: you would never just sit there, shrug your shoulders and go back to working on your spreadsheet, would you?

And yet spiritually, we do this almost daily.

For all around us, people’s lives are in jeopardy – people we work with, socialize with, live near – even some in our own family. Their eternal destinies are at stake while the Enemy slowly fans the flames consuming them. But many of us just ignore the smoke and complacently return to our daily pursuits. While we possess the very Living Water necessary to extinguish the flames, we have no sense of urgency. While we know the only Way to safety, we do not lead.

With the compassion of Jesus, it’s time to act. You are perfectly equipped by the Holy Spirit for this assignment so fear not! See the smoke, quench the flames and show the Way!

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment…  John 14:6 & Jude 1:23 NLT

The Light in your Eyes

Posted by

Your eyes are a doorway to your heart and mind, and a window into your soul.

Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness” Matthew 6:22-23 NASB.  Since Jesus sandwiches this verse right between talking about laying up your treasure in heaven and that no one is ever able to serve two masters, He is clearly telling us how to have a “clear” eye.

Physically, light bounces off things in our field of vision and enters the eye from the outside to help us form an image on the inside. Spiritually, the same is true, but then it makes a round trip.  For what our eyes feed on eventually reflects outwardly by displaying a bright, glowing fullness or a dull, dark emptying.

What do others see when they look at your eyes? Do they see heavenly love, hope, joy, and contentment? Or do they see earthly envy, strife, fear and discontentment?

If our eyes are primarily focused on the things of this world, then they will be blind to the beauty, glory and goodness of God all around us. God’s Word helps bring our eyes and our hearts sharply back into focus much like a corrective lens. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes Psalm 19:8 NIV.

Do you want to have a twinkle in your eyes?  A supernatural spark from within? The Light of Life? 

Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Make Him your treasure. Feed your spirit daily with the Word of God. See the unseen hand of God at work with the eyes of your heart. Gaze on the beauty and wonder of His creation, but worship the Creator and not the created.

Stare intently at the things that are praiseworthy, lovely, true and excellent. Focus on the light of grace, the glow of generosity and the brightness of the love of Jesus. Then let your heart and mind dwell on these things.

Stoke a holy fire within and the Light in your eyes will tell the story.

For at one time you were darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord. Walk as children of Light. Ephesians 5:8 ESV



Posted by

Nothing quenches our thirst like water and every morning we begin a new quest for it. Most of us take it for granted since we don’t have to search any farther than a refrigerator or faucet, but for many worldwide it’s a daily challenge and fight for survival. Fresh water that’s free of disease and harmful chemicals is a true blessing.

Since God composed our bodies of 60% water and every single cell requires it to function properly, this quest is absolutely essential for life. Most of us need at least 2-3 liters/day and without it, we would die in less than a week.

As great as our need for physical water, our need for spiritual water is infinitely greater. Yes, our mouths are parched, and we naturally crave water to satisfy that thirst. But our souls are also designed by God to thirst, and to discover this thirst can only be satisfied in Him. We cannot drink physical water from just anywhere unless we want to risk sickness, disease or death and the same is true for us spiritually.

My people have committed two sins: they have forsaken Me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13 ESV

God obviously isn’t talking about drinking water. His people no longer drank from His spring of living water but created an alternate supply of their own choosing. Surprisingly, there never seemed to be enough. They abandoned the only everlasting and soul-satisfying supply for brokenness.

What satisfies the thirst of your soul?

Remember what Jesus said to the woman at the well: “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst…a well of water springing up to eternal life” John 4:13-14 NASB. So, if I’m still thirsty with such an unlimited supply of living water in Jesus, I wonder why?

Drench your soul every day by drinking deeply from the Fountain of Life. Be washed by His Word and bathed by His Presence! And rather than a pond, be a river of refreshment to others!

“Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” Jesus, John 7:37-38 ESV

One Small Step

Posted by

Imagine a time when T.V.’s had rabbit ears, rotary phones made sparks to dial out and people listened to music on record players. In that day, people were called “computers” until IBM introduced a data processing system for NASA filling an entire room but far less powerful than your iPhone. Now, go to the Moon!

As we recently celebrated the anniversary of men walking on the Moon, whether for the first time or the 50th time, the accomplishment is no less amazing and awe-inspiring today than in 1969. Embracing the dream President Kennedy planted in the hearts and minds of Americans in 1962, we rallied as a nation to overcome incredible obstacles to see this dream come true. What was once only imagined in stories and movies became a reality.

Although men stepped onto the Moon 5 more times over the next 3 years, there has not been a lunar mission since 1972. Recently, we have been challenged to return to the Moon and even Mars – but more than that, we have been challenged to dare to dream again as a nation.

Growing up in the 60’s, I was captivated by the quest of going to the Moon and wanted to be an astronaut. Since I get dizzy on a merry-go-round, that dream never quite became a reality, but I was still very passionate about it.

Revisiting the exhilaration I felt watching Neil Armstrong take that one small step has been bitter-sweet. I’ve experienced a sense of renewed wonder, but it’s been accompanied by some waves of regret – not only because I didn’t travel into space, but because I was also reminded that this dream, along with others in my life, never came true. And so, as history taught me, dreams are risky and can end in disappointment.

But the courage to dream is always risky. God created us to dream and we involuntarily do so every night while sleeping. I guess the trick is to do it voluntarily while we’re awake! Maybe you and I need to risk dreaming again? And perhaps this time, we should ask God to give us a dream – a heavenly dream. That may seem like a small step, but it might just result in a giant leap that impacts generations to come.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12 NASB

Image courtesy of NASA


Posted by

Nestled on a grassy hillside 25 miles north of Jerusalem, you’ll find some excavated stones with lots of scattered pieces of pottery quietly paving the ground. But 3,500 years ago, Joshua made a home for the tabernacle in Shiloh and it became the center of worship of Jehovah God for the next 369 years.

As we stood on that hilltop, we imagined we were among the twelve tribes who gathered to worship as the glorious Presence of God filled the Holy of Holies. Families would bring a sacrificial meal, and once offered, would break the pot as both the meal and the vessel were considered holy unto the Lord. And so, the fragments on which we walked took on whole new meaning.

Can anything beautiful come from such brokenness?

For it was on these fragments a barren, broken and weeping Hannah walked to the door of the tabernacle to beg the Lord for a child (1 Samuel 1:20). God poured the oil of joy onto her pain, answered her prayer and blessed her with a son named Samuel.

And Shiloh had visited us before we visited Shiloh.

After the birth of her first child, our daughter-in-law experienced a miscarriage and cried out to the Lord for another child. God heard her prayer and in February of this year, Samuel was born to Mollie and Jon.

A year ago, our daughter called in tears with news the fertility specialist said her chances of pregnancy were very slim. Yes, the Lord had already blessed her with three wonderful children, but she longed for a fourth. We agreed to ignore the test results and, in faith, cling to God. Within three months, God answered her prayer and just 2 days ago, Hannah was born to Jenn and Ellis.

It’s humbling to think my wife and I were in Shiloh in April, at the very spot where Hannah prayed. Standing on the brokenness of sacrifice, we were overwhelmed with the beauty and goodness of God. How grateful we are for two daughters (and two husbands) of faith and a faithful God.

Is there brokenness you need to bring to God and ask Him to transform into something beautiful? It’s time to go to Shiloh.

“And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1:20 ESV


Distracted Driving

Posted by

Look out! That was a close one! It’s true. I can get distracted while driving, and I’m pretty sure many of you also struggle with the same problem. Every time we get behind the wheel, we are faced with the challenge of keeping our eyes on the road. There are so many things that can pull our focus elsewhere – kids, texts, calls, music, directions or just getting lost in thought.

Somehow, we believe we are such experts that we can put driving on autopilot while we take care of these distractions. These either take our hands off the wheel, our eyes off the road or mental or emotional things can send us into a stupor as if we were intoxicated. Texting does all three and tops the naughty list according to accident statistics. Bad things can happen when we get distracted.

On the spiritual highway, we must also guard against distracted driving.

Every day, we are bombarded with so many things that can move our eyes off the Way. From the normal demands of life to worldly pride and desires, our hearts and minds can be pulled away from following Jesus. We put our calling – our faith – our love for Jesus and His purposes on autopilot while preoccupied by lesser things. The distractions are many, but each with the potential for a crash.

What is taking your eyes off the road spiritually? Earthly pursuits, popularity, pride, laziness, selfishness, disappointment, worry, fear, busyness – it doesn’t really matter what as long as it successfully pulls you and keeps you out of God’s lane.

Yes, we are human, we live in a sinful world and we are prone to swerve. That said, some of us need to wake up, disconnect the autopilot and get back on course. Name your distraction and bring it before God. He’s not some judge in a traffic court, but a merciful Father on a Throne of Grace with a compassionate Savior at His right hand. Remember, He has already made provision for whatever it is with the blood of Jesus. And since there are no expert drivers spiritually, He has given us the best driving instructor ever in the Holy Spirit.

Let’s keep our eyes on the road.

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37


O Jerusalem, Jerusalem

Posted by

My wife and I recently had the incredible blessing to travel to Israel for the first time. What a unique country! So resilient and fruitful. Such geographic, political and religious diversity. Modern yet ancient. Historic yet prophetic. Painful reminders of disobedience and glorious testaments to perfect obedience.

The eyes of the world are fixed on this tiny nation. So small yet so significant. The world’s three major religions intersect at its capital city. Surrounded by its enemies, there are many signs of both war and peace; hatred and love. Navigating its complexity is only overshadowed by the undeniable truth that it exists because God wills it to be. It is a modern-day miracle and testimony to the faithfulness of God.

People from every nation come to seek Him there. As in ancient times, they seek the glory and Presence of the Lord – the visible Glory that once dwelt in a tabernacle and then in a temple. With its destruction in 70 A.D., many now default to the Western Wall – the closest remaining point to where the Holy of Holies used to be.

Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, and the Lord has forgotten me.” But the Lord answered, “Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.” “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me” Isaiah 49:14-16 NASB.

But there is no Temple, no high priest, no sacrifice. How could the Lord’s promise to Israel still be true?

Ah, but the Lord did not forget. He sent His one and only Son and inscribed their names (and ours) on the palms of Jesus’ hands – not with ink, but with precious blood. Then He displayed His full Glory – a greater glory than ever before through the power of the resurrection! Rejoice O Jerusalem! Rejoice all the earth! The Lamb has become our great High Priest and has sat down at the right hand of the Throne of God!

Put your finger here, and see My hands…and believe!” – Jesus, John 20:27 NASB

The Fragrance of Prayer

Posted by

Every morning and evening, Aaron would burn incense on the golden Altar of Incense located immediately before the veil separating the Holy Place from the Ark of the Covenant in Holy of Holies. Constantly burning, it was the closest object in the Tabernacle to the glorious Presence of God.

The incense was made from a unique recipe given by God in Exodus 30:34-38. This was God’s fragrance – “most holy unto the Lord” – reserved solely for this purpose. As it was consumed, it produced a sweet aroma and smoke ascending day and night. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the priest would cleanse the Altar of Incense with sacrificial blood.

Why am I telling you this?

Because the Altar of Incense is a picture of the prayers of God’s people. Prayers of faith reserved solely for the Lord being offered day and night – a fragrant aroma ascending like smoke to the Throne of God. David connects the dots for us, “May my prayer be set before You like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice” Psalm 141:2.

And before you say, “But I’m not living in the Old Testament and haven’t been to the Tabernacle lately,” consider this. Having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, this altar can also be seen as a picture of Christ’s glorious mediation. Our Great High Priest sits at the right hand of the Throne of God always making intercession for us.

But there’s more.

What is no longer found in an earthly tabernacle or temple, now rests in a Heavenly One. At the Throne of God, Revelation 5:8 shows us “golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” and Revelation 8:3-4 describes an angel “at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.”

So, when you pray, why not picture this incredible scene in heaven? See your prayers ascending like a holy offering of incense from the temple of your heart to the Throne of our great God!

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Make Me Smile

Posted by

Looking into the face of another, there’s nothing quite like a smile. Think about the face-to-face interaction between a parent and child. Parents spend hours of face time trying to get their newborn to smile. Then finally, around 6-8 weeks old, it happens, and mom and dad rejoice! For what cannot yet be communicated with words, is so easily said with a smile. With such limited understanding and literally zero vocabulary, a baby speaks volumes by something so simple – and so do we.

As one of the very first things we learn, it stands as one of the most powerful God-given powers we possess. Intricately woven into our hearts and minds, smiles make the face shine and put light in the eyes. Some of us try to smooth out those smile lines as we age, but they really are a beautiful testimony to our outlook on life. They stand as visible evidence that things are well with our souls – that we love laughter and, as the proverb says, “smile at the future.”

Isn’t it interesting all people smile in the same language? It’s truly an expression that transcends all boundaries. It puts joy, optimism and delight on display. It radiates warmth and communicates acceptance. It makes you feel welcome and draws you in. We cannot overestimate its impact because it’s proven to be highly contagious.

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26 NIV

In the Hebrew, grace, often translated favor, means “to be cheerful; to bestow delight and joy.” It is highly connected to both a greeting and the face. Because of this, the Scriptures frequently couple it with the phrases “in the eyes of” or “in the sight of.”

With the eyes of your heart, look up at the face of God and one feature should be sharply in focus. Do you see it? He’s not frowning or shaking His head, He’s got a big smile and “yes” written all over His face. And oh, how He loves to shine His amazing grace on you in Jesus – not just in salvation, but throughout all your days.

You have much to smile about today. 😃

Make Your face shine on Your servant; save me in Your steadfast love! Psalm 31:16 ESV

A planting of the Lord

Posted by

Holding a seed in your hand, it’s not much to look at. But don’t be deceived, an incredible miracle lies quietly waiting to happen – for life is found just beneath its tiny, unimpressive shell. So full of potential, it must patiently wait to fulfill its purpose.

And those who dare to plant, who courageously look beyond appearances with eyes of faith – for sowing takes both belief and patience. Yes, there will be life, but later. Yes, there will be a harvest, but in due season. And through the miracle of multiplication, the reward inherent in the harvest is fruit containing more seed which, in turn, bears more fruit.

The Scriptural principle is clear: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit” John 12:24 NASB.

In other words, don’t be afraid to be planted. In Jesus, it is your calling. For your earthly covering – your shell contains the incredible Life of Jesus – the imperishable seed of His Word. And like seeds, we remain alone and unfruitful unless we are sown.

Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” 2 Corinthians 9:6 NASB.

Everyone is sowing something. As sons and daughters of the Lord of the Harvest, we are so full of potential. The question is not if you are sowing, but what will the harvest be? We are His seed and are called to be sowers. And those who give themselves away – who freely sow the Life and love of Jesus – will bear a great harvest of the fruit of righteousness.

So do not hoard the seed nor fear being sown. Rather, fear not being sown. And even if the world stomps you into the ground, remember that’s not a bad place for a seed.

“We shall be called ‘oaks of righteousness’ – a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor” Isaiah 61:3 NIV.


Posted by

Watching the sun rise is truly amazing. One minute it’s night, but then a wonderful miracle of transformation occurs – that incredible moment when an uncontainable source of light breaks over the horizon and banishes the darkness simply by its presence.

On Christmas Eve 2000 years ago, the world turned and the sun rose, but from heaven’s vantage point, a thick darkness remained. For people were still held captive under the inescapable darkness of sin. Even the light of the sun was insufficient to dispel this darkness.

Many actually loved the darkness as it hid their true estate – serving as a temporary cloak but all the while tightening its relentless grip on their very souls. Others dreaded the darkness and were filled with the despair of being trapped by a force they were helpless to escape. And the powers of darkness rejoiced.

Yet on that night, the first Christmas night, another Light was about to shine unlike any other ever seen. Eyewitnesses spoke of a unique star shining in the east and of angels who lit up the sky over Bethlehem. But in the spiritual realm, it was that first cry of the manger that pierced the darkness of sin, death and hell with an Everlasting and Unquenchable Light.

Simply by His Presence, hope was born. The Light of the World shattered the powers of darkness with the dawn of redeeming grace. God clothed in flesh. Immanuel. God with us. For that silent night long ago, there was a glorious Sonrise as Jesus set His heavenly crown on a pile of straw and all of heaven rejoiced while the world slept.

Celebrate the Sonrise!

The people living in darkness have seen a great Light, on those living in the land of the shadow of death a Light has dawned. Matthew 4:16 NIV

Rise and Shine

Posted by

The dictionary defines it by what it is not.  But much more than the physical absence of light, darkness is a supernaturally powerful force.  It’s all around us – lying in wait – longing to consume every void.  It is militant and invasive; proud and aggressive.  Accepting no compromise, it seeks to dominate, divide and rule.

Laying claim to every unguarded heart and mind, it is a master of doubt and deception.  Under the command of a relentless ruler, its cloak of lies conceals what truly abides there.  Consuming its captives, it oppresses them with distorted vision, false illusions and fear.  Whether enslaving a single soul or entire nation, the daily news of its destructive march makes its kingdom appear hopelessly invincible.

And without light, it is.

But God has not left us to blindly grope in darkness!  “The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” Matthew 4:16. Darkness does not overcome the light; it is light that instantly sends the darkness into full retreat and conquers it!

How fast does darkness flee? At the speed of light!

Radiant and beautiful, penetrating and revealing, purifying and liberating, light restores sight and gives life.  More than a mere form of electromagnetic radiation, light is supernaturally bestowed by a gracious Lord: King Jesus, the Glory of the Father, the Light of the World, the Bright Morning Star. “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin” Colossians 1:13-14.

Our world is a dark place and people desperately need line of sight to beacons of hope.  If the Son has risen on your darkness and made His light to shine in your heart, then it’s time to for you to rise and shine.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His Light shine in our hearts to give us the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.  2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV, Ephesians 5:9 NASB

In all things as we are

Posted by

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

We have little problem seeing Jesus as the Son of God, but we rarely think about what He felt as a man. This verse doesn’t ask us to consider if Jesus would have sinned (since He did not), but that He could have sinned – that He was truly tempted.

In the wilderness, we clearly see Jesus tempted by the devil to miraculously satisfy His hunger, to sensationally put God to the test, and to blatantly worship the Enemy – yet without sin. But to better understand “in all things as we are,” we need to widen our gaze.

Was Jesus ever tempted to summon angels to rescue Him or call down fire from heaven to destroy His enemies? Was He tempted when they mocked Him to save Himself while on the cross? Was He ever tempted by the many women He ministered to? According to the Word – yes, but without sin.

Was Jesus ever tempted by His power or popularity or when He was misunderstood, rejected or falsely accused? Was He ever tempted to lash out in anger or seek revenge because of betrayal? Was He tempted to avoid the cross altogether? Yes, but without sin.

If these temptations and many more were not real, then Jesus was merely an actor playing a role and reading from a script. Never! Being fully God, Jesus possessed all divine power, but to resist temptation, He deferred to the Father’s will precisely because He was fully man.

Jesus knows what it is like to wear flesh, to feel its limitations, to experience its desires and its disappointments – yet without sin. He sympathizes with our weaknesses. Don’t allow your temptations or your sins to keep you from Him. Don’t picture God frowning and shaking His head in disgust.

Because of Jesus, there is a fountain filled with a Savior’s cleansing blood, a Spirit within you to help fight the spiritual battles waging war against you and a merciful Father with arms open wide. Remember, the Son of God is also the Son of Man.

Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16 NASB

Anchor Point

Posted by

To resist the changing tides, the wind and waves, and firmly hold its position, every ship needs a good anchor. But an anchor’s ultimate success or failure is not simply dependent on its own weight or design, but rather on the reliability of what it is anchored to.

When the Scripture speaks of shipwrecks (1 Timothy 1:19), drifting (Hebrews 2:1), hidden reefs (Jude 1:12) and being tossed by the wind and the waves (Ephesians 4:14, James 1:6), instead of referring to maritime vessels, it uses these words as warnings for you and me.

What will help us resist the strong tides of temptation or being tossed here and there by waves of doubt?  What will stabilize us when storms are threatening to wreck our lives on hidden reefs?  What will save us from ever so slowly drifting into despair?  What will keep our hearts and minds from being pulled away by the currents of fleshly desires, the pride of life and the love of this world?

To successfully navigate this vast and challenging sea of life, we’re going to need a good anchor – but more than that, we must have a faithful Anchor Point.

Jesus is the only Solid Rock, our only Saving Refuge, the only Firm Foundation.  And He has given us faithful and true promises we must cling to.  Every time we read His Word, believe it, claim it and live it out, we are holding fast to imperishable links in an unbreakable chain.  Day by day, we will begin to see and even feel that chain pulling tightly to secure us and keep us anchored to the Rock.

To help you do so, please sign up to receive an Anchor Point from me every Monday morning – an encouraging thought anchored in Scripture.  Just text the word “anchorpoint” to 31996 – it’s free.  Then, think deeply about what you receive, and anchor your heart, mind, and soul to the unshakable Truth of our faithful God.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil. Hebrews 6:19 NASB

Are you listening?

Posted by

Ding. Ring. Better check. Must like. Have to reply. Follow. Must know. Any updates? Click. Swipe. Post. Next. Watch now or it will be gone. Don’t miss out. Repeat often.

Taking every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5) is getting more and more challenging. No longer just a sifting of good and bad thoughts, we are being inundated with a tidal wave of information 24/7. Torrents of media. Downpours of updates. A deluge of group texts. Monsoons of emails.

And like water running down a mountainside, many of us are taking the path of least resistance.  Once fully immersed, the current moves us swiftly downstream toward more, more, more – and we haven’t even addressed the demands of the workplace that follow us around.

I’m certainly not against media, work, learning, staying connected or devices, but I believe most would agree we are more distracted than ever before. It’s a wonder we can finish a sentence or have a conversation – mind if I reply to this real quick? – without interruption. Our minds are constantly busy, often far away from the present moment and present company.

Today’s technology is teaching us impatience (which I don’t think is a fruit of the Spirit) so that we are not very content with being with one thing for too long – even Jesus. I may be the only one, but when you pray, does your mind jump from one thought to the next? Imagine how disjointed some of our prayers might sound if they were transcribed into actual audible conversations!

So, what’s the answer?  STOP IT. Withdraw and then draw near. Meditate on the beauty of our Lord and His Word. Think deeply. Jot down notes. Talk out loud. Stare in awe. Be still. Wonder. Worship. Enjoy. Abide. Rest. Devote more time to feeding on His Word than checking your feeds. Spend more time staring into His face than into your device.

Jesus has so much to say to us and that’s why many times in Scripture we are cautioned, “He who has ears, let him hear.” Translation: “You may have ears, but are you really listening?” Ears don’t work very well unless the heart and mind are focused and engaged. Let’s commit to doing something different for Jesus’ sake and swim upstream against the prevailing current of media overload.

He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple. Isaiah 50:4b NASB

Good Day Sunshine

Posted by

Endowed by God with power and glory, the sun’s reach and impact are inescapable. Its entrance and exit are timed to the minute as it marks our seasons, days and years.

While its energy output has never varied more than 0.1%, a mere 1% increase or decrease would destroy all life on earth. Commanding the center of attention, its immense gravitational force holds our solar system together while providing life-giving light and heat for our little blue planet.

Sunrise. Sunset. Morning. Evening. Day after day. Year after year. Proud. Glorious. Captivating. Because of its precious light, we can use our gift of sight and we have air to breathe and food to eat. Never tiring, never failing – “there is nothing hidden from its heat” Psalm 19:6. Its scorching presence can make us cry for relief and its sustained absence can drive us to depression.

Yes, the sun has plenty to boast about as it majestically sets the rhythm of life. But instead of boasting in itself, it faithfully proclaims the greatness of God. In the beginning, God said, “Let there be light” and the Light of His Presence banished the darkness over the earth. But on the fourth day, God created the sun and endowed it with a portion of His power and glory to continue His work.

The sun shines because God told it to shine. We cannot escape its radiance no more than we can escape His Presence. We have a hard time looking at it without squinting to remind us of His glory and His power. When we call a day “beautiful” because we see it rise, we actually proclaim His beauty. “God is like the sun; you cannot look at it, but without it, you cannot look at anything else” G.K. Chesterton.

So, every time you put them on, remember sunglasses
are actually a testimony to the greatness of God.

In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. So that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting we may know there is none besides Him. He is the Lord, and there is no other” Psalm 19:4-5; Isaiah 45:6 NIV.


a glory that never fades

Posted by

Is that a gray hair?  Another wrinkle!  Where did that line come from?  Not as flexible as you used to be?  Lost a step or two?  Feeling more soreness?  Hair thinning?  Stuff sagging?  Eyes not as sharp?  Putting on LB’s?

After we’ve awakened from our collegiate invincibility stupor, it usually doesn’t take long to notice we’re not getting any younger.  Damage control: color, creams, classes, glasses, gizmos, exercise, doctors, diets and fashion concealment techniques.  It’s a battle worth fighting, but the trend line is relentless.

And so “while we are still in this tent, we groan…” 2 Corinthians 5:4.  Did I hear an amen?  Yes, God gave us amazingly beautiful earthly tents we call bodies, but these tents are exposed to the elements, and over time, inevitably show signs of wear and tear.  Every day, we are given these pesky reminders.  But in addition to all our other efforts in search of the fountain of youth, we should firmly drive our tent stakes into these words of wisdom:

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, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV.

Did you hear that?  Outward decay, inward renewal.  How is that possible?  It’s a transformational, paradoxical miracle, of course.  It’s an incredible redemptive and restorative work of the Holy Spirit of Jesus that doesn’t focus on polishing or patching up the outside, but is wholly committed to complete what He started on the inside.  “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” Philippians 1:6 NLT.

Don’t lose heart!  Why not?  Because the mirror on your wall tells one story, but the mirror into your spirit should tell another.  If our eyes focus only on the first mirror, we may not always like what we see when we look at what is temporary.  But fixing our eyes on the mirror of the unseen reveals an eternal, inner beauty and glory that never fades.  And this truth calls us to make sure our focus is rightfully placed on what is truly worth the investment.

So as the miles on your odometer increase, make sure the wear is only external.

That according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being. Ephesians 3:16

The Wonders of His Love

Posted by

Opting out, privacy mode, incognito windows and do-not-track requests! We live in a crazy world where I’m not sure anything is truly private unless it’s in a shoebox under your bed with a rubber band on it. So much personal information from our digital footprint is being collected and disseminated that it’s kind of scary. Technology is watching us.

On a relational level, experience has taught us to be a bit more selective – deciding who, when and how much is made known. There are so very few we can trust with full disclosure – with the innermost part of our being – without being judged, exploited or exposed. To be known is simultaneously one of our deepest needs and greatest fears.

But there is One who knows everything about us – who knows us better than we know ourselves – and still loves us. Our great God is intimately acquainted with all our ways. He is completely aware of all we do, sifts our thoughts and knows what we will say before we even form a word. He knows us on our best days and worst days – and still loves us.

Where can we go from His Spirit? Where can we flee from His Presence? From the heights of heaven to the depths of death, we are not only pursued, but awaited by Him. On our darkest nights and in our greatest fears, His song will be with us as the light of His Presence banishes anything that would separate us from His love.

We can get no closer to or further from His Presence. He encloses us behind and before and tenderly lays His hand upon us. His Presence is in the present in the midst of our every heartbeat. If we look in the rearview mirror, He is there. If we lift our eyes beyond the horizon, our future is full of Him.

Fear not. The God who knitted you together in your mother’s womb, who adorned you with beauty and purpose, who established your days before you took a breath, can be trusted. Since there is no way to hide from God, perhaps we should simply hide in God. He alone is our Hiding Place. We are safe and protected. We are accepted and valued. We are fully known and fully loved.

Is this kind of love too wonderful?  Yes, especially for those of us who aren’t very lovable. But it is more real than anything we can touch and truer than anything we’ve ever seen. It’s the love of our good, good Father indescribably full of wonder and that’s where we must leave it. Praise Him today for the wonders of His love.

I will give thanks to You,
For I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:14 NASB

Devotional based on Psalm 139. Please read it!

the Lover of your Soul

Posted by

For the shepherd in the areas surrounding Jerusalem, the care of his sheep was a full-time commitment. From the safety of the home-front to higher grounds and back again, the seasonal journeys were necessary to find new pastures and fresh waters. While on the road as night fell, the shepherd would construct a make-shift sheep pen out of available brush and he himself would bed down as the literal door to that shelter. This would ensure that his sheep could not wander nor predators attack without first crossing over him.

Periodically, a shepherd would become ill or need to take a few days off and so a rent-a-shepherd – a hired hand had to be called in. While he would go through the same basic routine, there was one huge contingency: if and when a wolf came, the hired-hand fled (John 10:12-13). Why? These weren’t his sheep. Why risk his life over a few days hourly wage?

Not so the Good Shepherd.

He knows His own and lays down His life for the sheep (John 10:11). As the Door, those that hear His voice and enter through Him, will go in and out and find pasture (John 10:9). They are saved and safe; they are free and flourish in His care. The Good Shepherd is so protective and compassionate about His sheep because He once experienced life from their point of view – our point of view. He has heard our cries and knows how desperately we need Him.

Behold, the Lamb of God is the Good Shepherd!

And on that very last Passover, He became the once-and-for-all sacrifice to take away our sin as His innocent body was broken and His precious blood poured out on a door in the shape of a cross. For the Enemy of our soul came to destroy us, but the Good Shepherd did not flee. Rather, He fought for us and triumphed over sin, hell and death. He willingly gave His life and then rose again so that we could have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10).

This is our Good Shepherd – the Lover of our souls. He is our Passover – our Exodus – our Door. And the horror of the Cross is only overshadowed by its wonder. For Jesus loves me, this I know.

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21 NASB).

What did you say?

Posted by

It is nothing short of a miracle to be able to contract our diaphragm to force a compressed, invisible column of air across vocal cords that carve it into sound waves perfectly sculpted by our tongue, mouth and lips, producing intelligible sounds we call words.  In this amazing gift, God has given us the power of creation – the authority to fashion our words and to not merely communicate, but to relate.

But with this privilege comes great responsibility.  Perhaps if we understood the full power of our words, we’d be more careful about their use.  For in their deployment, we either curse or bless – tear down or encourage – wound or heal – speak death or life.

Regardless of whether they are carefully planned or carelessly spoken, as their masters, we give our words assignments with specific purposes to accomplish.  For once they reach the intended ear of another, it’s a very short distance to their heart, mind and soul.  And many of us have made agreements with harmful words spoken over us that have taken root in our lives.

In spite of repeated warnings in Scripture to keep it, restrain it, and bridle it, we can abuse our stewardship of speech.  When we do, we crush the spirit, wound like a sword, set on fire, stir up anger, tear down, slander, deceive, curse and create division.  Our tongue can be a relentless evil full of deadly poison.

BUT gracious words are sweet to the soul and health to the body.  Good and wise words make the heart glad.  They soothe, cover offenses, turn away wrath, adorn with knowledge, encourage, thank, bless, show love, build up, and impart joy and delight.  They are a tree of life.

You must never underestimate the power of a kind word – a word of encouragement – a timely word – a life-giving word.  Every time you open your mouth, remember God has given you the power to cultivate something in another.  Think!  Be quick to listen and slow to speak.  Don’t tear down what you are hoping to create.

Ask the Spirit to stand guard over the door of your mouth, and let only wise, gracious words leave the premises.  Ask the Spirit to bring to mind where you either need healing or need to bring healing.  We must break the power of any curses spoken over us and reverse the curses we have spoken over others by declaring truth and asking forgiveness.

Since death and life are in power of the tongue, choose life.

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.  Psalm 141:3; 19:14

Confessions of a sheep

Posted by

Hello. I’m a sheep. I was born that way. I’m really not very good at taking care of myself. You see, I’m not all that smart, get lots of stuff caught in my wool I can’t reach due to flexibility issues and don’t have any defensive skills worth bragging about. I’ve also discovered my “baaaah” is not really threatening to almost anything – especially predators.

Consequently, I tend to live in fear and will run like crazy with the rest of the flock without even knowing why. When you’re at the lower end of the food chain, it’s usually better to run than to be the last one standing around waiting to get picked off. Still, blindly following the crowd has gotten me into some unforeseen trouble on more than one occasion and I don’t recommend it.

I’m not on meds, but I am easily distracted, prone to wander and have a tendency to get lost. I can’t tell you how many wrong paths I’ve been down. I also have such short legs and fluffy coat that if I lie down and roll over, I can’t turn myself over again without outside intervention. I know, it’s quite embarrassing, but true. In short, I’m not very lovable and quite needy – you might say I’m “high-maintenance.”

I’ve followed a number of shepherds over the years and, let me tell you, it matters. I’ve been led astray many times by those who didn’t really care about me. Yep, a Good Shepherd makes all the difference. It’s taken me some time to come to grips with who I am and be able to talk openly about myself, but it’s actually kind of freeing. You see, life is way better when I keep my eyes on the Shepherd who knows everything about me and still loves me.

While there are days I think I want to be a shepherd, experience has taught me I’m not very good at that either. Truth is, I need to follow someone I can trust – someone who will lead me in the right paths – and there’s only one Good Shepherd. Weird, but just being in His Presence calms me down. It’s actually become a source of great comfort for me to keep His staff and the hem of His robe in view since looking elsewhere for what only He can provide is never a good idea.

So, I guess I’m learning to be comfortable in my own wool. My Shepherd actually seems to know how hard it is to be a sheep. And as humbling as it is to admit, I’m pretty much helpless without Him. After all, He is the One who leads me into green pastures and beside still waters. He is my Restorer, my Comforter and my Defender. Surrounded by His goodness and mercy, He is the One who always brings me safely home. And as much as He loves me, it is for His Name’s sake that He is so faithful.

You see, I’m a sheep, and the Lord is my Shepherd.

He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart. Isaiah 40:11 NIV

Just another day?

Posted by

Since Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, shouldn’t we be astounded that the Eternal Son of God would willingly clothe His divine glory with flesh?

Shouldn’t we be speechless at the One who spoke everything into existence by the power of His Word willingly reduced to unintelligible sounds in the arms of His mother?

Shouldn’t we stand in awe as we consider His long and humbling journey from the right hand of the Father to the womb of a virgin as Creator became creature?

Jesus. Immanuel. God with us. The Promised One. The perfect Lamb of God born to die for our sins. His birthday was the day in the fullness of time when God’s Incarnate Love could no longer be restrained. It was that perfect day when the dawn of redeeming grace pierced our sinful darkness and heaven’s joy could not be contained.

Yes, Jesus came that holy night long ago and that’s good news, but the best news is that He is still coming for you. This Christmas, may Jesus be born anew in our hearts as we fall on our knees in worship – unable to describe the indescribable. But where words fall short, wonder says it all.

By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 1 Timothy 3:16 & 2 Corinthians 9:15

Spread the Word!

The War Zone

Posted by

If you’re like me, a trip into your heart and mind is like traveling into a battlefield. We are under constant attack – besieged by external forces and confronted by internal thoughts and feelings that wage war against our souls.

Otherwise, why would the Word command us to guard our hearts and take every thought captive? Why would the Word warn us not to be led astray and not to be deceived? Why would the Word instruct us to stand strong against the schemes of the devil and not to be ensnared by the empty lies of this world?

We are at war. Every day, we are bombarded with misinformation – propaganda designed to deceive, distract, and destroy. Like foreign operatives, it covertly infiltrates our thoughts to create confusion, discouragement and doubt. It is not accidental. Rather, it is the tactical deployment of a plan to make you forget who you are, question your Supreme Commander and abandon your mission.

However, we are not defenseless. We are not destined for destruction. “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 ESV.

God’s Word, energized by the Spirit of Truth, is our defense and protection. It binds and secures all the pieces of our armor. It renews our mind and clarifies our thoughts. It covers our heart and keeps our emotions on a short leash. It exposes lies and overcomes the onslaughts of the evil one.

Without it, we become prime targets as we walk blindly into the enemy’s sights. With it, we wield a powerful, offensive, supernatural weapon. Never leave the Sword of the Spirit in the corner of your room.

Pick it up. Remind yourself what you know to be true.

Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” ~ Jesus in John 17:17